The Bigger Picture
Posted on Mon May 27th, 2019 @ 8:45am by Lieutenant Kynah of Clan Hoeressthyn
Episode 4.5 - Shore Leave
Location: SF SAR Training Center, Commandant's Office
Timeline: Shore Leave, Day 1, 0800 Hours
Andora had a beauty of its own. Rolling high peaks of white snow stretched out thousands of miles in the horizon, covering much of the evergreen that begged to shake the snow off their limbs. From the admin building of Starfleet's Search and Rescue training base, Andora looked like a winter haven.
The shielded dome protected the base from all the winter hazards. It was colder here than several of Andora's underground cities, but that was purposeful.
From the family-living zone, you could see colorful dots of what was clearly children, playing in the snow. Some sliding down hills on sleds and snowboards, others jumping off makeshift halfpipes.
From the comfort of her warm, cozy office, Captain Elizabeth Winters drank from her steaming mug of walnut-infused raktajino. The senior woman of aristocratic features was waiting for someone to arrive for what was likely to be an unpleasant meeting.
From the center of the base, she could see so much activity from within the facility. The east wing of the base was her pride and joy. The newly refurbished and updated Hammersly Training Center. Soon to attain the official rank of her billet - Rear Admiral - Winters felt accomplished because of the many updates she implemented for the niche community of special joint-branch operators.
The Hammer, as many called the training facility, contained a third floor that was fitted with the best holosuite technology for environmental hazard simulations. The gymnasium inside the facility was also modular - configured to serve as a non-vehicular staging hall, evacuation shelter, Temporary Mission Ops Center, or agility course for the MWD (military war dog) hazard assessments.
Her grey eyes then turned from her window and then back to her desk. On the PC in front of her, was the service record of one Lieutenant Kynah Hoeressthyn. A Corzynite of noble birth who walked away from all the glitter and spotlight... and racked up quite the amount of awards, certifications, and commendations in various wars.
Many officers would kill for a cozy staff position. More so soldiers who had to see soo much war and destruction that they longed for a quiet, easy posting.
A small tap on Winters' office door caused her to look up from her screen. Winters brushed aside her red-greying bangs and looked up to see a youthful Vulcan at her door. Her new Yoeman.
"Your oh-eight-hundred is here, Captain."
Winters waved to the Vulcan, which the young woman moved aside and nodded respectfully for Lieutenant Hoeressthyn before returning to her duties. The Corzynite was wearing her black jump boots, jump wings, and bomber jacket.
"Have a seat Kynah." Winters gestured to the high-back leather chair in front of her dark-oak desk.
"Well now I know this is serious," the younger officer stated as she sat. A braided hairstyle, Kynah went with for the day. It made her platinum-blonde hair stick out less.
"That all depends on how you take what it is I need to say," Winters admitted but also omitted the latter part of her sentence as she went back to looking upon Kynah's service record.
"Your rewrites to the standard SAR book have made me look good with Starfleet's Special Operations Chief. He's implementing them on all training bases - and even approving my promotion to Rear Admiral due to all your contributions to these changes," Winters pointed out, then looked to Kynah with bafflement. "...You do such marvelous work, yet you do not want the credit... It should be you making the Lieutenant Commander list this round - not I being promoted."
Winters noted how uncomfortable Kynah shifted in her seat upon approaching the subject. That was all she needed to confirm what she long suspected since she had appointed Kynah to her personal staff.
"You ever read my service record, Kynah?"
"Yes Ma'am." Kynah was always in the right bearing on duty, even to someone she had come to think of as a friend. "You earned two Bronze Stars and a Starfleet Cross durin' tha Dominion War for your inventive battle tactics with tha 11th Fleet and attained tha Distinguished Flying Cross for fifteen successful but dangerous back-to-back SAR retrievals with Jem'Hadar fighter scouts in the area."
"So you understand that I, like you, want to be where the action is," Winters admitted. "Medals tell part of the story of who we are, even if I may have only told you a few of them. But you cannot keep running into the fire, Kynah. Surely you know this."
"With all due respect, desk jobs are a death sentence, Ma'am." Kynah tried very hard not to bite her lower lip, but Winters caught the brief moment of nervousness.
"Admin and liaison billets open doors in this fleet that cannot be opened any other way," Winters corrected. "I thought adding you to my staff would be a blessing for you - a chance to do minimal work, enjoy more time with your family, maybe attend a few posh parties."
"I appreciate tha sentiment Ma'am, but political jobs aren' somethin' I enjoy."
"Only future politicians enjoy staff assignments," Winters admitted with a small smile. "But what we do is important. My job is to run a successful base. Yours was supposed to be making Special Operations look great to the civilian population - generate donations to our cause."
"I'm not a politician, Ma'am," Kynah noted with a hint of frustration. "I was meant ta fight tha battles others cannot."
"At some point, officers become true leaders, Kynah." Winters gave her younger counterpart and sympathetic frown. "We take the unpleasant postings so those behind us also have a chance to lead from the front. That's how it works. You knew that when you commissioned, and you're being unfair to our future leaders by holding a billet they deserve to have."
The way Winters worded that last sentence caused Kynah to stir with unease. "...Am I bein' discharged?"
"No... Not yet at least," Winters corrected as she began to transpose something on a PADD. "Every time a Lieutenant Commander's promotion board is convened, your excellent officer ratings suddenly becomes par until the board is done reviewing candidates... So it is my intention to transfer you to a posting where you can have the front lines once more - and be where the promotion board will have to delay any admin billet assignments."
"Not a lot of billets meet that criteria - except maybe deep space exploration billets," Kynah pondered aloud, and then it dawned on her. "...I don' do well with ships either, Ma'am."
"No... but at least you will no longer self-sabotage yourself on a ship," Winters noted with a hint of annoyance. "I created the SAR MWD Trainer role to keep you from sabotaging yourself here. But I can't keep giving you favors... So I suggest you start packing your things while I mull over open billets and talk to COs that will have you."
"...What if no one wants me?" Kynah looked visually concerned.
"I doubt it will be hard, given your service record. However, you're at a point in your career that you can no longer afford to be par and expect to reach your dream billets," Winters admitted. "I should have had this conversation with you long ago, and for that, I apologize... but if I cannot find a CO willing to take you, then you will be honorably discharged, once you've finished your assignment to this billet."
Kynah was quiet as she took in the information and accepted the PADD given to her.
"Transition orders. Train a replacement for you. Get your dogs ready to move out... I'll sweeten the deal of your transfer to a ship that would like to have a small MWD unit." Winters paused a moment, thinking aloud more than to Kynah. "Maybe eight dogs and five handlers?"
Kynah remained silent, pondering her immediate future. She did not like ships at all. Small communities, lax on many rules, and very long assignments away from port.
That said if she were promoted while out on assignment, that meant no more billets that would make her some admiral's shiny political ornament to show off to rivals and business executives.
...Far fewer opportunities where she would be forced to tell uncomfortable war stories. That was the biggest annoyance she had when talking to civilians. Answering insensitive questions like how many people she killed, what it's like to take a life. If she was ever injured. Questions no combat veteran ever wanted to ponder on if they did not have to.
"I want you to do well, Kynah." Winters finally said after a long pregnant silence. "Promise me you'll always strive to be at your best, this point onward."
Kynah allowed another pregnant pause to ponder the question. It was a hard thing to ask, given her aversion to admin and political assignments.
In the end, she nodded, "I will, Ma'am."
"Dismissed, then." Winters smiled up at Kynah. "And try to see this as a good change, My Friend."
Kynah nodded respectfully to Winters, stood up, and went to the door. When she looked back, she admitted, "I do... Now to talk to my daughter."
"Military kids are resilient. They learn to adapt, but they also need time to adjust to Change before they can overcome it... You should see your kid first, before returning to the kennels. Take all the time you need," Winters suggested.
Kynah nodded in agreement and left the office. So much to do, and no clue where she was being reassigned or how much time she had to pack, either.
Lieutenant Kynah Hoeressthyn
Soon-to-Be Chief of Security
USS Arcadia NCC-89015