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Welcoming the new XO

Posted on Fri Sep 24th, 2021 @ 5:26pm by Commander N'Garzi Zora & Captain Jacob Kane

Mission: With Gleaming Eyes
Location: USS Athena - Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: In Between
1138 words - 2.3 OF Standard Post Measure

Third XO in 18 months. I'm going to get a reputation.

Kane stared out of the observation port in his ready room, considering the last few weeks. There were still no new updates from either Starfleet or his own Intelligence team about this cloning business. P'rel and Ki had formulated a test that could identify the cloning markers, but it was more than a simple scan and it still required an examination.

Taeler hadn't been the same since the nightmare space incident; since she'd shot him in this very room believing him to be a Cardassian overseer. He'd seen it in her face and in her actions. The promising Starfleet commander needed time, and space. Away from the place that had broken her. In some ways he wasn't surprised, yet it still frustrated him to lose someone he'd relied on for long periods.

This newly assigned XO, an El Aurian with a long service history, seemed fine enough. A reputation for loyalty and wisdom, which he appreciated. But her previous CO had noted her tendency to be naive and emotional. Not something Kane was sure he needed after Taeler.

As the chime on the door went, he returned to his desk.

"Enter."

Zora straightened her uniform and double checked that her long braids were tightly wrapped in place. She had been around long enough to know how important first meetings were, especially ones like this. Captains like Kane were, for lack of a better word, a little controlling. They liked to play the game in their way and by their own rules. The very idea of being assigned an XO and not choosing one for himself would be incredibly infuriating for the CO and Zora was well aware of that. Especially given the circumstances of how and why his last XO had had to leave to leave the ship. There was nothing she could do about that, like many things in her life it was all out of her hands. All Zora could do now was to make the transition as easy as possible for both of them so that they could run the ship in the best way possible.

Zora walked into the office and stood to attention. She wasn't really one for tradition but she was sure that this man would be and now wasn't the time to release her inner free spirit. She was sure he would find that out for himself in time, if she lasted here, that was. After all, Kane did have a reputation for losing XO's. "Commander N'Garzi Zora reporting as ordered Captain."

"Commander. Welcome." Kane extended a hand and studied her up-close. Her response was calmer than he expected. "Your arrival is timely, given we ship out of starbase shortly. Have you been brought up to date on the ship and her crew?"

Zora took Kane's hand and gave it a firm shake. "Thank you," she said as she released it. "I am up to date on the senior officers and department heads at the moment. I have tried to familiarise myself with the ship, however I have never served on a ship like this and to be honest with you, I could do with brushing up on my technical knowledge," she added, half joking, half not.

"Understood," Kane nodded. Great, another diplomat. Someone at HQ probably thought it would be good to match him with someone a little less pragmatic. "With luck you won't need to make too much use of it. For now, I need you to make sure you're familiar with the senior staff and their capabilities. Commander Taeler's absence will hit some of them hard."

"Will do Sir," she said as she studied the man in front of her. He seemed capable, strong, silent, not really giving a lot away. Zora was used to the type, she had spent a lot of her life around men like Kane. The kind of men who would rather die than let their crew or subordinates into their inner circle, at least that was how he came across. What a lonely existence, she thought to herself. "Any staff members in particular who will feel her loss greatly? The Captain maybe?"

"No," Kane retorted firmly. "At this point I'm used to officers moving on. We continue forward without them." A natural part of life in the fleet, he told himself. Peoples' priorities changed. "If I need help we have a counsellor on board. Perhaps a good place for you to start."

Zora nodded without pressing the subject any further. His reaction didn't surprise her, though she was surprised he didn't try to hide his feelings a bit more. "I might just do that Sir. Any word on our next mission?"

"I'm sure you heard we're en route to Ithaca. Strange last minute change of orders, but if we're the closest ship it makes a little sense, I suppose. Do you know anything about the system?" he asked.

"Only that the Cardassians share the planet with a species known as the Metis, though I've never met one. I've spent a lot of time in Cardassian space and this is one of the systems that they never mentioned and the Dominion had zero interest in," Zora recalled. "It's curious that the Cardassian government are not sending aid to the planet, I'm sure we'll find more there than we bargained for."

"It's usually the way," he agreed. "The Cardassians have been pretty spiky since the war ended. Clearly they lost a lot but abandoning colony worlds sounds like something they'd be reticent to do given their rebuilding status. I'm sure if something does crop up we'll just have to deal with it our way."

"That is the Starfleet way," Zora nodded in agreement. "Is there anything else Sir?" She asked. She couldn't help but notice that the Captain hadn't offered her a seat or a drink, not that he was required to do either. Most people opened up around her, it was a trait of her species, but Kane seemed determined to keep closed off, probably sizing her up and seeing what she was made of; or maybe hiding a few secrets of his own.

"That'll be all, Commander," Kane nodded, returning to his desk and thoughts of all the things that might be lurking at their destination.

Zora nodded her hand and headed out of the small room. As the doors closed behind her she took a deep breath. Kane was not going to be an easy man to work with, but she knew that coming in. As she focused on her breathing to allowed it to centre herself and after a moment she felt more relaxed. After all, he was one man, and she was on a whole new ship, with a whole new crew. The adventure begins here...

 

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