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Old May 27 2012, 11:54 PM   #16
St. William Of Levittown
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Thank you, folks!

Don't worry--come Monday night...I'll kick things off big....
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Old May 29 2012, 02:01 AM   #17
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

You capture Bacco's voice and character in a very interesting way. Using novel-only characters is sometimes tricky, I think, because you have less nuances to work with in the source material, but you write Bacco well; aspects of how she's presented seem true to how DeCandido and Mack portray her, and you even seem to be reconciling some of the subtle distinctions in how the two authors handle her - the DeCandido Bacco is more "grandmotherly" and idealistic, while the Mack Bacco is a bit more pragmatically "political" and resigned to bitterness (though they always struck me as the same essential characterization, only with different emphasis of certain personal traits). I really like how you seem to be melding the two sides of her while also drawing attention to the distinction - at least, that's what I got from her passionate, almost angry defence of Dax "behind the scenes" while acknowledging the political realities, and her pleasant demeanour that soon reveals a rather steely commitment. You can easily see the somewhat flinty-eyed pragmatist in the "grandmother" and the personable and idealistic qualities in the politician. It's an interesting take on the character, and it's great to see that you can mine the novels and incorporate their contents in the same way you do the TV shows - having your own take on those characters while still respecting the source material.
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Old May 29 2012, 05:18 AM   #18
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Thanks, Nasat, very much!

You're right--I think using a novels-only character can be very tricky, for the reasons you mentioned. I was actually concerned, as I was writing, that my Bacco might seem "off". I'm glad to see it doesn't.


Okay, folks...let's kick off this week with something big--somewhere in an unspecified sector of space....

Note: You may remember the character of Sorak, from my Passing of Value and From Risa With Love. He makes a brief reference to the latter, deep in this chapter. L'Haan, Zeitsev, and Cole, of course, are established TrekLit characters.

This chapter explores my theories about the organization of Section 31--and how they conduct business....

Also, it adresses a major problem I have with how the novels tend to portray the Bureau....


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 5



In a region of space few vessels ever traveled, the meeting was about to be held. The station was cloaked with no residual effects or emissions. It was much smaller than the base of operations for Division Two—but that was understandable. This station was only used for one specific purpose—those occasions where the directors of the Bureau would come together in conference. And this, indeed, was one of those occasions.

It was a most efficient meeting place—barely larger in volume than a Defiant-class vessel. There were two levels—the lower engineering floor, and the conference chamber. And it was in the latter that L’Haan, Director of Division Two, Section 31, now stood, waiting for the others to come.

She was often amused at the reactions she received whenever she mentioned that she was over a century old. Of course, most races see less years than Vulcans…but that made their reactions no less fascinating. She was often described as “youthful”—dark, shoulder-length hair, and a lithe figure—and she had often noticed how her most trusted agent, Dietz, seemed most…interested in her.

She was not one given in to such trivial concerns. Efficiency and fitness were priorities to her—that was all. “Romance”, and making one’s self “presentable” for such purposes, was a distraction—it was illogical.

Finally, two other directors transported from their vessels—vessels equipped with phasing cloaks, as hers was. There was Zeitsev, of Division Four—the overseer of Bureau operations in Klingon space, and L’Hann’s associate in many joint operations in the past, particularly the scandalous Tezwa affair.

L’Haan recalled how, during that time, one Ambassador Worf had somehow found Zeitsev’s base of operations—in the sub-subbasement of the Federation Embassy on Qo’nos. It had been a deliberate leak, of course, on the director’s part—Zeitsev had orchestrated sending to a certain source something to the effect that the “true” head of Starfleet Intelligence operations on the Klingon Homeworld was located there—himself, of course. It had been simple, directing Worf to do what needed to be done…and he had done it well.

Of course, Zeitsev had then had to relocate Division Four. But that was a necessary sacrifice, as far as he was concerned. L’Haan had not been so convinced—she was not one for taking risks of that sort, revealing such information to an outsider, however deliberately or temporarily. Still…everything had worked out for the best—although some, including the late, decidedly unlamented President Min Zife, had had to pay with their lives for the mess the Bureau had been left with. That sort of corruption would not be tolerated—not when it posed such a threat to the Federation.

And now, L’Haan mused, it would seem such corruption is occurring again—but in the Council, not the Presidential Office.

The other Director was a fellow Vulcan—Sorak, of Division Seven, the successor to the late, far more lamented Luther Sloan.

The name hit L’Haan with something akin to regret. Sloan…perhaps one of the finest directors in the Bureau’s history. He, along with Sorak, had turned his division into a force to be reckoned with—a new standard of efficiency and success for the rest of the organization, the envy of Section 31. L’Haan had been in the Bureau far longer than Sloan, of course—but she had been most impressed, nonetheless.

It had been Sloan who’d defeated the changeling threat on Earth—Sloan who had formed something of a treaty with the now-dead Chairman of the Tal Shiar, making the man into a “mole” of sorts, for the remainder of his life—and of course, Sloan who had orchestrated the morphogenic virus which had, moralist claims to the contrary, brought about the end of the Dominion War.

And then he died—captured in a most simplistic and unworthy manner, defeated at the hands of Section 31’s most stubbornly elusive prize, Dr. Julian Bashir. It was almost pathetic—and most disappointing. To be lured into what L’Haan would have immediately recognized as an obvious trap—and then to die while the doctor managed to glean from his mind the knowledge of the cure…it seemed so very different from the worthy associate she remembered. And while Sorak, the director’s second in command, was a more-than-satisfactory substitute for him…it was not the same.

Sentimentalism is illogical, L’Haan. That is the past. The present is what matters.

She acknowledged them both with a nod. The three of them were the paragons—the trifold example of what the Bureau was to be. The other six divisions were…often satisfactory—but far too often, some of them were guilty of creating messes of their own. It was often left to L’Haan, Zeitsev, and Sorak to take care of the consequences of those…inadequacies.

At the very least, she mused, the other directors know when to walk away—and to cover their tracks as they do so….

The remaining directors arrived in time. One of them in particular secured L’Haan’s attention: Cole, Director of Division Six—the man responsible for recruiting Dr. Ethan Locken, transforming the most unfortunate and tragic New Beijing Massacre into an opportunity to give the Bureau the recruit of its dreams.

Of course…Locken had been revealed to be a megalomaniacal rogue, who then left Section 31 in search of a more “fulfilling” role as future ruler of a “New Federation”. It was an insult that Cole had neglected to anticipate such mental impulses.

Frankly, as the humans would say, Cole got lucky. The good Dr. Bashir had been able to defeat Locken. Of course…then Bashir had had the good sense to be recruited into that constant thorn in the Bureau’s side, the contemptibly moralistic and emotion-driven “Kirk Cabal”.

Anger, L’Haan? The Cabal is an irritation—nothing more. Do not forget your Vulcan training. Your agent, Miss Douglas, is hoping to rectify that situation…quite soon….

But for a man like Cole…L’Haan doubted there would be a permanent “rectification”, short of his being replaced—which, unfortunately, would probably not occur for a significant period of time.

They all took their seats around the circular table, on the center of which was a holographic projector. L’Haan pressed a control in front of her, dimming the lighting of the room, and spoke.

“As you all are aware, in a recent incident along the border of the Breen Confederacy, the U.S.S. Aventine encountered an allegedly civilian vessel, approaching the Federation colony on Pentalos IV. When it refused to cease in its course, Captain Ezri Dax ordered the vessel destroyed.”

She pressed another control, and over the projector appeared an image of the Breen ship. It resembled a disk, with a forward tip, curving down. A rectangular section—probably engineering—made up the rear.

“The Breen claim that it was a civilian transport, which had been pulled off course. Therefore…they claim the captain is guilty of violating the Interstellar Rules of Engagement—and of instigating an act of war.”

With another control, the vessel vanished, replaced by an image of Captain Dax. “She is now being held before the Federation Council, to answer for this.”

Sorak raised an eyebrow at this. “Frankly, I find it most curious that the entire Council is holding this hearing. Under normal circumstances, matters such as these would be settled by the Judicial Sub-Committee. It would seem…that the Council is waiving protocol, to make this as public as they can.”

Zeitsev smirked. “They wish to make this into a test case.”

“Precisely. It would be interesting to see what evidence either side possesses. If she is guilty, the Council appears willing to make an example of her, for purposes of accommodating the Typhon Pact. If, however, it becomes clear to all, beyond reasonable doubt, that she is not guilty—that the vessel in question was in fact hostile—the Pact will have to explain themselves to the Alliance. Now…any doubts in regards to a ‘not guilty’ verdict would invoke the considerable wrath of the Pact, to the effect that the Federation is simply covering for their own.”

He seemed to stiffen. “On the other hand…any doubts in regards to a ‘guilty’ verdict would have far less severe diplomatic penalties. Therefore, either the Council deems the evidence sufficient enough to clear the good captain’s name—again, beyond any reasonable doubt—or else…they fully intend to convict her, regardless of any evidence in her favor. The latter…is thus the more likely possibility.”

L’Haan nodded. “That is my conclusion as well.”

Cole cleared his throat. “If I may…this is all very interesting, but I don’t see any reason for us to discuss this. Why does it concern us?”

Sorak raised an eyebrow in the man’s direction, as if to indicate that the answer should be painfully obvious to them all.

L’Haan resolved to spare him the need to explain it. “Because Captain Dax has proven—particularly with this incident—a willingness to defy the moralists, and do what she deems necessary for the security of the Federation.”

Cole apparently was not convinced. “From what I have heard, L’Haan, this woman strikes me as one of those ‘moralists’. You forget…for a time, she served alongside Dr. Julian Bashir. The two were quite close, as I recall. She assisted him on the Sindorin mission. Doubtless she’d be alongside him again, in his universal condemnation of the likes of us.”

L’Haan nodded. “Perhaps…but nonetheless, she has assisted us in the recent retrieval of the slipstream drive—from the Confederacy.”

“She wasn’t aware of our involvement, any more than Bashir was.”

“No…she wasn’t. However—you may recall she prevented the escape of the Breen nationals involved, allowing them to be destroyed along with the facility in question. She understood the need for there to have been no witnesses—regardless of the moral implications involved.”

“Frankly, L’Haan, I don’t see your point in all this.”

“The point is,” Sorak replied, “Captain Dax is a necessary asset to the security of the Federation. She has consistently proven herself to be so…and it would not do well for us to allow such an asset to be wasted so thoroughly in the name of…‘accommodation’.”

Zeitsev, who had been watching this debate with the others in silence, finally spoke. “Assuming, of course…that she is innocent.”

All turned to him.

L’Haan frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Simply…that if she is as guilty as the Confederacy claims –then she’s proven herself to have become a most—unstable element. If such an element is allowed to continue to
disrupt the stability of the quadrants…” he shrugged.

“As Director Cole has indicated,” Sorak replied, “She is far too…moral…to engage in such reckless antics.”

“Perhaps…perhaps not. But we can’t afford to make assumptions until we have the necessary information. We need to investigate the evidence as thoroughly as we can—and in the meantime, analyze the proceedings as they happen, to see how the Council will rule.”

L’Haan nodded. “That is logical…. I agree.”

Sorak nodded, as well. The others followed suit.

When all were agreed, L’Haan continued, “We must reconvene here, as the hearing progresses.”

Sorak nodded. “My division will analyze what little wreckage there is from the Breen vessel…as well as the scans conducted by the Aventine, and any other evidence relating to the incident.”

Zeitsev continued, “My division, of course, will be unable to take part in this investigation, aside from analyzing the Klingon response.”

L’Haan nodded to both men. “Agreed. Any other directors are similarly freed from obligation to take part in this mission, in case of differing assignments. Are there any further words?”

There were none.

“Then this will be a joint mission between Divisions Two and Seven. Sorak and I will reconvene here in two days. Agreed?”

That was accepted as reasonable.

“Very well. For the Federation.”

“For the Federation,” the others responded, and all rose, to return to their vessels, and to their divisions.

All except for Sorak, who lingered, staring intently at L’Haan. The look in his eyes was clear: I should like to have a word with you.

L’Haan gave a subtle nod, and remained as well, as the other directors were transported away. When they were alone, she asked, “What is it, Director?”

Sorak was an older Vulcan than she—and it was clear of that, as his graying hair attested to. But in no sense did his age diminish his vigor, his strength. And that strength was currently manifested in his eyes, as they focused on her…staring deeply into her own. “Director L’Haan…I presume you intend to monitor the hearing?”

“Of course….”

“I recommend you take care to pay…close attention to Captain Dax.”

“Obviously, I intend to do so—”

“If I may…perhaps a personal liaison would be sufficient for our purposes.”

“I do not comprehend your meaning, Sorak.”

Sorak stepped towards her, stopping approximately one-point-four meters away. “I understand you are attempting to resume the Bureau’s association with Dr. Julian Bashir.”

Show no reaction…give him no visual answer. “Indeed?”

“Do not worry, L’Haan—there is no need to give me an official answer. I already know. My division has made it a point not to…abandon the good doctor as thoroughly as we could have. Frankly, Director…you presume much, to think that you can succeed where my predecessor had allegedly failed.”

“Accepting the premise that your assertion is correct…”

“I admit however—it is a most fascinating scheme, to approach him with a more…romantic method. And indeed, who better to carry this out…than a former ‘flame’, as the humans say?”

“Sorak…again, I fail to comprehend your meaning.”

“I would be most astonished if it worked, of course.”

“You doubt it would?”

It looked as if the faintest hint of a patronizing smile was on the man’s face. “L’Haan…you are treading on what humans refer to as…‘shaky ground’. I must inform you that my division has already attempted this sort of method on him—not with a past love, of course, but—we did appeal to his heart, with a most…remarkable young agent.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. And unlike you…we ensured that it would make no difference to the mission at hand, whether he deduced the girl’s true loyalties or not.”

“I assume he did find out.”

“Of course he did! I would strongly recommend you take great pains not to underestimate his intelligence, L’Haan.” Sorak’s voice turned dark. “If you do…you will regret it.”

“Are you questioning my activities, Sorak—or my ability to carry them out?”

“Neither. I am simply advising you to accept the possibility that Miss Douglass will be similarly…exposed, as far as he is concerned. As soon as possible, mind you.”

“Assuming I am attempting what you claim.”

“Of course.”

L’Haan gave a light sigh. “You were about to advise me…on Dax?”

“Yes—assuming Miss Douglass is assigned to be a liaison to Dr. Bashir…I recommend you have her accompany him to the hearing.”

She frowned. “Oh? I was not aware the doctor will be attending.”

“You will doubtless hear of it from Miss Douglass soon enough.” Sorak leaned forward slightly. “You are aware, of course, of the doctor’s previous…relationship with Ezri Dax?”

L’Haan once again reminded herself to retain her control. She did not know this—an unusual occurrence…but then, her division had only recently taken to the recruitment of Bashir. “Quite close” indeed….

The memory stuck her of the Breen mission. How long had Dax and Bashir interacted on the Aventine? If they truly were…close…than Sorak was right to be concerned about Douglass’s assignment. If Dax still possessed such emotions for the doctor, her jealousy could lead to immense suspicion on her part, and—if she were allowed to interact with the doctor for a long enough period…

Retain your control. This must not affect your actions in regards to the hearing.

“What of it?” she replied.

“Dr. Bashir will almost certainly make sure to visit the captain in her cell. If Douglass is as enhanced as he is—and indeed, I have heard that she is more capable than even he—you could do worse than to have her accompany him, analyze Dax, and deduce the captain’s innocence or guilt thereof.”

Logical…but again, there was the jealousy factor. Sarina Douglass would have to take great care. Of course…she was trained to.

L’Haan raised an eyebrow. “Again…if I were having one of my agents undertake such an assignment with Dr. Bashir…I would give your advice serious and full consideration.”

Sorak nodded. “That is all I ask. Thank you, Director.”

“Of course, Director.”

They went their separate ways. L’Haan knew she would do as Sorak advised—logic would demand nothing less. Still…this unfortunate news indicated that Dax could well become a catalyst for the doctor unveiling Douglass’s true assignment. She could not allow that to happen.

For the first time…Director L’Haan found herself toying with the wish that the Council would find Captain Ezri Dax…guilty.


* * *
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Old May 29 2012, 04:32 PM   #19
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

An interesting twist is developing I think ...
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Old May 29 2012, 10:37 PM   #20
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Now the story is starting to take off. It'll have us wondering all the way to the end what kind of ruling is in 31's best interest.

The dialogue between L'Haan and Sorak brings me back to some of the points I've made about Zero Sum Game's cliffhanger ending. For one, the only scenes truly narrated from Sarina's point of view were while she was in Breen custody and the final scene of the novel. Secondly, that it ended where it did suggests more is happening than the simple finding out his wife is a Russian spy premise.

Finally, a rhetorical question, wasn't Sorak the guy who first recruited Sloan into the Bureau? I'm guess that arrangement is analogous to Aiman al-Zawari being Osama bin Laden's mentor, but bin Laden was ultimately the one in charge.
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Old May 30 2012, 02:16 AM   #21
St. William Of Levittown
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Enterprise1981 wrote: View Post
Now the story is starting to take off. It'll have us wondering all the way to the end what kind of ruling is in 31's best interest.
Yeppers! But remember--there are differnt divisions--and as far as Sorak and L'Haan are concerned...sometimes the interests of an individual division can conflict with the interests of the Bureau as a whole....

The dialogue between L'Haan and Sorak brings me back to some of the points I've made about Zero Sum Game's cliffhanger ending. For one, the only scenes truly narrated from Sarina's point of view were while she was in Breen custody and the final scene of the novel. Secondly, that it ended where it did suggests more is happening than the simple finding out his wife is a Russian spy premise.
Yep! Recall that L'Haan noted--as an odd aside, I thought--that she intended to be successful where Sloan and Cole had failed. It almost seemed as though she were bragging to Sarina--or at least to herself. An odd attitude for a Vulcan...almost as though she somehow has "something to prove".

But as Sorak points out here...maybe that kind of assumption --that she would succeed, that her plan is somehow better, in and of itself--is bringing her in over her head. As he makes it a point to note, his division already tried something similar. (Remember my use of FRWL as a "prequel" of sorts to ZSG? )

Finally, a rhetorical question, wasn't Sorak the guy who first recruited Sloan into the Bureau? I guess that arrangement is analogous to Aiman al-Zawari being Osama bin Laden's mentor, but bin Laden was ultimately the one in charge.
Well...I wouldn't go so far as to use a terrorist analogy, but--in that particularly case, the parallels are basically accurate.


Glad you all are liking it!
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Last edited by St. William Of Levittown; May 30 2012 at 03:57 AM.
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Old May 30 2012, 04:04 AM   #22
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

All right. To answer a probably inevitable question--the truth is...I simply couldn't resist....


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 5



Sorak materialized onto the shuttle. He walked over to the helm, setting course for Division Seven’s base of operations, and then setting the console on automatic. He let out a sigh, and shook his head.

L’Haan was most irritating to him—frankly, all “truly logical” Vulcans were, to an extent—their over-confidence in their “disciplines”, which led them too often to assume that they had the answer even when they clearly did not…and to refuse any “devil’s advocate”, as the humans say. Sorak preferred the balance of the Way of the v’tosh ka’tur—which, titles notwithstanding, was far more…logical, as far as he was concerned. (Not that he ever revealed his status to anyone but his closest friends, of course—and frankly, the “balance” he had achieved allowed him to behave as a “normal” Vulcan….)

Still…his revelation of Dr. Bashir’s past relationship with Dax had unnerved L’Haan, he could tell—and that had shattered her stubbornness…for this time.

“Will she do it?”

Sorak turned to face the other man, who sat in a dark corner, his face obscured from near-total lack of light. For the man’s sake, Sorak would not allow his mind to “remember” his name. It was part of his own brand of “Vulcan discipline”, to keep from entering the mindset which might slip and reveal the man’s identity to others he would encounter.

“At the very least,” Sorak answered, “She will take less for granted, in regards to her fool’s errand with Douglass and the doctor.”

“Well that’s a start, anyway.”

“Indeed. And I believe L’Haan will be more willing to cooperate with our own investigations.”

“That’s good to know. I take it they approved of our looking over the wreckage, and so on?”

“They did—fully. We’ll have no interference from them.”

The man nodded. “Very good.”

“Of course. But…”

“Well, Sorak?”

“I was wondering…if the Council should find Dax guilty…”

“Well, our mission right now is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“Of course not. But, in the unlikely event that we fail…what then?”

The man sighed, and thought for a moment. Finally, he replied, “If that should happen…I don’t think it’ll help the captain’s regard for the system, at the very least.”

Sorak snorted. “Certainly not.”

The man spread out his hands. “Well, if all else fails…we can always recruit her.”

Sorak’s eyebrow shot up. “Indeed.”


* * *
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Old May 30 2012, 07:06 PM   #23
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Well...I wouldn't go so far as to use a terrorist analogy, but--in that particularly case, the parallels are basically accurate.
Okay, analogous to when Kirk and Spock switched jobs in ST XI.

Quite an eerie scene with Sorak and (that guy on that show).
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Old May 31 2012, 12:28 AM   #24
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

^I'll neither confirm nor deny any theories you may be nurturing.

Still, the concept of "a mysterious man in the shadows" a la Blofeld isn't exactly new to Trek--as Future Guy can attest.
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Old May 31 2012, 07:27 AM   #25
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

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
Chapter 6



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?”

“I do.”

“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?”

“Absolutely.”

“You did not, and do not, have any reason to doubt her competence during said events?”

“None whatsoever.”

“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?”

I 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.”

“Oh?”

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 uncomfortable.

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.”


* * *
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Old June 1 2012, 03:14 PM   #26
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

A hidden agenda? I knew something was up! Good writing.
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Old June 1 2012, 06:55 PM   #27
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

And the first stone is lain.

Nice exchange between Tarses and the Tellarite councillor, with Simon ultimately keeping his cool and not playing his game.
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Old June 2 2012, 02:36 AM   #28
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Thank you both!

And now...the next witness....


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 7



“State your name, rank, and position for the record.”

“Samaritan Bowers, Commander, first officer, U.S.S. Aventine.”

“Place your left hand on the panel, please.”

As the computer rattled off everything, Sam Bowers looked about him, at the President, and the different members of the Council. His focus rested on Gleer…and he mentally prepared himself for a face-off. He considered himself a very disciplined individual indeed—possessed of an inner order worthy of a Cardassian, if he said so himself—and he’d made it a point to inject some of it into the Aventine’s crew, much to the constant chagrin of Ezri Dax.

He could face Breen, or Romulans, or Klingons, or even Borg—without batting an eye. But politicians…they were a class by themselves. They were worse than the most hard-nosed admiral. Especially if they made no pretense at manners, knowing that they had nothing to lose from behaving like a spoiled four-year-old.

“Commander,” said the bailiff, “Raise your right hand.”

Snapping back to the present, Bowers did so.

“Commander Bowers: 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?”

“I do.”

“Thank you, Commander….”

“Commander Bowers,” said T’Latrek, “As the executive officer under Captain Dax, it is your duty and obligation to constantly hold her actions and decisions accountable, and to point out any viable alternative—effectively, to be, as your race puts it, a ‘devil’s advocate’?”

Bowers couldn’t help but smirk at that. “That is correct, Councilwoman.”

“In your professional opinion…how effective have you been in carrying out those duties?”

“Oh…I’d say I’ve done pretty good.”

T’Latrek raised an eyebrow. “Could you specify?”

Bowers nodded with a smirk. “Yes, Councilwoman.” He leaned forward a bit. “Captain Dax and I are very different, as far as command styles are concerned. I like to consider myself as the quintessential ‘by-the-book’ commander. Every procedure, every ritual, every drill under my watch is performed to the letter as regulations demand. I believe that discipline is everything, as far as efficiency is concerned. I recommend you ask our crew for confirmation.”

A brief chuckle was heard across the room. Bowers saw Ezri roll her eyes with a smile, while Dr. Tarses just shook his head in amusement.

“And…the Captain?” asked T’Latrek.

“She prefers an atmosphere of familiarity, and camaraderie. Though she is very businesslike on duty, she makes it a point to interact with the crew as much as possible, taking part in recreational events, and so on. At one point, she actually chewed me out because my love of discipline resulted in everyone in the rec hall snapping to attention when she entered the room.”

T’Latrek’s eyebrow shot up again. “Indeed?”

“Yes—I admit I can get a little…overzealous at times.”

Ezri and Simon shared another chuckle at this.

“But in summary,” Bowers continued, “I’d say we’re a good balance for each other. We…hold each other in check, as it were, so efficiency and trust are both kept at a maximum, simultaneously.”

“I see,” said T’Latrek. “Now…in regards to her command decisions, I trust you apply a similarly high standard of adherence to regulation.”

“Absolutely.”

“Thus, you regularly remind your captain of which regulations and laws her actions may possibly tread upon?”

“Of course.”

“Including the Starfleet and Interstellar Rules of Engagement?”

“Absolutely.”

“Now…in your opinion, how do you feel Captain Dax regards these Rules?”

“The captain has a great regard for life, Councilwoman. She makes it a point to avoid conflict whenever possible, and in such situations when she is forced into conflict, to resolve it as quickly and totally as possible.”

“That may be so, Commander…but that was not what I asked.”

Bowers leaned back, and replied, “Captain Dax knows and understands the spirit of the Rules of Engagement, Councilwoman. She takes it as seriously as you and I do.”

“And what of the letter of the Rules?”

“She follows them as well as any other starship captain—as well as, say, Picard, or Riker.”

“But she does not follow them in every instance?”

“Councilwoman…in my expert opinion, no one can follow the exact lettering of the Rules of Engagement in every single instance.”

“Oh?”

“Rules written so specifically can rarely, if ever, anticipate every single situation. That’s why the Articles of Federation and the Starfleet Charter are written in such general terms, based on principle, rather than specifics.”

“But you claimed earlier that you consider yourself ‘the quintessential by-the-book commander’.”

“That’s correct.”

“How do you reconcile that belief with the statement you have just made?”

“Councilwoman…just because I understand that there are situations which the rules don’t anticipate, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make every possible effort to make sure that the rules are being applied whenever—for lack of a better word—‘humanly’ possible.”

If T’Latrek were amused, she gave no indication of it. “I see. Returning to the previous subject…during the incident in question, did, in your opinion, the letter of the Rules of Engagement apply?”

“To an extent.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that the incident provided us with contradictory scenarios, as far as the Rules were concerned. On the one hand, the vessel in question did not arm weapons—and the Interstellar Law, recognized by both the Confederacy and the Federation, forbids attacks upon vessels which have not taken such a hostile stand.”

“And on the other hand?”

“From the Starfleet General Order 12 Rules of Engagement: On the approach of any vessel where communications have not been established—Starfleet safety-of-personnel requirements indicate that said vessel—”

At this Gleer broke in, “This is all very fascinating, but we are not looking for a recital of regulations—”

Bowers raised his voice over the Tellarite’s, “—said vessel should be treated as potentially hostile until proven otherwise…and in consequence a standard defensive posture should be adopted.”

Standing at the podium, President Bacco sighed, and remarked in a tired voice, “Councilman Gleer has not been recognized by the chair as of now, and therefore has not been given permission to interject or to question the witness.”

Gleer responded with a huff, but nothing more.

Bowers felt his smirk widening. Despite his sense of discipline, he couldn’t help himself as he asked T’Latrek, “I wonder, Councilwoman…why your colleague was so afraid of what I was about to say?”

The Vulcan councilwoman turned to Gleer, who was shooting a dagger-like gaze at Bowers. A chuckle was heard—from among the Council. It was clear that, despite Gleer’s alleged influence…there were quite a few members who enjoyed the idea of his embarrassment.

President Bacco sighed, “Commander Bowers—I would appreciate your keeping yourself in line.”

“Yes, Madam President—my apologies.”

T’Latrek turned back to him, and said, “Returning to my questions, Commander…as far as your analysis as a first officer is concerned…did Captain Dax, in your professional opinion, adhere properly to the Rules of Engagement?”

“Yes. Her actions were perfectly in line with Starfleet protocol.”

“And Interstellar Law?”

“Her duty, first and foremost, was to defend innocent lives—lives under her protection.”

“With respect, Commander—that was not my question.”

“She adhered to Interstellar Law as far as she believed she could. If she were to go out of her way to follow it any longer…she feared she would be risking a massacre—and be guilty of neglect in her duties.”

“Thank you, Commander—but I believe we may allow the captain to speak for herself, in time. In your professional opinion, did Captain Dax preserve and adhere to the Rules of Engagement—Starfleet and Interstellar—to the best of her ability, or did she not?”

Bowers sighed, paused for a moment, and replied with a firm, certain tone, “Yes—to the best of her ability.”

“And were you in her position…would you have done the same?”

“The details of my actions might have differed a bit…but yes. I would have done the same.”

“Thank you, Commander—that is all from this councilwoman.”

No sooner had she said this, than the light from the console at Gleer’s seat flashed on, indicating his desire to be recognized to speak.

Bowers noticed the president tighten her lip in apparent annoyance, but she said, “The chair recognizes Councilman Gleer of Tellar.”

Bowers straightened up. Well—better to get this over with sooner rather than later….

“Commander Bowers,” Gleer began, “You mentioned that, as first officer, it is your duty to point out alternative courses of action for your captain to take.”

“That’s correct.”

“What alternatives did you offer Captain Dax at the time in question?”

“For one…establishing a tractor beam, to lock on to the ship, prevent it from nearing the colony, and possibly board it.”

“And why didn’t she decide on that course of action?”

“The shields on the vessel were up. We couldn’t get a lock quickly enough.”

“What do you mean, ‘quickly enough’?”

“Well, it is possible to re-calibrate the tractor-beam emitter to lock on despite shields…but our tactical officer indicated that it would be impossible to do so in time to protect the colony.”

“I see…but I assume your firing on the vessel depleted the shields of power?”

“It did—but by that time, it was too late—locking on a tractor beam would not have prevented the ship from attacking the colony. It was now-or-never. We had to destroy them.”

“You assume.”

“Excuse me, Councilman?”

“You couldn’t have simply…disabled their weapons?”

“As they did not slow down upon entering their system—it was concluded that they were engaging in a kamikaze attack.”

Gleer stared at him. “A…kamikaze attack.”

“Yes, Councilman.”

“Forgive me. That sounds very…difficult to believe.”

“I’m sure it is. But the ship was overpowered—enough that a crash into the colony would have killed all the inhabitants. I assume you’ve viewed the ship’s records from the Aventine?”

I am the one asking the questions, Commander.”

“I know—I’m just trying to see how much you know, so we can build from that.”

To his considerable credit, Gleer kept his composure. “Of course I have, Commander—as have ever member of this body.”

“Well, then—”

“The Confederacy has claimed that it was a cargo vessel, carrying supplies to the Tholians, which had wandered off course due to an accident—and that the crew panicked upon seeing the Aventine, and tried to flee. The recordings don’t necessarily dispute that claim.”

Excuse me? You’re either blind, or just trying to pull a fast one. “With all due respect, Councilman…the Confederacy’s report is factually incorrect. The vessel gave no indication that it was civilian.”

“Frankly, Commander, I wonder how you define ‘indications’, as far as that is concerned. You admit the weapons were not armed—and the ship therefore was not hostile to the Aventine.”

“Correct, however—”

“So you conjure up this story of a ‘kamikaze attack’, to justify that in the heat of the moment, your captain violated the Interstellar Rules of Engagement, twisting Starfleet General Order 12 to suit her purpose, and attacking a civilian vessel without provocation—”

“Now wait just a moment—”

“Commander Bowers…I am sure you of all people, proud as you are of being ‘by-the-book’, understand that those Rules exist precisely to prevent such things from happening!”

“With all due respect, Councilman…the idea of a civilian ship—which was already heading on course to the colony, when we encountered them—”

“So you assume.”

“—the idea that they were somehow pulled off course, and ran off panicking in a direction which just happened to head directly to said colony—not changing their heading, but following their original course—to be honest, that sounds a lot harder to believe than a kamikaze attack.”

“So basically, what you’re implying, Commander—is that your personal judgment, and the judgment of your captain, supersedes the rules, and that the two of you…are above the law!”

“No, Councilman—that is not what I am implying.”

“Well, then…?”

“I am saying that all actions point to that ship having hostile intent, whether it charged weapons or not.”

“Oh! Well then—why don’t we simply throw out the rulebook, and put you in charge of writing a new one! To be perfectly honest, Commander, this—”

“Councilman Gleer,” President Bacco interrupted, “Will you kindly refrain from injecting your rhetoric into this hearing? You have been recognized in order to ask questions of fact to the witness, not to badger him with accusations.”

“With respect, Madam President,” said Gleer in a tone that to Bowers conveyed little, if any, respect, “This is a matter of what we are allowing Starfleet commanding officers to engage in, and exactly how the sort of thinking embodied in this man, and his captain, could well become cause for a diplomatic incident even more serious than this!”

Nonetheless…” said the president, “The time for ‘interpretations’ will come later. If you have nothing further to ask the witness, I suggest you allow your colleagues to speak in your stead.”

Gleer paused, as if weighing his options. Finally, he seemed to calm himself down, as he asked, “Commander Bowers…exactly what caused you to assume that the vessel had hostile intent—regardless of the fact that its weapons were powered down?”

Bowers fought to keep his triumphant grin internal. The politician already knew the answer—he just had to ask something to save face.

“Again,” he said, “General Order 12: On the approach of any vessel where communications have not been established…said vessel should be treated as potentially hostile until proven otherwise, and in consequence a standard defensive posture should be adopted.”

Gleer nodded. “And in your expert, professional opinion—there was no proof otherwise?”

“None whatsoever. Their com systems were functioning—they could have contacted us at any time.”

“And again—the Breen claim that the crew had panicked, causing them to not answer any hails—”

“Councilman…I don’t believe for a moment that that was the case. And to be perfectly honest…I’d be very surprised if anyone here, who has consulted the records, believes that, either.”

Gleer looked as if he was about to give a retort…but managed to compose himself, and said, “That’s all, Commander.”

Somehow…Bowers didn’t feel so triumphant anymore. He stared over at his captain. I don’t like this.

Ezri stiffened. It looked as if she didn’t like it, either—probably for the same reasons.

Somehow…Bowers got the feeling that, the president’s warning notwithstanding…Gleer was saving the bulk of his venom for one person—and that, of course, was the captain herself.


* * *
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"The saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia.... 'Needs and abilities' are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to 'the State shall take, the State shall give'."
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Old June 4 2012, 05:03 PM   #29
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

A very good chapter, Rush. The back-and-forth between Bowers and T'Latrek, then Bowers and Gleer, was very engaging. It raised some engrossing questions and left me anticipating the answers as a study of Bowers' (and by extention Dax's) character, as well as revealing more about the unfortunate situation that's prompted this whole affair. This is a rewarding answer to the question of how you'd reconcile your usual character-centred approach with a story of galactic scope. I found the testimony engaging in and of itself, not just as a means of progressing the plot. Well done!

Also, I particularly liked the examination of General Order 12 and the questions it raises regarding possible conflict with other regulations. Which helps demonstrate the difficulties Starfleet captains must face, balancing so many potentially contradictory directives. This story is really doing a good job of demonstrating how hard the job must be, and what extraordinary character a successful captain must possess. Navigating the right path, carrying out their duties both personal and legal in the face of so many potentially conflicting responsibilities - in Ezri's case here: to her crew, to those on the colony who might be at risk, to the crew of the presumably hostile ship, to the wider Federation both in terms of upholding its laws, its reputation and its political sensibilities...it seems an almost impossible task. This story is doing a good job of examining the pressures that a Starfleet captain faces in a crisis situation.
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Old June 4 2012, 10:06 PM   #30
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

An excellent read. The cross examination is reminiscent of Kirk and McCoy's trial in TUC. Deliberate homage or happy serendipity? The discussion about how to define 'hostile intent' reminds me of the arguments surrounding the sinking of the General Belgrano. And the earlier scenes with Section 31 had a bit of a Tom Clancy feel to them.

One personal bug-bear. I'm sure I remember Sloan, in his first appearance, claiming that his organisation had gone through many names over the years, and that 'Section 31' was just what they were using at the time. So surely they should be calling themselves something else by now?
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