[Previous Post Craig's "Sleepless"]
<<We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.>>
-T. S. Eliot 
Setting: USS LANCELOT, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.0545
This was the time of the day the Native American Captain enjoyed the most, where the universe as a whole seemed completely at peace, ready to reveal its secrets to those whose heart had been adventurous enough to see them travel to the stars.  Erik closed his eyes for a brief moment as he inhaled deeply, although this had been a routine mission, one meant to get the new Academy graduates some field experience, Morningstar still found the entire experience exhilarating.
With a touch of his finger the Native American instructed the computer to begin recording.  "Captain's Log, Stardate 63072.0550.  The LANCELOT is 3 hours away from the GUMBARA Nebula and thus far everything is as it should be.  The new graduates are getting acquainted with the ship's systems, their duties and most important, with each other.  So far I think that we have a fine crew, an observation that was confirmed by my First Officer, that alone is worthy of mention.  The first real test though will come once we arrive within the sensor dampening field of the nebula.
With another press of the controls the Captain ended his log and shifted his attention to the officers that surrounded him, their shift being only minutes away from being completed.  Morningstar grinned as the doors to the turbolift opened and the officers who formed the next shift walked in.  They were all bright and eager new Ensigns, each one fresh from the academy and ready to prove themselves in their respective fields.
"Good morning Captain," Ensign White, the Chief of Operations offered as she led the pack out of the turbolift.
"Finally," the Klingon FCO chimed as he made his way to the Flight Control Station.  "I've missed being at the helm of my ship."
"*Your* ship Ensign Drell?" The Captain countered with almost instantly upon having heard the FCO's words.
"Drell has already claimed several corridors of the LANCELOT as his," Akira chuckled as she recalled her earlier run-in with the Klingon FCO.
"Is that so?" Erik inquired as he looked back at the LANCELOT's Chief Science Officer.  "Should I relinquish command now or wait until Mr. Drell claims the parts of the ship that he has not yet had time to?"
The Klingon FCO had grown increasingly nervous as the conversation progressed.  His words had been ill chosen but they had not been meant in anyway to challenge the Captain's authority onboard the LANCELOT or as the Commanding Officer of the crew.
From the Tactical station Ensign Fanggot simply grinned as she watched the imposing warrior try to make himself as small as possible.  It had been easy to see that Captain Morningstar and Ensign Mitshiba had been teasing the Klingon, but Hex could not find it within her to join in on the joke.  Instead the CSciO busied herself with various duties in preparation for their arrival at the GUMBARA Nebula.
Once Drell saw the amused expression on the Captain's face the Klingon FCO relaxed a little and focussed on his responsibilities while at the same time making a mental not to never again claim the LANCELOT, or any part of it, as *his*.
With the mood on the Bridge having returned to a more professional one, Akira turned her attention onto the Tactical station and the Ensign manning it.  Ensign Mitshiba could clearly recall the sounds she had heard from Hex's quarters much earlier that morning, but it was clear that the Chief Science Officer had not been in the mood to talk about it.  The Kzinti woman seemed to have summoned up every shield and defensive measures around her, the reason for this still a mystery to all.
Maybe during one of the quiet times in this mission Akira would be able to approach her friend and have her share her thoughts and feelings.

Francois Charette {f_charette@hotmail.com}
Lieutenant Elan Talak Fairborn
Chief Engineering Officer
Robotics Engineering Officer