Shayne: The following officers will step forward: Lieutenant Waters, Lieutenant R’Ariel, Ensign Caden and Ensign Alvarez.
Shayne waited as the four officers approached. Those with experience with such events were probably aware of what was to come, but there was still a delicious anticipation to it all. He remembered his own captains, calling him forward to be awarded with whatever accolade he wasn’t certain he’d actually earned. Now, looking at it from the other side of the coin, he couldn’t imagine how anyone could hold doubt in their performance- from what he’d seen, these people… these officers… were among the very finest.
As the quatrain established a position beside him in an orderly line, Shayne turned to face them, one box already in hand.
Shayne: Ensign Caden. I have asked much of you. Your skills may suit the needs of the ship at times when they do not match your desires, and yet you do your job admirably. You face adversity gracefully, and perform your duties righteously. One such example is your efforts to save the ambassador during the mission to the surface, which quite likely saved his life and endangered your own. While I do not wish to condone such recklessness out of course, courage of that magnitude is to be rewarded. As such, please accept the Lifesaving Ribbon for your actions.
Shayne: And, oh yes- there’s one more thing.
The second box was now opened, and upon the velvet layers sat a singular, dark circle, discernible only by its lit, vibrant edge.
Shayne: It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to promote you to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, with all the rights and responsibilities concurrent to that rank. Congratulations, lieutenant.
He carefully offered the box to the ship’s newest lieutenant, and extended a hand to shake warmly, before stepping back to join in the applause.
The commander turned his attention to the helmswoman, whom he could not resist smiling at by just a degree.
Shayne: Lieutenant Waters! In all my years as a helmsman, I don’t believe I was ever asked to do something quite so dangerous and deadly as what you’ve been ordered to do on a daily basis. The fault for that is mine. The glory for that is yours. In light of your dedicated service to our ship, I am pleased to award you the Good Conduct Ribbon for your exceedingly valorous actions.
The applause was cut short by the reveal of another box, similar to the one Caden had just received. Upon opening it, he spoke the words that had been ingrained by protocol.
Shayne: It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to promote you to the rank of full Lieutenant, with all the rights and responsibilities concurrent to that rank. Congratulations, lieutenant.
Shayne offered the solid pip in its box, and a handshake, in short order. But as he extended his hand, he leaned in, so close that only she would be able to hear his whispered words.
Shayne: Consider this your next challenge, lieutenant.
He pulled back, smiled more genuinely, and applauded again. His heart was pounding- the trust they’d earned from him, the efforts they’d put toward this moment- it was… ethereal.
Shayne: Lieutenant R’Ariel. Words are very much your domain and not mine; you’ve proven that recently especially. You’ve not only consoled members of this crew, but you’ve helped an entire planet with its trauma. Your grace and your solidarity and your support are integral to this ship and her success, and for your tradition of kindness and leadership, it is my pleasure to present to you the Unity Ribbon. Congratulations and thank you.
As before, there was another box. Shayne rather wondered if doing it all at once, in one place, ruined the surprise, but the honor was more important.
Shayne: In addition, for your commitment and service, it is my distinct pleasure and privilege to promote you to the rank of full Lieutenant, with all the rights and responsibilities concurrent to that rank. Congratulations, lieutenant.
There was one more accolade on the docket for the counselor.
Shayne: Furthermore, in light of your service, it is my privilege to elevate you to the status of Chief Counseling Officer. Congratulations.
The recognition had been a long time coming for the newly promoted lieutenant, and he was confident that if she continued in the fleet as she’d began, a long and prosperous career awaited her.
Finally it was down to Maria Alvarez, who, Shayne sensed, was feeling rather disquieted.
Shayne: Ensign Alvarez. You are impressive- I hope you recognize that. I certainly do. For services rendered across a wide variety of expeditions and success, I am pleased to award you the Innovation Ribbon and the Captain’s Commendation. Congratulations.
He kept it as short and simple as he could. He’d warred with himself for the better part of a day as to whether to elevate Alvarez to the rank of Lieutenant JG. She was a maverick, someone who fit poorly in the mold that Starfleet often confined its officers to, but her dedication and commitment was undeniable. In the end, it had come down to what she would be most likely to want, and while there was always another occasion to be promoted, going back down would be an implicit demerit against her. It wasn’t fair, he decided, and so he held back his tongue and her promotion.
Shayne pulled back again to once more honor the recipients with hearty applause, and once it faded, Shayne returned to the podium.
Shayne: In addition, I am pleased to award the entire crew the Scientific Discovery Ribbon. And finally, to conclude these proceedings, a special visit and announcement from Captain Oddas Aria of the Starship Juneau.
Shayne was not used to surrendering the podium, but he politely stepped aside, and wondered quietly what commendation Oddas was there to present.
Commander Randal Shayne