Arcaran, Midas and Al were sat with Luke, Icarus and Gideon Flavell. Arcaran, Midas and Al looked distinctly upset while Luke, Icarus and Gideon seemed to be doing their best to cheer them up.
"What's up?" I asked, trying to push all thoughts of my news aside.
"New postings," grumbled Al. She really did look close to tears and not in the least bit Klingon.
"Oh!" I wasn't quite sure what to say. They had all had new postings before, so why was this one different. I asked.
"It's where we're going that's the problem," explained Midas. "The Earhart."
I bit my lip trying to work out what to say to them, at the same time, marvelling at how the same news can impact so differently on people seemingly in the same situation. I decided I should help them see the silver lining to this storm cloud above them.
"Okay, I know what you're thinking—"
"It's a cursed ship!" exclaimed Al.
"We don't know that."
"She lost an entire crew!"
"We don't know what happened to the former crew. It might be that they abandoned ship. It might be that they are happily sat on some planet enjoying themselves."
"Not likely though, is it?" snapped Al.
"No, I'll grant you that—"
"And anyway, the only reason you're not worried is because you've not been posted there!"
"Uhm, actually, I have."
As I pulled up a chair and sat myself down, they all looked at me bewildered. Luke suddenly seemed more upset than before.
"And it doesn't bother you?" asked Al.
"Because this is an opportunity."
"Okay, so we are all Crewmen and Ensigns. Captain T'Roc—"
"That'd be the half Klingon, half Vulcan captain!"
"Bet she's a joy to work with!"
"Oh shut up, Al and listen will you! Captain T'Roc... half Vulcan, half Klingon and very well adjusted from what I can tell... is being given a crew she knows very little about. Just as you'll have to get to know her, she'll have to get to know you and she'll have no preconceived ideas about you—"
"Have you met her?" asked Al, suddenly more curious than upset.
"Yes, I have."
"Oh. What, you just happened to pop in while she was there?"
"No, I had a prearranged appointment with Jarrod."
"And Jarrod had T'Roc there?"
"Well, if you'll stop interrupting me, I'll tell you. T'Roc is assembling a new crew for the Earhart and she needs a Cultural Advisor, but at the moment, there is no one suitable to fill those shoes, so she's asked me to consider taking on the post."
"Of Cultural Advisor!" Al screwed her face up quite derisively.
"Yes. I'm not trained in that capacity but I know more about alien cultures than most. I've lived with a good deal of different races and I was always keen to learn about their cultures."
"But you're only a Crewman."
"I know, but that might change."
"What? You're going to go to the Academy?"
"Not just yet, but it's a possibility."
"Well, I'm not calling you 'sir'," spat Al angrily.
"You don't call me 'sir' anyway," piped up Luke, trying to lighten the atmosphere.
"Or me," put in Gideon.
"That's not the point!" shouted Al.
"Oh, Al. Stop being such a drama queen!"
It wasn't the right thing to say. Al flew off the handle. She leapt up from her seat flailing her arms about furiously. If the table hadn't been bolted down, she'd have turned it over.
"I'M NOT A BLOODY DRAMA QUEEN!" she spat, her Klingon temperament starting to show through.
"Then why are you standing over us, screaming at us?" I asked more softly.
"Because I'm upset! I don't want to go!" she said sounding just like a spoilt child.
"Well I think that's a mistake. You've got an opportunity here to make something of yourself—"
"I don't want to make something of myself! I just want to do a day's work and then go home and have fun!"
Well, that took me aback!
"Then I suggest you're in the wrong place. This is Starfleet—" but I didn't get to finish the sentence. She angrily clambered her way over everybody else and stomped off. The rest of us sat in silence, pondering the situation.
"I stick by what I said," I was eager to fill the void with some noise.
"Tell me more about T'Roc," said Icarus. He looked genuinely interested so I told them all about my meeting with Jarrod and T'Roc.
"Well, that's a turn-up for the books!" said Arcaran. "Fancy Jarrod being the one that found you."
"I was a bit flummoxed myself."
"Bit of good fortune though."
"Maybe. Either way, I've got a golden opportunity and I plan to take it. All I am suggesting is that maybe this new posting is an opportunity for everybody else too. I mean, with so many people not wanting the Earhart, surely that will give us the opportunity to stretch ourselves, show our potential and move up a peg or two."
The four of them sat thoughtfully for a while.
"D'yer know," Icarus suddenly said, "You could have a point there. I might just request a transfer. I'm a damned sight more qualified than half the Ensigns in my department but do I ever get a look in on any of the interesting stuff? No I don't." He sat for a while longer and then suddenly he stood up. "In fact, I'll catch you all later. I need to think this through."
It seemed that I had given them all food for thought, as soon we all disbanded back to our duties with things on our mind.