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Chapter Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons evaluates Lt. Kenny Dolphin's first performance in the command chair...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 13: First Command

First Command

Lt. Gamor secured the tactical unit, then came down the hatch into the bridge, followed by Flight Specialist Salazaar at almost the same moment that Commander Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady entered from the rear of the bridge. Lt. Dolphin stood up and turned. Pep's deep voice filled the bridge. "Kenny Dolphin.." The giant first officer smiled broadly. "You are not relieved, not yet. As you were."

Dolphin turned back to the viewer and resumed his seat in the captain's chair. "Flight Specialists Dih and Chin - report any damage."

"None sir," came Dih's voice, followed by Chin: "Interceptor secured, no damage, sir."

"You are both dismissed to your duty stations. Dock check your birds and prepare full reports. Ensign Sun, Chief Guth - please remain with the wagon. I will meet you up there in a few minutes."

"Make that 20 minutes," came Justice Irons' voice from the back of the room.

Dolphin stood up again, but continued to face forward. Irons walked to the front of the bridge, stopped at the pilot station. "Ensign Phillips."

Ensign Ethan Phillips looked up, "Your honor?"

Irons laid her left hand on the console. Her right arm was in a proper sling with a splint on her hand and wrist. "As you were," she said quietly, looking down at the ensign, then turned her gaze to Lt. Dolphin.

"Ethan Phillips at the pilot station. Sun and Guth in the wagon. Gamor in the tactical unit. Mr. Dolphin, you know the reason I wanted you on this boat is because you are the best pilot in Star Fleet. But when I needed air support you weren't at any pilot console - not even this one." She lightly tapped the pilot console with a fingernail. "You didn't even run the air support operation - you delegated that to a second lieutenant with no tactical flight or command experience. A ground operations officer who has never logged any flight hours."

Dolphin met Irons' steady gaze. He had been told she preferred eye contact. "Aye, Captain." Behind him, Commander Pepper cleared his throat.

"I also heard about your conversation with Lieutenant Mitchell. You pulled rank on a fellow first lieutenant using the 'black uniform' gag - is that correct, Lieutenant Dolphin?"

"Aye, Captain." Dolphin maintained eye contact. Irons was an intimidating woman - as intimidating as anyone he had ever met. But Dolphin had faced down hostile audiences - he had spent years as the most reviled man in the Federation. He heard the giant commander clear his throat again - and catch his breathing. Dolphin's curiosity was aroused. Irons had a reputation as a disciplinarian, but she was no fool and he had followed procedure to the letter. There was a curious glint in her eye.

"And how long have you worn the black uniform, Lieutenant?"

"I put it on about 20 minutes before transporting over from the Enterprise." Dolphin knew Irons was well aware of this. Behind him, he heard the giant commander catch his breath again, almost a sob.

"And exactly when were you promoted to First Lieutenant?"

"This morning, your honor. The second full pip came with the uniform."

Pep simply couldn't hold it any longer. He nearly came unglued with repressed laughter.

Irons broke into a smile as well, then chuckled quietly. She stepped forward and put her left hand on Dolphin's chest. "Very fine first command, Lieutenant. You and Lieutenant Tauk are the bright spots in what has been a disastrous day." She tapped his chest with a finger.. "Don't be too hard on Ensign Sun - he belongs to Lieutenant Carrera's department. But I suppose I don't need to tell you that, do I?" Irons stepped back, then turned toward her office. "Commander, set up an after action review for tomorrow. Lieutenant, get us to Starbase Eleven," she said as she walked into her office.

Pep turned to Lt. Dolphin. "Kenny, you're in command through the end of this shift." Pep and Mlady left the bridge - Mlady giving Dolphin a long and rather strange look before exiting.

Dolphin remained standing next to the captain's chair. He turned back to face the pilot's station. "Ensign Phillips - get some sack time, you're next in this chair." He patted the arm of the captain's chair. "Lieutenant Gamor,"

Gamor had almost welded herself to the most remote corner of the bridge while Dolphin was being grilled.

"Yes sir?"

"You have the con, Lieutenant. Best speed to Starbase Eleven. I will be in the shuttle bay." Dolphin heard Gamor ordering Salazaar to the pilot station. He left the bridge with Ensign Phillips.


Chapter End Notes:

Character:                        Ensign Ethan Phillips (Ethan)
Human Ethnicity:             African American
Additional Species:          Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld:   Rus, Vulcan
Introduced: Episode         2.13
Age when introduced:      22
Role:                                Flight Team Leader, U.S.S. Hunter

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