Title: Introductions

Episode 1A, Special 01

IDP 2009, 2020

Edited by: Saurex Conoway

A few days had passed since the attempted Urthean takeover of Starbase 186 and life was gradually returning to normal. Several ships were still dispatched to help cover the base's defense until the Raptor could be returned to operational status.

Harry, for the most part, had been taking the time to look over his crew manifest. He figured that he might as well get to know the people serving under him if he was going to be in charge of the ship. Their first time out he barely had time to get to know any of the base personnel outside of his Chief Engineer and his navigator. So, he had taken the time and looked over their information, which was displayed on several printouts on his coffee table.

Terri Lu-Communications and System Support. Jakar-Security/Tactical. Dr. Richard Okan-Chief Medical officer. Michelle O'mara-Science. Don Rivas-Ops.

He took a freshly replicated datapad and condensed these down into one list and then tossed the printouts into the recycler before he headed out. He figured he may as well take the time to do this while things were quiet.

"Who is it?" Terri's voice asked over the speaker of the door controls.

"It's Commander Martinez. I'm just trying to take some time and get to know some of my staff...unless you're busy?"

"If you could just give me a moment, you caught me making lunch."

"Not a problem," Harry said, waiting a moment or two before the light turned green, showing her door was unlocked.

"Come on in, sir," Terri called.

Harry moved forward and the doors parted. He began to step inside when he heard a loud mew from below. He looked down and saw a quadrupedal, rather fat, feline creature with horns and a ringed tail. Terri had indeed been caught mid-meal-preparation while simultaneously trying to prepare her pet's food as well. She was in her early twenties and carried herself with an air of quiet confidence. She was dressed in civilian garb, which consisted of a pair of loose slacks and a cotton blouse with some strange designs on it.

"Don't mind the cat, he won't bite." She said, stepping around the cabinet of her little kitchenette.

"Well hello there," Harry said to the creature.

It mewed again and cocked its head to the side, eyeing him carefully.

Terri took the food and set it by his automatic waterer and called for the animal again, who ignored her, content to sit there and scrutinze her commanding officer.

"Taber, skat," Terri said, shooing the cat away. He gave her an indignant look and then moved out of the way, flicking his tail. "Sorry, sir he doesn't like male visitors. He thinks I'm his."

"It's ok, just not used to too many people having pets," Harry said as he headed for the couches in the sunken part of the room. Terri's quarters were in an area that had balconies overlooking the promenade below. The balcony was lined with what seemed to be a small herb garden and shrine in the middle of it. The doors were open and the dull murmur of the crowds below floated into her quarters. Harry noted that everything was very neat and tidy and had its place, including the various decorations placed around the room.

"Well, he's bonded to me. I raised him from a kitten, so here he stays." Terri shrugged. "So what did you want to go over, Commander?"

"You can call me Harry. You are off duty, so we can drop the formality," Harry said.

"Ok, Harry, what's up?" Terri said, sitting on the couch across from him.

"Well," he said, "I read you are a class A technician, that you graduated fourth in your class, and went to the academy with a recommendation from the Sarnes Institute. Now, my question is, why the hell did you not request the Ops position on the Raptor? You passed all your assessment tests, so why not apply?"

"You want the real answer," Terri asked, "because I did apply for that position initially."

"Yeah, I'd like the real answer."

"Under Commander Rivas, I was supposed to be at Ops, but he has way more combat experience than I do. I can do the job, but I think he would be more suited for the position than me. He handled that whole battle a lot better than I did."

Harry flipped through the information on his datapad and quickly read over it. "Hmm…." He mused.

"However, in a pinch, I can do it," Terri added quickly. "After that battle for the Starbase, I think I got most of the jitters out of my system."

"You never know when you may have to step up," Harry finally said. "So, do you have anywhere you'd like to go with your career?"

Terri thought about it a little. "Not any particular direction at the moment, but I won't turn down an opportunity if it presents itself."

Harry made a note and nodded. "This says you grew up on Roulia Three. Isn't that the Windy Planet, as they call it?"

"You could say that. It has a lot of nasty storms, but when it isn't acting up, it's beautiful," Terri said petting Taber as he hopped up in her lap and purred.

"Sounds a lot like where I grew up," Harry said, "Ketha Province."

Terri nodded. "I have some distant cousins there. I've only been a few times myself. It's very, hilly."

Harry laughed. "Yeah, that's about the gist of it. If it isn't hilly it's flat."

"How'd you entertain yourself, Harry?" Terri asked. "I mean, there aren't any major towns and everyone lives off by themselves...it's not very developed."

"Ah, but it's quiet. You find things to do if you get bored," Harry said, "lots of long walks and camping under the stars. It's pleasant if you like that sort of thing."

"Roulia was like that before, with the storm," Terri sighed, "but after the main ship arrived and everything got rebuilt and the weather control grid was installed, it got very busy very quickly. Where my grandma's house used to be is now a parking garage...go figure."

"Did your grandmother raise you?"

"For the most part. My parents were both in Starfleet and they disappeared on a mission, but it's been too long. I can't remember the details," Terri said, her gaze turning downward as sadness crossed it and she slowly stroked the spoiled feline.

"You don't have to go into it," Harry said.

Terri nodded in agreement. "Harry...if you ever need me to do anything, I'm pretty efficient at whatever task I'm put on. I'll be more than glad to help," she said, looking back up. Her continence was back to its usual lightheartedness. "Being a glorified operator isn't exactly that exciting, but I'll be the best damn communications officer you'll ever have!"

Harry smiled. "I'm sure you will. I'll keep that in mind. I'm sure we'll need your skills at one time or another."

"I would appreciate that. Is there anything else?" She asked as Taber kept insisting to get into her face and nuzzling her, annoyed that he wasn't getting the majority of her attention.

"No," Harry said with a smile. He felt like Terri was someone he could rely on if he needed too and she usually seemed composed under pressure and very at ease any other time. He felt sure that she was exactly what her evaluations made her out to be: a very intelligent and capable young woman. He figured there wouldn't be any further need for feeling her out. If there was something to be said, she would be upfront with it.

"I hate to cut it short," he continued, "but I got a lot of other people to talk to. Thank you for taking the time to have this little chat."

"No problem, Harry," Terri smiled, "I look forward to getting to know you better."

"Same here," Harry said, politely excusing himself.

Next up was Jakar. He was easy to find. In the last few days he had proved to be rather predictable. Every day he did his rounds and at night he would stalk around the station even when everyone else was turning in. In the earliest of the morning hours, Harry had seen Jakar still patrolling. He wondered if he even slept. Like clockwork, when he'd go off duty he'd go into Leeta's and order the same drink and sit and chat with the attractive bartender, drink a lot for a few hours and then return to his quarters. Harry checked the wall chronometer. With him being such a night owl, getting to talk to him one on one may be a bit difficult.

Sure enough, as Harry entered the bar, there he sat in his usual place. Dr. Okan was there too, chatting with Jakar and eating breakfast. He had noticed that the two of them had a kinship of sorts. They both seemed to spend most of their off-time either drinking, playing darts, gambling, or arguing almost to the point of blows about some current political debate. He was well aware that Okan was sort of a night owl too. He always seemed to be tinkering something in his lab.

"Good morning gentlemen," Harry said, approaching them.

Jakar, who looked more than a bit hammered, looked at him and grunted a greeting of some inaudible fashion.

"Ah, Lt. Commander. What brings you here?" Okan asked.

"I wanted to talk to my tactical officer if he wouldn't mind," Harry said flatly.

"Well, I don't know...he might have overdone it…." Okan said a bit distastefully.
"Pssh! What do you want to talk about?" Jakar said with a slight slur.

"Just wanting to get to know some of my crew while we're not getting shot at," Harry said nonchalantly.

Jakar shrugged, turned around, and shoved out a stool, nearly tipping it. He caught it and said, "Have a seat then...what do you want to know?"

"Are you sure you're capable?" Harry asked.

"PFft! I've done more with MORE of this!" He declared, waving a strange purple bottle he was drinking out of. "Have a seat, sir!"

"Doctor? If you don't mind, I would like to do this with you, but these sessions are private."

"Ah, that's ok." Okan shrugged, "I've got something I'm working on anyway." He scooped up his stuff and left the bar.

"So, Commander, what can I do for you?" Jakar asked before taking another swig from his bottle.

"I would appreciate it if you would stop drinking so I can talk to you," Harry said.

Jakar shot him a glare mid swig, but Harry stared him down.

"All right," he said, setting the bottle down and sliding it to the bartender. "Leeta...put a cap in it so it stays fresh!" He hollered at the Catarian bartender, who glared at him and nodded.

Harry grabbed the stool next to him and sat down, sizing up Jakar. He was rather large for an echidna; his fur was a darker red too. His spines had a few large beads in them for decoration and on his head he had a solid white marking that looked like a shield between his brows. Over his left eye ran a single jagged scar that crossed from his brow to his cheek.

"So, sir," Jakar said bluntly, "what do you want to know?"

"Well," Harry began, "since mostly what I see you do is this, is it going to affect your job performance?"

Jakar sneered. "Hasn't before, why would it now?"

"Right," Harry said.

"Listen pup, I'm sixty-seven years old. I'm damn set in my ways and I've never done anything to make anyone ever doubt my abilities," Jakar grunted, "if I do, however, give you a reason to question my abilities you can be damn forward about it." He looked down at Harry's datapad. "And don't write it in that damn gadget and say nothing."

"It was just a question. I'm just trying to get to know my staff. Is that too much to ask?" Harry said calmly.

Jakar raised an eyebrow and scratched his chin. "Suppose not…."

"So, you are sixty-seven? You don't look like you are," Harry mused.

"Guess it must be all this clean living," Jakar said with a smirk.

"Kind of a late start on a fleet career isn't it?" Harry asked, noting that he'd only been in for five years less than he had.

"Ah...that. Well, let's just say I bummed around the quadrant for a while, got tired of it, came here, asked for a job, and they sent me to school," Jakar said, putting his hand to his chin in thought. "That's the extremely short version. I think I've done about all there is to do out there. I've been a smuggler, a soldier, a freighter pilot, a mercenary...you name it, I've probably done it."

"So, lots of experience in nearly everything," Harry said.

"Yup."

Harry glanced at the vanquished glasses and bottles in front of him. "Do you have to drink that much to be this talkative? Usually I hear barely more from you than from a brick wall."

"Kid," Jakar grunted as he leaned towards Harry, "when you get to be my age, you have a lot of ghosts you don't want bothering you in the long hours of the day."

Harry wanted to reprimand him for talking down to him like that, but something about the older echidna kept him from saying anything. He assumed that as long as it was "sir" when things were formal, he could let it slide.

Jakar didn't have too much of a file. He didn't even have a birth certificate. He had a service number and a date of birth, but little else.

"Do you have any family or relatives?" Harry asked.

Jakar seemed to think for a moment. "None that I'm aware of," he shrugged, "what about you, kid?"

"A brother and my aunt back on Termia," Harry replied.

"You go back and see 'em much?" Jakar asked.

"When I can. I've been busy for the last few years," Harry said.

"Well, go see them some time...so you don't end up like me," he said, waving at the bartender, "wandering around the goddamned station all hours of the night."

"Why do you do that?" Harry asked.

"Bah! I don't need to sleep much! Besides, the place is more interesting in the dark hours." He stretched and yawned. "Keeps things all nice and peaceful-like around here. Look here, and write this down in your little pad: I may not be a saint...I may not even be a good role model...but if you need anyone who you can count on I got your back as long as you're willing to do the same."

"I'll remember that," Harry nodded.

"I think we'll get along just fine," Jakar said, "this isn't my first trek through the stars and it isn't yours either. That alone will be of some benefit."

Harry just nodded. Jakar was still obviously a little drunk, but it had given him some insight into him. He seemed like a good guy, despite a few obvious failings. Harry figured it would probably take some time and observation to see how reliable he was. Jakar's record didn't show anything but praise for him, but it could merely have been the fact that he usually looked as if he were a half-second away from disemboweling somebody that kept the complaints to a minimum.

Jakar seemed to be glancing up at a wall chronometer. "Ah damn it! I gotta get going. Are we done here?"

"What do you have that's going on so Important?"

"I got a calisthenics class I teach every morning."

Harry was a little startled. "You teach it after drinking?"

Jakar shrugged. "Good way to work the alcohol out. Later, sir."

Harry just shook his head as he watched him go. Jakar was quite the character, a bit gruff, but he seemed overall trustworthy. He didn't seem to be much more than what he showed on the surface. In a way, there was something likable about him, even though he seemed abrasive.

One more down. Harry decided it was time to visit the good doctor. But first, maybe he should grab something to eat.

"Hey, buddy! If you're going to sit there and doodle on your little pad you gotta buy a drink!" Leeta hissed impatiently. "Jakar gets to sit here and waste time because he spends money!"

"Ok, ok," Harry said nodding politely and getting up to leave.

He went to the Replimat-basically a small outdoor eatery with replicators-that most Fleet personnel passed through during the day to grab something quick. It was centered on a little island amongst the traffic of civilians passing through the various shops, businesses, and other buildings located throughout the station's massive promenade level. He had the machine make him a small lunch and when he turned to find a place to sit, he spotted a face tied to one of the names on his list.

Michelle O'mara was his assigned science officer. She was a blue and purple feathered Avian female. She was eating and reading an old paperback at the same time as Harry approached.

"Excuse me," he asked, "mind if I join you?"

This caused the Avian to jump in surprise. She nearly knocked her tray onto the floor. "S-s-s-sorry, s-s-sir," she stammered, trying to regain her composure.

"I didn't mean to intrude," Harry said quickly.

Michelle took a deep breath. "I'm f-f-f-fine, it's ok. W-w-w-what do you...how can I help you, sir?" She stuttered, clenching her fists, seeming to be flustered to the point that a few of her feathers drifted off of her and fell on the table.

"I just wanted to ask you a few questions," Harry said, "I'm going around taking some time to get to know my senior officers. I saw you sitting here and figured I would ask you but…."

"No that, that's fine," she said shakily. "I'm fine, sit...sir," she added.

"Deep breaths. Just calm down. This is all just informal Ms. O'mara," Harry said, sitting across from her.

"Oh ok...g-g-good," Michelle said, trying to smooth her feathers as a few more molted off her.

"Just relax," Harry said with what he hoped was a calming smile. "I'll try to make this as painless as possible."

O'mara nodded.

He looked over the information on her record displayed on his datapad. She had formerly been assigned to the unfortunate U.S.S Drake, which had been destroyed earlier. Out of the 300 aboard, she was the only surviving crew member. He decided to be careful asking any questions about that, being that it hadn't happened too long ago. Looking at her file, he quickly read that she had been on the station during the attack and ended up stranded on a turbolift that had been damaged and crashed at the bottom of the shaft. She had survived the fall, but the other crew member on board had not. Luck of the draw, Harry supposed. She had been trapped in the wreckage for two days before she was rescued by a repair crew.

She had been cleared by medical to return to work, but he could tell the entire experience had scarred her just by how she was jumping at everything.

"I've been through a few, less desirable moments in my own time out here in space," Harry noted, "I can understand what you are going through. Some horrible things can happen out here and it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. It will get better, I assure you."

"T-th-thanks," she replied, trying to at least present the appearance of being reassured.

"Usually it's recommended that when something like that happens, you should take some time off."

"I know but…n-n-no...I don't want to. I just want to get back t-t-to work is all." She said, suddenly not looking him in the eyes.

"The Raptor won't be a cakewalk. Just because it is a battleship, don't expect to just sit there and look busy," Harry said matter-of-factly. "What do you specialize in?"

"Astrometrics, mathematics, stars and nebulae, along with atmospheric and meteorological fields, biospheres, a little bit of Exo-Biology, but not much," Michelle listed the fields on her fingers.

Harry nodded and made a note. "It says here that you just barely squeaked by in Exo-Biology."

"Yeah...I didn't like it much," she admitted.

"Our chief physician, Dr. Okan, is apparently quite the expert," Harry noted with a glance at Okan's file. "I suggest you maybe take up a little understudy with him. I expect my science officer to know pretty much anything on this pad that it says they know," Harry said. "Do you think you can do that?"

"Yes, I think so," Michelle nodded. "You know I used to not...be like this." She began stuttering again. "I-I-I've been like this s-s-sense they rescued me…."

"I'm just warning you, I will push you to work through this. I need a good science officer, not just someone warming a chair," Harry said sternly, but he checked his tone in order to not rattle her too badly.

"I understand," Michelle said.

Harry smiled, trying to not look so imposing. "I hope so. I'll try to help you as best I can. If you ever need to talk about what happened, feel free to talk."
Michelle nodded as Harry scribbled down some information. O'mara was going to take some work and some proper guidance. He felt bad for her. He recalled his state of mind when he had spent a few days in an escape pod with a mortally wounded crew member.

"The worst part is…" O'mara said uneasily, "is I really…miss my friends…I didn't…didn't even get to say...goodbye."

"Do you wish you had been with them?" Harry asked gently.

O'mara thought a bit and then slightly dipped her head. "It w-w-would be better than feeling s-s-so horrible."

"But yet you are alive, through fate or chance, you are here," Harry said. "I understand your pain, but let me tell you this: there are a lot of people in this universe who are ungrateful to just be alive. Despite how miserable you feel…" Harry hesitated, "at least you are alive to feel it. Look at every meal you've eaten since then, that book you are reading now, the simple fact you got to wake up today," he paused to let that sink in, "there are a lot of little things that we neglect to appreciate every day."

Michelle seemed deep in thought, but he had her attention.

"Just take a step back and look at everything around you and you'll see that if you weren't here, things would be a lot worse for people around you."

Michelle nodded.

"That's all we needed to address," Harry said, "let's talk about this a bit more, if you want to, while I eat my lunch before it gets cold."

"I'd like that," Michelle said with a faint smile. "Thank you, sir."

They continued talking throughout Harry's lunch until they had both finished eating and finally parted ways.

Harry felt a little better about her towards the end of their talk. Michelle was harboring a heavy trauma, but maybe if he could take her under his wing he could help her work through it. The stuttering and lack of self-confidence were a bit annoying, but he could see she had potential.

Later

Harry had headed for the station's infirmary and asked for Dr. Okan. One of the nurses led him back to a storage area of the infirmary and told him to be careful to not touch anything. Harry made his way through the storage room that seemed to be in the process of being sorted.

"Doctor Okan?" He called out as he made his way carefully through the disheveled space.

"Yes, come in," Dr. Okan said with a stylus in his mouth as he took an inventory of his lab specimens.
Harry came in and noticed there were several jars, cages, pots, and every type of container imaginable lining the shelves. It was a veritable menagerie of specimens from all over the Confederation.

"Am I interrupting, Doctor?" Harry asked as his eyes swept over the various containers.

"No, not at all. I'm just updating my catalog of well...everything," Okan shrugged.

"What is all this stuff?" Harry asked, trying carefully to watch his step.

"Well, that shelf is spores, molds, and fungi. Over there are some of my living specimens," he said, pointing at a menagerie of small creatures making a cacophony of animal noises. "Minerals from various worlds, vitamin concoctions for just about every sapient species around the quadrant that we know of...and some odds and ends that I assure you are all legal and cleared with customs."

"What do you need all this for?" Harry wondered aloud as he observed the micro-zoo that surrounded him.

"One moment please," Dr. Okan said, smiling and going over to a small pallet of what seemed like food pellets. He began tossing handfuls of kibble into the various animal's cages until they all quieted down. "Well there, that's better,"

he said, reaching into one of the cages and extracting a strange, palm-sized tarantula-like creature. "This is a rare Onarian Torka. Her name is Betsy," he said as he fed the creature another type of food. "Don't worry, she won't bite; they're herbivores."

"No, I'll pass," Harry said quickly. Anything that looked like a spider wasn't exactly on his list of favorite animals.

"No need to worry, commander, she's quite friendly," Okan smirked as he put the creature back in its cage. "Now, before I was saying, have you ever heard the old joke about the guy who went to his doctor and said 'Doctor, can you help me? My arm hurts every time I do this.'," he said, working his arm back and forth. "The doctor says, 'Well stop moving your arm that way.'"

"Yes."

"Well, that is pretty much my approach to medicine. I try to thoroughly study the homeworlds and ecologies of all my patients to gain a better understanding of how to treat them. Most physicians are content with just handing out a pain pill or two, but I've had much success using many home remedies and treatments for various elements without the use of our Confederations wonder pills." Okan said matter of factly.

"You sound like you don't approve of current methods," Harry alluded.

"I just don't see why, with the resources we have, most doctors aren't looking into these things. Do you want to know why most of my patients today have an overall shorter recovery time than anyone else at the moment?" He said quickly counting the specimens on one of the shelves.

"Why is that?" Harry asked.

"Because I don't coddle my patients," Dr. Okan said, "if I give them a happy pill, they are more apathetic towards physical therapy. When they do the therapy and things start hurting less, they heal up a lot quicker than just counting on the body to naturally recover while riding the painkiller express. And that is why I have all of this," he finished, gesturing to the menagerie around them.

"What about modern methods of surgery?" Harry asked. "I am fascinated by your approach to medicine, but surely you know how to use a dermal regenerator?"

"Ah, well, that's a different matter entirely," Doctor Okan shrugged. "I can't reattach a severed limb or stop arterial bleeding with a salve now can I?" Dr. Okan chuckled. "My methods may be draconian, but even though I detest quick fixes, some things are just more practical in practice."

"I see," Harry said, jotting down a few notes in his datapadd.

. "Now, was there something else you wanted to talk to me about? You said something about just an interview or something?"

"That pretty much covered it, Doctor," Harry said, rather impressed. "I do have a favor to ask though."

"Mmhmm...and what would that be?" Okan asked, making a note on his datapad as he counted another row on his shelves.

"My science officer is a little lacking in the Exo-Biology area. Would you mind giving her some tutoring?"

"Why would I mind?" Okan chuckled. "I love sharing my knowledge. I am assuming you are referring to the young Avian lieutenant that was trapped in the turboshaft?"

"Yeah," Harry said.

"I do need help cataloging some of my newer acquisitions. I'll give her a call. Believe me, it may sound boring, but she could pick a lot up from it," Dr. Okan said matter-of-factly. "Unless you have anything else to go over Commander, I have a lot of work to do, so if you wouldn't mind excusing me?"
"No, go right ahead, I'm more in your way than anything else," Harry replied, "thank you for your time Doctor."

"Any time, sir," he said, shrugging and going back to his work.

The meeting with Dr. Okan had gone pretty much how he had expected it to. He only one person left to go: his Ops officer, Rivas.

Don Rivas was a Cornerian Wolf around Harry's age. He'd been one of the first to join up with Starfleet when the Lylat System became part of the Confederation. Harry, however, felt a little bit of hostility from the wolf. He was aware that command of the Raptor had originally been offered to Rivas. If put in the same place, Harry knew he would feel the same way if an opportunity had been snatched from him because those above him decided it was necessary. He wasn't even sure if, in their brief exchange earlier, offering him the position of first officer was even enough to ease the tension between them. Harry called him and, grudgingly, Rivas told him where he was.

He was in one of the holo-suites. Harry made his way down toward it and entered. Inside, he spotted the wolf boxing a holographic opponent. Harry stood to the side and watched, studying the match, taking note of wolf's moves as he danced around the ring, landing blow after blow on the holographic opponent until he finally tagged it hard enough to make it drop to the floor.

Harry clapped. "Nice work," he said.

Rivas looked up at him and his eyes narrowed when he realized who it was. He put his glove to his head to acknowledge Harry to be polite. He then went over to the side of the ring and took a drink.

"What can I do for you, sir," Rivas said, taking a drink in between heavy breaths.

"I'm simply going around trying to get to know my senior staff," Harry said. "Do you have some time to answer my questions?"

A flash of annoyance crossed the wolf's features. "Sure," he grunted, "what?"

"Well," Harry said, retrieving his pad from the crook of his elbow. "I just want to clear the air a little bit between us and go over a few things."

"A Captain's burden," Rivas said dryly as he took a drink of water and then glared at Harry, wondering what this echidna's game was. He put the water bottle down and said, "Could have been my job. Funny how that didn't work out, isn't it?"

Harry knew that was a dig at him. He wasn't too thrilled about being assigned to this posting, but he wasn't going to let that show, not to someone who could potentially be a pain in his ass because of something as stupid as jealousy.

"First off, you already proved you were an excellent choice for first officer at the ops station. Your knowledge of the ship's systems proved invaluable. How long had you been involved with the project?" Harry asked without flinching.

"Since the beginning. I got more involved the last year or two...did a lot of the fine-tuning work with Ms. Phoenix," Rivas said flatly, "I probably know the ship as well as she does."

"Good," Harry said. "We'll have a lot to go over the next few days."

"How's that?"

"Fleet HQ wants us to get a shakedown cruise completed as soon as we're operational again. I'll expect your assistance until I am more familiar with what this ship can do."

"I'll do what I can, sir," Rivas said curtly.

Harry put the pad to his side and made eye contact with the wolf. "Do you have a problem with me, Commander? I have been nothing but professional with you."

"May I speak freely sir?" Rivas asked.

Harry nodded.

"I'm wondering what the fuck they are doing bringing someone in here who has had nothing to do with running this show except sit in the seat to this point. So, yes, you can say I'm pretty damn pissed off about not getting command of the Raptor." He paused for a moment. "No offense to you, that is," he added, although Harry could see he didn't mean it.

"You don't think I'm capable of handling this job?" Harry asked.

"Pfft! I've seen your record! Started as an Engineer, moved to a Con, then Helm officer, and then a brief stint as first on Captain Sixx's ship." Rivas said. "No, I don't think you are cut out for the job," he snapped, taking another drink of water.

"You must not have read it very well," Harry said.

"I read enough," Rivas snorted, "and now if you'll excuse me, sir, I'd like to finish up my holo-suite time before it's up?"

"I used to box in the academy," Harry said offhandedly, "let's spar. I'll show you why they picked me."

Rivas laughed. "No offense, but you're a little out of your weight class here Commander. I am a little bigger than you."

Harry set the datapad on the floor of the ring, climbed up to it, and removed his tunic. He then called the computer to give him a pair of gloves, a helmet, and a mouthguard.

"You are kidding, right?" Rivas said, a bit intrigued now.

"Nope," Harry said, slipping on the gloves. "I'm not, or are you afraid a shrimp like me is going to make you look bad?"

Rivas grinned. "Suit yourself."

"How about this, we'll make a little wager," Harry offered.

"Oh yeah?" Rivas asked with a smirk, "I'm listening."

"We'll go one round. The first one down loses. The winner gets the ship."

Rivas laughed. "Now you're just being crazy!"

"Nope," Harry said, "are you going to talk or are you going to get ready to fight?"

Rivas wondered what the hell this echidna was on as he put in his mouthpiece.

Harry assumed a boxing stance and they started to circle the ring. Rivas threw a few quick jabs, trying to gauge his reactions, and then tried to go for what he thought was an opening. He tried a double fake-out and it looked like Harry had dropped his guard. He went for the first attack. Harry quickly parried it and he got a muzzle full of gloves followed by a few more follow-up jabs.

Rivas stumbled back a little dazed. He hadn't expected that at all. Harry was quicker than he looked. Rivas shook his head, a little pissed that he had been caught unawares like that. He cleared his head and moved in to try another assault. Again and again, Harry countered every move he made, even to the point where Rivas started throwing harder punches to try to overpower him. This only resulted in more pummeling from his smaller opponent. Anything that did get past Harry didn't stick. He would roll through the punches and land a shot or two on Rivas's body.

This continued for about ten minutes. Rivas was starting to get more and more tired. He tried to channel his anger to give him more strength, but the pummeling the echidna gave him was slowing him down. Every time he tried to do a changeup, Harry would change with him. It was quite frustrating. Eventually, he burned out completely and collapsed to his knees, panting as he spat out the mouth guard.

"Ok...I'm out," he panted, "you win! Who the hell taught you how to fight?"

"Let us just say when I was younger, I wasn't so cut and dry and as I went through the academy, combative classes were a way to relieve stress," Harry said, helping him up.

"You are pretty damn slippery. I'll give you that," Rivas grunted getting to his feet and shucking off his grasp on his arm.

"I studied you as you sparred with the hologram," Harry admitted, "and your style was not that hard to figure out. You don't have much variety except for speed and fierceness."

"So, what was the point of you coming down here and beating on me?" Rivas grunted.

"Well," Harry said, taking off his gloves, "I wanted to demonstrate maybe there's more to me than you know. Maybe someone out there thinks I can handle this assignment and maybe that's why I'm here, despite whatever misgivings we both have."

Rivas shrugged, "Maybe."
"I don't want any tension between us," Harry said, "I don't need my damn ops man causing me problems." He said flatly. "I understand why you are upset, but give me a chance. That's all I ask. After a while, if you are still not happy with your position, I will do what I can to help you find something more suited for you."

Rivas thought it over and chuckled. "Suits me just fine. But," he said, walking back over to him, "we'll give this a shot and see what happens." Don said thoughtfully, "Thinking about it, with some of the shit we have coming down the pipe, I don't think I want to be in that chair when something goes wrong." He extended his paw and Harry took it. "I can only wish you the best of luck, but I'll do my best to help if I can."

"That's all I am asking," Harry said, confidentially shaking his paw.

"Hey, Harry, what are you up to?" He heard Jack Land ask as he walked past the Replimat.

"Oh, just going around getting to know people that's all."

"Sounds fun," Land said.

"No, the real fun is in a few days," Harry said, "when we've got a ship to do a shakedown on."

"Oh no! You are kidding me!" Jack sighed. "It worked fine for the most part when we took it out last."

Harry gave him a look. "It's just how I do things. Fara called me a few minutes ago and told me they just finished the repairs. So, I'd like to get disembarked as soon as I get the crew rounded up. You might want to pack."

Land sighed and shook his head. "How long is this going to last?"

"Maybe a week or so. We've got a lot of work to do."

"Starting when?" Jack asked, less than thrilled.

"As soon as I get a ship here to relieve us we'll get underway," Harry replied.

"When will that be?"

"Soon," Harry said, "now stop bothering me and I'll let you know as soon as I get it done."

"Ok, ok! I was just wondering. So, what do you think about your crew?"

Harry shrugged. "I think I have a little work to do, but overall I've got a good group of people to work with." He made a few more notes on his pad with his stylus. "It will be interesting to see how everyone works together."

"Wow...you are looking forward to this aren't you?" Land chuckled.

"Yes," Harry replied. "We worked well together in the last crisis because we didn't have a choice. I want everyone to function as one unit in all situations. This little exercise will make us work on that."

"I don't have to share a bunk do I?" Land complained. "Have you seen the crew quarters on that ship? They are cramped and you gotta usually share."
"You won't have to. You are a bridge officer, so you'll get your own," Harry assured him, "which is the same size room I'll have. It even has a bath as well, I think. I don't know. I haven't seen mine. They'll all be on deck one, so it's not like you won't be able to find them."

Harry stopped and realized that Land was trying to get out of having to do a few duties he needed to do that he typically would put off till the last minute by distracting him with idle conversation. A smirk crossed his face. "By the way, I need you to get the helm properly calibrated before we head out."

Land looked a bit disappointed. "Damn, ok, I'll take care of it."

"See that you do." Harry nodded. "I'm going to have to take care of a few things. So, if you'll excuse me," he said politely.

"Later," Land shrugged.

Harry headed for a turbo lift and headed for Ops.

As the lift started to move Harry began to think. He still had to get Captain Stiles to request a ship to come to perform stand-in duty for the Raptor while they were out getting acquainted with the ship. He figured that while they were waiting, providing there weren't any further attacks from the Urtheans, he may take some time and unpack some of his things that had started to arrive from storage. May as well take the time to get settled while he was here.

This assignment was not particularly something he had wanted. He felt as if it had just been dumped on him. To top that, he now had a Urthean Commander after his hide and he was in charge of a highly experimental, potentially dangerous, starship.

"First thing better that comes along, I'm out of here," Harry muttered.

However, this was no excuse to half-ass his time here while he was at it. All that was left to do was to file a flight plan, get permission to take the ship out, and they'd be off. At least planning this little endeavor had helped quell his disappointment and distract him from being stuck out here in the middle of nowhere.

A few days later

Harry had gotten two ships to come stand-in for the Raptor and the ship had been outfitted for its shakedown cruise. During the time they had been waiting, Harry had the crew running drills and so far they had performed well. The drills had made them more open to doing the actual shakedown cruise, although there probably would still be some grumbling.

Harry had also set up some holo-suite time with his bridge officers and ran them through several scenarios. He was impressed at how quickly they had begun to work as a team.

Now he sat on the bridge and the day had come. They were going to learn everything they could about this ship. The goal was to learn how to run it perfectly, perhaps even blindfolded, if it came to that.

As the ship disembarked, Harry relaxed back into his chair and drank a cup of coffee one of the ship's stewards had brought to him. "Mr. Land," he said, "prepare to take us out."

"Aye, Skipper," Land nodded, "disengaging docking clamps. I've got our flight plan already laid into the main computer."

The ship shuddered as the external umbilical connections disconnected and the magnetic clamps released the ship's hull from their hold.

"Ms. Lu, please inform Station Control of our intention to disembark," Harry said, signing off on a data padd.

"Station Control has permitted us to leave," Terri replied. "Station doors are opening."

Land quickly swung the ship on its axis and the main docking doors could be seen opening, revealing the starfield outside.

"Take us out Mr. Land," Harry said, "and let's see what this ship can do."

The End