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Part of USS Altai: Spectres in the Dust

Scientific Progress

Outpost 1-SZ, Station Commander's Office
77136.9 - 3 Days After Breen Dreadnought Destruction
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Station Commander’s log, Stardate 777136.9. I must honestly say, I’m still getting used to it. Command of this station was not something I ever expected, nor did I anticipate the increased importance of this mission to Starfleet. It’s clear, however, that there’s more going on out here than anyone anticipated. I was never much of a careerist. Always thought I might leave Starfleet one day, head back to the Indarax tundra and the grub root farms. Well, that day’s going to have to wait. As of today, the station has been designated by Starfleet as an area of high importance. Command has also reviewed the Altai’s operational reports, recommending promotions for all those involved in our recent mission to recon and eliminate a Breen Dreadnought taken over by machines of unknown origin. It’s my great pleasure to be distributing these promotions today. End log.

Streth punched an LCARS tab, committing the log to station records. He eyed the black velveted boxes that sat in a row beside the desk monitor. A glossy bevel traced along the centre of each in the shape of a Starfleet arrowhead. The door chime rang.

“Enter,” Streth said, then stood. His blue hand reached out for the box closest to him. He flipped the lid, smiling as the Science Officer stepped into the room. A single, hollow pip nestled in a black cushion, “Ensign Oka, how are you?” 

Many things were crossing her mind, Katsu at first didn’t know how to answer as she automatically came to a halt before her Captain’s desk “I ….am recovering from my latest” She paused for a second, and it was rather a discomfort for her to talk about it “Experience that I gained on that ship sir”

Streth drew back a little. All the bravado and pomp of the occasion suddenly extinguished as he looked into the eyes of someone who’d seen more than she should, “Ensign Oka… Katsu, I uh, want to congratulate you. What you did over there was one of the most selfless acts I’ve ever witnessed. You demonstrated the work of Starfleet at its finest, as difficult as that might have been. I have something to present to you, if you’re still willing to continue your assignment out here, that is?”

Seeing him struggle with her name made her smile briefly: “Oka is my surname, but the tradition of my people makes it so that my first name is second. Kinda like the Bajorans so Katsu is my call name, sir” She listens to what her Captain had to say “I am glad to hear that I did my service well” Katsu struggles a bit. “But I could have done more, calculated the situation better, and maybe given us more time. So I honestly didn’t expect something rather than you wish for me to be transferred as I failed my duties to keep the away team safe” She felt her eyes watery and tried to keep it together. 

“Absolutely not,” Streth was surprised at Katsu’s humility in the face of everything she’d done, “quite the opposite, in fact. You contributed to the success of the mission, showing extreme bravery,” he tried to catch her eye as she looked away, “Katsu, it’s my honour to present you with this,” he offered her the box. It face her, the pip’s machined metal shone a dull glint in the soft lighting of the office, “Congratulations, Lieutenant.”

Looking at the metal pip, she looked surprised it. “Excuse me…” She suddenly spoke, surprised about it, “I….what” It took a few seconds to realize what just been offered to her. “Thank you, sir. I am honored that you think highly of me” Katsu didn’t know how to react to it but accepted it nonetheless. 

“You’ll wear it well,” Streth said, beaming, ”I should also inform you that our Chief Science Officer Lieutenant Lisald has departed for Bajor,” somewhat unsure of Katsu’s reaction, he leaned back against the desk. He laid a hand out flat in front of him in offering, “I’m currently in need of a Chief Science Officer. We aren’t exactly awash with candidates at the moment, and I know you can think on your feet. Would you accept the post?”

“But sir, I am just an Ens…” Katsu still had to process the whole promotion and nodded slowly, “I mean…I am a fresh-ranked Lieutenant, sir. I don’t know if I qualify for your needs as Chief Science Officer. While I am pretty honored again that you wish to consider me” She was a bit troubled about the whole ordeal going quite quick “I guess could do it, if I wouldn’t fail your requirements”

“Good! You’re it,” Streth said, confidence swelling in his voice, “I’m not sure if Lieutenant Lisald had time to prep the department before he left. Better go and make yourself known.”

Nodding towards her Captain “I will, thank you again for all the trust you are placing in me” Katsu spoke and bowed slightly in her culture, a sign of respect. “If you excuse me, sir” She walked out of the office with renewed courage and obligations.