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Old March 27 2012, 08:39 PM   #1
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Star Trek - The Intrepid Adventures: Healing Wounds

Star Trek is CBS/Paramount's and they are letting us play in thier sandbox. SFOF and related characters are Steve, Dave, Matt and mine and we know how to share and play nice.


Preface:

Captain’s Log, Stardate 7257.3.
The last two weeks have been quite a test of my crew’s resolve, ever since Commander Enfield returned from a landing party with the lifeless body of Commander Underwood in his arms.

It was a routine exploration mission. A class M planet, with no sentient life forms. A thorough bio-scan of the beam down point revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Since it seemed such a mundane mission, Commander Underwood volunteered to lead the survey team, as she was not only the chief science officer, but the leading exo-biologist on the ship. Commander Enfield asked if he could accompany the team to the surface; in all of his time in Starfleet, he had never been on a first level planetary examination.

According to him (and the tricorder traces bear out Enfield’s story) events unfolded on the planet surface very quickly.

When the team materialized, they dispersed and started scanning. Commander Underwood had moved off to a small grotto leading to a natural spring. She commenced taking a sample of the spring’s water, filling the test tube under the water with the water up to her wrist. When she pulled her hand out, she discovered that a life form had attached itself to her skin. Similar to an earth leech, we later discovered postmortem that it had no teeth, talons or stingers of any kind. This is why she didn’t feel it when it attached, it did it entirely through suction.

She didn’t seem alarmed. In her career as a scientist, Mercy had had this kind of thing happen on several occasions. She attempted to remove the animal and when she did so, she screamed and passed out. Commander Enfield and the team medic came to help at once.

The medic diagnosed Mercy and called for immediate beam out. Against his protestations, Commander Enfield picked Mercy up just before transporter lock.

When the team beamed in, the medic analyzed Commander Underwood once more and pronounced her dead on arrival. Commander Enfield was beside himself with shock. He would not accept the situation and when the Chief Surgeon, Dr. Selev arrived, he had to sedate Ari. The doctor concurred with the medic’s findings, but they attempted resuscitation anyway.

Commander Mercedes Underwood was officially declared dead by Selev at 1647 hours.

Pursuant to Starfleet regulations, whenever any member of a landing party dies as the result of an accident caused by an indigenous lifeform, there is an autopsy performed on the decedent and an investigation is performed by the department under which the survey was conducted.

First, the autopsy. We managed to find the type of life form that caused Mercy’s death. As I indicated before, in aspect, it was similar to the earth leech, however, tests indicated that once attached to a host, the connection is more or less permanent, albeit at a very low physical level, until the host tries to remove the “leech.” Once the animal senses that it is being removed, for whatever reason, it injects a very powerful hormone that increases endorphin levels and speeds up activity in the host’s nociceptors. These transmit impulses to neurons in the frontal part of the brain. Bottom line, the host experiences excruciating pain and passes out. We also discovered traces of a fast reacting neural poison. This is what killed Mercy.

The science department went back to the planet the day after her death and examined the mammals in and near the landing zone. Almost every one that had taken hydration at the small pond Mercy was sampling had one or more of the parasites attached to them. When a science officer tried to remove a leech from an animal, the host creature died almost instantly. Any other leeches that were connected to the dead animal moved off to find other candidates.

We theorize that the leeches derive nourishment from the host by attaching themselves to said host through a sophisticated chemo-molecular bond. The parasite gets nutrients from the host and, in turn, the leech imparts beneficial chemicals and protein chains back to the animal. So far, we have learned that host animals that have the parasites attached to them are larger, stronger and healthier than ones that do not, and the ones that do not are very rare. Killing the host is purely a defense mechanism and we were surprised that it only took several seconds for a leech to form a bond with a host. If Mercy hadn’t tried to remove hers, she would still be alive.

Secondly, the inquiry. Since I am the Captain of the Intrepid, I am taking full responsibility for this failure. Starfleet has protocols in place for planetary surveys that we followed, but not to the letter. Mercy was not using her personal bio-shield. This is projected by a landing party member’s communicator and masks bio signatures such as scent and pheromones. Tests on the parasites showed that had she activated her protection, the animal that latched on to her hand would not have done so.

I am implementing re-training on these protocols for each shift at three month intervals. Anyone in a shift that is not trained will not be going on reconnaissance.

After we finished the inquiry and were satisfied with the results, I contacted Starfleet Command with the bad news and my report. They ordered us home. It took the ship two weeks to get back to earth. During that time I contacted Mercy’s parents. At their request, we did not jettison her body into space per Starfleet and naval tradition, rather, we held a memorial service for her in the shuttle bay, attended by the senior staff, Mercy’s closest friends on board and any off duty personnel that wished to be there.

Various officers spoke on Mercy’s behalf with the last ones being Commander Enfield and myself. We agreed that if anyone knew Mercy best, it was us. Since we could not commit her body to space, I elected to have a photon torpedo salute fired in her honor.

Once we arrived here on earth, I spoke with Mercy’s parents in person. They indicated the high regard Mercy had for me and Commander Enfield. They also said that Mercy had related the time that I had to mind meld with her. They knew that Vulcans could retain the recollections of a person they had melded with and would I do that with them in order to pass on those memories?

I was reticent to do so. Vulcans consider the mind meld to be a deeply personal act. They explained to me that they wanted more than just her possessions and their memories of her and that it would mean a great deal to them if I did so. I reluctantly agreed and in the final analysis, the outcome was very satisfying.

Once planning for the funeral commenced, we had to decide whom to invite. As word spread of her death, it did not take long before we heard from Mercy’s friends and acquaintances from all over Starfleet. The guest list was long and included Admirals Lerl and Nogura, Commodore Jake Caffey of the Star League, Commander Enfield’s cousins Captain Alexander Enfield of the Bellatrix, and Commander Theresa Enfield of the Starfleet Academy Command School. Ari’s mother and uncle Micah were asked as well as Commander Francisco Cumberland and his staff from the Hannibal, and there were many more.

In fact, the funeral was given with full Starfleet honors along with a five gun salute. To quote Commander Cumberland, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” which, being a Vulcan, I would know nothing about.

The pallbearers were Lerl, Caffey, Cumberland, Aristotle and Alexander Enfield and myself. There were several officers who spoke on Mercy’s behalf. Commander Enfield delivered the eulogy. It was powerful and I had no idea that he felt the way he did about Mercy.

There was a wake, and except for those that had pressing business, it was attended by all. I was pleased that Mercy was as highly regarded by so many. Afterwards, I said my farewells and headed back to the ship. Since we were back home, Command decided we should postpone our itinerary and proceed with the refit and upgrades we were set to receive in two months. I gave Commander Enfield two weeks of accumulated leave time to recover from this trauma. After the wake, he went to Mars with his mother and uncle, and only returned last night. He repaired straight to his quarters. I haven’t seen him yet.

I now have the unpleasant task of appointing officers to fill Mercy’s void. Not only do I have to appoint a first officer, I have to replace Mercy’s position in the command structure as well. In other words, I will have to disappoint one of my senior staff.
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Old March 27 2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek - The Intrepid Adventures: Healing Wounds

Chapter 1:

Serek awakened the next morning, and performed his usual morning rituals. Once showered and uniformed, he proceeded to his desk and brought up his schedule for the day.

I see Yeoman Grant is as efficient as always.

Serek noticed that both Commanders Enfield and Yyl Qete Daahm were scheduled together for a meeting with him at 1100 hours. Serek thought that would give them each a chance to settle into their days and be ready for whatever awaited them. Serek went to the bridge.

As he stepped from the turbo lift, he heard the familiar cry of, “Captain on the bridge.” On a Starfleet ship, this was always announced by the on duty helmsman.

Serek entered the “conn” area and was greeted by Lieutenant Logan Frost and a PADD. “Good morning, Captain,” said Frost. “The last shift was routine, there were no problems.”

Serek looked over the PADD and said, “Very well, Mr. Frost, I relieve you, sir.”

Frost then answered by rote, “I stand relieved, sir. You have the conn.”

All around the two officers, the transition from the Gamma shift to the Alpha shift was taking place. Yeoman Sharlynn Grant gave Serek a PADD, then another and still another. He signed them all, without really knowing what he was putting his mark to. He relied on Yeoman Grant to sort that all out.

Serek made sure that all standing orders for the day were handed down to the officers and crew persons from his command chair. This was the job of the XO every day, but since Mercy was gone and Commander Enfield, the senior staff officer still had a few hours of leave left, even though he was back on the ship, Serek felt it was his responsibility.

Then Serek made a quick overview of the bridge as everyone was preparing their instruments and checking their settings. He stood up from the command chair and addressed the senior officer on duty, Lt. Cmdr. T’Pare. “Commander, I will be in my ready room, take the conn please.”

T’Pare looked up from the nav station, got up and said, “Aye, aye, sir.” As the change took place, Ensign Marwood took over navigating the huge vessel.

In his ready room, Serek put a micro tape in the food processor and out sprung a hot cup of herbal tea. As he sat down, he took a short draught of the satisfyingly warm, flavorful liquid and as he did that, a boson’s whistle sounded.

It was Commander Enfield, “Enfield to Captain.”

“Serek here, go head Commander,” said the Vulcan.

"I never checked in. How's the refit proceeding without me?"

Serek could see that the Commander was returning to his jovial self. "Commander Carlton and the engineering staff have outdone themselves this time, Ari. Later today you should do a snap inspection just to keep them on their toes."

Ari waited and then went on, "It says in my agenda that Daahm and I have a meeting with you today. I assume it's about picking Mercy's successor?" Serek had never ceased to be amazed at Enfield's grasp of plain logic. For a human, he was what they would call, "scary."

"You assume correctly. 1100 hours, my ready room."

In his cabin, Enfield was unkempt, unshaven and wearing a filthy Martian desert stillsuit. He was on audio only so Serek couldn't see him. "Very well, sir. 1100. I'll be there with bells on. Enfield out." He pressed the button to turn off the comm, then started peeling the stillsuit from his body. When he went to Mars, he didn't stay with his mother, his uncle, or his friend at Utopia Planitia, Mace MacBride. Instead, he took a "hover cycle" out to the Syria Planum and played "survivorman" for 14 earth days. His mother thought he was being childish. Jennifer Enfield had met Mercy Underwood when she, Serek and Ari's cousin Alex graduated from command school. Underwood was in thrall of "Dr. J. Enfield, warp theorist;" and barely had the capacity to shake hands with the woman. As Mercy would later note, it was a case of "royal awe."

Ari had told his mom all about Mercy over the years. Through those accounts, Jennifer thought that she knew Mercy quite well. Jennifer told her son that Mercy would want him, above anything else, to live his life. Ari explained that he knew all that, but he had to grieve in his own way, which meant being alone for a while to get himself straight. If he didn't, he would be no good to anyone.

Ari Enfield was a genetic augment, but he and the Martian government never let the fact slip to the Federation for fear it would spoil Mars' chance for final admission to the UFP. Mars was a protectorate because it was in the Sol System, but had rejected full member status at every turn until it was so inevitable they couldn't deny it anymore.

Ari was born with heightened senses, greater strength and an ability the scientists that built him didn't figure on; an empathic awareness that wasn't telepathy, or precognition, or any of the other esper abilities that humans may have latently possessed, but couldn't cultivate. Ari and his mother didn't have an adequate solution either, except to posit that Ari could "read" most humanoid body language better than anyone. He could even detect falsehoods from voice stress, even over a Universal Translator. Ari didn't have to see you or know your language to know that you were lying. This gave him an incredible advantage when dealing with other members of the fleet, especially, senior officers.

This ability made him one of the few that really understood Commander Underwood. All hard and brittle on the outside, but a lover of puppies and kitties on the inside. This was a side she had never shown to the crew. Her reason was that she was the XO, and in navies throughout history, the XO, the first officer, senior, Number One, whatever, was the ship disciplinarian. Two crew persons having a fight? Send 'em to the XO. Junior Ensign needs more training? Tell the XO. Pass on the dress of the day to the crew? The XO does that, and so on, and so on, and on.

Ari was berating himself because, a) he had never tried to make anything more out of their relationship. He was always a "by the book" officer and had always taken the mental step back with his feelings for Underwood. "Us, have a relationship. How the crew would talk..."

B) He was firmly convinced that if he revealed the fact that he was an augment to her, that she would have to report it to the Captain, who would take it up the chain of command to the UFP Council. That may have ruined their relationship for good, and he really didn't want that. So he stood mum.

Ari knew what Serek's meeting was about. As he got in the sonic shower, he was girding his loins for disappointment.
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Old March 27 2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Star Trek - The Intrepid Adventures: Healing Wounds

We have Chapter 2 all finished, here it is, same disclaimers apply:

Chapter 2:

Serek remained in his ready room, eventually having a conference with the personal Yeomen of Commanders Underwood, Daahm and Enfield. The meeting did not last too long and they left the Captain’s ready room without any overt signs as to what happened within.

Immediately following that, Serek received a message from Commodore Caffey. It was good news, a refreshing thing given the events of the past two weeks.

The Commodore said that the science officer candidate Serek requested would be on board later that day at 1430 hours. Serek was pleased as he had poured through many candidates over many hours to find the right fit.

Serek’s options in finding a suitable replacement for Mercy’s role as Chief Science Officer were limited. His new officers, Lieutenant Commanders Charla Blackcloud and Dale Coleman were freshly promoted from Lieutenant, and while qualified, could not logically be considered. Serek decided that the best course of action was to carefully select a candidate from the literally hundreds available who had sufficient time in grade/rank. The ideal candidate would also be a Command School graduate, like Mercy.

Serek checked the chronometer, his 1100 meeting with Commanders Enfield and Daahm was in four minutes. Just then, the door buzzer sounded.

“Come,” said the captain. It was Aristotle Enfield, showered and in a clean uniform. “Greetings, Ari. Please sit down. May I offer you something?” asked Serek of his friend and fellow officer.

Enfield snapped to attention and said, “Commander Aristotle Enfield, reporting as ordered, sir.” Serek raised an eyebrow, as Enfield stood easy. “Now we’ve gotten the protocol part out of the way,” he said this as he sat down. “No, thanks on the food, by the way. I had a meal before I got back on board, if you consider “rat packs” a meal.”

Serek regarded his friend and said, “I see you are wearing your “reverse” tunic today, Commander.”

Starfleet had issued a “winter” tunic that was all black with the division color on the collar and surrounding the insignia. It wasn’t very popular, but Ari liked it. “I figured since I was still mourning for Mercy, it seemed appropriate.”

The buzzer sounded again. “Come,” said Serek. Commander Yyl Qete Daahm, the Intrepid’s Command Operations Officer arrived, one minute early, a little surprised to see Enfield there already.

“Commander Daahm, reporting as ordered, Captain.,” said the command officer.

“Please sit down, Commander,” Serek said. He looked at his two officers, and started to say, “I’ve called you gentlemen together…” Enfield interrupted and said, “Let me guess, ‘Because you’ve figured out whodunit,’ correct?”

The two aliens (Daahm was a Xyramite, a race descended from fish) looked at the Martian like he was insane. Enfield said, “Sorry, Captain. That was in bad taste.” He mentally noted, however, that Mercy would have stifled a giggle or two if she were still here. Serek went on, “I’ve called you two here because I have made a decision.” The two Commanders were now in rapt attention.

“This wasn’t an easy choice. Both of you are more than adequately qualified. You each have enough time in service. I know that I can’t replace Mercy, I simply have to choose her successor,” Serek said, intentionally drawing the process out. He continued, “I know this seems too soon. Even though I am a Vulcan, I am not insensitive to the people that serve under me. I have to deal with many factors, all of which are undoubtedly known to you. About now, Mercy would say, ‘I think you’ve released enough hot air Captain…’”

“Ari, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you; congratulations, you are the Intrepid’s new Executive Officer. I’ve already informed your yeoman and you start as of right now.”

Yyl Daahm’s jaw had literally dropped to the floor. “Permission to speak freely, Captain?”

“Granted,” said Serek flatly. He knew what was to happen next.

‘Sir, with all due respect, why Enfield? As you said, I have the requisite experience. I was in the top five in my class at the Command School. I am more than ready for this position.”

Serek raised an eyebrow. Ari just sat and listened, hoping against hope that the Vulcan would see reason and give the job to Daahm.

“Yes, you have all those qualities. What swayed my evaluation is that while you are certainly competent, the difference is that Mr. Enfield not only has more time in service, he also has a more ‘bottom up’ approach.” Enfield was now intrigued, Serek continued. “Enfield was an enlisted man, he understands the importance of delegation and the chain of command.”

Daahm was now a little puzzled. He couldn’t figure out what Serek was trying to impart. Enfield looked at Daahm and could see that he was flummoxed. Serek went on, “Your style is results oriented. If someone cannot complete a duty, you either finish it for him or her, or assign someone else. This gets individual tasks done, but part of our job as officers is to make sure that the people under us are properly trained and capable of doing their jobs under minimal supervision.”

Daahm now appeared crest fallen. Serek said, “I have given you added responsibilities while Commander Enfield gets up to speed.” Serek handed him a command pack, “You will have to adjust the duty roster and assist the new Chief Science Officer to fill in the gaps in the shift schedule. Also, you will help me go over our itinerary, as the refit has pushed back some of our stops several weeks.” Yyl sat and took it like a good officer. Then he stood up and said, “By your leave, sir?”

Serek took a moment and then said, “Dismissed.” As Daahm walked out to the bridge, something like relief washed over the Vulcan, satisfied that his choice was correct.

Ari stood up, and Serek said, “Commander, don’t leave yet. I need to discuss some issues with you.”

Ari thought for a moment, and then spoke up. “Permission to speak freely?” Ari asked. Serek nodded.

“Sir, I think we both know, I don’t want this job. I’m happy just doing what I’m doing.” Enfield thought for a moment. “I do agree that Yyl would not be as good. He thinks ‘delegate’ is a state on the east coast of North America.” Serek raised his eyebrow yet again.

Serek looked at his friend and said, “Ari, I remember you did not want to be on this ship at all. In fact, I still have your rejected transfer request on file. Yet, this stubborn officer now has the respect of the crew, his department is very highly rated and morale is high; those are issues I can’t ignore.”

This ship has lost a valuable officer and friend and we need to move on. I miss Mercy as well Ari. I also have a ship to run and Starfleet has given us a job to do. I know that you will do what you always do…”

Enfield gave a half-hearted smile and said, ”...Make the best of it and ‘turn lemons into lemonade.’”

Serek continued, “We have lost crew before and we will do so again. You said it yourself in Mercy’s eulogy. I do not want it to happen but it does. You’re my XO and my friend, if I were human, I would take pride in both.’

Ari nodded his head and sat back down. While the two officers spoke, the Martian considered the three universal constants; Thalian chocolate produces the worst hangovers, Mars will be completely terraformed in his lifetime, and never argue with Serek when he’s right.
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Old March 27 2012, 08:42 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek - The Intrepid Adventures: Healing Wounds

And for you all, we have chapter 3, I will have the rest finished hopefully before Xmas, but no promises, of course. Same disclaimers apply.


Chapter 3:

As the meeting continued, Ari and Serek covered everything they needed to discuss regarding the ship and its operation. Serek noted that he hadn’t eaten anything since he had awakened and when he mentioned it to Ari, he had the same reaction. Serek called Yeoman Grant and the two men had her go to the mess hall and have the food processor rustle up a couple of large lunches. Serek had always meant to have a fully featured food processor installed in his ready room, the one there only capable of producing beverages and small comestibles.

Serek was not your typical Vulcan, especially as regards food. Being around humans for so long had affected his attitudes toward it. Serek found that he was fond of the tastes and textures of certain earthly fruits, legumes, nuts and vegetables. He especially preferred (he would never have admitted to “liking” any food) hot chocolate, celery, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and strawberries. He believed that he should follow his natural urges, as illogical as that sounded. He ate when he was hungry, and didn’t deny himself during long shifts or emergency situations. He had spoken to the CMO, Dr. Selev about it, and he agreed that Serek was setting a good example for his crew. Vulcans could easily go for several days without eating, but humans needed food energy. They would invariably replace that for adrenalin and then fatigue could catch up with them. Serek always made time to eat and the Intrepid crew followed suit for the most part.

Yeoman Grant brought the food to the ready room. Serek signed a few more PADDs and then the two men commenced the meal. Once Grant was satisfied that they were satisfied, she gathered her PADDs and left.

Commander Daahm called in from the bridge as he had finally taken command at 1130 hours, relieving T’Pere and Marwood so that they could carry out some essential duties. Daahm was still not happy with the command situation on board but he considered himself a professional officer and was not going to cry about it. Serek finished with Daahm and got to the part of the meeting he was holding until last.

Serek brought up a personnel file on his computer and put in on the viewer. It showed an image of an African woman with short black hair in a natural style. She had a smile so broad on her face, it looked almost painful. Her teeth were so white, especially against her dark skin that they were blinding. Her mission patch was that of the U.S.S. Constitution.

“This is Commander Kiesha Jones, our new head of the Sciences department,” he said matter of factly.

“She has received very high marks from her current captain as well as her past,” continued the Vulcan. “She has earned the nickname ‘Keys’ from her various colleagues and commanders. Apparently she has an almost Holmesian way of analyzing scientific facts. She can solve any mystery very quickly. Her main specialties are cybernetics, exobiology, and quantum physics. I would say she is very advanced for one so young.”

“Androids, time travel and bugs, oh my,” joked the Martian. Serek raised his eyebrow for the umpteenth time during the meeting. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

“Essentially correct,” Serek answered, “To give you a better idea of her background, she studied cybernetics under Dr. Laszlo Soong.”

Ari was visibly impressed. He said, “My mom met him at a seminar on Cerberus about the time I was posted to the Intrepid and she said his lecture on positronic neural nets was very informative.”

Serek called up the comments in Jones’ file. “As you know, Mercy projected an air of professionalism in front of the crew but in front of her close friends, she was, as you pointed out in her eulogy, all ‘puppies and kitties.’”

“I certainly do, sir,” said the Martian.

“Apparently, Ms. Jones is best described as warm, social and bubbly all the time. Captain Telek, the current CO of the Constitution found her to be a blessing,” Serek said. He continued, “You served with Telek on the Edos, He makes me look warm, social and bubbly.”

Ari noted that Serek had just made a joke, but suppressed the urge to vocalize it. He was, nevertheless, further impressed. “So, she managed to warm up ‘Talk to me Telek?’”

“She not only has a spotless record, good qualifications and excellent marks from her former commanders, she was in the top five of her class at Command School, so ‘she knows her stuff’ as it were.” Serek was starting to get effusive, for a Vulcan.

Ari thought for a moment, and then said, “So, I assume you’d like me to give her the fifty cent tour of the ship, meet some of her junior officers, and show her to her quarters…” Ari paused here. They were Underwood’s quarters only two weeks ago, “…then you’ll want to meet her here officially and go over the itinerary, the landing party training protocols, and the science department’s procurement of materials so they can do their jobs.”

Serek was now impressed. He knew he had made a good choice in Ari, but was almost never around when he was in charge of something on the ship. Mercy always brought in positive reports on him, however. She was always gushing about his ability to assess a situation, prioritize tasks and assign them to just the right personnel to get the tasks completed. Underwood said he was “a human to-do list.” Serek was skeptical at first, but now he was firmly convinced.

“That’s exactly what I need you to do, Ari. Very good,” Serek said. Then he looked at the screen and noted the time. “She will be here within the hour. Please go and change your tunic, I don’t care what style, but not black.”

Ari was a little off put, “With all due respect, sir, it is common knowledge that I’m in mourning. My uniform is regulation, it’s in good repair and it’s clean. The standing order from SFOF is for class B tunics today, it doesn’t say what color,” he went on, “Ms. Jones will understand.”

Serek couldn’t argue. He was worried that the black tunic would throw a pall over the day’s events. Ari’s arguments were right, logically considered and, in fact, it would be illogical to think that Ms. Jones, with her positive attitude, would be rendered depressed. Serek respected Ari more than ever now. Any other officer would have shut his mouth and followed the order; an executive officer has to know when to speak up and he did.

“Very well, continue to wear your uniform,” he said.

Ari stood up, and as he did, he came to attention and clicked his heels German army style, “By your leave, Captain?”

Serek raised his eyebrow so far that it looked as if it was going to hide under his bangs. “Dismissed, Commander.”
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