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told you all that you would start with me with a clean slate. What happened before doesn't matter to me, but what happens now does. I'll be damned if I'm going to expect anything less than the best from you. And that means we're going to run these drills until we get them right, if that means drilling from now until doomsday. Carry on."

They remained at attention as he left the weapons bay. John headed back to the command deck. Why did the last day before a leave always turn out like this? He'd been so excited to get the command of the Agamemnon, an Omega-class destroyer with a crew of one hundred and sixty. It was a big step up from his first command, the Galatea, a heavy cruiser with a crew of 102. Yet since taking command, he'd been unable to get the crew into fighting shape.

It had taken John a few weeks of matching names to faces to realize that the service records for each crew member and the crew member himself often had little in common. It seemed the previous captain, Best, had played favorites. Big time. Certain members of the crew, like Spano, who seemed poorly motivated and borderline negligent, had exemplary records, commendations, and recommendations for promotion.

Others, who were diligent and competent, had never had a promotion under Best, their records filled with reports of incompetence and dereliction of duty. Several of them had lodged complaints over their evaluations, but the complaints had been dismissed. And so one week ago he had instituted his "clean slate" policy, explaining in a speech to the crew that he would disregard everything that they had done in the past and judge them only by what they did under his command. This worked well with those who had been undervalued by Best. Their enthusiasm and performance showed marked improvement.
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