Picking Your Side
Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: Orbital Defense Grid Command Center, Earth
Timeline: Early 2416 (Alpha)
Captain Alandra Haro was on a mission. Of course, she had been on countless missions, many of which were classified, but this one was different. It was more than the elimination of high value enemy targets or the demolition of strategic infrastructures. It was about the future, the very survival of the Federation. But it, too, must be kept in the dark until the time was right and until every piece was in place. And hopefully today she could bring another critical piece to the board.
Having passed through multiple security check points, the Bolian was finally standing before the office of Captain Louis Champagne, the commanding officer of Earth's orbital defense network. She pressed the chime and waited.
"Enter," commanded Louis. He was well aware that whoever was disturbing him must have a good reason for visiting him here on this relatively dead station.
Alandra walked through the opening doors and greeted the man behind the desk. "Captain Champagne, long time no see. Here's a belated token of gratitude for accommodating my team in last month's drill." With both hands she presented a bottle of Ktarian wine. "I believe this is one of the last bottles still out there, now that we have lost Ktar IV and its famed wineries with it."
"Thank you. I really appreciate it," said Louis with a smile on his face. He knew very well how rare and hard to find this kind of authentic drink was. "So, what brings you to this desolate place this time?" he asked with a tone of sarcasm and disapproval in his voice. He absolutely hated people trying to gain favor and weasel their way into having him use his position to help them.
"The future, Captain, the future of the Federation, that is." Replied Alandra. Taking her seat in front of Louis' desk, she continued. "As you know, the war isn't exactly going in our favor. There was the hope that maybe we could force a draw out of the Dominions, but after the debacles in the Deveni sector, that possibility has been diminishing by the day. If this continues, it's only a matter of time before the Dominion flag flusters over the Palais de la Concorde." The Bolian officer paused briefly and then said, "I'd do whatever it takes to make sure that the Federation has a future, an independent future free of Dominion overlords. I'd do anything, Captain. Wouldn't you?"
"I suppose I would," he replied with a slight smirk. "But I DO need to know what you need from me in order to aid the cause," he said as he eloquently toyed with her, his finger hovering over a button under his desk that would alert security to remove her from the premises.
"Fair enough." Said Alandra. "Presidential executive order 8092 authorizes each sector commander to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of their sector from Dominion threat, and there is no sector more important than Sector 001. We are the heart of the Federation, and General Bolanus is fully prepared to carry out his duty as commander of this sector by all means necessary."
"But the greatest threat to this sector and to the Federation, Captain, is not the Dominions. It's the politicians. How many good men and women have we lost, how many star systems have we abandoned to the Dominions because of the incompetence and corruption that are running rampant within the political establishment? The Federation Council cannot even pass something as simple and as critical as a budget. Instead they waste their time on endless and fruitless debates and filibusters while millions suffer and die."
"The politicians are the cancer that is destroying the Federation from within, Captain, and as with all cancers, it must be cut out for the greater good of the whole body. And that's exactly what General Bolanus and many of us are prepared to do in order to fulfill our oath to protect the Federation from all enemies foreign and domestic."
"To answer your question," Continued Alandra. "We would be honored to have you on board. The orbital defense network will be critical in ensuring the success of our cause and the safety of Earth, and General Bolanus is ready to offer you a seat on a new governing council that will see to it that the war is brought to a successful conclusion.
"I might be persuaded to do my duty in that regard, so long as you can honestly convince me that the politicians are truly corrupt and causing the Dominion to gradually overtake us," replied Louis with a hint of frustration in his voice. "Before I act, I need evidence and proof," he finished.
Alandra tilted her head slightly, and with a small smirk she said, "You should definitely read more news, Captain. The Sanchez scandal, the Falia IV incident, the protests on Betazed, this government's corruption and incompetence are well documented. But, of course, you want to see evidence of how the politicians are costing us the war." The Bolian paused as she took out from her pocket a mini isolinear chip and handed it to Louis. "This is a recording of a series of meetings between President Jiv'ek and his national security team including the secretary of defense. It sheds some . . . disturbing light on the debacles in the Deveni sector."
"Really?" said Louis as he slipped the chip into the computer on his desk. As he watched events unfolding, he could see how the President had micromanaged and interfered in Starfleet operations in a manner that could ONLY have had devastating consequences. "You mean to tell me that this was actually recorded without the President's knowledge? Or did he simply not care? How do I know this isn't a forgery?" he finished.
"You have the technical means to verify its authenticity at your disposal, Captain, so feel free to do so. As for its source, it came from a whistle blower inside Palais de la Concorde, who was very concerned about what was happening at the highest level of the government. The information was passed on to us through several intermediaries, including some of our friends at the Federation Intelligence Service. Support for our cause is not limited to within Starfleet, Captain."
Quickly running a thorough series of scans of the chip and all the data within it, Louis verified the authenticity of the information on it. "Alright," he quietly said. "It checks out as being authentic. You have my support with one and only one condition," he said.
"I'm all ears."
"My name is not to come up and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE is to know that I am supporting this or am on your side. I expect to keep my hands clean in case something goes wrong," he explained in one finally round.
"Fair enough." Nodded Alandra.
Captain Louis Champagne
Earth Orbital Defense Satellite Grid
Captain Alandra Haro
Special Warfare Group Theta
(NPC - Oliver)