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Sweaty Palms

Posted on Sun Jul 29th, 2018 @ 5:13am by Captain Charybdis MacGregor

Mission: Present Tense
Location: USS Victory, Deck 11, Enlisted Mess
Timeline: Pre-Launch 24 days, 22:14 hours local time

The meetings were interminable, but at least getting up and down to greet each officer as they paraded through gave her an opportunity to get blood flowing back into her ample rear. Besides, this had to be done... Char was going to have to work her way through the senior and junior staff as soon as possible if she wanted these people willing to work, and aware that the new command was not the previous command.

She checked her PDD... 0935, Lieutenant Junior Grade Wyatt Vanlith. A Betazoid... empathic. She wondered idly if that meant that he would enjoy her company more or less than a traditional Vulcan. Ah well, no way to know until contact, so she poured another cup of coffee, added the premixed creamer sugar mix and waited for him to arrive, speed-reading his personnel file.

The junior officer's file read similar to most other officers serving aboard a high profile vessel such as the USS Victory. Graduated 2nd in his class at Starfleet Academy with a degree in Engineering with a specialization in Warp Theory, awarded the Distinguished Cadet Medal for repairing a fluke shuttle engine malfunction that threatened the lives of not only himself, but three other Cadets. Promoted to Ensign where he served as Engineer on board the USS Carpenter. Promoted shortly thereafter to Lieutenant Junior Grade before he was reassigned to the USS Victory.

While his service record was commendable, his psychological profile from both Starfleet Academy and from the ship's Counselor on board the USS Carpenter conveyed quite an interesting story. Both reports showed that Wyatt Vanlith, while incredibly bright and competent, was incredibly shy and reserved. He had trouble forming personal relations with other crew members, instead preferring to either work, read, or be left alone.

While always respectful and courteous, attempts to involve Wyatt in social circles amongst the crew seemed to generally fail, especially when it involved members of the female sex, whom he had an even more difficult time relating to. Both reports were unsure of what the cause of these issues were, as everything in his past appeared to check out normal.

At precisely 0935, Wyatt entered, immediately snapping to attention, rigid and tense. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Wyatt Vanlith, reporting as ordered sir!"

Standing at 6'1", the junior offer was just a hair taller than Char. Despite being at attention and attempting what could only be regarded as conscious effort at maintaining a steel resolve in front of the new Captain, Wyatt's boyish face deceived him. He permeated an aura of nervousness that would be easily detected by even the most unobservant of Starfleet officers.

The new commanding officer stood, raised an eyebrow and eyed the officer for a few seconds, then spoke gently to him. "At ease, Lieutenant. I'm Captain Charybdis... I assumed command yesterday. You may have heard the announcement." She extended her hand for a traditional handshake.

For the most brief of moments, Wyatt appeared almost perplexed by the gesture, especially coming from a Vulcan, but extended his hand none the less. While his handshake was firm, if there was any doubt about his nervousness before, the clammy feel of his hand gave it away completely.

"It's an honor to serve you, Captain... I mean, it's an honor to be under you... I... It's an honor to be aboard the USS Victory, Captain!" Wyatt's normally pale complexion turned several shades darker into a reddish hue of embarrassment.

"Relax Mister Vanlith... there are no wrong answers, so consider today a day of amnesty. I am trying to get to know the officers a bit, and you are my assistant engineer. Now, I have a meeting with the chief in an hour and a half, so I'll soon know all of the problems that engineering and my girl are having," she said, patting the bulkhead with some affection. She poured Wyatt a glass of water and set it in front of him.

"Today I need to know about you, Mister Vanlith. This is my command now, and you are officially my responsibility now. Which means that I need to insure that you can work here, and thrive and succeed." She spoke softly, and her large violet eyes were there whenever he made eye contact... and radiating from her was genuine compassion and concern. "You're brilliant, so they say... but feeling everything can be a bit much, so you prefer the machines. Is that so?"

Wyatt relaxed a small amount, but still was obviously uncomfortable. "Thank you for the compliment, Captain. I assure you that I will do everything in my power to be the best assistant engineer you've ever had. And to answer your question..." His eyes momentarily betray him, glancing down at the floor for a few seconds before he regains his composure. "Yes, sir. I believe my dedication towards my work is what makes me worthy of serving on your ship."

"It isn't a question of your worth, Mister Vanlith. The ship, and by extension, I need to be worthy of my crew. There has been some serious mismanagement around here... and now it falls to me to fix it. Are you happy in engineering... and I ask only because I have found a few personnel shoved as square pegs in round holes, such as it were. I want my crew to be where they need to be to do the best job... understand?"

"Yes, I understand Captain. I am very happy in Engineering, thank you sir."

The Vulcan smiled gently. "All right, Mister Vanlith. Anything you'd like to add? Anything about the ship, your chain of command, the temperature of your orange juice in the morning, your new captain? Amnesty, honestly... Vulcan's honor!" she said, forming the famous salute with her right hand as she grinned at her own joke. She radiated sincerity... there was some deception in there, but she was genuine about wanting to hear what he had to say.

Wyatt smiled at the Captain's joke, ever so slowly warming up to her. He paused for a few seconds, obviously considering his choice of words carefully. "Are the rumors true that you got to physically restrain Herod, Captain?"

She rolled her eyes slightly and spread her hands with a sigh. "I was forced to restrain Mister Herod, yes. He was somewhat unreasonably angry, and intent on committing physical assault... so yes, I did... restrain him." She cocked an eyebrow and smirked. "You want to hear the story, don't you?"

"No need, Captain. Just knowing what you told me is enough." Wyatt then snapped back to attention, but with a slight grin on his face, obviously pleased that the Captain got to do what so many crew members dreamed of doing. "It is my honor to be a part of your crew, Captain."

"I shall endeavor to be worthy of the honor that you give me, Lieutenant. Unless there is anything else?" the lady captain asked genially.

"No sir."

"My door is open, Lieutenant. meanwhile, I think you might want to look up Doctor McKenzie... he has a bit of a way with people who are a bit sensitive to the thoughts and moods of others, and I think it would do you some good to speak with him... not an order, just a suggestion. Understood?"

"Then carry on, Lieutenant." She offered her hand to him once more.

Wyatt once again shook the Captain's hand, only this time his palms were not so sweaty. "Thank you, Captain." And with a quick, respectful nod, Wyatt left.

Twelve down, one hundred and forty two to go, Chary thought to herself. But so far, it seemed, so good...

 

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