Posted on July 17th, 2018 by T'Lira and Kathryn Harper
by T’Lira and Kathryn Harper
T’Lira held the PADD in her hand, absolutely not almost breaking it, as she reached an office door she’d stood before many times before. After a moment’s hesitation, she reached forward and pressed the chime.
Seated behind the ready room desk, Captain Harper looked up from a report when the door rang. Not expecting anyone, she nonetheless cheerfully answered, “Come in!”
Another moment of hesitation, and T’Lira entered, clasping the PADD behind her, “Captain… do you have a moment for us to speak?”
“T’Lira, certainly!” Kate stood and with a welcoming smile, walked around the desk and gestured to one of the chairs. “Please, have a seat. What can I do for you?”
“I have found myself facing a dilemma for some time now. I wished to… seek advice before making a final determination on my path going forward,” she replied, sitting in the indicated seat.
Concern crossed her face as Kate sat in the other chair, sensing that the matter must have some weight, since T’Lira rarely seemed indecisive. She settled against the chair’s back and encouraged, “Of course.”
“I have recently found myself… becoming distracted in my work. A sense of doubt and… I am not certain what to term the sensation of wishing to change past events, but it has become a constant in my thoughts and I find myself wondering if I could have changed certain events in the past, but struck with the realization that I do not have the necessary training to do so…,” she trailed off, attempting to compose her thoughts into something more coherent.
“I am sorry,” Kate began, furrowing her brow, “but I do not follow. Is it that you are wanting additional training to prevent something that has happened to you from happening again?”
“Forgive me, I find it strangely difficult to voice what I wish to… I have found my concerns beginning to expand to what would happen should I be unable to aid my crewmates should anything happen and I find myself less and less focused on my work and on sciences in general. Instead, I seem to be doing more and more research into subjects such as combat methods and defensive tactics… in short, I do not believe that Sciences is… the correct place for me to be, given where my recent thoughts and studies have turned to over the past several months,” T’Lira tilted her head slightly, as if trying to assess whether she had managed to accurately phrase what she wished to.
Given the turmoil of the past few years, it was a sentiment Captain Harper could empathize with. After the Tzenkethi War, the events that led to her taking command of Atlantis, and the Section 31 Crisis and its aftermath — it seemed that things were just now returning to a semblance of normalcy. She had even required counseling to come to terms with the consequences of some of those things, and despite their stoic reputation, Harper did not find herself surprised that even a Vulcan’s fortitude could waver.
Kate leaned forward and clasped her hands, her mien one of compassion as she softly answered, “After all that we have been through, I certainly understand. Though it feels like that the turbulent times have passed, vigilance is always necessary against their return. However, our current mission is not just one of pure science, but the greatest opportunity for it to date, and as CAG, you already contribute a great deal to the defense of your crewmates. What else would you like to do?”
“I am uncertain as to what my next move should be. The only thing I am certain of is that I do not belong in Sciences for the foreseeable future. That is why I am here, seeking your advice,” T’Lira resisted the urge to clasp her hands together. It was an old habit, one she thought she had rid herself of long ago.
The captain settled back in her chair, considering her officer’s request for advice, not only from the standard CO’s perspective of what is best for the ship, but also from an attempt to guess what would be best for T’Lira’s career and well-being. Her lips pursed off to one side for a few moments as she thought, finally answering, “I see a few options that I can offer you, T’Lira, based on your stated interest in tactics. The duties of CAG are not enough to constitute a full-time position without supplemental assignments, such as navigation, but Lieutenant Navarro has that covered. However, navigation is not the only additional job opportunity available to a pilot. Your tactical abilities are already well-developed by your time in the cockpit, and further combat training under Major Wolfe could earn you a spot in his department, depending on your performance. As a long term assignment, that could potentially require a transfer to the Marines, but it is something you could try first to see if it suits you.
“Your other options would involve transfer, such as applying to take the command aptitude test in search of such a position on another ship.” With a supportive, hopeful tone, Kate finished, “Although I hope that you will choose to remain part of my crew, you have my support, whatever you decide.”
“I have no desire to leave the Atlantis, I have come to see this ship, and its crew, as… home. I would be interested in combat training. I believe I could better serve the crew in that way,” T’Lira paused as she spoke, arranging her thoughts into something more coherent, “I do understand the… inconvenience of this, but I believed this was a matter better resolved sooner rather than later.”
Kate leaned forward and, knowing their cultural preference, placed a hand on the Vulcan woman’s chair arm, stopping short of actually touching her. Making direct eye contact, she firmly asserted, “T’Lira, ensuring the physical and mental health of my crew is never an inconvenience.” Keeping her eyes locked on T’Lira’s to confirm that her point had gotten across, Harper paused a moment while retreating to her own personal space, then continued, “While I am certain that Commander Wright will be dismayed to lose you, Science will be fine. If this truly is what you want, then report to Major Wolfe for temporary assigned duty.”
T’Lira nodded, some part of her immensely grateful for the reassurance, “Thank you, Captain. I will report immediately.”
Optimistic that the duty change would turn out to be a positive move for T’Lira, Harper sincerely offered, “Of course, and please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything more I can do.”
“I will. And Captain…,” she paused, for just a moment, “I do not believe there is a way for me to sufficiently thank you for your help.”
“There is no need,” Kate replied with a warm smile as she stood, one hand’s fingertips lingering on the chair arm as her eyes once again met T’Lira’s. “You said that you see this ship and her crew as your home, and this is what we do for one another at home — as a family.”