The newly commissioned Captain Limis Vircona looked at herself in a mirror making minor adjustments to the Starfleet uniform she was now wearing—first the collar where she felt four pips, then the cuffs on her sleeves. It felt snugger than any of her civilian outfits. She almost wanted the uniform to be tight fitting.
She took several small through the Spartan crew quarters when the communications chime caught her by surprise. “Bridge to the captain,” Kozar called.
“Yes,” Limis answered with some hesitation. That’s no way to make a good first impression,
“Message from the starship Defiant
,” Kozar reported. “They found a Bajoran man named Hasin Arnit who says he will only speak to you.”
Limis sighed loud enough to be heard on the comm. She divorced that hothead years ago, but he was still a big part of her life in the Bajoran resistance and the Maquis. “I’m on my way,” she said. “How long until we get underway.”
“Ten minutes,” Kozar replied.
Limis needed five minutes to make her way to a turbolift leading directly to the bridge. She didn’t want to embarrass herself asking a crewmember for directions. She mapped out a route from her quarters. Along the way, she had to turn back having gone too far the wrong way.”
This maze of a Federation starship was something she would have to learn on the fly. It was something the Maquis was used to. Upon stepping off the turbolift, she noticed vacant stares from several of the officers. She quickly dismissed them as getting used to a new CO. Kozar, she was told, had been with this ship since it was rushed into action.
“Captain on the bridge,” Morrison again stated. That was a cue for officers at various auxiliary stations on the port and starboard side of the bridge focused back on their tasks. Two technicians in gold technician jumpsuits went to back to clearing various pieces of equipment out of people’s way.
“Get us underway, first officer,” Limis said to Morrison.
Morrison looked over at Kozar not sure how to respond.
“I’m the first officer,” Kozar stated. “Commander Kozar, ma’am.”
“All right, Commander Kozar,” Limis replied, while turning around to face him. “Get us underway.”
“Ensign Huckaby, hail the dock master,” Kozar said to a young human male at the operations station on the port side of the bridge. “Lieutenant Carson,” he said to the young human woman manning the conn at the center of the bridge in front of the two command chairs, “take us to one-quarter impulse and set course to clear the ship traffic.”
Ensign Willis Huckaby reported from “Dock master has given the all clear,” he said. “Transferring heading to the helm.”
“Course set at bearing one-three-six, mark twelve,” Sara Carson added.
“As soon as we’re clear of the ship traffic,” Limis commanded, “set course to rendezvous with the Defiant
at warp eight.”
“Aye, Captain,” Carson obligingly answered. We’re clear.”
Kozar moved toward the center seat on the starboard side of the bridge, but then remembered who was captain. “That’s your chair, ma’am,” he said.
Limis then sat down and gave the final order. “Engage.”
Commander Logan and Lieutenant sh’Aqba began a tour of the engineering section for the other two Maquis now serving as engineers. Chaz Logan had been a part of the constructions crews of a number of Starfleet vessels. He had even risen to the position of chief engineer of one of the first Galaxy-class starships. As one of the senior supervisors of construction of the Luna-class starship, which began after the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole. This class of starship was to be utilized for exploratory purposes. He didn’t expect these ships to be fighting in a war. For that reason, he was given the role of senior chief engineer in accordance with the practice of having multiple chief engineers on new classes of starships the first year of operation.
Logan had to resist the urge to deck Erhlich Tarlazzi who contradicted everything he said. “Don’t open that” and “Please leave that alone,” were imperatives Logan imagined giving a child, not an adult. He would have a few more gray hairs by the time this war was over anyway, so he figured he’d better swallow his engineer’s pride.
“Are you sure this articulation frame is aligned properly?” Tarlazzi asked from the console right in front of the warp core at the entrance to the warp core maintenance area.
Sh’Aqba looked away from her conversation with Rebecca Sullivan about the warp engine schematics. Both she and Rebecca wondered if they would have to restrain their respective colleagues.
“Yes, I am sure,” Logan calmly replied. “I, myself, recommended these specs to the Corps of Engineers. This configuration regulates the creation of a warp field that is less damaging to the fabric of space-time
“That sounds interesting,” Tarlazzi answered with a hint of skepticism.
“You don’t agree?” Logan asked rolling his eyes. “Yes, our warp field does still leave what colloquially are called subspace footprints, but environmentally sound warp drive is still in an experimental stage.”
“Gentlemen,” sh’Aqba began, stepping between them. “I was just about to explain to Miss Sullivan how our biological how our bio-mechanical circuitry functions.”
Logan hesitated for a second then caught his breath. “With our developments of bio-neural circuitry,” he said, “the SCE has created hybrid circuitry.”
“I’ve heard of bio-neural circuitry being used on some of the new classes of Federation starships,” Sullivan replied, recalling her late husband’s time in Starfleet.
“Yes,” sh’Aqba affirmed. “Bio-neural components help speed up response time, but traditional isolinear circuitry has still proven more advantageous in the pinch
. They both complement each other in particular situations.”
“I look forward to taking those circuits apart,” Tarlazzi joked, just to see how Logan would react.
“A word in private,” Sullivan whispered to Tarlazzi.
The two former Maquis stepped out into the corridor. “These Starfleet engineers don’t take kindly to criticism from less experienced officers,” Sullivan then continued.
“He supervised construction,” Tarlazzi insisted. “He didn’t build this ship with his bare hands all by himself.”
“Nevertheless,” Rebecca replied. “Have I told you about when Michael resolved a major crisis on Deep Space Nine
“Many times,” Erhlich relented.
Rebecca was referring to when Eddington had command of the station in the absence of the rest of the command staff. When he had to beam his colleagues off their runabout, he was forced to preserve their transporter patterns in the station’s computer core. He then had the patterns transferred to the Defiant
to rematerialize them. Seeing the shape the ship was in, Eddington knew Chief O’Brien would not be pleased, and he was right. Erhlich had indeed heard that story enough times.
While Tarlazzi and Sullivan were receiving a crash course in the ship’s systems, Morrison gave Limis a tour of the rest of the ship to quickly familiarize her with locations of key facilities. One stop was the sickbay.
Doctor Aurellan Markalis was at the moment the only medical doctor on staff aboard the Lambda Paz
. That was bad enough without being heavily inundated with patients needing to be back on duty quickly. She was quite capable of making these decisions. She just released a male human paitent when the captain and Morrison entered.
“Doctor Markalis,” Morrison called to the doctor. “I’d like you to meet our captain, Limis Vircona.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Captain Limis,” Markalis replied. “Why is Ronald Kozar not captain?”
“Starfleet Tactical assigned me instead,” said Limis, who couldn’t help but notice the quick and methodical manner in which she walked and the monotonous sound of her voice. The youthful blonde’s lack of a smile was also peculiar. “Mister Kozar is first officer.”
“I apologize then for my absence from the change-of-command ceremony,” Markalis stated with no change in her facial expression.
“That is quite all right, Doctor. You are the only MD aboard. Your hands are full.”
A blonde-haired human male entered the primary ICU from a back door connecting with secondary facilities. He gave Limis a befuddled look as if she was an intruder. “What the hell are you doing in my sickbay?” he demanded.
“Excuse me?” Limis asked. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“I am programmed to identify every member of this crew,” the human responded. “You are not one of them.”
“Computer, deactivate EMH
,” Morrison commanded.
“I have a lot of work to do,” the blonde man insisted as he fizzled out and disappeared.
“He is supposed to have a better ‘bedside manner’ than the Zimmerman, but he is just as rude as Zimmerman,” Markalis stated, in reference to the designer of the medical holographic program who modeled his first EMH after himself and his cantankerous personality. She walked away towards the CMO’s office.
The comm chimed and was followed by Kozar’s voice. “Bridge to the captain. We’ve reached the rendezvous coordinates.”
“On my way,” Limis replied with Morrison close behind.
“If I may ask,” Limis continued as they exited sickbay, “why holographic doctors only? What about holographic engineers or security officers.”
Morrison grinned at the thought of holographic soldiers. “If we could create those things,” he said, “we’d win this war in a heartbeat. Medical personnel are as likely to be incapacitated or killed as any other crewmembers. The EMH is available, if such a contingency ever happened, to address immediate medical needs.”
That point suddenly made sense to Limis. Considering the complexities of Federation technology, that was all that was distracting her from soon having to confront an old adversary.