Obsidian Command

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Wiser Words

Posted on 26 Aug 2022 @ 3:03pm by Ensign Marcello Wiser & Captain Corvus DeHavilland
Edited on on 17 Sep 2022 @ 11:21am

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: Holodeck - USS Pathfinder
Timeline: MD05 - 2130HRS
1768 words - 3.5 OF Standard Post Measure

The bridge of the Pathfinder was filled with smoke as the intrepid bridge crew did their best to keep themselves upright at their stations waiting for their next orders. On the main glass, one of the sections of the Theseus detonated in a staggeringly large plume of debris while the other two sections desperately tried to hold off their enemy. Ensign Wiser sat in the center chair, issuing his orders, perched on the edge of his seat and desperately trying to find an angle that didn’t get them all killed. Again.

At the tactical station, the Bolian Ensign was working diligently with the somewhat limited resources of the Pathfinder. To her left, another Ensign Wiser was carefully watching what she was doing with her hands, trying to work out the way her mind was working. Or at least, how it had worked during this last attempt at the simulation that he was replaying on the holodeck. It was now his fifth time watching it and while nothing never changed in the replay of the holotraining, neither had much changed in his understanding of what he’d done wrong or what he could do better. It was starting to drive him mad.

In a few brief moments, the other two sections of the Theseus detonated, followed shortly thereafter by the Pathfinder. Lost with all hands. Wiser sighed as the holographic replay ended, his colleagues (and himself) frozen in place. He leaned back against the tactical terminal and folded his arms, staring at the floor and trying to get his head around what he’d done wrong though with each repetition of the training, he was convincing himself that there wasn’t a right way. Commander Zahn didn’t intend for him to pass this. So why stick him with this.

Marcello drew his hand slowly along his face, stood up from the terminal and cleared his throat, “Computer. Deactivate this replay. Play scenario three.”

”Affirmative.” came the computer’s simple reply.

The destroyed panels, the smoke, and the dead bodies of his fallen bridge staff vanished and were replaced by untarnished versions of the same right back at their designated terminals.

“Alright,” Marcello said to himself. “Let’s take it slow,” he said. “From the helm. Let’s… let’s start there,” he said and he turned away from tactical to walk down towards the helm station walking right past the door to the Captain’s Ready Room. Captain DeHavilland was leaning against the bulkhead, watching him pass. Absently he waved and said, “Captain…” as he walked towards his seat. He got about five paces before his exhausted brain caught up to him and he spun around in a flash, nearly tripping over his feet. “Captain!”

Smirking slightly, Captain DeHavilland replied. “I heard you were burning the midnight oil. Wanted to come and see it for myself.”

“Oh,” Wiser swallowed nervously, “Well I was just about to start another… another replay. Would… you like to see?”

She shook her head slowly, pushing off the bulkhead and walking towards the tactical station. “I watched the last two iterations,” she admitted, trying to kind and ignore the fact that Wiser had just turned translucently white. In all honesty she hadn’t expected to sneak in on him but the man had been so wrapped up in the simulation he hadn’t noticed her and so she’d simply stood and watched from the observation space hidden from view of the occupants of the simulation.

It had been pretty hard to watch, but she had to remind herself that these were Ensign’s otherwise fresh from the Academy. It was one in a billion that walked right out of Starfleet and could hold their own in these kinds of scenarios. But still, it was hard to watch.
“Oh.. you did,” Marcello swallowed. “Do… you have any suggestions, Captain?”

DeHavilland smirked, “You mean will I tell you what you’ve missed so Commander Zahn will be impressed?”

Marcello blushed and shook, “No, no, ma’am, that’s not what I-I meant.”

Corvus consulted the tactical terminal a moment and then walked to the rear arch behind the Captain’s chair, looking across the deck at Marcello. “What do you think you’ve missed?”

He sighed, “That’s just it, Captain. I don’t think I have missed anything. That’s why I’ve rerun this so many times. Trying to find the thing that isn’t the same but… I just keep going back to the this being an un-winnable scenario. It’s a version of the Kobayashi Maru. Just with more relevant details,” he said, waving at the viewer showing the Theseus in combined form and one of the Pyrryx war vessels. “If I follow orders in this… we all die, and so does the Theseus. If I don’t follow orders… we all die and so does the Theseus. There’s just no way to defeat the Pyrryx.”

She nodded slowly. Corvus had no idea what Calliope had been putting them through until she walked into the holodeck. She knew she was drilling them and what her opinions were, but it didn’t take but a minute of watching the replay to understand what it was that the scenario was meant to do. A point which had clearly gone right past Ensign Wiser. Not a near miss either, a completely errant shot.

Corvus stared quietly at him for a moment and then walked along the railing down towards the main floor nearer to Wiser. She came to stand a few paces away and folded her arms over her chest. “Every cadet trains in the Kobayashi Maru. So why would Commander Zahn put you in another one?”

“I don’t know, ma’am. To test me? To scare me off from command?” He shrugged, letting his frustration and his exhaustion color his response.

“Oh?” DeHavilland asked with a noncommittal shrug, “How did the other cadets do in the center chair?”

“… they… it was just me.”

“So she only gave you command of the scenario? To scare you off?” Corvus asked.

Marcello shifted uncomfortably and glanced down at his feet, “W-when you say it like that, Captain… no,” he practically muttered.

“Well then why?” Corvus asked, “Why give you this scenario if it’s unbeatable and only you you sit in the chair?”

He stared quietly at her, trying to find the answer but it didn’t come. “I don’t know, ma’am.”

Corvus chuckled to herself and turned away to walk towards the holographic representation of her chair a deck above. “How many Ensign’s are on Alpha shift, Mr. Wiser?” She asked, turning back to him as she did to see his response.

“Uhm, just me, ma’am.”

“Just you,” she repeated, nodding to herself. She gestured back to the holographic Ensigns. “Have you considered, Mr. Wiser, that this isn’t so much about you. But about them?”

He countenance changed immediately as his eyebrows went up. Corvus lifted her chin in assessment, all but seeing the lightbulb go off in his head.

Marcello drew a sharp breath as the thought gelled in his head, “It’s not about the scenario, is it?” Could it have been that simple? Could Commander Zahn really have been that devious that she distracted him from the true task by blinding them with the un-winnable scenario.

Corvus shrugged and sat down in the Captain’s chair, adjusting her vest as she settled. “I grew up on Starfleet vessels,” she said, offering personal details to him uncharacteristically.

“Really?” He replied eagerly. The Captain was confiding something in him, that was good, right? Right?

“My parents are astrophysicists. They both retired from Starfleet, so I’ve lived on some of the most impressive science vessels the Fleet has to offer,” she continued as Marcello listened intently, not sure why he was getting this tidbit but desperate for the approval of his Captain. “I’ve passed all the relevant tests and certifications to be a stellar cartographer, astrophysicist or general Scientist in the Starfleet science division even though that wasn’t my Academy major,” she smiled.

“That’s really impressive, Captain,” Marcello replied in awe.

“Is it?” She asked, “Do you know what would happen if you put me on that station as an Ensign?” She asked, pointing the science terminal.

“Probably be the best Science officer the ship had, ma’am,” he replied confidently.

She shook her head, “I’d get us lost, Ensign,” she answered flatly. “If you were to read my personnel report, you’d see a reprimand from Captain Howser who commanded the Poseidon. I believe his exact words were: ‘The least qualified, qualified science officer I have had the misfortune of working with’,” she smiled darkly.

“I… don’t know what t-,”

“You’re not meant to have an answer, Mr. Wiser,” Corvus smirked, standing up. “I had a crisis of faith when I was your age. I thought maybe I’d made a mistake choosing Flight Control. So I got certified as a Science Officer. I passed all the exams, practicals, all of it,” she explained, walking towards him. “But I nearly got me, the Captain and two senior officers killed in a combat situation.”

“You weren’t ready ma’am, you were just an Ensign,” he shook his head.

“But I passed the tests, Mr. Wiser,” she shrugged, meeting his eyes for a long moment. Finally she smiled gently and patted his shoulder, “I believe you have some obituaries to write,” she said, and with another gentle pat walked on towards what would have been the Captain’s Ready Room. “Computer, exit,” she ordered and it appeared about where she figured it would be.

DeHavilland glanced back at Wiser, “Good night, Ensign.”

“Good night, Captain,” he replied after a momentary delay, turning towards her as she brought his head back from the orbital tangent she’d sent him on.

Corvus could see the wheels turning in the young man’s head. She adjusted the edge of her uniform vest and gave him a last nod before turning and leaving him alone to his thoughts. She was exhausted herself and had a date with her bunk if she hoped to be any use at all to the Alpha shift in a few hours. Hopefully Marcello finished up and did the same. Regardless of all of this, they needed him on the Bridge and at full capacity.


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