The Changing of the Guard
Location: USS Poseidon; Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, Bridge
Timeline: Day 003 - 2230 Hours
Tags: Post-Departure, Post-Fighter Incident, Post-Meeting, Promotion
The Commander had just returned from his tour with Lieutenant T'Pri and settled into place when he had received the communique from his First Officer, Phoebe Graydon. It had been an odd request, to meet the Second Officer and herself in the Captain's Ready Room for something urgent. At the moment, the Commander had just sat, tea in hand and only slightly tensed and concerned. Couldn't of been another crew death.
His eyes shot open. Was it another crew death? A moment passed as Franklin's mind imagined the implications and consequences. He gained control only a moment after, eyes downcast into his cup as he resumed his sip. After swallowing and setting the cup down, he released a heavy sigh. He hoped it wasn't another crew death.
Kana had been concerned for Phoebe after what had happened earlier in the day at their counselling session with Chloe. It had certainly not gone the way either of them had expected, and revealed more complex relationship issues between them. They had parted on a note of taking some time to reflect on things, so the Chief Counsellor assumed it may be something to do with that. Arriving at the Captain's Ready Room, she stood at the door and heard the chime indoors that signified her arrival.
When called inside, she saw Franklin and smiled. "Good Evening, Franklin."
"Evening, Number Two!" greeted Franklin, standing briefly to gesture to the guest chairs in front of his desk. "By all means, please, sit! I had just entered here after receiving the call from Number One." He began to sit, then added as a question, "Do you know anything about this situation?"
Taking a seat, Kana straightened her uniform shirt. "I don't want to presume too much, but my suspicion is that it will be a result of what occurred earlier this morning when I hosted both her and Chloe for breakfast. Out of respect for her personal privacy, I'll wait for her to be present and clarify herself before discussing those details to be sure whether it's relevant or not."
A brief line of concern crossed Franklin's expression, before he looked away and nodded solemnly. He sat back, glancing idly at his monitor as lines of information and reports began to spring to life after touching it. He read through them quietly, waiting on the last piece of the puzzle to arrive and clarify the situation.
Phoebe walked in, looking exhausted. She hadn't slept since yesterday evening, and was starting to get very, very tired. She silently walked over to her chair, took the seat and sat quietly for a few moments.
Franklin noticed Phoebe enter, then looked on with some concern. His Number One looked absolutely dreadful, almost in a state of dishevel perhaps. He glanced at Kanaka briefly, then back at the Lieutenant Commander.
"Good evening, Phoebe," he said, using a more informal greeting. "Is everything okay?"
Phoebe shook her head. "I'm sorry Commander." She said simply.
"Sorry for what?" Asked Franklin, once again glancing at Kanaka. "What's wrong?"
Kana looked on, as concerned as Franklin. "Phoebe. Is it to do with what happened earlier this morning?" Referring to the breakfast they had shared together with Chloe.
Phoebe nodded silently, tears starting to spring into her eyes. "I'm sorry, you two shouldn't have to deal with this...but I think I need to stand down from my position as Executive Officer..." She said, quietly.
For a moment so simple and so straight forward, the air of the room suddenly became a lot heavier because of it. Kana said nothing at first, looking only to Franklin for his reaction; it was his prerogative to accept such a request of course, even though she understood the implications it had for her too.
"What?" Franklin said, more surprised than question. He blinked a few times before continuing. "Stand down? No! What? Why?!"
His voice wasn't harsh, more concerned and confused. He rubbed a hand at his temple, feeling the age-lines there that had recently began to form. Franklin gave an exasperated sigh as he considered the situation briefly, then nodded his head.
"Why do you want to stand down, Phoebe? Talk to me," the Commander pleaded gently.
"I have recently had some issues with my daughter, that I need to sort out...issues that arose from our meeting with Kanaka...I can't do both...not with the new ship and everything..." She answered quietly.
Franklin wanted to add an additional protest, but he stopped himself and gave a heavy sigh. He rubbed his hand through his hair, glancing up at Kanaka.
"What do you think of this, Kanaka?"
Kana had to seriously consider the situation for a moment, though she already knew what the answer was. Phoebe was right; Chloe needed her now, but that wasn't going to be possible as long as her mother was First Officer. The Chief Counsellor looked over at Phoebe, feeling how broken she felt, feeling as though she'd failed as both a mother and an officer, although neither was true. Didn't make it any less painful. Yet still the Betazoid hesitated, for this was something she'd never sought. Didn't even really want. Authority was what her mother wanted, not her.
Yet in that moment, Phoebe needed her. Franklin needed her. The crew, only just starting to recover from Pavan's death, needed a First Officer to help keep them all together. She was always determined to serve the crew and help those in need, and that was now, even if it wasn't in the circumstances she had wanted.
Then, she remembered something her father had taught her. "Sometimes we're given things we don't want. That's when we grow, being exposed to new and different things. Don't let your doubts or preconceptions hold you back, Kana. Embrace the different things." She recalled his words and voice clearly in that moment, and for that time, put her at peace.
"I think this is what Phoebe needs, Franklin. What both she and Chloe needs." She reached out her hand and took Phoebe's, squeezing it to give comfort. She then looked over to Franklin.
"I accept what has to happen next, but I ask you allow me only one thing: to remain in my post as Chief Counsellor. I know it's unconventional and will give me quite the workload, but I have patients who need my care. I cannot leave them now."
Franklin sat up a bit straighter after he saw Kanaka hold Phoebe's hand. They clearly had some private discussion earlier on this matter and it was well within the Chief Counselors rights to have that. He gave a soft exhale of breath through his nostrils, then nodded in defeat. Swallowing, he looked to Kanaka.
"Alright, I'll have the proper paperwork sorted and sent off to Starfleet momentarily," he said as he grabbed a nearby PADD off his desk. "In the meantime, consider yourself promoted to First Officer, Number One."
He looked down briefly before gazing at Phoebe, a sad gaze but one with understanding in them.
"I'll put you as my Second Officer, no sense wasting excellent potential there," he said with a hint of a smile. "With your permission, of course?"
Kana took her sudden promotion with a solemn face, prepared to do her duty as always. She felt content in the fact that she would continue to be able to support her patients in her role as Chief Counsellor. Yet there was already a part of her deep down that was starting to eat at her as the weight of the situation and power now bestowed on her hit home; this wasn't something she had ever wanted, and while she was able to keep her discomfort to herself, it only grew more and more inside of her. Trying to take her mind off it, she decided to focus on Phoebe, who was more visibly soul-torn.
"I'm sorry...I feel like i've let the both of you down..." Phoebe said. "I will of course stay as your Second Officer."
Franklin gave a brief smile that seemed to falter, his head quickly gazing downward hiding his expression. It was a brief shakeup in his demeanor, but he recovered quickly. A deep breath and he gave a nod towards Phoebe.
"Thank you, Phoebe. I appreciate you sticking with us," he said with a genuine smile. "Maybe you can give some pointers to Kanaka if you're able. I'm sure she could use the help?"
His last words weren't intended as an insult, rather he gazed from Phoebe to Kanaka and back with a continued smile. Hinting to them at the need for both to address this major change together, as he had done within himself in these few brief moments. He also hinted that, perhaps, he wanted to be alone. Perhaps he needed to address these changes further.
"Feel free to make an announcement about this change when you're able," Franklin added to the duo. "Work together. Never let that change. And Phoebe? You've never let us down. Especially not now. Dismissed."
"Of course, Commander." Kana agreed, standing to leave. She could sense that Franklin needed some time alone to consider all what had just transpired, even though part of her wanted to stick around just a little longer to see him right. The past few days had been incredibly hard for him. "If you should need me at all throughout the remainder of tonight, I will be available."
Turning to leave, she extended an arm out to Phoebe and held her by the shoulder to walk out together. "Would you like to be able to speak to Chloe first before we make an announcement?" She said in a hushed but warm tone as they left the Ready Room, Kana taking one quick glance back at Franklin before the doors closed on them.
Phoebe shook her head. "She needs some space at the moment I think. I just wish we knew what the problem was...maybe she'll come and see you in her own time...without me." She stated, smiling at her friend and colleague. "So tip number one for being XO, don't spill anything on the bosses chair...learnt that the hard way." She gave a proper smile.
Kana gave her a smile. "Duly noted, Commander Graydon. Duly noted." She would have to get used to addressing her like that from now on. The newly appointed First Officer walked her Second back to their quarters, and agreed that hopefully, Chloe would come to speak in good time. They could only hope, and for now, hope was the best thing they had.