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  Lt. Commander N'Tazzia, Commander Carishai, Ensign Sierra Gar, SD
 
The Flip Sides JDL: Commander Carishai, Counselor N'Tazzia and Ensign Gar
 
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The Flip Sides

JDL: Commander Carishai, Counselor N'Tazzia and Ensign Gar



Ensign Sierra Gar left the bridge and proceeded to her quarters at the end of her bridge shift, following the events of the Maldoran attack.

+++


The turbolift door had just closed behind Ensign Gar when Commander Carishai rapidly stood up. She had been about to transfer the conn to another bridge officer when she felt Counselor N'Tazzia's hand on her arm.

“Wait Commander. May I have a word with you?” Taz requested as she quickly scanned the bridge. She would have preferred to take her thoughts private but the ready room was already occupied by Michael and Zarian.


“Yes Counselor?” Cari asked feeling impatient. She really wanted to go check in with Ensign Gar, to find out how she'd weathered her first time in starship combat. Cari was pleased with the Ensign's performance but how Sierra felt about recent events on the bridge and most importantly, how she processed the situation after the fact, were the things which could cause her to decide whether or not she was ready and willing to be back permanently.


“You want to go check on Gar right?” She said quietly, motioning for the two of them to move toward the turbolift.


Cari just nodded.


“She did well, right?” Taz asked and got another nod in response.


Where was the counselor going with this line of questioning? Cari thought.

“You've been working with Ensign Gar and Lt. Yar a lot since they came aboard. You've been dedicated to getting the two of them re-acclimated to bridge duty but you seem to have worked especially hard to help Ensign Gar.”


It was harder than usual for the Denobulan first officer to avoid becoming annoyed, like most of her species, she was normally quite upbeat. But this time Cari struggled to be pleasant.


“Can we hold off on the Counseling until I make an appointment?” She asked managing a smile.


Taz was a bit confused. “Uh, no...I'm not questioning you. It s wonderful that you are concerned with her but I think checking on her to see how she feels after we just got shot at by the Maldorans and making sure she's okay, is a job for your ship's counselor.”


Cari thought for a second. “I see.” was all she said back.

Taz just waited.


“You're trying to say that I shouldn't act like an over-protective mother.” Cari finally added. “I get it, noted Counselor, go ahead.” She said shooing Taz the rest of the way to the door of the bridge lift.


+++

Taz rode the turbolift to the deck where Ensign Gar's quarters were while trying to decide exactly what to say. It was a fallacy that Counselor's always had the right words for every situation. Especially in the situation that had led Sierra Gar to the bridge of the Excelsior. Being captured by a mysterious hostile and marooned for twelve years was both unusual and rare. Such things occurred far to infrequently to be written up in a textbook or noted in a medical journal.


Ensign Gar, by this point, had just arrived in her quarters. She eyed the replicator for a moment, then silently shook her head. Proceeding to move to her personal terminal, she began to query for any available information regarding the Maldoran's. Information, she hoped, which may prove useful in the future.


The counselor hurried down the corridor and in front of Gar's door, she took a deep breath and activated the chime.


The Counselor had checked Ensign Gar's location while on the way to her cabin to be sure that the ensign was in her quarters. After starship combat, enjoying an indulgent treat was a common habit that many crew members tended to acquire, as well as having said treat in a common area. Taz waited a full 60 seconds before chiming again. If she didn't reply, Taz would look for Gar elsewhere.


Blinking, Gar turned her head. She pondered clearing her terminal for a moment, then decided to do so. "Come in?" she invited, standing. She turned to face the door, resting her hands on the back of her chair.


Taz went in. "Hello Ensign." Taz unobtrusively glanced around, more to be sure she wasn't interrupting than to be nosy. She noted that Gar was near the terminal but it was off, then smiled cordially. "I though I'd check in and see what you thought of our encounter with the Maldorans."


Sierra looked thoughtful. "It was... interesting," she stated. "First time I've been in an actual combat situation." She tapped her fingers on the back of the chair absently. "Things could've gone worse, for certain."


Taz chuckled. "True, I for one, prefer it when species don't go by the old 'Shoot first and ask questions -- never!' I know we were in their neck of the quadrant, but why not just tell us to go away?" She gave Gar a smile. "I think this is the third or fourth species in a row that we've encountered who seemed quite happy to attack rather than chat!"


Gar nodded. "Quite. On the flip side, however," she paused and closed her mouth. "You're the people person," she commented, stopping that apparent train of thought. "You've probably considered the flip side by now."


The counselor smiled again. "It's a job requirement. But I also never get tired of hearing someone elses take on the flip side either. Was it hard, being in combat for the first time so many years after you graduated? So many years after you probably had given up on getting off that planet, much less being on a starship bridge again?" The counselor took a seat in one of the chairs and leaned forward slightly.


After a moment of hesitation, Sierra nodded slowly. "In simulators, you know there's no danger. If you err, no harm done. You can easily try again. The galaxy doesn't always provide such luxuries, however. All my practice to this point has been in simulations. But I pushed that aside in the moment. What mattered was what was happening, and survival." She folded her arms. "That was my focus today. Doing what was necessary to survive, following orders when given. Nothing more, nothing less."


"That's not all I saw.  From where I was I observed an officer who showed a set of quick reflexes, excellent observational skills and the ability to push past her worries and fears in order to perform her duties near flawlessly."


Blinking once, Sierra's carefully neutral expression flickered for a moment. "Thank you, ma'am," she said, in a voice which suggested she's not used to hearing such things. She smiles faintly.


Taz paused a moment then went on. "I'm not saying that you don't have a ways to go or time to make up for but I believe in you Sierra. And I will be there to help you with any stumbling blocks that may get in your way. And you can be sure that Commander Carishai feels the same."


The female ensign nodded appreciatively. "Thank you, ma'am," she said. Then her eyes seemed to focus on the other woman in the room with her, almost as if she were trying to figure out if she should say anything more. After a moment there was a strange... gleam in her eyes. The aura she began projecting seems to change slightly, going from someone who had been quiet and shy to someone who seemed, at least a little, more sure of herself.


"Eventually," she said quietly to herself. "Eventually I wish to have a ship of my own... somewhere."


"That's a beautiful dream. With a combination of your skills and that type of passion, it's a dream you can make reality." Taz looked around at the spartan furnishings. "But you might consider a bit of interior decorating in the meantime, getting that ship is probably going to take you a few years."


Chuckling, Sierra looked around herself. "Little decoration is what I'm used to," she said, "Though... none of this is what I'm used to. I suppose more of such a thing couldn't hurt at this point." She chuckled again.


+++


Taz had spent a quiet afternoon in the guest quarters she shared with Michael and their family.  Despite Trave's sumptuous design for a proper living space on Deck 13 for the Captain's family, it felt...odd somehow to just move.  Maybe if Starfleet ever got around to officially making Michael the Captain of the Excelsior, moving into a new permanent space would feel right.  Baby Mikey had awoken up from his nap hungry.  It was always that way.  All of the Holden men, related by blood or not, seemed to be constantly ready to eat.  Luckily, they all had metabolisms that helped them compensate and Eli and Michael enjoyed regular and vigorous workouts, which also contributed to keeping them fit.


She had just settled back to let Mikey have a meal when the door chimed.  She sat up and out of consideration for her caller, she lightly covered her midsection and the baby with his pink blanket.


"Enter." She called out thinking it might be Zach or T'Ris but instead Commander Carishai came in.


She  stopped before getting far, noticing that Taz was busy. "I can come back."


Before Cari could leave Taz let the blanket drop and relaxed back on the couch.  "Nonsense."  she told the ship's executive officer.  "Have a seat.  You've got five kids of your own and an additional five in your primary family group.  I don't think a sliver of my pink breast is going to disgust or frighten you."   She said with a chuckle.  "But if you like a drink or a snack, you'll need to replicate it yourself, ma'am."  She said as she readjusted the baby.


Cari declined to replicate anything and sat. "He's big." She offered looking at the infant. 


"Yup, that's how he came into the galaxy, large and in charge."  Taz answered with a smile.  "What's up?" She asked the XO.


"I'm sure your report will be in my email in the morning but...."  Cari started.


"But you're worried?"  Taz asked.


"That's a sweet way to put it.   I was going to say nosy."  Cari said with a it of a guilty look.   "I can't help myself."


"Telling on yourself I see." The counselor joked.  "Ensign Gar is fine. She's probably five to ten times more hyped than she will be after a half dozen more live combat scenarios and she's still going through the scenario over and over in her mind, processing everything, which by the way, is normal but she's levelheaded enough to hold most of that back while she and I chatted.

Even after all those years on that unsophisticated planet, she seems to still have what I've heard referred to as the golden duo."


Cari looked intrigued.


"Fire and desire.   She wants to be a Starfleet Officer and I think she has what it will take for her to succeed."


The Denobulan let out a sigh of relief and grinned.  "I could see it in her and in Lt Yar too...but there's just no way to tell for sure until after they've had the chance to watch and act from the bridge.  Can I ask you why you stopped me from going to talk with her?"


Taz nodded. "You've been working with her, running numerous scenarios in the holodeck in order to bring her skills up-to-date and even helping her get her "space legs" back.  You've become a mentor to her.  I can't be sure it's like this for her, but most mentees want to impress their mentors with just how much they've learned, to show the mentor how much they appreciate all that mentor has done for them, etcetera."


The first officer nodded thoughtfully and then picked up on Taz's train of thought.  "So if I'd gone after her and asked her what she was thinking and feeling, and the answer wasn't positive,she may have avoided saying what was on her mind so that I wouldn't be disappointed."


"Exactly, and it can work the other way too, if you asked her if everything went well and she believed it had, she may have pulled back when answering so that you didn't think she was being obsequious. "   Taz laid a towel over her shoulder and gently patted Mikey's back and he squirmed a bit before belching almost as loudly as an adult.  "I'm not saying that you can't ever ask her that sort of  thing, but from a counselor's point of view, it's important for me to open a channel of communication now, outside of a yearly evaluation."


"Thanks, that actually makes perfect sense, I can still be her mentor and the officer to whom she reports, but she has another officer to whom she can bring things that might feel awkward with me."  Cari finished.


"If I've done my job right that's ideally how it works."  Taz smiled.  "Would you like to join Michael and I for a late supper?  He should be back soon."  Taz asked cordially.


"Ah, I wish I could.  It sure is a lot less noisy in your quarters."  She laughed.  "Right now, we're all looking forward to Wujen's arrival.  I've got to make sure we throw a party for Dr. Harris for requesting his transfer.  Trave had almost given up on cutting through all of Starfleet's red tape."


Taz raised an eyebrow at the thought of Commander Carishai throwing a large, crowded party for Bones but didn't say a thing.


"Ugh." Cari groaned.  Taz worried that her look had given away her qualms about the CMO, but she was wrong.  "Large and in charge you said?" She referenced a point earlier in their chat.


Taz nodded, confused.


"I'm not sure about the 'in charge' part but I do know that your little man has left you a rather large...gift." She touched her nose.  "I've had many years of practice."  Cari said laughing and let herself out of the door.


END




   
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