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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 1 – Back to Work

The Brass Ring

Starbase Bravo - Starfleet Personnel Office
10.16.2400 @ 0700
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“Commander Harris, you’re up next.”  He stood, PADD in hand, and stepped into the board room, facing a phalanx of upper command officers already seated.  

Taking the seat at the end of the table, he greeted the group, “Good morning.”  A scattered chorus of greetings rose in response.  He looked around the table, hoping to see a familiar face.  He found one in Captain Geronimo Fontana, who gave him a kind nod which he returned.

The Admiral at the head of the table spoke up, “Commander, you’re here under the auspices of a command-level review of your performance as commanding officer of the USS Edinburgh as well as the last nine months of your holding the rank of commander.”  He gestured to Ambrose, “We’ve sent you a copy of your report so you can follow along as we discuss.”

Harris tapped at his device and found the report.  The admiral began.  “As a commander, you’ve held command of two starships.  The USS Erigone and the USS Edinburgh.  Your actions in both commands have been exemplary.  Your continued holding up of the ideals of the Federation has been noted in both cases.  In multiple scenarios and situations, you’ve taken the no-win situation and done everything in your power and ability to turn it around as best as you could.”  He tapped at his own PADD, “Interviews with your command crew show a strong sense of loyalty to your command style and the relationships you’ve built with them.  Each of them spoke highly of your actions, your words, and you as a commanding officer.”  Another tap, “We interviewed a good portion of your crew and found a similar sentiment among them – that you are a strong command officer that models the manner in which you wish your crew to follow.”

Another admiral spoke up, “A review of your logs was completed and found you include good details and information to assist in understanding situations and the people involved.  There is some improvement needed in your regularity of logs.”  She looked to Captain Fontana.

He tapped at his PADD next, “I’m the only one here who’s actually worked with Commander Harris.  He served as my first officer in a unique set of circumstances, which is detailed in my report.”  Fontana looked at Harris and continued, “Despite the challenges present, he found a way to work with me and worked with the crew to ensure that the chain of command was followed as much as possible.  I was relieved in the end to return command to him as I believed he was more than capable of returning to the role.”

Another Admiral spoke up. “Let’s review your mission files.”  It took a good amount of time to go through each mission, and Harris was asked pointed questions as they went through the Erigone missions and the Edinburgh files.  There was some back and forth when it came time to talk about the loss of crew, but the discussions continued until they were up to the present in their review.  She looked to the CO, “It’s your turn to speak if you wish.”

Ambrose blinked a few times before realizing it was his turn to talk.  “Ah, thank you.  Admirals, Captains, and others…I appreciate you taking the time to offer this review of my time of service.  I would like to make sure I give due credit to my command crew and the crew of the Edinburgh and the Erigone before her – the role of commanding officer isn’t one I like to go it alone in…I firmly believe in the capabilities and talents of my command team and that they’ve been instrumental in getting us back home as safe as we could.”

The first admiral to speak gave a nod, “Your words are appreciated, Commander.  Can you excuse us for a moment?”  Harris stood and stepped outside the room and leaned against the wall.  The assistant sat at her desk, tapping away at her console as the crowds passed by outside.  He thought about the nine months of being a commander – the adventures, the challenge, the battles, the losses…it felt as if it had been longer.

“Commander, they’re ready for you again.”  He returned to the conference room and was about to take his seat when they let him know he could remain standing.

The first admiral stood and walked to stand near him at the front of the room, “We’ve done an extensive review of your work, your missions, and you, Commander Harris.  To that end and in recognition of your service to the Federation, your crews, and Starfleet – we hereby promote you to the rank of Captain with the rights and privileges within.”  He slipped out a silver case and opened it, the shiny gold rank pip sparkling at him.  

Captain Fontana came to the Admiral’s side and picked up the pip, and gently went about attaching it to Harris, “Congratulations, Captain Harris.”  He stepped back, and applause filled the newly promoted officer’s ears.

Harris felt his heart warm, and his throat tighten.  Much had been given by many so that he was able to stand in this moment.  The admiral had one more thing, “Captain Ambrose Harris, it is the decision of this group that you be returned to the assignment of your task force, but that you will need something else with which to stand against and with the various challenges that await you.  You and your command crew are hereby transferred to the USS Mackenzie, an Excelsior II class starship.”  The applause started again, and Harris felt his smile widen.  The Admiral handed him a PADD, “Your mission briefing, ship boarding instructions, and further details to review.  Congratulations, Captain.”

The handshakes and conversations lasted for a bit, and soon it was just Harris and Fontana in the room.  Geronimo smiled, “I’m happy for you.”

Ambrose studied the man for a moment, “I heard they took action against her…and managed to find a few friends who had helped her along the way.”

Fontana chuckled, “She’s been dealt with, Captain Harris.  You and Lieutenant Reid are safe.”  He shook the hand of his former XO, “Good luck, Captain.  I’ll see you out there.”  It was now just Harris alone in the room, his heart and mind swirling with the realization that he was a captain.

He’d made it.