Literary Challenges : The Library Computer
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Join Date: Dec 2007
The I in Team
05-24-2011, 05:22 AM
I always hesitate at these moments. Every time. A new command brings new challenges. It’s never the challenge nor the change that bothers me. Something new is exciting and interesting. The "new" must never be burdensome. It is letting go of the old that causes my hesitation.
As a native of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, I was practically born in space. It’s my element and I am compelled to explore. It is my fate to be the eternal wanderer. As a wanderer, I am defined not by what I leave behind but by what precious few things I choose to bring with me on my journey.
Each command, each crew, each ship, is an extended family who are all joined in an adventure. It was always sad to loose part of a family: for our journey to part ways. Saying goodbye to a ship or its crew is always hard.
The privilege of selecting your command staff is a wonderful thing. If I choose to use this privilege, it brings me some continuity to my journey. Unfortunately this privilege is a two edged sword. Admiral Quinn once remarked that I had an eye for hidden talent and that I often appeared to select personnel that other Captains had overlooked. I appreciate his confidence. Unfortunately my choices have often attracted… unexpected comment.
My staff decisions are often questioned. No candidate had ever let me down. But despite my confidence in my team and the many accomplishments we have achieved, whispers and rumours follow us everywhere… and there are so many. Like any annoying rumour, some are particularly persistent.
- “Markus Sheppard associates with Borg.”
This rumour refers to Deputy Chief Engineer Simulacra or “Simie”. It ignores that she is a gifted engineer who lost most of her memories during assimilation. Her ability to function in society is quite limited. I suspect most Captains would have difficulty in accommodating her… fortunately my team is able to compensate.
- “Markus Sheppard has a pair of pet Klingons.”
I often wonder at Commander Disok’s reaction to this. As my Head of Security, he is quite reserved and simply refuses to comment. On the other hand, Commander Vulkrath, Head of Sciences, makes her views very clear on this rumour… quite loudly too.
- “Markus Sheppard actually made Owdg-or.”
Actually, I didn’t. This rumour misrepresents Owdg-or’s prodigious manufacturing and research talents and her teaching of these to me. In this respect I am her student. The fact that she is also the sole ambassador of her species to the Federation and that she is serving in Starfleet to determine her planet’s official position seems lost on some commentators. I made first contact with her people and I inadvertently became her “Moun’da ta” or her guide in the world. I cannot simply abandon this responsibility.
- “Markus Sheppard keeps a harem of Betazoids.”
- “Markus Sheppard got rid of Sel’el and Ordtin so he could replace them with more Betazoids.”
- “Commander Emetir is only there for show.”
This set of rumours are my personal favourites. I have four Betazoids on my command roster: Oleina, Dyesane, Velerie and Emetir (“Emet”). Of these four, only Emet is male. Apparently he is retained simply as a smokescreen to persuade people I do not have a Betazoid harem. I assure you there is nothing inappropriate about my relations with any of my team. The species, and gender, of these officers is irrelevant. They are highly competent officers whose talents I fully employ.
Dyesane and I have known each other since our time in the Academy. Oleina, my first officer, along with Emet have both been part of my team since serving on the U.S.S. Damocles.
Emet (formerly Deputy Chief Engineer) became Chief Engineer when my outgoing Chief Engineer Ordtin (a Bolian I have known since the Academy) left my command and recommended him. Dr Valerie Rothchild was unknown to me until she was recommended by my outgoing Science Head, the Vulcan Sel’el. Of course, the rumour that I “got rid of Sel’el and Ordtin to make way for more Betazoids" is as outrageous as it is hurtful. I miss my two friends greatly and I wish them all the best.
Then of course there are the “sympthathizer” rumours because I had the audacity to accept into my roster a Breen (Mister Mat) and the Reman, Mister T’Kek.
I accept that this group is diverse. However, this team is greater than the sum of its parts. These are the people whom I entrust my life and the lives of my crew. Time and again these people have proven their worth and loyalty. For this, time and again, I will ask them if they would like to continue to journey with me. It pains me when they leave but it is their own journey they must follow.
My reverie is interrupted as the hairs on my neck raise. “Sir, the crew are gathered.” The idea gently flows through my mind while the commlink remains silent.
“Thank you, Dyesane. Are the others all here?”
Gently I feel the presence of each of them in my mind. The empaths (Dysane, Oleina, Emit and Dr Rothchild), have joined the others (Disok, Vulkrath, Simmie, Met and T’Kek, Owdg-or and myself) into the mind channel.
The idea of a "mind communication channel" dates back to my Academy days and I suspect Romulan ale may have played a part in the initial idea. Forming this link took many years of experimentation. Having compatable team members was essential. Developing sufficient trust in all parties took time. Learning to link the diverse minds of many species is an impressive feat and it took all four Betazoids working together finally unlock that puzzle. Now it something that any of them can establish for our command team. Developing a "language" for the chanel was also an impressive feat as I am told it is not quite telepathy and not quite empathy that we are using.
This mental connection has served my command staff well. It allows almost instant communication and provides us with incredible precision and team cohesion. The ability to effectively coordinate a team like this is a human trait and requires a human mind, like my own, to fully employ... or so everyone in our little team tells me. Apparently it does not work as well when I am not part of the group.
“All right people. We know the drill. We know they won’t understand our history and connection. But we will win them over. Just like last time and the time before that. As a team we can anything. Once we forge them into a team, they will be able to do anything. That’s our job, so let’s go greet the crew of U.S.S. Relentless Refit A.”