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Orchestral music means only one thing...

Posted on Friday September 16th, 2016 @ 9:30pm by Captain John Williams & Captain Ariel Ostheimer & Commander Declan Macclure & Lieutenant Commander T'nella & Lieutenant Commander Olivia Constantine

Mission: Intermission 1: New Home
Location: Starbase 39-Sierra, Main Auditorium
Timeline: 1 February 2392, 1400

Main Auditorium
Starbase 39-Sierra
1 February 2392, 1400

Starfleet promotion and awards ceremonies were one of the rare times that the military nature of Starfleet was pretty much unmistakable. Even for the Jerusalem's post-shakedown promotion and awards ceremony, which had to be staged in the Starbase's main auditorium to have any chance of fitting the crew, the small number of dignitaries, and those crew families who would be living on the starbase given the Jerusalem's "no dependents" nature (a number which came out to 5000 people easily, and not all of the families who had opted to live on the starbase had even arrived yet to take up residence) into remotely the same space, it was clear you were looking at, in the Terran tradition at least, a military ceremony, even before any of the crew or dignitaries had arrived. There was, for one thing, a full field band off to the side, warming up themselves and the crowd with various tunes, as well as a UFP flag hanging at the rear of the stage.

Finally, though, 1400 rolled around. A Chief Petty Officer from the Starbase wearing Command Red stepped to the microphone on the stage, as the band finished up. "Welcome to the Post-Shakedown Promotion and Awards Ceremony for the crew and attached personnel of USS Jerusalem. We ask that all persons please rise for the entry of the crew, the command staff of USS Jerusalem, and the official party," he said, as the civilians and dignitaries rose.

The musical pick that began next had not, actually, been chosen by the Jerusalem's CO (not that it was inappropriate, considering): As the doors opened and the Jerusalem's crew entered, the theme music to the 1960 movie "Exodus" began. Someone in the event planners had done research, apparently.

The crew, for their part, entered in their dress uniforms, led by their department heads; the lead department was Flight Control, followed by Engineering, Combat Ops, Security, and on down the list in rough order of seniority since the department's establishment as a branch of Starfleet, with the Air Group taking up the rear as the youngest department, and the Marines following behind.

More of the event planners showing their work continued, as the Jerusalem's Command Staff (the CO, XO, Chief of the Boat, and the yeomen assigned to the CO and XO) entered to a curious tune for Starfleet use - the song known as "Zemer HaPlugot" or the "Song of the Companies", a piece from the Israel Defense Forces of the 20th and 21st Century.

Finally, once the command staff reached the stage, more normal music returned, as the official party led by Ariel Ostheimer entered to the sound of the Starfleet standard "Flag Officer's March".

Once everybody had entered, all remained standing for the UFP anthem and Starfleet's own service song, The Arrowhead (fortunately in its decent instrumental version, as opposed to the version with the widely-reviled lyrics). Once those were done, the enlisted member serving as Master of Ceremonies returned to the microphone. "You may be seated. Starfleet personnel, Parade Rest."

With that, the microphone was handed off to Ariel for a brief introduction.

Ari herself was running on all of three hours of sleep. High speed transports were all well and good until someone actually desired to take a decent nap. In which case, they were altogether too fast. She had stepped off her own Archimedes, went through a whirlwind of a debrief and was promptly sent here.

Promotions were great. Really. Amazing.

She had a smile on her face none the less, some of her usual impish nature shining through despite her overall exhaustion. None of it showed, however (make-up was a beautiful thing for those bags), and she had, of course, had time to do her hair and dress. Tired or not, she was happy to be here, for this.

"Welcome, all. I'd have a speech prepared but, well, I'm running on no sleep and much caffeine so you'll have to make do with what you get," she said, cheerily. There was a note of good, self-deprecating humour in her tone, helping lighten the mood on what she otherwise saw as a stuffy affair. "For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ariel Ostheimer, Captain of the USS Archimedes. I also have the great pleasure of being Task Group Commander to your own lovely captain, one Commander John Williams. For anyone who might be wondering: the person who was supposed to get my title dropped out of the running last minute and left the universe. Now you have me."

"But! Enough about that. Today is a day of celebration. Today is the day you get recognition for all of your hard work and dedication to your ship, and to the Federation. I hope the awards and promotions which shall be handed out today will inspire you to work ever harder. It's a tough job, at times, but, in my opinion, there's none more rewarding."

"Now, let us begin at the start! Did you know that you finished a mission? Of course you did. Now applaud yourselves for your achievement. No, actually, go on now," she said, clapping her hands herself to start the chain.

At that, there were chuckles and applause from all, Williams included though with evident amusement. I was not aware, he thought to himself, that getting through one's shakedown cruise is such an accomplishment. Although...Space Is Weird, after all. No doubt we'll be turned into slugs eventually. Or something.

After that, came the official reading of the award citation for the Commissioning Ribbon, handled by one of the NCOs who'd come along with Ari.

"Attention to orders," he began. "The Secretary of Defense, having been informed by the Chief of Staff, Starfleet, of the successful conclusion of USS Jerusalem's shakedown cruise, has authorized the award of the Commissioning Ribbon to all personnel duly assigned and attached to USS Jerusalem as of 1 February 2392, Stardate 69088.0."

More applause followed - it made a nice addition to any Starfleet member's record, being able to say you were a "plankowner" of one of Starfleet's newest ships.

Then came the promotions. Microphone back to Ari for this.

"Alright, now here is the part that you've all been waiting for," she said, drawing out the word 'all' on her tongue, adding more syllables than was strictly necessary. "Or perhaps, not waited for, depending on whether you knew it was coming. Today is a day where you're not only celebrating your ship being...well, a ship and ribbon'd - and if there isn't an actual ribbon on your captains' chair when you get back to your stations on Jerusalem, you're doing your jobs wrong, people - it's also a day where you, the crew, get your well-deserved rewards for having done all that you have. I have here," she gestured to a table nearby where a series of black, velvet boxes sat. "Rank pips." She let the words sink in for a moment before she chirruped, "For those of you thinking it: yes. Yes, it does mean what you think it means."

She took the first box in hand and nodded to the NCO.

"Attention to orders..."

At those words from the senior officer present, every Starfleet member and Marine snapped to rigid attention.

The NCO began to speak.

"The President of the United Federation of Planets, acting upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense, has placed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, integrity, and abilities of Lieutenant T'nella. In view of these special qualities and her demonstrated potential to serve in the higher grade, Lieutenant T'nella is promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Commander, Starfleet, effective the first of February, Two thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Two. By order of the Secretary of Defense."

Ari turned to face the first of her promotees, giving T'nella a beaming smile. Gently, she opened the box, turning it to show the other female. She passed the box over to her, letting her hold it a moment before she reached in to take the new pip. She motioned for T'nella to raise her chin and deftly unpinned the old pip and fixed the new one into place. Another happy smile was offered to her, the words, 'Congratuations' mouthed as the NCO read off the next name on the list. "Love your hair, by the way. So glossy. I'm jealous," she added, in a low whisper. "Chief of Ops too so both beauty and brains. I'm sure the boys are falling over themselves."

T'nella was still in the thought pattern that this promotion thing was a hoax. She'd long been well aware that there were higher ups within Starfleet who expressed the sentiment that she'd be placed in a command position over their dead bodies. In fact she even joked to Mrshellah when she first received the communique that she was slated for the promotion that there had to have been a wave of sudden death in the higher command chain that just hadn't been reported yet.

But the communique checked out legitimate which left T'nella certain that there had to be an error. She was expected to attend which was fine, but yet again she would be seeing others being promoted ahead of her all due to her Romulan heritage. It was what it was, and she'd long since gotten over having any upset over it. She would make due until she felt it was time to move on towards her political goals.

She had to admit that as far as hoaxes went, this one was one of the better ones as she arrived timely in her dress uniform and was directed to joining those who were to be promoted. The musical choices as the ceremony began added mental checkmarks to this being a really elaborate hoax as the past promotion ceremonies T'nella had attended in the crowd followed the traditional Starfleet choices. While she didn't know Captain Ostheimer and whether she followed the paradigm of conventional or unorthodox, the amount of levity during her opening speeches at what was a formal ceremony was also adding another mental checkmark to the hoax theory.

T'nella wasn't going to give any satisfaction to whomever was behind it so she conducted herself with the standard Romulan/Vulcan stoicism. She accepted her new pip with the simple acknowledgement expected, but soon as the Captain commented on her hair as well as having all the boys flocking around her for beauty and brains, T'nella was convinced without a doubt this was a hoax. Granted there was always a hint of deviation for personal comments during the traditional gravitas of the ceremony, the comments were above and beyond the usual.

Still, T'nella simply responded with a "Thank you, Sir." in acknowledgement, keeping her stoic expression up and planned on venting later in what was becoming a growing list of no response recordings sent to Etienne. The quicker this was all over the better so she could go back to the comfortable grind of work.

Ari sighed inwardly after T'nella passed. Vulcans. She should have known better than to try.

"The President of the United Federation of Planets, acting upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense, has placed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, integrity, and abilities of Lieutenant Olivia Constantine. In view of these special qualities and her demonstrated potential to serve in the higher grade, Lieutenant Olivia Constantine is promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Commander, Starfleet, effective the first of February, Two thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Two. By order of the Secretary of Defense."

Ari's eyes landed on the next woman. The same, special treatment was given to her. The names were being read off in script style, but that hardly meant that she couldn't try and make the moment stand out for each person. "Congratulations, darling. You deserve it," she told her. "And might I add that you have gorgeous eyes? Perfect for keeping people in line with just a look, I'll bet."

For her part, Constantine had been playing her role of department head to the T, following along with the near-ritualistic progression of sitting, standing, and clapping. Sure, the pomp and circumstance were part of it, but Olivia tried to make the best of it. Her brothers had been unable to make it, and most of the friends she had made since coming aboard were standing right beside her in the colors of the air wing - at least until she stood and walked up towards the podium.

"Thank you Captain. And yes, a good glare comes in handy from time to time," a smiling Constantine gave a subtle nod of affirmation, "though the trim color for our department certainly helps the cause." Indeed, Constantine's irises very nearly matched the shade of cerulean that trimmed and accented her dress uniform.

"Oh!" Ari said. "Right indeed. What a happy coincidence, non? It's lovely when those little details just fall into place like that," she said, ushering Constantine across the stage.

"The President of the United Federation of Planets, acting upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense, has placed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, integrity, and abilities of Lieutenant Rowlf Van Richten. In view of these special qualities and his demonstrated potential to serve in the higher grade, Lieutenant Rowlf Van Richten is promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Commander, Starfleet, effective the first of February, Two thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Two. By order of the Secretary of Defense."

She was up on tiptoe when it came time to pin on Richten's pips. Ariel was a petite woman, to say the least, standing at only 5'4. "CMO, eh?" she asked. "That's what I was, once. You keep taking care of your crew. I'm sure they depend on you very much."

"I try, Captain," was the CMO's reply.

"The President of the United Federation of Planets, acting upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense, has placed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, integrity, and abilities of Lieutenant Commander Declan Macclure. In view of these special qualities and his demonstrated potential to serve in the higher grade, Lieutenant Commander Declan Macclure is promoted to the grade of Commander, Starfleet, effective the first of February, Two thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Two. By order of the Secretary of Defense."

The next man to walk up to her was even taller than the last. She scowled at him, the happy twinkle in her eyes belaying her playfulness. "Each taller than the last, hm? I should have broken out the higher heels for this," she mused. "Congratulations, Commander. Make sure you keep looking after your crew and captain both. We captain folk don't always like admitting when we need help, so keep an eye on Williams for me."

"Always do ma'am." He responded, his uniform held a mass of ribbons and medals, from a ribbon for being Mentioned in Dsipatches during Waterloo, to the Victoria Cross awarded by the King, along with several mixed decorations including his Starfleet awards. As he had when as a PC he met Queen Victoria he pronounced ma'am as if it sounded more like ham , it was old custom and tradition.

Whatever Ari was about to say was lost at the sight of the medals. She goggled at them openly and then sent a curious glance at the man in question. "...My, I bet you have quite a few stories, don't you?" She could ask later. For now, she carried on with the ceremony.

The NCO opened his mouth to rattle off the next and final name but Ariel cut him off with the subtle raise of her hand. "Another round of applause for these lovely officers!" she called, bringing her hands together to start it herself. The corner of her lip was pulled into an impish grin. She had purposely stopped before Williams' name had been read.

Williams merely grinned as those not on the dais applauded. He had a sense something was coming, but who was he to outguess the Fleet?

The NCO spoke crisply again, his voice the even, measured tone of a Chief Petty Officer who'd done numerous promotions over the years:

"The President of the United Federation of Planets, acting upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense, has placed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, integrity, and abilities of Commander John Williams. In view of these special qualities and his demonstrated potential to serve in the higher grade, and with the advice and consent of the Council of Member Worlds of the United Federation of Planets, Commander John Williams is promoted to the grade of Captain, Starfleet, effective the first of February, Two thousand Three Hundred and Ninety Two. By order of the Secretary of Defense."

Ariel's face burst into a brilliant smile as she clapped and cheered with the rest, albeit, with a sort of childish enthusiasm that wasn't really appropriate for a woman in her thirties...or the captain of a Starship.

Ah, so that was the cause of that! Williams kept himself to blinking once (he'd just been promoted to Commander a few months previously, after all! Surely a shakedown cruise didn't merit a promotion, did it?) before even the blinking went away as the applause resumed for the Jerusalem's CO. Soon enough though, it died off as the UFP flag was brought out and each of the newly promoted officers grabbed a hold of the flag with their left hands, raising their right hands for the traditional reaffirmation of their oath of office.

Williams was the first to re-take the oath, repeating the oath as read by Ari, as the most senior officer being promoted. "I, John Patrick Williams, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

The other officers, in reverse order of seniority, re-took their own oaths, swearing or affirming as they chose.

After that were a horde of junior officer promotions - the individual oaths would be administered later, since there were a few hundred of them as folks moved up in rank, in some cases in response to their department head being promoted.

And finally, there was a brief speech from Ari. Traditionally, promoting-officer speeches were kept kind of standard, on the nature of leadership in Starfleet, but with Ari as the promoting officer, who knew what to expect?

Ari bounced her way back up to the podium. "I know you're all really after the wine and snacks that are to be provided henceforth, and really, I am too. Who in their right mind would turn down a free drink, hm? Regardless, for that reason I'll keep this short so that we can press on, hm?"

"On that note, I'd just like to say to everyone: well done. You wouldn't have received these awards if you weren't worthy of them. Each and every single one of you is important. You all have your own parts to play. You're all part of this story, part of the fabric of the universe. Each of your is a thread in this elaborate tapestry that makes up the universe. Space is Big, and Weird, but remember that you'll all a part of that Big Weirdness. What you're doing today? What you're about to do? It all has an impact. Please keep that in mind as you go about your duties. Take pride in what you do because you, little, tiny you? You're not insignificant. You matter." After that, she raised two fingers to her temple, giving the group a cheery salute.

After that, the NCOs took the reins again.

"The officers and crew of Jerusalem, and the assisting personnel from Starbase 39-Sierra and other commands, thank you and express their heartfelt appreciation for your attendance at this promotion and awards ceremony. All persons please rise as the Official Party leads the Jerusalem's officers and crew from the auditorium. We ask that you refrain from mobbing your servicemember for a few moments; your invitations to the after-ceremony reception and party, hosted by the command staff of Starbase 39-Sierra, are now on your PADDs and other personal data display devices."

With that, the Jerusalem's officers and crew were escorted out by personnel of the starbase, to the sound of a peculiarly British musical choice: "Grenadier Return", usually played at the end of Trooping the Colour. Once everybody was out, the Jerusalem's crew was released to meet up with their families and provided the location and other details of the party to follow.

 

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