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[Education] Checking In

Posted on 31 Aug 2021 @ 12:38pm by Admiral Zachary O'Connell & Captain Kennedy Harper & Petty Officer 1st Class Janell Tanika

Mission: 2390
Location: O'Connell's Office
Timeline: Date 2390-03-04 at 1000

Kennedy approached the office of Admiral Zachary O'Connell. It was finally time for her to check in. She knew he was a busy man, and thankfully, set up an appointment ahead of time. She'd only been with Gamma Command for a couple weeks once she learned she would be transferring. And now, here she was after tying up some loose ends as the former Dean of Education with Starfleet Academy's Bajor Campus.

She stopped in front of the young woman who she assumed to be the Admiral's Yeoman. "Hi," she greeted with a polite smile. "I'm Captain Kennedy Harper. I have an appointment with Admiral O'Connell. I'm just a little early, so I completely understand if I need to wait."

Tanika smiled, looking up from her desk positioned outside the Admiral's door. "Hello, Captain. Believe it or not, the Admiral's last meeting ended early. Have a seat, and I'll let him know that you are here." She gestured to the sitting area located along the opposite wall.

"Thank you," Kennedy said before she turned to move toward the sitting area to take a seat. It had been a while since the last time she'd had to do one of these, but one thing that never changed were the nerves. Perhaps, she might be nervous as she had been in the past when it came to meeting Admiralty, but she'd been lucky enough to work with this Admiral before.

She didn't have to wait long. The doors to Zachary's office opened, and the Admiral himself stepped out carrying a couple padds. "These orders and updates need to be dispatched to Task Groups Belvedere and Sentinel, adjustments to standard operations."

Tanika nodded. "Of course, sir. Also," she pointed across the room, "Your fifteen-hundred is here."

Zachary followed the direction the yeoman had pointed in. "Excellent," he told Tanika. "Inform Commander Kos that I'll have to push my meeting with her back thirty minutes." Without waiting for a response, he walked across to meet his next appointment. "Captain Harper, it's a pleasure to see you again.. Welcome to Gamma Command."

Kennedy immediately rose to her feet and straightened her uniform. "Thank you, Admiral. It's nice to see you again as well," she said. "It's an honor to be here."

The Admiral smiled, adding, "The pleasure's mine, Captain." He then gestured to the open office door. "Shall we?"

While Gamma Command was nowhere near the size of a Spacedock, the Headquarters staff had been allocated one of the station's four grand towers for use. This allowed O'Connell to have a rather large office. His desk was centered in the middle of the back wall with his back to the window. To one side was a large conference table with plenty of room for his senior officers to sit. To the other side was the sitting area with two three-seat couches and two chairs between them.

Zachary would sit in one of those chairs, but not until Kennedy sat down first. "Cadets generally have the most to learn, especially since Starfleet can be unforgiving and merciless at times. Though that is mainly due to the situations and conflicts we find ourselves in. Anything to help our future officers learn that is definitely necessary. Though I do have to apologize in advance for pulling some of the strings that brought you from Bajor to here. I hope you're not terribly upset by that."

The Captain moved into his office and went toward one of the couches where she took a seat. "Upset? Not at all. Surprised? Absolutely," she admitted. "I left the campus in very capable hands."

"That's excellent to hear," O'Connell said, sitting in one of the armchairs next to the couch. "Gamma Command may not seem as prestigious as training on Bajor, but we do have our uniqueness. As you know, it is customary for Starfleet to allow juniors and seniors to learn remotely on a starship or starbase. Even now, there are at least one hundred cadets in the Gamma Quadrant, both here on Gamma Command, and then also on the ships scattered around us. It will be up to you to ensure they get the education required by Starfleet."

"I'm certainly up for it," she assured him. After all, he pulled strings to have her there, and the last thing Kennedy wished to do was let him down. "To be honest, overseeing the education of one hundred cadets sounds a bit easier than a campus full of them. And sometimes, the staff could be just as challenging."

The Admiral waved away the rudeness. After all, their conversation had received a sizable jump start, and it was best to keep that process going. "That's exactly what I want to hear, Captain. Here in the Gamma Quadrant, we want our best and brightest to quickly come to terms with what life is like on the frontier. I just hope they don't become jaded in the process."

"I'll do my best to see to it that doesn't happen, Admiral," she assured him. "Of course, they're going to witness things that no book or professor could ever prepare them for. Hands on learning is so much different than what a classroom has to offer."

"Especially when that learning is in the field." The Admiral leaned back in his chair and interlaced his fingers in his lap. "The program has had its mixture of successes and failures in the last couple of years, and interest is low. Most cadets seem to want to stick to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, places that are familiar. Too few are wanting to come out to the frontier, to explore. Even finding officers willing to take a Gamma assignment has been a challenge. I suppose that brings us to your first assignment. We need fresh blood. We need to show the galaxy that there's nothing to fear in this frontier."

"To be honest, I was excited when I got this assignment. There's still so much to discover out here," Kennedy said. "I'd love to be out there making those discoveries, but being involved in the educations of those future officers that will is just as rewarding to me."

Zachary smiled. "Well, I'm sure we could get you on a ship once in a while too. We do have a selection of runabouts available for smaller missions, but no dedicated starship for the Academy. I hear the holoconference system is wonderful though, allowing many of the students to attend via holopresence from their ships, as long as the range is sufficient."

"I wouldn't expect there to be a dedicated starship for the Academy, but I have used the holoconference system before, and it is quite impressive. Still, I won't say no to being able to stretch my legs on a starship occasionally," Kennedy stated. "Will the senior cadets be required to return here for final exams, or will we trust those to be carried out on their respective ships?"

"That is up to you," Zachary said plainly. "When it comes to the Academy, I'm merely to provide support, as well as any warnings and travel advisories or bans. Education itself, is wholly up to you. I will state, however, that space in the Gamma Quadrant is nowhere near as friendly or civil as the Alpha Quadrant. Kidnappings are prone to happen, and I will not be responsible to some parent who gets up in arms because their child disappeared."

Kennedy nodded. "I don't want to be held responsible for that, either, but upset parents have to lay blame somewhere. I'll deal with any distraught parents. To be perfectly honest, though, I think it's the danger that draws most Starfleet personnel to this part of space to begin with. It's mysterious, and as you pointed out not friendly or civil."

Zachary chuckled. It was not his fault that there was a crop of officers that was constantly attracted to daredevil opportunities, especially those that continually sought punishment or chances to look death in the eye. "In a way, it always makes me think of what life might have been like more than a hundred years ago. Consider Archer, Pike, Kirk... what was once their frontier is a nearly civilized medium."

"Have you gotten to do much exploration of the Gamma Quadrant?" She found herself asking.

He kept his smile. "More or less. Prior to Starbase 72 and here at Gamma Command, I was part of Task Force 9 and its outward edge. I commanded an Akira class, a first responder. Had a fair share of escort duty too. Let's just say that the Gamma Quadrant shares just as much weird stuff as the Alpha Quadrant does. The only difference is that the Gamma is uncharted. How about you? What did you do prior to commanding a school?"

Kennedy wasn't even a little surprised by the question. In fact, she'd been expecting it. "Me? Nothing as interesting as life in the Gamma Quadrant, I'm afraid. I spent most of my career in Security, eventually working my way up from a brig officer to the Chief of Security and Tactical. There was just something exciting about that," she explained. "It wasn't enough, though, so I started advanced training to get myself set up for a career move into Command. The most exciting part was my year with the Klingons."

"Well, I suspect your tactical training will come in handy out here in the Gamma," Zachary supposed. "If nothing else, your cadets will appreciate someone with a cool head who's also prepared to make sure they make it home safe."

"That's definitely the long-term goal, Admiral," Kennedy said, offering him a smile.

"Good, good." The Admiral smiled. "Any other questions for me? Or are you more eager to see the facilities we've arranged for you?"

"I don't have any questions at the moment, but I would definitely love to see the facilities. I've been here roughly a week, but haven't seen much of anything, I'm afraid. Settling in takes time, but I'm sure you already know that."

"I've been here for several months," Zachary stated. "Were it not for my wife, I never would have unpacked. I also never would have seen the inside of my quarters, but that makes no difference. Make sure you find some personal time of your own. Aside from your duties, only you can set your own schedule. Don't be a workaholic."

Kennedy smiled. "I'll try to remember that, Admiral, but I don't have much of a social life. My life inside of my uniform is about all there is to me these days."

Zachary nodded. "Well, I can't order you to have a social life, nor will I try to. Just remember that you're setting an example for those you're training, and while they say they're not paying attention, they really are."

He was right, of course. She needed to lead by example, and being a workaholic was not how she wanted her cadets to live. "I'll do my best to take some down time, Admiral," she assured him. "There are a lot of places for me to see here, as well as new people to meet."

"Good, good," the Admiral said with a small smile. "Is there anything you wish to discuss? Or do you feel you're ready to finish getting settled and get to work?"

"Not at the moment, but if anything comes up, I'll reach out," Kennedy said. "In the meantime, I would love to see where I'll be working and maybe get a few things done."

"Of course." The Admiral smiled and tapped twice on the coffee table. A moment later, Petty Officer Tanika entered the room, carrying a set of padds. "Miss Tanika has a few things for you, including a map of the station, and some command details. I believe the educational facilities are in sections twenty through twenty-four in the Opaka Center, levels four through six. Should be sufficient. If not, be sure to let me know."

"These will most definitely come in handy. Thank you," Kennedy said as she accepted the padds from the Petty Officer. "I'm sure that will be more than sufficient, but I'll let you know once I've gone over everything."

The Admiral kept his smile. "Well, if there's nothing else, Captain, then I suppose I should let you get to it."

"Thank you again, Admiral O'Connell. I won't let you down," she said with a smile as she rose to her feet.

"I know you won't," the Admiral stated, rising to his feet as well. "Good luck, Captain. Dismissed."

 

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