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A Look Forward [CD]

Posted on Fri Jul 24th, 2020 @ 11:14am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: 15 May, 2395 -1000 Hours


"It's good of you to escort me," Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse said as he cast a side glance at the captain's yeoman while they walked toward wherever it was he was being led. "Though I'm certain I could have found the way on my own. I don't think I've ever been on such a uh.. cozy ship--- did I read right? Only eight decks? You must all feel like you're on top of each other sometimes."

Kip smiled at the young lieutenant's question. It wasn't the first time he'd heard it and would surely not be the last. "Yes, sir," Kipp said as they approached the turbolift. "Eight decks, although the lower deck is really for torpedo tubes and emergency power and deck six is largely Marine territory. And to be honest, sometimes, it does feel like we are on top of each other. I guess that's why the captain likes to meet every new member of the crew personally. To make sure that they will be a good fit. If not, it is best to send them back to personnel. Bridge." The turbolift slid upward.

Owen wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a subtle threat or just a well-placed comment, but he treated it as a warning nontheless. "I see," he barely got out before the slid open again to reveal the dramatically lit bridge. "I've heard they have very responsive maneuvering," he said to throw a positive spin at it. He motioned for Kip to lead the way.

"Yes, they do. They also crash very well," Kipp said.

"New arrival, Kipp?" Captain Cunninghamn said from the center console. The Marine officer was the only person on the bridge except for Petty Officer Fhiri who was halfway inside a computer station, cursing. "Yes, sir. Brand new," Kipp said and motioned for Lieutenant Woodhouse to follow. They walked to the door and Kipp motioned in front of the chime.

"Who is it and do you have any chocolate?" Malcom said from inside the ready room.

"Sir, I've got no chocolate but I do have Lieutenant Woodhouse here to report," Kipp said.

"Fine. Send him in but I'm disappointed in you, yeoman," Malcom said.

Kipp gestured for the lieutenant to proceed. "Good luck, sir."

Owen wasn't sure if the captain and the yeoman were joking, but Kipp's 'good luck' didn't settle well in his stomach and it reflected in a wide-eyed stare of disbelief for a moment. He eventually gave the yeoman an unsure nod and stepped toward the door, somehow managed to trip on an invisible threshold and stumbled inside.

Recovering as immediately as possible, Owen cleared his throat. "Sir. Lieutenant junior grade Woodhouse reporting for duty."

Malcom stood in the area where his couch and chairs normally were. Instead of comfortable seating, which had been removed, there was an oval shaped table, from which a crystal clear hologram was projected. Hovering in mid-air were two starfleet vessels, an aging Miranda class and a much larger Sovereign class. Arrayed around them, in a chaotic pattern, were five ships of varying size but of uniform style. They were small and had five radiating arms, which, along with their orange color, gave them a somewhat starfish look. Malcom waived the lieutenant in, his eyes returning to the display.

"Good morning, Lieutenant Woodhouse," Malcom said, ignoring the embarrassing stumble. "Tell me what you see here."

Owen's eyes widened. No one told him there would be actual test. This was not how this meeting was supposed to go. "Uh... well," he took a step closer, squinting at the unfamiliar starfish-shaped ships. "One scenario could be that these are raiders of an unknown affiliation attacking the light cruiser, which is most likely a transport, a medical, or a science vessel. This could be an attack pattern of some kind. The Sovereign appears to be arriving on scene to assist the cruiser."

"Though, I could have that entirely wrong," Owen admitted after a second of silence. "The simulation lacks context, sir."

Malcom nodded. "Part of being a command officer is something called continual improvement. Basically it means making sure you don't get rusty at all the things you should know. The Firebird, despite some of our history, is not a combat vessel. Starfleet Command wants to make sure that I still remember how to shoot at things if the need arises. Of course, the first rule of combat command is to understand the situation. Your instincts are good," Malcom said and gestured towards the display.

"TheUSS Verek was conducting a long range scan of the Epsilon Librae system when they were approached by a single craft, like the ones you see here. They attempted first contact and they were attacked. In the exchange, the craft was destroyed. Twelve hours later they picked up more ships approaching. Lucky for them the USS Hebredies was close enough to get to them before they arrived."

Malcom watched the young man's eyes scanning the battlespace. "If you were in command of the Hebredies, what would your first command be?"

Owen bit his lip. Strangely enough, the first thoughts that popped into the former stellar cartographer's mind were facts about the Epsilon Libre system: dual class-F stars that were part of the constellation Libra, located near the Typhon Expanse, and large unexplored with the nearest outpost being Deep Space 5. It wasn't at all helpful, he thought, except to underscore that the simulation was entirely plausible. Except one thing. His eyebrows quirked.

"If the Verek was operating outside of Federation borders, and that area is just outside, then their use of force against an unknown race at least violates the guiding principles of First Contact. I would order them to stand-down and retreat to Deep Space 5. At least they would be out of harm's way while we provided a distraction and a chance of remediation."

"Interesting," Malcom said with a smile. "Why don't you have a seat and we can chat a little." He gestured towards the visitor chair in front of his desk and made his way to his own chair. "I've read your file, lieutenant, and it is one of the most interesting personnel records I have ever had come across my desk. I can't imagine what your experiences have been like and I am sure the reports don't do it justice."

Owen turned a bit crimson in the ears as he sat down in the offered chair. It wasn't that he hated to talk about the experience really, he just hated to talk about himself. Aside from that, he didn't do anything heroic or ingenious. He just died and he barely remembered much about even that. "A full recovery, however," he felt the need to clarify, in case the Captain's review of the file somehow overlooked that important detail.

"Yes, I read over your medical evaluation and had our Chief Medical Officer review it as well. Starfleet Medical has asked that we do periodic medical evaluations to make sure nothing changes. Hopefully it won't," Malcom said. "In the meantime, I officially welcome you aboard the Firebird. You'll be working under Lieutenant Rees, who is a great officer that I'm sure you'll learn a lot from. Do you have any questions that I can answer for you right now?"

Owen nodded at the captain's points and then shook his head at the last question. "I don't believe so, sir. I look forward to learning everything I can about the ship and crew, and serving the best I can."

"She's a good ship, with a good crew and I'm saying that not out of ego. I've served on my share of ships and the crew we have matches up with the best, even if we don't have the numbers. We've been through a lot together and will probably go through more. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. My door is always open to you," Malcom said.

"And especially if I have chocolate?" Owen gave a slight smirk at the risk of being too casual too soon with the captain.

Malcom laughed. "Of course. Chocolate is always welcome. Kipp doesn't approve, which is why he's so surly all the time. But he does bring me tea and help manage my workload, so I keep him around," he said and stood up, offering his hand. "Welcome aboard, lieutenant. I hope you find a family here on the Firebird."

Owen stood up and shook Malcom's hand. "Thank you, sir. Unless you have anything else, I'll go get settled in."

Malcom pointed to the holographic projection table where the battle still stood frozen. "The Captain of the USS Hebredies agreed with you. He intervened with Verek and managed to retreat without destroying any of the attacking craft. He later lead a diplomatic mission where he established first contact with the Galith. You have good instincts, lieutenant. Make sure to trust them. Dismissed.

That compliment made Owen hold himself with a little more pride and one corner of his lips turned up as he gave a nod and rose to his feet. "Thank you, sir." He left the ready room, making extra sure not to trip on the invisible threshold.


Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse
Operations Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (2)

By Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan on Thu Aug 6th, 2020 @ 9:17am

What a delightful introduction piece! Nothing fancy but still enjoyable.

By Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse on Fri Aug 14th, 2020 @ 1:39pm

Definitely one of the more interesting reporting-ins I've done. Thanks for the challenging setup!