::The music begins and the blackness fades into colour. A galaxy
splashes across behind the two people seated in chairs. The colours
have changed, one red, the other blue with Danice seated in the crimson
chair. Her eyes stay forward as the scene comes into full focus and her
chin lifts just before she speaks.::
DANICA: Good evening and welcome to Stardate Now! – I’m your host,
::The camera angle changes and Danica has to turn a little so that her
gaze remains dead set upon it.::
DANICA: Tonight our special guest is the recipient of numerous awards
and has served on no less than seven postings. He’s young and hot – in
more ways than one – please welcome Captain Diego Herrera. ::She turns
toward her guest who is now shown upon the screen.:: Good evening, Captain.
::The young CO nodded, a little more comfortable in his chair than he
probably should have been either for a captain or an interviewee.::
HERRERA: Good evening, Danica.
DANICA: Like most in Starfleet, you began your career as a fresh faced
cadet right out of the Academy. Tell us, what motivated you to join
::He’d expected that kind of question as an icebreaker; the path that
led each officer to Starfleet was unique and it was always interesting
to hear what had motivated someone to put on their uniform.::
HERRERA: Good question. Back when I was at academy age, I felt a really
strong pull towards studying medicine and I felt like Starfleet gave me
the best opportunity to do that and then put my skills to good use every
day. So far it seems I’ve been right, so I’m glad I made that choice to
DANICA: Why Medical and Counseling?
::That seemed a relatively easy question to answer. Diego shuffled in
his seat, making himself even more comfortable and slumping backwards as
he explained the reasons behind his choice.::
HERRERA: Well, the medical side of things came from a childhood hero. My
sister got hurt when I was a kid and everyone was panicking about it,
especially me. The paramedics came to take care of it and there was one
of them in particular who was really great with me. He made me feel
confident that they would be able to help her and in the end they did.
Since that day I knew I wanted to be a doctor.
::That wasn’t quite the full story, but Diego wasn’t completely
comfortable with going into too much more detail on such a public
broadcast. He hoped it was enough to answer that half of the question.::
HERRERA: As for counselling, I was looking at specialising in neurology.
I figured that being as I was studying the way the brain worked on a
biological level, it would make sense to get an understanding of how it
ran day-to-day as well, so I took a dual major. It was a lot of work,
but ultimately worth it. I’ve been called on for both specialisms a good
number of times during my career and I’m glad I’ve been able to use them
to help people out so much.
DANICA: You started your post on the USS Eagle, then moved to the
Challenger – A. Why the change in posting?
::The Spaniard smiled at the question.::
HERRERA: Well, it was kind of Starfleet’s decision more than mine. I got
orders through to transfer, so I packed my bags. They switched me from a
medical role to a counseling position, although after I’d been on the
Challenger for a while I ended up filling in for their CMO after he got
DANICA: What about further changes? What were the reasons behind those?
::Following his posting to the Challenger, he’d been reassigned to
Starfleet medical. He’d left Earth to take up a relatively short posting
to the Duronis II Embassy before heading back to Earth again, which had
led him to his current command.::
HERRERA: Some of them were mandatory reassignments. You know how it can
be with Starfleet. If they need someone then they need someone and they
send them out to do whatever job needs doing. Someone recommended me for
my post on Til’ahn and when my work there was done I got the chance to
go back to Starfleet Medical and work in experimental neuroscience. That
was a really interesting time and I was lucky enough to get the chance
to work on a project that could help victims of brain damage, including
my sister, which was important to me.
DANICA: Tell us more about your sister and her accident.
::The seat felt a whole lot less comfortable as the question was asked.
He sat up straight and tugged at the front of his uniform to straighten
it as he answered.::
HERRERA: Uh, well… I pretty much said everything that you need to
know. Her brain was damaged in a Parrises Squares accident when I was a
kid and the paramedics saved her life.
DANICA: And you were able to develop technology to help her? Tell us
::He leaned back, his guard lowering a little as they moved back into
more comfortable territory.::
HERRERA: Yeah, it’s something called a positronic inducer. It’s designed
to bypass damaged neural pathways and effectively act as replacements.
It was kinda inspired by the work Dr. Julian Bashir did a couple of
decades ago to help prolong the peace talks between Bajor and Cardassia.
Reading the medical report he’d filed helped give me the idea. Once you
get your inducer set up, you can clip it to your head, a bit like a
neural stimulator. So far it can only be used to mitigate relatively
simple symptoms, but they’re still researching and developing it back at
Starfleet Medical so who knows what they might be able to do with it in
DANICA: Despite what happened to your sister, you still play the game?
Isn’t it dangerous? After all, Adana was seriously injured.
::Diego sighed and folded his arms. He didn’t know how many people were
watching the show but he refused to be judged by a reporter or a
faceless crowd. He didn’t know whether or not she was trying to make him
look foolish, selfish or both, but he wasn’t about to be painted as
HERRERA: It’s no more dangerous than serving in Starfleet. It makes my
sister happy because she still loves the sport and can’t play it
herself. That’s all you need to know.
DANICA: Recently you’ve been promoted to Captain of the USS Vigilant.
Tell us what led up to that.
::Pleased that conversation about Squares had not continued any further,
Diego recounted the sequence of events that had led him to put on a red
collar and find his first captain’s chair.::
HERRERA: I’d reached the rank of captain while I was leading up the
experimental neuroscience project at Starfleet Medical. It was my family
that persuaded me to take the bridge officer’s training. My mother was a
driving force behind that. She said that she thought I’d make a good
leader and that I should take a chance. I think what sold it to me the
most was the idea of being out there and in the driver’s seat with a
crew of my own, making a difference out in Federation territory and
hopefully the quadrant at large. I’m glad we had that conversation
because without it I don’t know if I’d have ended up where I am now.
DANICA: So your mother was supportive? What about your father? Have
there been others besides them and the paramedic that have played
important roles in the choices you made for your life?
::Diego thought about his dad’s involvement in his career choices. He’d always been there to support him, right alongside his mother. She was usually the more vocal of the two, although he knew he could always count on his dad if ever he needed him.::
HERRERA: Yeah, Papa was right up for it as well. I’m lucky because they’ve both always believed in me, which is a great thing. I’ve met people in my career who have also helped me to do well. My commanding officers, particularly Commander Tel-ar and Fleet Captain Turner, have been a good source of inspiration. It’s been good knowing I have the support of Lieutenant Commander Ashley Yael, who is a good friend and my current first officer, Commander Greir Reinard, has been an inspiration. We’re able to lean on each other for support whenever we need it, which has to be a good thing.
DANICA: What sort of challenges have you faced in this new position that
you didn’t expect?
::He was starting to relax again a little bit as he cast his mind back
over the adventures that he’d had with the Vigilant crew.::
HERRERA: Well, it’s tough to keep my nose out of sickbay for one thing.
We’ve had some very capable medics on the Vigilant but there’s always
the temptation to drop in and lend a hand. They’ve all been good about
it so far, though. Other than that, I guess it’s just the
responsibility, which is the same as leading a medical team but…
different. You have to know who to assign where and when. That’s not
DANICA: What are some of the goals you have now that you are in command
of your own starship?
::That was the toughest question yet and something that Diego guessed he
really needed to lend some thought to in the future. In some ways, he’d
met his initial goals and it was now time to set some longer term ones.::
HERRERA: I always want to make a difference. There are a lot of things
to keep an eye on in the Zeta Gelis region. The Zalkonians are a mystery
to us right now, so I’m hoping to find out more about them and expand
our knowledge of space beyond the edge of the Federation border.
Starfleet assigned the Vigilant to that region to lend it a little
stability. I feel like we have a foot in the door but it’s still going
to take work to make sure that happens. I guess that’s my main goal.
DANICA: Thank you for your time. That concludes this episode of Stardate now. We’ll see you next time.