599: Are We There Yet?

by Paxton Briggs and Lance Hartcort

Time: Current

-=Shuttle Craft - Drake=-

"Look, all I am saying is if you did not have a choice and you had to marry someone who would you want it to be?" The commander who wore the Starfleet medical uniform asked his shuttle-mate.

The other man sighed loudly as he checked the shuttle controls. He tugged at the collar of his uniform and readjusted his own, commander's pips.

It was obvious that he did not want to answer the question. Or the other questions that the CMO had asked before.

He knew that the doctor was simply bored and was trying to pass the time, but it was getting to be too much. Paxton would've simply been happy burying himself into the book that he brought, rather then aiding the CMO in creating his own entertainment.

"Lance, why would I marry someone I did not want to?" He asked back.

The CMO, Lance, shrugged his shoulders. "I donno Pax.. Maybe you've crashed on a strange planet and the local alien leader says you must marry or they'll kill you or something like that." The doctor made a chopping motion with his hands to drive home his point.

"Who would you want to be there that you could marry to save you life?" He folded his arms across his chest, his handsome face displaying a wide grin.

"Well it certainly would not be you." Paxton Briggs replied.

Lance cringed at the thought. "Well, that is comforting." He thought about it again and shuddered. "Ladies only." He added.

Paxton laughed. "God knows I don't think I can stand another day stuck in this shuttle with you let alone being married to you." Paxton smiled at his joke.

Lance feigned a hurt look. "Why? Am I getting under you skin?"

Pax turned his attention from the controls and looked at the doctor. "Don't you have a medical journal or something you can read? Don't get me wrong Doc I enjoy conversation as much as the next guy but this is getting ridiculous."

Lance looked dejected. "I've read all of them already."

Paxton shook his head.

At twenty-four Lance was the youngest mostly-human CMO in Starfleet history. The man was one quarter Vulcan but you would never know it. He was constantly enabling his most basic human traits and emotions. The doctor was always on the prowl for the best fine wine, food, and of course women that he could get his skilled hands on.

Keeping the man pent up in this shuttle for the three day long trip to Earth was equivalent to torture- for both of them.

Paxton rubbed his blue eyes and ran a hand through his blond hair as he sighed. He shifted his six foot, seven inch frame in an effort to find a more comfortable spot in the pilot's seat.

Remaining seated for long periods of time bothered his back; a residual effect from a back injury he sustained several year ago that had almost ended his Starfleet career.

"Well we are only an hour and thirty minutes from Earth. Then we will be out of this box for a couple of days until we have to hit the road again." Paxton offered a carrot of hope to Lance, praying that the good doctor could keep himself occupied for the remainder of the shuttle flight.

Lance leaned forward stretching. "Then what? Back into another shuttle until we get to the negotiations?" He asked, sarcasm dripping from every word.

The negotiations that the doctor was referring to were between Starfleet's Integrity Initiative and a small inhabited moon in the Huron cluster called Amamdone. The Amandites were incredible designers and engineers.

A world independent of the Federation, they were contracted to help design and build the Integrity Initiative's crowning achievement, Border Station Indigo.

Indigo suffered from catastrophic systems failures that forced it to close for a time, before it was recently reopened to full functionality.

It was discovered that the cause of the failures was sabotage. The overall design of the systems had been revamped by the Amandites, and no further incidents occurred. Starfleet however, remained concerned about the ease with which the hardware on the station had originally fallen victim to the sabotage.

Paxton Briggs and Lance Hartcort were picked to represent the Integrity Initiative at the newest contact talks for another station. Paxton to represent Indigo Station where he serves as the Second Officer and Lance representing the flagship, USS Revolution, where he is the CMO.

Pax shook his head. "Luckily, for both of us, we get to hitch a ride on the…" He paused as he struggled to remember the ships name. "…Serendipity."

"Really? What is she a garbage scow?" Lance asked.

Paxton laughed. "Nope, according to the files she is a modification of the Intrepid class."

That brought a smile to Lance's face. "Really, with a crew and all?" Already the wheels were turning and he began

developing plans on how he was going to spend his time in the ship's lounge, meeting the Sera's female inhabitants.

Paxton held up his hand to slow down the doctors plans. "Easy Doc. It is not all fun and games. Command wants us to do some work while we are traveling with them."

Now it was Lance's turn to sigh. "Like what?"

"I'm to meet with the Tactical and Engineering departments to share information about a new sensor design the Serendipity is using and to see if I can add anything to their weapon and defensive systems from what we have learned from the Indigo." He smiled.

"You are to check out the ship's medical department. They are currently without a CMO and are relying on the LMH. Command wants to make sure everything is up to snuff. You know they get nervous when things are left to automation."

Lance flopped back into his chair and stared out the forward view port. "Great. I get to spend time with a hologram."

Paxton turned back to the controls. "Hey it won't be for the whole trip and I am sure that there are other members of the medical staff that are living and breathing people."

Lance signed again. "Maybe." He almost whined.

The two flew along in silence for the better part of the remaining hour. Only the hum of the shuttle warp drive and the occasional beep from the sensor displays could be heard.


"So, who would you want to marry?"

Paxton sighed and hung his head.

Commander Paxton Briggs
Chief of Tactical\Second Officer
Border Station Indigo NCC-21306


Commander Lance Hartcort
USS Revolution NCC-71605-A

NRPG: Oh, the fun we can have with these two aboard for a bit as guest stars. I can't wait. ~ZL