“Captain, do you have a moment?”
Amaya stopped short of entering the turbolift and turned to find Wayne Daystrom heading his way. Not for the first time, the tall, broad-shouldered science officer reminded her a little bit of a younger version of Terrence Glover. Even more so if he didn’t let those broad shoulders slump the way he did.
Of course she hadn’t yet forgotten the manner in which the young man had stood up to her on Zenith. Back then he had not been shy of using his large frame to his full advantage. She wasn’t exactly proud to admit that at one point she’d actually considered cutting the man down with a phaser in order to ensure his total compliance.
None of those thoughts were apparent however when she regarded him with a friendly smile. “Of course, Wayne, what’s on your mind?”
He looked pained and even though it appeared to her that he had thought carefully about exactly what he had wanted to tell her, the words came over his lips only hesitantly now and only after rubbing his neck awkwardly. “I … I wanted to apologize for my recent behavior, Captain. I fully understand if you have lost any confidence you may have had in me and if you’d prefer me to resign my—“
“Wayne, let me stop you right there,” she said and held up a hand before pulling him aside and away from the turbolift. “I’m not going to lose my science officer on my first mission.”
“But I let you down, Captain. I didn’t follow your orders the way I should have.”
“You followed my orders, it just took you a moment to come around and see things my way.”
He looked at her skeptically.
“Listen, I’m not going to stand here and pretend that things went the way they should have down there. Certainly not between the two of us, but I can also not ignore the fact that we were all under a great deal of pressure and put into a situation some of us were less ready for than others.”
“Even more reason to make my hesitations unforgivable.”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe in that,” she said. “Should you have followed my orders without question? Absolutely. But you also stood up for what you believed in. You tried to protect what you thought was more than a lifeless molecule but perhaps life itself.”
“But at what cost?”
“What matters to me is that you did the right thing in the end, Wayne. And I know what went through your head. You were conflicted—maybe you still are—about your place in the universe. You have this massive legacy you feel you have to live up to and you saw Omega as your way to do it.”
That didn’t help matters at all and Daystrom’s face fell as his gaze dropped onto the space between their boots. “You make it sound as if I cared more about my legacy then the good of he galaxy.”
She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “No, I don’t believe that. Not anymore. I think you showed us down there exactly what you’re made of, and I think it’s the right kind of stuff.”
When he looked up again a little gleam had appeared in his eyes. “I will never give you reason to doubt me again, Captain. I promise you that. Not ever.”
Daystrom turned but before he had taken more than one step, she called after him again. He faced her once more and she swiftly closed the distance between them. “I’m sure you won’t, but I also need you to know that if you ever disobey one of my orders again, there will be consequences.”
The science officer held her intense look for a moment before he responded with a crisp nod and then walked away.
Maya allowed herself to exhale a little bit as she watched him depart. She had little doubt about his sincerity and his value to her and her crew. Undoubtedly Daystrom was young and inexperienced but he had also demonstrated his brilliance, his commitment and his passion. Regardless of what had happened, she knew he was a good fit on Agamemnon
Before she turned back to head towards the turbolift she spotted two more crewmembers who had given her reason to worry recently.
Tess Allenby and Bobby DeSoto had stopped at a junction down the corridor from her and where, for a change, seemingly discussing something amicably. She couldn’t tell what it was they were saying but seeing that Allenby wasn’t as flustered or angry as was usually the case when confronted with the young helmsman, she was fairly certain it was a civil conversation.
She arched an eyebrow in surprise when DeSoto leaned in and kissed Allenby who seemed to respond to the gesture in kind.
Not wanting to pry into her people’s off-duty activities, she promptly turned around to head for the turbolift.
She was unable to keep a playful smile off her face as she considered how well her crew appeared to have coped with recent events and with each other.
* * *
“I’ll have to take a rain check on that date I’d promised, I’m afraid,”
said Glover who was speaking to her through her desktop computer. “We’ve got a new mission that’ll take us close to Klingon space and I’ve been told I should’ve been on my way yesterday.”
“I suppose saving the universe can really play havoc with your schedule,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
“Just damned inconvenient, that’s what it is.”
She nodded. “So, another missed date then? That’s the story of us, isn’t it?”
“It would seem that way.”
Maya considered the dark, handsome starship captain for a moment. She had known the man for four years but this had been the first time they had been equals and it had made her see him in a somewhat different light.
She would have lied to herself if she had said that she didn’t find him attractive, had been somewhat flattered by his attention during his frequent visits to his father’s space station on which she had served. Even if she had firmly pretended otherwise.
Who knew, under different circumstances, something could have happened between them. It never did and as far as she was concerned it never would. He was too much of an unapologetic playboy for her tastes, or worse, liked to pretend that he was. And then of course there was the other woman.
“Jasmine is a good friend, Terrence. You take good care of her.”
He didn’t seem to like where this conversation was going, judging by his hardened expression. She wasn’t surprised. Terrence Glover was not quite the man to take relationship advice from anyone. “Don’t worry about that,”
he said curtly. “What’s next for you?”
“Well there was a cloak-and-dagger mission we were to take part in but it appears it that has been delayed,” she said, referring to a mission she’d been given by Admiral Jonathan Owens, the head of Starfleet’s enigmatic Special Affairs and Investigations department. She had been given little details on what this mission entailed exactly. A recent and highly-scrambled communiqué had made it clear not to expect further details for at least a couple of months.
Glover frowned. “I don’t care for those at all. You watch you’re back out there, alright?”
She smirked at that. “Will do. But I have to say I’m touched by your concern, Captain.”
“Well, I shouldn’t be, I suppose,”
he said and apparently struggled a little with what he wanted to say next. He looked away from his screen for a moment before he reestablished eye contact. “You did pretty well for your first mission, Amaya. I wasn’t quite sure if you’d pull this off but I have to say, you did well. And I’m not just talking about handling the Romulans and the Borg or the assault on the Xenarth facility. What you pulled off with the Aggregate, establishing a peace so soon after recent event was quite something.”
She grasped her chest in feigned surprise. “A compliment from Captain Terrence Glover? Will wonders never cease?” she said unable to suppress a smirk.
“Enough of that,”
he said bluntly. “Now before I go, there is one more thing I’ve got to know.”
She shot him an expectant look.
“When the Borg had us dead to rights and it looked like we wouldn’t have enough time to initiate the Omega weapon, the
Khazara appeared out of nowhere and bought us just the time we needed.”
“That’s not a question.”
He considered her suspiciously. “I’m just curious to know how that came to pass. It was awfully convenient.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I supposed Commander Toreth simply realized she had too much to lose and nothing to gain if she didn’t interfere.”
Glover clearly wasn’t entirely satisfied with that explanation, sensing that there was more to that story. The look in Maya’s eyes gave proof that she had nothing further to share on that subject and he decided to drop it. “Perhaps you’re right,”
he said. “Take care of yourself, Maya. I’m confident our paths will cross again.”
She leaned back in her chair once his face had vanished from the small screen.
“He didn’t buy that, you know?”
She looked passed the screen to see Vej sitting on her sofa, considering her carefully.
Maya nodded. “I know.”
“And neither do I.”
She offered him a little mischievous smile. “What’cha gonna do? A girl’s gotta have her secrets.”
The counselor nodded and just like Glover understood that she was not quite ready to tell him everything. “Fair enough. So,” he went on, “your first mission behind you, how do you feel about it?”
She considered that question for a moment, her eyes lost in empty space. “I think I feel pretty good.”
Maya looked his way. “Don’t sound so surprised.”
“I suppose I’m just worried about my job,” he said. “If you start to feel good about everything you do, what’s the point of having me around.”
She uttered a little laugh. “Don’t worry, you’re part of the furniture now.”
“Just what I always wanted to be.”
She sounded more serious when she spoke again. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as I’m happy about everything that’s happened. There are thirty-eight condolence letters I’ll have to write and I can’t even tell those families what exactly it was their sons or daughters died for seeing that the Omega Directive is all hush-hush. I may have been naïve but thirty-eight is a lot more I’d ever think I’d ever have to send.
I nearly fell apart on Zenith when I had to make the decision to leave Mer’iab and his team behind, possibly sealing their fate. And I can’t help thinking that if I’d given the order to use lethal force earlier, maybe those casualty numbers would have been halved.”
“Yes but you’d have a lot more dead Xenarth on your hand. Maybe too many to establish peaceful relations the way you did.”
She nodded. “I know. And I keep telling myself all that. I keep telling myself that the assault was a necessity to keep the Xenarth from threatening subspace throughout the quadrant. I keep telling myself that if we hadn’t weaponized Omega the way we did, we’d all be dead now and with the Borg in control of the most powerful force in the galaxy. I keep telling myself if we hadn’t taken the actions we did, we would never have achieved a peaceful arrangement with Xenarth Aggregate. So, I’m telling myself that regardless of all that has happened, regardless of how much it hurts to know of the good people I’ve lost, that all things considered, I should feel pretty good about it all.”
Vej stood from the sofa. “No.”
She aimed a puzzled look at the man. “No?”
He shook his head slowly. “I don’t think it’s healthy and I don’t think it’s what a captain should feel at all. I don’t think you should pretend otherwise.”
“As a captain I need to be a beacon of strength for the crew,” she countered. “Sometimes that means pretending to be strong.”
“Sure, out there, that may be right, but not in here.”
“So what, you want me to feel bad about things, is that it?”
“I want you to be honest about the way you feel. Especially to yourself.”
“What if I can’t take that?”
He sat down in one of the chairs opposite her desk. “Then that’s what you got me for.”
She uttered a heavy sigh and then after a moment made eye contact with the counselor. “Did I tell you yet that you can be a real downer?”
He offered a smirk. “On more than one occasion.”
Maya nodded slowly. “Okay then, how do I process this? How do I live with what I’ve done if I’m not allowed to pretend to be alright with it?”
“You ask yourself if knowing everything you do now, in complete hindsight, would you do things the same way again?”
“Yes,” she said without hesitation.
Vej smiled at that. “And that is what you can feel good about.”
“Damn,” she said and found his eyes again. “You are good.”
“No longer just part of the furniture then, huh?”
“You know what I really feel good about, what I think I’ve realized after all of this? It’s that I’m truly looking forward to being the captain of this ship. I feel I’ve faced my greatest challenge. We all have. What’s the worst the universe can throw at us now?”
“You really don’t want to go around and jinx things like that.”
She smiled broadly. “You’re my counselor. A man of science and medicine and you believe in jinxes?”
He shrugged. “I believe in not tempting fate.”
“Any more insights on what happened to you when you were passed out? Who this mystery person was you said you thought you encountered.”
She nodded. “I’ve given it some thought,” she said and then turned the computer on top of her desk so that he could see the screen.
His eyes opened noticeably when he spotted the image of an almost regal looking, middle-aged Starfleet officer in an old-style, golden uniform shirt. “Seriously? Is that possible? The man must have died decades ago,” he said and then looked back up at her. “Are you sure?”
“Sure? No,” she said with a quick headshake. “But after that episode I was almost compelled to go back and revisit some of his log entries. And just listening to him talk, with my eyes closed, it sounded almost as if he was speaking straight to me. I could see his face clear as day as if he was standing as close to me as you are now. Like I’ve actually met him in person once even though I know for a fact I never did.”
“Did those logs give any implication that such a meeting could have taken place?”
“From the sound of his voice, I do think something else happened to him on New Xenarth when he and his crew came close to being wiped out by the Omega molecules. Maybe even something he didn’t quite understand himself.”
“Just like with you.”
“Yes. And there are other logs as well. From his first officer, his science chief, even his doctor, but most of the ones that could offer any clues to what really happened have been so heavily redacted and classified that I can’t access them even with my security clearance,” she said, clearly sounding frustrated at the prospect of not being able to learn the full story.
“Take it from a man whose job it is dealing with the truth. Sometimes it’s better not to know.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it,” she said with a little shrug and then turned the screen back face her.
Not a moment later a soft chime from the device on her desk caused her to focus her attention on it again. Her face noticeably darkened.
“That message you got,” he said with a raised eyebrow. “Who is it from?”
She looked up at him with an obviously unfocused look in her eyes. She quickly recovered. “Sometimes it’s better not to know.”
He got the drift and smoothly left his chair. “Touché. I’ll leave you to it,” he said and promptly left the ready room.
Maya took a deep breath and then opened the comm. channel.
She was greeted by the face of a Romulan woman.
“I suppose congratulations are in order, Captain. I don’t entirely know how you pulled it off but it looks as if we’re all still here. Not something the Borg can claim.”
“Of course your success would not have been possible without my timely intervention.”
“And I’m sincerely grateful for your actions, Commander.”
“Your gratitude is noted but not quite sufficient,”
the Romulan woman said.
“What do you want?”
“We had a deal, I sincerely hope you are not reneging on it now. My opinion of Starfleet officers is already low enough as it is.”
Maya considered her sternly. “I have every intention on keeping my side of the bargain.”
she said. “I’m looking forward to calling in your debt, Captain.”
“As long as you understand that there is no circumstance imaginable in which I would compromise my orders or the oath I’ve sworn to uphold the safety and security of the Federation, my ship and my crew.”
The woman chuckled at that. “Don’t be so melodramatic, Captain. Believe it or not I would not have been interested in any kind of arrangement with you had I suspected you a traitor. I may care little for your precious Federation but I despise a turncoat even more.”
Maya nodded slowly. “So what is it you expect me to do for you, Commander?”
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something. You’ll know when the time comes. And Captain, I expect people to pay up their debts in full.”
“You won’t have to worry about that.”
“I hope not.”
The two starship commanders quietly considered each other for a moment after they had reached the agreement. It was Toreth who spoke again first. “I don’t know if anyone has told you this,”
she said. “But for your first time in that chair I think you handled yourself quite well considering what you were up against. You could have made a real mess of things.”
Bad enough she’d heard this from Terrence Glover but to get the well-done speech from a Romulan captain was the last thing she had wanted to hear.
“I’ll be in touch, Captain Donners.”
And with that the screen blanked out.
Amaya uttered a sigh as she let herself drop back into her chair.
She heard a sharp hiss coming from her right and when she turned she found that Cosmo had awoken from his afternoon nap, his bright yellow eyes focused on her with what could have been interpreted as a scolding look.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she told her wildcat pet. “I’ve made a deal with the devil. Let’s just hope the payment won’t cost me my soul.”
_ _ _ _ _
Thank you for reading
The Star Eagle Adventures Presents:
Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle
Many thanks again to David Falkayn, creator of Star Trek: Lexington
and DarKush, creator of Dark Territory.
To learn more about Commodore Robert Wesley and the USS Lexington
, read David Falkayn’s Meet The Lady
. For more on Captain Terrence Glover and the USS Cuffe
, check out his current tale Staring Into The Abyss
The God Particle
is now also available as a downloadable ebook for you preferred e-reader at StarEagleAdventures.com