There was a rapping on her cabin door. Cathern continued writing in her ledgers and didn’t look up, answering with a single word, “Come”. The door opened and a rugged blonde haired man walked in, his hat in his hands. His clothes were of a bit better quality than the majority of the crew as befitted his extra pay for being an officer on one of Cathern’s ships. Cathern continued writing, not paying the man heed yet. She was enforcing her will upon this man that Marcelle had selected. Johan Van der Beeke stood quietly, looking about the cabin. It was the first time he had been aboard a Triton and the first time he had been in Cathern’s quarters on this ship. Johan shifted a bit as the minutes passed. Cathern paid him no heed and continued what she was doing. A few more minutes passed before Johan spoke up. “Uh…Captain? Marcelle said you wanted to see me. He said I had been selected to take his place?” Cathen worked on her ledgers a moment more then put her quill down and motioned for Johan to sit where Marcelle used to.
“Are you afraid of me Johan?” Johan was a bit taken aback by the question then collected himself and answered “no”. Cathern grabbed her flask, uncorked it and took a drink of the Scotch then passed it to Johan. Taking the flask he drank a deep slug of the booze, hoping it would calm his nerves then passed it back. “Why did you stand there like a daft crewman about to get a tongue lashing for some infraction?” Johan coughed a bit, figuring he had already blown his chance at the promotion. “You….looked busy.” Cathern picked up the quill and waved it around a bit. “Marcelle thinks you have the skills, knowledge, temperament and what not to replace him. The first thing you need to understand is that if you are to replace him you are not just another crewman. You have to be completely relaxed and comfortable being around me. If I am being an idiot, you need to have the balls to step up and say so, in private of course.” Cathern pointed her quill at Johan’s crotch, the man blushing a bit. “If you have a good idea, I need to hear it. You are my eyes and ears and I will have to trust you like no other. Whatever ship I take command of, you will come with me. Marcelle was like a father to me. You need to be like a brother I never had and watch my back. In return your pay will be significantly more. I’ll consult you in all important decisions and you’ll have access to me in a way you have probably not witnessed before. Our relationship will grow into something more than just captain and officer, and I don’t mean lovers Mr. Van der Beeke. But as time goes on, should you prove effective I should like us to be friends. So, do I have your oath and pledge of support to me?” Johan considered for a moment then nodded. “I swear upon my life that I will support and serve you to the best of my abilities my Captain.” Cathern smiled and took a drink then passed the flask to her new first officer. Johan accepted and took a swig. “So, what are my orders then Captain?”