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in her any more, all the better.

"I'd love to."



* * *



"Have a seat," John said.

Ross, Spano, and Watley sat in the chairs on the opposite side of his desk. The small office was crowded with them. John rested one arm on the desktop, his fingertips grazing the snow globe.

"Things got out of control yesterday. I feel I've cut each of you some slack, though you may not agree with me. But I will not tolerate that kind of behavior, or that kind of performance on a drill, again.

I'm offering each of you the same proposition I've offered to several of your crewmates. If any of you would like a transfer, I will get it for you, no questions asked. If you decide to stay, I will tolerate no less than one hundred percent from you. I've made my expectations clear. I want every person on board this ship to give his all. If you stay and I continue to find your performance unsatisfactory, you will be brought up on charges."

"Commander Corchoran said that some of you may feel you have an undeserved stain on your reputations."

He held up a finger.

"What counts is not what other people think of you, but what you are and what you do. You are responsible only for yourself. What's important is not convincing them of your integrity, but convincing yourself: maintaining your integrity when you're alone, when no one will know but you. So you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and think, I did my best, I did my duty."

Ross's sharp mouth had compressed into a line, Spano's eyebrows were lifted in contempt, and Watley seemed to be staring into space. John clasped his hands together and leaned forward, trying by sheer force of will to reach them.

"Decisions we've made in the past have shaped what we are today. Experiences we've had in the past shape
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