|Worlds in Collusion
Author: Stephen Ratliff PM
Marrissa Story #10, Lt. Picard Era. After an asteroid crashes into the capital of the planet of Essex, the Enterprise is ordered in to assist in the relief effort. Replaces A Royal MessRated: Fiction K+ - English - Chapters: 12 - Words: 70,910 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-22-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7661235
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
For the moment it was quiet on the Enterprise. Marrissa was sure that would change, but it had given her just enough time to use the holodeck for a half hour or so. In her hand was a chip which Tory had given her. The Queen had informed her that it was a message recorded by their grandfather for her. In the past week she'd learnt a lot about her father and his family, and had become proud to be numbered among Essex's royals, even if the concept of a royal family in the Federation seemed a bit dated to her.
Marrissa put the chip in the slot for Holodeck Two, and brought up the program. The doors to the holodeck opened, revealing a round room, with wood paneling cladding it's walls. There were two windows she could see. One of them had a telescope pointed outside at the night sky. The edge of a nearby mountain could just barely be seen across the bottom edge of the window. There was a rather formal coach near the center of the room.
A man with a sliver beard stood up from it. He was tall and thin, and reminded her of her father. Marrissa, for the first time in a long time, wished she had inherited her father's height instead of her mother's dainty build. "Marrissa, welcome to my retreat," the man said with a deep bass voice. "I'm your grandfather on your father's side. I'm sorry we didn't get to meet while I was still alive."
Marrissa found herself meeting his open arms. He drew her into a hug. Marrissa had missed hugs. Captain Picard wasn't the kind of person that did physical affection. Jay was, but it was different when Jay did it. The King held her, enveloped her, even though he was only a holodeck construct, somehow it felt right. He gently patted her on the back, before she broke the hug. As she stepped back, suddenly as nervous as she'd been that first time she'd met Captain Picard on the bridge, he smiled and directed her to a seat on the couch.
As they said down, he said, "I see your arrival at Essex was not to replace me, which is very good. I would not wish such a role on any of my grandchildren so suddenly, you least of them. So, I can go right on to what I consider the real important stuff, not what my Kingdom forces me to consider first. Marrissa, you are an unexpected blessing, one that I so wished I could meet."
The King looked down. "When your father left, I thought it was forever. The fault was mine, I should have remembered my own struggles with this duty of mine that I never sought nor expected, before I rashly gave my second son the EEJ slot. George didn't want it, and when he returned to Naverre to discover that his girlfriend, his fiancee, had died while he was away ... he never forgave me. His resignation and departure for Star Fleet Academy struck me deeply. The breech, however, was unbridgeable. I didn't make it any better with my letters, which soon began to bounce, as unacceptable recipient."
"His older brother, Andrew, somehow maintained contact. He even managed to go to your father's wedding. I was still upset, and so was your father. Then you were born. Your mother, no doubt over your father's objections, started to send pictures, and write about what I was to learn was George's little Princess. My wife found that nickname so amusing, and after a while, so did I, especially once I learnt that your father had forgone using all of his titles, save one, which he transformed into his middle and last name."
The King now looked up, right into Marrissa's eyes. "I remember that picture of you in that little princess dress. You have the Essex eyes, and they looked right into me though the light years. I was captivated by this little girl, who stood no higher than my son's knee, that I knew I'd never meet. I have twenty-three grandchildren at last count, and if you ask any one of them, they'll tell you that Grandfather Essex treasures your pictures more than any of theirs, especially after that waterfight involving Hilda and Christina in the lounge which destroyed a picture of you."
"Then, you had to get interested in my favorite field. If you've seen my retreat, and it is a retreat in all senses of the world, you know my interests in astronomy and stellar cartography. You have come closer than all my children and grandchildren in being a child of my heart and my interests. When you got that article in the Vulcan Science Academy Journal ... I was beside myself ... I was also quite envious. I practically called a conference with all my friends in the field going over your paper. You'll probably be happy that it held up quite well. Even my old Professor Cassel-Grenville-Smyte had to admit that you had talent."
"Of course, you had to get involved in command, to become an officer. I wish I could say I saw it coming. After all, what young girl or boy wouldn't want to command a starship. I know I did. I never told your father, but I actually applied to Star Fleet Academy, myself, before my older brother and his family were killed. I got accepted the day after I became King, though and had to turn it down. I was no shape to go at the time, anyway, as my own fiancee of the time had just broken up with me and committed suicide."
"I realize you're a young girl, a teenager, just beginning your first forays into romance. It's a wonderful feeling, a new world every bit as strange as the new ones your Enterprise has and will take you to, but it's also every bit as dangerous. Be careful who you let into your heart, Marrissa. For it's those you love the most that can hurt you the most by their absence. That final severing of ties will strike you down. It did for me with my brother King Richard, my first fiancee and love Gabrielle, and with your father."
Marrissa moved closer, as the tears started running down her grandfather's face. "I always had hope that he'd come back, that my big boy George would come striding into the place, in his dress uniform, that sword of his that he always prized strapped to his waist, even though it really didn't fit with his outfit ..."
The King was silent for a bit, as Marrissa found her way into his lap, his arm resting lightly against her back. Then, with Marrissa in his arms, he continued. "He never did, and now you come in his place. I hope my people treat you well. I know that being a Lieutenant your age can't be easy, and now that you're Princess of Halifax, you'll be drawn into the limelight. You're going to need help with the Press. Tell Tory to get old Haskell out of retirement. He still owes the family a few favors, and is the most avid monarchist you'll ever encounter anyway. I don't want you driven away, cursing the family."
Marrissa remained in his arms until the program ended, her grandfather stroking her hair. She wished she had met him for real. Tory was right. Grandfather Essex was someone who had been missing in her life, and now no one would ever fill that hole.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard offered Queen Victoria a glass of the Chateau Picard. They were in his quarters. He took his seat on what his wife called the most comfortable chair on the ship. Since the Doctor was still on duty, it was a safe move. He swirled his own glass and took a quick sniff. The fifty-two was almost as good as the forty-seven. The Queen took her first sip as she sat on the sofa under the pair of windows. Essex's Wessex continent could be seen outside the window.
"I got an interesting message this morning from a Rear Admiral Gretchen Decker," the Queen said, lowering her drink. "Apparently he thinks that I should be making a big stink over Marrissa's post, which I have no intention of doing."
"Admiral Decker has a unique point of view that has occasionally resulted in some less than appropriate messages," Jean-Luc said, neutrally. He tried to not let his opinion of his former classmate color his voice, and largely succeeded.
Victoria giggled. It was short chuckle, but just enough to let Jean-Luc know that his point had been received. "I think Marrissa put it better. She called him a damn fool set on running starship loads of officers and crewmen though the crapper. You didn't hear that from me though."
"I don't think I've ever heard Marrissa use such colorful language," Jean-Luc noted. Marrissa tended to be so polite with her word choice, Jean-Luc expected that she'd have trouble later in her career with certain command encouragements.
"I think I caught her on a very bad day," Victoria replied. "In any case, I do have some concerns over Marrissa's current posting, but one thing I've already learnt about my heir is that she doesn't like it when someone intervenes in her favor."
"Yes, Marrissa wants to avoid the appearance of favoritism as much as possible," Jean-Luc mused. "Given our positions it's not always possible, but both of us try. I wish that she was still the carefree little girl that I mentored, and every once in a while I see a glimpse of that, but she's changed so much in the last year. I'm afraid that there is no going back at this point."
"So the question is, how can she move forward into a less risky position, and how soon?" Victoria asked. It was a question that Jean-Luc had been pondering since Marrissa had ended up in charge of Security.
"I'm not sure there is a way, as long as Decker is in her position," Jean-Luc replied, seriously. "She should rotate out of it in a year, but meanwhile Marrissa is in one of the most risky posts on the ship. Fortunately, we're technically in shakedown for another nine months."
"Are there ways you can keep her in the post, yet give her other duties?" Victoria said. The Queen had a smile that made Jean-Luc think that something was up.
"I might be able to detach her to study at the Fighter School," Jean-Luc said, putting down his wine. "Given the short officer course they're planning, though, that won't take much time. I don't see any other detachments in offering here."
"I might have something," Victoria said. "You know that Essex managed to loose practically all of it's system defense force, as we relied on deploying runabouts from a base on the edge of Londondairy, as needed." Jean-Luc nodded. He thought the central node deployments weren't the best idea as a single layer defense, but he hadn't been in charge of the now decimated unit. "Duchess Clarrissa has come up with a replacement force, converting some of our under construction cargo vessels into a design called a corvette. The first of them should be in service next week, with eleven more coming in service over the next six months. We've got enough remaining members of our defense force to crew about three of them, now. They'll need about fifteen crew each, I'm told, and we still would need some of that crew at their new headquarters. We also lack an overall commander of our defense force."
"So you think that detaching her to help out her home world's defense would be an option," Jean-Luc concluded. "It might, but what makes you think that your new commander would accept her? I would offer her and a few other officers, but she is just short of fourteen. That has been a problem with even those who know her talents."
"That may be, but we've just begun a search for a new overall commander," Victoria said, as she swirled her wine lightly. "We'd like your assistance on the interviews if at all possible." Jean-Luc nodded. "So, I called Star Fleet Command and got Admiral Necheyev. She suggested that you could preform the duty, since the Enterprise is assigned to the system for at least the next three months. By then we should have someone to take over, and if not, Necheyev is prepared to extend the Enterprise's posting for a reasonable length of time until we do."
For a new Head of State, the Queen seemed to be surprisingly well connected. Necheyev was no wall flower at the Admiralty. Still, with the recent events, Star Fleet Command wasn't going to shift a call from Essex's Queen to some chair warmer. Which left the question, was it really a good idea to serve double duty as both Senior Star Fleet Officer in the system and Commander of the Essex Defense Force? "I see."
The Queen seemed to sense Jean-Luc's quandary, as she met his eyes. "It's your decision if you want to be the Acting Commanding Admiral of the Essex Defense Force, of course. Admiral Necheyev thinks you'd be a good choice. In fact, she wonders why you've never taken flag rank."
It had not been long since Jean-Luc had encountered James T. Kirk, and his words still echoed. "A wise Captain I once met convinced me that command of the Enterprise was worth holding on to as long as possible, due to the personal way you can effect events. I've been Captain for almost forty years now. The Enterprise-E is my third command, and when the Enterprise-D crashed, I was afraid that I'd never have her. Indeed, there where some admirals who suggested that it was time for fresh blood in the flagship's chair." Jean-Luc paused, the word flagship reminding him of another comment. "Though there is precedent for a flag officer to command the Enterprise. Eventually, I'll have to give up starship command, but I am loathe to do anything that hastens that. Admiral Necheyev, you said?"
"Yes," Victoria replied, taking another sip of her wine. "I was surprised to get her. To be honest, I was going over the list of chair warming Admirals that Marrissa gave me when she answered."
"If Admiral Necheyev is backing the idea, I see no harm in taking the post, but be aware that I'm likely to make quite a bit of changes as your force increases," Jean-Luc said. "Who is serving as your civilian head?"
"It's a bit up in the air at the moment," the Queen said. "Bill is reshuffling his cabinet ministers as the by-elections gradually refill the Parliament. The construction of the new Corvettes is being done by Duchess Clarrissa's company, or she'd be in the slot. I would recommend seeing her about any of the Engineering aspects of the corvettes anyway. So Bill assigned construction oversight to the Finance Minister, Alstair Haughtington-Redgrave, and everything else is under the interim Defense Minister, Maynard Kawahara. I don't know how long he'll be in the post though. Bill really wants him over in Interior, but Havea is Consistency Party leader, which makes reshuffling him a bit difficult."
"I will get with them shortly to find out exactly where we are," Jean-Luc said, offering the Queen a refill. "Star Fleet has assigned the Enterprise, the Magdeburg, and three Sabre Class ships to Essex in the meantime. We'll probably keep the Swiftsure for a while, too, but that seems to be our force level for now. Have they named those corvettes yet?"
"The committee on naming promised me names by yesterday," the Queen said. "They haven't yet. I intend to pressure them a bit when I return to Naverre."
"Speaking of Naverre, Beverly and I plan on taking some time off in a couple days with Marrissa. I don't want to impinge on Marrissa's flat, though, especially since she's lending it out to the Sutters. Is there any place you recommend for an overnight stay?" Jean-Luc asked.
"In Naverre ... I'm afraid not," Victoria said. "I spent most of my time away from home in either Bath or Shopeshire. Personally, if Marrissa doesn't have anywhere around town that she wants to show you, I'd recommend Bath. Either the King Charles II Resort or the Harbor Inn are good places to stay."
"Thanks for offering this place, Marrissa," Clara said as she dropped her bag on the sofa in Marrissa's Flat. "It's a lot better than that stuffy room that Aunt Clarrissa suggested at King Charles II Resort. It's like you're living in 18th Century Britain there."
"I wouldn't know," Marrissa said. She was at the back window, staring out at the view down to the harbor. She was dressed in a formal gown. When she had put it on, she'd done so with great care, but now she was idly picking at it's lace.
Clara moved to stand at the other side of the window. Marrissa could see her expression of concern. "Something wrong, Marrissa?" Clara asked.
"I formally accepted my role as heir to the throne a couple hours ago," Marrissa said, in a dull tone. "Ever feel like a planet landed on your shoulders? It's not a pleasant feeling, especially when you know that responsibility for the whole thing could be yours without a moment's notice." Marrissa could hear her voice raise, and develop and almost hysterical tone as she continued. "One person dies, and boom, you're Queen, and it's not something you can retire from, something you can ask someone else to sit in for you for a little while. I have to be crazy to have even considered it, let alone introduce myself to Parliament as the bloody heir, the damned Princess of Halifax!"
"Crazy no, have the family sense of duty, yes," Clara replied. Marrissa thought she saw just a bit of a smile playing with the edge of her mouth. "A heavy case of it, at that. Don't worry, Marrissa, it's highly unlikely you'll end up as Queen. Tory is nineteen and dating. In case you haven't noticed, the Royal Family here believes in lots of spares."
"Spares?" Marrissa questioned.
"Yes. It used to be you'd hear the typical Royal Couple trying to produce an heir and a spare," Clara said, leaning against the window casing. "On Essex, we tend to go just a bit overboard. There hasn't been a King or Queen of Essex who has had less than six children. Prince Andrew, your uncle and predecessor as Prince of Halifax had nine, and judging from what Aunt Clarrissa told me, probably was working on the tenth. We also have a higher than average incidence of twins. Once Tory gets married, and maybe before that, she'll start on her own brood, and you'll drop down the succession list."
"And what was Tory's chance of becoming Queen?" Marrissa replied, somewhat gruffly.
"Okay, the last two monarchs haven't exactly expected the throne, but note that a few days before they ascended the throne there were at least four people between them and the throne," Clara replied, tilting her head slightly. "If anything, Martin and I need to be worried. After all, it's you, Hilda, Dad, me, and Martin ... four and five."
"At least you know how to be a Princess," Marrissa said, before sending a puff of air to flutter her bangs. "My experience with the role is a bunch of fairy tales, and yes, that pea joke that Jay played with our mattresses."
"I couldn't sleep at all that night," Clara said, her expression suddenly schooled into seriousness. "Tossed and turned all night over that tiny pea Jay put under my mattress. How about you?"
"The same," Marrissa dead panned, pausing before continuing. "I just couldn't stand the smell of smashed peas." She suddenly broke out into giggles along with Clara, remembering Jay's joke, and the pea soup that somehow had kept coming up on the menu every time Jay had stayed for dinner for the next month or so.
It took sometime before the girls recovered from the giggles. When they did, however, Marrissa's mood was much improved. "So, Marrissa, where did you get that dress?" Clara asked.
"What, you finally realized that you can't fit into any of your old ones?" Marrissa asked. It had been quite a while since she'd seen Clara out of uniform or out of a jumpsuit at least.
"I'm sure at least the blue dress fits, I'm certain of it," Clara said her left index resting on her chin. "Anyway, we're going to be at Essex for a while, and I'm certain I'm going to need a few."
"Downstairs," Marrissa said. "The clothiers is a tenant of mine on the ground floor. I've got a bit of time, why don't I introduce you to the Senora?" Clara nodded her acceptance. "What ever you do, though, don't tell her you like the floral prints. I'm trying to drive that out of fashion."
"What! Are you kidding, I hate florals!" Clara exclaimed as they headed for the door. With a slightly saucy grin, she concluded, "I much prefer Floreses, if you'll recall." They both giggled at the old reply.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard awaited his daughter's return in Transporter Room Two. He had a lot to discuss with her. Recent events had changed his perception of Marrissa. He still remembered that girl in the turbolift who at first couldn't look up to meet his eyes, but still found the courage to stare him down, defying his orders. Marrissa had been shy, yet determined, and over the last few years he'd seen that determination mold itself into an ironclad sense of duty.
Until the past week, however, Jean-Luc had still seen her through that eye of yesteryear, when she had been a little girl. Oh, she'd been serving under his command since she was twelve, and he'd tried to treat her as just another officer, at least on duty, but she was still his little girl. The possessive had snuck up on him, and irritated him a bit when he had first realized it, but there was some comfort in it as well. Marrissa, with her determination, pony tail, and seemingly constantly attired Star Fleet Uniform, was a familiar unchanging part of his life.
Then he'd seen her in the dress coming into the cathedral. She had looked like the Princess she was, a vision of beauty beyond her years, as she walked up the steps. It had only been marred when she tripped over the threshold, unused to her high heals. He found himself glaring at the young Ensign who had let loose and entirely inappropriate whistle at Marrissa's formal gown.
His daughter was growing up, and though natural that was, it seemed just a little bit unfair to Jean-Luc. After all, he'd adopted her at twelve, she could give him just a bit longer of childhood. Of course, Jean-Luc acknowledged, he was probably to blame for that shortening of childhood, with Marrissa's rank and position at least being partially his fault. Still, she didn't have to learn how to dress up and wear makeup, did she?
The hum of the transporter began, and Marrissa materialized in the midst of it's sparkles. She was in uniform, as usual, however she had definitely changed. Where once her long blond hair would have been pulled back tightly in a high ponytail, now it was looser, and the tail began at her neck. In addition to the usual Star Fleet issue duffle bag hanging from her right shoulder, her left hand held a dress inside a translucent cover, her fingers hooked around the top of the hanger.
"Welcome back aboard, Marrissa," Jean-Luc said, approaching his daughter. "I assume you've wrapped up your leave?"
"You may assume so," Marrissa replied. Something in her tone was different. There was a confidence that had been eroding that seemed to be restored, Jean-Luc judged. "Tory wants me to speak at the installation of my father's statue in Queen Asahime Park, on my birthday, but that is scheduled for my usual off duty time, and shouldn't interfere with my duties."
It was hard to believe that in just two days Marrissa would be turning fourteen. It seemed like only yesterday she'd won that science contest. "I'm certain we can spare you for that. Does the Queen anticipate needing you for anything else?"
"Tory says I should get to know Essex as much as possible, and that you might be able to help," Marrissa replied, as they exited the transporter room and headed towards the turbolift. "I don't see how, though. I have my duty, and Star Fleet comes first."
"It's nice to see that you have priorities," Jean-Luc said dryly. "I realize that being heir to the throne means that you'll have some additional duties. However, I expect that you will manage those duties wisely. Counselor Troi has already mentioned that you were trying to take too much on as Chief of Security. I expect that you'll moderate your duties, to avoid allowing them to become a threat to your health." He paused for a second. "I do have some options that have opened up that may reduce your load in Security a bit, and perhaps allow you to mix a bit with Essex's people. Beverly and I are quite interested in visiting a few places on Essex, as well. At least she is. Apparently she wants to be pampered in the VIP suite of the King Charles II Resort."
"I'll see if reservations are required," Marrissa smiled, as they reached the turbolift. It was waiting for them. "Any word on Chief Nelson's mustang?"
"I talked with Admiral Gresham of Security," Jean-Luc said as they entered the turbolift. "Deck eight. He's bypassing Admiral Decker, and Chief Nelson should be Lieutenant Nelson by the end of the week."
"Good, he deserves it," Marrissa replied. "Still no chance that I can go back to the helm?" The turbolift door opened, and they stepped out to head down the short corridor to the Captain's Quarters.
"I'm afraid not, at least while Admiral Decker is in charge of Personnel in the Enterprise's Fleet Division," Jean-Luc replied. He really wished he could do something about his old classmate. Gretchen had become a thorn in his side. "It may be quite some time before you can transfer to a post more appropriate for your talents. In the meantime, I expect that I will continue to see only your best efforts."
In a tone that so reminded him of the second time Marrissa had visited him on the bridge, she replied, "Aye, sir." Jean-Luc could almost hear a salute in it. The door to their quarters opened, and they entered.
"Now, I want to know exactly why you thought you could go on shore leave without telling me, young lady," Jean-Luc said as soon as the door slid closed. The sudden expression of panic on his daughter's face was somehow a bit satisfying. "I'm well aware of Counselor Troi suggesting it, and Commander Riker approving it, but you seemed to have neglected asking either myself or Beverly for permission to spend a week off ship."
"I know I was wrong," Marrissa acknowledged. Jean-Luc found that acknowledgment to be quite mature of Marrissa. Not troubling him because she admitted it, but bothering him because it was mature of her. "I should have asked either you or the Doctor first, instead of signing up for shore leave and departing on my own."
"Yes you should have, young lady," Jean-Luc said sternly. "Next time you feel the need to leave the ship, you better let one of us know. A note is sufficient for spending the night at the Sutters two decks down, but not a week down on the planet alone. You're almost fourteen, Marrissa. Yes, you are an officer, and as an officer you're probably going to have to do a lot of things that I don't like, but that's as an officer. When you're off duty, Beverly and I expect you to act like a responsible girl your age. That means letting either of us know when you're leaving the ship, and where you are when you're on it via the existing note rule."
"I understand, sir," Marrissa replied, with a contrite expression. "Should I tender an apology to Commander Riker and Counselor Troi for causing a problem?"
"Not this time," Jean-Luc replied. "Now, I understand you have pictures?" Marrissa put down her duffle and the covered dress so she could remove the PADD with the pictures from the duffle. By the time Beverly returned from her shift in Sickbay, Jean-Luc was deeply involved in discussion with Marrissa over the sites she'd seen in Naverre during her shore leave.
Marrissa looked over the crowd gathered in Queen Asahime Park. It was quite large, much larger than she'd been led to expect for her first public engagement. Behind her was the statue of her late biological father. Tory was too busy to attend, and if she had, it would have been her job, not Marrissa's to make the speech anyway. Tory had suggested that Lady Hilda might serve as an understudy for the event. So the young girl, still awaiting the growing of her new cloned limbs to be finished, sat in her wheelchair next to the podium.
With a deep breath, Marrissa prepared herself to begin. "Good Afternoon, Ladies, Gentlemen, and non-gendered gentlebeings. We are gathered here to dedicate a statue, a statue of a man whose service to Essex was shorter than any others who took his post. A man who left Essex to serve the Federation as a Security Officer on the Federation Flagship. A man who died in the line of duty against the very enemy which only a few days ago threatened this system. A man that I am proud to have called daddy."
"I was not born on this world, and did not even set foot on it until recently, but shortly after my arrival, I started to find out exactly what on this planet made my daddy. I've discovered a few things I'd like to share. As it's been nearly a score since he last saw the rising sun over the bay, a few reminders of the man he was would be good, I'm told."
"He was born Prince George Michael Akaji, second son of King George IV. I'm told that he was a rowdy young boy, the terror of the football field. From personal experience, I know that getting between him and the goal when he had the ball falls under the heading of not a good idea. He was Football Captain at his school. While there he got good grades, and was a prefect. He turned down being Head Boy to live off-campus his final year with his girl friend, something I'm told is not uncommon, at least in the family."
"His girl friend was apparently from a notable Basque family, which led to his posting in the position which earned him this statue behind me. He loved her so much that when she died while he was visiting his father, he could not bear to remain where she had lived."
"I knew none of this until earlier this week. As far as I knew my parents were Star Fleet Officers, and that was enough. They were dedicated Security Officers, decorated several times for bravery and valor. My daddy even had two clusters on his medal of valor. He met my mother at the Academy. He always said it was love at first sight. Mom said she had to drag him out of the study lounge first. They married in their third year of the Academy, and I was born very shortly there after."
"I grew up on the Starship Enterprise, NCC-1701-D. My parents were security officers on board, but I'm afraid I was a slight disappointment to them. You see, I have to major interests, Command and Stellar Cartography. Until recently I didn't know why that last one bothered Daddy. Still he encouraged me when he could. He even somehow managed to get my request for the Captain to mentor me on to the Captain's desk."
"Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the man I now call father, has never ever been known as a man who likes to spend time with children. He's a lot better now, he better be after two years as my father and with one of his own on her way, but at the time all my friends told me my request was hopeless. Daddy didn't think so. Daddy got my request on the Captain's desk, and then in a series of meetings somehow convinced the Captain that he would enjoy being my mentor."
"While I was writing this speech, I was informed by my father that the jury is still out on enjoying mentoring me. I think my recent Sickbay visits may be the reason for that, but by the time my parents died in the line of duty he was certain comfortable enough to adopt me. My camping out in his ready room until he returned to it, might have had a bit to do with that."
"Daddy and Mom died in the line of duty, taking a ship that had been taken by Romulans. They died with honor. An honor whose reminder can be seen on the cheek of the statue behind me. That scar, a scar he bore to his death, was inflicted by the grief stricken brother of his first love. It's not the act of receiving it that made it an honor, though my father's last direct superior would have disagreed with me on that. No, it's what he did afterwards. Balasi Gurrieri told me about that. He took his attacker into his arms and held him as the young boy cried, then, in his last act before departing Essex, forgave him, pardoned him. He even gave the boy a flat to live in, a flat he still lives in today when he heard that he'd been kicked out of home."
"I didn't chose it, and I don't know who did, but you'll notice on the base on which my Daddy's statue now sits, below his name, is just three words. Words that he applied to young Balasi, words which his father the King hoped for, words which I feel the need to say myself to him and my adopted father. The are words that all of us should remember to say more often. On this statue it will serve as a reminder from this day forward."
Marrissa stepped back from the podium, ending her speech. She pulled the podium aside, revealing the base of the statue. The base read, "H.R.H. Lt. George Earl Flores" with his birth and death years below it. Then in slightly larger type:
"You are forgiven."