Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead
By Michael D. Garcia and A.J. Gertner
Episode Four: Milk Run
Near the Cardassian Border
With its proximity to the Cardassian border, Starbase 310 served as the way station for civilian and military traffic to all the colony worlds within the sector. The Border Patrol ships operating nearby also used it as either their home port or a port of call. Out here on the frontier, folks were a little more apt to pull out their weapon than to ask questions. The type-two phaser sidearms of all the security officers patrolling the starbase made that absolutely clear to everyone visiting.
Commander Jesse Kincaid folded his arms as he stood on the large observation deck of the starbase, watching the ships dance in a traffic pattern around the station. Since his arrival nearly two weeks ago, he waited for the day that his ship would come in with patience and composure, in spite of the opposing feelings he felt bubbling up inside of him.
How could a ship get lost like that? What the hell kind of captain lets something like that happen aboard her ship? He had not yet met Captain Leone, but he knew that she must be one hell of a captain to earn a captaincy in under fifteen years' service in Starfleet. He had only thirteen years' service and barely made commander less than a year ago, while serving aboard Valdemar
Scuttlebutt on Leone was she'd been born into Starfleet wearing admiral's pips on her collar. Her mother held the rank of vice admiral and considered most of the admiralty family, if not close friends. His appointment as Farragut
's new executive officer would not be without its opportunities, but also a hell of a lot of pitfalls if he should run afoul of a well-connected captain like Krystine Leone.
A soft, feminine tone brought him out of his thoughts. "Commander Kincaid?"
"Yes?" he turned to look at a strikingly beautiful Starfleet officer wearing a tight, wine red jumpsuit over a lithe, but curvy form. "Lieutenant Commander...?"
"Tricia Hargreaves," she replied with a smile. She offered a pale-skinned hand to him, which he accepted lightly to shake it twice before releasing it. "A pleasure to meet you, sir."
"Likewise, I'm sure." Something about her did not sit well with him, in spite of her curled brown hair and deep blue eyes. "Is there something I can do for you?"
Hargreaves shook her head. "No, sir. I just wanted to come down and introduce myself to you. I'm also waiting for Farragut
Strange. He didn't recall seeing the name Hargreaves on the list of senior officers serving aboard ship. Certainly, a lieutenant commander would warrant a division officer's position, if not at least a department head. "Forgive me, Commander, if I seem a little confused. Are you also part of the crew?"
"No," she said strongly, almost blanching at the suggestion. "No, sir, I'll just be a passenger for a while."
Kincaid offered no response to that, at first. He tried to read her and failed. She offered him nothing but a pleasant smile and eyes that hid her true intentions from view. "I take it you wanted to introduce yourself to me, because...?"
"I thought it was the kind thing to do, to meet my future beneficiary."
That was a hell of a thing to say. "I beg your pardon?"
She did not say anything to that. Instead, Hargreaves' gaze moved away from him and out toward the stars. "How well do you know Captain Leone, sir?"
"Not very well," he said, honestly. "I was selected by subspace communication. And you, Commander?"
"Oh, I know her very well, sir... very
Kincaid decided to probe her for a little more information. "I hear she's quite an officer."
Hargreaves' smile lessened only slightly, but enough for him to notice it. "If you say so, sir."
"I take it from your tone, Commander, that you don't like her very much?"
"Far be it for me to speak out of turn about a superior officer, sir."
With a wave of his hand, he affected as magnanimous an air as he could muster, "Consider this permission to speak freely, then. You can start by telling me what you meant by calling me your beneficiary."
Hargreaves winced under his direct scrutiny. "I only meant, sir, that Captain Leone's days in command are numbered. You'll most likely assume command by the end of my trip."
He chuckled. "Is that so? You planning on staging a mutiny while you're aboard?"
She shook her head and continued to smile. In spite of that smile, she spoke to him seriously, "No, sir. I'm an investigator with the Inspector General's office. I suspect that the moment I file my report, Starfleet Command will have no choice but to relieve her of her command and take her into custody."