Langley Station

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Touching Base

Posted on Wed Feb 2, 2022 @ 9:54am by Lieutenant Megan DuBois & Emily Starr Miss

Mission: First Defeat
Location: Research Department
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 1400

ON:

Emily rested her back against the cool wall of the lift. Closing her eyes she took a slow deep breath in and then out. "You got this." The words quietly passed her lips, barely more than a whisper. Eyes opening, Emily was glad she'd finally found a lift that was empty. Taking it down to meet the Research team had been a small break in a very chaotic day and there weren't words to express how grateful she was for it. It had been awhile since she'd been in such a large throng of people. It was exhilarating and exhausting.

After an hour of the what do I wear game, Emily settled on a simple skirt suit with a lavender blouse to wear on her first day. She'd planned a meeting, with snacks, to get to know her team and the work they'd been doing so far. As she'd planned, Emily met her team in the Civilian Affairs department, got a few words in of greeting, and then a vendor dispute broke out on the promenade. She was given a brief rundown of how they were going to mediate it from her secretary before the team, not used to having her there, just took over and did it. What a fish out of water moment that was. Now she was doing something that felt like a task she could manage without any walkthroughs or rundowns: Go meet the research department.

The doors hissed open and Emily pushed off from the wall. She walked slowly as she exited and continued that pace as she moved through the obviously scientific deck. Odd beeping could be heard from near and far, with the interjected quiet voices of those who managed the machines. The Chief of Research's office was listed, but Emily wanted to get a look around. In her opinion you could learn more about a department from the way the staff spoke about it than from the Chief.

Walking into the research lab, Emily adjusted her course to the first person on the left. "Excuse me," Emily said. "I'm a little lost, but I'm pretty sure I've found the Research lab for the planet?"

The woman who turned to respond to Emily wasn’t a woman at all, but a sixteen-year-old girl with brown hair and blue eyes. She was short at five-three and petite, small and cute, attractive, but very out of place among the adult scientists in the room. The only thing that indicated she might belong was the fact that she was wearing the blue Starfleet Science uniform with lieutenant pips on her collar.

“Yes. Can I help you?” the girl asked in a voice with a slight French accent. A hand brushed back her loose brown hair as she looked Emily over.

Emily looked her over and almost asked, 'Are your parents here?' but thankfully caught notice of the pips on the uniform. "L.. Lieutenant, I just wanted to learn a little more about the Research going on here and the staff." She smiled. "I'm new to the station." Her hand shot out. "Emily Starr. I'm the new director of civilian affairs."

The teenager blinked, but took Emily’s hand. “Lieutenant Megan DuBois,” she said, still with the French accent. “Assistant Director.” Though she’d mostly been running things for the last couple months, as Caoimhe was busy. “Welcome aboard. I can answer some questions.” Megan figured Emily likely had a few about the teenage girl who was in charge, too, and braced herself for yet another interrogation. “We can go to my office. I have coffee, tea, and chocolate.”

Emily's handshake was firm but light. A look of comprehension, undetectable to most, flashed across her face at the brief interaction. Touch empathy had its helpful moments and Emily knew not to push the appearance queries. Instead, she set a goal to treat Megan like she would any other department head. "You had me at coffee and chocolate,” Emily grinned. "I process science talk better with chocolate, for sure. I don't have a brain for it in the slightest."

Following Megan to the office down the hall, Emily made note of the various faces she saw. "It seems like a pretty calm work environment. Or am I just not seeing the stress behind the beeping machines?"

“We just finished a big project and are settling into analyzing the data, so much of the stress of a deadline is over,” Megan said. “Though I’m running the department right now, as Commander O’Connor has been filling in as the station XO for the last few months.”

They entered an office off of the main hall in the department. It wasn’t too large, but big enough for the desk and a couch that made up most of the furnishings, besides a couple chairs in front of the desk. There weren’t really a lot of personal items. On the desk was a picture of two girls, one an older teenager, maybe eighteen with red hair, green eyes, and cute nose dusted with a few freckles. The other was a younger girl, maybe twelve, with blonde hair and blue eyes. On the walls were a few other pictures of the same girls, though younger, often with the backdrop of Montreal, Quebec. In one photo only a very handsome middle aged man appeared with the girls, obviously their father, though he didn’t appear anywhere else in the room.

“So what does Civilian Affairs want to do with Research?” Megan asked as she went to a side cupboard by the replicator that held a rather fancy machine. No replicated hot drinks here. Megan went through the process of fixing up a real hot chocolate for Emily, and not one that was just hot water poured over powder, but genuine steamed milk. “Dark or milk?” Megan asked Emily.

"Dark, for sure." Emily didn't miss the fact she was making it without the replicator and she logged that tidbit away for future use. If she was to ever invite Megan to dinner it would be a real meal, not replicated. "Civilians come and go from the station for a myriad of reasons. Scientists being one of them. My job is to help with the interactions between Starfleet and the civilian side. That's why I'm here."

Megan finished up the hot chocolate and brought it over to Emily. Megan’s own had a whiff of mint in the chocolate. “I do have several civilian scientists on staff,” she had to admit. “Most, in fact. Starfleet runs the research, but we couldn’t do it all without the non-Starfleet scientists.” She gestured to the couch to sit as she blew on her cocoa to cool it.

"Exactly." Emily took a seat, "So I'll be helping with anything regarding civilian transfers, issues, accommodations...etc." She took a sip of the warm liquid and was briefly lost in the taste, "Now that is a beautiful thing." She turned her attention back to Megan. "How has it been working with Starfleet?"

“Shouldn’t you ask the civilians that?” Megan smiled, sipping her own chocolate. “It’s good. We’re making progress. Some of the civilians don’t take orders well. And they often don’t like the mandatory week-long assignments planetside. But I haven’t noted too many issues. At least they aren’t telling me about it.”

Emily did a small facepalm at the way she badly worded her question. "I'm glad you aren't having that many issues. And yes, I meant how are you finding working with them. I seem to be a little off the mark today with my words." She took a sip of the heavenly liquid. "I'll be asking them how it is working with Starfleet as well. A week planetside seems fair and not that much of an issue. I'm assuming that it's an adequate setup for living. It's not unsafe at all, is it?"

“I’ve worked with civilians a bit before, occasionally on ship assignments, but that is unusual. With a stationary assignment, there is a lot more opportunity.” Megan trailed off a bit, looking down into her cup. “Some of them don’t seem to…respect my authority,” she admitted. “It can be a challenge.”

"It shouldn't be," Emily quipped. "You should feel fully supported in your role. If anyone is disrespectful, Starfleet or civilian, they can be written up and reprimanded." She took a long drink of her cocoa. "I'll review the contracts for the civilian personnel. I want to ensure the language is crystal clear."

Emily knew that there was no world where personalities and work ethics wouldn't clash. There were ways to manage minor issues like that. However, there was a fine boundary and Emily was going to walk it as best she could to advocate for everyone aboard the station.

"I want you to feel comfortable coming to talk with our department if you ever feel that the level of respect has dipped to a point it's causing issues with others’ views of your role." Finishing her drink, she placed it on a side table. "It's the not so fun part of being in charge. We have to deal with the chaos where other crew members just get to cause it." She chuckled.

Megan smiled wryly. “I don’t blame them…too much,” she admitted. “Would you want to take orders from a teenager?” she asked Emily. “It’s hard to see past that. I’m younger than many of their own children,” she pointed out. “Certainly younger than my eldest. I would have trouble listening to me.”

Emily nodded. "Then they can bring up those concerns, but obviously Starfleet trusts you. If they want to argue with Stafleet....well," A gentle shrug followed the end of her sentence, "..that's on them, they can go ahead and do that. But when here, you're the boss."

“Does Starfleet trust me?” Megan asked wryly. “I got stuck out here, didn’t I, after my accident? And that was after they tried to get rid of me.”

"But obviously you're still here," Emily offered. "If they genuinely wanted to, they could always find an airlock." It was a wry comment in the same tone Megan had used. "Kidding...of course. But honestly, I wouldn't worry about it. Starfleet has a history of strange and unusual. I once had a captain who was a small blue alien." She shrugged. "Starfleet just rolls."

“Blue aliens Starfleet has in spades,” Megan said. “Teenage minors getting up to who knows what in the depths of space? Less so…” Megan shrugged and finished her chocolate. “But I’ve adjusted so far. C’est la vie.”

"Indeed," Emily thought of her comment, as she hadn't seen many other two foot blue alien captains, but maybe she didn't get out enough. "Well, I for one won't question the teenager before me." She stood up and returned her mug to the replicator, feeling at ease to do so. "Growing up as an obscure half-breed I've had enough assumptions put upon me. I do my best to only dismiss people after they've done something deserving of my judgment. And so far, you're exceptional, and I am grateful for the conversation and the kind welcome."

Megan smiled. “Thank you for stopping by,” she said. “Next time we can work on how hard it is to date as a teenager,” she said wryly.

"I have issues dating as an adult, so I think we can compare notes," Emily said with a contemplative grin. "I'll see you around, Megan. Don't hesitate to get in touch for anything." She headed to the door, and on cue it opened with a hiss. She turned to wave and then headed back up to her office.

FIN

Emily Starr
Director of Civilian Affairs

Lt. Megan DuBois
Assistant Director of Research

 

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