Mikaela breathed a sigh of relief when the shuttle door closed and she felt the familiar whirr as the shuttle took off from the planet the Federation President had just visited. It had been a complicated visit, complete with protests and more than a few death threats. She had been on her guard 24/7 during the diplomatic visit, and she was happy that she could finally relax. As the USS Trafalgar came into view, she marveled at the sleekness of the Rhode Island class. She smiled as she saw the ship’s shuttle bay doors open; it meant that soon, they would be heading home. She remembered reading, as part of her training, the history of Federation Presidential travel, including the development of the Trafalgar and Normandy, the two ships that made up the Presidential Starship fleet.
In 2383, Starfleet was approached by the Office of the Federation President and a request was filed to build two specially designed starships for exclusive use of the Federation President. Up until that point, if the Federation President wanted to travel, they had only two choices: for travel within Sector 001, the special shuttles that were stored in the Palais de la Concorde; for travel beyond that, requisition a Starfleet capital ship (dubbed Starfleet One), like the like the Galaxy-class USS Venture or the Sovereign-class USS Yorktown. Starfleet built two starships, using the template of the Rhode-Island class starship, though the interior was designed with the needs of the President in mind. The conference room was revamped with classified enhancements to allow it to be used for top-secret discussions, office space was added instead of the traditional science laboratories, and the shuttle bay hanger was enlarged to fit two of the Presidential shuttles. Additionally, instead of the traditional Starfleet arrowhead and lines the vessels had blue and white lines with the seal of the United Federation of Planets where the Starfleet arrowhead was normally. The name and registry of the ship was painted exactly as it was on normal Starfleet vessels. The crew compliment was kept to a minimum; a Captain, First Officer, Chief Tactical Officer, and Chief Engineer, with only four or five individuals under each department head. There were medical facilities, though they were staffed by the President’s personal physician and their staff. The Chief of Security was the Lead Presidential Detail Agent, and security was provided for by the Special Agents of the Presidential Detail of the Federation Security Agency. Depending on the mission and destination, the ship travelled with two or three escorts; usually Defiant-class, Diligent-class, Prometheus-class, or Inquiry-class; all capable of bringing lots of firepower to a potentially catastrophic situation. However, the escorts were only there to screen the Rhode Island-class ship; typical protection plans for the President detailed that if engaged, the main ship was to get the heck out of Dodge while the escorts ran interference.
A beeping console brought Mikaela back to the present, giving her only a few moments to admire the Trafalgar before her shuttle entered the shuttlebay. The ship finally docked, and the door opened, and she stood by as the President, his Chief of Staff, and the Starfleet aide-de-camp stepped out, followed by the Lead Agent. She nodded to her, and finally, she was able to exit the shuttle.
“Another foreign trip done and behind us, eh Kate?”
“Yup! We’re finally done with that hellish visit to Proscion VII. I knew it was bad, but I did not think it would be that bad.”
“I’m with you on that. Now its only about 55 hours back to Earth, and then we go back to our normal schedule; except for the gala on Saturday.”
“The Starfleet Command Gala? The President is attending this year?”
“Yeah; he got a special invite from the Starfleet CinC herself. The President and First Lady are attending.”
“Oooh, that should be interesting. I’m going to break out the formal wear.”
“You do that. This trip back should be a breeze.”
“That it will. Thanks Kate, for the heads up.”
Mikaela and Katherine, the detail lead, nod at each other then part ways. While Kate goes up with the President and his staff, Mikaela heads back to her quarters. As she walked the corridor, she took deep breaths, admiring the craftsmanship that went into the design of the Trafalgar.
Because this was the Presidential ship, it was crafted with comfort in mind for the crew and the Presidential staff. Starfleet Engineering had outdone themselves, and as such, the long-range exploratory cruisers (Galaxy-class and its variants; and the Odyssey-class) seemed spartan by comparison. The corridors were made with more expensive materials than the usual bulkheads, and the quarters for the ship’s compliment were upgraded and designed for comfort while still maximizing space. Some of the more junior staff shared quarters, as did some of the more junior security personnel, including the members of the Presidential Detail. The Lead Detail Agent and Deputy Lead Detail Agent both shared private quarters when the other was not on duty. There was a press cabin, though the space onboard was limited and usually, only the Concorde Plaza correspondents were invited aboard. The rest of the press corps (if any) travelled on other ships specially designed for transport. As of late, they all had agreed to travel onboard a holoship that was carried by one of the escort starships.
Mikaela walked into her quarters and took off her jacket, with the insignia of the Federation Security Agency as a lapel pin. Letting her hair down, she stretched and sat down at her desk to look at the messages she had missed.
The Trafalgar had a dedicated communications suite manned by two officers (usually Ensigns), who’s job it was to function as the filters for the communications that came and went from the Trafalgar. Though most of the work was done by the computer, there were still communications that needed to be prioritized and secure comm channels opened. The work of the Federation President never ended, even when he left Paris on a diplomatic visit.
Mikaela finished listening to the first message, a letter from her best friend from childhood (he was in Starfleet, posted as a Lieutenant onboard the USS Vanderberg, an Intrepid-class starship). She laughed as the messaged finished; he hadn’t changed one bit. Even his commissioning in Starfleet as a medical officer hadn’t straightened him out. He wasn’t a bad person, he just liked to do things his way. That being said, he still knew how to follow orders, and for the most part, his record was clean. Mikaela scrolled through the next message, a brief invite to the Starfleet Command Gala (which she would be attending personally anyways since she was part of the protection detail), and then closed out the terminal. The familiar logo of the United Federation of Planets filled the screen, and she turned away to the window, watching the stars go by like streaks; the USS Buenos Aires (Prometheus-class) was on the port side, and Mikaela found herself admiring the view.
Some time later, the Trafalgar approached Sector 001, the Sol System. As the ship slowed to impulse, there was a lot of space traffic, though a large swath had been cleared by Sol System Control. The three ship formation passed smoothly through the traffic, using the cleared lane. As the Trafalgar approached Earth, Mikaela sighed with contentment. Seeing Earth from space never got old; in point of fact, it was more meaningful every time they made the approach. She could feel the starship start to descend, and soon, she saw the familiar red hot glow of reentry light up the shields. Back in the old days, before spacefaring became a regular thing, spacecraft had to have heat shields to protect them from the reentry heat. Now, the shields did a fine job of…shielding…the ships as they came in from space. The glow of the city lights as the Trafalgar approached Paris became brighter and brighter, until the Trafalgar was flying over Paris, on approach to the Concorde Plaza.
Mikaela knew what was coming, though she was still not used to what happened next. Once Starfleet One was over Paris, it would approach the Seine River and by the Pont de Grenelle, would gently make a landing on the water and then submerge into the river. The Seine was wide enough to accommodate the Rhode-Island class starship, and it would wend its way underwater until it got to the Palais de la Concorde, where special hangar doors would open to reveal a giant hanger well under the Federation Presidential Complex. Within the hanger, the four Presidential shuttles were kept, as well as the two starships that were specially designed by Starfleet. There were special glass jetways that connected to special ports; they led directly to turbolifts that went straight to the secure lobby area of the Federation Presidential complex, from which the Federation President, their family, staff, and others could go anywhere they needed to. In this case, Mikaela took the turbolift up to the complex, then headed to the residence to check in with the Federation President and his family, making sure they didn’t need anything, and afterwards, she would sign off, and head home for a few days of well-deserved rest. When she arrived at the residence, the Federation President was settling down with his daughter; they were reading together and catching up. She did not wish to interrupt them, and turned to go, when the President spoke to her.
“Mikaela, did you need anything?”
“No sir, I was just checking in. I know we had a bit of a long trip and I wanted to make sure you did not need anything”
“Thank you Mikaela, I…we appreciate that. I just thought I’d relax with Lisandra for a little bit, before I retire. Thank you for taking care of me during that trip. I know you guys had it rough.”
“It wasn’t too bad, sir. It was a well-planned trip, as always. I’m just glad to be back home.”
“That it was. Lissy, say hi to Mika…” he coaxes.
“Hi Mikaela” Lisandra says shyly with a smile. “Thanks for bringing Daddy back home safe.”
“You’re quite welcome, Lisandra. Enjoy him!”
Mikaela’s response elicits a laugh from the President and his daughter. After a laugh, he smiles.
“Have a good night, Mikaela. We’ll see you in a few days.”
“Thank you sir. Good night.”
Mikaela left the Executive Residence floor, and after stopping by the Presidential Detail Operations Center for a chat with friends, then left the Palais de Concorde Executive Complex and walked to the transport to go to the train station, to take the train to go home.
A Week Later
Mikaela stood in the background of the Starfleet Command Gala, dressed very formally in what she considered “ceremonial dress uniform” for the Federation Security Agency. She wore a white blouse and black jacket and black trousers, similar to the men’s black suits (but well suited for women) and the seal of the Federation President on her lapel. Her phaser was holstered out of view on her hip but hidden by her jacket, and she wore black flats. As she stood watch, her comlink came to life within her earpiece.
“Shahar to all positions. Report in.”
“Kihara to Shahar. Entrance is clear.”
“Martindale to Shahar. Corridors clear. Continuing my sweep.”
“Ichikawa to Shahar. Perimeter is clear, continuing to patrol together with Starfleet Security.”
Mikaela piped up. “Kovalev to Shahar. Lancer and Lace are still mingling with vetted Starfleet Officers. They may take the dance floor soon. No threats apparent. Will do rounds shortly.”
“Hey Kovalev, enjoy the party for us!” Kihara exclaims, causing scattered chuckles from various agents.
“Will do. Kovalev out.”
With that, Mikaela begins to make the rounds, socializing as she did so. Soon, however, she was involved in a conversation, until Admiral Tumukunde came up to her and asked to speak with her. It would be a conversation that changed her career path, and set her on a course to do different things.
Admiral Tumukunde had been mulling over the latest roster that had been submitted to him by Starfleet Intelligence operatives. He knew that the team lead had chosen a capable team but he wasn’t sure if it was truly complete. He had been thinking about this for a few days when he received a report from Starfleet Security, specifically the division that worked closely with the Federation Security Agency. The division lead had travelled onboard the USS Normandy (the other Presidential Starship) and had struck up a conversation with a certain Special Agent Mikaela Kovalev. The team lead was thoroughly impressed with Mikaela’s skills and person and submitted a recommendation that she be ‘poached’ from the FSA and given an assignment in Starfleet. As Tumukunde thought about her, the invite to the annual Starfleet Gala arrived, and he noticed that the Federation President would be in attendance. He smiled to himself, and decided he was going to talk to her about being assigned to the covert ship.
Mikaela saw the Admiral approach her, and she warmly greeted him. It was in her nature to scan anyone who approached for threats, and the Admiral, though he was a high-ranking officer, was no exception.
“Good evening, Admiral.”
“Good evening, Special Agent. You are Miss Kovalev, are you not?”
“Yes, sir. How did you know…” Mikaela asks, a bit incredulously.
“Well, considering I’m one of the people in charge of Starfleet Intelligence. It’s my job to know.” The Admiral returns her surprise with a bit of humor of his own.
“That’s quite fair. What can I do for you, Admiral?”
“Well, I actually wanted to talk to you about some things. More specifically, a thing. Would a change of scenery and assignment be something that you would want?”
Mikaela blinked at him in surprise. “A change in scenery? What do you mean?
“Well, how would you like to work for Starfleet Intelligence and be a part of covert operations?”
Mikaela was intrigued. She had been searching for a way out, but more to the point…she wanted a change. She loved her assignment, but maybe it was time to be in space. “If I accepted, how long would I be out? Would it be a permanent change?”
“Not at all. You’d be assigned to a covert-ops team for a while and you would have the option of returning to your original post within the FSA after six months.”
“It sounds intriguing. I’d like to speak to Kate, my Detail Lead, and maybe think on it. But barring any opposition, I’d be happy to join the team.”
“Excellent. Please, take your time to consider the offer.”
“Will I have to go to Starfleet Academy and become an officer?”
“No. You’ll attend Starfleet Academy for six months to allow you to learn to be an officer in Starfleet, then you’ll be granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant Commander for the duration of your assignment. Once you go back to the FSA, you’ll be a civilian again, technically speaking.”
“Great. I’ll take it into consideration.”
“I look forward to hearing your reply. It was lovely talking with you, Miss Kovalev.” Admiral Tumukunde bows to her slightly. and then walks away. Mikaela looks around, her thoughts racing a mile a minute. She wanted this, but she didn’t want to leave her post. She loved the team she worked with, but in her heart, she felt the call of adventure. It wasn’t the assignment that she expected to have at this point in her life, but she felt something stir within her. She was going to step out into the unknown.