For the Captain
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: Bridge, USS Arcadia
Timeline: MD 3 (March 5, 2393)
Lieutenant JG Seya Sifi's looked like she was quite busy at her station, her fingers dancing frantically over her console. But the truth was, until Arlin fixed the engines, there was nothing the Arcadia's acting chief flight control officer could do, at least nothing work-related. But she got to do something; the bridge had become awkwardly quiet.
She missed Captain Lee. Whenever it was his shift on the bridge, he always engaged with the bridge crew, even if it was just small talks sometimes. It's not that Commander Elbrun was not nice. She was quite pleasant, in fact, but every since the Themyscira took Captain Lee, Elbrun had been . . . what's the right word . . . morose?
She got to do something to distract herself, so there she was, chatting away with Ensign Navaar at the security station through their respective consoles.
. . . . . .
Seya: Are we still up for tonight?
Navaar: Not sure. Dash was in a very bad mood when he came out of the briefing room earlier. Maybe he will have everyone do another security drill or something.
Seya: That bad, huh?
Seya: Are we really leaving the captain behind?
Seya: I mean, that doesn't seem right.
Navaar: Well, either way, it's not up to us.
Seya: How about Elbrun? Doesn't your roommate know someone on her security detail?
Navaar: Dash is here.
. . . . . .
Kevan, with the marine Captain in tow, marched onto the bridge of the Arcadia filled with determination and purpose. He had one goal in mind, and that was the rescue of the people taken by those on the Themyscira.
"Commander Elbrun, I need to speak with you," he declared, loudly enough for people to hear. "In private."
As everyone on the bridge paused whatever they were doing and turned in her direction, Nola could sense the anxiety and the doubt. She felt exactly the same. Command would most certainly send someone to take over the Arcadia once they reach Starbase 235 - as they should - but until then she was still the acting CO of the ship. She already embarrassed herself and her family enough with what she did - or rather what she didn't do - on the Martok; she was not about to lose the little pride she had left in herself by appearing to have lost control of her temporary command in front of the entire bridge crew.
She stood up from the captain's chair and turned to the acting chief operations officer at the station behind her.
"Lieutenant Skir, you have the bridge."
"Aye aye, Captain." the Vulcan nodded.
With as much confidence as she could muster, Nola gestured Kevan and Jackson to follow her. Her heart pounded as they walked toward the ready room. She had an idea what Kevan wanted to talk about. You didn't need to be a telepath to know that.
The trio entered Captain Lee's office, Elbrun first but with Kevan hot on her heels. It seemed empty, perhaps a trick of the mind since the Captain himself wasn't present and the XO was now confined to sickbay. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
As the three officers entered, Jackson instructed Charles to wait outside. The Captain didn't feel that the young sniper needed to see or hear any of what was about to transpire.
Nola walked to the middle of the spacious office and paused her steps - the chair behind that desk was not hers to take. She waited for the doors to close before taking a deep breath.
"Commander, I believe that in the current chain of command, at this moment I am your acting First Officer. As such, I have to question our current orders. We can be underway in the next half an hour, hunt those traitors down and prevent Ishikawa from starting another war - one that will claim the lives of billions of Federation citizens. You have a duty to act now, sir." He paused a fraction, not sure whether to continue with what he wanted to say or not, but decided to go all-in. "This is not the Martok, Nola. If you're afraid that people will judge you for your actions, then you need to step away from the center chair. Those people out there are counting on your leadership right now. They need someone who can make the right call."
Jackson stood, silently, off to the side, observing and listening. He was surprised that Kevan had referred to Nola, now the Captain of the Arcadia, first by the wrong rank, then by her first name. Especially after he had already recognized and stated that he was her junior in rank and position. The Marine knew, the next words that Nola spoke would be critical in securing her place as Captain.
The knot on Nola's brows tightened as the security chief spoke. She might not be the most qualified person to take over command of the Arcadia - that she knew - but she's still the ship's commanding officer at the moment. Yes, she was glad that Admiral Hoya had not ordered her to pursue the Themyscira, and perhaps she was hiding behind that order, but it was still a legitimate order from a superior officer.
"Are you suggesting we disobey Admiral Hoya's direct order?" she asked, before adding, "And for your information, Lieutenant, what happened on the Martok has nothing to do with this."
"Nothing to do with it? It has everything to do with it," Kevan insisted. "Don't hesitate. If you hesitate, people get hurt. We need to act before that happens. Do the right thing."
Nola looked down at the coffee table next to her and then looked up again.
"I want to get the Captain back as much as you want to get Korra back, Kevan, but I'm not going to do it by disobeying a direct order. That's not what the Captain would want."
Looking to Jackson, she hoped that the Marine would . . . actually she wasn't sure what she wanted from the Marine. Was Kevan the one who need to be convinced to change his mind, or was she?
Sensing that Nola was looking for an ally, Jackson suddenly felt conflicted. "Captain," he began. "And that is what you are now. The Captain. Arcadia is yours. As are we. All my colleague here basically saying, I think, is that he hopes you will lead us properly." He raised a finger before continuing. "Before you respond, remember that properly does not always mean the same as correctly."
"And if I feel that you're not in a position to be leading this crew properly, I have a duty to state that fact," Kevan added, somewhat forcefully. He was stressed. The whole thing felt like they'd been caught with their pants down, and as security chief that fell on him. There would be an inquest later into how the whole thing was even possible; His team wouldn't know what hit them. But for now, Nola was going to be on the receiving end of that frustration. "My colleague here is right," he said, emphasizing the echo of Jackson's phrasing. "You're the Captain. So act like it and give the order."
Nola wasn't sure what Jackson meant when he distinguished acting "properly" from acting "correctly" - as far as she was concerned, they were exactly the same thing. Normally she would ask him to clarify and perhaps learn a few things from the much more experienced Marine, but right now Kevan was really testing her with his condescension. She had always known that people doubted her, and they were certainly right to do so after the Martok, but no one - not even the inquiry board that looked into the Martok incident - questioned her command ability so directly and unequivocally like Kevan did, and that changed something in her. It hardened her resolve.
Looking into the Trill's eyes, she said coolly, "I already gave the order at the briefing, Lieutenant, and since you are my first officer, I suggest that you act like it and carry out the order. Or I can find someone else for the job."
"Good luck finding someone else who won't be saying the same thing I am," Kevan retorted, his fists clenched. "Any commanding officer worth their salt actually listens to their advisors!"
Jackson could not believe the audacity of Kevan, speaking to Nola in such a tone. While it is true that there were times when a ship's commanding and executive officers did not see eye to eye. However, to blatantly speak disrespectfully in front of another senior officer, that made Jackson very uncomfortable. He wad about to interject, when he saw Nola move.
Nola did not give an inch. She couldn't. Closing the distance between them, she asked, "Will you, or will you not, carry out the order you have been given, Lieutenant Dash?"
The senior Marine knew that Kevin's attitude had heavily stoked Nola's internal fire. What was said next would decide the power stricter of the Arcadia.
Kevan paused, his knuckles whitening and his teeth clenching. He opened his mouth to speak, in his mind he knew he had to relent as much as he hated to back down. Before he could make a sound, however, the comm channel interrupted.
"Commander Elbrun?" the voice of the conn officer piped-up. "We're receiving a distress call. It's from the USS Kyushu."
Jackson perked up at that news. This new development certainly changed things. Now, whether orders or not, it looked like they were going after the Captain. He looked at Nola, hoping she made the proper call here.
Nola sighed inwardly at the news. Protocols were protocols. The safety of the Kyushu crew superseded Admiral Hoya's order. There's simply no way around that.
With a tap of her comm badge, she opened a channel to engineering.
"Lieutenant Zim, how much longer before the warp engine is back online?"
"Another twenty minutes at most, Captain." the acting chief engineer's voice came through the comm.
"Lieutenant Sifi, set a course for the Kyushu's last known location, and prepare to jump to maximum warp as soon as engineering reports ready."
Turning back to Kevin, she said, "Back to your station, Lieutenant." Without waiting for a response, she headed straight for the doors. As she stepped onto the bridge, she let out a long sigh. The truth was, she didn't know if she would actually be able to follow through and relieve Kevin of duty as the acting first officer. She didn't have to find out now. At least for the time being.
Jackson sighed inwardly in relief for the interruption to the growing standoff between Nola and Kevin. The ship and crew did not need to have a split between commanders at the moment. For this crisis, they needed unity, above all else. The Marine Commanding Officer would have to keep an eye on the situation.
Kevan cast a quick look at the Marine CO then nodded silently at Nola before returning to his station on the bridge. The discussion would have to wait until another time.
Lieutenant Commander Nola Elbrun
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
(NPC - Roger/Oliver)
Captain Jackson Werner
Marine Command Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Kevan Dash
Chief of Security
USS Arcadia NCC-89015