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Old March 4 2012, 11:27 PM   #6
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Four (cont.)

DING.

Matt didn’t look up as his chime on his door sounded. “Come!” he barked.

The doors slid open and he heard footsteps, but he continued to frown at the computer screen, changing a few words in his latest readiness report to Admiral Parker, and then he saved the data and closed the unit. He raised his head and saw Ship’s Counselor Trincullo standing in front of his desk.

“Take a seat, Counselor. I see that you did manage to locate your uniforms. Commander Shrak said that you wanted to speak with me.”

The woman sat. “Thank you for seeing me, Sir. I have been trying to do so for the past three days.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, Counselor, I have had precious little free time since we boarded ship. What’s on your mind?”

“Sir, I think there has been an error in my assignment during alerts. I have been informed that I am assigned to Sick Bay under Doctor Talbot.”

“Go on.”

“Captain, I think it would be obvious. Tradition requires that the Ship’s Counselor be stationed on the bridge to provide advice to the commanding officer. But I have been posted elsewhere. Thankfully, we are in still in Spacedock, since this antique vessel lacks a seat for me as well.”

Matt leaned back. “Doctor Andrea Trincullo. Age 34. Graduated Star Fleet Academy with a degree in Psychology, attended Star Fleet Medical where you received a medical doctorate in both Psychology and Psychiatry. Excellent grades in both institutions. You would have graduated top in your class at the Academy except for your poor marksmanship—it took you five attempts to pass basic phaser training. However, you do have a 3rd-degree black belt in Aikido.”

“Four postings to starships over the past ten years as a junior counselor for which you received a consistent string of Excellent ratings from your supervisors and commanding officers. Last posting to Star Fleet Academy where you taught Intro to Psychology until Admiral Parker shanghaied you aboard Republic. Did I miss anything, Counselor?”

Andrea stared at Matt in amazement—the man had memorized that! “How . . .”

“Did I know all of that? Doctor Trincullo, I have three hundred and eighty-one officers and crew assigned to my command. I have thoroughly gone over their records. Did I miss anything, Counselor?” Matt asked a second time.

“No.”

“I wondered, since you marched in here and seem determined to be stationed on my bridge. Counselor, there are two types of officers and ratings assigned bridge duty: those officers and ratings who jobs require them to be on the bridge and those officers who are able to assume command.”

“I mention this because I noticed that you have not attended Command School. You had the opportunity, but you refused, preferring instead to teach at the Academy.”

“Captain, those requirements have been waived in the past . . .”

“Not aboard this ship, Counselor. You want a station on my bridge you have to be trained and ready to pick up the pieces if everything falls apart around you. You must be prepared to immediately step into my place or Commander Shrak’s place and assume command of this vessel, with three hundred and eighty lives being just one of your many responsibilities.”

“You are not so trained and I doubt that you have the command mentality.”

“Sir, I resent that!”

“Resent it all you want, Counselor; I was not referring to your intelligence and capability—I was referring to your attitude. Here is a hypothetical: you are on the bridge, I am dead, Commander Shrak and Lt. Commander Biddle are undergoing emergency surgery in sick-bay. Luckily, Republic destroyed the last of her attackers before you assumed command. Engineering reports heavy casualties and Commander Malik is gravely wounded; Lieutenant Bowen has assumed command of the engineering spaces.”

“The warp core has been damaged and is only moments away from breach—but Bowen tells you that the core can be shut down. However, to do so will require a member of this crew to enter a compartment flooded with radiation, effectively committing suicide in order to save everyone else. You have fifteen seconds, Counselor—what are your orders?”

Trincullo blinked.

“Twelve seconds.”

“Eject the core!” she shouted.

“Ejection mechanisms damaged and off-line. I’ll still give you twelve seconds.”

“Abandon ship.”

“Congratulations, Counselor. Everyone is now dead. The life pods can’t get far enough away in twelve seconds, even if they launched the instant you gave that order—which they won’t.”

“That is not a fair simulation, Captain . . .”

“On the contrary, Counselor, it is the type of decision that someone, somewhere in Star Fleet has had to make. It is a decision to deliberately sacrifice one or more members of the crew so that the rest of the ship's company and the ship herself survive. It is a decision that anyone sitting on that bridge, who pulls a watch in my chair, who wants the privileges of command has to be able to make in an instant.”

Matt shook his head. “No, Counselor. Your job is to keep this crew on an even keel while I command my ship. If you decide one day to opt for Command School, perhaps I will have a different answer, but for now your station will remain in Medical, assisting Doctor Talbot.”

The woman squirmed in her seat, and Matt sighed. “Is there anything else?”

“Yes, sir. You are pushing the crew too hard. They aren’t machines, and the stress you are putting them under is too much.”

“Counselor, stress—believe it or not—is good. Stress and resistance is how we build our muscles, develop our bodies. And mentally, stress forces a being to focus, to learn to concentrate even when he might be distracted, to pay attention to his duties. The crew are all more resilient than you think—and the ones that are not? They don’t belong here.”

“Captain, some of them are on the verge of breaking. And not just crew—but you are pushing the NCOs and officers equally hard. Eighteen red alert drills in the past seventy-two hours? No one on this ship has had more than four hours of sleep each night—including you. All of the recreation facilities are shut down—the Holodecks require a command level override to activate. They are not used to this level of pressure. And, I have seen someone down in sickbay being treated for injuries. I think someone snapped and resorted to violence due to your stress test.”

“Crewman Channing. Yes, I am aware of the situation, and no, no one snapped. He was being disciplined by Senior Chief Callaghan and matters went a little too far.”

“DISCIPLINED? Channing had seven broken ribs and a shattered nose!”

“As I said, a little too far; I would note, however, that such injuries are quite common on Andorian ships—and they have little difficulties.”

“Andorian’s have a different psyche—they are culturally and genetically aggressive and are prone to outright hostility; and neither Callaghan nor Channing are Andorian, they are human.”

“Counselor, the rot on this ship is like gangrene: it has to be cut out, as painful as that may sound. I have privately reprimanded Callaghan, but he will remain as Republic’s senior NCO. Commander Shrak has fully exonerated him in the matter, and it remains up to Channing whether or not the crewman wishes to remain aboard, or resign in disgrace. I will not apologize to you or anyone at Star Fleet for running my ship in the fashion I think best.”

“You still need to a ratchet down the pressure, Captain,” Trincullo continued. “The crew won’t stand for much more.”

“Counselor, we now have a deployment date for shake-down—and it is three days from today. In sixty-eight hours, to be precise, Republic will exit Spacedock and we will conduct drills until the crew drops. Or they meet with my standards, whichever comes first. We will have three full weeks of drills and weapon tests and warp tests and emergency simulations and this crew will become proficient or they will be removed. I’ve got to know what their limits are, Counselor, and the only way for me to discover that is to push them.”

“Now, I want you to keep a close eye on them—don’t baby them, don’t coddle them, but make sure they are mentally stable. Can you do that?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered glumly. “And speaking on that subject, Captain . . . how are you feeling?”

Matt laughed. “Oh, no, Counselor. Don’t even try that. Now, if that is all, I have work I must get back to—and you have a crew to watch. You are dismissed, Counselor.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 01:23 AM.
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