The Art of Camaraderie
By Deede


Communiqué from Starfleet:
Dear Commander Troi,

In order to examine the process of running a successful Starship
from a psychological perspective we ask that you, in your own
expert opinion as ship’s counselor aboard the highly prosperous
flagship, Enterprise, submit a paper to Starfleet documenting
your experiences and findings. We’d like you to cover all aspects
of life aboard the ship, including, but not limited to: command
structure, relations between the senior staff, productivity of
the crew, and their relations to the senior staff.  We look forward
to reading your dissertation.


Admiral Ritchie


For the first time in a long time Deanna Troi looked, really
and truly looked at the activity going on while she carried out
her shift on the bridge. In the day-to-day routine, either on
duty or off, she had almost taken for granted all the little
nuances that occurred that made life aboard the Enterprise what
it was. Minute things like the way the Captain sat so regally
in his chair, or the way Will would look up from his console
every once in awhile to flash her a loving, affectionate grin,
teasingly caressing her emotions through their Imzadi link with
semi-erotic ones of his own, all the while looking as innocent
as a school boy on his way home from church. The way Data punched
keys and buttons faster than most humanoids could, unintentionally
setting a rhythm to it that could be heard to any ear that took
the time to listen. The gentle pulse of the engines, the dim
lights of the bridge: all things that, combined, generated an
atmosphere of comfort, of security, of…home.

It didn’t matter that they were currently on a mission, about
to make first contact with an alien race that had only recently
achieved warp drive in a far off region of space, the way they
had done so many times in the past, because that too was adventurous
and wondrous. It was what they were there for and what they lived
to do. And all of it: the anticipation the crew felt for their
current mission, the satisfaction the Captain felt for how things
were being run, the curiosity over what the day would bring that
radiated off of Will in droves; served as a balm to Deanna’s
empathic senses - as if, at that moment in time, all was right
in the universe.

Which is why the counselor could only smile when the Captain
asked to speak with her in his ready room, her demeanor entirely
at ease yet focused and resolved…a feeling she felt the Captain
mirror. He smiled at her, the way he always did before one of
their infamous pre-assignment discussions; automatically going
to the replicator to order her and himself a cup of tea, the
way he had done an infinite amount of times in the past.

“Have you had time to study the Salmadoxians yet, Counselor?”
Picard asked, when they had both settled in a chair. “I realize
that between bridge duty and your appointments with the crew,
we’ve kept you fairly busy as of late,” he finished, taking a
sip of tea while looking at her with genuine worry.

“I’ve done my studying,” she answered with easy humor, touched
by the Captain’s concern and she leaned forward, eager to share
the details of the assignment that she knew Picard would appreciate.
“Although the Salmadoxians only recently discovered warp drive
they have a very rich and colorful history. Particularly different
sections of nomadic type groups that left some stunning structures
behind that have kept the Salmadoxian Archeologists puzzled for

At that the Captain laughed, amused and warmed by how well the
Counselor knew him, which more often than not resulted in her
looking into the fields of study about each new civilization
they encountered that would draw his interest while she familiarized
herself with the standard statistics as well. “Really? I shall
definitely have to look into this rich history of theirs, particularly
as it pertains to archeology.”

With that he granted Deanna another smile and rested back in
his chair, the fingertips of both his hands pressed together
while he mulled something over in his head.

“Tell Commander Riker that I plan to lead the away team on this
one, and I want you to go with me,” he stated finally, after
moments had passed, the two of them exchanging a look that indicated
how they both knew the news of the Captain leading an away team,
potentially placing himself in harms way, would go over with
the protective First Officer. “And if he gives you a hard time
about it, tell him that…”

“Greeting new cultures is exactly the kind of thing you live
for,” Troi finished with a saucy grin, laughing as she continued,
“and he better not give me a hard time about it or he is going
to find himself without a date tonight.”

Picard chuckled, genuine amusement lighting his features. “Yes,
I imagine so,” he said finally, flashing Deanna an appreciative
smile. “Thank you, Counselor.”

Deanna nodded in reply, turning to make her way to the door while
mentally bracing herself for breaking the latest news of the
current mission to her lover.

And the Enterprise forged on, the way it always did. Crewman
fulfilled their tasks with expert precision, desperately eager
to please their commanding officers, distant stars look like
white streams of light in the sky as they whizzed by her view:
the blackness of space combined with energetic sense of life
all around her wrapped with a warm sense of affection and familiarity.
This was her place and her job, her livelihood and her passion,
her interest and her duty: a position she adored amongst the
freedom of space, under the watching, friendly eyes of her Captain
and his First Officer.

Excerpt from the notes of Counselor Deanna Troi;
The Art of Command:

The day I first met Captain Jean-Luc Picard he intimidated me.
At that time he was already a legend by his own making, and I
was a newly appointed, fresh-faced officer on my first major
commission. I spent a great deal of time studying people when
I first stepped aboard the Enterprise, fascinated by the continual
fluctuation of emotion among the crew. The dedication and eager
anticipation each officer had for their duty captivated me, but
none more so than the captain of the ship that bore the legendary

Immediately Captain Picard attained my respect: he was brisk
and firm, stringent yet compassionate, intelligent yet realistic.
He had a no nonsense approach to command, expecting the best
yet not in a way that was demanding or overbearing. And he seemed
larger than life; almost stoic… it wasn't until I had served
under his command for some time that I learned that there were
many, many layers to Jean-Luc Picard.  

Beneath the upright, headstrong Captain lay a man fervent for
his position, a soul with a love of art, and a dry wit, a gentleman
who appreciates music and literature and maintains an unrelenting
quest for knowledge. There was also a softness to him, as he,
over time, developed a strong affection for his crew and the
officers that served so loyally by his side. He demanded respect
yet he gave it in return, and that above all else inspired devotion
amongst his officers, myself included, that is unbending and
unrelenting.  He leads firmly and unwaveringly, but with fondness.
On duty he is our fearless Captain with a lifetime of noble experience
under his belt, off duty he is a friend.

There are many ways in which Commander William Riker's style
of command is similar to Captain Picard's and many ways in which
they differ. Neither one is right nor wrong, but both are extremely
effective.  My personal relationship with the Commander aside,
I've learned a great deal about duty, honor, and the benefits
of taking pride in one's job through Will Riker. He is meticulous,
dedicated, and entirely passionate about his duty, and his performance.
When he needs to be he can be tough, strong willed, and firm,
yet overall he is companionable, even friendly while in command.

Will Riker engenders instant trust and kinship in his officers,
showing both compassion and empathy to those who serve under
him. He'll inject humor into a tense situation, he'll laugh or
smile at appropriate times, placing his fellow officers at ease.
He'll speak with a flair for the dramatics, or the seriousness
of a soldier and he'll study his opponents with the discipline
of a man who has spent a lifetime learning a musical instrument.
Yet he takes his position and his authority every bit as serious
as his captain, and that is apparent in his personality as well.
All of which combine to make him the successful officer that
he is in his own right.

I've served with these men thirteen years now, witnessing their
strengths and their weaknesses, delighting in their accomplishments
and agonizing with them over their low points. Both men are a
lesson in courage, determination, and devotion and perhaps learning
from their example was one of the motivations I had in deciding
to take the bridge officer's test for my rank of commander six
years ago. The very spirit they put into their vocations make
their positions a desired aspiration for others. I'm extremely
fortunate to have served under them all of these years.


“So, now that we just had our work out, want to go undo every
last bit of it by going to get a bite of something deliciously
fattening to eat in ten forward? I’ll buy,” Beverly Crusher offered
with a devilish gleam in her eyes while she slung a fluffy white
towel over her shoulder and bent to gather up her gym bag and
belongings from the corner of the work out room she and Deanna
had just spent the better part of an hour in.

“That depends,” the Counselor answered slyly, a light sheen of
sweet covering her olive skin as she finished the last of her
cool down exercises. “Does this undoing everything we just did
include chocolate?”

“Most definitely,” the doctor added with an easy grin, “I know
you too well not to offer chocolate as an incentive to get you
to be bad with me.”

“Then you’re on!” Deanna answered eagerly, sorting through her
own belongings to get ready and head out the door with her workout
partner of many years.

“I knew I could get you to come,” Beverly replied with smug satisfaction,
smiling at her friend with a knowing sense of affection.

The two of them had had this routine for years, meeting to work
out, which was usually followed by either a cup of tea or a massive
feast in ten forward. More often than not the late afternoon
conversation would include gossip, and other points of interest…
anything and everything with the possible exception of duty,
which they chose to leave for the bridge and senior staff meetings.
A lot of times during their post-calisthenics down time they
were joined by other close friends, as they were on that particular
day when Geordi LeForge and Data walked in just a little after
Beverly and Deanna had settled at a table - both ladies indicating
with eye contact and a nod of their heads that the men were more
than welcome to join them.

“So Counselor,” the chief engineer started after he and Data
had sat down, a small smirk at the edge of his lips. “I noticed
that you and Commander Riker were burning the midnight oil last
night. The log for the holodeck has you both there well past
0200 hours. And I’m not even sure I want to know what you were
up to at that late an hour,” he finished with a gentle taunt.

Deanna couldn’t stop the blush from rising to her cheeks, no
matter how desperately she wished the tell tale sign of her discomfort
wasn’t so apparent. The relationship between her and Will was
ship wide ride knowledge, it had been for years, and no one,
other than themselves, of course, had been more delighted than
their friends when they had decided to renew their romantic relationship.
However, the unending source of joy and love that radiated from
the couple left them wide open for gentle ribbing from those
closest to them, which was something that Will always managed
to take in stride but Deanna never failed to respond to.

“If you must know, we were going bike riding on a trail in the
mountains of Alaska. Will considered it some kind of crime against
humanity that I had never rode a bike before,” the Counselor
explained in a rush, cooling her heated cheeks by taking a sip
of a drink that had just been set before her by the waitress.

“It is,” Beverly injected lightly, lightly tapping her friend
on the shoulder. “Nothing beats the cool rush of air through
your hair as the gorgeous scenery passes by you and fresh air
fills your lungs while your body goes through continuous motion.
Its kind of romantic,” she added with a glint in her eye, laughing
when Deanna blushed further.

“So am I to understand that bike riding is something that is
considered common to being human?” Data asked with keen fascination,
looking from one friend to another with childlike curiosity.

“That depends, Data, on which kind of bike riding you’re referring
to. There are those who do it for exercise, those who do it for
recreation, and then there is the way that Commander Riker and
Counselor Troi do it, which I’m sure is a style all their own.
0200 hours indeed,” Beverly couldn’t help but respond, causing
Geordi to chuckle while Deanna buried her face in her hands and
shook her head, much to Data’s further confusion.

“Just wait until the next crew evaluations come up, guys,” the
counselor threatened in jest from behind her fingers, peaking
through to find her crew mates beaming at her in friendly affection.


Excerpt from the notes of Counselor Deanna Troi;
Officers and Friends

I suppose there are some crews on distant starships somewhere
where the crew reports for a shift, fulfills their task yet does
not bond with his/her fellow crewmates. Where duties are performed
and carried out and that is the end of any sort of relationship
the crew might have with one another... That is not how we do
things on the Enterprise. From day one this crew became an intricately
woven team, as if our chemistry was automatically in tune with
one another, and that trait above all else has assisted us in
becoming as successful in our endeavors as we have over the years.

Our relationship is founded on multiple layers of trust and respect,
yet there is a camaraderie we share as well. I don't think there
is a member of this crew that wouldn't die for another, at least
amongst the senior staff. There are ties that bind us all as
one greater whole, our passions for our positions, the adventurous
streak we all share, the strong beliefs we have for what it is
that we do and why it is that we do it, culminated by our friendships
and our interpersonal relationships.

The crew of the Enterprise is more than just a group of officers
assigned to the Federation's flagship… we're a family. And like
any healthy family we weather the storms and the good times,
the moments of sorrow and the moments of joy, together.  And
this trait has been more of a benefit to our positions than a
hindrance. There have been so many instances where one crewmember
risking his/her neck for another has not only saved us each in
turn but saved the ship as well. And in a way, the drive to do
our jobs to the best of our ability, to assist our captain and
each other with everything that we have, is founded, on a large
part, in the love that we carry for one another.

Each new day brings a higher understanding, a level of knowledge
and growth that we all take with us. I don’t think there is a
one of us who feels that our jobs are binding us down, that we
are unhappy with where we are or whom we’re working with. Our
familiarity with one another brings a level of contentment to
the ship that is felt by all who participate, and also a fine-tuned
layer of comfort.

I’ve heard back from crewmembers that have left the Enterprise
who have a hard time adjusting to life on board another station
and/or ship.  They have often stated they miss the acceptance,
the amity and the topnotch level of performance that is felt
and exhibited here. Without really intentionally setting out
to purposely create a family-like system that works, we have
done it, and I believe firmly that we are all that much stronger
for it.

There are times, usually during moments of quiet reflection,
where I look at the faces of my crew and friends and get flooded
with a profound sense of warmth, and of belonging. And I realize
just how lucky we are that we were all assigned to this ship,
with this captain, and with each other. We have truly made a
home for ourselves out among the stars, and I wouldn’t have it
any other way.


The counselor leaned forward, her darks eyes mirroring her concern
as she instinctively reached for her patient’s hands, taking
them in her own with gentle compassion as she nodded her head
to indicate that the lieutenant continue in her account of recent
problems that had manifested themselves in her relationship with
her brother, who also served on board the Enterprise. 

“When we were both posted to the Enterprise we were both so excited,”
a young engineer by the name of Karen Walker stated, her face
a mask of abject misery. “I mean, who wouldn’t be? A posting
on board the Federation’s flagship is almost every officer’s
dream job. We actually went out and celebrated that night, toasting
our luck and the fact that we had somehow managed to be assigned
to the same ship, all the while thinking how fortunate that was…”

“But it didn’t turn out to be fortunate, did it?” Deanna Troi
offered softly, not really needing to rely on her empathy in
order to feel the turmoil that radiated off of her younger patient
in waves.

“No, it didn’t,” the Lieutenant continued, shaking her head in
affirmation. “I mean, we’ve always been competitive with one
another, especially with the two of us being so close to each
other in age. Growing up we were constantly trying to one up
each other in grades, sports and achievements, but it’s just
gotten out of hand. I feel like we’re in constant rivalry and
that it has utterly destroyed our relationship.”

“Have you tried to talk to your brother about how you feel?”
the counselor asked patiently, her gaze thoughtful.

“Yes, but he just laughs it off,” Karen answered, her voice wavering
as a sob fought its way up her throat. “He claims I’m imagining
things and that a little friendly competition never hurt anyone.”

“I see,” Commander Troi stated as neutrally as she could, reaching
up to give her patient’s shoulder a gentle squeeze in support.
“Are you happy with every other aspect of your life here?”

“Oh yes, I love my job here, and the people I work with. I wouldn’t
trade it for anything. Although I must admit that lately I have
entertained thoughts of finding a post somewhere else just so
I wouldn’t have to work so closely with Kevin any longer,” the
lieutenant disclosed hesitantly, unsure of how the counselor
would process such news. It turned out her concern was ill founded
for the psychiatrist nodded in clear understanding, her demeanor
radiating empathy.

“That’s a natural reaction to have. It is normal to want to separate
from conflict by removing yourself from it entirely. However,
applying for another posting somewhere else will not erase the
existing tension between you and your brother. You would be ignoring
the issue instead of confronting it,” the Counselor replied in
a kind yet firm voice. “Do you think that your brother would
agree to join us for your next session so that the three of us
can work through these difficulties you’re having together? I
can make it an order if I need to.”

“It wont be necessary, I think I can get Kevin to agree to come
in here. He admitted to me not too long ago that he has a crush
on you,” Karen admitted sheepishly, the twinkle returning to
the normally cheerful officer’s eyes.

Deanna Troi smiled, her dark eyes taking on a mischievous light
as both she and Lieutenant Walker stood from their positions
on the couch. “Hey, whatever works,” the Counselor stated in
a teasing tone, her grin growing when her young patient laughed
merrily in reply, her trouble all but forgotten… for the time


Excerpt from the notes of Counselor Deanna Troi;
The Crew and Beyond

It amazes me that a crew as large as the Enterprise crew, complete
with their respective families, gets by as well as this one does
with very little mishaps. Yes, we have our share of difficulties,
there are deaths, illnesses, arguments among crew members who
do not see eye to eye, ensigns who have a hard time adjusting
to life on board a starship, and duties that more often than
not interfere with personal lives, but for the most part this
crew is extremely well adjusted. 

I think that perhaps one of Starfleet’s wisest decisions to date
was the allowance of family to live on board a ship with the
officers who service it so diligently. There is something to
be said for the ability to come home off of a shift and sit down
to dinner with loved ones, or to read to children, or engage
in any sort of sport or play: all little mundane things that
add up to generate balance, center, and a sense of tranquility.

The Enterprise is, in a sense, its own community just as any
other city or town would be on any given planet. There is a hierarchy,
trades, recreation, and a system of laws and order, but there
is also spirit, and soul: an intricately woven cycle of life
and birth. The psychological well being of the crew is founded
in large part to their ability to adjust, adapt, and compromise,
something that the presence of family, and the availability and
compassion of the senior staff who take on the arduous task of
maintaining the community, allow to develop. 

That is not to say that major moral questions haven’t arose.
The Enterprise has been in mortal danger a number of times, be
it engaging the Borg or mediating a tense and perhaps deadly
dispute. The stress this puts on the officers who not only have
to perform their duty, but also worry over the safety of their
families who happen to be on board the ship is a legitimate concern.
However, I have found that an officer protecting their loved
ones, using their heart as well as their mind during drastic
situations tends to lead to ideas and actions that turn out to
be successful and beneficial to the situation. The old earth
adage that a man or woman defending his/her home is more dedicated
than any hired soldier trained to perform the same task comes
to mind.

But the most important factor between the crew, their families,
and the senior officers is the level of support that is generated,
on duty and off. Every aspect of life on board the Enterprise
contributes to this level of security, be it: the command structure,
the friendly, loving relationship between the senior staff which
inadvertently sets an example for the rest of the crew, and the
level of community felt among the citizens of this great society
among the stars. We are each a part of a much larger whole, every
one of us contributing to the overall workings of what it is
that we have and what it is that we do. We are a team of explorers
who visit the far regions of space, who expand our minds and
our horizons, and continually learn more about life, existence,
and one another everyday. Will we ever have all the answers to
the mysterious of the universe? Undoubtedly not, but what we’ve
learned over the years is that it’s the journey to get there
that really matters.


She found her lover in the viewing lounge with the Captain, both
senior officers laughing as if they had just shared a joke, although
Will’s gaze turned immediately to her as she walked in, his blue
eyes dancing as a wave of the deep love and adoration he felt
for her pierced her weary empathic sense, creating a warmth and
answering love from within her, and surrounding all the tired
parts of her soul with gentle vibrancy. Her dark eyes met his,
her spirit reaching out for him, the way it always did, and he
smiled, deeply, beautifully, sending her that look that he often
gave her that never failed to cause her heart to swell, the one
that conveyed his feeling that she was precious, and sacred,
and his.

“Am I interrupting something?” she asked out loud, turning a
quick smile towards the Captain before turning her attention
back to Will. 

“Not at all, Deanna, we were just finishing up,” the Captain
said with gentle humor, giving the Counselor’s shoulder an affectionate
squeeze before turning to make his way out of the room. “He is
all yours.”

Troi’s eyes sparkled as she grinned wickedly at her lover, waiting
until the doors hissed shut to signal that the Captain was out
of the room before teasingly asking: “And are you all mine, Imzadi?”

“Since the moment I first laid eyes on you,” the Commander answered
honestly, bridging the distance between them with an easy step
and wrapping her tightly in his arms. 

She smiled widely at him with undeniable vibrancy evident in
her features, her heart rate lifting as she felt her love for
him expand to fill her spirit in its entirety. She reached up
with both hands to cup his cheeks, her thumbs softly moving back
and forth to caress his beard while she looked deeply in his
eyes. And his arms tightened around her, lifting her feet off
of the ground as he held her up.

“How was your day?” he asked inquisitively, squeezing her even
tighter within his embrace.

She paused before answering, going over the full days events,
her mind turning briefly to her dissertation and the truths she
had written about, applying all that she knew to be real into
her answer. 

“It was wonderful,” she said honestly, “but its even more wonderful

And his grin grew, his eyes glittering with a thousand lightened
hues of blue as he spun her around, and fresh wave of emotion
sprung up between them.

“And how was your day,” Deanna asked in turn, her happiness shinning
merrily in her eyes as she reached up and ran her fingers through
his hair. Delighting in the heat that their bodies generated
for and within each other.

“Mmmm,” Will answered, burying his head in her neck and breathing
in the intoxicating aroma of her, a scent he could never seem
to get enough of. “Much, much better now, although there was
this one thing that happened today. Apparently my Captain and
my Imzadi have decided that they are both going down to a technological
burgeoning planet that the Federation has no previous experience

“You’re STILL hung up over that?” she exclaimed in mock indignation,
laughing as he tickled her neck with the continuous and light
caress of his lips.

“At this precise moment…no. The minute you walked into the room
my mind became preoccupied with other, far more enjoyable thoughts,”
he flirted with a devious grin, laughing when her cheeks colored
as a result of his blatant intent. 

He leaned back slightly and looked deeply into her eyes, utter
peace filling him and reaching out to weave a golden spell around
his heart as it beat within his chest for her, the way it always

“We’ve had quite a journey over the years, haven’t we, Will?”
she questioned suddenly, from some other place, although an instant
understanding sparked within his gaze.

“The journey is far from over, Imzadi,” he answered with calm
wisdom, touching his forehead to hers, while something still,
and tender passed between them.

“Well then, what are we waiting for?” she replied softly, after
seconds had passed, and the gentle sound of his laughter rang
merrily in her ears as she closed her eyes and leaned forward
for a kiss.

The End!