A dedication to service is perhaps to be expected as a motivation to serve in Starfleet but to link that dedication in part to faith and thus part of the motivation is an unusual take. However, it is a take that works extremely effectively, especially when written so compellingly.
The characters of Sam and Mendral have a mutual connection, a bond they probably fear to show to others. The exile in the story could be either one. There is a beautiful symmetry to your writing.
Again, a wonderful piece of writing Nerys.