Part of USS Achilles Archive: It Resides in the Purview of the Diplomats

Scared We May Fall Through

USS Achilles
Stardate 24582.6
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Tumaini Calum’s Personal Log, Stardate 24582.6


The past week, I keep having variations on the same dream.  I’m like a bird, flying through cavernous, labyrinthine structures.  Sometimes it’s an amalgamation of the schools I attended on Betazed; other times it’s a patchwork nightmare of a spacedock masquerading as Starbase 42.  My time spent undercover, on Vingel IX, has clearly left me preoccupied with bird imagery.  It startled me, every time I saw myself in the mirror, when I was preparing myself in that duck blind.  I couldn’t recognize myself.  Even my eyes, they looked like they belonged to someone else in the mirror.


Every morning, the dream ends the same way.  A snake drops from above me and it coils around my neck.  I wake up in a sweat, an hour before my alarm.  The snake represents…  well, I don’t need a ship’s doctor to tell me I’m preoccupied by the threat of the Cardassians, as we approach their border.  There’s so little we know about them for certain.  Half our intel is little more than rumours, but I need to be prepared somehow.  Aboard the USS Tolstoy, I found myself reading academy textbooks again.  I was looking for techniques and strategies for diplomacy, security, leadership.  USS Achilles is my first posting as a department head.  Today is my first day.  My first.  “Leaders must possess an unclouded vision of what’s ahead.”  I know so, because I read it on a PADD.

Tumaini Calumn cleared his throat.  “Computer,” he said, “strike that last statement.  I sound childish.”

Until I survive long enough, grow my own instincts, all I can do is train myself to repeat habits.  Awkwardly practice what I’ve seen in textbooks, or what my mentors have done before me.  When I introduced myself to my team, I could hear my last security chief talking.  I didn’t mean to do it, but I imitated some of his phrases.  I think I even imitated his accent at one point?   I have to trust the process.  My own style will come with time.  But I haven’t found it yet.


My academy refreshers tell me I must foresee possible outcomes and unexpected consequences.  This is why I end up reading about the Cardassians before bed every night.  At least: every Starfleet file on the Cardassians within my security clearance.  I’ve been reading up on the Cardassians and all of the new tactical systems developed for Ambassador-class starships.  Honestly… I find tactical systems inherently dull, but I’m going to fake it.  My lessons remind me I can only achieve excellence through “concentrated enthusiasm and devotion”.  I can fake excitement about photon torpedos, can’t I?


The Achilles is due to ship out to the edges of Federation space, where it borders along Cardassian space.  Before we head out, we have to head in.  We’re en route to a new starbase, just outside the Betazed system.  Home.  I doubt there will be time to see family, but heading in, before heading out… There’s a symmetry to that.  It’s something cyclical.  Hopefully, that will bring us luck.


End log.