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Old June 22 2012, 04:54 AM   #61
Rush Limborg
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

^Wow! Sounds pretty cool--think you could send me a link?

Okay. AND NOW--back...to The Bureau....


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 14



This is an FNS Special Report:

“Greetings, everyone, I’m Verna Talkon, with our regular report on the Council hearings, which we are also broadcasting live on this network as they occur. Here for the latest, of course, is Jake Sisko. Jake?”

“Verna, the President has unveiled statements from a recent meeting with Chancellor Martok of the Klingon Empire, expressing his considerable displeasure regarding the hearings. The chancellor has confirmed this and has publicly stated, quote, ‘If Ezri Dax is convicted by the Council, I will take it as an insult to my personal honor, and that of my House,’ unquote.

“This day of hearings has seen various statements from both sides—including the aforementioned statement by Chancellor Martok; a statement from Ambassador Spock, which expresses similar disapproval at the hearings; and further words of condemnation from the Breen Confederacy, issuing further threats of diplomatic consequences should Captain Dax be acquitted.

“The issue appears to be one of constant political pressure, from our allies and our enemies. Both groups are eyeball to eyeball—and only time will tell which side will blink. Jake Sisko, FNS News, Paris.”

“Thank you, Jake. And tomorrow, Captain Ezri Dax will testify before the council, and is expected to give a complete account of the events in question. We’ll continue to give you regular updates, as the news unfolds, and to broadcast the hearings live. This…is FNS News….


* * *


L’Haan sat in silence, reading the report…the report sent to her by Sarina Douglass. According to her, the captain passed the agent’s “test”—Douglass had gotten no reading of instability, or incompetence for service of the Federation.

Unsurprising. However…such was not the focus L’Haan’s current concern. No…that was Douglass’s recording of the conversation between Captain Dax and Dr. Bashir.

It, too, was unsurprising, to be frank. It was little more than reconciliation over the previous meeting between them—and following, an offer of support Dax from Bashir. Amid this, the captain expressed her considerable doubt, regarding whether or not she in fact deserved to undergo this affair—and this in particular, in and of itself, fascinated L’Haan. The captain had referred to the mission into Breen space—and her actions thereof.

Most intriguing. After all…L’Haan had invoked that very incident to effectively defend the necessity to seek the possible acquittal of Dax, when the Bureau had initially discussed how it would respond to the hearings. And now…

But this, of course, was not the most significant fact to be gleaned from Agent Douglass’s report. That distinction, rather, belonged to the fact that Dr. Bashir has specifically requested that Sarina not be present while he discussed matters with the captain. This, along with their reconciliation—such as it was…

It gave her pause. It caused a hesitation within, which L’Haan knew all too well that she could not ignore.

“Director L’Haan?”

She turned in her seat, to see Sorak approach.

L’Haan nodded. “Director Sorak. I trust you have new information, relevant to the hearings?”

“Naturally. You recall, L’Haan, that the reports from the Aventine indicated that the vessel in question was overpowered…?”

“Of course.”

“Our investigation has revealed the reason why.”

He handed her a padd of his own—analyses, L’Haan saw, of the wreckage of the craft.

L’Haan studies the report—and looked up, to meet Sorak’s waiting gaze.

“The reactor?” she asked.

Sorak nodded. “You recall, of course, the contacts my division possesses in the Confederacy.”

“Of course.”

“We contacted certain members of them to confirm. However, one hardly needs such to comprehend that that is not the sort of reactor to be used by a civilian craft. As it stands…our contacts have established that this reactor in particular…is actually intended for use in a class of warships currently in the prototype stage.”

L’Haan’s eyebrow shot up. “Indeed?”

“Indeed. And were one to apply simple logic—one could easily see the Breen’s motivation. The power generated by this reactor—which is small enough to be easily fitted for a civilian vessel of the class in question—is sufficient to, when detonated, destroy a region of planetary surface encompassed by a fifty-kilometer radius.”

Sorak took a step forward. “Director L’Haan,” he said, “We have our evidence. We have our proof. The Confederacy conspired to…‘set up,’ as the humans say, the Federation.”

He paused for a moment, and added, “We must not allow this to succeed…regardless of—conflicts.”

L’Haan stiffened. “Conflicts?”

Sorak nodded solemnly. “I…trust Agent Douglass’s analysis of the captain was successful?”

“Director Sorak—”

“If I may be blunt, L’Haan…no one else is present. I believe it would be ideal for us to mutually agree to refrain from any pretense—at least, for the duration of this operation.”

“Sorak…would you allow for my giving such inquiry into your affairs?”

Sorak did not flinch in his gaze. “Whether I would appreciate your doing so or not…it would be necessary for you to confront me, were you to feel…that I were currently facing a conflict of interest—one in which the security of the Federation…would seem to require a hindrance of the current agenda of your department.”

Were she a member of an emotional race…L’Haan would have begun to feel rage at these words. “What are you implying, Sorak?”

“L’Haan, I am merely expressing concern regarding the manner in which you are approaching this operation.”

“Sorak…I will tolerate much, from you. I have learned to respect your abilities. However, I have also been of the impression that you similarly respect mine.”

“I can assure you, L’Haan…this is not a question of your abilities—simply of your motivations. Perhaps you may justify this, due to the understandable desire to obtain the services of Dr. Bashir. Nonetheless—I have expressed concern regarding your method for doing so. I sincerely hope that those concerns will not prove to have been warranted.”

“Sorak,” L’Haan replied, summoning all of her internal discipline, “It would seem that I am constantly required to remind you that my ‘agenda’, as you put it, is first and foremost the security of the Federation. Such would not be served by an embarrassment.”

“Perhaps not,” Sorak nodded. “All the information regarding the reactor is on that padd. I trust the Council will see it.”

“Sorak, need I remind you of the reason we felt the need to analyze Captain Dax. If the issue should arise, that she is in fact a liability—”

“Surely, L’Haan, with the evidence we have accumulated, such would not be an issue.”

L’Haan paused for a moment, and replied, “You once invoked a similar incident involving Lieutenant-Commander Worf.”

“Of course.”

“Were it proven that he was indeed ‘looking for a fight’—as was the argument of the Klingon Empire—would it not have held repercussions, regardless of the Empire’s deception?”

Sorak paused, and gave a slight nod. “Perhaps. However…such would not seem to be the case, here.”

“We cannot be certain at this date. We will, however…once the captain has spoken before the Council.”

“I see….”

“Will that be all?”

Sorak studied her for a moment longer, and nodded. “For now. For the Federation.”

“For the Federation.”

Sorak turned to go—but L’Haan added, “And Sorak…”

He lingered. “Yes?”

“Don’t ever question my motivations again.”

Sorak’s eyebrow rose…and without responding, he resumed his exit, leaving L’Haan alone.

She sat back down…studying the two padds which lay before her.

The needs of the many…outweigh the needs of the few.

But who were the many? Was it truly necessary, to ensure that the Federation would not be embarrassed before the Breen? Surely, any political fallout could be recovered, following a later incident.

The needs of the many…

Surely it was not worth jeopardizing the Bureau’s chance to truly, and fully, bring Dr. Julian Bashir into their service? What was the fate of one captain—decorated though she may be—to the great benefit to the Federation the doctor would provide?

The needs of the many

And yet…and yet, were the Breen to succeed in this endeavor—logic suggested the Pact would make another such attempt—one that would require, they would proclaim, even more accommodation. Could the Federation afford such a risk?

The needs of the many…

But again—surely that could be remedied…couldn’t it?


* * *
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Old June 23 2012, 07:00 PM   #62
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Interesting!
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Old June 27 2012, 11:59 PM   #63
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

It's been a few days; when's the next entry?
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Old June 28 2012, 04:03 AM   #64
Rush Limborg
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Sorry, we recently moved. We've only recently got internet back....

Now--next chapter!

A note: I had actually written a scene with Admiral Janice Rand. Our favorite Yeoman, you may recall from my early days as a BBS member, is actually my "other crush" in the Trek Universe. In "Redezvous", more of you may recall, I esablished that Rand was Ezri's mentor at the Academy. Small Universe? Perhaps...but I thought it'd be nice to bring my two favorite Trek ladies together.

Anyway--I cut the scene, in part because it was too redundant--and in part, to be honest, because I thought the writing wasn't particularly good. (In its place is a brief summary in the second scene, here.) Perhaps I'll include it after I'm done with the story--and you all can be the judge.

Now--without further ado...


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 15



It was time. At last, the day had come. And for this day…the Federation stopped.

Near a world long-suffered, near a passage across the galaxy…a station waited in silence. Friends for so many years—including one former major, now a vedek—stood watching a single screen, in support for one of their own….

On a starship called the Robinson, a man—alone among many—sat in his ready room, having alerted his first officer that he was not to be interrupted for the entire day. While the rest of the crew were also watching, and waiting…it was not the same, for them. For him…this was a matter of the soul—witnessing the fate of a close and dear friend.

On a starship called the Enterprise—and another, called the Titan—the senior staffs watched with more than a little sense of camaraderie. Two captains watched as the fate of a third—a third who had stared into the jaws of desolation along with them, who had along with them snatched from those jaws a victory for all, a chance to survive, and to live—the fate of that third captain would be revealed.

In the First City of the Klingon Empire, its chancellor sat in an office of his own…making a solemn oath with himself, and with Kahless on high, to retain his control…and wait.

In the capital city of the Romulan Empire, a half-Vulcan ambassador sat in silent meditation, listening to the broadcast in his chambers. He listened…and meditated, to retain his control…and wait.

The Federation News Service would be astonished at the ratings they would receive, this day. The entire Federation was watching. Nine trillion souls and more would witness this battle of justice…and nine trillion souls and more held their collective breath, as Captain Ezri Dax took the stand.


* * *


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

“Ezri Dax, Captain, commanding officer, U.S.S. Aventine.”

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

She did so. As the computer listed everything, she looked around her…taking in all the people she recognized.

There was the senior staff of her crew—Sam, Simon, and all the rest. With them was Admiral Janice Rand—her mentor at the Academy. The admiral had visited her, last night, to give Ezri her full support. Like so many others, Rand had condemned all who were so eager to condemn her, Ezri, for doing what had had to be done.

There was also Julian…Sarina sitting beside him.

There, up on the press balcony, was Jake Sisko and his own crew—watching, recording all, broadcasting it live, for the rest of the Federation to witness these events.

Ezri knew the rest of her friends would be watching—as would her family…well, the members of her family who were still alive. But for the others, Ezri felt, there were other ways to witness. Captain Picard, and Riker, had sent her messages of support—and she had smiled upon hearing of Chancellor Martok’s response to these events. When the president had informed her of Spock’s similar support, yesterday…she had nodded in gratitude, unsurprised.

She raised her right hand.

“Captain Dax,” 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?”

Ezri nodded. “I swear.”

The first series of questions were pretty predictable—questions on her record, her service, and so on. It was all routine, and she answered them all faithfully.

At last, T’Latrek asked, “Captain Dax…in your own words, would you kindly state, in as detailed an account as possible, your recollections of the incident in question, in its entirety?”

Ezri nodded. “With pleasure, Councilwoman.”

And she paused for a moment, to gather her thoughts, her memories…and began.


* * *
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Old June 28 2012, 05:01 PM   #65
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

May we have some more please?
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Old June 28 2012, 08:58 PM   #66
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

^Patience, friend. I'm pacing myself, here.
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Old July 1 2012, 12:02 PM   #67
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

This continues to develop in intriguing ways. And when you have finished please do post all the missing scenes.
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Old July 2 2012, 06:23 PM   #68
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Will do, Badger!
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Old July 3 2012, 06:00 AM   #69
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

OKAY--for most of this week, what many readers have been waiting for since story's beginning--the recounting of the events leading to poor Ezri's current predicament....

BTW--naturally, Ezri's not giving reports to T'Latrek on her inner thoughts, etc. As far as the Council's concerned, "Just the facts, ma'am."


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 16



“Bridge to Captain Dax.”

Ezri Dax blinked, roused from the daze of a half-sleep. She looked down at the reports she was reading—or, had been reading before dozing off.

She sighed, setting the reports aside, on her table in her quarters. She spoke up, “Dax here.”

“Captain—you have an incoming transmission from Earth. Code 47.”

Ezri straightened up, all weariness vanishing upon hearing that last phrase. Code 47—the most secure channel in Starfleet, traditionally meant for the captain’s eyes only—although there were often exceptions.

In this case, the tradition held.

“Patch it through to my quarters.”

“Right away, Captain.”

The console on the desk activated, the seal of the Federation appearing on the screen. The computer gave the mandatory instructions. Ezri gave the appropriate code…and the seal disappeared—

And was replaced by the familiar face of Nanietta Bacco, President of the United Federation of Planets.

Ezri straightened up even more. “Madam President!”

Bacco gave a small smirk. “At ease, Captain. You’re going to need it.”

Ezri nodded, and relaxed a bit.

The President paused for a moment, and asked, “How’s everything on the western front?”

Ezri blinked. Code 47 wasn’t used for small talk. The President knew that. So…?

Well, she’d probably explain in time. “Um…all quiet, ma’am.”

“Well…that’s good to know. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

“Madam President?”

“Yes, Captain?”

“If…I may ask…”

“Why the call?” The president frowned, thinking for a moment. Finally, she asked, “Captain—how are you for border patrol?”

Ezri blinked again. “Ma’am?”

“I need you to do a favor for me. You’re to patrol the border of Breen space near Antos. Our presence there frankly isn’t what it should be.”

“You…suspect something, Madam President?”

“We’re not sure. It’s been surprisingly quiet over there—well,” she smiled, “Considering…recent events, anyway.”

Ezri gave a quick nod, understanding full well what she was talking about: the incident regarding the SI operation in Breen space—the incident involving herself and—

“To be blunt, Captain,” Bacco went on, “It’s too quiet. We need you over there, to be ready. I don’t know what for—so don’t ask.”

Ezri smiled. “Of course. But…Madam President, with all respect—?”

“Why call you personally—on this channel?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Bacco gave a small smile of her own…which faded, as she let out a tired sigh. “Captain…like I said, we’re spread out a little thin. Heaven knows, the fleet’s not back up to specs, yet. But you know as well as I do, that the last thing we need is for the Pact to know just how bad it is. Got that?”

Ezri swallowed. “I do. But, Madam President…”

“Yes?”

“How…how bad is it?”

“Let’s just say, build-up is top priority for us, now—not that anyone needs to know. As far as everyone else is concerned, you did not hear me say that.”

“Understood.”

“Good. And Captain…like I said, this is important. We don’t need another Utopia Planetia, so be prepared for anything. Do what you have to do—but keep out people safe. Clear?”

“As a bell, Madam President.”

“Thank you, Captain. We’re counting on you, back here. Good luck.”

“Thank you, Madam President.”

“Bacco out.”

The screen turned black. Ezri leaned back in her chair, and sighed.

The calm before the storm—that’s what you’re afraid of, isn’t it, Madam President? Well…I guess—so am I.

And with that—she rose to her feet, and pressed the com panel. “Dax to Bridge.”

“Bowers here, Captain.”

“Sam—go to Yellow Alert. Call the senior staff to the observation lounge immediately. We have work to do.”

“Acknowledged.”

“Dax out.”

Ezri brushed her hair once with her hand, making sure it was more or less in place. And with that, she walked out—uncertain of the future ahead of her….


* * *


* * *


“A question, Captain,” T’Latrek spoke up. “You mentioned that the president gave you an explicit directive to, and I quote, ‘Do what you have to do, but keep our people safe.’ Is that correct?”

Ezri had to mentally will herself, with everything she had, to not glance at President Bacco—and she knew, without looking…that the president was doing the same.

“That’s right,” she managed to say.

“I would assume, Captain, that you did not construe such as an authorization—from the highest office in the Federation—to effectively disregard protocol and due process, were you to deem it necessary?”

Ezri did not bat an eye, as she shook her head. “No, Councilwoman—I did not. I would never, under any circumstances, twist the words of a superior in that way.”

“Under any circumstances?”

“No. I could never, in good conscience, put said superior in a compromising position like that—least of all my president.”

“Thank you, Captain. You may resume.”

Ezri nodded, relieved. “Thank you, Councilwoman….”


* * *
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Old July 3 2012, 11:34 PM   #70
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Just for clarification, is this flashback before or during the SI operation? The narrative seems to indicate that the call from the President took place after the operation was underway, but with orders to patrol Breen space.
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Old July 4 2012, 12:31 AM   #71
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Some time after. Remember, the flashback is only a couple weeks before her trial.

Remember, Sorak and L'Haan discussed the possibility that Ezri was set up by the Breen, in retaliation for what she did in the climax of ZSG.
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Old July 4 2012, 03:44 AM   #72
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Now--the briefing!

A few notes: I couldn't resist giving a couple "sequels" to incidents from the Destiny trilogy. I figured, given Simon's loyalty to Ezri, he'd have had a few choice words for a certain security officer....

Also, Mikeala is quite the clown, in case you haven't noticed.


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 17



Captain Ezri Dax entered the conference room, nodding to all of her senior staff, already present: Commander Sam Bowers, her first officer; Doctor Simon Tarses, CMO; Lieutenant Commander Grun Helkara, second officer and science officer; Lieutenant Lonnoc Kedair, chief of security and tactical officer; Lieutenant Mikaela Leishman, chief engineer; and Lieutenant Oliana Mirren, chief of operations. Lieutenant Tharp—the chief conn officer—followed the captain until arriving at his own seat. Ezri intended him to also be present, for this briefing.

She waited until all had seated, before she walked over to the controls by the main screen. Ezri found the right coordinates, and entered the commands, as she began, “I have just received a communique from the president’s office. We’re to proceed to the border of Breen space, near Antos.”

The screen filled with a star chart of the area in question—the border, which Dax highlighted. All stared at it in silence, as she continued, “Our orders are to patrol this region, until further notice.”

“Do they suspect something, Captain?” Kedair asked.

Ezri turned to her. “Not directly. According to the president, the concern is that this section of the border has been too quiet. No incidents—no build-up—nothing.”

“The calm before the storm, then.”

Dax nodded. “Exactly.”

She noticed that Simon seemed to be watching the security chief. It was indiscreet—but Ezri’s former-counselor’s eye could pick it up. Not surprising—the doctor had been in Sickbay when Ezri had tried to console a nearly-broken Lonnoc, during the Borg invasion—and had been driven to near frustration by the latter’s stubborn unwillingness to get back on duty. Finally, Ezri had been forced to…well, (she smirked internally at herself, in bitter amusement at the memory) consciously use a few words she wasn’t particularly comfortable with, telling the Takarian to get back on duty now, or else. That had done the trick…but Kedair had, in an awkward attempt to lighten the mood of the situation, insulted Dax’s prior career as a counselor.

From what Ezri had heard, Simon—whose half-Vulcanoid hearing had picked up the incident—still hadn’t let the woman live that down. I need to talk to him about that—I’m flattered, but…this is bordering on protectiveness….

She resumed, “We need to monitor the region—make sure nothing gets through. I don’t need to tell you all of what might happen, if we fail.”

They all nodded, remembering well what had led to their previous assignment involving the Confederacy—the raid on Utopia Planetia, courtesy of that member of the Typhon Pact.

Not that the president had been able to get a confession, or even an acknowledgement, of that from the other side.
Dax turned to her chief engineer. “Lieutenant—”

She stopped short at the sight of Mikaela Leishman, unwrapping a candy bar and taking a nibble. Again.

Bowers saw it, and cleared his throat—loudly.

Leishman blinked, looking at the captain innocently. “Captain?”

Ezri sighed lightly, and resolved to not give the speech that had been simmering in the back of her mind for a long time: Mikaela…I don’t know whether you’ve noticed or not—but on a ship like this, we normally expect everyone to take their business seriously. And like it or not—that includes you. You are the chief engineer—you, of all people, are responsible for the well-being of the ship, and we can’t afford to have you constantly pushing everyone’s buttons, do you hear me? You are not, nor have you ever been, the ship’s clown. And if you doubt me, why don’t you hold a routine of your own—off duty—around one of those jam sessions we do—and see how everyone responds to your frankly overrated style of humor?

I’d personally pay to see that. And I’d think Sam would, too.

She didn’t say it. There’s a time and place for everything.

And so, she kept her composure, and said, “I need you to design and construct something—anything—to monitor the region. We can’t be in two places at once—so we need to be monitored of everything that happens, so we can respond as soon as possible.”

“You want a sensor grid, Captain?”

“Something like that. But it can’t be particularly noticeable—I don’t want the other side to complain about ‘Starfleet aggression’. Work with Helkara, Mirren, and Tharp—you’ll need all the help you can get.”

All three of those officers turned to the captain, with a tired “Must we?” in their eyes.

Ezri gave a subtle nod. She had nothing but sympathy for them. But clown or not, Mikaela was the best at what she did—in engineering matters, anyway. And for the most part…when she was working on something, she kept herself professional.

She went on, “Oliana, the moments it’s all set up, you and Tharp will monitor, and report on everything it picks up. If an asteroid floats through, I want to know about it.”

Mirren nodded. “You’ll get it, Captain.”

“Captain, if I may?” Bowers asked.

Ezri nodded. “Commander?”

“Am I to understand we’re on our own on this?”

She nodded again, “That’s right.”

All tensed at this—even Leishman. They all know what this meant—although, as the president herself had noted to Ezri…no one was to actually talk about it. The resources of the fleet were indeed that limited. Any build-up was being conducted behind closed doors—the doors of select starbases throughout the Federation. But again…no one was to discuss this. The last thing anyone needed was the Pact to twist news of it into propaganda on Federation “aggression”. Thus…only a few new starships were allowed to see the stars, let out as needed.

In the meantime, the actual numbers of starships composing the fleet were also kept secret—another “last thing” needed: the Pact aware of how crippled the Federation was.

I don’t envy the president’s job, Ezri mused. To have to balance all these things, all these priorities, to find the path of least resistance.

She clasped her hands behind her back. “I need everyone ready, and at their best. As of now, we’re on Yellow Alert. Dismissed.”

As they all rose to their feet, Ezri called out, “Commander—Doctor—a moment?”

The two men shared a glance of concern at this…and remained.

When all the others had left, Ezri sighed, as she walked over to her two friends. She gathered her thoughts, and began, “I…I don’t have to tell you both how much I depend on the two of you.”

The men nodded, frowning in concern, unsure as to her point.

Ezri looked off for a moment, seeking solace in the stars…and finding enough to meet their gaze, and continue. “Needless to say, a lot can depend on what we do, on this assignment.”

“Or what we don’t do,” Sam added—as if as an afterthought.

Ezri frowned. “You’re on to something, Commander?”

“Not really, Captain. Just…if this is the big calm, who knows what the storm’s going to look like.”

“Heck with that, Skip,” Simon put in. “You won’t have to worry about my end.”

Ezri smiled at the doctor’s affectionate nickname for her. “Thank you, Doctor,” she said, “I wouldn’t expect anything less. But…it’s not your end I’m worried about.”

“Captain?” Sam frowned.

Ezri shrugged, looking out the nearest window, again. Finally, she sighed, closing her eyes, allowing a dark memory to fill her mind—

In the Breen warship, dragged to a secluded room…where they probed her mind, digging deep into the deepest corners of her subconscious mind—all her knowledge, all her emotions laid bare before them—allowing nothing to remain sacred….

She opened her eyes, swallowing at the images of the past.

She heard Simon’s voice, “Captain—you all right?”

She turned to the two men. “I…well, I’m sure the two of you understand my…past experiences,” she muttered. “Involving the Breen, I mean.”

Simon’s eyes widened slightly. He knew what she meant. So did Sam, who stiffened a bit at her words. They knew—and they knew that neither of them could truly comprehend what it had been like—to have every single barrier of one’s mind broken down, until…

She drove away the memory of the pain—the trauma that had led her to drift in and out of consciousness for what had felt like an eternity…unaware of the mutterings she had made, and the revelation to Worf of—

She drove it all away, gathered herself, and went on: “I—want the two of you to make sure I don’t let that…affect me.”

Simon shook his head. “Skip—how long ago was that?”

Ezri smiled sadly at him. “Look, Simon…I would never consciously punish people for what other members of their race did—all right? But…I of all people should know—sometimes, we’re motivated by things without realizing it.”

Sam shook his head in astonishment. “You want us to keep an eye on you?”

“I want…” Ezri sighed, “I guess what I want is to prove to myself that whatever I do, on this assignment…it’s because I have to. Like you said, Commander…we don’t know what we’re going to meet, out there.”

“Well, to be honest, Captain—I’d think you’re mental state’s the last thing we should be worried about. We trust you, Ezri. We all do.”

Ezri’s smile returned. “Thanks, Sam…but all the same, this is important to me. And I trust both of you to—to know me enough to know what to look for.”

Simon nodded solemnly, and replied, “Don’t worry, Skip—we’ve got your back.”

Ezri returned the nod. “I know,” she said, in a near whisper.

She nodded to him, and to Sam. “That’ll be all, gentlemen,” she said.

The two men left…and Ezri Dax turned to the window, gazing out into the endless night….


* * *
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Old July 4 2012, 08:00 PM   #73
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

I was so caught up in the intrigue and drama that I couldn't keep track so many of the minor details. I kept wondering why I didn't remember anything about a Breen ship threatening a Federation colony in ZSG. This last chapter clarifies it for me. I guess this means, we're getting at the truth of what really happened.
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Old July 4 2012, 09:17 PM   #74
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Absolutely!

Glad you're still enjoying it, mate.
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Old July 5 2012, 02:42 AM   #75
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

All right, folks. Happy Fourth Of July!

Now...the last of the flashbacks--exactly what had happened, that fateful day.

This is actually a good stopping point fo this week (and, of course, I'd imagine everyone's taking time off for Independence Day). Next chapter will be on Monday.

SO--without further ado...


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 18



“Then you anticipated a potential emotional compromise on your part, Captain,” T’Latrek replied.

Ezri nodded. “I did, Councilwoman—or at least, I allowed for the possibility.”

“Then you were genuinely concerned that you might…behave irrationally?”

“Not to me—but there was the possibility, however slight, that I might become…excessively motivated to act against any potential Breen incursion into the border.”

“And you saw to it that you would be held accountable, in that regard—by both Dr. Tarses and Commander Bowers.”

“That’s correct. As a former counselor, ma’am…I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t live up to the standards I’d held my commanding officer to.”

“Understandable. I would assume, then, that neither officer found cause for concern.”

“That’s correct, Councilwoman.”

“Very good, Captain. You may continue.”

Ezri nodded. “Thank you Councilwoman. By the time we arrived at the border, Lt. Leishman had finished designing the sensor grid, and her team was able to construct the appropriate number to begin the seeding process.”

“Could you describe the design, briefly?”

“They were self-replicating. Lt. Leishman pulled up the designs for the minefield that Captain Sisko—and my last host Jadzia, as it were—had seeded at the mouth of the Bajoran Wormhole, immediately before the Dominion War broke out. Lt. Leishman equipped the sensors with the same replicator design, and programmed them to spread, appropriately.”

“How long did the process take?”

“To…set the entire grid?”

“Of course.”

“It took four days. The first day, we sent out the Aventine’s entire fleet of runabouts, each evenly distributed throughout the relevant region of the border, to drop the initial sensors at the most strategic areas.”

“And the remaining three days?”

“It took that long for the grid to form.”

“Very good, Captain. I would assume, following this, the assignment proceeded without incident, until the stardate in question?”

“That’s correct Councilwoman. Once the grid formed, we waited for six days—until finally, eighteen days ago, the sensors went off.”


* * *


* * *


Kedair looked up from the tactical console. “Captain—we’re picking up a ship, bearing: 179-mark-213.”

Ezri straightened in her seat. And so it begins.

“Helm,” she said, “Lay in an intercept course.”

“Aye, Captain!” Tharp entered the commands, and the Aventine turned about….

Ezri turned to Sam, who sat in the first officer’s seat, to her right. They met one another’s gaze, and in his eyes she saw support. She turned to Simon, who stood to her left, a little behind. He gave a reassuring smile, which Ezri returned, faintheartedly.

The great events of history so often come down to one moment—one decision. Everything hinges on that one little decision. And now…now, will that burden be given to me? What will history say, of this moment?

Please, Ezri found herself praying. Please…at least, whatever history says, let it be said that I did what I had to do.

The other ship appeared on the screen. Disk-shaped, with a forward tip curving down, and a rectangular section making up the rear.

Ezri turned to Kedair. “Identification?”

“Checking…it’s Breen, Captain—design is consistent with a…” Lonnoc stiffened, as though the implications of what she was about to say came clear, “…a civilian transport.”

Ezri’s blood ran cold. No….

“Hail them,” she said.

“Hailing…no response, Captain.”

No. “Open a channel, then!”

“Open.”

Ezri rose to her feet, and spoke up, “Breen vessel: you are in violation of Federation space. Identify yourself.”

Nothing,

Breen vessel,” Ezri began—desperation beginning to enter her voice, “This is the U.S.S. Aventine—you are in violation of Federation space—respond!”

Nothing.

Ezri whirled to Kedair. “Lieutenant, are their com lines down?”

Lonnoc shook her head. “Negative, Captain—all their systems are functioning properly. They can hear you.”

“How many people?”

“Scanning…twenty-seven, Captain. Vital signs normal.”

“Then why won’t they answer?”

“Unknown, Captain—”

“Captain,” Oliana called out, “The energy reading from that—it’s…”

“What’s wrong, Lieutenant?”

The girl shook her head. “It doesn’t make sense, Captain—it’s overpowered. It’s…I don’t know how it’s holding together, with that!”

“Captain,” Tharp called out, “The ship is increasing speed—continuing on its present course!”

“Confirmed,” Kedair responded. “Now reaching Warp Six…Warp Seven—”

“Helm,” Ezri called out, “Maintain intercept course—maximum warp, now!”

“Aye, Captain!”

“Their shields are at maximum,” Lonnoc announced.

Ezri fought to control her emotions, and barely succeeded. “Weapons?”

“They’re totally unarmed, Captain.”

“Their speed is increasing to Warp Eight,” Tharp announced.

“Hold on—Captain!” Mirren called out, “They’re on course for the Pentalos colony.”

Sam shot to his feet. “What on Earth are they doing?”

“Open the channel again!” Ezri called out.

“Channel open, Captain.”

“Breen vessel—you have violated Federation space. Cease in your course immediately! Power down, and prepare to be boarded.”

No response.

No…please, I’nora, don’t let it be like this!

“Their speed is now increasing to Warp Nine,” Tharp announced.

“Can we lock on a tractor beam?” Sam shot back.

Please, Ezri prayed against hope, Let him say we can.

But she knew all too well what the answer would be. Jadzia had been a scientist, Tobin an engineer, Torias a pilot. She knew what Tharp’s reply would be:

“Negative, Commander. Their shields are up—and even if they weren’t…at their current velocity, the strain could rip them apart.”

Breen vessel,” Ezri called out, “You will power down immediately—or we will be forced to open fire!”

Nothing. No response. Nothing.

She turned to Mirren, “How long until they reach the colony?”

Oliana studied her screen, and in a split second replied, “Eight minutes, fifty-three seconds, Captain.”

“Keep on it.”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Captain…” Sam walked up to her, “That energy reading.”

Ezri turned to him. “What about it, Sam?”

“They may not have any weapons—but at maximum warp, with no sign of slowing down…”

Ezri nodded, her gaze lowered. The same conclusion had already formed in her mind. “A suicide bombing.”

“Right.”

Ezri turned, staring at the viewscreen—at the small, helpless vessel before them. They were rapidly closing in…but Ezri knew, all too well, that it wouldn’t be enough.
“Lt. Kedair,” she said, “Lock phasers on their shields.”

“Ready, Captain.”

Ezri stood straight and still, as though on trial before the court of the universe, and said, “Fire.”

A single beam shot out from the Aventine—striking the shields of the Breen ship. It remained for what seemed like an eternity—and stopped.

“Their shields are at sixty percent.”

“Again, Lieutenant.”

Another beam shot out.

“Forty percent.”

“Four minutes until they reach the system,” Oliana called out.

“Again, Lieutenant,” Ezri said, “Until they’re down.”

Another beam.

“Twenty percent…six…they’re down, Captain!”

Ezri swallowed, as she stared at the screen. “Can you target their engines?”

“I can try, Cap—”

“No good!” Oliana called out. “Their power’s near overload as it is. Firing on them anywhere would—”

“Noted, Lieutenant,” Ezri quietly said.

“Yes, Captain…. Two minutes, forty-three seconds.”

Ezri Dax closed her eyes. She knew: the moment the ship reached they system—at maximum warp, they would have no chance to stop it.

But we don’t know! her heart screamed. We don’t know!

But she knew, all too well…that she had no choice. It had already been made for her.

That, however, did not make it any less difficult—any less wrenching on her conscience.

We don’t know!

“One minute,” Oliana’s voice rang in her ears.

Ezri Dax opened her eyes, staring across the void at the ship—the ship carrying twenty-seven lives.

Twenty-seven lives whose fate was now sealed.

Captain Ezri Dax stood straight and still, facing the judgment of the court of the universe.

“Fire,” she said.

The shot rang out. The ship disappeared, in an outburst of fire and light.

Ezri closed her eyes, hearing the report of Lt. Kedair:

“It’s done, Captain. The ship is destroyed.”

Ezri nodded, opening her eyes. “Thank you, Lieutenant,” she said.

She turned, and walked back to the center seat. She sat down, and looked to Simon Tarses. The doctor met her gaze, solemn…but supportive. His judgment, at least, was clear.

As was that of Sam Bowers, as Ezri turned to her first officer, already seated. Both of them understood—neither held any condemnation, for what she had done.

Ezri spoke up, “Contact the Palais…and report on what happened.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Ezri leaned back in her seat, looking off at nothing in particular.

“Captain,” Sam said in a near whisper, “You did it.”

Ezri nodded, not meeting his gaze…staring off into the distance.

“Yes,” she whispered. “I did.”


* * *
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