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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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