A brief note: Simon reflects on the events of my "Cleanest Food To Find"--along with "The Drumhead" (TNG), the episode that introduced him to the Trek universe.
And now...let the trial begin:
Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
The hearing was now in session. The viewscreens of citizens throughout Federation space were set for FNS, which would cover the trial from start to finish.
The witnesses were assembled off to the side of the main entranceway, sitting and awaiting to be called. They had all been selected in the session the day before. Any more to be added would be selected before the second day of the hearing would begin, and so on.
“State your name, rank, and position for the record,” the bailiff said to the first witness.
Dr. Simon Tarses sat in the witness stand, temporarily set up for the duration of the trial beside the speaker’s podium where the President stood. “Simon Tarses, M.D., Commander, Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Aventine
“Place your left hand on the panel, please.”
He did so. The computer’s husky female voice confirmed the information, giving his serial number and years of service. It was now programed, Simon knew, to monitor his responses, and detect any falsehoods that might from his mouth.
Not that I’d lie, anyway—I’ve long since learned, the hard way, the consequences of that.
“Raise your right hand.”
He did so.
“Dr. Tarses,” said the bailiff, “As you sit before this hearing, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, what higher power you might answer to?”
“Thank you, Doctor….”
T’Latrek, representative from Vulcan, and the most senior member of the Federation Council, was first. “Dr. Tarses…as a chief medical officer, it is your duty to analyze and determine command fitness for your captain. Is that correct?”
“It is, ma’am.”
“And if you should determine that said captain is not
fit for command at that time, what is your duty?”
“To relive the captain of command, until such time as I find him or her to have achieved the required command fitness.”
The Vulcan woman nodded in acceptance. “Very good, Doctor. May I ask why you did not do so in regards to Captain Dax, during the incident in question?”
“I did not judge the captain to be medically unfit for command, at that time.”
“You say ‘at that time’. Do you judge her to have been unfit for command, in hindsight?”
“No, ma’am. My meaning was simply that she was not unfit for command at the time in question.”
“Therefore, in your professional medical opinion, Captain Dax was in a state of complete competence during the events in question?”
“You did not, and do not, have any reason to doubt her competence during said events?”
“Then, she was not behaving erratically or irrationally?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“Thank you, Doctor. That is all from this councilwoman.”
For the most part, the questions from the following Council members were simple and straightforward—questions on his record as a doctor, his judgment calls thereof…and how well he knew Captain Dax, and whether that would affect his judgment.
To that last question—made by the representative from Betazed—he made it clear that his friendship with the captain would, to the contrary, intensify
his desire to determine command fitness, or lack thereof—“I believe I would not truly be a friend to her…if I could allow her to be put into a situation where she was unfit to lead.”
That seemed to satisfy most of the concerns…and he had met Ezri’s gaze when he’d said this. He saw her give a small, warm smile in return…with a nod of gratitude, as if she were thinking, And I wouldn’t have you do any less, Simon.
It seemed as if it would just be routine—until, a few minutes before Simon was allowed to step down from the stand…the councilman from Tellar, Bera chim Gleer, spoke up to question him.
“Dr. Tarses,” he said, “You mentioned that you served as a junior medical officer under Dr. Beverly Crusher, on the U.S.S. Enterprise
Simon nodded. “That is correct.”
“I understand that, during your tour of duty on that ship, you were involved in a certain scandal.”
Right. Once again, it’s coming back. Just when I thought I’ve overcome that…it comes back to haunt me, once again.
Simon narrowed his eyes. “If you are referring to the incident which led to the disgrace of Admiral Norah Satie—for the witch hunt, in which she began accusing various witnesses, including me, of being involved in a conspiracy to sabotage the Enterprise
—than yes, that is true.”
Gleer had clearly picked up on the warning shot—the warning not to turn this into a witch hunt of his own—but continued, “You may not have been involved in a conspiracy, Dr. Tarses…but I am obviously referring to what was revealed about you during that incident.”
“With all due respect, Councilman…I knew
what you were referring to.”
The Tellarite leaned forward, as if bracing for the kill. “Then would you kindly enlighten the rest of the Council?”
Simon shook his head. He knew full well where this was going. Still…if he refused, this self-righteous bureaucrat would paint it as evasiveness, and make it all prove his “point”. So, he kept his calm, and answered:
“It was revealed that I had covered up that my grandfather had been Romulan—when I had claimed upon joining Starfleet that he was a Vulcan.”
“So in other words…you had lied
about your heritage.”
Simon sighed, and responded in a controlled, channeled tone of contempt. “Councilman…this is all on record. I have long since undergone disciplinary action for that—and I deeply regret what I’d done, to this day. Now, could you kindly explain how all that is relevant to this hearing?”
will be the one doing the questioning, Dr. Tarses.”
Touchy, aren’t we?
“With all due respect, sir—”
“Kindly address me as ‘Councilman’.”
Simon’s lip tightened. He knew that Tellarites as a rule were difficult—and that they lived for argument, for holding an opponent’s feet to the fire—but this was becoming ridiculous. “With all due respect, Councilman
…if your questions are irrelevant to the investigation, than that means you are badgering the witness—me. Now if you don’t have a point—”
“Isn’t it obvious
?” Gleer’s nostrils flared. “I am trying to determine why we should trust the word of a man who is known to have lied for the sake of…personal convenience.”
“Councilman,” Simon replied, keeping his composure, conjuring up his memories of Vulcan disciplines, “You have two reasons to do so. Number one…this computer would detect any perjuries I’ve made.”
“It’s not foolproof—hence, your oath.”
Simon nodded. “Reason number two: As I have said before…I was disciplined for this action—in more ways than you can imagine.”
Simon turned his gaze across the hall, to his captain. Ezri met his gaze, giving him her support, as she had done all those years ago.
Simon turned back to the councilman. “After the incident on the Enterprise
…I was…lost, alone, abandoned. Everyone around me treated me like a pariah—an outcast, precisely for the reasons you mentioned. How could they trust me? How could they accept me?”
His voice turned firm. “You can’t imagine the disgrace I went through, for that mistake I made, long ago. Now do you really think for a moment that I would want to risk going through that again?”
The Tellarite’s tone hardened as well. “Not for personal gain…no. But to protect a friend from disgrace…?”
“As I said, if the captain were showing any sign of incompetence, I would have challenged her on it—as a doctor, and as a friend. If I felt this incompetence would in any way result in a danger to anyone—I would relieve her of duty, without a second thought—as a doctor, and as a friend.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Now let me tell you something—Councilman. The aftermath of my…exposure…threatened to break me, like you wouldn’t believe. I’d almost lost whatever self-respect I had—and that experience taught me to never do anything that would bring me to that again. My integrity means a lot to me, Councilman. And I would never again betray it…for anything.”
He saw Ezri Dax smile warmly at his paraphrasing her own words…clearly remembering that time, when she had helped him recover from his loss of self-respect.
Gleer seemed to bite his lip, as if disgusted at his failure to discredit Simon as a witness. He finally said, “That’s all, Doctor.”
President Bacco cleared her throat. “If…there are no further questions for this witness…”
There were none—thank goodness. Simon was getting a little
The President nodded. “Very good. Thank you, Doctor, you may step down.”
“Thank you, Madam President.” Simon rose, and walked down the aisle, to the witness seating.
He sat down next to Ezri, who gently clasped his shoulder, whispering, “Are you alright?”
Simon let out a sigh. “I guess.”
She shook her head. “That was completely unfair of him.”
“Don’t worry, Skip, I’ve been through a lot worse than that
“It isn’t just that. He wanted
to tear you apart.” She looked off, staring at Gleer. “It was a little too
pointed—even for a Tellarite.”
Sam frowned, and looked at them. “How do you mean?”
“I’m not sure…. This just all seems wrong
—forced, I mean. It’s like…something’s going on here we don’t know about.”
Simon raised an eyebrow at this. “There’s an agenda, you mean?”
Ezri shook her head. “I don’t know…but that’s what it looks like.”
From the podium, the President spoke up, “The hearing will reconvene in three hours, wherein the second witness will be called. Thank you.”
* * *