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Ensign Jackie Mason - Situational Awareness

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((Chief Security Officer's Office, StarBase 118))

Mason: I don’t know why I brought that up. :: He shifts in his chair.:: I’m taking up too much of your time, Lieutenant. I should maybe go...

Aine stood and set her glass down on the desk then reached out to shake Mason's hand.

Sherlock: Well, Ensign, I'm available to talk whenever you need. It's no bother.

Mason: :: stands up when she did, holding his glass in his left hand, and after shaking her hand with the other hand, he finishes the drink. He does not ask for one for the road but looks at her. :: Thanks for seeing me. I appreciate it. Take care,

Sherlock: You too, have a good rest of your evening.

She stood for a few moments more as Mason set his glass down on the coaster on the desk, and then made his way out of her office.

Mason left her office and stood for a moment two steps outside the door. He had a simple choice to make in the moment. To go left - a more direct route to his quarters, or to go right and walk a bit. All sorts of destinations presented themselves in both directions, including a less direct route to his quarters if he went to the right.

He was in no real hurry to go back to his quarters, so he went right. As he walked he compartmentalized his thoughts. Aware of his surroundings, walking, avoided bumping people standing around talking, nodding his head to those he passed who made eye contact and nodded at him, saying ‘hello’ to those who saw him walking by and said hello as they went their way. That was the surface-level thought. Below that level, his guard was up. He was attentive not only to his immediate space but the visible and audible space ahead and behind him and in open areas, all around him.
His father had coached him as a child. He didn’t like to explain it and rarely did. But when he had, he explained it as nothing more than having learned techniques to improve his situational awareness.  Situational awareness was being aware of one’s surroundings and any potential hazards or threats.
That fairly summed it up. It wasn’t a special power, it wasn’t something exciting like being able to read minds or project thoughts. It was a learnable skill; to be observant, to be oriented, and to be decisive in weighing options and realistic in looking for the best possible outcome knowing his capabilities and limitations. And being willing to act using the information obtained through observation, orientation, and decision-making to protect him and get to safety.

In familiar locations, when he was alert, awake, and sober, this compartmentalization allowed him to access another level of thought at the same time.

Familiar locations did not always mean safe locations. Anyone who grew up in places like the south side of Chicago knew well that familiar locations did not always mean safe and sometimes, rarely meant safe.

But walking here through this part of 118, more or less in the direction that would lead him towards several districts, after enjoying a couple of drinks with the Chief of Security this was not one of those times.    Here right now, he was maybe 70% surface, 30% guard up, and 0% thinking about the past, present, or future.

And that suited him right now.  Sometimes thinking about all that crap was overrated.

End Scene

Ensign Jackie Mason
SN 118 OPS Counselor
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