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Breakfast Assessment

Posted on 23 Jun 2019 @ 12:36pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira

Mission: Truth and Justice
Location: Captain's Mess
Timeline: MD2 || 0800 hours

Just more than a week had passed since the crew had been reassembled and the ship moved on from Kalisa, but the feeling of being on the edge hadn't yet subsided. Harvey had requested that Commander Teixeira meet him in the Captain's Mess to discuss the repair efforts, and their next steps, over breakfast. While he had eschewed coffee for several weeks, Harvey had decided to go for a strong cup of Wilkin's. His nerves needed it more than anything, and while it did still make his wife nauseous, Harvey felt this small indulgence was worth it. With the first sip, he felt his mind start to clear, and instantly he thought he should have had some of this the day before to counteract the concussion.

Naturally, that was a fool's thought, but it was ridiculous enough to find some sort of peace. For now, he sat at the table and waited for his XO to join him.

"You weren't waiting long, were you?" Thiago asked as he walked through the doors. "I got held up with some paperwork. The life of an Exec, you know."

Harvey smiled, lowering his cup. "I recall all too well. For me, it's been just over a year since I was last someone's XO, but it feels almost like a lifetime. And, no, I haven't been here long. Just enough to pour this cup and have a first sip." He rose from the table, heading for the drink station. "Can I get you something?"

"Just some coffee," he replied. "Thank you." Thiago smiled. "I'm closing in on a decade as an Exec, but still the paperwork surprises me sometimes. Such is life, I suppose."

As he poured the coffee, Harvey nodded. "I know it wasn't easy," Harvey stated, "giving up command to remain here as an X-O. Part of me knows I haven't thanked you enough, nor made it easy for you. The other part of me still wonders why you've put up with me for as long as you have."

"Have you ever found yourself in a situation," the Brazilian officer began, his voice soft, "where, while enjoying seeming certainty, you have a moment of unexpected clarity?"

The Captain handed Thiago his mug before returning to his own seat. "On a few occasions," he replied. Taking note of Thiago's low tone, Harvey prepared himself to hear something his exec rarely shared with anyone.

"It was eleven years ago, when I was made second officer on the Allegheny, that I transitioned to the 'command track'. I didn't myself as command material, but being the second wasn't a big deal, especially on Allegheny. Ran shifts with regularity mostly." He took a sip of the hot, dark beverage. "I was only on Allegheny for about a year after that. When I was transferred to the Blackthorne as Chief Science Officer, I continued to serve as Second Officer too. In my two years as second, I routinely found myself occupying the XO seat for one reason or another. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed those times. When the opportunity to become the Blackthorne's Exec presented itself, I accepted the offer. There was some apprehension because I still didn't see myself as a 'Command Officer', but rather an acceptable simulacrum of one. And, if I'm being honest, I felt that for most of my five year tenure in the role."

Harvey nodded, sipping his coffee while Thiago recounted his past. While it was true that Harvey did not get to choose his XO, Harvey also hadn't taken the proper time months ago to really review Thiago's file. Commander Teixeira came aboard during the Consortium Crisis, just before their fateful trip to the Hadyn Nebula. The conflict had forced the two men to bond as if they were trench buddies in the ancient Earth world wars. Now that the dust was settled, Harvey was grateful to have an experienced XO at his side, even if Harvey did have to almost beg that Thiago not accept a command at this time.

"The Dominion War was when I was forced to don the red shoulders for a while," Harvey recounted, feeling that he'd told this story to Thiago before. "Was practically forced to with Starfleet so short on personnel. I took it up again... what is it... four years ago now? I'd lost my taste and passion for medicine. I really had nowhere else to go, though I don't think I took command all that seriously until the Black Hawk. I mean, the Schuster was a nice little Saber. She'd get you where you needed to go, and take care of you in the process, but she was just a job for me at the time." He sighed, taking a drink of his coffee, having discovered that there were regrets that he didn't know he had.

"I spent eight years as an Executive Officer before I was assigned here," Thiago continued. "The five years on Blackthorne, then back to the Allegheny for three. I felt comfortable in the role by then.....when I was back on the Allegheny, I mean. I knew what I was doing, I was working for COs I'd served under previously; I knew what to expect." He set down his cup. "When I was assigned here, I was very content to carry out the rest of my fleet service as an XO, moving on to some kind of adjutant position. Maybe an analyst or administrative job back at Starfleet Command. I could see myself being a bureau or section chief at Starfleet Science. Something like that."

He looked down into his cup, at the dark liquid, a swirl of glistening oil dancing on the surface. "And then I commanded the Cochrane. That made me realize that I could command a ship....maybe even that I wanted to. So, when the offer came...." His voice drifted off. "At the time, I thought that our time together, the Black Hawk crew, was over. The ship was gone. So I accepted."

Picking up the small cup, he lifted it to his lips and took a swallow of the increasingly cooling coffee. "The opportunity to remain your Exec was unexpected. It was then, when you contacted me about this new Black Hawk, that I realized that regardless of how ready I felt for the Captain's chair, the right place for me, the best place, was as your Executive Officer."

"And you still feel that way?" Harvey asked bluntly after listening to his exposition. "After I shut you out for the first couple months in command of this vessel, choosing not to trust you based upon an alleged message from my future self?" Harvey snuck in a sip of his own cooling coffee before adding, "If you have reservations, I would understand. They would be, after all, extremely warranted under the circumstances."

"Of course," he answered simply. "You are a complex man, Harvey. As are we all. I have learned to not only trust you, but also to give you time and space to process."

Harvey nodded as the doors parted, allowing the chef to enter with their food. Harvey had elected this morning to have a bowl of oatmeal, blueberries, and some rye toast with butter and cinnamon. It wasn't among his normal order, but it was just what he was in the mood for this morning after the crazy events of this mission. "Don't give me too much space, Thiago. Had we made up our minds sooner, we might not have been hit by those filaments in the nebula." And good people would still be alive.

"Hindsight is 20/20, they say. We cannot change the past, at least not without messy temporal mechanics. But we can learn from it. So we have and shall."

"Indeed we shall," Harvey confirmed. "And I think we should conclude our reminiscing, at least for now. What's the pulse of the Black Hawk?"

"A good question," he replied. "I wish I had a better gauge on that." It was an area where he knew he was falling short. "In general, I think that, as usual, recent events are taking their toll. It took a lot for us to get out here. Past experience points to things getting worse before they get better."

The Captain nodded, scooping up a spoonful of the sandy mash with a blueberry on top. "The crew's resilient. Part of what I'm worried about is that even though we had a couple months leave between this and the Consortium, all of the stress has washed away whatever bits of enjoyment we did have."

The Brazilian nodded. "It's a balance, certainly. And every crew deals with it."

"That they do," Harvey acknowledged between bites of chunky oatmeal. "How are the crew evaluations coming? I know we've kept busy with the zone, but hopefully we've all had time for some paperwork."

Crew evaluations hadn't slipped Thiago's mind, but he also wasn't something he'd stayed on top of. "We're behind. My own fault, fully. I have it on my schedule to re-engage with the senior staff about them though."

Harvey ate another bite while Thiago spoke. As soon as his mouth was clear, he stated, "Well, it's not like we've had a few exciting episodes that has distracted us all. Besides, it's likely the compounding stress of being in the Zone would have a significant impact on any evaluation thus far."

Nodding in agreement, the Executive Officer lifted a forkful of eggs Benedict to his mouth. When he'd first discovered Hollandaise sauce, he'd gone a bit crazy with it. It was great over roasted veggies of all sorts, but it always seemed to shine the brightest with eggs Benedict.

Harvey continued eating as well, taking note of the silence that had enveloped the room. In light of all they'd been through the last few months, having a bit of peace was certainly welcome, no matter how brief it would be. Soon, he had finished his breakfast and had been left with what remained of his fresh cup of coffee. "Time for the day to start," he said at last. "If there's nothing else, I'll see you on the bridge after I drop by Engineering."

"Nothing for now," he replied. "But you know how fast that can change."

 

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