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The Lioness, Part II

Posted on 11 Mar 2024 @ 16:54 by Lieutenant Commander Heather Kowal & Senior Chief Petty Officer Hamish McManus

1,399 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: The Leo
Location: USS Leo, Airlock & Crew's Mess
Timeline: MON 01 MAR 2393, 12:07

"Lieutenant Commander Heather Kowal, reporting aboard," Heather announced to the watchstander. Who checked over the crew's manifest and list of arriving crew. When indicated, she placed her hand on the scanner that would prove her identity, and when it gave a pleased sound and turned green, she removed her hand.

"Welcome aboard, Captain," the watchstander said, exchanging salutes another time. "Come on aboard." Then, with a push of another button on the console, there was the sound of an old bosun whistle piped across the shipwide address system, followed by the words: "Leo Arriving."

"Thank you, Petty Officer," she said with a nod. Heather moved aboard the ship and stood in the airlock for a moment, waiting for a decision on where to go first. Her stomach growled, and that was the answer. She tapped her comm badge, "Commander Kowal to Senior Chief McManus."

McManus was just finishing his duty shift on the Leo's bridge when the tanoy had announced the Captain's arrival and his com badge pinged. Given the ship was docked within the Starbase, the shift had been one of the most uneventful of his time onboard. His duty log would be very scant. As McManus reached the access hatch, he tapped his own com badge.

"McManus here, go ahead Captain." he spoke as he stepped over the threshold.

"Meet me in the crew's mess? Perhaps a working lunch?" she suggested.

"Of course Captain, I've just finished my duty shift. I could meet you twelve thirty hours? I just need to file my duty log." he made his way the short distance from the bridge to the forward stair well.

"Perfect, see you there," she said, and with that, she entered into the crew's mess.

"Afternoon, Senior," Heather said as she carried her tray of food toward a table as the senior chief arrived. "Grab yourself some lunch and we can get to it?" she suggested.

"Ma'am." he nodded as he entered the mess hall, he made his way to the nearest replicator scrolled through the menu items and picked a chicken caesar with an accompanying 'Yorkshire brew'. A traditional English tea from his native country. The replicator buzzed as the food materialised.

"Perfect," he muttered as he lifted the cup of tea from the replicator and crossed to the Commander's table.

Heather settled down, holding off from starting lunch until her Chief of the Boat joined her. Her tray consisted of a salad, a large sandwich, and a glass of iced tea. Her stomach growled as she waited and decided to open up her PADD that she carried in her cargo pocket on the table next to her and browse the newly accessible information on the Leo and its crew.

McManus stood at the side of the table, waiting to be granted permission to sit.

"Oh, please have a seat," Heather said, once she realized he was waiting for an invitation. "I want to assure you that I don't believe in all of the extra ceremony when it's not called for. This is a small unit and it is tight nit. You're also the COB which means you're my most trusted and experienced advisor. You're always welcome at my table, Senior Chief."

"Thank you Ma'am," he took the seat, placing the tray on the table, he took another sip from the Tea before arranging his eating utensils. "I appreciate your approach Captain. It might take some a bit of time adapt to a less rigorous approach. I would expect you'll get a lot of saluting while the crew adapt."

He skewered a piece of chicken with his fork, followed with some of the lettuce from the salad and took a bite.

"That's fine from the crew but you're not the crew, you're command," she told him. "You, the XO if we get one, and me we're a team. So, tell me, what do I need to know? Let's conduct our handoff over lunch." Heather lifted her sandwich eyeing the man for a moment before taking a bite and placing it back down as she chewed.

"The boat is in good shape Ma'am. There are some swatches of carpet that have yet to see a boot." He position his fork for another skewering of chicken. "But, she's lean. Leaner than most expect. No holodeck, limited food replicators. Generally limited facilities. Crew who may have been used to a single or double cabin on a larger ship, are going to be in bunk rooms. Space is limited. Even more so than, say..." he paused looking for an apt analogy, "a Defiant Class."

"I've been on small commands my entire career," Heather assured him. "And we've arranged quarters aboard Starbase 157 for the crew when we are in port. We will have shorter patrols than most, and that will give them some time to stretch their legs. It's an important thing for a ship this small, I think," she told him.

"I know that nobody has come to this command prepared or with knowing the ship, but I'd like to do as much training underway as we can. Providing the crew arrivals occur on or mostly to schedule, when do you think the earliest we'd be prepared to depart would be? And what non-crew related concerns do we need to address before then?"

Hamish stewed on the Commander's questions for a few seconds, "I understand that we are on track for crew transfers to be completed prior to departure. That being said, if you need us to depart we can do so within 30 minutes. She is," he gestured to the wider ship, "a fast response vessel after all."

The COB reached for his mug, "As for non-crew related issues, we have no emergency medical system onboard yet and I would be slightly apprehensive about the effectiveness of our silent running mode. There's a very slight irregularity in one of the starboard eps lines which if it flared up would be a noticeable ping on someone's sensors."

"I don't believe we will have an emergency hologram, but we will have a physician and a few corpsmen, which will be more than other classes similar in size. I am sure that we will be safe enough. As for the silent running mode what do you think needs to be done to solve that issue? I am by no means an engineer."

"They're crazy handy, Ma'am. If we can get one installed, we should. In the event the physician is out of action, it could seriously save lives. As for silent running, we have a team currently investigating it. In the mean time, we need to manually monitor the system. In silent running mode, we'll just need to be extra vigilant."

"I'll make sure that the Engineering Officer is aware when they report aboard," she said. "And I don't believe we have the holo emitters for the EMH to run off of. I don't think we're going to get them installed throughout the ship. It sure would be nice to have but we're going to have to work with the medical staff we have, just like in the old days."

"Aye," he nodded in acknowledgment. He squared his cutlery to the side of his tray. "Do you have any specific requirements from your crew Ma'am? Any word on our first assignment?"

"Our first assignment will be a shakedown cruise, though beyond that, nothing official. Based on the class and our capabilities, it will likely be border patrol-related or some sort of patrol through the corridor. In general, getting this ship and a couple of others of this class to the front line around the Romulan borders and building this Task Force up for the corridor and beyond seems to be a high priority. I can't imagine we won't have a job by the time we're underway," Heather said.

Hamish nodded his agreement. He was also sure that the shakedown trip would be a fast transition into bigger things. He also knew the Task Force Commander was anxious to bolster regional operations.

"I expect us to be ahead of schedule with crew arrivals; we're already doing decently well; the only missing part of senior staff is an executive officer. But I'm not certain we need to worry about that," she said as her comm badge chirped. Another member of the team was arriving, and she'd have to meet them after lunch.


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