Star Trek: Nullabor

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Page 4

Thomas Walker sat in the Big Chair on his small bridge. His crew were finalising their preflight checks. Dr Eritt had just checked in, she was now in sick bay organising the supplies. They had been delivered promptly after he had returned to the ship. He had seen the crew who had delivered them as they were leaving. They appeared to be in a hurry. Oh well, he thought. That couldn't be helped for now.

His petite First Officer was finalising the checks for her command station. She appeared concerned. "Captain, I do not seem to be able to access the cargo manifest. Is there a computer failure?"

"No failure, Commander. The cargo is classified at this time. By order of Starfleet only I am to know what we are carrying, at least for now."

"That's crazy."

"It's also our orders."

"Captain, as Operations Officer, I must also protest this." Voraak put in his comment.

"Duly noted, both of you. Now attend to your stations." Both officers did without further comment. They knew there would be little point in arguing.

"You should have tried stowing it with nothing else but mass and size details available to you." Ensign Sai threw the comment over his shoulder as he finalised his checks. Walker smiled. Maybe his first instincts about this young man were unfounded after all. "Helm checks completed. Navigation stands ready Sir."

"Operations checks completed. Sensors and comms stand ready Sir." Voraak had completed his checks in silence. This Vulcan usually kept himself in the wings unless he felt his presence was required. Walker made a mental note to get to know this officer a little better.

He already knew he would prove useful. They had served together briefly during the Dominion wars on a small operation involving the Menalaus, the Essex and the Corsair. Walker had argued the selection of this Vulcan to lead the away team for the operation on the Cardassian planet. It was a technical mission, sure enough but Walker could smell trouble and said so. The captain of the Essex had just chuckled and told him not to worry about it.

It had been a trap of course. Voraak had lead a small team into an ambush set up by the garrison stationed on the planet. The away team of eight was set upon by nearly one hundred Cardassians who were ready for them. Everyone, especially Walker, thought they were as good as dead. Walker had lead the assault force beamed in to relieve them.

He had been amazed at what he saw. All eight away team members were still in the fight. Voraak had marshalled them to cover instantly and they were actually making ground against the Cardassians. Over fifteen of them lay dead as Walker moved in to take them on. It was minutes later that Voraak's team was proceeding to their assigned objective. Voraak had nodded acknowledgement to him for his assistance and then followed his team. Walker had always wanted to know more about this officer anyway, now he knew he would get the chance.

"Command stands ready Sir." Tink (he still thought of her as that) stated the fact in her subdued 'bridge voice', bringing him back to the present. This one could focus. Alexis Walker would bring herself under total control on the bridge of a ship. Walker had once joked about her bridge voice. Now it felt reassuring.

The comm line to the bridge chattered to life. Captain, Engineering stands ready for your orders, Sir." Botha's voice had also taken on it's tone of authority. Walker smiled. This crew was looking better all the time.

He tapped his com badge and linked to the sick bay. "Dr Eritt, report."

"Sick bay still has work to be done before it stands ready, but it is prepared for travel." Walker smiled. He had to admit that the precision of her mind had a soothing quality at times. She almost sounded Vulcan. That didn't surprise him much after what he had gleaned from the Enterprise logs on Angel One. The Angellian women seemed to take great pride in their mastery over emotions, it was one of the things that seemed to lead to their prejudice against their men.

"Okay." Walker cleared his mind and took a deep breath. This was it. His crew was complete and they were about to embark on their first mission together. He hoped he was up to the challenge of leading them through what might be ahead. "Clear all moorings, request clearance for departure."

"Clear all moorings Aye."

"Clearance granted Sir."

"Good. Ensign, Ahead half thrusters, take us out."

"Ahead half thrusters Aye."

The ship glided through the Starbase docking hull and proceeded towards the space doors which were opening for them. The space behind the doors grew invitingly for them. They knew that this was the beginning of something new. There was something special about the commissioning of a new ship. A new crew working together for the first time, coming together to forge a new team that would work together for years ahead. It was a genesis that most of Starfleet craved for. There was a magic here that few of the crew had felt before.

Soon they were outside the doors. Space surrounded them. They each had a moment of clarity as they sat at their stations. Walker relished these seconds. "Ensign, set course 116 mark 45, Warp 5."

"116 mark 45, Warp 5 Aye."

"Engage." As he said it, the universe flickered for several seconds before the stars elongated into the familiar streaks of light flowing past them. Their journey had begun.

"Sir, our present course is going to take us close to the neutral zone. If we go within three parsecs of it, we will also have to travel near Breen territory before reaching DS2."

So, this Ensign was alert. "That's correct, Ensign. We're taking this course at the request of Starfleet. We have a small package to drop off at Outpost 24 on the border of the Neutral Zone along the way."

"Outpost 24?" Sai looked concerned. "That's in territory known to be patrolled by cloaked ships. This is a transport, Captain. We have no way of defending ourselves if we are attacked."

"I know, Ensign. Starfleet is betting that the Romulans will not bother themselves with a transport."

"And if they're wrong?" Kelsey asked the question, causing Walker to turn towards her.

"Then we have full authority to be creative." Walker smiled at his First Officer. Kelsey smiled back, but part of her shared the concern of the Ensign. This much she knew; whatever happened, this trip would be an adventure.

===

The beauty of being in command of a transport was that the requirement of having officers stationed on the bridge and engineering at all times was impossible to comply with. Even if it was possible, no-one in the Admiralty really cared that much how arrangements were handled on transports, it was the starships that were important. The chiefs were trained to handle the day to day problems in the critical areas and they knew to call in the officers if anything looked wrong. Walker had in fact found that a number of the Chiefs were especially trained for a higher level of operational responsibility specifically to handle assignments to transports and supply vessels. Walker thought this said quite a lot about the flag brass' attitude towards these ships.

As a result, Walker knew that he had no problems with his Officer's dinners. All six of them sat around the table for the second night running. This time the conversation was punctuated by the banter and laughter of friends. Walker was surprised to see how fast his team was coalescing. They had been drinking nothing stronger than Synthale so it not intoxication like the previous night with the Romulan Ale. Walker noted that the atmosphere around the table still had the feel of a grand beginning, like the opening day of a sports season. All the officers around him realised that there was a long adventure ahead of them, with all the ups and downs that would come. They were looking forward to it. There were no complaints about them being assigned to a transport. If fact, he detected some ship's pride among them. This would be interesting, he thought. Maybe in the future there would be a two year waiting list for serving on the Nullabor just as there had been for the Enterprise...

"Captain, is it true that you are a Blade Dancer?" Ensign Sai brought Walker out of his private thoughts.

"How did you hear about that, Ensign?"

"It's just one of the stories that circulate about you, Sir."

Walker smiled. The Blade Dancers were a secret order of Betazed. They had the ability to make their knives sing and lust after the blood of their owner's enemies, or at least so the stories said. He glanced over to Kelsey who was sitting with an amused look on her face. He flashed her an inquisitive look and she nodded slightly.

"As it turns out, Ensign, this is one of the stories that has some truth behind it. I was initiated into the order seven months ago."

There were gasps around the table. The Captain smiled. It would do him good to tell them a story. He suspected that his officers would appreciate being told one as well. He began to recount the details. He had been fascinated by knives since he was a young child. He had thrown them, practiced fighting with them, and collected them. Then he had come across a Blade Dancer by accident eight months ago. They had trained together, fought together, and honed their skills against each other for a month. After that, they had found themselves in a bar on Janus 6 together while on shore leave. The bar had been attacked by an anti-Starfleet terrorist faction. The bar was crawling with unarmed off duty officers. The attackers had little regard for this. They had been prepared to slaughter everyone in the bar to make their point. On reflex, the Blade Dancer and he caught the first wave of terrorists with their throwing knives. Some of the more creative Starfleet officers made a grab for their weapons and started firing. Between those officers and the two of them, they kept the terrorists at bay for a full five minutes. It was long enough for the security teams from the ships in orbit to come to the rescue. Afterwards, the Blade Dancer had told him that by blooding his knives in the defence of his comrades he was eligible for membership in the order. He had accepted the offer and had been initiated in a secret ceremony he could not discuss.

He had kept the officers enthralled with the story for ninety minutes by the time he had concluded. They were fascinated. He glanced at Voraak who he realised must suspect that Kelsey was the Blade Dancer he mentioned. She was of course, but he could never confirm it. Such matters were a personal issue. As for the rest of them, they had appreciated the story. He made a mental note to tell more stories at these dinners. Poker was a fine activity, but there was something to be said for some variety.

"Would you teach me Sir?" This Ensign was keen. The Captain considered the request.

"If any of you wish to learn some techniques for handling knives I would be happy to teach you but I can't initiate you into the Order, even if you earn the honour. That can only be done by a Betazoid member."

"That's okay. When can we start?"

Walker laughed. "How about tomorrow before dinner?"

Ensign Sai agreed. The subject was dropped. Botha produced a pack of cards and they played some hands before retiring for the night. The officers each said their good nights and departed. Kelsey was the last left in the Captain's Quarters. Walker noticed she had an amused look on her face.

"You enjoyed telling that story, didn't you?"

"As a matter of fact I did. It surprised me, I've never considered myself much of a storyteller in the past."

"Well you are, you know. That's the first thing that made me like you." That innocent elfin grin on her face was unmistakable.

"Tink, this is not a good idea." Walker found himself fighting an internal battle. The part of him that had strong feelings for this woman was growing more insistent. She walked slowly towards him in that seductive manner he had seen only once before. It was the time they had ended up arguing about her transfer to Tac Ops. He was both exhilarated and concerned at the same time.

"Shhh." She strode up to him and put a finger to his lips. "You always were a worrier." She laughed that tinkling little chuckle that used to send shivers of pleasure down his spine. He found that it still did. As she kissed him he found that the internal battle intensified.

"Alexis..."

"Don't worry, Captain. I just wanted you to know that I've been thinking about you over the last six months. I haven't forgotten you and you are not out of my system." She stepped back, flashed him one of her angelic smiles and headed for the door. "Good night, Captain. Sweet dreams." She left his quarters flashing him another smile.

Walker could not help smiling to himself. This could get interesting, he thought. He had not forgotten her either. Nothing had happened between them, but it would have. Maybe they would take up where they had left off on the Menalaus. The last stronghold of good command in his mind warned him of the peril such a course was littered with. He ignored it. He was a Starfleet Captain, not a monk. He cleared the table and prepared for bed.

As he climbed into his bed he instructed the computer to play a Vulcan Etude softly. Walker had always been involved in action, he found that sleep only came if there was activity around him that would distract his thoughts. It was a curse he had borne for years. Many others including Alexis had told him that he thought too much. They were right of course, but he had no idea how to shut down. It had caused him many sleepless nights in the past.

The Etude did it's work and before long Walker could feel himself drifting out of consciousness. As he fell into sleep, he heard the door to his quarters hiss open. This brought him back to awareness. "Who's there?"

"Shhh." The reply came with a giggle. "You're dreaming of elves and pixies."

"Alexis? What are you up to?" He sat up in the bed to see her standing beside the bed wrapped in a sheet.

She smiled. "I thought it was obvious." She knelt beside the bed and they kissed. Walker realised what was coming, but all his resistance to the idea was gone.

===

Walker woke up alone. It didn't surprise him. His first officer was not stupid nor indiscreet. It would not do for the crew to know about this new relationship on board the Nullabor. That was the sort of thing that could destroy the crew's faith in their officers. What he wanted to know was how she had got past the crew on the bridge undetected.

He showered and dressed for duty. He could not help but smile as he prepared himself for the day ahead. This assignment was turning out better than he had ever imagined. The tough times were still ahead, but he felt better prepared to face them now. He felt better prepared to face everything now, in fact. He straightened his uniform before stepping from his quarters.

He stepped into the ready room before entering the bridge. He noted the slight disarray in the room and realised that Alexis had entered the bridge in uniform on pretext of checking something with him. Entering his ready room would have looked perfectly normal to the crew and she had changed in there to enter his quarters. He smiled to himself and left the ready room, striding onto the bridge with a spring in his step. Only Alexis seemed to notice.

"Good morning Sir. Sleep well?" There was that impish grin on her face once more. He looked around, but only Sai Falar was present and he was concentrating on his console.

"Yes thank you." He flashed a grin in return. "Where is Voraak?"

"He headed down to the science lab. There was nothing for him to monitor here so I let him go work on a special project he said he was preparing."

"Commander, this may just be a transport but we can't have the officers leaving their posts unattended just because things are quiet at the moment."

"Understood Captain, but this is not a personal project by any means."

This aroused the Captain's curiosity. "What is Voraak working on then? A modification to the sensors?"

"Nothing so bland, Sir. He is rigging up some padds with remote viewing capacity for each key station on the ship. With this, each officer can remotely monitor their station whether on duty or not. It will also serve to bring the officers up to speed in an emergency much faster than verbal reports."

Walker nodded appreciatively. "Good idea. I might check in on him later, see how it's going."

"There seems to be a lot of checking in on people going on around here at the moment." Alexis passed the remark in an innocent enough manner.

"Really? I hadn't noticed."

Alexis leaned closer and whispered. "At least we know that the ship has been christened properly." She withdrew to her station without another look. Walker shook his head slightly. She did not lack character, that was for sure.

The day carried on as any day aboard a transport usually did. Both Walker and Kelsey left the bridge at certain intervals to check on the regular ship's business. Walker was in his ready room around mid-afternoon when the call came through from Voraak.

"Voraak to Captain Walker."

Walker tapped his com badge and replied. "Go Ahead."

"There is something down here in the lab I believe you should see."

"Are you finished the remote padds already? I was going to check in this afternoon..."

"That is not it, Captain. Please come and see for yourself." Well, Walker thought. If it wasn't one thing... He stood and headed back out to the bridge and the turbolift.

Kelsey turned as he stepped onto the bridge. "Stay there," he said, "you still have the bridge. Voraak wants to see me about something." He stepped into the turbolift and headed down to deck 4. The corridor was quiet as it usually was. It was too quiet for him, there was far less activity here than on a starship. There always seemed to be so much to do in between getting from place to place before, now getting from place to place was the sole reason for the trip. He reached the lab and entered.

Voraak turned and spoke. "Captain, may I present Ensign Timonis Glir." He stepped back revealing the young Betazoid Ensign from the Starbase. He looked tired and hungry and it was clear that he had not cleaned himself for two days. A stowaway.

This was not something for which the Captain was prepared. He thought he had seen the last of this Ensign, he was not happy about being wrong on this point. "Well, Ensign. Perhaps you would like to start by explaining what you are doing on board my ship."

Walker's apparent calm appeared to scare the young officer once more. "I- I want to serve with you." His voice was weak.

Walker nearly laughed. "Let's see if I have this straight. I go down to the Quartermaster's Store to chew you out, you nearly die from the experience, so you decide you want to serve with me. On top of that, you decide that instead of asking me or putting in a transfer, you'll just go AWOL and stowaway on my ship, making me have to find you before you can serve with me. Have I left anything out?"

"Sir, it's not quite like that..."

Walker exploded. "Then how about you tell me just how it's like! For pity's sake, I am going to have to arrest you and haul your arse all the way back to the Starbase unless you come up with something convincing. This is not a petty matter you know."

"It's actually all your fault. You forced me to take in your mind."

This time Walker did laugh. "Oh I see! Here was I thinking that it was your fault because you went AWOL, or maybe because you didn't tell anyone what you were planning, or maybe even because you waited for us to find you here, but all the time it was my fault."

Ensign Glir could see he was losing ground. It was time to lay his cards on the table. "Okay, Captain. You were right. I was an officious little Ensign with nothing better to do than get in other people's way. I hated my job and I hated myself. Then you came to chew me out. You made me stare into your mind and I saw some terrible things. I felt things which seared my consciousness and scared me half to death, but I also saw something else; clarity. You had that drive to focus on a task and get it done by any means. There was a ruthlessness there which both scared and enlightened me. I knew then that I could not handle stores for the rest of my life. I need the opportunity to make a difference, to get a job done out there." His hand brushed around the room encompassing all of space.

Walker stared at him for several moments lost in thought. Voraak waited for his decision. "I can't take you into custody, I have no security officers. I can't have you thrown in the brig, I simply don't have one. What would you have me do, Ensign?"

"Look I don't blame you for being pissed at me. All I am asking for is a chance. Let me prove my worth on the trip to DS2. If you don't want me around after that, hand me over to the local JAG. If you want me, well then you will think of something to keep me around."

Walker thought some more. He had to admit the options were limited. "Voraak?"

"Yes Sir?"

"Take this Ensign to quarters. After he has bathed and eaten, get him over to Eritt for a medical. After that, set him up for his duties while he is aboard."

"And they will be Sir?"

"Until I have a look over his service record, he is assigned to look after our ship's stores." Walker studied the Betazoid face carefully. There was no grimace or complaint. Exactly the opposite in fact.

"Thank you Sir." Walker stared after the boy as Voraak led him out and towards the turbolift and the third deck. As the doors hissed shut behind them Walker gave way to the laughter that had been building up inside him. He thought of what Botha's face would look like when he found out and he erupted in another fit of laughter. He headed for Engineering. He could not wait to tell Botha any longer than was necessary. He staggered through the central corridor laughing all the way.

He stepped into Engineering as soon as he had himself back under control. Botha looked up from his console and straightened. "Captain, we were not expecting an inspection Sir."

Walker looked around himself. The engineers on duty were carrying on their tasks in an efficient manner, there were no tools lying around and everything was stowed as it should be. Walker thought to himself that some Starship engineering teams would consider this as ready for an inspection as they were likely to get. Still, he was not here to check on Botha's work. He put the Chief Engineer's mind at rest and then took him aside to tell him the news. The look on Botha's face was better than he had expected.

===

Walker strode towards the holodeck at 1800 hours, the time he had agreed to teach Sai Falar some knife moves. As always the holodeck was the only choice for such training. Walker believed that in order for this sort of training to be effective the moves had to be genuine. This could only be done safely inside a holodeck with holographic knives.

He checked the program panel beside the door. His standard knife program was already running. He smiled and stepped through the doors as they parted for him. What he saw on the other side made the smile disappear. There were twelve people lined up in two rows of six standing ready in front of him. Every officer was on the 'deck, including Eritt and Glir. The additional recruits were chiefs and crewmen.

Sai Falar looked around himself as Walker stared at him. He stepped forward as Walker called him over with a finger. "What is this, Ensign? This was supposed to be a private lesson."

Falar looked down momentarily. "I know Captain. But several other officers expressed an interest and then the crew heard about it..."

Walker looked at him with disapproval. "Why didn't you call the rest of the crew, why not pull in the people on duty as well?"

"Well actually, " the young Ensign's voice betrayed both doubt and fear, "the rest of them are going to attend the morning session tomorrow with those who are on duty currently."

Morning session? Walker sighed. "Thank you, Ensign. Thank you very much. Please resume your place." Sai scurried into position and as he did Kelsey stepped forward.

"Your crew are ready for training, Sir." She stepped back. Of all of them, Kelsey was the person he was least surprised to find here. She never missed an opportunity to train and besides, after his story to the other officers she knew that not turning up could lead to suspicions.

He looked over his class. There was nothing for it now but to teach them. The thought still made him cringe, he had never thought of himself as a teacher. "Very well, let's proceed."

An hour later he felt at home in front of this group. It had been clear that they had turned up because they wanted to, not out of peer pressure or boredom. It didn't surprise him when he thought about it. Most of the people who joined Starfleet did so to improve themselves and defend their homes. Transport duty rarely provided either goal an outlet and the opportunity to learn something new directly related to both of those goals was one they did not intend to miss, especially the crew. By the end of the first hour he had split them up into three groups, each representing a skill level. Kelsey, Voraak, Glir and one of the crewmen comprised the advanced group. Sai and a chief made up the intermediates and the remainder including Botha and Eritt comprised the beginners. He was watching over them as they paired off and sparred.

Kelsey was making short work of the crewman who had been assigned to the advanced class. He was putting up an admirable effort but she was too agile for him to defend against. Walker noticed that he was paying attention to every move his First Officer was making, storing it away for future reference. The fact that he didn't let impatience defeat him impressed the captain.

The real surprise to him was Voraak and Glir. Walker would not have believed that the stocky Vulcan would have been that good with a knife, let alone the sniveling stores master he thought he had inherited in Glir. As it turned out both were very good and evenly matched.

He took a moment to watch his Operations Officer and stowaway in combat. Voraak used his weight and build to best advantage in a perfectly logical way. His defence was so fluid it almost looked choreographed and Walker would have suspected it if the young Betazoid was not fighting as if his life depended on it. Walker noticed that the Vulcan was anticipating the Betazoid's attacks perfectly and building his blocks and parries into his planned strikes with as little disruption as possible. There was something to be said for a cool head in a knife fight. Walker had seen him in combat before but there was a big difference between blade combat and a fire fight. He was impressed with Voraak's demonstration of that fact.

Glir was another matter entirely. He had been working up a sweat throwing everything he had at Voraak without making any clear headway and it was frustrating him. He clearly had anger to work out of his system and Walker wondered how good he would be with a calm head. Timonis Glir was in his early twenties with short blond hair and the black eyes characteristic of a Betazoid. While fighting his face lost that spoilt brat look, his eyes hardened and his jaw set with a wolverine edge harder than the blade he wielded. Walker liked the change.

He glanced over to the beginners and noticed that Botha and Eritt were feinting and blocking each other without a hope of hitting each other. At least they were learning defensive techniques, he thought. He could always teach them attack later. It surprised him that Eritt was not better with a blade, after his reading on her culture he thought that she would have done some training in knife technique before. He concluded that the doctors of Angel One probably didn't have to prove themselves in combat, they would be too valuable in patching up those that did.

Walker called a halt to the sparring and ordered the computer to initiate stage three. Four large targets materialised in the back wall and a rack of throwing knives appeared near the arch. Walker did not bother with distracting backgrounds or erratic winds for now. Most of the class would not be able to handle it and it was important for them to get the basics down first. He had the group form into four separate teams for throwing practice. The first person in each team threw their first volley of knives. Kelsey's knives formed a small grouping in the centre of the target. As usual. One of the beginner crewmen threw a knife and it flew upwards only to disappear as it touched the roof. Walker smiled inwardly. That one would need practice. The chief who had been sparring with Falar threw a sloppy grouping, but at least they had all hit the target. Walker watched Botha pick up a set of knives from the board. He seemed nervous.

"Is everything alright, Cmdr?"

Botha looked up. "Yes, it's just that I haven't done this before."

"Well, just remember, don't think about it. Just throw and hit the target." For some reason this seemed to calm the Chief Engineer. He smiled and nodded to his Captain, selected a knife from the set and casually flung it at the target. It struck dead centre. Both Walker and Botha were surprised. "I bet you can't do that again." Walker was chuckling as he made the statement. Beginner's luck he thought.

Botha just smiled, shrugged and once more casually flung a knife at the target, almost without looking. The knife glided towards the target on an identical trajectory to the original. When it found the target, it did so at the same spot as the first knife had. To accommodate this fact, the computer made the first knife shatter as the second filled the space it had occupied. The 'deck went silent.

"Nice throw." Walker tried to mask the surprise in his voice. "Tell me, where did you learn to do that?"

"I don't know, Captain. This is the first time I've ever thrown anything before, except while working. We're always throwing tools to each other while building the ships." The shock in Botha's voice betrayed the accuracy of his words.

"Well, well. It looks like we have a regular Robin Hood among us." He returned to the rest of the class. "That will be all for today. Remember tomorrow at the same time or if you are on duty the morning class for your next lessons. Bring that throwing arm of yours, Hood." He walked out. It was days later that he found out that the nickname for his Chief Engineer had stuck.

===

Walker strode through the adjoining door to his ready room after showering and keyed the computer to do a service records search on Ensign Glir. The record displayed in front of him was ordinary. There were no glowing recommendations, no reprimands, no subjects for which he showed a spectacular flair nor lack of aptitude for during his academy years, in fact there was nothing in there that told Walker that the young stowaway was the type of man to take the sort of risk he had hiding on board his ship.

This left him with two possibilities: Firstly, the Ensign had been sent insane from reading his mind, or Secondly, this young man was not all he seemed. Walker had never been one for believing in the superstition of Betazoids. Australians didn't have thought patterns that intense. To cause the symptoms described, Australians would need to have very alien minds. While it was true that he had never met a fellow Australian who did not have a pronounced character (especially the ones in Starfleet), for all the bravado and horseplay they WERE humans and Betazoids could spend their lives in constant contact with humans with no ill effects.

That left the second option. The young Ensign's knife fighting skills leant weight to Walker's belief that this was the more likely option. He could not help but notice the complete change that had come over him during the sparring session. It was as if he had been Klingon and the heat of battle had fired his blood. Or maybe it was just his true character emerging when he was least able to suppress it. Still, there was no proof, only suspicions. Walker knew that he could not act on suspicion alone, but he had to find something useful for the Ensign to do if he was to test him. There was nothing in ship's stores to concern himself with while they were in transit. He continued to pore over the record.

His first assignment out of the Academy had been to the observatory in the Argolis Cluster. He had been assigned there as a scientific technician charged with the calibration of the sensors and EM fields of the computer equipment on the station. He had set up the sensors in such a way that the electromagnetic fields from the equipment was completely negated in the measurements taken by the sensors. Walker looked at the statistics that had been included in the file and raised an eyebrow. If these figures were correct, the ensign had worked a miracle for which he had barely got a satisfactory rating from his superior. If the officer in question was to be trusted, Glir had been unresponsive to authority, arrogant and hostile to criticism. Walker had a hunch though.

He had brought Voraak on board because he was supposed to be the best around when it came to computer systems and he knew he had some skill in the area of tactical operations. He needed that level of versatility in his crew but he also needed someone who was good with shields and high energy subspace fields. He left the ready room for his quarters and the officers' dinner with an idea in mind.

Next


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