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Old November 10 2009, 04:13 PM   #20
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Re: Sleeping at Warp

9 The Inquiry Bell: An Immutable Theorem

TIME INDEX: 11:19:43
WITNESS: Barclay, Reginald Endicott III, CMDR, Jupiter Station Holographic Design Laboratory
EXAMINER: Toloruk, Rima, UFP Justice OLC

“- threat posed by ill-conceived, poorly functioning security countermeasures and the Vulcan Sublieutenant's incompetent interference -”

“Actually?” Commander Reginald Barclay held up his finger, interrupting Toloruk's stream of accusation. “A-A-Actually, Sublieutenant Vexa’s actions exposed a design flaw in the ship – a security lockout now named after her. A 'Vexa Paradox'. As a result all Fleet starships are being retrofitted with programming countermeasures against the Vexa Paradox, thanks to her. Her error - was actually quite a brilliant work of programming that may even have future tactical applications. Sorry. Sorry. Oh please! Continue.”

TIME INDEX: 13:13:04
WITNESS: Grifahni, Jace, CMAA, PO1, Mars Joint Security
EXAMINER: Toloruk, Rima, UFP Justice OLC

“- In fact, you acted with impunity and recklessly endangered the ship! How Starfleet ever allowed such a rogue element into service is a question that bears serious investigation –”

Captain Picard interrupted: “Look here.” He presented the Chief’s Japanese wakizashi, it’s grained, knotted magnolia scabbard gleaming across the board table. “This security officer not only singlehandedly penetrated ship’s security, he revealed yet another weakness in every ship of the fleet; and neutralized Starfleet's most advanced tactical warship with – a sword, Counselor. I would hardly call that reckless impunity.”

“Be that as it may, Captain Picard, there can be no denying where this officer went outside of the chain of command. And he didn’t learn how to penetrate starships with a sword from any Starfleet training I’m aware of. Which then begs the question -”

Counselor Troi quietly interrupted Picard. Picard nodded. “Counselor Toloruk, I think the Board will agree that the time for inquiry into Chief Grifahni’s background – whatever that may be - passed when he was accepted into Starfleet. I suggest we focus our attention on the events leading up to the near destruction of the Perseus.”

“Hm? Very well, Captain…Picard, very well. There will be no need to quote Admiral Satie, I’m fully aware of Starfleet’s official position on the matter. Chief Jace, what is your opinion of Sublieutenant Vexa?”

Admiral Valxaen broke in: “Counselor Toloruk, Starfleet protocol requires you to address an officer by rank or rating and family name. I’ll see that you get a review copy of the officer’s handbook.”

Toloruk bowed his head to the Rear Admiral. “Apologies, Admiral, Chief Grifahni. It was an oversight, I assure you. Chief Grifahni, what is your opinion of Sublieutenant Vexa? Chief?”

Chief Grifahni Jace sat in stony, alert silence, his concentration unbroken by the inquiry. His was a kind of silent dignity that persisted throughout the entire proceeding. Kathryn Janeway glanced over at Sublieutenant Vexa, who was locked into position like an immutable theorem. Subjecting these young officers to these kinds of consequences so early in their careers could do more damage than good – for them, and ultimately for Starfleet. But that’s part of the job, and they would have to learn it eventually. She wondered if the problems created by holographic crews could ever hope match the problems created by living crews.

Counselor Toloruk persisted. “Chief Grifahni? I asked you a question.” The Counselor pressed directly into his line of view. “Haven’t you anything to tell this Inquiry, Chief Grifahni?”

“Yes sir. I do have one thing to say.” Chief Grifahni Jace stood at attention. “String me up or drum me out of the Fleet if you want. My heritage has been a problem with my fellow officers from day one. But Vexa? It was her first day of active duty. She saved hundreds of lives, your prototype starship, a Fleet Yard full of ships, and an entire planet. She deserves a parade. You people give her a trial.” He turned to the entire assembly. “And you call this a civilization worth preserving. Worth people like her dying for.”

Janeway found his behavior appalling – but she couldn’t deny his character.

TIME INDEX: 14:02:47
WITNESS: Emergency Medical Hologram Mk I, MD, USS Voyager 74656
SPECIAL DISPENSATION: UFP Citizenship, Legal Honorary Statute 563284.4
EXAMINER: Toloruk, Rima, UFP Justice OLC

“- and can you tell us why Commander Torres is not with us today, Doctor?”

“She is currently undergoing treatment at Starfleet Medical Headquarters in San Francisco.”

“Has her condition improved?”

“I'm pleased to say, her neurochemical degradation has been stemmed, and both mother and daughter's conditions are quite stable.”

“So in your opinion, she'll be able to attend...any future...official proceedings, then?”

“Why don't we just wait and see, Counselor.”

“Sound advice, Doctor. Am I to understand that you initially treated Commander Torres at the Mars Orbital Medical Facility?”

“That's right. Under the supervision of Commander Barul's medical staff.”

“And were you able to make a medical determination as to her condition then?”

“Unfortunately, I wasn't.”

“Yes, I see. So in fact it was the staff at Starfleet Medical which then took over her treatment?”


“And were they able to identify her condition, Doctor?”

The Doctor hesitated. “With the proper equipment - yes.”

“Equipment and superior medical capability in general, wouldn't you say, Doctor? Do you know what their assessment was, Doctor? Could you tell the Board?”

“As I'm sure the Board is already aware, Commander Torres is suffering from a form of neurogenetic mutation.”

“Specifically, Doctor? What is the full medical determination.”

“Neurogenesis attenuated by residual traces of tetryon particles in a proximal quantum excitation with radiation.”

“Could you put that into layman's terms, Doctor?”

“A sudden production of new neural cells resulted in an enzymatic mutation, causing her nervous system to malfunction. She is undergoing corrective treatment now.”

“Hrm, yes.” Counselor Toloruk read his padd. “Neurogenesis attenuated by residual traces of tetryon particles in a proximal quantum excitation with radiation. What kind of radiation, Doctor?”

The Doctor sank. “Trellium radiation.”

“In fact, could it be caused by any other form of radiation, or any other possible source, Doctor?”

“Not in this quadrant. No.” He looked at Tom heavy-heartedly. “ But that doesn't - ”

“Thank you, Doctor.”

“I'm not finished. You did ask for the full medical determination.”

“We don't -” the Counselor paused, registering the warning expression on Admiral Janeway's face. “Oh, very well.”

“As I was saying, that doesn't explain the same condition in Miral.”

“Well isn't it likely the daughter got it the same way the mother did Doctor?”

“It would. If Miral were the only engineer in kindergarten.”

Counselor to the Court Rima Toloruk clasped his hands behind his ample back and surveyed the Board. “And now with the permission of the distinguished members of this Board, I'd like to call the one who is responsible for everything that happened leading up to the near-total destruction of the USS Perseus.”

Tom Paris stood. “That'd be me, your Honors.”

But the assembly's attention was distracted from Tom Paris when someone at the Advisory table slowly rose and stood at attention: “The Commander’s logic is incomplete.”

TIME INDEX: 14:34:11
WITNESS: Tuvok, CAPT, USS Perseus NCV-901
EXAMINER: Toloruk, Rima, UFP Justice OLC

“Captain Tuvok, in light of the Perseus incident, recent events, and the obvious threats involved, as well as the overextending political ramifications – and in light of your untried Captaincy, what would you have Starfleet do with this, this...Perseus Project?” He said the name as if he had bitten into a lemon.

“My answer is simple, Counselor. I would have it continued to the fullest possible extent.” He eyed the Zakdorn strategist. “Fear is illogical.”

The Emissary Kel’Akann poured himself a slow glass of water, and took a single sip.

“With your indulgence, Sirs – and Ma'am, I wish to call, hrmm, a witness that I believe is vital to our contextual apprehension of the Perseus incident. Would Admiral Owen Paris please take the stand.”

Vice Admiral Janeway watched herself hold up a palm to the Counselor. “I'm afraid that wouldn't be germane, Counselor. Due to the extenuating circumstances of family relationship with one of the accused, the Admiral is present in an observing capacity only.”

“Yes, I'm fully aware of your...human protocols in these matters, Admiral; I only request the testimony of a flag officer for the members of this inquiry to put these events into a context in which they will be explained fully. The only other flag officers present, I'm afraid, are the Board itself.”

Janeway was unimpressed. “Two of the three voting members of this Board are already capable of putting these events into flag-officer level context, Counselor. The assembly is here at our forbearance. Unfortunately we wouldn't want to place any member of the inquiry in a position where they may feel they have contributed in some way to the potential general court martial of a family member. I'm sure you would understand.”

Toloruk shrugged in apology. Admiral Owen Paris stood. “Admiral. With the permission of the Board - I'll do it.” On his way to the stand he passed his son formally, neither regarding the other.

TIME INDEX: 15:49:56
WITNESS: Paris, Owen, ADM, Deep Space Systems, Starfleet Command
EXAMINER: Toloruk, Rima, UFP Justice OLC

“Admiral Paris, could you tell the Board what is the nature of the Federation presence in the Bajoran sector and the Demilitarized Zone since the end of the Dominion War?”

“I think it should be common knowledge that private Federation traffic and colonization has increased significantly.”

“Yes, obviously. But Federation Starfleet presence, in the forms of starships and patrols?”

“On balance? A marked decrease in fleet activity, as you might imagine, compared with the war; and the regularization of various duty ships: diplomatic ferrying, planetary surveys, search and rescue, Starfleet transports; and only occasional joint operations or patrols. The Bajorans and the administrations of the DMZ prefer to handle most of the traffic in their own backyard these days. Again – common knowledge.”

“Hmm, yes. Flexing their wings, as it were, in the reconstruction after the Dominion War. And how would you characterize the resultant influence of - the Maquis since that time? Would you describe it as a pressing threat?”

“While I have no intention of sharing secure information with this inquiry, I think it's safe to say no one in this room believes the Maquis are a pressing threat to Federation security at this time. No.”

“I see. Notwithstanding of course the act of terrorism that brought us all here, however? Admiral?”

“I'll withhold my judgment until after the inquiry, if it's all the same to you, Counselor.”

“Yes, of course, Admiral. Prudence is – usually - the best course? Ho hm, perhaps. Then would you say the Maquis have a growing stake in either the DMZ or Bajoran politics?”

“I'm no diplomat, but...I wouldn't think so.”

“Admiral Paris, how much do you know about the Bajoran Council of Ministers' recent attempts to reintegrate the Maquis under the auspices of their diplomacy, and in line with Federation jurisdiction?”

“I believe you are referring to the Reaffirmation of Allegiance Charter, are you not?”

“Soon to be promulgated by a probable majority vote in the newly-elected body of the Bajoran Council.”

“I would say, as an outsider, that those issues run deep on both sides. They're attempting to redefine their societies and peacefully integrate their respective citizenries – while at the same time adjusting to an increased Federation influx. Bound to experience some growing pains.”

“In point of fact, Admiral, the Reaffirmation of Allegiance Charter is already causing civic protests on several worlds in the Bajoran Sector; mostly as a platform for various group agendas, but certainly with promise of, as you call it, growing pains, or at worst, increased tensions and even potential unrest. Perhaps that explains the presence of the notable delegations from Bajor at this inquiry. As a result of various irregularities and 'incidents', shall we call them, the Bajoran Citizens Action Group is pressuring the Ministers of Ashalla to enact the Charter and compel the Maquis to reaffirm their civic regulation or risk possible sanctions. Understandably, the Maquis on other worlds are responding in kind to the Bajoran residency there.”

“Is there a question in there somewhere?”

“Undoubtedly, Admiral. Could you tell the Board and the members of this Assembly whether the Federation has an official position on this charter?”

“As of yet – there is no official UFP position. Nor is either side requesting Federation involvement.”

“And after the Charter is passed? How do you think the residents and colonists of Bajor Sector will respond to the Federation's uninvolvement?”

“Probably as vocally as they would if the Federation did get involved. Listen Sir, why don't you ask a Bajoran these questions? Or better yet, a Maquis?”

“It's more of a question of military context, Admiral, than sector politics. Just one more question, Admiral. In your understanding of military history, do those in power willingly surrender it in times of peace?”

Admiral Paris glanced in Captain Kira's direction. “Traditionally, no.”

“Hm. Hrrm. Thank you, Admiral.”

Last edited by Triskelion; November 10 2009 at 05:01 PM.
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