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Cogs Within Wheels

Posted on Sat Nov 27th, 2021 @ 10:13pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Brigadier General Francis 'Judge' Sobel
Edited on on Tue Nov 30th, 2021 @ 2:45am

1,265 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: Episode 12 - Risin' To Risa
Location: XO's Office - Deck 2 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD002 1100 hrs

Neil was getting himself a mug of hot cha from the processor when his comm chimed and a flag popped on his HUD. His eye movement’s caused the flag to open and he saw it was General Sobel. Surprised, he activated the comm and a holo-image of the Brigadier popped into existence.

The general was crisply dressed and he folded his arms, regarding the newly minted Major. When Neil snapped a salute, Sobel waved him off with a tolerant grin. “Well Major. Those Oak Leaves look appropriate. How do they feel?”

“Strange sir. I think it has to do with the new job more than the new rank though,” he admitted candidly. “Permission to speak freely?”

“Granted,” Frank told him, his visage taking on what he hoped would be one of tolerance.”

“Sir,” I think someone in the BuPers shuffled something wrong. Me? As XO of a starship? That’s like putting a two year old in charge of a latrine detail. They can barely handle their own shi..”

“That’s enough,” Sobel cut him off. “By now you know we go where we’re told and do the indicated task. So, suck it up Marine.”

“Aye aye sir. Sorry sir,” Neil replied, though his tone didn’t sound convinced.

Sobel regarded him for only a few beats before saying, “You could have missed out on this…maybe, if you’d taken my offer a few months ago. But on the other hand, maybe not. This came down from Fleet and the Commandant approved it after taking a poll of various general type officers.”

“Um….,” Neil hedged, his eyes probing Sobel’s. “Thank you, sir?”

“Stick it Neil. When the Commandant askes, you tell him what you honestly think. And I told him that both you and I, but especially you, would much rather have you as a staff officer prepping for your own field command. However, that is not the pipeline you’re falling into.”

Sobel glanced around his office, and sighed as he continued. “The Federation want’s more integration between Fleet and the Corp. Fleet thinks we should be subservient to them while the Corp is of a firm belief that they get us someplace to get a job done.”

The brigadier snorted with amusement as he continued, “From what I heard, Vice Admiral Chambers and his staff at BuPer’s had an apoplectic fit when the tasking came down from the Federation advisory council that they wanted movement and action, not delaying tactics and excuses over this whole thing.”

Continuing, noting that he now had Neil’s interest, Sobel said, “This has been circling the drain at BuPer’s for almost five years and they’ve been stalling. Each time the Commandant and Marine HQ would put forward names, they’d let it stall out until those officers were tasked out per the needs of the corp or individual commands changed. In both cases, the number crunchers claimed they’d have to start all over again and it’s now come to a head. Members of the advisory council apparently took Admiral Ne’Sha to task and now their plunging forward. You’re one of twenty-eight Corp officers being plumbed into Fleet as a Direct Line officer. And one of five in an actual command roll aboard a starship.”

Then the brigadier smiled wolfishly, “You kind of set yourself up for this, Neil. You agreed when Tyler offered you 2nd Officer.”

“Thraggling wonderful. Hoisted by my own petard,” Neil half groused, then added. “Sir. So, what don’t I know about this, politically speaking?”

“You’re quick,” Neil. Sobel approved. “This is all hand in hand with reorganizing the detachment. I know you’ve heard but maybe not seen the preliminary but part of sugar coating the pill for Fleet is embedding qualified fleet personnel into various units to give us all a better working relationship.”

“Not in all units, obviously,” Sobel continued, “But those that are out front and in the public eye where we should be working together rather than at odds over the minuscule drahk. So, I have a message for you from the Commandant directly. Since I know you, this message won’t be noted overly strange by the Fleet comm’s people that are watching traffic.”

Now the brigadier really had Neil’s attention. “The Commandant, sir?”

“Stay with me Neil. Breath Marine,” Sobel coached with a grin. “She said, and I quote, Tell him not to FUBAR this job Tell him to channel his inner Gunny and get it done.”

Neil digested this and sighed then, “Sweet thraggling universe. Aye aye, General. It’ll get done.”

“Good man,” Sobel said with some sympathy. “It’s not something any Marine would think about in his career but such are the exigencies of the service. On the plus side, you made major quicker and doing a good job may get you Eagles sooner than later. If you survive of course.”

Neil noted that the wolfish grin was back and he nodded, “Yes sir. Lots of ground to cover between here and there. And I’ll be mindful of the political ramifications. I’m guessing Fleet mostly would like to see me fall on my face?”

“Right again, Neil,” Sobel told him. A serious look moving over his face. It’s circulating freely that you bumped a few names from the list to XO Pioneer. Regardless of Tyler’s cowboy antics, it’s still a plumb assignment. I’m just glad you weren’t XO on that little vacation of yours.”

“Sir?” Neil asked innocently, “It was a short jaunt and…”

“And you threatened to carpet bomb a separatist Romulan colony and sic Klingon’s on them,” Sobel broke in evenly. “I still hear things, Neil. You handled it well as ground commander of a small unit, clandestine action. But as XO of a Starship, letting your Captain off his chain is no good, Major. Keep that in mind.

After letting that sink in, he Sobel said, “Get your detachment re-organized post haste and stay in touch, Neil. In fact, I see Pioneer is due to stop by Empok. If there’s time, come by for dinner. Tempest and the children are here and my wife would like to meet you.”

“I…yes sir. I’m guessing there will be time and I’d like that, Brigidier,” Neil said, realizing that he actually meant it as the words were coming out.

“Very well, Major,” Frank said, looking the lean officer over. “Carry on. Get some rest and don’t try to do it all in one day. Pace yourself and balance everything or you’ll burn out.”

“Yes sir,” Neil said ruefully, “I’ll try and keep that in mind.”

“See that you do, Neil. We’ll talk soon. Sobel out,” Sobel said as he cut the communication off.

Neil rubbed the back of his neck and then walked over to his desk and slumped into the chair he’d brought up with him from marine country. It was broken in after years of use and he sipped at the cha as he tried to reorder his thoughts.

“Well,” he said to the open air. “It’ll be interesting. Kinda like disarming explosives.”

A Joint Post By:

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure

Brigadier General Francis Sobel
Commanding Officer, 258th Starfleet Marine Expeditionary Brigade
Empok Nor


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