Returning to his quarters in agony, Commodore Bennet felt exhausted after what felt like almost two days of hell. The banquet in their honour on the Kadi Home Colony was not as short as he had imagined it to be. Instead it had lasted over several days and it required him and other members of the crew to engage in a range of rituals.
The past forty-eight hours had him fasting and undergoing some physical trials that made the Starfleet Academy marathon seem like a gentle jog in Yosemite Park. Returning to the ship in just his outdoor gear, he had sat down in one of his arm chairs when the chime to his quarters went off.
“Come in.” He mumbled.
Entering in with a PADD in one hand was his first officer and close friend. “Hey Com-” Commander Rider paused in that moment when he realised the state of his superior officer. “You okay Zack?”
Nodding a few times, Bennet sat up. “Yeah I’m fine, just tired from all of this diplomatic etiquette we need to undergo with the Kadi.” He rubbed his face. “I could die for a hamburger right now nevertheless we’ve renewed our working contract with them and the trade deal is firmly established. Our people can start working more with them in keeping the Barzan wormhole around in this area of the Gradin Belt.”
Smirking at the suffering his boss was undertaking for the greater good, Rider passed him the PADD. “Well while you were gone, nothing exciting happened but some of our runabouts have returned from their first initial missions. Michael has been leading on around the clock simulations against various hostile Delta Quadrant species. Also we’ve heard from the rest of the expeditionary force. The Nobel has arrived at the junkyard while the others are continuing their observations of the particle fountain. I thought you would appreciate an update.”
Taking the PADD, Bennet showed his appreciation with a smile. He got up and as he made his way over to the replicator he read the device’s content. “I had a thought about Discovery while I was down with the Kadi.”
“A vision perhaps?” Rider quipped back.
Bennet ordered a glass of water and smirked at his friend. “Yeah, I suppose you could say that.” He took a sip. “With me having to focus on the task force, especially with these types of engagements with local alien races that we hope to make friends with, well it means my focus can’t always be on the Discovery.”
Confused as to what his friend meant, Rider shook his head gently. “What are you getting at Zack?”
“It’s not fair on the crew that I can’t focus on them and the ship’s needs when I need to be looking at the bigger picture.” Bennet remarked and turned to his first officer. “I’m promoting you to captain and giving you the Discovery.”
Shocked to hear that, Rider’s expression reflected his response. “Are you crazy Zack? Has that last ritual knocked common sense out of you?”
“Far from it.” Bennet stated. “You said it yourself when we moved to Discovery that I need you here instead of taking command of one of the other ships in the fleet. Well that’s true but I need you in command of the ship while I command the task force.” The commodore took a larger gulp from his water. “So what’s your answer?”
Rider thought about it for a second. “Okay,” He agreed. “But you keep your flag on the Discovery, right?”
“Absolutely.” Bennet said. “There may be the odd occasion I’d need to visit other ships, like the Nobel, and it might be easier if I take the yacht or one of the runabouts for that. Any other time I am here and I’d remain in command of the mission while you command the ship. Deal?”
“Deal, but I get to pick my first officer.” Rider said. “I don’t want Starfleet bringing anyone in. Natashar is more than ready for it.”
“Agreed.” Bennet said with a smile. “Right, if you’ll excuse me. I need to take a shower before I head back to the closing ceremony and finish off these talks with Superior Abbott Tomin. ” As Bennet winced across his quarters, he spoke up one more time. “We’ll announce the change of command in the morning Lucas!”