Ensign Christopher Caldwell - First impressions

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Chris M

Feb 26, 2024, 6:09:16 PMFeb 26
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(( Main Arboretum (Lower), Deck 8, USS Astraeus ))

Christopher's feet crunched on the drying green, brown and red leaves that littered the ground as he jogged casually, an approximation of natural sunlight beaming down from the upper levels and penetrating through the canopy of greenery provided by the trees from a number of different worlds. To his right, a slow flowing river ran alongside him, its seemingly gentle curve causing the river to turn back in on itself forming a ring suitably imperfect to look almost entirely natural even though it was not. No more than a few dozen meters ahead he saw a wooden bridge acting as a river crossing to the large central body of the arboretum 'Nabatov Park', the park itself dominated by a single great pine tree.  

With over a thousand people on board the main arboretum was usually in high demand, both as a source of recreation for the crew and as a botanical research area for the relevant members of the ship's scientific staff, right now however, with the majority of the ship's complement on shore leave, the space was largely empty and Christopher was making the most of it.

Kiax: =/\= Commander Kiax to Ensign Caldwell, please report to my office as soon as possible. =/\=

oO A nice idea whilst it lasted. Oo

Caldwell: =/\= Aye Sir, I'm on my way. =/\=

In truth he had been looking forward to getting to speak to the Trill, and had been expecting the call after reaching out to the Lieutenant Commander both regarding his duties and his designated quarters. 

oO Would have been nice if she'd called in another 20 minutes though. Oo

The crunching of leaves came more frequently now as his boots found them with increasing strength and frequency as he increased his pace, completing another quarter lap of the river until he came back round to where he'd stowed his neatly folded uniform jacket. Recovering the black and red uniform top, removing his combadge from his undershirt then putting his jacket on and reattaching the combadge, making sure it's placement was just so before heading to the nearest exit, making sure to scrape the leaves from his boots before he did so.

oO Off to see the boss. Oo

(( Timeskip ))
(( Chief of Operations’ Office, Operations Centre, Deck Five, USS Astraeus ))

He strode with purpose through the Operations Centre, giving a nod to a male Bolian petty officer as he made his way to Kiax's office. Reaching out with his right hand to activate the door chime.

Kiax: Come.

He heard the Operations Officer's voice and the doors slid open to permit him entrance and he strode in a few steps before stopping at attention, silently, reporting as ordered. 

Kiax: Ensign, good morning. Have a seat.

It was only when she addressed him directly that he allowed his eyes to focus on her, she looked quite gorgeous, although so far he'd been quite impressed with the general level of attractiveness of most of the ship's crew. Physically she looked late 20s, by human standards, he wasn't sure how old that made the Trill but the eyes, always a great indicator, pointed to wisdom far beyond her apparent physical age. Her striking green eyes and deep blue dyed hair made her look almost like a siren and when combined with her accent
 made it easy for him to envision her as some kind of nymph or spirit from folklore. He hadn't expected the Lieutenant Commander to sound quite so classy, definitely an English sounding accent.

He watched as she gestured towards one of the chairs that sat next to her desk and across from her. 

Caldwell: Good morning Sir, thank you.

He pulled the seat out slightly before accepting the invitation and taking the seat and watched as the Trill poured herself a glass of water before flicking her vivid green eyes up catching his as she angled the jug subtly towards an empty glass. The gesture seemed both effortless but also elegant and he all of a sudden became worried he was blushing, the glance and the accent working in concert.

oO You can't be in love you only just met her. Oo

Kiax: Would you like some water?

Caldwell: Yes ::quickly correcting himself:: I mean yes please, thank you... Sir.

The Chief of Operations poured the glass before returning the jug to its place on the desk.

Kiax: I received your message. Certainly an interesting way to make a first impression, don’t you think?

He looked around the room as if taking it all in then smiled warmly towards the Trill.

Caldwell: It got me in the room.

It was an honest answer, one he hoped would endear himself somewhat to Kiax.

Kiax: I prefer to make my first impressions in person... ::Beat:: So!

Her slight chuckle seemed to indicate his earlier response had achieved the desired intent but her body language changed. He immediately felt like the point was being made that making it through the door was nothing and that the real audition was now beginning. 

Kiax: First posting, helmsman on a Galaxy Class… Lightyears from Federation space, save for our little colony. The Expanse is a fascinating place to cut one’s teeth at the helm. How are you finding it so far?

He never liked rehearsing what he was going to say, it felt like cheating, he prefered the challenge of thinking on his feet, it had served him well in life allowing him to make mistakes which could learn from and teaching him the importance of relying on himself. With that being said he had anticipated some likely interactions, this whilst potentially foreseeable to many, was not something he had thought of. He didn't so much see the dialogue options before him so much as he felt them, risk assessment was something he was naturally good at. To Christopher there was a huge difference between being educated and being intelligent, he had always struggled with the educated bit, facts and figures didn't interest him, he learned by doing, he linked to think and work things out for himself not simply regurgitate the wisdom of someone else. It wasn't that he saw no value in education, in the sciences, in the people that could work out complicated equations and the such but it wasn't his strength, he was a man of action and whilst he didn't like to lose he felt he often learned more through adversity than he could in a classroom. Whilst other people might consider Kiax's question, think of different answers and work through how the conversation might go, he preferred to rely on his instincts, he could give a Starfleet answer or he could give a real answer.

Caldwell: Permission to speak freely Sir?

Kiax: Response.

Caldwell: Despite it not being my major at the Academy I'm a good pilot, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't better than competent but I also know there are a lot of people both within the fleet and onboard this ship who want to be the alpha shift conn officer on this ship. The fact is that my opportunity came by chance, I happened to be the relief officer at the right time when Ensign Callahan got injured, it could have been any number of a dozen crewmen. Before that I'd never even stepped foot on the bridge.

He paused for a moment, mindful that he was going off on a slight tangent.

Caldwell: Truly I am honoured to be here and I sincerely don't want to come across as ungrateful, but I spent less than 30 minutes at the helm then alpha shift was relieved and since then I've been stuck on shore leave. I need to be busy and I want to be busy, I want to prove to you, to the Captain and to anyone else that needs convincing that I deserve to be here and it's driving me crazy that I'm spending my days jogging circles around the arboretum, or climbing turbolift shafts or running close-quarters combat drills on the holodeck not knowing if and when I'm going to stake my claim to that helm position ::pausing to catch his breath before continuing more quietly:: I mean, it's not that I hate doing those things ::he gave a self deprecating smile:: I just need to be moving forward and I don't want those precious minutes of the helm to be all I'm getting before it gets taken away from me. Does that make sense?

Kiax: Response.

Caldwell: I know my message probably wasn't the best first impression and you only get one chance at a first impression. It's not my intention to, well to piss off you or anyone else. All I want is an opportunity, you tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. I might not be book smart but I've got skills, I'm a hard worker and I'm honest ::pausing before a slightly cheeky boyish grin:: when it's important to be. It's not about ego or trying to skip rungs on the ladder, I'm not trying to be an Admiral before I'm 30 or anything. I'm not saying others don't have those qualities, no one gets to be here without a good list of attributes but I know I can do more. I want to make a meaningful contribution.

If he was self reflecting a little harder he might be wondering if it was Esa Kiax or Christopher Caldwell that he was trying to convince. He'd never been stupid, at least he didn't think so, he knew he had flaws, he knew there were things he couldn't and wouldn't ever be able to do, but he also knew he'd racked up more lightyears working in his teens than some of the officers within Starfleet and that one way or the other he would prove himself, he would make a difference, he would do something he could be proud of.

Kiax: Response.


Ensign Christopher Caldwell
Helm Officer
USS Astraeus, NCC-70652
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