Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: Philon Research Complex, Mars
Timeline: Early 2416 (Alpha) - Back Post
Tags: Admiral, 31, Bright, Lee, Terri, Lab 31, CA31, Assination
OOC: This post takes place after the coup, but before Terri goes on the run from Bolanus and joins the resistance.
Terri was understandably excited. Her new assignment marked a turning point in her career. No longer would she waste her time compiling biological samples or giving tours of science exhibitions to elementary school kids. Now, of course, no one had actually told her exactly what she would be working on at Philon. In fact, they hadn't told her anything. But it's Philon, one of the most classified research centers in the Federation. Surely, Command hadn't assigned her, the valedictorian of her class and winner of the Lawson Award, to Philon just to clean the toilets.
She wondered if her dad had anything to do with getting her such a highly coveted position, but as soon as the idea came to her mind, she dismissed it. Despite his well placed connections both inside and outside of Starfleet, her dad had never made any effort to help her move up her career ladder, and she was probably the only person who, despite having an admiral for a father, still spent years toiling as a lowly assistant to the assistant director of an obscure division that didn't even have its own office. He just didn't seem to care much. Even when she was still in school, for all the straight As, she never got anything more than a cursory "good job" from him, and even that was usually at Michaela's prodding.
Now feeling a little blue, Terri stopped in front of a nondescript office marked CA31 with the name tag "VADM. Aaron Bright". That was the person she was supposed to report to. She pressed the chime and waited.
The old man looked up at the door from his PaDD and smiled. 'Right on time,' he thought to himself.
"Enter," he called out.
Stepping inside, Terri snapped to attention. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Terri Lee reporting in for duty, sir."
The admiral steeled his jaw as he leaned back in his seat. "Your late, lieutenant."
"Actually I'm about 40 seconds early, sir." Responded the blunt young officer.
The admiral shook his head as he leaned back. "That is relative, lieutenant," he replied. "Out there, you're right; you are as a matter of fact early. But on this project, we will always be late." he tilted his head with a knowing gaze.
"Do you know why, lieutenant?"
"Because . . . time flies?" Was that a trick question? Terri hated trick questions
"Wrong," he said.
The young lieutenant tilted her head with a small frown. "Is this a test? I was . . ."
"-Let me stop you there." He stood, seeing the young officer's hesitation. "You apparently have not been fully briefed on what you'll be working on here, so let me help rectify that..." He grabbed a different PaDD from the other side of the desk, and handed it to Lee. "From here on out, you will not be working for either R&D or Starfleet. You'll be working for Lab CA31."
As Terri looked through the PADD that had just been handed to her, her expression changed from one of confusion to curiosity and then disbelief.
"This . . . it's a tachyon generator, isn't it?" She asked, looking up from the PADD. "Why does Starfleet need . . . wait, what do you mean I won't be working for Starfleet?"
The admiral grinned as he leaned against the desk. "Exactly what it sounds like," he replied. "As corrupt as both Starfleet Command and the Federation Council have become, neither would break the Temporal Prime Directive and possibly worsen our position in the war. That is, until about three years ago..."
"What happened?" Terri's curiosity got the better of her.
"All in good time," he chuckled. "Suffice it to say, that what they discovered got a lot of people excited, until they all suffered a little..." he paused as his mirth began to subside; "an accident, which scared everyone associated with the project to no end..."
Terri looked down at the PADD and then back at Bright. Her scientific self would take up the offer without a moment of hesitation. Everything she had done so far on temporal mechanics had been mere theories and hypotheses, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put all that into practice. But if the project was not authorized by Starfleet, it was rogue and against every rule and regulation in the book. She should refuse and then report it. But the opportunity to study a temporal device in action, she might never get another chance. Ever.
What should she do? What would her dad do?
"You're wondering what you should do, aren't you? As to whether or not you should ignore your oath to Starfleet?" Bright asked. "Then maybe I could help you answer that..." He picked up another PaDD from the desk and handed it to her.
"This is a communique that we...acquired from General Bolanus."
Terri took the PADD. As she read its content, fire burst forth from her eyes. "This is treason!"
"An understandable reaction; I wasn't very happy to receive it myself, but I can't say that I hadn't expected something like it."
"We have to warn Starfleet Command."
"-Lieutenant, the Federation that we all have know and once loved is dead," he said; "That's why I revived this project. Those researchers were so close to finishing Dr. Manheim's work that, hadn't they lost their nerve, we could have finished by now! We could have beaten back the Dominion!"
Terri shook her head. "But sir, we can't just let Bolanus take over. It . . . it is wrong." Her eyes wandered past Bright and out of the windows behind him. "Dad has to know about this." She mumbled to herself, momentarily forgetting about the admiral sitting before her.
Bright sighed as he shook his head. "Lieutenant, knowing your father, I'm willing to bet that he already knows what's happening, even if he isn't aware of the specifics." He eyed the young lady with a knowing gaze as he continued. "Admiral Lee is a capable officer with a crew that's still completely loyal to him, even if they aren't all still associated with the fleet."
"You mean Za . . . Captain Ku'fanblriadg?"
He out-right laughed at her stumble. "Ha ha ha, oh, its been a long time since I heard that name, but yes; Mr. Zax is one of them." He grinned despite the throbbing from the burn scar on his left cheek.
"All joking aside, Zax and Hsina are the only ones capable of taking down this coup." He leaned back as he tilted his head. "If only they could work together with the Admiral, then the Federation might actually be able to win this war. Then again, that's about as likely as Hsina becoming a loving, and caring person, but I digress."
Terri remembered Zax quite fondly. Hsina, on the other hand, she simply didn't have much of a personal recollection of her - she was still a toddler when the woman left the Bunker Hill - but the Bunker Hill's former XO left behind quite a reputation, one of utter apathy and ruthlessness. She didn't know why her dad had picked someone like her as his first officer; all she knew was that the two of them had had a very public - and by some accounts even bloody - falling out before they finally parted their ways.
Looking down at the PADD in her hand and then back up again, Terri wondered if she should just out right turn down the offer and report everything - the apparently rogue research on the tachyon generator, the possible violation of the Temporal Prime Directive, the coup - everything. Yep, that's exactly what she would do. And screw Bright; he looked way too shady.
"I'm afraid I can't do this, sir." She said bluntly. "None of this is right."
"The Federation is gone, lieutenant. The rules no longer apply; I'm offering you the chance to restore it," Bright said. Adjusting himself on the edge of the desk, he tilted his head slightly as he handed her another PaDD. "Besides, general Bolanus has already authorized the creation of temporal weapons. The temporal prime directive has been, effectively, euthanized."
Bright watched the young woman's reaction for a moment after he'd finished, but when she didn't give him the reaction that he had been hoping for, he let out a sigh. "I see; you're just as true to your form as your father," he said. Moving back behind his desk, the old man activated one of the controls on his personal terminal.
"I suppose I really should have expected this from the onset. Your profile did mention several times that you tended to place more faith in the rule of law, but I had hoped that you would see reason." He leaned against the back of his chair as the light on his terminal stopped flashing.
"Admiral Bright to unit Six; carry out order Delta-4-1," he said. "Make sure nobody in Admiral Lee's office is left alive."
Terri's eyes widened with fury. Throwing all protocols out of the window, she slammed her fists on Bright's desk. "You son of . . ."
"What? Don't have the stomach for this? Then you shouldn't have come in." A Cheshire grin took hold of his aged face as he leaned back in his chair. "I can of course stop this."
"I'm listening." Said a suspicious Terri, her voice still rebound with anger.
Bright chuckled at her incredulous response, but continued as he had planned. "Now there's the girl I've heard so much about! So willing to do the right thing!" His grin widened. "Very well then, I think this is the beginning of a very promising future...and past."
Lieutenant Terri C. Lee
Researcher, Starfleet R&D
(NPC - Oliver)
Master of Command,
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