It was the mid watch on the Andromeda and as had been her custom ever since her awaking, Andromeda began to make her rounds, sending extensions of her self around the ship. She was in orbit over Sinti IV undergoing repairs after a skirmish with a Nietsschean cruiser escorted by a pair of destroyers. The majority of her crew that was not actually on duty for the day was planetside enjoying some well deserved shore leave. It promised to be a slow night.
Her first stop was the command deck, her chief engineer, Harper, was standing watch with Senior Spacer Winfrey. Harper was rattling on about his days on the Eureka Maru and Winfrey was quietly enduring Harper's babbling, nodding appropriately and making an occasional 'uh huh' noise while obviously wishing he could be just about anywhere else on the ship. Andromeda allowed her self a cybernetic chuckle knowing that in a few years Winfrey would be the one regaling some junior enlisted person about his exploits.
She moved her awareness to her engineering and operations centers, and began asking questions on her status to the watch officers. She knew her status better than they did of course, but it never hurt to show up unexpectedly, it kept the watches on their toes.
Watches accounted for it was time to check in on the remainder of her crew. With the exception of Harper, her senior officers were all asleep. Even her avatar had shut down for the night. Rommie called it self-diagnostics yet Andromeda noticed that her diagnostics seemed to include snoring softly. Her avatar was adopting more and more organic behaviors, but then she was supposed to. Her purpose was to bind the ship to the crew and the crew to the ship.
Dylan had fallen asleep while reading a book of poetry. She dimmed the lights in his quarters and went on the check the others. Beka was tossing and turning in her sleep apparently in the grip of a nightmare. Andromeda incarnated herself as Logic and formed in Beka's quarters. The crew tended to think of Core, Logic and Rommie as three distinct and separate individuals, they weren't but neither where they the same individual. They were Andromeda Ascendant. She spoke soothingly to the fitful woman until she settled back into a deeper more restful sleep.
Tyr was next. Not surprisingly he was sleeping soundly. Tyr slept as though he had the clear conscious of a baby, or a predatory beast. Trance was last on her list. The young woman was asleep holding a picture of her lover, Dr Jackson. There was a lipstick stain on the picture that hadn't been there yesterday.
Semopr officers accounted for; it was time to check on her junior officers and enlisted crew. If the truth was to be known she loved her enlisted personnel more than she did her officers. While her officers received the prestige and the glory, it was her enlisted crew that usually did the sweating, bleeding and dying. They didn't do the sweating, bleeding and dying out of a great belief in the New Commonwealth; they did so because of their loyalty to Dylan, each other, and their love for her.
Her awareness drifted through the dimly lit corridors to the junior officers' staterooms and crew's berthing compartments. Unseen and unheard she observed. There were just the sounds of sleeping beings, and the faint red glow of the night lights. The forward male berthing compartment was uncomfortably cold. Her personnel monitors indicated that some of the crew members were sleeping restlessly because of the chill. She raised the temperature of the compartment slightly.
The hydroponics bay was next. There were numerous areas of the bay that were screened off from the main area by clumps of bushes and floored with a soft velvety type of moss. During ships day and early evening the areas were often used by off duty crew members for picnics, at night they were used for more intimate encounters. Several of these areas were currently in use. She made a mental note to herself to have Trance check the status of all crew members' contraceptive shots. She could do it herself, but Trance needed something to take her mind off Dr Jackson.
Now the hanger deck. The hanger deck was both her favorite and least favorite place on the ship. Least favorite because funerals were held there. Most favorite because celebrations were, birthdays, weddings, the Lancer's Ball and joy of joys a christening. Two of her married crew members had taken a leave of absence on Infinity Atoll and nine months later Andromeda Rihan Lincoln was born in her sickbay. At the christening she and Dylan where named as her godparents.
Her last stop was sickbay. Andromeda hated visiting sickbay. It held far too many bad memories for her. One of the unwritten duties of a ships AI was to stand vigil over dying crew members, trying to ease their passage into what she hoped was a better existence. Fortunately at present sickbay had only two occupants, Petty Officer Kailli and the duty nurse, who was as Andromeda had expected, Evie. Whenever possible Evie and Harper arranged their duty rotations so that they would both be on duty at the same time thus maximizing the amount of off duty time they had together. Petty Officer Kailli had picked up a case of Springbok's rash on her last shore leave. It was in no way life threatening but it was highly contagious.
Rounds completed she turned her attention outwards to the stars. She wondered if her captain knew that at times she wanted to simply run off into the depths of space with her crew and find someplace where they could live out their lives and raise her grandchildren. She was a warship, and a good one, but she never enjoyed going into battle. Win loose or draw she would always take at least a few hits and those hits HURT. But more importantly there was the chance of loosing yet another crew member. Every time she lost one it was though a little piece of her died as well. There were times when she felt she had very little left of herself to give. She knew what Dylan would tell her if he knew. He would tell her that even if she did find that safe haven it would simply mean that her grandchildren or their children would be the ones that would have to face the Magog and the Abyss. An Abyss and Magog that would be even more powerful than they were now. Sadly he was correct, if she wanted her grandchildren to have a chance to live out their lives in peace she would have to continue to risk her life and the lives of her crew. And so she continued on.
There was another ship in orbit with her, the group defense frigate Pleiades Victorious, better known to her friends as Tori She opened an AI-to-AI communication channel. Perhaps Tori would like to play a game of Go.