(( Bridge, USS Veritas ))
:: Mei’konda’s smile faltered for a moment. But only a moment. Oh, no, this was something different. He stepped away from his console, then around toward the front of the Bridge. ::
Mei’konda: Yes, Captain...
::The captain turned back towards the front and called out to Evan.::
Rahman: Mr. Delano, open a shipwide com.
:: The operations officer, who had made his way to his station in anticipation of this command, tapped the command into his console. ::
Delano: Ready, Captain.
::As Mei’konda walked up towards the front of the bridge, Roshanara stepped forward herself. Once he turned to face the rest of the bridge, she came up to him and gently pulled the three pips of lieutenant commander off of his collar.::
Rahman: If you’ll pardon me, commander, I need to borrow these for just a moment.
:: The Caitian straightened instinctively up, and stood at attention. Now he knew what this was about, and it made those butterflies in his stomach come back. As she reached up to pluck the pips carefully from his collar, Mei’konda felt his smile widen once again. ::
Mei’konda: Yes, Captain.
::She turned away from Mei’konda and began walking towards Kells and Egan Manno.::
Rahman: And if you’ll forgive the theatrics, but it’s not every day an officer’s current and previous commanding officers are all gathered in the same room.
:: Mei’konda shifted his blue eyes over toward the two Fleet Captains. Egan Manno was aging gracefully, and Kells, well. He’d looked a number of different ages in the time that Mei’konda had known him. It was easy to forget how long it had been now since he’d graduated Starfleet Academy and received his first posting on the Mercury. ::
Mei’konda: :: Chuckles :: I thiink I’ll forgiive you this time, Captain Rahman.
::She handed each fleet captain one of the solid gold pips she had plucked from the Caitian’s collar while she held onto the remaining hollow black pip. She then turned around back to her first officer.::
Rahman: And I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use that to my advantage for this next task.
:: The Caitian folded his hands behind his back, and listened to his Captain. ::
Rahman: Lieutenant Commander Mei’konda, your recent actions ensuring the recovery of the USS Astraeus and the capture of the wanted pirate king Jilor have not gone unnoticed by Starfleet Command and dare I say, even the Federation Council. In addition to the citations you have earned for yourself and this crew, it is my great pleasure to announce to you and the crew of the USS Veritas that the Office of the Admiralty has seen fit to promote you to the rank of full Commander, with all the rights and privileges thereof.
:: What a shore leave. He’d worked hard for it, both in situations that were under his control, and ones that weren’t completely, such as the incident with the Astraeus. He swallowed, then bowed his head slightly. ::
Mei’konda: Thaank you, Captain. It’s truly an honor.
Rahman: I have asked Fleet Captains Kells and Egan Manno to assist me in executing this promotion ceremony. Together, we have seen you ascend the ranks from ensign now to commander, and as we award you each pip, may you wear them as a reminder of three virtues of Starfleet with which to carry out your duties.
::First was Fleet Captain Kells, Mei’konda’s first captain.::
Kells: Commander Mei’konda, I remember when you were assigned to the Mercury back in 2390, when I was a new CO and a commander myself. Together, we found the long-lost Saratoga and we built Deep Space 10. You weathered the supervolcano on 83 Leonis II and the Gateway Crisis, and you became the longest-serving chief of operation on any of my ships. Even when that nonsense with the Ring and my doppelganger resulted in the Mercury’s incapacitation, you served with pride and honor. I was beyond pleased to see you again on both Garuda and Invicta, as I knew my crews were in safe hands with you in charge of ship operations. I can’t think of anyone who’s more deserving of this promotion than you.
:: With that, Aron stepped forward with the first of Mei’konda’s three solid gold pips and placed the first one on his collar. He also looked as serious as he ever had, which certainly surprised Cassie, and she was sure it was surprising for others on the bridge as well. ::
Kells: I’ll leave you with this, Mei: You’re a commander now. Trust yourself to know what to do and to know what’s right.
:: With that, he stepped back and looked to Cassie. ::
Fleet Captains Aron Kells & Cassandra Egan Manno
Commanders of Invicta Expedition and Astrofori One Mission, respectively
Captain Roshanara Rahman
CO, USS Veritas
Lieutenant Commander Mei’konda