The first thing Ellie did upon entering her quarters was to turn the temperature down five degrees. Then she downloaded the bridge logs into her computer and started to play them, but sitting in the chair made her think of the times she’d been sitting there with Todd reading over her shoulder, his breath tickling her ear. So, she set her computer on the floor so she could watch while standing on her head, but that made her think of how she tried to teach Todd that and she could hear his laugh. She flopped onto the couch, but that made her think of his kisses…

Fifty push-ups later, she lowered the temperature another degree, then tried again. This time, she noticed the message light blinking on her console. Her parents wanting, no doubt, to discuss her rash decision to fall in love with the perfect man…

“I can’t concentrate here!” she yelled at the room. “Doall to Commander Smythe. Sir, can I please go work on the bridge?”

“Pardon? Yes, of course. Whatever you have to do. Just get me those spacetime coordinates.”


“I trust you. We’re a little busy right now. We need to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.” There was clanging and hammering in the background and something made a strained whooshing sound, then he clicked off.

What spacetime coordinates? That was weird. She shrugged it off. She was sure once she got to the bridge, she’d find exactly what he wanted. That was how it worked. After all, she was Lieutenant Ellie “Save the Ship” Doall.

And someday, she’d be Mrs. Lieutenant Ellie “Save the Ship” Doall Ahndmore!

What was I doing? she thought, then shrugged it off. She’d figure it out once she got to the bridge. She skipped out without grabbing her tricorder.

Second Officer’s Log, Intergalactic Date 677001.335

We continue to maintain position relative to the HMB Marvin. (Pulsie, enter precise coordinates here, please.) The away teams have returned to the Impulsive and are self-isolating while…

Commander Richard Paolinelli paused in his log when the lazivator doors opened and Lieutenant Ellie Doall, Ops Officer, skipped out. “Lieutenant, why aren’t you in quarters?”

“It’s okay, sir. Commander Smythe said I could work up here.”

“This is my shift!” Lieutenant Fyodor Smirnov protested.

Ellie pinched his cheek. “I won’t bother you, Lieutenant Grumpypants. I’ll take this console.”

Grumpypants? “Paolinelli to Sickbay. Doctor, is Lieutenant Doall cleared for bridge duty?”

“Yes, it’s fine,” came the reply.

Little did Paolinelli know that the voice he heard was a simulation created by Commander Deary who was busy programming the doctor with a long-sleeved, frilly tunic and tight pants that ended at the ankles—the exact outfit Caillen had worn in the last picture he had of her. Even so, the second officer wasn’t sure their ops officer was fine, at all. “Lieutenant, a word?”

“Okee-dokee.” She skipped down and sat primly in the first officer’s seat. She looked at him with strained eyes, as if forcing herself to focus. She had a light sheen of sweat on her skin.

He set the back of his hand against her forehead. She didn’t have a fever. “Are you sure you feel all right? You’re sweating.”

“Oh, it’s probably because we had the Marvin at near freezing. But it’s so sweet of you to notice.”

He wasn’t convinced. “Why don’t you give me a preliminary report—your impressions, things we didn’t get told over the comms?”

As she launched into her story, he scratched at the back of his hand. When she got to the part about the anvil, he was chuckling.