After taking a deep breath and assuring his Security Officer that he would not damage any of the electronics he was standing in front of, Captain Clerk picked up the headset and resumed talking to Jenkins, who still had not hooked up the jumper cables.

"Look, Jenkins, just focus, okay? We'll get through this. Red is positive, black is negative. Do it and come back in."

"Cap'm, I'm 'bout ta burst here!"

Sigh. "Come on, man... doesn't your suit... uh... account for that sort of thing?" At least Clerk still cared about how he worded things at this point.

"Naw, sir, this is one a-them old school types. I'll stain it if I--"

"Look, I will personally help clean up if anything happens, if you'll just focus and get this done." I can't believe I'm saying this.

"Citation to Secondprize. Citation to Secondprize. Do you copy?"

There were many things that would have helped the situation at this point, but a call from the other ship's captain was not one of those things.

"Take it, Wharf. I've got to--"

"Understood, sir. Citation, this is Security Chief Wharf. How may I assist you?"

Turning back to his Problem of the Day, Clerk was surprised to find that Jenkins was done and headed back to the airlock.

"Jenkins? Are you--"

"It's alright, Cap'm. I figgered I never really use this stupid suit ennyways, and it was just takin' up room in mah storage unit. I'll just zap it once I git in."

"Good man, Jenkins. Thanks for coming through for me."

"No problem, Cap'm!"

Whew. Wow. That's, like, the easiest crisis ever.


"Captain, I'm in the middle of--"

"I'll take over. I need you to turn off the security alarms in the airlock."


"Because Jenkins won't think to do it."


"Don't ask. Just do it." With that, Clerk walked over to Wharf's station, and Wharf walked away in sheer confusion. "Hey there, Felty! What's shaking?"

"It's Valentine, Clerk, and Captain at that. We're not at the Academy anymore."

"Eek. Did they give you a Medal of Stuckupitude when you graduated? Man... just saying hi. What--"

"Is your officer still having trouble doing something as simple as attaching jumper cables?"

"What? No. He's done. Just a... fluid problem. Temporary. All done. Ready for charging."

"Fluid problem? I don't get--"

"Never ye mind, Captain Felty. Just begin charging. I gotta go. Holla atcha later, bro. Clerk out."

Head held high, Clerk strutted out of Engineering. Rind attempted to stop him, but he put up his hand and said, "Uh-uh. Not tonight. Crisis solved. I'm going to bed" without even slowing down. The yeoman decided that decorum was best here, and said nothing.

She also decided that kicking the trash can next to her fell under the definition of decorum.


After spending the night charging, the Secondprize was finally able to get going, and Captain and crew set out once again for Deep Space Seven-Eleven. The Citation followed close behind for a few parsecs just to make sure everything was okay, of course. Just before separating, Captain Valentine thought about asking Clerk again about the "fluid problem", but decided against it, remembering that not once in the entire time they've known each other has he ever been able to get a straight answer to any question.

Valentine, as a result, was the last person to believe Clerk had been given his own starship.

The next four days were fairly uneventful, which allowed everybody to relax a bit, and gave Clerk and Safeway plenty of opportunities to go on plenty of things that were totally not dates. They did come close, however, during one outing at the bowling alley, but an emergency call from the Bridge managed to remove any date-like properties the evening had to offer... which was just fine with both of them.

Safeway never packed lightly, so upon arrival, Clerk and a few redshirts took a couple of hours getting her luggage moved over.

"Thank you so much for helping them out, Jimi, but you know you don't have to do any of this yourself."

"Well, yeah, I know... but..." Clerk stammered. "I just... thought I'd help. I mean, it's not like I'm doing this because--"

"Oh, of course not! I know you wouldn't."

"Of course."

The redshirts rolled their eyes in unison.

"So, Kathy... what's this new mission you're going on?"

"I'm getting a new ship. It's called the Traveler. Lamest name for a starship if I've ever heard one. We're going to track down some missing shuttle or whatever. Sounds kinda boring, really."

"I thought after your last assignment, they weren't gonna give you command of any more--"

"They never proved that, and you know it."

"Still saying it was the doctor's fault, eh?"

"Of course it was," Safeway was trying hard to keep from getting too upset at this point. She took a deep breath. "That's why I specifically asked for only a Downloadable Doctor this time. I'm taking no chances."

Now I remember why I broke up with you. "Well, hope it goes alright for you. Try not to have too much fun without me around."

"Don't you worry about that, Jimi. I'm sure it'll be all gloom, despair and agony without you." Her Sarcasm Engine had come back online for the first time in a couple of weeks. It felt good.

"Alrighty then. Anyways, I've got to get back to strange, new worlds and all that. You know how it is."

"Why are you off exploring the galaxy? From what I hear, you haven't even fully explored your own ship yet."

"Just a couple floors on the top I skipped in the last inspection. We'll get to them eventually, I'm sure."

"Uh huh."

"Much as I'd like to stay and argue with you, I've got to get back to the Secondprize. I've just received word about something going on that I must attend. Give my regards to that French guy."

Clerk exited as quickly as he could. The moment he'd been waiting for since he first became a captain had finally arrived...