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The Vindex Protocol

Posted on Tue Apr 4th, 2017 @ 11:47am by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Gareth Tau

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 73; 14:30

Claudia had decided to call a meeting for what would be the most senior members of the Vindex's crew just to get an update on how they were doing and inform the newbie Commander Tau on what the protocol would be and where'd sit in the chain of command. Normally the Marines wouldn't feature but Claudia trusted Storr and she felt he had the experience and confidence to take command of the ship if necessary.

With Paul having dropped off the hot drinks trolley as well as an assortment of biscuits and small cakes Claudia helped herself to what was a much larger helping than she normally would - keeping mind she needed to eat a bit more now she was (hopefully) pregnant. That news, however, would be kept a secret until it was confirmed. Grace had made the small cakes for Paul and taking a bite out of one of them Claudia found them extremely delicious - and moreish too.

Storr, amazingly, was the first to arrive; he was so taken aback by the fact that the Marine stopped for a moment just past the threshold and looked around before checking his chronometer.

"Sorry, ma'am, but the 1430 meeting is at 1430, right?" he asked, spying the Captain by a small rolling table festooned with hot drinks and snacks.

Claudia heard the Afrikaner enter and was pleased to see him arrive so promptly.

Claudia giggled. "You're late - the meeting started ages ago and I'm eating all the buffet food nobody wanted. Care to share?"

Major Garlake grinned and with a stifled chuckle sat at the chair to the left of the Captain and across from where he assumed Akiva would be sitting. Despite the fact that the message said refreshments were provided, his trademark white cup with the SFMC seal sat steaming in front of him, a hot mug of deep-space-black coffee from Burundi awaiting its first sip. After sitting for a few moments and enjoying the aroma of the dark African beans, Storr finally gave up and stood; that sip would have to wait, as a couple of the biscuits and small cakes were calling his name.

Taking a few various vittles, the MCO looked over as the Captain stole one last cake from the tray, their eyes meeting as she took her last bit and swallowed, looking like the girl caught with her hand in the candy jar.

"Don't worry, ma'am," Storr said with a chortle, "they're your cakes and your secret is safe with me."

Claudia beamed. "You're so kind Mr Garlake - I'll get my daughter to make some more for you if I eat the rest of these before the rest of the attendees turn up"

Returning to his seat, Major Garlake heartily enjoyed his small snacks as the two awaited the remaining few members.

While everyone else piled their plates, Akiva and Gareth entered together. Akiva wore a long expression of fatigue, though he managed to give acknowledgements in appropriate places as Gareth chattered on and on about no fewer than three philosophical points of scientific inquiry.

Akiva pointed out the refreshment table, which distracted the small framed Science officer long enough for Akiva to lean over to Storr and Claudia.
"I have no idea what he's prattling on about," he said in a fervent whisper. "Help me!"

"As I was saying," Gareth went on, completely ignoring everyone else as he talked around a biscuit. "The very proposition is without merit because the variable solutions aren't factored into it all. Could you imagine one long, incredibly unbroken sequence moving from function to function without anything else having a chance to interrupt?" He chuckled at the absurdity. "It's really quite quixotic."

"Or hypnotic," Akiva muttered.

Martha strolled in and saw Akiva was rather disinterested in his conversation with Gareth. Stepping in she decided to invite him over to the refreshment trolley to get him away from what Martha presumed was quite a boring conversation.

"Commander?! At last...I need to speak with you about something. Can you come over for a second?" Martha asked.

"Of course," he said, then offered a terse, "Please excuse me," to Gareth before practically running to Martha.
"Whatever you need, it's granted."

Martha grinned. "Oh nothing. I just saw you looked a bit bored"

"You are a saint," Akiva said. "I am truly in your debt."

Martha tittered and helped herself to a cup of tea and a couple of the ever decreasing amount of cakes on the tray. She then took them to the table and sat down next to Captain Ainscow.

"You're looking good today Captain" Martha commented.

Claudia beamed. "Thank you Martha - but look who's talking"

After taking a sip of her tea Martha spoke. Martha and Claudia had always been close - and the former in particular was happy they were serving together once again.

"Ever the flatterer Captain" Martha replied.


Soren walked in behind everyone else. He wasn't hungry, if anything eating was always an inconvenience. He walked over and noticed them seated. "Is there coffee?" Himmel said this without speaking to anyone specifically, "schonheit!" He poured himself a cup without any additives and took his seat and raised his cup to those gathered.

Claudia remained sat down for the briefing - usually she stood up but she decided to things a bit differently for a change. There was a cause for celebration today as well as the implementation of the new chain of command - but first Claudia decided to break the news that she'd been itching to break since she got the confirmation through from Commodore Hutchinson.

"Thank you all for coming. I appreciate this is a bit off the bat compared to usual meetings but for once this isn't where I tell you we're riding off into the jaws of death - we're here to eat cupcakes and biscuits and celebrate some special news. Commodore Hutchinson sent me confirmation today that after his personal recommendation to his superiors our very own first officer has been rewarded with the rank of full Commander - so Mr ben-Avram - get this on your collar" Claudia said - tossing a small box she'd hidden under the table over to Akiva.

Akiva balked at the sudden announcement, and nearly dropped the box. When he opened it to reveal the pip, all he could do was stare.
"Thank you," he said at length.

"Last but not least - Commander Cusack is now our third officer. So without further ado as I can actually reach you from here...I hereby promote Ms Cusack to Lieutenant Commander for her exemplary leadership which along with Major Garlake's own leadership led to the successful recovery of all hostages" Claudia said.

Reaching forward Claudia helped herself to Akiva's hollow pip and placed it on Martha's collar instead - and then offering the young woman a handshake.

"Well done Martha. I'm glad you're here with us" Claudia said.

Martha didn't like attention but somehow this time she decided to make an exception - accepting Claudia's hand and shaking it - and then standing up to hug her commanding officer.

"Thank you Captain. I'm glad we managed to find you" Martha replied.

After Himmel took a sip of coffee he sat it down and clapped his hands, "Prost! Prost! Well deserved you too!" Soren looked to Commander ben-Avram, "Keep this up Commander and you'll be running your own ship soon enough!"

Storr clapped powerfully, his mighty hands giving great authority to the symbol of compliment. "Congratulations! Both well deserved, especially in light of our recent...fracas. I suppose Starfleet manages to get it right every now and again," he said with a wink to Martha and a nod to Akiva. He concurred with Soren in that the Hebron deserved a ship of his own after what he had gone through in maintaining the Vindex following Ainscow's capture. True, there had been some...growing pains in the realm of revenge and command but Akiva had come out the other side a better man for it.

Akiva smoothed his collar, adjusting to the intangible weight of the new rank, and then stepped forward.

"I thank you all for your kind words," he said as he waved a glass around like a wand. "And I, well, want to thank our captain for her trust in me, misplaced as it feels at times, and for the superb performance of the rest of the crew." He raised his glass. "L'chaim to old friends," he said to Claudia, Storr, and Soren, "as well as new ones." He pointed out Martha, Skot, and Gareth, and then raised his glass to all.

Claudia beamed and let go of Martha - allowing the woman to look at Akiva as he spoke. She was very proud of everyone in the room - and everyone else on the ship too. The oldest faces were still here to lead the crew through the rebuilding process but Claudia was also happy for the new faces too.

"Hear hear" Claudia said - raising her cup of tea.

Martha raised her own and decided to have a go at public speaking - although her confidence still wasn't up to standard she really wanted to make an effort.

"I'm so glad I came here - serving with you all has been an absolute privilege so far and I plan on one day ousting Captain Ainscow from that chair of hers to command this fine ship myself - but I think that might be a while because she's even said herself that won't be happening. But - I'd like to also propose a toast to those who aren't here to share in this wonderful occasion. To absent friends" Martha said.

Claudia nodded and raised her cup again - Martha's attempt at humor seemed to have gone down well but for now at least she wanted to stay sincere for the duration of the toast to all 431 people who tragically died.

Storr raised his glass for the toasts and congratulatorily addressed Akiva and Martha. They deserved a short time in the spotlight though when the security chief finished her brief speech, the MCO's face turned dour. Thinking to the Fleeters and Marines that lost their lives, he couldn't help but participate in a military ritual lost to time; tipping his cup, he spilled several sips of coffee onto the floor. "Here's a toast..."

Martha giggled seeing the Major had spilt his coffee on the floor - it added some humour to the situation to bring them back from a moment of deep and sad reflection to the positive news Claudia had just shared with them all.

"Major - you're supposed to put the coffee in your mouth" Martha said - hoping Storr understood her attempt at humour.

Garlake wistfully chuckled. "Marines...can't take us anywhere."

Claudia grinned and looked at all of those present - it was now time to get down to business. Sitting back down she waited for everyone else to be comfortable before starting - with the influx of new staff she wanted to ensure the chain of command was crystal clear to everyone.

"Alright everyone - I'd like to announce a reshuffled chain of command now we have a number of new arrivals. The first and second officers remain the same - we now have an official third officer who will be Commander Cusack. In the event myself and the first, second and third officers are unavailable then next in like is Major Garlake - yes he's a Marine - but he's proven he has the leadership needed to take command of this ship if necessary. If Mr. Garlake is unavailable then command will be with Commander Tau - any questions or objections?" Claudia said.

Akiva gave a triple nod of approval but said nothing.

Storr shook his head in the negative. It was not unheard of to have Marines in the chain of command (he even knew of a Marine First Officer) but it was rare and he appreciated the trust that was being placed in him.

"Very well - thank you all for coming. One more thing however - my wedding to Miss Fuentes has had to be delayed. We're now getting married at a later date but you're all more than welcome to attend the party we've got planned tomorrow night at Quark's - it would be a shame to waste the reservation. It's at 19:00 hours - don't be late" Claudia said.

Martha felt sad Claudia's wedding was postponed but she was sure there was a good reason. Nevertheless, at least the reservation was still being used - although she knew all about that anyway - Martha had spoken her father in law [Commodore Hutchinson] about the wedding and how excited she was to be one of Claudia's bridesmaids. David had put a large amount of money behind the bar although Martha was hoping David would keep her identity a secret - she didn't want Claudia to fuss over something Martha had done to try and help her best friend.

"That's a shame - but we'll all be there I'm sure" Martha replied.

Martha was the first to depart - with some upgrades on the torpedo launchers waiting to be installed - and she wanted those done and tested before the Vindex departed Deep Space 9 in a couple of days' time.

While Claudia didn't give any substantiating reasons behind the delay, the MCO was sure that it was monumental enough to delay the wedding that she had been looking forward to. "I'm sorry to hear about that...I'm sure that we'll all enjoy the evening and remember that good comes to those that wait."

Nodding to those in attendance, Storr took a final swig of his coffee, rose and departed. He had a new MXO to break in on top of training the newest inbounds while still only being at 68% manning. Truth be told, he was hoping for a quiet mission for the Vindex while he was gone...they needed it.

The engineer eventually decided he needed to get up, and he looked to the Captain, "I hope that the wedding will not be postponed for too long." He nodded, and then raised his coffee to Akiva as he left the observation deck.

"This was great, Captain," Akiva said. "I'll look forward to continuing it at Quark's." He dipped his head toward each person before taking his leave as well.


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