Pete had always made it his habit on his first day on a new ship to walk the deck in civvies. No indication of rank or position, no acknowledgement of anyone talking or speaking – of him or the mission. Just to walk, and to listen. It wasn’t his intention to spy or hold grudges, but you learned a lot from scuttlebutt. Crews talked, the vented their worries and frustrations in ways they never would if they thought the CO was around. He knew it was a little… underhanded. But he also knew it was not something he was doing to try and cause trouble. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Family issues here, a recent breakup there, some discussion about an ongoing minor issue with the dilithium chamber… the usual ship stuff. He made mental notes of the important things, just in case it was relevant later, and ignored the rest. Then came the conversation that caught his ear.
“It’s a Commodore, though,” A young Lt. JG was saying to his companion as they worked on a power relay together.
“So?” His friend replied with a shrug.
“They’re desk jockeys normally,” The first man replied. “This is going to be some sort of retirement cruise. I guarantee you, we don’t see any real action for the next five years,” He said, sounding disappointed.
“You’re making assumptions. If I was getting one last command, I’d want to ride it for all it was worth,” His friend replied as Pete walked buy casually. Pete grinned at that a little… that was, indeed, exactly what he wanted to do with this last command.
“Yeah, great, so instead of it being boring he’s gonna crash us on a remote planet somewhere?” The first one said, rolling his eyes.
“Hey, if he does, at least there’ll be plenty of engineering work to do,” His friend replied chuckling.
“How are you always so positive?” The first man asked, glumly.
“Someone has to keep you out of your doldrums, Carter,” the other said, punching him in the shoulder, “Now help me get this damn relay replaced before the CO gets here and tosses us out before we have to worry about him,” The other said, laughing.
Pete was out of earshot now, if any conversation to that end continued. He stepped onto the turbolift with a couple of science officers, calling out for the deck below the CO’s quarters to try and not give himself away.
“Have you ever served under a member of admiralty?” The woman asked, fiddling with the bun on top of her head to get it where she wanted it.
“No,” the Bajoran man who was in with her replied. “Not for more than a brief relief in command for some issue or another. Never had one assigned as a CO,” He explained.
“I wonder what that’ll be like,” She asked.
“No clue. Hopefully he won’t be some stingy, by-the-book jerk who can’t understand that sometimes things don’t go by the damn book,” The Bajoran said with a sigh.
“I’ve heard of him before. He’s supposed to be a decent guy,” The girl replied.
“I hope so. I’m just worried it’s some sort of midlife crisis,” The Bajoran admitted.
“I mean, they wouldn’t have put him in another command if he wasn’t fit for it,” The girl replied. “We’ll just have to ride it out and see. It won’t be that bad.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Best case scenario it’s a good ride, midland it’s a boring one, worst he’ll get us killed and it won’t matter anyway,” The Bajoran replied, wryly.
She narrowed her eyes at him and shook her head, “So helpful, Taka. So very helpful.”
The two exited the turbolift on their floor, barely acknowledging Pete’s presence before leaving.
Pete sighed as he called for the command deck to go to his quarters. That was something he hadn’t considered… what would his crew think of someone at his level taking over command of a vessel for a full five-year mission? Hell, what would anyone think of it? Was it desperate?
“A little,” He muttered to himself, ruefully.
But that didn’t mean he wasn’t good for it. It didn’t mean he wasn’t going to be able to do a good job COing this vessel. No, he’d be the best. He was confident in that. He had to be.
The turbolift deposited him on the Command Deck and he headed toward his quarters to unpack. He was going to have to prove himself to this crew… and that was fine. They deserved that, and he knew that he could do it. He wanted to do all of the Starfleet things as any one else on this ship. Maybe more. They’d be in for the ride of their life.
Hopefully he’d stand out as one of the best commands they served under. And he didn’t think that out of pride, he truly hoped it. He never wanted to be a mark on someones career that was… dull. Or lack luster. No, they should love every trip into the black, just like he did.
He’s door slid open and the computer chimed, “Welcome to the Lafayette, Commodore. Command Codes have been transferred.”
He looked around his quarters and smiled. Worries aside, it was good to be back.