She had been deluding herself for far too long.
She had stubbornly maintained that she had been perfectly happy in her old job and that the last thing she’d ever want to do was command a starship. And for seemingly good reason. As the first officer of Deep Space Five one of her tasks had been to face starship captains on an almost daily basis and most of the time they were either unrealistically demanding or insufferably arrogant. Sometimes both at the same time.
Why then would she ever want to join those ranks and see herself transformed into one of those persons who seemed to believe the galaxy revolved around them?
Because, put simply, it was the greatest feeling in the world.
She had been unexpectedly given command of the Agamemnon
less than a week ago and she was still riding a high of excitement and anxiety. She truly felt as if the galaxy revolved around her now but at the same time she was determined to not let it change her. She’d be damned if she turned into an insufferable, arrogant starship commander who would give a mere starbase administrator sleepless nights.
This was her dream come true and she would not let it turn into anybody’s nightmare, not if she could help it.
She smiled at the various crewmembers she passed by as she walked down the corridors of this newly commissioned starship.
All of them wearing the predominately black jumpsuits with a gray turtleneck and colored shoulder sections to denote their department. As an officer previously based on a starbase she had worn this uniform variation for years but they had only been recently introduced to starship crews as well. From what she had heard they were not very popular and Maya wouldn’t have been surprised if Starfleet were to introduce a new uniform style soon.
She tried to put a name to every face she saw but soon realized that with a crew of 555 individuals that would be a challenging task, no matter how much time she had spent going over the ship’s personnel record. She had done her best to memorize the names of the 65 officers on the ship and most of the NCOs. That left her with scores of enlisted crewmembers and civilians. She wouldn’t give up on trying to know each face even if routine crew rotations made it unlikely she’d ever be able to know them all.
It hadn’t helped that she’d had extremely limited input into selecting her crew. The Agamemnon
had rolled off the Atlas V Fleet Yard less than three months ago and a short time later, Captain Robert Jamison had been installed as her commander who had made most of the personnel choices. Ultimately the eighty-year old veteran captain had made the decision to retire from active duty when he had suffered an aneurism just weeks before the official change of command ceremony, leaving Agamemnon
fully staffed but without a captain.
Donners wasn’t entirely sure how her name came up for the position but she had a suspicion that Admiral Jonathan Owens and Samson Glover had somehow been involved. She had been Glover’s adjutant for the last four years and the way he had talked to her – after playing a cruel yet good-natured little prank on her which had culminated in her promotion – had made it clear that he was at least partially responsible for getting her this command.
Owens’ involvement had been less obvious. The father of her good friend since their Academy days and now fellow starship captain, Michael Owens, had dropped subtle hints to his intentions just a week before she had been offered Agamemnon
. Of course at the time she had not expected anything amiss. In fact she had been rather annoyed that everybody seemed to have an opinion about her career.
Admiral Owens had been the first person outside DS5 to contact her to congratulate her on her new position and then promptly asked for her assistance in a delicate matter with which he was involved with and which he claimed to be of uttermost importance. He had not divulged any details but by the way he had presented it, she had little doubt that it was an official Starfleet order, handed out outside the usual chain of command. Agamemnon
was to report to Owens as soon as their current shakedown cruise was complete.
Amaya didn’t see anything suspicious about this turn of events. She trusted Owens even though his secretive aura made that difficult at times. And if he really had had a hand in her getting this command, she had nothing but gratitude for the man.
She banned those thoughts to the back of her mind as she continued her tour of the ship, something she had done every day since they had left DS5. By the end of their weeklong shakedown she was determined to know every nook and cranny of her new ship.
Her first stop: Deck 14, main engineering.
She found two of her most unique crewmembers there. Her Xindi-Insectoid chief engineer Lieutenant Commander Chen and her Selay chief medical officer, Doctor Ssestar-Rass.
Amaya wasn’t surprised to find them together. They weren’t the only non-humanoids in her crew but they were perhaps the ones least acclimated to working with other species. This was especially true for their CMO. She couldn’t quite deny her own reservations about having a reptilian doctor overseeing the health and well being of a mostly humanoid crew, especially considering her obvious lack of experience in the matter. It turned out that Jamison had been Ssestar-Rass’ sponsor to the Academy and had thought very highly of the first ever Selay to join Starfleet. The doctor possessed an innate curiosity for all things unfamiliar, which served her well in her new position, she was eager to learn and had been a skillful physician on her own world. She had also impressed her Starfleet tutors with her almost encyclopedic knowledge of human and other Federation species’ anatomies and physiologies.
She was however, Maya had found, a little clueless when it came to social interactions with the crew. All in all, she found her rather endearing and Donners had every intention to give the Selay a chance to prove herself in this position.
Chen, whose full name was a lot longer and a lot less easy to pronounce was quite a different story. Even more so than the green-scaled reptilian, it took a little getting used to seeing an over six foot tall ant-like creature in a Starfleet uniform. Amaya knew that the Xinid had a long and rich history. Marred in tragedy, the one time Starfleet enemy had been responsible for one of the worst attacks on Earth all the way back in the 22nd century. And while that period of history wasn’t exactly her strong suit, she understood that the Xinid had been a somewhat nomadic people after those events and rarely made contact with the outside world.
Chen was different. Like Rass he was very much an explorer. At only 13 years, he was already a Starfleet veteran, having spent almost 10 years on various assignments before landing on the Agamemnon
. As such he had an easier time getting along with his more humanoid colleagues and had taken the Selay doctor under his wing, trying to impart her with the same lessons he had learned about interspecies relations over time.
“Good Morning, Commander. Doctor. How is my ship and crew today?” she asked as she approached the two officers.
They turned to face her. “Captain,” said Chen in greeting. “You will be happy to learn that the engines continue to perform at 98% efficiency after seventy-nine hours at warp eight point five. Antimatter containment remains stable and main EPS flow is well within standard parameters.”
“Excellent,” she said and stepped closer to the centrally located matter/anti-matter reaction chamber and the large magnetic constriction segments with their swirling blue pulses which to her looked almost mesmerizing. She placed her hands on the bright red railing surrounding the warp core pit and let her gaze wander upwards and along the pulsating blue column. “I’ve been reading great things about this class-nine warp drive,” she said. “I understand it has a tricyclic input manifold and produces a maximum output of four thousand teradynes per second,” the captain added and then glanced at the chief engineer. “Should give us what? Warp 9.972 in a crunch?”
Chen seemed surprised or perhaps impressed by the way his feelers and mandibles twitched slightly. “Actually, the drive is rated for 9.975. It is not a speed I would recommend however.”
She nodded. “Trust me, I’m not planning to take her that fast unless I absolutely have to,” she said and looked over a console attached to the railing. “The warp coils now use specially refined verterium cortenide made up of monocrystal cortenum. I hear the folks at the starship design bureau are hoping that this will lessen the negative impact high warp speeds will have on subspace.”
“That … is correct,” said Chen.
She aimed a big smile at him. “Used to be an engineer myself,” she said. “And you know what they say: Once an engineer, always an engineer.”
“I was not aware people said this.”
Maya glanced back towards the warp core assembly. “Of course this makes that old class-seven drive I had on the Columbia
look like an antique in comparison. When do you think we can conclude the engine stress test?”
“I recommend that we maintain current cochrane levels for another six hours.”
“Good,” she said. “Going this fast for this long is starting to make me a little dizzy.”
The doctor focused on the captain with apparent concern. “You may be experiencing symptoms of motion sickness which has been observed in many space-faring species after prolonged exposure to high warp. There are a number of remedies I can recommend which –“
“Doctor,” she interrupted the Selay in a hushed tone. “I assure you I am not suffering from space sickness and I would prefer if you kept your voice down. The last thing I need is a rumor to spread among the crew that their captain gets queasy whenever we go to warp.”
Ssestar blinked rapidly. “Humblest of apologies, Captain,” she responded in an equally low tone of voice. “I did not wish to imply that you are unfit for duty in any capacity.”
Maya smirked. It wasn’t difficult to read Rass’ embarrassment and if Chen’s antennae behaved similarly to those of Andorians, she guessed that he was concerned about the good doctor as he focused in on her, no doubt thinking that his lessons in the finer nuances of human humor had not yet paid off.
“Relax, Doctor, I was merely joking. What’s the status of the crew?”
It took Rass a moment to understand that the captain had not been serious and that the conversation had now been steered into a different direction. “I have completed mandatory medical examinations for the majority of the crew and have found it overall in good health. I have observed some hesitation by a small number of individuals to voluntarily undergo their physicals.”
The captain nodded. “You will find that some people are not particularly comfortable around doctors. They may need a little bit extra prodding to get them on a bio-bed. I trust it’s nothing you cannot handle.”
“I suspect that some persons have been reluctant to be examined by a non-humanoid physician. My support staff has been very helpful in addressing these issues,” she said.
“Good,” Donners said. “Give the crew some time to get used to having you as their doctor. But if you encounter any more problems bring them to my attention. I expect crewmembers to fully cooperate with you just like they would with any other CMO.”
Rass inclined her head slightly in an approximation of a nod. “I will, Captain. Thank you.”
She gave them both a parting smile. “Carry on,” she said before she turned and left engineering.
“Now, remember what I said about human tendencies to make facetious remarks in unexpected situations?” said Chen after the captain had left.
“I recall. This is not the first time I have made this mistake today. I find it challenging to distinguish a serious comment from a jovial one. How can you ever be certain?”
Chen’s antennae twitched slightly and his large black compound eyes took a moment to focus on the doctor. “In my experience I have found that sometimes all you can do is to make a guess of it.”
* * *