NCC - 81102
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Rookie of the Year

Posted on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 @ 2:34am by Lieutenant Ayanja Tusalo & Commander Magnus Hawkins

Mission: What Came Before
Location: USS Challenger
Timeline: 2384

"Targeting solution," said Lieutenant Magnus Hawkins. After introducing himself, he began his usual speech that he had practiced until it could be delivered in his sleep. His crisp enunciation signaled the import of his words, "is the most vital phrase of your career in Starfleet Security."

The new squad fresh from the Academy was lined up at the firing range. Hawk had only been Chief of Security for little over a year, but it did not take him long to choose this place to break in the greenhorns. Little did they know it yet, but this would be their second home. Whenever they weren't on duty or fucking around off duty, they would be here, honing their mental sights on one singular principle.

"It is what you must acquire before you commit to any action. Without it, you are going to get somebody killed. Your teammates. Your commanders. Your principals. Yourselves. And probably not your adversaries. "

He slowly marched up the line of ensigns and paused before a burly Efrosian whose eyeline met Hawk's own. "Hit me."

Surprised at the order, the Efrosian grimaced in doubt.

"I said HIT ME, damn you!" Hawk ordered.

The Efrosian stepped in with a right cross in a movement so fluid and practiced that it was more reflex than intent.

Hawk deflected the punch with a light slap to the wrist while he stepped forward, reached his lead foot behind the Efrosian's rear foot where the big man's weight was supported, and then dropped weight as he shifted his balance from back to forward. The simple maneuver tripped the Efrosian and sent him flailing onto his back in the blink of an eye.

"You attacked," Hawk said, "without a targeting solution. You identified your target--me--but you did not resolve the target's position with your own. That is why you are on the ground without so much as a proportional response from me."

Lesson given, Hawk cracked a smile and extended his hand toward the Efrosian. "Ensign Chaillu, right?"

"That's right, sir," Chaillu said, slightly humbled by the experience. The Efrosian accepted the hand up, rising with the dopey grin of a young buck who's tasted action and wants more.

"'Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win'." After speaking the words, Hawk stared at Chaillu first before casting his gaze across the rest of the new ensigns. "First one to tell me who said that will be spared the two-a-day PT's for the next duty rotation."

"Sir." Ayanja said, hesitantly at first. Lieutenant Hawkins was quite intimidating even for a Security Chief. Aya needed to get over that, stepping forward she smoothed out her jacket. Being her first assignment Aya wanted to make a good impression. "You're referring to Sun Tzu, of Earth."

Hawk arched an eyebrow. "Step forward, Ensign. Everyone else who did not pay attention during freshman Intro to Warfighting is dismissed!"

While the rest of the butterbars trotted out in single file, Hawk assessed the remaining ensign. The Efrosian had been easy to pick out from his profile, but there were a few ensigns this could be.

"What's your name?" Hawk asked once they were alone.

"Ayanja Tusalo, sir." If the Commander was intimidating before, having bellowed his condemnation of her peers and then examining her put him on a WHOLE other level. Standing at the stiffest parade rest she could, Aya waited for the man's next instruction.

"Ensign Tusalo, step up to the firing line." Hawk indicated one of the fifteen benches which helped mark where a target shooter should sit and stand in between shots. A press of a button activated various multi-colored holotargets that drifted at varying intervals. He offered his phaser as he said, "Call your targets."

Taking a deep breath Aya stepped up to the line, Hawk's phaser easily slipping into her hand. She hadn't been the best in her class when it came to marksmanship, but she could at least hold her own.. hopefully.

"Blue sir. I'll take blue."

"Then fire!" Hawk bellowed. "Go, go, go!"

Half of the holographic targets turned to an incandescent blue while the remaining lit up a bright crimson red.

Turning with a jump, Aya took a deep breath as she leveled the phaser at the various colored targets before her. The first few went down in seconds, the deep blue orbs fading from existence as the orange glow of the phaser beam impacted the target. Soon, the red targets started to move, blocking what would have been easy shots moments before. Despite being well versed in this particular program it still added to Aya's time in taking down her targets.

"Well done," Hawk said, taking the phaser away from her. "You did not panic. Your time was slow, but speed comes with training. 100% accuracy is nothing to sneeze at." He smiled in admiration. "You're sharp, you're collected, and you don't waste my time. I'm going to keep my eye on you, Ensign Tusalo. And to do that, I am assigning you to Security Team Alpha. First boots on the ground, first to lead their own security team, first to advance when the time comes for promotion boards." His brow shot up into his only mildly ridged forehead. "What do you say to that, Ensign?"

Aya was doing her best not to jump from her boots as Hawk moved her up to basically the elite of the Challenger's security team. "I'd like that sir, quite a lot actually!" This was a huge chance, she was sure not to waste it. "I know I'll be an asset to the team."

"You would prove me wrong if you weren't," Hawk said. "Report to Lieutenant O'Neil. They'll get you squared up with the rest of Alpha. Oh, and Tusalo? Don't be afraid to brag to the rest of the rookies." He smirked at her. "A little friendly rivalry never hurt anything. You're the rabbit now and I'm going to set them to chase you."

"I think I can manage that sir, I always was one for a bit of friendly competition. Not that I expect they'll give too much of a challenge." Aya gave a cheeky wink, a rocking bounce on her heels as a bit of her excitement of the prospects leaked through.

The wink made Hawk chuckle. "Alright, then."

While he commanded respect from his department, Hawk knew it was also his job to promote teamwork and comradery, and the best way to do that was to mix a little resentment into his crew's respect for him. Giving recognition to a wet-behind-the-ears ensign who showed promise would inspire the new arrivals while also lighting a fire under the old guard. Everybody would step up their game, and the only way they would succeed would be through training together. In the end, while they would obey his orders, they would die for one another. And that was the sort of discipline he wanted.

"Maybe take it easy on Ensign Chaillu for a day or two though." The Efrosian had been a good sport, getting dumped on his head in front of his former classmates on the first day. "Might take that long for a man's pride to grow back."

"Chaillu?" Aya smiled at the memory of the arrogant Efrosian being trounced in their hand-to-hand combat training the other day. "Sure I'll go easy... not that he would on any of us of course. But that's kind of his thing." Vrylith Sh'vhynohr, her Andorian classmate would be the real challenge, they'd been rivals since their first days at the Academy. Friendly for the most part, she was actually the one who put Chaillu in his place.

Hawk gave her a knowing smirk. "I figured. That's why he was my object lesson. So what are you going to do with your exemption from extra PT?"

"Move into my new barracks I guess, meet the team?" Aya tried to play it a little bit coy but she was clearly excited. "I can't imagine that we'll have a lot of downtime after all."

"When you're right, you're right." Hawk just shook his head. If only every rookie could be like her... "Go on, get out of here. See you at the next departmental briefing."

"Aye sir, I'll be there." Aya gave the man a nod and tried to restrain herself from running out of the range and straight back to the security station. She needed to keep some level of decorum in front of her new boss, there was plenty of time for her to make a fool of herself later.


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