I call Ensigns Jennifer Baxter and Ro Laren into my Ready Room.
"Ensigns." I start, "You have both remarked that you haven't had enough Away Missions to go on, so I'm sending you on one in the next few hours.
Jennifer's face lights up, as if she and her boyfriend Commander Data have been given a weekend pass to a Spa Hotel.
"Thank you, sir." she replies, "I'm grateful to be given the chance. What do you wish us to do?"
"The Coral Nebula is approaching." I tell her, "We need someone to go close to it in a shuttlecraft and scan it. We should have some excellent results from our findings."
"Yes, sir!" she beams, pleased at being given the assignment. As she leaves, Data comes in and asks me why she is looking so happy. I tell him.
"I am concerned that Jenny is being such a dangerous assignment, Captain." he tells me, "The Nebula is very dangerous andd unpredictable."
"Switch off your emotion chip, Data." I tell him, "It's a very easy job, just to scan the Nebula. Besides that, your girlfriend is one of the toughest women on the Enterprise. She always beats Worf in the endurance competitions. Don't wrap her up in cotton wool."
A few hours later, we on the bridge are tracking the shuttlecraft Aurora as it approaches the Nebula.
"Ro Laren to Enterprise" comes the videopicture, "I am nearing the Nebula, and am taking pictures now. The footage is wonderful. Jenny is looking around for the best views."
It sounds like the two of them are taking shots on their vacation!
We can see the Nebula image in front..
"Baxter to Enterprise." Jennifer says in alarm, "I am getting interference on the scanner. Something is happening in front of me."
We see a rip in space start to open up. It looks like the Aurora is being dragged towards it...
"JENNY!" yells Data, "Get out of there....!"
He must have left his emotion chip still on. We all look as the tiny shuttlecraft disappears into blackness.
If we don't manage to get them back, I may vanish on Data's Christmas card list.
To be continued...