Author's Notes: Welcome to the very first real episode of Star Trek: Heronas, my own personal Enterprise spinoff. This particular one is not going to be a very action-y episode, mostly because every story needs a brief lull before the action truly kicks off. A bit of characterization, some humor, a bit of preparation for future fics... To truly understand who is who and why they're on a ship named after a Greek engineer, go read my fic "Star Trek: Heronas". Go ahead. I'm waiting. Done yet? Good. For those too lazy to read it now, a quick recap.

Story So Far: Trip Tucker did not die in 2161, 2151, 2155 or any other known date of death, no matter what the history files, hidden or otherwise, says. In 2155, following the death of his cloned daughter, Trip faked his death and went undercover as a Romulan on a mission of sabotage, from which he returned a year later to find Starfleet and Earth at war with the Romulan Star Empire. After a last minute rescue of the Enterprise from a trap in the Gamma Hydra system Trip and T'Pol were reunited...somewhat, because T'Pol is not happy about what he did. The two still love each other, but they've become somewhat estranged and uncertain of one another. It doesn't help that their bond, thanks to what Trip did to mute it for a year, has become slightly erratic. Now the two must awkwardly serve together as captain and first officer on the courier-ship USS Heronas, one of the first of the Buran-class ships built for speed and exploration rather than firepower and science.


Prologue

"Bureaucracy: The time-honored tradition of shuffling documents from one end of a desk to another so as to

prevent people from messing up a functioning society too much. Note; occasional mishaps are expected."

-Encyclopedia Ferenginar, Earth Year 2390, 373d Edition (only ten slips of latinum! Buy now!)

Earth, Starfleet Headquarters, San Francisco, 2312

"Hey, Mullins, we're off to that new Antaran place down in the harbor, the seafood's supposed to be heaven. You coming?"

Jason Mullins looked up from the console and frowned. "Damn. You know, I'd love to, but I have these old records to clean up. Would you believe they still used optical storage back in the 22d century?"

"Yeah, yeah. Well, we're going. Suit yourself."

He stared at the file, not really listening. God, who designed this interface? What was wrong with the old oral command UI? But no, it was all touch-screens and holo-displays now, going all retro for the sake of retro. Clumsy as hell, all of it. He searched for the right switch in the myriad of animated icons on his screen, took aim, and pushed a button.

He paled. Whoops.

Admiral Charles Tucker III suddenly became Commander Charles Tucker III, and a death date was altered quite noticeably even for someone who had barely been reading the files he was transferring. He looked closer at the file, and felt his mouth curl in misery.

Somehow he'd managed to merge the only copy of the file with one commander Charles Hacker (born and raised in New Jersey, age 32) who had died in the line of duty fighting Nausicaan boarders on the NX Constellation in 2161, not long after the truce between Earth and Romulus had been ratified. And it was an error that would take him hours to fix.

Hours, hours, hours...hours of navigating an interface someone had dusted off from the same period as the two mishapped files, trying hard not to slip on the damn glass screens...

He looked around. He was alone. So he saved the file, then reported taking his lunch break. He could always fix it later. Besides, it's not like anyone would actually check the files about some stuffy old flag officer, right?

Right?

End Prologue