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A First Time For Everything...

Posted on 02 Feb 2022 @ 11:28am by Lieutenant JG Molly MacHale & Ensign Dior Bradshaw

Mission: Assignment II: The Layover
Location: Chief Science Officer's Office, Deck 6
Timeline: MD 3, 1530 Hours

[CSO's Office, Deck 6]
[MD 3, 1530 Hours]

Commander Sitol had been a fastidiously organized department chief. Most department heads were, really... but as a Vulcan Sitol had been organized in ways that made Molly envious of her discipline. Molly was many things, but fastidiously organized was not one. The only thing that could count as organized in her work was the files on which she worked. These, following the mandates of good science, were detailed, tracked, dated, organized, and replicated three times over to ensure the validity of the work she did. Her lab, however... could never have really been called organized.

It had taken her two days to begin packing the Commander's things. She suspected that there was family, somewhere, who may wish to have them and she didn't want to lose the opportunity to have them sent while they were at the starbase. Still, she struggled putting them away. The Vulcan elements of the office made it feel like... maybe... a piece of the Commander still lingered.

Offices, though, were made for using and so Molly put on her big girl pants and did the work... herself... not wanting to ask anyone else to take on the hard task of sorting through everything.

She was working on a small set of shelves that bore a handful of archaeological relics that Sitol had appreciated when the chime rang. She wasn't, to her memory, expressly expecting anyone, but also she hadn't successfully sorted out what to expect so she called absently over her shoulder for whomever it was to come in.

Though he hadn't heard anything officially in his short time aboard, it was clear to Dior that something major had affected much of the crew. Still, he tried to pay whatever it was little mind and continue with his duties. the first of which was to report to his superior.

'Lieutenant McHale' he repeated silently, not wanting the embarrassment of forgetting her name like he had in his previous post. He shook his head, trying to put the thought of his blunder behind him. The door before him hissed open and he stepped into the office. "Lieutenant McHale reporting for duty." He said. The words hadn't even finished passing his lips before he winced at the mistake. "Sorry, Ensign Bradshaw report Lieutenant."

Molly looked up at the telltale swish of the door to find a tall man with long-ish hair tucked back behind his ears entering Commander Sitol's... her... office. She didn't recognize him, but then there were any number of officers on the Sagiatta she wouldn't recognize. His light blue collar, though, tipped her off that he was one of her science officers and so she straightened, offering him what she hoped was a warm smile as he spoke.

The Ensign's gaff put her at ease more than he could probably ever know and she bit back a giggle, trying to remind herself that she was a department head, now, and not just another scientist.

"Ensign," she said with a nod of her head and a sort of half tilt toward the chairs in front of the desk.

She came around to the department chief's side of the desk, eyeing the chair for only half a moment before sitting, absently setting the small figurine she had been about to pack on the desk in front of her.

"I'm glad I'm not the only one who's done that," she remarked with a light chuckle. "Welcome aboard Mr. Bradshaw. We're glad to have you. It's been an... interesting... time here and I'm eager to make sure we have our full complement of scientists."

The words that came from Molly never reached Dior’s ears, or at least were processed. His focus fell on the figure she had set before her. “Where did you find a Hebitian fertility idol? I though the only fully intact idol was in the Cardassian Center of History.”

Molly's eyebrows popped. "I'm not sure, truthfully," she said carefully. "It doesn't belong to me." Her curiosity had been piqued by his comment, though, so she probed. "You're familiar with the Hebitians?"

Dior nodded. "A few years ago I was permitted to go to Cardassia to help excavate a Hebitian burial chamber from the First Age. Most of the artifacts were in pieces, as the tomb was discovered because of construction near Lakarian City." His eyes glistened as he began to reach towards the figure. "May I?" He asked.

She handed the figure over gently, eyes lighting at the thought of someone else on board who might be as excited about Cardassians as she was. "That sounds... like a dream..." she breathed, dropping her professional demeanor at the impulse to geek out a bit. "What was it like? On Cardassia, I mean..."

"Quite humid, I must say." He looked in awe at the figure. "Luckily, the humidity doesn't affect the Jevonite in any negative way. " He narrowed his eyes to look closely at the idol. "You see the detail that the Hebitians we able to depict in such small areas." He referred to the figures face.

Molly pushed back from the desk, coming around to peer over the Ensign's shoulder for a better look. "Oh, that is quite detailed," she said, her voice pensive and curious. "What sort of tool do you think made something like that possible? Their tooling must have been quite archaic by comparison to today's standards."

Dior shook his head. "The evidence actually suggests that the Hebitians had quite sophisticated tools for the time. Even utilizing magnified light to cut stones for building." He was still in awe at being able to hold this artifact in his hand.

"Huh," was Molly's only reply. For a moment the two scientists were quiet looking over the small figure before Molly remembered that she wasn't just another scientist anymore and she straightened from where she had been leaning over the ensign's shoulder, her cheeks flushing red as she did.

Clearing her throat self consciously, she came around the desk and resumed Sitol's... her... seat. Quick fingers pulled up Bradshaw's file, skimming the information she had already reviewed. Finding nothing new... because of course there was nothing new... she had just looked at this file and updating it now was largely her job... she turned back to the young man with the statuette.

"That belonged to my predecessor," she said, tone solemn. "A consummate scientist. I was packing up her things when you came in."

She shook her head slightly as if shaking off a fog or a distant memory. "Do you have any questions for me Ensign? Anything you need to help get you settled?"

Dior set the figure delicately on the desk and searched his thoughts. “What’s happened here?” He asked tactlessly. “I only mean, it’s clear that there is something is affecting the crew and I was curious.”

Molly sat back in her chair, settling her hands on the arm rests and frowning thoughtfully. It wasn't an unreasonable question, but it still felt immensely fresh. It hadn't even been two weeks. She sighed. "Several of our senior officers were summarily executed by the Cardassians about..." she counted quickly, "eight days ago." Her expression shifted as she said it sadness and worry all playing across her features before settling on resignation. "It was... broadcast... to the Bridge, so several of us saw it live. And several more lost dear friends and trusted mentors. It's been a bit... funereal around here for the last week."

This revelation stopped Diors words for a moment. He glanced nervously to the statuette and then back to Molly. "I...I'm sorry to have asked. I didn't know." He cast his gaze downwards. "You were close then...with your predecessor?"

"After a fashion," she said. "Commander Sitol was extremely professional with her officers. But, she was a mentor to me and I miss her." She was quiet a moment--lost in thought. Shaking her head she took a deep breath. "Fresh eyes and perspectives are needed and wanted here," she finally said. "I am glad to have you among them, Ensign."

Brown eyes looked up, studying him for a moment. "Anything else I can answer for you?"

"No." Dior said, his eyes falling back to the figurine. "Did you have any questions for me?" He asked, his eyes still pasted to the idol. He wondered silently if it had anything to do with the recent happenings or whether it had been acquired before then.

Molly shook her head, noting that the Ensign's attention remained with the statue. "None at the moment, but should that change I'll know where to find you. The same is true for you. If you have questions or need anything please let me know. Otherwise, welcome aboard Ensign."

She stood again, coming around the desk and extending her hand to him. "I hope you like it here."

Dior stood andtook her offered hand and shook it quickly before dropping it. "I'm sure I will." His eyes darted once again to the figurine and then back to Molly. "I look forward to working with you."

Molly chuckled, following the man's eyes to the desk. "It really ought to be maintained by someone who knows how to do so," she said tone filling with concern. "You wouldn't happen to know what care that particular statuette needs would you?"

Dior nodded. "Jevonite is particularly tricky, especially when it's this old. It requires warm and dry conditions, like those on Cardassia or Vulcan, to preserve it properly."

"Sounds like you know what needs doing then Mr. Bradshaw," she commented, picking up the statue and holding it out to him. "Commander Sitol always told me that if an item needed to be cared for look for the person to whom it's care mattered."

Taking the idol into his hands, Dior's eyes were wide. "I will do my best." The corner of his mouth lifted to a sort of half smile. "Thank you." He gave a curt nod and turned to leave the office.

Molly offered the man a warm smile, nodding as she did. "You're welcome Ensign."

Bradshaw was out the door before she could think to say more. With a sigh, the newly minted Chief Scientist turned back to the shelf of artifacts and objects. "You'd have liked that one Commander," she murmured to herself and went back to packing things away.


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