Author: Katarzyna
Marcinkowska, markablue@vp.pl

Christina woke
up in a bad mood. It was her work day and she really hated her work. She was
a waitress in one of the bars in the area and serving
synthehol to people pretending they were having fun was just not her idea of good
life. The computer woke her up at eight o’clock. Definitely too early for
her taste. Still, she had to get up and get ready if she didn’t want to be
late again. She didn’t. Being late for the fifth time this month meant loosing
the job and that was
soemmething she couldn’t afford. Oh, that whole propaganda
about people of the Federation not having to work! How she hated it. Of course
she didn’t have to work, but without these extra credits she wouldn’t be able
to afford anything she got used to. No enhanced replicators, no fancy clothes,
no extra time in the local

It was much better
to sacrifice these five hours every second day, she decided as every day and
stretched lazily in her bed. She opened her eyes and looked at the window.
"The computer must be malfunctioning again," she thought as she
noticed the pattern of starts
outside as if she was on a starship at warp
speed. ‘Computer, turn the viewscreen off!’ She yelled and immediately the
tall, elegant
buildings of the city appeared outside.

She knew the design
was the most popular in the building she lived in and probably all the others
in the city since most of the people dreamed about being in Starfleet. She
hated that even more. When she was still at
school, she couldn’t
stand her peers talking about nothing except how they would go through the
Academy and become starship captains and officers. Most of them actually tried
but almost all failed. The Academy only admitted a small percentage of all
the volunteers, which was not surprising after all. Someone had to stay on
the ground and do all the real work.

She sighed at 
the last thought and finally decided to get up. Just when she was rising herself
up, the computer panel on the desk in the other room beeped indicating that
she had a message incoming.

‘Who’s it from?"
she asked even as she headed to take it.

‘Peter Townsend,’
replied the computer in its flat feminine voice. Even the computers were programmed
standardly to sound as those on
starships. "What
does he want again?", Christina thought as she hit the receiving icon.

The face that appeared
on the screen was quite handsome. The man was in his mid-thirties, fit and
slender, with appealing smile. He was wearing a Starfleet uniform indicating
that he was a commanding officer in the rank of lieutenant. He smiled as he
saw her face.

‘Hello, Christina.’

‘What is it, Peter?
Don’t tell me you’re gonna be late again.’ The man’s smile faded away and
now he looked rather apologetically.

‘I’m really sorry,
honey, but I won’t manage it this time. You see, the ship needs a refit and

‘Don’t tell me,’
she interrupted feeling her irritation coming back. ‘You’re assigned to oversee
the repairs and won’t have your promised shore leave.’ The man tried to say
something but Christina didn’t give him a chance.

‘That’s it. I’m
fed up with this. It’s finished, Peter. I don’t want to see you again, do
you hear me?’


‘Don’t "but"
me!’ she was yelling at the man on the screen. ‘It’s the third time in the
last two years! How am I supposed to be with you if you’re away all the time?
I want a normal home, family, children, don’t you get it?’ She had to take
a breath so Peter finally was able to say something.

‘You know who I
am. It’s my job to be out here, I can’t just take leave whenever I want to…’

‘So don’t bother.’
Christina simply turned the computer off again not giving the man a chance
to respond. For a while she just sat there thinking. She didn’t really want
to break up with Peter. A few years ago she had actually hoped that he would
finally resign this damn Starfleet and stay with her. The years passed, though,
and as he was promoted he became even more excited about his job. Once he
even tried to convince her to try and take the exam to the Academy. She even
hated the way people
referred to it as "the Academy" as if it
was the only high school on Earth. There were other academies and universities,
however she never attempted to get into any of them as well. Not that she
didn’t believe she could make it, it was just that nothing apart "the
Academy" seemed to matter in this crazy world anymore. She sighed as
she got up and headed to the bathroom. Thanks to this unexpected call she
now didn’t have time for her morning bath, so she settled for a quick sonic
shower. She chose a simple beige dress from the replicator and put on some
make up. At least that would clearly indicate she wasn’t one of all these
out there
who kept on pretending they were Starfleet even if they were not. The streets
were full of both men and women dressed

to the protocol
with shortly cropped hair and clothes designed in a uniform style.

That day after
work she finally could afford the
holocabin. She never went for the cheapest ones which
accommodated the great majority of people out of job.
They were rather primitive with only some basic programming and Christina
simply wasn’t thrilled by the typical mass entertainment. She went to her
favourite club on the other side of the city. She had to take a glider to
go there but at least she was sure nobody would recognize her. Not that she
had anything to hide, she simply liked some privacy. She was
able to pay for the whole hour and finally she entered the room with black walls
and yellow grid all over. She had given the owner of the place a small chip

contained her favourite holonovel and was now ready to have a full hour of real fun.

‘Computer,’ she
said quickly as if afraid of loosing any more of her precious time here. ‘Enter
programme Chris – alpha-one-one’

‘Program loaded
and ready,’ said the computer.

‘Activate,’ said
Christina and immediately the black room vanished. Instead, she found herself
in the centre seat on the starship bridge.

‘Captain, we are
being hailed,’ she heard one of the holograms in the red uniform
addressing her.

‘On screen,’ she
said, smiling broadly.


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