Meeting the First Sergeant
Location: USS Poseidon; Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, Bridge
Timeline: Day 002 - 1920 Hours
Commander Franklin Johnson paced the Captain's Ready Room, just hearing from Gregory that their new arrival, a one Staff Sergeant Maximilian Pfaffenheim, was to be assigned to the USS Poseidon to formally lead their contingent of marines. The shuttle from Starbase 99 was expected to arrive around 1900, so it was around twenty minutes late. The Commander continued to be patient, sipping his glass of sweet tea and admiring the rooms visual monitor as it displayed the perspective of the Bridge's viewscreen of outside space.
Two minutes later, the door slid open, and in stepped the Sergeant. He looked at the Commander with a serious expression on his face, and immediately stood at attention and snapping a salute. "I apologize for the delay, Commander, Sir. The shuttle seemed to have technical issues shortly before the scheduled start." He waited for a second, then continued. "Starfleet Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Maximilian Pfaffenheim reporting for duty, Sir!"
The Commander turned when the door slid open, greeted with a rather straightforward and professional display of a proper military greeting. Unlike the Staff Sergeant maintaining a salute before him, Franklin had not gone through similar intensive training to warrant such strict displays of discipline. Far from offended, the Commander quickly gave a crisp - if somewhat off - salute in return. He recalled his days of proper military training at the Officer Academy, lessons and instructions that had almost all but fallen to the wayside. The appearance of this Marine on his ship, and this present display, seemed to reactivate much of that information.
"At ease, Staff Sergeant," the Commander ordered, falling into a relaxed posture himself after realizing he had gone to attention briefly. "The delay was understandable, nothing to worry about. How are you doing? Did the trip fare you well?"
Franklin reached for his glass of sweet tea that was placed on top of the display case. All at once the Commander realized that during the entrance of Maximilian he had instinctively and basically without thought placed his drink down. He blinked, awkwardly at his hands, then back at the Marine. That was something completely unexpected.
Assuming an at ease posture, Maximilian continued to look at the Commander. "There were no further complications on the trip, Sir, though after my arrival I was informed of the fighter accident two days ago. I must offer my condolences.", he said, though his expression did not change noticeably. Over the years, he had formed a habit of this while on duty. It was only then that he noticed Johnson's blinking. "Is there something amiss, Commander?", he asked, mildly confused.
"No, I'm..." he started, trailing off. He glanced at his glass, sighed, then chuckled at himself. "Nothing Staff Sergeant, thank you for the condolences. I believe for formal condolences, you'd want to see Lieutenant Shannon. She's our fighter lead at the moment. Why don't you sit?"
He gestured to his Captain's desk. The Commander going around, sitting at his place behind it, gesturing again to the guest seating across the table.
"It's good to hear your trip was without incident," he began after taking another sip and actually remembering where he set it down this time. "We were just about underway not a few days ago, and then Lieutenant Pavan's fighter blew up. It's been a helluva ride since then, Staff Sergeant. Did you formulate any preliminary plans for ship security during our patrol runs, just to ask?"
As the Commander pointed to the guest chair, Maximilian quickly sat down, folding his hands. "I will be able to give you the exact plans for approval after I have convened with the squad leads later this evening, Sir. A Marine platoon is enough for a ship this size, but I believe cooperation with the Security Department is still neccessary to fill some gaps. What I would suggest is a rotation system, with three Marine squads active at key guard stations or on patrol, and the fourth and fifth on standby. Standard 8-hour shifts.", he said. "As said, this would only really suffice to guard three key stations à 6 Marines and three or so patrol teams with three Marines each."
He took out his small PADD, selecting a list of the Marine contingent of the ship. "A number of them also seem fresh out of training, Commander, so I will likely have increased need for the holodeck. Running combat simulations is the best way to prepare new Marines for actual combat, in my experience."
"Very good," Franklin replied. "I'll send a notation to Lieutenant Karn to meet with you, he's our ships Chief of Security. I want you to meet with him to formulate and finalize these plans. Just stated ahead of time, you both have my approval on this."
"As for the holodeck, yes," continued Franklin, "you will receive the additional time. The Poseidon is an anti-piracy ship, so you will no doubt be called upon to act as boarding operations. In that light, we'd need ship's security to assist you, so maybe once you get with Karn you two can work out a cross-training regiment?"
The Sergeant nodded briefly, though the left corner of his mouth momentarily twitched. "Of course, Sir. I will get in contact with him as soon as possible, though we would have to do something about the equipment disparity in case of an actual boarding scenario.", he said, making a note on his PADD.
"Equipment disparity?" Franklin asked, confused at first. Then, slowly, it dawned on him. "Oh! Right, yes. I think the next inbound shuttle should have your proper equipment on it. I've requisitioned an additional Type 9, as well as a replacement for the fighter we lost in the accident and two additional workbee units. If we're going to take our jobs seriously from here on out, we need the proper equipment. Thank heavens I have the Commodore on board!"
A slight chuckle, then he sat back. "Alright, so, additional Marine cadets might be inbound soon as well. Reviewing your service history, I don't think that'll be a problem. Keep in mind that we're operating an Academy starship here. That means we take on mostly cadets, still in Academy, and add to their experience for graduation. Can you handle that, Staff Sergeant?"
Maximilian nodded again, wondering whether the Commander misunderstood the equipment remark or just chose to ignore the jab at Security. "Of course, Sir. Given that the ship seems to lack a Marine Commanding Officer at the moment, I assume this will include officer candidates or newly graduated officers?"
It was like a shuttlecraft flying over someone's head; Franklin missed the joke entirely. He nodded towards the current question.
"That's a good, informed question," Franklin remarked. "The answer is a bit more complicated. You're actually in command. I'm not aware of the specifics, but I'm told that you've been specifically assigned here to help with our readiness. I think command intends for you to be in command or second in command of our Marines."
"I see, Commander. The orders I received only stated that I was being assigned as the First Sergeant to the Poseidon's detachment, but such a decision would not be something extraordinary with the Corps. Many Marine officers value experience greatly.", he answered. "In this case, my efforts will also be focused on preliminary tactical planning, if there is data available on what kind of pirate ships may be operating in our patrol perimeter."
"Yes, actually, there is," remarked Franklin as he retrieved a PADD from beneath his desk. He handed it over to Maximilian. "Listed there should be what we expect; brigands, rogue starfleet vessels hijacked or salvaged, probably worn down cardassian hulks. We're transporting medical supplies to the Cardassian Union - actually to Starbase 129, with a layover on 47. We'd be entering prime picking territory."
The Sergeant took the PADD. "Indeed, Sir. I will be running case scenarios on the holodeck based on this information. Many ships have weak-points or 'best routes' for boarding parties. On the topic of the supplies - will our primary objective be the delivery or still pirate hunting?"
"Our primary objective will be the delivery," Franklin replied, whereupon he glanced at his desk monitor. "One moment," he said politely, turning his attention to it. His eyes crossed the screen several times, clearly reading something. Taking a soft intake of breath, he nodded almost as if something had been made more clear to him. Clearing his throat, he focused back on the Staff Sergeant.
"I've just received a communique from Starbase 99, and they sent me a delayed briefing that entails your purpose here. I apologize for the lack of clarity before," he said, leaning a bit forward, fingers crossed on desk. "There's something in the works for getting us a Marine Commanding Officer, you're here to get everything prepared for that. I'm assuming you'll be playing a critical command role here, I think you will be anyway, I like what I see."
Leaning back, he smiled. "Pertaining to your prior question, our primary objective is the delivery, as I previously stated.. Any anti-pirate operations would be secondary so I assume security is top priority right now. I believe your planning should focus around that, but that's my opinion only, you're the expert here, and perhaps could even teach me a few pointers."
Pfaffenheim nodded. "Alright, Sir. I will prepare the detachment in accordance with our mission goals; primary focus will be on ship security, but a good counter-attack could take out a pirate vessel at times. I have seen that happen before, which is why I will still be preparing the platoon for such potential scenarios. Of course, when the new CO arrives, the plans will be revised, but until then that is my strategy. I shall provide them to you as soon as they are worked out."
"Very good, Staff Sergeant," Franklin replied, rather pleased with the response. "Before I conclude our meeting, do you have any questions for me?"
"No, none so far, Commander.", Maximilian replied.
Franklin nodded, standing as he extended his hand for a shake. "Then," he said, concluding with a smile, "Staff Sergeant Pfaffenheim, welcome aboard the USS Poseidon. I expect great things from you."