It was a dreary long afternoon at the Home for Retired Space Center Officers, and Conner was feeling particularly grumpy and bored. He pondered the possibility of filling an hour or two by playing the old Wurlitzer organ in the dining room as the residents gathered for the afternoon bingo. They loved to hear him play the old Space Center mission music remembered so fondly from their days in Starfleet. But after a moment's thought he waved the idea away like an annoying fly buzzing around his head. He could only stomach so much of The Last of the Mohicans and Crimson Tide. No, his decision was final, he'd spend the afternoon staring out of his window, watching the raindrops slide down the glass. That's when he heard a knock at his door.
"Who could that be?" he grumbled to himself as he made his way to the door. He opened it to find a familiar face: Metta, his old shipmate from the Starship Magellan from those good old days.
"Conner! It's been ages!" Metta exclaimed, throwing her arms around him.
Metta Helping with Breakfast on a 3 day summer camp
Conner was taken aback. It had been years since he had seen Metta, and he wasn't sure how to feel about her sudden appearance.
"Metta, what are you doing here?" he asked, trying to mask his surprise.
"I live here now," she replied, gesturing around the room. "I did my best to avoid coming here but having retired a few months ago from civilian life, I discovered that this was the only place I could afford on my Space Center pension. I had no idea you were here too!"
Metta at home in her favorite simulator, the Magellan
Conner sighed. "Yeah, well, I've been here for a while now. It's not exactly glamorous, but it's better than living on the streets, I suppose. I do OK. I have my pension and I play the organ for the local Catholic parish on Sundays and the occasional Lutheran church for funerals. It gives me enough to afford this room and two meals a day."
Metta nodded sympathetically. "I hear you, Conner. It's tough being a retired space center staff these days. The glory days are long gone."
They sat down at Conner's small kitchen table and caught up on old times. They reminisced about their adventures on the Magellan, the strange alien worlds they had visited, and the hair-raising situations they had found themselves in.
But as they talked, Conner couldn't help but feel a sense of bitterness creeping over him. He had always dreamed of retiring to a life of luxury, but instead, here he was, living in a cramped room with no prospects for the future and nothing but memories to keep him company.
Conner with admirers, staff, and volunteers
Metta must have sensed his melancholy mood because she suddenly clapped her hands together and exclaimed, "You know what we need, Conner? A good old-fashioned adventure!"
Conner looked at her skeptically. "An adventure? Metta, we're retired. We're not exactly spry anymore."
Metta waved a dismissive hand. "Nonsense, Conner! We may be old, but we've still got plenty of life left in us. Besides, what else have we got to do? Sit around and watch the rain?"
Conner couldn't argue with her logic. He had always been a bit of a thrill-seeker, even in his old age. The idea of going on one last adventure with his old friend was tempting.
"Alright, Metta," he said, grinning. "You've convinced me. But where do we start?"
Metta leaned forward conspiratorially. "I've heard rumors of a hidden planet on the edge of the galaxy. They say it's full of treasure and adventure, just waiting to be discovered."
Conner raised an eyebrow. "And how exactly are we supposed to get there?"
Metta stood up and put her hands on her hips. "Easy, Conner. We'll just steal a spaceship. The Space Center has six of them. And if we can't steal one of those - there is always the Voyager at Renaissance.
Conner shook his head in disbelief. "Metta, you're crazy. We're retired officers, remember? We can't just go around stealing spaceships."
Metta winked at him. "Who said anything about getting caught?"
And with that, the two old has-beens set off on one last adventure, determined to prove that they still had what it took to be space heroes. Whether they succeeded or not, one thing was for sure: they were going to have a lot of fun trying.
Conner will be returning to Utah to attend graduate school at BYU.
Michael W. Presented the Royal Blues as a New Christa McAuliffe Space Center Mentor
Wiltbank, a veteran of many missions, some of which are classified, has been recognized for his exemplary service and dedication to his field. As a mentor, he will lead by example and inspire new cadets to become officers of distinction. His responsibilities include answering their questions and providing guidance to help them achieve their fullest potential.
There are rumors among Starfleet's top brass that Wiltbank is positioned to continue his training and may soon be admitted into Command School. From there, he may one day have a ship of his own. Wiltbank's appointment as a mentor is a testament to his expertise and experience in the field of space exploration.
The Royal Blues is a prestigious honor awarded to those who have made significant contributions to the Space Center and its missions. Wiltbank's recognition as a new mentor at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center is well-deserved, and we congratulate him on this achievement. We have no doubt that he will excel in his new role and continue to make valuable contributions to the advancement of space exploration and the molding of new officers, staff, and volunteers.
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