Janet Rind had long since stopped putting the words “important” and “meeting” into the memos she sent to Jimi Clerk while he was still a Captain, because it diminished the likelihood of him actually attending such events. Naturally, she assumed correctly that this would be necessary upon his return to starship captaining as an Admiral, but she noticed that Kathy Safeway-Clerk tended to not prioritize them as well, so the Yeoman needed a different tactic. She tended to get the best results using the keywords “catered” and “event”, though she knew that if she did that too often, they’d catch on. The only downside was actually having to have the events catered.

The latest “catered event” was called “An Event to Remember… the Names of Your Subordinates”, and was designed to be a “standard, run-of-the-mill meet-and-greet” for those who had joined the crew since Clerk’s promotion. Rind laughed to herself a little bit as she typed it up, knowing good and well that nothing on the Secondprize was “standard”…


Clerk resisted the urge to mingle as the crewmembers entered Conference Room 1138. This was, after all, an Official Function, not a social gathering. He looked around the room and looked at who all had shown up. Some of the faces he recognized (some of the “new crewmembers” were simply older ones who’d gotten a promotion), but he was happy to see all the fresh faces as well.

The two Admirals sat on either side of Rind, the idea being that Rind could nudge whoever needed to be put back on track, as well as to keep the two from joining forces and resisting the productive elements of the meeting. Clerk stayed on point, smiling, waving, handshaking, and so forth, but Safeway-Clerk had to have her communicator confiscated fairly early on in the proceedings.

Since most of the new crewmembers were not particularly high on the food chain, Yeoman Rind didn’t really do too much as far as briefing the Admirals. She saved her strength for what was about to happen next: the introduction of the new Bridge personnel. First in line were, of all people, Klaa’ck and Info.

“What are you two doing here?” Clerk asked. “This isn’t a senior staff meeting.”

Info shrugged. “Well, I am your new First Officer, so technically that does make me a new crewmember.”

Clerk looked back and forth between the two. “Wait. If you’re my new First Officer, what does that make—“

“As of today,” Klaa’ck interrupted. “I’m putting in my two weeks’ notice.”

“You’re leaving? Why?”

“I have been offered the command of a ship to be used as a training vessel for the Fleet Academy. The higher-ups felt that my unique blend of logic and rage would be best suited to setting cadets off on the right foot.”

Clerk sighed. “Well, I’m certainly gonna miss you. Good luck with your new position. I think we could possibly arrange for a little going-away party. I’ll talk with Janet here once this shindig is over.” He turned to Info. “So, are you still gonna be Chief of Operations?”

“Yes sir,” said Info. “Nothing’s changing except my status.”

“Good. I can only handle so much change at a time. Looks like you’re one step closer to having your own command, Info.”

“Are you kidding me?” the android said with his chuckle equivalent. “I’ve turned down five commands in the past year. One more and I’ll be tied with Willie T. Wrecker. Don’t worry, Admiral, I’ve got your back.”

Clerk noticed a line forming behind his past-and-future first officers. “Let’s talk later, guys. Got some newbies here.”

“Sure thing, Capt-, I mean Admiral,” said Klaa’ck.

With that, the pair left, leaving Clerk to speak with Ensign Weasely Smasher and Chief Kilometers O’Boy, two relative newcomers whom the Admiral had already met.

“Afternoon, gentlemen,” Clerk said with a modicum of cheerfulness. “How’s it going?”

O’Boy turned to look behind himself. In confusion, he turned back to Admiral Clerk. “Are you talking to me, sir?”

Don’t facepalm, don’t facepalm. “Yes, I’m talking to you. Both of you.”

“My bad,” said O’Boy. “You said ‘gentlemen’, so naturally I—“

Clerk held up a hand. “Don’t worry about it. So, have you guys been on this ship long?”

“We started around the same time, sir, about halfway through the remodeling,” said Smasher.

“Wait a second,” said Safeway-Clerk. “Why would we need a new helmsman during remodeling?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, Admiral,” Smasher replied. “I will say this, the Employee’s Handbook was really thick. Took me a couple months to finish reading it.”

“Fair enough.”

“Do either of you have any questions?” asked Clerk after a few moments’ silence. “Anything I can help you with?”

Both crewmembers shook their heads. “We’re pretty much acclimated to everything,” O’Boy said. “Just have to get used to having two Admirals in charge.”

“Alrighty. Well, if you need me, you know where to find me. Dismissed.”

Next up was Lt. Tolstoy, and a bald woman who looked vaguely familiar. Tolstoy looked pretty excited about everything, but the woman just rolled her eyes and sighed.

“Good afternoon, Admiral!” Tolstoy said, getting Clerk’s rank correct on the first try.

“You look excited,” Clerk said with a hint of a laugh. “What’s your new position?”


Volunteering for Security? That’s a first. “Navigation not exciting enough for ya?”

“Well,” Tolstoy said a bit sheepishly. “I really have wanted to do it for a long time, so I figured, why not go for it?”

“That’s what you said about Navigation.”

“Yeah, well… I’ve always aspired to be a polymath, sir! Keeps things interesting!”

“And who’s this with you?” asked Safeway-Clerk.

“This is my replacement, Eileena! She’s Captain Double—“

“—decker’s girlfriend!” Clerk said, finishing Tolstoy’s sentence. “I was thinking I’d seen you before. Don’t worry; they’re searching night and day for him.”

“Okay,” Eileena said with a shrug. “Look, my oath of not-dropkicking-people-who-make-fun-of-my-bald-head is on record, Admiral.”

“That’s… reassuring,” Clerk said nervously. “At any rate, it’s good to finally meet you.”

“Likewise,” the new navigator said unconvincingly. Before Clerk could get another word in, she unceremoniously left without saying goodbye.

“Charming,” Safeway-Clerk said. “I guess you can go too, Tolstoy.”

“Thanks!” the former navigator said excitedly. “See you on the Bridge!”

The final new crewmember walked up, a blonde woman with a power walk that would rival Admiral Nezbomb’s.

“I’m here for your job, whether you like it or not,” she said before Clerk could react.

You don’t know what ship you’re on, do you? “My, you’re… motivated…” Clerk said. “Your name is?”

“Lieutenant Commander Shelly-B. I’m your new Second Officer. I took the liberty of evaluating the productivity of the other crewmembers in the room, and—”

Clerk held up a hand. “Don’t worry about it. Welcome to the Secondprize.”

“Thank you, Admiral,” Shelly-B said, spinning on her heel and power walking out of the room.

Before Clerk could say anything, Janet Rind spoke up. “She says that to everybody who outranks her, Admiral. Don’t take it personally.”

“That answers my next question,” Clerk said with a sigh. “So, are we done here?”

“Yes, Admiral, you’re free to go.”

“Coffee, my love?” Clerk said to his wife.

“Sounds good to me!” she replied, and with that, the pair of Admirals strode out of the room, leaving their Yeoman behind with what was left of the donuts.