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[Backpost] Unexpected Suprise

Posted on Thu Jul 28th, 2016 @ 3:13pm by Captain Julius Whitlam & Senior Chief Petty Officer Eric Mixon

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: CO's ready room
Timeline: Day of the mission launch

Eric had been doing his monthly inventory in the armory and as always had found some weapons checked out that had not be returned on time. So he spent most of his morning tracking things down so he was in order. He never understood how people could check out stuff and than just oops I left it in my room... Nothing aggravated him more. Just as he was finalizing his report he got a message from the CO's office requesting he report to the ready room. Eric buttoned up everything in the armory and did a visual once over before locking up shop and headed to the ready room.

There were so many ways that Captain Julius Whitlam missed commanding a starship during the pre-war days. Those days seemed like a lifetime away and he had to keep reminding himself that it had only been a few months. One of the things he missed now that he had taken for granted back then was the stability of his crew. Before the war, he could count on his crew remaining reasonably static for long enough to get to know them. Even a six month tour gave him ample time to nourish a relationship with his officers and crew. There was no such luxury in wartime. Sure, Whitlam understood the reasons behind the high rotation of staff, but he didn't have to like it.

Although there was definite advantage to a high turnover of staff - the capacity to unearth new talent where one least expected it. Wartime meant potential for rapid promotions and a necessity for people to perform duties even they might not realise they are ready for. It also meant promotions in the field and throwing untested officers and crew in the deep end. That was what his next appointment would entail.

The chime on the door to his ready room broke the captain's silent contemplation as he gazed out of the viewport at the swirling caramel clouds of Alpha Trianguli IV. "Come," he said, swiveling his chair to face the door.

Eric tugged on his uniform one more time and straightened his Chief Petty Officer rank on his collar and made his way in. After he had stepped over the threshold he found his mind wandering to what this could be about. All his reports had been up today and as far as he knew he did well on his recent Evaluation which had been done 2 months early. 'Sir, you wanted to see me?" Eric made the best attempt to sound confident.

"Ah, yes, Chief," Whitlam said, sounding almost like he had forgotten that the master at arms was coming. Of course, he hadn't forgotten. "Come in. Have a seat," he gestured to one of the chairs on the other side of his desk and waited for him to sit down.

Eric was still trying to read his Captain but had no clue. He sat down on the edge of the chair. "What's going on Cap?

"As you know, we've had a lot of crew changes in the last little while," the captain said, leaning forward and clasping his hands together on the desk as he spoke. "It's the nature of the service in wartime, so not unexpected. But yesterday I received notification that Master Chief sh'Vesik was being transferred to the Firenze, effective immediately. Now, her departure means I need to find a new chief of the boat and I need to find him quickly. I've also been told that there will be no incoming transfer to fill the position, so I have to promote from within." He paused and studied Mixon's face, searching for any sign of recognition about where this was going.

Eric took in the news not sure why he was telling him. But part of him was happy because the current COB wasn't really liked by the enlisted ranks because she didn't relate to them well or advicate for them. "Things are always changing. One thing I have learned is to be prepared change because no matter what it is gonna happen."

A faint smile crept across the captain's face as he listened. "Well, I'm glad you keep yourself prepared for change," he said, "because as of this moment, I'm promoting you to Senior Chief Petty Officer and appointing you as the Manoora's new chief of the boat. Congratulations, Chief."

Eric looked across the table at his CO. He was officially speechless. "Umm... Wow.. Thank you, Sir." His mind was swirling he was a Senior Chief and the COB both have a huge responsibility in the enlisted ranks. Eric had seen a lot already in the beginning of this war but this new wrinkle really made him think did he deserve this. "What will happen with the Armory?"

Whitlam smiled; one up side of the high crew turnover in recent months was the many different reactions he got to see when he informed officers and crew of promotions. Surprise was by far the most common reaction he'd seen thus far. "Commander Odegaard will take care of your replacement in the armory," the captain said with a reassuring nod. "Though I'm sure he would appreciate your recommendation, given that he's not long in that position himself."

"Whatever I can do to make for a smooth transition." Eric offered and meant it. So much was going through his head right now. "If it is ok with you Cap, I would like to try and make rounds more than my predecessor did. I feel like the Chief need to know the pulse of the crewman and that is difficult without making it around the ship." Eric hoped he wasn't throwing anyone under the bus but he wanted to make sure his idea of running things was ok by the boss.

The captain nodded, feeling ever more confident that his pick as his conduit to the non-commissioned crew was the right one. It may have come as a surprise to him, but Chief Mixon clearly had some ideas in that head of his. "Chief, as long as you keep me reliably informed on things I need to know, I'm happy for you to make as many rounds as you like. Your job is to represent the concerns of the enlisted personnel and I'll do everything within reason to help you get that job done."

"I appreciate that and I feel especially in a time of war having open lines of communication and concern between the top and the grunts is critical to our success. I also assume I will be needed some more on the bridge?" Eric was one that liked to lay out expectations clearly in front of him.

"Certainly more than if you were still master at arms," Whitlam replied, inclining his head slightly to the side. "However, I'll leave some details, such as your battle station, to Commander Drake to sort out. You will, of course, have direct access to me, but for assignment and personnel decisions, the XO is your man." He shifted in his chair and leaned forward just a little. "And in that vein, I'd like for the three of us - you, Mr Drake and myself - to meet briefly before our senior staff meetings, which you will also attend. I work closely with my first officer, Chief, and that means the three of us will be working together to make sure this crew is at peak condition. Understood?"

"Loud and clear, Sir. Anything else I can do for you? Eric's head still kinda spinning from the news.

"Just one last thing," the captain said, his voice firmly serious and his eyes piercing into Mixon's. "Don't let me down."

"Never will Sir that you can take to the bank!!" Eric replied as he stood and offered the Captain his hand to shake on it. Some might take that comment and wonder why the CO had questioned Eric. Eric saw it from a warrior's perspective. Times are tough and everyone especially the Captain needs to know the crew has his back and he has theirs.

CAPT Julius Whitlam
Commanding Officer

SCPO Eric Mixon
Chief of the Boat
USS Manoora


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