USS Triton
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Quality Officers

Posted on Sat Apr 11th, 2020 @ 2:46am by Commander Soraya Rezvani & Ensign Zyrra Thelin

Mission: Tick-Tock
Location: Rezvani Quarters (Temporary), Starbase 50
Timeline: MD-20: 1000 hours

Standing here observing her next command through the viewport on Starbase 50 made Soraya's relatively brief stay at the Academy seem like a lifetime away. But the truth was it had left an indelible mark on her. She hadn't been lying when she told her mother she enjoyed the position (though she also realized in retrospect that her mother had been right in calling it complacency). Primarily, it had given her an opportunity to connect with the many individuals who were reassigned to the command school to continuing education courses due to advancement or career track changes that were placing them in leadership positions.

But her favorite part of the position had been the one course she had at the Academy proper - "Leadership & Ethics in 24th-Century Starfleet." It allowed her to engage with a wide range of cadets from pilots to logistics specialists, warp theorists to structural engineers. Not yet fully exposed to the chain of command and life aboard a Starfleet ship or base meant they had a certain pluck, some rough edges that the command school students had smoothed away.

Though she tried to avoid it, Soraya developed favorites. Some students were simply more present than others; she imagined it was the same for other instructors. Now, she had the added benefit of being in a position to take those favorites and put them to good use. She'd developed a short list of cadets-turned-officers that had impressed her in some form or fashion during the course, reached out to them (and the Office of Personnel Management), and invited them to Starbase 50 for... Well, not an interview. She wasn't quite sure she'd call it an interview. Something like "discussion" sounded much better.

"Do you take tea? Coffee?" Soraya asked, looking over her should to one of the short listed 'candidates,' a young Andorian woman with whom she'd clashed on more than a handful of occasions.

"Iced tea. Please, Commander." Zyrra was still at attention, staring steely-eyed at the back of the Commander's head. She thought she was done with the Academy; that she was out into the field, ready for deployment and assignment. Suddenly it was like she was back in the Dean's office, about to be dressed-down. Not that she expected that, but it was odd to be presented with one of your former tutors. And she hated being caught on the back foot.

Soraya looked a little aghast at serving iced tea (she thought her grandfather must be turning in his grave) but she dutifully instructed the replicator to produce a blend she thought might pair well with cooler temperatures.

As she settled into one of the chairs in the well-appointed quarters provided by the starbase, she asked, "Have you been putting your leave to good use, ensign? It comes rarely at this stage of your career."

"I hadn't given it much thought," Zyrra answered, sipping the iced tea. She was surprised at the taste; apparently Commander Rezvani was capable of producing something quite adequate after all. She hesitated fractionally before admitting, "I had thought to continue the poetry collection I had been preparing for my mother's birthday, while I had some downtime."

"That's a lovely gesture," Soraya said. In the back of her mind, she wondered what her own mother might make of such a gift. 'Is there latinum at the end of this or not?' Setting aside the Ferengi-like proclivities of her mother, she pressed on, "Do you remember the paper you wrote on the historic and geopolitical correlations between Praxis and Hobus?"

Zyrra's antennae shifted sharply forwards. "I remember. You told me in my final grade that my conclusion was ambitious and presumptive." She paused. "My position hasn't changed."

"Neither has mine," Soraya replied almost immediately. "But I appreciate someone who tempers their reach with thoughtfulness, analysis, and effort. Particularly in the sciences." She gestured to her, an indication of the teal in her uniform. "Officers need to be able to do more than regurgitate facts and produce predictable results based upon someone else's work. Well, good officers, that is. They need some ambition and presumption."

"Ambition and presumption are only effective when tempered by logical inquiry and proven evidence, Commander," Zyrra corrected, a little bluntly. She took a breath, self-monitoring her own tendencies in that regard. "If I may add, did you call me here simply to discuss my treatise on history, ma'am?"

Soraya shook her head. "I wouldn't waste your time with that, ensign. Since leaving the Academy, I've moved back into fleet operations and taken command of the Triton. It's undergoing some final work on its sensor pod here while myself and the Office of Personnel Management work to get it fully staffed."

Zyrra frowned, processing that detail. She registered the line of questioning and general path of conversation, and put it all together. "You're offering me an assignment," she concluded. Her mouth opened to continue, but she found herself momentarily conflicted. "My apologies, Commander. I shouldn't be as presumptive."

"No apology necessary," Soraya said, raising a hand. "I'm in the enviable position of having had contact with some very promising students at the Academy, which has given me a leg up on recruiting. Do you have an interest in accepting a science officer position on board? Triton is a Luna-class, so there should be no shortage of work. Or resources with which to conduct it."

"I would be a fool to turn such a position down, Commander!" Zyrra admitted, a swell of interest and excitement swelling inside her. "It is not the sort of opportunity that comes along every day. I'd happily accept..." She paused again, her antennae shifting once more. "Why, Commander? I'm sure there must have been stronger candidates for you to choose from?"

"Stronger, yes, but not more promising. I had the unique opportunity to not only see you progress academically but also to watch your evolution as an officer-in-training," Soraya said. She shifted in her chair to settle more comfortably, as she did when speaking at length. "When I was growing up on Setareh, I was smarter than every other student in my prefecture. It put me at a distance from them, both self-imposed and not. Thankfully, I came from a well-grounded family so it didn't foster arrogance or poor behavior. But it was nonetheless self-evident, and it had an impact on the way I comported myself in the classroom. And when I arrived at the Academy, I found myself doing quite well there, too. It was simply a continuation of the academic success I'd enjoyed on my homeworld.

"Unfortunately, I developed the rather bad habit of eschewing group projects and striking out on my own. I'd come to rely on my own intellect - far too much, in fact, though it took a very humbling experience to learn the lesson. Up to a certain point in the Academy, it had just been more efficient, more expeditious, more convenient to rely upon myself to complete work than to engage others in the process. So at the Academy the more our classes demanded teamwork, the poorer I performed. I threw myself into the work harder, strove to perform more competitively, but the assignments weren't designed to reward that tact. They were meant to encourage us to work together. When I failed to do so, I began to fail the classes. Consistently. I broke out of it eventually, of course. But... The point being, I saw some of that in you at the Academy: the evolution from self-reliant student to synergizing officer."

Zyrra sipped the iced tea in silence. She listened and processed. The story was, admittedly, not too different from her own experience. She might not have used the phrase 'synergizing' though. She wasn't there yet. "I appreciate the fact that you noticed me, ma'am," Zyrra finally admitted. "And your assessment is probably quite astute. I hope I can be the officer you believe I am."

"I have every confidence in my decisions," Soraya said as she stood up, an understated but clear indication the meeting was concluding. "I'll handle the paperwork, and the quartermaster should be contacting you shortly for room assignment and the like. It's my understanding at this point our next assignment is survey work in the Gemulon system, so there should be no end of work for you once we're under way."

Survey work was a good first assignment, Zyrra noted. Not too challenging, and certainly not dull by any stretch. "Of course, Commander." She sensed from the finality of Soraya's statement that the decision was made and she had no say in the matter. Not that she would have turned it down. It was a good offer. And a good commanding officer to learn from, too, if her previous experiences of the woman had been anything to go by; willing to listen, but not afraid to make an immediate decision if required. She joined the other woman in standing, depositing the cup on the table. She waited, silently, recalling from her training that she had not yet been dismissed.

It took Soraya moment or two to realized what was happening. "Oh, ensign, I apologize. You are dismissed. I don't stand on ceremony much, so in future if it seems the time to go rest assured I'll just stop you if it's not..."

Ensign Zyrra Thelin
Science Officer
USS Triton

Commander Soraya Rezvani
Commanding Officer
USS Triton, NCC-62389


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