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Right of First Succession

Posted on 05 Apr 2020 @ 8:57pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Landon Milo MD

Mission: Sentience
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: MD 2 || 1130 hours

Harvey, not moving from the couch, sat up and leaned forward. He inhaled deeply, holding his breath for a moment. He was nervous, and rightfully so. He already had to replace one senior officer in the last few days, and he certainly hadn't expected to replace another so soon. Harvey exhaled and tapped his badge. "Captain Geisler to Doctor Milo. Please report to the Ready Room."

Landon was taken aback by the sound of his comm badge acting up like a cricket in the soothing summer nights after a scorching hot day. He remembered those times fondly. You'd try to sneak around the fields up and down the hills trying your best to catch one or at least see it hopping from one blade of grass to another, but the closer you got to it the quieter they got until it was dead silent...but another would be chirping away off in the near distance. They always eluded him.

His comm badge; however, was a different story. It was attached to his uniform jacket which he had taken off and flung overtop a biobed in Sickbay. When Jayla was off duty or not around Landon liked to be a bit more lax if there were no patients to tend to. He quickly proceeded to the jacket and tapped the badge. It was the Cap -- It was Harvey. Hearing the man's voice say his name was smallest sweetest storm of emotion. He felt his face flush with warmth. His cheeks and ears undoubtedly red. "On my way Sir" he replied, his voice crackling like a pubescent schoolboy experiencing the hardships of puberty.

Good God Doctor, pull yourself together he reprimanded himself in the turbolift up to the Bridge. He doesn't call you to his Ready Room often. This is probably ship business, nothing more nothing less the more logical side of his brain spoke to him. When the lift reached the Bridge...something was different. Though he was not 100% back to himself with all his abilities, Landon was operating in the high 80s on a good day. He could sense Harvey once he reached the man's Ready Room doors. Pressing the chime and waiting for them to open Landon was not entirely sure what he was in for but he could feel the nervousness and stress from his friend, his Commanding Officer.

No sooner did the doors start to open did the somewhat thin blue-eyed physician slip in. Not recommended, but he did so every now and then. He was face to face with Captain Geisler in a matter of seconds. "Is Joey alright...the kids?" he asked immediately showing concern for the Captain's wife and their brood.

Harvey arched an eyebrow almost immediately when he heard the question. The tone in Landon's voice was certainly founded in concern, and Harvey was momentarily perplexed as to why that was the case. He remembered a half-second later that Landon was Betazoid, and quite capable reading his thoughts and emotions. "Joey and the twins are fine," Harvey said. "And it seems your own recovery is going well." The Captain did remember that due to events prior to Landon returning to the Black Hawk involved the good doctor in a life-and-death situation that had caused a lot of emotional trauma.

The Captain also needed to point out that the two were not alone. "You remember Commander Walsh?" Harvey gestured over to one of the tables at the table where Terry sat.

To say that Terry was caught off guard by the sudden question about the Captain's wife and children would be an understatement. Not to mention the fact that the Doctor had just walked on in. That was interesting. Nonetheless, Terry put his hand up and waved to Milo. "Doctor."

Landon breathed a sigh of relief. Then what is this about he thought to himself before looking over at Walsh. "Ah yes. Commander Walsh" replied the doctor with a pleasant nod. "What can I do for you gentlemen? It isn't every day I get summoned into your Ready Room, Harv."

Harvey, who was still sitting on the couch, gestured for Doctor Milo to take a seat and made no comment on the fact that the doctor did not utilize rank or titles while addressing him.. "When was the last time you spoke to Doctor Kij?"

Business it is thought Landon which meant a shift from casual to formal. "I'm Assistant Chief Medical Officer, Captain. I check in with her regularly, but unless our shifts overlap or thre are medical personnel who are sick, most of our communication is done by brief memorandums. I would not say we are close personally though our professional relationship has not had too many hiccups. The Black Hawk runs like a well oiled machine."

The Captain couldn't help but laugh at the comparison. If today had proven anything, from the spat between two of his senior officers and now to this sudden news, it was that the Black Hawk seemed to be falling apart. "I'm sorry," he said, trying to regain his composure. "That's just... wow. Sorry, Landon, but I have to be the bear of bad news. Doctor Kij is no longer on board."

"Well, to be fair some of the best well oiled machines need parts replacements" noted the Assistant Chief Medical Officer who instinctively crossed his arms. "Oh" added Landon, his eyes narrowed and he looked at Harvey. "Call it a damned good hunch, but something tells me you are not about to surrender your post and come out of medical retirement for that opening."

"Hell no," Harvey blatantly declared. "I might have kept up with journals, but I haven't done much more than apply salve, lotion, or a hypospray these days." Though he didn't say it, he was actually rather proud of the triage he'd performed on himself in small moments while aboard the Guardian vessel last March. "But on that topic... you're next in line."

Landon flashed a smile "Oh damn, you do know what Assistant Chief means" teased the physician. "Yes, the medical line of succession would place me as next in line for the position of Chief Medical Officer in the event Doctor Kij was injured, killed, unable to perform her duties or reassigned etc etc etc. Therefore, I would be Acting Chief Medical Officer until permenately named to the position or a new Chief Medical Officer is selected or assigned. I'll go out on a limb here, Harv. You would rather not wait for the powers that be to present you with a list of several candidates to consider?"

Terry sat back in the chair and let the conversation sink in. He expected the Captain to have had close friends over the years just like any other person. But he didn't expect any of them to currently be on the Black Hawk. The beginning of this meeting was turning out to be a real eye-opener. "Lists are something that has become a little too common over the last little while."

"Not just that," Harvey added. "While I was working with Admiral O'Connell during our whole drydock phase, it came to my attention several times that there's a shortage of qualified medical personnel in the Gamma Quadrant. I had to fight to get Doctor Kij back on board, but I didn't expect for her to be snatched away so quickly. So, waiting isn't exactly an option, Landon."

Landon looked at Walsh "Flyboy, I know we didn't have much more than a fleeting passing in the corridors when I was Chief Medical Officer of the previous Black Hawk" he said to the man who had served on the Akira class Black Hawk. "Nevertheless, I know. Lists are becoming too commonplace" he added.

Shifting his attention to the Captain, Landon nodded. "I understand, Harv. I can only imagine the predicament this puts you in. I am more than qualified to take over as the Chief Medical Officer for this starship as I held the position prior before Doctor Kij on our former namesake. I came back to the Black Hawk to heal my mind and my soul with a deduction in rank and position, but I know what the Medical Department needs right now and it's not me. Had this occured in several months...it may have been an easy yes for me. I would want nothing more than to take the position right now, but I know that I cannot. You need someone with strong leadership skills and can keep that Sickbay together. Waiting isn't an option. So, do not sit around here waiting on me. Give it to Doctor Rhula."

Terry had been called Flyboy so many times over the years, that he'd grown accustomed to it. He chuckled a little and then settled as Doctor Milo continued. "So without addressing the...decline of the nomination..., what makes Doctor Rhula the candidate in your estimation?"

The Captain leaned forward on the sofa. His fingers interlaced as he rested his wrists just behind his knees while Harvey's gaze remained fixed on Landon, awaiting the Doctor's reasoning.

"Well, would you gentlemen want the whole detailed run down or shall I bullet point it for you?" replied Landon. He was joking of course. He knew they were pressed for time. "I'm the better candidate, but my declining the nomination aside...you are out here in the Gamma Quadrant. You want a CMO that is robust and well rounded with a solid foundation of general medicine. That's Rhula for sure. My specialty was pediatrics and overtime I became well versed in infectious diseases. I'm a researcher at heart. Leave the specialist where they are on the medical staff. Rhula is the physician who has that natural leadership instinct. When he needs assistance with someonething, he will seek one of us with a specialty in the area, but for the general care of the crew and passengers I cannot think of anyone better take over for Doctor Kij."

Harvey had limited experience with Doctor Rhula, aside from the Dolmoqour incident. He understood the man had been valuable in developing a method to detect the parasites, which came in handy near the end of struggle to rid them from the ship. Still, he weighed Landon's recommendation heavily against the limited staff they did have. Harvey only wished that when he'd been drafted into the position more than a decade ago that he'd had Landon's ability to decline. Then again, it was wartime and one had to follow the orders regardless. "Well, that is a glowing recommendation. Are you sure you want to pass?"

Landon flashed a quick smile. "No, I am not sure that I do, but I am sure that I need to. The timing isn't right for me to step back up to Chief Medical Officer right now, and I know that I am not the candidate best suited for the position. So, yes I am declining the offer and giving someone else a glowing recommendation and a full endorsement."

Harvey took in a deep breath prior to exhaling. He had anticipated this, but he had hoped that it wouldn't happen. At least Landon had given them an option to pursue, which was better than what they had already. "Very well. Thank you for your candor, and I'm sorry you had to hear about Jayla's departure like this. Everything else going okay?"

They say that honesty is the best policy, thought Terry. And at least Milo was being that. His mind raced to think of this Doctor Rhula, but he couldn't place a face with the name. He expected, though, that it wouldn't be long before that would be remedied. He leaned back and waited for the young doctor to answer the less duty related question. He seemed to be getting a little personal insight into most the crew as of late. And this was no different.

"Oh well my romantic life is abismal and I cannot find a date, but that's neither here nor there" replied Landon with a smile. He did not want to bore either men with his personal problems. "Work wise everything appears to be going fine. I imagine it will be a bit of a departmental morale hit to lose Jayla, but better we lose her like this than any crushing circumstances. Morale will rebound fine with someone like Doctor Rhula in charge. Nevertheless, I'll monitor the transition and make sure that it goes smoothly."

"Jayla was endeared by many," Harvey confirmed, leaving his own personal recollections to himself. "I'm glad that you'll be monitoring, and I know you'll do your best to keep things running and smooth with Doctor Rhula." The Captain looked over to Terry. "I guess our next step is to call in Doctor Rhula so we can get the department back on its feet before it turns upside down on us. Thank you, Landon, for your input and recommendation."

Terry nodded, "Yes, thank you. And I'll be looking forward to reading those reports about the smooth transition."

Landon stood up sensing this meeting was nearing and, for him at least. He suspected the two gentlmen would want some alone time to discuss ship business. "You are very welcome, both of you. Well, in the meantime as the Assistant Chief Medical Officer without a direct superior...I'm going to catch up on Jayla's work in what was her office."

"Don't get too comfortable in there," Harvey remarked. He rose from the couch as well to signify that their time was near the end. "We'll take your recommendation under advisement, but we're going to fill her shows as quickly as we can."

Terry stayed seated and allowed Harvey's gesture to stand to conclude the meeting. Everything seemed to be going well enough so far. Hopefully the next meeting would go as well, too.

Landon smiled as he proceeded to leave. "The chair is not designed for a man of my lack of height and stature. It's uncomfortable. I'll wait until they change to a better model of chair."

~To Be Continued in "Next In Line"

 

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