One Week Later
“You are staring again.”
A startled Commander Donners turned her head to look up at Christine Raeger who had just whispered into her ear before placing the latest communications log onto her workstation for review.
Donners scowled at the younger woman. “I wasn’t staring, I was thinking,” she said in an equally quite tone to make sure the subject of their conversation, sitting at the other end of the operations center would not overhear them.
“My mistake,” she said, gave her a grin and returned to her duties.
Amaya was fully aware how her deep thoughts could have been mistaken as her staring at the white haired and bearded Efrosian officer across the room. It didn’t help that Raeger and the rest of her officers already suspected that she resented the recent arrival.
This of course was not the case. He had come onto the station only a few days earlier and she hadn’t even had the chance to get to know the man. But popular opinion had it that the sudden appearance of an officer of equal rank and judging by his advanced age, of greater experience, and a rather under-defined job role had to be vexing to her and perhaps even indicate a vote of no-confidence in her abilities to run the station.
But the truth was that all this had happened so quickly and unexpectedly that Amaya simply wasn’t sure how to feel about his presence yet. The official word from Admiral Glover had been that Commander Rahul was DS5’s temporary second officer and would answer directly to her.
Rahul himself was a quite sort who didn’t talk much unless he was spoken to but when he spoke it was with the confidence of a man who knew exactly what he was doing. His service jacket had shown that he was well over one hundred years old and it made her slightly uncomfortable to have to issue orders to a man who was more than twice her age. If anything she guessed that she could learn a thing or two from him.
All that was plenty of reason for her to be in deep thoughts.
She didn’t get much of a chance however to consider this peculiar development any further when Jasmine Mendes emerged out of the turbo-lift in what seemed to be a clearly exasperated mood. She was slightly shaking her head as she stepped closer. “Commander.”
Donners didn’t miss the fact that Rahul looked up from his station even though Mendes had clearly meant to address her.
“You’re not going to believe this,” she said. “Captain Solok wants us to go over the repairs schedule of the T’Kumbra
again and he demands to have a senior command officer present this time. What is it with Vulcans anyway? If they think they can do a better job at this why come here at all?”
“Solok is a perfectionist even among Vulcans,” said Donners, who’d had the misfortune of having to deal with the notoriously difficult captain on previous occasions. “He’ll spend five hours to discuss a job that will take two. He won’t be happy until every last detail has been seen to,” she added and stood, sighing inwardly at the prospect of spending the rest of the afternoon with the nitpicking captain.
“Perhaps I can assist,” Rahul offered as he came over from his station. “Solok and I have history and he may be more amenable when dealing with an officer he is more familiar with,” he said and looked at Mendes who shot him an empty expression before looking over at Donners.
“Unless you would prefer to handle this yourself, Commander,” said Rahul who noticed the two women exchanging looks.
Amaya hadn’t even considered the possibility and her first instinct had been to dismiss this offer. If Solok wanted to speak to a senior command officer than that should have been her. But then of course this was not the kind of job she was looking forward to. She shook her head. “No objections, Commander,” she said. “If you want to take this one, be my guest.”
Rahul nodded and then turned to the operations chief. “I suggest we tend to Captain Solok immediately. The longer we keep him waiting the more difficult he becomes.”
“Sure,” Mendes said. She shot Donners another look, perhaps to see if she was truly alright with this and then led Rahul back to the turbo-lift.
“He’s real helpful, isn’t he?” said Reager once the two had left operations. She made a point to keep her eyes on her console however.
“Yes,” Donners said absentmindedly.
“You don’t think he might be up to something,” she said now looking up from her station.
The communications officer shrugged her shoulders “I’m just saying, his sudden arrival on the station is rather suspicious, don’t you think? I’d watch my back if I were you.”
Amaya considered this for all but two seconds and then quickly shook her head. “I don’t have time to entertain your paranoid fantasies,” she said, picked up a padd and headed for Admiral Glover’s office.
He waved her in before she even had a chance to press the enunciator.
The admiral stood behind his desk as she strode in. Samson Glover was a man past his prime but not by very much. Still as tall and broad-shoulder as he must have been in his younger years, his hairline had noticeably receded and his close-cropped curls were more gray than black these days.
His broad smile which Amaya imagined had charmed countless women when he had been younger was much more fatherly now.
It had been his never say die personality and his magnetic charisma which had attracted her to work for him and even after four years, which had not always been easy, she simply could not imagine working for anyone else.
“Maya, how can I help you?”
Whatever she felt below the surface, she did a splendid job to keep those thoughts well hidden underneath a mask of stern professionalism. She held up the padd she had brought. “I have the weekly communication logs for your review.”
He frowned and she wasn’t exactly sure why until he located a padd of his own. He handed it to her and she looked it over to find that it contained exactly the same thing she had brought. She looked up at him. “I don’t understand.”
Glover seemed somewhat uncomfortable. “Commander Rahul provided the report earlier this morning.”
“I see,” she said, looking dumbfounded.
“I suppose we have to work on our lines of communication and responsibilities,” he said, clearly still not perfectly at ease on the subject. “Figure out exactly who does what around here.”
An awkward silence ensued.
“Anything else, Commander?”
She looked at the admiral as if she hadn’t realized that nobody had said anything for a while. “No, sir.”
She gave him a quick nod and then turned to leave but she stopped before she reached the doors and turned around. “Admiral, may I ask you a question?”
“By all means.”
“Have you not been satisfied with my performance?”
Glover immediately shook his head. “No, not at all.”
He grinned. “I mean, yes, I have been very satisfied with your performance,” he said and then held up a hand to stop her from responding. “And let me dispel any notion that Commander Rahul is here because I may not like what you’ve done here because that’s complete nonsense. Maya, you’re practically the lube that allows this station to run smoothly. Without you, well I don’t know what I would do.”
“I appreciate you saying that, sir, but if that is the case why bring in the Commander?”
“Because you do much more than just run the station. You are also my main adjutant and I know that sometimes that can be a full-time job.”
“And you feel that I have not been able to handle the workload,” she said, nodding to herself to show her understanding.
He sighed. “No, I just think that it would help having another officer around with whom you can share the workload. Make things easier on you. Don’t see this as a reflection on your performance. Instead consider it to be a reward. It will allow you to slow down a bit,” he said but made a pointed effort not to glance directly at her while saying this.
Donners still managed a smile. “I will do that, thank you, sir,” she said and left the admiral’s office.