By the time he made captain, he commanded the USS Merced during its final mission in 2380, wherein the Merced was ordered to preserved the recently discovered ancient generation ship alongside the USS Cerritos.
During his briefing with the Cerritos' senior staff, he was interrupted several times by Ensign Beckett Mariner, who was there to pass out PADDs, with her excessive yawning. Mariner later described his as being "super boring", next stating, as if in Durango's own voice, "Oh, I'm boring. I love museums and dust and old gates."
While dragging the alien vessel with a tractor beam, a moment of one-upmanship by Durango led to a leakage of terraforming emulsion from the alien vessel, resulting in the Merced becoming damaged beyond repair. Captain Carol Freeman and, the since promoted Lieutenant Mariner were able to save the entire crew complement by beaming them to the stasis chamber of the generation ship. (LD: "Moist Vessel")