Of War & Politics - Part 3 "Epilogue"
Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: Captain's Ready Room, USS Bennu
Timeline: Mid 2416 (Alpha) Immediately following "Of Politics and War - Part 2"
Tags: Rokar, Oliver, Lee, Quas, Guinin, Union of Planets, Sactuary Fleet
[Previously in Of War and Politics - Part 2 "No, You May Not"]
. . . . . .
Oliver's eyebrows locked at the El Aurian's response, but then they relaxed, and he slumped back into his chair. At least his former pilot didn't call him a coward like some might have. "I understand." He said simply.
A few moments of silence passed between them before Zax spoke again.
"Look, I probably shouldn't be telling you this yet, but the El Aurian Counsel of Preservers have chosen a new Homeworld here in the Alpha Quadrant, out in the Gullundrian Sector. They're rebuilding from the old Federation colony abandoned there jointly with the Uliquar In Hegemony, and they've become the leading party in the fledgling alliance out there. I can have Rokar put you in contact with them, but it may not be in time for your little anti-coup."
Rokar, that's a name Oliver hadn't heard in a while. He once tried in vain to have the El Aurian - and Zax' son - court-martialed for his involvement in the Timor affair, which, ironically, led to his own first command on the Bunker Hill. Then, of course, there was the rescue operation went awry. But all of that seemed like an eternity ago, and now he had neither the enthusiasm nor the energy he had had back then. In any case, he could use any help he could get, and so could the Federation.
. . . . . .
Rokar replayed the message he'd received from Premiere Zsaan outlining their little coalition's declaration. He shook his head in near disbelief; he'd known it was coming, but for it to happen like this only served to aggravate his own old wounds inflicted by Starfleet. Part of him was glad that Bolonus had gone through with this little coup; it meant that the people were finally starting to tire of the slowly-creeping corruption which had been infecting Federation politics since the early days of Dominion contact.
"Captain," called his first mate over the comm. "There's an incoming subspace-wave signal coming from the Senandarix. Should I patch it through to your ready room?" Rokar quirked his only remaining brow; he'd known it was coming, he just didn't expect to hear back from the old man so soon.
Tapping his old-style comm-badge, he replied. "Go ahead."
A grayed haired man, who looked much older than his age would suggest, appeared on the display. "Captain Quas." Said the old man with an uneasy formality. "It has been a while."
The El Aurian regarded the admiral with a careful suspicion. "Yes it has, and personally, I could have lived with the silence being longer," he replied. Out of habit, he rubbed the missing chip of his left ear as the old burn began to ache. "Or would you like a phaser to blow off the rest of my ear?"
There was a pause before the human responded. It's as if he was considering whether he should in fact take the whole responsibility for that unfortunate altercation all those years ago.
"I did what had to be done."
Rokar had half a mind to deactivate the entanglement radio connecting them through the Senandarix as he listened to Lee's excuse. "Lee, you whacked me upside the head with a jagged piece of conduit housing!" He nearly shouted; "I'm still missing part of my ear!"
For a brief moment anger flared in Oliver's eyes. Then coldly he said, "You brought it on yourself, Rokar. You allowed your personal sentiment to cloud your judgement and left me no choice."
The El Aurian growled before he realized that he was getting truly angry. He took a minute to calm himself as he fought back images of that fateful day. "Look, we can argue about this all day, or you can tell me what you called for."
There was a moment of hesitation in the human's response as he regretted immediately what he had just said. It was rather hypocritical of him to accuse Rokar of succumbing to personal sentiments. On that fateful day all those years ago he had lectured the El Aurian on how the lives of thousands outweighed the lives of a few. But it was really the life of one person, the life of his daughter, that was on his mind when he ordered his marines to overpower station security and eject the terrorist ship with the hostage still on board. The truth was, Rokar might very well have deactivated the ship's self-destruct in time, but he could not let the safety of Terri depend on a "might". He could not lose Terri. He could not lose the last link he still had to Korra.
"Your father mentioned that you had contact within the Guinin government." Said Oliver, referring to the government of the fledgling Union of Planets based in the Huitzi system. Officially the UOP was considered an illegitimate secessionist government by the Federation, but at this point Oliver would ask for help from anyone who was not hellbent on destroying the Federation.
Rokar leaned back in his chair as he listened to the human on the other side of the screen. If his father really had tipped Lee off to his connections, then that meant the old man might actually trust him. The El Aurian sighed. "You realize that pops is really just using you to help him get rid of Bolonus, right?" He knew it was true, and he suspected that Oliver knew it as well. After all, the man had been his father's superior at one time. "But, I suspect that it doesn't really matter to you. After all, you would probably be doing the same in his place. So, what is it that you want with the President?"
"I would like to get in touch with Mr. Guinin or one of his representatives." Said Oliver. "I could use every help I can get now that we have to deal with Bolanus as well as the Dominions." After a pause, he asked, "Can you help me?
He sighed. "Yes I can, but I'm not entirely certain he'd want to speak with you. As far as they see it, this new Federation government is just as corrupt and imperialistic as the old one. Unless you can grantee certain contingencies for this new government, I can't grantee anything." He tilted his head as he came to an irritating realization. "Well, short of pops threatening to do something entirely stupid, like making a run for the presidency of the Union itself, which..." He groaned as he thought more about it; "...which, he might actually do."
"Would that really be such a bad thing?" Asked the human.
Rokar shot Oliver a look of surprise at the man's reaction. "THAT should make your ass pucker harder than just about anyone else's. You've seen what pop's is like when he's angry; can you imagine what he'd do with the Union's entire military at his command?!" Rokar shuttered as he remembered back to his childhood. He remembered just how terrifying his father had seemed, walking away from the capital of the Tu-Seganmas Empire as it burned in the flames of his own doing. He'd learned long ago that his father was one of the most dangerous of creatures when angered. Of course, the damage he could do was always limited to the technology available to the people he was attacking.
"Although, if you can guarantee that the Federation will recognize the Union and its boarders, it would go a long way helping your cause. Despite the state-hood, about 60% of our population are displaced refugees."
"I'm afraid the Federation cannot officially recognize the legitimacy of Mr. Guinin's government, but President N'Verix has agreed not to take any action, military or otherwise, against the Union, and once the war is over, she will seek to resolve the secession issue peacefully and diplomatically."
"Yeah, I get that. But also keep in mind that we've also got a former Romulan Colony who chose to join us. And believe you, me, the war-lord formerly in control of the place isn't happy about loosing one of his best ports. And the last time I checked, when the Constitution and its guarantees were suspended, that also made any succession of worlds viable so long as those worlds had voted to succeed of their own accord."
"General Bolanus' coup is illegal, and neither does he possess the legal authority to suspend the Constitution. As far as the Federation government is concerned the Constitution has never ceased to function as the supreme law of the Federation.
"But legality aside, there are more than a few cabinet secretaries and flag officers who believe we cannot allow the secessionists to grow their clout, thereby encouraging more secession. It was not easy to convince the President N'Verix over their objection that our focus should be on taking down Bolanus and the Dominions, rather than any potential allies. Despite our differences, I think there's still much that we share because the last time I checked, the Union's founding proclamation was quite similar to the Federation Charter. Whatever differences we have, we cannot allow them to doom the ideas that we both believe in. Besides, all I'm asking is a chance to talk to Mr. Guinin, nothing more."
Rokar sighed as he thought about it. Finally, he leaned in onto his desktop. "Alright, I'll put you through. But I can't make any promises that Guinin'll be any more receptive. There is a rather large sentiment with the High Counsel, that they would be open to the idea of re-joining the Federation, provided that certain demands were met." Rokar chuckled as he leaned back.
"Its ironic, really... they're demands are actually the Federation's old minimum requirement's for potential new member planets." Once he'd cleared his mirth, Rokar looked back at this aging human on his screen.
"How could we let it get this bad, hm? How could we have let our standards slip enough that we couldn't even pass our own entrance standards?"
For a moment there was no response from Oliver. Then he broke the silence.
"It began the moment the Odyssey went down on the other side of the wormhole 46 years ago. Then there was the Leyton coup. It failed, and civil war averted, but the panic and the paranoia remained, and they never left, even after two years of war. Whatever progress we made during the interbellum, it didn't have the slightest chance of surviving twelve more years of war and counting.
"The grand ship that was the Federation had already been battered, weathered and broken when Bolanus seized power and believed that only by pushing through the whirlpool of no return can the ship be salvaged." Shaking his head, the old man let out a sigh. "All we . . . all I can do now is to hold the ship back so that it doesn't fall over and disintegrates into the whirlpool, or worse, emerge from the other side mangled, a bizzaro of everything it once was. Maybe, just maybe, once the war is over, someone else can find a way to bring it back to port and make it anew according its original blueprint."
Another shake of his head, Oliver put on a wry smile.
"Never mind. It's just an old man's rambling. Pay it no heed. Thank you, Rokar. And . . ." He hesitated for a moment. "I'm sorry for what happened to Zoe. It must have been difficult for you."
A tear began to well up in his eyes. For a moment, he felt like he was listening to his beloved speak again. She had grown up along the edge of the Federation, where law wasn't as set in stone as it were elsewhere. "Now I know how Pops felt when mother died," he replied. "And Kae, and William, and Sjul..." Then a bittersweet smile made its way forward. "I guess this is why we're a race of listener. When you live as long as an El Aurian, speaking is just too painful."
Oliver simply nodded without saying a word. Perhaps he had already said too much.
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Commander, Kalandra Sector
Captain Rokar Quas,
USS Bennu / Sanctuary Fleet Alpha
(NPC - Zax)