The following is a transcript of Federation News Service correspondent Jake Sisko’s audio-only interview with Lt. Commander Karen Snow, chief science officer of the USS Cerulean. As the Cerulean is currently on assignment outside Federation space, Commander Snow was not available to give this interview in person but was kind enough to speak with Mr. Sisko via holo-communicator. This is third such interview she has given for the FNS. The transcripts of her previous interviews are available here and here. Jake Sisko: “Hello again, Karen, and thank you for making time to speak with me despite being on assignment.” Karen Snow: “Not a problem, Jake. Thank you for having me.” JS: “I must admit, it’s a little strange to be chatting with you via holo-communicator. At the moment, you look like you’re seated in mid-air.” KS: “Is that right? I wonder why my chair didn’t make it into the feed. I must admit I didn’t think about whether sitting versus standing made a difference, as I’ve always been on my feet when doing these in the past.” JS: “I actually didn’t notice when we first started the transmission because I was looking at your face, but when you shifted your weight a few minutes ago, I realized there was nothing under you… at least that I could see, that is.” KS: (laughs) “I guess that means anyone could just grab my holographic ass anytime they wanted—but don’t you do that.” JS: (laughs) “Wouldn’t dream of it, Karen. I’d imagine you’re more than capable of knocking people around when necessary.” KS: “If anyone who’s not a doctor or my significant other touches my breasts or my backside, they won’t wake up for a month. In your case, Jake, I’d probably just slap you or punch you in the arm. I like you too much to knock you out.” JS: “Does that mean there’s a significant other in your life?” KS: “Gosh, no. I’m far too busy at the moment for a relationship.” JS: “And what qualifies as ‘busy’ these days?” KS: “I’m still my vessel’s chief science officer and the watch commander for the weekend overnight shift, but I’m also helping oversee the training of Academy cadets.” JS: “Is that something you’re having a good time with?” KS: “It is, actually. I wasn’t sure I wanted more on my plate, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I’ve enjoyed teaching. I started at the Academy after I earned my commission, so I guess this is me sort of coming full circle now that I’m more experienced.” JS: “I keep having to remind myself how young you are, Karen. You’ve always struck me as someone who has much more life experience than most people your age.” KS: “Well, I turned thirty-one a few months ago, and I guess that’s caused me to reflect on what I’ve accomplished in my life thus far and what I hope I’ll be doing going forward.” JS: “When we talked before, you’d indicated that having a command of your own might be something you’d want.” KS: “Definitely. I’m very happy being a science officer—it’s all I ever wanted to be when I was at the Academy—but I’ve also recognized that there are limits to what I can do working in a single field. A captaincy would give me the chance to learn about and impact every major field within Starfleet and to interact with people outside the military on a more regular basis. But I still have a lot to learn before I’m ready for a responsibility like that. I still get nervous if I’m asked to lead an away team, so I could do with some more experience before I take on the big chair for good.” JS: “If you could pick your ideal mission, what would that be?” KS: “What I’m doing now. I joined Starfleet to learn and explore, so if I could pick and choose my assignments, I’d be out on the frontier scoping out new planets and different cultures.” JS: “Maybe my memory’s fuzzy, but when my father was a first officer, it seemed like all of his exploratory missions just ended up being charting expeditions and missions built around cataloguing gaseous anomalies.” KS: (laughs) “Oh, there’s plenty of that, don’t get me wrong. Starfleet officers—Starfleet admirals, in particular—are obsessed with three things: charts, tables, and gas. I’ve spent more than a few missions staring at interstellar gas clouds all day, every day.” JS: “Why is that?” KS: “I’ve no idea, to be honest with you. Maybe they’re interested in comparing and contrasting different regions of space, or maybe they’re just trying to find out if God had one too many burritos for lunch.” JS: “Is that something you’d change if you were promoted to captain?” KS: “I’m not sure a captain has that much pull, Jake. And even though charting expeditions can sometimes be tedious, they’re also an important part of the work we do. Space is big and vast, which means that it’s also dangerous. If you don’t know where you’re going or what’s between you and where you’re going, you might end up getting yourself killed. Countless tragedies have happened because people didn’t know the areas they were traveling into or crashed into something they weren’t expecting to find. Charting helps us avoid situations like that.” JS: “Speaking of situations most people would like to avoid, I heard you were in some sort of fight a few months ago.” KS: (laughs) “I wouldn’t call it a fight, but I was involved in a confrontation that almost got physical.” JS: “What happened?” KS: “I can’t share specific details because it involved a mission, but Sran and I were in a bar where some very loud and very intoxicated Klingons were having a meal. A few of them objected to Sran’s presence because he’s Romulan—which I didn’t like—and at least one of them was very adamant that I join them for a drink because I’m an attractive woman—which Sran didn’t like. Anyway, one of them pulled a knife, Sran pulled his honor blade, and I pulled my phaser—which I promptly discharged into the bar’s ceiling. Things calmed down after that.” JS: “I met Sran briefly that time I visited the Cerulean. He seemed different than most Romulans I’ve met.” KS: “I spent some time on Romulus earlier in my career, so I can tell you that no two Romulans are alike any more than two humans are like, but Sran’s unlike any Romulan I’ve ever met.” JS: “How so?” KS: “For starters, he has a sense of humor, which is a must if you’re going to be working with me. But more than that, he seems to recognize that the adversarial relationship the Federation and the Romulans have is ultimately not in the best interests of either side. We need to find a way to work together, which is actually what the officer exchange program he’s involved in is about. Maybe by working together, each side can learn to appreciate the other instead of fearing it.” JS: “You seem like you’ve gotten a lot out of it through your friendship with him. If an opportunity for you to serve on a Romulan ship came about, would you pursue it?” KS: “I might. I’d even be willing to don pointed ears—real pointed ears, that is—to put people at ease. But we’re probably far away from that at this point. The Romulans aren’t as trusting of our officers as we are of theirs, so convincing their navy to let a Federation citizen work alongside them is likely to be a tall order.” JS: “You’re probably, right, Karen. But that’s great that you want to do that. While I’m thinking about it, I took the liberty of asking some of our listeners to prepare questions in advance of today’s interview. Would it be okay if I read some of them?” KS: “Absolutely.” JS: “Great! Quark from Deep Space… wait! That’s someone I used to know when I lived on DS9. Sorry! Let me find another one.” KS: (laughs) “No problem.” JS: “Okay. Antos from Bajor asks, ‘Have you ever been injured in the line of duty?’” KS: “Yes, I have. I think I told this story before, but I passed out while piloting a shuttle because its inertial dampers failed. I’ve also suffered a phaser burn, a lower back strain while wrestling with Sran, and a badly sprained wrist from a fall while climbing a cargo bay ladder. At the Academy, I split my forehead open while running through an obstacle course and also chipped a tooth during a mission simulation.” JS: “Ouch! Garrett form Luna asks, ‘How old were you when you had your first zero-g experience?’” KS: “Cool question! The zero-g course takes place during the second year, so I guess I was about twenty, maybe a little younger. I remember thinking I’d get sick, but I was fine once I got used to wearing an environmental suit.” JS: “This next question is very personal. Is that okay?” KS: “Fine by me.” JS: “Okay. Marianna from Betazed asks ‘Are you attracted to men, women or both, and what’s the most random sexual experience you’ve had with another person?’” KS: “That is personal, but it’s not something I mind talking about. I’m attracted to men but do appreciate the beauty of other genders. I’ve never had intercourse with another person—and won’t until I get married—but I suppose the most random sexual experience I’ve had with another person was actually with a female Academy classmate who decided to play a practical joke on me.” JS: “What happened?” KS: “I was studying for final exams when one of my closest friends walked over to my table, leaned across it, and gave me a very passionate open-mouthed kiss.” JS: “Did you return the gesture?” KS: “I did, actually. It’s not an experience I’d have initiated myself, but once I realized what was happening, I figured I may as well enjoy it for what it was.” JS: “Balthazar from Risa asks ‘Other than the era you live in now, is there a time period in Federation history you’d have wanted to live in?’” KS: “The late 23rd century. I’d have enjoyed serving aboard a Constitution-class ship, and I think it would have been neat to wear one of the ‘monster maroon’ jackets and have a flip-open communicator. Plus, I’d have a chance to serve with someone like Morgan Bateson, Katherine Stano or Clark Terrell, whom I really admire. People look back on that era and think it was all Kirk and Spock, but there were heroes all over Starfleet who kept the Klingons and Romulans at bay. Riding shotgun with one of them would have been a great experience.” JS: “You could work with Bateson now.” KS: “I know! Aren’t temporal anomalies great? But seriously, I’d be interested to see what he was like before that happened, as well as what kind of ship the original Bozeman was.” JS: “That’s actually a nice lead into our next question, which is from Brian from Earth. He asks, ‘What kind of ship is the Cerulean, and does it come with slipstream drive?’” KS: “The Cerulean is an Akira-class cruiser, which is means it’s designed for both deep-space exploratory missions and combat. Its class was actually first developed by the Starfleet Corps of Engineering as a weapon against the Cardassians, but Starfleet later it modified slightly to fight the Borg. Lately, the Akira-class has been used mostly for patrol duty, but there are ships—like ours—that still have a chance to venture outside of Federation space. It is not equipped with slipstream drive. As far as I know, only the Vesta-class has been outfitted for slipstream travel. JS: We’re running short on time, so I’ll we’ll end here. As always, Karen, thank you for your time… and your candor. KS: Happy to do it, Jake. Thanks to everyone who listened. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again soon.