^Well, I suppose it all depends on the fate of Donatra and the Imperial Romulan State. Perhaps, in an alternate universe... (Hey--doesn't the STO universe still have the IRS for longer than the Prime TrekLit Universe? Ah, well....) Anyway--here's the true "deleted" scene, with Admiral Janice Rand (whom, readers of my "Rendezvous With Destiny" may recall, is thought of by Ezri as he "second mother".) A note: Rand's backstory on Saweore was created by Vonda McIntyre for Enterprise, The First Adventure. The mission concerning Kirk is actually a novel-length story (which I titled Star Trek: Revolution) I'd written some years ago. I've never posted it, because I want to see it in print, some day. Everyone tells me I should not write a Trek novel before Pocket agrees to it, but--hope springs eternal. Also, it was in writing that novel that my skills were honed. Published or not...it was worth doing. Anyway... Spoiler: Janice Rand scene. Star Trek: Aventine Our Sacred Honor Deleted Scene--Admiral Rand Ezri Dax looked up from the seat in her cell, upon hearing someone entering the hallway, approaching the force field. Upon seeing and older woman with medium-length blondish hair and a fleet admiral’s uniform, Ezri felt a smile come to her face, as she shot to her feet. “Jan!” Admiral Janice Rand (retired) nodded at her with a warm smile of her own. “Hello, Ezri.” She turned off the force field, and walked in. Ezri ran up to her, throwing her arms around her like a young girl who hadn’t seen a family member or dear friend in years. Honestly…she hadn’t. And Rand was certainly family to her—a second mother who had, what seemed like so long ago, taken her under her wing, and become her friend, mentor, and guide throughout the Academy years. She felt Rand pat her shoulder, and give her a motherly kiss on the head. “It’s been too long…” Ezri felt herself nod. The admiral gave her a little nudge, to break the hug. “Let me look at you, okay?” Ezri did, beaming despite herself. Rand shook her head. “So…Captain of the Aventine?” Ezri nodded. “Mm-hmm!” “And you’ve made quite a big name for yourself, I hear!” Ezri sighed. “Well, I guess.” “You guess?” “Jan, I—look, it’s not something I’m going to bask in, or anything.” Rand hesitated for a moment, her smile disappearing. Despite the humor of the moment…still, Ezri knew she was here over the more serious scenario of the present time. Finally, the admiral asked, “Can we sit down?” Ezri nodded, and they did so. Rand rested a hand on her shoulder, and Ezri felt a lot of the tension she’d been feeling about the week’s proceedings go away. Finally, the admiral said, “You all right?” “I guess. I mean—I wish I didn’t have to go through all this, but—” “You don’t. This is—” “Wrong?” Ezri turned to the admiral. Rand nodded. “Absolutely!” Ezri sighed again. “I don’t know…. That’s what everyone’s telling me.” She felt a smile come to her face. “Over and over, come to think of it.” “Well, they’re right!” Ezri leaned back, against the wall. “I don’t know…I’m just not sure anymore.” She shook her head. “I’m not sure of anything, anymore.” Rand raised an eyebrow at this. “What are you talking about?” Ezri closed her eyes for a moment, gathering her thoughts. She opened them, and continued. “You know…not too long ago, If you’d have told me that…that I’d be put on trial for something like this…it would’ve been impossible for me to believe. I thought—I just wouldn’t expect the Federation to do this—to put me in here, to make people happy who don’t like us anyway!” Rand nodded slowly. “But…?” “But now—I feel like it’s all pointless for me. I mean…” she turned to her mentor, “If it’s wrong—and if everyone knows it’s wrong—why are they doing this?” Rand said nothing. “Admiral…the president tells me the Council might convict me anyway—even if it’s obvious to everyone that I’m not guilty! Now, who would do something like that?” Rand shook her head. “Ezri…I can’t believe they’d convict someone they knew was innocent.” “I don’t want to either, but—what if they do?” Rand stiffened a bit. “Ezri…you know all about—my childhood, right?” Ezri nodded. Janice Rand had told her the story many times…how for most of her childhood, she’d been a prisoner—a slave—on that world, Saweoure, long before a revolution—which then-Yeoman Rand, and Captain Kirk, and the crew of the Enterprise, had taken part in—had led to it joining the Federation. Rand had told her of the freedom she, and the others around her, had prayed for, but did not receive, as those “protectors” went to great lengths to break their spirits, their wills. Rand had eventually escaped with her two brothers, eventually finding their way to Federation space…where Janice had found a life in Starfleet, while her bothers went through school—though, as far as the three of them were concerned, the scars of Saweoure would remain forever…. Rand’s lip tightened, as she said, “Ezri, if they were to do what you’re afraid of…well, that doesn’t sound like the Federation I’ve lived in—the Federation that took me in, and showed me a better life.” Ezri shook her head. “Same here.” “Of course…but I’ve been through tyranny, Ezri. I know what to look for. And let me tell you something: if they’re willing to convict an innocent woman—you—just to make themselves comfortable…than that’s what we might as well call it.” Ezri stared at Rand, a little stunned. “I…I didn’t think it—” “—that it was that bad? Let me put it this way: your freedom, as an officer and as a citizen, is on the line—and if they’re willing to just throw it away…” Rand’s voice turned dark, “Than they’re no better than those ‘protectors’ of Saweoure. In fact—I’d say they’re worse. At least Josar never disguised himself as someone who ‘cared’ for us….” Ezri stiffened at this. Rand’s words were very hard to hear…but she knew she could not dismiss them. Like it or not…she had a point. Rand sighed, and paused as if gathering herself. Finally, she said, “I refuse to believe that.” Ezri nodded. “Me too.” “As do I.” That last voice wasn’t the admiral. The two women turned to see President Bacco standing at the entrance to the cell. Bacco smiled—bitterly, Ezri noticed. “But to be honest…sometimes I wonder if your fears aren’t legit, Admiral. And you’re right—the Federation’s not exactly what it used to be.” Ezri and Rand rose to their feet, and the admiral began, “Madam President—” “Oh, as you were, you two. As I recall, Admiral, you’re older than I am—age before rank.” Rand smiled. “Not your rank, Madam President.” “Oh, I don’t know. I’d say common courtesy is something we’re seriously missing in the government, today—if these dang hearings are any indication. I don’t suppose you’ve seen anything from them….” “I have, ma’am.” Bacco shrugged. “There’s a line that should never be crossed—even if you are a Tellarite.” “Look, Madam President,” said Rand, “I know I’m legally not supposed to discuss Federation politics, but—how on earth does that smug, self-righteous, potbellied warthog—” “Admiral,” Ezri spoke up, fighting to keep from smirking in agreement. Bacco sighed. “You’re wondering how he keeps getting reelected?” “Yes!” Rand blurted out, with no regret in her tone. Bacco spread out his hands. “Well…he ‘brings home the bacon’, as they say. And he has a lot of special interests on Tellar that paint him as a ‘refreshing voice of honesty’, who’s not afraid to call others out on their hypocrisy and lies.” “That’s insane!” “I know…but it works. And he has a lot of friends in the Council, who happen to share the same interests.” Ezri spoke up, unable to help herself. “What interests?” Bacco sighed. “They opposed most of my nominees to key positions…they’ve opposed aid to the Cardassian recovery efforts—but supported trade with that slave-using world… In short, they’re against everything I’m for, and for everything I’m against.” Rand frowned. “Not on principle, I take it? Because I could respect that….” “No…at least, not on any principled grounds I can understand. You know, it’s so ironic—the Federation claims to discourage political parties…but to be honest, I’m becoming more and more convinced that partisanship would be the lesser of two evils right now. As least parties stand for something—for a while, at least.” Ezri cleared her throat. “You know, I have a Modest Proposal—why don’t you have the power to dissolve the Council, and hold a special election to replace them all?” Bacco turned to her, and chuckled. “I ‘throw the bums out’—is that it?” Ezri shrugged, with a smile. “Well…if I had to do that, wouldn’t it defeat the purpose of having an election? The point is—we trust the people to make the right decision, anyway.” Ezri sighed. “I know…but I know from experience there’s always a pattern that…the incumbent always has the advantage—name recognition, a power base, and all that. Newcomers…always have to work twice as hard.” Bacco smiled. “Well, you would know….” Ezri nodded. “Absolutely.” Bacco spread out her hands. “Well…in the end, it’s still up to the people, isn’t it? Besides—the last thing I want is too much power in my hands. I…wouldn’t know what to do with it all.” “I guess you’re right.” Ezri thought for a moment, and chuckled, “That’s what Lela’s point was, wasn’t it? ‘Power is best in the hands of the people, not merely the Joined, or the elites in general’?” Bacco nodded. “Exactly.” “But still,” Rand said, “It does leave us with this kind of problem, doesn’t it? Some people just…don’t really care enough to inform themselves…and go for the person who ‘looks’ better to them.” Bacco sighed. “Well…I suppose. But that’s why power’s limited, isn’t it?” “If I had my way, it’d be more separated.” “So would I. But…however it’s structured, it’s still up to the people, in the end.” “‘All great change begins at the dinner table…’” Ezri muttered. Rand turned to her, and nodded, with a small smile. “‘…so tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins.’” Bacco returned the smile, obviously recognizing the quote. “Exactly,” she said, in the tone of a near whisper. After a minute or so of silence, Ezri spoke up again, as a thought suddenly occurred to her. “I think I know how to win this. It’s a long shot, but…it might work.” The two other women turned to her, apparently unsure of what she meant. “I’ll be called to the stand tomorrow, won’t I?” Bacco nodded slowly. “That’s…correct.” Ezri looked from her, to Rand, and back again, to emphasize her words, and said: “If Gleer wants a show…I’ll give him one.” Here's why I cut the scene: Spoiler: reasons for cutting. -For one, I thought some of the dialogue "felt" wierd--a little too forced. It seemed like I was slowing down the story to make a series of points that were either unnecessary "fluff", or could just as easily be brought up later, in a more dramatic fashion. It just seemed a little too "Oliver Stone"-ish, to me. -By now, I was getting a little tired of bringing in person after person consoling Ezri by telling her how it's "wrong". I have Ezri comment on that, but still...enough was enough. I didn't want to bore everyone. -As someone noted, I've barely touched on Ezri and Rand's daughter-mother relationship--and it's not in the show, or any of published TrekLit. Thus, bringing her in would be a little "out of the blue". -Ezri's last few lines kind of change the intent of her clash with Gleer. Here, she's preparing to smack him down ahead of time. She seems to be anticipating a bit too much--and in a way, her and the other two women's conversation about Gleer contradict Ezri's suprise at Gleer's true intentions. It kind of hurts the suspense, if we know ahead of time what's going to happen. Still, looking over it, I actually like it better, now, than I did, then. I still think it'd have slowed the story down--but as a scene in itself, I actually kind of like it.