Finally, they left the Bajoran system. "Where to next?" asked Jacen.
"The Klingon Empire," said Jithro. Sean and Christie were both off duty, getting some sleep. Jacen and Jithro were the only two on the bridge. "We've got some iridium to deliver."
"To the Klingons?" asked Jacen.
"Yes. A friend of ours has been waiting for this shipment for some time now. Greatly looking forward to it, I think."
Jacen sat up on the bridge awhile longer before going to bed. Jax, meanwhile, was in engineering, alone. It was the first time he'd been there without Tuk. He decided to do some exploring on his own, although really there wasn't much to explore, and he'd already seen it all, anyway. It was a very small engine room. But it fascinated Jax anyway. In school, the main things Jax had been interested in were computers, but engineering certainly didn't seem incompatible. He'd been thinking recently that he might want to join Starfleet someday. If he did, he might want to think about going into engineering. His godmother was an engineer, and now here was Tuk, another fine engineer to look up to. He thought perhaps his family had already had enough scientists….
Of course, now he was thinking that maybe he wouldn't have to join Starfleet to have great adventures. Maybe he could be a merchant, or a smuggler, or really anything that involved space travel. The one thing he was sure of, now that he'd had a taste of it, was that he wanted to work in space. He wanted to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life, and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one had gone before. He said these things to himself half in jest. But then, for the first time in his life, he truly thought about the words. And he knew, suddenly, that he definitely would join Starfleet someday.
Of course, that didn't mean he couldn't make up his own rules when he was off-duty. His free time would be his own. And it'd be at least six years in the future, anyway. So for now, Jax thought, he'd learn all he could about the darker side of the galaxy.
The next morning, Tuk found Jax asleep, curled up outside the small warp chamber. "There's one humaan'll make a fine engineer some day," he said to himself before waking Jax up.
Despite the fact that Klingon space bordered on Cardassian space, it took a week to get where they were going. For one thing, the Destiny Dog wasn't the fasted ship around, under normal conditions (but she could pull a surprisingly fast retreat when necessary). Also, their destination wasn't on this side of the Empire. They went through Klingon space without much trouble. The crew of the Dog seemed to have friends everywhere, in the most surprising places.
In the meantime, Jax and Jacen continued to familiarize themselves with the ship and her crew. Before long, they could operate or repair any system nearly as well as the Partners. They passed some beautiful sights and occasionally stopped on one planet or another to see friends of the crew, or just to stop in at favorite hangouts, or trade information. But most of the week was spent on the ship. And after awhile, it started to get boring.
"Somethin' you shou' always remember about space travel," said Christie, "always bring a book."
Luckily, the ship's computer had lots of books on file, all of them favorites brought aboard by the Partners, classics (and otherwise) from their homeworlds. Jax and Jacen each ended up reading several books over the summer.
Destiny Dog part 4