Cast of Characters: (Click on a name for picture)
Captain Arik DaGama (Lisbon, Earth)
Commander Lara Marelli (Earth), 1st Officer
Lieutenant Commander Thorn (Andor), COS, 2nd Officer
Lieutenant Commander Bilnik (El-Aur), Counselor
Lieutenant Brandon Tyler (Australia, Earth), OPS
Doctor Tiane Nevenis (Earth), CMO
Lieutenant Zordan (Benzar), CE
Ensign Eyana Sedi (Bajor), Security Officer
Ensign Valérie Veillant (France, Earth), Flight Controller
It all started some time ago, during the Dominion War, when I was the captain of a Federation freighter, the Times Square. My crew and I were hoarding cargo through the Gybella system, when out of nowhere, we got a distress call from a Federation transport vessel. The transport was under attack by the Dominion. You have to understand, my ship was not meant to wage war. We were seriously under gunned when compared to a Dominion ship. That's why I had to ignore the distress signal. It may have seemed a heartless thing to do, but to attempt a rescue alone would have been suicide.
So, I continued on with my mission. A short while later, we were hailed by a Federation Starship, the Braveheart. The ship's captain, Charles Bergevin, an aged veteran by the looks of him, informed me that the Braveheart was engaging three Dominion vessels that were making an assault on the transport ship, but he needed help to rescue the survivors on the transport vessel.
"Do you think your ship can reach the transport?" he asked me as his ship was struck by phaser fire.
"Captain, I've got a class eleven freighter. Surely you can't expect us to risk facing a Dominion ship, let alone three."
"The Braveheart's Defiant-class. We'll draw them away from the transport--" an explosion on the bridge of his ship momentarily cut off his sentence, "We'll draw them away if you can get the transport's passengers," he said.
I didn't agree with Captain Bergevin's plan. "Then what, Captain? You'll be torn to pieces before we make it to safety, then we'll all be dead."
"Dammit, Captain!" he shouted at me, "let me worry about the Dominion, just get the people off that ship!"
I shook my head. "I can't do that. I won't jeopardize my crew. It's too risky. I'm sorry. DaG--" and as I was about to close the commlink, he said something I'd never forget:
"Are you afraid of a challenge, Captain? If indeed you deserve to be called 'Captain', then you'd take up this challenge."
I just stared at him on the view screen as he was barking orders at his crew, all the while his ship was being rocked by the Dominion's attacks.
"Captain, I need an answer!"
My ship's pilot, T'Shiminga Mikubo, was looking at me, awaiting my next order. I knew I would regret it if I went after the transport vessel, but Bergevin's words kept ringing in my head.
"Shim, set an intercept course, and proceed at the best possible speed."
My pilot nodded, and we were off to save the day, as it were.
"Thank you, Captain," Bergevin said. "We'll clear a path for you. Good luck." The screen went dark.
"Two minutes until we reach the transport vessel, Captain," T'Shiminga informed me.
"Advise them that we'll be making the rescue," I said to him.
A moment later, my engineer, Caughney, came to the bridge from the engine room. He looked seriously worried. "I've been monitoring, Dag. It's a crazy thing we're doing."
"I know." I looked at my two crewmembers. "Listen, if we don't make it out alive, I just want you guys to know what a pleasure it was work with you."
"Same here," T'Shiminga said.
Caughney simply nodded.
"Caugh," I then said, "we'll be needing the best possible warp factor to get out of there once we've taken the crew aboard."
"No problem, Cap'n," he said before returning to the engine room.
"By the way, Shim, how many people are aboard that ship?"
"Some of them have left in escape pods," he answered, "but I doubt they'll get very far. On the ship, I'm reading fifty-three life signs."
"Fifty-three..." The number worried me. My ship could only beam over two people at a time. At that rate, taking in account the time to make a transporter lock, it would take close to ten minutes to beam everyone aboard, leaving us more than vulnerable for an attack.
"Thirty seconds to transporter range," T'Shiminga said. "The Braveheart is drawing the Dominion ships away, as planned."
"I'll be in the cargo bay," I said. "Keep me informed of the Braveheart's situation." I hurried into the Times Square's cargo hold, where the only transporter device was located.
"We're in range, now," Shim told me over the intercom.
"Transporting now," I said, and five seconds later, a man and his young daughter appeared on the transporter pad. "Welcome to the Times Square," I told them, and with an urgent tone, "please, step aside, I've got a lot of people to beam over."
"The Braveheart has destroyed one of the Dominion vessels, Dag," Shim said from the bridge.
For the next four or five minutes, everything was running smoothly. People from the transport vessel were slowly accumulating in the cargo bay. Luckily for them, our bay hadn't been filled to capacity.
At one point, however, T'Shiminga's voice echoed over the comm system with urgency I knew meant bad news. "Oh, no!"
"Shim, please tell me you've just spilled something on your pants," I said, still in the process of beaming people aboard.
"One of the Dominion ships has broken away from the Braveheart and is heading straight for our position!"
"Damn!" I turned on the small viewer on the transporter console to see what was happening. The Dominion ship was closing fast. "Can you use the transport vessel as cover?! That might buy us a few seconds!"
"I'll try it," Shim replied.
A few seconds later, everyone in the cargo bay, including myself, was knocked from our feet as the Times Square banked hard around the transport vessel. When I got to my feet, I saw that the transport vessel had been hit by Dominion fire.
Just then, the Braveheart came storming in, and with its pulse phaser cannons, it blasted a hole through the Dominion ship's hull, resulting in that ship's explosive destruction. The explosion rocked the Times Square quite a bit since its shields were lowered.
The battle between the last Dominion ship and the Braveheart continued, as I continued to beam over the transport vessel's crew. Within a few minutes, I had everyone aboard my ship.
"Caughney," I said over the comm system after the transporting was complete, "we'll need warp drive right about now."
"Warp drive is at your disposal, Dag."
"Shim, get us out--"
"Dag," Shim interrupted, "the Braveheart's been crippled! She's adrift."
"More the reason to get out of here, Shim," I told him as I ran back to the bridge.
When I got to the bridge, I saw Shim had a sad look on his face. "The Dominion ship's about to destroy the Braveheart," he said.
"That's too bad," I said. "But we've got to go if we want to get these people to safety."
"We're not even going to try to save them?"
"Not with this ship," I replied. Then, Shim turned the Times Square around, and we were preparing to go to warp when Caughney entered the room. "We're leaving, Dag?"
I turned around. "Yes."
"We could destroy them, Dag. They're almost as crippled as the Braveheart."
"How can you be sure?"
"Dag," Caughney continued, "you admitted rescuing the transport's crew was a crazy thing to do. This isn't any crazier."
That time, I raised my voice, something I'd never done to one of my crewmembers. "My decision is final! If we go to warp now, we can outrun them!"
Then T'Shiminga joined in. "We're not going to outrun them if we go to warp, Dag."
Caughney's next words hit me, just like Captain Bergevin's had. "Are you afraid of a challenge?"
I let out a big sigh. "All right! Let's do it!" Both Caugh and Shim let out cheers of approval. Again, I had the feeling I was going to regret my decision. "Caugh, get those shields up," I ordered.
"Yes, sir," came the response.
"Shim," I said, "arm the phaser banks. Both of them."
"Aye aye, Cap'n," he replied.
The Times Square made a one hundred and eighty degree turn, and charged towards the Dominion ship. Once we got close enough to actually hit the crippled Dominion ship, I gave the order to fire.
"We hit them, but I'm not sure what damage we did," Caughney announced.
Then their return fire hit us. The Times Square was rocked like she was going to fall to pieces, though Caughney reassured me when he said, "Our shields are holding, but barely."
"They're pursuing, Dag, but slowly," T'Shiminga informed me.
"Good. Let's use the transport vessel again. I've got an idea." At that moment, the Braveheart hailed us. I opened a comm channel to the ship. "Captain, what do you think you're doing?" Bergevin asked me. "You'll never make it out alive!"
"You said you'd take care of the Dominion ships. Looks like I'm going to have to finish your job."
He tried to plead with me. "Captain..."
"If I make it out alive," I told him, "you're going to owe me big time. DaGama out."
I closed the channel. "Shim, do like earlier, turn around the transport vessel, and use it as a shield for as long as it stays together. Once it blows up, charge through the explosion. At that point, Caugh, you'll fire all we've got. I fear it's the only chance we have."
They both nodded in approval.
So the Times Square quickly took refuge behind the abandoned transport vessel, and we awaited the Dominion vessel so eager to make space dust of our little ship.
Moments later, we saw our opponents blast through the helpless transport.
"Full speed now!" I shouted, making sure everyone heard me, since that was our only chance.
The Times Square dashed through the fiery remains of the transport, hidden by the massive energy discharge the destruction created, and fired with all the might she could muster. When we cleared the cloud of fire, we were startled to see the Dominion ship so close.
"Swerve! Swerve!! SWERVE!!!" I shouted at T'Shiminga. "Keep firing!!" I yelled to Caughney.
The Times Square veered away from and fired at the Dominion ship. We were struck again by phaser fire, there was an explosion, and the three of us on the bridge were sent flying as the Times Square spun out of control.
At that instant, I was sure it was over. The explosion had surely come from us. Either we were about to come apart on our own, or the Dominion ship would finish us off.
But, there was an eerie calmness after that. From the deck, I looked up at the view screen, but all I could see was the blackness of space.
Caughney and T'Shiminga were still on the floor when I got up. I hurried to the nearest console, and checked the sensors for the Dominion ship. On the view screen, appeared, to my pleasant surprise, the remains of the Dominion ship.
I couldn't believe it. We'd actually done it. We'd saved not one, but two ships: my freighter and a Federation Starship. "We did it!!!" I hollered. "We actually destroyed them!"
Both Caughney and T'Shiminga were back on their feet by then, cheering and shouting victory cries.
Soon enough, some of the transport vessel's survivors came to the bridge to thank us. "We're forever in your debt, Captain," one man said. "We saw the fight from the viewer in the cargo bay," a little girl was saying, "you really got them good!"
"It's all in a day's work, I suppose," I told them. The Braveheart then hailed us, again.
"Good God, man!" shouted Captain Bergevin, "that was one of the best maneuvers I've ever seen! Where did you learn to fight, Captain?"
I didn't know what to say. I simply raised my shoulders in an I-don't-know manner, and said, "I guess it's my lucky day."
"You're too modest, Captain. Luck had nothing to do with it. You're good, you and your crew."
So maybe I was a good ship captain. So what? It's not like they'd offer me a job, right?
The trip to Starbase 247 was much smoother than our trip to the Gybella system. Escorted by two other Federation Starships, we arrived without incident. The Times Square was sufficiently damaged for it to warrant a complete refit, so our cargo destined for the Gybella system would have to find another means of transportation.
Caughney, T'Shiminga and I spent the trip on the Braveheart, as guests of Captain Bergevin. There, he told us tales of battles he fought in times past. He was, as I had suspected, an honored space veteran, who served in the Cardassian war several years before.
He was quite pleased with my ability to take charge of a situation. He said I'd make a fine Starship captain. He also said that a sure sign of a good captain is the one who can beat the odds, just like I had done.
I told him that I wasn't Starfleet material, that I only helped his rescue mission, and that if I were faced with a similar situation, I probably wouldn't act in the same manner. I've always believed that heroism is highly overrated. Just because a person does one courageous deed, it doesn't mean they'll repeat their feat. True heroes are those who gallantly face the odds at every turn. Sometimes, I think heroes have a death wish, seeing that they constantly risk their lives.
The next morning, we arrived at Starbase 247. Captain Bergevin gladly arranged for my freighter to be completely overhauled by Starfleet engineers. By Caughney's estimates, the process was expected to take about a week.
Shortly after our arrival at the Starbase, I was told I wanted to be seen by the Starfleet Admiral in charge of the fleet that was defending that region of space.
I walked into the Admiral's office. The Admiral in question was a woman, middle-aged, and had a serious look. Captain Bergevin was there as well.
I could already imagine what the Admiral was going to say: On behalf of... we thank you... your courage... and so forth. There would be such coldness to her voice, I knew, that her words would mean absolutely nothing.
"Admiral Nechayev," Bergevin said then, "may I present Captain Arik DaGama." He even referred to me as 'Captain'. I should have repeated myself when I had told him the day before that 'Captain' was merely a title, not an earned rank.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Captain," Not only did she refer to me as 'Captain', but she even shook my hand. I was touched.
"Same here, Admiral," I said, even though I couldn't care less about meeting her. Now, don't get me wrong. I liked being felicitated. Praise is always desirable. I was just concerned what their praise would lead to.
"First off," Admiral Nechayev started, "I'd like to congratulate you on behalf of the people of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet Command, for your bravery and solidarity towards the lives of others who were not under your responsibility."
"You are most welcome, Admiral."
"We'd also like to give you a medal commemorating this event," Bergevin said.
That was pushing it a little. "Very well," I said, making no effort to hide my disaccord.
"There is, also," Nechayev continued, "the matter of your future with Starfleet."
"I don't think I see what you're getting at, sir," I said, befuddled.
The Admiral tensed up a bit. "You see, Captain," she said slowly, emphasizing on the word 'Captain', "our resources are running a little thin. There's a lack of Starship commanders, and we--"
I took no guilt at interrupting Admiral Nechayev. "If you're offering me a job on the front line, then forget about it."
"On the contrary, Captain. The 'job' we'd like you to do for us is the exact opposite of what you faced out there yesterday."
"As you no doubt know, the Federation is at war. However, even in times of war, our scientific missions must continue, and we must ensure that our other neighbors remain neutral in the war. We've reviewed your records, and we've noticed that you've spent an enormous time traveling through the sectors where the Orion syndicate's influence is strong."
They had me at a disadvantage. They probably knew a great deal about me by then. "That's true, but I've been just about everywhere in Federation space."
"We know," said Nechayev. "Combining your knowledge of that area of space with your proven tactical abilities, we feel that you'd be the perfect candidate for the captaincy of the Starship Valhalla."
The name ringed a bell. "Isn't that the mythological place warriors go when they die?" I asked.
The Admiral was surprised by my inquiry. "I... I believe so, yes," she replied.
I just nodded a few times. The word 'Valhalla' had suicide written all over it. That wasn't very encouraging. "So let me get this straight. You want me to command this Starship?" I looked at both of them to see if they were joking. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not Starfleet. Never have been, never will be."
"That's up to you, now," Bergevin inserted into the conversation. "You did apply to the Academy, many years ago, did you not?"
"That's right. I didn't get in because of my low academic scores."
"It takes more than just good test scores to become a good leader," Nechayev said. "Captain Bergevin told me of your fondness for challenges. I think you will find Valhalla's crew to be quite a challenge."
Admiral Nechayev looked at Bergevin, who gladly stepped forward to answer my question. "The officers assigned to Valhalla have all suffered some kind of traumatic experience during the war. Keeping them on the front line was too risky for whatever ship they subsequently served on. Your missions will be more in the line of surveys, diplomacy and basic exploration, assignments we feel will help the crew get back to their normal emotional selves."
"Wouldn't a counselor be of better use?"
"There will be, of course, a counselor on Valhalla," he retorted. "But, we think that by putting those victimized officers together, they'll learn to deal with their problems as a team, and hopefully, in a shorter period of time."
I had a feeling that this project had been planed long before I came into the picture. "With all due respect, Captain, Admiral, I'm not a babysitter."
"Of course not, Captain."
"Listen, I'll think about it," I told them.
"Of course. Take all the time you need."
I turned to leave, and as I walked through the door, Bergevin hollered, "We'll see you tonight at your medal ceremony."
"Right," I said tediously, and the doors closed behind me.
I met up with Caughney and T'Shiminga in the Starbase's lounge sometime later that afternoon. I told them of Starfleet's offer. They couldn't be happier for me.
"And you actually want to do this?" Caughney asked.
"I don't know if I want this," I was telling them over a couple of drinks. "I don't feel like I deserve it. They picked me, of all people. That doesn't make any sense. Are they so deeply in the war that they need every experienced Starfleet officer on the front line?"
"Not to mention they need every good Starship on the front line," Caughney added. "I'm wondering what kind of outdated garbage haul they'll give you."
T'Shiminga didn't seem any more convinced. "And what was that about the crew? They're all suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome or something?"
"Or something," I muttered.
"You know what, Dag? You should go for this," Caugh said.
I laughed at that. "Sure you want me to go for it. You want the Times Square."
Caugh nodded guiltily. "Seriously, though. You'd applied to the Academy way back when. Don't tell me you never dreamed of being a Starship Captain."
"So I wanted to become a Starship Captain in my youth. That doesn't mean I still want that."
"Well, you wanted to be a freighter captain so much that you blew it with Capri," Shim reminded me.
"Don't bring her up," I warned him.
"All right, fine. But Caugh made a good point. You wanted this. Now it's fallen into your lap and you don't want it. What gives?"
I leaned back in my chair, and stared past my friends and out the viewport behind them. "Starfleet believes I can captain their ship. I just feel that what happened out there yesterday might have been a fluke. Besides, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times; I'm not a Starfleet officer. They won't respect me. What have I done that most of those kids haven't?"
Caugh took a large sip of his drink, then said, "It's normal that they don't respect you at first, Dag, all rookie captains have to earn their crew's respect."
"That's right," interjected Shim, "look at us. Do you think we respected you at first? No! We thought you were the most boring person in the galaxy."
"Shim's right, too," approved Caughney. "Now, we still think you're the most boring guy in the galaxy, but we also know you're one of the nicest guys in the universe."
"Oh, that's what I need. My reputation as a 'nice guy' to be spread out across the universe," I said.
"What we're trying to say, Dag, is that you should see this as a challenge, not an insurmountable obstacle."
I looked at Caugh disapprovingly. "You're always going to use the word 'challenge' to get me to act, aren't you?"
"Yes," he replied, straight-faced.
I decided to take the challenge. Not so much because it was a challenge, but because I wanted the command. Caugh had been right about one thing: I wanted to become a Starship Captain. Whatever uncertainties I had about my abilities would have to be put aside, but I knew it wouldn't be easy. I didn't want to fail. I'd show Starfleet that I was as good as they hoped I was.
Caugh and Shim were genuinely pleased to hear my decision. We celebrated with another round of drinks. I paid, of course, on account that soon I'd have the biggest spending account of the three of us. Being a Starship Captain does have its advantages.
The three of us went to the medal ceremony a few hours later, still a bit under the influence of the alcohol we had been drinking. I'd never been a fan of synthehol.
In the Starbase's wardroom were gathered several Starfleet Captains, including Captain Bergevin, and one Admiral, Alynna Nechayev. Everyone was conversing quietly.
The ceremony was brief. The Admiral said a few words about bravery, and then she presented the three of us to everyone present.
Shim leaned over and whispered into my ear, "I wonder if they know we've been drinking?"
I tried to keep a straight face, but his comment was overbearing. So, I laughed out loud, silencing the entire room. Realizing that I had interrupted the Admiral, I cleared my throat and said, "Sorry."
The Admiral finally got to the interesting part. "On behalf of the United Federation of Planets, Arik DaGama, I present you with the Starfleet Citation of Conspicuous Gallantry." The Admiral handed me a shield-shaped medallion.
So, everyone applauded, and I was expected to say a few words, so I did. "I can't accept this on my own. Without my valiant crew, Caughney and T'Shiminga, who are more my friends than co-workers, I wouldn't have done what I did. So gentlemen, this is as much yours as it is mine."
Everyone applauded again, then the people started talking anew, and the caterers began serving food. "Wait, I'm not done yet!" I shouted. The room fell silent. "Admiral, I'd like you to know I've come to my decision regarding my future in Starfleet. If the position is still open, I'd like to take it."
"It is," she said with a content look. "Honored guests, may I present Starfleet's newest Captain, Arik DaGama."
Everyone applauded once more, and the Admiral placed four rank pips on my collar, even though I wasn't wearing a uniform. "Am I expected to say something?" I asked the Admiral. The room was silent again, presumably because they were lingering for me to say something.
"The people are waiting, Captain," she answered.
"It feels good to be Captain, I'm positive I'll make everyone here proud, and I know I don't have much experience with Starships, but at least I know my way around the quadrant. That's all I have to say," was my rather quick reply.
The so-called party resumed, and lots of people came to congratulate me. At one point, Captain Bergevin came to talk.
"Let me tell you about someone I think you should take on as first officer," he was saying, and he put his arm around my shoulder. "Her name's Lara Marelli, Lieutenant Commander Marelli, that is. She's a sweet gal, and a heck of an officer. She was my senior Flight Controller a few years ago, before I sent her off to find greater challenges. Even though she's had it rough during the war, she wasn't supposed to join your crew on account that she's such a fine officer, but I pulled in a few favors with Admiral Nechayev, so she's yours if you want her."
I didn't know what to say. "Ok, sure," I finally said.
Bergevin didn't seem to think I wanted her as my second-in-command. "You don't have to take her, Captain. I'm just making a suggestion."
"No, really, if you say she's good, then fine, I'll take her. I'll need all the good officers I can get."
Bergevin was smiling widely. "I'll get the paperwork done," he said, and he was off.
I left the ceremony a short while later. I tried to sleep, but couldn't. I was both anxious and nervous about my new job. I was also feeling a little sad about leaving my two best friends behind.
During the course of the ceremony, the Admiral had offered them posts as well, but they each refused, Caughney stating that he didn't respond well to authority, even if I were to be his commanding officer, and T'Shiminga, for his part, because he felt that Starfleet would restrict him from performing his unorthodox piloting style.
The next morning, I prepared to leave Starbase 247 for Starbase 565, where the Starship Valhalla would be arriving in about ten days from then.
I tried on the uniform for the first time. It was surprisingly comfortable, except for he collar, which was a little tight around my neck. As I walked down the corridors, making my way towards the Starship taking me to my destination, passing officers of lower rank saluted me. It was something to get used to.
Waiting for me at the docking port was Shim and Caugh. "I knew I was forgetting something," I said, "I didn't say goodbye."
"We know," uttered Shim, in a serious tone.
"That's why we're here," said the other.
I looked at my colleagues with great appreciation. "You guys have been the greatest of friends. I really wish you two were coming with me."
They just stared at me in silence, watching me get all emotional.
"Caugh, the Times Square is yours," I told him, and he slapped me on he shoulder.
"As for you, Shim, I have nothing to give you, but if you're patient enough, I'll give you the Valhalla when I'm done."
"I doubt that," he said smiling.
"Somehow, me too," I said. I looked at my friends. They were, in a sense, my family, and although I was saddened by the fact that I was leaving, it felt good to be doing something new.
"Call us every day," Caugh said.
"And don't forget to brush your teeth," Shim added as a joke, and we laughed.
"You sound like my mother on the day I left home," I told Shim. They both smiled at that. "All right, I'm out of here." I stepped into the transport vessel, and left behind the life I had known.
I knew, deep down, that my life would different, that changes would affect me in some ways. What I didn't expect was how much those things would change me.
The transport vessel departed for Starbase 565 soon after I set foot aboard.
I was sitting in one of the vessel's lounges, clad in my uniform, having a drink while I was going over Starfleet regulations and protocols and other stuff that I would have learn had I attended the Academy. A few people whispered things about me, but I couldn't make out what they were saying. I just hoped they were saying something nice.
At one point, a young woman in a Starfleet uniform came to speak to me. She was a service-division ensign, so she was either an engineer or a security officer. She was Bajoran, slim, average height, and she had dark red hair cut very short.
"Excuse me, sir. You wouldn't happen to be Captain DaGama, would you?"
"No. I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard," I said, obviously joking.
"You're too young to be Captain Picard, sir."
"Well, thank you for the compliment, Ensign. I am Captain DaGama, yes. Am I to assume that you will be serving under me?"
"Ensign Eyana Sedi, security officer, sir."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ensign. Do you want to sit down?"
"Thank you, Captain." So she sat down. "So, I hear that this is your first mission as a Starfleet officer."
She put it in a way that made me feel like I didn't have any idea what I was doing. "That's right."
"Well, I heard that you kicked some Dominion butt out there the other day."
"I didn't do it alone. I had some help." I had a few questions for her. "Tell me this, are there any other Valhalla crewmembers on this transport?"
"No, it's just the two of us. I looked at the passenger manifest before we left."
"I see. What I really wanted to know is what the crew thinks about having a freighter captain who's totally inexperienced when it comes to Starfleet affairs, but seeing as you're the only crewmember here, that question is directed to you."
"I think it's going to be an interesting challenge, sir."
"But don't you think the crew will have trouble accepting me?"
"Every crewmember has been through hell during the war. Sure, they'll be uneasy when you're around, but if Starfleet Command trusts you, then we should too."
"I wish it were that simple. If in fact the crew has had a rough time, then they shouldn't be eager to be put in a situation where the commanding officer is inexperienced."
"I see what you mean, captain, but I'm not worried. I'm sure you'll do fine."
"Well, that makes one of us who is not worried."
"I bet it's not easy to have this kind of responsibility dropped upon you. What else did you do to get this job, anyway?"
"I agreed to take care of Admiral Nechayev's dog while she goes on vacation." I was joking, but the Ensign didn't seem to get that.
"The Admiral has a dog? She doesn't seem like an animal person."
I chuckled lightly. "I'm kidding, Ensign. I didn't do anything more than what you've already heard."
And so our conversation went on for a short while thereafter. She told me about Starfleet, what she liked about it, what she disliked about it, and some more stuff regarding regulations that were unclear to me.
Soon enough, we were at Starbase 565. I got to my quarters soon enough after our arrival. The Starbase was a pretty interesting place, what with its numerous recreational facilities and many stores. I kept myself busy during the next couple of days, by reading more about Starfleet regs, and by enjoying myself in the base's facilities as I awaited Valhalla's arrival.
There were only a few of Valhalla's crew waiting on the Starbase with me, and I got a chance to meet them, albeit a bit briefly. None of them were as outgoing as Ensign Eyana, but I didn't mind. I didn't want my whole crew to be a bunch of joyous gailurons.
I was sitting in one of the base's lounges, enjoying a drink, when I saw Valhalla arrive. It was both an exciting and scary moment for me.