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Chain of command

Posted on Saturday, 21 January 2023 - 7:06pm by Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley

Mission: Operation: My Unfair Lady

Adjusting the collar of her uniform, Lieutenant Kingsley studied her reflection for a brief moment before taking a deep breath, squaring her shoulders and heading out of her quarters. Since coming aboard the day before she had spent time with both T’Lanna and then even Emerick to obtain the approvals she needed to commence her duties aboard the Standing Bear. In that time she knew word of her arrival had spread but thankfully she had been able to spend a few hours alone before it was time to get ready.

Today, she was sure, would be challenging. She had been away for many weeks and in that time a lot had changed. Not just for her but for the Standing Bear crew.

One thing which hadn’t changed was their commanding officer. And while they had briefly spoken and exchanged a few messages here and there, Alex had not set eyes on her Captain since the woman had embarked on her mission to Vulcan and undo the damage Soral’s alter ego had done. It had been a brave and bold endeavour, a dangerous one too. And while unable to truly appreciate it at the time, Alex had been beyond impressed.

Today, she would fix that. With breakfast, of all things. The invitation had been waiting for her when she arrived. Perhaps, she had reasoned, the other woman had wanted to give her those first few hours to get accustomed to the newest ship to carry the name ‘Standing Bear’.

Reaching the Captain’s office, she pressed the door chime and waited on a response.

Captain Pippa Whitley had been in their Ready Room looking through the latest intelligence that they had acquired, but without Lieutenant Adrianna Eberhardt aboard, it was a slow process. The analysts were doing their best. Pippa responded promptly to the chime "Yes," the Commanding Officer said making their way around the desk.

Doorway parting, Pippa breathed a sigh of relief. "I was hoping you would be back," Captain Whitley said glad that the Chief Science Officer was back aboard after their leave. "I hope you and Commander Soral have secured your marriage or finalized your divorce...whichever keeps you here."

“It’s… a work in progress,” Alex conceded as she moved further inside the room. “But I am here regardless.”

"Apt description for most marriages I assure you," Pippa replied. "We are still dealing with the political situation here in Cardassian space. Adrianna and Lieutenant Joral were sent undercover in hopes to place our finger on the pulse of the outer worlds. They've since been quiet, but communications are being interfered with."

“If anyone can take care of herself, it’s Adrianna,” Alex pointed out. “I assume we have a pre-arranged exit plan for them?”

Pippa nodded "We do," replied the Commanding Officer. "If we do not hear back from them in a reasonable time, I promised to extract them. I plan on doing so. I just don't know how I feel about the repercussions of bringing this starship towards the outerworlds. It could send the wrong message."

“True, but it may become a necessary evil, so to speak,” Alex reasoned.

"I'm afraid it very well may be. It's too risky to send out a shuttle or runabout. We will have to do this with the Standing Bear, and it may be seen as a flexing of our muscle, but I'm not about to let this Obsidian Guard undo what the Federation has worked hard to establish here."

“I can make sure we run some extra drills, just in case it becomes necessary to flex those muscles,” Alex assured her, recalling how her mirror universe counterpart had occasionally crossed paths with the Obsidian Order. It never ended well. For them. “But I have confidence our people will be fine. Still, it never hurts to be prepared.”

Pippa nodded "I concur. I also would prefer if we used weapons as a last resort. Can you work with Operations and Tactical to explore more defensive means. Increasing our shielding or modifying our probes to disrupt targeting."

“Of course,” Alex nodded. “I will pick up with them this morning. Is there anything else you need prioritised?”

Pippa was relieved to have Alex back. "Not at the moment. Right now my priority is our crew and getting them back safely."

“Speaking of which…” Alex began. “I haven’t had the chance to properly thank you. For coming after me.”

"Trust me, your presence aboard this starship is thanks enough. I do not believe our science department would run as well without you, even with the good personnel that we have."

Alex’s smile was far brighter than any smiles she had offered anyone in weeks. “Thank you,” she replied. “It feels weird but good to be back.”

Pippa nodded. "The new ship will also take some getting used to. I'm still not settled in myself."

“Yes. Mirror me remembers the ship but the makeover had changed a lot. Definitely not as, well, dark. Not as much screaming…just a very different vibe,” Alex confided. “Having my own quarters, with no hyperactive puppy or complicated Vulcan around, seemed very quiet last night. I do think I will spend many happy hours in our new science department. Many of them naming the probes. I know I shouldn’t given how often they get blown up but I can’t help it.”

"I will try to keep the darker orgins of this ship from seeping through the fresh paint," replied Pippa. "It was certainly not the most welcoming sight with all those sword iconography."

“Yes, the decor was meant more for intimidation rather than being a nice environment - as much to intimidate the crew as much as visitors or intruders,” Alex shrugged. “But that was then. I read up on the reports, a lot of new personnel… any concerns?”

Pippa shook their head. "Not anything out of the ordinary. The Chief Medical Officer seems...unique" Captain Whitley said. "I think everyone will settle in for the most part."

“Out of the ordinary on this ship is probably a good thing,” Alex mused.

"This is true" Pippa agreed. "You should probably start getting settled back in. It won't be long until we are back into our routine of things."

“On it,” Alex nodded as she stood. “And it beats sitting at home staring at walls. If you think of anything else you need, just let me know.”

Pippa nodded. "Of course, Alex."


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