Obsidian Command

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Raising the Bar

Posted on 14 Mar 2021 @ 2:53pm by Admiral Zavareh Sepandiyar & Master Chief Petty Officer Saoirse Barmeadow
Edited on on 27 Sep 2022 @ 10:16pm

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: USS Alexander
Timeline: MD01 - 1421HRS
2506 words - 5 OF Standard Post Measure


Six blips of light flashed into the void at the edge of Obsidian Command space, four large lumbering craft under the protection of two sleek and aggressive forms forming along the outside of the group. The almost predatory forms of the Akira class vessels were clearly protecting the four larger vessels, all of which headed towards the station. They were the latest of a great many caravans of supply vessels making their way to Obsidian Command. The larger ships would dock and remain for some time as the station unloaded them, but the escort vessels invariably docked only long enough to take on fresh provisions and then be on their way again to escort another caravan or to points unknown.

A shuttlecraft emerged from the starboard Akira-class vessel, the Nobunaga, and headed away from the station towards the largest vessel in the area, the USS Alexander where it disappeared into the shuttle bay almost as quickly as it’d appeared in the void.

Admiral Sepandiyar was in his ready room, standing against the bulkhead support strut, looking out into the distance at the glowing orb that was Obsidian and the station silhouetted against it. A shuttlecraft swept past, heading aft of the ship and in the distance the latest supply caravan swept towards the station. This whole area, which had been a dead zone of Starfleet activity only a few weeks ago, was now a buzzing hub. The station itself was finally online, and her crew settling into their new roles. Their enemy had been beaten from the area at least, but Zavareh wasn’t naive enough to think they were fully gone. Only smarting from their recent defeat. They would be back; the question was when. In the meantime, they needed to gather every last detail of intelligence that they could. So that when that time came, their next fight would be their last.

Zavareh had warped out of the Aurellian Belt with every nearby Starfleet vessel he could muster to come to the aide of Obsidian Command and had spent every day since coordinating the relief efforts for OC, the cleanup of the Fleet that had been destroyed, the repairs of the ships that had been damaged and otherwise managing the area of engagement. It had soaked up every last minute of his time, and left the day-to-day management of the ship to his First Officer. Commander Drake was more than up to the task, but he could see the double-responsibilities starting to wear on him. The loss of some key personnel in the days after weren’t making that job any easier. Most notably their Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Commander Miller, had requested an immediate transfer back to Sol for a family emergency. No sooner than he’d reached Sol, he’d resigned his commission completely.

That left them looking for a Chief Engineer to effectively manage their team, and the teams being sent to Command to finalize all the repairs a station that had been in a spatial void for eighteen months needed. It was a tall order for any Chief and, if Zavareh was honest with himself, was outside Miller’s expertise anyway. Maybe that was part of his decision to leave, maybe not. Whatever it was, they were now left in a lurch. Lieutenant Van Garrett might have been a brilliant propulsion theorist, but managing an Engineering deck was not in his wheelhouse.

The Admiral took a sip of his tea, trying to consider when it would be best to set foot on Obsidian Command himself. He’d left the management of it to Captain DeHavilland; after all, it was why he’d chosen her to take the posting. He was a little torn regarding her performance thus far. On the one hand, she’d kept her crew alive. She’d called for help early and set herself up to defend the station. But at the same time, he wasn’t happy with her performance. The station hadn’t been online, their defenses unprepared and if it hadn’t been for their arrival it was very possible the station would be taken.

Commander Drake didn’t see it the same way. If it were up to him, DeHavilland would be getting a medal for her bravery and her ingenuity in getting her crew to safety and finding a creative way to assist the Marines holding Main Engineering. It was enough to make him rethink his own position. Maybe he was being too hard-headed - expecting greatness that would have been impossible. She really had been successful with very limited resources.

The door chime rang, stirring him from his inner monologue and he turned away from the window, walking back to his desk as he called out. “Come,” he declared, setting his tea on the edge of his desk and looking to the doorway just to behind and to the right of it.

A blonde-haired woman in Operations yellow stepped into the room, looking to her right and then to her left to see the Admiral and came quickly forward. She turned sharply to face him and came to attention, “Good morning, Admiral. May I have a few moments of your time, sir?” She asked quickly.

Zavareh looked at her, slightly confused. He knew, or at least recognized the faces, of the great majority of the Alexander’s crew, particularly those of more advanced rank like the Master Chief standing in front of him. Which made him wonder if this woman and the shuttle he’d just watched sweep past were related.

“How can I help you, Master Chief?” Sepandiyar asked, gesturing to the chairs in front of his desk. He drew his own up and sat down.

The woman relaxed slightly but didn’t take the seat, she instead offered a data PaDD. “I’d like to apply for a job, Admiral.” She declared.

He reflexively took the offered device, arching an eyebrow as she finished her statement. “I… beg your pardon?”

“You need a Chief Engineer, sir,” she said, gesturing to the device, “I’m the perfect fit for the job. I’ve served aboard the Relentless, Niagara, Ganymede and Portsmouth. All large ships and large Engineering crew’s and I’ve proven capable of holding my own, Officer or NCO. I ran the Engineering decks on Obsidian Command before she went into the void and kept her together while she was in it. I’m not afraid of telling an Officer when he’s wrong or of crawling into the Jeffries Tubes and doing it my bloody self,” she continued forcefully. Zavareh couldn’t help but stare at her, transfixed at the woman’s confidence. “You’re not going to find a more qualified, or experienced Officer in Starfleet,” she declared finally. She pointed again to the data padd in his hands. “I have letters of reference from five Starfleet Captain’s included there, including one of the Captain’s operating in this area - Captain Parnell,” she explained further.

Zavareh looked up at her, expecting her to have more, and when she didn’t he turned his attention down to the data padd in his hand and began reading slowly through it. Really he was looking for Captain Parnell's reference. He knew Shea well, and knew it wasn’t something she did often which meant it was either a passing commentary or she was one of the few that got her full seal of approval. The latter quickly proved to be the case.

“This ship is over fourteen-hundred meters long, and Engineering takes up an entire deck spanning half of the ships length. Of our complement of twenty-three hundred Officers and crew, Engineering makes up nearly one-third,” he said, measuring his words.

“It’s a little over one-third of the crew,” she answered before he could continue, “But only the arrow drive deck is half the ships length, if you ignore the fact that the deck is four standard decks tall. That’s nearly eight-hundred engineers setup in teams of eight, groups of five, rotating in the three shifts to cover all the relevant spaces at once,” she rattled off. Naturally, she’d gone through the spec’s cover to cover on the ride here. She had no intention of leaving without the job and she’d recite the spec’s back to the Admiral right down to the power induction ratios of the tertiary conduits if that’s what it took.

Sepandiyar set the data padd down on his desk, “What do you know of the Arrow Drive?”

“How technical would you like that answer to be, Admiral?” She asked, “The only horizontally oriented warp core in the Federation, capable of a power output equal to any other five Starfleet vessels. Burns deuterium at a fraction of the rate of any other core, but containment costs three times the power of any other,” she continued. “Quantum slipstream speeds with the fastest cool down period on record. Even at half power, the output of the phaser stripes is enough to burn out the emitters if not regulated properly.”

He nodded. She certainly had the spec’s down, and of course being a part of the OC crew that had stayed behind played in her favor as well. He just wasn’t keen on the idea of anyone just walking in and demanding a job, convinced that they were the best. Finally, as silence fell between them, he tapped the badge on his chest. “Mr. Smith, to my ready room.”

“Aye, Admiral. On my way,” a man grunted in answer.

A moment later the door to his ready room sighed open and a man appeared where the blonde woman had. He looked to the woman who smirked back at him, “Look good in gold, Daniel,” she declared.

Command Master Chief Daniel Smith harrumphed, “Damned surprised you aren’t,” he answered, turning to the Admiral. “You sent for me, Admiral?”

“You know one another?” Sepandiyar asked.

Smith nodded, “Served on the Portsmouth together,” he said, looking back to her. “Nearly ran my ass into the ground.”

“And look where it got you,” she snarked in reply.

Smith chuckled, but looked to the Admiral to continue. The elder man sat back slightly but before he did he pushed the data padd towards him. “She’s here to convince me to give her the post of Chief Engineer,” she said, waving for him to pick it up.

Daniel looked at the padd and then back to the Admiral, “What’s your question, sir?” He asked in his typically blunt grumble.

“I’d like you to read and give me your opinion, Daniel.”

He shrugged, “My opinion is my complaint desk is about to get full. Engineering’s gotten used to Miller’s lackadaisical approach. They’re going to peeling blisters off their fingers after one day with her,” he said, waving his hand at the woman. “They aren’t going to know what hit him and she isn’t going to give them long enough to wonder.”

“You have no doubts whatsoever that she can handle the Engineering department?” Sepandiyar asked, shaking his head slightly with disbelief.

Smith snorted, “I’d doubt you, if you let her walk out of here,” he answered. “Sir,” he added.

Sepandiyar stared back at Smith, a reflex of his own personality in which he expected the other person to falter just the way his boys did when he fixed them with the same glare. Smith had never once buckled, but in the last few years he’d at least learned to tell when the man wasn’t quite as sure as he normally was. But he didn’t see any of that in his expression. Just cold, calculated confidence.

He sat back, steepling his fingers as he thought it through. Not only did the woman have a glowing record, but the recommendation of one of his own most trusted Captain’s and his Chief of the Boat. Smith wasn’t someone who was easily impressed. He rode his NCO’s hard, harder than most wanted to be. His own desk was a regular stop for new NCO’s complaints regarding their hard-assed new Chief and their recommendations to tone him down and still be effective. So if he was saying this woman had done the same to him he had to believe she could do the job. Add to it all the Obsidian Command incident, and it was very nearly too much to pass up.

“I have been scouring the Starfleet database for a qualified Chief Engineers since Commander Miller’s departure,” Zavareh said finally after several minutes of silence. Both of them seemed content to let the silence brood, which was definitely telling of both their personalities. “Why does your name not appear?”

“Because Command has put me in inactive reserve. They think I need ‘downtime’ after the Obsidian Command incident. But all I’ve done on my tropical vacation is rebuild the environmental controls in my bungalow, three times, refit the replicators in the resort or appear via holo-presence onto OC to help Commander Quinn with his repairs,” she answered. “I’ve had as much ‘downtime’ as I can bloody handle.”

“How is it you’re here then?” Sepandiyar asked.

“I hitched a ride on the Nobunaga.”

“And if you didn’t get this posting?” The Admiral asked.

“I don’t accept failure as a reason not to act, sir,” she answered.

“I see…” he answered slowly.

Zavareh wheeled his chair a bit to the terminal on his desk and entered her information to see what the Command holds were on her, and if there was anything that he needed to be aware of that she wasn’t sharing. There was nothing there except a counselors note that recommended a period of ‘detoxification’ after the incident for her to process her trauma. He smirked internally at that. They’d told him the same thing after all of his ‘incidents’ over the years, but he’d found that just getting back to it was detoxification enough. He didn’t need to sit idle on a beach somewhere. That wasn’t his way.

He finally pushed back from the terminal and looked between the two of them, giving either one last chance to crack. When neither did, he sighed and stood up. “Alright, Chief Barmeadow. The job is yours.”

She snapped to attention, “Thank you, sir.

“Daniel, can you handle the details?”

“You bet,” he nodded. “Good call, sir,” he added, waving for Barmeadow to follow him.

“Chief,” Zavareh said as she got just past his desk, “I want a readiness report by the end of the next shift,” he ordered.

“Yes, sir,” she nodded, giving the slightest of smiles before she turned and followed Smith out. She’d done what she’d come here to do, now it was time to prove to the Admiral why it was the right call.




 

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