UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
16th April 2161
Flanked by Secret Service agents, the President stepped carefully down the boarding ramp. He'd timed his descent to coincide with the last few bars of the music, allowing him to begin to converse the moment he stepped onto the deck.
"Captain Archer, permission to come aboard?"
"Permission granted, Mister President. It's a great honour to have you here." This was one of those situations where Archer thought a salute was entirely in order.
The President smiled. "The honour is mine Captain, I have read about the Enterprise with much interest. I do hope I will have the opportunity to look around."
Archer nodded. "A tour can be arranged. May I present my first officer, Commander Hernandez."
"Pleased to meet you, Commander."
Hernandez's salute was textbook. "Mr President." she said simply, her voice tight with nerves.
Archer gestured to Trip. "And Commander Tucker, my second officer and Chief Engineer."
"Ah, so you are the fellow who keeps everything working. Is all as it should be?"
A simple enough question. but with a world of meaning behind it. Trip glanced sidelong at the captain before answering.
"Yes, Mr President. As far as I can see there's no problems."
Trip was uncomfortably aware of the intense scrutiny the nearest Secret Service agent was giving him.
Several more people disembarked from the shuttle. Assistants in suits, carrying briefcases. The President's press secretary.
And two Vulcans.
The President beckoned the last pair over. "Captain, I believe you know Ambassador Soval?"
"Indeed I do Mr. President. Ambassador, it is good to see you again." Archer gave the Vulcan salute. Odd, but he felt more comfortable with that than with Earth's salute.
Soval responded in kind. "Captain. I trust your father is well?"
Archer nodded. "Recovering nicely, thank you." Henry Archer had recently suffered a stroke. For a while things had looked grim, to the point where Jonathan had considered requesting a transfer from the Enterprise so he could be near his family. Fortunately his father's condition had improved significantly.
"That is good news. Our discussions have always been productive." That was about as close as a Vulcan, even one who had lived for decades on Earth, could get to saying that he had enjoyed another's company.
Soval gestured to his assistant. "T'Pol, my aide."
T'Pol appeared to be in her early thirties, by human standards, but Archer knew that it was difficult to tell with Vulcans. Apart from her rather unfortunate pudding bowl hair cut, she was very attractive, face wise at least. The flowing robes she wore made her figure impossible to determine.
She greeted Archer with a barely perceptible nod of the head. "Captain."
Not having been given any mode of address other that her name, Archer replied "Pleased to meet you."
She gave no response.
That, Archer knew, was common behaviour amongst some Vulcans. He tried not to let it bother him. Instead he introduced his two officers.
Soval observed the pleasantries. He'd been around humans long enough to at least try to put them at their ease. T'Pol made no such effort. A nod to acknowledge their presence, nothing more.
Trip seemed a little put out by her attitude. And whilst Hernandez's face gave nothing away, Archer noticed his new first officer was clenching her fists.
Archer gestured to the door. "Would you like to see your quarters? I'm afraid they are somewhat spartan, but I hope they will suffice."
The President nodded graciously. "Thank you Captain. I'm sure they will be suitable."
Trip said "We've done what we can with the environmental settings in the Vulcan delegates rooms. Turned up the heat, lowered the humidity, that sorta thing. Won't be the same as bein' on Vulcan, but should be a mite more comfortable."
T'Pol barely glanced at him. "Unnecessary."
"A thoughtful gesture, none the less." said Soval. "It is appreciated."
Archer lead them to the door. Pausing at the threshold, he turned and nodded to the officer in charge of the Marines.
Lt. Malcolm Reed maintained his Parade Rest until the diplomatic party had left. He'd spotted the Captain's signal, but thought it wise to stay at attention until he was sure he was no longer observed. The Secret Service agents were notorious for not taking chances, and the current situation would only have made things worse. He'd noticed several agents watching him and his men like hawks, and didn't want to take a step out of place.
Only when the Presidential party had left did he allow himself to relax. "All right Sergeant. Fall the men out." he said in his soft Yorkshire burr.
Sergeant Woo nodded. "Yes sir! Fall....wait for it Sandstrom! Fall out!"
The Marines relaxed.
"Wow, I can't believe it. The President!" said Dent, the team medic.
Another Marine, Tipping, drawled. "Yeah, you can tell the grand kids someday. 'I was ignored by the President of Earth'."
There were a few requests for him to shut up, but there was no malice to them. Tipping's grumpiness was a running joke amongst the unit.
Sandstrom approached Reed. A tall man, so muscular he had difficulty holding his arms straight at his sides, and with a neck so thick that it seemed his head flowed straight into his shoulders, he was the teams heavy weapons expert.
He saluted. "Sir. What do you think the chances are? Any action on this mission?"
Reed shrugged. Given the Enterprises mission profile, there shouldn't
be any call for their skills. But that was before the President came on board. That was before the assassination attempt.
"I don't know Sandstrom. I really don't know."