:: A deep pulse of bass music opens up with a graphic of turbolift flashes over the screen before the screen lights raise up to focus in on Vulcan man seated in a chair with a pair of ceramic coffee mugs on a small table between his chair and the as of yet off screen occupied one. ::
Sopek: Hello and Greetings. My name is Sopek and it is time for another installment of The Lower Decks. Where we leave behind the center chair and big office and go down below to speak with the crew of the vessels and bases in Starfleet. ::He shifts slightly to meet the changing camera and waves a hand to the other chair.:: Tonight’s guest is Lieutenant Mei’konda. He is the Chief of Operations on the USS Mercury. Good Evening Lieutenant.
:: Clasping his hands together over his lap, the Caitian officer smiled nervously toward the holorecorders, then turned his tawny-furred muzzle back over toward the Vulcan host of the program. He reached up to give his uniform collar a few careful tugs, to ensure it was on straight, while his tail twitched nervously behind him. ::
Mei’konda: Hello, misterr Sopek. I am honorred to be here.
Sopek: So, please tell us, how do you keep such an advanced ship as the Mercury running smoothly.
Mei’konda: Ah, a complicaated question, I suppose. Maany of the Mercury’s systems are quiite advaanced, it is true. Like any other ship, we haave procedures, and a very skilled crew. :: The Caitian paused, and rubbed his fuzzy chin. :: The most unique challenge is thaat a large portion of our crew are civiilians. They haave different needs than Starfleet officers.
Sopek: There must be a lot to balance then with such a new state of the art ship.
Mei’konda: :: The Caitian tipped his head back and looked thoughtful. :: Such is the naature of the job, I suppose. The operaations department is one taasked with a great many things.
Sopek: You mentioned the majority of the crew is civilians, what special challenges does that create for you compared to Starfleet officers?
Mei’konda: Well, I suppose it requiires a certaain degree of… latitude in regulaations, that civiliaans are not always informed about.
Sopek: It must create some tension when the ship is threatened then, yes?
:: At this, Mei’konda was quick to shake his head at Sopek before glancing back at the cameras.
Mei’konda: Oh, no, it haas never been a problem. The civilian crew are all well informed about emergency proceduures, and during a red alert, we nearrly always sound a general quarters… ah, that is to say, civilian crew are to report to their quaarters until the crisis haas passed.
Sopek: You must be proud to be in charge of such a fine group. Please for those watching that may not know, what is the job of a Operations Chief?
:: Mei’konda chewed thoughtfully on his bottom lip. ::
Mei’konda: An Operaations officer’s primaary job is handling the day to day operation of a staarship. Communicaations and flight operations fall under my depaartment. We play a secondaary role on the Mercury as sensor operators, though thaat is the science department’s primaary responsibility. :: He let out a short laugh. :: I hope that makes sense.
Sopek: You find yourself handling those responsibilities well I see.
Mei’konda: Oh, well… well enough, I thiink. You would haave to ask the Captaain for his opinion, I suppose.
:: He’d never been particularly good at accepting compliments. Something to improve upon. ::
Sopek: So how do you spend your free time?
Mei’konda: Oh, I have a number of hobbies. Rock climbiing is my favorite, and I enjoy flyiing antique aircraft… you know, the ones that rely on atmospheric pressure for lift. :: He paused, and considered. :: I also haave a large dog. We go on runs together.
Sopek: Do you see yourself as a captain later on in your career?
:: Hints of a smile crossed the feline man’s face, and he shrugged his shoulders. ::
Mei’konda: Not just yet. It will be maany years before I haave to worry about such things, and I know I am not ready for it now. Perhaps some day, though.
Sopek: Tell us about the Menthar Corridor, it is a relatively hostile region.
:: Mei’konda thought about that for a moment. What could he say, exactly? ::
Mei’konda: It is… a very interresting region of spaace. Far outside the Federaation. We haave special permission to conduuct research there, and it is a great opportuniity. An ancient raace known as the Menthar occupied it at one time, and learrning about their culture from whaat they have left behind is… fascinating.
Sopek: Is there some of that you’d like to share with us?
Mei’konda: Well, we know very little, unfortunaately. We know that they died out in a war. Agaainst a neighboring raace, the Promellians. They went extiinct over a thousaand years ago. Their technology waas quite advanced. It is a sad loss, really.
Sopek: Fascinating. Can you tell us about some of the more memorable missions you have been involved in?
:: Oh, so many choices. One stood out with particular clarity in the feline man’s mind, however. ::
Mei’konda: I suppose my fiirst would be the most memoraable. The Mercury was undergoing a refit. Most of the seniior staaff was off ship, and we receiived a distress signal. It turned out to be the — well, an ancient Federation starship, one thought lost for hundreds of yeaars. We were aable to rescue a survivor.
Sopek: What led to their loss for so long?
Mei’konda: Ah, well, the… exact mechaanism is one we did not haave a chance to discover. Unfortunaately, the ship, the Constitution class Saratoga, was lost in the process. But, her loss, with no life aboard, enaabled the Mercury to escaape.
Sopek: How did the senior staff react when you returned with your report of what happened?
:: The Caitian leaned back in his seat, and glanced back over toward the holorecorders. ::
Mei’konda: Well, I suppose they werre… pleaased. A successful rescue mission, even when trroublesome, always feels good.
Sopek: You have given us many insights into your outlook would you care to close with a personal maxim that you use to guide your outlook and choices?
:: A maxim. Mei’konda hesitated. He wasn’t quite sure what to say, and ended up stammering. That’d look good on the cameras, no doubt. ::
Mei’konda: Uh… well, my faather was a Starfleet officerr, and I try to liive up to whaat I thiink his staandards would be. It is a high honor for me to be a senior officer on a staarship.
Sopek: Thank you for your time here today.
Mei’konda: Thaank you, mister Sopek.