USS Aeon - Prologue - A Walk In The Park
USS Aeon - Prologue
Location: Starfleet Command, Earth
Timeline: MD1: 1300 hours
After saying goodbye to Admiral Hockson, Bel, Estrad and Alexandria left the office.
"So good to see you again, Estrad!" said Bel cordially. "Would you care to take a walk? Starfleet Command is rather nice this time of year." Another inviting smile lit up his face. "That invitation extends to you as well, Commander, of course."
"Certainly," Estrad replied. "I have some time now before my next meeting. And I want to know what you've been up to since I left the Dalton six months ago."
"Oh, you know," said Bel, as he led them down the stairs and out the front doors. "Getting promoted and stuff. Nothing big. You?"
Estrad laughed. "Nothing big huh. Well, I guess I've pretty much done the same thing. My offer of taking over command on the Saratoga got turned over when the ship went missing en-route back to Earth. Don't know the exact specifics. Anyway, it took a good couple of months for Starfleet to decide on a starship for me to command, and another few in actually getting it to a state where I could step onto it. But I'm pleased that we got there in the end."
Bel grunted. "At least you still have a ship."
Estrad squinted as the light difference from stepping outside hit him. The day was now in full swing, and throngs of people swarmed around, walking, eating, chatting. It was obviously the lunch break hour. The sun blared down, it's scorching heat making the whole area feel humid and hot. Estrad could just make out the sound of some sport being played not too far off.
"Wow, look what we've been missing," he mused.
"That is the brighter side of being kept at Starfleet Command for longer periodes of time," said Bel. "The weather tends to be great."
Alexandria said nothing, but let the sunlight warm her face. She loved sunlight and as good as the lighting simulated it aboard Federation ships... nothing could substitute for the real thing.
She glanced to her left, seeing her two superiors standing next to each. So they did have history together. Commodore Moroi seemed nice enough, but her intuition told her to watch our for his smooth talking. She wondered how he would fit on a ship commanded by another officer.
Estrad gave a small nod. "Yes, it does," he agreed. "It's a shame we won't be around to see it for very much longer. Anyway," he turned to face Bel, "do you fancy a quick bite to eat? And of course, you are invited too, Commander," he motioned to Alexandria.
"Always!" said Bel. "I know this great place downtown - and no replicated food, mind you!"
Not much later, they were each enjoying a very delicious meal.
"What did I tell you?" said Bel.
The others nodded in agreement, too busy eating.
"So, if I may ask," tried Alexandria. "How did you two meet?"
"That would be about... three years ago now," Estrad mused. "I had just completed my second year as first officer under Captain Katal, on the Dalton, when he got offered the position of becoming an instructor at Starfleet academy. He took it, of course; given his personality I wouldn't have guessed otherwise. Anyway, his replacement; Commander Bel Moroi."
Estrad grinned at Bel. "And what was the first thing you told me when you came on board?" he asked.
Bel grinned as well. "I said: congratulations, Commander. Estrad had no idea I had just been promoted to Captain and he himself to Commander. You should have seen his face!"
Estrad laughed. "I wasn't expecting it, and half thought it was a joke until he produced the pips later that day. Anyway, congratulations are in order for you, Commodore, and for your new assignment. I didn't get a chance during our meeting."
"Talk about pips, this sure is a cool one," replied Bel, fingering the Commodore rank insigna on his collar. "And you congratulations on your own ship, of course. You absolutely deserved it. In fact... you may have been a better officer than I was, back on the Dalton."
He leaned to Alexandria, as if sharing something secret. "You see," he said. "I'm not really that good a Captain. But this man is something special altogether. Keep you eyes open and learn from him."
Alexandria smiled awkwardly, rather overwhelmed by Moroi's presence so close to her. Even though she wasn't in the least interested.
"Yet, at the same time," Bel continued. "You have to watch your back."
"My back, sir?" said Alexandria.
Estrad watched the dialog bounce back and forth between the two officers with amusement and a little bit of bewilderment. What exactly was Bel up to?
"Yes," said Bel. "Because you'll find out that Estrad carries a terrible secret. A terrible secret."
Alexandria involuntarily held her breath, by now no longer certain if the Commodore was joking or suddenly being serious. Even though he couldn't possibly be.
"You see," said Bel. "Estrad... is not just a guy in Starfleet uniform. He's actually... four guys."
Alexandria stared at Bel for a moment, then it hit her and she wanted to smack her head against the table for being taken with Bel's story. She chuckled politely, inwardly furious with herself.
Estrad burst out laughing, the kind of laugh that erupts from deep within and seems to fill the whole being until there is only laughter left. It pulled a number of stares from nearby tables, and was the cause of a young waiter almost loosing his balance while carrying a tray of empty glasses.
"You do like to build up the tension, don't you, Commodore," he managed finally, still chuckling. "And for the record," he continued, more towards Alexandria then Bel, "Estrad is my third host, and only one of my previous hosts was male. And Bel is a fantastic Captain, if a little erratic at times, but then who isn't."
"Erratic!" snorted Bel. But he said nothing else.
"Ha," Estrad smiled. "Right! I should be moving onto my next meeting. Thank you for the lunch suggestion, Commodore. And Commander, I will see you back on board the Aeon."
"Yes, you will."
Estrad stood and nodded at the two officers. "See you soon," he said simply, and went off towards his next meeting.
Alexandria smiled politely at Moroi. "I must be off, as well."
"Really?" said Bel, sounding disappointed. "That's a shame. I was enjoying your company a lot, Commander."
"Thank you, sir," said Alexandria. "But I really must be going."
"Alright," said Bel and waved as she scurried off. He leaned back in his chair and sighed.
Captain Estrad Dagan
Commander Alexandria Munro
Commodore Bel Moroi (NPC)