The heavy, stuffed chair squeaked as Admiral Quinn leaned back. Ever since the rebuilding of Earth Spacedock, his chair had squeaked, and there was never enough engineering time to deal with it. The engineers were always busy doing other things, like keeping the station from coming apart when the inertial dampers went offline.
“Linnea, who’s next on my round-robin of political appearances?” asked the graying Trill. “Keep in mind that if you say ‘Empress Sela,’ I will have Security escort you to the airlock with prejudice.”
“Would that be airlock 22, where engineering still hasn’t restored structural integrity, sir?” said Linnea in an all-too-innocent tone.
“That’s the one,” said Quinn with a heavy sigh.
“Fortunately, sir, you don’t have a meeting scheduled for the next two hours. Your calendar, if you chose to look at it, would inform you that this time has been set aside for working on the commencement address for the latest round of Starfleet Academy cadets.”
Quinn’s brow furrowed in puzzlement. “The next graduation is still a few months away,” he said.
Linnea took on a familiar soothing tone, though Quinn couldn’t help but detect the adjutant’s mild humor at the Admiral’s mistake as she said, “This is the accelerated training group – the ones who were being rushed for the front lines in the war, while the war was still on.”
“Ah. Of course.” Quinn leaned forward and switched his console to the calendar notes. “How do I tell them that they all cut themselves to the quick with extra work and extra training for a war that’s over? They made huge sacrifices in their time, their stress, and their relationships, all in preparation for making the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. I’m glad it won’t come to that now, but there may be a little adjustment for the ones who lost people in the war, the ones who came from that devastation and wanted to do something about it.”
“They still can,” pointed out the adjutant as she held her PADD close to her chest. “The difference is that you aren’t sending these young people off to
die. You’re sending them off to something better.”
“Yes, though they might not see it that way,” said Quinn. “These are the ones who spent their all just to be ready to rush to the front lines. Now we have to turn them back into diplomats and scientists.”
Linnea cocked her head and said, “Then that’s their challenge. You know, sir, that every graduating class of cadets faces some kind of challenge. Times change because times are always changing. Captain Spock’s cadet cruise of the Enterprise wound up with several cadets dying due to the attack of Khan. The Intrepid lost an entire Vulcan crew while investigating a giant space amoeba! There’s no shortage of hazards in space.”
“It’s not those hazards that I’m worried about, really,” said Quinn. “It’s the hazard of what Starfleet might become. We’ve spent years at war now, and we always train our cadets to prepare them for the hazards we face. We’ve been graduating classes of cadets whose training is all geared for war. We need to teach them to return to the values that we have embraced since before the war, going back to the foundation of Starfleet – the love of exploration, the wonders of space and science, the desire to find joy in diversity of other cultures. We’ve taught so many of these cadets how to fight other cultures, now we have to get them to understand how to work with other cultures. How to respect them and… not fear them.”
“The cadets will emulate their heroes,” said Linnea. “If the Enterprise is out there working on science and diplomacy, the cadets will work their hardest to get a posting there by doing those things. Send their ships to investigate new worlds and meet new civilizations. Look into… whatever is on grid alpha-B1 on your map wall there – that dying star, or the reports of unknown probes in Tzenkethi space, or that frontier at the edge of here-there-be-space-dragons.”
“You think any of those cadets might have dreams of getting to the admiralty and emulating an old Trill?” said Quinn with a chuckle.
“Only the ones who really enjoy paperwork,” Linnea said, then gave a wide smile.
“Out before I call Security,” Quinn retorted. He checked the calendar again. “I need to start recording a test speech, anyhow.”
“Of course, sir. Since you asked me to get out, perhaps I could take some of that vacation time,” said Linnea.
“You know I can’t get anything done when you do that,” said Quinn.
“Precisely,” said the adjutant as she stopped at the open door of the Admiral’s office, “which is why you should practice some of that diplomacy you were just talking about.”
She gave an impish grin, spun on her heel, and returned to her station outside the office, leaving the door to seal with a slight whoosh.
Coming with Season 11, enjoy our latest featured episode, “Sunrise”! On the heels of the Iconian War, return to exploration, science, and the majesty of space as you head to the edge of the known quadrant to investigate the mystery behind a dying star. “Sunrise” introduces our new season and our new story, and includes great rewards that you can earn over the course of several weeks.
See you out there, thataway!
Staff Game Designer