She had managed to recoup her feel-good attitude shortly after she had left the security department behind. Yes, she had been annoyed by the fact that two of her senior officers clearly didn’t get along even though it was essential that they worked together but at the same time she couldn’t help but feel that this would be an extremely boring captaincy if everything just worked perfectly right out of the gate.
It was going to be up to her to mold this crew into an effective unit and it was a challenge she looked forward to, road bumps and all.
She decided to check in on one more department before making her way back to her ready room for a well-deserved cup of hot and spicy raktajino
Deck 4: Primary Science Lab.
’s offensive capabilities came at the price of a much more limited scientific scope. Still the ship was equipped with six science and research labs and a dedicated stellar cartography section and possessed a full set of sensitive sensor equipment.
She found the man in charge of all this working by himself at a computer station tucked in the corner of Agamemnon
’s largest science lab.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Wayne Daystrom defied the stereotype of what a scientist was supposed to look like. The tall and muscular young man would not have looked out of place as one of Mer’iab’s security officers or even in a Marines’ uniform but instead he had followed a time-honored and prestigious family tradition by pursuing a career in the sciences.
Maya felt a certain kinship to Daystrom. It had not been difficult to notice that the man felt at least slightly ambiguous about his position which she attributed to his insecurity of being put in charge of an entire department on a starship at a relatively young age. She couldn’t deny that she was plagued by similar feelings about her nascent captaincy.
Daystrom’s shoulders were slumped as he slowly typed into his workstation while referring to a padd he held in his other hand every few moments. He did not notice the captain enter. The light levels had been dimmed significantly.
“I may have to check with Doctor Rass to be sure but I can’t imagine this is good for your eyes,” she said as she approached the science officer.
He turned to look at her and his entire posture changed dramatically. Not the same way as the security officers had earlier. He didn’t jump to attention like a first year recruit but instead he stood, straightened his shoulders and offered a warm smile. “Captain.”
“I’m sorry, Lieutenant, I didn’t mean to interrupt your work.”
He quickly waved it off. “It’s nothing important, sir.”
She did not miss that the smile never quite reached his eyes. “How are you doing, Wayne? You settling in alright?”
“Yes, thank you for asking. And I’m happy to report that all sensors are working at optimal efficiency. The navigational deflector and the long range sensors will need a bit of fine-tuning still but otherwise the boys and girls at Atlas V really did a great job with her.”
“That’s certainly good to hear.”
A short and awkward pause ensued between them and Amaya felt as if other matters were on the young man’s mind which he may not have wanted to share with his captain. She decided that she wanted things out in the open. It seemed to have worked with Mer’iab and sh’Fane. Or at least she hoped it had.
“Take a seat, Wayne,” she said.
Daystrom sat back down and Amaya took the chair at the adjacent workstation. “I’ve been watching you over the last few days and I get the distinct feeling something is troubling you. Want to talk about it?”
“It’s nothing, sir.”
“Do you mind if I’m the judge of that?”
He seemed to consider his next words very carefully which Maya always saw as a bad sign. “It’s this assignment. Please believe me when I say that I don’t want to sound ungrateful and that I consider it a tremendous honor to be serving under you.”
“I hear the but coming,” she said.
“I am not really sure how to explain it. All my life people have had the tendency to compare me to my great-grandfather. I suppose I look a little like him and I certainly inherited not just his size but also his fascination with research and the sciences. People have come to expect that I’ll be just like him someday, follow in his footsteps as it were as some sort of scientific prodigy. How many prodigies do you know who serve as a science officer on a battleship?” he said, sounding embarrassed as the words came over his lips.
She cringed slightly. “First of all, Agamemnon
isn’t a battleship and I don’t want you to pay attention to anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.”
“As for your concerns about measuring up to people’s expectations, well that’s a lit bit trickier. All I can really say is that I have found it much healthier when you stop worrying what people may expect from you and instead focus on what’s important to yourself. You are not Richard Daystrom. You are your own man with your own path. And that path has led you to become the chief science officer on a ship of the line which, if I may say so, is no small feat.
You are just at the beginning of your career, Wayne. You may find that you enjoy doing this for a long time to come or maybe you find that you’d rather be a dedicated researcher like your great-grandfather was. Give it some time before you start obsessing about not measuring up to one of the greatest minds in Federation history.”
Daystrom’s smile widened and Maya thought that this time it was genuine. “You’re right,” he said. “I’m sorry I knew I was being silly but hearing it from you, I think you put things in perspective for me. Thank you, Captain.”
She got up and returned his smile when he immediately left his chair as well like the gentlemen he was. She gave him a friendly clap on his upper arm. “I was glad to help. And if you ever want to talk, you know where to find me.”
He nodded gratefully and she turned to head for the exit.
She stopped before reaching the doors to shoot him one last look. He had sat back down and returned to work on whatever he had been occupied with before. She noticed that his shoulders were slumped again and that his facial expression had returned to the dour look he’d worn when she had first entered the lab.
Maya doubted that her little prep talk had been sufficient to make the young man forget all about his admittedly complex trepidations. It had been a good start, she decided before leaving the lab for good.
* * *
Truth be told she really looked forward to that hot cup of raktajino
after her daily tour of the ship had concluded. She sensed that one more challenge awaited her when she found Lieutenant Tess Allenby outside of her ready room as soon as she stepped onto the bridge.
“Captain, may I have a word?” the blond-haired woman asked with little delay. By the tone of her voice it was obvious that she was agitated and that she wanted to have this conversation in private.
“Of course, Lieutenant,” she said and led her into her spacious ready room.
“Would you care for a drink?” she asked.
“I’m fine, thank you.”
As much as she wanted to sip on spicy Klingon coffee, Donners decided against indulging in a hot beverage while dealing with a clearly distressed senior officer. She was detecting a troublesome theme however.
She took a seat behind her desk and gestured the lieutenant to sit in the chair opposite hers but Allenby politely refused yet again.
“I need to speak to you about Ensign DeSoto, sir. His behavior is completely inappropriate and I am convinced it has come to a point were perhaps re-assignment is not entirely out of the question.”
Donners fixed the young woman with a surprised look. “Yours or his?”
“His, of course,” she shot back.
She started to pace the length of the office. “I assure you I wouldn’t bring something like this to your attention unless I felt it was absolutely necessary. I hate the idea of having to escalate a personnel issue in this manner but the man – and I’m using the term very loosely here as he behaves more like a boy than a man – has left me no other choice. God knows I’ve been trying to put up with it but I have my limits.”
“I see. Would you mind stop moving –“
“You have to believe me that I’ve tried everything I could to resolve this matter without having to make it official. I’ve tried speaking to him on numerous occasions but to be perfectly honest, it’s like talking to a ten-year old. He just doesn’t want to listen. This is not a behavior appropriate for a Starfleet officer,” she went on as if Donners hadn’t spoken at all and continued to pace.
Maya tried to hide her irritation. “I just need you to calm down and stop –“
“I don’t want you to think that I’m the kind of person who enjoys badmouthing other officers behind their backs, because I’m really not. I just want to be able to carry out my duties to the best of my abilities but this is becoming increasingly difficult with somebody like Ensign DeSoto playing these stupid –“
A loud hiss finally achieved what Donners hadn’t been able to do and Allenby stopped in her tracks and turned around to see a vicious-looking wildcat bearing down on her, his head lowered and peering up at her as if getting ready to pounce any second.
The green and yellow le-matya
looked more than strong enough to jump the lithe woman and rip her apart limb from limb before she could even think of trying to defend herself. She began to back paddle with her eyes wide open in shock.
“What I’ve been trying to tell you, Lieutenant, is that Cosmo gets grumpy when people raise their voice in my office and try to wear down the carpet. And by the way, I don’t care for it either,” said Donners with a smile which made it difficult to judge if she was being serious or not. The sincerity of the three hundred pound wildcat however was not in question.
“I … I’m sorry,” she stammered, keeping her eyes on the advancing animal now showing off a set of impressive and razor-sharp teeth as well as gleaming claws.
“Cosmo, be a good boy and leave the lieutenant alone,” said Donners casually. The le-matya
stopped and then turned his head to look back at his mistress. “We talked about this. No hissing in my ready room.”
Cosmo aimed one last look at the lieutenant before he retracted his claws and trotted towards his favorite spot right by the window where he laid down with his head on top of his paws, appearing almost pouty by not being allowed to play.
Donners shrugged. “He may be smart but he’s also still an animal and its tough for him to ignore those instincts. Don’t worry he hasn’t actually attacked anyone in years.”
Allenby nodded slowly, clearly not entirely convinced.
“Now where were we?” she asked with renewed cheer. “Ah yes, you were ranting about Mister DeSoto while completely ignoring me.”
“I’m so sorry, sir,” she said quickly.
“Forgive and forget,” she shot back. “Now, sit down and let’s start again.”
This time she took that seat.
“I understand that Bobbie can be a little immature at times but suggesting that he should be re-assigned is a little extreme. Not to mention that I wouldn’t want to be the person breaking the news to his father,” said Maya.
“With all due respect to his family, DeSoto Junior is not fit to be a Starfleet officer and he’d be the first one to tell you that he doesn’t have a care in the world about the exemplary legacy that his father and his grandfather have built.”
Maya couldn’t help but think about Wayne Daystrom. Similar background, entirely different set of issues. “Why do you feel he is not fit for Starfleet?”
“Because he has no discipline, sir.”
“Has this anything to do with his tendency to play practical jokes?” she said with a knowing grin which she quickly dropped when she realized that Allenby was not amused.
“They are way out of line, sir, and for whatever reason I have been singled out. Today he had the replicator produce a plate of gagh
for my lunch and two days ago he reprogrammed my sonic shower to only produce water. Have you ever been soaked from head to toe in hot water? It’s disgusting.”
“You’ll be surprised to learn that for a long time that’s how humans tended to take their showers.”
“People also tended to slaughter animals for food. It’s barbaric,” she said.
Amaya suppressed her urge to roll her eyes. She could tell why Bobby DeSoto had singled out Allenby, she must have made for a mighty inviting target. Sure, she couldn’t condone his actions, at least not officially, but she could certainly understand them. And if this had been the Academy she would even have considered it well-practiced routine. You play a prank on a fellow cadet and they’ll get you back eventually.
But she was also fully cognizant that this wasn’t the Academy and her operations manager, as stuck up as she may have appeared, had every right to be free from fear to be hazed by a fellow officer.
“I think re-assignment may be a punishment unbefitting the crime.”
“Due respect, Captain, I’m not so sure.”
Maya shot her a look that left no room to interpret her resolve in the matter. “I am and that will have to be sufficient for you.”
She nodded quickly in response. “Yes, sir.”
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Lieutenant. Rest assured that it will be addressed.”
She got the hint that this conversation was over and stood. “Thank you, Captain.”
Allenby left the ready room and Donners couldn’t help feeling that perhaps some crew issues were best left in the hands of her first officer. She had enjoyed being a hands-on captain and having the ear of the crew over the last few days and she had no intentions of changing this approach anytime soon but it was her prerogative to delegate when she felt it necessary. The Bobbie DeSoto/Tess Allenby feud clearly fell into that category.
Just like Mer’iab and sh’Fane she needed these officers to work together and respect each other and right now at least the latter did not seem to be the case. She made a mental note to discuss the matter with Arden Texx once they would meet for their daily catch-up session and then stood to head for the replicator.
“I think I’ve earned my raktajino
now,” she said.
Cosmo wordlessly agreed by raising his head.