"Sit down, Commander Kirk." Joy's tone was firm, and not without anger of her own. "What is at issue here is not your Navy's willingness to support you, but civilian control of the military."
Joy extended an index finger, and alternately pointed at herself, then Kirk. "Ambassador. Commander. Ranking civilian on station. Ranking military man on station. Statesman. Barbarian."
"Now wait a minute here. Mudd has one ship, must use it well, and prepping her for show and tell to prove to prospective buyers how fast she is does not consist of good use. The convoy to Mudd was attacked, and your orders for me to come to Earth meant I wasn't there. The Federation hasn't the technology to protect the Damaroon crystals, any more than they did the Marynan plants. Mudd itself has no offensive systems, there is a probe bearing down on Earth, and you want me running time trials?
"Yes, Lieutenant Kirk. That is precisely what I want. Sit down, Lieutenant."
"Strategic evaluation first," Joy began. "First, I am concerned about the probe. I'm keeping you here, which is as far as I know where the probe is heading.
"Second, I filed a claim on behalf of the slaves of Damaroon for their crystals. It is a paper claim only. I want to keep it that way. I don't want anyone thinking we are going to try to get physical control of those crystals.
"Third, I'm hoping a few of the convoy escorts might stay on at Mudd for a while. I'll be working that.
"Finally, Mudd has negotiations in progress with both the Klingons and the Romulans. Mudd wants The Flower's power systems on board all Alpha Quadrant ships as soon as possible. However, the power systems transfer is getting tangled up with other issues, including renegotiating Algenon, the Federation legally using cloaks, and a pending Klingon request to reinstate the Klingon Neutral Zone. I'd like to see all three Alpha powers armed equally and well, but the Klingons don't like the idea of Federation cloaks, and the Romulans are paranoid about an increase of power by the other two..."
"The Flower is a powerful ship, Joy. But she isn't powerful enough to open the mind of a stubborn Klingon or a paranoid Romulan. I can't help you there."
"Under my eye, you might manage to avoid creating another incident. Also, with Flower's abilities known, I believe forward movement is more likely. Let's get the trials over with."
"I also need more authority over the crew, and a better crew mix. I need more HAPs."
"Kirk, I need more authority over you! Do you know why you landed the Flower?"
"I'm the best android for the job."
"A sentient being, who creates another sentient being, should be responsible for her creation. If the being is created for a specific function or purpose, it is the creator's responsibility to allow the being to perform that function or purpose."
"That doesn't sound familiar. Who said that?"
"Joy Seven said that."
"Figures. What, you are my Mommee? You think I need you to get a job?"
"Yes!" Joy's smile was uncharacteristically grim. After a brief pause, she went on. "And let me give you some programmer to programmee advice. I gave you Kirk's personality and mannerisms, including his confidence. I gave you his memories, as best we could reconstruct them from his logs. I couldn't give you his decision making algorithms. Rachel and I knew what Kirk did, not why he did them. The Mudd memory search programs will give you a solution that is quite similar to something the real Kirk did once upon a time, but you are not Kirk. You are not as good as you think you are. You are just a rookie officer, untried outside of simulators, working with an alien crew. Forget Kirk's record. That isn't your record. You are starting with a nearly clean slate. The one mark on that slate is Marynan, and that mark from where I sit isn't very pretty."
"And how would you have handled Marynan?"
"I would have come in uncloaked, and taken a position as far from the Warbirds as possible. That intruder ship was down. It would have had to come up, would have to get near either the Flower or the Warbirds. Uncloaked and with the Admiral and Romulans knowing who I was, I would have been in position to run a clean pursuit."
"And if you'd picked up the Romulan ship instead of the intruder?"
"If the Romulans attacked Flower uncloaked and beacon running, they would be the ones in deep trouble, and I would be smelling clean. And I would have warped out of range if they had attacked. You have no excuse for just sitting there letting two battlewagons fry your ship! Kirk, let me make it as clear as I can. There is only one excuse that justifies cowboy stunts like you pulled at Marynan."
"Exactly. Shake down your crew. I can maybe get you two more HAPs. And next time, if you absolutely and positively can't do your job right, would you at least chase the correct bad guy?"