OK, message received. We've heard comments critical of the lack of posts on the Blog lately. I'm guilty as charged.
Good News, Aleta Clegg, published author of the new book Nexus Point (www.nexuspoint.info) and Space Center Educator and Digitarium Director has graciously offered to create a new installment in her Adrian Stevens series from last summer.
Please enjoy this new installment in the life of Adrian Stevens.
This story is just for fun. Any resemblance to the staff at the space center is intentional. Any resemblance to a real space center mission is your imagination.
Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 1
Admiral Williamson leaned back, his chair squeaking. “How is life aboard the Voyager, Stevens?” He watched me as if I were a bug under a microscope.
I shifted my weight, uncomfortable in the tight Starfleet uniform. “Fine, sir.”
“Really?” He arched one eyebrow. “You can speak freely, Adrian. I want an honest answer. If I wanted a politically correct asinine answer, I would have asked Lieutenant Bradley.”
I searched for a polite way to frame my answer. “Stressful, sir.”
Williamson tapped his steepled fingers against his chin. His air of benevolence didn’t fool me. He was the meanest admiral in Starfleet. He let silence hang between us, heavy and dense. I resisted the impulse to loosen my collar.
“You’ve learned some discretion. Admirable trait. But right now, I need answers. I need the truth.” His chair thumped forward. He fingered a stylus lying on his immaculate desk. “Have a seat and tell me the full truth, Adrian.”
I dropped into a chair. “You want everything, sir?”
“Every piece of dirty laundry. Your report won’t go beyond this office.”
I started with something safe. “The computer glitches in the ship are driving everyone crazy. Ever since Captain Herring activated the Delphi protocol, nothing responds right. They’ve wiped the core a dozen times and reinstalled everything, but within a day or two, the problems are back.”
“What kind of problems?”
“Doors opening and closing on their own, locking and unlocking at random intervals, lights shutting off. Nothing that would jeapordize the safety of the crew. One of the engineers, Larsen, reported voices in an empty corridor last week, but everyone thinks he’s nuts anyway.” I frowned. “The replicators are off, too. Everything tastes like strawberries.”
“That could be worse. Everything could taste like fish.” Williamson tapped the stylus on his desk. “And Captain Herring, any odd behavior?”
“No worse than before, sir.” I shifted on the hard chair. “I’m not the one to ask. I’m not privy to his conversations or his messages. I cook the food.”
“And keep the inventory lists. Captain Herring ordered enough computer chips to completely replace every system on the Voyager. Why?”
I shook my head. “There are only the regulation spares on the Voyager, sir. If he ordered that many, I’d know.”
“He deviated from his assigned route last month. Twice. The Voyager made unscheduled stops at two colonies near the Klingon border.” Williamson’s fingers tapped rapidly on the desk, the stylus clattering. “The complement of arms aboard the Voyager does not match the manifest. Half a dozen quantum torpedoes are missing, along with most of the hand phasers. Where are they?”
I swallowed hard. “I have no idea. I don’t inventory weapons. Lieutenant Bradley is responsible for those.”
Williamson leaned forward, lowering his voice. “There is a spy in Starfleet, one working for the Fellucian Marauders.”
“And you think he’s on the Voyager?”
“I’m positive that he, or she, is part of the Voyager’s crew. You are in a perfect position to find the traitor, Stevens.” The admiral’s steely eyes bored into mine. “I want a name within the week.”
I nodded. Guilt lay heavy in my belly. I’d suspected something, but not this. After our encounter with Del’Brugado and the Fellucian Marauders, I’d come to respect Captain Herring. I’d never like him, though. And I’d never have believed he would betray his command. But deep down, I knew something was wrong.
“I want you to find information, Stevens, no matter where the trail leads. I need to know who is leaking information to the pirates. Every move we make, every ship we send, it’s as if they know exactly what we’re planning before we even send the orders.”
“You suspect Captain Herring. How do you know it isn’t me?”
Williamson smiled, cold and calculating. “You said yourself you don’t have the right access.”
“But the captain works for you. Doesn’t he?”
“Go find me a spy, Adrian Stevens. And watch your back.” He set the stylus on his desk. “I hear Del Brugado plays for keeps.”