[USS Missouri 22:05 – Approaching Betazed]
Doctor Cluadia Sandoval sat in the observer’s seat on the bridge of the Excelsior-class USS Missouri. Claudia was well into her ninth decade with six of them having been dedicated to Starfleet in some form or another, though much of her career had been served on Earth. Not that she was a newbie to space service having served on the Eagle, Minerva, and Excelsior. And despite that with her once raven black hair turned to white she felt mostly like she did in her thirties; just with a few more aching joints and a back that was less forgiving.
To her left sat the ship’s executive officer. She was a long legged and petite Irish woman of forty-three. Despite middle age there wasn’t a trace with gray in the bright auburn hair, and the few wrinkles on her face were soft and only exposed themselves when she laughed or smiled. Commander Rachel Sandoval had married Claudia’s youngest son Jonanthon, and the couple had a daughter together.
Ten-year-old Rebecca Sandoval sat on Claudia’s lap excited beyond words because she was allowed to visit the bridge. The little girl was the spitting image of her mother down to the copper-red hair and green eyes that seemed to see into one’s soul. Where Jonothan was in there Claudia wasn’t sure. Maybe the upturn of the nose? Certainly the girl’s skin tone was a shade or two darker to the olive over her mother’s pale complexion.
“I’m going to miss you abuela,” Rebecca said looking up.
Claudia smiled and hugged the girl, “And I will miss you too nieta.”
“Why can’t you just stay here?”
“Because this ship already has a doctor. The Achilles does not.”
“Isn’t Achilles in the foot?”
Claudia nodded, “It is a tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel, but in this case I’m pretty sure the ship is named after Greek warrior that fought in the siege of Troy. It is he who the tendon was named after. Legend has it that he was shot in that tendon by an arrow.”
Rebecca nodded taking the information in. “He must have been a hero to get two things named after him.”
“Homer seems to have thought so,” Claudia replied.
“Who is Homer?”
“Oh, an ancient Greek author and poet. He wrote the Iliad and Odyssey.”
“Oh,” Rebecca replied.
“Commander we’re approaching the Betazed System,” the helmsman announced.
Rachel sat up, “Slow to impulse.”
“Impulse aye,” the helmsman replied his fingers dancing over the controls of his station.
“Inform the Achilles that their doctor has arrived,” Rachel said standing from the center seat. She then lifted her daughter off of her mother-in-law’s lap.
The communications officer turned from her seat, “Ma’am, the Achilles is prepared to receive Doctor Sandoval.”
Claudia stood a little stiffly but it was steady. Hugging Rebecca she gave the girl a peck on the cheek, “Mind your mother nieta.”
“I will abuela.”
Rachel reached over and hugged Claudia, “Be safe out there mom.”
“You too hija. You have a wonderful daughter to raise. I’m just biding time until I can be with Tony again.”
She bent down and picked up a bulging duffle, slung it over her shoulder. “Come nieta walk me to the transporter room will you?”