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Return of the Red A J-Crew Session

Posted on Tue Feb 6th, 2024 @ 10:43am by Commander Jennifer Baldric & Commander Jenna Ramthorne

Mission: Character Development
Location: DS9 / USS Sunfire
Timeline: Current-ish

Standing, she smoothed out her uniform. She had to be perfect. No lint, no wrinkles, a model of perfection. It was a shell which hid an imperfect person. Battered, and bruised, the body healed, but the mind and the soul took a long time to recover. She knew parts of her would never get beyond her past. She understood that others saw her actions and would have already made their judgments. But, she was ready to face the fire if that was what it took to be a better person.

Everything was in order. Her tight-knit violet-red hair pulled back into a mid-pony, its length longer than regulations but she had plans to have it cut once she was on board. Always have favors with the barber. Her green eyes were bright and optimistic. She put on a smile and immediately felt like it was fake so toned it back a bit.

Once satisfied her model of perfection was all wrapped up, she nodded, turned and picked up her one piece of luggage. Exiting the cabin, she kept her eyes up, her head forward and her shoulders square. She ignored onlookers and the people she passed and headed straight for the exit tunnel where a docking port leading to Deep Space Station 9 awaited.

Inside the docking port, she saw outside for the first time as it was lined with portals with which to peer out. That's where she got her first glimpse of the ship she would call home. Its sleek lines and wide body hovered above the station like a cat preparing to pounce. She was clearly larger than a Defiant class yet sleek and maneuverable nonetheless. Jenna's stomach knotted in the hopes she would be able to pilot her through a line of enemy ships someday.

Commander Jennifer Baldric sat in the ready room, pondering the length of time she should wait before pestering Admiral Clarkson for the promotion to Captain, as was her right once she took command full-time. The cards were being stacked nicely, Kaylen was backed into a corner, the Admiralty was on her side for once, and the Sunfire crew were non-existent. There was no one to question or second guess anything until the crew were recalled once the repairs were complete. During that time Baldric would embed herself so deeply in the work that no-one would be able to even contemplate the role not being hers.

'First Impressions', Jenna amused to herself. She had not seen Rhenora in over five long years. This would not be a first impressions sort of meeting, but a catch-up. Her stomach continued to knot as she crossed the station and made her way into the upper pylon and then over onto the ship. She did not stop, did not wait for anyone, but marched, duffle on her shoulder, luggage in hand, onto the Sunfire. From there she proceeded into the lift, and commanded it to the bridge. She could feel eyes upon her as she stepped off the lift and walked down the ramp then pressed the chime to the ready room and waited for the okay to enter. Somewhere in there, she remembered to breathe.

"Come in" Baldric called from the desk she was making herself way too comfortable behind. She wasn't expecting anyone and there weren't many Sunfire personnel left on the ship during the repairs. She was intrigued.

The doors parted and Jenna was barely one step into the room when her pace faltered and she stopped in her tracks. "Oh, my apologies, I was expecting Captain Kaylen." She immediately berated herself internally for not checking for Rhenora's location before seeking her out. She took note of the woman in front of her, bold, with a fake smile, as if she wasn't really meant to be there or was new to being there. This idea intrigued Jenna immediately though she did not allow the door to yet close behind her.

"I've sent Captain Kaylen on leave for the duration of the repairs" Baldric replied with air of authority as though sending captain's off their ships was something she did every day. "I'm Acting Captain in her absence, and will be taking over when she takes permanent leave. Commander Jennifer Baldric. And you are?" Baldric rose and rounded the desk to address the newcomer before she could flee.

Her eyebrow raised as a Vulcans would, "Commander Jenna Ramthorne." She answered simply before shifting to allow the door to close, her eyes never leaving Jennifer's eyes. Jenna could hear the woman's heart beating within her chest. As soon as the doors closed she continued, "What do you mean by 'permanent leave'?" She asked with a stern voice and an ungiving demeanor.

"Captain Kaylen is due to go on maternity leave in a few weeks. I am unsure that she will return. In the meantime Admiral Clarkson has assigned the role of commanding officer to myself. I will be transitioning into the role over the next month. Now, it's a pleasure to meet you Commander Ramthorne, please, won't you take a seat" Jennifer remembered her manners and indicated the seat opposite hers at the desk. "What brings you to the Sunfire and this office?" She racked her brain as to why the name Ramthorne rang a bell.

Jenna relaxed her posture slightly at the implication that Rhenora was with child. This fact meant a great number of things. First off, that her and Remal had gotten back together, and second, they had not told Jenna about the child. She then looked at the seat and the request before responding, "Well, that would be the question of the hour." She started as she pulled a data PADD out of her shoulder bag.

"I was given my orders to deliver this encrypted PADD directly into the hands of Captain Kaylen, by the counsel of Admirals no less. It is supposed to contain my position, rank, and orders, without which I could not begin to get comfortable. So, I appreciate the offer, but I really need to see her first. You wouldn't be able to maybe point me in the right direction, would you?" Jenna asked, not giving in to Jennifer's act of control just yet.

There was a moment's hesitation, an instant where they squared off against each other in silence. Did Baldric have the balls to try and call a bluff, or did this Ramthorne really have level 10 clearance only on her paperwork. Such things weren't all that uncommon and she didn't want to get on Clarkson's radar on her first day on the job.

"Captain Kaylen left for her quarters about an hour ago, you may catch her there otherwise she's probably on Bajor by now."

Jenna frowned, "Unfortunate." She then tapped her badge, "Computer locate Captain Rhenora Kaylen or Counselor Remal Kajun."

The computer chirped and responded, "Captain Kaylen and Counselor Kajun are not on board the USS Sunfire or Deep Space Station Nine. Records indicate last known location Drakkar Province, Bajor." There was a final chirp indicating the search query had ended.

"Well then, I can either settle in and wait a week, or..." Jenna looked back at Jennifer, "with your permission I could borrow a shuttle and get this squared away today."

Jennifer's jaw dropped a little and she had to remember the decorum she had worked so hard to maintain and project. "I..ah..I'm sure something can be arranged" she stammered, trying to regain her mantle as the woman in charge.

Jenna, catching the hesitation and brushing it aside, returned her PADD to her carry bag and replied, "Good, that's settled then. Is there anything else you need from me or should I find my way to the shuttle bay? I've heard the Akira class bays are something to behold."

"So are you being assigned here or what?" Baldric blurted out as Jenna turned for the door. Still trying to figure out what the heck had gone down in the last five minutes she made a desperate grab for control. Problem was she'd already cleared Ramthorne for a shuttle, verbally at least.

Jenna turned back, "Look, I get it, you want this to be as simple as black and white, to know you have some semblance of control am I right?" She didn't wait for a response instead marching right along. "An observation, if you will, from someone who has sat in the big chair you are currently attempting to fill."

Less of a question, more of a statement, Jenna continued. "People can sense when someone doesn't belong and no amount of faking it will change that. If you want to be Captain, then when you walk through these doors, be Captain. Lead with an air as though you have always been the Captain, otherwise the crew will turn to someone who does." At the end Jenna smiled knowing she had said her peace but also giving away a small chunk of information, that she herself had once been a Captain.

Jenna turned and walked out without another word leaving Jennifer to ponder the words of wisdom laid upon her new desk with the mounting pile of data PADDs.



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