I beam down to Starfleet Headquarters. This is the sort of meeting I dislike intensely. An assessment of how well I'm doing by some official who has never even left the planet.
So I'm having to wait in a Reception while some secretary, whose name is Jennifer according to the nameplate works on her electronic computer record.
"Admiral Bullock." will see you in a moment, Captain." the secretary says, "He is just finishing his lun....I mean his important document work."
After a while, a button goes off, which seems to wake Jennifer up from her intermittant make up and computer work.
"Admiral Bullock will see you now, Captain." she says somewhat apologetically, and point me to the door with his name on, as if he could he anywhere else!
"Come!" a voice beckons from within.
"Ah." he starts, "It's Picard of the Enterprise, isn't it? I thought it's time we had a little chat about how you've been doing."
"Yes, sir." I say somewhat demurely.
"I must say, we've had to repair your ship a few times, Captain." he starts, "I don't know what's holding it together now with the amount of repairwork it's had to have. Do you think you enjoy having it battered? Starfleet can't afford to keep patching it up."
"The Enterprise has fought a lot of battles." I say somewhat irritatingly, as if I want to throw a custard pie in his face, "If saving the Federation and the universe means matching the ship up a little, then so be it."
"Mmm." Bullock says to himself, then continues, "I must say, Captain, your crew leaves a lot to be desired. An android, a holographic doctor, a Borg drone, a rebel from an evil dimension two centuries ago, not to mention an Ensign who seems to be in so much trouble, she is mostly in the brig."
"All together, they are a fine group." I tell him defensively, "They may be unusual, but it's still the best ship and crew in Starfleet."
"Mmmm." Bullock again says to himself, and writes down some information on his page.
"Just what is this for, Admiral?" I ask, "Is it just a review or something more?"
"Well, Captain." he answers, "Every so often we have to do a review, as you say, but certain Admirals, and I won't say who, think you may have, shall I say, been in the saddle too long."
"You mean they want me to quit?" I ask.
"Oh, that's being too blunt." Bullock answers, "After all, you know what a generous pension allowance we at Starfleet have. You could relax on a farm with Doctor Crusher instead of worrying about the fate of the universe."
"How do you know anything about Doctor Beverly Crusher?" I say with annoyance, "That is not relevant."
"Well you can have whoever you like, Captain." Bullock answers as if he has been caught out, "I was only using the Doctor as an example."
"Mmmm." I say in similar way that he does, "What do you think of space travel I ask him."
"I've always been based at Starfleet Headquarters." Bullock answers, "I've never had the need to fly in a starship."
"Do you think you're qualified to ask me then."
"Careful, Captain." Bullock warns me, "I am an Admiral. I'll take my Report and see you with the findings in a couple of days."
To be continued...