Captain James Robert Knight sat behind the desk in the quarters he had been assigned on the starbase. He stared out the window into the interior of the starbase letting him see the starships sitting inside. His eyes were on one in particular, the U.S.S. Galaxy. He stared at her for a very long time, studying his ship from the outside, the circular shaped saucer attached to an almost swan like neck which connected it to the secondary hull. Attached to that was the bar connecting the two warp nacelles at the aft with their bussard collectors glowing red. He had finally accepted the fact that he was now the ship’s new commanding officer as much as he did not like the idea at first. Captain Knight had assumed command of the ship one week prior, in a very formal ceremony held in the ship’s lounge with many dignitaries in attendance.
Knight could see his reflection looking back at him in the window. He dark brown hair had started to thin slightly, and his green eyes and lost some of the luster that they once had, but he had still kept himself in excellent physical condition. He had been awake for the past hour, having used the time to take a fresh water shower, and changing into a fresh uniform. Black with grey shoulders and a red undershirt that was the current uniform of Starfleet. Knight cracked a smile as his reflection looked back at him as his thumb and index finger were now wrapped around the fourth pip on his collar showing his new rank.
His life had seen too many changes over the last six years. It had begun with the Battle of Wolf 359 where Knight had severed as a flight instructor at Starfleet Academy. When word came that the Borg Cube was headed for sector 001 he was made a helmsman on the Constitution-class U.S.S. Endeavour, one of the last vessels of that class to still be on active duty. It was destroyed by the Borg Cube commanded by Locutus, an assimilated Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise. Knight was reluctant to leave the Endeavour, wanting to stay and fight the Borg, preferring to go down with the ship, but there was little he could do when Captain Masterson ordered him to pilot a shuttle out of the battle. For this action, James was awarded the Pike Medal of Valor for saving the other six occupants in the shuttle with him.
After three months of shore leave, Knight briefly worked on the Defiant Project alongside Benjamin Sisko and Elizabeth Shelby helping to design and test a new class of starship capable of fighting the Borg. The project was later shelved when it was discovered that the vessel had too much power for a ship of its size. James then received a transfer to the U.S.S. Galaxy where he served as helmsman and second officer. When Commander Kivan Hodge, the ships Executive Officer defected to the Maquis, James was promoted to full Commander and made the new First Officer. where he served with distinction. After the Galaxy’s commanding officer Captain Nigel Harrington was killed in combat. The Federation was at war with the Klingon Empire because the Federation did not support the Klingon invasion of Cardassia. Knight assumed command after Harrington had been incapacitated during battle with a Negh’Var-class warship, and managed to disable the Klingon ship allowing the Galaxy to escape. The battle had not only cost the Galaxy its captain, but also its Chief of Security and several other positions. After a board of inquiry cleared him of any wrong doing, Knight was promoted to Captain and given command of the prototype starship.
James got up and walked across the room. He put the last of his personal effects into a travel case before closing it. Knight then sat back down and turned back to the desktop monitor. He had been reviewing candidates for First Officer. There were a few that had impressed him, one or two in particular. He nearly jumped as he heard his combadge let out a tone indicating there was a signal. Marshall quickly pushed Starfleet emblem surrounded by two gold bars to activate it. “Knight here,” he called out into the open comm channel.
“The comm channel you asked for from Deep Space Nine is now available. Lieutenant Commander Dax is waiting,” said the sultry female voice that came from the stations operations center.
Knight turned around so that he was now facing the comm terminal sitting on the desk in front of him. “Put it through down here,” he said. A moment later the image on the desktop monitor changed as the comm channel was now open.
“J.R.,” said Jadzia Dax, the Trill science officer of the Starfleet station Deep Space Nine, calling him by the nickname she had hung on him years ago, “It’s been too long.”
“Yes Jadzia it certainly has,” he replied. Knight took a moment to clear his throat before saying, “You might have heard I’ve been given command of the Galaxy.” He stared back at the face on the viewscreen, the two having met while Dax, the Jadzia Idaris before her joining with the Dax symbiont, was a cadet at Starfleet Academy. Alex had served as a flight instructor during that time.
“Captain Sisko told me yesterday, I sent you a congratulatory letter.”
“I got it. Thank you. It was words I needed to hear,” said Alex. It was her letter to him that caused him to contact her. He paused before saying. “I’m in need of a good first officer, and I’d like one with a scientific background. I checked out your service record, and it’s been stellar. Naturally I thought of you.”
Dax bit her bottom lip, “Oh I don’t know if I should take it. To be honest, I don’t look good in red.”
Knight knew she was kidding with him, and smiled a little as he said, “You’re sassing me Jadzia. You look absolutely stunning in red.”
Jadzia smiled and then giggled a little before saying, “Yes I am. It’s a tempting offer don’t get me wrong, but I’m quite happy here on DS9. You should come visit. I know Worf would be glad to have someone to play poker with again.”
“If I ever get out that way,” he replied, “I will be sure to do that. Another thing I wanted to tell you, Leslie’s been given command of the Cairo. I was at the change of command yesterday, she said to tell you hello.”
“It’s about time she got out from Jellico’s shadow,” said Dax referring to their mutual friend Captain Leslie Wong who had taken over the Excelsior-class U.S.S. Cairo from Admiral Edward Jellico since his recent promotion to Chief of Starfleet Operations.
“Got that right,” replied James.
Jadzia looked off to the side of the viewscreen for a moment before saying, “I need to get on duty, it was good talking to you.”
“You too Jadzia. Tell everyone hello for me, and get my latinum back from Quark,” said Knight.
“I’ll do that. Dax out.”
The viewscreen now displayed the seal of the United Federation of Planets two palm leaves surrounding the bottom half of a blue circle with a series of stars representing the original planets that founded it. Marshall looked off to the side of the desktop monitor. There was a stack of several PADD’s containing personnel records. He picked up the top one, and activated it. scanning the personnel file of a qualified candidate for the Executive Officer position. He set the PADD back down, and picked up the next one. He did this for the next thirty minutes until coming to one in particular that jumped out at him. Marshall continued to read further before cutting the orders, since it was a candidate he had already interviewed for the position. Knight had begun to read mission updates from Starfleet when his combadge chimed again. He quickly pushed it again to activate to open the channel, “Knight here.”
“Captain Knight, this is Lieutenant Verala, I have been waiting to transport you to the Galaxy but have not heard anything from you. A shuttle is standing by to transport you, sir.”
James nodded to no one in particular as he recognized the voice of the Galaxy’s newly assigned half-Klingon security chief, “Acknowledged, I’ll be ready in fifteen minutes.”
“My orders from Lieutenant Commander Zarv were for the shuttle to leave an hour ago, sir,” replied the Lieutenant.
“Lieutenant it will leave when I say it does. Knight out,” was all James replied as he closed the channel.
The Captain then got up and grabbed the few remaining PADDs, and stuffed them into the travel case. He then slung it over his shoulder and then exited the quarters headed for the station’s shuttlebay.
Twenty minutes later Captain Knight walked up the ramp of the shuttlecraft Aldrin “Sorry for the delay Lieutenant. I had ship’s business to take care of.”
“Of course sir,” said the dark skinned half human half Klingon. She waited for the captain to take his seat in the aft section of the shuttle before she took the pilot’s seat. Verala looked over her displays and control panels making sure everything was in order before engaging the thrusters for the trip over to the Galaxy.
The Galaxy was the prototype starship of her class having been designed and built almost twenty years ago at the Utopia Planetia Fleet Yards on Mars. Upon its launch, the Galaxy was the most advanced ship in Starfleet having had numerous amounts of technology installed on board her. The Galaxy-class had quickly earned a lot of prestige, and assignment to such a vessel was considered a privilege. The warp core was one of the most powerful and efficient in the fleet, having undergone several refits over the years.The ship was capable of being upgraded very easily thanks to the modular design which allowed for different components to be installed often testing new components that would later go in other starships of her class. The Galaxy-class also carried several luxuries including provisions for families, a lounge, and several holodecks to allow the crew to relax during off duty hours. Captain Knight considered the history of his new command, now more determined to make a name for the Galaxy having been overshadowed by other ships in the class. “Verala, bow long until we reach the ship?” called out the Captain as the shuttle moved closer to its destination.
“Two minutes,” replied the security chief from the pilot’s seat, “the ship is coming into view right about now.”
James got up from his chair and wandered up to the front of the craft taking the copilot’s seat. He gasped as he saw the ship up close for the first time in several weeks, staring at the name emblazoned on the hull of the saucer section, U.S.S. GALAXY NCC-70637. “Good to be home,” James whispered to no one in particular feeling a sense of pride as he spoke.
“Captain, if I can speak freely,” said Verala still looking ahead.
“Of course Lieutenant,” said Knight. He took a moment to study her. She had long flowing black hair that she kept tied back in a pony tail. Her forehead ridges noticeable, but not too pronounced. She had an ample, almost impressive chest with long, toned legs that gave her an almost statuesque figure.
Verala turned to face the captain and then asked, “While I feel very fortunate for this assignment, I wanted to ask this. Why me? I was very happy serving as Deputy Security Chief on the Gorkon.”
Captain Knight considered her question for a moment as he recalled his reasons for selecting her. He did not blame her for asking, she did seem like an unlikely choice to a lot including those in his existing crew. Without hesitation he said, “Your record shows you get things done. You showed you could think in a crisis, and that is what I need in a security chief. You came very highly recommended from Captain Blake.”
Verala nodded, “I understand sir, and I will do the best job I can. However, I do not believe I am the best person for this assignment.”
“What makes you say that?” asked Knight.
“To be honest sir, I joined Starfleet because I had nowhere else to go, and I was about to resign my commission when the orders came through,” said Verala. She continued saying, “This war with the Klingons has really taken a toll on me and torn my loyalties. While I performed my duty to the best of my abilities, I can not stand the thought of a continued conflict with them.”
“I understand,” said Knight, “but you’re not the first Klingon in Starfleet. You’re not even the first half-Klingon to wear the uniform. With our recent losses in security, I need someone who can go in and stabilize things. I don’t want things to become lax. I want someone with an attitude, tough as nails who will not take anything from her subordinates, and I believe that is you.”
Verala nodded in understanding, “I will do the best job that I can sir.” She quickly turned back to the controls as she input commands for the shuttle’s next maneuver.
The shuttle then passed over the dome that housed the bridge underneath it as it then started to make a slight downward descent as it lined up with the massive main shuttlebay in the saucer section. A moment later a tractor beam had locked onto the name as it was guided into the larger craft, coming to rest at a precise spot. Knight and Verala exited the shuttlecraft a moment later. The captain glanced around the shuttlebay for a moment before walking out into the corridor.
Captain Knight could see someone approaching him from the other end of the corridor as Verala followed behind him. James fought the urge to smile as it appeared to be Zarv, the Tellarite Chief Engineer who appeared to be in a foul mood. “Mr. Zarv, what seems to be the problem?” he asked.
“The problem Captain is that I have been the senior most officer on this ship for the better part of three days while you have been doing whatever it is that you’ve been doing,” replied the Chief Engineer in a gruff tone. “To make matters worse I have not been able to inspect or make any of the remaining repairs since I have been taking care of personnel matters with all the new crew reporting in. I did not think that this would be what I was getting into when I agreed to be Second Officer, sir,” finished the Tellarite.
Knight began to walk down the corridor before saying, “Come now Zarv, if you want a shot at the big chair, this is all a part of it.”
“I know, but I’m an engineer not a personnel manager. While I feel fortunate that you were given the center seat, I would be more comfortable in my engine room,” replied Zarv. “I sure hope Commander Dax accepts being First Officer, we could sure use her right about now.”
“She turned me down,” said Knight, “but I do have someone else in mind.” He took a moment to enter a turbolift holding his hand on the side of the door to keep the doors from shutting.
“Who?” asked Zarv as his brow furrowed a bit.
“You’ll have to wait and see,” said Knight as he continued, “Zarv, I’m going to grant you your wish. Get down to the Engine Room, and get the ship ready for departure. We maybe heading out before too much longer. We now have orders from Starfleet Command that all nonessential civilian personnel are no longer going to be allowed on board for the foreseeable future. Verala, see to it that they make it to the starbase, and they get transportation to wherever they need to go. As bad as I hate to say it, this is no longer a ship of exploration.” The captain then took his hand away from the doorframe letting the doors to the turbolift close and leaving Verala and Zarv standing in the corridor.
“Is the Captain always like that?” asked Verala a bit puzzled by the event she just witnessed.
Zarv nodded, “When it comes to this ship, yes.”
Contains spoilers for several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.