The Operation Center was buzzing with activity. There was no console not occupied by some enlisted or officer, as problems were solved here to only get others on a different spot. But that was the usual way of Eos Station for the last few years. Arwa had already been going non-stop counseling around the station, her office was somewhat operational but still heavily understaffed, and most of the work was done by herself.
Her next stop, however, was going to be an easy one in her opinion, her executive officer that just arrived. The man had no real remarks on the medical dossier, whether physical or mental. But the protocol is protocol, and a check is required. Looking around, she noticed what she just stepped and sighed, grabbing an enlisted at his shoulder “where is Commander Hayes?”
The enlisted blinked a few times and then looked around then pointed in a direction “There ma’am”
Arwa looked in the direction, and let go of the enlisted “Thank you, Sergeant” she walked to the man that was giving out orders “Commander Hayes?”
Mike looked up, not recognizing the voice that had just called his name. Turning he found himself facing a woman with olive skin, and long, silky black hair. She radiated a sense of calm, and sureness of herself that was instantly reassuring. It took him a few seconds for his mind to make the connection, but finally it snapped in place, and he smiled. “Lieutenant el-Imam, it’s nice to meet you,” he said, extending his hand for a shake.
Grabbing Mike’s hand and giving a gentle shake, “It is a pleasure to meet you as well. I do hope I am not interrupting you in your daily duties?”
Mike smiled at the counselor, “No, not at all. It’s a welcome distraction. What can I do for you today?”
His mind, in the background was wondering if he’d put off getting to his boarding eval long enough that she’d come looking for him, instead of waiting for him to book an appointment. It wasn’t that he had anything about counselors, or anything of that nature, he’d just been so busy trying to help out and get stuff up and running properly again that he’d totally forgotten.
Giving a soft smile at him, “Well I am doing my round, quite literally, with everyone to see how everyone is doing. I notice you have arrived quite a bit at the station. Now, no need to worry that you didn’t ring my bell. Counselors are not particularly the most wanted person” Arwa crossed her arms and continued “So I want to do it here to somewhere else, you’re boarding eval” She winks “Still got time?”
Mike chuckled. “Honestly, I like counselors. Never met one that I didn’t like. I honestly just hadn’t had time to come see you, what with all the chaos of getting this place back up and running,” he said, waving a hand in the air at the station around them.
“But it just so happens I’ve got a little bit of time, so I’d love to get that out of the way, and also see if there’s anything I can do for you, as well,” he added. “Your office, or mine?”
Thinking back at the office, still having weird coffee in the replicator and some problems, “I think your office is in better shape than mine?” Arwa pointed out bluntly, “As you said. The chaos is creating quite a list for our engineers”
Mike let out an actual guffaw at that and stared at the stack of padds he’d been working through when she’d approached him. “Want to make a wager on that, Counselor?” he said with a grin, and waved for her to follow him.
A couple of minutes later they walked through the doors into his office. “I would offer you something specific to drink, but so far, the only thing the replicator hasn’t managed to completely mess up is water, and I never keep anything stronger in my office. Care for a glass of possibly room temperature, but hopefully cold water?”
“A recognizable problem, cold water will do” She pointed out as Arwa looked around “Your office looks more configured in one piece than mine” Sitting down at a chair “See the chair even holds together” She laughs at the idea.
Returning to the desk to give her the glass of water Mike waved his free hand towards an engineering kit sitting by the door. “It didn’t the first time someone sat in it…” he said, with a chagrined smile. “I commandeered a repair kit and fixed it. Thankfully the previous occupant of the chair had a good sense of humor.”
He then moved took a seat as well, deliberately not sitting across the desk so as not to make the situation too formal. “I’m glad you sought me out, with everything going on who knows how long it would have been before I remembered to come down on my own.”
Looking at the kit and then back at the chair, “Ah” she mutters to herself. Arwa took a sip of her drink, “Well everyone is busy in one way or another. Be it work or avoiding me. Anyway, how are you doing? How was your trip to this station?”
Mike had to ponder that question for a few moments. The trip to Eos hadn’t been bad, per se, but he was never one for downtime when it came to himself, and the transport he was on didn’t even have a gym for him to stay active in. But still, it gave him plenty of time to familiarize himself with the station schematics, and the department heads that had already been assigned while Starfleet dithered over who they wanted to fill the XO position. And, now that he was here, he was energized and elated to be a part of a pretty ambitious project.
Finally, he realized he’d been sitting without answering her for several moments and chuckled. “Sorry, got lost in my thoughts on how best to answer that,” he admitted.
“But honestly, the trip here was fairly routine. Maybe even a little bit boring. Now that I’m here though, I’m feeling like I can take on the world, as the old saying goes. I’ve always been a fan of the tech from this era in Starfleet history, and to be able to be a part of this project, to get this station back up and running at full capacity… It’s like a dream come true,” he added with a wide grin.
“Sounds like a perfect start at Eos, even though you have a pile of work ahead of you. You seem…” Arwa taps her finger the tip of her chin while thinking, “…positive about your career ahead. Your records do not show any trauma throughout your years within Starfleet and well I got to say, it is rather a shining example of how every officer wants it to be” Arwa took another sip of the water “Thought do you desire your own command one day? Is Eos you’re proving ground to Starfleet Command of what you are able to do?”
Mike chuckled at her characterization of his time in Starfleet so far. It had been relatively unmarred by any trauma, or even anything exceedingly difficult like some had experienced. “Yes, I am positive, but that seems to be a continuing character trait,” he admitted. “I like to try to see the positive in things, and look towards to future, even when mistakes are made, or bad things happen.”
“And as to my career goals, I never even expected to be in the ex-oh seat at this point. I hadn’t given much thought to progressing beyond helm, if I’m being totally honest. But the opportunity arose, and it seemed intriguing. I learned a lot about myself through the time I spent training to understand the role, and I grew in ways I had never expected. I learned that I had skills that could really help when it came to leading others to be the best version of themselves as officers, and it was a great feeling. If a command is in my future, that’s all well and good, but if not, I’m happy to be able to work with great teams and learn from them on a daily basis. If any of that makes sense…” he said, with a small smile.
“Down to earth man as they would say” Arwa nods slightly to that, “But being positive might be not enough on this station. I am saying that as first-hand experience. While you have a late start when arriving at this base, you have to understand that people here are …what is the word” Looking a bit around “neglected in their needs and wishes. They feel abandoned by Starfleet, and giving them that approach of….everything will be good, might backfire on you, Commander”
Mike nodded along. “I’m adaptable, counselor. I’m also driven to ensure that those I work with succeed. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to see that happen, and I’m not afraid of facing reality when it needs to be face. The situation here is definitely grim, and there’s a whole hell of a lot of work to be done. And those feelings you mentioned are one hundred percent valid. I won’t do anything to disrespect them.”
Taking a nod to that “Good, saves me some work in the future” Arwa said in a way that it sounded like a joke but at the same time very serious “So what are your plans Commander?”
Mike wasn’t completely sure what she meant, so he gave her a puzzled look. “My plans while on this station, in the current situation? Or just life plans in general?” he asked, hoping for some clarification.
Looking at him for a second, Arwa finally gave him an answer, “I guess both, what will you do at the station in the current situation? How will you tackle the adventures that Eos has to offer to you and what life plans do you have in store”
A glib answer didn’t spring to his tongue, even though Mike was often a man with a quick wit. Instead, he thought for a few moments. “With the station, and the adventure it has to offer, I’m going to do everything in my power to support the captain and the other officers on this station. To me that’s what a good ex-oh does. They give the needed support to make sure that everything can thrive. We’ve got a hell of a job ahead of us before we can even begin to think of thriving, but I’m going to get my hands dirty and help push us through.” he replied.
“And as for life plans, well, those are always a little bit funny when it comes to being in Starfleet, don’t you think? There’s an old saying, ‘You make plans, while God laughs’ I believe is how it goes. Seems fitting when you really think about it. My ultimate life goal, though, is to serve the Federation in Starfleet, in whatever role they provide for me, and maybe to find someone to settle down with along the way.”
For a brief moment, she looked at him, scanned his emotions, and gave a soft smile thinking about how carefree her new boss is. She ponders a bit wondering what will happen if something happened to this station, the crew, or anything close to the borders. Arwa nods and puts that to the test “Good to hear that you are stable enough, healthy enough and have a prospect of what you want to achieve” Arwa sighs a bit “But you see there is a personal note that the JAG office might have contacted you, with me standing in for a witness testimony. Did you see that?”
“I have not, no,” Mike admitted. “I still have a vast amount of communication to get through. Hence why it most likely looked like I was avoiding you. Would you like to fill me in so I’ll be knowing what to expect when I get to that particular one?”
‘One minus point Commander’ Arwa thought to herself “The transport vessel Victus was intercepted by the USS Kennedy due to their attack by an unknown Cardassian ship. Upon further investigation, the ship was transporting illegal terms passengers in poor condition. What we found on that ship gave me months of mental health sessions for the away team” Arwa shrugs thinking back at what happened on that ship “I am one of the away team members Commander”
Mike frowned. “That’s awful, Counselor. I can’t even imagine how difficult that was to come to terms with. I sincerely hope you sought out counseling as well,” he replied. Having never been confronted with something like that he honestly had no idea how he would handle it, but quite a few counseling sessions would most definitely have been the first thing he added to the list afterwards.
She didn’t respond immediately to his comment on getting counseling herself “Starfleet requires everyone to be evaluated on their mental condition. Even me” Arwa looked at him “But be aware that when the court session begins I will be unable to do my daily routine”
“That is quite understandable. I’m sure we will manage while you are indisposed,” Mike replied. “And for the record, I wasn’t asking if you were evaluated. I was saying I hoped you reached out for help processing the trauma.”
“Now, was there anything else you needed from me today?” he asked, as he realized they’d already been talking for quite some time, and there was a lot of work still on his list of to-dos for the day. “If not, I will be setting up a meeting with all department heads in the next couple of days. As a way to get a list of things I need to ensure I’m focusing on to get us to a better operational status.”
Noticing the time herself she got up from her chair and shook her head to the Commander “Nothing else. I will clear you for your own evaluation Commander. It has been a pleasure“ With that said she walked out of his office to resume her own duties.