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Chapter Notes:

Commander Dolphin is intent on getting Dr. Boles into shape...

Star Trek Hunter

Episode 20: Survival

Scene 3: Grooming Napoleon


Grooming Napoleon

“Do you think you’re being a bit tough with him?” Lt. T’Lon raised her eyebrows. Cmdr. Dolphin and Lt. Cmdr. Tauk had taken over the engineering conference room and had been, along with at various times, Lt. Moon and Lt. Gamor, exhaustively reviewing the operation of each of the ship’s operations departments. Now it was T’Lon’s turn with ground operations.

Tauk was coughing quietly and occasionally wiping his mouth. His voice had grown much softer over the past few days. “He has to be. He doesn’t have long to get Boles into shape.”

“Childhood is over for Napoleon,” Kenny Dolphin said. “I need him to grow up and make some friends.”

“You want to promote him?” T’Lon was surprised.

“You have confused want with need,” said Dolphin. “He has way too much potential to leave on the table. I need what he can give to this crew.”

“Do you really think you can groom him for command?” asked T’Lon.

“Not if he gets the idea that’s what Kenny is doing,” Tauk observed. He started coughing painfully. 

“Time for your nap,” said Dolphin.

It wasn’t, but Tauk got up, picked up his cane and made his slow exit anyway. 

T’Lon was unable to keep the concern from her face as she watched the small, sick ferengi moving slowly away from the engineering conference room toward one of the lifts. “He is in a lot of pain.”

“He is in the final stages,” Dolphin observed. “From what I understand, his immune system is now attacking the organs Dr. Boles installed in his lung to generate new lung tissue. He might be able to survive a few more surgeries, but he is nearing the end and he knows it.”

“You intend to replace him with Napoleon,” T’Lon observed.

“When the time comes,” said Dolphin. “I’m sorry, T’Lon. I know it’s been a bit of a grim lottery around here. Some people think I’m grooming Dr. Moon for the job. More think it’s Gaia. Most probably think it’s you and I’ve been letting them think that. Boles won’t learn what I need him to learn if he thinks he’s up for the promotion.”

“I’ve been a bit worried about you, Kenny. Ever since you took this promotion, you’ve become a little… well, I think the term I’ve heard humans use is, a hardass.”

Dolphin laughed. “This has to be a first - a human officer chided by a vulcan for being too much of a disciplinarian…”

T’Lon wasn’t smiling. “I sincerely doubt that.” She put her hand to Kenny’s face. “I know humans. Sometimes better than you know yourselves. You have an illogical tendency to do to others what you are illogically doing to yourselves. I worry about you sometimes, Kenny. Did you see Captain Red while you were on the Milky Way?”

Dolphin sat back, sighed. “No. She has been given a new command. Not that there’s any deep connection there. I am only one among her many lovers. She keeps a rather large stable.”

“She likes you,” said T’Lon.

Dolphin made an amused noise. “I might as well try to catch a river.” He took a drink.

“Either way, you might at least get wet.”

                    And the drink came out his nose.

                                        “You did that deliberately!” he spluttered.

“You might be right about Boles,” T’Lon mused as Dolphin obtained a napkin from the replicator and wiped his face. “It will be tough to replace Tauk. But Napoleon has seniority. It will keep the department directors where you need them and however people feel about him, everyone admires his quick mind and ability to improvise. Out here with nothing but enemies and no backup, we’re going to need that.”

“I’m not being tough on him to get him ready to be a second officer,” Dolphin replied. “No one needs to like the Chief Operations officer. They just have to obey. Being afraid of them is just as useful as liking them, if not more. Tauk is a total perfectionist, so he fits the role perfectly.”

T’Lon raised her eyebrows, nodded. 

“I need Boles to be able to win friends and influence people because…”

“You’re grooming him to be a first officer,” T’Lon concluded.

“He’s about as qualified for the position as I am. I’m never going to be Pep. I might as well try to grow up to be seven feet tall. Boles might as well try to grow green antennae mounts and turn his skin brown. But he’s going to become a legendary starship captain someday and the way things are going, Star Fleet is going to need him.”


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