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Part of USS Lafayette: Old Dog, Same Tricks

Just One Big Family

CO's Ready Room - USS Lafayette
MD02 - ~1300hrs
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Pete sat at his desk and smiled to himself. Twenty years in the Captain’s chair, dodging promotions and keeping busy, and the thought of his new crew members checking in excited him still. He’d gotten word a few minutes prior that his XO was on board and he was really awaiting her arrival in his ready room. 

Everything felt so vital, but so final this time. Like every second counted. If this was going to be his last hurrah, he was going to savor every second of it. 

By the time that Perri arrived on the bridge she was already tired. It didn’t matter that this wasn’t the original ship that she’d been assigned to and she had to catch a shuttle within minutes of the last at the sudden reassignment. Or that there were five interconnecting transfers. Or that the woman next to her on the last one had talked loudly non-stop while she’d been trying to sleep. She’d stopped on the station long enough to freshen up, splash water on her face and look awake. She managed stern, which wasn’t at all what she was going for. 

Perri pinned her bun back perfectly into place like a crown, shotgunned a coffee and hurried on her way, hoping that the rest of her luggage had transferred with her. If not, it wasn’t as if there was anything irreplaceable in them. What she saw of the ship before arriving on the bridge looked fairly standard. Good. All she had to do, she thought as she touched the chime, was not stare blankly at her new commanding officer while he probably went over information that she was expected to know- only she didn’t. Yet. “Come on in!” Came a cheery voice from within.

“Lieutenant Harper Wyatt reporting for duty, sir,” the tired woman said as she took three steps in the room and snapped off a smart salute. 

Pete narrowed his eyes at the woman, a smirk playing at his lips. She was definitely trying to give the vibe of a woman who wasn’t absolutely exhausted, but she was failing, “Are you demoting yourself, Commander? Or just that worn out?” He asked, his tone playful and light. 

“I… I’m sorry sir, it was a very rough ride over here,” Perri admitted guiltily. She stayed standing stiffly as she frowned slightly. “I’m still here to give 110% though. Don’t worry about that.” 

Pete gave her a grin, “Never crossed my mind, Commander. Please, at ease. Have a seat,” He said, waving toward the chair across from him. She was definitely committed and no doubt a hard worker… There was a part of him that wondered if he’d have to watch this one for burn out. 

Grateful to sit, Wyatt made her way over to his couch and just sort of sank into it. She wasn’t expecting such a cushy piece- and she wasn’t at all a short woman, but it sort of claimed her. She scooted out a little towards the edge and cleared her throat. “Thank you, sir. I’m glad to be here.” 

“Well, I’m glad to have you hear. If I recall the roster, you’re my XO correct?” He asked. She nodded. “Yes, sir. I’m not sure if it was a mistake, but I was sent to the Raleigh, then course corrected here on the fly. If I’m being sent somewhere else a third time, I’m booking a nap somewhere in between.” 

Pete chuckled, “No, you’re stuck with the old Admiral,” He said. “I have a feeling your shuffling may be partially my fault. I had to pull a few strings to get this posting,” He admitted. 

“I take it that you really like the ship? Have you served on it before?” While she recognized his name vaguely, Perri had no real history to put behind it. 

“I haven’t. I just wasn’t ready to… command a desk,” He admitted with a wry chuckle. “Once you roll over to the box pips… They expect you to settle down and be a good pencil pusher and that,” He said and trailed off as he looked out the viewport at the stars, “That just isn’t me.” 

“No, you don’t look like the sort,” she said as she leaned forward to consider him thoughtfully. “You look like the type who takes his whiskey straight and says to hell with regulations- it’s your hair. I see a twinkle in your eye that says you’re trouble.” Perri smiled tiredly. “Ai diavolu in tine as my mother would say.” 

Pete laughed out loud at that and gave her a warm smile, “I prefer bourbon in an old fashioned, but… I may have been known to snub a regulation or two in my time,” He said with a grin. “This is my last run, Commander… I squeezed out five more years. Once this assignment is over, I’ll be en route for a desk. I intend to make it count,” He told her honestly. 

“I’m good with that, sir.” She, herself, had no intention of ever being behind a desk. She’d settle on some wild planet before she ever had to settle in with an embossed mug and a fancy pen set. “I assume we were paired on purpose. I’m unorthodox and I speak my mind. Don’t mind the action if that’s what you’re out looking for.” 

“Sounds like you and I will do just fine, Commander,” Pete said with a grin. “I’m in it for everything… I need to see more stars, take out more pirates, I need… I need to be in it. This isn’t some retirement cruise for me. I want everything that makes it worth it to be a Starfleet CO,” He explained. 

“Then you’ll have it. I don’t assume that you’re reckless if you still have your rank, so.. Just pay attention to your body. You have the verve of an explorer, but I know my own aches and limits. You do that, too, and I won’t nag you. Call me Perri, if you would. Harper is so…” She searched for the word with a tilt to her head. “Formal. Wyatt works, too.” 

“Perri it is,” Pete said, leaning back in his chair and appraising her with a grin. “I think you and I are going to get along just fine,” He said. This girl was something else… different from all of his previous XOs, but reminded him of all of them in pieces. She was spunky, but steady… he liked that. “So what do you need first?” Perri did lean back a bit at that. The couch was too damned comfortable. “I have absolutely no information on the ship or its crew as of yet, so you’re way ahead of me. What do you expect? How do you operate? What kind of relationship do you want with the crew?” 

“Oh, I’m not that far ahead,” Pete replied with a grin. “I don’t know much either, haven’t had a chance to go through the manifest in full yet. As far as how I operate… what I expect… The best,” He said, simply. “Crew is family. We support each other, help each other, work together. We’ll fight, we’ll love, we’ll make up, we’ll fail, we’ll succeed… but we’ll do it together. And we’ll come out ahead in the end,” He told her. 

“Hopefully that doesn’t sound too idealistic,” He said, grinning.  

“I like idealistic. I’m not in the ‘Starfleet is a blunt instrument’ boat. I mean, it’s not smart to pick a fight with us: don’t get me wrong, but we’re explorers, bridge builders, problem solvers, mediators, students first. If all else fails, then we knock in teeth if they have any.” She shrugged as if that was just that. “As far as the crew and I go, I don’t tend to be too formal. I want people to come to me. If I do have to come down on them I can, and I can make hard choices, but I do it with them knowing that I’m right there with them.” 

“As long as you can keep things in motion, I’m happy with that. To be honest, it’s generally how I work as well,” He replied. “Tell you what… how about you go get some rest, we’ll regroup and review the roster together in the morning?” He offered. 

“That sounds incredible, thank you.” Perri didn’t even want to eat. She just wanted to kick off her boots and jacket and fall straight into her new bed for several hours. “I’ll see you in the morning then, sir.”

Pete gave a casual salute, “Sounds good, Commander. Rest well.” He said.