Taking The Reins
Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: USS Defiant
As the long-range shuttle docked Dustin stood at attention, with his duffel slung over his shoulder, and a stoic look on his face. He saw the light go green to indicate that the doors would be opening soon, and spoke, "Thanks for the lift. Have a safe trip back!" he called out to the noncom who had brought him out here. "Live long and prosper," the Vulcan female replied. She hadn't exactly warmed up to Dustin during the nearly week-long trip, but he felt like they'd come to some sort of understanding of one another. She was also a hell of a drinker once he'd convinced her to try some of the whiskey he'd brought along, and she had won every single game of cards he'd talked her into as well.
With a hiss, the doors parted and Dustin could see into the corridor beyond. He'd never stepped foot on a Constitution-class vessel, didn't even know anyone who had personally, but he figured it would be pretty much the same as any other ship he'd ever piloted. Stepping through into the other ship he noticed the person who had been sent to greet him. "Afternoon," he said and smiled. When the other person gave him a strange look he sniffed, and did a bit of a wide-eyed jerk, "Oh, shoot, that's right. I'm sorry. Permission to come aboard?" he said.
"Permission granted, Ensign Campbell. Shall I take your duffel to your quarters. I believe the Captain and the current chief helm officer are awaiting your arrival in the captain's office," the small Bolian male replied.
"Uh, sure, thanks," Dustin replied, sliding the duffel off his shoulder and handing it over. "You said her office, right?" he asked.
"That's correct, sir. Will you need assistance in finding it?" the other man asked.
"No, no, I think I'll be alright. I've been studyin' the schematics for a while, I think I can find my way," Dustin replied.
"Very well, sir. Welcome aboard," the Bolian said, and then disappeared down the corridor with Dustin's belongings.
It wasn't until he'd walked around the bend in the corridor that Dustin realized his mistake. Not wanting to get his uniform dirty and rumpled on the trip he'd chosen to wear civilian clothes for the duration. Unfortunately for him they had been delayed by an ion storm and arrived nearly half a day later than anticipated. Standing there in a pair of beat-up old boots, blue jeans, a t-shirt that was just the right size to show off his chest and biceps, but definitely inappropriate to meet your commanding officer, and a cowboy hat, he suddenly felt like this was all about to be incredibly embarrassing.
---Ten Minutes Later, Captain's Office---
Charlotte shook her head as she laughed, setting the mug of coffee on her desk to avoid spilling. "Mr. Rawlins, I'm not sure how you talked me into letting you leave us. Your wit will be missed."
Dante smiled broadly at the compliment and took a sip of his own coffee. "I'm going to miss a lot of you all as well, honestly, but I know this is going to help me immensely. Without your help my application for this training would never have gone anywhere," he replied. "And besides, I won't be gone long," he added with a grin.
"Now, on to the matter at hand. I see you've approved my request to have Jovani accompany me to the Hermes, and I want to thank you for that. He's shown me quite a lot of talent in the training we've taken on. I feel like he will be a fantastic helmsman someday and I look forward to molding him. But, what are your thoughts on your incoming transfer?" Dante asked, looking at the information he had about the younger man.
"Approving Carter was easy. You've become a mentor to him, and since Hermes won't have you behind the helm, I figured I should give them one you've been training," the captain replied. "As for Ensign Campbell, I think he'll fill in our needs well. With you away, we need someone with a lot of talent to fill the seat. And with Samarie caring for her niece, I don't want her too tied up that she can't take care of her family. I think Campbell will be perfect for the job. And hopefully, he'll fit in with the crew as well."
"I have to agree, actually. He's young, that's undeniable, but I had a look at his record. I also had a look at some of his simulation data, and I was actually a little bit surprised. I'm not even sure I was that good when I first came out of the academy. I think he's going to do nicely. He should be arriving today, shouldn't he?" Dante asked.
Just as he said that almost as if by some sort of cosmic coincidence, the door chime went off, making him look up at the captain with a raised eyebrow and pursed lips. "Talk about speak of the devil..." he said, smiling.
"Well, his timing is impeccable," the captain replied with a chuckle, before raising her voice. "Enter!"
Cringing slightly as the doors swished apart Dustin braced himself for the meeting. Stepping into the inner room he put on his best smile and nodded to the occupants of the room. "Evenin', Ensign Campbell reportin' for duty, ma'am, sir," he said, looking to both of them in turn. "Sorry about the wardrobe, guess I was a little too excited to get here, and I sorta forgot to change," he added, looking chagrined.
The Captain gave him a once over. Young helm officer, eager, scatterbrained, missing the necessary attire. She’d heard that one before. “No worries, Ensign. We’ve all been there at some point. You’re not on duty, after all. Can’t exactly punish you for that.” She gestured to one of the seats by her desk. “Join us, if you will. Mr. Rawlins and I were discussing the process of handing over his duties.”
Dustin walked in and took the seat she'd indicated. "Thank you, ma'am," he said in reply.
Dante handed over a padd to the younger man. "This is the best I could come up with as a crash course on the department. It's got all the personnel and the scheduling, as well as any other bits and pieces of information I thought might come in handy. There are a few modifications to the ship's helm that the Captain implemented a while back, and we just never got around to removing them. They can be a bit tricky to handle, but I think, with your qualifications, you should be fine," he said.
Dustin took a look over the padd and nodded, it all seemed to be laid out well, and very thorough. "Thanks! I expected to have to sorta pick it all up as I went along," he said, giving the man a genuine smile.
"Given the mission we're going into, I may need you at the top of your game. It only seemed fair to make sure you actually knew what you were dealing with," Charlotte replied as the man looked over the padd. "Ever dealt with a ship Defiant's size?"
"No, ma'am, not even close, 'less you count the simulations back at the Academy. I've only been on one ship since graduation, the Bowie, and she was a lot smaller, 'n a lot older," Dustin answered. "But what I lack in experience I can assure you I make up for in confidence and drive. I'm young, and green, so I have a lot to prove, and I won't miss a beat I can help missin'," he added, with a determined look on his face.
The Captain smiled at his enthusiasm. "I admire your confidence, Mr. Campbell. My only request is that you don't let that drive to prove yourself lead you to also driving us into the side of an asteroid." She let the comment linger for a moment before softening her look. "But in all seriousness, I think you'll do fine. I used to be a helmswoman myself. So I'll likely push you to your limits at times, but as long as you trust that I know what I'm talking about, we'll pull through."
Dustin smiled, "I don't have plans to put even a scratch on this baby," he said, referencing the ship. "And I like to have my limits pushed, we learn best outside our comfort zone," he added.
"That's the spirit!" The captain smiled back at him. "I'll make sure all of the modified functions are sent to you so you can review the way the controls will work. We'll do a few drills over the next few days to get you comfortable behind the helm. It'll be up to you to put the art into the maneuvers though."
Dustin was relaxing as he learned how this captain communicated. She seemed a lot more personable than the one he'd dealt with on the shakedown ship had been, but then she also probably expected to get to know her crew a lot more than he had. "Sounds good to me, sorta like gettin' used to a new horse, learning how to get it to do what you need, not what it wants," he said with a smile. "Any advice for me?" he asked, looking towards the other man.
Dante paused for a few minutes, not exactly sure how to answer that question, and then replied. "Honestly, trust yourself, and know you've got the training you need. Starfleet wouldn't have put you here if they didn't know you could handle it. Also, trust this woman. She's the best Captain I've ever served with, and I'm the helmsman I am today only because I trusted her and accepted her guidance," he said. "Now, I think I'll leave the two of you to get better acquainted, unless you have anything further for me, Captain?" he added.
"No, I think we're all set here, Lieutenant. Go make sure you've packed up," Charlotte replied warmly.
Standing Dante extended his hand once again to the young man sitting in the other chair. "Welcome to the big leagues, make sure you enjoy yourself, and good luck. I'll see you both again as soon as I can," he said before heading out to finish his packing, and leaving Dustin to speak with his new captain.