Sivath’s final day as chief engineer of Deep Space 13 was routine. The transfer of duties, privileges and knowledge had been planned and executed well in advance, such that for the majority of his final week, Sivath served in a primarily advisory role. The various engineers assuming his responsibilities, foremost Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Kermit, were capable officers whom Sivath had been training for this day since he assumed the post. It had never been Sivath’s habit, much less his intention, to make himself indispensable; fault-tolerant redundancies were a cornerstone of good engineering, and Sivath had reshaped the department over the course of his tenure to adhere to this fundamental principle.

In the evening, he gave a brief address over the PA system in the engineering levels. He commended the performance of the department under adverse conditions and urgent demands: during the development of the Halcyon Countermeasure, the production run of Project Roechalcagh, the repairs to the Republic fleet after the Battle of Ch'Aehkla. Above all, the department had operated efficiently and reliably in between the crises and challenges, in the day to day monotony when no one above was watching. “If you will excuse a metaphor,” Sivath said, “you have performed like a well-oiled machine.” It was Sivath’s highest praise. “I wish you all peace and long life. Thank you, and farewell.”

Having successfully rendered himself superfluous, Sivath decided to spend the last hour of his final shift in the fashion to which he had become accustomed: reviewing reports in the Event Horizon Lounge. He dutifully scrolled through records of the day’s activities, most of them already stamped with Elizabeth’s approval. He added his own stamp to each. Unnecessary, perhaps even a bit sentimental, but he indulged the habit because it would be his last opportunity to do so.

When his PADD chimed the hour at Gamma+2, Sivath stopped reading in the middle of a report. He finished his tea, gathered his belongings, and departed the lounge. He returned to his quarters, which were nearly empty now; he had already transferred Voh’s personal effects, and the Rhienn rosebush she had charged him with maintaining, to Kihai. The few remaining objects Sivath had bothered to own, he had already disposed of. There was a robe hanging alone in the closet, the ceremonial garb he would wear the following day.

Sivath detached the three rank pips from his collar. He removed his uniform jacket and his shoes. His shirt and trousers. He folded all these things and set the pile in the replicator cavity, placing the rank pips on top.

There was a moment of hesitation. Sivath had deliberated for a long time before coming to his decision to leave Starfleet, and reconsidered several times since. But he would be a poor engineer if he did not re-check his calculations one final time before committing to an irreversible course. Finding no flaw there, no justification for the wistful feeling that welled in his chest, he pressed the the button on the replicator console and disintegrated the last artifacts of his previous life.

Sivath went to bed and slept soundly. Tomorrow something new would begin.