Posted on July 25th, 2018 by Linxi Jude and Kathryn Harper
by Linxi Jude and Kathryn Harper
Linxi was on her way to the bridge for her shift, when her combadge chirped, “Ensign Jude, please report to the ready room.”
“Crap,” Linxi muttered to herself, not having any idea as to why the captain would call her to the ready room. She quickened her pace and dodged other crew members, “Excuse, apologies, sorry,” as she made her way to the turbolift. Linxi twiddled her thumbs as the turbolift made its way to the bridge.
She stepped off the turbolift and walked to the ready room, and rang the door chime.
Captain Harper looked up from her PADD when the door chimed, expecting it since she had summoned Ensign Jude to her office, and her expression immediately softened in anticipation of handling this meeting. “Come in,” she beckoned as she stood up, leaving her fingertips touching the desk’s surface.
Linxi silently walked in, and stood at attention, “Captain.” Her heart felt like it was beating a million kilometers a second, as she wondered for what reason she was standing in front of the captain.
“At ease, Ensign, and please, sit,” Kate answered with a welcoming smile, lifting one hand to gesture at the chairs.
After awkwardly shuffling over to a chair, and sitting, Linxi scratched her arm, not being able to keep entirely still, as she waited for what the captain wanted to say.
Sensing the Ensign’s obvious discomfort, Kate attempted to set her at ease by moving from behind the barrier created by the desk to take the other chair. She leaned forward, still wearing the welcoming smile, and met Jude’s eyes. “So,” Kate began, clasping her hands, “how are you settling in here aboard our fine ship?”
“Well. It’s uh,” her voice slightly squeaked, “not what I was expecting.”
With a chuckle, the Captain asked, “What were you expecting?”
“Mostly ‘to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations!’ not ‘Ah! The ship might explode! Oh no, we are pulled into a gravitational field and we can’t escape! Crap, we are being attacked by XYZ! The inertial dampers failed for the five hundredth time, be careful not to break your neck!’”
Kate laughed and nodded in understanding. “As strange as it may sound, you get used to that—the risks just come with the exploration. I had similar expectations when I joined Starfleet, and also found the transition to this life a bit jarring.” She leaned back a bit, hands still clasped, and quietly asked, “How are you coping with it?”
“Ah, well, I’m, uh. Not.”
“I suspected as much, and it is why I called you in here. Now please, do not panic,” the Captain began, anticipating the junior officer’s reaction, “but I have both witnessed and received reports of your behavior that is… well, decidedly unprofessional aboard a military vessel. At first, such as in the case of your reaction to meeting Major Wolfe, I chalked it up to nervousness and let it go, since you came aboard that day under strange circumstances. But since, things like sloppy drunkenness at parties, and running into Ten-Forward in your underwear… well, I have to say something.”
Kate leaned forward and placed a hand on the Ensign’s chair arm, hoping to quell any rising anxiety. “You are not in trouble, Linxi. The purpose of this meeting is to tell you that I understand your troubles, or at least, I think that I do. Neither of our peoples, Risians and Betazoids, share the military traditions of the Humans. I also joined Starfleet as a scientist, simply because it was the best way to get out in the field and do science, and did not find myself a good fit for this military lifestyle, not at first, and not really for years to come. I believe in your ability, and with these apparent similarities between us, it is my hope that I can help you to adjust, to thrive, and maybe even have an easier time doing so than I did.”
After holding her breath while Kate spoke, Linxi exhaled. “Not what I was expecting, but… thanks.” She adjusted herself in the chair.
It was hard to tell whether or not her message had truly gotten through to the ensign, but Linxi’s expression of gratitude was enough to at least give Kate hope that it had. “I know all of this coming from your CO is a lot to process, so please, take the time you need to. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.” With a disarming smile, she added, “Do you have any questions for me?”
Linxi thought in silence, fidgeting her hands, before looking up at the captain, “Will it get easier?”
“With time and experience, yes.” Kate affirmed, then smirked as she added, “Though even after almost twenty years of this, I still sometimes find myself surprised. Space exploration is good at that.” The captain settled back into her chair and crossed her legs as she regarded the young Betazoid woman for a moment, then laced her fingers around her knee and encouraged, “All I am asking is that you demonstrate what you are truly capable of, as both as a scientist and as a Starfleet officer. Now go, and show me what you can do.”
Linxi looked at the floor and nodded. She knew the captain had a point… or a few. She then stood up and tugged her shirt down, “Thanks… And I will.” She gave a slight grin, before leaving the ready room.
Once the doors closed behind Linxi, Kate nodded to herself in satisfaction, optimistic that things would improve for Ensign Jude.