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The Center Chair

Posted on 15 Jan 2014 @ 12:53am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Emily Carter

Mission: Echoes
Location: USS Black Hawk, Bridge
Timeline: December 28, 2387 || 1230 hours

With everything nearly settled, it was time for Harvey Geisler to take his place on the bridge. The doors of the Ready Room closed behind him, allowing him to stand next to the viewscreen and watch the bridge crew bustle about the room, preparing the Black Hawk for her maiden voyage with this new command crew.

He looked at the viewscreen that, instead of showing the starfield in front of the Black Hawk, displayed a large chronometer. Thirty minutes remained before their scheduled departure and readiness reports were coming in. Thankfully, they were verbal only.

Harvey's eyes drifted towards the command platform, noticing all three seats were empty, including his own. Two days aboard the Black Hawk and he had still yet to sit in the center seat. Strangely, he felt intimidated by it. Command hadn't been a natural goal for him, merely a natural progression for his life. He could have, had life been more merciful, been willing and ready to live a normal life as a researcher. Sadly losing a wife and having life disrupted by war did not yield such a life.

The chair grew and grew in his vision until it obscured his vision. It was then that he realized that his feet took him unconsciously to the command platform to stand in front of the chair. Harvey reached out and touched the armrests, his hand barely trembling as his fingers brushed the steel trim. He yanked his hand back, reacting as if a dog bit his hand. The metal was in fact cold to the touch. He smirked, somehow realizing that the chair was not a dog, but really, just a chair.

Just a chair...

With a dozen officers and enlisted looking on, Harvey took charge of his composure, turned and sat in the chair. Both arms planted themselves on the armrests and his hands clasped the ends. The chair was surprisingly comfortable. As his confidence grew, he jostled the chair, wondering how it would hold up should the ship be barraged by weapons fire and explosions.

Then he turned side to side. A small creaking sound came from the base. He'd have to get it lubricated in the next few minutes. The chair may have been frightening at first, but it was all his. And heaven would forbid that he had a creaky chair.

"Captain?" came a now-familiar voice with a British accent.

"Have Engineering get some WD-40 up here," Harvey said, not looking towards his yeoman, but instead jostling the chair again, letting her hear the squeak.

"Sir?"

Harvey looked up at Petty Officer Carter and replied, "Lubricant. Graphite. Something to make this chair not squeak."

"Right away, sir," she replied, but did not move.

It was then that he noticed the smile on her face. "What's the occasion, Emily?" he asked, suddenly uncomfortable once again.

She held a PADD up. "Communiqué from Task Force 9 HQ. Orders." Seeing Harvey extend his hand to accept the PADD, she pulled it back away from his reach. "Sorry, sir, they're not exactly for you."

The level of uncomfort continued to rise. "Not... exactly?"

She cleared her throat and called out, "Attention to orders!" The bridge immediately became silent as the crew snapped to attention and faced the command platform and their sitting Captain.

Harvey rose to his feet, annoyed by the turn of events. Orders, especially from TFHQ, were meant for his eyes only. He began his plans to reprimand her as he said, "Petty Officer--"

"In recognition of service to Starfleet," Petty Officer Carter continued, cutting off her CO, "and acceptance of command of the Akira-class USS Black Hawk, effective today, December 28, 2387, Harvey Geisler, Commanding Officer, is hereby promoted to the rank of Commander with all rights and privileges therein. "

Emily then produced a small red box that she had hiding in her other hand and opened it. She removed the hollow pip from Harvey's collar and replaced it with a solid gold pip. "Congratulations, Commander."

The bridge crew celebrated Harvey's news with applause. Just a few minutes from departure and the ship had a decent officer with a proper rank in command. "Thank you," Harvey said, words struggling to return to his mouth. "Back to work, everyone."

As the sounds of hustle and bustle returned to his ear, he quipped to the yeoman, "Warn me next time."

"That was the warning, sir," she said with a smile, handing over the PADD so he could review the orders personally. "I nearly announced it from the turbolift."

With that, she walked away, leaving Harvey alone on the command platform. He reached up to his red collar and felt the new pip. It wasn't any heavier than the hollow pip, nor did it make him feel grander. He reported aboard as Captain of the USS Black Hawk. This promotion didn't change that.

Harvey sat down in the center chair and took a last look at the promotion orders.

"Commanding Officer," he repeated from the PADD. Looking back at the clock at the viewscreen, he smiled. For the first time, the clock didn't represent a departure time. It represented the dawn of a new era. A second chance at life.

Commander Harvey Geisler would certainly make the most of it.

 

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