"Entering Sector 24187," Lieutenant Sulu said examining his navigational scope at the Enterprise's helm. The flashing lights of the duonetic controls on his black panel illuminated the worry lines of his face.
"Keptin," Ensign Chekov said from the tactical station. "Starfleet Intelligence reports the presence of possible Klingon battlecruisers in the area."
"Scopes read negative at this time," Mr. Spock said from Science. He rose from his controls and adjusted his light blue tunic. "However, it might be logical to raise defensive screens and arm phasers. Several civilian ships have reported encounters with Klingon raiding vessels in the past six months."
The black leather captain's chair spun around towards the viewscreen. Annabeth sat tall in her gold command minidress. Her blonde hair was raised in a tall beehive and bullion captain's braid circled her wrists.
"Steady as she goes, Mr. Sulu," Annabeth said crossing one black leather thigh boot over another. A female ensign in a red operations minidress walked over with a tray of tea in Styrofoam cups. She handed one to Annabeth. "Thank you, Yeoman," she said with a smile.
"No problem, Captain," the young woman replied. "If there's anything else I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask." She winked as she flashed a little thigh from under her skirt.
"I'll…try…to remember that," Annabeth replied with a grin trying to match the staccato speech pattern of the 1701's most famous commander.
Alex was pulling a night shift in sickbay, which meant Annabeth had the whole evening alone to play…
"Captain!" Mr. Sulu shouted from the helm. "Three Klingon cruisers decloaking ahead!"
"Ready phasers, Mr. Sulu, deflector screens up."
Annabeth pushed her black heels into the deck and rose to her feet.
"Sensors detect a strange energy signature emanating from the lead Klingon ship," Mr. Spock warned. "It could be some kind of new weapon."
"They're firing!" Chekov shouted. A strange, white pulse discharged from the bulbous head of the first D7 cruiser and slammed into the Enterprise. The entire bridge crew awkwardly dove to the left and then to the right in unison. Annabeth loved the primitive inertial dampeners on these old 23rd century ships. They made everyone appeared like they were jumping on cue.
"We appear to be trapped in some kind of energy dampening field, Captain," Mr. Spock said calmly. "All power is being drained from our systems."
Annabeth fell back into the captain's chair dramatically. A strand of hair fell loose from her beehive and she blew it out of her face. She slapped the intercom on the arm of her seat.
"Scotty, I need all the power you can muster, Mister! Full reverse on the warp engines!"
"I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!" the chief engineer's voice shouted back at her through the crackling speakers.
The Enterprise shook violently, but ultimately could not break free from the enemy's grip.
"Hull stress at 120 percent of normal, Captain," Mr. Sulu said looking into his control scope. "She'll tear apart if we don't shut down the energizers."
"To the devil with it!" Annabeth cursed. "All stop, shut her down."
"Lieutenant Uhura, hail the Klingons."
"I have their leader onscreen, Captain," the communications officer replied after pressing several, glowing crystalline buttons.
A smooth-headed Klingon with slicked-back black hair and a grey tunic grinned at her.
"Well, if it isn't Captain Annabeth Geist of the USS Enterprise," he said crossing his arms. A strange orange creature with a bulbous orange body and four skinny arms purred on the back of his chair. Annabeth randomly remembered that the Klingons called it a "glomeH."
"If it isn't Captain Koloth of the IKS Groth. Funny running into you on OUR side of the Neutral Zone," she replied.
"Oh, Captain Geist," he said shaking his head. "This area will soon be a part of the Klingon Empire anyway. Why worry about trivial borders?"
"Not if I have anything to do with it," she said firmly. "Release my ship!"
"Of course, Captain. Once you surrender to us, that is."
"Surrender is not in my vocabulary, Koloth! Now…"
"Tigranian to Geist…" her real ship's intercom cut into her suspension of disbelief.
"Computer, freeze program," she said. "This is Geist, go ahead, Dan," she said collecting herself as the world stopped around her.
"It's 2030 hours. Aren't you forgetting about our passenger from the USS Exeter?"
"Scheisse!" Annabeth cursed under her breath. She had completely forgotten about the message Dan had put out during that morning's sync meeting.
"Something wrong, Number One?" Tigranian asked. "Did you already change back into civvies?"
"No…" Annabeth said looking at her historical costume. "I'm still in a uniform…"
"No worries, then. They just pulled alongside and the transport isn't for another five minutes. You've got plenty of time. I'll meet you in Transporter Room 2. Tigranian Out."
The comm disconnected before she could come up with an excuse. Annabeth shut her eyes and took a deep breath.
"Great, this is happening…" she muttered. "Computer, save program and end."
The bridge of the Enterprise 1701 disappeared and she was alone on the holodeck dressed only in an antique skirt that revealed a good ten centimeters more thigh than modern concepts of decency allowed. She looked down and groaned as she also realized the tiniest bit of pregnancy belly was starting to show.
"It doesn't matter," she said pulling her tower of hair back into rigid place. "I'm captain of the Enterprise." She threw her shoulders back and walked out the doors. Her high-heeled boots clicked against the metal decking plating with every step.
In the transporter room, Tigranian stood uncomfortably next to Counselor Yuvich. It was because of her, the Pershing was receiving this unexpected guest.
"I thought Captain Geist was coming," Yuvich said glancing at the doors.
"She's on her way," Tigranian said curtly. "Any signal from the Exeter?" he asked Chief Carter.
"Not yet, Sir," he replied checking his instruments, "but we're ready."
The doors parted and Annabeth walked in. All three individuals stared at her in surprise.
"Ma'am," Yuvich said looking her up and down. "That outfit is…"
"Not a damn word for any of you," Annabeth said confidently turning towards the pad.
"Nice boots, Number One," Tigranian said under his breath. Annabeth shot an angry look in his direction.
"Sir, transporter lock from the Exeter," Chief Carter said. "One to beam over."
"Energize," Tigranian commanded.
A sparkle of blue light shimmered on the pad and a Starfleet Commander wearing medical greens appeared. She carried an away bag indicating a longer than normal stay.
"Welcome Aboard, Doctor," Tigranian said with a nod of his head. "I'm Captain Daniel Tigranian."
"Sir," she said walking forward with a smile and outstretched hand. "Doctor Kayla Kirby: Starfleet Office of Psychology," she said. Tigranian uncomfortably shook her hand.
"Olga," Kirby said wrapping her arms around Doctor Yuvich. The two women hugged.
"I interned under Doctor Kirby at the fleet hospital on Cestus III before the war," Yuvich said.
"One of my best students," Kirby said before turning towards Annabeth and raising her eyebrows.
"My first officer, Captain Annabeth Geist," Tigranian said clearing his throat.
"Doctor," Annabeth said shaking the physician's hand.
"I must say, Captain Geist," Kirby said examining her golden frock, "I didn't realize the minidress was still an authorized uniform, but then again, I don't get off Earth that often anymore."
Annabeth held back another groan.
"Laundry day today," Annabeth tried to pass it off as a joke, "nothing else clean."
"Ma'am," Kirby said holding up a hand. "I'm a psychiatrist. You don't have to explain the benefits of holo-fantasy in blowing off work related steam."
Her reassurance seemed to calm Annabeth a bit.
"Well," Tigranian said trying to move things along. "While onboard, you will have full access to my staff and the ship's facilities per my orders from Starfleet Command. You can work with Doctor Hunter to set up an interview schedule with anyone you feel meets the criteria of your study."
"Thank you, Captain," Kirby replied. "This is the largest examination of the effects of combat related post-traumatic stress on Starfleet personnel ever completed. It has the potential to help tens of thousands of people."
"Well, I'm glad to be of help, even if it was unexpected…" Tigranian said.
"But your ship volunteered to be one of our subjects?" Kirby said confused.
"Yes," Tigranian said turning towards Yuvich and glaring. "We apparently did."
"I see," Kirby said looking at Yuvich as well. The counselor glanced away from them innocently.
"In any case," Kirby said. "The high concentration of veterans on the Pershing makes it an ideal test case. However, in light of this new information, I promise to disrupt your operations as little as possible. I understand how starship captains can feel about counselors getting in the way."
"Oh really?" Annabeth said skeptically.
"Doctor Kirby is command rated," Yuvich said proudly. "She's one of only four counselors in all of Starfleet to have passed the Bridge Officer's Test."
"I was senior counselor on the Atlantis at the Kalandra Front," Kirby explained. "We were very understrength. I knew every officer needed to step up. So, I did."
"That was a very rough place," Tigranian said, immediately seeing Kirby in a new light. "You saw some real action."
"Most of Starfleet is trying to deal with the war with varying degrees of success," she said looking to Annabeth and Tigranian. "It's the brave men and women I worked with that makes me want to help."
The captains softened a bit.
"In that case, our ship is your ship, Doc," Tigranian said with a grin. "Doctor Yuvich will show you to your quarters. You can use her office for the duration of your stay. I'll have the computer grant you access to our crew database."
"Thank you, Captain," she said with a nod.
The two counselors walked out of the transporter room and Tigranian shook his head.
"That was unexpected," Annabeth said with surprise. "In my experience, most counselors are egg-heads who don't know the difference between phaser leads and impulse manifolds."
"Unexpected?" Tigranian chuckled. "Look who's talking, Captain Old School."
"Shut up, Dan," Annabeth said. "How many times have I seen you dressed as a god-damned Klingon pirate after hours?"
He laughed as they departed the transporter room. Chief Carter merely shook his head and muttered: