Don't Rock 'My' Boat

Posted on Fri Jun 7th, 2024 @ 7:58am by Rear-Admiral Miraya Chakrabarti & Captain Velasaria Azumé & Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Ingram Dr

1,554 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: What Is Past Is Prolouge
Location: Starfleet Headquarters, San Fransico, Earth
Timeline: Sometime after the conclusion of Mission 1

Meticulous research, and attention to detail.

They would be the phrases Benjmain Ingram would choose to describe his work ethic. Others might choose more florid statements, which was fine because they would be wrong. After all, marching into Starfleet headquarters and demanding to speak to someone in charge would get him exactly nothing. Little people with a modicum of power always enjoyed lauding it over their intellectual betters, it why the human race had a hickup between the 1500s and 1800s resulting in three centuries of scientific stagnation.

So instead: meticulous research, and attention to detail. Ergo; the time that a certain someone left the office to return home via air car, and which air car was theirs. You'd really think Starfleet Security would have someone up here watching over the air cars and shuttle landing pad.

Standing in the lee of the turbolift entrance on the roof of Starfleet Headquarters gave him a view of early evening San Fransico. And with a glance down to his wrist chronon he began to count down...3...2...1...

Bing went the turbolift door.

Taking a deep breath as she stepped into the cool San Francisco air, Rear-Admiral Miraya Chakrabarti felt like she could finally shake off the weight of the last few hours. It had been a long day, more and more reports of the incident with the Amaterasu had poured in by the hour; technical, strategic, engineering, diplomatic, political, factual, arbitrary, and even fantastical! Not to mention the CONSTANT calls from High-Command, the rest of the Admiralty and not to mention the Federation Council... sufficed to say Miraya was so very done ready to go home, kick off her boots and get her feet up with a nice glass of wine.

Now if she could just shake Admiral Darvish from personnel, he'd caught her on the way out of Headquarters and had been jabbering on about... something, someone? She really didn't know and it would have been hard for her to care less.

"Admiral Chakrabarti, what a serendipitous turn of events!" Benjie said with all the artificial sweetener that the food processors refused to put into anything these days. "Here I am, just arrived from Chicago about to head down to your office to make an appointment! And lo, fate places us here. What are the chances?"

"I'm sorry who..." Miraya started, both Admirals stopping in their tracks and looking Officer up and down. She had no idea who this man was or why he was here but maybe, just maybe he would be her way out of this conversation with the Personnel Chief. Even if the 'coincidence' of him knowing her name and where she would be was suspect to say the least. "Your name Commander, I don't recall needing to see anyone from Chicago."

"And nor should you, busy soul such as yourself. I am Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Ingram, one of the lead researchers at the Shackleton Materials Testing Ground on Luna. I was on Earth, Chicago, attending the biannual science conference held there. Not the guest speaker role I held last year, but someone has to show the flag of the Fleet at these sort of things," he chuckled before waving a dismissive hand. "Which is neither here nor there. I was coming to see your office about a reassignment order I received. I'm worried that departing Shackleton at this point would lead to a failure in our current research endeavours. Put back the whole Ambassidor class project by decades really. I'd have gone through channels, but time seemed of the essence."

Ingram, Ingram... it vaguely rang a bell, one of a hundred names that had crossed her desk in the last week. Officers being reassigned to various postings in the wake of the Amaterasu... incident. The Commander didn't seem to approve of his transfer. "You don't believe that Shackleton can survive without you? From what I've been told many of the Federation's greatest Engineering minds work there, although Daystrom might disagree." Miraya sighed something told her, her evening had just been derailed in the most annoying fashion.

"Well Daystrom is to the scientific community what anxiety is to the common man, an announce and an impediment. And whilst I would never suggest-" that you were right "-that Shackleton would suffer for my absence, I am of course thinking of the greater good. Engineers are all well and good with their hands on wrenches, but they need someone with an understanding the unifying theories holding it all together to keep them on track. I wouldn't want an august body such as Starfleet to be the butt of a joke so cruel, not after the debacle with the Excelsior's trans warp 'debut'."

He took the memo padd from under his arm, and held it out to her.

"I've taken the liberty of filling out the appropriate paper work to aid in rectifying what could be an error of untold proportions," Ingram said gravely. "All it needs is your thumb print, and I'll be out of your hair."

Miraya took the PADD, skimmed the contents, her eyes flicking between the man before her and what he'd written. "Commander, I have a question for you." The Admiral asked, tugging at her inform jacket before tossing the PADD to Darvish. "Is this a joke?" Miraya shook her head. "I have thousands of personnel being shifted around at this very moment, recalled to active service because the Federation could be on the brink of war with the Klingons and you're worried that a research post that's years away from a working prototype, won't be able to survive without you?" Miraya let the question of the man's audacity hang in the air a moment.

"I would hardly call ensuring the continued technological advantage we have over the Klingons a joking matter. And whilst we might be on the brink of war, it is all the more important to make sure that our best resources are used to best advantage," Ingram snapped. He wrapped his knuckles on the memo pad. "Assigning a decorated theoretical physicist with numerous commendations from both Starfleet and academic institutions for his work in broadening the bounds of our scientific understanding, to a glorified mobile LIDAR array would be gross misconduct of the highest sort! I came here to do you a favour in helping you rectify a mistake."

Benjamin forced a tight smile, and then added.

"...with all due respect, of course Ma'am."

"Of course." Miraya replied with a sigh, she was tired. Tired of explaining her decisions to be so focused on their own goal, their own biases. "You really don't get it? I don't need another brilliant engineer working on a conceptual design; nor do I need another group of straight laced officers at the helm of the Excelsior program. We tried that already it's obviously not working."

Really that was an understatement, the officers crewing the first three Excelsior class vessels so far had been struggling. Styles had gone through three different command crews since the beginning of the Transwarp testing, she'd only just been able to get rid of him. Jimenez, for all his honors and merits was a not an out of the box thinker, and rest his soul but he walked his ship into a Minefield. To say that the Excelsior project had been met with obstacles, rather than straight up disaster would be a gross misrepresentation of the situation and Miraya was tired of it! She was tired of her ships being crewed by the wrong people, and more of those wrong people standing in place of the right ones.

"I need people who are who Starfleet and the Admiralty want in command. I need those officers who are still cowboys, willing to take chances and get messy if needed. Are you really going to try and tell me you're better suited to sitting in a lab rather than fitting the parameters I've put forth to my teams?"

Retreat and gain one.
Move forward and gain two.

As game theory went the math was simple enough, but in reality there were a host of complications oft overlooked. Moving forward only counted as a win if success was assured so that the confidence and reward gained were a net profit. Retreating, on the other hand, before the shadow of a more canny foe, gained you tactical insight for next time.

For there would be a next time.

"I would never insinuate that I knew better than the head of Starfleet Personnel on such matters," Ingram said as he withdrew the memo pad. "I merely provide insight and the gleam of the larger picture so that my betters might make a more educated assessment. It's what science officers do, after all. If you believe I am the correct fit for this posting...well."

He smiled with all the warmth of compressed metallic hydrogen.

"I would be a fool to question your wisdom," he folded the device under his arm, freeing his hands. "Sorry for taking up your valuable time Ma'am."

"I'm sure." Miraya said with a curt nod, starting to continue on, stopping a moment she turned to face the impudent man. "I really hope you come at this assignment with an open mind. You might actually learn something from someone else for a change."



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