“The time is 0600.”
Captain Alexander Marshall groaned as the computer announced what time it was, waking him up from night of peaceful sleep he enjoyed. The Captain sat up on the bed in his quarters, as he put his bare feet on the carpet. He then got up and went into the bathroom to take a sonic shower, and emerged moments later in a fresh red jacket, white undershirt, and black pants that was the uniform of the command division. Captain Marshall sat down at his desk, and activated the monitor as he began to review fleet status reports as he had done almost every day since assuming command of the Renaissance-class starship six months earlier.
His eyes glanced over the monitor as he began to read his messages. Seeing nothing of any significance that required his immediate attention he shut the screen off, and then exited his quarters. The Captain began walking down the corridor as he headed for the turbolift. He then entered the lift, and instructed it to take him to the Officers Mess, so that he could enjoy a quick breakfast before assuming command of the bridge.
Marshall entered the Officers Mess, and immediately made his way to the food synthesizer. He decided on a bowl of oatmeal, a banana, two eggs scrambled, three buttermilk pancakes, and a cup of coffee. He knew it would be satisfying since he did not know when he would be able to have another meal. Looking around he found a quiet corner, and made his way over there. Sometimes he hated eating alone, but it was a custom he had gotten used to as a part of the burden of command. He quickly finished his meal, before leaving the mess hall. Moments later, he again entered the turbolift, and instructing it to take him to the Bridge.
The turbolift doors opened with their usual whoosh sound as Whitman stepped out of the turbolift on the bridge. Alex quickly straightened his red uniform jacket just as his presence being announced. He hated that formality, but his second-in-command insisted on it. He walked around the upper ring of stations along the port side as he made his way to his Ready Room.
Upon entering he sat behind his desk, and took a quick look around the room. Alex turned his chair toward the viewport and got up to stand in front of it. He was expecting to see the blackness of space. Instead he was greeted with the interior of Starbase 47 along with his reflection looking back at him. His once dark brown hair had started to thin and turn a little gray. His green eyes had lost some of the sparkle they once had. He was still in excellent shape, even at the age of forty-two. For a moment he had almost forgotten that the Aries was still undergoing a crew rotation, and a refit upon seeing himself
Upon hearing the door chime, he sat back down at his desk, and called out, “Enter.” He was greeted by a statuesque Andorian zhen with the commander’s insignia attached to her right shoulder. She was carrying a data slate under her left arm. “Commander Talra,” he said addressing her in an accent that made him sound like he was from the southern United States as she entered.
“Captain,” said Talra zh’Vrosia as she waited for the doors to close before taking a seat across from him.
“What have you got for me?” he asked. Their morning meetings were becoming a habit anytime there were urgent matters that they both needed to be aware of.
She looked at the data slate before saying, “Doctor Hunter reported on board late last night. She’s been in Sickbay ever since. She tells me that the medical supplies have not arrived yet. Apparently, there’s been some kind of mix up with the starbase. Lieutenant Commander Zarv is requesting to speak with you the first moment you were available. Last I knew he’s already in Engineering. He assures me that we will be able to depart on time. Lieutenant Ortega says there is not a lot of comm traffic today, and Lieutenant Donaldson has confined herself to the Armory.”
“It wouldn’t be a normal day unless Dana was already in the Armory getting in some target practice,” replied the Captain.
“That’s true,” said Talra with a slight nod. She pursed her lips together, and then said, “Also, Ensign Winslow has not reported on board as of yet. I checked with the starbase, and he is nowhere to be found.” The Andorian took a breath and said, “I checked his most recent orders, and they are to report on board. However, he was piloting a shuttle on his own, and there has been no contact for the last nine hours. I did also check the passenger manifests of any ships arriving within the last two day. He is also not registered to be arriving on any upcoming transports as well.”
“That is concerning,” said Marshall. He thought things over for a moment, and said, “Get Lieutenant Donaldson out of the Armory, and have her locate Ensign Winslow. You already seem to have a good start on that. I’ll take charge of the situation in Sickbay. We can’t head out on a deep space exploration mission without medical supplies, and a navigator,” said Marshall.
“You are right about that sir. I will have her locate him as soon as possible. I’d rather deal with her than with Zarv,” she said.
“I can handle Zarv,” replied Alex, “and Dr. Hunter.”
“You sure you still want Zarv as Chief Engineer? He’s been causing quite a ruckus lately,” asked Talra.
Marshall nodded, “Absolutely. Zarv served on the crew that helped build this ship, it makes sense for him to be chief.”
“I can’t argue with that,” said Talra. She then said, “I must say I was a bit surprised when I got the transfer order.”
Alex said, “You’re more than qualified for the position. I’ll admit, it cost the Kumari a hell of an officer, but I need someone like you by my side, especially now.”
Talra nodded, “I’ll do my best sir.” Her tone becoming a little somber as she said, “You know if Tharav hadn’t died, it would’ve been him instead of me.”
Marshall sighed and said, “You’re probably right, only he would’ve been captain instead of me. I wouldn’t be alive right now if he hadn’t died during the Tomed Incident.”
“You still never told me the whole story about that,” she said.
“Someday I will,” replied Alex.
Changing the subject, she said, “I will be glad to get out into deep space on a real exploration mission. It’s exactly what this ship, and crew need right now. Especially after the months of warp trials, and field tests.” She paused, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on this starbase too long.”
“You and me both,” Marshall sighed.
After talking for a few more minutes about various matters they both got up, and exited the Ready Room, bound for the nearest turbolift. After letting Talra out on one of the upper decks the captain instructed it to take him to Engineering. The turbolift doors opened allowing him to exit as he began walking toward Main Engineering. There was a lot of commotion, and yelling as Marshall rounded the last stretch of corridor leading him into the ship’s engine room.
“By the furry grozzit of Jebrahm’s snare after a hot mud bath,” said Commander Hovesh Tol Zarv, the ship’s Tellarite Chief Engineer, as he emerged from the office he had nearby. “Captain,” barked the engineer upon seeing the superior officers, “I see you took my request to speak with you seriously.”
“Of course, I would. What’s so important that it couldn’t wait Zarv?” asked Marshall as they began walking around the engine room toward the engineer’s office.
Upon entering the cramped room, the Tellarite said, “I want Ensign Mason removed from the Engineering staff, and transferred somewhere else immediately. As I understand the regulations, that requires your approval.”
The captain nodded, “Yes it does. For what reason should I approve the transfer?”
“He did not complete a repair of the starboard power transfer conduit the way I would have done it,” stated Zarv.
Alex asked, “Did he complete the repair within specs?”
Zarv nodded, “Yes, yes he did.”
He then asked, “If I, or better yet the yard superintendent was to inspect the conduit, would they find it satisfactory?”
“I suppose so,” said the Chief Engineer.
“Request denied,” said Marshall without hesitation.
Zarv protested, “But Captain . . . “
“I said request denied, and that’s the end of it. I suggest you keep your mouth shut if you want to continue being Chief Engineer on this ship. Is that clear?” said the captain with a slight inflection in his voice showing some annoyance at the engineer’s request.
Resigned, Zarv replied, “Yes sir, it is.”
“Good,” said Alex as he then asked, “How are the engines?”
“To put it in terms you would understand, fit as a fiddle. As you already know the new warp core allows this particular starship class to go faster than an Excelsior, and a Constellation, but not by much.”
Alex groaned internally as he thought, ‘Yes Zarv, I already know all that. I was there during the warp field tests.’ Instead he replied, “Very good Commander Zarv, let’s keep it that way. We’re going to be departing this starbase very soon.”
Zarv stated,”I intend to, and the ship will be ready. In fact, I already have some ideas on improvements to a lot of the ship’s systems. I was an experimental engineer before being assigned . . .”
“Submit them in writing Zarv. I have other matters to attend to right now,” said the Captain cutting the Tellarite off. He left the office, and began walking down the corridor back toward the turbolift.
Upon entering Sickbay, the captain looked around trying to find Dr. Hunter. After asking a nurse where the good doctor was, he walked over to a nearby biobed where the attractive doctor was tending to an injured crewman.
“Whatever it is you ate, don’t ever eat it again. I don’t want to see you back here for this same problem,” said Dr. Catherine Hunter in her thick English accent.
“Doctor,” said the captain gesturing to the crewman on the biobed, “is he going to be alright?”
Cate, as she preferred to be called, nodded, “Yes Captain, just a bad case of the chef not paying attention to the diet card.” After releasing the crewman, the doctor and the captain began walking past the rest of the biobeds lined against the bulkhead
“So how are we on medical supplies?” asked the captain.
“Truth is we have enough to last no more than a couple weeks. I’ve filed all the appropriate requisitions after I took inventory, but the starbase quartermaster, a Lieutenant Janovek, tells me that they were incorrectly filed when I checked on it earlier. I’m not that stupid Captain, I know I filed them correctly,” replied Hunter.
‘Caught in red tape. Figures,’ thought Alex. “I’ll talk to Admiral Blackwell, and get it straightened out. He owes me a favor. Actually, he owes me about two dozen, but that’s another story.”
“I don’t doubt that,” said the doctor.
“I’ll see what I can do,” said Alex. They were now standing at the door to the doctor’s private office. After getting permission to use it, the captain walked in and sat behind the desk. He then opened a comm channel to the bridge. “Lieutenant,” he said, “I want to speak with Admiral Blackwell. When you get him put him through to the CMO’s office.”
A few minutes later Lieutenant Juan Ortega, the Aries’ Chief Communications Officer said in his Spanish accent, “Captain, I have Admiral Blackwell for you sir
“Thank you, Lieutenant,” said the captain. He activated the desktop monitor in front of him.
Displayed on the screen was the image of Admiral Harmon Blackwell, a man in his mid-fifties, and commander of the starbase. He was known throughout the fleet as ‘Battle Ax Blackwell’ because of his command style. “Captain Marshall,” he said.
“Admiral,” said Marshall getting down to business, “I need a favor.”
“Oh? What would that be?” he asked.
“My Chief Medical Officer has requested some additional medical supplies. Unfortunately, her request was denied by a Lieutenant Janovek saying that the requisitions were not filed correctly. I have looked them over, and they were. I was wondering if you could intercede,” requested the captain hoping what the doctor told him was true about them being filed correctly.
The admiral’s brow furrowed as he let out a sigh. He nodded, and said, “Janovek’s at it again? He’s had a side business going on for weeks. He likes to sell anything that isn’t bolted to the deck plates he thinks isn’t critical to anyone who will buy it. B Rest assured Captain, you’ll have all the medical supplies you need within two hours.”
“Thank you, Admiral,” said the Captain. He watched as the admiral looked off screen, and then said he had to go. Marshall breathed a sigh of relief as the screen blackened. Just as he was about to get up from the table, he heard a comm chime.
“Donaldson to Captain Marshall,” came the security chief’s voice over the comm system.
The captain touched his combadge, and said, “Marshall here. Go ahead.”
“Sir, I’ve managed to locate Ensign Winslow,” said Dana.
“Well, where is he?” asked Alex utterly curious.
“He’s on board the Renegade sir, and he’s in the brig,” replied Donaldson.
“In the brig? How the hell did he end up there?” said the captain with some inflection in his voice trying not to show any anger toward the lieutenant.
“It seems they picked him up on sensors doing loops, and something called a barrel roll in a shuttlecraft that was meant to be delivered to the starbase. They put the shuttle in a tractor beam, and had him taken to their brig as soon as he was brought on board. It seems he was doing it dangerously close to an asteroid field,” she reported.
“Has the Renegade docked yet?” he asked.
“Affirmative,” replied Donaldson, “as of an hour ago. They’ve been trying to figure out what to do with him sir.”
For a brief moment the captain considered leaving him there to rot, but quickly decided against it. “Have the Renegade beam him over, and keep him in the transporter room until I get there which shouldn’t be too long,” said Alex as the comm channel closed. He then paged Talra to the transporter room, and left the doctor’s office. He quickly located Dr. Hunter, who had just finished speaking with one of the nurses. He then told her what the admiral had told him.
She looked up at him with her piercing brown eyes, and gave him a warm smile. “Thank you, Captain,” she said.
“You’re welcome, it was no trouble. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a situation in the transporter room to deal with,” he said, and started to walk away toward the door.
“Oh Captain, there’s one other thing. Ensign Winslow has not reported in for his physical yet,” said Dr. Hunter.
Marshall stopped, and turned back around to face the doctor, “I’ll have him here as soon as I finish dealing with him. He’s about to arrive on board, and I’m afraid he’s in some trouble.” He then left Sickbay dreading the next conversation he was going to have to have as he walked through the corridor to the other side of the deck.
Just as Marshall started to enter the transporter room a short time later, he heard, “You’re lucky I don’t kick your ass for what you did. I’m missing out on target practice because of you.” He stood in the doorway watching what was going on. “Lieutenant,” called out Alex just as Talra arrived behind him.
Dana Donaldson, a tall, athletic, blonde haired security chief, kept the stern look on her face as he moved from in front of Winslow to stand behind him at attention. “Sorry sir,” she said.
Marshall walked slowly into the transporter room with Talra following close behind. They were now standing directly in front of the most junior officer in the room. “You do not have to apologize Lieutenant Donaldson,” he said. He then pointed at the dark-haired ensign. “This one on the other hand does.”
“S-S-Sir, if you’ll just let me explain . . .” stuttered Winslow.
“What’s to explain? Instead of following Starfleet protocol, and more importantly your orders, you took a shuttle out for a joyride,” replied the Captain.
“There was a problem with the guidance relays. I was trying to sort it out,” stammered the Ensign.
“Doing loops and barrel rolls isn’t sorting it out. We do not take shuttles out for joyrides on my ship. No one pulls a stupid stunt like that on my ship. We do not act that way on my ship. We follow orders on my ship. We are also professionals first and foremost, and if you want to remain on my ship, I suggest you start acting like you belong on it. Is that clear?” said Alex, emphasizing the words on my ship every time he said them.
“Yes sir,” replied Winslow, “I apologize for my actions.”
“Now don’t you have anything else to say to me?” asked the captain.
“No sir,” stated the Ensign.
They stood there in silence for several seconds as Winslow began to get nervous. There was a bead of sweat running from his hair down to his dark-skinned forehead.
Talra now with her arms crossed said, “The Ensign has not asked for permission to come aboard.”
Orson’s eyes got big as he said with some anger, “I didn’t think I needed to . . .” He then saw the way the captain was looking back at him. He couldn’t decide if he was glaring at him or at Talra. Resigned, the ensign said, “Permission to come aboard?”
“Permission granted,” replied Alex almost through clenched teeth. He cleared his throat, “You will serve your regular duty shifts on the bridge for the next week, and then off duty you will be confined to quarters. Do anything that stupid ever again, and I’ll bounce you out of the service. Now, report to Sickbay. You have a physical waiting for you. Once you’re done there go to your quarters until you’re next duty shift. You’re lucky I don’t have you put in our brig for this. Lieutenant Donaldson, baby sit him until he’s in his quarters.”
“Yes sir,” replied the security chief.
“I understand Captain,” said Orson.
“Good. Oh, and Ensign, welcome aboard.”