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Story Notes:

The Enterprise has a reputation, and this is how that reputation is maintained.  Ultimately, it all goes back to what Kirk and Spock share, but in this story, we see the how it translates to the people who serve on the ship.  Story has military jargon, for those who indulge in such.

The shuttlecraft gently settled in the hangar, and before the four passengers inside could blink, the computer voice announced, “Pressurization complete, you may disembark.”


The pilot unplugged the log chip and stood up.  “Okay, boys and girls, un-ass the seats.  This shuttle has to be serviced ASAP so I can make another milk run while we’re still docked at the Starbase.”


Two individuals turned to the rear storage, and the pilot stopped them.  “Nah, leave your duffels there.  They’ll be routed to your quarters after you’re assigned.  Too much orientation bullshit first before you will even get a chance to look at your bunks.  C’mon, move it, move it, move it, I don’t have all day!”


The group stumbled out the craft door and stayed together like they had static cling.  The pilot just shook his head, and directed them to the goldshirt at the back of the bay.  “See that guy with the datapadd?  That’s Lieutenant Patel.  He’s your new babysitter.”


With a fling of his arm, the pilot caught the attention of the indicated person.  “Yo, Patel!  Here’s your bodies from the Repple-Depple.  Have fun!”


Patel did an eyeroll and muttered under his breath: “’Cruits!  Sheesh!”  With one arm pointing to the doorway, and the other arm motioning the padd in a big circle, he spoke to the group, “Okay, Children, let’s go!”


Once inside, Patel set the pace as he rushed down the busy corridor, throwing a flood of information in machine-gun style that the wide-eyed newcomers barely heard.  When he stopped suddenly to motion them into a small conference room, they bumped into his back like a chain-reaction collision.


With horror on their faces, the four watched as temper seemed to make Patel grow in size.  He appeared to tower over them, as his voice lowered an octave and he announced, “Wake UP!  For some unknown reason, you have been posted to the finest ship in Starfleet, the USS Enterprise.  We have the most decorated command team, the legendary engineering service, and the finest crew in space.  You WILL get your shit together, or you’ll be riding a tramp steamer to a distant mining planet.”


The four expressions of abject terror made Patel smile.


They thought they saw fangs, but nobody was going to say a word.


“Marley, Communications,” Patel read off the padd.  “How many languages do you speak?”


A tall, gangly redhead, all elbows and knees, stepped forward.  “I’m certified in sixteen languages, Sir, and I understand ten more.  I’m also cross-trained in communication electronics and hardware.”


Patel grunted.  This kid might be good for something.  “What sports do you play?”


“Soccer, Sir.”  Marley grinned.


Another grunt from Patel.  “When did you last qualify on the range?”


Marley grinned even wider.  “Six weeks ago, Sir.  Expert down the line.”


Patel glanced at the datapadd.  “Chmelewski, Medical.”


A sturdy woman of indeterminate mixed racial features with cornrow braids stepped forward.  “Sir.”


Patel nodded at her.  “I hope you don’t burn out, Chmelewski, we tend to use and abuse our medicals around here.  What’s your sport?”


The woman raised her chin just a few centimeters.  “Mixed martial arts, Sir.  Three belts, and more ribbons than I can count.”


“And when did you last qualify?”


“Same six weeks, expert on hand phaser, sharpshooter on rifle.  I also throw hand axes and battle stars.”


Patel made a note on the padd.  “The ship Range Officer will meet with you about getting some additional practice so you can bring up your rating, Chmelewski.  She’ll probably also challenge you with the axes.  Good deal.


“Baarnard, Sciences.”


“Sir.”  She was a tiny thing, but her voice was full-bodied and it projected well.  “I play golf, shoot skeet, and do gymnastics.  I qualified three months ago, also expert down the line.”


“Don’t play golf with anyone in Engineering, Baarnard: they all cheat.”


A tiny smile twitched at her mouth.  “Yessir.”


Patel looked at the fourth person.  He was nondescript: dark hair, dark eyes, average height, no outstanding features.  “Smith, Security.”


The man smirked and said, “Yep, the best for last.  I run triathalons, and I rock climb.”


“Solo sports.”


Smith rocked back on his heels.  “Yep, that’s me, I’m in a class by myself.”


Patel stared daggers.  “The word is YES.  Spare me your excuse for humor.  In fact, do a kindness and spare all of us.”  He scowled at the padd.  “ When did you last qualify?”


“Oh, I don’t know, some time last year.”


Patel’s eyes drilled into Smith’s head.  “And…?”


Smith looked at his feet.  “Marksman.”


“Ehhhh.”  Patel got a look on his face like he had something nasty-tasting in his mouth.  “And you’re SECURITY?”


“Yeah, well…”


“Not on this ship, Mister.  We wipe our butts with bolo badges.  If you don’t qualify expert, you keep going until you do.”


“I guess I can see how that would be for security.”


“No, MISTER Smith, shipwide.”


The other three stared at Patel.  Smith’s jaw dropped.  “Everybody?”


Patel turned the padd around and handed it to Smith.  “Pick three people from the roster, Smith.  We’ll bring them to the range, and I guarantee you, they’ll qualify expert.  This is the Enterprise.”


“You’re kidding, right?”


Oh, Patel did a really wonderful deadpan.  He walked over to the intercom and hit the button.


“Lieutenant Commander Uhura, this is Patel in Admin.  I’m currently doing inprocessing.”


The voice was crisp and professional.  “Yes, Lieutenant, how may I help you?”


“Lieutenant Commander, what is your assignment on the USS Enterprise?”


“I am the Chief Communications Officer, and I currently work alpha shift on the Bridge.”  The man who would be joining the communications team perked up and smiled at this.


Patel stared directly at Smith when he asked, “And when did you last qualify on the range?”


“Last week, Lieutenant.”


“And your qualification?”


“Left hand or right hand?”


“Both, please, Lieutenant Commander.”


“Expert down the line, both hands.”


The vicious smile stretched across Patel’s face.  “Thank you so much for your time, Lieutenant Commander.  Patel out.”  He took one step closer to Smith.  “Would you like me to contact someone in Sick Bay, Ensign?”


The grin had evaporated from Smith’s face.  He seemed to shrink, curling up and drawing away.  “No thank you.”


“I can’t hear you.”


He cleared his throat, and squeaked out, “No thank you, Sir.”


“I suggest you find an interest in some team sports.  We emphasize working together here on the Enterprise.  I heard there was a group trying to get together a donkey basketball team, but they are short a few jackasses.”


Chmelewski, Baarnard, and Marley were practically turning purple with suppressed laughter.  Smith looked as though he wished the floor would open up and drop him into deep space.


Patel turned around to a table against the wall, and picked up four datapadds.  He handed one to each person.  “Your assignments, your quarters, your contact people, all your information including a map of the ship to show you the locations of the heads and the mess halls is included here.”  He looked deep into the eyes of every one.  “We are the best, and we expect no less from you.  Dismissed.”


They shuffled from the room, looking a bit shell shocked.  Patel tucked his datapadd under his arm, and headed for the nearest turbolift.  Once the doors closed, he said, “Bridge,” and waited.


When the lift stopped and the doors opened, Patel could see the conference room he’d just left on the main viewing screen.  He turned to the man seated in the center chair and said, “Captain.”


Kirk smiled and stood, extending his hand.  “Mr Patel.  Wasn’t that fun?”


As they shook hands, Patel chuckled.  “The Acadamy is graduating babies these days, Sir.”


Kirk shrugged.  “We say that about every group of newcomers, Mr Patel.  What impressions can you add to the initial evaluations?”


Patel glanced at his padd and said, “Marley in Communications could probably pick up Engineering as a secondary occupational specialty.  I’d look at Chmelewski for Security as a secondary, absolutely.  I think she’s also going to shine in Medical.  And Maintenance will be screaming to make secondary for Baarnard, simply because she can squeeze into the smallest Jeffries tube ever built.”


“Interesting.  And what of Mr Smith?”


A genuine smile crossed Patel’s face, different from the evil spectre he had flashed at the newcomers.  “The problem child.  I will probably be haunted for the rest of my career in Starfleet, but I’ll say Science.”


Everyone on the bridge turned to face the Science station.  The tall figure in blue bent over the viewer straightened and pivoted and focused on Patel.


The one-eyebrow reaction.  “Indeed,” Spock said.  “Your reasoning, Mr Patel?”


“Oh, we all know why, Mr Spock,” interjected Kirk.  “Mr Smith obviously needs to be filled with the fear of Beelzebub.”


# # #


Later, Kirk and Spock were talking in the Ready Room.  Kirk had his ubiquitous mega coffee mug, and Spock was drinking a glass of what the Quartermaster had labeled “JOM” juice.  Spock had expressed an interest in trying all fruit and vegetable juices from the places they traveled.  QM complained they didn’t have enough memory to tag each juice individually, so they all got grouped in a classification called “Juice of the Month.”  Hence, JOM…


Kirk savored his coffee.  “I like the direction of our program to assimilate new personnel.  We’ve gotten a reputation, and it’s one I intend to keep.”


“It does insure optimum performance, Captain.  Your hands-on approach gives a certain familiarity amongst the crew, yet your requirements, such as weapons qualification, assures readiness in any situation.”


“Exactly.  I like to think I’m patterning my command after…”


Kirk and Spock spoke the next three words in unison: “General George Patton.”


The Vulcan eyebrow salute.  “Yes, Captain, you’ve mentioned him in the past.”


At this, Kirk smiled into his coffee cup.  “The good thing about being a military history buff is that I can filter out the bad qualities and focus on the good ones.  Patton was an incredible leader, but he had his failings.”


“I don’t see you as the type to slap soldiers suffering from PTSD, Jim.”


“Probably because Bones would kick my ass.”


Spock finished the last of his juice.  “Absolutely.”


“Patton had Bradley as his friend, and Bradley was also an outstanding general.  But I don’t think they led together.  I have you, Spock, and it’s this command team which makes the leadership on the Enterprise so great.”


He sat back in his chair and the mood changed.  “When is Smith scheduled to meet with the Range Officer to qualify again?”


Spock checked his datapadd.  “Monday morning.”


The grin changed to an evil leer.  “I’m thinking that McCoy is due for requalification, Spock.  Maybe Monday morning?”


A few taps to the datapadd.  “Very possible.  I have entered the event into the doctor’s schedule.”


“Make sure we are also cleared to be there.  I do so enjoy it when ‘the old country doctor’ hangs another cluster on his expert qualification.”

Chapter End Notes:

To my readers: first, let me thank you from the very bottom of my heart for reading my work!

Then I need to explain.  When I first began here at the K/S Archives, I had no idea what my direction would take.  I wrote my first little story, and received wonderful encouragement here!  So I wrote another little story.  And another.  And another.  They were all linked.  I DID go back and put the stories in series, but it is still difficult for many to follow just what in the Hell is going on!

Not only have I gotten carried away, I’ve taken a lot of people with me!  So here is the sequence:

Friend—Team—Spark—Interplay—Gotcha—Newbies—Remedy—History—Addedum—Green—Pledge—Alliance—Consortium (series Provenance)

Favorites—Abysm—Misery—Details—Reprise—Faces—Scroll—Entwine—Answer (series Paramount)

Rose—Three—Curls—Kiss—Goal—Toll—Conclusion (series Progression)

For anyone wishing to read the whole mess in one shot, contact me.  I’ll send it to you in an email.

And once again, I thank every single person who has read my stories here.  I love you al!  ~AKO

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