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Crisis Hire

Posted on Fri Jul 23rd, 2021 @ 4:33am by Captain Jocelyn Blake & Lieutenant Jordan Hoover

Mission: Episode 2: 18th and Constitution
Location: Starfleet Command - Press Secretary's Office
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 0900

[Starfleet Command]
[MD 2, 0900 Hours]

Jordan Hoover was many things, but sufficiently high up in rank to not be dazzled by the buzz and veneer of Starfleet Command was not one of them. The journalist stood in the entry hall to the main Headquarters building, staring up at the ceiling as if he was a kid on a school tour. Around him various staffers, visitors, and the odd admiral bustled in and out. An aide-de-camp in a hurry bumped into him from behind, turning to mouth an apology, before flashing a badge at the man by the desk indicating her clearance to proceed beyond that point. Clear doors providing a glimpse into the long hallway beyond opened to admit the woman, closing behind her retreating figure.

Reminding himself that he wasn’t here to gawk, Jordan moved forward, addressing the man who was single handedly determining whether people could enter the building.

“Lieutenant Jordan Hoover,” he said, by way of introduction. “I have an appointment with Captain Blake.”

“Blake?” the man responded, picking up a PADD and seeming to lazily scroll through. “Ah, yes, here it is. Give me a moment.”

Tapping his badge he spoke to the air around him. “Landingham, this is Bob at the front. I’ve got a Jordan Hoover to see Captain Blake.”

A woman’s voice came back across the communicator channel. “Yes, we’re expecting him, I’ll be right there.”

The line went quiet and Bob smirked at Jordan, indicating a bank of seats on the wall. “You can sit if you like, but Landingham is pretty prompt. I’d expect her…” as he spoke the double doors snicked open, revealing a dark haired woman bearing Lieutenant’s pips. “... Well, nevermind then. Lieutenant, I leave him in your charge. I’ll sign him in.”

Landingham nodded, sticking out her hand to shake and then indicating he should follow her back through the doors.

“Bonnie Landingham,” she said by way of introduction. “I’m Captain Blake’s aide.”

Jordan raised an eyebrow. “I thought her aide was a guy,” he noted, recalling Jocelyn commenting on someone named Frank in the week prior.

“Captain Blake’s acting aide, then. Lieutenant Yaris hasn’t checked in yet after the bombing,” Landingham clarified in a no nonsense tone as she hustled him down the corridor.

A series of turns, office doors, cubicles, and corridors laters and Jordan was well and thoroughly lost. Finally, Landingham stopped in front of an office, Jocelyn’s name appearing on a placard on the wall with the title Press Secretary immediately underneath it.

Landingham sat down at a desk just outside the door and nodded. “You can go in. I let her know you were on your way back before I came out.”

The doors whooshed open at his approach revealing a dark wood desk, it’s surface taken up with piles of PADDs, a warmly lit desk lamp, and two or three coffee cups. The red-haired occupant of the desk looked up as he stepped into the room, offering him a tired half smile.

“Jordan,” Jocelyn said, “thank you for coming.” The exhaustion he imagined she was feeling echoed heavily in her voice. “Come in, come in. Have a seat. Can I get you anything? Coffee?”

He nodded. “Coffee would be great,” he replied, taking in the room in a quick sweep. Absently he heard Jocelyn ask Lieutenant Landingham for two coffees. The other woman’s reply was muffled, but he assumed an affirmative.

Settling himself in one of the chairs in front of her desk, he turned to look at her more closely. When Jocelyn didn’t call to ask if she could sleep on his couch again last night he assumed she had gone home. The news about the bombing had been everywhere and he was certain, after watching her briefing, that she had a front row seat to the entire crisis. But while the two of them had regularly been there for each other of their years of friendship, they also knew when to give space, and so Jordan knew that she would reach out if she needed him.

Now, he wondered if that hadn’t been the right move. The office where he sat was disheveled, an odd blanket flipped over the back of the small couch and a pillow tucked to the side.

“Joce,” he began carefully, “did you sleep here last night?”

She waved her hand dismissively in the air. “Pretended to possibly, but I don’t know if there was anything you could really call sleep.”

He nodded slowly. “You could have stayed at my place again.”

Jocelyn seemed to study her hands as if they might provide some helpful response. “I know,” she finally said. “I just needed to be here.”

He knew better than to question her so instead he nodded again. “Ok.”

For a moment it was as if she was somewhere else. Somewhere far away. He waited, wanting to ask about the explosion, but also not wanting to make her relive something that was clearly still a very raw experience.

Finally she looked up, seeming to shake off whatever was going through her head. Her expression hardened then settled into what he recognized as her work face--the look of focus and confidence that he had seen her pull on so many times before. She pulled a PADD off of the top of her pile pinching and throwing something onto the screen to their side. He resituated slightly to see it, pausing when he realized it was his service record.

“Jocelyn…” he began, a question in his voice, “why are we looking at my service record?”

Serious green eyes considered him from behind the desk.

“You asked me to come in because you said you needed help with a project…”

She nodded, “I did.”

“Jocelyn, what project exactly?”

“Jordan, you’ve been straddling the line between officer and private citizen for some time now. You’re a great journalist and ACNN has been lucky to have you...”

“But…” he led.

“But there’s more that you could be doing,” she noted, studying him.

“Jocelyn, what project exactly?” he asked again.

She sighed, standing and coming around to face the view screen displaying his record. “I need a deputy,” she said from where she stood. “It has to be someone I know. Someone I can trust. Fleet Admiral Sturnack is incapacitated in the care of Starfleet Medical. Rear Admiral Whitford is the Acting CinC. We had too many openings in this department before a bomb sidelined several more.” She turned then and looked at him. “I need you, Jordan. Come work for me.”

He frowned, processing her words and hearing all of the most obvious reasons not to accept ring in his head even as he knew he couldn’t turn her down.

“There’s got to be more qualified candidates, Joce,” he finally said, buying time. “I’ve been Starfleet reserves for the last decade. Can you even bring me back to active duty for something like this? Don’t I need to have been active for a specific period…”

She shook her head at him and his questions died on his lips. “You have the right clearance,” she began. “Rank is irrelevant here, they bumped mine and I’m confident we can sort that out where you’re concerned as well.” She came back around her desk and sat. “But more importantly you know the press. You know the landscape, Jordan, and you know me.”

He found himself nodding despite his lingering trepidation.

“I need you here,” she continued. “I need a friend, my friend, to help keep this place together. I can’t do this on my own.”

He sat back in his chair then, letting a breath out in one long whoosh. “You’re allowed to offer me this job?”

She nodded, a mischievous smirk on her face. “It’s my position to fill.”

“And I don’t need to go through an interview? Background check? Physical?”

A small laugh escaped her. “No. Your record has everything we need.”

He studied his hands before finally looking up to meet her gaze again. She was his friend. Someone who had been there through more crazy stories, difficult bosses, and life events than he could count. If there was anyone he would want to serve under, it was her.

“Count me in,” he said, a grin taking shape on his face. “I need a few days to close things up at ACNN, but I can do that from here if there’s a space where I can work.”

Her answering smile was a mixture of relief and excitement and he found himself glad that he could give her this one thing in the midst of what was, undoubtedly, a horrific week.

“When do I start?”

=/\= A Mission Post By =/\=

Lieutenant Jordan Hoover
Alpha Centauri News Network

Captain Jocelyn Blake
Press Secretary
Starfleet Command

Lieutenant Bonnie Landingham
Aide-de-Camp to the Press Secretary

with a cameo from...

Bob--the guy at the front desk


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