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

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    All right, folks. It's been a long time since I've posted a tale in this forum. I hope the delay will prove to be worth it.

    This story has been burning in the back of my mind for a long time. Some of it has had to undergo rewriting, due to changes in the TrekLit universe. A nice sequence involving Empress Donatra had had to be rewritten, and the villains had to be changed. In addition--and this is embarrassing--I had actually finished the story in December, but due to a computer crash, the last 1/3 of the story was lost, and I had to write it all again! :alienblush: (I had to take a long break to get my creative juices running again.)

    Anyway, enough self-pity. This story is set some time after Zero Sum Game, and after my tale "Serenity Prayer" (my "epilogue" to David Mack's book). Other tales of mine important to this story are "The Cleanest Food To Find" (my account of Ezri's first encounter with Dr. Simon Tarses), and "A Rendezvous With Destiny" (my "quintissential Ezri tale"). There's also a reference to "From Risa With Love".

    This is probably the most ambitious fanfic I have ever written. It is not just an Ezri tale--it is just as much a President Bacco tale, a Section 31 tale--and even a Dr. Julian Bashir tale...though not in the way we might be used to.

    The scope is wider, the implications more far-reaching. It could in a way be considered a "prequel" of sorts to DRGIII's upcoming novels, I don't know. We'll let fate decide.

    Special thanks to Nerys Ghemor, for having beta-read a scene about halfway in.

    I hope you all enjoy!

    And now...let us begin:

    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 1

    Ezri Dax was alone.

    Escorted by a team of Starfleet security officers—all stone-faced, and in strict adherence to protocol—she walked down the halls of the Palais de la Concorde, the seat of government for the United Federation of Planets…her hands cuffed in front of her.

    They approached the entrance to the great hall of the Federation Council. The doors opened before them, and they went in.

    The entire Council was in session. All turned to her in silence, as she walked up to the center of the chamber, the guards leaving her, standing at the entranceway in case they were needed.

    Above the doors from which she came, there was the seating for the spectators. In the front row sat her senior staff—there was Sam Bowers, her first officer, his face blank; there was Simon Tarses, her Chief Medical Officer, his eyes narrowed, his lips tightened in barely-contained rage at the whole thing; there was Helkara, and Kedair, and Leishman, and Mirren, and the rest…. Hopefully, more would come—her friends from Deep Space Nine…in time.

    Across the room, across the rows of seating where there sat the members of the Council, was a podium, where stood Nan Bacco, President of the Federation—who, Ezri guessed, hated her job right now. She didn’t dare show it—not here—but Ezri could imagine. They were both being watched…both being screened with the eyes of all.

    The president spoke up. “This Council is now in session.”

    Not a mutter, not a whisper was heard. Bacco stared Ezri in the eye—and the Trill could see the pain, and the regret. She met her gaze, mentally willing support. I can take it, Madame President…don’t worry about me.

    “Identify yourself for the record.”

    “Ezri Dax—Captain, U.S.S. Aventine.”

    “Captain Ezri Dax,” Bacco said, “You stand before this hearing…accused of the following charges: First, of willful and knowing violation of the Starfleet Rules of Engagement, and Interstellar Law; Second, of willful and knowing breach of the peace between they Typhon Pact and the Khitomer Alliance; Third, of conduct unbecoming of a Starfleet Officer; Fourth, of conducting an unauthorized attack upon an non-hostile vessel of a foreign power, destroying the vessel in question; and Fifth…” the president paused for a moment, and resumed, “Of the unauthorized destruction of civilian lives thereof. How do you plead?”

    Ezri stood still, keeping her gaze firm, her voice steady as she gave her answer.

    “Not guilty—all charges.”

    Bacco nodded, and announced, “Let it be so noted in the record. The hearing will commence tomorrow, at 0900.”

    * * *​
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  2. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Aug 1, 2009
    Wow ... I'm hooked on the introduction alone. Can't wait for the next installment.
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    I've only just started reading the Typon Pact books but methinks once I'm thru with the first one I might come back here. So far I really like Dax and the Aventine crew and this story is off to a great start.
  4. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    I'm definitely hooked. I guess the next chapter will start with "X Days/Weeks/Months Earlier".
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    ^Eh...that would be going the predictable route, wouldn't it? ;)

    CeJay, I'd recommend, if you don't want "spoilers", that you read Zero Sum Game--or at least skim through it, as I did. Many of the characters's current statuses only make sense if you're familiar with what happened between Julian and Ezri--and Julian and Sarina--in that book.

    I have some spoilers also regarding the fate of Donatra in Rough Beasts.

    I mean--by all means keep on reading my tale, warned, there are a great deal of spoilers. :)
  6. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Ambitious, indeed, Rush. I'm very interested in the direction it seems to be taking, given that most of your stories, while certainly not shying away from links with the wider Trek universe, have been character studies; now you've expanded the scope to include high-level interstellar politics, and I'm really interested in how it will play out. How you've broadened your signature approach, as it were, and how your usual excellent dialogue and character focus will map onto exploration of the politics. It's a tall order to attempt something this big, but I think you've earned it, after the very successful string of Dax stories preceding this. I'm certainly invested enough in your take on the character (and supporting characters, Bashir, Tarses, etc) to be hooked. I look forward to seeing where this goes! :)

    Given that I've both read all the relevant novels and remember some of your own thoughts on them, it should also be interesting to see your take on Typhon Pact/Khitomer Accord relations....

    Eagerly awaiting the rest. :)
  7. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    ^ Second that, Nasat. I will definitely be looking forward to seeing how the events of ZSG tie in with the recent changing of the guard in the Romulan government, especially seeing as RBoE primarily took place before the main events of ZSG. And your most recent comments, Rush, suggests the possibility of someone throwing a friend under the Antares-class transport considering how Sarina has him under her spell to the point where Bashir became super-defensive in the face of Ezri's concerns.
  8. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Thanks, everyone! I can only hope I can succeed in meeting your expectations...., I suppose this tale is also something of an experiment. With that in mind, I took a cure from KRAD himself, and his use in A Singular Destiny of transcripts from (among other news sources) the FNS--and I couldn't resist throwing in everyone's favorite Trek-universe reporter. ;)

    (Note: the character of Verna Talkon was actually created by me in a kind of prompt/game by another poster in this forum, some time back. He's no longer with us, as it were, but...a nod of thanks to Garm Bel Ibis--I think that's how the name was spelled--for that "Federation News Service" thread....)

    After that, a formal "introduction" to Madame President himself, along with a good friend of hers we've known since KRAD's A Time For War, A Time For Peace....

    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 2

    This is an FNS Special Report:

    “Greetings, everyone, I’m Verna Talkon. In an absolutely shocking turn of events, a Starfleet living legend is now under arrest, and being held before the Federation Council. Here to comment is our man in the field, Jake Sisko. Jake?”

    “Thank you, Verna. If reports from the Palais are to be believed, Captain Ezri Dax, one of Starfleet’s rising stars, is being held for allegedly attacking an unarmed Breen vessel at the border of their space. There’s been a lot of grief from them about this, and their allies in the Typhon Pact, needless to say, are not happy. The Breen Confederacy has labeled this, quote, ‘A disgraceful act of war, which the Federation must take action to remedy immediately, lest we and our allies resolve to do so ourselves,’ unquote.

    “Ezri Dax, captain of the U.S.S. Aventine, has made a name for herself in recent years—first, through becoming the youngest captain in Starfleet history, due to the death of the Aventine’s captain and first officer; and second, through her heroic actions contributing to the final defeat of the Borg, last year. Since then, she has been hailed by many as an inspiration. This story, however, some fear may prove to become the proverbial bloom falling off the rose.

    “Now, this hearing is a curiosity, in that it will be conducted by the entire council, rather than the Judiciary Sub-Council. Sources tell us that this controversy has been deemed far too important to limit to a smaller committee. There are, however, voices which have accused the Council as simply wanting to make a ‘show trial’ out of the entire incident. The president has no comment so far, but we expect word from her in the press conference tonight.

    “Whatever the reason…this will be open to the press, and you will hear more from me on this as the story unfolds. Jake Sisko, FNS News, Paris.”

    “Thank you, Jake. And you can count on FNS to cover this debacle from start to finish. This…is FNS News….

    * * *​

    “…and I’ve said that I will not comment on this hearing, other than to make it absolutely clear that a full-scale investigation is being held as we speak, and that the rule of law will be followed to the letter.”

    Nanieta Bacco, President of the United Federation of Planets, barely got the words out before another reporter spoke up.

    “Madame President—what about the claims that this trial’s being held in public to appease—?”

    “I said, I will not comment further about this hearing. I don’t know about any claims, and they’re probably false, anyway—don’t read too much into them. As I said, due process is being conducted, and I will—”

    A flurry of noise as the reporters all spoke up at once—

    Bacco raised her voice even louder, “And I will tell you more as the facts are revealed. Now—”

    “Madam President—one thing: some people are speculating that you had ordered Captain Da—”

    “I said, I will tell you more, as the facts are revealed. That’s all. Thank you.”

    Bacco left, amid the flurry of reporters, Federation Security agents in tow.

    I feel like I want to kill Dax right now, for all the trouble she’s putting me through. I sincerely hope for her sake it’s worth it—because if it’s not…

    “What was that woman thinking, anyway?”

    Bacco turned to acknowledge the younger woman, her chief of staff. “Espy.”

    Esperanza Piñiero nodded in response, walking alongside her president and mentor. “Madam President…”

    “You were saying something?”

    “I was asking what on Earth that woman was thinking.”


    “Who else?”

    “I wouldn’t jump to conclusions, all right?”

    “Well, it doesn’t look good, Madam—”

    “Skip the ‘Madam President’ for a minute.”

    “All right…Nan. The Council’s surrounding this thing like wolves—”

    “Look, I don’t give a darn about the Council, or their bloodlust. Ezri Dax is not a murderer. Whatever she did…she had to do, as far as she’s concerned.”

    “With all due respect, Nan—”

    Espy…you’re honestly going to tell me that this woman—who’s one of four good reasons we’re still alive to bicker like this, in case you’ve forgotten—that she’s capable of going back on everything she’s ever fought for?”

    “Madam President…with all due respect, that’s what everyone said about Ben Maxwell—or Admiral Ross, for that matter.”

    The second name made Bacco stiffen a bit. William Ross’s resignation had caused something of a controversy—and Bacco was the only one to whom he’d given any indication of his reason. He had implied that he was responsible for the disappearance—and, allegedly, the assassination—of her predecessor, Min Zife.

    To this day, regardless of how she felt about Ross—and she certainly didn’t have a high opinion of the man—still, only a fool would honestly believe that he had somehow pulled off the death of a president without any questions, any evidence—alone, anyway. The admiral was a proverbial “fall guy”, and she knew it, and she knew he’d have known she’d know it.

    But still…it was just a curious mystery, at best. It had no bearing on anything to come….

    Bacco shook her head. “Espy…have you ever met Captain Dax?”

    “No…not really.”

    “Not really?”

    “Well, I may have caught a glimpse of her at DS9, back when she was a counselor, but…we never talked.”

    Bacco stopped walking, and turned to her old friend. “Well, I have. I gave that girl a medal a year ago, for saving all our necks—and from then on, I’ve made it a point watch her closely—and let me tell you something, right now.”

    Piñiero said nothing, waiting for her to continue.

    “That woman—whatever else she is—is a person of honor. I’d say she’d give most Klingons a run for their money. She is not the kind to go around starting wars, because she ‘feels’ like it. She knows what her duty is. She had to have a legitimate reason…you understand?”

    The other woman sighed, and nodded.


    Piñiero cleared her throat. “Madam President…be that as it may, you may not have a choice on this.”


    “Whether she’s guilty or not…the last thing we need is to give the Pact an excuse for war—”

    “Let me deal with that, Espy. For now…we have more important things to worry about.”

    The woman nodded again. “As you say, Madam President.”

    “Now…I’ll be off for the night. You can handle things for that long, can’t you?”

    Piñiero nodded, and walked off.

    As Bacco headed for the presidential shuttle, she found herself praying that her trust was well-founded.

    * * *​
  9. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    I was busy with a few other things after reading it, but I have time now. Nice use of Jake Sisko in the FNS report. And there was some good dialogue between the Prez and her chief-of-staff, certainly consistent with their dynamic in the novels. Glad to see the political side of the various interstellar affairs in the Star Trek universe that we never saw much of in canon.
  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    ^Thanks, Enterprise1981!

    Okay...and now, for Ezri Dax.

    This chapter refers heavily to "Rendezvous". Here we go:

    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 3

    Ezri Dax sat in her holding cell, not far from the Palais, where the hearing was to be held.

    Where did it all go wrong? she mused. Was there anything else I could have done? Why did it have to turn out like this?

    She had no answer.

    A memory came to her—a voice, an old voice, and the wisest and kindest voice she had ever heard:

    “Ezri…you had noted how the many survivors of the Borg assault…treat you with nothing less than the greatest respect. They cheer you…they cry out their thanks to you…because you represent, to them…a beacon of hope, whose light will help them face the darkness.”

    Now…now those words haunted her. She couldn’t help it. Did I let them down, Spock? Did I…did I destroy all the hope you said I inspired?

    She found herself blinking back a tear. I wish you were here, Spock. You’d know what to say…you’d know how to help me face this….

    A tear escaped her efforts, running down her cheek. She slowly reached up, wiping it away.

    What could I have done? What would have—?

    No…no, I can’t think that way. That’s the past, Ezri. You can’t change it….

    And now…she was sitting here, facing the entire Federation, to answer for what she’d done.

    She felt herself sliding off the seat, sitting on the floor, her knees close to her chest, her folded arms resting on them. She closed her eyes, resting them on her sleeve, remembering…

    It was after Spock had said…had said that he was…honored to have met her. She remembered, in the runabout, sitting there, staring at the ground. “Ambassador…I don’t take this kind of thing very well.”

    “You do not consider yourself worthy of my respect?”

    “Oh, no, it isn’t that. It’s just…”

    As her voice trailed off, Spock had waited, watching her. Finally, Ezri continued.

    “Spock…I didn’t set out to be a heroine. I just did the best I could…and took charge, whenever I had to. And…all this,” as she spread out her hands, “…it’s just…another opportunity…to do the best I can.”

    She looked up, to see Spock nod in encouragement, telling her to go on.

    “Well…it used to be, whenever someone praised me for something I did, or…told me what a bright future I had ahead of me…I would just accept it, thank them—and move on with my life…continuing to do the best I can. But suddenly I find myself in the captain’s chair, and—now, thanks to the Borg, and all—I’m pretty much a household name…aren’t I?”

    Her gaze fell once again. “Everyone tells me that I deserve it all—that I proved myself…and saved all those people who look up to me now. But, that doesn’t make it any easier to handle….”

    She heard her voice beginning to break. “All that…respect from people I don’t even know…all those cheers that come my way, every time I—go down to a world that I’d helped to save…all those—all those cries of…‘Thank you, Ezri, we owe you our lives’…”

    She paused again…as all the pressures of this newfound fame came back to overwhelm her. As the tears welled up in her eyes, she managed to whisper, “I just…I just wish I could…”

    It had been too much, she remembered. But then…Spock had finally spoken up, and finished her thoughts, “You wish…there was more you could have done.”

    She remembered looking at him, through her tears, and nodding, unable to say a word. And then…what Spock said next had affected her in more ways than he could have imagined.

    “I understand…Ezri.”

    Now…the tears came again. I…I failed them, Spock. I don’t know what else I could have done, but…it’s over. It’s all done…and…

    And then…she heard his voice, as clear as if he were standing in the room: Ezri…I am here.

    She didn’t just hear him. It was as if…she felt him, somehow. She remembered reading that when two people share a mind-meld…it can form a bond between them, almost telepathic, depending on how strong, how deep the meld had gone.

    Spock…is…is that you?

    Do not be afraid.

    What…do you know what’s happening? Do you know what happened…?

    I know—and understand. You did what you believed and knew to be right. I would have expected nothing less. You did the best you could.

    But—but it’s so hard. I…I don’t think I can do this. I-I’m not—

    Ezri…you are facing a difficult trial. I understand this. But you must not give in. If it requires all the discipline you possess…do not give in.

    Ezri looked up, and swallowed, nodding, as if he were in the room with her, right there. All right, Spock. I’ll…I’ll do my best.

    Be strong, Ezri Dax.

    And he was gone.

    Ezri let out a sigh, and looked around her, at the cell. There was a small room, a refresher, for her to wash and do other necessary things. Other than that, there was just the bench, and her cot, and the force field separating her cell from the hall.

    It looked no less bleak than before…but she felt a bit less scared…a bit less confused. Spock, wherever he was, had helped her…had given her what she needed—the strength to carry on.

    She heard the sound of footsteps. She rose to her feet, brushing her tears away, ready to face whoever it might be.

    * * *​
  11. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network comments on the last chapter?

    Ah, well. This next one brings us to a good stopping point for the week. Let's do it:

    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 4

    Nan Bacco entered the hall containing the cell of Ezri Dax, accompanied by two guards from Federation Security—and Commander Sam Bowers and Dr. Simon Tarses, both of the U.S.S. Aventine.

    Captain Dax had clearly just risen to her feet—and her eyes widened at the sight of the president. She clasped her hands behind her back. “Madam President!”

    “As you were, Captain. I’ll talk to you in a bit, but…I thought these two gentlemen would like some time, first….”

    Dax nodded. “Thank you, Madam President.”

    Bacco stepped away to a safe distance, indicating for the guards to do the same. She watched the three officers with a feeling of something like nostalgia. She’d never been in Starfleet…but she understood the feeling of friendship, the close bond between those three kids.

    Ah, for the good old days…when you could walk around without an armed escort…and have such private moments with those you care about….

    “How are you, Skip?” she heard Dr. Tarses ask.

    Dax smiled, sighed, and said, “I’m coping. I’ll be fine.”

    “It’s not right. Captain—they should be thanking you, not—”

    “Simon—I’ll be fine. Now…you two know you’re going to be called to speak, right?”

    Bowers nodded. “Of course, Captain.”

    “Well…just stay sharp. Don’t hold anything back. We’ll let the truth speak for itself. We clear?”

    “As a bell, Captain.”

    Tarses paused for a moment, but nodded.

    Dax’s smile grew. “Okay,” she returned the nod. “Now…get to it, you two.”

    “Right away, Captain,” Bowers replied.

    He began to walk off, but Tarses lingered for a moment. “Captain…if there’s anything you need…”

    Dax chuckled, and shook her head. “No. Just get some sleep. It’s a big day, tomorrow.”

    “All right, Skip.”


    The two men paused to acknowledge Bacco. She nodded to both, and turned to walk over to the cell, as the officers left to return to the Aventine.

    Bacco looked to the guards. “Wait outside, will you?”

    The two nodded, and left without a second thought. The two women were alone.

    Bacco pressed a control on the wall, deactivating the field. She walked in, and asked, “Can I sit down?”

    “Oh—of course!” Dax rushed to the bench, and brushed it down with her hand a bit.

    Bacco chuckled. “No need to go to any trouble…”

    “It’s all right, Madam President. It’s not a problem.”

    Bacco shook her head in amazement, and sat down. This girl, by all accounts, was a heroine of the Federation. Everyone on Earth, and who knows how many other worlds, owed Ezri Dax their lives. As far as Bacco was concerned, it should be her going out of her way to make Dax comfortable. And yet…this girl had such humility, and something of a shy submission to rank. It was very impressive—if a bit ironic.

    “Captain,” Bacco said finally, “I’m just an old woman, who happens to hold an office. Sit down right here…and let’s talk, alright?” She gave the spot next to her a pat.

    Dax—No, Ezri’s her name…she deserves a personal touch, right now—swallowed a bit, but sat down on the bench, next to her.

    Bacco looked at her. It was amazing how small this young woman was—petite, almost fragile. And yet…she was a captain, a starship captain. Frankly, she looked more suited to her former career, as counselor of Deep Space Nine.

    And yet…there was something about her—a dignity in her posture, a drive, an energy—which suited her perfectly for command. Something in those blue-grey eyes implied a great deal of thoughtfulness, and wisdom—the kind that most people wouldn’t get until reaching old age.

    She’s a joined Trill, though—from what I’ve heard, the only one right now. That’s…such a weight to carry on shoulders so young….

    But, there was something else in those eyes—and Bacco knew, without any other proof, that this poor girl had been crying.

    I don’t blame her. She didn’t ask for any of this…did she?

    “So,” Bacco asked, “How are you faring?”

    “As…well as can be expected, ma’am.”

    “I can imagine. None of this is right…I know.”

    “Madam President?”

    “Oh, drop the titles for a moment. My friends call me ‘Nan’.”

    Bless her heart, the girl actually blushed. “I…don’t think I should…”

    “Come on. No one’s here…no one’s listening. I’ll call you ‘Ezri’, if that’s all right with you.”

    “Well…if you like, Mada—” she chuckled, and corrected herself, “Nan….”

    Bacco nodded, with a smile. “That’s better. Now…what’s your question?”

    “Oh, I—I was just wondering…what you meant.”

    “What, that it’s all wrong? Captain, I think your doctor friend already said it.”

    “I…don’t follow you.”

    Bacco scoffed, leaning her head back against the wall. She looked up at the ceiling, wondering how to put it. Finally…she turned back to the girl. “Dang it, Captain—they want to scapegoat you. The Pact’s looking for a fight—and the last thing we need or want is to give them one. They obviously know it—and they’ll flaunt it in our face, whenever they can. And because of that…well, a lot of folks on the Council just want to force something out there—a test case, to ‘show’ how committed we are to peaceful relations with those…those people. You just…were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

    Ezri sighed. “Ma’am, as far as the Council’s concerned—”

    “Oh, forget the Council. You’re an innocent woman, Ezri—that’s what matters to me, you hear? I’m not going to let you be thrown around like some…hacky-sack—no matter what flack I get for it.”

    Ezri looked off for a moment, and sighed. “Funny—I’ve been called that a lot.”

    “What, ‘hacky-sack’?”

    She shook her head. “Innocent.”

    Bacco chuckled. “Well…I’d say we could use a few idealists right now. All I hear these days is a lot of nonsense about being ‘practical’…and how we can’t afford to see things in black-and-white—how we gotta deal with things as they are….”

    Her mood turned bitter. “Well…look where that’s brought us. You’re here, locked up, just to satisfy a bunch of self-righteous pieces of—”

    Ezri blinked. “You’re sure no one can hear us?”

    Bacco snorted. “Right now, I wouldn’t give a flying load of tribble crap.”

    “I don’t think tribbles do that, Madam President.”

    Bacco raised an eyebrow. “You sure?”

    Ezri nodded, with what looked like a knowing smile. “Pretty sure….”

    Bacco chuckled. “Well, I’ll defer to your experience, then…. But I’m not here to discuss tribble habits, of course.”

    Ezri returned the chuckle. “Of course….”

    “I…suppose I just came down here to say—hang in there. We’ll get you out of this, one way or another.”

    Ezri stared at her for a bit, as if studying her, and frowned. “Madam President…I don’t want to get you into trouble.”

    “You really think I give a darn about that?”

    “With all respect—you should. You…you don’t have that kind of luxury.”

    “Yeah? Watch me.”

    The girl stiffened. “What…do you intend to do?”

    “Look—I ordered you out there, all right? I’ll take full responsibility—and I’ll take the burden away from you. You’ll walk out of here a free girl, and leave the mess to me—”

    “I can’t allow that, ma’am.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “You didn’t tell me to do what I did. You didn’t give the order to fire. It’s my head, Madam President, not yours. I’m expendable. You’re not.”

    Bacco’s lip tightened, as she clasped a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Ezri—listen good. You are not expendable. We need you out there like you wouldn’t believe. I’m the politician—I handle the dirt and grime of this kind of thing. Folks like you, they shouldn’t have to get involved with this crap.”

    Ezri sighed…and raised an eyebrow. “I do know something about politicians, Madam President.”


    “My first host, Lela.”

    Bacco looked off for a minute—and snapped her fingers in remembrance. “Right! Unity and Freedom.”

    Ezri’s face lit up. “You’ve read it?”

    “Read it? That was what got me fascinated with this crazy field in the first place!”

    The girl smiled. “I—I had no idea—”

    Bacco smirked. “You’re quite a Locke, Dax. I hear a lot of unjoined folks thought of you as their hero and savior, back in the day….”

    The girl chuckled. “Well…Lela was certainly big on the rights of everyone….”


    “Anyway…Madame President, the point is—I know how the game is played.”

    Bacco nodded. “Then you know I’m right. You don’t have to take all this.”

    Ezri sighed. “Yes…I do.”


    “Look, Madam President…I appreciate your wanting to help me, but…this hearing’s about what I did.”

    “Acting under my orders.”

    “Did you tell me to fire?”

    “No, but—”

    “And did you think I’d do…what I did?”

    “I said to do what you had to do.”

    “You can’t order me to break the law—and you didn’t.”

    “You did not break the law!”

    “Then…what’s the problem? Why should we be afraid of this?”

    Bacco narrowed her eyes. “Because…I’m afraid they’ll find a way to convict you anyway.”

    Ezri was struck silent for a moment. When she found her voice, she said, “They’d…do that?”

    “I hope to heaven I’m wrong…but after all the things I’ve seen some of them do…I wouldn’t put it past them.”

    Ezri shook her head in clear disgust.

    Bacco sighed. “Ezri…I want to make sure you know who you’re up against. In my first year, a group of them wanted to continue trade with a race whose industries were all run on slavery. My idealistic…innocent side came out—I blasted it with everything I had. Well, I got what I wanted—the policy was killed—but those Councilmen? They all went and accused me of…‘questioning their patriotism’…and held our government in gridlock until I came out and apologized for the whole thing.”

    Ezri just sighed, staring at the floor. “Well…I certainly don’t envy you your job.”

    “Can’t say I envy yours, right now.”

    The girl nodded. “Well…thanks for the warning, Madam President. I’ll…keep it in mind.”

    Bacco stared at her for a moment longer. “You sure I can’t convince you—?”

    “No…there’s nothing you can do. And I can take it—you don’t have to worry about me.”

    “I wish I could be sure of that.”

    Ezri turned to her, and smiled. “I’ll be all right.”

    Bacco sighed. “Okay….”

    She rose from her seat, Ezri following suit. Bacco extended her hand, which Ezri took with a clear, firm shake.

    “Good night, Captain.”

    “Good night, Madam President…and thank you.”

    Bacco nodded, and quietly added, “Good luck.”

    Ezri nodded her thanks. Bacco exited her cell, and re-activated the field. She left the corridor, rejoined by the guards as she headed back to the presidential shuttle.

    It’s so hard to not like this girl, the president mused. How shameful that so many seem to want to take her down.

    She silently swore to herself that she was not about to let that happen.

    * * *​
  12. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Nice interaction between Ezri and the President in terms of establishing some kind of rapport. How Nan Bacco the politician tries to get Ezri off the hook and has to deal with the political fallout will be something to look forward to. I'm sure others will have more detailed comments as the story progresses.
  13. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    ^Thanks, mate!

    BTW...any thoughts on the previous chapter?
  14. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    I've just been catching up on this, and am intrigued as to where it's going. I've not read the Typhon Pact books or any of the Aventine ones (I know, shocking! I'll have to remedy that as soon as I can) but there was enough detail here for me to be able to comprehend the ongoing political situation.

    It comes up to your usual high standards of writing and characterisation, so I'm looking forward to more.
  15. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Aug 1, 2009
    This is an awesome story, well crafted! Keep going please!
  16. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Thank you, folks! :)

    Don't worry--come Monday night...I'll kick things off big....
  17. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Thanks, Nasat, very much!

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

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

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

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

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

    Star Trek: Aventine
    Our Sacred Honor
    Chapter 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    All turned to him.

    L’Haan frowned. “What do you mean?”

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

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

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

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

    Sorak nodded, as well. The others followed suit.

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

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

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

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

    There were none.

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

    That was accepted as reasonable.

    “Very well. For the Federation.”

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

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

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

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

    “Of course….”

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

    “Obviously, I intend to do so—”

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

    “I do not comprehend your meaning, Sorak.”

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

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

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

    “Accepting the premise that your assertion is correct…”

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

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

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

    “You doubt it would?”

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


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

    “I assume he did find out.”

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

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

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

    “Assuming I am attempting what you claim.”

    “Of course.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “What of it?” she replied.

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

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

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

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

    “Of course, Director.”

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

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

    * * *​
  19. hadd001

    hadd001 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Aug 1, 2009
    An interesting twist is developing I think ...
  20. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Now the story is starting to take off. It'll have us wondering all the way to the end what kind of ruling is in 31's best interest.

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

    Finally, a rhetorical question, wasn't Sorak the guy who first recruited Sloan into the Bureau? I'm guess that arrangement is analogous to Aiman al-Zawari being Osama bin Laden's mentor, but bin Laden was ultimately the one in charge.