Part of USS Mercy: Mission 1 – “Life as a House”

Captain and Commander

Starbase Bravo, USS Mercy
August 10th, 2400
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Starbase Bravo – 0800

The Sitacus docked at Starbase Bravo four days ago.  It was procedure to return to the base, as Ravens weren’t meant to be on long-term missions, but the time between assignments had never been so long.  New ships and personnel were also arriving, so Sorek surmised things were simply very busy.  There were rumors he and some of the crew were being reassigned, but talk like that always occurred.  An interesting thing happened when he was ordered to report to the captain of the USS Mercy, a new Olympic-class medical ship.  Perhaps the rumors were true.

USS Mercy – Ready Room – 0840

Leopold sat in his ready room, surrounded by PADDs at his desk.  The immediate need to review applications, suggestions, and other duties had come together in a perfect storm for the captain.  He’d managed to program the computer to give him his favorite drink – an iced black tea with lemonade.  It was this drink that he sipped on at the moment, and his attention returned to the bulk of his work.  The entire command crew from the previous command had either retired or transferred.  It had left a considerable hole for him to fill, and he’d sifted through applications late into the night and was slowly getting acceptance or rejection notifications as the morning was well underway.  One that had caught his curiosity was Commander Sorek, a Vulcan.  For whatever reason, his file hadn’t been transferred, and he was having a devil of a time getting access to the officer’s jacket.  It had taken him long enough and frustrated him enough that he had simply sent the man a message asking him to report to his ready room at 0900 hours.  The man was going to be his executive officer – his second in command.  He would need to know a little about him before he offered him the second chair on his bridge.

The rest of the files were in similar shape, and he had to wonder if this was something the universe had decided he needed – a swift malfunction of everything under the sun and moon to punish him for something he had done somewhere along the lines.  He took another drink of his precious concoction and went back to finding his way through the mess until his door chime rang.  He attempted to clear what he could, failed, and simply plopped a PADD down on his desk, “Come on in.”

When Sorek arrived on the Mercy and reported to the CO’s ready room, he stepped inside and stood with his hands clasped behind his back.

“Captain Halsey, I am Commander Sorek.  You asked to see me.”

Halsey took in his first officer.  Sorek was tall – over six feet by his estimation and his build was significant enough.  Leopold quietly was thankful to have an XO with a presence.  The Vulcan piece in his command team puzzle had been a welcome surprise.  Logical to a fault and devoted to it entirely – it was no wonder many science and medical officers ended up Vulcan.  The medical side sometimes tended to be a bedside nightmare, but Halsey had managed his share of them in the past – sometimes, it just took a little discussion.

“Welcome aboard, Commander.  Any drink preferences?” He gestured to the replicator.

“No, thank you, sir.”

That settled, the captain gestured to the seats in front of him.  He sipped at his black tea lemonade, “You come highly recommended, Commander.”  He leaned forward, “What do I need to know about you to make sure our dynamic works the best it can?”  He took a quick sip, “CO and XO is a unique relationship no matter the ship or the station.”

“Captain, I received orders to report to you, but I was not told you had chosen me to be your XO.  I thought it was only an interview.”

Halsey spit out his drink and stared at the Vulcan across the desk.  “You…”,  He paused, set his drink on a clean part of his desk, and proceeded to wipe up what he could as he mused, “The universe is in some kind of retrograde today, I tell you what.”

Sorek watched the droplets sail past him  “Retrograde?”

“It’s one of those human expressions that makes not much sense when you start to examine it logically.  Well, I suppose we’d better start from there.”  He eyed his drink but resisted the urge.  There was no telling what other surprises lay in store when it came to the commander.  He related to Sorek what had happened to the previous command crew and said, “I needed an Executive Officer.  I requested Starfleet Personnel rather urgently a solution, and your name was forwarded to me along with two others.  The first two didn’t even wait to hear from me – they sent me messages saying ‘No thank you,’ and you were the last name on the list.”  He took a careful sip from his drink and returned his attention to the Vulcan, “You at least came on board the Mercy as requested.” He explained the access to files had been problematic at best today, “So…you didn’t turn me down.  Given you’re my current and only choice for XO – why didn’t you want to stay where you were, Commander?”

So he was the last and only choice for the XO position, though Sorek kept that observation to himself.

“It isn’t a question of wanting or not wanting to stay where I was,” said Sorek.  “I am dedicated to serve, though I must admit that a posting on a medical ship would be more interesting than a Raven.  On the Sitacus, we were little more than supply runners and sector patrol.  The Mercy is certain to go where I have never gone before.”

Captain Halsey gave an understanding nod, “I’ve done my share of duties on Raven class ships, Commander.  They serve a purpose.  It depends largely on your fleet operations and who’s got a hand on the map.”  He leaned forward on his desk, “The Mercy isn’t built to fight the battles on the front lines.  We do the work of the Federation with our hands, feet, and brains.  We’ll see the front lines, mind you…but it’ll be to bring hope and mercy to those in need of our doctors and our scientists.”  He took the final sip of his drink, “As for going where you’ve never gone before…the USS Mercy is a first for many of us, Commander.  You’ve got the right outlook; I’ll give you that.  I’m going to need someone to remind me of that every so often.”  He stood and extended his hand, “Welcome aboard the USS Mercy, Commander Sorek.  I’ve gone ahead and assigned you your quarters.  Your XO duties, responsibilities, and authority start immediately.

“Thank you, sir,” said Sorek.  “For my first duty as XO, I must ask you something.  Will you be leaving the ship on away missions or remaining on board, as is customary to Starfleet policy?’

If Halsey had been drinking, he might have spit it out at the Vulcan’s abrupt change in the topic of conversation.  As it was, it took him a moment to realize the question.  He chuckled quietly, “My wife is half Vulcan, Commander.  She leans on her human side a little more than most, so you’ll forgive me if you caught me off guard.  I have forgotten the logical tact that is a characteristic of most Vulcans.”  He remained standing and thought for a moment and came up with, “I would like to think I’d remain customary to Starfleet policy as much as possible.”  He continued, “For the times when I’m likely to bend customary policy, I’ll trust we’ll discuss it at some length.”

“I am certain we will,” said Sorek.  “Thank you for bringing me on board.  I look forward to what is to come.”

Halsey nodded, “As do I, Commander.  Welcome aboard.”  Sorek turned and headed out the door to the bridge, and the captain sat roughly in his chair, glaring at his desk and the mess it had spawned.  The day was moving, and he with it.