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Scott Coleridge

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About Scott Coleridge

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  1. “Command School: Guest Lecturer” Joint Log by Captain Chirakis and Commander Coleridge ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the others filtered out of his office, Scott said, “Captain Chirakis, a moment please.” He looked distinctly uncomfortable. Whereas he had sat fairly comfortably and still during the debriefing, he was now fidgeting with the Newton’s Cradle on the edge of his desk. If he bit his lip any harder he would draw blood. “Of course, Commander,” she replied, returning to face him. “Maybe it’s just your paranoia rubbing off on me, Captain, but we might have a problem.” “We have many problems, Commander. To which do you refer?” She stood easily, passive, though her expression had a touch of concern. “This is not, as you might personally recall, the first time the commanding officer of Aegis has been … impersonated.” Scott continued to toy with the toy while he considered what to say. “How do we know this is actually Captain Ramson now?” Though concerned, the captain did not look alarmed. “May I suggest checking with Dr. Pavilion to run some tests, Commander,” she remarked evenly. That much seemed to be a given. Knowing Mimi, Scott had a feeling that once she learned what Ramson had been through on Aegean, she would be personally insisting on a checkup. “In the meantime, I suggest keeping all station information confidential. There are other steps you could take, but they may be premature, and should be used if we have cause to believe that she is an imposter.” Scott grimaced. Therein lay the problem, of course. “How exactly am I supposed to keep things confidential from the captain?” “We do have basic procedures in place. The first would be changing the station command codes. That would restrict her access to all command areas and block her access to the computer main core. It will also monitor any attempts to breach security areas. As a courtesy, you might consider informing her that, because of recent events, you are taking this measure as a precaution until she is cleared for duty.” “As for keeping other things confidential, the best way is to keep your mouth shut.” “Keep my mouth shut?” Scott asked. Chirakis was speaking like it was an everyday procedure to just stop telling your commanding officer about what was happening. He had been hoping—expecting, more like—she would have some practical advice. She was, if anything, too calm about the situation. “Do not speak of anything that pertains to Aegis command or security unless you are in a secure area.” She waved minimally. “A place such as this room. If the captain is present, do not discuss or divulge any information whatsoever concerning the station… unless it is the quality of food on the commerce deck. “However,” she interjected, “we are neglecting to address one particular area, Commander.” Her brow rose with a glance his way, like the idea should have been obvious to both of them. “The real Captain Ramson is Minaran.” Scott said, “How does that help us, though? The impostor was able to fool the telepaths on Aegean.” “True, Commander. However, if she is not an imposter, she already knows everything, whether we speak it or not. That, in itself, could prove her identity. On the other hand, if she is an imposter, the only knowledge she has of the station will be from the past, because the droid core that impersonated her probably used a database that contained the information from the Treevian-Ramson exchange of thoughts. Whether it could actually telepathically connect with those on Aegean might be something we could ask Dr. Sandero or Commander Lawliet.” Scott leaned forward, cradling his head in his hands. “This is giving me a headache. I think I would rather be working on the topology of a local Kaluza-Klein manifold than this.” He emitted a short, almost perfunctory sigh. “And what if she is Ramson, but the Treevians have left some kind of lingering influence?” Chirakis regarded him for a few moments, lips pursed. “Commander.” She waited for his attention. The somewhat beleaguered engineer-turned-executive officer peeked out at her from between two fingers. Then, as if realizing he wasn’t giving the best impression, he collected himself and sat up, clearing his throat. “Is the station in immediate danger?” she asked plainly. When he was slow to respond, she rephrased. “Are we under attack?” Danger was proving a slippery concept after the events of the past few days. Scott’s mind roiled with the possibilities given Aegean’s encounter and their own new houseguest. “No,” he eventually said. “Not at the moment.” “Is there any evidence that we will be under attack very soon? Say, within the next few hours?” “Oh, I hope not,” Scott half-moaned. “I mean, no. There’s not.” “And if we are attacked within the next few hours, are we adequately protected?” “Yes.” This last was a little more confident, more assured—with Aegean and its crew of Aegis’ senior officers back, the situation on the station already seemed more stable. “Then your main concern as commanding officer is taken care of. Now, Commander, what is my duty to this station?” “To oversee its security and safety, and that of its inhabitants.” “And do you trust me to perform my duties to the best of my ability?” “Of course.” “Then, as Chief of Security, I am bound to advise you on your course of action for any particular threat, or the possibility of such a threat, and to keep you apprised of progress or lack thereof. “Therefore, in my capacity as Chief of Security, I respectfully suggest, Commander, that in the present circumstance—specifically, the possibility that Captain Ramson might be an imposter—that you change the command codes of the station immediately, or that you direct me to do so. “That accomplished, I suggest that you request a full physical and psychological evaluation of the present Captain Ramson and, if there are any further concerns, address them to Dr. Pavilion for her consideration. Only after those two steps are accomplished, we might consider moving into the realm of speculation, but only if we have a good reason. Until then, I strongly and respectfully suggest that you put the rest of your concerns out of your mind.” “That sounds reasonable.” Scott already looked more relaxed. “Thank you, Captain.” “Have you any orders for me, Commander?” A sigh. Scott was still not accustomed to this whole chain-of-command, commander-commanding-the-captain thing. Unlike in engineering, when he had merely had to outline what needed to get done for his staff to jump to it, he was realizing that the executive officer had to be more explicit sometimes. “Change the station command codes, and then inform Dr. Pavilion to expect Captain Ramson’s visit.” “Yes, Commander. Will there be anything else?” “No, that will be all,” Scott said. He sounded as if the cloak of formality that had descended over the room was going to smother him. Captain Chirakis came to respectful attention, gave a sharp nod, a formal turn, and exited. As she left, there was the distinct clatter of something hitting the floor. She turned to discover Scott hastily bending over to retrieve the Newton’s Cradle from where, pushed and prodded too close to the edge, it had fallen off his desk. He looked up and waved with his free hand, smiling sheepishly.