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Archive for August, 2010

TheVala zh’Ras grew up in extremely modest circumstances on an out-of-the way Andorian mining colony. While still very young, she became determined to leave. After feeling unsupported and frustrated in her early hopes of becoming a dancer or a visual artist, she turned to more practical careers. Because of regular contact with traders, she first decided to join the merchant marines. But when a Federation survey ship made a rare visit, she began to think of nothing else than enlisting in Starfleet.

Vala did not have the resources of most aspiring cadets. The colony’s library archives contained large gaps. None of the Vala’s family or friends had ever been members of Starfleet, nor did they have much interest in it. She had to hitch a ride on a freighter to make it to her first attempt at the test, arriving three days early. Nevertheless, her experiences away from home made her even more determined to find her own way in the world.

Unfortunately, she did not pass her first exam. She did learn that while she lagged in many areas, she excelled in geometric thinking. Vala had always thought in terms of vectors and angles and loved to move and to watch movement. When not studying or working, she was flying the colony’s shuttles. She took the exam three more times, passing on her fourth attempt. (A few years before, Starfleet had abolished the cap on the number of tests an aspiring cadet could take, largely because of those, like Vala, who did not have the luck of growing up on a starship or of having relatives or friends who had served in Starfleet.)

While at the Academy, Vala sometimes struggled. She had a difficult time deciding which career track to follow, ultimately settling on security partly because it was the choice of many Andorians and partly because neither of the other two alternatives really interested her. She was not especially fond of ground combat, but she became skilled at starship flight simulations. During her cadet cruise, her primary station was at the helm. Though she graduated in the lower half of her class, she was the best pilot in her cohort and one of the best at the Academy.

Vala’s major disappointment as a cadet was that none of her instructors took a sustained interest in her. She felt similarly overlooked during her first assignment on board the USS Khitomer. She was regularly called on to pilot shuttlecraft, but never made it to the bridge to pilot the ship. During the Battle of Vega, she was transferred to the USS Kilkee under Acting Captain Patrick O’Kennedy.

Though on a much smaller ship, Vala is hopeful about her new assignment and the responsibilities it brings. She heard of O’Kennedy while at the Academy and is enthusiastic about joining his bridge crew. She hopes to find in him the encouragement and mentorship that she has not found elsewhere and the recognition she feels she deserves.

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One bit of verse I didn’t say at the service.  This one’s for you, Mercy.

– – –

When, round the bowl, of vanish’d years
We talk, with joyous seeming,
With smiles that might as well be tears,
So faint, so sad their beaming;
While memory brings us back again
Each early tie that twined us,
Oh, sweet’s the cup that circles then
To those we’ve left behind us.

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The Dead by Rupert Brooke

These hearts were woven of joys and cares,
Washed marvelously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. She leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

* * * * *

War Song by Thomas Moore (in honor of Captain Qat’Anmek)

Remember the glories of Brien the brave,
Though the days of the hero are o’er,
Though lost to the living and cold to the grave,
He returns to Kinkora no more.
That star of the field, which so often hath pour’d
Its beam on the battle, is set;
But enough of its glory remains on each sword,
To light us to victory yet.

On each world where Nature embellish’d the tint
Of the seas and the mountains so fair,
Did she ever intend that a tyrant should print
The footstep of slavery there?
No! Freedom, whose smile we shall never resign,
Go and tell whosoever would reign
That ’tis sweeter to bleed for an age at thy shrine,
Than to sleep but a moment in chains.

Forget not our wounded companions who stood
In the day of distress by our side;
While the moss of the valley grew red with their blood,
They stirr’d not, but conquer’d and died.
That sun which now blesses our arms with his light,
Saw them fall upon Ossory’s plain;
Oh! let him not blush, when he leaves us to-night,
To find that they fell there in vain.

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This is Patrick Guinness Donal O’Kennedy, presently in command of the USS Kilkee.  Yesterday, all the senior staff, including Captain Qat’Anmek, were killed during a fateful engagement with the Borg in the Vega star system.  I’m now the highest ranking officer on the ship.  I know a fair few people back at the Academy who’d suspected this was the only way I’d make captain, though they mightn’t have guessed so soon.

We’re currently en route to Earth after doing our part in preventing Borg ships from moving further into Federation space.  It’ll be a short trip, but, if only for the sake of the crew, I want to send a clear message that things are running as they should.  I’ve selected a command staff and a bridge crew, temporary though they may be.  I’m including the names of those officers in an addendum to this entry.  That includes an Ensign—our new security officer—who joined us from the USS Khitomer.

I’ve also scheduled a memorial service for all those that’ve left us during this last mission.  I’ve checked personnel files to see who requested a burial in space and who wanted to be returned home.  I’ve talked to Ensign Barrow about playing the bagpipes.  He told me that his father, a former Starfleet officer himself, advised him to take them up—he said it was the safest profession for a sailor.  Whoever else goes down with the ship, they always need someone to play the pipes in the end.

I’ll say a few words, as well.  I’m hoping the crew can find some comfort in them.

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