The Wooden Horse
Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: Starfleet Command, Earth
Timeline: Mid 2416 (Alpha)
General Ardon Bolanus flipped through the pages on his PADD. He had hoped that the other sector commanders would fall in line behind him once he declared his new government to save the Federation from the vile Dominions and from the even more despicable politicians who had brought the once great commonwealth to its knees through their corruption and incompetence.
Most did fall in line behind him, some enthusiastically, others willingly if not with the same zeal. True, three sector commands still had not declared where they stood, but neither were they causing him any trouble. Oliver Antoninus Lee, on the other hand, was something else.
When Lee didn't pick up his calls after he had had Earth and the rest of Sector 001 under control, he assumed - he hoped - that the human was merely dithering like a few other sector commanders were at the time. But no, as it turned out, Lee was just buying his time while his men brought him N'Verix from Benzar.
Twelve years ago Bolanus argued against the preemptive strikes that led to this ruinous war while Lee was their most eloquent, if not most ardent, advocate. But despite that heated disagreement - and many others before that - he had always believed that the human was doing what he thought was best for the Federation just like he himself was, and he respected him for it.
But then, Lee installed N'Verix as the new president and vowed to restore the "proper" constitutional order. In other words, he had declared himself a defender of the same political system that had so corrupted and crippled the Federation. That, he could not - and would not - tolerate.
He had underestimated Lee once; he would not make the same mistake again. The first step in overcoming your enemy was to know him, and for the last few days he had been pouring over every file and intel report he could find on Lee, going all the way back to his Academy years. And the more he learned about the human, the more disdain he felt for him.
"General Bolanus, sir," His administrative assistant interrupted his reading through the intercomm. "Brigadier Amman is here."
About time, the Bolian thought to himself. "Let her in."
Moments later, a hulking marine stepped through the opening office doors. Standing up up from his chair, Bolanus walked over and greeted Hsina with a firm handshake. "Welcome back to Earth, Brigadier, and please, make yourself comfortable." He said, gesturing at the rather spartan couch.
Hsina had done just as she told Lee she would do; walked in through the front door, in full dress uniform and in plain view of all.
"You seem surprised to see me" Hsina said.
"To be honest," Said Bolanus as he poured the marine some Romulan ale. "I thought the next time I see you would be on the battlefield as enemies, and frankly that would have been very unfortunate. So yes, I was very pleasantly surprised when I heard you were on your way here. So tell me, Brigadier, what did happen between you and Admiral Lee on Betazed? The word is, you gave the old man quite a beating in front of his senior commanders."
"Honestly I expected the same, until I met Lee and learned that he wants me to obey the orders of some over-paid bus dispatcher with bad skin."
Hsina downed the ale in one swallow.
"And I didn't hurt him too bad. Broke his jaw I think."
A simple nod was Bolanus' acknowledgement that he understood Hsina's indignation at Lee's insistence of propping up a discredited political order.
"N'Verix is part of the cancer that has debilitated the Federation, not part of its cure. But I don't suppose you broke your old captain's jaw out of some disagreement over politics? It sounds a lot more personal."
"Well he seemed to suggest we were sleeping together, and no offense, but your not my type."
"None taken." Said Bolanus as he emptied his own glass of ale. "Although I have to say, it's somewhat ironic to hear Lee making such an insinuation. I understand he himself had quite a reputation for being a womanizer when he was younger, so much so that he even allowed his dalliance to interfere with his work at the Inspector General's Office and was court-martialed for it." Filling the glasses with more ale, the Bolian continued. "Even now there are quiet whispers of his rather intimate familiarity with his chief of staff, which, frankly, is quite unbecoming of a flag officer and a married man, not to mention the sheer hypocrisy of it all."
"That twiggy little pansy had the nerve to pull a phaser on me, but unfortunately for both of them she didn't have the guts to pull the trigger" Hsina replied.
"Unfortunately for them indeed, but most fortunately for the Federation. You are a force to be reckoned with on any battlefield, and I'm glad you have chosen the right side." After a brief pause Bolanus continued. "I have been going over Lee's files, but I would like to hear from someone who has known him personally for so many years. What's your assessment of your old captain, Brigadier?"
"Lee was always far too smooth for my taste. He's more politician than soldier. Even with his operation rejected I told him how to turn the tide, but he didn't have the balls to do what needed to be done", Hsina downed her second drink. "Ardon, I've known him for 27 years. We were never even close to being friends, but at least back then I thought he tried to do the right thing. Now I think he just tries to do the approved thing, not caring whether or not its really right."
Bolanus listened attentively as the marine continued.
"Hard to believe, he and I are both human and he is well over a decade younger than I am, but somehow, somewhere along the way he got old and soft."
"Lee might have grown soft," Cautioned Bolanus. "But it would be unwise to underestimate him. He has a knack for surprises and never shies away from unconventional tactics. I would not be shocked if he's behind the small, but nonetheless pestering insurgency here on Earth. We are in a fight against the Dominions for the survival of the Federation, Brigadier. It's bad enough that we have to deal with Lee; I would not allow some deserters and quislings to distract us further from our objectives."
Standing up, the Bolian walked over to his desk and came back with a PADD in hand. "According to intel," Said Bolanus as he handed the PADD to Hsina. "The insurgents have a base in the Himalayan basin. I would like you to take a special ops team and stamp it out."
"Thats what I do" Hsina replied.
"Good to hear. But you should know that Lee's daughter, Lieutenant Terri Lee, escaped capture a few days ago, and all signs indicate that she has joined with the rebels. We don't know where she is, but we will catch up to her sooner or later. When the time comes, I hope her being your old captain's daughter would not be a distraction."
"I liked Korra, no bullshit with her, but Terri isn't a problem. I won't kill her, but I will take her out of the fight. If she is with the rebels in Nepal, she will be the only survivor. If thats a problem, send someone else."
"Do whatever is necessary."
"Good" Hsina replied as she handed Bolanus a PADD of her own. "I have my own people, but I need the equipment on this list."
"This is quite a shopping list you have here." Said Bolanus. "What makes you think I have everything on it, especially the phase cloak?"
"Don't lie to me Ardon, its at the Manhattan armory. Codes are on the PADD" Hsina said defiantly.
The Bolian glanced up from the list. Hsina certainly had done her research. "I have heard that Captain Kea does not like parting ways with the equipment under his charge."
"No Romulan phase cloak, no Himalayan base" Hsina said plainly.
Bolanus looked into the other marine's eyes. Her determination was unmistakable, and he wouldn't have liked it otherwise. "Very well, you will have what you need within 48 hours."
"Good. Give me three days, I'll take out your base and with any luck bring you a cute little hostage" Hsina said as she downed her third drink and looked again at the PADD Bolanus gave her.
General Ardon Bolanus
Commander, Sector 001
(NPC - Oliver)
Brigadier Hsina Amman