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Pre-Sim - Captains ready room: A gift for Dante

Posted Feb. 27, 2021, 5 p.m. by Lieutenant Commander Rebecca “Becca” Ngata (Executive Officer) (Ffion Grace)

Posted by Captain Dante Knight (Commanding Officer) in Pre-Sim - Captains ready room: A gift for Dante

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Rebecca “Becca” Ngata (Executive Officer) in Pre-Sim - Captains ready room: A gift for Dante

Posted by Captain Dante Knight (Commanding Officer) in Pre-Sim - Captains ready room: A gift for Dante
Posted by… suppressed (23) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Shouldering her heavy kitbag, Becca moved through the corridors of the Saracen, navigating by a map displayed on her PaDD as this was her first time aboard a Pendragon Class.

She had studied the specs on the flight out to Meridian Station, but the short notice change of orders that had cut her shore leave short and brought her to the Saracen had left little time for study. Besides, in her experience there was no substitute for getting your boots on the decking of a new ship and getting a feel for her.

She had managed to sneak aboard with a group of techs doing the final pre-deployment checks in order to avoid any attempt at pomp and ceremony as she came aboard, she wouldn’t have put it past The Captain to put on a band playing or some other such nonsense, knowing how uncomfortable such things made her. Besides, she had a plan that required a degree of stealth if she was going to pull it. She cradled her precious cargo in one hand, determined to keep it safe.

=^= Computer, where is Captain Knight currently? =^=
=^=Captain Knight is in the ready room =^=

Perfect! At this hour, the the ship docked, she should have no problems taking him by surprise. She moved towards the turbolift.

——————————————————————-

Arriving outside the ready room door, she placed her kitbag to one side and carefully balancing her ‘package’ on one hand behind her back, she used her other hand to hit the chime.

Becca Ngata - XO and delivery girl

“Come in,” came the faint, slightly accented voice of the Captain of the Saracen from behind the door to the ready room just half a second before the door slid open at the command. Through that door Becca would see Dante sitting at a large dark timber desk in front of a view panel giving him a view to fo-ard of the Saracen, albeit slightly angled, feet propped on one end as the chair almost precariously balanced at a daunting angle with a mug of coffee held in one hand and a PaDD in the other, playing the faint sound of something that he was watching on the screen.

To one side of that desk a bed of some kind was tucked in the corner, the ‘small’ round pallett occupied by a ‘large’ reptilian form, whose head had popped up with twin, beady eyes judging the new entrant, a tongue flicking to taste the air for recognition. This was Bruce, the Captains loyal, pampered and judgemental pet Monitor Lizard.

Dante looked up from the Padd and lowered his mug, his eyes moving to a timepiece and an eyebrow raising slightly. “You, are early.” his tone was light, but accusing.

“You missed my reception party Becca. Come in and take a seat, how was the flight?”

Captain Knight, CO

“The flight was fine, we got in a little early so I thought it would be best to report for duty right way.... did I miss something Sir, I’m terribly sorry.” Said Becca, mostly succeeding in keeping a straight face but she wouldn’t be winning any poker games any time soon.

Instead of taking the offered seat she instead moved to the bed and gave Bruce a playful scratch under his jaw, just how she remembered him liking it, her other hand kept carefully concealed behind her back.

“You’re getting big fella!” She exclaimed.

Becca Ngata - XO

Bruce’s eyes locked onto the woman as she scratched his chin, his tongue flicking in indignation before his eyes slowly closed as the pleasure of the neck rub made it through his scales.

“Hmm,” was Dante’s reply to her plea of innocence regarding her arrival time, and he took another sip of his coffee, sliding the PaDD onto the desk but not putting his feet down.

“Help yourself to a coffee from the replicator if you like, Commander,” Dante said, using her new rank formally for the first time. “What did you do to your arm, bust it in an arm wrestle with an Orion on the way over?”

Captain Knight, CO

“Replicator coffee?” Asked Becca with a raised eyebrow that said ‘You Sir, have gone down in my estimation.’

“Bruce ate my stash,” Dante explained with a glare at the big Lizard. In reply, Bruce’s tounge flicked out at him once. The message was clear to Bruce, but not anyone else. If Dante had spent more time playing ball with him instead of feeding the attention seeker Oscar, Bruce wouldn’t have needed to go to such extremes.

“I think we can do better than that.” She announced, bringing out a heavily insulated jug from behind her back with the air of a conjurer producing a small white rabbit from an article of head gear.

“Old Navy?” Dante asked, suddenly sitting up in the chair and taking his feet off his desk.

She popped the top, letting out the heady aroma of strong dark coffee. The contents of the jug appeared as black as night and almost oily in consistency, the surface reflecting the overhead lights. She glanced around the office looking for a mug to pour into, her usual drinking article still safely wrapped up in her kit bag.

Becca Ngata. - XO

Like magic, two mugs appeared out of a low drawer in Dante’s desk and were pushed towards her. “I knew I requested you for this assignment for a reason Becca, nothing to do with your talent,” he smirked at her and sniffed the air, the heavy coffee aroma filling the room.

Captain Knight

Becca eyes the suspiciously clean mugs with disappointment.

“Have you been letting Auntie Tashie clean your mugs out again? I’ve told you, you need to let them mature properly, get a real patina going, adds to the flavour, don’t listen to the good doctor about stuff like ‘cross infection’ and ‘bacteria’ it won’t hurt you.”

Raising an eyebrow slightly, Dante waggled his finger at her. “You know she’s not exactly fond of that nickname,” he smirked, “make sure you don’t use it on duty, we have standards these days.” Leaning forwards he pushed the coffee cups closer to her, “pour the coffee Commander, I’m Italian, not some knuckle dragging caveman that lights a fire in the ground and wraps their food with flax leaves before burying it and leaving it to age while it heats up. Coffee is best pure in the ceramic, not sullied by a coating of mould.”

She filled two mugs with the coffee, the hot liquid so thick it almost oozed out of the jug rather than poured.

Cradling her own mug, she took in the strong aroma, yep, dad had really known a thing or two about coffee.

Picking up his own cup, Dante sat back again and put his feet on the desk. Ordinarily he wouldn’t have been so comfortable with doing this in front of his new XO, but Becca had come up the ranks behind him in Security, served in his team on the Broadsword before becoming his CoS once Kelly had risen to be his XO, if only for a short time before Dante took on the Saracen.

“I assumed it was for my sparkling personality and sense of humour Sir, not that I’m not grateful for the opportunity, you must have had plenty of options, even for a short notice replacement posting.”

Becca Ngata - XO

“Yes, I did,” he admitted, “plenty, but I needed three things before I could choose. One, was that I have a terrible habit of looking for Officers I can give a new opportunity to, raise them above the rest and give them a chance to stand out. Terrible habit really, I mean who does that?”

“Two, was the new Executive Officer of this ship had to have an idea about coffee. Most of the people that were available were poncy english tea drinkers. Earl Gray even, do they have no individuality?”

“Three, I needed someone I could trust at short notice, and on that, the list was very, very small. Almost non-existent,” he innocently sipped his coffee and savoured the taste as the thick, black sludge slid down his throat before looking back at her. “But, then I saw the Broadsword was also docked at Meridian Station. Once I saw that, I knew who I needed on my ship. Now, are you going to sit down or stand there like a star struck clown, Commander?” Grinning, he raised his cup in a toast to her new rank.

Captain Knight, CO

“I’m very sorry SIR it’s difficult not to be overawed standing in your ready room in the presence of all your magnificence” She made a salute with her coffee mug, performed an elaborate bow, and then seated herself opposite the Captain.

“You will get used to it, I assure you,” he waved his hand dismissively, acting completely serious but using the cup to hide any twitch at the corners of his mouth.

“And don’t worry sir, you know me, work hard, play hard, but I know where to draw the line between the two. I won’t let you down.”

She pulled out her PaDD, ready to talk business once the Captain had had his caffeine dose. What kind of a Star Fleet officer drank tea anyway??

Becca Ngata - XO

“That, is why I requested to Starfleet Command that you be given the opportunity to take this position,” he put down the coffee cup now, and even dropped his feet back down and sat forwards in his chair. “I know that you won’t.”

“I expect you have taken the time to read over the crew manifest and in particular the ships Department Heads?” He was rather sure she would have, she was young for an XO and somewhat over-confident, but what XO wasn’t when they took their first posting, that was exactly why they got the job. It was why he had got the job at a younger age than many and been earmarked for Command positions sometime in his career since the Academy. Overconfidence was a sought after trait, but it had to be kneaded into a fine Ciabatta and baked to perfection, or it sagged in the middle.

Captain Knight, CO

“A good solid group, at least on file anyway. I intend to do the rounds once I’ve stowed my gear and settled in, get to know the ship and meet these guys on their own turf so to speak, better than a formal meeting I think and you can never really get a true impression from these files, I’d rather make my own mind up. On the whole though a really good group to work with by the look of them, plenty of experience.”

The voice in her head added “all of them a lot more experienced than me.”

“Except for this ‘Doctor Knight’ anyway,” she said, holding up her pad, displaying Nat’s file, “I’ll have to keep an eye on her, her romantic liaison with a senior officer might be disruptive to morale.”

Becca Ngata - XO

“You gotta watch that one, she’s got an attitude on her like a Cossack who’s been celebrating the latest batch of vodka,” Dante smirked, then raised an eyebrow, “But that senior officer liaison is a worry, I’ll need to airlock the sod, ain’t nobody got no time for competition.”

“I’ll have your Executive Officer Authorization in place once you leave this office Becca,” he explained, “and the Senior Staff is a good group. They’ve done the rounds, been through some experiences. Some like Lieutenant Commander Graham are young for their rank, but they have earned it, all of them.” Picking up his coffee once again, he drained it and then set it down with a pause.

“So tell me how you have been since I left the Broadsword, anything exciting happen? Meet anyone special or beat up anyone notable?”

Captain Knight, CO

Becca raised an eyebrow at the ‘casual’ mention of ‘anyone special’. She doubted Dante was particularly interested himself, but he was no doubt under standing orders from Commissar Natasha to keep tabs on her person life whenever the opportunity arose. If ‘Auntie Tashie’ had a flaw it was her tendency to think everyone should be as happy as her and Dante obviously were, which translated in to a series of blind dates for Becca.

“Oh, just the usual thrilling heroics, some mano a mano single combat on the edge of a volcano, you know, the usual.”

“Was that the someone special or the beat up anyone notable part?” He teased her, noting she didn’t actually answer and it wouldn’t surprise him if it was either, either.

She fingered the faint line of scar tissue on her right wrist, mostly healed but teeth marks were still visible.

“Oh, someone special, eh?” Dante smirked now, his eyes having noted her movement.

“I did play for an invitational Star Fleet XV VS the Klingon embassy team though, that got pretty tasty.”

Becca Ngata - XO

“In what? Tiddly winks? You know as much as I do that Klingon’s cannot play rugby,” now, he made a face and sat back. “They have about as much skill as the English forward pack and the footwork skills of a drunk Ferengi.”

“My Armorer has played a bit as well, Rico Vanhall. He went to the Academy with Darius Morgan, who happened to be at mine and Natasha’s wedding as well. I should have got his autograph for you, I know you have a thing for those All Blacks and he played a while back before joining Starfleet. Nat will probably have some gossip for you on that front, along with a list of eligible and medically suitable opportunities on the Saracen. Don’t let her bully you into any more dates though, I don’t need sickbay overflowing with broken limbs or broken hearts.”

“Oh c’mon Sir, that was just the one time, and Nat fixed his hip almost as good as new!”

Grinning, he opened a drawer and pulled out a bottle of whiskey that he knew Becca would recognise. “I’m not actually on duty anyway, just catching up on some paperwork. Night cap?”

Captain Knight, CO

“Don’t mind if I do, you always seem to have a never ending supply of the good stuff so I don’t see why I shouldn’t take advantage!”

“I have a connection for the good stuff,” Dante looked at Becca and winked lightly. “One of our Engineers hails from that region, a Lieutenant Monroe.”

Becca mulled over their conversation while Dante poured the drinks.

“I never could work out how you and Nat seemed to have time for all that stuff, even when you were apart you were closer to each other than I’ve ever managed, even with someone in the same room.”

Becca Ngata - XO

Now, instead of coffee mugs Dante slid the whiskey tumbler of Lagavulin towards Becca, and lifted his own, two fingers poured expertly, no ice, but the glasses were already cold from the specially chilled drawer in his desk.

“We made time, as simple as that,” Dante smiled, sipping his drink. “There is no such thing as too busy when you love someone and want to be with them, so you make time, make concessions and make whatever time you do have the best it can be. Distance is only a measurement, if you love someone and want to make a relationship work, you will. Maybe not forever and there has to be a time when distance isn’t a thing of course, but Nat and I are lucky in how we feel about each other. We wanted to be together, so we were. If either of us had a doubt or a wandering eye, it wouldn’t have worked.”

Becca thought about the PaDD on her lap full of appointments, inspections, audits, and meetings. Time. Sure.

Looking at her he raised his glass slightly. “You’ll find that, everyone does. Nat and I just found each other early.”

Captain Knight, CO

“I guess so skipper, and besides, even over video link, Nat....” Here Becca’s voice changed from it’s usual soft kiwi twang to a completely different accent.

“…vas still hafing zat sexy accent da??”

Her parody of Nat’s accent was hilarious and atrocious in equal measures.

Becca Ngata - XO

“Remind me never to play the drinking game Guess Where I’m From with you, ever.”

Dante shook his head, but he grinned and bit his lip. “Her voice does have that alluring quality to it though that makes any video call a treasure,” he took another sip of his drink before continuing, “plus, with her mother sending her all sorts of new designs to try out for Charlottes Secrets, we always made sure any time we got either in person or on a video call was the very best it could be.” A slight eyebrow waggle over his next sip emphasised the point.

“She’s tried a few times to get me to wear some of that stuff, I’ve had hair scrunchies with more material.”

“You will need to come visit when we are off duty one night, meet Oscar,” he took one of the pictures on his desk and turned it around, handing it to Becca. The picture showed Dante and Nat together, with Nat holding a young baby boy with dark hair and piercing eyes. In the background, the judging glare of Bruce’s eyes watching them could be seen.

Captain Knight, CO

“Hey, I’m happy to lizard sit any time you guys need, not too sure about babies through, he’s not old enough to lift weights in the gym or anything yet right?”

Becca was only half joking, she knew the baby wasn’t old enough to go weightlifting with her, but also knew she had absolutely no idea what to do with a small child. Frankly, she’d rather strap on a phaser rifle and a parachute pack, then take a HALO jump out of a shuttle in low orbit over a combat zone again.

Becca Ngata - XO

“Not quite yet, but he isn’t the one you would need to watch out for. Bruce is as attention seeking and demanding as they come.” Looking over at the big lizard, Bruce raised his head from the pet bed and seemed to look at Dante with a sad expression, a single flick of the tongue imparting hurt feelings.

“Oh don’t look at me like that,” Dante told the creature, “You are and you know it.” Reaching out for the bottle, he refilled his own to the single finger mark this time, and offered Becca a refill. “You have your itinerary of meetings and inspections scheduled for the next few days? Make sure you drop by the Armory and check in with Vanhall, I think the lower decks have a secret, ‘Captain Must Never Know’ fight club organized down there and he can probably steer you towards it, if not be the one actually running it. His girlfriend Allison probably patches them up.”

Captain Knight, CO

Becca tilted her glass towards the Captain to receive another measure of spirits. In truth, she wasn’t much of a whiskey drinker, preferring a nice cold beer after a hot gym work out, but hey, when in Rome, right?

“Secret underground fight club eh? Clearly as XO it is my duty to investigate.” She mimed making a note on her PaDD and then waved it at Dante.

“I thought you might like to, uh, check it out,” he smirked. “You know, in between all those meetings and things.”

“Yeah, this thing is already chock full of every kind of meeting that Star Fleet bureaucracy can devise but I’m going to try and re-arrange most of them so that I can see all the other departments first hand as soon as possible. Besides, you know that if I get stuck in an office or conference room all day, you’re gonna have one cranky XO to deal with!”

Becca Ngata - XO

“Which is exactly how I remember you, and why another reason I asked for you. The Saracen requires an Officer who is a little more proactive, not the office type. Between one of my Science Officers trying to convince me and her boyfriend, the Chief Engineer, that we should convert a whole deck into an underwater reef and our Helmswoman Gonzalez turning every shuttle flight into a Buzz-The-Bridge event, we have more than our share of quirks on board.

“An underwater environment deck huh? I suppose it might come in handy if we have to relocate any endangered aquatic species at some point.”

I advise you to meet our Chief Intel Officer, Commander Colter sooner rather than later. He’s a rather deep individual, and I think you’ll like him and his skill set. Professionally I mean! I’m not in the habit of trying to set up my Officers, no matter what gossip Natasha has about them.”

Captain Knight, CO

“I’ll make a note of that Sir, who better than the Intel Officer to pump for information right?” Becca made an actual note on her PaDD this time.

“And once I’m settled in, let’s set up that dinner so I can meet the Munchkin, just warn Nat first, you’ve seen first hand how I react in ambush situations.”

Becca Ngata - XO

“Cold, collected and efficiently. God help our Chief of Security when he tries to put you through his ‘casual’ Boarding Party Response training, I’m not sure my ship will handle either of you trying to rack up the biggest score.”

Becca said nothing but smiled, the kind of grin usually seen swimming around a reef, right before some surfer lost a leg. She made yet another note on her PaDD.

Dante finished his drink and placed the glass on the desk, then slid his bottle of Lagavulin away in the drawer, coming to his feet. Then he paused and looked at her, waving a finger. “About that underwater reef idea. No, we are not going to be converting anything on this ship into an underwater reef. I gave her a small cargo room to make a terrarium or something, no reefs. Got that? Say it with me Becca, ready..... NO REEFS!”

Captain Knight, CO

“Aye Cap’n Dante SIR!” Yelled Becca, leaping from her seat into full attention and snapping off the kind of salute that would make any Marine Training Sergeant weep tears of joy.

“NO REEFS! SIR!” She added a sly wink at the end of her performance for good measure.

Becca Ngata - XO

“Very good,” Dante waved a hand imperiously as if her reaction had been expected and natural, then he broke it by grinning stupidly.

“Oh, I almost forgot, I have something for you,” he spoke, then walked to a small sofa on the wall beside the door to the Ready Room, where a bookshelf was embedded in the wall behind it. Taking a small box off the shelf, he turned and tossed it to her.

Becca deftly caught the box and examined it curiously.

“I found that on a vacation a while ago, I thought it might come in handy for you one day,” Crossing his arms, he waited for her to open it.

Captain Knight, CO

Becca tore open the box like a kid at Christmas, her usual unflappable demeanour gone in that instant. She opened it up with one eye on on what the contents might be, and the other watching Dante watching her for her reaction.

Becca Ngata - XO


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