“Reprimand, demotion, reprimand, reprimand… the list goes on.” Abigail sat in the aft compartment of a runabout en route to her new home: the USS Asger. Standing before her was a holographic projection of Admiral Baudelaire, the man who offered her the assignment. “I knew the ship was in bad shape, but you didn’t tell me about the crew. Seriously, how are any of these people still in Starfleet?” She tossed the PADD onto the runabout’s small console table and crossed her arms over her chest.
“The Asger is a blemish on Starfleet’s record. The ship, and her crew, need a leader like you to straighten them out,” the man explained. “Commander, I know you can do this. And if you do, I can promise there’s an Admiral bar in your future.”
“Tell me about this Commander… Wilde,” Abigail continued as she picked the PADD back up and resumed skimming through its contents. “I’ve looked over his official file. Commendation after commendation until one day he just decides to commit perjury? What isn’t this telling me? What happened at that trial? I need to know everything.” She couldn’t understand what was so concerning about Wilde that warranted her special assignment. The man’s record looked clean, at least as clean as anyone else on the Asger.
The Admiral clenched his jaw and glared at Abigail. “He’s reckless and impulsive. That makes him a danger to himself and others. He will destroy everything in his path, including the careers of those around him.” The man’s stern voice echoed through the runabout’s small room.
Abigail sensed the anger and intensity from the Admiral’s short explanation, but it also felt personal. She was no first-year cadet; she knew when a higher-ranking officer was playing her. She also had a feeling, from their previous conversations, that her special assignment was less than official. The need to show blind obedience was the last thing on her mind. “That’s it? That’s all you can tell me?” she asked, trying her best to keep a professional tone.
“Just remember our deal, Commander,” the Admiral stated. “Record every single thing Commander Wilde does. When he screws up, and he will screw up, report back to me. Then the Asger will be yours.”
“I need to know, if the situation becomes dire and I have no other options, do I have the authority to remove him from command?” The woman looked directly into the eyes of the hologram. She waited a few seconds and allowed the man’s silence to answer her question. “If this is about protecting the lives of 190 officers, and if Starfleet really doesn’t trust him, I need that option. If it’s as bad as you say, there will come a time when he’ll put the ship and the crew in jeopardy. I can’t do this without knowing I have some way to take control.”
The man looked down at the floor. “You’ll have to find a way, Commander.”
“What does Starfleet really think about him?” she asked as she stood up from her seat and placed her hands on her hips. “If they don’t trust him, why did they give him a command in the first place?” As the ship’s Executive Officer, she felt a responsibility to protect the entire crew – including protecting them from their Captain. Part of her couldn’t understand why the Admiral wouldn’t give her the tools she needed to carry out her assignment, but the more cynical part of her just wanted to hear him state his true intentions.
“Starfleet believes in giving second chances. Officially, Commander Wilde has earned command of the Asger, and they have faith in him. You’re there to make sure that faith wasn’t misplaced and that Wilde doesn’t get anyone killed or, worse, do irreparable damage to the Federation.”
Abigail scoffed at the man and shook her head. Hearing the words aloud while she was already en route to the Asger fueled a growing fire inside her. “Let’s be honest here, Admiral. I’m on the Asger to serve some vendetta you have against him.”
“Oh, get off your high horse, Commander. You’re gaining just as much as I am from this. You knew what this assignment was the first time we discussed it. You agreed because you want your own command. I can make that happen. We both get what we want, so don’t you dare lecture me about morality. Removing Wilde from command and placing you in charge of the Asger is in the best interests of the Federation.”
The woman turned away from the holo projection. He was right; she did want the Asger to herself. It would be a huge step forward in her career, and she wanted it more than anything else. If gaining command meant destroying a man who could put the ship in danger, she was willing to play the Admiral’s game. She looked back at the projection and bit down on her tongue to prevent herself from saying anything else.
“You have your orders, Commander. I want daily status reports.” The man waited to see Abigail’s nod and then reached his arm out of the holo projector’s view. “Good luck,” he said before the hologram disappeared.
The Commander turned to face the runabout’s aft window. She gazed out at the stars as the metal walls of the Asger’s shuttle bay slowly encapsulated the vessel. Closing her eyes, she began to wonder what exactly she’d gotten herself into.
“Commander, we’ve landed aboard the Asger,” the pilot said through the runabout’s intercom.
Abby straightened out her freshly pressed uniform and picked up her duffel bag. As the runabout’s door opened, she was welcomed by a hangar filled with spare parts on the floor, officers running around in greasy uniforms, and shuttles that looked unworthy of space travel. She stepped off of the runabout and exhaled. “So it begins,” she mumbled to herself as she walked towards the exit.