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Part of USS Pandora: Predators of the Void

CHANGE OF COMMAND

USS Pandora moored at Starbase 86
Stardate 78154.88
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                                     STAR TREK: PANDORA

                                             PREDATORS OF THE VOID

                                              POST ONE: CHANGE OF COMMAND

                                                                     

                                                                     ONE

 

 Commodore Ciffao Tharc, Captain Leland J. Maddox, and Captain Arnold Wooten sat in the Captain’s Ready Room aboard the USS Pandora at the aft-most section of the bridge module, sipping on cups of hot tea in their dress uniforms. The compartment was cozy and dimly lit, the only light coming from a lamp on Captain Wooten’s desk and the stars outside the window as the Pandora sat moored at Starbase 86 near the Azure Nebula in the Raeyan Sector of the Beta Quadrant.

Tharc, a proud Tellarite, was an authoritative yet diminutive figure with a sharp mind, an equally sharp tongue, and a strategic gift that had helped her rise to her current position as Commander, Starbase 86 and defacto administrative commander of the region.

Wooten was an accomplished Starfleet officer with thirty-five years of experience. He was a friend and mentor to Maddox, and the two officers had been through a lot together over the years.

“So, Leland, you’re about to take command of the Pandora,” Tharc said, sipping her tea. “What are your plans for the ship?”

Maddox took a sip of his own tea, thinking for a moment. Sitting 1.93 meters tall, Captain Maddox is an imposing figure with grey hair, sharp features, piercing eyes, discerning intellect, a well-built frame, and a fierce military bearing that speaks to his thirty years of experience across many theaters in the Federation Starfleet. He is a force to be reckoned with, known for his air of confidence and authority that immediately commands respect, and an unwavering ability to get things done, no matter the cost.

He had recently served as the chief of staff to Commodore Tharc following the Thomas Paine Incident during Operation Sundered Wings. The two officers had formed a strong bond over the months, having served together on various missions across the region.

Maddox had aspired to sit in the captain’s chair once more, and when he was offered the opportunity to take over as Commanding Officer of the USS Pandora, he jumped at the chance. The ship had just returned from a scientific survey mission, and its current captain, Arnold Wooten, was ready to retire from Starfleet after thirty-five years in uniform.

“Well, Commodore, my first priority is to get to know the crew further by assessing their strengths and weaknesses. I want to build a strong team that works together seamlessly.” Maddox said.

“That’s a good approach, Leland. You can have the best technology available in the Federation, but it won’t matter much if your crew isn’t working together.” Wooten gently chided.

Maddox smiled wolfishly, “Exactly. I also want to focus on the ship’s mission. The Pandora is a great ship with a lot of potential. I want to make sure we’re making the most of it.” Maddox countered.

Tharc leaned forward, “And what do you see as Pandora’s mission, Captain?”

Maddox looked out the window at the stars, thinking. “I see the Pandora as a ship of exploration and discovery. There’s so much out there that we haven’t even begun to explore. I want to push the boundaries of what is possible, chart new territory, and make new discoveries. And, of course, I want to defend the Federation and its values along the way.”

Wooten smiled, “That’s the spirit, Leland. You have a lot to offer the Pandora, and I don’t doubt you’ll lead the ship with honor and distinction. For my part, I don’t have any remarks prepared for the change of command ceremony and will let my record stand without comment.”

Tharc nodded toward Wooten and turned toward Maddox, “I agree. You are a competent officer, Captain Maddox, and I look forward to seeing what you can do with the Pandora.”

“Thank you, Commodore.” Maddox replied as he finished his tea.

As the conversation continued, Maddox felt a sense of excitement and anticipation. He knew that he had big shoes to fill, but he also had a lot to offer. With his fellow officers’ support and Starfleet’s backing, he was ready to take the helm of the USS Pandora and lead the ship into a new era of exploration and discovery, whether the crew appreciated his methods of compelling achievement or not.

“Callahan to Wooten: The receiving preparations are nearly completed and all personnel attending the ceremony are in the forward lounge. ” Commander Xavier Callahan, Executive Officer of the Pandora, called over the comm system.

“Acknowledged, Commander. Wooten, out.” The comm system ended the transmission as the captain looked toward Commodore Tharc.

“Let us proceed, Captain.” Commodore Tharc got up from her chair and returned her cup to the replicator as the two captain’s followed suit before filing out of the Ready Room.

                                                                        TWO

 

Commander Xavier Callahan stood steadily clad just outside the massive forward lounge of the USS Pandora in his dress uniform, surveying the preparations for the ship’s change of command ceremony.

In his late thirties, he has a tall, athletic build with sharp features and an imposing presence. He exudes a calm and confident demeanor that inspires trust and confidence in those around him.

As Master of Ceremonies, he had spent the past eight days organizing the event down to the last detail since the order came down from Starfleet Command to divert to Starbase 86, and now it was finally coming to fruition.

The lounge was bustling with activity as members of the ship’s company and neighboring commands rushed around, making final preparations. Callahan watched through the transparent openings in the lounge door as a group of engineers carefully placed a banner over the stage with the ship’s official emblem and the quote from the ship’s dedication plaque, “Ad Astra Per Scientiam” – “to the stars through science.”

The crew had worked tirelessly to make the forward lounge a fitting location for the ceremony. The lounge’s spacious seating area had been adorned with the ensigns of the Federation, Starfleet Command, as well as banners commemorating the ship’s illustrious history of scientific exploration and discovery.

As he walked through the lounge, Callahan caught glimpses of familiar faces among the crowd. He exchanged nods and smiles with a few of the crew, each eager to witness the orderly transfer of power from their outgoing captain to their incoming one.

But as Callahan approached the stage near the viewports at the forward most frame of the lounge, he noticed a small group of junior enlisted personnel huddled in a corner, looking anxious and unsure. He recognized them as members of the ship’s science department and knew they were a bit nervous about the ceremony.

“Is everything okay?” Callahan asked, approaching the group.

Sensor Analyist Third Class Samantha Moore, a young woman with curly brown hair, spoke up. “We’re just a little nervous, Commander. This is our first change of command ceremony, and we want to ensure we get everything right.”

Callahan smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry. Remember, this is a celebration of the USS Pandora’s past achievements and a promising future under Captain Maddox’s leadership. It’s up to all of us to make this a memorable occasion.”

The group nodded, looking a bit more at ease. The science department has played a critical role in the ship’s success under Captains Temple and Wooten. Captain Maddox knows that, and I am confident he will look to you to continue that tradition of excellence.” Callahan soothed.

“Thank you, sir.” Moore said as the group returned to their places in the formation.

Commander Callahan took his place on the stage, ready to begin the ceremony as the engineers left the lounge. He smiled, feeling a sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing that he and the crew had done everything possible to make the change of command a fitting tribute to the USS Pandora under Captain Wooten’s command.

“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am Commander Xavier Callahan, the Executive Officer of the Pandora and master of ceremonies. Thank you all for being a part of this change of command ceremony. In a few moments, Captain Leland J. Maddox will assume command of the USS Pandora from Captain Arnold Wooten. Standby for the arrival of the official party.” Callahan commanded as his PADD on the podium showed the official party outside the lounge.

“Attention on deck!” Callahan called out passionately as the official party led by Commodore Tharc with Captains Wooten and Maddox in tow made their way to the stage. Captain Wooten and Captain Maddox posted just forward of the center of the stage as the Commodore posted in front of them.”Ladies and gentlemen, the presiding officer: Commodore Ciffao Tharc.” Callahan said as he relinquished the podium.

As the presiding officer of the change of command ceremony aboard the USS Pandora amid applause, Commodore Ciffao Tharc stood before the ship’s officers and crew with pride and admiration. The ship had a long and illustrious history, and today marked a new chapter in that legacy.

“Officers and crew of the USS Pandora, today we gather to say farewell to an experienced captain and welcome another to its center chair. Captain Arnold Wooten has served Starfleet with distinction for thirty-five years. His leadership and courage have inspired us all, and we wish him well in his retirement.”

The crowd of officers and crew members gave Captain Wooten a standing ovation, showing their gratitude for his dedicated service as their commanding officer.

“Captain Leland J. Maddox is a highly decorated officer with a wealth of experience and a record of excellence. As my former chief of staff, I have seen firsthand his leadership, strategic acumen, and effectiveness in the field. Undoubtedly, he will continue the proud tradition of the USS Pandora and lead this ship well. Leland, may you lead this ship with honor, courage, and commitment to the principles of Starfleet. The fate of the ship and crew is in your capable hands.” Tharc walked away from the podium and turned back toward the two assembled captains.

The crew cheered and applauded, showing their support for the new captain.

“Commodore, I am ready to assume command of USS Pandora.” Captain Maddox called out emphatically with a crisp salute.

“Assume command.” Commodore Tharc ordered as she returned Maddox’s salute.

“Computer, transfer all command codes to Captain Leland J. Maddox, voice authorization Wooten Alpha Four Two.” Wooten ordered.

“Working.” The voice of Pandora’s main computer called out over the lounge’s media circuits as all the authority and ceremony transferred from Captain Wooten to Captain Maddox.

“Command codes transferred. USS Pandora now under the command of Captain Leland Maddox.” The computer replied after a handful of heartbeats.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Commanding Officer of USS Pandora: Captain Leland J. Maddox.” Commander Callahan said at the podium before stepping away a comfortable distance to the left of the podium.

Captain Maddox stood tall at the podium, looking out toward the officers, his dress uniform crisp and his expression sober and severe, as he prepared to address them as their new captain. He took a deep breath and began:

“Good afternoon. I am honored to assume command of this great ship, following in the footsteps of Captain Arnold Wooten, my friend of thirty years.

First, I want to thank Captain Wooten for his exceptional leadership and service to the USS Pandora, Starfleet, and the United Federation of Planets. Under his command, this ship has achieved remarkable success, and I am grateful for the strong foundation he has built.

To the crew of the USS Pandora: I am incredibly proud to serve alongside you. I know that each of you has worked tirelessly to bring this ship to where it is today, and I pledge to you that I will do everything in my power to maintain and build upon that legacy.

As we embark on this new chapter, I want to share my vision for the USS Pandora. I aim to continue building on the solid foundation that Captain Wooten has established and drive our ship toward even greater success.

The Pandora is more than just a starship…it is a symbol of our commitment to the values of Starfleet, exploration, and the pursuit of knowledge. We are explorers, but we are also protectors, charged with defending the Federation against all threats, foreign and domestic.

I have spent thirty years in Starfleet and seen the best and worst that our galaxy has to offer. I have seen the wonders of creation and the devastation wrought by war and conflict. I have witnessed courage and valor, sacrifice and selflessness, but I have also seen fear and doubt, selfishness, depravity, and greed. I have learned from all of these, and I stand before you now, ready to lead this ship into the unknown.

As we move forward, we face many challenges and uncertainties. We must be ready to confront any threat, whether from an enemy, a natural disaster, or a moral crisis. We must be prepared to work together, support each other, and trust in each other’s abilities and judgment. And we must always remember that we are not just a collection of individuals, but a cohesive unit, bound together by a common purpose and a shared commitment to the values of Starfleet and the Federation.

I am genuinely excited and honored to be taking command of this great ship, and I look forward to working with all of you as we chart our course into the future. Let’s get after it!

All standing orders shall remain in effect until otherwise changed. 

Pandora, dismissed!”

With those words, Captain Maddox stepped down from the podium, his eyes scanning the crowd of officers and crew amid fierce applause as he formally began his new assignment as the Commanding Officer of the USS Pandora.

Comments

  • A wonderful comeback of Captain Maddox! I loved how your conversation with the Commodore dissected the approach of...well what will you do with this ship. It gives a glimpse into the mind of Captain Maddox, seeing the crew being nervous with the change of command is only natural, and you showed it in this post. I look forward to more stories of the Pandora!

    February 26, 2023