Why am I always called in to chair these events?
If there's a dispute going on, "Send for Picard" is the traditional response.
I'm beaming down to Starfleet Headquarters, together with Deanna and Data for backup to chair the row that has blown up between Starfleet Astrometrics and the inhabitants of the dwarf planet Pluto and it's sister planet Charon.
Starfleet want to reclassify Pluto as a 'lump of rock', together with Charon.
Naturally, the Ice Men who colonised both these worlds are livid, and are demanding that both are upgraded to full planetary status. As Pluto was downgraded in the early 21st Century, the Plutonian Ice Men have always complained about being treaded as a lesser planet; the latest reclassification attempt will inflame them even more...if you can inflame an Ice Man, that is.
As the three of us enter Starfleet Headquarters, we are greeted by angry protestors supporting the two worlds, with signs like 'Equal Rights For Plutonians and Charonians' and 'Pluto is not a Mickey Mouse planet.'
Deanna, Data and I sit down in the centre of a large table; on one side are a group of chilly-looking individuals all wrapped up, from both Pluto and Charon. On the other side are a group of Starfleet experts armed with astrometric maps and 3D charts.
"Now then, gentlemen" I say, "Let's look at the problem we have."
"Pluto should be a proper planet!" shouts one icy person, whose ID Badge identifies him as Icee from Pluto.
"We'll get round to that in a moment, Mr Icee." I say calmly.
"Why is Pluto always badly treated?" interrupts the person next to him, who is Cheeley, also from Pluto, "We're the ninth planet, always have been, always will be. You can't turn us into a lump of rock."
"And what about Charon?" says another at the table, who is Frostee, "We Charonians live on the tenth planet, and as we have colonised it, want it to be recognised as a proper world."
One side all start talking at once and saying disparaging things about Starfleet. Finally, I get things under control.
"Perhaps we'd better hear from the Starfleet officials and their proposals." I say, "I'll let Admiral Swanson, Head of Astrometics speak"
Before he gets up, Deanna whispers to me.
"I sense a great deal of hostility in the room, Captain."
"You don't say, Deanna?" I reply, "I would never have guessed."
"Now then" starts Swanson, in his most officious voice, "Starfleet Astrometrics have carefully gone over the criteria required for both Pluto and Charon; as you will see from this projection... "
"What's that supposed to show?" shouts Cheeley.
"It shows" continues Swanson, "That the mass, weight and volume, in proportion to the orbit of the sun and in relation to the requirements needed to classify it as a planet or dwarf planet fail to meet the necessary criteria. Due to the err... revised conditions laid out by Starfleet, it can only be listed as a lump of rock, together with Charon."
Swanson looks like he's digging himself into a hole.
"You changed the definition?" asks Icee.
"Anyone can do that to get the result they want!" Frostee tells them; the planetary visitors all agree.
"Unfortunately" says Data, "Those rules are as they are now by Starfleet."
"It seems to me that you changed the classsification to suit yourself, Admiral Swanson." I ask him, "Is it true there is less upkeep to be given to a Federation Lump of Rock than a Planet?"
"That's true, but.." he splutters.
"Actually, Admiral" says Data, "The Vulcan High Council wanted to reclassify Earth as a dwarf planet some time ago, but changed their minds."
"I should think so!" Swanson answers, "None of their business."
Swanson realises he's painted himself into a corner and stays quiet.
"In that case, I award full planetary status to Pluto and Charon." I announce.
Cheers come up from Icee, Frostee and Cheeley. They come up to shake my hand, but I decline as I'd get frostbite.
"Well done, Captain" says Deanna, "You made a lot of friends there."
Swanson marches up to me, his face red.
"And you wonder why you never get an Admiral's position, Picard" he angrily tells me, then walks off.
"Also a few enemies as well, Counselor." I reply to her.