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Old March 15 2012, 09:15 PM   #18
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Re: And a Star to Steer Her By

She could have chosen her office but she had decided that she wanted more space to confront the Agamemnon’s captain than her cramped office would have been able to provide.

She had already decided to forgo her usual ritual of welcoming the captain on board personally. It would send a message, she hoped. In her mind she was going through everything she was going to say. She would remain civil of course but she would also make it unmistakably clear that she would not accept this kind of disregard for procedure as the Agamemnon had displayed today.

After all this was still her station and everybody who came here merely guests. And guests were expected to follow the house rules.

Her crew had often accused her of playing too nice with visiting captains. That she was too accommodating to their needs and often gave in to avoid a confrontation or simply to try and make everybody happy. But Vej was right, she had decided. She needed to take charge and make sure people knew it.

She reached the wardroom to find an ensign who advised her that the captain was inside and waiting. She dismissed him and then took a deep breath before stepping into the room.

“Commander Donners, I presume. A pleasure to make your acquaintance,” the youthful, blue-skinned Bolian had said before Amaya even had a chance to take full measure of the man. He had sat somewhat relaxed at the end of the conference table but upon seeing her enter he had quickly stood and approached her with an outstretched hand. “I’m Arden Texx.”

It totally threw her game plan and she found herself taking his hand, which he quickly proceeded to shake quite intensely. He had a wide grin on his face.

“My pleasure,” she said as she claimed her hand back and found herself mirroring his infectious smile despite herself.

“A great station you’ve got here. It’s an Orbiter, isn’t it?”

She nodded.

“Funny coincidence, my great-grandfather was part of the design team for the Orbiter project. Did you know that it was the first starbase class designed to operate entirely independently for its entire lifespan? In fact you could run this station for one hundred years without ever needing a single resupply run.”

Amaya looked at him blankly.

“I’m sorry, I’m a bit of a starbase enthusiast. I suppose it runs in the family. My father is an engineer at Utopia Planitia and my mother is an architect back on Bolias. Imagine the conversation when I told them that I, in fact, didn’t want a career in building things,” he said and chuckled.

Donners couldn’t help but smile. It had most likely been similar to the conversation she’d had with her folks when she had decided against joining the Border Service. Her amusement began to fade however when she remembered why she had asked Texx to meet her here.

And she couldn’t help noticing something else. Texx didn’t just appear youthful, he was. Certainly younger than she was and according to the rank insignia on his collar, he was a full pay grade below her.

“Are you in command of the Agamemnon?”

He smirked. “Shocking, isn’t it?”

It wasn’t entirely unheard of to have an officer of his rank in command of a starship but at this particular moment this fact only helped to irritate her further. Where they handing out starship captaincies to just about everyone these days, she wondered.

“I’d like to discuss a few things with you, Commander,” she said, now unwilling to be sidetracked any further.

“Sure thing.”

“First of all, while I appreciate your visit here, I have been wondering if you are at all aware of the required protocols for approaching a starbase. For once we have no records of your arrival intentions, not to mention a filed flight plan. Until today I didn’t even know you were in the sector.”

“An oversight, I apologize.”

He was amenable enough, not like your typical, boisterous, never-do-wrong, starship captain. But she was on a roll now and the fact that she technically outranked him only helped to spur her on. “If that’s all there was, Commander, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s bad enough that we had to juggle around docked vessels just to make room for you, your approach to DS5 violated half a dozen protocols. And while you may think that those aren’t all that significant, I can assure that we follow them for good reason. And as long as I’m responsible for the safety of your vessel as well as all other ships in our airspace, I will do whatever I must to enforce them. If just one ship decides to ignore protocols the way you have, the ripple effect could mean serious safety risks for all other ships in the vicinity including the base itself.”

She had to stop there to get some air. And she actually delighted in the fact that poor Texx looked appropriately chastised. But she wasn’t done.

“I don’t want to make things difficult for you,” she said, freely borrowing a phrase that starship captains liked to use on her. “But these are serious issues and I’m considering making a formal complaint to FleetOps. Not out of spite but because sometimes that’s the only way to ensure that these things don’t happen again.”

“I understand.”

“I’m not sure that you do, Commander. You seem to think that –“

The door to the wardroom opened, forcing Amaya to stop in mid-sentence and turn to see who had decided to interrupt her admonishing session.

It was Commander Rahul.

She didn’t appreciate the intrusion at all. “Commander, I have things well in hand here,” she told him sharply.

“I’m sure you do.”

That had not come from the Efrosian but the man who had followed him into the room. Admiral Glover.

“Sir?” she said and instinctively straightened her shoulders.

Then she realized that his son, Terrence, had also stepped inside and she suddenly felt extremely self-conscious of having such a large audience while she was laying into Texx. That had most definitely not been part of the plan.

“Commander Rahul has informed me that you are having an issue with the commanding officer of the Agamemnon,” said Samson Glover, the man’s face a mask of stern professionalism.

She shot the Efrosian a dark look, unable to believe that he had felt it necessary to inform the admiral of this situation. She quickly focused on Glover again. “I was just advising Commander Texx on proper starbase approach procedures.”

“Sounded to me like you were really letting the poor guy have it,” said Terrence Glover who made no effort to hide his amusement. “Remind me never to get on your bad side.”

Now she was beginning to feel embarrassed. It had never been her intention to make anything official, never mind her threats. And she certainly hadn’t meant to get the Admiral involved who generally left any such matters entirely in her hands. “It’s really not that big of a deal. I don’t see any need –“

“Commander,” Admiral Glover said firmly. “Terrence is right. It sounded like there was a serious issue here and if that is the case I want it to be dealt with appropriately. Do you think the CO of the Agamemnon needs to be officially reprimanded?”

She was momentarily stunned by Glover’s harsh tone and very much aware of all eyes in the room resting on her. She looked back at Texx who tried to do his best to avoid eye contact now.

“Well, Commander?” Samson said.

She realized that this was what she had wanted. To make those starship captains accountable and not let them get away with whatever they demanded. And yet she couldn’t quite bring herself to do it. “I don’t think that will be necessary, sir.”

“I disagree,” said Terrence.

“With all due respect, Captain,” she said, shooting the man a cold look, “that’s hardly your decision to make.”

“No, he’s right, Commander,” said Samson Glover, leaving Amaya stunned. “There will have to be consequences.”

The younger Glover suddenly snapped his fingers as if he had an ingenious idea. “What if we relieve Commander Texx of command?”

“Yes, I think that’s what we will have to do,” the Admiral said.

“Wait a minute,” Donners said and took a step forward. “Surely that is a disproportional action considering the circumstances.”

“I don’t think it is,” the senior Glover said.

“I’m pretty certain you would have to run something like this by Command first,” said Donners, trying to find an excuse to stop this insanity in its tracks.

“I’m the highest ranking officer in this sector, Commander. I feel perfectly within my rights to do this,” he said and then looked straight at the Bolian. “Lieutenant Commander Texx, you are hereby ordered to stand down as commanding officer of the USS Agamemnon, effective immediately.”

He stood up straighter and nodded. “Understood, sir.”

Amaya couldn’t believe what was happening. And all this because of what she had started. “Sir, I’m sorry but I must protest –“

“Commander Donners, if you have any other issues with the Agamemnon I suggest you take them up with her new commanding officer immediately,” said Samson, cutting her off.

Her head was beginning to spin. “Her new commanding –“

The admiral stepped closer and looked straight into her eyes. “You.”

“Sir, … I don’t understand.”

A wide grin spread over his face, dispelling any notion that he had been as serious as he had let on. “By order of Starfleet Command, you are hereby requested and required to take command of USS Agamemnon as of this date,” he said and offered his hand. “Congratulations, Maya.”

She had no words. Her mind was still trying to process what had just happened and only very slowly did she realize the truth. They were all smiling now. The Glovers, Rahul even Texx. They had all been in on this from the start.

She shook his hand still trying to think of the appropriate words. “Thank you, sir,” she finally said unable to come up with anything else.

“I wish I would have thought of making a vid-log of this,” said Terrence with boyish amusement. “The look on your face was priceless.”

But Amaya was still too stunned to respond to that.

“Oh yes and one other thing,” said the admiral and gestured for Terrence who quickly stepped up next to him and presented a small black box. Samson Glover opened the lid, removed one golden rank pip and attached it to the collar of her uniform. “Captain Amaya Donners,” he said. “How does that sound?”

“I think it sounds pretty good,” said Terrence and shook her hand as well. “It’s going to be different around here without you welcoming me onboard every time I drop by.”

“I’m sure you’ll manage just fine, Captain,” she said with a smirk.

“I suppose I’ll have to, Captain.”

Shortly thereafter Terrence, Rahul and Texx left the room to give the admiral and the newly minted captain some time alone.

“I hope you are not terribly cross with me,” he said once the others had left. “This setup was mostly Terrence’s idea. The boy’s got an evil streak. God knows where he gets it from.”

She laughed. “It’s not what I expected.”

“It’s what you deserve. And I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t easy for me to do this. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s the right thing to do but losing you won’t be easy.”

“Sir, you know this wasn’t what I was after. I was happy with what I was doing,” she said.

He shook his head. “We both know that’s not true.”

“Maybe not entirely,” she said after a moment. Incredibly the idea of being in command of her own ship, now that it was a reality, was becoming more exhilarating by the moment. This, after all, had been why she had joined Starfleet. And no matter how much she had tried to pretend otherwise over the years, this had always been her dream.

“Trust me, Maya, this is exactly what you need. And I can tell you from experience that once you taste it, once you realize that she’s all yours, there is nothing in the universe you’d rather be doing than sitting in that chair. It’s a spark that I’ve leaned to recognize over the years. Terrence has it and so do you.”

She nodded slowly and then turned to approach one of the viewports, which allowed for a spectacular view of the docked Agamemnon.

“A beauty, isn’t she?” he said as he stepped behind Donners.

She couldn’t get her eyes off her. “Until just recently she was just another ship. Now she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

When Maya finally managed to tear herself away, she turned to glance at the man who had made this possible. “Thank you, sir. I mean it.”

He nodded with that proud, fatherly smile of his.

“I was wondering if I could ask you for one other favor?”

Glover tried not to grimace. The last time he had agreed to a favor he had lost the best first officer and adjutant he’d ever had. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we can get it done.”

She nodded and couldn’t resist to turn to the viewport once more to admire what was now her ship. After a short while she began to frown.

Glover noticed. “What’s the matter?”

“I just realized that I will have to radically change my perception of starship captains.”

Samson guffawed.

* * *
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