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The New Commander

Posted on 22 Mar 2020 @ 3:52pm by Lieutenant Commander Gemma Alexander & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Sentience
Location: Flight Deck
Timeline: MD 2 || 0800 hours

Fresh on the inspection trail, Captain Geisler's next stop was the Flight Deck and to check in on the newly minted Squadron Commander, Miss Alexander. Harvey arrived promptly for his unscheduled inspection, and with a few minutes of asking around, he was able to narrow Commander Alexander's location down to the simulators.

Gemma made the inertial dampeners scream, or at least she imagined she did as she pulled out of a deep dive, watching her screen as her payload exploded on the target. "You ok back there!" She called to her new gunner, the Ensign, sassy as the rest, replied, "If I can survive your flying Queen Bee."

"I have control over the emergency escape systems too you know...." She sassed back, "so unless you want to float home..." She mock threatened. Then said, "Alright time to go home. Good job boyo." giving credit where credit was due. It was odd at first getting used to just flying but she couldn't argue with the efficiency numbers which had gone up since they added the new personnel.

Gemma secured the craft and the simulator wound down. A few minutes later, after a quick debrief with her gunner. Her headed off and she finished locking down the simulator. She was rubbing her head trying to get rid of the helmet head, carrying said helmet in one hand still in her flight suit headed out into the corridor. Catching sight of the CO she stopped and straightened, "Sir." She said by way of greeting.

The Captain had been standing nearby, watching Gemma's performance on a monitor. Ever since the 325th had been stationed on the Black Hawk, he'd rarely had a chance to keep a close eye on their operations. He had, however, gained a completely new respect for them during the Dolmoqour incident despite the pilots being controlled by parasites.

"Commander," Harvey greeted, just after taking a sip of his coffee. "How's the Squadron?"

"Gelling Sir." She replied, "Trainings are overall high marks. Equipment and craft are solid. Ready to go where and when needed." She gave a brief overview unsure how much detail he wanted.

Short and sweet, thought Harvey on Alexander's response. Clearly he'd found her while she was still in the zone, or whatever it was pilots called their tunnel vision these days. "I take it they're adjusting rather well with the sudden change in command."

Gemma mentally shifted gears coming out of pilot mode, "Yes rather, it helped that I've been taking on some day to day to help Rocco..I mean Commander Walsh out. So they're used to me in a leadership role." She smiled, "For what it's worth from what I can tell they couldn't be more pleased for him, though were sorry to see him go." She paused after a moment, "Would you like to have a sit Sir? There's a small meeting room here" She gestured back to he simulators, "or we can go elsewhere?" She inquired politely in her British accented English, figuring if he wanted to have a proper chat there were better places.

Harvey smirked at Alexander's response. Normally, he wouldn't mind stepping into an office, but there was no better way to learn about a ship and its inner workings than observing a department head in her natural habitat. "How about we talk as we tour the flight deck? I know you just gained about fifty personnel. Perhaps you can give me the nickel tour and show me some of the updates."

"Aye Sir." She said amiably and they headed out, down here for flight related items was just the simulators, briefing rooms, offices and storage mostly. She gestured for him to proceed her toward the turbolift to head to the main flight deck, then once they were moving again, "That was interesting with the new personnel, the logistics folding them into flight operations as it were. I think we struck a good balance..."

"Balance is good," Harvey remarked, joining her in the turbolift. "Of course, nothing congeals a team like continued service together. The squadron, percentage-wise, suffered most at the hands of the Dolmoqour. I assume there's no animosity to the new arrivals and that everyone's doing their best to help the other get settled?"

Gemma ordered the lift to the next level and thought for a moment before continuing, "I'd be lying if I said there was no aftermath that we had to work through because that...situation. But that was mostly between the infected and non infected, bonds of trust to be rebuilt as it were but they didn't snap." There was a hint of pride in her voice as she thought about how overall they'd pulled together, "But no, no one took anything out on the newbies. The usual teasing of course."

They arrived on the main deck and entered the main flight area, a large round room with craft in their bays as ground crews swarmed about, pilots heading to one duty or another, nearby two pilots seemed to having an intense discussion on the merits of a gryphon. They caught sight of the pair and one hit the other then they came to attention upon seeing the Captain.

Harvey grunted as he smiled. He never tired of fresh crewmembers adhering so strictly to protocol. He nodded to both pilots as he and Alexander continued walking. "Good," Harvey noted of Gemma's report. "As long as we don't slide into hazing or snipe hunting, the 325th should fare well. Have you had a chance to prepare any training situations for the squadron yet?"

Relieved the two pilots waited until the pair had moved on before resuming their discussion. For her part Gemma nodded, "Oh yes. As soon as we could get to simulators we've been practicing with the new gunners. We felt it important everyone get used to the new division of labor..." She continued to walk around the large room, "And right after the first senior staff meeting I was able to meet with Commanders Di Pasquale and Walsh to flesh out some training scenarios we feel will really help everyone stretch their wings."

"Excellent," Harvey remarked. "I can't say I know what you and your team are going through, considering you're handing off quite a bit of the load to a second seat in the fighters. Though, I imagine if the Three-Twenty-Fifth had gunners a few months ago, I'd imagine our trial with the Dolmoqour would have ended quite differently. I might have never made it out the first time with the runabout."

Gemma's smile faded and her steps slowed then stopped as her face took on a more sober expression. A memory flashed in her mind of helplessness and chaos as her ride along tried it's damnest to kill the Captain. She pushed it aside, a habit born of practice. "No I don't think you would have." She said with less 'upbeat' than before. Their efficiency with the gunner's had jumped obviously, she didn't want to think about if they'd been here a few months before. An honest analysis if a painful one. "I was never so happy to have even a near miss in the whole of my life." She continued sincerity ringing in her voice.

"It just goes to show," Harvey said, approaching the retrofitted control center for the Flight Deck, "that knowledge is something easily accessed, but skill, finesse, and even wisdom are solely yours. Had Gemma Alexander been flying that fighter, and not a puppeteer, then we certainly wouldn't be having this conversation today. But it was the puppeteer that did those things, and not you. I recognize that, and Starfleet recognizes that. Make sure that you, your pilots, and your maintenance team know that too."

Gemma blinked at that and her eyes lost that 'deep in thought' vague gaze and her sapphire eyes sharped. She'd been told much of what the Captain had just said before over the past few months and most of the time believed it, there had been the occasionally difficulty in truly letting go though and it liked to rear it's head at odd moments. However, just now it was the right words at the right time coming from the right person. She felt the burden ease and her spine stiffen as she snapped fully into the present, "Aye Sir, we've been working on that." She said with more feeling than she had before.

They found themselves near the nerve center of flight ops as such had special precautions to get in. The room could be cut off from the rest of the bay by an internally powered force field but currently just had reinforced walls and door. In short it was built like a bunker with its own environmental systems, required computer access and the like, to get in Gemma had to touch a panel and the door slid open. It had scanned her medical being to make sure she was not impaired or showing shows of duress. In higher security levels, it could be locked down from within limiting outside access. They'd tried to balance keeping it secure from outside threats but not making it impossible to get to if the threat came from within, many engineers and security experts went back and forth over it. There was also a small room off to one side that housed the emergency armory.

Harvey smiled again, and decided it was time to change the subject. He waved to the large control center they were now standing in and said, "Walk me through the modifications here and the new structure."

Gemma nodded and truly began to let go, "Yes Sir. If you'll follow me." She gestured to the main flight command area. Personnel bustled about, a few stopped to start to come to attention but she gestured them back to their duties. Taking her cue the others continued their work. "The consoles now include floating holographic displays. The higher quality has been amazingly helpful in the chaotic battle simulations we've been running." She began. "Especially the center station." She went on to explain about the sheer holographic detail possible, allowing real-time tactical displays of their current situation. They could see stations for every conceivable flight operation aspect, "I call this area Houston after the ancient location of the flight command center of the old NASA organization."

"Just don't have any problems, and we should be good." Harvey was only partially joking, but he recalled an Engineering professor at the Academy who loved to say Houston, we have a problem, whenever someone royally messed up an answer. "This is definitely a little bigger than I remember. Are there any failsafes now to prevent someone from going rogue?"

Gemma nodded, "Aye Sir, over there." She pointed at a pit like area where some ground crew worked, "a mini engineering from there we can access our own vital systems including sensors and communications so we won't be cut off again. We also have plans to loop in the craft to more readily aid as boosters in those areas.". It was also taking engineering aspects so they were being cautious. Then she thought about it and shrugged, "Should help somewhat." taking into account the universe's creative methods they couldn't do it all.

She paused at they made their way around, in case the Skipper had any questions, he didn't so they continued the tour.

"All personnel wear and are trained on medical tricorders to detect issues that way if they feel something is off and it gave us a good excuse to get more people first aid or field medic qualified. I've sent the updated list to medical for emergency use." She gestured to the medical tricorder she wore at her hip. "We've been working with engineering and operations to hardwire the computer to report any orders to shut down, harm, or negatively alter a system." She looked over, "We also have some procedural measures, no operations with fewer than 3 craft that sort of thing, I could send you the list if you'd like Sir?"

"I would certainly like to see that," Harvey confirmed. "As well as any new procedure you or Commander Walsh may have implemented in the last month." His gaze continued to survey the room, focusing now on the systems Gemma had shared with him.

"Of course Sir." They walked along the stations. The center most row was the command deck that included the Officer in Charge and the Navigation team. The next row were all the weapons specialists. Followed by damage, operations, and coms in another row. Medical rounded out the sections, just in training mode most where working but it was a light, quiet moment and a sense of calm purpose filled the room.

"It's all quite impressive," Harvey noted, nodding to the various crew members who were tossing various glances over to the Captain. Harvey had rarely entered the command center, leaving squadron operations to the squadron while he focused on the larger starship. Times were changing, and he hoped his presence now was a sign that both groups would be working more closely together. "Well, I've probably commanded too much of your time already. Do you have anything else to report?"

Gemma gestured to the door prepared to walk him out, "Just that we've been working closely with tactical to weave more tightly battle plans involving the ship and the squadron. I think we're as ready as we'll ever be..." then she smiled, "Not that we'll stop training of course. So many more wrenches to toss. I mean challenges to put before our respective departments.". Her tone and body language confident, ready to tackle the future.

"Excellent." Harvey turned to the new Squadron Commander and smiled. "And, if worst comes to worst, at least your predecessor is still around should you need some direct advice on how to handle things. I would certainly advise you to lead on your Flight Commanders, as well as the senior enlisteds in the command center here. Just because you've got the pips doesn't mean you can't benefit from their ideas and experience."

Gemma nodded, it was easy to feel you had to have all the answers as a Chief, "I'll try to remember that Sir. And if I forget I am sure a more than a few senior noncoms will, ever so politely, remind me." She said ruefully with a small smile.

The Captain chuckled. "That they will, Commander. That they will. Carry on." With that, Harvey turned on his heels and left the complex, allowing the Squadron Commander to continue settling in.

Gemma watched him go and after he left, let out a slow, mind clearing breath. "Alright then." She thought, her mind full of purpose, "Time to be about it." and turned back to the command center.

 

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