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First Impressions

Posted on 09 Feb 2020 @ 12:22pm by Ensign Daniel Walsh & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Epilogue
Location: Deck 5 | U.S.S. Black Hawk
Timeline: December 31, 2389 | 1900 Hours

Ensign Walsh emerged from the impulse reactor maintenance bay at the end of his third shift since arriving onboard the Black Hawk. His excitement had worn off quickly when he'd realised the scale of the job in front of him. The Black Hawk was coming off the back of an extensive refit period and there was a great deal of work still to be done to prepare her to put back to space.

So engrossed was he in the data held on his PADD, that he rounded the next corner without looking and walked straight into someone else, someone taller. Daniel fell back, his PADD sent flying and landed on his ass with an unceremonious thud.

The situation could have been better for both parties had either of them paid attention. Like the poor Ensign, the ship's Captain had been focusing on a report he'd been given earlier that day from Lieutenant Akorem. The ship was due to depart in just a few short days, and Harvey was becoming more and more aware how much of the refit had yet to be complete. He was on his way to the impulse reactor to survey a few things before meeting with the Impulse Drive Officer tomorrow morning when he expectedly bumped into a member of the crew.

Unlike the Ensign, however, the Captain only staggered backward. His padd, which was identical in size, shape, and color to the one the Ensign possessed, slipped out of Harvey's fingers and landed facedown beside the Ensigns.

Daniel was apparently completely oblivious to the fact that he hadn't been paying attention. "You should really watch where you're going," looking up he clocked the rank pips on the other officer's uniform and his eyes went wide, "Captain." He wanted the deck to open up and swallow him whole, there was no worse person he could have walked into. Panic set in as Daniel scrambled to his feet and snapped to attention. "I'm sorry, sir."

Harvey quickly regained both his balance and composure. The ensign he'd just rammed into was an unfamiliar face. Though, with the months in drydock and the hundreds of yard personnel that had been on and off the ship, it was hard for Harvey to tell if he was a new member of the crew or not. "At ease, Ensign," he quickly said. Harvey took a couple steps to the left and picked up both padds. He didn't look at them and just handed one of them back to Daniel. "Normally, I'd advise against reading and walking, but that would make me a hypocrite today."

Walsh relaxed and accepted the PADD, not bothering to check. He'd just almost knocked the Commanding Officer down, he wasn't about to question the Captain. "I was just running a couple of checks on the fusion reactors and guess I got caught up in the data. Sorry again, sir."

The Captain waved the issue away, not wanting to speak of it further. All was forgiven, but a squabble wasn't needed over it. "Tell me, Ensign. How are the fusion reactors today? I don't think they've been powered up in a while, have they?"

"Well, we may not have been able to stretch the Black Hawk's legs, but the engineering crews have been able to perform static tests and test the fusion reactors at full power. They discovered a three percent power drop off around the point the Black Hawk would reach half impulse rising to eleven percent by the time we would reach flank speed." Walsh replied, his enthusiasm for his work evident.

"They discovered a number of power relays were incorrectly installed. The results of the last static test yesterday were perfect. These engines are something else." Having spent the past three years nursing the aging engines of an old Excelsior-class workhorse, it was a pleasure to work on some of the most advanced engine technology anywhere in the fleet.

Harvey liked it when members of the crew took pride in their work. The fact that the fusion reactors didn't perform as well as one would have hoped didn't seem to deter the Ensign, nor did it majorly deter the Captain. "I'm glad to hear that the problem was easily rectified, though I can't imagine how frustrating it would have been having to go back and reset a number of relays."

"Frustrating, yes." Daniel agreed. "But modern propulsion systems are finely tuned and it just takes a handful of improperly installed power relays for an uncontrolled overload to do some real damage." The young engineer explained. "Better to take time and make sure everything is exactly as it should be, whether the task is tedious or not." Daniel hadn't meant to adopt such a patronising tone with the Captain and regretted it immediately. "Sorry, sir. I know you already know all that." He was not making a good first impression and was painfully aware of it.

"That's quite all right, Ensign." Where Daniel had perceived patronizing and a poor first impression, Harvey was blinded. It wasn't his first encounter with a junior officer, nor would it be the last. "Knowledge is one thing, but taking pride and ownership in your work is another. It's young officers like you who realize that that make it more comfortable for us seasoned ones to relax once we're back out on assignment. We can't have our systems failing on us unexpectedly."

Ensign Walsh felt a few inches taller. The Livingston's Captain seldom spoke to him during the engineer's three years there. After only three days on the Black Hawk he'd had a full blown conversation with Captain Geisler and being commended for the pride and ownership he took in his work. "No sir, we cannot." Feeling that he'd taken up more than enough of the Captain's time, Daniel held up the PADD in his hand. "With your permission, I need to clear up some paperwork before completing my shift for the evening."

The captain simply nodded. "Of course, Ensign. Have a good evening." With that, he continued his trek down the corridor, all without looking down at the padd he carried.

Daniel set off to finish his work. His heat was racing. That was a throughly unexpected encounter and he felt that he could have handled it better. The only consolation was that on a ship this size, the chances of running into the Captain again, or walking into him, were slim. Walsh activated the PADD in his hand, having not learned a thing from his encounter with Captain Geisler, to pick up his reading where he'd left off.

Instead of the report he'd been reading, this one was from a Lieutenant Akorem. 'We switched PADDs.' He quickly realised. Although he and the Captain had only just gone their separate ways, the CO could have gone in one of several directions so Daniel quickly consulted the computer. "Computer, locate Captain Geisler."

Instead of the usual cool female tone from the computer, a hologram in the form of a human male materialised from thin air. "Captain Geisler is in the impulse reactor maintenance bay."

Daniel's already increased heart rate spiked as the sudden appearance of the hologram surprised him, causing him to jump and yelp. He'd forgotten that the ships new holographic computer interface had been brought online. "Thanks." He turned and started back the way he came as he mused, 'That's gonna take some getting use to.'

Harvey hadn't been inside the maintenance bay for very long. The bay itself was nearly devoid of personnel, save for a couple enlisted personnel who were charged with keeping an eye on the systems even in its dormant state. Both crewmembers were quick to notice the Captain, but Harvey quickly waved them off, allowing them to continue their work. He, meanwhile, surveyed the bay by walking around and visually inspecting the components that he knew were new. The padd he carried remained off, and down at his side during the inspection.

Ensign Walsh strode back into the maintenance bay. The enlisted crew working there were obviously confused to see him return so soon but Daniel pointed to where the Captain was inspecting the bay, silent indication that he was looking for the Captain. He quietly approached the Black Hawk's CO once more, this time at least there was no chance of walking into him.

As he neared Geisler's position, he cleared his throat. "Excuse me, Captain?"

Harvey turned at the sound of the familiar voice. He was surprised to see the Ensign again so soon, and Harvey was left to wonder as to the reason. "Yes, Ensign?"

"Um, sorry for disturbing you, sir...again." Daniel held out the PADD. "I think we switched PADDs. This is a report from Lieutenant Akorem."

"Really?" Harvey remarked. He activated the padd he held and looked at its screen. He did expect to see the report he was reading earlier, but that was certainly not the case. "It seems you are correct." The Captain handed the padd back to its rightful owner. "Thankfully it was just a report, and nothing major."

That hadn't even occurred to the young Ensign. It could have been an intelligence report, a confidential briefing, an eyes only communique. The son of an Admiral, Daniel knew only too well the importance of being able to keep information to yourself. Thankfully that wasn't necessary in this case.

He handed the Captain's PADD back to him. "I'll let you continue your inspection," he quickly added, "for real this time...sir."

Harvey simply nodded to the Ensign as he accepted Lieutenant Akorem's report back. "Have a good evening, Ensign. Thank you for all you've done."

"Thank you, sir. Have a good evening." Daniel replied with a smile. He promptly turned and strode towards the door, feeling that perhaps he'd made a better first impression than he could hae hoped, given how his encounter with the Captain had started.

 

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