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

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

  1. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Heroes shouldn't be above the law. No one should be above the law, which is why I disapprove of Section 31, even if their motives are sound. But what defines a hero? Surely it is the doing of good deeds. Not just great deeds, for that can simply mean major or significant ones, but good deeds. Moral ones. A law that restricts heroism is an unjust one.

    As usual, Rush, well written and compelling. And expressing world views that even this bleedin' heat liberal can agree with. :)
     
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you very much, Badger! :)

    I think this tale, more than anything else, shows a vast spectrum of this debate. The Breen, Gleer, Bacco, Ezri, 31...all sides have a vested interest in what is effectively a battle for the Federation's soul.

    I love your line, "A law that restricts heroism is an unjust one." I think that defines things quite nicely.
     
  3. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    I'll be honest with you Ezri has never been my favorite character. And in the novelverse she was my least favorite Captain. And at times I think there is a lot of Erzri worship in your stories. But after reading this I have a couple of things to say.

    This was a great story. The only critic I have is that you may have tried to tie Ezri to too many characters that are unrelated to Ezri. For example Spock. I don't remember her ever having any interaction with him so that connection felt forced to me. I think that in this case the use of Sisko may have been a better character to encourage Ezri when she needed it. After all Dax is his best friend and your story could have easily fit within the one the novels have for him. He feels all his friends are suffering because of his actions. Maybe, irrationally of course he would feel responsible and at least be there for the trial. Another option was instead of "hearing" Spock encourage her it could have been one of her former hosts.

    That being said everything else is awesome. You've tied in a lot of the threads from the novels and I actually felt that this could have been Star Trek Typhon Pact: Our Sacred Honor. I know you constrained at the moment since you are using the novel universe for your story. But after thinking about it I kinda would like the idea of Julian and Ezri getting back together. Great use of Section 31, President Bacco, the Federation Council. Rush, I didn't think anyone could do it. The professional authors couldn't do it...but you've made me a Ezri fan. That speech she gave was brilliant. And now you've won a fan of your writing.

    Thanks for sharing this gift freely. Definitley a 5 out of 5 stars story. Well done.
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, Halliwel...the story's not over, yet. :) Still, I'm glad you're loving it.

    As for Spock--well, that's a connection to my previous story, "A Rendezvous With Destiny". If you haven't read it, yet--I strongly recommend it, to get an idea of the source for their deep friendship. Everything here, flows from there.

    As for Sisko...I feel that's grounds for its own story--and I don't want to write anything to conflict with what the writers will do with him in the future. Also...I personally wouldn't have been able to "buy" Sisko being confident enough to give Ezri any stength or wisdom, what with what he's going through, as of the period this tale's set. I basically imply, in the beginning of Ezri's sequence with Julian, that Sisko's in his period of isolation. I doubt he's do much more than lock himself in his ready room to watch the proceedings (as he does, here).

    All that being said--I am extremely grateful for making you an Ezri fan--and a fan of my work. Again, I strongly recommend "Rendezvous," if you want to get a "feel" for her friendship with Spock. (Note--I am a BIG shipper for Julian/Ezri, and a major element in my tales is arranging things so they possibly can come back together, some day...)

    Thanks for reading! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now...let's close the week, with a heart-to-heart.

    I'm pretty sure everything will be concluded by the end of next week. In the meantime...


    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor

    Chapter 26



    Nan Bacco stepped into the hall where lay the cell of Ezri Dax. The girl was sitting there, in silence, looking deep in thought…looking not at all confident of a victory. She didn’t look like she expected a failure, but…she sat on the edge of her cot, her posture tense, staring intently at the wall across from her in the cell.

    Poor girl, Bacco mused. Not deserving any of this…and yet, here we are.

    Ezri turned to see the president—and once again shot to her feet. “Madam—”

    “At ease and as you were, kiddo. We’re going to sit right back down anyway,” Bacco smirked.

    Ezri nodded, no more at ease than before, as she looked off, pursing her lips. She didn’t sit down—still clearly in “respect mode”.

    Bacco turned to her guards, with a quick nod. “Beat it.”

    The two muscle men snapped to attention, nodded, and walked out of the hall.

    Bacco walked up to the panel, and deactivated the force field. She entered the cell, and sat down on the cot. With a smile, she patted beside her. Ezri nodded slowly, and sat down.

    “How are you faring, now?” Bacco asked.

    Ezri sighed. “It…took a lot out of me.”

    “I can imagine. Ezri—I’ve seen quite a bit in my lifetime, but…” Bacco grinned, “It was one heck of a speech.”

    Ezri chuckled. “I’m not—well, I don’t want to get my hopes up that it’ll make much difference.”

    “It’d better—you had me convinced the Federation was on trial!” Bacco snorted. “What in the Bird’s name made you pull that out of a hat?”

    Ezri shrugged. “I don’t know. It…well, just all that I’ve experienced, these past few days…everything…”

    Bacco shrugged. “Well, speaking for me—after that little thing? If they take you down, I’m certainly doing some soul-searching. You know how many dang times I’ve been saying, ‘Sometimes…I wish I never had this job’?”

    “I…can’t imagine.”

    Bacco put a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Ezri…word of advice: if you’re ever convinced to run for this office…?”

    Ezri blinked. “Ma’am?”

    “And you actually win.”

    “Um…”

    Kill—yourself!”

    Ezri chuckled. “I—I don’t have any plans for that. Any of that.”

    Bacco gave a firm nod. “Good.”

    “Besides…” A mischievous glint appeared in Ezri’s eyes, “You’re not going anywhere, from what I hear.”

    Bacco lowered her hand. “Now, listen, kiddo—you’d better not be insolent.”

    Ezri’s gaze lowered. “Sorry, Madam—”

    “Ah, forget about it. I’m just throwing a barb out.”

    Ezri nodded. “Noted.”

    “In all seriousness…” Bacco leaned to her, putting an arm around her, “It’ll work out, Ezri. If there’s any justice in the universe, you’re walking, tomorrow.”

    Ezri sighed…and to Bacco, she seemed every bit as small as she felt, in the president’s arm. “I…I hope so, Madam President,” she whispered.

    Bacco nodded, her eyes closed. “Me too,” she quietly said.

    After a moment of silence…a moment of connection far deeper than words—Ezri turned to her. “Madam President?”

    “Yeah?”

    “I…well, I was just wondering…”

    Bacco chuckled, “Oh, spit it out, kiddo—I don’t have all night.”

    “Well—why do you…I mean, you’re here, and you’ve been here, over and over…”

    “Why do I care so much?”

    Ezri nodded.

    Bacco looked off, staring at nothing in particular. Finally, she turned to the girl, staring deep into her eyes, and said, “You know…you’re so young…”

    Ezri blinked. “Ma’am?”

    “Late twenties, or something?”

    Ezri chuckled. “Well, depends on how you look at it, I suppose….”

    “Uh-huh….” Bacco hesitated for a moment, and added, “You know…I have a few grandchildren, myself.”

    Ezri smiled warmly. “Really?”

    “Mm-hmm. Come to think of it…they’re not much older than you, I reckon.”

    Ezri’s smile grew. She understood.

    Bacco tightened her hold a little…and Ezri leaned against her, like a child…a child, with the protection of a loving parent…or grandparent….

    She’s so young…but, for whatever reasons, she’s had to grow up, so early. And—and to face all this, now…the weight of the universe on her shoulders, like this—it should be me! I’m the one with all the years, all the trials under my belt. Politics is my business. I play the game. She shouldn’t have to. And yet…

    And yet, today…there was so much that I needed to learn from her.

    Bacco sighed once again, and whispered, “So help me, Dax…if they don’t let you go, I’ll…”

    Ezri straightened up. “Ma’am?”

    Bacco released her, and shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know—but I’ll do something. Dang the consequences—I won’t stand for it. Can’t I issue a pardon? I’ll do it—and a statement, along with it!”

    Ezri calmly raised her hand, smiling sadly. “Madam President…you don’t have to worry about me. If I have to go down…I’ll go.”

    “I won’t—”

    “Madam President—I can’t order you; you’re my commander. So I’ll beg you—” her eyes moistened, “Please—let me accept it. Whatever it is—I’ll have to accept it.”

    Bacco’s lip tightened. “You don’t—have—to face it.”

    Ezri took the president’s hand. “Please…let me.”

    Bacco stared at the girl, saying nothing.

    Ezri blinked back the tears, and whispered, “I don’t want a pardon, Madam President. That wouldn’t change what has to be changed.”

    Bacco shook her head. “So you’d rather be a martyr?”

    Ezri snorted. “I’d rather be acquitted. But one way or another, something has to change. And it won’t if we cause more headaches with the Pact without gaining anything.”

    “We’d be ‘gaining’ your freedom.”

    “And where will I go? I can’t just go back on the Aventine, like nothing happened. That’ll just make things worse, on your end. And to be honest, Madam President—anything less would be a punishment, anyway. I’d rather have it honestly.”

    Bacco sighed, spreading out her hands. “Fine, fine…it’s your neck.”

    She rose to her feet, looking down at the captain for a moment. “Still…don’t think I’d just let it lie. If you’re thrown to the wolves, I won’t let them hear the end of it.”

    Ezri nodded, with a smile. “Thank you, Madam President.”

    Bacco returned the nod. “Get some rest, Captain. Big day tomorrow.”

    Ezri nodded again. “See you there.”

    Bacco turned, and left, closing the field behind her.

    I’ll find some way—somehow or another, I won’t let her go down, without a fight!

    But for now…all she could do was wait…and pray that Justice still had meaning, in the government of the Federation.
    * * *​
     
  6. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the verdict is... you'll find out after the break.
     
  7. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the end...begins....


    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 27




    Sarina Douglass followed Julian Bashir into their suite…watching him, studying how all that had happened to day had affected him.

    It was hard to tell, but he seemed…drained. Tired—whether from a reaction to the statements, or just general stress…he was tired. He seemed sad, too—in a nostalgic sense. Sarina hoped to heaven that that wouldn’t last long, either way.

    Julian looked around him, saying nothing. To Sarina, something in him seemed to deflate, as he relaxed his shoulders.

    Finally, he turned to her. “Sarina, I’d…better shower, and change. I’m a—a little tired.”

    Sarina nodded. “I’ll check messages.” She shrugged, “Who knows—my superiors might have something, that…”

    Julian nodded, forcing a smile. “Thank you,” he said, in a near whisper.

    It was an alibi, of course. If something unusual were to happen, regarding Captain Dax, Sarina would have to have a cover story, to keep him from suspecting. And of course…the best lies are the ones closest to the truth.

    She smiled in turn, to reassure him, or disarm him—whichever.

    Apparently, it did little of either. Julian sighed, and entered the bedroom.

    Sarina remained, and turned to the desk, where sat the computer screen. She saw a message—labeled Code 47.

    She walked over, sitting down. It was addressed to her.

    She stiffened, willing herself to not let any feelings of hope or despair fill either her mind or her heart. She swallowed, gathered up her courage…and followed the instructions on screen.
    * * *​
     
  8. adm_gold

    adm_gold Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just a quick note that I recently found this story and I'm already caught up and looking forward to the conclusion. Good work!
     
  9. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    And the suspense builds even more!
     
  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Quick note: due to being on a tight schedule, I'm experiencing a few delays, as far as the story's concerned. Sorry for that, folks....
     
  11. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And at last...the moment of truth:


    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 28



    Ezri Dax was escorted once more into the chamber of the Federation Council. She looked around her, as she did so—at those friends who sat there, waiting for the judgment to be declared.

    She noticed something amid the members of the Council—all of them, from what she could see. They were all tense…all standing still in silence—and what resembled fear. She couldn’t begin to interpret what that could mean—she figured she’d get the answer, soon enough.

    She stood there, in the center of the room…alone. Before her, President Nan Bacco stood at the podium…and the tension throughout the Council seemed to fill her, as well.

    The president cleared her throat, and stared at her for a moment’s hesitation. At last, she began, “Captain Ezri Dax?”

    Ezri nodded, “Yes, Madam President.”

    “You have stood before this hearing—as have many others. Are you now prepared to receive the ruling?”

    Ezri nodded again. “I am, Madam President.”

    “So be it,” the president said, and consulted the padd before her, on the podium. She seemed to freeze—and blink in what looked like astonishment—as she read what was clearly the results of the Council vote.

    Ezri stiffened, willing herself with all that she was to show no reaction.

    Apparently…so did the president, as she slowly lifted her gaze to meet Ezri’s eyes.

    “Captain Dax,” Bacco said, in a voice that sounded as though it struggled not to break—in joy or despair, it was difficult to tell, “From what I can tell…the vote was nearly unanimous.”

    Ezri nodded slowly, saying nothing, as she closed her eyes.

    “Ezri Dax…as of this stardate, the Council has voted—” the president stopped for a second, as though to brace herself, and said, “—to clear you of all charges.”

    Ezri Dax could hear the cheers behind her—around her. Her eyes still closed, she could hear the thunderous applause…and the voices of her crew—and of all who had come to support her. She could hear him, and Sarina beside him.

    And with this, Ezri opened her eyes, and raised her head to meet the gaze of the president. It was clear now—Bacco was fighting to suppress the smile of joy, of relief…relief at the Council, at the Federation…and at herself.

    Ezri smiled for her. She smiled for both of them.

    And then, Bacco looked down, at what looked to be another padd on the podium. She looked up, and her features hardened.

    “All right—settle down!” she called.

    All did—but Ezri could hear a few murmurs of delight. She briefly glanced at Bera chim Gleer…and could see a look of daggers in his eyes—even disgust—but with it, defeat…and resignation. She didn’t know how, but Ezri somehow knew, then, that he had voted in her favor.

    She looked back to the president, wondering if the older woman would give an explanation.

    “Assuming the press hasn’t already received the information already,” Bacco said, in what sounded like bitter amusement, “I’ll hold a press conference promptly—and I would appreciate that the Captain stand with me, while I do so. For now…” her voice turned solemn, and a little sad, “I will say this: Ezri Dax…on behalf of the entire Federation, I wish to give our most thorough, sincere, and humble apologies, for this entire affair.”

    Ezri blinked. What on Earth…?

    “Furthermore—as of this stardate, I—Nanietta Bacco, President of the United Federation…” her gaze hardened, “demand a similarly full, complete—and completely unconditional apology from the government of the Breen Confederacy…for leading our own government on a total charade, in an attempt to disgrace…” Bacco met Ezri’s gaze, “…one of our most noted heroes, and in so doing, humiliate and embarrass the Federation. I will state for the record—for all listening to my voice—that I will not tolerate, so long as I hold this office, any attempt by a foreign power to manipulate us in this manner. I will explain my statement in a press conference in one hour.”

    Her gavel came down in a single, satisfied slam. “That is all.”

    Ezri found herself frowning for a moment in confusion. Wasn’t—wasn’t Bacco taking this victory a bit too far? Unless…

    She said she’ll explain—and she wants you to be there, when she does. Be patient.

    And so, she did…and she turned to face the booth where sat her friends…at Simon, and Sam…and all the others…

    And Julian Bashir, who stood there silently, Sarina beside him. She seemed to be talking to one of the Aventine crew, taking part in the delight of the ruling. But Julian stared back at Ezri…and the two locked eyes, for one moment, all too brief.

    There had been a time when they could almost read one another’s thoughts—hold small, simple conversations just by reading one another’s faces. Here, now…Ezri could read a simple, certain Well done, Ezri—well done.

    Ezri felt a small smile on her face, as she nodded to him. Thank you.

    He returned the smile, and nodded back.

    At this, Ezri felt a light pat on her shoulder—and she turned to see President Bacco standing beside her.

    “All right, kiddo,” she said, “Let’s get the heck outta here. We have a press conference.”

    Ezri nodded, following the suddenly brisk pace of the president, as they walked to the exit of the chambers. Bacco’s gaze was set directly ahead, her eyes narrowed, her hands clenched into fists, as she held a single padd—the second one she had referred to, up on the podium.

    Ezri shook her head in bewilderment as she caught up, “Madam President, will all due respect, what in I’nora’s name is—?”

    Bacco shoved a padd at her, without looking. “Shut up and read, Dax. We’ve been played like a dang fiddle, and I’m gonna throw it back in those dog-nosed helmets of theirs if it’s the last thing I ever do.”

    Ezri quickly nodded, taking the padd.

    And her blood ran cold, as she read the report marked with the seal of Starfleet Intelligence.


    * * *​
     
  12. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Very, very cool!
     
  13. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hold on, folks: as Yogi Berra said, it ain't over 'till it's over....
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now--at long last...the conclusion.


    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 29



    Sorak sat in his office, watching the press conference on screen. The president’s features and posture were filled with what humans called “righteous anger”…as she described—and condemned—the actions of the Confederacy, their false “civilians”…their set-up of Captain Dax—everything. The captain stood beside her, a look of shock—and barely-concealed contempt, clearly aimed at the Breen—on her own face.

    Sorak permitted himself a small smile. He had been confident, if only slightly, that the Council would vote in the captain’s favor—particularly following that…most satisfactory speech. However…in such a business as Section 31’s…one could not take such things for granted. There had to have been a guarantee…and further, something to turn this entire affair into an event to work to the advantage of the Federation. It had been necessary.

    And further—L’Haan did not disappoint.

    “Well, I’d say we can…consider this a victory, on our part,” said the colleague, sitting off to the side in a dark corner of the office…where he was nonetheless able to watch, as Sorak was.

    Sorak turned to him, his smile fading. “Perhaps. However…I am a little concerned as to the penalties L’Haan may be required to undergo.”

    “Oh? What do you mean?”

    “Simply…she herself was clearly reluctant to take action as we had…suggested—for the simple reason that it would jeopardize the assignment of her Agent, Miss Douglass.”

    “Ah, I see.” The man spread out his hands. “Well—in the end, what had to be done, was done.”

    “I suppose. As for Miss Douglass…”

    The colleague shrugged. “Well—as you reported, Sorak…she was in a dilemma, either way. We’ll see how she fares, as it stands.”

    Sorak’s eyebrow rose. “You presume to suggest that we watch an agent of another division?”

    The man chuckled. “Sorak…as you said yourself, L’Haan has no idea what she’s getting into. I mean—deceiving him like that, for so long…does she really think that’ll work?”

    Sorak looked off, and tilted his head. “L’Haan is not known for her incompetence.”

    “No…but arrogance is another thing. After all—we know the doctor a lot better than she ever could.”

    “Perhaps….” Sorak nodded…his gaze focusing on the two women on the screen—one old, one young…one human, one Trill. He stared thoughtfully at the latter…and nodded once again.

    “Perhaps,” he said, in a near whisper.


    * * *​


    Sarina Douglass walked with Julian Bashir, side by side. From what she could tell—and she could tell a lot—he was happy. Well…satisfied, anyway—content, for this moment.

    She leaned towards him, as they walked out of the Palais. “Penny for your thoughts.”

    “Hmm?” He looked to her…and his smile grew.

    Sarina chuckled. “What? What are you smiling at?”

    He shrugged. “You know, I was wondering…according to the president—that report came in from…Starfleet Intelligence.”

    Sarina kept her own smile mysterious. “Well?”

    “I didn’t know your superiors had such a flair for the dramatic—waiting until the last moment to spring that on us…?”

    Sarina shrugged. “Is that a question, Julian?” she asked innocently.

    Julian’s smile remained…but his eyes turned very perceptive. “I don’t suppose…”

    Sarina threw her head back, with a laugh. “I—you’re asking me that?”

    Julian shrugged again. “I don’t know. Just a little convenient. That’s all.”

    Sarina nodded thoughtfully, looking off for a moment.

    Play it cool. You’ve got this, Sarina—don’t botch it up.

    She grinned mischievously, as she turned back to him. “I don’t suppose it’d be tacky to say, ‘I’d tell you…but then…’”

    Julian chuckled. “Fine—I’ll keep it shut, if you want. Still…if you did…”

    His voice turned serious, as it trailed off…and he looked off, in silence.

    Sarina frowned. “Julian…?”

    He turned to her, and his smile returned…warm, and almost sad.

    “Thank you,” he said.

    Sarina returned the smile, and nodded. The two took their place in the front row of the crowd…as Sarina reflected on this—his gratitude, and all that it implied.

    It’s better this way—you told L’Haan yourself that, didn’t you? The damage’s done, either way—but here, you can repair it. After all—you go where he goes. She doesn’t. You’ll be fine.

    Sarina silently hoped that that wouldn’t prove to be a delusion—and that she and L’Haan hadn’t just made one of the greatest mistakes of their respective careers.


    * * *​


    Ezri was quiet, for most of the walk from the press room.

    A set-up. All of this…just to one-up the Federation, and embarrass it! These people don’t have any shame, do they? And—and we all fell for it! I fell for it.

    With that, her mind chided, Don’t worry about that. It all worked out for the best.

    Still…at the last night before the vote? All that time—and it wasn’t until then? Somehow, “I got lucky” doesn’t seem that satisfying….

    “Lucky,” she muttered under her breath.

    Bacco turned to her. “Something the matter, kiddo?”

    Ezri shook her head. “They certainly took their time.”

    “Who—SI?”

    Ezri nodded.

    Bacco shrugged. “For what it’s worth—I’d think you had it clinched, last-minute report or no last-minute report.”

    Ezri turned to her with a shudder. “How can you be sure of that?”

    Bacco scoffed. “Ezri—you were dead right. Dead right—and everyone knew it. They’d have been stupid not to—”

    “I don’t know…” Ezri looked off, shaking her head.

    Bacco clasped a hand on her shoulder. “Come on, kiddo. I like you innocent, you hear? Leave the cynical crap to the politicians—to me. And I’m not feeling cynical, today, so don’t you start.”

    “But…Madam—”

    “Nan, kiddo—Nan!” Bacco grinned.

    Ezri chuckled. “Nan…I’m just…well, a little—”

    “Ezri…maybe you should just sit back, and trust people more, okay? I doubt it’d be hard for you, if you try.”

    Ezri sighed. “It wasn’t—once. But…after everything that’s happened—not just now, but, over the years…”

    “Oh, come on, kiddo—there’s a time and place for everything, right? A time to cry, and a time to laugh. And you’ve just got cleared—you’re name’s back where it’s supposed to be—I’d say…it’s time to laugh.”

    Ezri paused for a moment, to think this over. Finally…she nodded, and smiled. “All right,” she said.

    “All right,” Bacco nodded—as they exited the Palais.

    They were met with a cheer—a loud, resounding cheer, as hundreds of citizens of the United Federation stood across the street, behind a line imposed by law enforcement. They cheered…they rejoiced…they cried out their elation, for two leaders who had struggled—and triumphed.

    Ezri stood still, watching the crowd…listening to the applause. She was reminded, briefly, of Bolius…the cheers, the applause, the crying out of thanks to her. And yet…here, it was different. They were cheering for her, this time.

    Bacco patted her on the shoulder once again, grinning and beaming with the same delight. “Look at them, Ezri!” she called above the noise. “And you were afraid to trust the people, again.”

    Ezri nodded…as her own smile grew. Her eyes moistened, and she nodded.

    In the end…in the end, for all the evil we see, in the universe—all the corruption, all the schemes—in the end…there is good. And if it stands firm to the end…it will triumph—one way, or another.

    She looked—and she saw Julian, standing there, Sarina standing beside him.

    Ezri laughed in delight, like the little girl she knew she was at heart, as she waved to them.

    The cheers rose in volume—as far as the crowd was concerned, it was meant for them.

    Ezri Dax laughed again, waving to them all—no, not just to them, to Spock, and Benjamin, and Nerys…and all the rest, whom she knew in her heart was watching, right now.

    President Bacco stood beside her, content to smile—at her, and at the people.

    Captain Ezri Dax lived in that moment, taking it in. She didn’t know what the future would hold, for her or for the Federation. But for this moment, at least…the future was bright indeed.

    Ezri Dax stood there, at peace with herself…no longer alone.


    * * *​


    And the adventure continues….​
     
  15. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Simply wonderful!
     
  16. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^Indeed. A most satisfying conclusion to the story.

    And please, when convenient, do put up those missing scenes.
     
  17. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Quite enjoyable right up to the end. The Section 31 subplot and Gleer's speech planted a few seeds of doubt as to the outcome. But as fans of the classic court dramas would say, it's if (Perry Mason, Ben Matlock, the prosecutors on Law & Order, etc.) wins, it's how they win.

    In any case, the bonus scenes such as the Donatra version of the political pressure Bacco was facing.
     
  18. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you all for your comments, so far! :)


    Okay! Ask...and you shall recieve. ;)

    First up: the alternate "Bacco's Office" scene.

    This was written before Rough Beasts of Empire came out. As I've said before, I'd originally planned for Tal'Aura's RSE to be the villain in this tale. As such, when the book came out--chronologically taking place before ZSG--it put me in a tight spot, forcing me to re-write a lot. Among other things, I had to remove a nice moment in which L'Haan, upon hearing Sorak's report about the civilians being recruited--and killed--by the Tal Shiar, muses on the disquieting irony, that "our cousins" could engage in such brutality.

    Fortunately, it did also lead me to write a nice passage where Ezri, musing on Donatra's sad fate, reflects on the apparent tragedy which seems to be the norm in the universe, right now. That moment, I think, prepares us nicely for her moment of cynicism just before the end of the tale--and helps make her reassurance more rewarding.

    Still, there are many things I miss, from the following version of the "holo-conference" chapter--not the least of which is the cameraderie I enjoyed establishing between Martok, Donatra, and Bacco. I also couldn't resist "working in" my knowledge and love of Political Theory/Philosophy, with the reference to Hobbes. So, without further ado...

    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Bacco's Office-Alternate



    Nan Bacco sat in the presidential office, wishing there was something she could do—something to end this mindless charade of a hearing.

    She sighed, rising from her chair, stepping to the window. She looked out at the Parisian skyline, taking in all the sights. There was the Eiffel Tower—the famous relic of the Industrial Revolution. There was the Notre Dame cathedral, the mighty, awe-inspiring work of Gothic beauty.

    The first structure, a monument to human progress and innovation—the second, a monument to the majesty and power of faith, and “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”, as Jefferson wrote.

    Bacco wasn’t exactly a faithful “born-again” zealot…but she nonetheless understood the power and appeal of the seeking of a higher power—the appeal to heaven, to affect one’s fate for the better. She recalled having some good conversations with a delegation from Bajor.

    And so, she closed her eyes, her thoughts and feelings sincere. Please…don’t let this woman be burned at the stake like this. If there’s any justice in the universe—don’t let it be denied to her.

    The intercom came on. “Madame President?”

    Bacco sighed, and turned. “Yes, what is it?”

    “You have incoming transmissions from Chancellor Martok and Empress Donatra—holocom, priority channel.”

    Bacco stiffened. She had a pretty good idea what these two had to say. She walked over to the “front” of her desk, to be seen completely by her two allies in this cold war against the Pact. “Patch it through.”

    “Yes, Madame President. Commencing…now.

    Two life-size three-dimensional images appeared before her. To the right was Martok, chancellor of the Klingon Empire. Tall, strong, with a bearing defining the words “powerful” and “imposing”, he bore the scars of many battles, many wars—not the least of which was his internment in a Dominion stronghold, which had resulted in a missing eye, a solemn reminder of a battle won…yet a battle lost.

    Bacco remembered how Martok had broken protocol completely and endorsed her—well, not really “endorsed”, just made it painfully clear whom he supported—for president. It was only natural, considering how her opponent, Arafel Pagro, had been a quasi-isolationist who’d engaged in defamation of the Empire which often bordered on slander. Bacco remembered with an inner smile how she’d laid down the law on Pagro in their only debate, pointing out that under Martok, the Empire had begun to engage in an extensive series of reforms, not the least of which involved the treatment of races under its domain.

    To the left stood Donatra, Empress of the Imperial Romulan State—the woman responsible for leading a rebellion against the frankly corrupt and unstable Romulan Star Empire. It was, to be honest, inevitable that the farming worlds under Romulan control would be pledged to the former commander—from what Bacco had heard, they saw her as their defender, and friend.

    As a rule, Bacco wasn’t too keen on the idea of an absolute monarch—which was what Donatra seemed to style herself to be. Nonetheless, one look at this spirited, lively young woman was all Bacco needed to be reassured. Donatra was a noble woman—a patriot, who deeply cared for her people.

    She was no tyrant. In fact…Bacco remembered an ancient political work from Earth, from her studies on the art of politics as a girl. And to be honest, Donatra’s Imperial Romulan State seemed very much an embodiment of Hobbes’s “Leviathan”.

    Still…for every good ruler, there’ll be ten or twenty cruel ones. I just hope she’ll see that, before something happens to her…and she’ll be replaced by someone less…

    And of course, Bacco knew of Ambassador Spock’s secret negotiations with the Empress, to secure safe haven for the members of his Unification Movement. Officially, Donatra claimed to denounce the Movement. Unofficially…well, at the very least, she welcomed what was clearly a further threat to the power of Praetor Tal’Aura.

    Still…Spock had recently informed Bacco that he was putting the original plan on hold. He didn’t say why…something about a great deal of curious changes occurring inside the halls of Romulus. Donatra was rather tight-lipped about it, as well. Bacco, as a rule, hated not knowing what was going on around her…but it seemed as if she’d just have to wait and see what it all meant.

    And so, she smiled, driving the thoughts from her mind. “Chancellor…Empress…what can I do for you?”

    Martok spoke up, in a reserved, yet challenging tone. “You can explain yourselves, Madam President.”

    Bacco blinked. “I assume you’re referring to the hearings concerning—”

    “What else? I never thought the Federation would be so…disgraceful—until four days ago, when I was informed of this great lump of targ waste—”

    “Chancellor, before you go on,” Bacco interrupted, biting her lip, “It may interest you—both of you—to know that I feel the same way about this.”

    Donatra frowned at this. “If I may be so bold, Madam President…your Council seems to feel otherwise.”

    “I’m aware of that—which is why my hands are tied. I can’t dismiss this if the Council feels led to continue—and it does.”

    Donatra looked a little amused at this, as if reflecting on the Romulan Senate she’d once been subservient to. “Perhaps. But to be honest, Madam President…I find it astonishing that they would cater so easily to Tal’Aura.”

    Bacco sighed. “As do I. But Empress, you must understand…unlike you, we don’t have the luxury of having already been declared an enemy of the Praetor’s.”

    “Neither have we,” said Martok, “—Not formally, at least. That hardly prevents me from giving my opinion on that treacherous yIntagh—”

    Chancellor,” Bacco spoke up, “You must also understand that the Federation is still recovering from the Borg. We were hit by it far harder than you were—and with respect, while you may have a strong enough defense to back up such a posture, we don’t.”

    I hope I didn’t just sound desperate….

    Donatra shook her head. “Surely you’re not defending this smear-mongering.”

    “I’m not ‘defending’ anything. I firmly believe that Ezri Dax is innocent, and—”

    “You don’t seem to be acting on that belief,” Martok snorted.

    Bacco mentally counted to ten. “Chancellor…If I could, I would. Few understand more than me how much Dax means to the Federation. We all owe her our lives. But—if the Council decides that the Praetor’s claims are valid…I have no choice but to stand there, numb my conscience, look that girl right in the eye—and pronounce her guilty!”

    After a minute of silence at this, Martok spoke in a measured tone. “That ‘girl’…is a member of the House of Martok, Madame President. Understand, she is,” he let out a small sigh, “almost like a daughter.”

    Donatra frowned in bewilderment. “This is the first that I’ve heard of such a thing.”

    Martok gave a smirk. “Her predecessor was married to…an adopted brother—former-Ambassador Worf.”

    Donatra nodded. “I’ve met him. A most impressive man.”

    Martok let out a deep, throaty laugh. “Indeed! It was his idea that I accept Ezri Dax, on the grounds that she was a worthy successor to Jadzia. I would say that was an understatement. To call her an ‘honorable woman’ would not give her sufficient credit.”

    Bacco nodded. “I understand, Chancellor.”

    Martok’s gaze turned firm, his tone serious. “Make sure that you do. And I would advise you to inform the Council of this: If Ezri Dax is convicted—I will personally take it as…a great insult to the honor of my House.”

    Bacco felt a smile. “Thank you, Chancellor. I’ll be sure to pass that on.”

    “Very good, Madame President. Now, if the two of you will excuse me, I have other matters to take care of.”

    Bacco nodded. “Of course, Chancellor.”

    Donatra smiled, and raised her fist to her heart in the Klingon salute. Q’apla, Chancellor Martok.”

    Bacco smirked, and did the same.

    Martok nodded to both, returning the salute. “I thank you both. Empress…may your enemies eternally tremble before your feet, and may their hearts be ever ripe for your teeth.”

    Donatra’s eyes widened slightly, but she nodded in gratitude.

    “Madame President…may you succeed in your battles with the treacherous within your borders.”

    Bacco nodded. “Chancellor.”

    The Klingon’s image disappeared. Bacco turned to Donatra, “Empress…I take it you feel the same way?”

    “About this hearing? I do, Madame President. I have had the pleasure of acquainting myself with the Captain. It would be a shame to be deprived of that…”

    Bacco smiled. “…friendship?”

    Donatra smiled. “I wouldn’t take it to that extent. But I would venture to say she is a most remarkable person.”

    Bacco nodded. “Well…I’m sure she’d be pleased to know she has friends in high places.”

    “Of course. Perhaps you could pass my feelings on this to the Council, along with the Chancellor’s?”

    Bacco nodded. “I will. But I’m not convinced it’ll have any effect.”

    “No?”

    “I’m sure this could be interpreted as…battle lines being drawn.”

    Donatra nodded slowly. “It could be.”

    “I’d rather it not come to that. As I told Martok…we don’t have the resources for a war.”

    “If it comes to that…you will have our support, Madam President. I expect the Chancellor to concur.”

    Bacco chuckled. “Well, that may be so…but you two are at the wrong end of the Federation, if the Breen and the Tholians decide to assist their allies. And the Cardassians are in little better shape than we are. And…the Ferengi…”

    Donatra snorted. “I understand. But…it’s such a shame that politics must decide the good captain’s fate. In my State, Dax would be acquitted before any ‘hearing’—on my command.”

    Bacco spread out her hands. “It’s the price of checks and balances, Empress.”

    “Perhaps…. Jolan tru, Madame President.”

    Jolan tru, Empress.”

    Donatra’s image vanished.

    Bacco sighed, rubbing her forehead. Curse those Borg, anyway—and the Tholians, while we’re at it, for joining this Bird-forsaken “Pact”, and causing it to surround us on all sides. What was their excuse? Oh yes—we didn’t ask them for help against the Borg. Sure—let’s not bring up that they weren’t available for help against the Borg.

    And the Gorn—of all people. After all those years of my life, building a trust with them—it all turns out to be for nothing! They’re a Pact of back-stabbing hypocrites, the lot of them.

    And those back-stabbing hypocrites had the Council on a leash—or Gleer’s wing of the Council, at the very least. And I’m almost afraid to discover exactly how powerful he is—which I doubtless will, when this hearing ends….

    * * *​

    A further note: the idea that Spock is putting his "refugee" idea (which has its roots in my "Rendezvous With Destiny") on hold, I'm pretty sure was my attempt to reconcile the story with Rough Beasts. That, alas, was before I realized that the dang book takes place before ZSG. *sigh*

    Of course, it could just as easily be my laying out a "path" to Spock on Romulus in the events leading up to the Hobus star supernova....
     
  19. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
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    An interesting alternate scene. Very, very similar to the one we got of course, but having a different 'actor' in the scene gives it an intriguingly different dynamic.

    Overall, a compelling and enjoyable tale. I look forward to the next one!
     
  20. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    After reading the "alternate scene", I don't know that I can say one is better than the other. But going back to my comments about being an autocrat coming in handy, nice to see Donatra make that point.
     

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