All right, folks--now, the final statements begin.
BTW--let me state for everyone that Gleer's basic points may not
be in the wrong, in and of themselves
Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Nanietta Bacco, President of the United Federation of Planets, knocked three times with her gavel. “The Council is now in session,” she called.
All were silent. All were seated as before. Up there was the press box, with the new kid, Jake Sisko. Over there was the visitor’s box, with the crew and certain friends of Captain Ezri Dax. The captain herself sat at her stand, beside the podium…where Bacco herself stood.
“Day of reckoning” indeed
, she mused. It certainly feels like it.
“As of this moment,” Bacco continued, “The session will be devoted to statements to be made by any member of the Council who so chooses—or the captain, if she so chooses.”
She herself wasn’t really supposed to make a statement. It wouldn’t “look good”, or something. Besides…she’d probably come to regret what she would
say. Politically, at least.
Another silence. Many in the Council looked around…waiting.
Gleer in particular seemed qute tense. Despite herself, Bacco didn’t blame him—the captain’s smack-down of his antics probably didn’t help his image, any. Ezri had accused him of twisting facts and ignoring the truth, just to get at the president. And knowing Gleer…there was no way
he was going to let that go unanswered.
However…Bacco knew all too well the value of having the last word. And she knew that Gleer would not speak unless he was sure no one else in the Council would.
No one spoke. And no one seemed to be preparing to speak—all attention was focused on the Tellarite. Bacco saw Gleet lock eyes with the captain…as though daring Ezri to speak first.
Ezri met his gaze evenly, with what Bacco wagered was the patience of eight past lifetimes.
Finally, Bacco spoke up. “Are there no statements?”
At last, Gleet rose.
Bacco nodded. “The chair recognizes Councilman Gleer, of Tellar.”
The Tellarite returned the nod. “Madam President,” he began, as he stepped down to the floor, “Members of the Council…and all within the Federation’s borders…we are all gathered here, this evening, to discuss and deliberate over questions of the rule of law—and matters of justice, all the while looking for a solution to preserve the piece, such as it may be….”
Bacco kept her sigh internal. Bera chim Gleer had a reputation among the Council for being a master of the filibuster—using as many words as possible, not moving on to the next point until every element of his current one had been made. Bacco wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d tried to “run down the clock”, driving Ezri Dax out of much time to make her
Fortunately, he apparently wasn’t in that much
of a “filibuster” mood, tonight.
“…And let me state for the record,” Gleer’s gaze intensified, “That nothing
I have said or done during these hearings—no matter how controversial or unsound my methods may be—have held any other motivation, other than this, and this alone: the best interests of the United Federation of Planets, and the ideals for which it stands.”
That’s not saying much, Gleer
, Bacco mused. As far as you’re concerned, embarrassing me could darn well
be in what you call “best interests”.
“Let me state—let me make myself clear and certain,” Gleer said, raising his forefinger (such as it was) up in emphasis, “It is my firm and sincere desire that no one
view my words, and my actions, as an attempt in any way to discount or deny…the great service that Captain Ezri Dax has, in many previous events provided for the Federation. No one can
discount or deny the role that she has played, saving all our lives. No one can deny her devotion to the protection of the Federation—that, alas, is not, nor has it ever
been, the issue at hand.”
He tread the floor of the Council, meeting gazes of many a colleague. “The issue at hand, fellow members of the Council, is merely this
: the rule of law, and the values and principles upon which we base our common society. When Starfleet was chartered, re-organized into the service of the newly-formed United Federation of Planets…its first rule of conduct—its Prime Directive, as it was so named—was clear…”
He went on, going into the need for, history of, and applications of the Prime Directive, following it with: “Over the years, various captains have felt and expressed the need to violate that directive—on no more grounds than this: ‘It’s the right thing to do.’
“In the 23rd century, one captain in particular—one James Tiberius Kirk—became the archetype of this trend. While constantly expressing his desire to uphold the Directive, in spirit
, he also expressed the need to violate it in cases of extreme need—such as when a culture was facing destruction. Often, Starfleet Command, after analyzing the situations at hand, came to agree with him that that
time, an exception was warranted, so as to prevent a greater evil.
“But, of course…when you give in a little, you are tempted to give in a little more…and a little more…and a little more, until one day—if you allow yourself to continue, that long—you find that the rule you had been assured would survive in spirit
…means nothing, now. And, of course…we all know of the record of James T. Kirk, disobeying not just the Prime Directive…but the chain of command, not being above circumventing the wishes—no, the demands
—of his superiors, so as to achieve some ‘greater good’. As many of you know, one of the most blatant examples of this was when he had stolen his ship from spacedock—sabotaged a fellow Starfleet vessel—disobeyed orders—violated an established quarantine…all to possibly
save one man.”
Bacco saw Ezri stiffen at this, her eyes blazing. Of course…what Spock told me—his friendship with her. This
has to be hard for her to hear.
“Now,” Gleer quickly added, “Let me again be clear: I am all too aware of the service Ambassador Spock has provided for the Federation, in these many decades since his revival. However…my point involves the aftermath of such. Let it be remembered, my colleagues…that Admiral Kirk himself offered to stand trial—before the Council, as Captain Dax stands, here. Not only that…but he had also offered to plead ‘guilty’. He—the noted maverick, the rebel, the man to whom rules and protocol came second to ‘what was right’—he offered to fully
bear the consequences of his actions. He understood—or at least, he had come
to understand, by that time—that no one
…is above the law.
“And—what happened? Then-President Hiram Roth dismissed
all the charges but one—and for the remaining charge, what was Kirk’s punishment? He was ‘demoted’ to captain…and given command of the next Enterprise
! A punishment
? Hardly…never mind that, again, Kirk had proved willing to accept the consequences of his actions.
“But—after all, Kirk was a hero
! And heroes, it would seem…are above the law.”
He went on, bringing up other examples—of Starfleet heroes who, by his argument, violated the law. He went on, to include the present day—including, interestingly enough, a violation committed by Captain Jean-Luc Picard simply to save the son of a member of his crew—“Again, this is not
to deny his great service to the Federation”—and even violations committed by the then-captain of the Voyager
, the late, lamented Admiral Kathryn Janeway—“And this is said, with all respect for a fallen hero—but remember, again…was she
above the law?”
“All of this, fellow councilors, prove one important and undeniable fact: toleration for bending of the rules, if left unaddressed, gradually increases over many years…until toleration for bending the rules, becomes toleration for breaking
the rules. And allowance for exceptions—and more exceptions…becomes a new established mindset. The exception…becomes the rule.
“Some may say, now, that I am making this situation into a test case—a challenge for us to prove that no one is above the law. To that, I say—yes…it is
a test case. However…I think you will all come to agree it is not I
who made it that.
“But even besides this question—the rule of law—we must decide another one. Namely this: our values…our principles…the standards of conduct that make us who we are—are they simply words to us? Or should we live
by them, and hold all
within our borders—even our heroes—to them? After all, shouldn’t our heroes come to embody those values and principles we claim to hold dear? So if they refuse to abide by them…should we continue to hold them as heroes?”
He went on to discuss the value of life—innocent life being precious, above all else. He argued that whenever innocent life enters the equation, restraint must always
be exerted. “And how dare
anyone contend otherwise? I don’t think anyone will, here, tonight.”
He spoke of the need to maintain the peace—“and I don’t have to remind you all of how vital the fulfillment of that need has become.” He noted that, in these turbulent times…one
spark could light the proverbial powder keg.
Finally—after all these points had been laid out, in such excruciating detail…Gleer straightened up, and said, “I solemnly ask of all of you—each and every one of you, members of the Council—to consider all I have said, and take nothing for granted. You all know the facts—consider them well, and let your own minds form a conclusion. But as far as I am concerned, there can be only one conclusion: the past is the past—we must deal in the present. Regardless of past heroism, or service…no one
is above the law. And regardless of what anyone may say…our values and principles—they
, my friends…are what make us what we are. We are not our enemies—we have the values we do, to set ourselves apart. If we are to dare make exceptions to them, in the name of what is ‘necessary’—set aside what is right
, for the sake of ‘convenience’…then, we must conclude, those values mean nothing
“And so, my colleagues…we must always be vigilant—vigilant to preserve our principles, and hold them to be true. If we abandon them, or justify those who abandon them…we abandon all within us that is
…the United Federation of Planets.”
He inclined his head, and declared, “Thank you…that is all.”
And he walked back up to his seat, sitting down, looking, from what President Bacco could see, very pleased with himself.
* * *