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Part of USS Olympic: In The Quiet Moments

ITQM 001 – Change of Assignment

USS Olympic
5.15.23
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“You’ve got to be kidding.”  Craig Syracuse stared at Lieutenant Presley Atega.  In his hands was a PADD with a message from the Federation News Network that he couldn’t believe.  “This…is some joke.  A prank.  They didn’t send this.”

Atega remained composed, “I checked it several times, Mr. Syracuse.  I even reached the Editor in Chief of News Reporting, Bernie Reagan.  He was very clear.  You were being reassigned to the USS Olympic as,” she thought back to the conversation to get the wording right, “…a string reporter until further notice.”  She stood at attention and left the briefing room.

Syracuse was furious.  “How dare they…they can’t…I’ll appeal…I can’t be told what to…goddamn it.”  He sat down in a huff and soon felt the stare from across the table burning into his eyes.

“You find yourself in a situation created entirely by your actions, Mr. Syracuse.  Consequences and all that.” Dr. Persefoni Hargraves spoke evenly with a light smirk playing on her lips.  She’d had some of a hand in his predicament, but much of the complaints had come from the people on Janoor III.

He turned on her as if to shout her down but caught himself and his breath as his eyes caught hers.  A tranquil lake drifted across their eye contact but underneath simmered a Kraken that metaphorically threatened to tear him apart.  “I won’t be here long, Doctor Hargraves.”  He stood from his chair, “I’ve got some calls to make.”

Captain Helena Dread walked in as he left, caught his red face, and slid into a chair opposite the Olympic Journal’s Editor in Chief. “I’m guessing he received the news.”  A nod.  “You don’t seem upset by it.”  Another nod.  “You want him here?”

Hargraves replied, “I want him to be the better journalist, Command Dread.  He offended nearly everyone on Janoor III with his lame attempts at drumming up his version of the truth. He attempted to influence my editors, researchers, and reviewers.  You do not break into my house, try to steal my things, and then imagine you can walk out without nary a word.”  She leaned back in the chair, “I wish there were a way for more than words.”

Dread whistled low, “I’m glad it’s just words because I’d have to put him back together, Doc.  You think you can set him straight?”

Persefoni cackled, startling Dread, “I’ve raised children.  I’ve wrangled print journalists, directed academics through the peer review process, and demanded excellence through all of it.  Craig Syracuse doesn’t scare me.”  She picked up a PADD, “Since our accreditation’s been reactivated, our June issue has started to fill up rather nicely.  Several articles examine the theories and studies on how the Borg nearly completed their task with Changelings.  We’ve even had a philosophical paper regarding the presence of good, evil, and grey in the universe.”

Helena grimaced, “Have I told you how much I dislike being a part of the review process?”

A shrug was her answer, “It is part of your duties as second in command to assist with the peer review process.  Given that writing your papers and submitting them to medical journals is a part of your responsibilities, I think you’d be at least somewhat excited about the prospect.” 

Dread sighed in defeat, “It was worth an attempt.  Send me what you have and I’ll start later tonight.”  She stood, “Anything else you need, Dr. Hargraves?” Persefoni waved her off and was alone once more.  She sipped at her simmering green tea until Mark Henry appeared at the door, and she gestured to the seat across the table.  “Your reporter heard the good news.”

He sat, rubbing his face, “They don’t like him much anymore at FNN.  They’ve kept me on as his producer for now…but I don’t think they’ll put up with much from him.”  He accepted a cup of iced tea, sipping at it.

“Don’t you fret, Mark.  I’m dedicated to getting Mr. Syracuse up to standard and back to his journalist roots.”

He gave her a curious look, “Why does that sound like you’re going to be ripping him apart appendage by appendance and beating him with them until he complies?”

Her face brightened with a sly smile, “I forget you’ve seen me in action.  He was once a shining star in the FNN…and we’ve got to keep him from flailing his way into the ground.”

“You said we.”

She handed him a PADD, ‘Revised job assignment and requirements from FNN.  You’ll report to me as a special advisor and producer with Syracuse under you.  The FNN team was very keen once they learned of our professional working relationship.”

Mark groaned, “Per…I don’t know if this will be a good idea.”

She returned the work before her, “It’s a great idea.  As I said, I like you now.  I no longer want to throw you out of an airlock on sight.”

Henry stood, “That’s comforting.”  He departed, and she was alone again.  She’d never really wanted to throw him out of an airlock.  The truth she’d never shared with him was that he was one of the best in the business when she worked with him.  She quietly rejoiced when his name appeared on the roster.  The future looked bright indeed.