The sun was lower now, the water behind them a rich pink. The torches were burning at full tilt, and the subtle chatter of the crew murmured across the beach. Shayne hadn’t had the heart to tell his staff to come in full uniform, though he himself was appropriately decked out. As a prompt man, the commander had indicated that the festivities proper would begin at 19:00 local time, and as such, the staff had slowly made their way to their seats, leaving a buffet set out to the side appropriately ravaged. With the clock striking, Shayne purposefully made his way onto the stage, eyes scanning his crew and mouth smiling in that small way of his. He paused, taking in the changes, and the sight. There was a lot to get through, especially now that Captain Oddas was among them, and ready to present some honor to the crew. He’d thought long and hard about giving Oddas a proper welcome, but if this was to be a true surprise, it ought to be conducted as one. He had a sneaking suspicion that his former CO and mentor would not mind terribly the lack of attention for a little longer.
Shayne: Here we are again.
It was said reverently, like a holy incantation- not so much stilted as weighty. There was so much to be grateful for, and his cantankerous style didn’t permit much room for affection. When there was luxury for it, and the time was right, he knew how vital it was to not pass up opportunities for it.
Shayne: Would Ensign Mason please step forward?
There was much to get through, and in his mind, each of his officers was equally deserving of their respective accolades; however, there was a strategy in his mind as to the respective order.
Shayne opened the first box as the doctor stood beside him. He spoke quietly and firmly, befitting the honorable circumstances.
Shayne: Ensign, your comportment during our last mission was exemplary, and your medical professionalism saved the lives of this crew, in more ways than one- and that’s to say nothing of the world you provided aid to in their hour of need. In light of your recent conduct and achievements, I am pleased to bestow upon you the Medical Science Ribbon, in addition to the Innovation Ribbon. Congratulations and thank you.
The applause was loud but not terribly overbearing, which Shayne’s sensitive ears appreciated. Electing to pass the ribbons to her while in the box, he offered his hand and shook hers proudly.
As she left the stage, Shayne called to the next person on the docket.
Shayne: Mr. Ander! To the front, if you would.
Ander stepped forward while Shayne prepared the next box.
Shayne: Mr. Ander, my fondness for my vessel does not make its faults and its age invisible to me. The heart is willing but the body weakens. You, sir, have provided able support for her at her frailest, and have enacted what, according to the reports that I’ve seen, might well count as small miracles. For your dedication to the ship, and for your exemplary conduct therin, I am pleased to present you with the Captain’s Commendation. Congratulations, and thank you.
The applause began again in similar form and fashion.
Shayne: Mr. Wilde! Be so good as to step forward.
Shayne waited patiently, but internally he was seething. Rumours had flown about consistently regarding the supposed plans of the security officer, and though there was still time to change his mind, it was waning very rapidly. Despite their confrontational relationship, Shayne knew he would miss Wilde a great deal.
Shayne: Mr. Wilde. My how far we’ve come. I recall your sociability, your… interesting love of incidental circumstance. It has taken me time to acclimate to and value the unique strength you bring to this ship, perhaps best emphasized by your conduct during the hostage situation in Sickbay. Your skillful decompression of the danger, in conjunction with others, almost assuredly saved lives, and I am pleased to present you with the Diplomacy Ribbon for your efforts. Congratulations and thank you.
He extended a hand again, and tried not to wonder if it would be the last time he did so.
As the junior security officer left the stage, it was time for his senior to take his place.
Shayne: Mr. Serinus! Report yourself.
Serinus’ chronic swiftness and dignity found him at Shayne’s side a moment later.
Shayne: Mr. Serinus, I do not judge what I was not there to witness, but I can only imagine the danger and difficulty that leadership in our previous action subjected you to. Your steadfast defense of this crew and this ship continues to be appreciated and greatly valued. For your dedication and unrelenting courage, I am pleased to present to you the Legion of Merit. Congratulations and thank you.
Serinus exited, ribbon box in hand, and Shayne realized with some dismay that there were still plenty left to deliver.
Shayne: Commander Collins, Lieutenant DeBarres, front and center.
The pair stepped up quickly, and Shayne assessed them both.
Shayne: Commander, Lieutenant- you were both in considerable danger for our last mission, and your leadership throughout is to be commended, as it should be since we set off all those days ago. In your own ways, and in your own fashion, you have both impressed me with your capacities and willingness to serve your fellows. As such, I am pleased to present you both with the Legion of Merit, for continued service to your fellows. Congratulations and thank you.
First he handed them their respective boxes, and then offered his right hand to each in turn, providing a rare smile. As they exited the stage, the applause began to die down, but that was not yet the end of the event. Not by far, if the remaining boxes were anything to indicate…
Commander Randal Shayne