The USS Enterprise does not have a soul, or a consciousness. It is not sentient.

But it’s near impossible to hold some 400 souls every day for five years without getting close. They touch you, run their hands along the corridor on the way to the mess, brace hunched shoulders against turbolift walls. You know them.

The Chief Engineer touches the most. It’s his job. He knows every part of you, works to make you the best you can be. You feel his elation after a successful innovation, his exhaustion after his fastest work isn’t fast enough. He speaks as he holds parts of you in his hands. You do your best for him, work harder and faster than each time before. He loves you.

The First Officer comes to you for comfort. Alone in his quarters, he grounds himself with palms splayed flat on your surface. The small gifts you provide him, heat and music, remnants of a home now lost, are a balm in the face of constant scrutiny. He appreciates you as it is logical to appreciate the existence of an object that performs its function admirably. He loves you.

The Communications Officer speaks to you often. She sometimes whispers, sometimes shouts. When she is feeling most joyful, she sings. When she is alone, she sings to you of her home. You listen. She misses it, but not painfully. She has found a home in you. She loves you.

The Chief Medical Officer makes no secret of his dislike for space. He believes it to be an empty void which, if given the chance, could swallow him and those he loves whole. He touches you to find reassurance, to know you are whole and able. He trusts you to protect just as he protects, to guard against death. You are a sentinel against the death you know he fears. He is grateful. He loves you.

The Captain is the one you know best. When the weight of responsibility becomes difficult to bear, he draws strength from your solid walls. You keep him from falling. He is exhilarated by you, in constant awe that you belong to him. He fights for you, has died for you and the 500 some souls that you hold. You are strong for him. He loves you.