Psi Phi's Star Trek Books Database
Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Rennan Konya walked into the security office alongside Makk Vinx. An unfamiliar mind was inside, and when he looked around he pegged it as the very young human male sitting alone on the port side of the room. He recognized the minds sitting on the starboard side: T'Mandra's orderly thought patterns and Andrew Angelopoulos's somewhat more chaotic ones. Rennan wasn't a strong enough telepath to detect a non-Betazoid's actual thoughts, but he was able to get general impressions, and he certainly knew when he was around the people he worked without ever having to see their faces.
"Looks like we're early," he said to the Iotian.
"That must be the new mug. C'mon, let's roll out the welcome mat."
The "new mug" was sitting ramrod straight, and he seemed eager to please in that way that only recent recruits could be.
Makk walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder. "You nervous, kid?"
Smiling, he said, "A little, yeah."
"Nothin' here to be scared of. You signed yourself up for the best security detail in the quadrant."
"Oh, I already know that, sir."
Rennan chuckled; Makk winced. "Can the 'sir' hogwash, kid. Ain't no officers in this room--exceptin' the commander, of course, but she's a good broad for an officer, so she don't really count."
Unable to resist, Rennan asked, "Why do I get the feeling you'd never say that to her face?"
Grinning, Makk said, "'Cause I ain't got a death wish is why." He offered his hand to the new recruit. "They call me--"
"Makk Vinx," he said, returning the handshake. "And you're Rennan Konya. I'm Tomozuka Kim."
Rennan frowned. "Funny, you don't look telepathic."
Grinning, Kim said, "I'm not, I just know the crew roster. I've followed Commander Corsi's career pretty thoroughly, and I've kept track of the security personnel on the da Vinci since she reported."
"Why you got the hots for the commander?" Makk asked with a wink.
"Got the--" Kim seemed confused at first. That was hardly surprising. Since reporting to the da Vinci on Earth months ago, Rennan had wondered how a non-telepath could possibly understand a single word Makk said, since without his ability to read the Iotian's perspectives, Rennan himself would have found his colleague to be incomprehensible.
When Kim finally did get it, his cheeks flushed with embarrassment. "Oh, nothing like that. God, no, the whole idea's crazy."
"Good thing--she got the hots for Stevens."
Rennan gave a half-smile. "Well, he has the hots for her, anyhow."
"Yeah, jury's still out on that one. So what's the story, kid, why you go around memorizin' Corsi's duty rosters?"
"I'm from Izar. My mother's a peace officer there. A while back, Commander Corsi helped one of our people stop a killer. I was just a kid when it happened--it was ten years ago--"
"You're still a kid, kid," Makk said with a wink.
"--but I'll never forget it. She's a big hero on Izar. One of my mother's coworkers, Christine Vale, she quit the force and joined Starfleet."
Makk frowned. "I know that moniker."
"Security chief on the Enterprise," Rennan said. "Remember, Phantas 61?"
Realization spread over Makk's face. "Oh, yeah. Not a bad-lookin' broad."
That, Rennan thought, is a perfect example. How does the word "broad" come to mean a female?
"Anyhow," Kim said, "when I was old enough, I signed up to join security, too, just like Commander Corsi and Officer--or, uh, Lieutenant Vale. I was hoping for the da Vinci or the Enterprise, but I'd have taken anything. It was just luck that this opening came when it did."
While he appreciated Kim's enthusiasm, that last line hit a bit too close to home. In a quiet voice, Rennan said, "I think Ken Caitano might disagree with the notion that luck had anything to do with it."
Kim's cheeks flushed again, and Rennan couldn't help but feel the young man's embarrassment this time. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean--"
"Caitano did his job, kid." Makk's voice had hardened, all the friendliness drained from his demeanor, making his eccentric style of speech sound downright scary--though Rennan supposed that he was feeling it more strongly, both telepathically in Makk and within himself, too. Ken was good security, and he deserved better than the senseless death he got.
Makk continued: "He hadn't been on board for more'n a couple days when he put his keister on the line to save the ship. Turned on one of the engineers' doohickeys. He hadn't done that, we'd all be worm food. And then a couple days later, he died from some weapon made by a Vorta who belonged in a rubber room."
"Our job's to protect the people on this ship," Rennan added. "That's a duty we all take very seriously."
Makk stood up. "It'd be real swell if you got your head outta the clouds and remembered that every once in a while. Otherwise, we'll be buryin' you next to Caitano--or worse, we'll be buryin' the guy you let die 'cause you were too busy droolin' over Corsi to do your job right."
With that, the Iotian went over to sit on the starboard side of the security office, with T'Mandra and Andrew.
Kim's regret was washing over Rennan in waves. "I didn't mean anything by that, honest, I just--"
"I know you didn't," Rennan said in as soothing a voice as he could muster, "but you'd better get used to it. Every new assignment in security usually means you're taking over from someone who died in the line and serving alongside that person's comrades. This ship's had it particularly rough this past year, and with only about forty people on board, people tend to get close. And the work is very intense. My first couple of weeks here, we explored a city inside a small ball bearing, helped terraform Venus, stopped a Ferengi time traveller, salvaged an alien ship, and went into a black hole. And that was a slow month. Not everyone can handle it. The person Caitano replaced was named Frank Powers, and he transferred off because he couldn't deal with it. Now--"
The door to the security office opened, and Corsi came in--still, Rennan noted after a moment, with the pointed ears from the Coroticus mission. Ellec Krotine, Madeleine Robins, and Vance Hawkins walked in behind her.
Indicating Kim, Vance said, "Commander Corsi, this is Tomozuka Kim, our newest recruit."
Kim stood up at attention. "It's an honor, ma'am!"
Corsi let out a breath. "At ease, Kim. Why?"
Relaxing hardly at all, Kim asked, "Why what, ma'am?"
"Why is it an honor?"
That seemed to surprise Kim. "The commander probably doesn't remember me, but we've met before--ten years ago on Izar. My mother is Officer Soon-Li Kim."
If Kim's earlier embarrassment came in waves, Corsi's anger and hostility came like a slap to Rennan's face. It happened as soon as Kim mentioned that he was from Izar. What the hell--?
"Sit down, Kim."
If only Rennan noticed Corsi's fury before she spoke, everyone caught it in her voice now.
Baffled, Kim took his seat. "Uh, yes--yes, ma'am."
Corsi then looked out at the rest of them. "Here's the drill. The Runabout Missouri, carrying Doctors Elizabeth Lense and Julian Bashir, has gone missing. It hasn't been seen since departing DS9 two weeks ago. Since the conference they were to attend was to go on for twelve days, no one was the wiser. The Defiant has been dispatched to begin the search, and we'll be joining them. They're tracking the runabout's path from DS9--we'll be backtracking from Kel-Artis, the station where the conference was held. Everybody's on alert status until we determine what happened to the Missouri and its passengers. Lauoc's out of commission for at least a few days, so we're on beta formation, with Kim in Powers's--or, rather, Caitano's spot."
Rennan blinked. That was the second time since Ken's death that Corsi had done that. Andrew rather stupidly called her on it then. Nobody seemed willing to brave that particular lion in its den now.
"Kim, since you're new, the beta form--" the commander started, but Kim interrupted her, proving he had less of a fear of lions.
"I know the formation, ma'am." Rennan could feel Kim's pride as he spoke. "it's the same as the alpha, only with you substituting for the injured crewmember. In this case, you'll be joining Angelopoulos and Krotine on gamma shift, with Chief Hawkins, T'Mandra, and Konya on alpha, and Robins, Vinx, and I on beta."
Rennan was once again impressed with Kim's knowledge of the ship's duty roster. That was a level of preparation most people didn't bother with. Then again, most people don't worship the water their new CO walks on...
Corsi's anger had come back full bore, though Rennan was more prepared for it this time. "Two things you need to know, Kim. One is that the duty roster shifts every few weeks, and the one you just recited was changed a week ago, after our mission to Artemis IX. And as of right now, the duty roster is changing yet again."
That was a surprise, but only a mild one. Changes didn't happen that fast regularly, but that didn't mean they never did.
"Angelopoulos, Kim, and I will take alpha, with Lauoc slotting back in when he's recovered. Beta is T'Mandra, Vinx, and Robins, with Hawkins, Konya, and Krotine on gamma."
That threw Rennan for a loop--mostly because he felt the loop that it threw Vance into. Rennan knew that Vance had requested alpha shift the next time the duty roster shifted, so he and Carol Abramowitz would be on duty at the same time. When Vance had mentioned it to Rennan, Andrew, and Makk over dinner one night, he had seemed pretty confident that Corsi would grant it. Since Vance had served with the commander longer than anyone on board save Madeleine, Rennan assumed it to be a sure thing. So why did she stick him on gamma?
"The second thing you need to know," and now Corsi's anger was starting to make Rennan's head hurt, "is that I do not like to be interrupted. Is that understood?"
In a small voice, Kim said, "Yes, ma'am."
"Say again, Mr. Kim, I didn't hear you," Corsi barked.
More loudly, Kim said, "Yes, ma'am!"
"Good." She looked out at the rest of them. "Alpha shift will report to the security office. Kim, you'll be trained on the systems there. Beta and gamma, report to the hololab and run battle drills nine and ten. When beta shift starts, alpha and gamma will continue to do the same, this time integrating Kim into our maneuvers." She let out a breath. "Bear in mind that we could find Lense and Bashir at any minute, and that may require an extraction. Dismissed."
Rennan got up. He felt Kim's disappointment in his first meeting with Corsi, which matched Rennan's surprise. She hadn't been like this when Rennan came on board--which was alongside Makk, Andrew, T'Mandra, Soan, Ellec, and the since-departed Frank Powers.
And it all happened when Kim said he was from Izar. Rennan was glad that he'd been put on the same shift as Vance--this was a concern about the security chief that he needed to bring to the deputy chief's attention posthaste...
Copyright © 2005 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
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