Subik System: Republic of Cardassia/Cardassian State Border
"They out there?" Tigranian asked glancing over his shoulder from the captain's chair.
"Oh, yes Sir," Laria said shaking her head. "A Romulan warbird and two Cardassian State cruisers, less than a thousand kilometers from the border. Their sensor arrays are active and watching every move we make."
"Not surprising," Tigranian said pulling on the edges of his jacket. "Might as well give 'em something to look at, right?" he muttered with a glance to Annabeth. She chuckled and leaned back in her own seat. "Phil drop to one half impulse. Katie prep salute batteries: 3 flare burst."
"Aye Sir," the pair said in unison from their respective stations.
The Pershing flashed back into normal space. Ten thousand kilometers away, the USS Nevsky awaited their arrival.
"Fire our salute, Katie. They're ready to head home."
"Flares away, Sir," she responded.
Three white flashes brilliantly popped off their bow. Quickly, the other Pershing class vessel responded with a flare volley of her own.
"Phil, bring us alongside. Parallel her course."
"Aye Sir," Phil replied artfully bringing the two battlestarships less than kilometers apart. They sailed together hugging the border. The light from Subik's star brilliantly illuminated their hull plating.
"Captain Tarn is hailing, Sir," Katie said.
"Put him onscreen," Tigranian said crossing his legs.
The image of the bemused Coridanite captain loomed large on the main viewer.
"Belen!" Tigranian said with a smile. "Fun month on the Cardassian border?"
"It was fun till you got here, Dan," he said laughing. "No, all quiet on the Cardassian Front. They're been afraid to test us ever since that first officer of yours took apart their best Admiral with a museum relic."
"What can I say, Sir?" Annabeth said shrugging her shoulders. "I'm just that good."
"No doubt, Annabeth," Tarn replied. "Kivrana couldn't stop talking about it when we relieved her last month."
"And I'm sure Shu Yin will want some payback when she relieves us," Tigranian replied.
"That mean the Nelson's back up and running?" Tarn said hopefully.
"Like new," Tigranian said. "She just completed her post drydock shakedown cruise last week. Got to hear ALL about it when she rendezvoused with us at Alpha Centauri three days ago."
Tarn laughed again.
"We're sending you all our logs and reports. Only thing we noticed out of place was the number of Romulan ships keep fluctuating. Warbird coverage is down at least twenty percent from six months ago."
"We probably have Rellas to thank for that," Annabeth muttered into her captain's ear. Tigranian nodded.
"Alright, Brother," Tigranian said turning back to the screen. "Thanks for the intel dump. I've got some hard mail in my hold for you. Beaming it over now and enjoy the goodies on the trip back to the Fed." He nodded to Laria who completed the transport sequence from her station.
"Now, you didn't eat all of the Tarborian ginger snaps my wife baked for me, did you?" Tarn said raising his brow.
"Of course not," Tigranian said grinning, "though, they did look delicious while I was rummaging through all of your other packages."
Tarn laughed out loud.
"Good luck, Lady Blackjack," Tarn said touching his right index finger to his forehead and miming a relaxed salute. "Stay frosty."
"Good winds and fair seas back home, Might of the Motherland," Tigranian replied. "Pershing out."
The viewscreen disconnected. The huge silhouette of the Nevksy pulled away and jumped to warp towards the Federation.
"Alright folks," Tigranian announced looking around the bridge. "We officially have the conn. The Cardassian State border is ours for the next month. Number One," Tigranian said turning to Annabeth, "I want the department heads to have their proposed rotation schedules to you for review by 1500 then on my desk by 0900 tomorrow morning."
"Roger Sir," Annnabeth said with a nod.
"Also, they're expecting us skids down at Camp Hayes at 1100 hours tomorrow. Hawkins will be joining us. I want him to link in with the Marine/Fleet LNO down their just to get some grunt specific updates with what's going on out here."
"Tracking Sir," Annabeth said confidently. "I'll make sure his folks are at the shuttlebay at 1030 to link up with us."
"Us?" Tigranian said skeptically.
"Yes Sir," Annabeth replied. "I'm going down with you and the away team. You'll handle the inspection while I supervise the download of the logistics shipment for the base ordnance depot."
"Annabeth," Tigranian said. "May I see you in my ready room?"
Katie and Laria exchanged glances.
"Of course," Annabeth said with more than a hint of annoyance. Tigranian offered a hand to help her up, but she gently declined.
"Katie, you have the bridge," Tigranian said.
"Aye, Sir," his tactical officer replied. The pair disappeared into the captain's office. "Somebody is about to get a talking too…" Laria muttered.
"Somebody needs to tell their husband to get out of the 19th century…" Katie muttered right back.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Laria asked.
"I'm pretty sure he's about to find out," Katie said chuckling.
In the ready room, Annabeth collapsed onto the couch and Tigranian walked over the replicator.
"AB, can I get you something?" he said hoping to set a friendly tone for this awkward conversation.
"Just some water please, Dan," she said.
He selected an iced Klingon tea for himself and also materialized a glass of water. He handed her the beverage before leaning on his desk.
"Dan," she said after taking a sip. "Do you mind telling me why you were surprised that a starship's first officer would want to supervise a logistical exchange? Or, in other words, why were you surprised that I would be doing my job?"
"Annabeth," he said like it was obvious. "You're eight months pregnant."
"And?" she said matter-of-factly.
"And I'm surprised that you aren't on limited duty yet. I might have to have a talk with my Chief Medical Officer…"
"Go ahead," Annabeth said confidently. "I already told her that if she put me on limited duty, I would make sure the duty roster would have her on every night shift from now until this ship is retired."
"Annabeth…" Tigranian grumbled.
"Daniel," she said looking straight back at him. "I am pregnant. I am not an invalid. I am going to do my job until the day that I can't. Otherwise, what I am here for?"
"Katie is perfectly capable of supervising an ordnance delivery…"
"That is not the point!" Annnabeth shouted back at him.
"Number One, it's a struggle for you to climb out of a chair right now."
"Dammit! I'm not asking for you to send me into hand to hand combat. I'm merely asking to be treated commensurate with my position on this ship. Wait, scratch that," she said cocking her head to one side. "I'm not asking to be treated. I'm telling you how it's going to be."
Tigranian dropped his chin and cleared his throat.
"Even a female Klingon warrior refrains from putting herself in dangerous situations during the final weeks of pregnancy."
"I'm not Klingon, Dan. I'm a Starfleet officer."
"Who is already starting to brush up against Starfleet regulations, AB," Tigranian said furrowing his brow. "They're written down, clear as day. No away missions during the last trimester!"
"I know regulations, Dan! Don't explain things to me like I'm a green lieutenant."
"Then why fight them if they're for your own good? If something happens to you or the baby…"
"Because I made a promise to myself that I was never going to let motherhood be an excuse to not give my all! Jesus, you can be sexist sometimes."
She could tell her last statement landed like a blow. Tigranian rubbed his eyes.
"You don't care that captains get relieved for messing with the medical status of their officers, right?"
"Did you ever give a shit over the past two and a half years that first officers get relieved for letting their captains put themselves in suicidally stupid situations?"
"What was that?" Annabeth said condescendingly. "I couldn't quite hear you."
"Then why did you keep doing suicidally stupid shit?"
"Because I always feel as a captain I should put myself out front…"
"And why is that?" Annabeth asked in an uncomfortably parental tone.
"Because it's my job…"
"I think this conversation is over," Annabeth said smugly finishing her glass. "Thanks for the water. I'll be on the bridge." She grunted as she stood up and walked out the doors. Tigranian just stood there with his tail between his legs.
"What just happened?" he thought to himself out loud.