Part of USS Cygnus: Where Everyone Knows Your Name and USS Cygnus: Outbreak

The Spangler Maneuver Doesn’t Involve Sheep

Captain's Ready Room
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ON

It had been three days since the destruction of the Crystalline Entity. Two days ago, Bane had talked to just about every single Admiral at Starfleet Command about their mission and the events with the Crystalline Entity, and had updated the Strategic Operations Officer of their sector as well. Yesterday, the Cygnus finally got her warp engines back online and they were headed back to Deep Space 9. Lisald was still in sickbay recovering from his injuries, as well as 47 other crewmembers. Doctor Elodin and his team had their jobs cut out for them, but knew they would do their medical majik and make everyone right and whole again. 

Today however, was another story. He put in the final notes into the file he was working on, ensured it was saved, and closed it. Turning slightly in his chair, he tapped a command on his desk. The chirp of a communicator was heard through the Ready Room, indicating that person-to-person communication was open. “Captain Bane to Ensign Spangler. Please report to the Ready Room.”

The Chief Science Officer’s office felt particularly isolated, which the man who occupied it was thankful for. Spangler felt drained, in every sense. He had a pile of work his people had done to review, and now that he finally had time to do so, Albert couldn’t focus in any meaningful way. The familiar chirp followed by the Captain’s voice created probably the only diversion he hadn’t hoped for. He sighed, not having the energy to even consider coming up with an excuse. “Sir.” 

It didn’t take long to reach the Captain’s Ready Room, entering straight in. “Captain.” Albert greeted his Commanding Officer, opened his mouth briefly to utter the greeting of the day, but then couldn’t remember if it were morning or evening, opting for a slight nod instead.

Bane nodded back. “Thank you for coming so quickly, Mr. Spangler. Please, have a seat,” Bane said, pointing to the chair between them. Once the Ensign had sat down, Bane leaned forward, putting his elbows on the desk and steepling his fingers. “How is Vaat doing, have you seen him since he was in Sickbay,” he asked, hoping he wasn’t being intrusive. “I believe you two are friends, right?”

“Yes, I suppose we are.” Albert answered, pausing briefly. “He’s doing better. He’s alive, and going to stay that way it seems. So, that’s good.” The answer was somewhat guarded, but he wasn’t sure why. The truth of the matter was that he had been by to check on his friend every day, was very much aware of Lisald’s status.

Bane nodded. “Good, good. I’m relieved he will be fine. I’ll be going to see him today. Anyways, the reason I wanted to see you was to inform you of a few things, and a few changes I need to make. First and foremost, I’ve entered into your service jacket a letter of recognition. Without your forward thinking and your research on that Crystalline Entity, we would not be here talking about it. I was extremely impressed by that, and so was Commander Larsen.”

This made Spangler feel nauseous. Ultimately, the acts that the Captain spoke of came out of a lack of confidence, fear and ultimately anger. He deserved many things, likely none of which the Captain summoned him for. “I..” Albert nodded again. “Sir.”

Mistaking the Chief Science Officers lack of words as being humble and a loss for words, Bane smiled again and pressed on. “In addition to that, Mr. Spangler, Commander Larsen and I have talked about you, your performance on this ship since you came aboard, and especially your performance in this last mission, we believe it is warranted that you be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant junior grade.” Bane reached over to the small section of the L-shape of his desk, pulled out a drawer, and a small maple box, and handed it to Albert. “By my authority as Commanding Officer of the USS Cygnus, I hereby promote you to the rank of Lieutenant junior grade, with all the rights and privileges thereto. Congratulations Lieutenant Spangler,” Bane said, smiling broadly.

Albert accepted the container, taking in it’s contents with uncertainty. He was, in a matter of speaking, at a loss for words. It was, and had been on his mind to just speak freely; but that was a daunting task to say the least. Eventually, the new lieutenant spoke, “Captain, if we had been successful, establishing communication with that thing, what would our end game be?” Albert stared at the captain, curiosity laced with desperation coming through, “Did we expect it to just.. not eat?”

Inwardly, Bane had to smile. The man had just been promoted, arguably the second most important promotion of his career, the first being to Captain, of course, yet here he was, freshly promoted, not even pinned his pip to his collar yet, and he was being a scientist first. It spoke volumes about his personality. “Not at all. As we had figured up, we would have fed it and led it back out into open space, away from the civilized sections of the galaxy. We then would have attempted to find a feeding ground for it, or come up with a plan to make it food to sustain it in perpetuity. A daunting task, for sure, but I am confident we would have come up with something. I encourage you to continue your work that you started, and come up with that way to feed these things. This is the second time Starfleet has encountered the Crystalline Entity, and I doubt it will be the last.”

“You remind me a bit of Vaat, Sir.” Albert said with a slight grin, not elaborating further. There was an optimism the two men shared that the science officer envied. “I hope you are wrong, Captain. But I suppose if we do find another of these things, killing it should be further down the list than plan B.”

Bane took that as a compliment. Whether Vaat had taken on some of the personality traits of the Captain, or Bane had taken some from the Lieutenant wasn’t altogether clear, but either way, it was a compliment. “You aren’t wrong, Lieutenant. Using force should be the very last thing on the list. I look forward to your findings, your plans and your proposal in the event Starfleet ever encounters it again. Should it come to pass, your work could be known as the ‘Spangler Maneuver.’” 

Spangler’s grin turned into a genuine smile. “Unfortunately the Spangler Maneuver is already a thing; it’s just not widely known outside of the dive bars of southeast Australia.” He stood, taking a deep breath and gripped the box containing his new pips. Maybe I’ll keep these things after all, Albert thought. “Thank you, Captain. I suppose.. I should get started, then.”

Plase laughed about the quip in Australia, but figured that was a story best left unsaid to the Captain.  “Yes, of course. Again, congratulation Lieutenant.  Dismissed.”

The Ready Room doors closed behind Spangler as he left. Now it was time to break the news to a certain Bajoran oddball that he no longer outranked the Chief of Science.