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Woman in Red

Posted on 15 May 2014 @ 8:52am by Commander C. Kos & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Pursuit
Location: USS Black Hawk, Port Airlock

Harvey watched the Trill Science Chief leave the airlock, leaving the Captain alone with the new XO and the Operations officer assigned to maintain the docking connections. "Commander Kos," Harvey said, gesturing towards the corridor. "Hope you're in a walking mood."

"Of course sir. I need to decompress a little after my run-in with Mister Vex," she replied.

Harvey led Kos out into the corridor. Personally, he wasn't much of a talker, but a few years of being an executive officer inspired some alternate behavior in many areas. While he could carry a conversation, small talk was still a weakness. He knew that certain conversations in the corridor led to scuttlebutt, and he had a feeling this was one of them. Perhaps when the opportunity arose, Harvey would ask about this run-in.

"How's the red collar?" he asked, wanting to learn more about his new XO before starting to handle business.

'Do I tell him the truth?' she asked herself. "Honestly sir, I'm still adjusting. I've been in red for a couple of months, since Captain Rossilli made me acting Exec after Commander Washington died. Command was never something I though much about. It wasn't a goal. I was happy in the engine room. Or an astrometrics lab. Or riding an Ops console." Mac sighed. "Let's just say that I am still a little shocked to be here sir. How long did it take you to adjust? You came up through Medical, so I imagine Command wasn't at the front of your mind either."

Though his face didn't show it, Harvey was surprised that his file had been reviewed. "I enjoyed my research," he replied, "and I still dabble." Harvey stopped talking for a moment, memories of joyous times in the research lab returning to the surface of his mind. And then the pain returned.

"Let's just say I welcomed the lifestyle change." Harvey folded his arms as they continued to walk. "It gets easier, with time."

"Glad to hear it sir," Mac responded. They continued walking down the corridor and made it several more meters before either one spoke again. "Minor protocol question if I may sir."

"Go ahead." Harvey stopped in front of a turbolift and tapped the "call" button. As he waited for it to arrive, he turned to face Kos.

"I assume that on the Bridge in front of the crew you'd prefer that I call you by Captain or sir. What about in private? I'm coming off an assignment with a CO that I was friends with before he became Captain, so I'm used to a more casual style with him. I don't want to start off on the wrong foot here, so it seems best I ask."

Harvey nodded, having not before considered the request. He was one of the oldest entrants to the Academy, and somehow because of that, he never cared for rank. Both of his postings at Starbase 211 were rather informal. During his first round of XO during the war, rank came to mean everything, even when he was just a lieutenant unable to outrank other lieutenants except by position. "Harvey will be fine," he replied at last. "But only in private."

"Of course," she responded. She was grateful that Geisler was open to being more casual.

The turbolift arrived, and Harvey led Kos inside. Glancing at Kos, he instructed the lift to move to Deck Two, Senior Officer quarters. "Otherwise, Captain will do fine." Harvey glanced down at his feet, then back up. "Normally, on days like today, I'd have you supervising the transfer of personnel and supplies from the transport. It's been a slow past couple of weeks, so I hope you won't mind me taking point on this."

Kos smiled. "I know to pick my battles. This isn't one I'm going to fight. I'll save that for when you try to beam down to a potential security risk location."

Harvey too cracked a smile. Surprisingly, he felt quite comfortable around his new XO.

"And for the record sir, Although my first name is actually Christina, I haven't gone by that since I was a little kid. I've used my middle name almost exclusively. Mackenzie. You can call me Mac." She flashed a smile at her new CO. She instantly realized that her smile could be seen as flirtatious, which was not what she was going for.

Harvey watched the commander's smile instantly disappear and the awkward silence that engulfed the turbolift for the remainder of its short ride. The doors opened, revealing the corridor that led to the Senior Officer quarters. "Well," he said, breaking the silence, "stow your gear and head on up to the bridge. You're got an Akira to familiarize yourself with."

Mac smiled. "Very good sir." She looked down the corridor and then back to Geisler. "I did spend two years on an Akira-class. As Chief Engineer. The Susquehanna. Served under Admiral Jonao, though he was a Captain then. These are good ships, though the early production run, like the Susquehanna, suffer from a recurring sensor glitch that can be a nightmare to track down. Luckily the Black Hawk came out of the yard late in the second production run, so that particular glitch had been identified, a software patch formulated, and applied by then."

"That's good," Harvey replied. Of all Starfleet departments, Engineering was the one that was the most foreign to Harvey. He could find his way around any Sickbay or Research Lab, but Engineering...

He was, however, making efforts to learn. The Black Hawk was his to command and the more he knew, the better. "I expect you'll help acclimate me as well then," he said. "I've served on a variety of ships, but the Akira and I only have a little more than a month-old relationship." It was one of the reasons why he selected her as his XO. Years in the war and after gave him the appropriate Tactical experience, but being stationed on the fringe meant he needed support in other areas. He had confidence in Lieutenant Noxa with Tactical, but the Black Hawk needed to function without Starbase support. Someone who knew the Akira-class held further value than someone who could rout an enemy.

"I'll do what I can," Mac responded with a smile. "I think I'll stow my gear now. See you on the Bridge shortly sir." She looked around, and seeing that they were alone added, "Harvey."

As Kos left the lift, Harvey stood in total shock. For a brief moment, at the mention of his name, a familiar face replaced his first officer's. Her tone, the smile, the sparkle in Mac's eye instantly sent him back to thirteen years to another smiling red head in a research lab. He wound up marrying and losing that one.

Was that why he was so drawn to select Kos as his XO? Harvey closed his eyes after the doors closed and lowered his face towards the floor. "Bridge," he muttered, still unsure what to think...

Mac covered the short distance from the turbolift to her quarters in short order. The door sensor had already been programmed to recognize her bio-signal, so the doors opened to allow her to enter her new home. She saw that her two larger bags had already been delivered. "I'll unpack those later. Nothing in them I need immediately," she said aloud. She frequently spoke out loud even when alone. She found it comforting for some reason.

She took a few minutes to examine her quarters. They were larger than her quarters aboard the Iroquois, but she had remained in the Chief Engineering quarters even after her being appointed the acting XO. She hadn't seen much point in moving all of her belongings because of an 'acting' promotion. After seeing the additional size of the XO quarters on the Black Hawk though, she was regretting that decision. "Of course, the Black Hawk is a newer ship, so the quarters back on the 'quois might not have matched up," she reminded herself.

Shaking the thought of the comparison from her mind, she opened her small shoulder bag and pulled out a PADD. She checked the power level and, seeing that it was mostly charged, tucked it under her arm and headed for the bridge. Once on the turbolift, she pulled out the PADD and tapped several controls to connect it to the Black Hawk's computer, and then pulled up the most recent department status reports so she could review them once on the bridge.

 

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