Read an Excerpt
Captain's Personal Log, Stardate 50923.1. "Captain." Captain Mackenzie Calhoun. I thought I had left the Fleet forever behind me, and yet now I find myself not only back in the Fleet, but commanding a starship.
The Excalibur is currently a hive of activity. She's an Ambassador-class ship, registry number 26517. Funny. I've only been on her for a few hours, and I'm already taking pride in her. Not all crew members have yet reported in, but the final work is even now approaching its completion. I have spoken extensively with Chief Engineer Burgoyne 172, and s/he assures me that we will be ready to launch for Sector 221-G on the expected date. Burgoyne is the first Hermat I've ever met, and frankly, s/he's odd even for a Hermat. But s/he definitely knows engines, and that's what counts.
I still can't believe I'm here. When I was a young "rebel" on my native Xenex -- battling the Danteri to try and drive those damned oppressors off my planet -- I never dreamed of anything beyond the confines of my homeworld. It was Jean-Luc Picard who came to me when we were on the cusp of winning our long battle with the Danteri. He saw something in me, something that he felt should be shaped and honed into a Starfleet officer. I will never forget when he told me of the noted Earthman, the Great Alexander, who supposedly wept when he realized that he had no new worlds to conquer. There I was, having accomplished the liberation of my people before I was twenty years old. Picard realized that if I allowed that to be the pinnacle of my life, that it would not go well for me in later years. He is the one responsible for my seeking out my true destiny.
Damn the man.
I try to live my life without regrets. I did not regret resigning from Starfleet, for it was what I had to do at the time. And now I am determined not to regret rejoining. If nothing else, Picard was correct about the reaction of Admiral Jellico. Upon learning that I had been given command of the Excalibur, with the mandate to explore the fallen Thallonian Empire of Sector 221-G and provide humanitarian effort whenever possible, Jellico looked angry enough to shred a Borg with his teeth. He's going to have to deal with it however. That's his problem, not mine. My problem is to focus my attention on the job at hand, and not let my core impatience with the rigmarole and high mindedness of Starfleet interfere with my job.
Several major bits of business need to be attended to. I am still awaiting the arrival of Lieutenant Soleta, my science officer. She's had experience in Thallonian space. Even though Xenex is on the Thallonian/Danterian border, I possess only a smattering of knowledge about the territory. Soleta has actually been into the heart of that notoriously xenophobic realm and lived to tell of it. Her view of things will be invaluable. She is currently in San Francisco, teaching at the Starfleet Academy, but she should have received her orders by now and-should be preparing to join us as soon as possible. Of the rest of my command staff Dr. Selar is in the process of getting sickbay in fully operating condition. It's strange. I've worked with Vulcans before, and I'm well aware of their notorious reserve, but Selar is remote even for a Vulcan. So cold, so icy, so distant. I cannot help but wonder if she is simply overly dedicated to her Vulcan teachings, or if there is not something more going on in her head that I don't know about. Her medical performance is spotless and she came well recommended from Picard, who in turn heard nothing but good things about her from his own CMO. Picard's word is generally good enough for me, but to be blunt, Selar seems as if she'll have the bedside manner of a black hole, and I hope her presence here is not an error on my part.
Security Chief Zak Kebron is a Brikar, and certainly provides a feeling of security. I constantly have to request that he walk rather than run, since his running tends to make an entire deck vibrate. I've seen mountain ranges that are smaller. And yet he has astounding agility for someone who's got a hide tougher than twenty Hortas.
Astronavigator Mark McHenry comes highly recommended for helmsman, but he brings with him major caveats. I have very quickly learned that, during any conversation with Lieutenant McHenry, it seems as if he is either not listening at all, or listening to a conversation between two other people . . . neither of whom are in proximity. Yet he never seems to miss out on anything that's teeing said; how his mind is able to multitask in that way is a complete mystery to me.
Operations Officer Robin Lefler is recently promoted to Engineering. She seems very sociable...perhaps overly so, as if she's trying to compensate for something. "Desperately outgoing" would be the term I'd use. I'm having trouble getting a "read" on her, and will be keeping a weather eye on her for the time being
The position of first officer remains open. I am finding the filling of that slot to be the most problematic area with which I have to deal. I have a number of worthy candidates, and have already interviewed several. Every single one has been eminently competent, knowledgeable, polite...and yet each of them seems a bit nervous around me. Intimidated, perhaps. They focus on my scar, the one I acquired in my youth when a Danterian laid open half my face. They seem to have trouble making eye contact. And they act as if at any moment I might start carving my initials in my desktop with the dagger I keep handy for sentimental reasons. I don't see why. It's my desk and my dagger, and if I happen to want to carve it into kindling, I damn well will.
Clearly I will need a first officer whom I can not only tolerate, but who will also be able to tolerate me.
Copyright© 1997 by Paramount Pictures.