Word to the Wise
Location: USS Sovereign - Captain's Ready Room
Frank was more than a little worried and frustrated when he left Sickbay. He stopped off at the supply office, filled out a requisition form and handed it to the supply officer. While he waited for the item to be replicated to the pre-programmed specs, he wandered around the small office and looked at the displays of military uniforms from the past. One case had the blue cammos worn by those serving on the US Naval ships during the 21st Century. Below that was an olive drab woolen uniform worn by the marines during Earth's WWI...boots and pack. The supply officer came back with a large box and handed it to Frank who signed the receiving slip and he thanked the man then left. In the hallway he walked over to a Security computer terminal built into the wall of the corridor and said, "computer...locate Captain Kirk." That still made him smirk a bit.
=^=Captian Kirk is in her Ready Room.=^=
Frank shut down the terminal and headed to Deck 1. A few minutes later he crossed the Bridge and walked through the door between the CO's office and the Bridge, knocking on the door jam as he crossed the threshold. "Excuse me, Captain. I think you'll need this," he said, holding out the large box with Kirk's red trimmed leather uniform. "Starfleet Base wear won't cut it on Sovereign. You need to show unity if you are going to earn this crew's respect," he added with a smile but his eyes were serious. "You have mine and I am loyal to the rank. But having been in Starfleet longer I want to warn you...you have a lot to learn and a very short time to learn it in. All of the books and lectures and simulations in the world do not prepare you for command. Experience does. And we both know you don't have that to back you up so you will need to find other ways to gain their," he gestures toward the bridge, "...trust. I will help if I can...if you let me." He gestured toward the chair in front of her desk. "May I?" he asked, politely.
Kirk, sitting behind her desk, had stood and came around while he spoke, taking the uniform and setting it aside. She motioned to the chair. "Please, do," as she went back around to her own seat. Sitting, she then sat forward and rested her arms on her desk. "Of course I have a lot to learn, as do you, and all of them," she motioned toward the wall with the bridge on the other side. "Experience is fine if one knows how to apply it right. If not, people die. I didn't choose this posting, nor this rocket-backed rise to Captain. However, since it was thrust in my lap, Commander Douglas, I intend to do it to the best of my ability. I do care what the crew thinks of me, but at the same time I don't. If they can't accept me then that is their choice, but it doesn't change facts, no matter how butt-hurt they may be. My intention, above all, is to see that this crew survives every possible contingency, every possible event, every possible encounter. Sovereign can get blown to Hades, but as long as this crew survives to serve aboard another, then I have done my job." After venting all that, being as blunt as Douglas had been upon entering, Kirk finally let her shoulders visibly relax, her tone a bit more friendly. "Now. With that out of the way, do you wish to have a conversation, or do we keep throwing what is expected at each other?" A slight grin formed in the corner of her mouth, her eyes meeting his and not blinking.
Having just sat down, Frank put his hands on the arms of the chair and pushed himself back to a standing position. With a shake if his head and disappointment in his eyes he said, "nope, Captain. Don't see any need to now. It's pretty clear where you stand on things." He moved towards the door. "You have a great day, ma"am And good luck." With that he walked out of the Ready Room. Very disappointing, he thought to himself. He had really hoped the kid would be mature enough to accept his counsel but it was clear she was still in that know it all stage of life and would have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately that usually meant her crew would end up suffering and Frank had a lot of friends in this rust bucket.
Kirk watched him leave, then sat back in her chair and rubbed her forehead. What the hell was that? Taking up a PADD Kirk tapped on it and got what she wanted, then tapped her combadge. "Commander Douglas, return to my ready room. Captain, out." She stood and came around her desk, waiting between the door and her guest chairs for him to return. He would not be sitting down this time.
Frank was in the turbolift halfway to the deck his office was on when he got the order to return to the Captain's office. He shook his head. I don't like games, he thought as he reversed the direction of the turbolift. He stepped onto the bridge and silently, but with a command posture, walked across the bridge and over to the door of the CO's Ready Room. "What can I do for you, Captain?" he asked, evenly and without emotional inference.
Kirk handed him the PADD. "Your transfer order, Commander. Sign it and it will come to pass once this mission is over. It is unfortunate we cannot get along, but I will not hold you back." She looked him in the eyes, evenly. "I just need to know you will give your best until this dilemma is dealt with."
Frank looked at the young woman with amusement as he took the PADD and looked it over. "May I offer you one last bit of advice?" he asked as he noticed the destination had not been filled in.
"I am always open to advice," stated Kirk. "Please, permission to speak freely."
"Make that two bits," Frank said, looking over the top of the PADD at Kirk. "Number one is....you need to figure out a way to not become defensive when someone who has been around a lot longer than you have attempts to share their wisdom with you. Defensiveness is a mechanism that ends up blocking any information you might glean from what the other person is saying. It is also a sign of arrogance and arrogance is rarely respected and never trusted.. Number two...," he pulled the stylus out of the slot on the side of the PADD and wrote in "anywhere I am needed" in the destination box and signed the transfer. "The higher the pedestal you put yourself on....the further you have to fall. And everyone falls, Captain." He handed her back the PADD and said, "now if you will excuse me, Captain....I have someone waiting in my office that does listen to my words of wisdom," and he winked a fatherly wink.
Kirk gave a sigh, taking in the words, but finding some of them hard to swallow. Knowing, in her heart, that if the situation were reversed, Douglas would get defensive as well. But, to keep things calm and even, she decided to forego her normal reactions. "Frank," she paused a moment. "Yes, it is okay to address you common. So, Frank, keep in mind I have to maintain a certain air of superiority, of solitude. The ways and means of command. I get what you're saying, but without being able to make those mistakes, then how will I learn from them? I am NOT, by any fucking means, on a pedestal, you understand that? I am being who I need to be, at this point in time, due to the circumstances handed to me."
Extending her hand, shaking his, she continued. "Hi Frank, I'm Jamie. I got handed a shitstorm. I am dealing the best way I can, relying on this crew to keep functioning while I find my legs. I have no idea what happens after this is over, since I was told this is a temporary thing, to be reviewed once it is all over. You gave me that uniform, which I am afraid to put on because I can't say that chair will be mine when it's done. You want unity. How can I provide that when I don't even know where I'll be in days to come? My words of wisdom are this; if I fall this crew falls with me unless we become a cohesive unit. I believe that the word 'friend' should never have been spelled the way it is, because in my opinion there is no 'I' in frend." Kirk raised the PADD up, making sure he could see it, tapping the DENIED key for the transfer, then tossing it over on the sofa. "Your request for transfer is denied," she said with mirth in her eyes. "I need you. I need them," she motioned toward the wall that the bridge was on the other side of. "I need you." Jamie extended her hand again, her eyes serious now, and when he didn't take it, she wiggled it a bit to show she was sincere. "You will nursemaid me through these difficulties, Mister?"
Frank hesitated, looking at the very young woman. Before taking her hand he said in a quiet calm tone, "it doesn't matter if you are in that chair a day, a week or the rest of your life. Right here and now you are and that air of superiority as you put it? It wreaks with arrogance. The most respected leaders lead with tact not superiority. And tact...and this isn't my quote but one I saw on a poster behind my weapons instructor's desk at the Academy and one I have never forgotten and live by religiously....tact is telling a person to go to hell and making them believe they are glad they're going. You need them as much as they need a leader they can trust not fear...not hate...or resent." He took her hand. "It appears my transfer has been denied so I will do what I have always done....the best job I know how to do. As for nursemaiding you through things? I will attempt to advise and counsel but only as long as you listen. I will not argue my point. You either accept it or not. Once you start with the arrogant attitude and want to turn everything into a major dissertation and debate I'm out." His tone was never cross or offensive....just that of a man who had been around the block more times than he cared to count and had seen more things than he cared to remember. "You have a lot of potential to be a great captain. But you won't see it if you don't get rid of the chip on your shoulder." He smiled warmly and gave her hand a gentle squeeze as he waited for her to initiate the actual hand shake.
"I can accept that," said Jamie, shaking his hand warmly, covering it with her other in a show of understanding before she released. "You know, as well as I, that as Captain I expect my orders to be obeyed. Some decisions will be questionable. I'll grant that. I won't be coddled nor babied in front of the crew, and I expect from everyone the same amount of effort I will always put in myself. If the crew can't match my own dedication then I will replace them with those who will. I am open to suggestions and counsel, it's why we have a CREW, not single occupant vessels. I will find the balance. If that is agreeable then I hope we have many years together on this ship. Well, depending on what Starfleet says when it's all over. Deal?"
She definitely likes to make speeches, Frank thought to himself as he nodded his head and smiled. Her need to dissertate was exhausting and all he wanted to do at this point was get back to his office and deal with Lohki. As he started to ask if they were finished, he caught a glimpse of the uniform on her desk. Leaning closer to her ear and whispered, "Captain....I think you should wear the uniform," and smile and a playful wink. "Really. You'd look good in it." He straightened up and asked, "now....may I please get back to my duties?"
Kirk tilted her head, a bit pissed off. "I'm sure it will look fine. Once you leave I'll change. And yes, you can leave, Douglas. Just one more question, a yes or no, and then you can go. Do-we-have-a-deal?" She arched her eyebrows and waited.
Frank sighed with obvious frustration. In one ear and out the other, he thought as he said, wearily, "yes, Captain. We have a deal." To himself he added, happy now? "Have a nice day," he said over his shoulder as he took his leave. He heard snickers as he walked across the bridge but they silenced when he stepped into the tubolift and turned around.