Index: Events of 22417-2237
Commander van Leigh had alerted me that he would be otherwise occupied and therefore would not be with the Phoenix during the duty shift. I’d assumed this meant that Lt. Cdr. Zelreich would be in the captain’s chair but instead Cmdr. Tuor was brought in and given the command instead. So it was the four of us (Cmdr. Zelreich, Lt. Slate, Vaj, and I) along with Beaumont who was familiar with the commander’s style having come over from Hunter too. I suppose this is why we run sims before a mission since things didn’t work well at first…
Everyone was on their specialty save Beaumont who had weapons foisted upon him, despite it being neither his primary nor secondary focus. The commander seemed to be accustomed to micro-managing. He questioned the XO when Lt. Cdr. Zelreich certified that the crew was ready to fly, censured him when the XO gave tactical direction as he was accustomed to with his crew under its normal CO, and criticized Weapons for firing a PShock without explicit authorization. We sustained a lot of damage from what should have been trivial engagements due to miscommunications and perhaps reluctance to act with initiative.
I know that was certainly true on my part initially because the commander, perhaps intending it to be a joke, made the comment that at one point I was finally choosing to obey orders. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was certainly shocking. I don’t think I’ve ever disobeyed my superior’s orders. That comes from someone who would have very happily burnt down fleets of what we call the renegade Kraliens because I did not feel required to honor their cessation of hostilities, and that comes as someone who has followed orders since the beginning of my tenure on the Phoenix that caused some controversy. And it’s my obedience that is questioned, in public, on a bridge, in the middle of a mission – though simulated. I found it quite humiliating.
Needless to say, the first sim went very poorly. I reminded the commander that the rest of us had served together a fair amount. It didn’t occur to me then, but the other three had been on the Phoenix longer than I’ve been with the 4th Light Division. It’s a family of it’s own. It should be welcoming of outsiders, yes, but it’s unreasonable to try and force on an immediate and temporary basis a crew to function in a way they are not accustomed to so long as compliance and obedience are provided… I wonder perhaps if the issue might have been solved had Cmdr Tuor and Lt. Jr. Beaumont were still assigned to Phoenix to close ranks but Lt. Cdr. Zelreich retained command since he was the executive officer assigned to his ship crewed almost completely by it’s regular personnel. COs frequently yield command during sims to those they outrank during sims so it’s not unheard of. It would also respect the ship and crew by not replacing the CO with someone they are unaccustomed to. Cmdr. Tuor could perhaps have been allowed to serve as XO to recognize his rank while still acknowledging that this is not his ship and not his crew. The Fleet Captain, aboard any other ship, is not that ship’s captain though he could assume command if the situation required it…… I did also ask for clarification about the commander’s joke but didn’t receive any clarification on the matter.
The second sim went better. I’d asked for assignments and guidance so I could execute the commander’s vision rather than just trying to blindly follow the vector I’d been given or run out the fuel collectors if we were going to loiter for a while. The XO had a longer rein to give advice or order the other officers in instruction to carry out the overall delegated tasks. I believe it was the second sim that the commander opted to go to the briefing room rather than give feedback when asked during the mission debrief, but I don’t recall.
After the sims, I was alerted by the DO that Lancer was under staffed and missing a pilot and that I was to report aboard at once. A few moments later, and I was trying to recall exactly how I needed to adjust my normal reactions for the Lancer. Some of my point turns were correct, but sometimes I overshot the target slightly. It’s a wonder what going a bit faster changes things. Lt. Cdr. Aposine was the OIC today and he handled himself quite well. Over the course of the mission, we were required to destroy several Skaraan and Ximni targets and all melted under the Lancer’s firepower in due course. At one point during the mission, we were tasked with QRF as well as defending an isolated base…. So you know what happens next. We got drawn into quick response defending the bases that were more closely aligned along an easily warpable corridor and while dealing with one base a Skaraan slipped in and destroyed the one we had been assigned. The Fleet Captain was complimentary of our performance but the CO still felt frustrated that while we had performed well by a realistic metric – we hadn’t accomplished our objective.
One further reshuffle and I was back on Phoenix. I was briefly assigned to tactical to allow Beaumont some time to drive, which was fine. The simulation suite crashed though during a border war simulator, and that was quickly scrapped. In its stead, Cmdr. Tuor decided we’d shake things up for the final mission. He gave Lt. Cdr. Zelreich the command and scrambled the rest of the crew in an attempt to put people on stations their service jacket would indicate they’d find challenging. I wound up in Engineering which suited me fine. I uploaded my preferred allocations to the computer and apologized to the DamCon crews and settled in to wait. Vaj was flying, Slate had… science I think? Beaumont would have been on comms then, because Cmdr. Tuor was on weapons. This was a bit of a disaster, but for differing reasons than the earlier set of simulations.
Despite the fact that I bring handheld view screens with me when I’m running the engineering deck, not as much of it sticks in my mind. Probably because I’m used to listening to the captain and reacting to circumstances rather than straining to listen to crew crosstalk for what the most pressing need at the moment is. Somehow, we got into a fight we weren’t going to win so we were ordered to withdraw. During the withdraw, Vaj said he was going to try and thread a minefield. Tuor didn’t raise the shields, so the extra power I dumped into them didn’t matter. My board lit up with bright angry colors and many of our systems were disabled. One I made sure to call out, perhaps not clearly or strongly enough, was maneuver. We continued pulling out to make repairs, but a few drones and a fighter (I think) appeared within combat range. I pointed out the broken maneuver system, mentioned that there were more mines directly ahead, and launched in a fighter to shoot down the drones and fend off the inbound bogey. Again, I probably didn’t say this clearly enough because Vaj reacted to the threats the only way helm can when the shields are down, by running away…. Straight into the minefield.
I survived, because I was in my fighter, but some contractor decided that it was a good idea to route fire control through the main ship so all my weapons went dead. Without the ability to defend myself against Arvonian fighters that were much faster than mine and without a display to tell me the boundaries of the nearby minefield, I wasn’t able to defend myself. I lasted longer than the Phoenix, but not that much longer. I think there was another close scrape with mines, and Vaj and I were ordered to switch. I was back on helm, so I was once again in my comfort zone as was Vaj down with the grease monkeys, but this kind of scrapped my assumption for the point of the exercise.
I don’t remember how it happened either, but Lt. Cdr. Zelreich suddenly said he wasn’t in command. I’m guessing this was just prep for the day he inevitably has other duties when the Phoenix launches and Commander van Leigh has one of his episodes and we’re left without a clear chain of command…. So I just started giving orders. It felt a little awkward because I knew both the commander and the lieutenant commander were still there, but Cmdr. Tuor continued loading and executing my orders even if he didn’t have magnitudes of seniority more than I. At some point, the Fleet Captain snuck onto the bridge to witness the results of my innocuous, innocent, and unintentional little coup. Everyone seemed to be pleased with the results of it, so at least there’s that.
It’s been quite the day… time for some rack time.