Ensign Etan Iljor - With A Finer Spirit Of Hope And Achievement Part I

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Michael Meir-Wright

May 4, 2021, 5:45:39 PM5/4/21
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((Briefing Room, USS Resolution))

The summons from Commander MacKenzie was a blessed relief from the dark tenor that Iljor’s thoughts had taken in the days since his encounter with Akhbett Jirall. It gave him something else to focus his mind beyond the umpteenth replaying the conversation with the Cardassian. Seeing Meidra, Aine and Yogan- the three people he was closest to aboard the Resolution- instantly becalmed the churning of his pagh. He had slipped in the chair besides Aine and joined in the conversation.

Etan: Is Captain Nicholotti’s command style different to Commander MacKenzie’s?

It had been three months since his assignment to the Resolution and Captain Kalianna Nicholotti had been absent from the ship for much of that time due to medical leave. Their last mission had been overseen by Commander MacKenzie who had proven herself to be a shrewd and extremely capable leader. He was intrigued to see how Nicholotti might compare. He knew a little about the raven-haired woman’s career in Starfleet, but reading about her accomplishments was very different from getting first hand experience, after all.

All three sets of eyes currently present in the room turned their attention towards Meidra. There was a short pause and Iljor wondered if they had inadvertently put the counselor on the spot. If she was at all flustered she did not betray any hint in her reply.

Sirin: Commander MacKenzie is very….driven in her quest for answers. She is quite passionate about her responsibilities and has no compunction in convincing others to feel the same way. As for the captain, I find her level of focus quite impressive for a human. She’s an admirable leader.

Sherlock: Commander MacKenzie’s  a little more ::beat:: fiery. The Captain’s got a cool head about her.

Iljor nodded, taking the information onboard. In the few meetings that he had shared with the Resolution’s Executive Officer, she had never struck him as fiery. Then again, those meetings had been in the lead up to the Thama-Nascaik conference, before one of the Thama delegates decided to blow a significant section of Deck 1 apart to facilitate her escape plan.

Sherlock: The Captain started her career as a Marine. As rough a reputation as Marine’s can get, most of them are steadfast when it comes to duty. And fearless to boot.

The briefing room doors opened and Iljor turned to see Ensign Nox arriving. The Tellarite had been part of the away team to Vionus IV to search for clues as to why the Thama and the Nascaik were so determined to claim the planet for themselves. The last time Iljor had seen him had been several weeks earlier shortly afterwards as he and Hallia had left engineering to test their theory about the gel packs being allergic to the Thama pollen spread by the terrorist.

Yalu: How was your shore leave, Ensign? Did Lieutenant Gnaxac invite you to participate in one of his experimental holo-adventures?

Nox/Yalu: Response.

Sirin: We haven’t yet been introduced, Ensign. I’m Meidra Sirin and you have not made your required appointment with me. Have you been too busy playing on the holodeck?

Iljor was about to interject, wondering why Meidra was being so confrontational with Nox. Then he remembered the Tellarite proclivity for arguments as conversation and realised she was only speaking to the man in a manner he would likely find comfortable. Iljor had no idea how to do that, which might have explained why the engineer had not seemed particularly fond of him during their brief interactions.

Commander Ilsam was the next to arrive and Iljor offered the man a polite- if curt- nod. Though the Bactrican had apologised to him for their conduct on Vulcan, he still could not but feel a little wary around the Mission Specialist. Given that he was sat next to Aine, he hoped that it would not cause any more ill will on Ilsam’s part. Fortunately, they seemed more interested in Ensign Nox.

Ilsam: Hello. I don’t believe we’ve formally met. Lieutenant Commander Tai Ilsam, Mission Specialist. Am I correct that you are relatively new?

Nox: Response.

Ilsam: ::nodding:: Ah. My apologies, then. ::smiling:: PADDwork has kept me relatively bound to my desk. If you’d care to join me in the Mess when there’s a moment, I’m most curious to hear about your previous assignments and why you chose to join Starfleet.

Nox: Response.

The conversation continued until the next arrival, who turned out to be Doctor Adea. The man peered over the rim of his gently steaming mug.

Adea: Well, whilst we’re waiting for the Captain and the First Officer, I suppose, I should probably make a start. Except for the fact that I don’t know much more about the next mission than the rest of you…

Iljor raised an eyebrow at that, but kept quiet. If the ship’s Second Officer had not been briefed on the nature of their new assignment, then something was most certainly afoot. As that sunk in, he did his best to ignore the sinking feeling in his stomach.

Ilsam/Nox/Sherlock/Yalu/Yellir: Response.

Adea: Anyone seen any good holonovels lately?

Any: Response.

Commander MacKenzie chose that moment to arrive, her arms filled with various paraphernalia. Close behind her came Fleet Captain Nicholotti. Instinct and finely drilled sense of duty- given to him at the academy- propelled upwards on to his feet. He was half way to standing when he felt a hand on his arm pull him back down discreetly. He followed the non-verbal instruction as his face flushed a crimson red. If the CO or the XO had taken any notice of it, they did not betray it. The conversation died down as the meeting came to order.

It was MacKenzie who spoke first.

MacKenzie: Good morning, everyone. While this isn’t normally the venue in which I’d choose to do this, given that we’re on the heels of our next mission, I wanted to take the opportunity to recognize your efforts during out previous mission.

Her eyes roamed the room, taking in each officer present with a slow purpose. When she looked directly into Iljor’s eyes he suddenly had the feeling of being exposed, as though she suddenly knew all of his life stories and all of his secrets. It sent a shiver up his spine and into his neck that he did his best not to react to. Then as quickly as the moment began, it stopped. Her eyes moved on to someone else.

MacKenzie: As you know, the situation was precarious from the beginning. Getting the Nascaik and the Thama to come to the table. That we were able to get them to agree to any kind of arrangement was no small feat, especially given everything that happened…

It was nothing short of a miracle from the Prophets, or so Iljor thought. The fact that a treaty had been signed so soon after a Thama terrorist had- for all intents and purposes- committed an act of war against the Nascaik- was nothing short of incredible. However MacKenzie had broken the stubborn militaristic pride of the Nascaik, he would never know and it made him admire and respect her all the more.

MacKenzie: As such, it is my honor to award you all the Peacekeeper Service Ribbon, for help s to successfully reach an agreement between the Thama and the Nascaik, even in the face of tremendous adversity.

Iljor bowed his head for a moment, humbled by the award bestowed upon him. He had done his duty, nothing more. A war in The Borderlands would serve nobody in the long run, even in the short-fall gains were considered ‘worth it’. He was just happy to have played a small and insignificant role in averting a deeper crisis.

MacKenzie: Mr. Gar Tin Nox, would you join me at the head of the table please?


The engineer got to his feet and made his way up the room, coming to a stop opposite the First Officer.


MacKenzie: In recognition of your graduation from the Academy, I hereby award you the Starfleet Academy Graduate Ribbon. Congratulations, Ensign!

The ribbon was awarded to every cadet who graduated from the academy in recognition of their completion of what was usually a difficult and extremely strict curriculum. Not everybody who went to study at the Academy would graduate, some found it too challenging and moved on to pastures new- some, of course, were drummed out of the service for misbehaviour or misconduct. The fact that Nox had graduated and had been assigned to the Resolution was a sign of his capability and his promise.

Nox: Response.

Any: Response.

MacKenzie: Mr. Nox, please remain a moment. I’d like to ask several of your colleagues to join us… Commander Amari, Ensign Etan, Ensign Yellir, would you please come up here?

Feeling as though everyone in the room was watching him, Iljor got up from the chair and walked the short distance to next to Nox. His heart hammered in his chest and he felt his hands turn clammy. It felt as though a bright spotlight had suddenly been cast upon him and it made him feel uncomfortable.

MacKenzie: The four of you faced an incredible challenge. We were the victims of a terrorist event that left us disabled by a biological pathogen the likes of which we had never seen before. Not only were you able to analyze it and formulate a solution so we could continue our mission, but I’m told that there are promising reports that we may have even discovered some positive medicinal benefits from it…

Iljor glanced at Yellir, knowing that it was her research that had suggested as such. Despite his sudden anxiety, he gave him a small and encouraging smile.

MacKenzie: For your innovative application of science to help resolve a dangerous situation, and for further discovering its positive medicinal applications, I hereby award you the Innovation Ribbon.

Amid the swelling of applause, Iljor suddenly felt emotional as he looked down at the blue ribbon that Commander MacKenzie handed to him. Never in his wildest dreams had he thought that he would have faced a pollen so dangerous that it had nearly incapacitated a starship. It was not the sort of thing that one trained for at the Academy- and he had been proud that he had kept a cool head and helped to engineer a solution to the crisis. To be recognised and lauded by his both his peers and superiors filled him with joy that threatened to transmute itself into tears. He steadied himself with a deep breath.

Etan: Thank you, Commander. ::he said, his voice barely above a whisper.::

Amari/Nox/Yellir: Response.

MacKenzie: Mr. Etan, please remain a moment. The rest of you may be seated.

The nerves returned once more as his colleagues returned to their seats and once more he felt like everyone was staring at him. He bit the inside of his lip anxiously and prayed to the Prophets that they would turn their spotlight off of him.

MacKenzie: Counselor Sirin, please join us…

Meidra did as she asked and Iljor looked at her, his eyes screaming ‘kill me now’ at her.

MacKenzie: From the beginning to the end of this mission, the assistance the two of you offered me in preparation for the negotiations was absolutely invaluable. Against all odds, our success was a direct result of your efforts. For this reason, I am hereby awarding you both the Diplomacy Service Ribbon. Congratulations!


Ensign Etan Iljor
Science Officer
USS Resolution
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