Location: Starbase 414
Daniela Moreno was not impressed. She'd been the Nimitz CO for several days and her personal items from Earth still hadn't arrived. On top of that, they still hadn't cleared Captain Diaz's things from the Nimitz, leaving her to both live and work out of an office on Starbase 414. The incompetence was baffling and not something she'd been able to correct yet, though she wasn't giving up on it. She couldn't complain about the size of the office though.
When the chime rang through the office, she looked over the end of the PADD she was reading to see her new first officer through the double glass doors. Her eyes dropped back to the PADD and she finished reading the section of Diaz's mission reports she was on before motioning for the man to enter without looking up. Daniela's blood began to boil when she thought about the situation. One of the best things about being named as a commanding officer was the freedom for that individual to select their senior staff; she was not afforded that opportunity with her first officer. Several days earlier, only hours into her tenure as the Nimitz CO, she'd been informed her first officer had already been selected for her. It didn't matter how much she stomped her feet, Admiral William Reardon (NPC) wasn't budging on this one.
Moreno had dug in to Joseph Masterson's service record and didn't like what she saw; he was the furthest thing from her ideal candidate as possible. The admiral had pointed out that having a former CO at her right-hand could be an advantage, but she didn't see it that way. Her first thought was to try to drive him away, but she'd already been warned that if she tried to do anything of the sort, Admiral Reardon would ship her back to Earth to the waiting arms of her father, Admiral Anthony Moreno; almost a week after being named the Nimitz CO and he still wasn't taking her calls.
Masterson waited patiently, standing in front of her desk while she continued to read the mission report. Finally, she set the PADD down and looked up the older man. "Sit," she said firmly. A few moments passed as she collected her thoughts before she dove in. "What happened in the Borlan System, Commander? In your own words, not what's in the report."
Joseph wasn't exactly surprised when he saw that yet another younger officer took the command of the Nimitz. He was too experiencied to think someone would actually give him the command again. In fact, he wasn't sure he wanted to be command again. At least not yet. So, when Captain Moreno called him to 'debriefing', he already knew what to expect. She didn't want him and she would have to take him nonethless. Well, it's like I'm an old furniture that comes with the newly bought house, he thought ironicly.
The question itself had been asked so many times and so many different ways that Joseph didn't want to answer it anymore. It was tiring to retell the story of one's disgraceful fall. It was hard enough to awake in the morning and remember. But, no. Moreno wanted to know because she was the new boss. Joseph supressed a sigh. She would not like his response.
"Captain", he said after a moment. "Everyone knows what happened in the Borlan system. It's in my court martial transcript. I said what happened with my own words there. It boils down to the fact that I made a very bad decision that I regret to this day and probably will regret forever. But, with all due respect, Captain, I'm here to redeem myself from that decision, not to recall it or relive it. I am an experiencied officer and I have much to offer to this ship and to Starfleet. I just want the chance to prove it", he said with emphatically.
Daniela's response was measured and delivered in an cold, methodical tone. "You expect me to entrust the lives of 548 people aboard my ship to a man who won't even look me in the eye and explain why he ran away like a coward with his tail tucked between his legs?"
Masterson's eyes fixed on Moreno's. "No. I expect that you, as my captain, give me the chance everyone else thinks I don't deserve because they think I'm coward. I'm counting on you to be different from anyone else."
Daniela cut him off. "As far as I'm concerned, Commander, you haven't given me a reason to give you that chance. How am I supposed to trust the ship to you? Am I going to have to worry you're going to do the same thing and put the lives of my crew in jeopardy in a tense situation?" she snapped quickly.
"I can't change my decision. It'll haunt me for the rest of my life. Isn't that enough for you? Or do you want to have pleasure, as others had, to watch me humiliate myself about a moment of weakness that will now be my epithet? 'Masterson, the Coward of the Patna is that how I'll be remembered for as long as I live. But you can change that, Captain. I want to prove that I'm not that man. Let me prove it. If after a few months you think I'm not able; that, in fact I'm that man, I'll transfer out. No, I'll resign my comission as everyone has been expecting me to do since the end of the court martial. I'll give up my only chance to redeem myself and my family's name. Is that acceptable to you, Captain?"
Moreno eyed the man carefully. There was no malice in her gaze, but instead, understanding. She'd spent most of her career fighting the stigma surrounding her that she was only there because of who her father was. This was a different situation, but the principle was the same. Everyone looked past him and at something else entirely. Daniela sympathized with him, though she'd never say so out loud.
She nodded once. "Very well, Commander. One chance. Don't make me regret this."
Joseph's expression relented. Maybe there was more to Daniela Moreno than he gave credit for. "You'll not regret this, Captain. A chance is all I have been expecting since last year", he said in low tone. "I know I was not your choice for a XO, but I hope that in time you can trust me."
"You and me both, Commander." She nodded quickly, "Dismissed."
She watched the man walk out and hoped she wouldn't regret relenting to Reardon on this one.