After engineering her next stop was the deck below which among other things contained the security chief’s office, the armory and the brig.
She overheard the loud voices the moment she had stepped into the security department.
“I cannot understand how you can possibly dispute the outcome of the exercise, Lieutenant. It has to be obvious even to you that we won that engagement.”
“If by won you mean getting yourself almost disemboweled, I’d agree.”
“That’s because you cheated.”
“Lieutenant, I have thick plumage and I can almost put up with all the nonsense you’ve been throwing my way lately but for your own benefit I urge you never to say that again.”
Amaya’s bemused smile which she had maintained pretty much since leaving engineering quickly turned into an ugly frown when he spotted her Aurelian chief of security loudly arguing with Marines commander Beatiar Sh’Fane and in front of an audience of half a dozen security officers no less.
“I don’t know how else to put it, Lieutenant. I had you dead to rights when you simply –“
The Andorian stopped herself in mid-sentence. Not because of the Avian security chief whose wings had begun to unfurl in a sign increasing anger and frustration but because she had spotted Donners step up to them.
“Captain on deck!” she barked and immediately stood at attention.
Me’riab and his security officers followed suit half a second later.
Amaya wasn’t exactly used to this reaction to her presence. Starfleet no longer followed such strict military rituals on a regular basis but the same apparently wasn’t true for the Marines. And the chief of security had most likely followed along instinctively, now wanting to seem disrespectful in front of his new commanding officer. Maya felt that the avian was a little stiff but then she hadn’t come across many security officers who weren’t. But it concerned her that she had yet to see Mer’iab crack so much as a smile which admittedly she wasn’t sure he was capable of considering that large beak adorning his face. She hadn’t heard him make a single joke or facetious comment to hint towards any sense of humor at all. Maya had always felt that a good Starfleet officer had to have at least a little bit of a funny side. Men and women who took themselves too seriously were not just difficult to work with, they could be downright dangerous.
As she considered the two officers standing at attention in front of her she realized that good humor was likely the last thing that ever crossed their minds. Then she realized that nobody in the room would move until she told them so. “At ease,” she finally said and immediately seven boots stomped the floor in unison as everyone stood at parade rest.
“Is there a problem here, Lieutenant?” she said, addressing Mer’iab.
“No problem, sir,” he responded immediately.
She looked him over suspiciously. He didn’t make eye contact with her and instead kept his gaze perfectly straight, aimed at the wall behind her. Maya found this slightly unsettling.
She turned to the Andorian in the Marines uniform. “Is that right?”
Sh’Fane nodded sharply. “The Lieutenant is correct, ma’am. There is no problem.”
Maya looked back and forth between the two officers. “See now, I find that hard to believe considering the rather loud and public conversation I just walked into.”
At that the tall avian with the amber plumage made eye contact with her for the first time. His prominent beak made it difficult for her to read his facial expressions but those intense blue eyes did appear slightly discomfited. “I offer my apologies, sir. We were having a professional disagreement and we probably should have had it behind closed doors.”
“I agree. Let’s do that right now, shall we?” she said and pointed at his office. “Everybody else, carry on.”
Within moments Mer’iab, sh’Fane and Donners had stepped into the adjacent office just about large enough to comfortably accommodate the three of them. Nobody made any move towards one of the three chairs.
“Ok then, let’s have it. What’s going on?”
Neither of them seemed to want to go first.
“Let me get this straight. Your captain asks you a simple question and you both decide to give me the silent treatment?”
The two of them looked at each other, clearly uncomfortable with the position they had been put into. Maya thought she understood. They had no qualms about uttering their grievances to each other like the warriors they both were but it was an entirely different matter to escalate their problems to their commanding officer and thereby implying that they were not able to deal with their own issues.
“Sir, I believe it is a matter which we can resolve ourselves,” Mer’iab finally said.
Maya shook her head. “I’m not sure I agree. If two of my senior officers feel the need to yell at each other in front of the crew, I’d much rather make it my business. Call me nosey, if you want,” she said and then quickly reminded herself that she was beginning to sound like one of those arrogant starship captains.
“Permission to speak freely, sir?”
“Whatever it takes, Lieutenant.”
“Lieutenant sh’Fane and I disagree on the best manner in which to utilize her people on Agamemnon
,” Mer’iab continued. “As the chief of security on this ship I believe it falls under my authority to oversee all security related matters on board as it is outlined in Starfleet regs. The Lieutenant appears to have a different interpretation of those regulations.”
“Permission to speak freely, ma’am?”
Maya rolled her eyes dramatically. “Please, don’t hold anything back.”
“We are on board Agamemnon
because Starfleet is considering assigning detachments of Marines on every ship of the line. As the Lieutenant is fully aware my men are part of an important pilot project to gauge the effectiveness of a well-trained and combat ready team of Marines on a starship. However if the Lieutenant feels it necessary to exclude us from security duties on board, this entire project becomes redundant.”
Maya leaned against the desk and uttered a little sigh and maybe realizing for the first time that being a starship captain would come with its own set challenges and difficulties, even if they appeared entirely silly to her ears.
She had only recently learned about sh’Fane and her company of 87 Marines which had been assigned to Agamemnon
as a pilot project. Apparently somebody in the upper echelons of Starfleet felt that this was potentially a great idea in the face of the seemingly greater dangers starships now faced. The Akira
-class had been considered the perfect test bed for this project. With its impressive offensive capabilities it was already likened to something akin to a battleship even though Amaya Donners took objection to that term.
was a heavy cruiser which happened to be well armed but nowhere in her mission specifications did it state that she was a dedicated vessel of war. Regardless how she felt about this, it had made sense to somebody to give her a regiment of combat-trained Marines.
However it seemed nobody had considered how this would go over with the ship’s already existing security detachment.
“Alright, the way I see it, Lieutenant sh’Fane has a valid point about having to be involved in ship security matters,” she said and then continued just as Mer’iab tried to speak up to object. “However I would expect the chief of security to determine in which way or form this would happen.”
“Ma’am, with all due respect, if it remains up to Lieutenant Mer’iab, my men and I will do nothing but twiddle our thumbs all day,” the Andorian said. “That’s not what we signed up for.”
Maya nodded to acknowledge the problem.
“Sir, I have no objections to the Marines being on board but the truth is that they are not required for any routine operation. Their strength lies in special operations such as boarding missions or repelling intruders. Otherwise my people are perfectly capable to carry out their duties without any further assistance.”
Sh’Fane gave the captain an insisting look as if to emphasize her issues with Mer’iab’s attitude.
Maya didn’t know either one of these officers well enough yet to know if they were being entirely straightforward with her and she halfway suspected that they were holding back their true feelings in front of their new commanding officer. She decided that it would take some time to potentially get to the root of the problem. “Lieutenant,” she said, addressing her security chief, “find ways to incorporate the Marines in routine security duties. I don’t expect them to take over but I want to see a healthy ratio involved in ship duties. Above all, I want you both to demonstrate to me that you can work together. I also want it to be clear that if you guys can’t pull this off, it will reflect poorly on the both of you, is that clear?”
“Understood,” Meri’ab said with what appeared to be very limited enthusiasm.
“And the next time you have a disagreement, take it in here, will you?”
They responded wit curt nods which Maya felt displayed the appropriate amount of humility. “Very good. Carry on then,” she said and left the office.
* * *