A New Chief Engineer
966 words; about a 5 minute read
Location: Captain's R & R Room
Timeline: 10:00 hours SD:239604.11
Finally, his crew was coming together now that Lieutenant Commander Sherlock Grimes had returned, now he was getting a New Chief Engineer to boot and hopefully getting out of Spacedock and onto the mission, as he started to read over the Service jacket of Lieutenant Jamie McGowan, James wondered how on earth did this Officer cope with what happened to her after the explosion that merged her with someone else.
Just then his door Chime buzzed and he said "Enter"
Lt. McGowan straightened her uniform, felt for her bun of hair still being up and regulation, and entered, stopping a respectful distance, and saluted. "Lieutenant Jamie McGowan, reporting for duty, Captain."
"At ease Lieutenant" replied James looking up from his terminal, he continued "and welcome to the Churchill," as he rose from his chair and held out his hand, he finished "and tell me about yourself."
"Aye sir," she said with a professional nod, shaking his hand. "I worked on the USS South Carolina for my first tour, then on a research project that...didn't pan out as we'd hoped...then made it here to the Churchill. You can probably tell from my accent I'm from South Carolina. I spent time on our farm outside the city, and plenty of time in the city. My family was worried after my accident, but they support me in going back out into space again. I'm hoping one day to get enough experience that I can design my own ship, but right now I'm just excited to be back on a ship, to be honest...sir."
"So, explain to me exactly what happened with your accident?" asked James wanting to understand what had happened to Jamie, as he knew that it intrigued him and also it would not go any further than him and the officer and his XO.
Her pulse quickened a bit. She tried to put it behind her, but she might as well be totally honest with her new captain so there wouldn't be any resentments. She took a deep breath, exhaled, and began her tale. "I'm pretty eager when it comes to engineering. I love the stuff. So I volunteered at the Quantum Teleportation Project near Atarashii Nipon, New Japan. It's at one of their Lagrange Points, with a counter station at Naya Bharat (New India)'s Langrange 2. One of my heroes, Lt. Cdr. Cleburne was there, in charge of the project. I've read all his publications in the tech journals dozens of times, and there he was. Can you imagine?"
" I certainly can," replied James as he remembered the day when he asked the Admrail to restore him back to active duty and here he was in charge of a starship.
"Yes, so we worked on the project," she continued, recalling just a short year or so ago. "Cleburne and I got...close...to say the least. We were testing the first organic matter, transported across fifteen light-years separating the two old Earth colonies. To help the energy requirements, our station used solar radiation absorption that also guided energy along with the magnetic fields that also have a slight effect on local subspace to slip the matter stream into a quantum slipstream via the quantum matrix. I could go on about how brilliant the idea was, but the short version was that a solar flare hit our station during the power sequence test, and blew the quantum matrix. Cleburne tried to shield me but he...disintegrated into the powerful wave that cascaded over me. I hit a wall and blacked out."
"Then after maybe a week or so, I woke up, but I wasn't moving my body. It was like I was a passenger in my own head. I could hear Cleburne's thoughts," she explained. "The doctors explained the quantum matrix had ruptured and fused us together. My body was altered...the one I worked so hard to keep fit. My bones and muscles were denser, my lungs and heart stronger, my metabolism spiked up, and the Betazoid and the Vulcan who counselled me found out there were two people living in my head. It took a good amount of psychic therapy, and a good week or so of embarrassing moments and arguments with that ghost in my head, but T'Varr and Alana Genestra helped me finally come to terms with Cleburne, or the memories of him, in my head, and kind of integrate," she gestured with her hands, her fingers intertwining, "him into me. I was finally back in control and felt...whole. I had access to his memories and knowledge, and could finally get back to doing what I really enjoy, just with a huge boost in what I knew engineering-wise."
" I see," replied James, as he looked at his chief Engineer, he continued " if you need to see a counsellor please do," as he wanted her to know that he trusted her to make the right call, he finished " what I need right now is the Engines ready for when we get the green light to leave the dock,"
"I already have, captain," she said with a firm nod. "That's why I'm here. Skon, Soval, T'Varr, and Genestra all evaluated me, and believe me ready to resume normal duties. I'm eager to get my hands dirty down in engineering and make this ship hum."
"Thank you Lieutenant " replied James knowing that Engineering was now going to be run smoothly, He finished "Dismissed,"
"Yes sir," she said with a nod and a smart salute before exiting the captain's ready room.