Posted on Fri Jun 24th, 2022 @ 10:33pm by Commander Robert Hardwicke
Location: Jupiter Station
“The Admiral will see you now,”
Commander Hardwicke stood and smoothed the front of his uniform before he started for the door leading into the office of Vice Admiral Nyambura. He expected to be meeting alone with the Admiral as was tradition but as Robert entered the office, he observed a blonde woman sitting in one of the two chairs facing the large mahogany desk behind which the Admiral seated. As she turned to look at him, Robert noticed a scar that extended from the bridge of her nose across her left cheek. Rather than detracting from her beauty, the scar added to her allure. Robert paused looking back to the Admiral, “I’m sorry, sir, I was told that you were prepared to receive me.”
“I am, Commander. Please have a seat,” Vice Admiral Nyambura waved Robert toward the empty chair next to the blonde woman, “we can dispense with the formal reporting.” Robert sat and the Admiral slid a thin folder across the desk. Robert picked up the folder as the Admiral announced, “You are requested and required to take U.S.S. Independence and report to Starbase 10. You will perform engine and maneuvering tests in enroute and upon arrival, you will participate in wargames to test tactical systems. Upon completion of the wargames, U.S.S. Independence will report to Archanis Sector Command for further orders.”
Robert opened the folder, not because it contained any more information than the Admiral had given but to give himself a few moments to absorb what had been said. Starbase 10 and the Archanis Sector bordered the Triangle, a volatile section of space composed of mostly unaffiliated world between the Federation, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire. The Independence had been assigned to the region prior to the destruction of the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards in 2385. If the Indy was being reassigned away from the Terran Sector, the Federation Council must be assured that Earth is not in danger of a similar attack.
Robert looked up from the hard copy of the orders and said, “I understand and accept, sir.”
“Also, Star Fleet is assigning a diplomatic attache to your ship,” the Admiral continued nodding towards the blonde woman, “Jeanette Wyrick.”
Robert inclined his head towards the woman, “Ms Wyrick.”
“Commander,” she replied without a trace of a smile.
This was not good news to Robert. Assignment of a permanent diplomatic staff to the ship meant that Star Fleet intended to use his ship to show the Federation flag and back-up negotiations with alien civilizations. In such a situation, the ship would be little more than a taxi cab. After Robert’s efforts to secure command, this was a major disappointment.
The Admiral smiled at him and Robert guessed that Nyambura could sense what he was feeling. Traditionally, relationships between ship’s captains and heads of diplomatic missions were fractious. “I am certain that you have much to do before getting underway,” the Admiral said, standing and holding out his hand to Robert. As Robert shook the proffered hand, the Admiral shot a glance at Jeanette and continued, “Good luck Commander.”
“May I join you, Commander?” Jeanette asked as she stood.
Robert paused, “I assumed that you would join the ship tomorrow before our departure.”
“I only just arrived,” Jeanette explained, “I don’t have quarters on the station and it just makes more sense to come aboard now. With your permission, of course.”
“You are most welcome,” Robert replied with a warmth that he did not feel.
Taking the folder with his orders and with Jeanette in tow, Robert departed the Admiral’s quarters heading to the docking port where the Captain’s Gig was moored. He and Jeanette walked in silence, so it was a surprise when she broke the silence with a question.
“Is Lieutenant Commander Feyd still assigned to the ship’s company?”
The name was not familiar and Robert had spent so much time with the ship’s personnel files that he felt comfortable saying, “No.”
Jeanette’s body visibly relaxed but a shadow of disappointment crossed her face. Robert gave her a questioning look.
“The Lieutenant Commander and I have…history,” she replied, coloring slightly.
“That sounds like an interesting story,” Robert speculated.
“Yes, it does.” Jeanette replied in a tone that left little doubt that she didn’t intend to tell it.
They descended into silence once again.
Commander Robert Hardwicke