I'm on my way to Dararia after that unfortunate incident recently.
The Dararians accused the Enterprise of speeding through their space, and I was haned a million Credit fine, and ordered to apply for a Starship Licence.
Despite my protests, the Starfleet authorities have insisted that I go through this in the interests of interplanetary harmony.
It all sounds like a Dararian scam to me.
Anyway, I just land on Dararia, when I'm greeted by ban official.
"Ah, you must be Captain Picard, the notorious speeder" he says, "I am Yeltar, and I will be conducting your test today."
Though I'm tempted to comment on his 'notorious speeder' remark, I think it best to say nothing, as it may harm my chances. Best just to get this over with as soon as possible.
We go to a shuttle that he has borrowed for the occasion.
"Step in please, Captain." says Yelter, "And we see how familiar you are with the controls."
We take off and I perform all the directions he asks me to with ease. A good Captain never forgets how to operate a shuttle. Yelter ticks off the movements with ease.
After about half an hour, we land again on Dararia; I expect to be handed that Starship Licence and then I can get out of here.
"Well done, Captain" Yelter informs me, "You have successfully passed the required flights, and now qualify for a Dararian Starship Licence. Just pay the half a million Credit charge, and..."
"What!" I exclaim.
"Naturally, Captain, You have to pay for the Test Instruction that I am giving you."
"This is a flagrant con!" I shout, "You do the same for any starships that pass by."
"They have to adhere to the regulations." Yelter says in an officious tone, "Should you not pay immediately, the cost will be doubled."
I bite my lip, as I feel determined to say something; reluctantly, I tell him that Starfleet will pay right away. Any other action might result in a fine so high that Starfleet would go bankrupt.
"That's good, Captain." says Yelter, as if he is pleased that the Dararians have got another victim, "Just go along to the offices to collect your licence."
"Can't YOU give me the licence?" I ask.
"Certainly not!" Yelter replies in an amazed voice, "This is a very official procedure. Here is your DSS1/LDS form; take it along to the office and get your Licence.
After looking around, and asking many people, I find a grey, drab office, where I am told I will get what what I want.
I enter there to find it absolutlely packed; so many, they can barely move; I wish I would beam them all out and go to the front of the queue.
I see one counter with a sign saying 'STARSHIP LICENCES' over it. There is a long queue of individuals waiting to apply; about as many as there are planets in the Federation.
After what seems an eternity, I am at the counter, and triumphantly hand my DSS1/LDS form to the person the other side.
"What's this?" he asks me.
"It's the DSS1/LDS form for a Starship Licence" I reply.
"I don't want that" he tells me as if I am a Gazonian Flea Parrot, "You've got to go to the counter marked 'DSS1/LDS' before you can come to me."
I look, and that queue is twice as long as the one I was waiting in, and has now grown again.
I could be here some time.
To be continued...