::After the meeting had formally ended, the other officers quickly scurried out of the room. Only the sound of footsteps and sliding doors permeated the air as the three remaining women sat in their chairs silent.::
::Finally, once they were alone, the captain turned in her chair towards the other two and spoke, her voice delivering the words calmly and measured.::
Rahman: Lieutenant, Commander, that was simply one of the most unprofessional exchanges I’ve ever witnessed during a senior staff meeting--let alone a meeting with a senior civilian Federation official present.
::Lael stiffened, a flush of color filling her cheeks. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she’d known that she should close her mouth. But images of Chythar on that biobed following their last mission on the Za combined with the recent distress that she’d undergone trying to rescue Commander Walker from that cave-in, thinking her dead, had driven her into a flurry of anger when the woman had proposed going back to the caves. While losing Walker would have bothered her immensely, losing Alex or Anjar would have been even worse.::
Rosek: ::swallows roughly and rasps:: Yes, ma’am.
::It was all she could manage around the lump forming in her throat. The tension in the room certainly didn’t help.::
:: Luna was upset. Mostly because of the situation they were in now, but partially at least because of the Captain’s reaction. It was a bad situation, but she didn’t want to scare Rosek away from telling her the harsh truths either. She shoved down the snarky response of “I’m sure there were more unprofessional exchanges somewhere..” ::
Walker: Yes Captain.
Rahman: I expect more from you both. As senior officers, you are setting an example for the rest of the crew. In times like these, now is when we must work together to find solutions, not descend into endless squabbling that--to use your language, Lieutenant--only serves to make all of us look foolish.
Rosek: ::flush deepens:: Yes, ma’am.
:: Luna flushed, but now more with anger. They’d both made a mistake, but this wasn’t right to do it in front of both of them. ::
Rahman: I don’t know how Captain Rhani ran things on the Za, but on this ship, Lieutenant, you will respect your colleagues’ qualifications and devotion to duty and each other. Your fellow officers may come up with different ideas you don’t agree with, but that does not mean they aren’t equally concerned about doing things the “smart” way or ensuring that everyone comes home alive. Using such inflammatory language is not only unhelpful but frankly insulting.
::At last managing to find her feet, Lael nodded and turned to Commander Walker.::
Rosek: ::to Walker:: I apologize for overstepping my bounds, Commander.
::She wanted to say that she’d never question the woman again...but that would be a lie. One that she couldn’t live with. After what had happened on the Za, she knew there would be situations where she had to. To quote a 20th century Earth film, “It is not only permissible to question our leaders it's our responsibility.” Within the confines of the chain of command, however, that meant doing so in a way that didn’t undermine the individual in front of the entire senior staff. She grimaced. As much as she hated to admit it, she’d stepped over a line and allowed her personal feelings to affect her judgement.::
:: Luna nodded tightly. Rosek’s reaction was exactly the opposite of what she wanted out of this situation. If one of her engineers held back when they disagreed, something could be missed. Of course, privately, Luna was going to remind her about what to say or do publicly.. But.. ::
Rahman: Do not mistake disagreement with lack of understanding. You made your point quite clearly and others disagreed. At that point, lieutenant, you needed to stand down and wait for either further questions from me or a final decision. Continuing to argue with your own department head--again in front of a colonial governor no less--is not the way to change opinions.
Rosek: ::blushes:: Yes, ma’am.
::The captain then turned to Commander Walker.::
Rahman: Commander Walker, I can forgive Lieutenant Rosek somewhat as she is still becoming acquainted with this ship and my expectations. ::beat:: You, however, know them intimately.
A JP By
Lieutenant Lael Rosek, Eng.D.
Engineering Officer, USS Veritas
Lt. Commander Luna Walker
Chief Engineer, USS Veritas
Captain Roshanara Rahman
Commanding Officer, USS Veritas