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DL | XO | LCDR Stacker | "Not Born to be An Administrator"

Posted on Thu Aug 22nd, 2019 @ 8:16pm by Lieutenant Commander James Stacker
Edited on on Fri Aug 23rd, 2019 @ 3:20am

Mission: Dust Stirring
Location: XO’s Duty Office, Cold Station Theta (Starbase 1170)
Timeline: SD 241908.22

The chair creaked as James turned it to face the window, elbow easily sliding onto the faux wood with that gentle glide and accompanying soft hiss of cloth-on-polished wood. It was an unconscious act. Months of practice had turned it from a mechanism indicating his desire to be left alone, into one where he fell into thoughtful silence. And it let him take stock of what was occurring beyond the window.

He had been surprised when he first realized his ability to distinguish routine events, in Operations, from those which fell into decidedly unusual. It had taken about a month-and-a-half for that to happen; he didn’t have a reference guide to consult, but the responses of the more senior enlisted personnel were indicative of that being normal, or so he estimated. Unconsciously he tapped a finger against the side of his head and thought back to the moment.

A transport? Yes, that was it. Transport in distress. Blown warp coils and an imbalanced field. Eventful enough to get the blood pumping, not critical enough to warrant significant escalation. In that instance, though, the knot of bodies around the consoles, bent over and animated about something before them, had proved enough to get him out the office and onto the operations floor. Up until then it had always been ‘wait-and-see.’

A good game for an intelligence man; one where patience ruled the day. Not quite enough for operations, where a lack of hustle could sometimes bring reproving glances behind a turned back, or gentle throat clearing if one had enough pips on their collar. The transition had been ... rough. The sixth sense that had served him - continued to serve him - so well as a marine and grey collar had lit up, repeatedly, in those first few weeks. Time after time, little thing after little thing.

It had ground on his nerves then and continued to do so now. The simple truth was that he missed the office buried in the off-limits bowels of the station. And that wasn’t something he could confide in anyone: not even a counselor. A simple request to be transferred back to prior position was an admission that he couldn’t hack it, and that was the virtual kiss of death to his career. No more forward momentum, no eventual command and certainly fewer opportunities for independent assignment.

The fingers that had slowly brushed his beard until this point slowly tightened, then relaxed. It was another thing that he had adopted in the time she had been gone. An indication of buried stress? He had pondered it more than once, but did not do so now. Instead he let his mind explore farther down this path. One that he had come to know all-too-well over the past few months.

He had come to recognize that the desire for a return to normalcy - the office tucked away somewhere nice and quiet - was part of a larger internal dilemma. Put simply, he didn’t consider himself born to be an administrator. At his heart he would always be the man in the field or close to the action. Pushing papers on a starbase just wasn’t in his blood. But there was nobody readily at-hand who he could discuss this with. There was one person. But she’s not even in the system right now, and you’ll be damned if you send this out in an unencrypted message ...

His gaze turned from the window overlooking operations to the clock tucked away in one corner of the desk computer. It alighted in time to watch the minute change hands, continuing the slow and inexorable countdown that he’d begun one day, in a foul mood. One that - if he remembered correctly - had started off poorly. He had never been the type of man to pine for an absent lover but damn it he didn’t have his mornings, now, when he woke troubled by one thing or another. The lack of her scent was most noticeable. That lack of warmth and contact. He -

A noise from outside the office jerked him back to the here and now. His head turned towards the sound, fingers falling away from their unconscious stroking of the beard, chair creaking as he shifted his posture and brow furrowing. “Petty Officer?” he prompted, after a moment. The too-young face obediently popped around the corner of the doorway, youthful look that combined nervousness and embarrassment plastered across his face.

That was another change to get used to. In the bowels of the station there had been nobody to handle routine day-to-day business except himself, and his various section chiefs and the Chief Warrant Officer. But Parsuv was a rare sight up here. And it wasn’t as if James had a choice of who he could bring up here. Starfleet had seen to that when the petty officer had simply arrived one day. Complete with orders in-hand that dutifully informed one Lieutenant Commander James K. Stacker that he had a yeoman.

Who was admittedly quite good at keeping the administrative side of things organized and flowing smoothly, he had come to grudgingly admit. Even if he looked so young that shaving was about ten years into his future.

The stack of PADDs alighted on the corner of the desk just as the computer beeped. James ignored both and reached for a PADD that rested alone and by itself in the middle of the desk, where he’d put it when a moment of contemplation on life and his state of being had begun. “Right. Hit me with it.” It was the start to a ritual the two had fallen into. Smooth as glass, the yeoman produced another PADD. Which would be intermittently consulted, if past days were any guide.

“Starfleet’s quarterly transfer orders arrived during the night. We have eight hundred fifteen outbound and one thousand two hundred twelve inbound.”

Personnel transfers. God save me from personnel transfers, James thought as he reached for the mug of coffee beside the computer. “Forward to the department heads and make sure engineering has the list to reactivate and condition crew quarters. Any special requirements?”

“No sir.”

“Good. Next.” He sipped from the coffee as the petty officer consulted the next item on the list, unable to suppress the mental shake-of-the-fist at his lot as an administrator as the man moved on.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lt Commander James Stacker
Executive Officer/Chief Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta (SB-1170)


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