=/\= Ready Room, USS Artemis =/\=
They were arrayed like the squares of a chessboard, tiling her desk as surely as an decorator would have done...except each of these tiles was a small pile of knowledge and demands.
Glinting dimly, there was a padd for every department...plus not just one, but two extra to go along with engineering. That poor department was running itself ragged, but the work was tremendous. Despites what it had gone through before their return, despite being abandoned and adrift in that asteroid fields for weeks, and despite what the spiders had done to it, the ship seems like it was almost back to new. New, of course, was still a little rundown and grungy compared to any Federation "flagship," but it was terrific by Artemis standards.
Wagner filtered quietly through the room while she stared at the ten padds arrayed on her desk. She remembered when she worked with Commander Jameson. That man had the highest data padd fatality rate of any officer in Starfleet, and at that moment, she understood how that happened. She was fantasizing about tacking them to the wall and throwing darts.
Brynna leaned back in her seat and unpinned her hair. The braid dropped down her back and she pulled it over her shoulder, unweaving it and shaking her head. The tight, regulation hairstyle that she kept it in could give her a headache from time to time, and since it was long past the end of her actual duty shift, she felt justified. In fact, beyond that, she got up and went to the replicator. She ordered a glass of red wine and while it was just synthehol, she'd take what she could get. (The real stuff was in her quarters, which she couldn't return to yet.)
She sat back down. Everything was coming along well, at least, in addition to engineering's efforts. Seventy-five percent of the expected staff--additional and replacement--were on board, with the rest in transit. It still wasn't going to be a full complement for this ship, but it would be enough to keep it running. Paks already had the schedule full to bursting with sim runs, and the flight deck was steadily being crammed with thirty-six Ranger class fighters ready to be spit out like an angry beehive.
Oh, the good old days when she was a bee... Not that she regretted returning to command, she had pursued it, but that didn't mean the fighter pilot in her would ever leave.
The door chimed just as Brynna was sitting down. She leaned back and called "Enter," then lifted her glass to take a sip.
With a soft hissing sound, the door opened and three dogs ran in. She might have been startled had she not simply kept dogs on her ship connected with the AI, who promptly followed them in. Their semi-solid forms ran up to her in her chair and she reached down with her free hand to pet one on the head. Which parts were solid shifted from place to place, so her efforts were sometimes successful and sometimes not. Maybe it should have weirded her out, but it didn't.
"What can I do for you, Artemis?" she asked, taking another sip of wine and longing for the real stuff.
"I just came to say hi," the AI replied with a smile and flashing silver eyes as she took a seat in front of the captain's desk. She looked down and saw the glass in Brynna's hand. With another flashing smile, she lifted her hand and suddenly there was the image of a glass in it that held the simulation of wine just like Brynna's. The captain watched as Artemis lifted it to her lips and pretended to drink. The captain was amused. "It seems like things are going well."
"Yes, they are," Brynna replied, smiling fondly, like she did when talking to her younger siblings. "I hear that you've been making the rounds and meeting up with members of the crew."
Artemis laughed the sort of laugh that only children managed to accomplish, her heart seemed so light. "I sometimes think that you hear more than even I do," the AI said with delight. "And when one is the actual embodiment of a living environment, that's saying something!" She giggled this time, "sipping" her wine. "But, yes. I've always liked knowing the crew, because the crew makes the ship. I don't know that I would know who I am if I don't know the crew around me."
Although she knew she couldn't understand it entirely from the AI's point of view, she had a feeling she could understand to a degree. "Enjoying some familiar faces?"
"Oh yes!" Artemis gushed. "The last crew... I mean. I don't know. My memory is spotty, but I knew that I wasn't with them long. It was different. I wish I could remember better..." Her silver brows knit together a little as her eyes drifted. As if echoing her feelings, one of the dogs--who were all now sitting around her chair--started to whimper. "I don't know, Captain. I don't remember the feeling of family in that last year or so, but I have hope again now, you know? With you, and the crew here now."
"We all need to feel hope, Artemis," Brynna said with all sincerity. "You can't live a life without hope."
=/\= End Log =/\=
Captain Brynhild Kleim
Commanding Officer, USS Artemis
& the Artemis AI