Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Rush Limborg, May 23, 2012.

  1. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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....

    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? ;))

    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!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.”


    * * *​
     
  3. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, analogous to when Kirk and Spock switched jobs in ST XI. :vulcan:

    Quite an eerie scene with Sorak and (that guy on that show).
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Still, the concept of "a mysterious man in the shadows" a la Blofeld isn't exactly new to Trek--as Future Guy can attest.
     
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.”


    * * *​
     
  6. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    A hidden agenda? I knew something was up! Good writing.
     
  7. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.


    * * *​
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    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.
     
  10. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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?
     
  11. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you, Nasat! It's always a pleasure to read your reviews of my writing. :)

    BTW, for the continuity hounds out there...the full text of the "communications not established" clause of General Order 12 comes straight from the TOS novel Rules of Engagement--which established that Order 12 isn't limited to the clause Saavik quoted in TWOK alone...but is in fact the Starfleet Rules of Engagement.

    Well, I actually based the confrontation between Bowers and Gleer loosely off of the clash between Jack Bauer and the senator in the first episode of the Seventh Season of 24. Still...I could easily see where one could find the similarities you noted. :)

    Glad you like it!

    Well, Sloan said, "Our official designation is Section 31." As the novels indicate, agents tend to refer to it as "the Bureau". So...I just use both, but I try my best to use "the Bureau" more, in the solely "31" scenes....
     
  12. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yet another FNS News Update! Following...more from The Bureau....


    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 8




    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, Jake Sisko. Jake?”

    “Thank you, Verna. A very tense hearing, today, as Council members questioned the Chief Medical Officer and First Officer of the Aventine, respectfully. Dr. Simon Tarses was questioned about his duties as a ship’s doctor—specifically, his duty to determine and evaluate the command fitness of his captain. The questioning got a little heated when Bera chim Gleer, councilman from Tellar, made some very pointed challenges regarding Dr. Tarses’s career history—focusing on an incident on the U.S.S. Enterprise, in which it was revealed that he had deliberately covered up his Romulan heritage. Dr. Tarses replied, in no uncertain terms, that he was severely disciplined for his actions—focusing on the long aftermath, which he described as a period of public disgrace for him—and that the experience has taught him to hold himself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

    “Councilman Gleer also challenged Commander Samaritan Bowers, when the first officer of the Aventine was being questioned in regards to his own duties as, quote, a ‘devil’s advocate’, unquote. The commander had been questioned by Councilwoman T’Latrek of Vulcan as to whether the Rules of Engagement and Interstellar Law were being observed in the incident in question. After answering in the affirmative, Cmdr. Bowers was then challenged by Gleer as to which options had been explored. The Councilman eventually accused the commander and Captain Dax as thinking that they were above the law—and finally received a warning from President Bacco, for badgering the witness and injecting rhetoric in the questioning.

    “Tomorrow morning, the hearings will resume. Various members of the Aventine senior staff will be questioned over the next two days, and reports will be read on the Council floor concerning the response from the Typhon Pact. Captain Dax is expected to take the stand the following day. Jake Sisko, FNS News, Paris.”

    “Thank you, Jake. And we’ll continue to give you regular updates, as the news unfolds, and to broadcast the hearings live. This…is FNS News….


    * * *​


    L’Haan stood, looking through one of the “windows” of the conference station of Section 31. It was not a true window, per se, so much as a viewscreen, projecting what was seen by the visual sensors (which humans often persisted in referring to as “cameras”) placed around the outer hull. The effect was the same, without sacrificing the strength of the plating.

    She reflected on the hearings of the past two days. The first day consisted solely of questioning the ship’s doctor and first officer of the Aventine…as the questioning, naturally, was most extensive for them. The second day saw the questioning of the remnant of the senior staff.

    All of them stood by the actions of Captain Dax. All believed her to be innocent of the charges brought against her.

    L’Haan had seen the records of the incident, as the Council had. And indeed—logically, the theory proposed by Commander Bowers was sound—far more than the claims of the Breen Confederacy.

    So why, then, did she feel an immense reluctance to declare the Trill “not guilty” in her own mind…and take action to that effect?

    The most obvious answer would concern the report she had received from Sarina Douglass. Sorak’s assessment had been correct—Dr. Bashir intended fully to attend the hearing of his former beloved—and to arrive in Paris two days before she was to speak.

    That would be this very night.

    L’Haan had ordered Douglass to go with him—and was unsurprised to learn that she had intended to do so anyway. Of course, Sarina Douglass had been ordered to remain as close to the doctor as possible, for the entirety of her assignment—to go where he would go.

    L’Haan told herself—logically—that she was merely seeking to gain whatever confirmation would present itself, including whatever Miss Douglass would read from the captain herself.

    Of course, it would be illogical to discount an ulterior motive on her own part—despite her Vulcan lineage. She, of course, had no desire whatsoever to see Douglass’s assignment be hindered by a “triangle”. Therefore, L’Haan had ordered the girl to also watch for any signs indicating the extent of the feelings between Dax and Bashir.

    Douglass had informed her that, in the mission on the Aventine, the doctor had apparently exchanged harsh words with Dax. An emotional being would have accepted this as a positive sign—that the two did want to have anything to do with one another.

    But that would contradict the doctor’s current actions. And frankly, L’Haan had a more rational comprehension of the behavior of more emotional races…and such nonsensical rage, she knew, tended to convey enormous tension concerning a deeper emotion, buried with immense reluctance and internal conflict, which would therefore boil into frustration.

    Whichever possibility it was—contempt or subconscious desire—Douglass would have to analyze them both, to ascertain the risk to her assignment.

    “Director L’Haan?”

    She turned to see the elder Vulcan walking up to her. “Director Sorak.”

    Sorak nodded. “I have ordered a comprehensive analysis of the Aventine’s scans of the Breen vessel—as well as what wreckage exists. The Corps of Engineers has been ordered to refrain from any activities thereof until the last day of the hearing.”

    “By the Council, I presume?”

    The hint of a patronizing smile again. “No. By us—under the cover of Starfleet Intelligence. It would not do to have them contaminate any potential evidence through their presence—particularly regarding what little there is at the site.”

    “Of course…. What have you found?”

    “I trust you are aware of the act of deceit the Klingons conducted during their brief conflict with the Federation, prior to the Dominion War—involving the accusing of then-Lieutenant Commander Worf, of…violating the Interstellar Rules of Engagement, and of attacking a civilian vessel?”

    “Yes…and as I recall, the Klingons had used the false names of civilians already deceased, to cover that it was, indeed, a military craft. They had intended to—”

    L’Haan cut herself off, as she understood.

    Sorak nodded. “They had intended to gain accommodation from the Federation…by manipulating Worf to give the appearance of violating Interstellar Law—and then proclaiming their great hurt.”

    “I presume, then, that the Breen are attempting something similar?”

    “Yes…although, granted, they are far more subtle and clever about it—doubtless having learned from that incident. They did not choose the name of civilians already known to be dead—otherwise, a similar conclusion to the affair might have occurred. In this instance, they chose the identities of civilians which were, allegedly, still alive as of the incident, as well as separated from their families, for one reason or another.”

    “Then how did you ascertain that these names are not the true identities of the crew?”

    Sorak raised an eyebrow. “We have our methods, Director. Suffice it to say that, due in part to the previous...assignment your division undertook, we now have certain…contacts in the Confederacy.”

    L’Haan felt her own eyebrow rise. “Fascinating.”

    “Yes…it most certainly is. When we obtained the names of the alleged roster from the reports given to the Council…we proceeded to have our said contacts analyze the identities.”

    “And?”

    “You will be fascinated to learn that those civilians were secretly drafted by their government, for an apparent assignment. For the sake of duty to the homeland, they had no choice but to accept. When they were all gathered together in one place…they were executed.”

    L’Haan stared at him in silence. Such…brutality.

    Were she an emotional being, such a state would be called…shock. But logically, she was not surprised. Races such as the Breen were given in to violence, to achieve their ends. Nonetheless…

    “I see,” was all she could say.

    “It would seem, L’Haan, that the Confederacy wishes to go to great lengths to destroy Ezri Dax. There are many possible motives—the most likely being her actions in your assignment.”

    “There were no witnesses left alive, Sorak—there was no one left to contradict the official story.”

    “L’Haan…never underestimate the power of paranoid suspicion. And the Breen are nothing if not paranoid.”

    L’Haan forced her frustration aside. “I see.”

    “But whatever their motives may be…it is absolutely imperative that the Council acquit the captain of all charges, so as to foil the intentions of the Pact.”

    “And how do you propose to ensure this, Sorak? You possess no proof of these intentions but the word of alleged contacts—contacts which must not be exposed. Even were we to disguise the information as coming from Starfleet Intelligence—the Council will not accept this without concrete evidence, lest the Typhon Pact, again, accuse the Federation of simply covering for its own, conjuring up a convenient theory to justify such an action.”

    “I am aware of that. However…as we now possess the appropriate information, my division will proceed in its analyses with greater efficiency—namely, with the added certainty of knowing what to look for.”

    “And may I ask what you are looking for?” L’Haan asked.

    “I would not bother you with details—simply any indication that the crew of the vessel was not civilian. We are currently receiving most…promising results.”

    “Nonetheless, many in the Council could well dismiss this as mere distraction. Whether the vessel was civilian or not is simply a matter of sympathy. The hearing is on whether Captain Dax violated the Rules of Engagement or not.”

    “Of course,” Surak replied, “Hence, we are also seeking to validate this fascinating ‘kamikaze’ theory. However, the identities of the vessel’s crew could well have a bearing as to whether some of the charges against the captain might be dropped. For one, the charge of unauthorized destruction of civilian lives. For another, breach of the peace—that responsibility would be transferred to the Confederacy, and therefore the Pact itself.”

    “Perhaps.”

    “At the very least…should she be found guilty, the penalties would be far less severe.”

    “Perhaps—but I believe you would agree that, with this knowledge of what is at stake, acquittal must remain our highest priority.”

    Sorak nodded slowly. “Then…you agree that Dax must be acquitted?”

    “I believe I have just answered the question.”

    Sorak stepped forward. “Then I assume your conflict of interest is nullified for this mission?”

    L’Haan raised an eyebrow. “My conflict of interest?”

    “Assuming you are having Miss Douglass serve as your liaison to Dr. Bashir…it would only be logical that Captain Dax’s…past history would cause a possible distraction.”

    Am I really this… effortless for him to read?

    “I assure you, Sorak,” she replied, “I possess no conflicts of interest in regards to this mission.”

    Sorak clearly did not believe her, but he apparently resolved not to press the matter. “Very well. How is your…analysis conducting?”

    “It is proceeding as desired. Assuming Agent Douglass is being assigned as you say…I would have had her analyze the captain as you recommended—tonight.”

    Sorak seemed to hesitate for a moment, and then replied, “About Miss Douglass: I am most…concerned regarding her.”

    “In what way?”

    “I have two reasons. First, you recall Director Cole’s recruitment of Dr. Locken—who was himself genetically enhanced. It ended in failure, as Cole failed to anticipate that Locken would systematically plan a betrayal, even amid his training.”

    “And…you are concerned that Agent Douglass would do the same?”

    “I am—albeit, for different motives.”

    “Which motives?”

    “That brings me to my second reason. Assuming, again, that you are using her as your liaison to Dr. Bashir…your plans could well backfire. By this I mean…rather than her turning him to our side…”

    L’Haan raised an eyebrow. “Sorak…regardless of what assignment I have given her, I have made certain—with all necessary resources—to ensure that her loyalty to the Bureau is beyond question.”

    “I am sure Director Cole assumed the same.”

    L’Haan stiffened. “I do not believe you would accuse me of possessing the same level of competence—or lack thereof—as Director Cole?”

    “I am simply concerned, L’Haan, that it was not, and is not, a question of ‘competence’. It is a question of learning from the mistakes of others. I warned you recently not to underestimate Bashir. I would advise you to heed a similar warning concerning Douglass.”

    L’Haan invoked the mental disciplines to bury her frustrations at his intrusiveness. It was most disquieting that another director would presume to impose himself upon her division’s affairs. She chose her words carefully, to ensure that none of this would show, and replied, “Director Cole committed a significant amount of noticeable errors when recruiting and training Locken. I assure you…I have taken great pains to ensure that I would not make any similar errors.”

    “Nonetheless—take care that she does not become too…attached to her assignment—and you had best be prepared and willing to recall her, should her situation become…problematic in any way.”

    As difficult as Sorak’s words were to hear…nonetheless, they were logical. “I will take your advice under consideration,” L’Haan said.

    Sorak nodded. “That is all, then?”

    “It is. When should your analysis of the wreckage conclude?”

    “I should expect sufficient progress to be made by tomorrow—the night prior to the captain’s taking the stand, I believe?”

    “Correct. One day from now, then. For the Federation.”

    “For the Federation,” he replied, and turned back to the transporter.


    * * *​
     
  13. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Another interesting exchange between the two Vulcans. How will they get this proof of Breen duplicity released without the appearance of some kind of cover-up?

    The idea of informants within the Confederacy caught my attention since I theorize that 31 already had informants within the dissidents. And one of my Dominion War stories makes a reference to the Jem'Hadar quelling civil uprisings on a Breen planet. Perhaps the Tal Shiar has a similar arrangement.
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Well, remember--as L'Haan noted, duplicity or not, this won't have much on a bearing as to whether Ezri herself is guilty/innocent of the charges. As far as galactic politics are concerned, it'll make little difference whom the crew consisted of, if she did violate interstellar law. It may cause a couple charges to be dropped--but it woldn't acquit her of everything.

    What would acquit her would be proof that the Breen ship specifically intended to breach the border, head to the colony, etc.

    Your theory on the dissidents is most fascinating. I'll take that under consideration for future storylines. ;)



    Glad you're contining to enjoy it! :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now...one of the big, central portions of the tale. After this, I'll wait a bit to post the next one. It's a very complex chapter, with a lot of material to chew on, as it were.

    Near the end, Ezri reflects on the events on Rough Beasts of Empire, concerning the late, lamented Empress Donatra--who, remember, developed a friendly working relationship with Ezri in A Singlular Destiny--which I referred to in my "Rendezvous With Destiny". Ezri reflects a bit on those events, too.

    Special thanks to Nerys Ghemor, who beta-read part of this chapter. :)

    Fans of 24 may recognize in the first sequence of the chapter an homage of sorts to a beautiful scene between Jack and a young FBI agent in the beginning of Season 7. That scene drove me to tears, to be honest--especially when Jack is himself driven to tears of gratitude...and I felt a real need to have Ezri go through something like that, in this tale.


    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 9



    The second day of the hearing had been straightforward and orderly—too orderly, Ezri mused, considering the debacles the day before. Helkara, Kedair, Leishman, Mirren, and all the rest were questioned. Everyone answered truthfully and clearly—they knew she’d have wanted nothing less. And of course…they all supported her, as Sam and Simon had.

    For once, Councilman Gleer’s questioning was proper and civil, simply asking questions of fact, concerning the roles of each officer during the incident. Ezri remembered Sam’s suspicions, which he’d expressed the night before, after his being grilled by the Tellarite. Was Gleer simply saving the full force of his wrath for her?

    She had no idea…but she knew she’d have to prepare herself for it, nevertheless.

    When the day’s session was over, she was brought back to her cell by the team of security officers, just like before. But at the force field, they paused, without deactivating it for her.

    One of them—a young dark-haired man, about a head taller than her—turned to her, and for a moment, his discipline seemed to lessen. “Captain…”

    Ezri looked up at him, concerned. “Yes, Lieutenant?”

    “I…think I speak for all of us, sir—I can’t tell you how much we hate all this.”

    Ezri frowned. “Hate what?”

    “Escorting someone—someone like you…like this. As a prisoner. It’s—”

    But before she could hear from someone, for what felt like the millionth time already, how “wrong” this whole thing was…Ezri held up her hand, letting out a mild sigh. “It’s all right, Lieutenant…. I don’t hold it against you—any of you. You’re doing what you have to—like we all do.”

    “Yes, Captain.”

    Ezri held out her hands, and he deactivated the cuffs, as one of his men turned off the force field.

    Before she stepped through, she turned to the first man once again. “By the way…what’s your name, Lieutenant?”

    “Myers, sir.”

    She felt a smile. “What’s your first name?”

    The man paused for a moment, but said, “John, sir.”

    Ezri thought for a moment, and asked, “John, did you, by any chance…help fight against the Borg fleet, when it neared Earth?”

    He smirked. “Heck yes, Captain.”

    The others nodded, most with similar smiles of pride and patriotism.

    Ezri’s gaze fell for a moment, but she turned back to him, and asked, “Do you have a family, John?”

    “I do, Captain.”

    “Any children?”

    “Yes, Captain—two.”

    Her smile grew. “How old are they?”

    “My son’s five…my daughter’s two.”

    Ezri sighed again, and stepped forward to him, resting a hand on his arm. “Well…I guess you could say I’m going through all this for them—so they’ll be safe. So that…they won’t have to go through another war—not knowing whether their father’s going to come back again, alive.”

    John Myers stiffened a bit, and it looked like his lip was fighting a quiver.

    Ezri tightened her hold, looking deep into his eyes. “You understand that, don’t you?”

    “I—suppose so, Captain.”

    She nodded. “Okay,” she whispered, releasing him, lowering her hand. But Myers wasn’t through.

    “That doesn’t make what they’re doing right, sir—not after all you’ve done for the rest of us.” He swallowed for a moment, and added. “And…we’re certainly not the only ones who think that way.”

    Ezri said nothing.

    Another guard—a sandy-haired man, a little shorter than his superior, offered, “It’s true, sir. Everyone at Command’s talking about this. We support you, sir. We all do.”

    Ezri felt her eyes well up in tears. She blinked them back, and managed to whisper, “Thank you.”

    They stood there in silent respect for her, waiting. Ezri turned, and walked back into her cell, hearing the force field come on behind her.

    She turned back to look at them again…and she could see a look of guilt on the man who’d entered the command.

    Ezri knew she couldn’t have that…and so, she spoke up, “I don’t hold any of you responsible—any of you. Don’t feel guilty about this—it’s your duty, nothing less, nothing more. You’re following orders. I’d blame you for disobeying them—not for this.”

    They nodded, but Ezri knew it didn’t get rid of what they felt. Still…she knew it was something they had to hear. She continued:

    “Now, whatever happens, I want you to continue with your duties—wherever they lead you. Don’t get any ideas into your heads about breaking me out, or anything similar. Whatever happens, will have happened for a reason. I may not understand it—but I’ll accept it. And I expect you all to do the same. Am I clear?”

    After a moment’s hesitation, Myers spoke up. “Understood, sir.”

    Ezri nodded. “Carry on, gentlemen.”

    “Aye, sir.” They turned as one, and left, returning to the security office.

    Ezri sighed once more, sitting down on the bench. I really hope that dissuades them from trying anything stupid….

    For the next few hours, she sat in the cell, occasionally getting up to walk around. The speaker on one of the walls was tuned in to the FNS frequency. She felt a smile come to her face as she heard Jake Sisko report on the latest from the hearings.

    She found herself remembering when she—Ezri—had first met him…and how tall he’d been, and how short she’d looked, and felt, next to him. She also remembered how he’d tried to comfort her a bit, those first few days, as she travelled with him and Ben, and Ben’s father, to Tyree—and how Jake’s interactions often bordered on flirtation…although she’d been too nervous and, frankly, innocent to have realized it at the time.

    Now…it was amazing how much he’d grown, as a person. Now, he was something of a freelance reporter for FNS, working on a when-and-if-available basis.

    If he’s in Paris right now…I wonder, what are the odds that he’ll request an interview?

    Ezri shook her head. No…it’d probably be considered a conflict of interest. I’m a friend of his father’s, for goodness sake!

    Still…she would have liked to meet with him, if only to check up on old friends…ask how his father was doing, and about his wife Korena, that sort of thing.

    After the broadcast was over, Ezri pressed a control—the device was designed only for non-interactive channels, and would detect any tampering whatsoever, hence its location inside the cell. She welcomed it—she wanted to hear what the many pundits and commentators were saying.

    There was a radical on one frequency who was accusing her, in a tone of uncompromising righteous indignation, of being a morally bankrupt “fascist”—a word she doubted he even knew the meaning of—who had let her fame and glory get to her head, and who’d thought she could get away with whatever she wanted to. The nutcase was becoming so verbally abrasive—smearing not only her, but all of Starfleet—that Ezri had to keep herself from pounding the control, when she switched channels. I wonder how many people actually listen to that—let alone believe it, she thought with disgust.

    The commentator on the next frequency was more sympathetic—a lot more! In fact, she was taking Gleer and his political allies in the Council to task for being a “blame-the-Federation-first crowd” that hated the UFP’s former greatness and wanted to “apologize” to its enemies, and make amends to them by cutting it down to size. She accused them of wanting to take down Ezri Dax because of her service, and her devotion to “the ideals we once stood for”.

    Though she didn’t exactly disagree with the sentiment or the message, Ezri often found herself smiling with amusement at the commentator’s antics. So it’s all because they can’t stand that I’m a patriot? I’m flattered, but…I wouldn’t say it’s that good….

    There were a few other frequencies devoted to commentary, and they all ranged between the first two in fervor and ideology. Fortunately, while there was some criticism of Ezri’s actions, none of it reached the vitriol of the radical. Most, however, were generally supportive of her, and her actions.

    One speaker made an eloquent case for the need for honor and common sense in times like these, and how the citizens of the Federation must always be sure to support “our brave souls in uniform”, and not to despise them and smear them for doing what they have to do. He asked those listening what kind of a nation would do such a thing—giving hostile powers the benefit of the doubt, while refusing to extend the same courtesy to those who put their lives on the line for freedom, and justice.

    He seemed to be a religious man, asking his listeners—almost pleading with them—to pray for those serving the Federation, and for Ezri Dax, that she’d have the strength she needed to face this trial, and to overcome it—and that she’d be allowed to continue to serve with the honor and dignity which had made her the heroine she was in the eyes of the people.

    Ezri found herself blinking back tears at this…and silently wishing she could contact this man somehow, and thank him, and whoever listened to him, for believing in her like that.

    When the man was done, there was a broadcast of a song Ezri recognized, and cherished:

    Hail, Columbia, happy land!
    Hail, ye heroes, heaven-born band!
    Who fought and bled in freedom’s cause—
    Who fought and bled in freedom’s cause—
    And when the storm of war was gone
    Enjoyed the peace your valor won…

    As it went on, Ezri listened in silence. She remembered when Admiral Janice Rand, her mentor and friend from the Academy, had taught that song and many others to her. She always loves these songs, for their powerful simplicity, their stirring melodies…and their message of the universal longing for peace and honor in freedom—and of respect for those heroes and leaders who would fight to realize that desire, and keep it worth fighting for.

    When the song finished, she switched back to FNS, and turned off the console.

    Ezri sat down in silence for a long time…thinking about what Spock had said, on that remote planet somewhere in Donatra’s space—back before the Empress had been duped by Tal’Aura…had been lured to Romulus, and captured, and—

    Ezri sighed, shaking her head. There I go—I thought I’d stopped doing that, distracting myself with other things….

    …Spock had said she, Ezri Dax, was an inspiration, that her life story—a reluctant heroine, who had never asked for what was forced upon her, from the Dax symbiont to her captaincy, but had had “greatness thrust upon her”—had touched the hearts of many…and that she had become an example to them.

    And a few days ago…she’d felt him again, not rebuking her for any abandonment of her duty to those who looked up to her—but encouraging her to press on in this trial.

    She’d told the guards a few hours ago that all this was happening for a reason. What reason? she now found herself asking. What could come from all of this?

    A possible answer came to her: Most of those voices you listened to, just now…they supported you, and condemned those who accused you. Could it be that you’re to be a martyr—and become the catalyst for these people rising up, and changing things in your name?

    A quote came to her…something she remembered from Earth history—United States history:

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

    Ezri froze, unsure of where these thoughts were leading her. I just told those guards not to go revolt. I can’t ask the people to do that sort of thing, either—and I don’t want to.

    And yet…perhaps the point is, my conviction would cause the entire Federation to…to soul-search, and fix the problems that led to this.

    She felt a small smile. To be honest…I’d rather it not require me to go through all that.

    After all…couldn’t change, and reform, happen without that kind of example…or was it needed to shake the people out of apathy?

    Ezri’s thoughts turned once again to Empress Donatra—and this time, with good reason. She’d become acquainted with the empress in the events leading up to the Typhon Pact—and the two of them had become…well, not full-fledged friends, but…

    She deserved better than what happened to her. A lot more. She was going to accept Spock, and his movement, to protect them—and then, to be framed for trying to kill him and—

    She shook her head. That was the past. In fact…it might have been all for the best. Spock had nothing to fear anymore—by the purest good fortune, Tal’Aura had also died, and her successor was a noted supported of peace with the Federation. As a result, the persecution against the Unification movement was officially over.

    A tragedy had happened—a good person, who had led many of her people, with honor and decency…had been sacrificed—and from that, something amazing had happened. It was almost as if…Donatra had had to die, so that the universe would be changed for the better.

    But…but does it have to be like that? Can’t great things happen in the universe without needing something terrible like that to happen?

    She rubbed her forehead, shaking her head. She certainly had no intention of dying. And she certainly had no intention of letting herself get convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, either. If only there was another option—something to open the Federation’s eyes, without any real cost, to her or to the Federation.

    If only there was some way…something I could do….


    * * *​
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    OK, got all caught up with this. I generally like this story with the Section 31 shadow plot on the show trial being put on for what appears to be purely political reasons. And as I mention my recent forays into the Typhon Pact series of books, I was quite interested in your interpretation of these characters.

    What I do find odd here is that Dax is being put on trial by the Federation Council in a hearing (but really a trial as there will be a verdict at the end) presided over by the president herself. That's like having a Navy captain dragged in front of Congress, questioned by Senators with the president as the judge. That's probably not a fair comparison as the Federation is not exactly modeled after the U.S. Constitution but at the very least you'd expect some form of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice in which a starship captain would have to face a court martial and be prosecuted by a Starfleet prosecutor representing the interests of the Federation with a Starfleet appointed counselor arguing in her defense.

    I suppose the reason I find this hearing/trial odd is because it is quite clear from your last chapter that you're drawing strong parallels to contemporary American society in other areas, i.e. liberal versus conservative pundits, heavy news coverage, reference to the Declaration of Independence, etc.

    I suppose it might really just boil down to a different interpretation of what Federation law would or should be like in a situation like this and that's of course perfectly alright.
     
  17. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    ^Well, I suppose the best precedent for how the process works in the Federation is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Remember, Kirk and Co. stood trial before the Council, with the President as judge.

    As such...any tale concerning such a big, wide-ranging issue would have to be dealt with in a similar fasion. However, I did feel the need to, whenever I could, draw parallels to contemporary society--as, indeed, is one of the major tenants of Trek in general, I feel. Thus, within the limitations of previously-established structures (which, actually, helped me out a lot in the sort of situation I really wanted, for here), I am also trying my best to draw a kind of parallel.

    Glad you're liking it so far. :)
     
  18. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So there's an MSNBC in the 24th century? The second commentary sounds like Fox News, and then CNN and CNN Headline. Although, I should know since one of my stories portrayed the liberal pundit in a positive light and the libertarian pundit in a negative light. All that aside, Gleer was clearly out of line in terms of his questioning during the testimonies of Tarses and Bowers.
     
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Ah...I won't say who or what I'm invoking, there--but I will say that the cable news channels weren't quite what I was going for--least of all CNN or Headline. Remember, the third "host" seems to be more religiously inclined, asking listeners to pray for Ezri Dax, etc. Ted Turner's channels are many things--but I hardly think they are Host Three.

    There are specific individuals that I'd based Hosts One and Three on (I'd rather not say who--please don't ask, let alone guess). Two is simply an exaggerated conglameration of the opposite POV of One.

    But--and this is important--the point isn't particularly any "left vs. right", per se. I am just showing the extremes of anti-patriotism (which angers our heroine), and loud, irreverent flag-waving (which amuses her)--and contrasting both with legit, heartfelt devotion to those who serve--true patriotism.


    Interesting note: I'd actually debated with myself on whether or not I should remove that sequence--I was concerned it might distract from the story.

    I ultimately decided to keep it, to "show" that--like today--there are vehement political discussions and debates in the 24th Century. I believe that's a very good thing--honesty in political debate is something I love. However...sometimes, it can get a little...interesting.

    Anyway, this tale, more than anything else, is a look at how a major event like this effects so many in society--from the darkest alleys of the netherworld of espionage (Section 31), to the highest halls of government (Bacco)--to Ezri herself--to the guards she converses with in the beginning of the scene--to some other characters I haven't brought in yet--and of course...to these commentators.


    BTW...any thoughts on the beinning of the chapter? :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  20. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It certainly was an enjoyable allegory regardless of which side of the political fence readers are on even if the taboo topics of conversation when meeting the in-laws are religion and politics. I only mention one of the networks that has a few likeable commentators and one who is a total nut job.

    It was a classic Trek moment of humanizing the jailers. I appreciate the play on certain plot cliches in the Trek universe, which I tend to do in some of my works, as well as Ezri pointing out that this is not one of those times to be going against the higher-ups.
     

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