Episode 5: Better Angels
Location: USS Defiant - Helm Control Office
Timeline: Defiant At Warp
Dante sat behind his desk, an electronic clipboard propped up for easy viewing, and a terminal active in front of him. He wasn't in uniform, as he'd finally been able to secure the rarest of all things for a department head, a day off. He was, instead, dressed in a pair of jeans, and a bright red button down shirt the contrasted vividly with his dark brown skin.
He was moving the stylus across the screen of the clipboard, and on the terminal the changes he was making to the department schedule were updating in real time. Glancing at the chronometer he sighed, he'd completely forgotten what day it was, in all the chaos of the last few days he had simply lost track, and now he had less than twelve hours to make sure the schedule was fully up to date, and the required department evaluations were completed. When the chime to his office went off he just stared at the doors blankly for a few moments, wondering what could possibly be happening to bring someone to his office, at the most inopportune time.
With a deep sigh he stood. "Come in.", he said.
When the doors parted he felt his brow furrow as a sense of complete confusion swept over him. "Can I help you, Crewman?", he asked, as he took in the sight of the tall, lanky figure of the ship's most junior officer standing in his doorway. He wasn't even in Dante's department, so he had absolutely no idea what could be bringing him to speak with him.
Jovani looked around the office, almost furtively. He had a nervous, almost scared look on his face, and Dante had to suppress the urge to laugh as he thought back to his own days as a junior officer, and how nervous he'd been to face a department head. "It's alright, I promise I won't bite. Come on in, have a seat, and tell me what's on your mind.", he said, waving the young man to an open chair with a smile.
As Jovani walked in he noticed that Dante had held his hand out for a shake, and took it. "Crewman Apprentice Jovani Carter, sir.", he said, shaking the other man's hand.
"Dante Rawlins, and for now let's not bother with the ranks. What can I do for you?", Dante replied.
"Well, sir, I, uh…", Jovani began, and then trailed off for a second, appearing to struggle with his answer. A few moments later he seemed to regain his train of thought and continued. "Would it be possible for me to start learning helm control?", he asked, looking up with an open, hopeful expression on his face.
That was an unexpected question, and Dante had to sit down and lean back in his chair with a puzzled look on his face. "That's a pretty strange request. You are tactical aren't you?", he asked, completely confused.
"Yes, sir. I went through the tactical training at STSA, and I am at least passable at the job, but I've been studying up on helm, and even doing some computer simulations, and somehow it just feels right to me…", Jovani replied sheepishly.
"Let me ask you this, how are you getting along with the rest of tactical?", Dante replied.
Jovani shrugged, "Fine, I guess. Petty Officer Redgrave has been great to get to know, the rest aren't really sociable, so I can't say much. I haven't had any problems, if that's what you mean.", he answered.
"Good answer. I really just wanted to know if you were running from something. For someone so new out of the academy, and so fresh on the ship it's a little weird that you'd already be approaching anyone for cross-training.". Dante replied. "My next question is this, how seriously are you considering this? Is this just going to be cross-training, or are you looking for something more permanent?", he asked.
That question gave Jovani some considerable pause, as he thought of an answer. Finally he looked up, "Honestly, I think it's a little of both. I know at first I will have to do cross-training, but from what I can tell I really do think I would enjoy it, and I've thought about it for a while now, and I think it would be something I'd enjoy doing as a career. Tactical is great, and I got into it because I'm a big guy, and I know how to take care of myself, plus I liked the thought of protecting people, but I've sort of come to the conclusion that there are many ways to do that, and not all of them come from a phaser, or a torpedo…", he added.
Dante was actually impressed with that answer, and he nodded thoughtfully. "Let me do this. I'll talk to the Captain, see what she thinks about this, and I'll have to talk to your direct supervisor as well, and see what his input is, and then I'll get back to you. In the meantime, have you spoken to Lieutenant Lindholm yet?", he asked.
"No, sir. I didn't want to bring it up until I knew it was even a possibility. I hope that's not a problem.", Jovani replied, suddenly looking nervous.
Dante smiled reassuringly, "No, not at all, I'd probably have done the same. But, now that we've talked about it, I'd suggest you speak to him as soon as possible. He needs to know what's going on before either I, or the captain come to him to discuss it.", he answered.
Jovani nodded, and stood up. "Thank you, sir. I will do that. And thank you for your time.", he added, extending his hand.
"You are welcome, and I will let you know what I find out.", Dante replied.
He watched the young man leave, and then sat down, lost in thought as he pondered what just happened, his schedule and evaluations forgotten for the time being.