CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted March 30, 2020, 2:12 p.m. by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) (James Sinclair)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Zef Rollo (Counselor) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Zef Rollo (Counselor) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Zef Rollo (Counselor) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Zef Rollo (Counselor) in CNS Office - CO Evaluation

Cochrane finished up his administrative tasks and took a deep breath. Time was always packed and in short supply. Looking at his agenda, he saw a pending appointment with the newly arrived Counselor. “Might be time for a break.” he mumbled to himself and stood up and stretched. Walking from the Ready Room, he surveyed the bridge quickly and nodded to the Lieutenant on watch. He stepped onto the turbo lift and made his way to Counselor’s office. Walking in, he waved at the officer behind the desk as he started to rise. “No, no. Keep your seat, Ensign. I am here for my appointment, when the Counselor can see me.” and he took a seat near a Petty Officer from the Medical section. “Ms. Bat’lan. I hope the day is treating you well.” he said quietly to her.

Cochrane, CO

A moment later, the Counselor exited her office and walked over to the Petty Officer who rose to meet her. She smiled at Cochran, turned and walked Bat’lan to the exit while talking quietly. The medical officer nodded, thanked her and left.

Zef turned back to the man waiting. “Good morning, Captain. I wasn’t sure if you’d choose to keep your appointment or not. Shall we?” She held a hand out toward the inner office where confessions were made and secrets were kept.

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane stood and moved to the door, but stepped to the side. “I think not making our appointment would set the wrong tone for the crew, Counselor. Besides, I wait for at least a week before I start ignoring your appointments.” and he chuckled softly. Gesturing into the open door, he said “After you, Counselor.”

Cochrane, CO

“Thank you.” She passed in front of him and headed for the small replicator in the room. =/\=Jasmine tea, hot. One sugar.=/\= Her gaze caught the CO’s. “Can I get you anything, Sir?”

“Black coffee. Replicator has an entry for ‘Cochrane’s Blend”. That’s fine.” and he took a seat and crossed one leg over the other.

With the drink order(s) fulfilled, Zef took a seat opposite Cochrane. “Just out of curiosity, how did you and your last counselor get along?” On some ships, the crew took their cue from the Captain when it came to mental health, so the question was a barometer of a sort for Rollo’s own information.

—Rollo, CNS

“Doctor Grace was solid. We got along pretty well.” and he took a sip of the drink. “I’m not like most Captains, Counselor. At least, not many form the Security Section that I have met. I truly believe that Counselors serve a purpose on star ships. Especially one as far out as we are. Mental health and hygiene are towards the top of my list of concerns. Morale as well. So I will be leaning on you to provide regular updates and insights as to the crew’s overall mental health and morale. And I want to know immediately of any potential issues. I hate being caught flat footed.” and he took another sip and shook his head and chuckled slightly. “Sorry. I have a small problem with leaving the Captain’s work on the bridge.”

Cochrane, CO

Zef nodded. “I can understand that. No matter where I am, I find myself automatically observing people and forming conclusions as to their mental health.” She laughed softly. “Even though an opinion like that usually takes time, its just a natural process I’ve trained myself to do. Examine and assess. I imagine its much the same for you. No matter where you find yourself, you are always conscious of the ship and its needs.”

She paused to sip her tea. “So tell me, how are things for you? Any concerns, personal or work related?”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane chuckled slightly. “Let’s see. We are the farthest deployed vessel in Star Fleet, isolated and alone for the most part, surrounded by the unknown and already proven somewhat hostile, and we are tasked with mission parameters more suited for a ship that isn’t a science vessel. So no… no concerns here, Counselor.” and he laughed and shook his head slightly as he took a sip of coffee.

Cochrane, CO

She joined him with a chuckle. “Well, I think that says something very positive about you and the crew. If Starfleet assigned us out here, they must think the Manhattan is the ship that can get the job done. Right?” As she learned more about the crew, Zef began to agree with the decision their superiors had made. The ship and officers seemed very capable of the assignment.

“How about your relationship with Cmdr Creed? Do the two of you get along well? How long have you served together?”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane replied “Oh, I would say we have been together… let’s see… it’s been so long… um… six months?” and he laughed. “I have only been on the Manhattan a relatively short time, Counselor. And this is my first Command. I’m not sure if it was a promotion or a punishment.” and his eyes flashed with a mixture of mirth and anger. “You need to know that I am extremely proud of this crew, Counselor.” and his voice rose in volume slightly and his tone became terse. “But I am also extremely angry and frustrated by Command. They send us qualified personnel, but some of them bring so much baggage with them I’m not certain that they would normally be fit for an isolated duty station. In fact, I know that some of the Admiralty have decided that the Manhattan is a dumping ground for their ‘problem children’. And it pisses me off to no end that these fine and capable officers are being shunted off because higher-ups have decided they are ‘problematic’.” and he took a sip of his coffee.

As one of the Admiralty’s ‘problem children’, Zef looked down at her lap internally acknowledging her status, before glancing up at the Captain again.

A smile crossed his face as he set the cup down. “But I’m not going to complain about getting them. This is probably the best crew in the fleet… regardless of what some have tried to make it. Reminds me of an old Earth vid. It was about World War Two, and group of United States Marine Corps aviators. All of them were trouble makers and had gotten into disciplinary problems. The Commanding Officer was a man named Greg Boyington. He recruited them to fly planes against the Japanese Imperial Air Force. And they ended up being one of the most successful squadrons in the history of the Marine Corps. It was called “Black Sheep Squadron”, and it was a true story.”

Cochrane, CO

She had no idea about the holo vid Cochrane mentioned, but it was really good that he thought his crew was capable and the best. “You have a very positive attitude about those you’ve been assigned, and that’s good. We can all see it from your daily interactions with us.” She sipped her tea and then wrapped her fingers around the warm mug. “Some might be problematic, Captain, but I’ll keep a close eye on them. We should be alright. Most people just want a chance to show what they can do and to have their work appreciated, but a lot of them are misunderstood. You’d think in the 24th century that we’d be passed all that, but we aren’t.”

Zef let a minute of silence pass as they both contemplated their own thoughts. “So what else can I help you with besides watching out for troublemakers?”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane looked at her for a long, quiet moment. Finally, he said “Just make sure they have a safe place to talk about things. I do not want to know everyone’s problems. I want to know they are cared for and are in an environment that will allow them to be successful… if they so choose. If they choose otherwise, we dont need them here. But I want you to make sure that they have all the tools they need emotionally to succeed. And if someone chooses to not be successful… then I need to know. Until then, I want you to be part therapist, part teacher… part priest. Can you handle that, Counselor?”

Cochrane, CO

She nodded silently. “I’ve been told I look fragile, Captain. It has something to do with my coloring. But I can assure you I am up to the job.” Now she leaned forward in her chair as if to emphasize her next words. “I have a lot of experience looking after the mental health of people in whatever way they need—keeping secrets, guiding them to a favorable outcome for a particular situation or just listening when they need it. Despite the Admiral who sent me here to ‘sweep my deeds under the carpet’, I really am good at my job.”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane nodded as he too leaned in, but spoke in a cautionary tone. “Be careful with the whole ‘favorable outcome’, though. Make sure the individual is determining what the definition is. I know most Captains always look at what is best for the ship first. And I do. But I also know there is a whole galaxy of possibilities out there, and this is one ship of thousands. If the Manhattan isn’t the right place for them, we will help them find that place. But if this ship is the right place, then they need to find their way in it. I don’t want people forced to be here if they don’t want to be.” and he leaned back and smiled. “So tell me, Counselor. Is this where you want to be?”

Cochrane, CO

She nodded in agreement as he spoke. How the crew dealt with their ‘psychological dilemmas’ was entirely up to them. She couldn’t force them to work on coping skills or to accept the guidance she was there to offer. She didn’t want to. Everyone had the right to decide if they were going to be happy or miserable or somewhere in between. For the ones who wanted help, Zef was more than willing to assist. Those that didn’t want her help would stay under her watchful eye until they reached a point where they became unsafe or destructive. Then she would step in and suggest removing them from their position in Star Fleet until they did the emotional work required to heal the crises. In her career, it had only happened a few times, but Zef still felt confident in the decisions she’d made about those officers.

Now to answer his question. “I haven’t been here long, Captain, but I am feeling positive about the reassignment. After being shuffled around the last few years, its comforting to know I can really settle in here.”

—Rollo, CNS

BUMP

Cochrane nodded and smiled slightly. and then leaned back. “Good. I am really hoping that we can put an end to the kind of ‘revolving door’ we’ve had on board of late. Stability is something we are in short supply of, so having you stick around would certainly be a positive step.” and he visibly relaxed.

“So. What do we need to do to make sure you are comfortable with me in my current role, Counselor? Ink blots or word association?” he asked with a mischievous grin. “Honestly, I have no idea. As many of these meetings as I’ve had, I am at a loss as to how you go about things.” and he laughed.

Cochrane, CO

Zef smiled. “Every counselor goes about evaluations a little differently. You and I have had a little time to talk already…enough to ease my mind that you’re a good officer. I’ve also read your file and there isn’t anything glaring in there that would alert me to a possible problem. There’s a quick little exercise we can do that will allow me to sign off on your file.”

She scooted forward in her chair and put her elbows on her knees. “Sit like this…” She waited for him to assume the same position. “Now, hold my hand and look into my eyes as long as its comfortable for you.”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane nodded once and did as requested. He looked directly at her without flinching, his gaze steady and unwavering.

Cochrane, CNS

As Zef folded her hand into his, she noted the difference in their complexions, then she propped her chin on her left hand and returned the Captain’s gaze. The exercise was simple. It gauged his ability to enter the social space of another person and allowed her to see how comfortable he was with it. In general, people wanted to know their leader was approachable to them. Cochran was a natural. He hadn’t hesitated even for an instant.

After a full 30 seconds, Zef released his hand and scooted back in her chair. “You passed that test with flying colors, Captain. Its a quick way to see how comfortable a person is with other people.” The thought crossed her mind that she’d passed the test too, but there was something about Cochran that pulled her in. “I know you’re a busy man so I won’t keep you any longer. I’ll sign off on your evaluation immediately.”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane smiled and said “Well, ok then. Thanks, Counselor. But if there is anything else you need, now’s the best time to ask. I slated an opening to make sure you were comfortable with me, and I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.”

Cochrane, CO

In all honesty, Zef was surprisingly comfortable with the Captain. In their initial meeting he’d stated that her history wasn’t a concern to him and that one decision was all she needed to relax and move forward on the Manhattan. She didn’t have any more ‘business’ questions to ask, only personal ones came to mind and even she thought it would be too familiar of her to ask them.

She chewed on the inside of her lower lip as these thoughts pinged through her mind. Finally, a couple of random questions occurred to her and she spoke up. “It might be a good idea for the two of us to meet once a week to touch on any random things that might take place with the crew or yourself. Would you like to designate a specific day and time? Also, are you alright with my presence on the bridge at any given time?”

—Rollo, CNS

The last question brought a glint to Cochrane’s eyes… but the nature of that look was unusual. “Regular meetings are fine by me. Let’s do them in my office. I want to keep this space free of administrative clutter. Now as to your last question…” and he trailed off and looked at her intently for a few moments. “Well, first let me answer your question with one of my own. Are you qualified on any of the Bridge stations and, if so, which ones?”

Cochrane, CO

“I can run the communications station, helm, and tactical, but I’m less than adequate when it comes to engineering.”

—Rollo, CNS

Cochrane smiled and chuckled. “I’m not the best at Engineering either, but I can keep us from blowing up I think.” and a look that seemed to indicate some sort of internal decision flashed across his face. “I have no issue with you being on the bridge, provided there is a need. And that can be determined by either of us. I would especially appreciate your insights when we are engaged in communications with others. But your priority should be the crew.”

Cochrane, CO


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