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Reporting For Duty

Posted on Wed Nov 14th, 2012 @ 3:58am by Lieutenant Commander David Burkeson

Mission: Purgatory's Shadow. Season 2 Episode 7
Location: Two hours out from DS12

ON

David awoke to the sound of the alert tone. Instantly awake, a relic of his long combat service, his hand automatically found the manual comm button next to his bunk.

"Burkeson." he said.

"Commander, we are two hours out from DS12 at current course and speed. Per your request, this is your wake up call."

"Copy that, Pat." he replied, "I'll be up in a bit. Burkeson out."

Sitting up on his bunk, he stretched out his spine. He was one of a select few aboard who could do such a thing. The spartan quarters of Defiant class vessels made no accommodation to rank but, among those privileged few who were blessed with a private cabin, it was common practice to have the overhead bunk compartment removed and replaced with a much less bulky set of storage cabinets as he had. It was one of the many little, and no small number of big things that set service on a Defiant apart, making it a largely unique experience in Starfleet.

Standing, he grabbed the pull-up bar welded to the overhead, crossed and lifted his legs and began his morning workout. After the pull-ups he lifted his feet up, hooked them under the bar and did inverted sit ups, then dropped off into a handstand and did vertical pushups before springing back to his feet. Shaking out his muscles, he performed the modified Tai Chi routine that was his primary exercise and relaxation technique.

Workout concluded, he spoke aloud. "Computer, status of deck one fresher?"

"The deck one fresher facility is unoccupied." Responded the terse computer voice. It didn't have nearly the vocal range or personality of those of larger vessels or installations. On a Defiant, most of the computer memory was dedicated to keeping the ship from pulling itself apart and managing it's powerful sensors & offensive/defensive suites. There wasn't much left over for luxuries like nice-sounding announcements.

"Thank you!" David said, grabbing a fresh uniform and heading for the fresher unit. There was only one on this deck, only five on the ship all together. As CO, of course, he had priority to any facilities but he preferred not to place the crew in a position of feeling they needed to vacate a sonic shower because he was waiting. If there was a conflict, he would generally wait or take a "combat shower" in his quarters with the aid of a sonic probe.

He hadn't had to wait much on this hop, of course. The ship had only a skeleton "ferry crew" aboard, less than half of her standard compliment of fifty. He had objected to this, of course, but been over-ruled. 'Just a ferry job, Commander.' the Admiral had said, 'Relax.'

As he completed his morning ablutions, he thought about that. He strongly believed that no ship, much less a Defiant, should ever be less than fully crewed and ready to rumble in space. Under-crewing for this trip was, in his view, criminally negligent and he had so noted in his log. As had been proved in the past, by Burkeson himself according to some Cardassian opinions, a Defiant was an almost perfect terrorist weapon and Steadfast had been highly vulnerable to seizure during the last six days. He was glad it was almost over and fervently hoped the new CO of DS12, where his ship was assigned as a support vessel, understood the need for a full-time professional crew on Steadfast instead of using her like a super-powerful long range runabout as some had employed the class.

Clean, groomed and dressed in the fresh uniform, he dropped the old one into the reclamation unit. The system would note this and credit him for a replacement down in the replication center. Personal replicators and reclamation units were another of the amenities Defiant crews lived without. As CO, he had the only private food replicator on the ship and even that was in his ready room, not his quarters. For laundry and other supply needs, he had to go through the replication shop just like anybody else. Again, he could have arranged delivery of his needs to his quarters or ready room, but preferred to live the way his crew lived as much as practical.

Exiting the fresher, he took a walking tour of the ship, inspecting it one last time before reporting to their new station. The on duty crew greeted him as he moved about with the usual combination of friendliness and wariness. He did not believe in formal, scheduled inspections. When he looked at something, that was the inspection and he looked often, encouraging his subordinates to do likewise. He expected his crew to maintain the ship to the highest possible standards at all times. Obviously, "highest possible" was subjective and strongly linked to circumstances but he was a fair man with nearly two decades of service on this class and made allowances where he felt they were due. Crews of his own, with time to adjust to his style, generally saw the benefits of the system and worked well within it. Only three of the current crew had served with him before however and the six-day journey hadn't allowed much time for understanding each other. Those who stayed with him would learn and adapt...or they wouldn't stay with him. It was that simple.

Completing his inspection, he headed for the bridge. The ship was ready, or as ready as circumstances allowed her to be. He loved these little firecrackers, loved them with every fiber of his being. Since he had first trod the deck of the prototype, way back in '68, he had never for a moment desired to serve anywhere else. Many saw only the disadvantages of the class: it's lack of amenities, it's cramped quarters and lack of privacy, it's almost complete focus on combat vs other, more politically correct pursuits, it's cranky, high maintenance systems.

David Burkeson saw something else. He saw an expert's weapon. A focused, nearly perfect tool for one very specific role like a finely made, hand-crafted sword. One did not use such a sword for chopping food or trimming trees. It was drawn and used for only two things: combat and training for combat. It required careful, loving maintenance and highly skilled handling to keep such a weapon healthy and maintain it's razor edge and the wielding of it was a true privilege awarded only to the most worthy.

Now, finally, Starfleet had seen fit to entrust a Defiant fully to David's care and he couldn't wait to sharpen her and her crew up, then take them into service.

Reaching the bridge, he took report from the Conn/Ops officer, sat down in his command chair and studied the latest readings and feeds. After a few minutes, he looked up and spoke.

"All right Pat, let's introduce ourselves. Hail DS12 control and request docking instructions."

OFF

 

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