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.