Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Nan Bacco sat in the presidential office, wishing there was something she could do—something to end this mindless charade of a hearing.
She sighed, rising from her chair, stepping to the window. She looked out at the Parisian skyline, taking in all the sights. There was the Eiffel Tower—the famous relic of the Industrial Revolution. There was the Notre Dame cathedral, the mighty, awe-inspiring work of Gothic beauty.
The first structure, a monument to human progress and innovation—the second, a monument to the majesty and power of faith, and “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”, as Jefferson wrote.
Bacco wasn’t exactly a faithful “born-again” zealot…but she nonetheless understood the power and appeal of the seeking of a higher power—the appeal to heaven, to affect one’s fate for the better. She recalled having some good conversations with a delegation from Bajor.
And so, she closed her eyes, her thoughts and feelings sincere. Please…don’t let this woman be burned at the stake like this. If there’s any justice in the universe—don’t let it be denied to her.
The intercom came on. “Madame President?”
Bacco sighed, and turned. “Yes, what is it?”
“You have incoming transmissions from Chancellor Martok and Empress Donatra—holocom, priority channel.”
Bacco stiffened. She had a pretty good idea what these two had to say. She walked over to the “front” of her desk, to be seen completely by her two allies in this cold war against the Pact. “Patch it through.”
“Yes, Madame President. Commencing…now.
Two life-size three-dimensional images appeared before her. To the right was Martok, chancellor of the Klingon Empire. Tall, strong, with a bearing defining the words “powerful” and “imposing”, he bore the scars of many battles, many wars—not the least of which was his internment in a Dominion stronghold, which had resulted in a missing eye, a solemn reminder of a battle won…yet a battle lost.
Bacco remembered how Martok had broken protocol completely and endorsed her—well, not really “endorsed”, just made it painfully clear whom he supported—for president. It was only natural, considering how her opponent, Arafel Pagro, had been a quasi-isolationist who’d engaged in defamation of the Empire which often bordered on slander. Bacco remembered with an inner smile how she’d laid down the law on Pagro in their only debate, pointing out that under Martok, the Empire had begun to engage in an extensive series of reforms, not the least of which involved the treatment of races under its domain.
To the left stood Donatra, Empress of the Imperial Romulan State—the woman responsible for leading a rebellion against the frankly corrupt and unstable Romulan Star Empire. It was, to be honest, inevitable that the farming worlds under Romulan control would be pledged to the former commander—from what Bacco had heard, they saw her as their defender, and friend.
As a rule, Bacco wasn’t too keen on the idea of an absolute monarch—which was what Donatra seemed to style herself to be. Nonetheless, one look at this spirited, lively young woman was all Bacco needed to be reassured. Donatra was a noble woman—a patriot, who deeply cared for her people.
She was no tyrant. In fact…Bacco remembered an ancient political work from Earth, from her studies on the art of politics as a girl. And to be honest, Donatra’s Imperial Romulan State seemed very much an embodiment of Hobbes’s “Leviathan”.
Still…for every good ruler, there’ll be ten or twenty cruel ones. I just hope she’ll see that, before something happens to her…and she’ll be replaced by someone less…
And of course, Bacco knew of Ambassador Spock’s secret negotiations with the Empress, to secure safe haven for the members of his Unification Movement. Officially, Donatra claimed to denounce the Movement. Unofficially…well, at the very least, she welcomed what was clearly a further threat to the power of Praetor Tal’Aura.
Still…Spock had recently informed Bacco that he was putting the original plan on hold. He didn’t say why…something about a great deal of curious changes occurring inside the halls of Romulus. Donatra was rather tight-lipped about it, as well. Bacco, as a rule, hated not knowing what was going on around her…but it seemed as if she’d just have to wait and see what it all meant.
And so, she smiled, driving the thoughts from her mind. “Chancellor…Empress…what can I do for you?”
Martok spoke up, in a reserved, yet challenging tone. “You can explain yourselves, Madam President.”
Bacco blinked. “I assume you’re referring to the hearings concerning—”
“What else? I never thought the Federation would be so…
disgraceful—until four days ago, when I was informed of this great lump of
“Chancellor, before you go on,” Bacco interrupted, biting her lip, “It may interest you—both of you—to know that I feel the same way about this.”
Donatra frowned at this. “If I may be so bold, Madam President…your Council seems to feel otherwise.”
“I’m aware of that—which is why my hands are tied. I can’t dismiss this if the Council feels led to continue—and it does.”
Donatra looked a little amused at this, as if reflecting on the Romulan Senate she’d once been subservient to. “Perhaps. But to be honest, Madam President…I find it astonishing that they would cater so easily to Tal’Aura.”
Bacco sighed. “As do I. But Empress, you must understand…unlike you, we
don’t have the luxury of having already been declared an enemy of the Praetor’s.”
said Martok, “—Not formally, at least. That hardly prevents
me from giving my opinion on that treacherous
,” Bacco spoke up, “You must also
understand that the Federation is still recovering from the Borg. We were hit by it far harder than you were—and with respect, while you may have a strong enough defense to back up such a posture, we
I hope I didn’t just sound desperate
Donatra shook her head. “Surely you’re not
defending this smear-mongering.”
“I’m not ‘defending’ anything. I firmly believe that Ezri Dax is innocent, and—”
“You don’t seem to be
acting on that belief,”
Bacco mentally counted to ten. “Chancellor…If I could, I would
. Few understand more than me how much Dax means to the Federation. We all owe her our lives. But—if the Council decides that the Praetor’s claims are valid…I have no choice but to stand there, numb my conscience, look that girl right in the eye—and pronounce her guilty
After a minute of silence at this, Martok spoke in a measured tone. “That ‘girl’…is a member of the House of Martok, Madame President. Understand, she is,”
he let out a small sigh, “almost like a daughter.”
Donatra frowned in bewilderment. “This is the first that
I’ve heard of such a thing.”
Martok gave a smirk. “Her predecessor was married to…an adopted brother—former-Ambassador Worf.”
Donatra nodded. “I’ve met him. A most impressive man.”
Martok let out a deep, throaty laugh. “Indeed! It was his idea that I accept Ezri Dax, on the grounds that she was a worthy successor to Jadzia.
I would say that was an understatement. To call her an ‘honorable woman’ would not give her sufficient credit.”
Bacco nodded. “I understand, Chancellor.”
Martok’s gaze turned firm, his tone serious. “Make sure that you do. And I would advise you to inform the Council of this: If Ezri Dax is convicted—I will
personally take it as…a great insult to the honor of my House.”
Bacco felt a smile. “Thank you, Chancellor. I’ll be sure to pass that on.”
“Very good, Madame President. Now, if the two of you will excuse me, I have other matters to take care of.”
Bacco nodded. “Of course, Chancellor.”
Donatra smiled, and raised her fist to her heart in the Klingon salute. “
Q’apla, Chancellor Martok.”
Bacco smirked, and did the same.
Martok nodded to both, returning the salute. “I thank you both. Empress…may your enemies eternally tremble before your feet, and may their hearts be ever ripe for your teeth.”
Donatra’s eyes widened slightly, but she nodded in gratitude.
“Madame President…may you succeed in your battles with the treacherous within your borders.”
Bacco nodded. “Chancellor.”
The Klingon’s image disappeared. Bacco turned to Donatra, “Empress…I take it you feel the same way?”
“About this hearing? I do, Madame President. I have had the pleasure of acquainting myself with the Captain. It would be a shame to be deprived of that…”
Bacco smiled. “…friendship?”
Donatra smiled. “I wouldn’t take it to
that extent. But I would venture to say she is a most remarkable person.”
Bacco nodded. “Well…I’m sure she’d be pleased to know she has friends in high places.”
“Of course. Perhaps you could pass my feelings on this to the Council, along with the Chancellor’s?”
Bacco nodded. “I will. But I’m not convinced it’ll have any effect.”
“I’m sure this could be interpreted as…battle lines being drawn.”
Donatra nodded slowly. “It could be.”
“I’d rather it not come to that. As I told Martok…we don’t have the resources for a war.”
“If it comes to that…you will have our support, Madam President. I expect the Chancellor to concur.”
Bacco chuckled. “Well, that may be so…but you two are at the wrong end of the Federation, if the Breen and the Tholians decide to assist their allies. And the Cardassians are in little better shape than we are. And…the Ferengi…”
Donatra snorted. “I understand. But…it’s such a shame that politics must decide the good captain’s fate. In
my State, Dax would be acquitted
before any ‘hearing’—on my command.”
Bacco spread out her hands. “It’s the price of checks and balances, Empress.”
…. Jolan tru, Madame President.”
Donatra’s image vanished.
Bacco sighed, rubbing her forehead. Curse those Borg, anyway—and the Tholians, while we’re at it, for joining this Bird-forsaken “Pact”, and causing it to surround us on all sides. What was their excuse? Oh yes—we didn’t ask them for help against the Borg. Sure—let’s not bring up that they weren’t
available for help against the Borg.
And the Gorn—of all people. After all those years of my
life, building a trust with them—it all turns out to be for
nothing! They’re a Pact of back-stabbing
hypocrites, the lot of them.
And those back-stabbing hypocrites had the Council on a leash—or Gleer’s wing of the Council, at the very least. And I’m almost afraid to discover exactly
how powerful he is—which I doubtless will, when this hearing ends
* * *