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Meeting the Team

Posted on 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:19am by Warrant Officer 1 Victor "Zane" Vossler

Mission: Mission 2: Goodwill
Location: Communications Shop

Zane turned the corner on D-deck and entered the communications shop. It was a long, narrow work area carved between the armory and the main computer core. The walls were lined with workspaces, each featuring a computer and an array of tools, disassembled equipment, parts, or a combination thereof. Storage bins littered the floor and crewmen milled about, attending to one thing or the other. In comparison to the general orderliness of the ship it was less than acceptable.

Because this was his first time down here, and because he had been so disconnected, Zane didn’t act on his initial urge to kick one of the bins across the room and into the closest crewman on his right. The reports he had been receiving from the lead petty were fairly non-descriptive so far. That is to say he barely got any reports. It seemed the reason the man hadn’t been promoted to Chief the last several times he was eligible was because of poor performance evals and peer reviews.

This wasn’t Zane’s cup of tea. He didn’t join Starfleet to perform administrative duties or help coalesce a team. He joined because he loved the challenge. There is no greater challenge than taking a language or signal that no human has ever seen or heard and being the first person to decrypt it, unlock its secret, or deliver its meaning. There was a thrill in that for him. The thrill of the chase, the thrill of the hunt, whatever you want to call it, the thrill was very real.

There was not much thrill in this group, however. That much was apparent from the outside looking in.

The crewman to his left finally noticed a new face, and after the obligatory eye drift to his shoulder, he snapped to attention. “There’s an officer on deck!”

The other men stiffened their postures, one of them dropping something that sounded rather heavy in the process.

Zane focused. He needed to set a precedent here. First impressions were meaningful. He needed to channel his father. As painful as it was to think that way, the man was at least respected as an officer. What were those words he always used? Command presence. Zane needed some of that.

“Alright guys, if we could form up real quick, I have a few things I want to go over.” His voice started low, but he strengthened it as he went.

There was a workspace in the rear with a plotting table in the center. This became his conference room. Once the men had gathered around, some of them begrudgingly, he began.

“First of all I’m Mr. Vossler, the communications officer. I’ve been-”

“Well it’s about time you showed up. You know we left port a good while ago.” Walter Friedman, the lead petty, interjected.

“I’m aware Mr. Friedman, thank you. I’ve been confined to quarters due to illness and was just recently cleared by medical. Now, if we-”

“Yeah well, it’s been business as usual down here, so don’t-”

At this point, Zane’s nature was begging him to just listen to the man’s gripes and wait for the next quiet moment to speak. Normally, the man in the room with the most metal on his collar handled these types of problems, and he just stood quietly and waited for the dust to settle. But this time it was him. He had to deal with it. So he thought about his father, and what he might do, and he thought about his superior on the Endeavor.

“Mr. Friedman, we’ll have a sidebar after this to work out whatever is on your mind, but right now we’re going to get on with new business. So no more interruptions unless subject related. Understood?”

The man looked surprised and angry, but he bit his tongue.

“Now. I’ve been reviewing the specs on the subspace relay that we are to deploy given that the Paraagan delegation signed off on it. I haven’t heard how the first contact meetings shook out, but I want to plan as if we definitely have to do it.” Zane tapped a few keys on the side of the plotting table, and the surface shifted into a display of the relay schematics.

“This layout is pretty standard, and is almost identical to the others that have been deployed elsewhere. What I’m looking for is how we can improve it. I want your suggestions.”

“Why do we need to improve it?” this from a crewman on the right side of the table, brow furrowed.

“Why wouldn’t we?” Zane started, meeting eyes with each of the men. “Why do we have to do it the same way it has always been done?”

Silence from the men, some of them stared at the diagrams in thought, some of them stared off into space.

“Well, I’ll break the ice” Zane finally announced, moving the diagram to a particular area. “I think we can reduce power consumption overall if we can find a way to re-wire these auxiliary inputs so that they are only powered if activated. Then, we could set up a method for staging different areas of the main board based on need. If we can do that, we can give more active power to the main transponder and thus extend our range just slightly given that the relay is in coast mode and isn’t in need of adjustments of any sort.”
He looked around. “I want some fleshed out ideas like that one and some others by end of shift tomorrow. I think we can get more bang for our buck. Also, I’m going to assign someone with the specifications passed to us by the ambassador so that they can be checked and implemented if necessary. Understood everyone?”

The men glanced at each other, then back at him, blankly.

“Ok. Get to it.”

Zane stood for a moment after the meeting, while the others were shuffling off, to see if the petty wanted to berate him some more about his absence. Thankfully, he’d found a new target. He was following a meek looking crewman back to the service hatch, giving less than friendly advice about how to re-route one of the conduits coming from the aft comms array.

In that moment, he saw himself in that crewman. He was never one to speak up, to go against the grain, to push back against the bully. Zane pulled up his personnel files on the console he was accessing, then signed out and walked over to the pair.

“Mr. Zimmer, could you follow me please?”

Zane turned to make his way for the door. The crewman’s eyes darted between Zane and Friedman, but he bounded after the warrant, thankful to have escaped Friedman’s verbal onslaught.

“Yes sir?”

“I want you to handle the ambassador’s specification sheet. Make sure we support them, and if we don’t, see to it that we do. You have any issues you let me know.” Zane said, turning out of the door.

Zimmer took two bounding steps, out into the corridor, trying to catch up. “Sir, uh, I’m just a technician. I don’t really do that sort of thing.”

“Why not?”

“I’m just...more of a wrench turner.”

Zane stopped, turned, and stepped toward the young man. “But you don’t want to only be a wrench turner, right?”

Zimmer stared, almost spoke, then didn’t.

Zane lowered his voice. “I get nervous too. Sometimes you have to have someone push you out into the ring. Then you find out it’s not so bad.”

“But I dont-”

“So get out there.” Zane said, giving him a slight shove. “And get it done.” Then he turned, and headed down the hall as Zimmer stood, wide eyed and alone.


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