Posted by Captain Molly Holloway (Commanding Officer) in Main Sim - Conference Room - Mission Briefing (Tag CO, XO, ALL DH’s)
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Renveer (Executive Officer) in Main Sim - Conference Room - Mission Briefing (Tag CO, XO, ALL DH’s)
Posted by Captain Molly Holloway (Commanding Officer) in Main Sim - Conference Room - Mission Briefing (Tag CO, XO, ALL DH’s)
Posted by… suppressed (3) by the Post Ghost! 👻
As soon as the room was emptied, save for himself, the captain, and the admiral, Renveer spoke quickly to interject before Molly started. “Can I get you something to drink, Admiral?” he said as he rose from his seat and moved to the replicator. “I know you said you didn’t have long, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least offer you some caf or tea to help you refuel after making the trip to meet with us in person.” Renveer’s intentions were both genuine and strategic, hoping to soften whatever blow Molly was about to deliver.
(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, Executive Officer)
Hallsley waved off the offer. “No thank you, Commander. But I appreciate the offer.” He then looked at Holloway, his face hardening slightly.
“I’m gonna assume that you are fine with me speaking to you in front of your XO. And if you aren’t, too late Captain.” and he paused for just a second before continuing. “Now. I know you may not like me. I know your plans for the Dresden may not have been running a site check instead of manning the line against whatever enemies we have. But thats tough, Captain. And if you ever… ever… tell me you are not going to do something you have been ordered to do unless it fits whatever notions you have regarding it in front of your Ccommand staff and Junior officers, your first command will be your last. You can get pissed with me all you want, Holloway. But you don’t do it in front of the crew. Got it, Captain?” Hallsley’s voice was calm, even, and matter of fact. He wasn’t mad, per se, but he was disappointed in her reaction to the orders she had been given… especially since she conveyed that reaction in front of the staff.
Taking a deep breath, the Admiral said “I have given you everything we know… which is nothing. And I will tell you that Dr. Drillek is the one pushing for the check. In addition to this being a high-profile project with a lot of eyeballs on it… his son is a researcher on the station. And while I dont share Dr. Drillek’s thoughts that we need eyes on the station right now, if we don’t hear from them in a week we’d be sending someone out anyway. So the worse case scenario for you is you get halfway there and we tell you to turn around. Sending you now saves a week of time and puts the good Doctor a bit more at ease. And before you ask… yes. Dr. Drillek is that important that he can do things like this. But he used to being in charge. So as I said to him… your ship. He assists. And don’t be afraid off using him. He’s one the top three Engineers in the Federation. That might come in handy.”
Admiral Hallsley rejecting the offer left Renveer standing awkwardly by the replicator. As the admiral’s words turned harsh, Renveer mentally winced. He turned toward the wall and uttered a couple words, then spun to walk back to the table with a coffee just how Molly liked it (three spoons of sugar and all) and a hot apple cider for himself. He set down the mug wordlessly in front of Molly, then moved around and behind her to retake his original seat. The executive officer sipped his beverage passively, eyes trained on the admiral. Although his face didn’t show it, Renveer was rather displeased with how the admiral seemed to insinuate that the rest of the department heads had no right to know their captain’s real feelings about him. For now, he allowed space for Molly to reply, hoping that his offer of a soothing and familiar drink might serve as a signal to tread carefully.
(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)
Holloway’s expression had been stern but as the Admiral spoke, the more annoyed she felt. She wondered if his accusation might have been a simple misunderstanding, but that didn’t stop the hardness of her tone to seep out through her words. Focused on Hallsley she didn’t even noticed the coffee being placed in front of her, but her hands mindlessly wrapped around it as if the warm temperature of the mug could somehow ground her emotions.
“With all due respect, Sir. I told you Commander Renveer would be present in this meeting just a few minutes ago, so it seems to me that your warning was very uncalled for.” It was clear the meeting was not off to a good start. “Now, let me get this straight before we begin, I don’t have any reason to like or dislike you, Admiral. In fact, I have no qualms with you. I also don’t care what the mission Starfleet sends us off to. If it’s something easy and peaceful it’s better for everyone involved, so I would appreciate it if you did not assume that I have some grand plans to ‘man the line against our enemies’, Sir.” Her eyes flashed with anger, but her tone never rose. “If you were supposed to just waltz into my ship and boss me and my crew around, my job would not be required. I could be just placed somewhere else because you’d have full command of the ship. Our navigator would take you wherever you wanted. However, my job is to keep my ship and my crew safe, and if you want someone to blindly and brainlessly follow orders then you have the wrong person for the job.”
She paused for a minute, trying to control the wave of emotions threatening to spill out. “I never refused to do something I was ordered to do. But in the best interests of the safety of my crew, I can’t just bow my head and say yes when you are telling me you are sending us to a station that seems to be okay, a station that Command themselves are not worried about. My only concern with sending the Dresden – a warship – to a science station is the fact that it tells me this mission was rushed to be put together otherwise you would have taken a different ship. It feels like you are in so much of a hurry to get there that you took the first ship you found! I am sure that you will agree that if someone ordered you off to somewhere where nothing was going on, you would wonder what they were not telling you. And that’s my only concern. I think this mission is personal to someone and that that fact has been hidden until now. All I said was that until someone told me the full scope of what was happening, we were not going anywhere. It’s not a refusal. It’s a condition. And a condition I stand by.”
Molly felt herself shaking. “In fact, you just confirmed my suspicions. That my concerns were justified. This mission is personal. Dr. Drillek’s son works at the station, you just said it yourself. It seems that Ttere was a vital piece of information being concealed from us. And again, in order to ensure the safety of my crew I need to know what to expect. I am not wrong in thinking that dealing with someone that has no personal interest on a mission is very different than working with someone that might be emotionally compromised. There is a reason why I would be removed from duty if that was the case, and yet, Dr. Drillek was not.”
Molly paused again, trying her best to keep her tone level and respectful, even if it was becoming quite hard to do so. “Just understand. I don’t care who he is, and how high profile this mission is. I will not tolerate you coming on board my ship and accusing me of insubordination when I did no such thing. Yes, maybe I shouldn’t have voiced my concerns in front of my senior staff, but I though that was why we had a meeting about it. To voice our concerns and find answers to deal with them. Not to mention, my crew has the right to know my worries just like I have the right to know theirs. Or were you expecting to just order us around like Borg drones?” Holloway took a deep breath. “I also don’t appreciate you accusing me of speaking in front of junior officers when none were present. To which I should add, this is not my first command. But you would know that, wouldn’t you, Sir, if this mission hadn’t been slapped together like I was worried it was.”
That was it. She felt dizzy as her blood pressure crashed and her thoughts were all over the place. Why couldn’t she just keep her mouth shut and nod like Starfleet clearly wanted her to? How long had she been in charge of the Dresden? Less than a month. Would this be yet another removal of command in her file. Maybe she could just move back to San Francisco and pretend nothing had happened. Could she? Molly felt bad for Renveer, how bad would her behavior endanger his career as an officer?
Taking a sip of the mug in front of her, the hot coffee seemed to tone down her inner turmoil. “Look, Admiral…” For the first time, her tone was apologetic and quiet. She sighed. “I’m sorry I spoke in front of the Command Staff. That’s all I can offer you, if it is that big of a deal to you. But I hope you understand where my concerns come from. If you don’t, rest assured I know my place in the chain of command. Just let me know if I need to pack my bags.”
Hallsley glared at her for a long time in silence, hud fingers drumming on the table top loud enough the sound carried through the room. After almost a full minute, he cuuckled and said “You got spine, I’ll give you that. And thats good. Because you’ll need that working for Special Projects.” and he leaned back and interlaced his fingers on his stomach.
Because you’ll need that working for Special Projects. Special Projects. The name echoed in Molly’s mind. It felt like a demotion of sorts. From Intelligence to Special Projects, it was as if Starfleet Command was openly mocking her. It felt like some weird knock-off version of what she used to work on before and that someone had tried to make it sound cool by slapping the word ’special’ in the name. It felt like she had been thrown back to the little kids table.
“To clarify, Molly… I dont care about how much you question orders. I think a good Commander should. But there is a time and a place for such discussions. You need to learn when, where, and how to do that. And for starters… you dont drop conditions on orders in front of your staff. Not now. Not ever. Now then… any briefing I give you is and always will be one of two. One for them, one for you…” and he then looked at Renveer as if noticing him for the first time, “… and you. Thats when you lay down your conditions. But that first briefing isn’t for you so much as it for them. I want to hear their questions, their ideas. Then we talk. After that, you can tell your team whatever you think they need to know, whatever concerns you had that I did or didnt address. Unless, of course, they can’t know for some reason. But I hate operating like that. If we find ourselves in that position, know that I will hate it as much as you. Copy? Good.” The Admiral stood up and looked at both of them.
“So, you are telling me that you would rather me not have said a word just now, spoke my concerns to you in private, and then went back and shared them with my staff. Because they would know them either way. You just wouldn’t be there to see it.” Holloway couldn’t keep it to herself. Shaking her head in disbelief she continued. “Maybe you don’t know this, but I’ve worked in projects that were on a need to know basis. Where half of the team couldn’t know the details. You know… real special projects. I know what happens when you nod your way through a meeting and then go behind your team’s back to discuss something else. I know because it was my job. And they don’t trust you. Half of this ship still sees me as the Intel Operative I used to be, and frankly I don’t blame them. I stand by what I said before. Anyone on my senior staff has the right to know how I feel about things, what my thoughts are on issues, just like they have the right to speak their mind with me in the room. That’s how you get your crew to trust you. I can make an exception for you, Admiral, but I have spent the last four years withholding information from those around me. Unless otherwise stated don’t expect me to keep doing that.”
Hallsley glared, hard. “Im telling you that there is a proper way to do such things, and telling a Fleet Admiral you arent gonna go unless you get your way 9n from of your crew isn’t the right way to do it. Now… Real Special Projects, huh? Think so? Maybe before you jump to conclusions about my* division, yiu should actually learn*** what it is and who I am… ya think? Maybe then you wouldn’t be so flippant and dismissive. I’ll chalk it up to ignorance… this time.” and he took a deep breath again.
“When you arrive at the station, contact me with a preliminary assessment. And if it’s something you can’t handle alone, for the love of all thats holy fall back and we will assess and get you some help. Understood? I dont have the desire to have to send someone out looking for you, too.” His final sentence was jovial, but there was a hint of seriousness.
“I thought you said you didn’t have reason to suspect hostile activity. So I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to handle whatever we find on our own.” If you want my opinion we won’t find anything. Molly bit her lip not to say it. At this point, she could feel she was being combative just for the sake of it, and nothing good would ever come out of it. He had not commented on whether she should pack her bags and leave, but if she kept down that path he might actually do it.
“I said we have no reason to suspect that. I also said that we don’t know what is happening. You may one of the biggest ships in the fleet, Holloway, but its still one ship.”
Holloway took a deep breath and stared down at her coffee. Without lifting her gaze to meet Hallsley’s she spoke. “We will send you a preliminary report once we get to the station. I’m sure Dr. Drillek will keep you informed as well. And don’t worry, he’ll be in good hands.” Molly’s tone was dry and emotionless. “Travel safe back to Starbase 1. We’ll keep you posted.” She knew protocol mandated she should accompany the Admiral personally to the Transporter Room, or at least ask him if he needed someone to escort him. But she didn’t have the energy, and frankly, at this point, she didn’t really care.
Hallsley walked to the door. “Commander. Captain. Wish I could say its been a pleasure. Hopefully we can work out the kinks. Look up your new assignment… both of you. See what you’ve gotten into. I’ll clear you both to review my file as well. Good luck, all. Be smart.” and he walked out and through the doors alone.
Renveer had sat passively throughout the exchange, allowing Molly to handle the admiral and hoping that his presence was at least somewhat reassuring to the captain. He nodded intermittently to emphasize certain points that Molly made and his eyes flickered between the two as they took turns speaking. Renveer’s body language was formal, but yet relaxed, as if Renveer was trying (as a non-empath) to exude an atmosphere of level-headedness and respect. He wasn’t sure he had quite mastered that skill yet.
When the door to the conference room slid shut, Renveer let the space settle for a moment, let the room shake off whatever vibrations it still harbored from the heated exchange. Then he took a small sip of his cider and looked at Molly over the rim of his cup. “Do you want to talk about that?” This question was asked in a genuine, nonjudgemental way that only counselors could. It was not accusatory or shaming, just an honest query about if Molly thought that discussing the encounter would be beneficial for her right now. Likely from her past interactions with Renveer, Molly would know that “no” was a perfectly reasonable and accepted answer to the question, and one that Renveer would respect. But he at least wanted to check in.
(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)
Molly’s gaze was still in the cup of coffee. Her hands almost crushing the warm mug, as her partial reflection stared back at her from the dark liquid. She wanted to scream, and maybe to hurl the mug across the room at the departing Admiral. In fact, she imagined it, as it arched through the air and shattered behind the man as the doors closed. She didn’t do it, however. Holloway knew better than to be that childish, although sometimes she doubted it.
Taking a moment, Molly took a sip of her coffee and let the hot beverage travel all the way down to her stomach, grounding herself in the familiar taste. “Yes… But I don’t even know if I have a starting point…” She finally said, answering Renveer. She felt dazed, as if she wasn’t exactly sure what had happened during the last fifteen minutes. Shaking her head and taking another sip, Holloway finally turned to face her Executive Officer. She was grateful for his presence, for the coffee, and for the gentle quietness he seemed to emanate. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it to slip out of my control like this.” There was a hint of disappointment in her voice, disappointment in herself rather than anybody else. “Thank you for the coffee.” A grateful smile lit her face. “What are your thoughts?”
“I think,” Renveer said with a sigh, “men like that are exactly why I would rather host a tellarite trade league conference than a briefing with a member of command.” There was even a slight roll of his eyes, revealing a more flippant side of Renveer that Molly likely hadn’t seen yet. “Tact,” he added with a wave of his hand dramatically, “goes both ways. The way he spoke to you in front of the crew was unacceptable, but of course only those of lower rank can ever behave inappropriately.” He shook his head in annoyance.
A look of confusion that crossed Molly’s face for a split second before a slight smirk settled into her features at Renveer’s attitude.
Then, Renveer was back to being his collected self. “But,” he said as he laid his hands on the table and pushed himself up to stand, “we’re rid of him for now. And it sounds like it’s time to pull up the anchor and batten down the hatches.” Renveer looked at Molly with a glint in his eye. “You ready to take the wheel, Captain?”
(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)
“Now now, Commander… if I didn’t know any better I’d say it seems I am rubbing off on you. I am not sure that’s a good thing.” There was a playful note on her tone. But it didn’t take long for the smirk to turn into a warm smile as Holloway got up as well. Taking a deep breath, she nodded in acknowledgement of Renveer’s words. “I guess you’re right. As usual. Let’s do this.” And with the same smile on her lips, she walked out of the door and into the Bridge. She was confident the Dresden was ready to take on whatever might come their way.
Ellie looked at the data from the station, she knew that she wasn’t as excited about the station as some, nor was she overly impressed with their mission liaisons as others were. She had a job to do and that was what she focused on. Ellie knew that she was not as social with her fellow crewmates as others, that was mostly just because she was self conscious about various things.
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