Meeting The XO
Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: Executive Officer's Office-- Deck 9
Timeline: After Kenna and Nathan
Nathan had met the Captain (Charlotte or Charly being an old friend) The Strategic Ops Chief Kenna Wolff (a bit standoffish) he reflected, but he was sure she knew her job, and he felt with time she would become more friendly and now it was time to meet the Executive Officer. Using the computer he was informed that the XO was in his office on deck 9. Taking a turbolift to the appropriate deck, Nathan walked to the Exec's office. Before ringing the chime he checked his uniform for any wrinkles and wiped away invisible dust. Satisfied with his appearance he rang the chime and awaited admittance.
Maralen had figured out which part of this job he could do without, and that was the paperwork. It bred when he wasn't looking, he was sure, because there always seemed to be more of it even after he cleared some.
The sound of the door chime gave him a welcome reprieve from the replicating paperwork, and he looked up from the desk. "Enter," he called, sitting back and watching to see who would enter.
At hearing the command to enter, Bishop did just that. Entering he came to a stop just in front of the desk. "Commander Seitha? I'm Commander Bishop, the new security/tactical chief. I just wanted to come by an introduce myself."
Maralen gave the man before him the once-over as he stood. "Welcome, Commander Bishop." He offered his hand in the local custom of greeting since they were equally-ranked officers. "Please have a seat. Can I offer you anything while we talk?"
Bishop took the offered hand and gave a firm handshake before sitting down. "No, no thank you. I just wanted to come by and introduce myself since we'll be working together on the bridge and are both senior officers."
Maralen retook his seat. "Fair enough. Then what would you like to know?" he asked, leaning back in his chair and watching the other man across his desk.
"The ship, the crew. I knew Captain Reynolds previously." Bishop offered. "Plus with me being the new addition to the crew, I wanted to give you the opportunity to ask questions of me."
Maralen frowned and sifted the PADDs on his desk until he found the one that contained Bishop's dossier. He had not had the chance to read through it yet, so he skimmed it now. He looked up when he had finished. "Your dossier tells an interesting story of you, Commander Bishop, but dossiers never tell the whole story. I'd be interested to hear your take on how you came to be here."
Nathan nodded, "Certainly, might as well get it out now." he finished as he sat a little straighter in the chair. "I was a captain of the Arizona. Like the Defiant, we had been engaged in a series of skirmishes with the Klingons the latest being at Camdus Prime, where we encountered a Klingon Bird of Prey strafing the colony. We engaged the Klingon, had disabled it." He paused for a moment then continued. "Their engines were out and their life support was failing, they weren't going to last long. I offered humanitarian aid. They agreed. when I ordered the Arizona's shields lowered they fired a salvo that crippled us. We had enough power to fire a final phaser strike that destroyed them, However, I lost 217 people who were my friends, part of my family." He looked at Maralen, "Now you ask why I'm here? I'm here because I let my guard down once. It will never happen again. Not to mention Command wants to watch me, so they put me under an experienced captain like Captain Reynolds."
Maralen watched Bishop as he spoke. At the last statements, Mar thought he heard an edge enter the other man's voice, and he could not blame him. His own training would likely have chastised the hell out of him for that lapse. Flawed, the Executive would have said. They were the enemy; one does not show mercy to an enemy. But that was the Executive's way, not Starfleet's. Still, he could definitely see why Bishop felt as he did.
"Do you regret the choice then, Commander?" he asked curious to know whether it was the choice itself the man was against or the result... or possibly the timing and people involved in the choice.
"I regret the outcome of the choice Commander, that 217 people I knew died. Died because the enemy could not and would not accept help. That they were so blind in their hatred of the Federation that they couldn't see past it and people died needlessly on both sides. However as I said, it won't happen again."
As he listened to Bishop's answer, Mar felt compassion for the man. To have been in command for such a thing would have done a number on him too. Guilt would have become his best friend... or worst enemy depending on how one viewed it. "That's good to know. And I hear the truth in your voice and see it in your eyes." He wasn't sure what else to say to that, so he moved the conversation forward. "How do you feel about being under the command of someone you consider to be a friend?"
A smile came to Bishop's face at the question. "I have no problem with it and the Captain is my friend. Just as I hope you and I will become friends. You may not be aware of it but The Captain and I served together on the Bradbury where I was her superior. Now the roles are reversed and she gets to issue the orders and you can stop calling me commander, call me Bishop or Nathan." The smile remaining on his face. "Do you have a problem with us being friends?" There was no accusation in the question or voice just simple curiosity.
Mar smiled in return. "Not at all, Nathan," he answered easily enough. "And that being the case, you may call me Maralen. I do think it would only be appropriate to continue with the ranks in front of the crew, but otherwise..." He let that go unfinished as it did not need finishing. "My training was to be more rigid, but I am attempting to break that somewhat as Starfleet isn't like my former bosses. So I apologize in advance if I slip and call you Commander in the beginning."
"Good, I'm glad it doesn't. I would hate for it to be a bone of contention between us. Of course Maralen, I think that is the proper and correct route to go." Bishop shook his head and waved off the apology. "No apology is necessary. Old habits are sometimes hard to break. The point being is you are trying and with time, you won't even realize you have broken your training."
Maralen smiled and nodded. "So very true. It took years to build those thought processes, so they won't be broken overnight." He chuckled a bit. "Since we are on this track, is there anything you'd like to know about me?"
"Just one Maralen. "How did you end up in Starfleet?"
Mar paused, his expression becoming thoughtful. There were many ways to answer that question, but he was not sure how much he should tell those beneath him in the command chain. For now, he decided to start small and see how far this man before him wanted to go down that rabbit hole. "The short answer is that when I found the Federation, I saw a way to use everything I'd been taught for good. Starfleet is about exploration, yes, but I saw that they were also about protecting their citizens. That was something I could get behind."
Nathan listened and knew Maralen was being vague, deliberately so, and Nathan couldn't blame him. After all, they had just met. Maralen knew him by reputation and the Arizona disaster but Nathan knew nothing about the person sitting across from him but he hoped that would change. "That's the allure of Starfleet it has strong morals and usually practices what it preaches. I'm glad it had ideals you could identify with and support." Nathan replied truthfully.
Maralen nodded. "Morals tend to be dictated by culture, in my experience," he commented with a slight frown. "The trick is to find those whose moral compass aligns with your own, not always an easy task." And sometimes, one did not get a vote.
"No, it's not always an easy task." Nathan agreed "However when you find others that share your moral compass it makes the journey easier and much more satisfying."
Maralen could not have agreed more. He nodded. "I completely agree." He studied the man before him carefully as he asked, "And does Starfleet agree completely with your moral compass?" The question was mostly asked in curiosity, but its answer would tell him something very important about Nathan.
Nathan gave a short laugh. "Commander, I think my being here is answer to that question. Suffice to say, we agree on the main issues. We're still working on the other ones."
Mar nodded with a chuckle of his own. "Fair enough." After all, he doubted very much that Starfleet would be too sanguine with everything he had done before coming to them. He had told them what they had needed to know but had left out certain things as those would have given them the wrong ides of his morals. "I'm sure you're not the only one in that position."
"I would have to agree with you there Commander. I'm sure I'm not the only egg in that particular basket." Nathan remarked knowingly.