Zane checked the time, “Computer, where is the Captain?”
“Captain is in the Ready Room.”
Zane had thought so. He headed for the nearest turbolift, where he would step in and request to be taken to the Bridge. While he stood there waiting for the lift to bring him to his destination, his mind began to wander, the thoughts of his best friend and the last conversation they had together.
Four Days Ago – USS Ajax
Zane sighed to himself as he began to place all of his clothing and uniforms that he had all splayed out on the bed right into his duffel bag. While he was doing that, a chime from the door rang out into his quarters, an alert that often times are unexpected, some are welcomed and others are not. At this time, he wasn’t sure who was at the door and in his current mixed mood, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to answer it. The heck, what could go wrong, right?
“Come in.” Zane gave the command, and the door split in half to allow entry to his department head, his superior and his best friend, Lieutenant James Byron. “What can I do for you, Jim?”
“Well for starts,” he began as he walked in to allow the door to close behind him. “You can explain to me as to why you are leaving.”
Zane smirked. “You know why. I got the opportunity I’ve been looking for.”
“Oh bull. That was what? You five…ten years ago? You’re happy here. Least that’s what I thought until today.” Byron said as he moved over to the desk and leaned back against it, folding his arms across his chest.
Zane shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah well, things change. Besides, since you know I’m leaving, then you would also know where.”
James sighed with a nod, “Yeah, the Aquarius. A Resolute Class if I’m not mistake. But the Obena Class is much more superior.”
Zane couldn’t help but laugh, “That’s because you haven’t been on any other ship but the Ajax. ‘Course you would think that.”
James shrugged, “Can’t blame for my loyalty, unlike someone I know.”
Zane sighed. “It’s not that, Jim. Yes, I stopped wanting to advance into positions over five years ago. Yes, I have enjoyed being here on the Ajax. This is my home, my family.”
“Then back to my original question. Explain why you are leaving.”
Zane shook his head, “Commander Sarah Sundquist.”
James shook his head and pushed himself off the desk. “I’ll go speak to the Captain, because I ain’t going to let our new First Officer screw up this family.”
Zane blocked his path to the door. “No, don’t. It wasn’t necessarily her choice. The Captain gave her an ultimatum.”
“The hell for? You and Sarah had worked great together as a team. Why is it suddenly a goddamn problem now?” James asked.
Zane shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. We’ve served under him for years, he’s always been lenient with us. But this? He’s going by the book and there is nothing we can do about it to change his mind. I mean, think about it, Jim. You’re not going to be the Chief of the Security and Tactical Department forever. Eventually you’ll be given a chance to go through the Command Program, and become a First Officer yourself. Then who would take your place?”
“Well I was hoping it be you, of course. That’s what I have been preparing you for ever since you became my Assistant Chief.” James replied.
Zane smiled, “And I thank you for that. Because of you, I got the Chief position.”
“But on another starship. Like you said, the Ajax is home, your family is here. You go to the Aquarius and you’ll be homesick and all alone.” James explained.
Zane nodded in agreement. “I know. But it was going to happen eventually. We both know assignments on board a single starship do not last forever. I mean, Sarah just became First Officer. If you were given the opportunity to be a First Officer yourself, it wouldn’t be on the Ajax.”
James sighed before walking over to a chair and plopped down into it. “So you were saying?”
“If I had stayed on board, and you became the First Officer of some other starship, and I ended getting the Chief position here on board the Ajax while Sarah is the First Officer here, there would be some serious conflicting issues.” Zane explained and then realized that he was defending her when he knew she chose her job over him. Huh…the irony.
James shook his head, “How would it be conflicting? Like I said before, you two work great together as a team, you both knew how to keep yourselves professional when on duty. Not some giddy teenagers making out in the corridor or in the turbolift.”
Zane smiled at the teenager part and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I guess if there was ever a life or death situation, where my life was on the line or Sarah’s, we could potentially let our emotions affect our better judgement. That’s usually the main point of keeping couples on completely different assignments.”
James sighed, loudly this time, mixed with a groan of defeat. “Fine. So are you two still a couple?”
Zane’s smile faded as he went to finish packing his bags. “Yeah, I don’t think so. I pretty much told her right in her face that long distance relationships never work.”
James nodded his head, “You were mad at her for choosing her job over you, huh? Even after this great speech of convincing me that it’s all about regs and starfleet policy, it was really because she made a bad choice, in your opinion anyway.”
Zane shook his head, “You know me all too well. I really have served on this ship for too long.” He smirked.
James chuckled, “Yeah. That’s what happens, you end up in a family and a family just reads each other like a book.”
Zane grinned and then there was a bit of silence for a while before Zane finally zipped up his bags and brought them over to the door. James pushed himself out of the chair and walked over. “So when are you leaving?”
Zane looked into his eyes. “Soon. The replacement is already on their way.” Zane then held his hand out to him. “It was an honor serving with you, Lieutenant.”
James didn’t go for the hand shake but instead pulled the man in and embraced him, squeezing him tight while patting him on the back. “Going to miss you, buddy.”
“Me too.” Zane said softly before they pulled away. “You go easy on your new Assistant, alright?”
James smiled, “No promises. And you better call me when you get over there. Four days in a shuttle craft is no picnic.”
Zane laughed, “It can be. I won’t have anything to do for those four days but play games with the Computer.”
They both laughed.
Zane smiled to himself, not realizing that someone was calling out to him. “Sir?” Zane blinked his eyes when the voice finally cut through to his thoughts, he looked to see an Ensign standing there before him. He forgot how quick these turbolifts can be…of course the world ‘turbo’ should of been an obvious clue. He cleared his throat, “At ease, Ensign.” He walked on by onto the Bridge and looked around, soaking in the very scenery that he will become familiar with for a while.
When his eyes laid on the door labeled ‘Captain’s Ready Room’ he thought about heading straight for it but the tactical station piqued his interest. So…he headed for that first, bringing himself up to the station that was currently empty, not that it needed to be manned right now really. He looked over at the control scheme, seeing that it was set to standard, which was something he was familiar with but he’ll change the layout to a more comfortable scheme to his liking.
As he was looking over at the tactical systems, he couldn’t help but think back to when a group of children were watching out of one of the large view ports towards the dry dock area. This was just moments after he arrived at the Devron Station, and he couldn’t help but let his curiosity get the best of him.
Seven Hours Ago
“Look at that one! That’s new, isn’t it?” One of the children asked.
“No way! It’s a much older ship. Think it’s called a…a Scentor.” Said another.
Zane smiled as he stopped behind the group of children. “I think you mean Centaur.”
The children turned to look at him, “Whoa! A Starfleet Officer!” Said one of the children.
“Dude, we see them all the time. Our parents are Starfleet Officers.”
“Well yeah but this one is actually speaking to us.”
“Are you brain damaged or something, they always speak to us.”
Zane chuckled, “All right little ones. What are you all looking at?”
“The ships of course!” One shouted and pointed out at the dry docks.
“That one there, the…the Sent…Sentor.”
Zane couldn’t help but chuckle again. “Cen-taur.”
“That’s what I said, Sen-tar!”
Zane just went with it with a shrug. “She does look pretty beat up.”
“The ship ain’t a girl!” They all started to giggle.
Zane smiled and knelt down to their level. “Well, no of course not. But it’s just…” He stopped himself, why try explaining it to children who aren’t going to get it until they’re older? “What else out there do you see?”
They turned back to the view port and pointed at a ship. “I think that one is called the Gawlexie.”
Zane just could not stop himself from smiling so much. “Ga-lax-y.”
“That’s what I said, mistor.”
Zane chuckled, “Alright, alright. Seems you all got this handled. What about…” He looked and then he saw it. “What about that one?” He pointed.
There was a bit of silence for a moment before one of them raised a hand. Are they in class now? Zane chuckled and pointed to her, “It’s the Rezolete class.”
“Pretty good. It’s pronounced Resolute though. Put the word Lute at the end.”
“Rezalute?” She asked.
Zane smiled, “That works. I’m assigned to that one. The name it has is the USS Aquarius.” The kids then turned to look at him, some with confused looks.
Zane laughed and pronounced it carefully to them. “A-quar-ius.”
“Yup!” Zane chuckled and then all their attention was brought to a ship flying real close by and heading for an empty dry dock. All of them pretty much exclaiming pretty loudly with ‘Whoas’ and ‘Wows’ and ‘Ooos’ and ‘Aaahs’.
“Oh oh oh! I know that one! It’s a special ship!” Said one of the little ones.
Zane tilted his head, “How special?”
“It can split into three pieces!”
“That’s not special, that’s dumb!”
“Nuh uh! You’re dumb!!”
Zane sighed, “Oy. None of that now. We are citizens of the Federation, and we are all better than calling each other names.”
Zane smiled. “Better. And that is a special thing for that ship. It’s called the Prometheus Class. It’s a vessel designed for combat.”
Lot of them looked at each other then at him. “But we thought Starfleet was all about exploring and talking and playing fun games with the other powers.”
Zane chuckled. “It is, really it is. We especially love playing games with the Ferengi. But unfortunately there are bullies out there, certain powers who pick on the weaker ones. Starfleet protects the weaker ones from the bullies. That ship there, is designed to take on the really big bullies. But that ship can do a lot more than just fight the bullies. Because it can split into three small ships, it can be at three places at once. Bringing supplies to colony worlds, like food, medicine, clothing.”
Zane laughed, “Yes! And toys.”
Some of the kids gasped. “Is the Promithes Santa Claus?”
Zane raised his brows, ‘Really? Thought we were beyond that too. Who is this child’s parents? Words must be given!!’ Zane cleared his throat, “Well, no. Santa can be anywhere and everywhere at once bringing toys and gifts and joy to every child in the galaxy.” He pursed his lips, ‘Can’t believe I’m going along with this. But I’m not going to be the one to tell them that he ain’t real, this is all their parents fault…’ “And the Prometheus Class there, sadly it’s not that fast to do all that. But…it does help.” Zane nodded his head, ‘Yeah let’s go with that.’ “The Prometheus Class does help when it can.”
“Wow! I want the Promithos when I join Starfleet.”
Zane chuckled, “What about the Obena Class?”
Zane nodded his head. “Yup! I came from one, named the USS Ajax. I served on board it for almost fourteen years.”
“Woooooww!! That makes you old!” The children laughed and snickered.
Zane rolled his eyes but smiled. “Yeah, I’m old. But not as old as Picard.”
“But we love Picard Day!”
Zane tilted his head, ‘Who’s kids are these? Seriously?’
“Mister. If you were on the Ajacks for so long, why you leave it?” A girl asked.
Zane sighed but kept his smile, not wanting to worry the little ones. “I got a better job. It has more responsibilities, I get access to more toys and it’s a step closer to becoming Captain some day.”
“Whoa…I want to be a Captain.”
Zane smiled and looked back up again, watching the Prometheus Class vessel slowly drifting into a dry dock. “Wonder what that old girl is here for?”
“Huh?” One of them asked.
Zane chuckled, “I’m just talking to myself. Who is suppose to be watching you guys?”
A woman came around the corner looking absolutely frustrated before sighing heavily, “Oh my god. There you all are!” She then looked at Zane, looking relieved. “I’m so so sorry. I thought they were right behind me, I didn’t even realize they stopped here to gaze at the ships. I mean, I should of known, they love watching those ships fly by. But you must got work to do and they’re in the way and-”
Zane stood up and raised his hands. “Whoa, slow down. I don’t work here. I mean, I’m not assigned to this station. And they were no trouble, no trouble at all. They do know their ships pretty well.”
She sighed once more and smiled, “I usually gaze at the ships with them every now and then and help them learn about each ship out there but I was in such a hurry, needed to get these children to class and-”
Zane chuckled, “It’s all right. But you guys should of really stuck with your teacher.” He looked at the children before looking at her with a questioning look, hoping he got ‘teacher’ right.
She nodded her head that he was correct, “Come along children, we got a lot of history to cover today.”
“Okay!” A lot of them said before some looked at him. “Nice meeting you mister!”
Zane smiled and waved to them. “It was nice meeting you all too, and very fun.” He watched them disappear around the corner, leaving him there alone with his thoughts. He took another look out the view port, both at the Aquarius and at the Prometheus Class vessel. He knew that when he read up about the Aquarius on his way to the Devron System, that it had undergone some refit, getting upgrades and whatnot. Maybe that’s just what that Prometheus Class ship is here to do as well.
Zane took in a deep breath and looked around, blinking a bit as he remembered where he was. He then sighed, looking back down at the tactical display, getting one last look at what he had to work with for offensive and defensive systems before walking away. He then looked at the door labeled ‘Captain’s Ready Room’ and decided that it was best now than later. New Ship, means making new friends, joining a new family, and serving under a new Captain, especially one who was recently promoted to Captaincy. Zane sure believes that this will get interesting.
Zane stopped right before the door, licking his lips and taking another deep breath before bringing his hand up, closing it into a fist except for his right index finger and reaches for the door chime to signal that someone was waiting outside the Captain’s door.