Episode 4: To Be or Not to Be
“Captain Hamish Malcolm, Colonial Fleet Reserve, reporting as ordered, Colonel, Sir!” The Prince—King, Tom supposed—of Virgon barked smartly with a crisp salute as he entered the small day-cabin earmarked for the ship’s Executive Office. Tom Jayne stared at the man for a few moments, taking in the sight before him. Hamish was young—late-20’s at the most—of average height, a well-toned body, his brown hair within the standards of Fleet Regulations; and he wore a Colonial Fleet officer’s duty uniform.
“As you were,” Tom said without standing or returning the salute, and he leaned back in his chair. “Captain Malcolm? I was under the impression that your name was Hamish Sean Patrick Reynolds Petrus.”
“I am a scion of the House of Petrus, that is indeed true, Colonel. Tradition, however, requires that when serving in uniform we of the Royal family use instead the surname of Malcolm.”
“I see,” Tom said. “Very well, Captain Malcolm
, I am not exactly certain where to assign you—I cannot simply call up Personnel on Picon and get a copy of your service file, after all,” Tom explained.
“Understood, Sir,” Hamish said and he snapped his fingers. The Color Sergeant who had trailed behind the young Prince stepped forward, opening a satchel case and handing a thin file over to the Prince, who then laid it upon the desk. “Pursuant to Fleet Regulations for Reserve Officers, I endeavored to retain a copy of my service file in my possession at all times.”
The corner of Tom’s mouth twitched. “As well as your uniforms?”
“The motto of the House of Petrus is semper paratus
, Colonel—always prepared. My staff—may the Gods rest their souls—ensured that I had several duty and formal uniforms available at all times, even when on vacation as I was during the Cylon attack on the Colonies. I am also in possession of my service issue sidearm, flight suit, and helmet. Sir.”
“I see,” Tom repeated. He opened the file and scanned the contents quickly as the Prince remained in a motionless position of at ease before him. After flipping through all of the pages, he closed the file; staring up at the young man as he tapped his fingers on the brown cover of the file.
“Graduated the Academy, then attended Flight School for Raptor and Shuttle training—no EWO or Viper qualifications, however. It does say that you attended SAR school as well,” Tom mused. “What was your call-sign?”
The young man blushed and he squirmed slightly. “You know pilots and their wit, Colonel, or rather the lack thereof, generally speaking. I was assigned the call-sign Prince at Basic Flight Course and that has been retained in the four years hence.”
“Yes,” Tom said. “Six years is normally one’s first active service tour—your file reports that you graduated the Academy at 21, spent a year in training as a Search And Rescue pilot, followed by a year on active duty in the Acheron SAR. After which you were posted to the Virgon Fleet Reserves—highly unusual, Captain Malcolm. Would you agree?”
“Followed by three years where I fulfilled my obligations by serving for 30-days each Spring in the Virgon SAR teams—both orbital and planetary-based, Colonel. And then the seven months I spent forming and leading the Virgon Resistance. I understand that my service has not taken the conventional path, however, I had dispensation direct from the Chief of Fleet Operation’s office, Admiral Corman himself—which was renewed just four weeks before the Cylon attack.”
Tom nodded. “And I commend you for that leadership, Captain Malcolm—your people speak well of you in that regard. However, your experience—and time in service—befits a Junior Grade Lieutenant more than a Captain,” Tom sighed. “That being said, neither I nor the Commander am going to reduce you in rank.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Hamish answered—and Tom could hear the relief in his voice.
, I have no need for an additional Captain aboard Scorpia
at this moment, particularly in the Raptor Squadron. I have an excellent officer who commands the Raptors already—and his second-in-command is highly experienced in combat
flight operations; experience that you lack. Your leadership on Virgon speaks highly of you, Captain Malcolm, and having spoken with several of the more experienced non-commissioned officers that found themselves under your command they are in generally agreement that you performed above their expectations.” Which, admittedly, had been rather low in the first place. Still, they had all said that the man standing in front of his desk possessed courage, adaptability, and was willing to take the initiative instead of just reacting to the situation. And that was good enough for Tom Jayne.
The XO pressed a button on a small intercom on his desk. “Send in Captain Greene,” he ordered.
The hatch opened and the Raptor Squadron CO walked in. “Sir,” he said simply.
“Captain Hamish Malcolm, this is your new CO—Captain Stefan Greene. Sidewinder, Prince here is a qualified SAR Raptor pilot . . . but he has ZERO combat flight training and experience. He also missed out on EWO cross-training,” and Sidewinder winced. “And he has logged precisely
,” Tom opened the file and looked to the cover sheet again, before he closed it, “eighteen hours of Raptor time in the past twelve months. He is now yours—bring him up to speed and get him settled in.”
“Prince,” the XO continued, “while you retain your rank as Captain, Jester—Sidewinder’s XO who is a Lieutenant—will retain his post as second-in-command of the squadron. It is up to you to get up to speed and qualified on our systems; until then, you may hold the rank of Captain, but you will not be in a position of command. You will answer to Jester in matters pertaining your duties as a Raptor pilot. Is that understood?”
The Prince snapped to attention. “Perfectly, Colonel, Sir!” he answered.
“Now, in regards to Colour Sergeant Haast and Lance Corporal Walsh; I understand that the Fleet granted you a dispensation for a detail of armed body-guards/retainers on board Fleet vessels . . . and Admiral Corman did renew that dispensation prior to his death in the attack. However, I am not going to have anyone on this ship who cannot pull their weight. Colour Sergeant Haast, I am assigning you and Walsh to the Marine Company embarked on Scorpia
. Your duty schedule will be arranged so that at least one of you will be available to His Majesty when HE is off-duty; I realize that the two of you are Army and not Marines, but I expect both of you, given your experience and professionalism, to learn our procedures and general orders. And not to start brawls with the jarheads. Understood?”
“Sir,” the NCO replied.
“One final word, Mister Malcolm. You will find that no one on this ship will give you any slack based upon the accident of your birth—sink or swim, you will do so on your own merits. Your civilian rank means nothing here, on this ship. There are civilian Virgons among the service personnel and refugees, however; and both I and the Commander recognize that you are the sole surviving member of the Virgon government. We will make allowance in your duty schedule to give you the time to meet with them and hear their concerns—BUT, your military duties will take precedence. I hope that you are adept at multi-tasking, Mister Malcolm.” Tom stood and he nodded. “Welcome aboard Scorpia
. Now all of you get of my office before I find you something to do.”