DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2001 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG-13.



THE GALILEO SEVEN: COMMAND DECISIONS

Cheree Cargill



Stardate: 2822.3 First Officer Spock recording.

We have resumed course for Macus III to deliver the medical supplies for New Paris Colony that we took aboard at Starbase 11. Our disastrous pause to study the Murasaki Quasar has left us with three dead crewmen, a number of wounded, and the loss of one of our new shuttlecraft which we also took aboard at the starbase.

This comes only two days after closing the books on the Karidian incident. Captain Kirk is still intensely shaken by the death of his friend, Tom Leighton, and the attempted murder of both himself and Lt. Riley. In addition, the presence of our "guest", High Commissioner Ferris, has been extremely irritating to the Captain. His temper has been short as a result of these events.

Now this. I take full responsibility, of course, for the failure of the mission, the loss of those under my command and the destruction of Galileo, but I have seldom seen the Captain as angry as he was after reading my report. I was summoned to his office meeting room at 0800 this morning. I could tell by the clipped manner of his speech that he was barely keeping his agitation under control.

I made sure that my normal punctuality was exact to the second as I pressed the buzzer outside his office door.

"Come!" Kirk's voice snapped.

I stepped through and stood at attention. "You wanted to see me, Captain?" It was not actually a question.

"Yes, Mr. Spock. Stand at ease." His hazel eyes glittered like the hard green stones of the Llangon Hills as he pinned me with his glare.

"I have read your report, Mr. Spock, and I find your handling of this matter completely inadequate."

"Yes, sir."

"Two men dead while under your direct command, another man dead among the search and rescue parties, a number of wounded, including yourself, and a 6 million credit shuttlecraft -- a brand spanking new, showroom fresh with the paint hardly dry shuttlecraft! -- utterly destroyed! Now whose record do you think that's going down on?!"

"Mine, sir," I responded without hesitation.

"And mine!" the Captain spat, his face reddening for a few seconds before he caught himself. "Spock, you know as well as I do that a commanding officer is responsible for everything that happens to personnel and equipment under his command."

"Yes, sir. That is why I claim full responsibility," I answered stiffly.

"Oh, you're getting your share of the blame," he assured me, settling back in his chair. "But ultimately it's my responsibility as captain. When it comes down to the bottom line, I'm the one Starfleet is going to put in the hot seat over this!" He paused and shifted in his chair, almost as if he could already feel the flames beneath him. "What I'm really pissed about, though, is your losing control of the situation! There is no excuse for that!"

"No, sir."

"A midshipman could've taken charge better than you did!"

"Yes, sir."

"You should have slapped Boma and McCoy down at the first sign of insubordination. Instead, you let them get the bit between their teeth and then they took the rest of your crew with them. Unacceptable, Mr. Spock!"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you have any explanation for your actions?"

"No, sir. Only that I was focused on my scientific duties when I should have been focused on my command." I had stiffened back to attention, acutely aware of my shortcomings.

"You had five mission specialists along with you, Spock, as well as a yeoman whose job it was to record the findings of those specialists! Why did you feel that you had to personally do the research yourself?"

"As Science Officer, sir, I feel that it is my duty to personally oversee the research--"

"Oversee it, not do it for your people," the Captain broke in. "Spock, I know that you've spent nearly your whole career in the science section, but you've been First Officer for a year and a half now. When you took the job, you knew the command responsibilities that went with it."

I was no longer looking at him. Instead, my gaze was focused on the wall over his head. "Sir, I take complete responsibility for the loss of my crew. My lack of command ability was the direct cause of their deaths. I am prepared to resign my commission immediately and turn myself over for charges."

"Fuck!"

I was completely unprepared for the expletive and flinched noticeably, my gaze jerking away from the neutral point above Kirk's head and coming to rest on his hard eyes.

"Did I ask you resign?" he demanded.

"No, sir."

"Then shut up!" He scowled and glared at me for a long moment. "I have no intention of losing you simply because you screwed the pooch this time."

I blinked. "Excuse me, sir? 'Screwed the pooch'?"

"Messed up. Big time." He rubbed at his lip contemplatively. "It happens to all of us. Every commanding officer I've ever known in this Fleet has lost men. It's a dangerous business. You did better than most would have. You came back with five of seven crewmembers alive and well, barring minor injuries. Your quick thinking prevented the deaths of those five, despite losing the shuttle in the process."

He rubbed his lip again, still thinking. "I intend to ask for a commendation for Mr. Scott. That idea of his with the phasers was downright brilliant. I would ask one for you, too, if I weren't so disappointed in the way you let McCoy and Boma walk all over you."

"Yes, sir," I answered, still intensely uncomfortable.

"All right then," the Captain said. "Consider yourself reprimanded. My report goes in your record, of course, but I think you've learned a valuable lesson here. Logic is a good basis for command decisions, Mr. Spock, but you have to temper it with intuitive insight and strength of conviction. A dollop of sheer gumption doesn't hurt either."

"I understand, sir. I will endeavor to take your advice to heart." I relaxed just a little, although I will admit to feeling a mixture of emotions ... humiliation, anger, relief among others.

"Good," Kirk nodded. "Now sit down. I've got to get Boma in here and roast him alive for his rank insubordination, and I want you present while I do. There is no excuse for incitement to mutiny and endangering the lives of crewmen the way he did. As far as I'm concerned, he is a material cause of the failure of this mission. Once we're done here, I want you to pull his papers and get him off this ship. A man who won't follow orders from a superior officer and who openly defies that officer is not serving aboard my ship! As soon as we get back to Starbase 11, I want him turned over to the JAG officer for court martial."

"He will undoubtedly view this as an act of revenge on my part," I pointed out.

"Then let him think that!" Kirk shot back, furious again. "I am sick of bigoted, self-righteous jerks who think they can do as they please and get away with it! You're the First Officer of this ship! If he can't accept that and abide by it, then I want him gone! I don't give a shit how he feels about you personally, but I expect him to follow your orders to the letter!"

With that he turned and punched the intercom. "Security, escort Lt. Boma to my office immediately and provide two guards. I will be confining him to the brig as soon as this hearing is over."

"Aye, Captain. On our way."

The intercom clicked off and I composed myself for a very emotionally trying interview. When Boma and the guards came through the door, I was expressionless and fully in control. I did not intend to be called on the carpet again over my command abilities and that resolution had already gone into effect.

THE END