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Irene Mincine

Carry On, Carillon

Valerie Carillon’s orders had come in after the Excalibur decommissioning and it was as she feared. Starfleet had at last decided she was too broken down for full-time flight team duty. Without d’Aubergne to run interference for her, they finally noticed she was 38 years old with a crippling injury history. Piloting fighters was officially out for her and she was going to be reassigned to station-side transport duty once more.

This bitterly disappointed her. She called up the office of the admiral who had sent her the message, but they wouldn’t even put her through. Some cajoling and vague threats later, she learned the decision was final. Val was furious and let them know how she felt in no uncertain terms.

She wasn’t even sure if she wanted to stay in Starfleet anymore. Well, she had a nice long leave lined up after that. 3 weeks on Risa. Plenty of time to think it over.

Even without the threat of war, there were always options for her. She could go into the private security market, fly rustbuckets to protect traders, even work as a mercenary in more lawless frontier regions of the quadrant… well, her morals, instilled by years of Starfleet service, rejected the last one out of hand. Protecting traders in antique impulse fighters is a good way to get killed. Private security might work out, though.

But in the end, she decided it was all a bad idea. Her headaches had been getting worse and worse lately. Sometimes her vision would get blurry, or her balance would be off, or she’d get so nauseous. She always blamed her artificial eye even though doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

The three weeks of vacation passed in a flash for her. It was on the final day that she received another message from Starfleet. She figured it was a stern warning for the way she acted on subspace, but it wasn’t. It was a message from an unfamiliar commander.

It turns out Captain Swain was pleased with her performance at the helm on the last mission of the Excalibur. Despite being placed into an unfamiliar role, she performed admirably and showed all the piloting skills that had made her such a fearsome competitor in the cockpit of a fighter. And now he wanted her back at the helm of his new command.

Flying a brand-new starship, huh? Well, that was enticing enough to get her to drop any thoughts of leaving.

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