Today, Lieutenant Sinclair of Starfleet Resources has come aboard for a chat.
This is most disconcerting, as that section is usually only concerned with the amount of people we have.
The department used to be called 'Human Resources', of course, but we could hardly keep calling it that when there are so many aliens. The Vulcans were the first to object to this title. They would be.
"Ah, Captain Picard" says Sinclair, as I meet him in my Ready Room. He shakes my hand and sits down.
"Welcome to the Enterprise, Lieutenant." I say to him.
"Ah, the Enterprise!" he warmly talks, "Flagship of the fleet, Captain, you must be so proud of being in charge of it all."
"Indeed I am." I reply.
"You've been with Starfleet ah....a long time, haven't you, Captain?" Sinclair asks, "Haven't you ever thought that such a magnificent ship might be too much to handle?"
I can see it coming, but look as if I don't know.
"What do you mean, Lieutenant?"
"Err..ahh, well, have you ever thought of handing the reins over to a younger man? I'm sure Commander Riker would be ideal."
"No I haven't!" I firmly tell him.
Sinclair is taken aback. Did he think I was eagerly expecting to go?
"Captain" he continues, "The burdens of command can weigh heavily on the shoulders as one ages. You know that Starfleet have a generous pension plan. Why not take advantage of the early retirement scheme?"
"Why should I?" I reply sharply.
"Think of all you can do, Captain" he says with hesitancy, "You can err.. relax at home with your err..pipe and slippers, take your errr..dog for a walk and get copy of the Federation Bugle from newspaper shops."
"I don't want a pipe and slippers, nor do I want a dog, and I don't read the Federation Bugle!" I tell him loudly.
"What about the gold watch you'll be presented with by the President of Starfleet on the day of your retirement?" he pleads.
"I can replicate one of those right here on the Enterprise; in fact, I intend to be with Starfleet at least another 30 years!"
Sinclair goes pale.
"What about Commander Riker?" he asks.
"He'll have to find another ship to be in charge of...unless I ever get promoted to Admiral, which seems long overdue." I tell him.
Sinclair leaves my Ready Room, a little dazed.
Riker comes in shortly after.
"What was that all about?" he asks.
"Just talking about the level of personel, Number One." I say, "Did you want anything?"
"Only to say I've had another message saying I'm on the shortlist for a Captaincy on a small transport ship." he says, "I don't know who keeps filling them in. I won't go for the interview, as I'd like the Captaincy here too much."
"I wonder who fills them out?" I say innocently, "Maybe some day your chance here will come?"