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Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again Part: 3 and USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Elevation of a Knight

Personal Quarters, Marcus D. Ming followed by Bravoflight CO's Office
July 16 2374 at 0745 hours
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Ming had woken up at 05:56 in the morning.  He’d slept longer than he had in quite a long time.  Rather than admonishing himself like he might otherwise he conceeded that he had been running on too little sleep and over stimulation for a while now so it was a necessary evil.

He’d planned on transporting to Earth before too long.  He had scheduled training sessions for after he got back and got some rest.  After a more than decent sized potato, egg, and bacon breakfast burrito with some strong doses of purple tea he got cleaned up and into uniform.  He slipped into his not quite official uniform duster he’d developed based on the number of similar variants used by the fleet over the years.  It was a heavy-ish black duster with a department specific band across the chest, shoulders and back.  Figuring that fortune favors the bold he forwarded the design, replicator pattern and a brief proposal to Captain Talon.

If he got told off for it he’d endure it.  However if it got enough support it would be another variant that would be useful in certain envronments.  He’d had a period or two in his life where the Ancient West was a fascination.  One thing that had stuck with him was the dusters….They were useful and they, in his unhumble opinion, they looked good.

Focusing on the matters at hand he tapped the combadge under his jacket and said, “Ensign Sh’ivhohlol – Please report to Bravo Flight CO’s office off the flight bay in 15 minutes.”

On my way,” Ensign Sh’iv replied.

Ming left his quarters and headed for his office.  When he got to the bay a few minutes later he ran across Crewman Andrews already hard at work.  She was working on a weapons array on his fighter.  Unlike the other fighters in the bay it wasn’t right off the flight line.  He brought his over from Scorpion Flight and it’d seen a lot of action.  Pausing, the flight commander said, “Good morning Andrews.  What magic are you working on today?”

The Crewman looked up and flashed ming a smile before replying, “Tightenin’ the compression on yer phaser arrays.  That aught to squeeze a bit more power into each shot ya take.”

The lieutenant actually grinned at her off beat pseudo Southern North American accent.  He knew she’d started off in that region, travelled after she turned eight, then came back for her enlisted specialist’s training.  He realized that attributed to the speech patterns and he still found it a little endearing.

The officer nodded and told her, “I look forward to testing them out tomorrow.  We’ll be doing flight drills in the neighborhood of Mars and the Astroid Belt.  I’ve live fire drills planned for that and look forward to giving them a try.”The mechanic replied, “Please let me know what ya think when yer done, sir.”

“I will Crewman Andrews. I will.  And, now, I’ll let you get back to work,” Ming said with a sincere smile and a nod.With that he entered his office and took a seat behind his desk.

He pulled up the record for the pilot who’s flight designation was Knight 4.  After a moment he looked up to see the Ensign enter the flight bay.  He stood up ready to greet the Andorian officer when she got to the office.

“You wanted to see me sir?” Ensign Sh’iv announced as she reported to the office.   Her antennae twitched involuntarily.

“At ease Ensign.  You’re not in trouble…At least most wouldn’t see it that way I suppose.  Have a seat and I’ll be happy to explain,” Ming said amiably and gestured to one of the comforatable chairs in front of his desk.

“Of course sir,” she said sliding into a nearby chair.

Ming moved around his desk and took a seat himself.  He said, “I’ve been reviewing the wing’s records.  Some folks are pretty fresh out of the academy but I’d say we have some real talent experience or not.  Would you agree?”

“They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t,” Sh’iv observed.  “The fighter corps is small and elite.  They don’t just let anyone into it.”

“Touché.  With that in mind I have been giving your record another once over after seeing you in action in the trainings.  After another once over of the rest of the wing’s records and considering their performance I am very confident of the team we have,” Ming said pausing for a heartbeat before continuing.

After a moment he added, “Getting to the point in my last wing, the Scorpions, had an XO.  Until recently that was me.  It seemed like a good idea to hedge bets if the worst came to happen for the flight leader.  After some consideration I have decided that I would like you in that role.  Any objections?”

“Me sir?” Sh’iv asked shocked.  “I mean a clear chain of command is a must, but me? I’m not even the most experienced in the group.”

“Some have a bit of an edge over others in terms of experience or else in seniority.  Nothing I’d consider expansive in most cases.  Based on my review of the wing’s records you seem to have the best balance of experience and seniority.  In addition I have noticed how the team responds to you.  The combination of those factors leads me to KNOW you are the best pick for the role,” Ming said.

He added, “I believe in you and your ability to fill this position, Ensign.”

Her antennae twitched,  “Yes sir. I will do my best not to disappoint you.”

Ming smiled, “I felt the same way when I got offered the role.  I am going to tell you the same thing that Lt. Commander White Cloud told me when I got the role.  ‘Focus on the job when you’re prepping for and in action.  The rest is unessary details.’  It took me a bit to figure out the details when it was given to me but in the end it made sense and is effective.”

Marcus paused for a second and added with a bit of a warm smile toward the end, “I’m heading to Earth from late morning to early evening ship time for a brief leave however I’d like to meet with you again tomorrow to go over any last minute details before the next training run.  It’ll give you a chance to think of any questions that come up between now and then.  I will also have time when I get back for any questions you have after I get back tonight.  Effective tonight consider my door open…..XO.” 

Sh’iv nodded, “Yes sir.  What time tomorrow?”

“Pre-training briefing will be here in the flight bay at 0945 hours.  The war is raging on out there but odds are slim there will be any action here in Sol Sector within the next 24 hours.  On my authority I’m pausing training for the next 26 hours.  I won’t encourage anything too crazy but I’ve been working the wing pretty hard and this will likely be the only real downtime for a bit.   I encourage everyone to relax, have a little fun and allow for a bit of a mental reset,” Ming said 

He didn’t finish the thought that ran through his mind.  He hoped the thought that it might be their last chance didn’t echo outside of his skull.  Instead he smiled lightly and added, “Any other questions for the moment?  If not you’re dismissed for now and I’ll just ask that you enjoy the rest of your day.”  

She nodded, “I’ll pass the R&R to the rest of the wing unless you want to.”

Ming thought about it for a second before saying adding a slight smile at the end, “I’ll take care of it.  I’ll introduce you as our new XO tomorrow morning.  Until then have fun Ensign.  Dismissed!” 

She snapped to attention,  “Yes sir.” Spinning on a heel in a sharp about face she strode out of the office leaving Ming alone.

The man who was getting to be known as Kight Actual / Knight 1 let his face split into a grin. His gut feeling was saying that it was going to be an interesting 24 hours or so….and not necessarily in a bad way.

Before leaving his office Ming tapped his combadge, “All Knights….Knight actual.  I am ordering a stand down for today.  No drills, no trainings.  We won’t get many more opportunities for free time after today so have fun, relax, don’t get too crazy.   You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep tonight.  Enjoy Knights!  Ming out…” 

With that done Ming waited for the acknowledgements to trickle in and, once done, he powered down his terminal and headed for his quarters to finish getting ready for the day.  As he went he became more convinced he made the right choice for his second in command.