Ensign Christopher Caldwell - Three's a crowd?

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Chris M

Feb 26, 2024, 7:18:32 PMFeb 26
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(( Old Turbolift Climbing Wall, USS Astraeus ))

Caldwell: Sir, I wasn't aware anyone else was using the space.

It was embarrassing for someone as security focused as he was to allow someone to get so close without realising but that was made all the worse by the fact that it was the Captain, someone he needed to impress at every opportunity if he were to not only secure but build on his position as part of the alpha shift bridge crew. Whilst he doubted the Captain was intending to have been deliberately clandestine in his approach he supposed that agility and stealth were natural strengths of a feline species that could effortlessly switch between bipedal and quadrupedal movement.

oO If I were a commanding officer I'd definitely use my stealth powers to catch subordinates unaware. The Captain probably isn't as cruel as I would be though. Oo

Then again, Caitians were historically natural hunters, even when they evolved to the point of not needing to hunt they continued this even as a spacefaring and warp capable species. In that light, it seemed hard to believe the Captain's covertness has been anything other than deliberate.

oO Making sure you've still got it eh Captain? Oo

His perception of the Captain's intent only served to increase his respect for the man. Christopher's competitive nature was eager to put the Caitian's abilities to the test, whilst in a climbing race he'd stand no chance but that didn't mean there wouldn't be something where the odds would be a little more even or where physical abilities wouldn't be the sole decider of the outcome.

oO I need to find a way to get him into a one on one combat sim on the holodeck sometime. Oo

There was no malice at all in his thinking, quite the opposite in fact, he loved a good challenge and seeing the Captain as such a formidable opponent was one of the highest tributes he could give.

Peters: Captain. I wasn’t aware you were a climber.

Dusting some of the chalk off his fingers as he regarded the two men, one hanging from his rope, the other preparing to, Mei’konda smiled pleasantly at them both as he continued to catch his breath.

Mei’konda: Oh, yes, I’ve been makiing regular use of it ever since it was commissioned. One of my favoriite exerciises. You certainly sound like you know a little something about climbing, Ensign.

oO Who has been saying what to the Captain about me? Oo

Caldwell: Sir?

Puzzled for a moment wondering where the Caitian Captain would have heard that before realising he was likely close enough to have overheard some of his conversation with Peters, a realisation the Captain quickly confirmed by tapping on one of his ears.

oO Agility, stealth, hearing and no doubt vision. I wish I was a Caitian. I'm sure that conversation would go down well with the Captain. "In my heart of hearts, I am a Caitian, Mei'konda." Oo

Peters: I was just getting a little lesson in pushing off from the wall. Despite knowing from an engineering perspective it was perfectly safe, I just wasn’t sure from a beginner’s standpoint how safe it was. 

Mei’konda: Oh, yes, very saafe. Besiides the ropes, there are sensors which detect if someone is falling, and the graavity systems will catch them. Best to have a safety mechaniism which doesn’t rely on power, though.

Caldwell: Well said Sir, sometimes the more 'primitive' technologies are the best, there's a reason we still use rope lines rather than a low level tractor emitter for example. Quality workmanship always helps of course.

Whilst he had never been afraid to speak his mind, an attribute that hadn't always served him well, he was pleased that he and his Captain seemed to be in agreement and that doing so also allowed him to pay a compliment to Cadfael and his team.

Peters: Most of the credit belongs to Toryn, Esa, and the engineering teams that put this thing together. I only had to authorize the request after I was assured repeatedly it was safe.

Mei’konda: I heard a little about what you were talkiing about. Yes, your teams did a good job makiing sure it’s safe. There’s a casual climbing club as well as a few members in on the more extreme end of thiings, but I haven’t joined. Not officially. It can be haard, with my schedule, to meet up with the team members regulaarly without having to cancel.

Peters: Ah, yes. I can see how that would be a bit of a challenge.

Caldwell: It's interesting you mention that Captain. Lt. Commander Peters raised an excellent point about the value of socialising amongst the crew, not only to take care of social needs but as a way of better understanding the diverse range of cultures we have on board the ship.  

He knew there was a risk of coming across like a suck up but he genuinely saw something in the idea and thought this could be a great opportunity with many benefits and no real drawbacks, the fact that this could also score both him and Peters with some points with the Captain was purely a peripheral benefit. 

Peters: Actually, I only said that there was a club for extreme sports. I found an info panel in the BC with some club meeting times on it, then did a bit of looking in the computer to find other clubs. 

Mei’konda: The abundaance of possible social actiivities aboard the ship is one of the thiings I enjoy about commanding a crew of nearly thirteen hundred. By necessity, I am someone… separate from most of the social groups aboard, but I would highly encourage you both to participate in any way you can.

He was unsure as to how to best sell his thinking to his commanding officer, on the one hand he felt it important to show solid reasoning and well considered opinions, on the other hand, his competitiveness streak was almost pressuring him into wanting to appeal to the Caitian's pride, goading him into activities with his crew where Christopher could see how well he measured up.

oO What is my problem? I'm talking about team building, not an anbo-jyutsu match for control of the ship. Oo

Caldwell: I took the liberty of sending something to Ensign Doucet to get her take, we were thinking that there might be opportunities for team building activities to maybe increase team cohesion and effectiveness.  

Peters: Elaboration, please?

Caldwell: Whilst I thought the counsellor, as a subject matter expert when it comes to wellbeing would be able to provide some valuable insight, I suppose I was sort of thinking a semi-regular time slot could be introduced to the crew rota either as time following a duty shift or achieved by sliding the start and end times of a shift accordingly. Each shift or function could be responsible for arranging their own exercises, perhaps rotate to allow each officer to 'host' an exercise before cycling back around. Would perhaps help encourage diverse ideas.

He watched as the Caitian nodded his head slowly, seemingly indicating agreement whilst thinking further.

Mei’konda: The end of a duty shiift would probably be the best time to do it. It would allow officers just comiing off work to have a way to wind down for an hour or two. 

Peters: That definitely sounds like a potentially interesting idea…

He was glad that he had not one but two members of the senior staff seemingly liking the idea. Although he was a little dismayed as he saw the Captain starting to remove his harness.

Mei’konda: Indeed. Get somethiing going like that, and you might become very popular with the crew in a hurry, Mister Caldwell.

Peters: Well, as interesting as all of that is, shall we re-focus on the reason we’re here? This gorgeous climbing wall and my first effort at learning to climb it?

He tried to give no outward reaction but felt a little chastised by the engineer.

oO Perhaps my boot licking isn't that attractive, or maybe he's trying to save me from myself. Oo

Mei’konda: Please do, you two. I apologiize for the interruption. I don’t haave the energy to do another. But you two enjoy, yes?

Whilst Peters was great company he was disappointed by the Caitian confirming that he would not be continuing. On the one hand he was eager to spend more time with his Captain, yes face time with the boss was never a bad thing but he was eager to learn more about him outside of a work setting. He also felt bad for the Captain, he had remarked earlier about his schedule making social interactions difficult as well as feeling the need to maintain a certain distance. 

oO Did you want to finish or did you feel you had to? Oo

Words usually came quickly to him, sometimes too quickly and out of consideration he decided to engage his brain before his mouth. He wanted to try and talk Captain Mei-konda into staying but he knew even attempting to do so would put him into a difficult position so he thought better of it but still wanted to let the Captain know that he for one would never have an issue with the Captain fraternising with his subordinates. 

Caldwell: No need to apologise Sir, ::giving him a sincere look:: always a pleasure.

Peters: Response.

With a polite smile, Mei turned and left, as Peters was getting hooked in. 

He waited until the Captain was definitely gone, trying to account for his superior Caitian hearing.

Caldwell: How well do you know the Captain?

It was a genuine question, he had no idea how long Peters had served under Mei'konda, nor did he know what the relationship between the two men was.

Peters: Response.

Caldwell: Does he seem... ::pausing, pretending to find the word he already had:: lonely to you? How many times did he mention issues with socialising with the crew?

Peters: Response.

Caldwell: Sorry, maybe I'm reading too much into it and sorry, we're here to get you climbing. Not to talk about crew team building or the Captain's social calendar. 


Ensign Christopher Caldwell
Helm Officer
USS Astraeus, NCC-70652
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