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A Transfer of Command

Posted on Mon Aug 26th, 2019 @ 7:28pm by Commander David Braddock & Lieutenant Isabelle Verhagen [Braddock] & Commander Francheszka Braxton, née Mackelsen

Mission: Episode 2: Fresh Faces
Location: Various
Timeline: 1/23/2389

"Place it down by the workstation." Frankcheszka ordered as she gestured to the desk area of the VIP quarters. The two young operations crewmen moved the well-made chair and then placed it down in front of the bunker desk and various work consoles and displays that were built into it. "Gently, if you please!" She commented in her gravelly voice, attempting to bring her left hand up to her face, only to then remember that her left arm was still missing.

She let out a sigh and then regained her composure. "Thank you crewmen. Normally I would have done this myself, but..."

"We understand, Captain." The taller of the two crewmen, a female bolion replied as she stretched out her back.

The other crewman, a bespeckled male trill, looked a bit more timidly and stammered out a his own response. "Is th-this where y-y-you wanted it, ma'a- Comman- Captain?"

"Since I'm not going to be Captain of this ship for much longer, you might as well get those in while you can, I suppose..." Francheszka commented before answering. "Yes, that's fine. Thank you once again, you may return to your regular duties."

The crewmen both nodded and left the VIP quarters that were about to become her home refuge from the rest of the ship. Any day now, the Devonshire's commanding officer was due to arrive...and her old quarters and position would no longer be her' had been several days since she had received the news from Starfleet Command, and that time had done little to blunt the wounded feeling that she kept locked up in her soul.

Still, it could be worse...she could be without a new project to distract herself and dig her teeth into.

The Commander sat down in that comfortable chair and activated her new workstation, bringing up a summary of the briefing details for the CRAM project as well as some specifications for prefrabicated medical triage structures and a list of equipment and supplies to stock in each one.

After a minutes of silently reviewing the technical data, Braxton found herself being interrupted by the first chirps of her new workstation's comm panel. She had an incoming call.

"Braxton here, ja?" She said as she accepted and openned up the interpersonal comm channel.

=/\= Sir, I have a message from USS Potsdam, they say they'll be arriving shortly to beam over a VIP passenger. I estimate they'll be in range in 30 minutes. =/\= LT Verhagen announced over the connection.

Commander Braxton's face strained slightly against nerve damage, in an attempt to raise an eyebrow of surprise. "That is...a lot quicker than I thought it would be. Danke Shan, Lieutenant...please ready a sealed file of all relevant security codes of Alpha-1 Priority and have it ready as soon as possible."

=/\= Alright sir, consider it done. =/\= Isabelle replied quizzically and then she put 2 and 2 together and added =/\= I haven't served with you for long, but it was, refreshing. =/\=

"Erm...thank you, Lieutenant." Francheszka said, her gravelly voice tinged somewhat with a undertone of awkwardness...responding to actual nicities had never been a strongsuit of hers, especially from someone she had only just met a while ago.

=/\= good luck sir. =/\=

Braxton tapped the comm panel off, got up from her chair and attempted to straighten up her uniform...a task that was a bit difficult with only one hand. She had handled many challenges in her life, but what she was about to have to do, felt personally wasn't quite up there with the day she left her daughter in her brother's care or they day she faced down the Borg at Wolf 359 or the night she and Gregory had signed their divorce...but it was up there still.

"Transporter Room Two." She said as she tapped her commbadge. "Prepare to receive a VIP."

[USS Potsdam, Bridge]

David had come up to the bridge to watch their approach through the Main viewer, no longer content with having the image piped into his temporary quarters. Commander DeLuca for his part seemed indifferent, no doubt he was used to ferrying around other senior officers at this point. He carried on prosaically, having the flight control officer calculate the shortest flight paths to the waiting Devonshire and back out of the system.

David eyed it all from a distance, and felt almost glad he'd spent his career on the front lines. These thoughts brought him back to the enormous task ahead of him, on the front lines once again, only this time he'd be far more than another cog in the machine, he'd be one of the principal drivers of the conflict. The responsibility would be heavy, no doubt about that, it tempered any exuberance he might have felt over finally receiving his own command. It was a chance to put up or shut up, every issue he'd found with his commanders over the years, every thought about how he could do this or tat better was about to be put to the test. It was a lot to think about as the shape of his new command, with its distinctive segmented saucer grew nearer.

"Alright, time to head down," David declared, "thank you Captain." With that he turned and made for the turbolift and the transporter room beyond.

[USS Devonshire, Transporter Room Two]

Braxton walked into the room and stood in the 'valley' between the raised end of the room that had the transporter operator's booth and the raised dias at the other end, where the actual transporter platforms where. She then turned and signalled the transporter specialist at the booth, a wiry-built young man with dusky skin and curly black hair, to begin the process. "Energize, Ensign."

The platform lit up, there was a burst of energy that coalesced into the shape of a man and gradually revealed the weathered features of a graybearded human male.

A muffled mechanical click could be heard as Braxton cocked her head to one side. The figure's facial features and thermal readings were familiar to her somehow. Her brain kicked into over analysis mode, as it cross referenced her occular readings with her memory, and than ran an impromptu-calculated probability matrix for the results.

"...vait...Braddock?" She questioned, almost prompting an eyebrow to raise on her nerve-damaged face.

David regarded the the welcoming party quizzically for a moment before answering. "Braxton? That must be you, it's been...a long time." he stepped down off the platform and drew himself up closer to the pugnacious officer. "Have you had more work done?"

"A fair bit..." She answered, her brow settling back down. "I see you finally managed to finally a grow a beard out in that 'long time'."

"I figured I ought to let my experience show," David replied, half serious. "I'm not as young as I used to be. Still, you in red is definitely something I never expected to see, life is always full of surprises."

"It was...somewhat foisted upon me." The female commander looked down at the red sleeve that poked out from her black and grey officer's vest. "The curse of being at least half-way compentant. A commission, a promotion, and then a captaincy, all within the span of just a few years...those last two, in a mere manner of weeks."

She let out a sigh and then gestured the transporter room exit, a somewhat futile action as she had gestured with her missing arm. "If my spinal column wasn't heavily reinforced with synthetic materials, I'm sure my head would've been spinning. Shall we?"

"Of course," David answered, giving a sharp nod as well. "If I still know you, you'll be wanting to get this taken care of as quickly and neatly as possible."

"Ja. That's usually the best way...the core of this crew, the ones who've been here since we left Providence, have been through quite a lot of changes and tribulations over the past month...I doubt another sudden switch in command will get a rise out of them by now." The older commander paused for a moment as the doors to the transporter room opened and the pair exited. "It will be like removing a dermal treatment done in one sudden motion."

"the more things change..." David commented.

"Do you have any questions, Herr Braddock? Things I might be able to answer before we reach the Main Bridge?"

"A few," David answered. "To start, how would you score our readiness?"

Francheszka thought for a moment and then gave a reply as the pair reached the doors of the turbolift. "Hard to say at this point...the remaining crew have been tempered and hardened by trials of fire...but most of the faces on this ship are new...some of them are still arriving as we speak, trickling in as transports and ships return to Starbase Xavier.

"As for the ship itself, the battle-damage is almost all repaired, pretty much only superficial at this point, and I oversaw the ironing out of most of the wrinkles in the last refit cycle." She continued as the turbolift arrived and the doors swung open, Francheszka leaning to one side to allow a crewmen in a technician jumpsuit to exit. "I would say the the old crew, though barely rating a skeleton complement, as well as most of the newer additions I have met, are solid...same with the Devonshire herself. The vild card, ist the newest...speaking of vich...

"...vhat about you, Herr Braddock? How vould you score your readiness for this, ja?"

"Based on the reports I've read and the general situation, I would say that we're at 'acceptable,' but certainly not 'good' yet. We have backup, we have a shred of information about enemy equipment, we're able to utilize essentially all of our tactical capabilities, but, the question is if we'll be able to do that effectively. What do you say to that, Ms. Braxton?"

"I vould say that I meant 'you' specifically." The SCE Commander replied, narrowing her synthetic gaze before taking a moment to address the turbolift directory. "Deck One, Main Bridge."

The doors shut and there was a slight feeling of inertia as the Turbolift began to move upwards.

"Ah... well, I'm as ready as I'll ever be, is all I can say to that." David answered quietly.

"...let us hope then, that that is enough." Francheszka replied, her gravel-laden voice betraying a strong note of grimness.

"Hope that it is, plan like it isn't," David voiced a personal maxim as the turbolift doors swooshed open in front of them.

[USS Devonshire, Deck One: Main Bridge]

The modular bridge of Devonshire had only been recently refurbished in the previous week, Braxton having used her SCE connections and the general battle damage sustained in the Gorn conflict, as an excuse to take some design changes from her technical notes and bring them into reality. A brighter, but more sterile and "clean" scheme had been implemented with a silver, white, and light greys, with the trim around the consoles and floor contrasting in a dark naval blue...all replacing the warm beige, brown, and red for the previous design.

That was just the aesthetic however...the real shift came in the design of the consoles. The ends of the aft section had been pulled back into "alcoves", with the consoles wrapping back around to face forward...similar to the aft stations on Intrepid Class vessels, allowing for more specialization of function...meanwhile, seperating these two alcoves, was a vertically-aligned wall panel...serving as an auxilary display, for whomever was manning the new, free standing, 3-dimensional and transparent Master Situation/Systems Display board. Security and Tactical could use one side with ease, while command and engineering staff could use the other...though currently, the MSD itself was covered in a silver protective sheet, as were most of the new consoles, ready to be revealed when the time came to resume more active duty.

The command-level platform in the center of the bridge was still there, though it had been extended all the helm and operations consoles, seperating them, and then ramping down to the lower level...this ramp wrapped around the front of the helm and operations stations, which themselves were now larger with more control surfaces, and sunk into the lower level of the bridge, giving everyone behind them an unobstructed view of the main well as providing some extra safety for the helmsman and operations manager, their work-pits providing cover against enemy boarders and limiting the distance and force they would travel if they were thrown from their workstations in a collision.

Braxton reminded herself that the ramps had been a personal concern for her when she had included them in her case she had to use an anti-grav harness or even an old anachronistic wheelchair, should her bio-mechanical legs need to be serviced or replaced. Starfleet hadn't had many sloped ramps in their command room aesthetics for a few decades now, not since the last major refit cycle for the Galaxy and Nebula vessels...if she could, she would have added more in other major areas, like Main Engineering or the Hangar modules...but, since Braddock was here now and about to take command of the Devonshire, it wasn't really her problem anymore...a thought she analyzed with rather mixed feelings.

The old engineer stepped out on to the bridge and recieved a few nods and salutes from the various technicians that were going over final checks and reviews at various stations throughout the room, and then made her way to the "Tactical Operations Ring"...aka "The Horseshoe", that was set into a stark white sloping surface that curved around the command area at the centre of the Bridge.

"Status, Verhagen?" She said, to the young woman who stood there, currently managing the ship's basic systems and coordinating the technical teams like a General directing squads and battalions across an open battlefield.

"Normal, a few glitches from the new equipment, but no major failures or issues so far, work is proceeding on schedule." Verhagen replied in a taciturn fashion, eyes bouncing around the screens in front of her as she tracked the movements and activities of several groups at once.

"Guute. If you need more technical personnel, let me know...I can pull zum strings with the SCE and have some temporary work teams transferred over from the Tettegroff." Braxton offered in response, before moving over to the TACT-II station to Verhagen''s left side and activating a shipwide hail.

"All hands, now here this. This is Commander Braxton speaking. As of this broadcast, let it be known that command of the USS Devonshire, is officially transferred from myself, Commander Francheszka Braxton, to Commander David Braddock under orders referenced under 46-2-Alpha-Alpha...please note the time and date in the log."

"Good day crewmembers," David said, stepping up to address the ship. "Give me just a moment of your time, I am Commander David Braddock, your new Commanding Officer. While I would prefer not to be leading this ship into battle, make no mistake, there will be much conflict ahead of us. There will be trying times, and events that will make each of us question our resolve, But we must remain strong. Never forget that two inhabited federation systems suffer under Gorn occupation, and we are the ones responsible for freeing them, a mission that becomes more urgent every day. Remember through the dark times ahead that protecting the people of the Federation is one of Starfleet's most sacred duties, and look to your fellow crewmembers for courage and support. Through our strength and ingenuity we will surely win in the end and restore peace to this region of space. Thank you all and keep up the good work."


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