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Elizabeth Knauel

December 2295

I looked around my room, remembering that soon it would not be my room. I felt the tears beginning to form in my eyes. A small part of me did not want to leave here.

But I couldn’t stay. Not with the way things are now.

It wasn’t the first time that I had found myself leaving a place I had come to love because of circumstances that I could not tolerate. Circumstances that could not tolerate me.

And every time, I noted bitterly as I wiped the tears away and resumed packing, the circumstances were of my own making.


I hadn’t been the best student in high school. I was cute and I liked to party just a bit too much to get the kind of grades needed for some of the better positions in Starfleet. But I was good at being a gofer so I got slotted as a yeoman. And I was good at doing what I was told, and when I had to, I could. I worked my way all the way to being a captain’s yeoman in a very short time.

Not just any captain, either. The captain of Starfleet on the ship of Starfleet.

James T. Kirk on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

I was the envy of every yeoman I knew, and I knew it.

I still remember our first time I had the unfortunate duty to serve him a meal under the doctor’s new medical orders. Not exactly the kind of encounter that made for a good working relationship, if you know what I mean. However, I soon found ways to make the captain appreciate me and at the same time keep the doctor from doing terrible things to the captain’s diet or to my career.

I soon found myself daydreaming about my captain and me. Not the kind of thing that is really good for a career, actually.

Oh, Starfleet is more realistic about relationships than they used to be; but there are some folks that are still a bit, shall we say, out of touch with reality. And even if Starfleet is realistic, it is still practical. And to be honest, there was a part of me that knew that such a relationship was not only impractical but unobtainable. If he and I were ever more than captain and yeoman I’d be working for someone else. And I didn’t want to be anyone else’s yeoman.

Besides, I learned early that James T. Kirk had but one love. Many mistresses, but only one love, and she wasn’t Human.

We were working as a team, a damned good team if I say so myself. And besides being the captain’s yeoman, I was the ship’s senior yeoman. That meant that I could sometimes take a day off and assign a junior yeoman to the Captain. Didn’t do it much; but every now and then...

Still, I tried to get him to notice me as more than just his right hand and go-to girl. When the evil twin showed up at my quarters, I couldn’t tell, at first, that it wasn’t the Captain. Not until he got rather forceful. Talk about disillusionment. I remember all those old romance novels I read when I wasn’t partying. The idea of being taken against one’s will might sound a bit romantic in those books, but in reality...

No way Jose.

Still, that kiss...

Well, let’s say that I have to take a cold shower whenever I happen to recall it.

I thought maybe the captain was seeing me as a woman, and maybe his, if only for a while when Charlie started to make moves on me. I mean, he let the kid know that while there were many things he could have, there were others he couldn’t, and I was one of them. Apparently while he meant every word he said, he didn’t mean that the reason Charlie couldn’t have me was that I was his.

It was when we were on Nu Ophiuchi III, and Miri was throwing herself at him that I realized I was doing the same thing. And that even though we were a good team, we would never be more than that.

Besides, working on Nu Ophiuchi as a technician as well as a yeoman, I found I wanted more out of life than to be a yeoman, even if it was the captain’s yeoman. I liked working as a technician, even if I didn’t understand everything I was doing. Doctor McCoy was nice enough to explain things, when he had time that is.

So, as soon as we were certified non-contagious, I quietly put in my paperwork and got transferred to Starfleet Headquarters, and busied myself in getting a new classification. It was one of the few times in my life that I was ahead of things. Soon after I arrived at Starfleet, I started hearing rumors about the future of yeomen. They were being phased out. Computers were doing more and more of the work that we yeomen had always done. They’d still be around for awhile, I knew, but they were a dead-end career, and I didn’t want to end up in a dead-end job.


This time I spent my time studying and found myself, while not at the top of my class, at least not at the bottom. And I continued working hard and moving up the ranks.

I found myself back on the Enterprise, under a new captain. He knew my history, of course, but he still chose me as his transporter chief. Proudest day of my life.

And then, guess who showed up in my transporter room? None other than my old captain.

Who was now an admiral.

He was not very happy when the damned transporter screwed up and killed two officers. I heard one of the officers was his ex-wife. I still remember the look on his face when they were declared dead. And the look he gave me when heard the news.

And whenever he had to use the transporter. He didn’t trust me anymore. And since he was the new captain of the Enterprise...

So I put in my paperwork and transferred back to Starfleet San Francisco.

I found myself not particularly fond of being a transporter chief after that. I hadn’t been in control of the pads; I hadn’t been able to fix them before they’d been used, and I’d caused the death of two good officers.

Even though I was a bit older than the average student, I put in for command school. Surprisingly, I was accepted.

I studied and worked my ass off.  And worked my way up to first officer of the U.S.S. Excelsior, serving under Captain Sulu.

I thought things would be just like I remembered them on the Enterprise.   But Hikaru wasn’t the same man that I served with on the Enterprise.   I’m not sure when he changed, but it was not for the better. And when Chekov got promoted ahead of him...

The last straw was his leaving for “bereavement leave” and making me acting captain without even talking to me.

So I’m making one last change. I’m not sure if I have a career left in Starfleet. Probably not on any ship of the line. I made errors as first officer. I know that now. There’s no way to change that. I doubt if I ever would have such a post again.


I read my new orders and sighed. I’d expected as much, considering what had gone on the Excelsior. I knew I’d screwed up on Excelsior; the first officer is supposed to keep peace on a ship, to keep things smooth between captain and crew. I didn’t do that.

But I knew what I’d done wrong.

And I was going to make damned sure I didn’t do it again.

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