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LtCmd Alex Brodie - "The First Officer" & “The Human Machine”

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I am constantly impressed by how well Ben writes for the duty post of ship's counselor.  His character's comments are always just so perfect for each scene he is in.   I really enjoy this scene the ships XO and Counselor are involved in, and it shows a really stellar side of a Trek story that I think we often overlook: the human element.  Bravo gents, and keep on killing it Ben.


((Chief Counsellor’s Office, Deck Ten, USS Thor))

Alex was sitting reviewing some case notes and closing out some files. The pile wasn’t the usual stack that built up while he’d been on a mission – staying aboard the Thor had been almost like working from home. He took a glance around the room and moved over to one of the storage crates. He’d nearly got it looking how he wanted – slowly unpacking what he had brought from his main office at the Embassy and setting it out in what was his temporary, now permanent, home. He took out one of his doctoral certificates and was hanging it on the wall when the buzzer went.

Brodie: Come.

Brodie just got the frame hung where he wanted it as the door opened and he turned to face his guest. It was a surprise.

Teller: Counselor Brodie?  Was wondering if you had a few minutes for me.  

Brodie: Of course, Commander. Please, do come in.

Teller: Thank you.  

Brodie stepped down from where he had been standing and moved towards his own desk. He watched as Teller stepped into the room…almost fearful…or was it an air of wonder. He was certainly the first officer to have come and seen him since the move to the Thor, it was all very new in some ways. He’d have to see when his last visit was – it must have been a while if this was the reaction. He gestured to a the corner sofa and for Geoff to sit and he did likewise in a separate chair – a small coffee table separating them

Teller: So, Counselor, does your rate go up for walk-ins?  

Brodie: ::Smiling:: Only for private clients. Starfleet has a pretty comprehensive all-inclusive package.

It was a terrible opener but sometimes it just needed something like that to break the ice. It seemed to do the trick.

Teller: I've been meaning to do this for a while, but things have been a little...hectic, recently. Besides, I've been telling the crew to take care of themselves - be a bit hypocritical if I don't do the same. ::He smirked::  Just don't tell Addison I said that or she'll drag me in for a physical. My hypocrisy be damned.    

Brodie: Well, if it’s any consolation she’s already caught me. Like I said though, it’s fully comprehensive…so please, any time and all the time that you need.

Teller: Appreciate it. So, where do we start?  

Brodie: Perhaps at the end? You mentioned you’ve been meaning to do this for a while, so what made today the day?

Geoff sat, but couldn't find an especially comfortable position.  Perching forward felt too stiff, leaning back too informal, and laying down wasn't even on the table.  The fault was neither the couch or the Counselors still in progress decorating efforts.  Geoff huffed, slid back, and crossed his legs, attempting to forcibly relax.  It was about as effective as telling a Vulcan to 'loosen up.'  
Teller: Last few days I've noticed my focus slipping a bit.  Happens when I've got too many things on my mind and I'm having a hard time deciding where to sink my teeth in.  Just feels like this is the first chance I've really gotten in months to plant my feet and my head is still spinning, I guess.    
Geoff slumped back and shifted, trying to wrap words around it that just seemed clunky.  

Brodie: Tell me a little more about that.

Teller: Well, five months ago I was Chief Engineer of a starship. Wasn't anything as fancy as this ::Geoff extended his arms, taking in the grandeur of the Thor:: but I knew my place there, and I was happy.  Then Admiral Turner reached out and, well....::Geoff's shoulders slumped::..here we are.  It's been a long road...getting from there to here.  

Brodie: ::Nodding:: That’s understandable – there have been a lot of changes recently…for you more than most.

Geoff let out a sort of begrudging laugh. It was true though - Geoff had seen more changes than most. He’d arrived at the Embassy with Addison, but she had retained the same position as a doctor. Teller had been moved to a new role and then had his immediate superior swapped out in pretty short order.

Teller: Yeah I suppose that's fair.  It's not the duty, or the missions...it's...it's hard to put words to it...

Brodie could see the man was struggling - although the only thing that was stopping him saying what was troubling his mind, was him.

Brodie: It’s okay, Geoff. That thought…just say it out loud.

The man steeled himself and then started to speak.  

Teller: Well, it's like this I guess - when I was wearing a gold collar, I could look at the master status board and know the ship was right.  Got sensors, diagnostics, computers - an innumerable pile of gadgets and gizmos that tell me, to a margin of error I can see right on the screen, if things are working well or if they aren't.

Brodie:  And you feel that you no longer have access to that level of detail?

Alex knew it was a leading question…he just wasn’t entirely sure where it would lead.

Teller:  Oh I can still pull those diagnostics up for the ship, but that's not my job anymore.  It's the crew.  I'm just....

And there it was, laid bare, the complexities of the human machine.

Brodie: Feeling overwhelmed?

Teller:  They're my responsibility, but I have a hard time figuring out if I'm taking care of them right.  If I'm doing everything they need?  It's easy to know when to purge the injectors or change out an ODN conduit but with people, it's hardly that cut and dry.  Any ideas?

Brodie only understood part of what Geoff had said…he wasn’t even sure what ODN stood for? Everyone had areas they knew well – Alex didn’t understand engineering or science in more than passing detail. Kells and Wilkins discussed chroniton particles on the bridge and he’d been…totally lost. Teller knew engineering. Brodie...he knew people…and it was people he was here to help.

Brodie: People are, by their very nature…variable; and complex one’s at that. I think, however, the fact that you’re here, sitting on my couch, and worried that you’re not doing the right thing…means you’re doing the right thing.

Brodie could understand the concerns of the man and where it was stemming from. He had barely had much time to get settled into his new role and responsibilities without interruption. He had arrived, been shot down and wounded, then he led the team to recover Addison. Then the transfer had occurred and Kells had come aboard – new command and new commander. Then he’d been on the surface of Vel Maijan trying to locate and rescue colonists lost for over two centuries.

Through all this Brodie had taken temporary command of the bridges of both the Thunder and then Thor. Teller was a man who needed to get involved, that much was obvious, but perhaps he hadn’t been able to get involved in the right way?

Teller: ???

Brodie: You worry you don’t know them? You? The man who hand carved a personalised shield for every one of the senior staff for the wall of the great hall?

Teller: ???

Brodie: If I may ask a question, when you were an engineer…how did you approach a new ship? Learning what made it tick?

Teller: ???


Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie
Chief Counselor
USS Thor NCC-82607
Writer ID.: A239005BM0
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