Episode 0: Maiden Voyage
Location: Admiral's Board Room 4, Starbase 1
"...which brings us to the final topic at hand. Project Arcadia," the man with the peppered beard said. Rear Admiral Sergei Denovitz had been in this admiral's meeting for well over an hour now. The two sitting opposite him had raised a number of pet projects, which he had given his support for tactfully...and tactically. He'd bided his time for this moment so he could capitalize on the goodwill. He felt a little silly being so conniving over a simply duty roster suggestion, but he knew he'd get push back. And with this one, he didn't want to be turned down. The officer in question had been one of the brightest under his command. And a career of pissing people off in the right way had confirmed to him he'd placed his trust in the right woman. Now it was just a matter of getting her the placement he felt she deserved. "The vessel under construction there needs a commander. It is due for launch in a little over a month and the CO is going to need time to gather her people. I'd like to recommend Captain Reynolds for the job."
“A strong candidate who definitely stood out in terms of experience but not without her concerns” Admiral Gavin piped in as he perused the tablet he had in his hands. The old-timer had been in Starfleet for close to five decades and the Arcadia project would be his last. He was determined to be thorough in his selection to ensure he retired out with a positive legacy. “The way she’s handled loss and struggles to delegate concern me. We still know little of the region and it concerns me that Reynolds won’t be able to cope with the potential losses she faces. Not to mention the scope of Defiant’s scope; she must be prepared to share the burden if she plans on succeeding. That said, or best and brightest aboard the Enterprise are not without their faults and look at their achievements”.
Admiral T'Vor listened to her colleague as he spoke. She agreed with him, on every point, in fact, her concerns mirrored his so nearly exactly that she wasn't sure her input would be helpful. Still, she was here to contribute. Turning to Denovitz she spoke, "I must concur with Admiral Gavin. Captain Reynolds does show significant aptitude as a commanding officer, but she is not without her flaws. Her greatest being her proclivity for openly questioning superior officers, and challenging orders she is personally affronted by. However, despite these flaws, I believe she will be a strong presence in the area Arcadia will oversee, and could help shape said area to our benefit."
Denovitz smiled. He'd already gotten a bit more buy in than he had expected. "Questioning orders isn't a bad thing. We're not immune to orders which are wrong or immoral. The last decade is proof of that. The way we handled conflict with the Klingons, letting Marcus rise to prominence in the way he did? It nearly dragged us down into depths I'd rather not revisit. It cost me some dear friends along the way," the man said, his mind drifting back to that at Starfleet HQ when a particularly dangerous set of decisions had led to the deaths of several highly decorated admirals. The leader of Starfleet had decided to use the brutality of Khan Noonian Singh, a war criminal from Earth's past, in some vain attempt at out savaging the Klingons. Starfleet had paid the price for a lack of oversight.
Denovitz continued. "As for loss, we've had plenty of that as of late too. Give her a shot. Think of all she's been able to accomplish with one of the oldest ships in the fleet. With a brand new ship behind her, I think she'll do us proud."
Admiral Gavin nodded whilst Denovitz spoke, the man was clearly passionate and Gavin knew him well enough to trust his opinions, "Fine, I'll consider it providing we assign someone from the Arcadia project as her First Officer," Gavin began, typically it was down to the CO's discretion but the Admiral had someone in particular in mind, "It would benefit the crew to have someone intimately familiar with the Defiant's systems and I have just the officer in mind" Gavin said with a gestured flick across the screen of his tablet sending the others his recommendation.
"Lieutenant Commander Niamh O'Donoghue spearheaded the design and implementation of the maglock system that. She led the team for three years to near-perfect distinction and I reckon O'Donoghue and Reynolds would compliment each other favourably" He explained. He'd recruited Niamh for the Arcadia project himself and had a working relationship with the woman and felt she'd be suited for the position.
"O'Donoghue. An interesting choice. Certainly would place some shipboard expertise on Defiant," Denovitz said. And balance out some of Reynolds' more impulsive ideas, he thought. "But if you're concerned about push back on orders, you're compounding your problem. She's a bit headstrong herself. I also read she had some issues playing with a team that didn't march to her specific drum. You sure she'd hold up on a deep space assignment?"
"I read that same report," T'Vor said. "However it seemed to be written by someone with a need to restrict her growth. If you look at her academic reports, and the reports from her earlier postings, you see an intelligent, driven, and purposeful officer. Also, the team she was assigned to in the instance you are referring to was made up of officers far ahead of her in their careers. Their biggest complaint was that she failed to show them the respect they were due. I find that troubling to say the least."
She had already begun to turn away when she suddenly remembered another point she wanted to make. "Also, as far as her being headstrong, I remember when you were still a Captain, and I had to read reports from Commodores about how headstrong you were," she said, turning back to face Denovitz squarely.
Sergei cocked a smile. "I suppose I had a bit of my own rebellious streak. I think the two of them are going to drive Commodore Khethiwe up a wall."
"I have the utmost confidence in Commodore Khethiwe. She will handle them well." T'Vor replied.
"Agreed. She'll be fine. Not the first batch of young stubborn officers she's whipped into shape," Denovitz said as he added his signature to the set of orders. "Any final notes?"
"None from me, Denovitz," Gavin replied, he was pleased with their selections and knew that under the oversight of Commodore Khethiwe they'd perform with distinction.
"Nor from me," T'Vor answered.
Denovitz nodded. "Well then, I'll send the news to the Commodore."