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“Come,” a voice called, and the door to the captain’s ready room slid open. Kylie stepped forward. Her first impression was that Captain McTavish desperately needed a comb. His salt-and-pepper hair was disheveled, as if windblown, although that was unlikely on a starship.
“Commander Duncan reporting for duty,” she introduced herself. The captain rose out of his chair to greet her and shook her hand warmly, her hand fully covered in his. McTavish was a large man, not overly tall or overly wide, just large, and solidly built.
“Welcome aboard, Commander. Please, have a seat.” He remained standing and walked to the replicator in the corner. “Can I offer you anything to drink?” he asked.
“No, thank you,” Kylie responded.
“Coffee, special,” McTavish ordered. A moment later he returned to his seat behind his desk with a steaming cup. There was a faint aroma in the air Kylie couldn’t identify, something sweet mingled with the coffee.
For the next twenty minutes they chatted, covering a range of subjects; their previous experiences, the recent refit of the ship, the Dominion war. When Captain McTavish commended her on her performance aboard the Corte’z, the way she had saved the lives of the captain and three junior officers, Kylie smiled politely. Perhaps he sensed her discomfort for he quickly changed the subject.
“You’ll find the atmosphere on the Symphony somewhat … informal,” the captain told her. He took a sip of his coffee before continuing. “I know that isn’t something that sits well with some.”
“I’ll try to get used to it,” Kylie smiled. Coming from a long line of Starfleet officers — her father had been an admiral — she thought that this could either be very good, or very bad. It all depended on the captain’s definition of informal.
“Don’t worry,” McTavish assured her quickly. “I still believe in maintaining discipline.”
Kylie smiled again, wondering whether McTavish was just very adept at reading facial expressions, or whether he had some Betazoid blood.
They continued their discussion for a few minutes more, and then the captain said, “Well, it’s quite late and you must be tired after your trip from Risa.” He stood and Kylie followed his lead. “I trust you can find your quarters?”
“I’m sure I’ll manage sir,” Kylie replied. They shook hands again.
Just as she was leaving, Kylie turned and asked, “Sir, have you ever been through the wormhole?”
McTavish nodded, “Yes, once. Well, twice if you count the return trip. Why?”
Kylie smiled. “It must be quite an experience.”
“Yes,” McTavish said, but he didn’t smile. In fact, he seemed to have a slight frown. “Yes, it is.”