by Scott Pearson
Admiral John Harriman, along with everyone else in the restaurant, knew something was wrong when a number of combadges chirped at the same time. A sudden silence followed, except for the sound of moving chairs, as everyone stopped eating and watched about a dozen admirals, captains, and commanders get up and leave the restaurant to respond. Then the clinking of silverware resumed, but the voices of the patrons were now a nervous whisper.
Harriman and his wife, Amina, were celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary with some colleagues at Scomas on Fishermans Wharf, a popular San Francisco dining spot for over four-hundred years. All but one of their guests were among those who had been paged, but Harrimans own combadge hadnt chirped yet. As Chief of Engineering Operations he was often lower on the priority call list, which was fine with him; still on active duty at one-hundred-and-twelve-years old, hed earned a break now and then. Besides, everyone knew that he was celebrating tonight.
He looked at Amina, who said nothing. At one-hundred-and-eight, she was still beautiful. Her hair was gray, a real gray, not white, and her face was thinner than it used to be, but her personal strength was still evident in the way she carried herself. She had retired from Starfleet as a captain some forty years ago, but she was still held in high regard by officers who hadnt even been born when she left. Their marriage had been easier with only one of them on active duty, but at times like these he knew she wished he had followed suit. . . .