written by Travis Cannon

CONN Officer’s Personal Log:

We’ve been out in the Oralian Sector for three years now, and have entered our fourth year. In the past three years I really haven’t gotten to know that many people as well as other members of the crew have. But I feel that my luck is going to change! Captain Kelsoe has just given me an assignment to explore a certain spot of the Venka Nebula. Admiral Dutton has informed Captain Kelsoe that the So’ja Coalition has granted the Federation permission to send one Starfleet shuttle craft into the nebula to take readings and sensor sweeps. The captain told me that he needed his best pilot to navigate through the nebula.

This will give me a chance to prove myself as a valuable crew member of the Pioneer, because I will be the only one in the shuttle. Apparently, the Coalition had made it specifically clear that there should only one person allowed in the shuttle. I’m preparing for my first major away mission, and hope that I will be able to impress the captain.

... impress the captain, Ensign Eric Zimmer said those words over in his head. What the hell had gone wrong. He was now sitting in the brig, looking through the bluish force field at Ensign Rick Soto, who stood there shaking his head. He hadn’t impressed the captain. In fact he had almost caused all out war between the So’ja Coalition and the Federation. He tried retracing the events that had happened, but in the end it just confused him. From his prospective the So’ja were making a bigger deal out of what had happened then what had actually occurred.

It was my moment to shine, Zimmer told himself. And I stood up to the challenge and met it head on.

“Lot a good it did me,” Zimmer muttered aloud.

Ensign Soto stood there, continuing to shake his head. There was a hiss and the doors opened. In walked Captain Kelsoe along with Commander Robert Tuff. Behind them stood the ship’s counselor, Lieutenant Jacqueline Sawyer. Zimmer stood up when he saw the captain.

“Captain!?” Zimmer said questioningly looking at Counselor Sawyer. “Is everything alright?”

Captain Kelsoe’s facial expression did not say that everything was alright. In fact he looked like he was trying to conceal his anger, but it showed when he spoke.

“The So’ja have not demanded any formal grievances yet,” Kelsoe said. “But it is still too early to know what Chancellor Ar’kon will do. The Federation Council has not come to a conclusion either. Starfleet Command on the other hand has looked at this case and are recommend that you be court marshaled.”

“Court Marshaled!?” Zimmer exclaimed, very much surprised. “Captain?!”

“It is out of my hands, Ensign,” Kelsoe said, there was no longer that friendly “Mr. Zimmer” from his lips. Whatever had happened had changed everything. “Admiral Anton still needs to review your case before deciding. Meanwhile, Commander Tuff and I have brought Counselor Sawyer along. I believe that we can leave you in her hands.”

“But Captain?” Zimmer said.

“Not now, Ensign!” Captain Kelsoe said with a tight jaw. “Right now, I have to work on cleaning up your mess.”

And with that Captain Kelsoe and Commander Tuff left, leaving Counselor Jacqueline Sawyer in the room alone with Zimmer. She was a black haired woman, about five feet and eight inches tall. Her hazel green eyes judging him for a moment before stepping closer to the cell.

“Hello,” she said in a soothing voice. “How are you?”

Zimmer stared at her, a little shocked at the question.

“How am I?” he said. “Well, considering that I might lose my career and being detained in here, terrible. Other than that, I’m fine.”

Sawyer looked over her shoulder at Soto and nodded. Soto hesitated, and then pressed a button. The force field hummed and was deactivated. Sawyer stepped through the threshold and into the cell. With an electronic hum the force field was back up in place. Sawyer slowly stepped around Zimmer and sat down on the long bench which extended from the back wall.

“Care to sit down and tell me about it?” Sawyer inquired.

Zimmer spun around and looked down at her. Her deep eyes looking straight into his. He was thankful that she was not a betazoid, otherwise she could tell what he was feeling. Humans didn’t have empathic abilities. Still, he felt a little unnerved that he was talking with the ship’s counselor. They had never met before, and Zimmer really had no clue that the Pioneer even had a counselor aboard.

“Well?” Sawyer inquired, bring her hands together around her lap.

Zimmer blinked, and in that millisecond thought, what the hell! He stepped sideways and backwards, to end up leaning against the metal gray bulk heads of the cell. The low hum of the force field was a little distracting, but he was able to ignore it. He inhaled and exhaled deeply, and with big eyes he looked back down at Sawyer.

“Where should I begin?” he asked, not excepting a straight answer.

Sawyer folded her legs.

“Where would you like to begin?” she asked, narrowing her eyes a bit.

24 hours Earlier...

Zimmer stepped out over his quarters into the hallway. It was five o’hundred. His shift would begin in one hour. He had just enough time for a quick work out in the gym and a stop in the mess hall for some breakfast. He started walking down the hall. A beautiful young ensign with long hair quickly strode up along side him.

“Ensign Zimmer,” she said.

“Ensign Horn,” Zimmer said.

“Hey, Zimmer,” Ensign Horn inquired. “Have you ever been to Africa?”

“No, why?” Zimmer inquired.

“Don’t you want to learn about your ancestry?” Horn inquired. “Where your family came from.”

“I’m mixed,” Zimmer said. “My mom’s African and my father’s German. They met in San Francisco, and that is where I was born and where I grew up. I never really thought about that. Why?”

Zimmer smiled, and Horn smiled back.

“Oh no, reason,” Horn said. “Both my parents are from Africa, and I never really could understand what some people think is so special about being mixed.”

Zimmer smiled. There was something about Ensign Kenda Horn that made him feel happy. Zimmer felt proud of his heritage. His parent had taught him the value of being biracial. 

“Well, I think your missing out on something,” Zimmer said. “There are some advantages for having parents of two different races.”

“Well, you can talk with crewman Gennaro,” Horn said. “Her father’s  human and her mother’s vulcan.”

“I don’t think she would understand,” Zimmer said. “She’s got vulcan in her.”

Horn laughed. “So where you off to?”

“Just going to the gym for a short work out,” Zimmer said. “Then to the mess hall. And you?”

“To the science lab,” Horn said. “I’ve got a report to turn in, and Commander Braxis demands, if you can call it that, punctuality.”

“Understood,” Zimmer said, as they came to a four way turn and began to take their separate paths. “See you at breakfast.”

“It’s a date!” Horn said with a perky smile and then was off.

Zimmer allowed himself to have a small smile.

“So you went to the gym and had a quick work out?” Sawyer inquired.

“Yes,” Zimmer nodded.

“And did you meet with Ensign Horn for breakfast in the mess hall?” Sawyer asked.

“Yes... look, is this some sort of interrogation?” Zimmer inquired.

“No,” Sawyer said. “I’m just here to listen. I just find it interesting that you have choose to speak about your relationship with Ensign Horn.”

“Look,” Zimmer said. “I’m telling you what happened from the beginning, starting with the morning before the incident.”

“I’m sorry,” Sawyer said in a soothing voice. “Please continue.”

Ensign Eric Zimmer walked into the mess hall, he paused in the doorway and looked around for Kenda Horn. Horn was seated not far from the replicators. Zimmer walked through the tables and straight up to a replicator. After a cup of hot coffee appeared, Zimmer turned and sat down next to Horn. Horn looked up at him.

“Just coffee, huh?” Horn inquired.

“Yeah,” Zimmer nodded. “Just coffee.”

“Big day?” Horn asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Zimmer said, taking a quick sip of his coffee. “What are you having?”

“I’m trying that dish Dr. Braga recommended?” Horn said.


“Let’s just say that I’d prefer my food hot, and dead,” Horn said.

“Klingon cuisine,” Zimmer shrugged. “Who would have guess that the Doc liked that stuff.”

“Oh, he doesn’t like it,” Horn said. “It was a beat. I told him that I would eat any food from any culture. And with my luck he just happened to pick Klingon!”

“Want some coffee?” Zimmer asked.

“No thanks,” Horn said, pushing her plate of moving worms away. “Sometimes coffee can be just as worst.”

“Whatever you say.”

Horn stood up and took the Klingon plate with her. She recycled it in the replicator and then replicated a large glass of orange juice. Horn returned and glanced up at Zimmer’s confused face.


“Worms that are not even dead and orange juice?” Zimmer said. “Doesn’t sound like a good combination.”

“Hey!” Horn said, smiling a bit. “Don’t knock it until you try it.”

“Fine,” Zimmer said and sipped his coffee.

“So...,” Horn said, pausing to sip from the orange juice. “Have you spoken with your Mom?”



“He’s not doing too well,” Zimmer said, lowering his head.

Horn reached over and grasped his hand.

“Why don’t you put whatever you two have between yourselves away and speak to him?” Horn asked.

“It’s more complicated than that,” Zimmer said. “We’ve never really saw eye to eye on a lot of things. I mean, hell, the main reason I joined Starfleet was to please him. And how to does he react! He becomes hella pissed and says that I’m going to ruin my life the way my cousin Herb did.”

“You never mention your cousin before.”

“Well, he joined Starfleet, just as I did,” Zimmer said. “Except both of his parents were against it. He ignored their reservations and continued on with Starfleet. His first mission was aboard the U.S.S. Heading, they were sent to DS9 to assist in the Dominion War.”

“What happened?”

“They were intercepted by Dominion ships before they could even reach the station. Their shield malfunctioned. The Jem’Hadar boarded and set off a warp core breach. We had nothing to give closure.”

“Sorry,” Horn said.

“It comes with the territory, Herb knew the risk, as do I,” Zimmer said. “We made the choice. It was ours to make, not our parents.”

“That is true,” Horn said. “But you should talk to him. He is dying, isn’t he?”

“Not necessarily,” Zimmer said. “Look, I don’t want to talk about this anymore, okay?”

“Okay,” Horn nodded.

The intercom beeped.

“Mr. Zimmer?” came Commander Burt’s voice.

Zimmer tapped his commbadge.

“Zimmer, here.”

“Your shift began fifteen minutes ago, Mr. Zimmer,” Burt said. “I highly recommend you report to the bridge at once.”

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said. “On my way, sir.”

Zimmer gave Horn a quick smile, stood up and rushed out of the mess hall.

The turbo-lift doors opened and Ensign Eric Zimmer came dashing out. He quickly walked down the bridge to the helm station. He patted the crewman working at the station, relieving her of duty. Zimmer quickly took the seat when she left.

“Nice of you to final join us, Mr. Zimmer,” he heard Commander Burt’s voice from behind him.

He turned around to face the Commander.

“Sorry, sir,” Zimmer said. “I’m just a little preoccupied.”

Burt nodded.


“Orders, sir?”

“Set course for So’ja borders, at coordinates 7-7,” Burt commanded. “Warp three.”

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said. “Plotting in course, awaiting command.”


Zimmer pressed the button and the Pioneer entered warp on a course for the So’ja border. Behind Zimmer, the door to the Captain’s Ready Room opened and Captain Kelsoe walked out onto the bridge. He stepped down into the center and walked up behind Zimmer. Kelsoe placed on hand on Zimmer’s shoulder and gave him a soft squeeze.

“It’ll be okay,” Kelsoe said softly.

Then Kelsoe stepped back and sat down in his chair. Zimmer tried to concentrate on piloting, but he could hear Captain Kelsoe talking to Burt behind him.

“So what did Admiral Dutton have to say?” Burt inquired.

“Something very interesting,” Kelsoe said. “According to Dutton, this may be a good chance to test Mr. Zimmer.”

Zimmer turned around, to find Captain Kelsoe looking straight at him.

“Me, sir?”

“Yes,” Kelsoe nodded. He stood and walked up the bridge towards his ready room. “Mr. Zimmer, my ready room. Now.”

Zimmer stood up and followed Captain Kelsoe into his ready room.

Kelsoe walked around his desk towards the replicator.

“Coffee, black,” Kelsoe said.

A cup of coffee appeared and Kelsoe picked it up. He sipped it and sat down behind his desk. Zimmer stood in front of the desk, waiting for Captain Kelsoe to speak. Kelsoe sipped his coffee one more time and then placed it down on his desk.

“We’ve been given a break by the So’ja Coalition, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “Chancellor Ar’kon has agreed to allow one shuttle craft into the Venka nebula for scientific research. One shuttle, one pilot.”


“Yes, you, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “Original I was going to send Commander Braxis, seeing how he is the science officer, but Admiral Dutton insisted that you pilot the shuttle.”

“Why?” Zimmer said and then quickly added. “Just curious, sir.”

Kelsoe shrugged. “I can’t answer that question,” Kelsoe said softly. “Admiral Dutton just wanted you.”

“But, a test, sir?”

“Yes,” Kelsoe nodded. “That’s what Dutton called it. You see, I believe that Admiral Dutton thinks that you should not be the pilot of the Pioneer.”

“Because this is my first assignment out of the Academy?” Zimmer inquired.

Kelsoe nodded. “I think so.”

“May I speak freely, sir?”

“Of course.”

“With all do respect to Admiral Dutton, I think that I’ve done pretty good out here as the helmsmen. I’ve been able to get us out of tough situations with the So’ja and including times where the Tealuians had us trapped. I think that I’ve proven myself,” Zimmer said.

Kelsoe shook his head. Zimmer couldn’t tell whether Kelsoe was agreeing with him or not.


“In some ways, yes, you have proven yourself,” Kelsoe said. “But Admiral Dutton feels that it is time to test your piloting skills without me giving you orders.”

“The Venka nebula is a difficult place to fly in,” Zimmer said with a nod. “It would make for a good test.”

Kelsoe stood up and walked around his desk to face Zimmer.

“All you have to do is pilot the shuttle,” Kelsoe said. “Let the scanners do the rest.” Kelsoe patted Zimmer on the back. “And now, what about your father? Are you going to at least call him?”

Zimmer took a deep breath.

“Things really aren’t good between us, sir,” Zimmer said.

“I know,” Kelsoe said. “But still, he is your father. You must feel some need to see or speak with him.”

“He’s just sick,” Zimmer said. “That’s all, that’s all.”

“Okay,” Kelsoe said. “But let me say this, I never knew my parents. Sure I can speak as someone like you, but I believe that your parents have been an instrumental part of making you who you are today. A fine Starfleet Officer. But if you want me to drop it, then all drop it.”

Zimmer breathed in and out slowly, trying to calm down. After a while he spoke, shifting the topic back to the mission.

“How much time do I have to prepare?” Zimmer asked.

“Four hours,” Kelsoe said. “Report to the Science Lab. Commander Braxis will be there waiting for you.”

Zimmer nodded. “Thank you, sir.”

He left the Captain’s ready room, walked across the bridge and entered a turbo-lift.

Ensign Eric Zimmer shifted his weight against the bulk heads of the cell. They had been talking for almost an hour and Zimmer had begun noticing that he had not spoken about the mission into the nebula yet. However Counselor Sawyer did not seem to mind that. Instead Sawyer began shifting the topic back to Zimmer’s father.

“What is the reason for your problems with your father, Eric?” Sawyer inquired.

“Let’s just say that my father didn’t approve of my career choice,” Zimmer said.

“And what exactly did he not approve of?” Sawyer asked in her calm soothing voice, her eyes never moving of Zimmer.

“He wanted me to become an engineer, like him,” Zimmer said. “I just didn’t like engineering. I’m a pilot, and that’s all I’m going to be.”

“I’ve heard Ensign Horn talking about how you like writing holo-novels,” Sawyer said. “Is this true?”

“Yes,” Zimmer said, actually smiling for the first time in a while.

“How did your father feel about that?”

“That was something my father approved of,” Zimmer said. “He once told me that I’d make a better holo-novelist than an engineer. It was the only career that he approved of outside engineering. And when I joined Starfleet and put on my application that I would like to become a pilot he just could not understand.”

“What couldn’t he understand, Eric?” Sawyer said, questioning Zimmer’s resolve to avoid the topic of his father.

“I wanted to explore the universe,” Zimmer said. “Something that my father finds to be a dangerous occupation. My cousin Herb join and he died on his first assignment. I can see were he gets his ideas from, but I am not Herb, and this is not the Dominion War.”

“He’s your father,” Sawyer said. “And your his only son. I believe that he was doing his best to make sure you were safe. And I believe that at this time, more than ever, you need him.”

Zimmer stood there is shock. In a way he completely disagreed with what she had just said, but another part of him agreed. He missed his father and Zimmer knew that his mother was getting tired of being their go between. Sawyer stood up and nodded.

“If you wish we can see each other again,” Sawyer said. “I am only her to help you.”

Zimmer nodded. Sawyer stepped up to the force field and nodded to Ensign Soto. He deactivated the force field and Counselor Sawyer stepped out of the cell and left the brig. The force field was reactivated and Zimmer look out at Soto, who was no longer shaking his head. Zimmer began to think about what had happened in the Venka Nebula.

The Starfleet shuttle craft drifted slowly through the orange vapors of the Venka nebula. The only passenger of the shuttle was Ensign Eric Zimmer. He was sitting in the pilot’s chair, working the control console, and allowing the sensors to take all the information that was needed. Zimmer had no time to worry about taking scans because the nebula, itself, is a terrible place for shuttles. On their first mission, the Pioneer had to fly into the Venka nebula, and even that was a little too much for the ship. A shuttle is small, so the effect seems quite a bit bigger than was safely aboard the Pioneer.

Suddenly the computer alarms went off. Zimmer looked down at the security panel, but could not tell what the problem was.

“Computer?” Zimmer said.

The computer acknowledged him with a chirp.

“What just happened?” he inquired.

“Exterior sensor have picked up an unknown shuttle craft,” the computer responded. “Scans reveal that its weapons systems have been engaged.”

Zimmer took in the information with great speed. “Hail them.”

“There is no response.”

Zimmer adjusted the navigation controls and the shuttle came about.

“Mr. Zimmer, this is Commander Braxis,” Braxis’ voice came over the intercom. “Why have you turned of the course I had instructed you to stay on?”

“I’ve detected an unknown shuttle head towards my location,” Zimmer said. “The computer has confirmed that its weapons systems are active.”

“Understood, Ensign,” Braxis said. “Return to at once, but whatever you do, do not return fire.”

Zimmer did not understand that order, but he said he understood and that he would avoid firing at the shuttle. However he felt that he would need to, because that shuttle was advancing on his location and if he was unable to clear the nebula that unknown shuttle could extract serve damage on the shuttle craft.

Blue disrupter fire flashed in front of the shuttle craft and the unknown shuttle came flying over him. Zimmer squinted at it.

“Computer, can you identify the shuttle, it looks familiar” Zimmer said.

“Scanning... shuttle structural design corresponds with known So’ja vessels,” the computer said.

“Then the shuttle is So’ja!” Zimmer said.


The green So’ja shuttle circled around and came back. Disrupter fire hit Zimmer’s shuttle, but he did not return fire. He looked down at the tactical panel and was pleased to see that the shield were holding.

“Hail them again, computer,” Zimmer said, maneuvering the best he could within the nebula. “And keep hailing them until they reply.”


Zimmer watched as the So’ja shuttle made a circle again, but this time it did not fire its disrupters.

“So’ja shuttle responding.”

“Open channel.”

The computer beeped and chirped. “Channel opened.”

Zimmer looked down at the small communications screen on the helm console. An image of a So’ja pilot appeared.

“This is Tor’ka of the Coalition Fleet,” the So’ja said. “You are in violation of our borders, Federation! Withdraw at once or you will be destroyed.”

“I have permission to be here by your government,” Zimmer said. “Check with your superiors, you will find that to be true.”

“That is a lie!” Tor’ka said.

“Permission came from Chancellor Ar’kon himself,” Zimmer said. “Check with your superiors, please, you will see that I am telling the truth.”

The So’ja frowned.

“We shall see, Federation! Tor’ka out!”

The communication link was ended. Zimmer took a deep breath. That went better than he expected. Zimmer turned his attention back to piloting through the gases of the Venka nebula. He remembered when the Pioneer first encountered the nebula and how the Pioneer could not handle the stresses placed on it by the nebula. The shuttle craft was fairing a lot better. He watched the So’ja shuttle on the monitors. The computer chirped and Zimmer examined the console.

“Computer,” Zimmer said. “Can you confirm that the So’ja shuttle has just powered up its weapons systems?”

The computer beep and chirped. “Affirmative. So’ja vessel’s weapons are powered.”

“Computer,” Zimmer said, punching quickly on the control console. “Evasive maneuvers!”

The So’ja shuttle fired at the shuttle craft. The computer alarms went off.

“Primary power couplings are off-line,” the computer reported.

“Switch to second power,” Zimmer commanded.

“Target the So’ja shuttle and fire,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer maneuvered the shuttle so that it would be perfectly lined up to fire. Red phaser fire blasted out from the shuttle and hit the So’ja shuttle. Tor’ka returned fire and the shuttle craft rocked.

“Phaser targeting is off-line,” the computer reported.

“Then I’ll have to do it manually,” Zimmer said to himself through clenched teeth.

The So’ja shuttle circled the shuttle craft and Zimmer watched helplessly as disrupter blasts came towards him. Zimmer punched the console the was able reduce the damage. Sparks flew from a conduit from behind him and Zimmer lowered his head. He quickly maneuvered the shuttle around to face the So’ja shuttle. Zimmer tried to use his best guess on the location of the So’ja shuttle and he lined up the shuttle craft from the enemy vessel. Zimmer turned to the targeting console and work quickly to target the So’ja shuttle manually. When he thought he got it, he fired the phasers. Zimmer spun around in his chair to see the So’ja shuttle explode, causing a chain reaction in the Venka Nebula.

Zimmer’s reaction was lightning fast. He turned the shuttle around and increased the velocity up. The shuttle sped through the Venka Nebula shaking violently. Right behind it was the fiery blast caused by the So’ja shuttle. Zimmer punched the console, hoping to clear the nebula before the flames engulfed the shuttle.

“Warning,” the computer said. “Exceeding appropriate stress levels.”

Zimmer ignored the computer’s warning and increased the velocity again. The shuttle began to shake more violently than before, if that were possible. Zimmer almost fell out of his chair, but he was able to keep himself glued to the seat. Zimmer looked left and saw the flames approaching the front of the shuttle.

“Computer,” Zimmer said. “Divert all power to the engines, including life support.”

With a quick beep and chirp, Zimmer knew the computer had down what he asked. Just that little supply of power was enough to clear the shuttle of the nebula. The Pioneer was hanging there as steady as a rock.

“That is unacceptable, Ensign!” Kelsoe roared, slamming the data pad down on his desk. Kelsoe stood. He adjusted his uniform and stepped around the desk.

Zimmer stood at attention in front of Captain Kelsoe with Commander Tuff and Ensign Rick Soto standing behind him. Soto stood by the door, phaser at the ready, and Tuff stood behind Zimmer’s right side, hands behind his back, waiting for orders.

“According to the So’ja government, you attacked a science vessel,” Kelsoe said. “And you claim otherwise.”

“Yes, sir,” Zimmer said. “I was attacked by the So’ja. It was an unprovoked attack. Sir.”

“That may be, according to you,” Kelsoe said. “However the sensors one the shuttle say otherwise.”

Zimmer was taken aback by this. How could the shuttle sensors say otherwise. It was impossible. He fired phaser in self-defense. He did not fire first.

“The shuttle computer must have malfunctioned during the blast, sir!” Zimmer protested. “I did not fire first.”

“Sorry, Ensign,” Kelsoe said. “But that is what happened. According to the sensors that the shuttle craft took from inside the nebula, you, not the So’ja, fired first. Commander Braxis has ran a full diagnostic of the shuttle craft’s computer systems and has found nothing wrong with them.”

“He must have been mistaken, sir,” Zimmer said. He almost did not know what to say, but he had to do something. Say anything that could possibly convince the captain. “Captain, would you take the So’ja’s word over mine?”

“No,” Kelsoe said, nodding and relaxing a little. “But this information comes from Admiral Dutton himself. He has spoken with the So’ja Ambassador and has reviewed both your shuttle craft’s readings and the So’ja’s evidence.”

Kelsoe paused and looked back at Tuff.

“Commander, take Ensign Zimmer to the brig,” Kelsoe said firmly.

Tuff stepped forward and grabbed Zimmer’s arm. Zimmer reluctantly turned around and went with Commander Tuff. Soto followed behind with his phaser still at the ready.

“Ensign! Wake up!”

Zimmer opened his eyes and found himself in the brig. He was laying on the flat bench. He sat up and looked through the blue glow of the force field and saw Commander Burt standing there. Zimmer stood up and looked at Burt.

“Yes, Commander?”

“I have some good news,” Burt said, almost smiling. “The So’ja are not pressing charges. Though less than half of the Venka Nebula was destroyed. They said that they do not wish to make an already tense relationship even more tense. So you are being released.”

Burt turned and nodded to Soto. Soto looked down at his console and pressed a button. With a soft buzzing sound the glowing force field was lowered and Zimmer walked out of the cell.

“Have some other good news from Earth,” Burt said, now fully smiling. “Your father’s going to be okay. We got a call from your mother telling us the good news.”

Zimmer smiled.

The brig doors opened with a hissing sound and Captain Benjamin Kelsoe walked in. Kelsoe stared at Zimmer.

“Leave us,” Kelsoe commanded. “I want to speak with Ensign Zimmer alone.”

“Aye, sir,” Burt said looking back.

Burt and Soto exchanged glances and left the brig. Kelsoe stood in front of the door, his hands folded in front of his chest. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth.

“Ensign,” Kelsoe said. “I don’t know what to say. I am happy for you that your father is okay, but I cannot tell you how serious the charges that were against you. You are lucky that the So’ja choice to dismiss the charges. Heaven knows I wouldn’t. I don’t know if I can trust you anymore with the safety of the ship. I’ve spoken with both your parents about the matter. Your father says that you can be trusted and that you are a fine young officer. And who am I to argue with the great Henrik Zimmer.” Kelsoe paused for a moment, long enough for Zimmer to speak.

“I didn’t know my father felt that way,” Zimmer said.

“Well he does,” Kelsoe said. “Your mother feels the same, too. But I cannot just take your parents’ word alone. I have taken the time and spoken with some of your instructors from Starfleet Academy, as well as Admiral Anton, himself. The Starfleet Commander has great faith in you. Admiral Anton told me that he wants to keep you at the helm of the Pioneer. I will not dispute the Admiral.” Kelsoe shifted his stance and lowered his hands to his side. “But let me make this very clear, Ensign. You have to earn my trust again.” Kelsoe paused. “Understand?”

“Perfectly, sir,” Zimmer said.

“Very good,” Kelsoe said. “You will take a week off to think about what you’ve done, then you will report to Commander Burt for disciplinary action. I suspect that Joanna will need some help cleaning the plasma conduits.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You will also loss your holodeck time for the remainder of the year,” Kelsoe said. Kelsoe stopped, he could be too harsh, but he had to do it. “Is that perfectly clear, Ensign?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Alright,” Kelsoe said. “Then you’re dismiss.”

Zimmer nodded and left the room. Kelsoe remained behind and looked around the brig at the two cells and then stared at the one the Zimmer had been held in. He lowered his head.

“I’m going to miss Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said softly to himself.

Kelsoe then turned and left, leaving the brig empty.