The Captain’s Table, Book Five: Once Burned

Captain Calhoun confronts his greatest failure!

CT #05 Cover

  • Stardate Unknown
  • Released October 1998

There’s a bar called The Captain’s Table, where those who have commanded mighty vessels of every shape and era can meet, relax, and share a friendly drink or two with others of their calling. Sometimes a brawl may break out but it’s all in the family, more or less. Just remember, the first round of drinks is always paid for with a story . . . even in Thallonian space.

Six years ago, long before he took command of the Starship Excalibur, a young Starfleet officer named Mackenzie Calhoun served as first officer aboard the U.S.S. Grissom. Then disaster struck, and Calhoun took the blame. A court-martial led to his own angry resignation from Starfleet . . .or so it appeared. At long last Captain Calhoun reveals the true story behind the greatest tragedy of his life.

Written by: Peter David


Guest Cast:


Captain Mackenzie Calhoun—in his own words!

I closed my eyes against the sight of the battle, but that didn’t stop me from hearing their voices in my head. I could hear them calling . . .

“Mac . . .”

The suddenness of the voice startled me, and it took me a moment to realize that it was inside my helmet rather than in my imagination. It was Kat Mueller’s voice. She was remarkably in control, but I could hear the edginess in her tone. “Are you seeing it?”


“My God, Mac . . . what have we done?”

“The question isn’t whether you’re asking that, Kat. The question is whether the rest of the crew is. Where are you? Do they suspect . . .?”

“No. No, not at all. At least, I hope not. There’s all sorts of rumors flying throughout the crew about what happened. The captain made that announcement about you—”

“And people know that it’s not true?”

“Well . . . no. There’s discussion about it.”

“You mean they’re not rejecting it out of hand?”

“Some do. A lot . . .” Her voice trailed off.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, I suppose. I’d made no effort to really get close to the crew. I liked keeping my distance, wanted to maintain my loner status. Consequently, it had cost me. When it came down to the word of a beloved captain versus the actions of a suspicious newcomer and outsider, one should easily have been able to expect that reaction.

Nonetheless, it hurt. It hurt far more than I ever would have expected.

“Mac . . . are you still there?”

“Yes.” I shook it off. “Yes . . . I’m here . . .”

“Your air supply . . . How’s that holding up?”

I checked my on-line systems and realized that I’d been paying no attention to it at all. That was probably not the brightest move on my part, considering I was hanging on to the outside of the ship. “It’s running low. Eighteen minutes before I’m breathing my own carbon dioxide in here. Are you planning to beam me in?”

“That . . . could be a problem.”

I suddenly started to feel icy, as if the vacuum of space was seeping through my suit. “A problem . . . How?”

“Lieutenant Cray doesn’t want a repeat of your vanishing act. So he has security guards at all the transporter stations until further notice.”

“Oh . . . perfect. How am I supposed to get back in? Crawl up a photon torpedo tube?”

There was dead silence.

And she said, “Well . . . actually . . .”

Monday, September 7th, 2009 Books, Logs, New Frontier

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