Spacedock: Earth Orbit
"No," Tigranian said forcefully for his ready room desk chair.
"Please, Daniel!" Laria said holding up a tri-fold tourist brochure. Its cover was a picture of a famous Constitution Class-Refit permanently moored in a slipway above the Earth. The caption read:
"The Big E: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A
Museum and Memorial:
A Branch of the National Starfleet Museum
Boldly Explore the Federation's Most Famous Starship!"
"Their temporary exhibit on the early stages of warp drive only lasts till the end of week," Laria continued to plead. "They have the hat Zefram Cochrane was wearing on the Phoenix on loan from the Smithsonian!"
Tigranian remained unenthusiastic
"And their original Class-F Shuttlecraft just came out of restoration and is back on display for the first time in two years!" Laria added.
Tigranian still shook his head. That's when Laria decided to play her trump card.
"And James T. Kirk's quarters are preserved exactly as they were on the ship's final mission to the Klingon Empire…"
"I know," Tigranian said. "But Annabeth is the real Kirk fanatic. You'd have better luck trying to convince her."
"They have General Chang's bat'leth that Chancellor Azetbur presented Kirk as a trophy for saving the Khitomer Peace Conference," she said pointing to a picture in the middle of the brochure and nodding her head up and down. "Didn't Torlek's grandfather study under him at the Klingon Academy?"
"Torlek's grandfather was Chang's student before he decided to betray the Empire and assassinate Chancellor Gorkon. We don't really talk about him a lot now. Besides, I've seen it, L. So has every other fourth grader on Earth."
"C'mon, Daniel!" she said stomping her feet with a pout. "I didn't grow up on Earth! I know this stuff is old hat to you and the others, but I was raised on a farm in the middle of nowhere! I would have killed to be able to visit these places growing up. Besides, you dragged us all kicking and screaming to that Klingon performance the other night."
"I thought you liked Klingon music," he said slightly wounded.
"Not as much as you think I do, Daniel…" she said trailing off.
"Laria," Tigranian said placing the PADD he was studying onto his desk. "It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that you love this stuff more than the rest of us combined."
"Then tell me why we can't go?" she replied. "It's in orbit less than 10,000 kilometers from here."
"Because we're not on leave, L!" he said matter-of-factly. "Just because we're back at Earth, doesn't mean we can all kick up our heels and relax. We're on standby to respond to contingencies anywhere in the Quadrant.
In the meantime, we have a full maintenance schedule, diagnostics to run, and a series of readiness exercises Starfleet Command wants us to run through."
"So, you're telling me we can't get away for four hours?"
"This is our first rotation back to Earth under this new system. To make sure Starfleet Command doesn't breathe down our necks, we've got to do this one by the book.
But I promise, our next time back, we'll sneak away and visit the Enterprise. It should be around your birthday by then anyways."
"That's four months away!" Laria said petulantly collapsing onto his couch.
"I'm sorry, L, that's the best I can do."
"Sometimes, I wish you were just my husband and not my captain."
"And sometimes, I wish you were just my wife and not my subordinate. That way, I could just say 'Yes Dear' and save myself the hassle," he said with a smirk.
"Are you sure, Daniel?" Laria said getting up from the couch and slinking over to his desk. "I can make it worth your while…" she said biting her lower lip and reaching up to the zipper on her jacket. His eyes grew wide.
"Is this a down payment for the visit or merely a preview of coming events?" he asked glancing over at his ready room door to make sure it was secure.
"Whatever gets you to relax and live a little…" she said leaning forward and kissing him.
"Stone to Captain Tigranian…" Katie's sudden voice caused them both to jump apart.
"This is Tigranian, go ahead, Katie," Tigranian cleared his throat and replied into his intercom.
"Priority One Message from Admiral Murphy," she said. "I don't think it's a drill, Sir."
The captain and Laria exchanged worried glances.
"Thank you, Katie. Route it to my ready room."
Laria stepped back to the couch as Tigranian activated his desktop monitor. Soon, Pete Murphy's worried face appeared in front of him.
"Pete, what's up?"
"Dan, need you and your senior staff to beam down to "G and G" immediately for a mission briefing. There's been a serious incident in Cardassia. We're still gathering the details, but it looks like this might be it."
Laria placed her hands over her face.
"We're on our way, Pete. See you at in thirty minutes."
"Understood, Murphy out."
The screen cut to an image of the Federation seal.
"I'm afraid the fun and games are gonna have to wait, L," he said.
"I know," she said with a nod. She shoved her tourist brochure into her jacket pocket as her dreams of fun faded back to hard reality.