For example, the Engineering report today mentioned that a minor misalignment in one of the plasma coils caused a defect that required the cleansing and resealing of neighbouring systems. Besides the repair works, an investigation had to be launched to find the cause, a solution proposed and approved as to how the problem could be prevented from recurring, followed by a period of monitoring to ensure the measures taken were working, an order issued to replenish supplies used in the maintenance work, someone then had to follow it up to make sure the order was fulfilled, etc, etc, etc.
In other words, many departments were involved to one degree or another and the Captain needs to know about it all, if only in summary.
While I was going through the various reports though, I noticed a timetabling error on one of the Cadet rosters. That led me to check them all and as a result of that, I found another two such errors—small, granted, but they still needed addressing.
Solution: I arranged an additional meeting between the mentors and cadets affected, so they could correct the problem themselves. It was for that reason that I was on my way to Starboard-7.
Starboard-7 is our equivalent of The Galley or Ten-Forward as it is known on larger ships (it being on Deck 10 and at the very front of the ship). Being a much smaller ship with only fifteen decks, our Ten-Forward is on Deck 7 enjoying views on the starboard side of the ship.
I had suggested that Rutter, Al and I met there, partly because I wanted to check it out, but also because I was a little apprehensive about Rutter and Al. This would be the first time that the two of them had met properly since our squabble, and I wanted it to be an informal meeting.
As it was, my concerns were completely misplaced. Both of them seem to have decided to brush any past incidences aside and start afresh. I think we've all grown up quite significantly over the past few months.
We entered Starboard-7 and took a moment to admire it. Bearing in mind the size of the Earhart, the facilities surprised us, but pleasantly so. It's quite a bit more salubrious than The Galley—much more like a Ten-Forward, and even comes with its own barman, Karl Vernai.
I was very much looking forward to meeting Karl. He's half Betazoid, one of the races I have never encountered. As we approached the bar, Karl had his back to us. He heard our approach and turned to greet his new customers, but seemed a little surprised when he saw the three of us. He even shook his head as though shaking off a moment's confusion.
We ordered some beverages, settled ourselves at a table by the window and began to compare our timetables. I couldn't help noticing that Karl kept casting me sidelong glances though. It was very curious. Al and Rutter both noticed it too.
As for our timetables, there were soon rectified so we finished our drinks, chatting amiably about our impressions of the Earhart so far. Al, we both noticed, kept yawning.
"Keeping you up are we?" asked Rutter. It's funny, I knew he was pulling her leg but Al answered him in all seriousness.
"No," she said, yawning widely again. "Just—what did they used to call it? Jetlag. I'm on a different sleep pattern to the rest of you at the moment."
She went on to explain that on a Marine ship, there were no day and nightshifts, just shifts that ensured there was always a full compliment of crew operating at full capacity at any given time. It's quite sensible really, but it's not a scheme carried over to ordinary starships because Humans—and many other species, in fact—find it comforting that the ship slips into a period to imitate night.
Al was about six hours out of kilter when she came aboard and with the transfer from her Marine contingent to the Earhart's security team (as had always been the plan) she had ended up pulling two double shifts when she came on board.
"It's just a little sleep. I'll catch up soon enough."
Rutter was eager to ensure the problem was sorted, and she assured him it was. He then offered her a few hours off. The look of horror on her face was a picture.
"Ignoring the fact, I'm a Klingon," I never thought I'd hear her say that. "—can you imagine what the Marines would say! No way, Buster! I'll be fine by tomorrow."
We both grinned at that.
Our business concluded, we took our empty glasses back to the bar. Karl still kept giving me funny looks. It was odd, so in true Terran style, I asked him about it. He smiled, a little embarrassed and explained.
"Sorry. It's just that I've never met a Human like you before."
I rolled my eyes, dreading the infamous Jenny Terran drivel again.
"Yes, one I can't read."
I stepped back, treading on Rutter's toes, but he ignored it. We had all balked at what he'd said.
"What do you mean: can't read?" I pressed.
"Well, if I didn't know better, I'd have thought you were a Ferengi."
It's a well-known fact that Betazoids can't read Ferengi, but Humans are a piece of cake for them. The look on my face begged him to explain further.
"I may be only half Betazoid, and true, I've always been a little below average with my telepathic skills but I can still sense people—their feelings and so on. I felt the tension between Ensign Rutter and Cadet Johnson the moment you walked in, and I felt it dispel over the course of your meeting, but you? I sense nothing. You are as blank to me as an android or a Ferengi."
"But I'm Human!"
"I'd suggest not entirely so. Either that or you've undergone some very extensive mental training."
My mind felt numb as I left Starboard-7.
I am Human. I have always been told that, but what if they are wrong? What if I'm not Human at all? What am I then?
For the first time in my life, I want to know who I am and where I came from.