(( Bridge, USS Veritas ))
:: Cassie, for her part, fingered her single pip idly and let the past run through her, calling up her own memories of Mei’konda in the same way that Aron had--but his sharp left at the end left her slightly flustered. Nevertheless, she stepped forward and spoke. ::
Egan Manno: I’ll follow my esteemed colleague with the pleasure that we now share the ranks of command, Commander. I am certain that this promotion will see you well onto the way of the rest of your career, and I expect that Starfleet will make a captain of you as soon as they can.
:: She offered a wink, but not yet the pip she held. ::
Egan Manno: I think what I remember best about our service together, Commander, are the strong ties of diplomacy that were established under our joint watch. The Kubarey, the Myr Luuk, the Community: We made first contact or opened meaningful relations with plenty of powers during our time on the Garuda. I appreciate this promotion because of the promise it provides of that continued duty on your part. ::beat:: If Captain Kells leaves you with the advice to trust yourself, then I entreat you to trust your colleagues. You are the one they place their faith in, and deservedly so. A crew is as strong as its community, and you are that community’s heart.
:: At last, she reached up to pin the second gold pip, and then stepped back with a meaningful glance at Roshanara. ::
:: Mei’konda listened attentively to Egan Manno, that proud smile still on his face. She and him were of a mind. Both, in his estimation, very satisfied with a life in Starfleet and all of the challenges and adventure that it brought. And, it didn’t hurt that she made a very good point. The Caitian bowed his head slightly toward the human woman, and held still as she stepped back ::
::Mei’konda’s current commander took a step forward, holding the hollow black pip she had plucked from his collar. She glanced down at it and shook her head.::
Rahman: Well, this just won’t do at all.
::She reached into her pocket and took out a small, simple cloth bag, exchanging the hollow pip for a third solid gold pip that had been safely tucked inside. She smiled as she held onto it and stepped forward towards the Caitian. Mei’konda met her eyes. Oh, he could see the mischief there. ::
Rahman: Trust seems to be the theme for the day. Yourself, your shipmates. As an engineer, I am tempted to leave you with a final guideline to trust your ship. But as your captain, I ask you now to trust your mission. As you continue onward to your next assignments and eventually your own command, do not forget why you joined Starfleet and what our greater purpose is out here.
::She paused, raising her eyebrow at him.::
Rahman: And it’s not just charting nebulae. It’s as much exploring what’s out there as it is what’s in here.
:: She tapped his chest twice with the pip before raising it up towards his neck. ::
:: The Caitian chuckled quietly, and shook his head. ::
Mei’konda: Thaat’s for sure, Captain. Captains. You both know that I have always taaken my career very serioussly. This is a powerful day for me.
::She leaned in to affix the final pip to his collar. After adjusting it slightly, she took a step back to admire the newly minted commander.::
Rahman: Computer, note in the ship’s log: Mei’konda is hereby promoted to the rank of commander.
Computer: Acknowledged. Commander Mei’konda, promoted stardate 239504.10.
Mei’konda: Thank you, Captains. I’m honored. Thaank you, everyone.
Anyone: Responses (Anyone on the Bridge!)
::With the ceremony finished, Roshanara returned a nod of gratitude to their visiting captains and was about to gesture for a nearby crewmen to escort them back when a thought occurred to her instead.::
Rahman: Commander, since you seem to be such a natural, why don’t you take the center seat for now while I escort our distinguished guests back to their transport?
:: The Caitian let out a quiet laugh. ::
Mei’konda: Yes, Captain. I promiise to return her to you in one piece, thiis time. Farewell, Captain Egan Manno, Captain Kells.
:: After an exchange of nods, the three captains headed towards the turbolift and departed. ::
:: Mei’konda reached up to touch the three gold pips now decorating his red collar. The new one felt only slightly different from the old black one, but he imagined that he could feel its weight on his neck. Being a Commander was a lot different than a Lieutenant Commander. Greater potential responsibilities, for one. Commanders were just as often in charge of installations and vessels - albeit, smaller ones - as Captains were. Still, he felt no great need to go charging ahead to a posting somewhere else, where he’d be the most senior officer. He was more content on the Veritas than he’d been in a long time. ::
:: The Caitian settled down into the Captain’s chair. After the time he’d spent there while the Captain was off the ship, it didn’t feel as foreign as it once had. Every promotion was an ending as well as a beginning, and another step on the path of his life and his career. He looked forward to seeing where these ones would lead him. ::
Fleet Captains Aron Kells & Cassandra Egan Manno
Commanders of Invicta Expedition and Astrofori One Mission, respectively
Captain Roshanara Rahman
CO, USS Veritas