"You have a private message coming through, Captain." Data informs me, as we travel routinely to who-knows-where.
"I'll take it in my Ready Room, Mr Data." I inform him.
Secretly, I always hope these are going to be private messages that Bev wants to send to me, but they never are. Usually, they are trouble of some sort.
I switch on, and a woman's face appears.
"Greetings, Captain Picard." she says, "I am Captain Erika Hernandez of the USS Rhode Island."
My heart sinks, as I can guess what the subject of our discussion will be about: Wesley Crusher and Karena.
"What can I do for you, Captain?" I ask in innocence.
"As I'm sure you're aware, my ship will have three new Ensigns shortly, two of which you may have some prior knowledge. I was hoping if you can tell me what they are like?"
I'll have to tread carefully, here. I don't want Hernandez to be put off having them, particularly Wesley. If she knew the truth, he might end up on the Enterprise.
"Well." I say, "Ensign Crusher served as an acting Ensign here for some time. In fact he saved the ship on a number of occasions."
"Really?" says Hernandez, looking impressed. I miss out the fact that Wesley is disaster prone and when he saves the ship they are generally from disasters that he started.
"He should be a valuable addition to the crew." she concludes.
I cough at this remark, and Hernandez moves on.
"Now on to Ensign Karena." she says, "I understand that she is the fiancee of Ensign Crusher, and an Amazon....what is she like?"
"Err..." I say hesitantly, "She is very errr...independant."
"You mean she doesn't follow orders?" asks the Captain.
"She comes from a matriacal society." I remind her, "Where women are the dominant species, She isn't used to taking orders from men."
"Well, if I tell her to take orders from men, she'd better." Hendandez comments sharply.
"I'm sure she will, Captain." I reply with a forced smile.
"Do you know anything about this Andorian female named Tarah, Captain Picard?"
"I did see her when the Diplomas were being handed out." I reply, "She seems to like Ensign Crusher."
"Athough he is the fiance of Ensign Karena?" asks a bewildered Herdandez, "What do you suggest I do?"
"Paint the brig a good shade of pink." I tell her drily.
Bev walks in as I am talking; she recognises Hernandez, and get's in front of the videoscreen,
"Captain Hernandez!" she says to her, "Please look after my Wes! He's very delicate. Make sure he gets fed properly, and don't send him on any missions that are too dangerous and don't...."
"Bev!" I say quietly, "I'm sure the Captain will look after Wes. There's no need to panic."
"Thank you, Captain Picard, Doctor Crusher." Hernandez says, "I think I've got a pretty good idea of the Ensigns when they eventually come on my ship."
She definately said that with sarcasm!