Baptism of Fire by MIck

2265 - The U.S.S. Constitution prepares to depart for it's final five year mission under a new commander, Captain Alexander Marshall.  Marshall, the son of one of the ship's former captains, struggles with finding his own indentity in a place with so much history.

On the frontier, the Tandarans have captured a Federation envoy while attempting to extend their borders into Federation space.  It is up to the crew of the Constitution to rescue the envoy.  Surrounded by old friends, and new crewman, Marshall must decide the best course of action to get the envoy back.

Categories: Original Series, Expanded Universes Characters: None
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Family, Friendship
Warnings: Adult Language, Character Death, Violence
Challenges: None
Series: Star Trek: Constitution
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 6503 Read: 3287 Published: 15 May 2014 Updated: 11 Jul 2014
Story Notes:





Baptism of Fire takes place in the year 2265 between the Star Trek episodes Where No Man Has Gone Before and The Corbomite Maneuver.

1. Chapter 1 by MIck

2. Chapter 2 by MIck

Chapter 1 by MIck



A piped whistle broke the reverie of Captain Alexander Marshall pulling him away from the thoughts of his new command. The Constitution! As the prototype, she was named for her class and Marshall could still scarce believe that the ship was soon to be his. He was to embark on the ship’s last five year mission as its commanding officer. A feat once before completed by his father.


Alex sat behind the study desk in one of his family’s London homes having dwelled in past memories of his father, his own career with his recent promotion to command of the Constitution and his bidding goodbye to his former command, the cramped Baton-Rogue class patrol ship Resolute. Not for a second did he regret his choice to not follow in the Marshall family interstellar dilithium mining business. 


Reaching across the desk, Alexander flipped the switch on the desktop speaker and drawled into it in his southern United States accent, “Marshall here.”


“Captain Marshall, this is Lieutenant Commander T’Vana, I have been waiting to transport you to the Constitution for the change of command, but have not heard anything from you as of yet.  According to the schedule, the ceremony is due to take place one hour from now.” There was a beat, a deliberate pause on the Vulcan woman’s part before she continued in her implacable tone. “It would not look good for you to be tardy.”


Alex nodded to no one in particular as he recognized the voice of the Constitution’s security chief, “Acknowledged, I’ll be beaming up from the orbital fleet yard in fifteen minutes.”


“The shuttle will be leaving in ten minutes sir.”


“Lieutenant Commander it will leave when I say it does.  Marshall out,” was all Alex replied as he closed the channel.  He smiled, knowing that the moment he had been waiting for had arrived.  He checked his appearance one last time before exiting the quiet house.


Thirty minutes later Captain Marshall was walking along the rows of class-F shuttlecraft resting on the orbital station’s hangar deck, hoping to find the craft that would transport him to his new assignment.  After walking for several more minutes, Marshall found the one he was looking for, registry NCC-1700/3 the shuttle Tranquility for the trip to the Constitution.  The blocky design class-F was the primary shuttlecraft used by Starfleet, often found on starbases and starships able to carry seven passengers behind its three windowed angled front at a top speed of warp 2.


“Sorry for the delay Commander,” said Marshall, walking up the steps on the port side of the shuttle. “I had some business to take care of before we depart.”


“Of course sir,” said Lieutenant Commander T’Vana. The Constitution’s Chief of Security, not questioning the man’s tardiness, waited for him to take his seat in the aft section of the shuttle before she took the pilot’s seat.  T’Vana looked over her display engaging the thrusters for the short trip to the Constitution.  The Vulcan engaged the thrusters on the shuttle, allowing it to float briefly above the hangar deck below. 


Alex could feel the class-F shuttle moving forward, traveling toward its destination.  He began to study T’Vana. She was very tall and attractive for a Vulcan, her pointed ears sticking out from her long black hair that was kept within Starfleet regulations.  She appeared to be no more than thirty years old, but Marshall observed it was likely that she could have been much older.  The captain felt he needed to focus, to think about what was about to happen as the object of his attention changed to the ship he would be commanding.  “T’Vana, how long until we reach the ship?” he called out.


“Two point seven eight minutes,” replied the security chief from the pilot’s seat. “The ship will be coming into view in twenty-three point two seconds, Captain.”


Alex got up from his chair and wandered up to the front of the craft, taking the copilot’s seat.  T’Vana reached over and pushed a button that opened the three viewports above them and allow them to see outside.  Captain Marshall gasped as he saw the ship for the first time in several years, at this distance, staring at the name and registry emblazoned on the gray metal hull of the saucer section: U.S.S. CONSTITUTION NCC-1700. 


“What a ship,” he whispered to no one in particular. Marshall felt the ship was really a true beauty as starships went.  The Constitution class bespoke elegance and beauty with a regal power that made it the flagship class to project Starfleet’s might and purpose of exploration and discovery. Sculpted with purpose, the large crown of the saucer section connected to the power house of the secondary hull with an angled connection between them before tapering off with the angled pylons leading to the two warp nacelles that promised speed and discovery.  


At the rear of the secondary hull was the shuttlebay to which T’Vana now steered the shuttle.  Alex considered himself lucky to even get this assignment.  The Constitution-class starships being the future of Starfleet, a technological marvel, it was not every day that you got to serve on a starship like it.  It was reserved for a precious few in Starfleet—just over 5000 were granted such an assignment.  It was the best of what each member world of the United Federation of Planets had to offer.  The Constitution itself was a prototype, having seen many changes in its design over the years before being refitted to its current configuration to match the eleven other starships that came after her.


“When was the last time you were on board sir?” asked T’Vana, knowing what the answer to her question was going to be.


Marshall turned to the Vulcan with a tinge of sadness lacing his voice.  “My father’s funeral, eight years ago.”


“Well, there have been some changes,” remarked T’Vana as the shuttle flew over the dome that housed the bridge underneath it, “but it is still the same.  The Constitution is quite a ship sir.”


“Yes she certainly is,” said Marshall nodding in approval.


“Your father was one of the finest officers I have served under,” admitted Lieutenant Commander T’Vana. “I had only been on board the ship for a short time before the incident with the Tholians, and he showed great dedication to the crew and to Starfleet.  Even though the battle did come out in our favor, he was a smart captain.  I learned much from him about what it takes to be a good officer, and to remain strong in the face of adversity.”


“I appreciate you telling me that,” said Marshall as he turned to stare out the window.  The shuttle began a slight descent as it lined up with the shuttlebay in the rear of the secondary hull.  The Tranquility held a stationary position as T’Vana requested access.  A moment later, the shuttlebay doors parted in the middle, allowing a tractor beam to lock onto the Tranquility.  It was guided into the larger craft, coming to rest in a precise spot within the larger starship before rotating around to allow its passengers to exit once the shuttlebay had re-pressurized. 




Lieutenant Commander Bo Jin Yu, Chief Engineer of the starship Constitution, sat in the control room and looked out onto the hangar deck, watching as the doors opened in the middle and began to retract.  Floating in space was the shuttlecraft that would be bringing the new captain on board. Bo had served under the Constitution’s former captain, Nigel Harrington, until he had been promoted to the Admiralty.  The Chief Engineer was somewhat annoyed with the idea of a new captain after he had already gotten used to the old one.  Yu began to depress the controls that would lock a tractor beam onto the smaller craft, bringing it into the shuttlebay and came to rest.  The doors then closed as the hangar deck began to re-pressurize.  A few moments later Yu walked out into the shuttlebay as the door opened, allowing the passengers to exit.  


Captain Marshall waited for a yeoman to sound the Bosun’s whistle as the honor guard of security personnel lined up on each side of the shuttle door, allowing him enough room to walk comfortably between them.  Marshall climbed down the stairs and began to walk toward one of several doors on the outside of the shuttlebay.


“Welcome aboard, Captain,” said Bo as Captain Marshall walked up to him, standing at the end of the long line of security guards.  


“Thank you Mr. Yu,” Marshall warmly returned the welcome, recognizing the engineer from his personnel file immediately. “What is the condition of the ship?”


“We’ll need at least another four to five days to finish the refit sir,” Yu stated. He explained to Marshall, “I’ve had my people working around the clock for the last two days with help from the starbase personnel trying to get things suitable for today.  The bridge should meet with your approval sir.  The ship will give you everything she’s got and then some. Overall, I am quite pleased with how the repairs are turning out.  They have met with my approval.  Just don’t push her too hard the first time out,” said Bo.  He paused before saying, “Sir, I need to get to the cargo bay for the ceremony.”


“Fine, fine,” said Marshall as he watched the red-shirted engineer exit the shuttlebay. Alex turned his head to see T’Vana stepping out of the Tranquility.  He looked around the shuttlebay as he realized it was the one part of the ship that had not changed since it was launched.  Captain Marshall fought the urge to smile as it reminded him of one of his early assignments after graduating from the Academy.


“Captain, if you care to follow me I can show you the way to the main cargo bay where the change of command will take place,” offered the Vulcan.


“I can find my way around a Constitution-class ship,” said Marshall coming back to reality.   “I’ve served on them before.”  Marshall’s thoughts flashed to the Enterprise and serving under Christopher Pike, where for a time Marshall had even imagined himself as a successor to Pike. Alas, it was not to be instead that upstart Kirk had advanced to the position. The famous exploits of Kirk and the notoriety the Enterprise was gaining under his command was enough to make Marshall feel momentarily old even at the age of thirty seven.  


Running a hand through his thick brown hair, he ignored the telltale signs of gray creeping into it, Marshall readied himself and exited the hangar deck through one of several side exits. He was escorted by T’Vana and her security guards walking a step behind him. He began walking down a gray corridor lined with multi-colored doors, each door set beneath a label that indicated what was behind it.  The corridor was crowded with crewman scattered as the ship began to prepare for the change of command. 


“Attention on deck,” said T’Vana, very sternly letting everyone know that the new captain had arrived.  Those who were working stopped what they were doing and lined the corridor, letting the captain pass by them.  After walking for a few more meters down the corridor, Alex entered the cargo bay and a yeoman handed him a data slate.  He accepted it before walking down the center aisle between rows of chairs that had been set up before a podium.  A small group had already gathered at the front of the room, comprised of a few dignitaries and top brass from Starfleet Command. The Captain stopped walking just as the Bosun’s whistle was sounded again, signaling that the ceremony was beginning.  He stood at the front of the room, staring back into the many pairs of eyes now fixed on him.


The entire crew had now assembled in the cargo bay, having done so both out of tradition and at the request of the Constitution’s soon to be former commanding officer, Vice Admiral Nigel Harrington, who was now approaching the podium. He was a veteran of Starfleet for almost forty years, having seen times of peace and armed conflict to doing what he loved best, exploration. Harrington’s once full head of black hair was now bald on top and gray on the sides; his full beard was neatly trimmed. “Thank you all for coming,” said Admiral Harrington through his beard before continuing, “Today is a turning point in the history of this vessel and her crew.  As I prepare for my new assignment as Director of Starfleet Intelligence, this ship and her crew will continue to go boldly into the vast frontier that is space.  To my crew I say this, thank you.  It has truly been a pleasure serving with you.  It is my hope that you will follow your new captain’s orders as if they were mine as you embark on this ship’s final five-year mission.  I now turn these proceedings over to the wife of a former captain of this starship, and the mother of its new captain, Admiral Nora Adams Marshall.”


Alex gasped as he saw his mother walk forward slowly, and stand at the podium.  He had not expected the Admiral to be able to attend the ceremony, after being told that the distance to travel was too great because of her assignment to the border service, commanding a K-class starbase in the Golvanis system.  Captain Marshall struggled to bury the sadness he felt as he thought of his father being unable to witness the proceedings taking place.


“Thank you Admiral Harrington,” said Admiral Marshall in an English accent.  “The U.S.S. Constitution NCC-1700 was launched in the year 2244 under the command of Admiral William Jeffries.  The ship was rushed to active duty after word that the Klingons had sent several ships to the border near Sherman’s Planet.  After leading Starfleet’s forces in battle against the Klingons at Donatu V, Admiral Jeffries retired, and at that time my husband, Brad Marshall, was promoted to captain of the ship.”


A smile played across the Admiral’s face as she now listed the ship’s accomplishments under her husband’s command. “During his ten year tenure as master of this vessel, first contact was made with over eight different species including the Trill, Arcadians, and Efrosians.”


Admiral Marshall took a moment and looked down at the podium. It was only briefly but Alex understood why as his mother continued delivering her speech. “Upon his death, the Constitution’s X.O., Commander Nigel Harrington, was promoted to Captain and assumed command.  After two successful five year missions, one to the edge of our galaxy and back again, this ship begins a new chapter in its history.  It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the new captain, my son, Alexander Marshall.”


“Attention to orders,” called out Yu from the back of the room, loud enough for everyone to hear.


Admiral Harrington produced and activated a data slate and read the text it displayed. “To Vice Admiral Nigel Harrington, Commanding Officer, USS Constitution NCC-1700.  Stardate 1326.  You are hereby requested and required to relinquish command of your vessel to Captain Alexander J. Marshall, commanding officer, USS Resolute as of this date.  Signed, Admiral Robert L. Comsol, Commander Starfleet.”


Alex slowly walked over to the podium, quickly activating his own data slate.  He then read the text, “To Captain Alexander Marshall, commanding officer, USS Resolute.  You are hereby requested and required to relieve Vice Admiral Nigel Harrington of command of the U.S.S. Constitution NCC-1700 effective stardate 1326.  Signed, Admiral Robert L. Comsol, Commander Starfleet.”  


Marshall then extended his left hand to the Admiral. “I relieve you Admiral.”


“I am relieved,” said Harrington.  The Admiral turned to those who had gathered. “This concludes the change of command proceedings.  A reception will be held in the Mess Hall to commence in thirty minutes.  You are dismissed.”  The crowd slowly began to disperse, allowing Marshall to breathe a sigh of relief for the first time since he had stepped on board.  


“A word of advice,” said Harrington turning to the younger man.


“Of course,” said Marshall keeping his voice low.


“They are a good crew, one of the best this ship has ever had.  Treat them and the ship very well, and they’ll bring you home,” offered the Admiral.


“I’ll remember that,” said Alex gratefully, nodding in understanding.


“I’m glad to see Starfleet Command was wise enough to give you command of the ship,” said Harrington.  He paused before continuing, “I know she isn’t the Enterprise, but she’s still a fine ship, one of the best in the fleet.  I can’t think of anyone better to take her out on her last five year mission.”


“Part of me wishes it wasn’t her last,” said Marshall wistfully.


“Me too,” Nigel concurred sadly as he looked around the cargo bay, hoping it would not be the last time he would get to see the ship.  There were a lot of memories that he held dear, some good, some bad.  His mind wandered to those who had perished in the line of duty, and he found his thoughts drifting to Brad Marshall.  “This is probably not the first time you’ve heard this today, but coming from someone who served with your father, he would have been proud of you.”


“Thank you Admiral,” said the Captain.  He had a slight smile on his face; thinking of the possibilities, hoping that the ship’s first mission under his command would be one of exploration, deep on the frontier.  


“Well Captain, if you’ll excuse me,” said Harrington.


“Of course,” said Marshall, gesturing toward the door.


“Good luck to you and your crew,” the Admiral wished as he began walking toward the exit.


Alex quickly scanned the room with his eyes.  There were not as many people in the room as there was before.  He decided it was time to visit with his family, and walked over to where his mother was now standing.  “Hi Mom,” he greeted, keeping his voice low.


Admiral Marshall looked up at her son as she cleared a strand of her brown hair from her face. “Forgive me Alex, I lied to you.  I hope you liked the surprise,” she said with a smile.


The captain nodded before declaring, “Yes I did, believe me.  You said your duties on K-19 were too important for you to be here, something about your squadron conducting training exercises in a remote sector.”


“How do you think I got back to Earth in time to be here?” replied Nora, her smile widening. “I just wish your father could have been here to see this.”


“That would have been nice,” replied Alex with a hint of sadness in his voice.  


The Admiral nodded. “I know, I miss him too.”  She frowned slightly as she thought of her husband.  While she had accepted his death, it was something she had not completely recovered from. She studied the room for a moment; this particular cargo bay had bad memories for her, the spot where Brad’s funeral had been.  She took comfort in the thought that it was now the spot where her son had assumed command of the starship. 


“I probably wouldn’t be in Starfleet if it wasn’t for him,” replied the Constitution’s new captain.  A smile formed on his face, no longer wanting to dwell on such difficult times.


“Alex,” said the shorter blonde woman now addressing him, “congratulations.”


“Thank you Jenna,” he said to his younger sister dressed in a Science blue dress uniform.  “How are things in the border service?” he asked.


“About as good as can be expected,” she replied.  Jenna then said, “Tommy said to tell you that he wished he could be here, but he’s on Deneva trying to close a deal for the company.”


“Leave it to Tommy to put business in front of family, even if it is the family business,” said Marshall referring to their younger sibling, Thomas, now running their families dilithium mining corporation on Alpha Centauri.  He then turned to the shorter man standing next to Jenna. “Cadet.”


“Hi Dad,” said Cadet Jason Marshall, a first year cadet at Starfleet Academy.  He was almost the spitting image of his father.  


“How’s your classes going?” asked Marshall.


“Very well, it looks like I’m going to pass with all A’s,” said Jason.


Marshall smiled, and nodded. “I’m proud of you son.”


Jason replied, “No Dad, I’m proud of you.  If this wasn’t Ironsides last five year mission I would request to serve on board when I graduated.”


“Well never say never, keep your grades up and you’ll get on board during the last year,” Marshall offered.  He cleared his throat before saying, “Well Mom, what do you say we blow off the reception for a while, and tour the ship.  You can tell me old war stories while we’re at it.”


Nora looked back up and smiled at her son. “I’d like that.”  Nora quickly walked toward the exit to the cargo bay, Alex following her as the doors parted in the middle and allowed them to exit.  As they began to move down the now quiet corridor she asked, “Did I ever tell you about the time your father had the ambassador from Quelles IV on board?”



“You did, but let’s go see the actual spot in the Observation Deck where Dad got into the fist fight with him.  If I remember right, Dad cleaned the ambassador’s clock,” said Alex, and he smiled as he listened to his mother begin the story.


Chapter 2 by MIck


Lt. Commander Catryn Cojocaru frowned as she sat in a quiet corner of the mess hall.  She stared down at her breakfast, a hearty meal of eggs, bacon, and toast with a glass of orange juice.  She stabbed at the eggs with her fork, not really in the mood to eat.


“You not hungry?” asked Lieutenant Elena Ortega, the ship’s Communications officer, and one of Cojocaru’s closest friends.  She was wearing her workout clothes, as she prepared for her morning ritual of jogging the corridors.


“I just have a lot on my mind right now,” said the Science officer in her thick Russian accent.


“Why’s that?  Trouble with your family again?” asked the communications officer, as she began to eat her own breakfast.


Cojocaru shook her head, “No, trouble here on the ship.”  She watched as a tall Andorian man wearing a gold tunic left the room. “It’s not fair.  I should be the new First Officer right now, not that blue bug.  I didn’t spend the last three years serving under Captain Harrington only to come up short when he was promoted,” stated Catryn.


“You feel like you should have gotten it instead of Commander Vreymal because of your experience with the ship, and it’s crew,” observed Ortega.


Cojocaru nodded, “Yes exactly.  Marshall getting command is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Starfleet to try to get some press for Ironsides one last time before she’s retired.”


“You could have asked for a transfer,” offered Hayes as he assed the situation.


“I considered it,” countered Cojocaru, “but I have too many friends here.  Something about Starfleet retiring the ship after this mission just ticks me off.  I think I owe it to the  ship and the crew to stick out until the end.”


“You’d better, and you had better be just as good of a science officer to Captain Marshall as you were to Captain Harrington.  Because if you don’t, I’ll tell him Catryn.”


“I’ll try,” was all Cojocaru said.  


“And besides,” observed Ortega, “if Marshall had been given the Enterprise, then more than likely it would have been Kirk taking command of the Constitution instead so you still would have lost out.


“You have a point,” replied Cojocaru.


Ortega glanced up at the chronometer, “Time for my run.  I’ll see you later Catryn.”


“I’ve got to get to the Bridge anyway.  I’m in charge of orientating the newbies up there,” said Cojocaru as she got up from the table.


Vreymal waited for the shuttlebay to pressurize before entering, and approached the shuttle that had just landed.  As the new arrivals, a group of junior officers, disembarked he ordered them to line up next to the shuttle.  The Andorian said in a gruff tone, “I am Commander Vreymal, First Officer, you can’t pronounce my last name, so don’t bother trying.  You will address me as Commander Vreymal.  Welcome aboard the Constitution.  Captain Marshall has another matter to attend to at the moment, and is sorry that he could not be here to welcome you himself.”


“What’s with this guy?” asked one of the new crewman.


The Exec stopped pacing in front of him, and glanced at the stripes on the gold tunic, “What’s your name Ensign.”


“Hunter Smith, sir.  I am the new navigator,” he said with an Australian accent.


Vreymal glanced at the data slate he had been carrying, “This is your first assignment Mr. Smith?  You are a recent Academy graduate, near the top of his class if I recall correctly.”


“Yes sir,” he replied.


“You’re lucky this isn’t my ship, or I’d demote you to gamma shift.  I’m told you’re one of the best navigators available, we’ll have to see whether or not that is true,” said the Commander.  He continued, “I am only assigned here for the next year while the Eagle finishes its refit.  At that time, I will be assuming command of that ship.  Until then, this ship will be a tight ship, and run by the book.  We will follow Starfleet regulations, and perform our duties accordingly.  Is that clear?”  


“Yes sir,” answered the group.


“Find your quarters, get your gear stowed, and get your physicals done.  When you’re finished with that report to your duty stations for orientation.  Those of you serving on the Bridge, report to Lieutenant Commander Cojocaru,” ordered the Exec.  “Dismissed,” he called out watching the group disperse.  When there was no one standing in front before him, Vreymal allowed himself to let out a small chuckle, and a smile.


“Excuse me Commander,” said Ensign Smith.


Vreymal turned around to face him, “What is it Ensign?”


“I’m afraid I never served on a ship like this one before.  I don’t know my way around,” said the navigator.


“You did your midshipman training cruise on the Republic didn’t you?” asked Vreymal.


Smith nodded, “Yes sir.”


“Then you should know your way around, and I don’t give tours,” said Vreymal.   He pointed toward one of the exit doors, “Just go out into the corridor, someone can tell you how to find a turbolift.”


“Thank you sir,” said Smith with a nod as he walked toward the door where the superior officer had pointed.  The Ensign exited out into the corridor, and began walking slowly, unsure of where he was going.  He could hear footsteps behind him, getting closer as he walked.


 “Coming through,” called out an attractive petite woman to the small group of officers that had gathered in the middle of the curved corridor.  She did not stop as the group broke up briefly allowing her access.  Her breathing now heavy as sweat ran down her tan skin.  


Smith smiled at the woman’s resourcefulness as he increased his speed to catch up to her.  “Hi,” he said now walking beside her as she slowed, “I’m Hunter Smith the new navigator.”


“Lieutenant Ortega, Communications officer.  You’re from Melbourne, your parents are both teachers,” she replied with a Spanish accent.


“How could you possibly know that?” asked Smith.


“I’m a linguist, and I’ve got the senior officers personnel files memorized,” replied Ortega.


Smith then asked, “I was wondering if you could tell me where the turbolift is?”


“Look at the labels above the doors, and they’ll tell you what it leads to,” said Ortega.  She paused, “You’re a navigator, and you can’t navigate your way around a starship.”


“I’m great at navigating through space, new places on the other hand take some getting used to for me,” said Smith.


“Sorry for being so sarcastic,” said Ortega, “I get worked up during my jogs.”


“Don’t worry about it,” he replied, ‘how come you don’t use the treadmill the ship’s gym?”


“I don’t get to see everyone that way,” said Ortega, “in my position I thrive on having good relationships, and communication skills.  It got you to talk to me didn’t it?”


Smith nodded, “Yes it did.  Sometime I might have to join you.”


“Yes that would be nice,” said Ortega, stopping to wipe her forehead with her towel.  “Turbolift is down that corridor, second door on the right,” she said.


“Thank you,” said Smith with a nod, and continued on his way.


“Hey,” called out Ortega.


Smith turned around, “What?”


“Word of advice, don’t get on Commander Vreymal’s bad side by being sarcastic he hates that from what I’ve heard,” said Ortega.


“I wish I had met you first,” said Smith, “I think I already messed that up.”


“Oh rookie, you’ve got a long way to go to get out of that mess,” replied Ortega.


“Don’t remind me,” said Smith as he entered the turbolift.




Captain Marshall let out a quick sigh before walking a few more meters to the transporter room.  He then saw Commander Vreymal, the Constitution’s Executive Officer, approach from the other direction.


“Pink skin,” said the Andorian.


“Blue bug,” replied Marshall.


“I just got the word, Doctor Hightower is ready to beam up,” reported Vreymal.


“Oh joy,” said Marshall, “she wasn’t my choice.”


Vreymal’s brow furrowed. “She wasn’t?”


“I didn’t get a say in my whole senior staff you know, and if I ever find out which admiral had her assigned here,” said Marshall as his voice trailed off as his thoughts drifted back to the last time he saw her.


Vreymal then said, “I know there’s history between you two, and I’m not one for reopening old wounds.  If you have a problem with her serving on this ship, you need to say something now.”


“That book closed a long time ago,” said Marshall, “I’m long over Anita Hightower.”


“She is a good doctor from what I’ve heard,” said Vreymal.


“One of the best,” said Marshall as he entered the transporter room with the Andorian following behind him.


“Good morning Captain,” said Bo Jin Yu just as they walked toward the transporter console.


“Good morning Chief,” said the Captain.


“I just confirmed, our new doctor is ready to beam aboard,” said the Chief Engineer.


“Energize,” ordered the captain.  He watched as Yu worked the sliders controlling the transporter as it shimmered in front of him.  Within moments a tall dark skinned woman with an hourglass figure wearing the new blue minidress uniform appeared on one of the transporter pads.  Marshall then took a few steps forward toward her, “Welcome aboard Doctor.”


“Thank you Captain,” replied Anita Hightower as she stepped off the transporter platform.  “Reporting for duty as ordered sir,” she said.


“Very good,” said Marshall as he turned to Vreymal.  “You remember Commander Vreymal. don’t you?”


“Doctor,” said the Andorian in a gruff voice.


“Commander, good to see you again,” replied Hightower.


Marshall turned and escorted over to the transporter console.  “Doctor, I’d like you to meet Lieutenant Commander Bo Jin Yu, Chief Engineer,” said the Captain introducing them.


“Doctor Hightower,” said Yu as he reached over the console extending his hand to her, “it is good to meet you.  I look forward to serving with you.”


“Likewise,” said Hightower as she let go of the engineer’s hand.


Marshall turned to Vreymal, “Commander, continue to prep the ship for departure.  I want to make our launch time well ahead of schedule.”


Vreymal nodded before leaving the transporter room, “I’ll see to it Captain.”


“Doctor, I’ll show you to your quarters so you can get settled,” said Marshall.


“If it’s all the same sir, I’d like to take a look at Sickbay first,” said Hightower.


The captain nodded. “That’s on this deck.  Follow me.”  They exited the transporter room, and began walking down the corridor.  


“Any idea where we are headed?” asked Hightower as they walked.


“Hopefully out on the frontier.  I’d love to do some real exploring for once,” said Marshall.


Hightower smiled. “That would be nice.”  Her jaw fell open as they entered Sickbay where a loud commotion had erupted.  


“What is going on here?” yelled Marshall at the top of his lungs.  At that moment, the noise died down as everyone realized who had entered the room.


“Someone get me a duty roster,” called out Hightower.  She waited a moment as she was handed a data slate by a nearby nurse.  She scanned it quickly before looking up at everyone. “Now here’s the deal.  We’re going to get this place organized, we’re going to do it quickly.  We’re going to do it quietly.  I will not have such a ruckus fill my Sickbay.”


“We’ve already got it organized,” said the same nurse that handed Hightower the data slate, “Doctor Hayes fully approved it.”


“Doctor Hayes is not in charge here, I am,” said Hightower, “he is not the Chief Medical Officer of this ship.”


The nurse stammered, “But Doctor Hayes said . . .”


“I don’t care what he said,” replied Hightower, “What is your name?”


“Johansen, Lieutenant Seth Johansen,” said the nurse.


Hightower scanned the data slate, “Lieutenant, you are no longer my Head Nurse.  You held the post for two hours and forty-five minutes, I believe that is a record.  I choose my own staff, not the ship’s psychologist.  You should be aware of who the personnel is on this ship, and just because someone has more seniority doesn’t mean you should always listen to them.”  She turned toward Marshall, “Present company excluded of course.”  The doctor paused, “Where can I find Doctor Hayes?”


“The next room over, your desk,” replied Johansen.


The doctor wasted no time as she walked toward her office, with Marshall following behind with his arms folded.  She entered the room to find Lieutenant Derek Hayes, the ship’s psychologist, with his feet propped up on the desk.  Hightower cleared her throat, watching Hayes jump a little before standing up, and turning around.


“Doctor Hightower,” said Hayes with an English accent, “I wasn’t expecting you until later today.”


“You weren’t?  Too bad for you.  I’m here now, and I am taking charge of MY sickbay,” said Hightower.


“Look, I know I messed up.  I was just trying to be of help,” said Hayes.


“If you want to help, you need to stay out of my Sickbay, and work only out of your assigned space.  Is that clear?” said Hightower.


“I don’t think that’s necessary,” said Hayes.


The captain chimed in, “I think it is.”


“Who the hell are you?” asked Hayes.  He watched as Marshall raised him arm showing the man the stripes on his right sleeve.  “I’m sorry sir,” said the psychologist as he now stood at attention.  


The captain replied, “What you have done is bordering on insubordination, and I will have you transferred off MY ship unless you do what she says, and I mean right now.”  They watched as Hayes left the office.


“Want me to have him transferred out of here anyway?” asked Marshall.


Hightower shook her head. “No, he’s a big boy, let him sit and stew for a while.  He’s still bitter that he couldn’t hack it at being a competent doctor.  He had to settle for being a psychologist instead.”  


“I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me right now,” said Hightower as she bent over, and activated the desktop monitor.


The captain nodded, “I’ll let you get to it.”


“Wait,” called out Hightower.  She watched as Marshall turned around, and came back into the room. “According to what I’m seeing here, you and Ensign Smith have not had your physicals yet.  Seeing as how he just got on board, and you’re here, let’s just get it over with.  You know I have the authority to relieve you of duty until you do.”


Marshall let out a sigh hoping to put it off as long as possible. “Alright, fine.”


Hightower instructed Johansen to notify the ensign to report to Sickbay.  She then led Marshall back toward one of the biobeds, letting him sit on one of the sides. “Take your shirt off,” ordered the doctor.  Her eyes wandered over his upper body, but remembered she needed to be professional.  “Lay back,” she said as she ran a medical tricorder over him.


Staring up at the ceiling Marshall asked, “So how have you been?”


“Fine,” she replied, as she took more readings, “you on the other hand, need to start eating better, your cholesterol is a little high.”


“I’ll keep that in mind, Doctor,” he replied.


“See that you do, Captain,” said the doctor.  She then asked, “How’s Janice?”


Marshall replied, “I don’t know, we’re divorced.”


Hightower gasped a little. “Oh I’m sorry.”


“It’s alright.  I should’ve seen it coming.  I’ll tell you this much, if she was still around, I wouldn’t have this command right now,” said Marshall.


“You always said you wanted one of the twelve,” said Hightower.


“I know, but if I had gotten the Enterprise, I could’ve made my own way in the universe.  On this ship, I’m always going to be Brad Marshall’s son,” said the captain.


“I’m finished,” said Hightower as Marshall sat up on the edge of bed. Turning back from replacing her medical equipment, Hightower offered, “Let me tell you this, don’t worry about being Brad Marshall’s son, be Captain Alexander Marshall because he’s the man this ship needs right now.”



Putting his shirt on, Marshall said, “I’ll try to remember that.”

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