Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: Day 1, 0915 HR
"I've been reviewing - ow!" Wallace stuck the knuckle of his right hand in his mouth and reached with his other hand for a cloth to wipe away the coffee that had washed over the rim of the mug and over his hand from the black counter near the replicator. He shook his hand. "Damn replicator," he complained picking the glass mug up again and walking back to his chair in front of the Captain's desk where Daniela waited for him.
"Back to what I was saying, I've been reviewing the psychological reports on the crew. I have a concern about the crew I believe you should be aware of moving forward." He began ticking people off on his fingers. "Lieutenant Ravi is of the opinion that she is a superior life form, believes war to be justified and allows her emotions go unchecked. Lieutenant M'Rowl has had disciplinary issues - his psychological reports make for interesting reading when it comes to his anger. Senior Chief Petty Officer Logan Sutler has been in the brig more than out of it. Hell, I might as well include myself seeing as I've what were once my deep seeded opinions on how and when mercy should be applied tattooed on the back hand. My point is this: psychologically speaking it's an aggressive crew and there are many senior officers with an unproven ability to exercise sound judgment. Don't get me wrong, they all have their strengths, but, well, simply put - we're a misfit crew, Captain."
Daniela watched her counselor go through the list of crew members and some of their "issues." She was aware of all the issues, but she let Wallace tick down the list he'd put together in his own head. It was those issues that were what appealed to Daniela for her crew. Conventional and safe didn't get anything done and sometimes the best way to move the needle was with the unorthodox.
She nodded slowly. "I'm well aware of these... issues," she said with a pregnant pause. "Truth be told, it's those unorthodox personnel that I think are going to set this crew apart and allow them to do incredible things. Are they a little unruly? Perhaps, but if that energy can be harnessed, this is the best crew in the fleet," she said, challenging the man's primary assumption.
Wallace took a sip of his coffee. Filled with creamer, it was almost smooth flavored. "It could be. What's your plan on harnessing that energy?"
"These are officers who have spent their entire careers being told that they don't fit the Starfleet mold. In many cases, they're the rejects. Having a place where they can take those unique gifts and approaches and put them to use is the first place," she responded without hesitation. It was something she'd had a lot of time to think about over the years as she thought about what kind of crew she would want. "Does that not mesh your professional recommendation?" she shot back toward the man.
Now he smiled over the rim of his coffee. She'd following him straight down the trail. "Captain, you'll forgive me, but you didn't answer my question. I asked it because Dr. Th'Var wrote many good things in your psyche evaluation, but he also had his concerns. So here's me using those unique gifts." Wallace didn't like awkward conversations and this one could be qualified as one; instead, he preferred to go straight for the jugular. "You're ambitious, which is why you selected this crew. Ambition's not bad. It takes quite a bit to get the center chair. You also like to be in control. This crew isn't going to give you that luxury. Do you have a plan for getting us to release our pent up genius?"
There was much he'd said, but the unspoken words still seemed to trail after those he'd spoken. How is she going to react to this crew? How was she going to make sure that they didn't harm themselves or, worse yet, Starfleet and the Federation with their talents. Like fire, this crew had a duality in it's nature. Wallace had sensed it from the beginning. It could be a source of life or a destructive force.
"You're looking at the plan, Commander," she snapped quickly. Sure, it may have been arrogant, but she truly believed that she was the force that would bring this crew together, one way or another. "I've spent my entire career learning what it takes to lead and that's what I intend to do. Years ago I listened to a speech Jean-Luc Picard gave at the Academy where he said 'if you want someone to be more responsible, give them more responsibility.' The members of this crew have been given their slack on the rope; they'll either take it to the end or hang themselves with it. These are calculated risks, Commander, something you're no doubt well aware of."
Wallace's lips creased into a slight, bemused smile. "You're getting upset."
"Nice to see Starfleet trains their counselors with a firm grasp of the obvious," she sneered. "I don't like being questioned, especially when it comes to my judgment about the best people to have under my command."
"And I don't like your flippant responses. It's my duty to you and this crew to question your judgment so stow the goddamn attitude!" Wallace flared suddenly, his baritone voice filling the room. He sighed and leaned back into his seat, covering his face with both hands as if he were hiding his face from Daniela. Outbursts like this were the only reason he knew for certain that the Old Wallace and he were one and the same person, rather than some alternate realities of each other. His hands dropped to his lap. "I'm sorry for that, Ma'am. No excuse. I'm your counselor and subordinate not your drill sergeant."
A flame flickered in Daniela's Italian eyes and her nostrils flared. "Best ensure it doesn't, Commander," she returned gruffly. "I know what your job," she snapped, "but unless you can show me where my judgment is compromised or I've done something to endanger this crew and this ship, I expect that you'll keep your place." It had been a long time since she'd last lashed out at an officer under her command like that and a surge of adrenaline rushed through her body, the fire still burning in her eyes even after the apology.
"Yes, Ma'am." For a moment, that seemed to be all there was as if the Counselor would slink from the room, embarrassed and chastised. He, however, was far from through. Wallace let a calm seep through him before he continued. He could only imagine the fireworks that were quickly approaching, but his sense of duty pushed him forward. "We've looped around back to where this conversation began. You told me that your strategy for dealing with all of us is to let us have some room to work and that you are the force that will make it all work. It's good that you're taking advice from captain's like Picard, but I might also point out that when he was given command of the Enterprise he selected some of the very finest officers in the Fleet. They all had their quirks, but all had pristine records. Furthermore, the Enterprise was not his first command. You've not only selected the black sheep of the Fleet for yours, but this is your first command.
"This crew is a calculated risk, you say. Why risk anything? Why not get the best with no blemishes on their records for your crew? You say, again, that we're the misfits and deserve a chance. For the sake of argument, let's say that me and everyone else is a great genius. You've got a crew of misfit geniuses on board. Even after all that, it's a huge risk. You've risked your life, my life, and everyone else's on this ship, not to mention the safety of Starfleet and the Federation. Why?"
Daniela smirked. "I have to take what I can get," she said, her voice trailing off at the end. "Anyone with any ambition within Starfleet wouldn't come within a lightyear of this ship because of who my father is. All it takes is a name coming onto his radar and someone's career would be over. Most good officers know that and won't risk their future over a single assignment. Others who may be willing to take that risk would suddenly find their dream assignment open and offered to them. He has no shortage of options to make my life significantly harder than it needs to be."
Wallace became engrossed in the bottom of his coffee mug, staring at the tail end of his cup of coffee. "Most people assume ambition has something to do with careers," he said into the cup, in a murmur meant only for the ether. He cleared his voice and looked up. "You're pinning your career on us."
She shook her head slowly, her mind drifting into the distance. She spoke even without her attention being fully in the now. "No, my career has already been defined, I'm using my situation to help people who might not otherwise have a chance to make a difference out there." It was rare for her to lose focus like that, but she couldn't help but think about the situation with her father. He was wrong, there was no doubt about it, but they hadn't spoken in 6 weeks and the conversation with Wallace had started to highlight some of those things.
The cup was empty and Wallace placed it on the edge of the Captain's desk. There was something else going on with Daniela, although he couldn't put his finger on it. Nothing for it, but to watch and listen. "Alright, well time's up." He smiled. "For a first counseling session this didn't go too bad. We'll continue to do it here. It will be less conspicuous that way, I think."
Daniela snapped out of her trance, realizing exactly what had just happened. Unlike most COs in the fleet, she understood the importance of having a counselor onboard and of utilizing their expertise. She nodded slowly. Eventually the stuff with her father would come out, but she wasn't ready to talk to anyone about that yet. "Same time next week?"