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The Meeting

Stardate 5928.5. USS Enterprise. Monthly Catchup Meeting with DS9.

Video conferencing. The final frontier.

Int. Enterprise Conference Room — Day

Picard and Riker sit facing the monitor. Riker has coffee. Picard has tea. It is Earl Grey (hot).

PICARD: Is it working?

RIKER: I think so. Are they dialing in?

PICARD: No. We’re dialing them.

RIKER: Oh right. Hang on.

Riker fumbles with the controls in the centre of the table. A loud voice comes out of the speakers and the command crew of DS9 appear on screen. Picard winces. Riker quickly turns down the volume.

SISKO (on-screen): ..ou hear me? Hello? Anyone there? Enterprise?

PICARD: Yes! We can hear you! Okay so in the room we have…

SISKO: Hello? Enterprise?

Picard looks at Riker. Riker fumbles with the controls again.

RIKER: Hello Sisko! Sisko?

SISKO: O’Brien I can see their lips moving

PICARD: Sisko can you hear us?! [Turning to Riker] He can’t hear us.

RIKER: I’ll ring IT.

Riker taps his comm badge and mumbles into it.

SISKO: We can’t hear them. O’Brien is it our end?

RIKER: IT are sending Data over.

A phone in the middle of the conference table begins to ring. Riker points at the screen. On it, O’Brien is holding a phone handset.

RIKER (to Picard): That’s them.

Picard gives Riker a look. Riker answers the phone.

RIKER (on phone): Hey O’Brien. No. We can see and hear you.

PICARD: What are they saying?

RIKER (to O’Brien): I don’t know.

There is a light knock on the door, then Data enters the room.

RIKER: Hang on Data is here now he’ll know. Data, O’Brien says: ‘Are we on the latest comms patch?’

DATA: Yes sir. We rolled that out last week during the at-risk period. There was a note on the intranet about it and…

RIKER (interrupting): Whatever. You speak to him.

He hands Data the phone.

DATA: O’Brien? Okay. Yes try that.

On the screen, O’Brien fiddles with the controls. The picture disappears.

PICARD: They’ve gone?

RIKER: Data it’s disconnected

DATA: They’re going to dial in.

The console in front of Picard starts flashing and buzzing. This catches Picard off guard. He looks like a startled, but sophisticated, gazelle.

PICARD: How do I pick this up?

RIKER (pointing): Push that one

PICARD (confused): This one?

DATA (gently): No that one

Picard pushes the indicated button. The sound is restored but the screen remains blank.

SISKO: ..ello?

PICARD: Screen’s black?

RIKER: Data we can’t see them.

SISKO: Oh great! We can hear you!

PICARD: We can… we can hear you Sisko but we can’t see you…

RIKER: Data…

DATA (flustered): Yes I’m looking now

SISKO: What about now I’m waving

Picard gives Riker another look.

RIKER: Nope

KIRA: So am I

PICARD (perking up): Oh hey Kira

RIKER: Data we still cant’ see…

DATA (more flustered): I know. Two minutes. I need something.

Data leaves the room doing that special walky-run thing IT people do when they really need a particular cable and know exactly which cupboard they last saw one in.

There is an awkward silence.

SISKO: Can you see us now?

PICARD: No

DAX: We can see you

RIKER (perking up): Oh hey Dax

PICARD: Mr Data has gone to get something.

SISKO: Shall we just start?

RIKER: Well we should probably…

PICARD (interrupting): Let’s start I’ve another meeting in half hour.

SISKO: Okay, so… let’s go through the minutes from last meeting.

Data enters. He has a cable.

RIKER: Wait Data is back.

DAX: Hey data!

DATA (not blushing, but only because he’s an android): Oh hi Dax

KIRA: We’re waving but you can’t see us.

DATA: LOL! Okay I’m changing the cable one second.

Data starts changing the cable.

PICARD: Sisko how’s Jake?

There’s no answer

PICARD: Sisko?

KIRA: He’s just popped out.

PICARD: Hah. Okay. You good Kira?

KIRA: Yeah I’m alright we…

Data steps back from the table. The DS9 crew appear on screen.

RIKER: Yay! Picture!

DATA: All sorted.

PICARD (relieved): Thanks Mr Data

Data nods and shuffles out of the room while checking Twitter on his phone.

RIKER: Hello again everyone!

DAX: Hi!

KIRA: Hey!

Dax, Kira and O’Brien are visible on screen. Sisko is missing.

PICARD: Sisko still out?

O’BRIEN: I’ll go grab him.

RIKER: I’m gonna run to the loo while they do that.

Riker leaves the room before Picard can stop him.

PICARD (shouting): Okay be quick though we need to get started with this.

On screen, Sisko and O’Brien return.

SISKO: I’m back. Hey Picard! Where’s RIker?

PICARD: Men’s room. Back in a sec. How’s Jake?

SISKO: Cake?

PICARD (louder): Jake

SISKO: Oh sorry. The volume is a bit quiet

PICARD (fidding with the controls): Oh okay. I can’t… We’ll speak up

Riker enters the room, zipping up his fly. Picard gives him a third look.

RIKER: Back!

PICARD (sighing): Okay let’s get this meeting started then. We got there in the end!

Everybody laughs.

End scene

This article is based on a particularly painful conference call I suffered through and wrote about on Twitter. You can find the original thread (and follow me) here.

If you like this, you can find lots of other stuff by me on my Medium profile.