USS Imperator

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Ground Rules

Posted on Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 @ 5:30pm by Captain Thomas Winter & Lieutenant Commander Aedele Baril

Mission: Shoreleave 2
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: MD11 1145 Hours

Tom stood looking out the window. He'd wanted to be sure the rest of the senior staff was gone before he began the discussion he wanted to have with his new Executive Officer. Now that he was confident of that, he turned around to face her again.

"Commander, can I ask you a question, and I'd like you to be totally honest with me." He said in a deadpan tone, pausing for a moment "On any of your previous assignments, did you ever know an XO to question their Captain's orders in front of the senior staff? Because I've been a Starship commander coming up on ten years, and I've never had that happen to me before."

"As an intel officer, I rarely worked directly with a CO or XO. I also did not question your orders, Captain," Aedele responded, raising an eyebrow. "I merely pointed out that the mission is too dangerous to have both an Admiral and a starship captain going down to the surface per Starfleet Regulation Section 12, Paragraph 4."

"I'm aware of the regulation, Commander. I'm also aware that I had a Starfleet Admiral in the room and he was perfectly happy for me to go down there until you brought it up." Tom said, moving to the replicator "Tea, soy milk, two sugars. You want a drink?"

"Thank you, Sir but no. As for Admiral Lancaster, as he is focused on this mission, it isn't his job to keep you from getting killed or hurt--that belongs to myself and the Chief of Security of this ship."

"Acting." Tom corrected "Our official Chief of Security. As for it not being the Admiral's job, he wouldn't try quoting regulations to me anyway. Admiral Lancaster fits into a very specific category of Captain's. A category that includes the likes of James Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, even Kathryn Janeway. Captain's who get results, though their methods weren't exactly by the book. The kind of Captain who'd be a hipocrit to question a subordinate on the rules. Now, I don't want there to be any misconceptions. You're not wrong to point out the regulation to me, you're exactly right and I did the same myself as a young XO. What you are wrong to do is to do it in front of members of the crew. To do so compromises my authority, and if we end up in a crisis situation, the last thing a Starfleet vessel can afford is for the authority of her Captain to be compromised."

Aedele studied the Captain for a moment before replying. Was he a glory hound? Trying to live up to the reputation of the captains he had mentioned? Did she need to mention the fallout that would occur if the captain was killed on her first mission as the ship's XO? However, she knew arguing the point with such a man would prove fruitless. "Very well, Sir. I apologize. It will not happen again."

"Good." He said, pausing "Look, I'm sorry if you feel like I'm being harsh here. The fact is I only took this command about a year ago, and to an extent I still have people feeling me out here. That means I can't afford to look weak in front of them. To make things worse, I'm having to follow on from the Admiral as the Captain of this ship. First time I met the man, I thought he was an arrogant son of a bitch who thought the rules didn't apply to him because he didn't agree with them, and he thought I was an arrogant son of a bitch who had a stick up his ass and needed to learn when to break the rules. I'd like to say there's been a bit of learning from the other on both sides, certainly I've learned to appreciate those grey areas in the rules a little more, but if the education hasn't been positive, well, at least our initial assessments of one another had one thing in common. To top it off, your predecessor was one of only a few people on this ship I would really talk to or consider a friend, and that friendship is very much one built on knowing exactly where the lines are and where they can be danced around a bit."

"I only offered the objection as the situation with the Restnah is unpredictable," Aedele began. "You may have taken command of the ship barely a year ago, Sir but in that time a crew would come to begin to believe in you and your leadership. What would happen if both a Starfleet Admiral and Captain were both killed and or captured by a rogue group on the surface?"

"If that were to happen, then it would become the Captain's job to keep the Admiral safe while operating under the assumption his First Officer would get them out of there, which would be the First Officers job after reporting in." Tom said "However, the first duty of the First Officer would be the safety of the ship and her crew. Although I am absolutely opposed to leaving anyone behind, I'm more opposed to getting my people killed. I'm also opposed to giving any order I wouldn't carry out myself. To act in such a hypocritical manner is the mark of a bad captain. I can give you examples of those too if you like."

"It is not needed. I only asked because if you and the admiral had both been killed, the morale on this ship would likely be at an all time low and who knows how Starfleet Command would take it--not lightly, that much I am sure of. And I agree with you about never leaving an officer behind, Sir."

“Of course.” Tom nodded “Now, what do you think of this assignment? I’m aware playing taxi isn’t the most exciting assignment, but I’ll confess the explorer in me is excited to meet a species with which our contact has been relatively limited.”

"It will be interesting to learn more about them, I agree, Sir," Aedele answered. "I both love and hate these situations. We get to learn more about them yet at the same time we don't have enough intel on the people either."

"Try talking to the Admiral. He was on the first contact team. I would but I'm not going down there." Tom said, almost smirking as he added "My number one told me I'm not allowed."

A small grin formed at Aedele's mouth. "Only until we know for sure that it's safe, Sir. Did you have anything else for me Captain?"

"That's all, Commander." Tom said "Dismissed."

Aedele nodded. "Aye, Sir." She then turned and left the lounge to take her position on the bridge.


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