Stardate 75254.3; April 04, 2398
Written by Chris Adamek
FIRST OFFICER’S LOG, STARDATE 75254.3: After spending two weeks berthed at Earth Station McKinley, the Starlight is en route to a diplomatic summit on Komali IV. Though the Federation has been aware of the Komali for quite some time, contact with them has been infrequent due to their close proximity to Tholian space. However, the recent abandonment of a Tholian outpost in the region has paved the way for stronger diplomatic ties.
Thoughts of sleep were usually the last thing to cloud Matthew Harrison’s mind in the morning. But as he finished his log entry, Harrison couldn’t help but notice that his thoughts continuously wandered back to the warmth of his bed—and unless he did something to rectify the situation, he suspected his body would soon follow. And so, a trip to the mess hall was certainly in order. Certainly this sleepiness was nothing that a cup of hot tea couldn’t cure.
After a pleasantly uneventful ride in the turbolift, Harrison walked only a short distance to the Starlight’s mess hall. Much as he had anticipated, the room was bristling with the usual morning activity, but with the Captain and Commander Keller still vacationing on Earth, the noise level was noticeably lower.
Pleased that his rare appearance in the mess hall would be a quiet, peaceful one, Harrison slowly meandered to the replicator with a smile upon his face—but the smile abruptly dissolved at the sight of Lucas Tompkins. The chief engineer seemed to come out of nowhere, and also appeared to be headed directly for the replicator. Not wanting to be dragged into some sort of inane conversation about Lieutenant Namali’s aesthetic qualities, Harrison made haste to reach the replicator first. “Green tea,” he said, practically shouting at the computer. “Hot!”
The computer promptly acknowledged the order, and within seconds, a steaming cup of tea swirled into existence amidst a glimmer of azure light. Unfortunately for Harrison, the few seconds it took him to retrieve the tea from the replicator basin were his undoing, and Lucas Tompkins swaggered over, gleefully smiling.
“Rumor has it that you’ve been promoted,” said the engineer, his voice loud enough for the people on the far side of the mess hall to hear without much of a problem. “I just wanted to be the first person to congratulate you.”
“It is merely a rumor,” Harrison quickly retorted. Aside from Captain Christopher, he had yet to divulge the news of his promotion to anyone aboard the Starlight. Thus, if anyone had been made aware of the promotion, it was little than a rumor—and he intended to keep it that way for as long as possible.
But Tompkins shook his head as he turned to the replicator. “It’s no rumor,” he slyly replied. “Bacon and eggs—sunny-side-up… and a glass of OJ.”
With the engineer intently watching the creation of his breakfast, Harrison decided it was an ample opportunity for him to get away from the conversation. He provided Tompkins with a curt nod and then headed for a secluded table in the corner of the mess hall. But the moment he sat down with his tea, Lucas Tompkins appeared at the opposite side of the table, breakfast in hand.
“So, heard anything about the new first officer?” he asked as he sat. “If not, I’ve got some suggestions that you could relay to the Captain.”
“No.” Since only a few weeks had passed since his promotion, Harrison knew very little of his replacement—but one thing was certain: “Nevertheless, I am confident that it shall not be you. Perhaps Commander Reinbold… She’s a capable officer.”
“Heh…” Tompkins nearly dropped his fork at hearing the sentiment. Definitely not what he was expecting. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
Harrison nodded politely as he sipped his still simmering tea. “You are welcome.”
Though the tactical station was somewhat removed from the rest of the bridge, it wasn’t so far away that Lieutenant Bator could go unnoticed. And in this instance, the Phobian found that to be a rather striking problem, for he was certain his growling stomach could be heard all the way down in main engineering.
With Lieutenant Maryniak allegedly feeling ill, Bator took it upon himself to start his shift a little early. He had done so many times in the past without incident, but today was different—and now the entire bridge crew likely knew about it. There were several occasions when he considered heading down to the mess hall to grab a quick bite to eat, but for one reason or another, Bator always chose to stay on the bridge. This time, the long list of events scheduled to take place on Komali IV kept him in place—and it was almost interesting.
With the Komali making the vast majority of the security arrangements, Bator had no direct role in the mission. In fact, aside from Commander Harrison and a few other dignitaries tagging along, nobody aboard the Starlight would have anything to do. The summit was essentially going to be one long, boring congregation of the Alpha Quadrant’s superpowers.
Consequently, Bator only browsed through the extensive itinerary, glad that he would not have to endure the multitude of gatherings designed to bring the Komali into the interstellar neighborhood. But just before his growling stomach demand he set the list aside, the very last item managed to catch the Phobian’s attention. It looked like some sort of piloting seminar—and though he was no pilot, Bator knew that Neelar Drayge just might find such a thing interesting.
He briefly read through the description, and once satisfied that it was something more than a class teaching basic shuttle maneuvers, Bator transferred the data to the Bolian’s station. “Neelar,” he said, “take a look at this.”
“What is it?”
Bator smirked. “Well… you could look at it and find out…”
Drayge turned back to Bator with a sardonic look upon his face. He sighed, shaking his head, and then turned back to the helm. “A piloting seminar,” he gleaned from the data. “Sounds interesting.”
Bator readily agreed as he continued reading the information for himself. “The Komali have been working in collusion with the Federation to build a replacement for the Peregrine-class tactical fighter,” he said, almost getting excited about the seminar himself. “If you’re lucky, you just might be able to give it a test flight.”
“And I can bring you along for the ride, right?” asked Drayge with a chuckle.
Surprised that the excitement had managed to seep into his voice, Bator had no choice but to agree with the Bolian. “I suppose,” he admitted.
“Well,” said Drayge evenly, “I believe I could use a good adventure right about now…”