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 He still wasn’t quite sure what to make of her.  The qualifications were there, in spades—she’d even passed McCoy’s muster—but there was something slightly unsettling about a crewman who was here not for the opportunity to make a worthwhile contribution to the betterment of Mankind, or to be an active participant in cutting-edge scientific discoveries, or even for the sheer ability to delve deeply into the vast unknown that was the cosmos, but strictly for her own interests.

He sighed, running his fingers through his hair.  McCoy had been bugging him for months about getting a suitable head nurse, and she certainly fit the bill, but the question that kept niggling at the back of his brain was, how long would she stay realistically?  If they found her fiancé, Roger Korby, on Exo III during the ship’s scheduled visit to that planet in a few months—Starfleet had had no contact whatsoever from the prominent scientist, or his team, for five years now—would she leave in favor of joining Korby’s expedition?  And more importantly, did he have the authority, or even the right, to stop her if that was her decision?  As per her orders, the posting was listed as temporary; she had the ability to ‘opt out’ of her commission, and her career in Starfleet, if she so chose.

That’s what was eating him.  He leaned back in his chair, a hand pressed to his neck, trying to rub away some of the tension that had settled there.  He’d spent the last few months trying to assemble his core crew—the one that would ultimately undertake the historic five-year mission—from the best and brightest Starfleet had to offer, and once they were selected and posted, his goal was to mold them into a cohesive unit, not have that core shaken, allowing bits and pieces to fly off and be scattered to the four winds.

Truth be told, he’d instantly liked her when he met her in the mess earlier.  Although the encounter had been brief—he planned to follow up with her one-on-one tomorrow in order to more accurately assess her, and her credentials—he had already gotten the impression of a quiet strength, dependability, unwavering loyalty, and someone who could stand up to his CMO’s less than sparkling personality.

Only time would tell whether they had made the right choice in selecting her, and whether she would be a good fit with the crew, or someone relegated to the periphery, just waiting for a better opportunity to come along.

From what he’d already seen, she was someone they could ill-afford to lose.  It would be up to him, and the other senior officers—he’d have to convince McCoy to be on his best, least crotchety behavior over the next few weeks—to ensure that she was happy here, so when the time came for her to make the decision regarding her future, she could only see one viable option open to her.


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