A Helping Hand
Location: U.S.S. Poseidon; Chief Counsellor's Office, Deck 6
Timeline: Day 001 - 0900 Hours
Tags: Post-Fighter Incident, Science Department
The Chief Counsellor's day had been incredibly productive thus far. She had met the Commander and the Chief Flight Control Officer in the early hours of the morning for breakfast in an attempt to resolve the strain that had been placed on their professional relationship during the stressful events of the Departure which had to be aborted. It would take some more time before it was ever fully resolved, but the foundations for the bridge had been laid.
Now she was given the opportunity to greet one of the Poseidon's newest crew members. Having spoken to the Commander some days ago during a private evening conversation, both of them had agreed that Lieutenant Canaan Serine - the ship's Chief Science Officer - would benefit a great deal from having an Assistant Chief to support him. While this was by no means a poor reflection on him, he had come to the Chief Counsellor's attention as someone who - while very much a capable, highly skilled and efficient officer - would need some form of counselling going forward. As they were still preparing to get this underway, Kana was aware of the three trainees in Lieutenant Serine's charge, and so felt that in order to care for him properly while also making sure his trainees didn't miss out in any way, an Assistant Chief was needed.
This was what brought Ensign Finnegan to her attention. Recommended by Starfleet, the woman was a highly qualified Physicist and had according to her record actually spent a number of years working in the industry before making the leap to Starfleet and the Academy. Like Canaan, she demonstrated a great intellect but also a keen interest in gaining more knowledge, something both she and her new superior would have in common and - so Kana hoped - help serve as the basis for a good partnership. Kana was also sure that her different career paths would not only help bring a nuanced perspective to the Sciences Department but as someone who had worked under the demands of major industry, someone who could help shoulder Lieutenant Serine's responsibilities should he need it.
As it was her recommendation to recruit Ensign Finnegan, and the Commander had an otherwise busy schedule, Lieutenant Commander Shakura had agreed to be the one to formally welcome her on board. She was coming over from Starbase Ninety-Nine via a quick shuttle, and once onboard the Counsellor's Aide would greet her and bring her to the Chief Counsellor's Office on Deck 6.
The new Assistant Science Chief watched the shuttle land in the main shuttle bay through its windows and relaxed her hands from being so tense that her nails dug into her palms and left little red crescent marks. She had always hated the take-off and the landing but was fine with the travelling in between. Her name was Aislin Finnegan, and this was to be her new posting for however long she was required there.
Stepping off the shuttle with her bag in hand, Aislin stood there for a few moments and took in the new sights before her mind started to tick over with all the new prospects that had just opened up for her and she was interrupted by the advance of someone standing in front of her.
"Ensign Aislin Finnegan?" The young Bajoran male smiled nervously as he approached the very descriptive woman. He wore a blue uniform and had a Cadet Freshman's pip on his collar. "Welcome aboard the Poseidon! I'm the acting Counsellor's Aide, and I've been sent on behalf of Lieutenant Commander Shakura to help you find your way to her office. Right this way please."
The young cadet was so nervous he didn't even wait for an answer nor give his name as he hurriedly gathered the woman and guided her into the turbolift. He explained during the journey in a very hurried but excitable manner that her belongings would be transported to her new quarters, which she would be assigned by the ships Quartermaster--Oh! Had she heard about all the commotion that had rocked the ship yesterday? He and his friends had been up talking about it all night, but now the ship was all abuzz since they'd returned to the Starbase and all these new people were coming on-board, including you and--Oh! Be sure to stay away from the Commodore's soup. Apparently that stuff tasted weird.
If it hadn't already been obvious to Aislin, something big had gone down in the past twenty-four hours, and the ship was abuzz with activity because of it. Nobody seemed to say what though, and her chaperone was far too high off the adrenaline still to think to say. Perhaps she would be able to get some answers from this Lieutenant Commander Shakura she was about to meet.
Sure enough, they eventually arrived at the Chief Counsellor's Office on Deck Six. The Counsellor's Aide, who still hadn't stopped talking, carried on. "--So I said to them 'No, don't be silly, the Commander would never date a Gorn!' but then they said--" It didn't seem like he ever needed to breathe. Fortunately, he was brought to a pause when the doors to the Chief Counsellor's Office opened and Kanaka stepped out. She had a humourful expression on her face, her black eyes studying the scene before her. She was a few inches shorter than Aislin but much more built. Standing with back perfectly straight, she exhaled and began to speak.
"I trust you're not giving our newest crew-mate your life story?" Kana said teasingly. The young Bajoran blushed deeply, hanging his head in a mix of embarrassment and shame. The Chief Counsellor gave a gentle and affirming smile, which caught his eye; she knew why he had acted the way he did. Turning to Aislin, the young man said. "My apologies, ma'am." He then gave a calm nod to Kana before taking a deep breath and moving more calmly on his way. The two of them now alone, Kana approached and formally introduced herself.
"Lieutenant Commander Kanaka Shakura, Chief Counsellor and Second Officer of the U.S.S. Poseidon." She smiled warmly as she took the Ensign's hand and shook it firmly. Encouraging her to step into her office, she continued the conversation. "Do excuse him and everyone else, as you might have heard things have been quite...hectic over the last few hours. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't get much sleep."
Inside was a very formal office space, with a large desk and chairs, and deeper into the room along with a replicator there was a space for the Chief Counsellor and guests to sit on recliners or a sofa to talk things through. It all seemed rather cosy, but still quite bare, making it clear that they hadn't been on board for very long. Ushering Aislin over to one of the recliners next to the coffee table, Kana wanted to make sure her guest was comfortable. "Before we get started, can I grab you any refreshments?"
Still reeling from the major flurry of information she'd just received, Aislin kind of looked dumbfounded for a moment. "Uh, I'll just have a water thanks.. I'm not really keen on many other drinks unfortunately.." she took the offered seat and relaxed into it.
Nodding with a smile, the Chief Counsellor fetched them both a pitcher of fresh ice-cold water and two glasses from the replicator. Returning and pouring them both a glass, Kana sat across from Aislin. "There you are. Now, I'll jump straight into it: as you may have read from your brief, the Commander and I requested for you from Starfleet as our Chief Science Officer is in need of a competent and trustworthy second in order to help run the Poseidon's Science Department." She paused for a moment, casually drinking some of her water before continuing.
"Lieutenant Canaan Serine, said Chief Science Officer, is an efficient and passionate worker. In his short time aboard already he has already gotten his cadets to work on a variety of experiments. Said cadets rate him highly. However - and this is between you and me - he runs the serious risk of working himself into the ground at his current pace. As that wouldn't be optimal or ideal, I sought out an Assistant Chief Science Officer who could not only complement Lieutenant Serine's strengths but counteract perhaps his only weakness. That, Ensign Finnegan, is where I believe you can come in."
Realising that she had been the only one speaking so far, Kana stopped herself. "Sorry, I imagine this is all quite a lot to take on board at once. Do you have any questions before I continue?"
The assistant Science chief took a sip of the iced water and sat forward slightly, "Not at this stage, no, but I'm pretty sure a few questions may come up soon." She made a mental note to follow up with all the experiments being conducted and who was assigned to what.
"I can appreciate a dedicated worker with being one myself," Aislin tried not to sound too overconfident with saying it, "But working yourself into the ground isn't going to go down well for anyone in the department. Plus, I don't believe it will be setting a good example for the cadets either." She took another sip of the water, wincing slightly at the sensitivity it caused her teeth.
"No, certainly not." Kana agreed heartily. "Don't let that give you a bad impression of Canaan, however; I personally don't think this is something even he is fully aware of, which is why it's important to have a reliable Assistant. Someone who can let him know when it's time to put the work down and relax. Furthermore, I need to be sure that there's someone there for him in case he ever needs a helping hand...you understand?" There was a brief moment of silence as the two shared a glance. Leaning forward, the Lieutenant Commander elaborated further.
"I'm entrusting you, both as the Chief Counsellor and as your superior officer, to let me know if he needs help. I've only known him for a short time, but I've come to know him as a kind and gentle soul, but one who doesn't speak up when he needs to...that's why I must entrust in someone to do it on his behalf, should it ever come to it. It's a serious responsibility, and not something usually asked of someone in your position, but I trust you're mature enough to understand the reasons why. If you're unsure, just think of your siblings, and what you would do for them if you saw them in need: hopefully then it'll make sense."
She took another mouthful of her water as she gave the Ensign a chance to consider the words she had just heard. Her decision to pick Aislin was indeed for more reasons than just her glowing resumé, but for her personal history as well: she grew up not just in different circumstances, but in a whole different environment to Canaan. That sort of experience could only be gained through bonding, and since Canaan was an only child, he needed to form a bond beyond something strictly professional.
"For the record, I don't expect you to do anything more than you are comfortable with. Raising an alarm to me if it comes to it is more than enough. Your professional capacity as Assistant Chief is, of course, the most important thing, but as is the nature of these things, sometimes we need to be just as conscious of those around us."
Imagining that she would perhaps now have questions, the Chief Counsellor sat back and gave a polite smile, waiting to see if Aislin had anything at all to say.
"On the way over, I did have a chance to look into what I was signing up for and I did indeed see that he is an only child and slightly younger than me, and from what I'm understanding, you're wanting me to treat him as my senior during working hours but also look out for him and treat him as I would one of my younger siblings?" Aislin leant forward and had another sip of her water, pondering it all. "I have absolutely no problem with doing that at all." She offered the counsellor a smile.
"Excellent." Kana gave her a proud smile as she then stood up and gestured towards the door. "Shall we go and make introductions, then?"