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The Other Side of Command

Posted on Thu Jul 28th, 2016 @ 2:31am by Major Storr Garlake

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: USS Vindex - MCO's office
Timeline: Day 2, 1530

Marine Captain Storr Garlake steepled his fingers as he leaned forward on his elbows, the large desk . The young Andorian Marine standing across from him braced at attention was the object of his piercing gaze, neither of the two wanting to be in this situation.

"Lance Corporal Thani th'Rrone, this is going to be a one-way conversation. When I finish, you will salute smartly and exit my office for your duty station...nod your head in the vertical to indicate you understand." the Afrikaner intoned, watching as the Andorian's antenna bobbed in time with Thani's head movement.

"This is the third time in as many days that you have reported late to your shift and the second that you have smelled of alcohol. I love Andorian ale and we'll drink together to celebrate our victory in glorious battle but this is neither the time nor the place, especially as we face a very large unknown here in the sector with potential enemies behind every asteroid and nebula. You came from Starbase 48 with excellent recommendations, outpacing your peers in technical expertise and seeming a shoe-in for Corporal. Unlike the ranks of Private First Class and your current one, to be worthy of the title 'Non-Commissioned Officer' you must demonstrate that you are capable of meeting the demands of the next higher a Starfleet Marine Non-Commissioned Officer, you will hold a special position in the Corps: You'll be responsible for the lives of your men in or out of combat situations and you will represent the unwavering traditions of duty and dedication to their assigned mission. This mission. This ship. This unit. This flag," Storr said as he half-turned and pointed to the 2/5's banner behind him. The Marine Captain looked at it himself for a moment before returning his full attention back to LCPL th'Rrone.

"Tens of thousands of men, better than you or me, have come and gone before you, fighting and dying for that flag and for the mission that we are here defending. The Starfleet Marine Corp in general and the Two-Five, in particular, has no place for dereliction of duty, drunkenness or future leadership that fails to live up to those standards. For this reason, I'm red-lining your promotion to Corporal for another three months, during which time you'll be meeting with Doctor Fields for alcohol abatement sessions. With the doctor's recommendation, I'll reinstitute your promotion and we'll carry on. I'm not leaving you out to hang in the breeze, Lance Corporal Thani th'Rrone...I want you to succeed, and I know that you will. I served with then-Captain Rivers as his Platoon Sergeant on the USS Ticonderoga and he doesn't give praise lightly so I take his recommendations of you with great weight. Prove to me that he wasn't wrong and that I won't be in giving you the promotion that you deserve. Dismissed."

The Andorian saluted crisply, performed an about face and exited the room, leaving Captain Garlake to sigh as he leaned back in his chair, put his feet on the desk and face in his hands. Discipline was the dirty laundry of the Corp that wasn't mentioned much in boot but was practiced a great deal. While Garlake had been on the other end of the desk a few times, he had built up quite a "tool bag" of good and bad examples when it came to leadership styles, disciplinary techniques, and overall officer-ship from his time on both sides of the enlisted and officer ranks. Of course, all that knowledge and history didn't make it any easier.

The MCO began annotating notes in the LCARS interface under Thani's record as well as forwarding a request to Noah for the alcohol treatment regime; one thing that he most definitely had learned was that if something wasn't documented, it never happened and discipline, especially, required documentation. That, and the fact that at least one Marine commander he knew of going down in flames for improper documentation/internal affairs complaints made Storr diligent for paperwork.

Paperwork, the other dreaded "P" word in the Corp. Performance evaluations, decorations, transfers, disciplinary actions, awards, separations, temporary duty assignments, fitness evaluations, training folders...these were just some of the personnel issues that drained the joy out of command and leadership. True, he did have a First Sergeant to help with some of these issues but it ultimately fell to him. Of course, this was on top of an unspoken requirement of commanders to be the strongest, fastest, smartest, and surest shot in the unit. He wasn't complaining in the least (it gave him more than sufficient motivation when he didn't feel like rolling out of bed at 0430), but it was no wonder it seemed that SFMC officers aged in dog years...


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