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Rob Morris


December 13, 2295
U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-B


Chief Tactical Officer Roberta Vasquez looked at her friend, and it was not a happy look. Vasquez had gone to the quarters of Assistant Chief Science Officer Natalie Buchanan to have dinner. This was now completely forgotten after Vasquez saw a list of event simulation scenarios on Buchanan’s monitor, scenarios never viewed by or shown to the officer responsible for maintaining the ship’s combat readiness: namely one Roberta Vasquez. "Bucky, I asked you a question. Who authorized these simulation scenarios?"

"I can’t say who authorized them, because I don’t know that. But I can say who wrote them: Chief Science Officer Kirk. With all respect, Lieutenant Vasquez, may I suggest you talk to him?"

Taken aback by the use of rank in what was to have been an informal dinner between friends, Vasquez sensed something far deeper behind her friend’s words. "Something to say, Mister Buchanan?"

Buchanan hesitated, until Vasquez breathed in. "Bucky, you’re not in trouble. We’re still friends, and will be forever as far as I’m concerned. But if Pete has gone around my authority, I need to know."

Buchanan nod. "He did. But c’mon, Robbie..."

"C’mon, what?"

The junior officer resumed that annoying formal tone. "Sir, you had to know that you were turning the department over to an enthusiastic workaholic. He was trying to give us something to do after we reviewed the star charts and interstellar anomalies."

"Don’t defend him, Bucky. Not on this. He wants to do all that? Fine. But to do so, he gets initial approval from me, coordinates with me throughout, and doesn’t post so much as a single ‘what-if’ until I call it all fair and done. Damn it, this isn’t proper protocol, and he’s got to know that!"

"I don’t think he does, Robbie. I really don’t."

Vasquez sighed deeply. "I guess this sort of screws up dinner. I’m wish there was domething that could be done to fix that."

Buchanan forced a bright smile. "Let’s order the lobster, with all the fixings!"

After a rather enjoyable meal, catching up on ship’s gossip and what not, Vasquez reassured Buchanan, "Look, Bucky, I want you to know you’re not in my crosshairs."

"I know that, Robbie, but just remember what I said: I don’t think he realizes he’s done anything wrong."

Standing from the table, Vasquez touched her napkin to her lips. "I think that’s what rankles me most." Bidding Buchanan a good evening, Vasquez headed out the door to find Lieutenant Peter Kirk.


"Something I can do for you, Lieutenant Vasquez?" Peter Kirk answered the page at the door of the cabin he shared with Commander Saavik.

"Yes, Mister Kirk, you can try and adhere to the chain of command. You are aware that before you issue readiness scenarios to anyone, they are to have approval?" Vasquez practically snarled at the chief science officer.

Visibly taken aback, Kirk looked at her and nodded. "Which they did."

"Oh? And when were they shown to me?"

"Well, to be precise, they weren’t approved by Tactical. But they do have Command approval."

Vasquez frowned. "By whom?"

"Commander Saavik."

"You’re telling me that the executive officer ignored protocol and assigned you the duties that should have been the purview of the chief tactical officer."

He shrugged. "That is what she will tell you, though to be fair, I doubt that’s how she sees it."

Vasquez tried to end one confrontation and hopefully avoid another. "Pete, is there any possibility—maybe fatigue, maybe wishful thinking—that caused you to misinterpret something Saavik said?"

"No, sir. I proposed the idea directly to her, and she approved it. In fact, she was the one who cut me off after four hundred scenarios."

Vasquez shook, and then rubbed her head. "Four hundred? With none of them so much as shown to the chief tactical officer whose duty it is to keep this vessel combat-ready? What were you thinking, Mister Kirk? Were you thinking?"

Kirk looked increasingly off-center. "Robbie, I would assume that Commander Saavik would tell me if I was out of line about my suggestion."

She dropped her voice an octave. "You know damned well that protocol has been violated, and that you have overstepped your boundaries."

It was only then that the chief tactical officer’s anger seemed to penetrate Kirk. "No, sir, I don’t, and I don’t think I have. But I do apologize if you think I’ve overstepped my duties, Lieutenant. No disrespect was intended, and it won’t happen again."

"This is not going to be the end of this, Mister Kirk. You’re better than this. I am so disappointed to hear you have prevailed upon someone with whom you’re having a romantic relationship to get approval of an assignment that should have crossed my desk. Do you know how this will look to Captain Chekov?"

Kirk raised his arms, his palms opened in a pleading manner. "Robbie, I don’t think he thought it improper either."

Vasquez’s blood still ran cold for a moment, the look of shock slowly filling her face.

"You see, after Saavik gave me her approval, she sought the approval of Captain Chekov who concurred with her decision." Peter Kirk shrugged apologetically. "He already knows and approves."

She almost didn’t hear herself ordering Kirk to review Starfleet rules and regulations regarding the duties that were his, as well as those that clearly weren’t. She then realized, that, orders and such aside, she might soon have to demand the same thing of her captain and the ship’s executive officer.

As the door to the cabin closed behind her, Roberta Vasquez knew that was not a comfortable prospect at all.

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