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Irene Mincine

Not For the First Time

Vek’s was a popular off-campus hangout for Starfleet Academy cadets. Run by a popular Ferengi bartender for as long as anyone can remember, it featured everything a young officer-in-training could want: Cheap drinks, company, and free dom-jot with the purchase of 2 drinks.

Behind the bar was a mosaic of some of Earth’s great commercial sites, including Wall Street, Florence, and the Chronowerx tower. In the corner was a silver plaque proclaiming Vek’s as an official cultural exchange project between the Federation and the Ferengi Alliance… along with conversion rates between Federation transporter credits and bar credit.

Third year science-track cadet Irene Mincine took up one of the open spots at the bar, looking even surlier than her half-Klingon face makes people assume she is. Vek, on duty and washing a glass, spotted her and made his way on over, pouring her favorite drink, Aldebaran whiskey, into a polished metal shot glass.

“My, you’re looking unhappy today, Irene. Anything you want to talk to ol’ Vek about?” The bartender intoned, knowing the answer.

Irene gulped down the whiskey and slammed the polished metal shot glass down, shaking the bar top. “That Komachev! He almost got us both killed in flight training, again!

Vek looked thoughtful. “Oh, was that what that announcement earlier was about? Isn’t the big Academy air show next week, too?” Vek poured her another shot.

Irene glared at Vek but gulped down this drink as well. “Not for us. They can’t overlook it this time, my shuttle almost went down. There’s going to be a hearing. And even better, my flight recorder broke when the nacelle got fried!”

The Ferengi bartender looked puzzled. “What about his flight recorder?”

Irene chuckled. “I’m sure it will show that he didn’t do anything wrong. It has a funny way of doing that when you’re the son of an admiral.” She gestured for another shot.

 Vek hesitated until Irene shot him a look. He backed down and offered her one more, adding it to her tab. “Synthohol after this one, Irene. You know the rules.”

Irene was about to vacuum down this shot as well when a different, cocky, confident voice came up behind her. 

“Mincine! Fancy meeting you here!”

She swiveled on the barstool and her face contorted in anger. Standing a few inches taller than her, with the close-cropped hair and youthful look of a fellow cadet, was Artemy Komachev himself, wearing the red-striped shirt of a fourth-year command cadet.

“Komachev…” she growled, eliciting a laugh from Artemy. Vek, sensing the tension, quietly excused himself.

Cadet Komachev continued with the pompous speech of an upperclassman. “You rammed into me, Mincine, and you know it. I’m going to miss the air show thanks to you. The best pilot in Nova Squadron, a no-show!”

She was not amused. “You rehearse that in front of a mirror, Artemy? Best pilot? You have no business being in the squad! You can barely take off and land without the flight computer! The only reason you’re here is because—”

“—because why… p’tak?” Artemy interrupted.




“To students of any academy, military or civilian, it seems like whatever is going on in your life is the most important thing in the universe. Cadets bickering over who’s the best pilot in the training squadron, for example. It doesn’t really mean anything outside the institution, does it?

“But to Cadets Mincine and Komachev, this was a matter of honor between two driven individuals. And thus it was no surprise when Cadet Mincine struck Cadet Komachev, breaking his nose. The fight spilled behind the bar. The proprietor, Vek, called for Starfleet Security, who showed up and arrested both cadets.”

The two cadets were in dress uniform, sitting in the defendants’ booth at the formal hearing. Other officers and cadets filled out the room, with three admirals at a bench in the front. The admiral in the center, a middle-aged woman and clearly superior to the others, continued speaking.

“The board’s conclusions are as follows. On stardate 29485.5. Cadet Flight Squadron 6, popularly known as Nova Squadron, was performing low-altitude formation flying exercises over the Napa Valley. At 1343 hours, Cadet Mincine and Cadet Komachev began executing a high-G turn around the fourth waypoint of their flight plan.

“Data recovered from the flight recorder of Cadet Komachev’s aeroshuttle indicates that the two aircraft collided. As a result, Cadet Mincine’s right engine nacelle was damaged. This caused a power surge which damaged several systems, including the flight recorder and navigational controls. Without Cadet Mincine’s recorder, we cannot determine who initiated the contact. The data from Cadet Komachev’s flight recorder is inconclusive.”

“Of course it was,” Irene thought. 

Artemy sat stone-faced.

“We therefore rule that fault for the collision is shared between the two cadets. Cadet Mincine and Cadet Komachev are removed from flight status for a period of thirty days or until their instructors are satisfied of their ability, whichever comes last.

“In addition, there is the matter of the assault at the bar, instigated by Cadet Mincine. This is a serious breach of discipline and must make the board question Cadet Mincine’s judgment. Do you have anything to say in your defense?”

What was she supposed to say? ‘He started it?’ ‘He’s not fit to fly a hover-dolly?’ Irene decided it was best to remain deferent. “I have nothing to add, Admiral, and I am prepared to accept whatever punishment the board sees fit, sir.”

The admiral nodded. “It is so noted. Cadet Mincine, it is the decision of this board of inquiry that you be confined to the brig at San Fernando for a period of no less than ten days. Additionally, you will be removed from Flight Squadron 6 and reassigned. Your academic standing will remain intact pending the completion of 90 days of psychiatric counseling.”

Irene sighed. It could be worse, right? Thrown in a jail, not for the first time, and she’s still a third-year cadet in good standing. Counseling, though? A Vulcan or Betazoid talking about her feelings? She didn’t even listen when Komachev got a fraction of what she got. Admiral’s son, indeed.

“This inquiry is closed,” said the center admiral, ringing a bell.

Edited by Irene Mincine

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