Leadership Exercise

Some time ago, in another UFOverse we were issued a challenge.

The Challenge was as follows:

Random thoughts of RespectEd Straker is found dead in an alley way in London. There are no marks on the body. Toxicology has not been completed. The only clue to what has happened is a suitcase containing a red space suit.


As the protem leader of SHADO, what do you do? You have five minutes.


The staff being tested are: Alec Freeman, Paul Foster, Virginia Lake, Gay Ellis, Joan Harrington, Nina Hartley and Keith Ford.


Virginia Lake test answer, test results:

Well, let’s see. Straker is … oh for heaven’s sake. Straker is dead. There. It’s said. Damn. Check with Ford, Moonbase and SID to see where the … No. The first thing is to … oh, of course. Security. The first thing is to alert security and have all the codes updated; notify Moonbase and outlying offices that the codes are being changed immediately due to possibly compromise of one of our officers.

Contact command crew and alert them of our status, change of command. Check all records to see when the Commander left Headquarters and if there was anything suspicious about his activities. Like there would be … Sorry. Review all information from Moonbase and SID to see if there is any alien activity we missed.

Order a fully autopsy, double check fingerprints and keep security tight. How the hell did he get one of those things in a … Try to figure out why Straker would have one of the alien suits.

Results: Col. Lake would work well for the first few hours to days after such an incident. Support would be needed thereafter.


Paul Foster test answer, test results:

God damn! Er, sorry. Shit. Uhm, check the records of the previous few days to see if there is any clue as to what happened and why. Find the bastards and … Deep breath. No going off half cocked. Right. Have the body processed by Jackson and staff, make certain it is the Commander. Notify Henderson of the loss. Keep Gay and Moonbase in the loop. Tighten security, especially on the moon. Once assured that it is Commander Straker, solve the mystery of what happened and keep things going. We’re not going to let his loss stop us, no matter how much the enemy wants it to.

Results: Col. Foster is hot headed and still young. Although he might make command after such and incident, the probability is that Henderson would appoint another leader.


Alec Freeman test answer, test results:

We’ve always known he could be targeted, has been targeted by the aliens. Ascertain that the only casualty we have so far is the Commander. Notify security to make all changes necessary, including notification protocols. Assume command of the operation and keep the staff functioning. This would be an incredible blow to the esprit de corps in SHADO. Familiarize myself with the files he was working on and find those responsible for depriving us of him while continuing to keep the aliens as much in check as possible. Make certain services can be attended by vid as well as in person. Find the time to get drunk.

Results: Col. Freeman is solid, dependable and capable of assuming the mantle of command, should he be called on to do so. He will not appreciate the issues that bring him to command under this scenario.


Gay Ellis test answer, results:

Oh, Hell. Losing the Commander would be a shock, especially if there was nothing concrete to tell us why; no vehicle, no obvious answers. I’d ascertain that we were not missing anyone else, make certain security did it’s job in such a situation and that we were not left in a position where we could not respond to alien incursions. We would need answers about … his death, but we would also need to remain on alert as the aliens would take any chance we gave them to break through and maraud as they have been known to do. We could not let the loss stop us, even for a moment. I would fight for the funding we need to continue the defense of Earth and see if we could find a way to take the battle to the alien forces.

I suspect I would be very bloodthirsty, should the body indeed be that of the Commander. He deserves better. Oh, that was bloody professional, wasn’t it …

Lt. Ellis test results: Given command of SHADO under such circumstances could be lethal to the aliens, or tear the organization apart. Lt. Ellis is passionate about our mission, which is a great strength. That same passion could be turned into a destructive force.


Lt. Nina Barry test answer, test results.

Straker’s dead. Oh … Oh. What idiot put me in command? (slight grin and soft laugh). Seriously? Me? All right. Security. I’d want all the surveillance involving the Commander over the last few days or weeks. Anything squidgy there to be investigated. Have security fine tooth comb the Commander’s house, car, body, etc. for clues, cause of death and why the Commander would have an alien space suit with him. Have security run protocols for the loss of an officer, presuming that security has been compromised … Oh, I guess I should do that first, upon notification of the body being found. Even if it turns out not to be the Commander, the protocols must be observed. So, Security first, investigation second and then just keeping the organization on an even keel, including sitting on a few hot heads and keeping them from going off half cocked.

Lt. Barry results: The Lt. needs a little more time in command positions to learn priorities, but is well organized for the position.


Lt. Joan Harrington test answer, test results:

Well … wouldn’t that be just like the Commander. Sorry, but … well, given the way things go around here, that would be par for the course. First things first … why am I in command? Never mind. My first duty is to SHADO. Security protocols require an immediate update of all passwords and accesses. Then I would notify General Henderson and my superiors, presuming they were available to notify. Check all monitoring to see if anything unusual got by us. Once it was ascertained whether we were further compromised and the issues dealt with … I’d probably go have a good cry and a solid drink. I hate tests like this one.

Lt. Harrington’s results: Lt. Harrington demonstrates an understanding of the core issues. With more command experience she would handle the pressures of a crisis well.


Lt. Keith Ford test answer, test results:

It’s not like I haven’t considered what we’d do faced with the Commander gone. We have to be able to carry on. I’d assign Col. Lake or her successor to handle security updates; confer with Dr. Jackson on analysis of the site and body forensics, coordinating with the agency notifying us of their find; and have a check run on all monitoring systems to make certain they were not tampered with. I’d have the rotations for Moonbase and the Skydivers continued per normal and have Col. Freeman and Col. Foster, or their successors keep me updated on personnel morale while we investigated the situation. Personally, I’d be hoping Dr. Jackson found something to indicate that the body was an alien clone or something so we could find the Commander and bring him back … I know, selfish, but there are levels on which the Commander is SHADO and I’m not really ready to soldier on without him.

Lt. Ford results: Lt. Ford would make an excellent second in command. He is ready to assume leadership in spite of his misgivings about his ability to continue on our present course.

End Test Results.


Dr. Doug Jackson sat back in his seat, fingers characteristically steepled as he thought about the test results. In many ways, he found what he expected, although Ford was a little surprising in his admissions. All of their top people were steady hands … well, fairly steady. The combination of Foster and Ellis could lead to interesting disaster in their desire to take the battle to the aliens. Aside from that, all looks well.

This article has 1 Comment

  1. I laughed so much over Joan Harrington’s initial reaction here! Virginia is spot on and Alec is…. pure Alec Freeman. Focussed, dedicated and that moment at the end, that sums up his close relationship with Straker: “Find the time to get drunk.” A short ‘snippet’ of a story, but as usual, you have caught the characters with beautiful accuracy (and I so like Nina Barry’s soft laugh).

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