((Starbase 118: Leo Handley-Page’s Office))
::Chen stood across the desk from his commanding officer, filled to the brim with curiosity. At first when he’d been called to the commander’s office, he had thought he was going to be given a mission, or some kind of duty to perform. Then something slightly strange had happened - Greir had been called to attend as well. The tone of the summons had sounded formal rather than social, but it was possible that Leo was playing a prank. He’d been known to do that every once in a while…::
:: Leo sat behind his desk, beaming at the Andorian and the Laudean. Two men he had got to know well over his recent career. The news he had for them was both happy and perhaps a tad bittersweet.::
::Antennae searching the room curiously, he glanced across at Greir, who also seemed curious. Only Leo had the answers, and he listened carefully as he began to speak.::
Handley-Page: Salutations my friends, would you like a drink?
::Leo didn’t seem to have grave news, at least, judging by his expression. Greir spoke up first in response to his offer.::
Reinard: I’d like a Masala spice chai, please, if that’s OK?
::Chen didn’t really feel like a katheka but didn’t know what else he might want. Rather than spend a long time deciding, he went for the same choice as Greir.::
Chen: Make that two, please Leo?
:: Leo stood and went around to the replicator to get them some refreshments. The married couple were a great match, and Leo was very pleased for them. After passing them their drinks, he resumed his seat.::
Handley-Page: Please sit, and don’t look apprehensive. This is a happy occasion.
::Chen had never had any cause not to trust Leo, so hearing him say that enabled him to relax. For his part, Greir had been much more curious than he had tense. He sat down, all the more eager to know what Leo was going to share.::
Reinard: We happen to enjoy happy occasions! What can we do for you, Commander?
Handley-Page: Well… ::pregnant pause as Leo eyed the small wooden box sitting on his desk amongst a pile of PADDs:: I have some very good news, Mr Chen. Your devotion to duty during the recent crisis - and the way you co-ordinated the Intelligence team was second to none. It is my happy duty to award you not only the Prometheus Ribbon, but also a Captain’s Commendation for your efforts.
:: Leo reached inside the small box and took out the two ribbons. He walked around the desk to pin them on Chen’s tunic.::
::Greir was absolutely delighted that he’d been invited to what seemed to be a private award ceremony, and he thought this was a very impressive way of rewarding the crew. He imagined it was time consuming, but it was the sort of thing he might have started doing himself… if Leo hadn’t beaten him to the idea.::
::Chen meanwhile was pleased that he’d lived up to expectations. Things had been chaotic in the Black Tower as it had only recently come out of mothballs, and he’d been quietly disappointed that someone had been able to sabotage the EPS lines so easily. Still, they had managed to flush out an intruder and help to defend the starbase from a lethal ion storm, so there was plenty to celebrate, too.::
Chen: Thank you, Sir. I’m glad that I was able to pull my weight.
:: Leo shook hands with the men, but stayed put.::
Handley-Page: That’s not all. I have just spoken to Starfleet command and they have informed me that Lieutenant Commander Chen is hereby promoted to full Commander. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Chen: Oh, wow! You’re kidding!
::The Andorian was surprised and delighted by the news, and very grateful to the two other men in the room for giving him the chance to show what he could do in the Black Tower. His department members had been very supportive, too, and he was going to have to thank them when he went to work the following morning.::
:: Leo took the extra pip from the box, and pinned it to Chen’s collar.::
Handley-Page: Well done! Well done…
::Greir was very proud of his husband and saw this as a sign that he really had made the right decision to move with Chen to the starbase. He knew he had a promising career ahead of him, and this was evidence of that fact.::
Reinard: Congratulations, Chen!
:: Leo coughed to clear his throat.::
Handley-Page: That’s not all. There have been some exciting developments in Starfleet. New ships and new opportunities presenting themselves…
::Since starting his career as an intelligence officer, Chen had always kept a display that tracked interesting events in the alpha and beta quadrants. He updated it himself with information from news reports, cross-referenced with information from colleagues and contacts. Hearing that new ships might be launching piqued his interest very quickly.::
Chen: Oh? Anywhere specific?
Handley-Page: Well, the Menthar Corridor is one such region that is very important to the Federation, being so close to Cardassian space. I should know, I served on the USS Garuda there. Well, a new Sovereign-class ship - the USS Gorkon under Captain Reynolds is launching. As part of their diplomatic mission, they are in need of an Ambassador.
:: Leo turned and focused his attention upon Greir.::
Handley-Page: They want you, Greir, to be the Ambassador for the Gorkon. Congratulations!
::Greir blinked, wondering if he’d heard Leo correctly. Hadn’t he just taken a job with Terraform Command? He was flattered, of course, that his services were being sought in a civilian role even after he had resigned his commission, and a diplomatic role was one that he was very confident he could handle well. However, the whole point of him making such a big change to his career was that he could be with Chen… and now they were trying to make him move? He glanced nervously across to his partner, looking for his reaction. Chen was stoic. Greir knew him well enough to know he was trying hard not to react badly in the presence of his commanding officer. He’d just been given a promotion and decorated with service ribbons after all, and Chen was certainly not the kind to be ungrateful.::
::In fact, Chen’s thoughts were in turmoil. Greir’s job offer was no small gesture by the sound of things, and it showed that his resignation from Starfleet had not been taken badly. If this helped him to keep his reputation with Starfleet Command intact then how could he turn it down? He hoped they were going to get some time to discuss it…::
:: Leo let the fact sink in, and he could not help a mischievous smile. No doubt Greir and Chen would be happy but also concerned that they may be posted on opposite sides of the galaxy. For all his charm and urbane ways, the Byzallian part of Leo could not help but add a little mischief to proceedings now and then.::
::Greir was first to spot the mischievous smile. His expression changed from worried, to a leer, to a mixture between amusement and hopefulness.::
Reinard: What’s your game, Leo Handley-Page?
:: Leo smiled at the two men. He didn’t want to torture them any longer.::
Handley-Page: Well, Starfleet needs its senior officers and officials to be settled and focused on their work. They also need the best people in those roles. So fear not, not only does the Gorkon need an Ambassador, but it also needs a First Officer to support Captain Reynolds in her endeavors. Commander Chen, you are to be that person!
::Chen was absolutely amazed. First Officer? That was insane news! He was very excited, and his first instinct was to ask to use Leo’s terminal to look up all of the information that he could on the brand new ship. He felt a thump on the arm, and turned to see Greir grinning at him. It looked like he was over the moon.::
Reinard: You absolute superstar! Well played, Chen!
Chen: Thanks! ::He looked back to Leo.:: Thank you, Sir! I don’t really know what to say!
:: Leo smiled, but was also a little sad to see Chen and Reinard leave. For a short while, many from the old team from the Vigilant had been reassembled on Ops. Now the birds were flying the nest again. Such was life.::
Handley-Page: I am so pleased for both of you.
Chen: I can’t say how much I appreciate the opportunities you’ve given me. It’s been absolutely fantastic serving with you again and I hope we can continue my Briticism training over subspace.
::Now that Leo’s ruse had been revealed, Chen didn’t feel like he needed to discuss anything with Greir. His th’se’s reaction had said it all - there was no reason for him to turn down the ambassadorial job, and he was probably as excited about it as Chen was about becoming a first officer.::
Handley-Page: Absolutely old bean! I need you to know your tickety-boos from your Queensbury rules.
:: Leo chuckled.::
Reinard: Did you have anything to do with us being posted together?
Handley-Page: Your own records and efforts spoke for themselves and got these positions on merit, but I did keep an eye out for you both. I would have hated to see you posted so far from each other. I know how that feels…
::Chen was very happy that Leo and Kaitlyn were both together. He knew that it wasn’t always a possibility, and that there were some couples who had to live apart, but he didn’t know how they did it. They certainly seemed to belong with one another and he hoped that he would be hearing that they would be tying the knot soon themselves.::
Chen: Hopefully none of us will ever have to feel that way again. ::He paused.:: I really do hope we can keep in touch. Expect to hear from us both on a regular basis!
::Greir nodded emphatically. Leo had proven himself to be an invaluable ally and a good friend into the bargain.::
Reinard: Absolutely. We’ll have to have another volleyball game at some point, even if it’s via holo-link. And I’m certain that someone in the room isn’t going to be able to go for much longer than two or three minutes without needing an update on starbase gossip.
::In fact, there were two people in the room, because Greir wanted to be kept up to speed, too.::
Handley-Page: Well, I won’t keep you two longer than was necessary. Again, congratulations to you both. Please do keep in touch!
Chen: Count on it. Thank you for everything, Commander.
Handley-Page: The pleasure and honour are mine. God speed to you two. Take care.
::Having the chance to serve with Leo again had been a boon. It was impossible not to be affected by his infectious positivity and Chen had a feeling he was going to miss him. Side by side with Greir, he stepped out of the office, ready to see what this new challenge would bring.::
A JP by
Commander Leo Handley-Page
Starbase 118 Ops
PNPC Ambassador Greir Reinard