Show content
In the auditorium, a chronometer mounted on the bulkhead behind and slightly off to the side of the speaking podium rolled through numerical factors as speech after speech continued until the keynote speaker took the podium. It was not that any of the others had been of less importance albeit some were more entertaining, engaging, and covered their topics with a more enthralling pizzaz, but the last speaker of the morning was someone that the majority of the room knew; very few probably knew her personally, but they all had at least read about her or were well aware of the weight of her legacy.

Lieutenant Commander Charleston Imani's face was aglow. The rouge of cheeks flourished with warmth though his darker complexion concealed the rosey blushing of allure he felt when Commander Uhura herself took the stage, standing behind the podium with her thick dark hair; snowflake obsidian, black as the furthest depths of space with furrowing streaks and speckles of pepper flakes of graying from age and experience. She was striking, but her voice was crisply feminine as she addressed the room full of individuals, a sea of Starfleet uniforms.

However, it was only just then that Charleston looked around in the vicinity near him. So many seats were filled but taken not by young officers like himself, but experienced veterans. To his immediate right, a balding Caucasian human male with a robust figure and seasoned gut. Two seats to her right were filled previously but had been vacated at some point during a previous speaker's speech. Still, the next seat in the row had another man with a light bronzed skin and a clean crew cut hairstyle. From a distance, he looked younger, but the Captain's rank insignia on the shoulder of his overcoat made it clear that he had been to places, seen things, and probably participated in skirmishes that Charleston could only dream of.

What am I doing here? he thought to himself as he swiftly looked around plotting an escape plan. Something had to have been mixed up. This wasn't open to the public. It wasn't open to Starfleet personnel. This was by invitation only and somebody must have sent it to the wrong Charleston Imani he convinced himself in his moment of panic; however, there was nowhere to really go when you are in the middle of a row. If he had stood up during Commander Uhura's speech, it would have drawn unwanted attention to himself let alone potentially grabbing the attention of the speaker herself, and Charleston did not want her to see him leaving midway through her lecture on subspace communications. He had only one option; stay still, to which he did. He remained seated for the duration of Commander Uhura's lecture and he had managed to take a few notes on the data tablet he had been provided before entering the auditorium.

The speech ended with a motivational line by the enchanting woman who smiled and gave well wishes the audience in attendance, stepping away from the podium while everyone in the audience clapped, cheered, and gave her a standing ovation. A few moments more of light chatter and handshakes across the rows lead to seats being vacated and individuals proceeding towards the nearest exit. Lieutenant Commander Charleston Imani headed out of the row and began descending down a small series of steps towards the stage and podium where Commander Uhura had just been a few minutes prior. There, a marked exit was closest to the route he would need to take.

He was, however, stopped before he could reach the exit. "Commander Imani" a strong feminine voice came calling from behind him. It was raspier, more hoarse than that of Commander Uhura. When he turned around to address whoever had been calling for him, he found himself a few feet away face to face with a woman dressed in Starfleet's flag officer's uniform. It was the woman who began the morning introducing the first speaker. She approached Charleston with her arm extended forward. She was offering a handshake. While making direct eye contact with him, she introduced herself "Commodore Figueroa, not sneaking out of here too soon I hope"

Charleston shook the woman's hand and respectfully addressed her by rank. "Yes, Commodore, I mean no, Commodore. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I was just on my way to my guest quarters. I think there was some sort of mix up today and I probably shouldn't have actually been invited to this event" he said trying to explain his presence.

Commodore Figueroa cut the air with a gesture of her hand. "Nonesense. There was no mix up at all, Commander. I was one of the Starfleet flag officers in charge of sending out the invitatons. You received one because I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to meet with you face to face" she said with a small smile. "I do hope you enjoyed the speakers today. Commander Uhura does always tend to really turn out a crowd."