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

Assist No More

Ready Room
8.16.2400 @ 1100
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Halsey stood at the window, watching the Bravo station as it moved ships, shuttles, and more in a relentless rhythm that didn’t make sense to him, but somehow it worked.  His door chime rang, and he returned to his desk, a wooden box resting in the middle of it. “Enter.”

Neva walked in with her PADD tucked into her pouch, the report ready. Smiling brightly, she nodded to the Captain and stood at attention. “Hello, Sir. I’ve got my repo-”

“Drink?”

Neva cocked her head at his unexpected question. “Uh…coffee, heavy cream, and honey.” She took the beverage from his replicator, wrapping her hands around the cup. Almost in a daze, she sat before him and took a sip. “Thank you, Sir.” 

Once the assistant chief engineer had taken her seat, Halsey took a sip from his cup, “How are you feeling?”

“Captain?” She asked in more confusion. She had realized that, since her interview, she’d go to the ends of space for this man. No one had garnered such loyalty within her save her parents. She should expect him to ask such a question now, but this whole interaction honestly threw her.

“I’m better…” she started, taking a small sip before continuing. “Still feeling some blockage, really. That shot was stronger than I expected.” 

Neva closed her eyes and tried to calm her breathing. Visions of what she’d faced danced through her, causing her to shiver. The warm liquid coursed down her throat, washing darkness away. Opening her eyes, she regarded her captain sheepishly. “Please excuse me, Sir. Like I said, strong shot.” Sitting up straight, she set her mug down. “Did you want my report, Sir? I’ve got it right here.” She pulled her PADD out and held it out to him.

Haley accepted the PADD and placed it on his desk, “All in good time, Lieutenant.  You, along with the rest of our Betazoid crew, took the brunt of the impact of the station’s intelligence.  Your experience will have both short-term and long-term consequences.  I will be checking in with you once a week for a month or so….then we’ll space it out further as we go.  You’ll meet with Lieutenant Choi every other week for that month.  Once we’ve got an idea of how we can support and help you – we’ll adjust.”

“Yessir,” She replied automatically. She needed to think about his orders, even though she knew he was right.

Halsey picked up the PADD and scrolled, reading as he went.  A moment later, he returned the PADD to the assistant chief engineer, “Send me the report before you leave the ship, and I’ll give you feedback when you’re back in two weeks.  Overall – solid report with good information and helpful context to explain the variables outside the nominal expectations.”  He slid the wooden box across the desk to the end where Neva sat, “Lastly…Lieutenant Neva Cordon, please stand.”

Neva took the PADD and put it away. “Thank you, Sir. I’ll have the report ready without a problem.”

Neva almost pushed the chair over in her haste to do as he asked. She steadied it with one hand. She eyed the box the captain had offered to her. ‘Could that be…no…’ she thought.

Halsey stood and walked around to where she stood, and he palmed the wooden container and addressed her directly, “Lieutenant Cordon – your efforts in preventing further harm coming to the crew of the USS Mercy with your programming and blocking mechanism was an impressive feat.  Starfleet has asked for a copy of your programming and rationalization to study the work you did.  Despite hardship and measures outside of your control, you remained in command and control of your department during a truly terrifying scenario on the USS Mercy.  In recognition of your actions and measures, you are promoted from assistant chief engineering officer to Chief Engineering Officer of the USS Mercy.  In addition, you are granted a field promotion to full lieutenant status.  Both promotions are effective immediately.”  He opened the box and removed the junior-grade pip, and replaced it with the full-rank pip.

Neva stood straighter when his words turned formal, trying not to show her surprise. ‘Starfleet wants to study MY work? Oh my…’ 

Even as Neva recalled their (seemingly) long-ago plans for her career on The Mercy, she made an involuntary shiver when he changed her pips. ‘It’s REAL! I’m a FULL Chief now!’

She focused back on her captain and blundered out, “Th…thank you, Sir. I won’t let you down, I promise! I’ll keep our Iron Lady safe, secure, and ALWAYS at your command.”

Leopold smiled warmly at the newly minted Chief Engineer, “You’re welcome, Chief Cordon.  I look forward to it.  Now, get off duty – we’ll see you in two weeks.”

The door closed and Halsey returned to his observations through the window.