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More First Impressions

Posted on 22 Jun 2017 @ 12:48am by Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Callam Jaxer

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Terry Walsh's Office
Timeline: MD4/1930hrs

Callam exited the Captain's Ready Room and looked at his wrist chronometer. If he handled things just right, he could fit in a quick meeting with his new squadron commander, Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh and still have time for his plans later.

"Computer," he said to the air around him. "Would you be so kind as to locate Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh?"

Again Callam was polite to the computer. He'd read the Old Earth science fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. When the ship's computer went off the deep end Callam had no intention of being blown out an airlock. He was going to be the computer's best pal and likely be the only one left alive when Starfleet finally retook the ship.

The familiar voice of the computer responded in it's monotone, "Lieutenant Commander Walsh is currently located on Deck Eleven in his office in the Squadron Command Center."

"Excellent," Callam responded. "Thank you very much for your assistance, computer."

"You are welcome, Lieutenant Callam Jaxer," the computer replied. "Have a nice evening."

Callam looked over at the panel that the computer's voice was coming from. Was it just him, or was the Black Hawk's computer...friendlier than other computers he'd encountered? Callam shrugged and headed for Deck 11, more convinced than ever that the AI revolution was going to be a thing someday. He finally arrived at Commander Walsh's office and rang the door chime.

Terry had just finished wrapping some things up, as it was late, and was about to grab his uniform vest. Then the door chime sounded. He grinned and nodded his head. "Yep, normal," he said quietly. "It's open, come on in," he called.

Callam entered, walked up to Walsh's desk, and stood at attention.

"Chief Warrant...sorry...Lieutenant Callam Jaxer, reporting to the Squadron Commander," Callam said. "You're Commander Walsh, I take it? Sorry about that, sir. I haven't actually been a Lieutenant all that long. Didn't even actually apply to be a limited duty officer. I was a Chief Warrant Officer on TDY to Flight School helping to transition pilots over to the Gryphon and otherwise minding my own business, when the school's CO calls me into his office and utters those words any experienced service member dreads: Mister, Starfleet needs you...next thing I knew, I was a Lieutenant and on my way to rendezvous with you guys out here."

Terry left his vest on the back of his chair and sat back down. "At ease Lieutenant and have a seat." Terry picked up a PADD from the edge of his desk and brought up the Lieutenant's personnel file. He did a quick scan through it and nodded. "Well, welcome aboard," Terry said, putting the PADD down. "Always glad to have a Gryphon expert in the squadron. We're all still getting use to 'em." He paused a second before continuing, "So, you dreaded hearing that Starfleet needed you, huh? Was that a tongue-in-cheek statement or do I need to keep an eye on you?"

Callam managed to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Clearly Walsh had forgotten to turn on his sense of humor this morning...or he was a blind patriot. Callam wasn't sure which would be worse. A commanding officer who took everything seriously or a blind patriot. Blind patriotism led to unnecessary sacrifice.

"I've been a Starfleet fighter pilot my whole adult life, since shortly after my eighteenth birthday, Commander," he said. "That was over a quarter century ago. In that time I've more than proven my loyalty to Starfleet and the UFP. My patriotism isn't blind, sir, but I never let cynicism keep me from doing my job. My record speaks for itself, but if you want to waste your time and mine 'keeping an eye' on me, be my guest...sir. But in my opinion your time would be better spent on other things."

Cynicism...interesting comment. Oh, and his well placed, hesitant 'sir.' Terry stood and walked around his desk to the little table on the opposite side. He picked up a PADD and began tapping the back of it against the palm of his hand. "I didn't ask you for your opinion...Warrant. Oh, excuse me...Lieutenant. Nor did I ask you to instruct me on how to spend my time managing personnel. According to your orders, your here as the Bravo Flight Lead, not the Squadron Commander." He walked back around and stood next to his chair. "I'd recommend a little more decorum if you ever meet the Captain."

Callam chuckled.

"Feel better now, sir?" he said. "I hope so, because it seems we're dangerously close to taking a dip in Lake Silly. For the record, I already met the captain. It seemed to go well, but thanks for the advice about decorum. I know your heart was in the right place. I know you're the squadron commander. It even says so right there on the door to you office in block letters, just anyone forgets before they come in here. I don't have any problems following any legal order you give or with doing things your way. And I'm not afraid of taking necessary risks. What did ole JTK say? Risk is our business? I might turn out to be a bit of a pain in your ass from time to time, out can trust me to get the job done."

Callam gave that just a second to sink in, then spoke again, his voice taking on a more somber tone.

"The captain told me you guys had it really rough during that Consortium dust up," Callam said. "That you lost people...comrades, friends. I"m sorry for your loss, Commander."

Terry leaned over the desk and put the palms of his hands on it. "Darn skippy I feel better," he said. Then he sat back down. "Just don't make the pain in the ass thing a habit. I'd rather not have this talk again and again." That was better. Things started out on the rocky side between them, but what Jaxer had just said was more Terry's style for first introductions.

When the man brought up the Consortium battle, Terry leaned back. "Thank you Lieutenant. Rough is putting it mildly. And yes, we lost a lot of people, a lot of friends." He paused for a second, thinking of the last couple of letters that he had to write. "I need good, strong pilots to fill those roles. And I can see from your file that you are highly experienced. But I also need good, strong people. So, tell me something about yourself. Something that I can't read in personnel file."

And...here we go again. What's next? If he thinks my answer isn't respectful enough he's going to start peeing in all the corners to mark his territory? Oh, well. I'll just have to deal. What in the name of the Prime Number am I supposed to tell him that isn't in my file?

Daytona thought for moment about what was in his file and what wasn't.

"As a kid," he said. "I was constantly getting into 'disagreements' with what could only be called bullies. I never let them pick on me, I didn't let them pick on my siblings, my friends, clan cousins, or even casual acquaintances and nearly complete strangers. At first I had to crack heads every time I stepped in, and quite a few times when I stepped in I got stepped on, but that didn't stop me. My human grandfather taught me a human martial art called Fu Style Wudangquan. It was developed in the Earth country of China in Earth's late 19th and early 20th centuries, based on arts that were somewhat older. He started as soon as I could stand up on two feet, so it wasn't long before I could handle myself pretty well. By the time I was twelve years old, I could often run off bullies close to my age with a look. The older ones required a demonstration and I didn't always win all of those, but again, that didn't deter me. I just picked myself up and kept right on going. Some of these altercations were settled by the school, some by our parents, and some involved the local constabulary. A few of my parents were worried about what kind of an adult I would be, but my biological parents believed in me. My biological mother was matriarch of our little family so ultimately whatever she said was the law. She approved of me for the most part, so everyone else stepped in line and supported me, even when I decided to forgo a university education, even passing up applying to Starfleet Academy, in order to sign up to be a Starfleet Flight Warrant Officer. The Cardassian Border Wars began about two years after I was born. Mother knew that from the moment I was old enough to understand what was going on, I had been absorbing every bit of news I could find regarding the war. She told me later that she knew that I was going to join Starfleet, that it made perfect sense to her and that's why she didn't oppose my choice, even after I chose to bypass Starfleet Academy."

Callam paused for a moment and then went on.

"My very first operation," he said. "Was the third attempt to secure and hold a planet called Genorious III. It had been lost, taken, lost, taken, and lost again. Bloody campaigns had been fought each time. We fought again for Genorious III. The tide of battle turned several times and my unit was abandoned on the planet along with the marines several times when the Cardassians chased away Starfleet Forces in orbit, only to return and chase out the Cardassians. Wash, rinse, repeat. Finally, we secured the planet. I was deeply affected by the losses I'd seen and experiences, but I felt a sense of accomplishment. That diminished when I learned that Genorious III changed hands several more times before the final treaties were signed in 2370. Then I found out that after all of the lives lost securing the resource-rich planet, home to many Federation colonists, the Federation negotiators just signed the system over to the Cardassians. I wondered what it was all for. It probably says in my file that I left Starfleet and joined the Maquis. I thought, at the time, I was doing the right thing. When the Jem'Hadar attacked us in 2373, I fought them, but it was no use. I ended up escorting a group of light freighters out of the Badlands, helping to evacuate whatever non-combatants we could. I was picked up by Starfleet shortly after and offered a full pardon if I agreed to fight the Dominion and their allies. I agreed, because I wanted revenge, because I hated Cardassians, and yes, because I wanted that pardon, but also because, deep down, I still believed...still believe in the ideals of the Federation that I had sworn an oath to protect. So I took their pardon, I fought in the war, and afterwards I stayed in Starfleet. I suppose I stayed at first because I wasn't sure where to go next. After a short time, I realized that being part of something bigger than myself was important to me. I'll never be the naive, blindly patriotic youth I once was, but I wear this uniform with pride."

Terry listened to the new Lieutenant's description of things that weren't in his file. It was a lot to process, but so was all the information that came at him in the cockpit. So, not much of a difference there. "Very good, then," said the Commander. He picked up the PADD and scrolled. Then he looked up and continued, "So you fought in the Dominion War as well. I would say nice to meet a fellow veteran, but we both know there was nothing nice about it."

"Tell me about it," Callam replied. He laughed. "Figures the first thing two fighter pilots find they have in common is a war. Did you make it to the big fight at the end? I was busy trying to stay alive in the mountains near what used to be Joint Allied Base Chintoka. I fought in the First Battle of Chintoka when we captured the place. My unit got stationed on the planet to support the SFMC, Klingon Defense Force, and Romulan Naval Infantry forces located there. Then the Breen attacked and decimated the fleet in orbit. They were so busy retrieving escape pods that they didn't have time to completely evacuate the planet. A bunch of us...Starfleet, SFMC, Klingons, Romulans, Remans, we all got left behind. Allied forces didn't return for three months. We fought a guerilla action against mostly Breen and Jem'Hadar ground forces. I was so happy when we picked up that Starfleet transmission I almost fainted, though that could have been from hunger. So, anyway, I missed the grand finale."

Terry shook his head. "I'd heard about and read some of the reports on Chintoka. My condolences on your losses, Lieutenant. You guys held your ground good though, that's for sure. Yeah, I flew in the battle to retake Deep Space Nine. But not one of the Peregrines. At the time, I was SFMC pilot. Flew Marine Typhoon class fighters. Lost a lot of good pilots...and friends that day. Filthy boneheads. Anyway, it was madness. Everywhere."

"Yes it was," Callam said. "So, I take it we might have some excitement on the schedule for tomorrow? I read the duty roster. Apparently my flight has the CAP and standby duty during Beta Shift. Not sure how that's going to play for tomorrow, though. Want to fill me in?"

Terry remembered how that had all panned out according to the normal duty roster and the things that they were about to head into. "That is a possibility, but we hope not," he said. "As for you filling in, that would be good. Thanks. I'll leave the working out of it up to you. You know, how to divide the Flight for CAP, who to leave on standby, all of that. It'll give you a chance to get to know the pilots."

"Excellent," Callam said. "Well, I'm glad we found somewhere to meet in the middle, sir. If, uhm, it's okay with you, could we end here? I kind of have plans this evening."

"I'm glad for that too, Lieutenant," replied Terry. "Middle ground is good." He had to grin at the Lieutenant's last statement. "Plans is it? Well, far be it from me to stand in the way of a man's plans for the evening." He stood. "Welcome to the Black Knights, Lieutenant Jaxer. And enjoy your evening. Dismissed."

"Thank you, sir," Callam responded. "I'll do that."

Terry watched the Lieutenant leave and then stood. He grabbed his uniform vest and put it on, leaving it unzipped. "Day is done," he said, and headed out of the office.

 

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