Previous Next

The Shepherd and the Heavily-Armed Sheep

Posted on Tuesday December 13th, 2016 @ 10:33am by Lieutenant Commander Michael Lambeth & Captain Jason Stone

Mission: Intermission 1: New Home
Location: USS Jerusalem: Deck 21, Alpha Co area
Timeline: 8 February 2392, 1500

Alpha Company area
Deck 21, USS Jerusalem
8 February 2392, 1500

With only one company posted aboard out of a potential four, the Marine areas of USS Jerusalem were, even when the ship wasn't in dock, kind of empty. With them in dock, and much of the Company out being Marines on shore leave, Father Lambeth could hear his footsteps echo as he walked the deck, hunting for Alpha Company's Duty NCO - the better to find the CO's office and simultaneously "take the pulse" of the Jerusalem's Marines. Today, as was his wont, he was in the teal-trimmed duty uniform of his nominal department, the Roman collar peeking out at his neck and the Latin cross near the rank insignia on his uniform's collar the only signs of his clerical status both informally and formally.

As soon as the Father reached the area controlled by the Marines, he would find an obstacle in his path. An impromptu podium with a chair had been installed, along with a PFC to create a "firewatch" while another junior was walking around the areas on patrol as the roving watch. Once sighted, the unlucky junior Marine snapped to attention and saluted. "Good Afternoon Chaplain." Came out in an alert, sharp tone as the collar and device were taken in.

The Chaplain, for his part, returned the salute smartly. "Marine, could you tell me where Captain Stone's office is?" he asked.

Salutes exchanged, he brought the arm back down but remained at attention to answer the question. "Room 21-C. Down this hall, second door on the left, Chaplain." Came the crisp, exact response.

That got a nod. "Carry on." And with that, the Chaplain proceeded to the indicated door, pressing the chime and waiting.

It took only a moment before the rough baritone spoke a single "Enter!". As the doors opened, the room was revealed to contain the squad and platoon leaders, and a strong smell of coffee. On the table, several PADDs were scattered, and a display with the unit's stats was floating in midair from a holo projector built into it. Standing next to the wall, was Jason, who had just finished writing on an old-style white board. "Marines, that would be Chaplain Lambeth. He'll probably be talking to you and your groups over the next few days. Clear out."

A round of "yes sir's" went out at that note, the others began leaving, but nodding politely to the Chaplain until it was only him and Jason in the room. "Chaplain. What can I do for you today?" Jason asked as he walked over.

"Hadn't realized you were talking with your platoon and squad leaders, Captain; would have waited for another time. Regardless, thing the Captain told me to bring to you. This is the first time we've had a chaplain deployed with a Marine unit on shipboard duty - and one of the things I've found as a chaplain is that if I'm to have any hope of doing my job, I have to know experientially, as much as I can, about what the personnel I tend to are doing and are being asked to do. With the CAG and the air group, we came up with a broad-strokes orientation course to at least get me knowing how to fly and what that involves physically and mentally. With your outfit...I'll be honest. The usual perspective of the Vatican is that chaplains aren't supposed to be armed. That was the rule through World War 3, anyway. Starfleet pointed out that aliens are not going to respect the traditional neutrality of the chaplain, and so I'm allowed to be armed - in exchange, I don't get the RP specialist most would expect me to have as a bodyguard. However, the Chief of Chaplains and the Archbishop for Starfleet, as well as my superior in the Jesuits, are all telling me to see what you can put together so far as an orientation course for me - nothing much, just to get me used to Marine operations, so that I can have some level of a common understanding with your Marines."

Jason looked the older man over carefully before responding. "Not meaning to offend here, but do you have any experience with the weapons systems we use? When did you last do a physical readiness assessment? Before I can reasonably put any kind of plan together, I need to know those. Also, how much do you want to learn? It's obvious you will not be a front-line squad member, so we can skip movement drills. As a senior, they will look to you for some guidance beyond the spiritual, so you'd better be conversant on tactics." He paused to give the man a chance to answer.

"No offense taken. Last PRT was just before we left drydock, no issues there. I may not look it, but I'm more than skin and bones. Weapons experience....I've shot the phaser pistol in training purely for 'last ditch' familiarity, but nothing more," Lambeth noted. "As to how much I want to learn? Enough to be credible doing my job. I'll never have the same credibility on that score as a former infantryman who took up the cloth, but I need to be able to hold my own if, say, I'm with an HQ element and all hell breaks loose. The limit that was set by my chains of command was 'you're a priest first, but do what you need to do to be a credible guide'. In other words, so long as I'm not leading the response and screaming 'praise the Lord and pass the ammunition' unless there's nobody else who can lead, then we're on solid ground. I can probably skip heavy-weapons training as a practical matter, but the indication I got from the Father General is that they have zero objection to small-arms training. Use is where I'll be scrutinized, not training."

"Fair enough. So we need to do a familiarization for pistol and rifle, basic marskmanship training. Really, you're going to need just about everything we do with the juniors, so I'll find you a time to work in with them. That'll also help you get to know the ones that will likely need your attention as well, since the NCO's should know by now." Jason commented as he picked up a PADD and typed into it for a bit. "I'm assuming I don't have to warn you about their language and comments, right?"

That got a deep laugh. "I'm hard to offend, Captain. For one thing, I grew up in Chicago and swear enough that my spiritual director in the seminary had a swear jar set up for me. If they blaspheme I'll have words, but everyday obscenity is nothing. I wouldn't be here if I weren't used to foul language and worse. And yeah, your junior enlisted seem like a fine place to start. Once I have the basics down, I'll work with the NCOs and your junior officers on deeper things as time allows, just to establish relationships as much as anything else."

Jason nodded, with a look of confusion about the 'swear jar' comment. "I'll set you up with a few schedules, and you can pick the one you like. I'm sure you know about their tendency to poke fun, so expect some about your age. Anything else you need from me?" He asked calmly.

"Nothing I can think of, so lets at least figure out what the schedules should cover, though when can of course be decided by you and your NCOs," Lambeth noted. "I would be stunned if you didn't have me on an upgraded PT regimen, though I do ask that you recall I still will need to fit into cockpits for the training the CAG is giving me. I figure also I'll be training and potentially qualifying on pistol and rifle marksmanship. Anything I'm missing?"

"You're not going to be carrying anything heavy Father. No need to bulk you up. Speed, agility and endurance will be what you'd be training for and part of the scheduled training is a PFT and CFT, so we'll know how to adjust you. You'll also be doing fire-team level movements actually, no leadership or tactics." Jason commented.

"Fair point." the priest replied. "Anything else you think we should go over for right now?"

"At this time, no. I think we've covered the basics. I'll send you a message when we have the plan ready and built, and we'll set a time for the eval. Make sure you get medical clearance in writing, so we're both covered." Jason said as he stood up and held out his hand.

Lambeth nodded. "Will do," he replied, shaking his hand before leaving quietly.


Previous Next