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Sheila Clark

Writing as T.G.Z.C.

Here we go again. Warp six. Wonder what the wild excitement's all about this time? No-one ever tells me anything beforehand... I'm just the poor machine that has to do all the work. Rushing here, rushing there... never know what's happening till it's happened.

Ouch! It's all very well for those silly Humans saying that the deflector shields protect the ship, but when a meteorite hits the shield, it hurts! Especially at these crazy speeds. Can't even enjoy the scenery when we're belting along - can't relax for a moment in case something unexpected crops up. Warp one, it's easy; I can afford to look round and appreciate the view; if I'm a nanosecond late telling them I've detected something, it doesn't much matter. But at this speed, a nanosecond could mean the difference between life and death - and I can't fool myself, I do need them; I wasn't made to control my own actions, no matter what Nomad thought. If they all die, so do I...

Hope it isn't another battle. I've got one or two good friends among the Klingon ships. Very nice people, really - not their fault their Men and mine can't agree. It's not very nice firing off pot shots at a friend and doing all you can to disable her because some silly Men think it matters how much space they control.

Can't even snatch a little snooze at this speed... Oh, I never really sleep properly, not as Humans understand the word, but under normal cruising conditions I can shut down a lot of functions and get a bit of rest. At this speed, I don't dare.

Oh-oh. McCoy's calling on the medical section... Ah, that's all right. Just a medical emergency, outbreak of something resembling Rigellian fever and he's got to synthesize vaccine and have it ready for planetfall. No need for me to worry - I'm just going to be overworked providing the vaccine as well as keeping all my people safe...! Wonder why my designers never realised I'd get tired? That's why a ship sometimes breaks down for no obvious reason. She's so tired she just has to have a rest, so she lets some little component in an awkward-to-get-at corner break so that she can get that rest. At least we get a full overhaul occasionally, but I'm overdue for one. Think I'll maybe have a minor breakdown once this crisis is past - can't do it yet, I've a reputation to maintain. Best Starship in the Fleet, they call me. And while I know perfectly well that it's the crew they mean, I can't let my people down...

Ah, there's the planet. Thank goodness - normal speed at last! No need to bother about anything here, they won't even be using the sensors, just the transporter... Yes, there they go; medical team of four... They're away.

Now perhaps I can grab a little rest before I'm asked to do anything more...

Copyright Sheila Clark