Previous post "Time of Roses"

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 1, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 30151.0930

Once the mission briefing had come to an end and the Senior staff had been released to continue with their preparations for the upcoming mission, starting with the Black and White Ball, the Native American asked for his new Acting First Officer to follow him.  He had a few questions that he truly hoped the ILO would be able to answer to his satisfaction.

As Erik walked in, closely followed by the newly promoted Lieutenant Commander, he noted a small velvet box sitting on his desk, an item that had not been there the last time he had been here.  The box was very familiar in appearance as the Captain had seen similar ones countless times before.

The Native American sighed as he opened the small container then turned to face the woman who had followed him as per his request.  "I believe these are yours," Erik stated as he presented the now opened box to his Acting First Officer.

Shar'El looked at the box's content and remained speechless, not entire certain as to what to say or do next.

"Here, let me help you," Erik offered as he reached inside the small container to retrieve the three pips.  "They can be a hassle to put on yourself, plus it will give me the opportunity to officially congratulate you on your promotion and appointment."

"I am truly sorry Captain if this bothers you in anyway," the ILO stated as she remained perfectly still while the Captain placed the pips one after the other on her collar.  "It has never been my wish to cause problems for anyone on board the ANUBIS.  As strange as it may sound, you all have become a family to me, a family that I never had."

Erik took a long step back to admire his handy work before meeting the woman's gaze straight on.  "It is not my place to question the reasoning of Admiral Koniki, although I am curious as to how you came to be promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant Commander."

"I wish I could give you the answer you seek," Shar'El admitted, never breaking the shared gaze. "All that I can tell you is that the Admiral believes me to be ready to take on the responsibilities that have been given to me, as do I.  Something happened to me when I was linked to the ancient machine, something that I cannot fully explain to you or even myself."

"Well," the Native American sighed as he made his way around the desk to sit in his chair, "you are my First Officer and as such you and I have to be perfectly honest with each other."

"Of course Captain," the Lieutenant Commander quickly confirmed with a nod of her head.  "My allegiances are to you, the crew and this ship."

"I have grown to expect the unexpected from Admiral Koniki," Erik began as he leaned back into his chair.  "Your appointment and how it came to be announced was perfectly in his style, and as far as my being honest with you I will admit that I am not entirely against his decision.  There are countless other Officers he could have assigned to the position you are currently holding, and most of them would have made my life a living hell.  I may question the reasons behind what he did, but I am thankful that you are the one here instead of someone else.  The crew knows you and will have an easier time accepting you over someone else, and for that I am truly grateful."

"I will prove myself worthy of your trust Captain," Shar'El stated, her shoulders having dropped aver so slightly in a display of lessened stress.  As difficult as it might have been for the ANUBIS' CO to accept her as the new Acting First Officer, the ILO had her own issues to deal with in that same regards.

"You can start my making sure everyone gets a detailed manifest of the passengers and staff on board the MASQUERADE DREAMS," the Native American stated as he handed over the PADD containing the specified data.  "It might help if can pre-identify those who may be of higher interest."

The Acting Executive Officer took hold of the PADD and immediately began scanning the list.  "The MASQUERADE DREAMS has 1500 passengers who will be scattered over 20 public decks out of the vessel's total 30 decks.  Even if only one tenth of them are of possible interests to us as far as gathering Intel is concerned, we are looking at more than a 10-to-1 ratio.  This is not going to make things easy for us."

"Don't forget about the 25 Command level Officers, the 300 primary crew members who are taking care of the passengers and the other 100 or so engineering staff who insure the smooth running of the MASQUERADE DREAMS," the Native American pointed out with a certain tone of mischief.  "Any of them could prove to have a few interesting stories to tell."

"This is going to be a very demanding mission, even if it is only requiring us to gather Intel," the Acting ExO sighed in all seriousness.

"Guess we should be thankful that we will be on a luxury cruise liner for the next three weeks to take care of business," the Captain chuckled.  "See what you can come up with and don't hesitate to coordinate with the other members of the Senior Staff.  Aside from wanting to congratulate you on your promotion and position, it might be a good idea for you to touch base with each one of them to see how they are taking this unexpected turn of events.  After all, personnel issues are your responsibilities as the ANUBIS' Executive Officer."

"I will Captain," Shar'El nodded with enthusiasm.  "Thank you for making this so easy."

"That is what a family does," Erik grinned, having enjoyed using Shar'El's own words back.  As much as the Native American might not have been in a position to admit to this openly, he did share his new Acting First Officer's sentiment in that matter.


Francois Charette

Captain Erik Morningstar
Commanding Officer


Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn
Robotics Engineering Officer