* Eleven *
Robert Jackson was sitting in his ready room reading the crew roster when a name arose from the transcribe unit and slapped him squarely in the face.
"Victoria Dawn Buckingham!" he said aloud from behind his desk.
"It can't be the Tori Buckingham that I know." he added as he looked up from the transcribe.
"Who?" Davrina asked from a couch along side the wall.
"A red headed friend of mine from back home, on Earth. Or at least she use to be." Jackson answered as Donald April came flying low through his oval shaped office door without an invitation.
"Jay, Admiral sir, there's a certain hot tempered, red headed female acquaintance of yours that just about ripped---
"Tori Buckingham!" Jackson boomed, as he flew up and out of his chair, interrupting his best friend at the same time.
"Yeah, that's right, Tori Bucking ... whatever," Donald April said as he stopped short, by the couch.
"She about tore Sathrana's head off when the two of them met." he continued on.
"She's peed off big time about being here. I stopped Sathrana short of throwing her in the brig. It wasn't easy. Man, can that girl ever fight. I told Sathrana that she and you were very close," Donald said as he fell onto the couch in a sweat beside Davrina.
"I was just thinking about ... just ... how ... close ... did you say?"Jackson asked very slowly.
"Crap, I've got to divert her here before she tangles with Davadra!" Robert Jackson thundered as he raised his left wrist to his mouth.
"Donald, you hail for her to report to my---
"I'll do it, sir," Davrina said as she raised her vid-com watch to her mouth, noticing that Donald April was nearly out of breath.
"Security, see to it that a Victoria Dawn Buckingham reports to the admiral's ready room immediately, Counselor Adriakar, out." Davrina ordered, before lowering her arm.
"Alright!" Jackson said in a panic. "Out with the both of you, and keep Davadra and Sathrana away from here!
"I'm leaving it up to the both of you as to how you do it, and I don't care how, just ... get it ... done!" he rattled on as Donald quickly got up from the couch.
"You don't have to tell me twice. Come on Davrina, we've got some serious work to do, and fast." Donald April said as he grabbed Davrina Adriakar by the arm and led her out of Robert's office.
Jackson lowered the lights to near darkness then swung around in his chair, now facing an alien painting on the wall that he could barely see, and awaited her arrival, which didn't take long.
"Admiral, it, or I meant to say, she's here." said Lieutenant Commander, Lektan Tholari as he stood in the oval shaped doorway.
"Send her in and see to it that no one bothers us until further notice, and I do mean ... no one." Jackson ordered as Tholari left to escort her to Jackson's ready room.
Tori Buckingham marched herself right into his office and stopped very quickly, just inside the doorway.
"What the hell is this?" she asked as she let her eyes adjust to the dark.
"Have a seat, or stand, your choice." Jackson said, barely above a whisper.
"I think that I'll ... stay right here ... where I'm at, thank you." Tori said, a little nervously.
"Have it your way." Jackson said, continuing to speak at just above a whisper.
If not for the fact that Tori had crashed out because she was on a weekend drunk when she arrived on the Orion, well, Jackson would have been her's for the killing yesterday evening. He would not have seen a morning after. The rest of the crew would not be advised as to who was who, and what was what, until around eleven o'clock today. It was only a few minutes after nine a.m..
"You requested to see me?" she asked as he smiled and thought to himself. Good, or bad, she doesn't know yet.
"Yes, I did." he said.
"You started a fight with the captain of this ship, and that's your first, if not your biggest mistake. I'm really surprised that you're not in the brig and facing court martial." he informed her, still above a whisper.
"In all actuality, we were stopped short and ... ship, did I hear you say sh---
"She let you go?" he asked, interrupting her.
"It wasn't as easy as that. This officer stopped us and I had no idea who in the hell they both were, or where in the---
"If not for Commander April, you would be in the brig. If not for me intercepting a run in with Davadra Adriakar, you'd most likely be taken directly to the brig, no questions asked." he told her, having interrupted her once more.
"I can't even get on a drunk without being dragged off some---. Where ... in the hell ... am I?" she asked cutting her own self short as her knees began shaking.
"Where do you think you are?" Jackson asked, still yet, above a whisper.
"I remember being thrown into this big ass taxi," Buckingham began. "The next thing that I remember is waking up in this strange looking bed."
"I then find myself in this outrageously huge motel corridor where it looks as if this Halloween party is going on. Then I think to myself, it's nowhere near friggin October." she continued on with her story.
"Buckingham, you have no idea at all where you are, do you?" he asked as he shook his head in disbelief.
"Not ... really. " She said as she collapsed, while shaking nervously, upon the couch by the wall.
"Issac, lights slowly to full." Robert Jackson said in his normal tone of voice as he swung back around to face Victoria Dawn Buckingham.
"You son of a bitch!" she stormed heatedly.
"Admiral my ass!" she blasted, as Robert stood up in his full dress uniform. Though however and at this point in time, it made no difference to her at all.
"Scare the hell out of me why don't you, Robert Andrew Jackson!" she yelled.
"Not yet," Jackson replied. "That's coming shortly."
"That is, if you're still sober after today, Tori." he said as he came out from behind his desk, which was his fatal mistake. Tori rose from the couch to walk over and slap him as about as hard as he had ever been slapped before in his life.
"I deserved that." he told her calmly, but red faced, as he ran his fingers lightly over his throbbing left cheek.
"Damned you, Robert Jackson, take me home, now!" she thundered out of control, in his face.
"It's not going to be as easy as you might---
"Don't make me slap you again, Robert. You're going to take me home or else!" she thundered once again, interrupting him as he raised his wrist unit to his mouth.
"Admiral Jackson to the Bridge," he said into his vid-com watch.
"Captain Celane here, Admiral." said her voice as Robert witnessed the look on his hot tempered, red headed female acquaintance.
"I have a certain acquaintance of mine in my ready room at this time," he began.
"She has put in a rather forceful request to be returned to her home, immediately." Jackson informed the captain.
"Admiral, may I speak candidly and freely, sir?" Sathrana said over his wrist unit as Tori stood there, unable to believe any of this, as she listened in.
"What's on your mind, Captain?" Jackson asked as he glanced over at Tori while she continued to stand there with both hands on her hips, waiting impatiently.
"I mean no disrespect to you personally sir," the captain said, from the safety of her seat on the bridge.
"If I were you, which I'm not, I would send your friend out the nearest airlock and fry her ... aft engines at maximum phase." Sathrana said very freely.
"Captain, my office, nowww!" he ordered, growling like a lion.
"On my way ... sir." she said as Jackson slowly lowered his arm.
"What's going on Robert, and just where in the hell, am I?" Tori asked as she stepped a few paces back to bump into Sathrana Celane as she came running through his ready room doorway.
Sathrana gave Tori a shove that about knocked her to the carpeted floor. Tori miraculously regained her balance and made way to swing her right fist into Sathrana's face.
"Tori, Sathrana, have a seat !" Robert Jackson belted out the order, and both Tori and Sathrana quickly did as he demanded while he bolted around his desk to activate the ship wide vid-com link.
"Listen up everyone." he said as he took a seat.
"For those of you that were unable to attend yesterday evenings social gathering in the round forest sciences section, today just might not be your day. Perhaps you flew into a rage and are spending some quiet time in our brig for assaulting someone that you were totally unfamiliar with, because you are in unfamiliar surroundings. Perhaps you are resting in our med-bay because you aren't healthy enough to spend some quiet time in our brig, because you were assaulted by someone." Jackson said as he gazed over at Tori and Sathrana.
"Perhaps you flew into a rage and are on your way to our brig, for assaulting someone that you are familiar with, because you're getting the run around in these unfamiliar surroundings," he continued.
"Welcome everyone. This is Fleet Admiral, Robert Andrew Jackson, aboard the United Galactic Consortium flagship, Orion," Jackson said as he gave his little speech.
"Maybe, and providing that the human race lives long enough, we'll become members of the United Galactic Consortium of Inhabited Worlds." he stated.
"Not all of you have been here before, nor for that matter have you ever traveled into space. By now, some of you should know where your quarters are and be somewhat acquainted with your personally assigned counselor who should be your mentor and guide for the rest of your stay on this ship," Jackson informed the entire ship's crew and passenger complement.
Tori Buckingham raised herself up from her seat and direly wanted to say something, but Sathrana reached up and pulled her back down and onto the couch. Tori gave Sathrana Celane a light shove. The look that Robert Jackson gave them made them cease from starting a new fight.
"A few of you have granted yourselves the liberty and or freedom to traverse this vessel without being fully informed as to your duties and responsibilities for which you have been brought aboard. This has gotten you into the deep trouble that you are now, unable to get yourself and or selves out of," he went on to say.
"Yes, we are all on a star ship, presently in the orbit of the planet Mars, and as of now we're preparing to depart the solar system and arrive in the orbit of a planet, by the name of Glammadren. Once there we will rendezvous with the Zaleen battle cruiser destroyer, Kalaketvia Tawn," Jackson further informed the crew while Tori Buckingham sat there, along side Sathrana Celane, disbelieving every word.
"Our current mission is to determine, beyond the shadow of any doubt, what her captain's true intentions are. And that being in regards to the safety and welfare of all the inhabited worlds in our galaxy," he informed everyone throughout the ship.
"Once again, welcome aboard the Orion, and hopefully your stay will be a short one. Fleet Admiral, Robert Andrew Jackson, out," he said as he cut the link.
"Shall we commence to the bridge and get under way, Captain." Jackson ordered as he made his way toward the door, motioning for the both of them to take the lead while he followed.
"I'm having one unholy terror of a nightmare." Tori Buckingham said as she exited the admiral's ready room. "What in the hell did they put in my drinks last night?"