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Randall Landers


December 6th 2295

"He did what?!"

"Captain Sulu took a leave of absence, and turned over command of the Excelsior to Commander Rand pending his return," explained his first officer, newly promoted Commander Saavik.

"A leave of absence?"

"Bereavement leave, sir."

"Damn him." Fleet Captain Chekov pounded his hand on his desk in his ready room. His eyes met Saavik’s as she stood silently agreeing with her captain. He studied her gaze, and his countenance darkened. "There’s more, isn’t there?"

"Yes, sir. His senior command staff have all but one requested transfers."

"I suppose that’s Doctor Cord?" Ariel Cord was the Excelsior’s chief medical officer and Hikaru Sulu’s lover.

"Your supposition is valid, sir."

"All right, approve all of them, Mister Saavik. I want them off that ship before Hikaru returns."

"I’m afraid that Captain Sulu has already done that, sir."

"You didn’t say he was back."

"You didn’t give me time to finish." She raised an eyebrow archly.

"Okay, finish your report."

"Captain Sulu approved all the transfers when he returned just as suddenly as he left. He has basically ‘cleaned house,’ as you Humans say. Admiral Po’s office has sent you this communiqué." She held forward a padd.

He took it and scanned it. "I’m sorry to see Lojur, Parker and Tuvok go. Boris is a good officer, and Linda was an up and coming navigator. Tuvok was all Vulcan, and while he irritated the borscht out of Sulu, I always appreciated his insights during joint staff meetings."

"Do you want me to have them transferred to the Enterprise, sir?" Saavik inquired.

"Nyet. I want them out of the Sixth Fleet."

"But you just said—"

"Their presence here would be a disruption. That entire command crew needs to be broken up and scattered among the fleet." He read the padd. "I see that Admiral Po’s already seen to that. Good. They never simply learned to work as a team. Perhaps they can learn to in new environments." He looked up and studied her face. "Is this a little awkward for you, Saavik?" The Enterprise-B first officer had been bounced from ship to ship before settling aboard Chekov’s.

"I must admit, sir, that I am wondering if this same conversation was had about me."

"It was." He tapped the comlink on his desk.

"Bridge. Michaels here."

"Lieutenant, raise Captain Sulu for me. Put it on scramble."

"Aye, sir."

There was a short wait. Chekov turned to his wall monitor.

"Sulu here." The Asian starship commander was plainly in his ship’s ready room.

"What’s your ship status, Captain?"

"Nominal, sir. Excelsior stands ready for your orders, Fleet Captain Chekov." There was a stiffness to the words, but Sulu seemed totally sincere.

"I’ve heard you did a little housekeeping, Captain..."

"I did, sir. During my leave of absence, a number of the command staff indicated they no longer wished to serve aboard Excelsior. I have...accommodated their wishes."

"A wise course of action, Captain. I think it is a positive development aboard Excelsior."

"I appreciate that, Fleet Captain."

"I have an assignment for you. As you know, this month marks the anniversary of the deaths of Princess Teresa and her children. I am ordering you to transport Doctor McCoy and his new bride to Serenidad and leave them there. Enterprise will be en route to Alpha Carinae Two within an hour to drop Lieutenant Commander Ch’terr off for transplant surgery. We will then proceed to Serenidad to retrieve the good doctor and his wife. Excelsior is to proceed to Starbase 211. You will receive further orders at that time."

"Understood, sir. Sulu out."

Saavik tilted her head slightly. "I expected him to propose an alternate plan. Yours is rather illogical, and somewhat of a waste of resources."

"Agreed, Commander. But it’s a test of whether or not he will follow his orders to the letter."

"And if he doesn’t?"

"I believe that I will have no problem replacing him in the center seat."

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