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Questions About Command

Posted on Sat Nov 2, 2019 @ 6:46pm by Captain Madelina Weisz & Lieutenant Martha Cusack

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: XO's Office
Timeline: MD 1 || 0800 Hours

Martha decided that she should go and and speak to Maddy about what command was like from someone who had a lot of experience of it. After standing outside Maddy's office for a few seconds - during which she hesitated to press the Executive Officer's chime - Martha quickly reached out and tapped the chime to request permission to enter. The Chief Tactical Officer then quickly composed herself and thought about what she was going to say.

Inside her office, Maddy stepped away from the replicator with a cup of coffee in her hand. For a brief moment, she considered raiding Michael's ready room for a real cup, but didn't have time for such luxuries when there was so much work that required her attention. The redhead brought the steaming mug to her lips and took a sip as she crossed back over to her desk and settled down. Once she'd placed the cup in a safe place where it wouldn't be in jeopardy of being knocked over, Maddy was just about to grab one of the many PADDs stacked on the side of her desk when the chime alerted her she had a visitor.

"Saved by the proverbial bell," she said as she rose to her feet once again and began to straighten her uniform. Whoever it was on the other side had just rescued her from hours of PADDwork she couldn't put off for much longer, but would for the time being. "Come in."

Martha heard Maddy call for her to enter the room. A couple of seconds later the Tactical Officer reached for the door control and watched as the doors swished open to grant her access. Martha walked into the office and once they'd swished closed behind her she walked up to Maddy's desk - stopping around a metre or so short.

"I'm sorry to bother you Captain but I was wondering if you've got some time to talk about your experience of command? If it's not a good time I can come back later if you'd prefer" Martha said.

The Captain couldn't hide her surprise. It wasn't often that someone was curious about her experiences in command, and now that she was actually thinking about it, Maddy couldn't recall a time where anyone had asked her about it. Maybe Tom did a time or two in the past, but this was different, and she found herself quite interested. "Now is a good time," she said, gesturing to one of the two chairs on the other side of her desk. "Please, sit, Lieutenant. Can I get you anything? Coffee, tea?"

"Thank you Captain. Could I have a cup of tea please?" Martha responded.

Martha then took the seat which she'd been offered and looked around at Maddy's office while she waited. It was bigger than her own and well appointed - although Martha would expect that to be the case considering the size of the Triumphant and the importance of the officer whose office it was.

"Coffee it is," Maddy said, moving back to the replicator to request another cup. With it in hand, she made her way over to Martha to give it to her, then returned to her chair to sit down once more. "What kind of questions do you have for me, Lieutenant? Are you interested in command?"

Martha gratefully accepted the drink before taking a sip of it and resting it on the desk in front of her. She wrapped her hands around the warm cup to savour its warmth before responding to Maddy.

"I am considering it at some point in the future. A couple of things I've wondered about is whether command is a rewarding experience and if it changes you as a person? My last commanding officer said it changed him as a person but he didn't really elaborate how" Martha replied.

Maddy looked thoughtful as she thought about what she'd just been asked. "Command can be very rewarding, but I'm not going to lie to you, Lieutenant. Not everyone is cut out to be in command, however, an individual won't know that to be the case unless they try," she began. "It can definitely change a person, too. The decisions one has to make. They not only affect the person making them, but they affect the entire crew as a whole. There are times where a crew is put in a position where not everyone is going to make it out alive, and members of command need to be able to deal with that."

Martha nodded as Maddy spoke. What she said was true - and a few years ago Martha had herself questioned whether she was cut out to be a commanding officer one day. She took another sip of her drink before responding.

Martha replied. "I think it's the whole making unpopular decisions and subsequent opinion of those which put me off it at first - but I know to be an XO and CO those decisions have to be made. I've had to make a few already so I know I can make them if I need to"

"For me, making those kinds of decisions are the hardest part," the redhead said, picking up her cup of coffee and taking a sip from it. "I suppose it all depends on the person you're asking, though. While I may think that's the hardest part, the Commodore might have different thoughts on the matter. How you considered speaking to him about this as well?"

Martha nodded in agreement - while she'd come around to feeling able to make those life or death decisions it was still going to be the hardest part of command for her. If she hadn't then the Tactical Officer wouldn't have gone along with Michael's suggestion of doing the command course which was the first step to achieving that goal.

"I haven't spoken to the Commodore about command yet although he was the one who recommended I did the command course. Perhaps I should go and speak to him about the command aspect too - and maybe his partner as well to get her view on how he deals with command" Martha responded.

"I think he's right. You should take the command course, that way when you're ready, all you'd have to do is step into the role. And if it turns out that you never feel you're completely ready, then you can say you've done it," the redhead stated. "And getting his views, as well as Spencer's, isn't a bad idea. I think she would still be wearing the uniform had it not been for medical issues."

Martha nodded. "Considering my age it'll give me several years to build up some more experience too - seeing as most of my COs didn't get promoted until their mid-thirties"

The Tactical Officer took a long sip of her drink before continuing.

"Oh that's a shame - I didn't realise Spencer was a Starfleet officer before. Did she have any command experience herself?" Martha concluded.

"She retired a Commander, and was the ship's former Executive Officer," Maddy stated. "I'm sure, if you choose to speak with her, that she'll tell you why she had to retire early. I'd love to tell you the story, but it just isn't my place."

Martha nodded - she totally understood that it wasn't Maddy's place to talk about why Spencer was no longer a Starfleet officer. She also decided that she would wait for Spencer to explain about her retirement rather than ask her about it directly.

"I'll be sure to go and see her at some point. One other thing...what would you say is the best thing about command?" Martha asked.

The redheaded Captain looked thoughtful as she considered an answer to Martha's question. What did she think was the best thing about command? "Well," she began. "Knowing you helped make a difference can be extremely rewarding. Do you want a more personal answer, or one that you're likely to get from anyone in command?"

Martha took another sip of her drink before replying. So far she'd found the discussion with Maddy very interesting and helpful - there was certainly a lot for her to take on board.

"If it's alright could you give me a personal answer please?" Martha asked.

"The most rewarding thing for me is getting to work with the rest of you. I know I've been labeled many things on the ship, but I don't pay much attention to that," the redhead Captain spoke. "However, the most rewarding part is what I already told you, and what you'll probably hear from everyone else. Making a difference."

Martha nodded. "I don't know what's been said but I think you're an excellent first officer - in fact the best I've served under. As for making a difference...that's something I really want to do with my career"

"Enroll in command classes and begin to take the proper steps to make it happen," the redhead offered. "I can put in a recommendation if you'd like me to."

"Thank you Captain - I'd appreciate that" Martha said.

She then finished the last of her drink before placing the empty cup down in her lap. She'd found the chat with Maddy very informative and it had certainly increased Martha's desire to take the step up to command.

"You're welcome, Lieutenant. I'll put a referral in for you, but I still think you should talk to Commodore Aravan, and his wife, Spencer. They'll be able to offer you a bit more insight into things, also," Maddy said, offering Martha a smile. "If there's anything I can help you with in the future, just let me know." And with that, the Captain grabbed a PADD and got back to work.


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