Log of the Month for April, 2023
Posted on April 25th, 2023 by Scott Ammora
His first away mission in ‘command’. Well, not in command, but in charge of his department. It was different this time. Minor, sure, but different nonetheless.
Scott Ammora was no stranger to away missions, he was accustomed to standard security details, and given his time spent on Atlantis he was now no longer immune to peril and danger. He was, however, new to being the leader of the department and responsible for his constituency to a higher degree than ever. He was confident, nervous, proud, and slightly on edge.
The doors to the security offices loomed ahead. They parted with their normal hiss and he stepped into the familiar equipment room. About a dozen crewmen looked at him and nodded while others stayed intent on their supplies as they readied for their mission. Scott was impressed with their promptness as he noticed one team already fully assembled.
“Lieutenant Hill, how we looking?” Scott said, motioning them into his office. His office. It still had an awkward ring to it.
Damien Hill stepped in after Scott, leaving his team outside. “We’re ready to go. I’ve got myself, Legace, and Chavrin set for team one. Meyers, Pratchett, and Winthrop on two. I took the liberty of setting up a back-up, on-call team with Yzerra, Vincenzo, and Quince in case we need a third team.”
Scott smiled, “Impressive, Damien, my thoughts exactly. But I would switch Yzerra to team two and drop Winthrop down to the relief team. Miguel and Roberto don’t really get along and I don’t want any pettiness to get in between the two of them on the first away mission I’m organizing.”
“Uh, Miguel and Roberto get along fine. It’s Miguel and Robert Prachett that don’t get along. That’s why I split them up already.” Hill perked an eyebrow and put his hands behind his back.
“No,” Scott held up a hand, “I was under the impression that Miguel and Roberto had some animosity because Miguel fooled around with Roberto’s girlfriend.”
“Wrong, Matthew Chavrin slept with Roberto’s girlfriend on shore leave. Thus, keeping the two of them separate as well.”
Scott exhaled heavily. “Okay, so let me get this straight: Yzerra and Vincenzo good. Yzerra and Prachett, not so much. Chavrin and Vincenzo not good either. But all the teams have already been created based on this?”
“And you and I?”
Hill smirked, “Oh, we’re sworn enemies. Just waiting for the moment to plunge the knife in your back.”
The two of them had butted heads when Scott had first posted on board. Hill, one could say, was the ringleader of those that thought Scott was a nuisance and dangerous. Scott had come in bullheaded, that much was true, but he was attempting to make sure that people knew he meant business. Yes, it had gotten him in trouble and had alienated his colleagues, but it was with the best of intentions. And Scott knew that he was on the other side of it now.
“You know, I honestly wouldn’t put it past you. Let’s get them prepped. Call them to attention for a moment, would you?” Scott motioned to the crew with a flick of his wrist as he started grabbing his own weaponry. There was a pause for a moment as he was clicking on his utility belt, holstering his tricorder and phaser, and slinging his phaser rifle over his shoulder. There was an awkward lull in the room, a silence that was tenable, and Scott turned to see Hill hadn’t moved from his position. “Yes, Lieutenant?”
Hill looked slightly uncomfortable, “Sir, you’re not leading the first team?”
“No, you and yours will go scout first and then report that it’s clear. Myself and the rest of the command team will follow to start the official survey.” Scott double-checked his stuff as he moved around the side of the desk. “Why? Is there a problem with that?”
“It’s just…” Hill trailed off.
“It’s just what?”
“It’s just that it’s the first mission out with you as our department leader and you’re staying cozy on the ship while we get sent down first. God knows what we’ll find down there and it would show a bit of command prowess if you led the first team.” Hill’s word stung and Scott couldn’t tell whether or not it was an intentional dig.
The words rang true – to an extent. Scott leaned against the desk and folded his arms. “Commander Kuari laid out the plan. There’s no protocol anywhere saying that the chief needs to go in the first party.”
“I know that… it’s a matter of morale and perception.”
Scott bobbed his head, “Yeah, but I also don’t want to question the first officer on the initial go-round either.”
“Also understandable, Scott, but you’ve got to be the leader.”
“I am their leader, but I’m following orders.” Scott countered.
Hill stood his ground, “You have the ability to ask. You have the ability to weigh in. Perhaps the Commander would change her mind if you brought this to her attention.”
Scott shrugged and moved back behind his desk, making a note on his computer to add an entry into his official log regarding the conversation. “It’s a standard survey mission, Damien, this isn’t raiding a Xovul armory.”
“Again, it’s the principle.”
“I get it, all right? You have your orders.” The words shot out of his mouth with more acidity than he wanted and he instantly regretted it. He saw the look in Damien’s eyes. In whatever scorekeeping was going on between the two of them, Scott had just lost points. Points in respect, points in leadership, and/or points as a person.
“Yes… sir.” The ‘sir’ came out dripping with disdain, shielded cleverly with acknowledgement. With that, Damien turned and marched out to join the rest of the security personnel.
Lingering a moment, Scott chided himself. While he had just mentioned to the good doctor that he was feeling that he was finding his footing, that simple encounter set him on edge that he truly wasn’t. He’d brush it off once the mission started. Brush it off. One small misunderstanding between colleagues, especially with Damien, wasn’t anything to write home about. Nothing important, right?
“Listen up! Standard spread and secure procedures.” Scott walked over to the display board and activated it, his fingers dancing across the controls to bring up the map of their intended destination. “We’re beaming down the first team, led by Hill, here. Scout a perimeter in each direction following normal protocols. Once the area is deemed safe alert us on the Atlantis and me and the rest of the away team will join you. Team one, at this time, do not move past the inlets to the east and west until notified.”
While not as apparent as he thought it might be, Scott saw it: lips moving without words indicating mumbling under one’s breath, eyes just slightly rolling in a unison-like wave down the line, and the standoffish arms folding to accompany stony expressions. It could have been worse, but it definitely could’ve been better.
“Yzerra, Meyers, and Prachett, you’re team two.”
Hill cleared his throat with a look at Ammora.
“I mean, sorry. Meyers, Prachett, and Winthrop… you are team two. Yzerra, Vincenzo, and Quince, you’re on relief detail. We will activate team two if we need to survey additional areas or expand the current boundaries. Relief… sit tight. If we need you, we’ll call you. Mr. Hill, please take your team to Transporter Room One. Any questions?” Scott was happy when he saw blank faces. He assumed that his instructions were short and to the point. After all, this was a standard surveying mission. He waited a moment longer, nodded his head, and pointed towards the door: “Dismissed.”
The folks in the briefing stood, talked amongst themselves, and filtered out of the communal area back into the main offices and corridors. Scott lingered a minute to see if there were any personal questions. He locked eyes with a 2nd Lieutenant that he didn’t quite know. He was sure new crew had transferred aboard while he was on shore leave, but he hadn’t been informed of who exactly. Or, perhaps that information was on his computer and he hadn’t gotten to it yet. Either way, an unfamiliar face was beelining directly towards him with a stern expression and a PADD clenched in his left hand.
Taking the opportunity to initiate the interaction, Scott tried his best to brighten his demeanor and smiled as professionally as he could. “Hello, Lieutenant, welcome aboard.”
“Uh, hello, sir.” The intensity of the man’s face faltered slightly, dropping into a state of confusion. “I’ve actually been on Atlantis for several years, sir. 2nd Lieutenant Zane Kilgarren.”
“Right, of course, I, uh…” Scott knew he was trailing off. “Sorry, you know the new things that melt your brain when you take over a department. Or maybe you don’t. Lots going on. Just information overload. My apologies, Dane – ”
“Zane.” Kilgarren corrected.
“Zane, yeah. What can I do for you?” For the love of God, Scott, move this along. He was dying.
“I noticed the duty roster you put out has me on the night shift rotation next week.”
Scott motioned for him to walk and talk as he sauntered back to his office. He moved around the side of the desk as he was followed by the lieutenant. “What about it?”
“I don’t work… don’t want to work the night rotations, sir.”
Scott set the phaser rifle he had slung over his shoulder back onto the desk with a sudden thud. He hadn’t been paying full attention as he did so, but he could’ve sworn he saw the man before him bounce with surprise before quickly regaining his composure. “I’m sorry?”
“I’ve never worked the night shifts that much and I don’t feel that it plays to my strengths. When I first posted here I would swap my nights for days on a regular basis. I did it so often with the same person that Captain Grey just swapped us. Taggart liked nights, so I let her take them, and I took the days.” Kilgarren was settling into his rhythm and the confidence in his words echoed with measure and strength.
Bewildered, having not known of this arrangement, he mentally dove back into his gut instinct. “Okay, well, uh, just get Taggart to switch with you again.”
“She transferred off the ship shortly after you came aboard.”
Of course she did. Swing and a miss.
Kilgarren continued, “I’ve already tried asking those that are scheduled the day shift and the swing. No one wants the graveyard overnight, sir. I was hoping you might be able to change it?” The PADD in his hand got placed delicately on the table and scooted in Scott’s direction.
“I’ll keep that in mind on the next schedule, all right?” Scott needed to be going – for the mission and to assuage his own lack of comfortability – and he let the haste linger on each word as he gathered up the last of his belongings for the beam down. “I’m sorry, but the schedule is firm. Maybe it’ll refresh your batteries to work a night rotation. With me still finding my feet, I’m going to do my best to learn all the nuances of, well, everything. Bear with me, okay?”
Anyone watching could tell that a knot had fully developed in Zane’s throat. He was rigid but showed no sign of emotion. The issue was within his brain. Kilgarren picked up the PADD, looking at it for a good long while with his head lowered, and then looked up dead faced. “Yes sir, understood, sir. Be careful down there.” With that, he spun on his heel and marched out of the office.
Watching the man exit, Scott shook his head slightly. Scott needed to ground himself more in the logistics and details of his job. One, he had snapped at Damien. Whether it was out of frustration or some buried element of truth he refused to accept, he shouldn’t have. Two, he thought he knew better than Damien with the teams’ personality conflicts when he really didn’t; so, one should deduce Hill was right about the morale implications of the Commander’s orders.
Thirdly, he also didn’t remember someone who served under him and had been serving alongside him since his own posting. And finally, he couldn’t even muster up a mental image of this Taggart woman that Zane had mentioned. The Atlantis was a big ship, no doubt, but not being able to recall the people who were going to work for him was probably a skill he should develop.
And last, but not least, Scott was blindsided by some preferential treatment; treatment that Scott was still unsure was something he would’ve known or read in Grey’s notes prior to her departure. For all intents and purposes, however, the scheduling thing was back-burner material. Scott would put out that fire later. There was still plenty to unpack. Which reminded him he had accomplished one thing: his office also needed a decorative enhancement.
Focus. He needed focus. He shrugged off all the unimportant details and put his attention solely on the task at hand, which was the away mission. Hill’s team had departed for the transporter room, the second team was still sitting in the briefing area watching the readouts on the mission’s preliminary checklists and department updates. The relief team had disappeared. He grabbed the rest of his items and headed off for the transporter room.
The ups would always come with the downs. The hills and the valleys, so to speak. There were shoes to fill and things that needed to get done. The basic standard work would be maintained and the little things in between were where he needed to put himself. Things would be fine. Just fine. Fine. Fine. What did that even mean with regards to Starfleet?
He internally recalled the weight of his interaction with Grey and the Captain where he had stepped out of line. And then there was his initial meeting with Zoe. And Acacia. It was in that instant that he realized he had caused a bit of trouble all by himself while he was only one of the many in the department. The possibilities for any number of conflicts and tension-inducing situations were astronomical. Perhaps Kilgarren and Hill’s concerns were just the tip of the iceberg. What was simmering under the surface? Scott shook off the bad vibe again.
Oh, man. Scott thought to himself as he entered the turbolift. Karma is going to be a bitch.