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SIM:JP - LtCmdr Breeman and Cmdr Nicholotti - Of Proverbial Cliffs and Warp Cores

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Summary

Kevin is promoted to first officer in lieu of Captain Jaxx's departure.


Sim

((Commanding Officer's Office, Starbase 118))


::Kali packed her morning as full as she could. When she wasn't signing off

on paperwork or looking over the latest reports, she was reading more of the

padd that Jaxx had left in his wake. It had been eye opening to say the

least; the information contained within was only available to those who

would Command. They were the policies and procedures at the end of the line.

They were what you did to prevent galactic catastrophe. And in some ways,

she discovered the universes most deadly and dangerous aspects and events

all right there, in one padd.::


::But there was more than death and destruction contained within. There were

other policies as well, governing everything from promotions to the approval

of leave time. Kali scrolled through the information realizing more each

minute that passed, that she had taken on the biggest responsibility ever,

and he had let her. As the hours passed, she found herself successful at

dodging the pain of his absence. Things moved smoothly despite the change

adding another item to the long list of reasons why she was sitting in the

chair she was now sitting in. With a sigh, she continued her review of the

information only to stumble on a well organized list of officers appended

almost as an afterthought.::


::She read over them and wondered just what they were there for. Perhaps it

was unfinished business left by her predecessor?. No, that didn't make

sense. Suddenly Kali's eyes got wide.::


::Command had been transferred to her well over four hours ago. Yet here she

was, stuck in the mindset of not only the Captain she was trying to be, but

of the First Officer she was so used to being. The list was a reminder; a

message to tell her that she didn't have to go through this alone. But,

unlike Jaxx, she had few connections throughout the Fleet, at least just

then, and she didn't recognize the names on the padd despite their rave

reviews. Remembering the synergy that had existed there, between Jaxx and

his First Officer, Kali yearned for something similar.::


::There would never be a way to replicate the feelings and the success that

the Jaxx/Kali pair had made, but, there was a way to build a new kind of

synergy. But the name of one who might be able to do that sure wasn't on

this list.::


::Setting the padd on the desk, Kali sat back in the chair and steepled her

fingers as she thought. If she was going to look for a successor to her own

position, she was going to look in a place where she was at least familiar

with the options. Finally, decidedly on the right track, Kali allowed

herself a moment's break.::


::Walking over to the replicator, the raven haired Commander ordered the

first of what would become a common sight in her office; a steaming mug of

coffee.::


::Warm mug in hand, she moved towards the large window and let her gaze

wander outside. The pool of officers that she was now mulling over in her

mind was still too big. As a starship moved by towards the giant doors

below, Kali began the process that would lead her to an answer. In the end,

it didn't matter as much who it was, it mattered that there would be

potential to become great as time would pass. It mattered that there might

be the reclamation of some of the synergy that had once made seamless work

of running even a station this big.::


((Engineering, USS Victory, +2.5 Hours))


::Kali had called ahead to make sure that he was there. She knew that he was

just as busy as she had been that day, but this couldn't wait. There was a

definite hole in the chain of command and the path of operations for the

entire station. It was not a hole that should have been left as long as it

had been. With the second officer gone to Mars as well, it was a hole that

was in dire need of filling.::


::After two hours of mulling options over in her brain, she had finally

settled on him. It wasn't that she knew him well, or that she was even

familiar with most of his work, but she was well aware of just how much of a

genius he was. She also knew that he could fill in the holes where she had

little idea of what to do. The name had rolled around in her mind with a few

others for the last part of the prior two hours, but no matter how she put

things together, he always came out as the logical choice. He was the only

choice if she meant to provide the very best that could be given to Starbase

118 and Starfleet itself.::


::With the choice made, she had wandered over towards the Victory. The ship

had not been shut down or put back on hot standby yet; the science team was

working on something undoubtedly and it appeared that engineering was too.

Without looking for him, she simply moved towards the thrumming warp core

and, leaning over the railing, looked down into it. Her mind drifted to the

moment when Jaxx had asked her to jump off a cliff. It had not been literal,

but figuratively, he wanted to know how far she was willing to go. Now, as

she stared down into the core, she smirked. It was the first real sign that

she was still human after the Captain's departure.::


Nicholotti: Well, it kind of looks like a cliff.


::She said it to herself..::


::Kevin glanced over the padd as the two displays hovered overhead. What

kind of manufacturing process produced this kind of defect, he wondered.

And to make things worse it looked a lot like the sort of reasoning that had

gone into the control systems unification initiative that had resulted in

Kevin's and Kora's suspicions last time the Victory had been overhauled.::


::It was then that he heard someone above him say something about a cliff.

The speaker's voice sounded familiar. Commander Nicholotti? Looking up,

Kevin saw the woman looking down at him from the glass flooring above him

and the core.::


Breeman: Commander?


::She heard it, but didn't see the owner of the voice at that moment. It was

only when she looked down through the floor that she found its source. Below

her, the Chief Engineer was holding a padd and by the look on his face, was

either having difficult with what it said, or what she was doing standing

above him. She wagered it was the former.::


Nicholotti: Finding more trouble?


::He nodded.::


::Moving down so that she was on the same level as he was, she saw him nod.

When she was close enough again, he continued.::


Breeman: It's this issue with the computer core potentially overloading

under certain conditions.


::Glancing back over at the core, she let a moment of silence go by.::


Nicholotti: Hard to figure it all out?


::He tried to be as dignified as he could, saying,::


Breeman: Yes, ma'am.


::Immediately he remembered again his grandfather's journal and the issues

that had surrounded the address of women at the time. Had he done it

correctly for this one?::


::She turned and looked back at him now. He would be perfect. The thought of

a threat on the scale of what the sensor problem could be really did scare

her. With him next to her, she would fare much better in a world as

technical as theirs.::


Nicholotti: I have no doubts that it will come together.


::Kalianna paused, not wanting to make light of the concern, but she had

come here for a very specific, and vital reason. With orders that would take

the Victory out to a nearby system for a few days sitting on her desk, it

was something she wanted to get done fairly quickly.::


Nicholotti: Right at this moment, though, I want you to wrap your head

around something else if you would.


::There was a small smile dancing on the edge of her face. This was going to

be the first official thing that she was going to do as Commanding officer

aboard Starbase 118. Beyond that though, she was offering an officer who had

truly earned the opportunity the chance to become more than he might have

imagined possible.::


::Kevin looked at her for a moment, puzzled.::


Breeman: Yes ma'am.


::Kali turned so that she was squarely facing him now. Out of the corner of

her eye, she saw the core running up and disappearing from her line of

sight.::


oO Jump off a cliff. Oo


Nicholotti: Captain Jaxx left this morning. I'm not sure if you knew.


::The odd behaviour of the officers on the bridge the day before was

beginning to make sense now. It had happened so quickly, Kevin having been

pulled away to look into the sensor issue during the commotion. He'd half

thought it had been an oversight on his part but when he'd looked at the

history of the issue and seen that it went as deep as the design

specification for the parts themselves he'd realized the problem lay not

with him but with someone and something much more important and

significant.::


::And now the captain had gone.::


Breeman: I didn't know, no, ma'am.


::Nodding slowly as the thoughts made her smile fade as she remembered just

why she was even here looking for a First Officer now.::


Nicholotti: He's been reassigned with a few other officers. I took command

this morning at 0800 hours.


::She sighed.::


::Kevin could see something odd about the way she said it, the way she

sighed. He felt something churn in his stomach.::


Breeman: Understood.


::He thought now he knew what it was she was looking for.::


Breeman: Did you need a department summary update?


::Kali laughed slightly. She was about to blindside him and she knew it.

Perhaps this would be his first test.::


Nicholotti: No, I need something else.


Breeman: Oh..


::The two letter word hung in the air for a moment before she continued.

There was no going back now.::


Nicholotti: With my move to my current role, I've found that I need someone

to fill my old role.


::Her hands found their way behind her back where she subconsciously clasped

them as she looked towards him.::


Nicholotti: I need someone who can fill in the places that I can't.


::She gave him a moment to process it all. He might not have known her well,

but she knew that he was right for this. His record and brilliance in action

had quickly led her to that conclusion.::


::His mind stopped. He felt as though he were staring out into nothing with

the full knowledge that the world he was looking into was populated, filled

with... He didn't know. Kobyashi Maru. Command school. They'd been so

long ago, like CPR training, things he'd learned about but never expected

he'd need to put into practice.::


Breeman: I... see.


::He felt a smile forming on his face but also anxiety all over. He'd never

worked closely with Commander Nicholotti and now she seemed to be asking him

to be her executive officer. First officer of a space station.::


::She could see a smile form on his face. Forming her own in response, she

went on. This was it -- the final and definitive of it all.::


Nicholotti: I came down here to see if you would be that someone.


::There it was; a statement of a question that caused more than one of the

crewmen around them to stop and give the two senior officers a second

glance. Sarah Novak turned from what she was doing and stared at Kevin in

disbelief. The man had been something of a distant mentor to her, catching

up with her whenever she'd been transferred, and showing her how it was

possible to indulge in her hobbies while at the same time holding down a

job.::


::A thousand questions formed in Kevin's mind. Would he still need to

manage engineering? How would he find a replacement? Several names came to

mind. And what about crew morale? People skills? Did he have them?::


::It was at this point that he remembered a transcript he'd read from a

discharge hearing at Starfleet academy during his initial days as a new

cadet.::


((Flashback))


Owens: I cannot endorse the cadet's discharge because the cadet is

currently in the infirmary recovering from dehydration and respiratory

complications.


Beaton: All the more reason he should be discharged. Because--


Owens: Because... He's determined.


Beaton: He is a danger to himself.


Owens: That man is the first cadet I've had try so hard at the physical

exam that he collapsed. Sure, they'll sometimes 'trip' on things to sneak

in a breather. But this guy put himself in the hospital.


Beaton: Exactly. Which further strengthens my conviction that--


Owens: You don't understand. It further strengthens MY conviction that

he's exactly the kind of man we need. He can't stop. He can't quit. I

know he stresses about this test, I've seen him doing it when he walks

around the grounds brooding like that. We've all seen it. I know he's

probably lying on that hospital bed right now with a vague sense that he's

done. And, according to you, he's right.


((Present))


::Phillip Owens, the trainer assigned to him during those days, had given

him the document as a going away present of sorts when he'd himself been

discharged from the training staff for being too brazen with his superiors.

It seemed that Phillip had made a strong case the day Kevin had collapsed

during his third attempt at passing the physical requirements test to move

on to academy schooling proper. Perhaps stretching himself again would do

him some good, even if the stretching would be emotional and psychological

rather than physical.::


Breeman: Okay. I will.


::He'd never been asked a question like this before. He again repeated it

to himself in his mind. She was asking him to be.. first officer. But she

wasn't spelling it out. Did that mean this was a suggestion?::


Breeman: I mean I can.. If you like.


::The first answer seemed more definite, but then he seemed to back off

and...down. If he was going to be in the position, she much preferred the

first version. She laughed slightly.::


Nicholotti: Commander Breeman...


::Her voice trailed off as she smiled towards him. This could be the start

of something quite good.::


Breeman: Yes, ma'am.


Nicholotti: You have a brilliant mind. I don't expect you to back off of

your convictions just because they call me Captain.


::And like her own predecessor, Kali had sought out an officer who really

stood out from the rest. He was the best, the brightest, and capable of so

much, but more importantly, he had to know that he could, and was indeed

encouraged, to speak his mind.::


::He could hear Owens again, saying what he'd said the day he'd collapsed.::


((Flashback))


Owens: Why the frack are you here, Breeman?


::His lungs were burning. By now he was beginning to see spots in front of

his eyes as his heart pounded. He could hear Owens running alongside him.::


Breeman: To... ::Hack:: To....


Owens: What??!


Breeman: ::wheeze::


Owens: I asked you a direct question! Why in the goram frack are you

here!!


((Present))


Breeman: Yes ma'am. ::He nodded to her sternly. This was now why he was

here.:: I will be your XO.


::Satisfied that she had that message across, she let her hands fall from

behind her back, one reaching out towards him. She shook it when he

responded. It was the first moment that day where she felt like some kind of

normalcy had returned to her life, but she didn't have the time to really

dwell on it. Now, it was time to get moving.::


::Kevin took the hand and shook it firmly.::


Nicholotti: You start now. Get your assistants to fill in, even if they need

to bring in extra shifts. ::Her smile broadened.:: In the meantime, you

should change your colors and meet me in the briefing room.


Breeman: Yes ma'am.


Commentary

This sim I think helps flesh out what Breeman's early academy days were like, and is my first JP with Kali Nicholotti. For the flashbacks I used material I had prepared shortly after I'd written Remember Me, during the Christmas holidays of 2011 .


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