When I am called to my video monitor in the Ready Room, I expect an important message, possibly affecting the fate of the galaxy.
After all, I do feel like saving the universe again. Every now and then I like to do that. Whenever that happens, I give the stars on my uniform an extra polish.
But instead, I am greeted by the oversmiling face of Felicity, the secretary of Admiral Bullock.
"Hello Captain Picard." she says in her simple way. I can see all her make-up items on the desk. She has forgot to remove them.
"Hello, Felicity." I say, "Did you enjoy your hotel visit with the Admiral?"
At this, she goes a shade of red that even her make up can't disguise. Felicity then starts to go into a cheeky giggle while informing me that she is paging me through to Admiral Bullock.
Bullock's image flashes up. As it does, I see a lipstick mark on his right cheek that happens to match the same lipstick used by Felicity.
"Ah, Captain Picard." he starts, "I have something important to say to you."
"Do you have an important mission for us to go on, or a planet to save?"
"Err...nothing like that, Captain." he answers, "We at Starfleet Command noticed it was your 50th birthday in January."
Uh....here it comes....
"Well." Bullock continues, "We thought that it is really difficult to Captain a starship at your...I mean when one gets older, and thought you might like a desk job here on Earth."
"No, thank you, Admiral." I say sharply.
Bullock looks slightly taken aback, as it wasn't the answer he was expecting.
"We thought you might like to give a younger man a chance at the helm, so to speak."
I repeat my answer, this time a little more slowly in case he has wax in his ears.
"Captain." he tells me, "This job that we have for you is a very prestigious one. Many people will want it, but we are choosing to give it to you. It's Chairman of the Veteran Captains Retirement Home. You just have to visit each Retirement Home, hold the Bingo sessions, play Santa Claus at Christmas..."
I try to refrain from laughing.
"It sounds wonderful, Admiral." I say with a supressed smile, "But I have a starship to captain."
The bemused Admiral Bullock goes to switch off.
"Goodbye, Admiral." I tell him, "Don't forget to wipe off the lipstick."
The sight of Bullock attempting to find the lipstick as the videomonitor image fades puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day,