Transfer of Command
Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: Bridge, USS Defiant
Timeline: Immediately following "The Other Shoe"
As she circled the bridge, Reynolds passed the opening to the turbolift, and despite the chaos still playing out on the bridge, it opened without issue. On the wall, there was a single destination available. The shuttle bay. Charlotte let out a long sigh. Typhon was still toying with them. There wasn’t much sense in her continuing to delay. The crew had work to do and she had somewhere to go. Without turning around, she spoke just loud enough to reach over the din of noise on the bridge. “Niamh, Dante. Walk with me.”
She stepped into the turbo lift, grabbing a control handle and waiting for them to follow.
Niamh slipped into the lift seconds after Dante offering the pair a tight smile. This was the first time she'd experienced an incident from the bridge as opposed to being in her office. Shock aside, she was glad she wasn't alone without the foggiest idea about what was happening.
She took a deep breath. "I called you to come with me because we need a succession plan. I have every intention of coming back, but Defiant is without an Executive Officer. We need to remedy that."
She knew the next part would likely hit both of them as a surprise, but her mind was made up. "That's why I am placing you in command, Niamh."
Niamh found herself feeling a little stunned. Her recent training had been gearing her up for a command role but she'd expected to remain as mission advisor for a while longer. She in no way expected this, "Are you sure that's the right call, Captain?" the Irishwoman asked confused.
Despite the horrible situation they found themselves in, Dante's face broke into a wide smile. Niamh had demonstrated an amazing skill in every position she'd been in on Defiant, and was an indispensable part of the crew. She also had a very level headed approach to situations, possibly owing to her position as a counselor, that would make a wonderful addition to the command structure of the Defiant.
"I'm sure," Charlotte replied, knowing Niamh was uncertain. "You're qualified. We both know it. You have command certification, even if you've never put it to use. You have the mind for it and right now, you've got exactly the temperament Defiant needs. We're not fighting our way out of this. Defiant is dead in the water and isn't likely to be much better any time soon. I need someone who will get the crew to safety, regardless of what happens to me, the planet, or the other ships."
Charlotte looked the other woman in the eyes. "And the crew needs someone who can be there for them in a way only a highly trained counselor can. You've been through hell with them. On Arcadia, in Typhon's simulation, and here. They trust you. They'll answer to you."
"I'm not entirely sure the rest of the crew will appreciate that," Niamh replied before clearing her throat, "I'll do my best to get everyone through this whilst you're away" she added, she knew Charlotte enough to know this was final.
"I have no doubt they'll follow you, Lieutenant Commander O'Donoghue," Charlotte said, a hint of a smile on her face. "I'll make it official when I get back." The words rang a little hollow even to herself.
"They'll follow, especially the bridge crew, you've proven yourself to be a fantastic officer, and a highly skilled one. I for one will be honored to serve under you," Dante replied, holding out a hand to offer her a congratulatory shake.
"I'll do my job regardless," Niamh assured, clasping her hands in front of her, "Thank you, Charlotte" she finished.
"Speaking of serving under her," Charlotte began, turning to the young helmsman. He'd grown so much in the months since he'd joined Defiant. She wished she'd had the opportunity to say the following under better circumstances. "I'm making you Second Officer. Niamh is going to be counting on you. I know we still need to finish your command certification, but at this point, that's a formality. You're ready."
Not for the first time that day Dante felt a lump rise in his throat and quickly swallowed it back down. "Thank you, I will do my best to serve her well in your absence," he said, afraid that if he said more he'd lose the bit of emotional restraint he was holding on to. He had absolutely not expected to be promoted to second officer. It hadn't even been on his radar, and he hoped like hell he was ready for it.
As if on cue, the turbolift doors opened onto the chaotic shuttlebay. Not terribly far away, on the starboard side of the deck, were a group of shuttle prep officers hard at work. Upon seeing the lift arrived, one greeted the trio as they exited the deck. Charlotte had sent a message ahead from her chair. Now it was time to see if it had been carried out.
The NCO came to halt. “Ma’am, shuttle is prepped and still operational. And the...payload...is aboard.”
Dante looked the woman he'd grown to respect and care for in the eyes. "Please be as careful as you can. This ship and her crew have grown to truly care about you, and we need you," he said, giving a rare glimpse into the more emotional part of him.
Charlotte met his eyes with a bit more honesty in her reply. "I will certainly do my best."
"He's not wrong," Niamh weighed in, "Try to wait until we have the transport system back online before you go and detonate whatever you're taking with you, okay?" she requested. Knowing the crew it wouldn't be long until the ship had some functionality, they just needed enough time.
Charlotte laughed. "It's only set to go off if it loses track of me. So I'll definitely be waiting for that transporter signal." She looked back at the shuttle. "I should get underway. And you two should get back to the bridge."
"Of course. God be with you, Charlotte" Niamh replied earnestly. She didn't believe in God personally, but her Grandmother did and it was a sentiment the Irishwoman had received many a time throughout her life. Once she was finished she turned to face Dante, "Shall we head up then?" the newly minted XO suggested before starting towards the turbolift.
"I think we should, you've got a pretty big announcement to give, after all..." Dante replied, falling in beside Niamh his voice only a little bit shaky at the thought of Charlotte putting herself in such a dangerous position.
"Good luck to both of you," Charlotte said as she turned toward the shuttle. They'd almost made it to the lift, when she turned back and shouted after them. "And don't forget those transporters!"