As the senior staff have been recalled early after Christmas to take the Enterprise to Zama III to quell unrest, we are all working extra jobs in the journey. The other 1000 plus crew are still on their vacations.
I get a call from the holographic Doctor.
"Captain" he says, "I really must protest at working in Engineering. This is beneath my programming by just pressing a few buttons and helping Lieutenant Commander LaForge. I was scheduled to go to the Metropolitan Opera House and see La Traviata. Instead I was recalled to do this demeaning role."
"We need your presence, Doctor." I tell him, "You are such a valuable member of this crew, we did your expertise in this important section."
"Really?" he replies, "Well, it's good to know I'm appreciated here.". He switches off.
I must pride myself; I do have a diplomatic skill which enables me to get round anyone, even an opinionated hologram.
"Jean-Luc!" barks Guinan on my Com badge, "Why am I here?"
Actually, I didn't know she was.
"I was unaware you were, Guinan" I tell her, "Where are you?"
"I've just woke up from behind the bar in Ten Forward." she says, "The last thing I remember is being here at the Enterprise Christmas Party. I must have passed out and been here ever since."
That was two weeks ago; doesn't anyone notice anything?
"Now that you're here, Guinan." I tell her, "You can help with the skeleton staff. Data is cleaning all the bathrooms out. You can go and help him."
Guinan issues what appear to be a few alien expletives that the Universal Translator can't recognise. Perhaps that it's wise that I can't.
Riker comes in with a tray.
"Donuts anyone?" he asks.
As there is just him and I on the Bridge, there is not much of a response. He eats the donuts himself before going back to the kitchen where he is working. Perhaps it was wrong to assign Riker to that area?
Another call on the Com badge; it's Bev.
"Jean-Luc." she says, "Deanna and I are getting worn out in the Laundry Room. Can you send someone else? There is over 1000 uniforms to clean here!"
"All right, Beverly." I concede, "I'll send Jadzia and Worf along. You can swap rosters with them. They are currently cleaning the Jeffries Tubes out."
I'm sure I hear a comment from her before I issue a Warp Nine directive to the computer in order that we may get to Zama III as swoon as possible.
My Com badge goes off again; it's busier than when we have a full ship's compliment.
"Locutus!" says Seven angrily, "I must protest at my current assignment of sweeping up the Cargo Bays with Ro Laren, Jennifer Baxter and Trisha Lewis. It is not fitting for a member of the Borg race. The Borg are supreme, Resistan..."
"Seven," I interrupt her, "We are very short staffed, and we all have to do unpleasant jobs that we may not like to do."
"What unpleasant job are you doing Locutus?" she asks me, "You appear to be still sitting in your Command Chair giving orders, as you always do."
"Someone has to command a starship, Seven." I remind her.
"I shall inform the Borg Queen of your behaviour in my report." she complains and switches off.
A few hours later, we reach Zama III. I send a message to the High Council on the surface. His image comes on the viewer.
"Hello, your Eminance." I say, "What is the problem that you have?"
The High Leader looks confused at first, and then manages to understand.
"Oh, I know what it was, Captain." he tells me, "A short time ago there was a lot of anger because the Industrial Sector were not being let off early on the last day before the Global Celebrations. They were threatening to walk out and cause trouble. One of us in control contacted the Federation in a hurry. We managed to appease them soon after by letting them go home early and have a free party. I think we must have forgotten the Distress Call. I hope it hasn't caused any problems?"
I grit my teeth.
"Not at all, your Eminance." I say, "We'll head back to Earth now."
I issue a bulletin to the staff over the intercom.
"Attention everyone. We are heading back to Earth. We did not need to come on this mission. Carry on your assignments until we get back."
I don't need to be Deanna Troi to know what is going through the minds of the staff right now.