December 13, 2295
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 Buchanans monitor, scenarios never viewed by or shown to the officer responsible for maintaining the ships combat readiness: namely one Roberta Vasquez. "Bucky, I asked you a question. Who authorized these simulation scenarios?"
"I cant say who authorized them, because I dont 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 friends words. "Something to say, Mister Buchanan?"
Buchanan hesitated, until Vasquez breathed in. "Bucky, youre not in trouble. Were still friends, and will be forever as far as Im concerned. But if Pete has gone around my authority, I need to know."
Buchanan nod. "He did. But cmon, Robbie..."
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."
"Dont 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 doesnt post so much as a single what-if until I call it all fair and done. Damn it, this isnt proper protocol, and hes got to know that!"
"I dont think he does, Robbie. I really dont."
Vasquez sighed deeply. "I guess this sort of screws up dinner. Im wish there was domething that could be done to fix that."
Buchanan forced a bright smile. "Lets order the lobster, with all the fixings!"
After a rather enjoyable meal, catching up on ships gossip and what not, Vasquez reassured Buchanan, "Look, Bucky, I want you to know youre not in my crosshairs."
"I know that, Robbie, but just remember what I said: I dont think he realizes hes done anything wrong."
Standing from the table, Vasquez touched her napkin to her lips. "I think thats 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 werent approved by Tactical. But they do have Command approval."
Vasquez frowned. "By whom?"
"Youre 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 thats how she sees it."
Vasquez tried to end one confrontation and hopefully avoid another. "Pete, is there any possibilitymaybe fatigue, maybe wishful thinkingthat 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 officers anger seemed to penetrate Kirk. "No, sir, I dont, and I dont think I have. But I do apologize if you think Ive overstepped my duties, Lieutenant. No disrespect was intended, and it wont happen again."
"This is not going to be the end of this, Mister Kirk. Youre better than this. I am so disappointed to hear you have prevailed upon someone with whom youre 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 dont think he thought it improper either."
Vasquezs 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 didnt hear herself ordering Kirk to review Starfleet rules and regulations regarding the duties that were his, as well as those that clearly werent. She then realized, that, orders and such aside, she might soon have to demand the same thing of her captain and the ships executive officer.
As the door to the cabin closed behind her, Roberta Vasquez knew that was not a comfortable prospect at all.
Free counters provided by Andale.
Return to the index of The
Sixth Fleet -- 2296
Return to the index of ORION ARCHIVES On-Line Fiction.
Click Here to Return to the Orion Press Website