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Part of USS Sutherland: Coming together

Picking out an XO

Grand Resort Hotel, Suraya Bay, Risa
Mission Day 1 0700 Hours
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Soft beams of sunlight illuminated Struan’s suite, raising him from his deep slumber, as the blinds on his bedroom window automatically retracted. A long, refreshing hot water shower cleared away the grogginess more effectively than any sonic shower. There were certain luxuries from being planet-side that he made sure to appreciate whenever he could.

Donning a complimentary robe, he noticed that his breakfast cart with a selection of tropical fruits and most importantly, freshly brewed coffee, had been wheeled into his room. A vase of fresh tropical blooms and a warm note from the catering staff completed the offering. He carried the tray to the balcony along with a PADD and settled down to enjoy the food along with the unfiltered sun rays and refreshing breeze.

“Powerboarding.” he thought to himself. I gotta try that today. He’d seen a few people doing it yesterday and they looked like they were having a blast. No doubt the resort concierge would sort out all the details for him if he asked.

That could be his reward. He may have been on leave, but work needed to be done first. His new ship, the Sutherland needed a crew and he had an opportunity to be choosy. Whoever he chose would need time to give notice to their current commanders and to travel to the Devron Fleet Yards, and that meant he needed to be choosing now.

He laughed at the thought of the Sutherland being his ‘new’ ship. It was the very ship he’d begun his career on, all those years ago. Still, it’d be strange to see her again with modern fittings and systems in place of all the ones he’d been familiar with. She was old, but she was quite a prize to be getting. A sign that the Admiralty was happy with his performance. His old ship was the Helsinki, a Parliament-class ship. He’d gotten that command due to his Engineering background and the tendency of that class to operate well within Federation borders. From an Admiralty mindset, that meant not far from support if he were to mess up. It had been a choice of that or accepting another Executive Officer position on a more prestigious explorer type of ship. It seemed the obvious choice for career progression, but it hadn’t been exciting or notable. Still, the wisdom in it had been sound. He’d had the chance to become familiar with running a ship and to figure out what methods worked for him without the complication of a major crisis or serious diplomatic incident to trip him up. The Nebula-class still didn’t stray too far from Federation territory, but that was due to there being more suitable classes for those assignments, not because they didn’t have the capability. They were so adaptable that it was almost impossible to predict what kind of missions they would be undertaking. It should certainly be interesting.

A benefit of it being his second command was more freedom to choose his Executive Officer. Command preferred a green Captain to be backed up by an experienced XO, one not far from their own captaincy. He knew their expectation now would be that he would increase the pool of experienced XOs and so he started browsing the personnel listings for someone who’d fit the bill and who would also complement his own abilities. 

A few cups of coffee disappeared in swathes of service records. One stood out in his mind, though and he found himself comparing other service records to hers. Lieutenant Commander Zh’tora, an Andorian Tactical officer. She seemed headstrong but not overly impulsive and had completed the command training program several years ago. As a result of that, she’d been serving as a second officer, commanding the bridge when the captain and first officer were indisposed or off-duty.

He was aware that his own service record marked him out as a peacemaking figure, someone reluctant to threaten the use of weapons unless it was unavoidable. She seemed like a good fit, she had the experience and he felt that she would raise options that he’d be more likely to overlook or stay away from. She’d become his first choice. 

Struan carefully composed a message to gauge her interest in the position and sent it to her. If she found it appealing, he’d schedule a real-time communication with her so that they could both determine if they could work with the other.

He noticed that two hours had passed and all the coffee and fruit had gone. “One down, hopefully,” he said to himself. “That’s enough for now.”

Dressed in a pair of board shorts and sunglasses, Struan headed downstairs to the concierge desk to sort out that powerboard rental he had promised himself.