“We have a situation, Admiral,” said Captain Morrison over the transceiver. “The U.S.S. Cerritos has made a first contact.”
“Where?” Admiral Hancock asked. He was in charge of Starfleet's Fleet Support Command. He was balding, stout, and in his mid-sixties.
“Balderius, Sir,” said Captain Morrison. He was Admiral Hancock's assistant. “In the Beta Quadrant.”
"How long ago was this?" Admiral Hancock asked.
"Three days ago, Sir."
Admiral Hancock sighed and held his head in his hands. “No, no, no, NO!" He moaned. He then asked, “Where's Enterprise?”
“She's in the Gamma Quadrant, Sir. At Deep Space Five,” Captain Morrison replied.
“Get Enterprise to Balderius, on the double!” Admiral Hancock roared. “Tell them we have a first contact situation!”
“Sir … Wouldn't Enterprise be Balderius's SECOND CONTACT?” Captain Morrison asked.
“Cerritos is a SECOND CONTACT vessel,” Admiral Hancock explained. “We can't have second contact vessels making FIRST contacts!
“What are the Balderians supposed to think? That the Federation is comprised of repair technicians and garbage haulers?
“They're NOT our best people!
“Has REXPLORCOM been notified of this?” Admiral Hancock asked.
“Not yet, Sir,” Captain Morrison replied.
“What about BETACOM?”
“Not yet, Sir,” Captain Morrison replied. “I'm still compiling a report from Cerritos's notes.”
“I want that report sent to the heads of REXPLORCOM and BETACOM, Admiral-In-Charge's eyes only,” said Admiral Hancock. “Also, I want it sent to Captain Picard, classified for his eyes only.”
“I want the date of Enterprise's first contact back-dated to the date of Cerrito's first contact with Balderius.”
“Won't that strike Cerritos's first contact from the record?” Captain Morrison asked.
“What's the alternative? Having it on record that Enterprise went in to clean up Cerritos's clusterfuck?”
“WHAT clusterfuck?” Captain Morrison asked. “Judging from Captain Freeman's report, everything went well. There doesn't appear to have been any negative interactions.”
“Cerritos is a SECOND CONTACT vessel,” Admiral Hancock explained, repeating himself. “They're not TRAINED for first contacts. They're not supposed to DO first contacts.”
“Permission to speak freely,” said Captain Morrison.
“Perhaps we SHOULD be training them,” said Captain Morrison. “Ships like Enterprise and Titan can't be everywhere at once."
“It's … unnatural,” Admiral Hancock replied. “We can't have ships like Cerritos doing the work of ships like Enterprise and Titan.
“Ships like Cerritos are tasked with CLEANING UP after ships like Titan and Enterprise. We can't have second contact ships making first contacts!”
“Yes, Admiral,” said Captain Morrison.