Log Entry 160131.167

As Dirria came into view, I was startled by how small the planet was—beautiful, but about half the size of Earth. It was also very green, verdantly so.
"Captain, I have an incoming message from Dirria ... on a secure channel," reported Gideon.
"On screen," ordered T'Roc.
Gideon hesitated. "It's a secure channel," he reminded her.
T'Roc looked at him and smiled, "I know. On screen please, Mr Flavell."
The image of Dirria dissipated and a Dirrian appeared. It wasn't anyone I knew. He looked cross.
"I had asked for a secure channel," he snapped, looking directly at me.
Oh crikey! I thought. Here we go again. Why can't these people respect the chain of command? I'm just an ensign!
But I didn't have to say anything. T'Roc's hand brushed momentarily, but reassuringly, over mine. It was an odd gesture for an officer to give another, but I was inexperienced. It served to tell me that she understood, that I could relax and that she would take it from here.
"Indeed, and you have a secure channel ... just not a private one. Now, how can we assist you?"
The Dirrian pushed his shoulders back and sniffed indignantly. "We wish to talk with Jenny Terran."
T'Roc waved her hand indicating my presence.
"Alone!" he barked.
The corner of T'Roc's mouth rose as she smiled, and then she spoke politely but firmly.
"And if Ensign Jenny Terran was your officer to command, or if this was a personal matter between you and her, then you could speak with her alone ... but this isn't a personal matter. If it were, you wouldn't require a secure channel. You have business you wish to conduct with Ensign Terran, and Ensign Terran is my officer. That means that you go through me."
The Dirrian opened his mouth to speak, but T'Roc raised her hand and silenced him before she continued.
"At your last meeting with Starfleet on the Drakonia, our people went to great lengths to make you feel welcome, and to respect your customs and traditions. Jenny was particularly instrumental in extending this comfort to you, but she was not alone. Her captain was very accommodating too. More recently, you summoned the Drakonia to Dirria—and it came ... but you sent it away. Your people were very rude to Captain Burrows and to Starfleet—"
"You are demanding an apology!" interrupted the Dirrian.
T'Roc smiled again. "I would not dream of asking for an apology. Unless an apology is given freely, it is worthless. No, all I am asking is that you now show some respect to us, as we continue to show respect to you ... especially under these circumstances."
There was a pause.
"What do you know of the circumstances?"
T'Roc shrugged. "Nothing, but if you have need of a Starfleet vessel, well, let's just agree that you should be charming her captain, not her yeoman."
The screen blanked as the communication was paused by the Dirrian. T'Roc leaned back in her seat and crossed her legs as she turned to me.
"I assume you don't mind if I take the lead on this one?" she asked. There was a note of sarcasm in her voice. Fortunately for me, it was edged with humour, but she wasn't going to be upstaged by an ensign, and I don't blame her. The screen flashed back into life and the Dirrian reappeared.
"The High Emperor requests the presence of the captain of the USS Earhart and her yeoman to dinner this evening. Formal dress is required."
T'Roc tipped her head in acknowledgement.

"We are honoured and will be delighted to attend."

Log Entry 160123.166

Our helm and navigation stations are usually manned by Rutter and/or Arcaran. Rutter, you know all about, but Arcaran, he's a bit of an enigma!


Arcaran is Andorian and was just a crewman. That was because he trained with the Andorian National Guard and there was some discussion as to whether or not his Andorian training was sufficient to allow him entry into Starfleet as an Ensign. It turns out that it is, so now he has been assigned that rank.
Arcaran can be quite a serious chap, but he does have a very dry sense of humour hidden away. It can often be very difficult to read his mood despite his antennae which, for Andorians, are usually far more expressive than their faces. However, Arcaran has developed some very strange antennae movements that make him very difficult to read.
For instance, when an Andorian is interested in something, his antennae usually curve towards the object in question. When fearful or excited, their antennae will stand rigid, sometimes quivering. When tired or saddened, they droop. When distressed, they flay about quite wildly, and when drunk, they wobble unsteadily in different directions.
Arcaran, though, prefers to keep us all on our toes. His antennae move completely independently of each other, seeming to express two completely different emotions at the same time. I find watching his antennae quite mesmeric!


Gideon is sometimes on the bridge too. He's part of the maintenance team and a real Mr Fixit. The general consensus of opinion is that if he can't put it right, no one can! He's also the Transporter Chief.


Lastly, although not a bridge officer, I think I should mention the doctor. Known affectionately as Rosie during his Academy days, he had managed to throw off that nickname for over thirty years, until I came along that is. Somehow, I knew he was known as Rosie and re-saddled him with it. In fact, now I come to think about it, I've never managed to get to the bottom of that—how I knew his nickname from the Academy. Fortunately, he doesn't seem to mind it. Rather, he seems to embrace it.
He's a tall man with pale blue eyes and platinum white hair that makes him look older than his years. Put aside that white hair and he looks about fifty. He's a lithe man who can be found jogging through the corridors each morning before work. He's quite proud of his fitness. He also works far harder than he should, often late into the night.
When he speaks, he does so with a gentle, yet gravelly voice, and his bedside manner is impeccable.
Rosie has been married for over twenty-five years to Lulu, an astral chemist who serves aboard the Interplanetary Science Centre on Empathos IV. These are all facts Luke and I uncovered by means I'd rather forget.
And we are now approaching Dirria, so I'd better put this datapad down and pay attention!

Log Entry 160116.165

Normally, I'd talk about our Second Officer next, but that post is empty at the moment. Commander Fillingham was one of the officers who died at the hands of the Dancers. His mind was bleached and he lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered. Sadly, many did not come back from that mission, our Chief of Security was also among them.
I am surprised, though, that those posts haven't been filled as yet. I made a passing enquiry to T'Roc and her response was vague. She said it was 'in hand', but she wouldn't say anything more.
Instead then, I'll tell you about our science and engineering departments, neither of which are short of staff.


Do you remember Icarus Blaney? He was a crewman who served with me aboard the Drakonia. Like myself, he was part of the maintenance team, but that wasn't his area of expertise. At the time, though, it was the best assignment he could secure within Starfleet.
When the Earhart was reactivated, he saw an opportunity. His qualifications in science are second to none, so when he applied for a transfer, requesting a post in the science department, T'Roc snatched him up. Since then, T'Roc has encouraged him, even sponsoring him, to undertake his officer training through the Academy's new Distance Learning Unit. It's another aspect of the Professional Development Program that allows qualified and experienced NCOs to up their game. In the meantime, he's made Petty Officer, Third Class and heads the Science Department.
On a personal note, Icarus is human, twenty-four years old and rather quiet, never saying very much but always listening. He's a member of the Games Club, which means he knows Al. I'm hoping that as there are two stations on the bridge, he might give her the opportunity to spend some time up there. I think it will do her some good and she could learn a lot from Icarus. 


Our Chief of Engineering is Lieutenant Commander Logan, I've not had an awful lot to do with him, but Beastie rather likes him. When she was able to escape my quarters, she could often be found down in Engineering, curled up in his office. Ensign Ketterick jokes that she likes his aftershave, which he claims, smells like catnip!
Lt Cdr Logan doesn't spend much time on the bridge, though. He prefers to delegate the engineering station to Luke—Lieutenant Junior Grade Luke Brightman that is, or Crewman Midas Yarrow.
To remind you, Luke is human. He has a condition known as 'dwarfism', but that made him an ideal choice for my welcoming party for the Dirrian delegation when we were aboard the Drakonia. I only mention that as it's how we got to know each other.
His parents were colonists on a small outpost near the Cardassian border and when the Cardassian Wars came along, the outpost was taken and his parents imprisoned. Against all the odds and despite his genetic flaw, he survived infanthood in the camps. After the liberation of the outpost, he worked on transport ships hauling cargo across the sector for three years before joining the Academy and Starfleet.
Midas Yarrow, on the other hand, is human with Vulcan ancestry that gives him a slightly impish appearance. He has a devilish sense of humour and is quite charming. He is also a PDP cadet with the rank of Acting Ensign like Al and I.
On the Drakonia, he was in Jarrod's maintenance department for similar reasons to Icarus, namely that it was his only way into Starfleet. Unlike Icarus, though, he had no formal training in his field, which is engineering. Being born on board his family's cargo ship, he spent most of his youth in the engine room with his brothers, keeping the ship moving. He was very fortunate to have spent his first three months PDP training at the Luna Shipyards under the guidance of the legendary Doctor Leah Brahms studying warp technology and propulsion. He did very well apparently and has had his course fast-tracked.
Most of the time, it's one of these two that you'll find at the Engineering Station on the bridge.

Log Entry 160109.164


If you asked Katherine Jarrod to describe herself in one word, that word would be 'middle' or 'mediocre' or 'average'.
She is the middle child of three girls born to the middle-class Jenny family, who lived in the Midlands, which are located (not surprisingly) in the middle of England. As a child, she was average—always middle in her class regardless of whether it was science, mathematics, English or sport.
Physically, she is of average height, but perhaps a little more portly than she was in her youth, and averagely pretty. She wears little make-up and tends to be rather quiet.
In every way, one would describe Katherine Jarrod as ... average. But personally, I think it's all a front. I think that Jarrod is a woman of exceptional intelligence, but one who hides it behind a cloak of mediocrity. Indeed, at the Academy, she appeared to be little more than average during her four years there. Yet, when it came to her final exams, she passed everything with honours!
Aboard the Drakonia, she was the Head of Maintenance, a rather humble post upon which she was wasted in my opinion. She sat in her office with the mechanism of her department functioning around her like a well-oiled machine. When things needed to be done, they got done. The system for reporting and orchestrating repairs was faultless thanks to the procedures she had implemented. Everybody knew what their function was and did it, so Jarrod spent much of her time in her little office reading up on the latest developments in the worlds of science and medicine or doing puzzles. She likes puzzles.
But she did not remain on the Drakonia. She was promoted to First Officer of the Earhart overnight, and that wouldn't have happened unless she was a lot more than 'average'.
As you already know, Jarrod's maiden name was Jenny, and she was the officer that found me as a baby. Don't get sentimental, though. That's as far as our relationship goes. Although she did size me up as Academy material quite early on ... but that's another story that you'll find in my earlier log entries.
Jarrod is married to Professor Jarrod who teaches at the Academy in San Francisco but she has no children, freely admitting that she is not the maternal type.
She is a bright, cheery woman with a dry, playful sense of humour that compliments T'Roc's, but has a scowl as vicious as a cat-o-nine-tails. She and T'Roc are very good friends and have been since their cadet days.

Log Entry 160102.163

It has suddenly struck me that I'm always talking about my peers—Al, Rutter, Midas, Luke, Gideon and suchlike, but never about the command crew. It makes it sound like the Earhart is run by mere cadets and ensigns but nothing could be further from the truth. So while we are making our way to Dirria, and as I look around the bridge, let me tell you a little bit more about the Earhart and her senior officers.
The USS Earhart, registry number NCC-7766, is a Pioneer-class ship designed for deep-space exploration. With a mere fifteen decks and accommodation for 168 personnel, she measures 345 meters long, 144 meters wide and 57 meters high. That makes her about the same size as an Intrepid-class starship (the USS Voyager is probably the most famous example of an Intrepid-class ship), but is recognisably sleeker in design.
The layout of her decks differ somewhat to the Intrepid-class, but the bridge is almost identical with stations along the rear wall for science (two), propulsion and environmental.
In the centre of the bridge is seating for the Captain, First Officer and, traditionally, the Ship's Counsellor but we don't have a counsellor. What we do have is a Cultural Officer—that's me, so that's where I sit when on the bridge. I feel quite privileged to do so, but T'Roc demands that I fill those boots well so I don't feel too guilty about it.
Behind us stretches the tactical station and ahead of us, on the right is the helm (sometimes called the conn) and on the left, ops, which includes internal systems control, communications and sensors.
As to our senior command crew, many of them have stations on the bridge, but not all, but I'll start with the bridge crew.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In command is Captain T'Roc—half Vulcan and half Klingon and a most fascinating individual.
Although as slender as a Vulcan, she carries herself as a Klingon, tall and strong, with pride and presence, yet composed. She has the fine facial features and pixie ears of a Vulcan, but the dark skin and brow ridges of her mother's species. I find it very human that her eyebrows, traditionally thick and bushy in Klingon women, are neatly trimmed to compliment her Vulcan features. I detect a little bit of vanity there.
She has a very dry, sometimes wicked sense of humour that has developed through her childhood, a result of being raised by her Klingon mother up until her death, and then her Vulcan father.
Her mother, Silara, was not a warrior—in fact, the concept that the Klingons are a warrior race is somewhat misplaced. While the warrior ethos has been important to the Klingons since the time of Kahless, Klingon culture was very much balanced across the castes for eons before that. It was only over time that the warrior caste became more prominent and earned them their reputation, as well as developing their culture into what we see today. But no race can be entirely 'warrior'. Every race needs those that nurture, cook, clean, teach, study or invent.
T'Roc's father, Turak (which means 'way of hope') was a Vulcan scientist aboard a Starfleet vessel. Fate brought them together on a mission which went badly wrong. After the destruction of their vessel, the two were the only survivors and found themselves marooned on a remote moon for three years. It was during that time that Turak entered his pon-farr, and rather than let her companion die, Silara yielded to Turak's needs. When the couple were rescued barely a year later, T'Roc was just a babe in arms. Both parents, though, opted not to bond for a number of reasons.
The first was that they were friends, not lovers and Silara had no desire to live on Vulcan, and Turak, none to live on Kronos. Also, Turak already had a wife and family so he could not take another. It was therefore agreed, that they would go their separate ways but remain in contact to raise T'Roc jointly as their child.
Each summer, T'Roc would spend a number of months on Vulcan with her father and his family whom she found most welcoming. Nurren, Turak's wife took the little girl in hand, which was no mean feat bearing in mind she was a Klingon the rest of the year and had all the temperament of one, until Nurren began her instruction in the Vulcan ways, even giving T'Roc her first pleenok (a Vulcan puzzle used to train children in logic).
T'Roc, fully aware of the circumstances of her birth and torn between two very different cultures, was not shy to ask Nurren why she didn't resent her as her husband's bastard. Nurren simply explained that without Silara's 'sacrifice', Turak would have died and that she was therefore indebted to Silara. That her husband had blessed her with a child partially repaid that debt and logically, as T'Roc was her husband's child, she was also hers.
T'Roc very much enjoyed her times on Vulcan. She was able to study Vulcan logic and learn the art of meditation, both of which enabled her embrace and harness her Klingon temperament, and how to 'wield it wisely rather than blundering through life like a vandal'. This was fortunate because when she was ten, her mother died 'a brave and noble death' and she went to live with her father full-time on Vulcan.
What could have been, potentially, a very traumatic upbringing torn between two cultures, was in fact a very happy childhood in which T'Roc was able to nurture both her heritages. She could be very composed and logical but she could equally be moody, demonstrating humour, silliness, aggression, passion, et cetera. Nurren chastised her for it often, but this was usually answered with a tongue showing and crossed eyes.
Reaching adulthood, T'Roc joined the Academy where she studied astrometrics and graduated as an officer. She entered Starfleet where she found her cross-culture was not only tolerated but virtually ignored. She was no longer the weird Vulcan kid that the Klingon children teased, or the unusual Klingon child that Vulcans tolerated.