Future Past - Part 1 "Idols and Whispers" (Flashback)
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: In Orbit of the Planet Betazed
Timeline: 2418, In A Future That Was
Note: this is the first of a series of flashback posts that will help to fill in the background information on the alternate future from which the USS Themyscira comes. Many of these posts will be tied to a relevant post that takes place in the present. This particular flashback, for instance, is tied to Episode 4's first official post Prologue: Inner Voice as indicated by the recap.
Most flashback posts are adapted from previous posts under Episode 3, which deals with the alternate future in detail. Since we were still the Bunker Hill during Episode 3, some of the characters might belong to former players and they will be noted as such.
[Previously in Prologue: Inner Voice]
. . . . . .
Captain Karim was visibly taken aback by those words. She didn't know what Ishikawa had told the girl, but whatever it was, the Trill didn't tell her the truth, certainly not the whole truth.
"You weren't there." Said Fatima. There was a moment of tense silence between them before she spoke again, "You father was a great man, Lieutenant. He continued to believe in the ideals of the Federation while the faith of so many others faltered. To him a Federation without its ideals is no Federation at all, and that means there are lines that cannot be crossed. Operation Catalyst? Fine. But Project Medusa? It's beyond the pale. You father would never have sanctioned it."
Terri raised an eyebrow at the mention of Project Medusa. She had heard of it, of course, but no one on the Themyscira had ever bothered to tell her what it was, and she had never bothered to find out as the chrono-generator required her full attention. Besides, she trusted Captain Ishikawa; she's family and the one of the only two she had left.
"You must have missed the news, Captain," the blonde responded with a sarcastic retort. "so here's a quick recap for you: the Federation is gone, and so is my dad." Her voice faltered slightly at the end of that sentence, and with it she turned her attention back to the calculations on her holographic display. She had wasted enough time on Karim.
. . . . . .
::2418, In A Future That Was, Above the Planet Betazed::
As the shuttle soared through the atmosphere towards the space dock in orbit, Admiral Oliver A. Lee looked pensively out of the window next to where he sat.
The serene and beautiful view reminded him of the first time he came to Betazed and fell in love with the planet and its people, who took him in after he had lost his mother.
Now five decades later, he was an admiral in charge of an entire sector, and the Second Dominion War had been raging for thirteen years. Thirteen years. The first war was finished in two.
And despite all the destruction, all the lives lost, there was still no end in sight.
The old man sighed and reminded himself that today was a special day, a day for old friends and family.
"Sir," Captain Nami Ishikawa interrupted his thoughts.
Turning to his chief of staff, Oliver smiled slightly. "Yes?"
"Would you like me to send the gift as usual?" Asked Nami. Seeing the puzzled look on the man's face, she added, "For Terri's birthday. It's tomorrow."
"Ah, yes." Oliver nodded. "Thank you, Nami." Then he looked out of the window again. The truth was, he would rather not to be reminded of the girl's birthday. He had lost too much on that day twenty-four years ago. Too much.
"There she is, sir." Said the Ferengi pilot as he brought the shuttle around to the other side of the massive space dock.
Oliver stepped over to the cockpit and rested his hands on the back of the empty co-pilot's seat. A smile brighter than what was normal for him these days crossed his lips.
"How long has it been, Nami?" He asked without looking back at his chief of staff, his eyes fixed squarely on the Vesta class ship parked at one of the station's external docking ports.
Nami remained in her seat as she answered. "14 years, 2 months, and 5 days, give and take a few hours."
Oliver nodded. "And she's as beautiful as she was the first time I set my eyes on her."
The Themyscira was his second command after the Bunker Hill and his last before his promotion to the admiralty, and the eight years he spent in her captain's chair were some of the happiest in his life. But that was a different time. A time before the war. A happier time.
"Ensign Salus, bring us in."
The Ferengi nodded and opened a channel to the larger ship. "This is Shuttle SC-021 to the USS Themyscira. I have Admiral Lee and Captain Ishikawa on board, requesting permission to land."
=/\= Shuttle SC-021, you are cleared for landing in the main shuttle bay. =/\=
::Moments Later, Main Shuttle Bay, USS Themyscira::
Oliver walked through the opening door of the shuttle, followed by Nami. The sight of a line of Starfleet officers and crewmen waiting to greet him reminded the old man of how much he used to love ceremonies like this; these days, however, he found them more of a chore than anything else. But protocols were protocols, and he had no intention of setting aside centuries of Starfleet tradition just to satisfy his own personal preference.
Stopping before the Trill at the head of the greeting party, Oliver addressed him with a formality befitting the occasion, "Captain Tobin, permission to come aboard."
"Permission granted." Responded the ship's commanding officer in an equally formal tone. Then he broke into a big grin. "Welcome home, sir." He said, stretching out his right arm.
Oliver smiled and shook the proffered hand. "It's good to be back, Kell. And a belated congratulation on your promotion to the big chair. Guess I owe you a crate of Kantorian wine after all."
"Yes, you do, sir." Said the Trill officer. Many years ago his old captain had made the bet with him as a means to encourage him to pursue a command track. Back then he was still a lowly security officer on the Bunker Hill. It's little things like this that endeared the admiral to everyone that had ever served under him.
Turning to the woman next to him, Tobin said, "May I introduce Commander Fatima Karim, my first officer."
Smiling, Oliver shook the XO's hand. "Commander."
"It's an honor, sir." Said the eager young woman. She had always admired the man, not the least because he had liberated her home colony of Theria IV and saved her entire family from certain death. But more important, he was an honest man, a good man. She would never forget what he said to her and the dozen other survivors of the labor camp.
"Starfleet failed you. I failed you." She remembered his remorseful voice. "I can only ask for your forgiveness and give you my word that never again will you be abandoned to suffer these unspeakable horrors."
Fatima never quite understood why the then Rear Admiral Lee had felt the need to apologize - he was not the one that had abandoned them to the Dominion - but the sincerity in his voice was moving and comforting; he gave her hope. So when she heard the newly retrofitted Themyscira was to become the admiral's flagship and Captain Tobin was looking for a first officer, she immediately put in a transfer request. Five anxious weeks and two grueling interviews over subspace later, she finally found herself in the XO's seat of the Lunar class ship. She was beyond thrilled.
Nami rolled her eyes as the Themyscira's executive officer held onto Oliver's hand just a tad too long. The man certainly had a knack for inspiring admiration and loyalty in people, but Karim might have taken it just a little too far into the idol-workship territory. There was no mistaken it; it was all in the Commander's eyes. She would know; she had once idolized him as well, until she realized one day how weak and selfish he could be. Yet, even now she would still do anything for him. Anything. Such was the man that Oliver Lee was.
Captain Tobin chuckled slightly as he finally realized why his second-in-command had wanted the position so badly. He didn't blame her, of course. No matter what the detractors might say - and his old skipper had plenty of detractors - the admiral was a great man. He was a good man.
Clearing his throat, he signaled to Fatima that it was time to let go of the admiral. "Sir, there is someone else that would like to meet you."
As if on cue, an Andorian female in her late twenties materialized before the group.
"Themie," Oliver grinned. "Is that a uniform you are wearing?"
The ship's AI rolled her eyes in her commanding officer's direction. With a mock sigh she said, "Well, Captain Tobin insisted on formal wear, so . . ."
The Trill chuckled. "Alright, if you have the Admiral's permission, you can go back to that dress of yours."
His former captain had always been rather indulgent with his crew so much so that he even allowed the ship's AI to pick her own outfit when she took her holographic form.
Oliver shook his head with a smile. "Your ship, your rule, Kell." Turning back to Themie, he said, "Besides, you look fantastic in that uniform."
"Oh, my, thank you, sir. I think I might . . ." Pausing abruptly in mid-sentence, Themie tilted her head to the side. "Sir, your office just contacted me. There is a priority one transmission waiting for you."
Oliver had been looking forward to this little homecoming for some time and had hoped it would be spared of any inconvenient disruptions. But there was a war going on, and interruptions had become a norm for him. Turning to Tobin, he asked, "Mind if I borrow your ready room for a minute, Captain?"
"It's yours, sir."
::Later, Ready Room::
Oliver sat down in the seat behind the desk and ran his hands over the armrests; it felt different. They had refurbished his old ready room along with the rest of the ship, and everything felt a little more spartan and somber. It seemed that not even aesthetics was immune to the cold reality of war. With a nostalgic sigh and a few presses of the holographic interface controls, he opened a secure channel. "Themie, pass through the transmission."
In compliance with privacy and security protocols, the ship's AI acknowledged with an old-fashioned beep without manifesting herself in her usual holographic form.
The Andorian woman that appeared on the virtual display clearly had no patience for any pleasantries. "We have a problem."
"Nice to see you again, too, Deputy Director Zame. How's the weather in Munich?"
Zame rolled her eyes. Lee's penchant for small talks had always annoyed her, but there were probably far worse things to open a subspace communication with; besides, the human never insisted on the small talks going both ways.
"According to my sources inside Starfleet Command, there have been quiet whispers of a coup going the rounds."
Oliver frowned. "You have spies inside Starfleet Command now?"
"Please, the FSA has had spies inside Starfleet for as long as Starfleet has had spies inside the FSA. Now, can we drop the inter-agency rivalry and get back to the important stuff? I do believe I mentioned something about a coup?"
"Fair enough." Oliver nodded. "How reliable are your sources?"
"Very. And you know how I know? Because they are all dead. Someone really wants to keep this under the wrap."
"Have you talked to Director Stein or Admiral Logan about this?"
"Are you kidding? For all I know they are the ones that silenced my sources."
"Why come to me then? For all you know I could be the one that's planning to overthrow the government."
"Oh, please, you don't have the guts for it."
"I think I'm hurt." Retorted Oliver with feigned disappointment
"Don't be. It's a compliment. I'm sending you everything I have, which is admittedly not much, but maybe you can do more with it than I can from here."
"What do you expect me to do?"
"I don't know. But do something. We can' afford fighting ourselves and the Dominions at the same time. That would be the end of us all."
Oliver sighed quietly. Zame was right, of course, but the fact that the Federation had come to a point where it had to fear its own defenders as much as it feared its enemies . . . . . . it was not supposed to be this way.
With a slight nod he said, "Thank you, Jhmal. Stay safe."
"You, too, Oliver." The Andorian reciprocated the gesture before terminating the transmission.
Falling back into the chair, Oliver ran his fingers through his graying hair. Zax thought of him as someone who could salvage both the war and the Federation. Now Jhmal, too. But He only went to the Academy and joined Starfleet because his grandfather had wanted him to. All he had really wanted was to make a name for himself as a historian, and to be with someone. He had found that person in Korra, and then Michaela, but he had lost Korra all those years ago, and now even Michaela was slipping away from him.
No, there were far more important things at stake than Oliver Antoninus Lee and his miseries, he reminded himself.
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Captain Nami Ishikawa
Chief of Staff
Kalandra Sector Command HQ
(NPC - Oliver)
Captain Kell Tobin
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Oliver)
Commander Fatima Karim
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Oliver)
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Oliver)
Deputy Director Jhmal Zame
Federation Security Agency
(NPC - Oliver)