Future Past - Part 6 "Strategem" (Flashback)
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: 2419, A Future That Was
::2419, Earth Space Dock::
For a few moments General Bolanus quietly looked out of the massive windows of the docking port and examined the aging New Orleans class ship parked just outside. Then he asked the Marine next to him, "You sure this is the one you want for your flagship? The Kumari is faster and is equipped with better AI."
"I'm sure Herr General. She may not be new, she may not be fast, but she holds a special meaning for me, and even more for Admiral Lee." said Major General Adlerstein. Despite the obvious disapproval, the German still referred to his old Skipper with the proper rank, never just 'Lee', always Admiral Lee. Part of it was habit, part of it respect for his old friend. Part of Hans knew he used it because he wanted to remind Bolanus, at least in some small way, that Lee was not a traitor, but a fellow flag officer; he was one of them.
Hans looked out at the ship in question.
"Trust me, sir, this ship will make a fine flagship. If anything can bring Lee back to us in peace and in honor, its her, sir: the Bunker Hill."
"I hope you are right." Said Bolanus. "Captain Krage has served on the New York for more than a decade. She has worked hard to earn that big seat and was not too thrilled about her ship's new name and new registry. But, perhaps the sight of the successor to his first command would bring him back to his senses."
"With the other fleets joining us, sir, we should be able to handle anything." Adlerstein stated.
The Bolian nodded. "The 2nd and the 11th have been recalled from the Typhoon and the Groton sectors. They are not quite at their full strength, but once you rendezvous at the Raxon system, you should outnumber the 7th quite comfortably."
Hans looked out longingly at the vessel; he could not wait to be aboard another Bunker Hill.
"Hopefully, Admiral Lee will come quietly and we'll not resort to bloodshed sir; they are still Starfleet sir."
Bolanus looked out of the window again as he responded, "I will not count on it. You old captain has never shrunk from tactical disadvantages. You should read the report on Operation Antiope, General. Jiv'ek sent Lee to retake DS5 with only a few dozen ships for no reason other than to embarrass him with what everyone thought would be a certain defeat in the face of far superior Dominion forces. And what did he do? He bluffed his way onto the station and secured it before the Dominion realized how few ships he actually had. They had thought he brought two entire fleets with him."
Turning his gaze back to Adlerstein, the Bolian said, "The point is, Lee is willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve his objective, and if we want to preserve the Federation, if we want to overcome such an adversary, we must be willing to do nothing less. Are you prepared, General, are your prepared to do whatever is necessary?"
Adlerstein walked towards the opposite wall, staring at it for a few minutes, as if the answers to the universe could be found there. "Permission to speak freely, sir." Adlerstein requested, his voice taking on the great deference that seemed to be a common tongue around the great Bolian General.
Without a word Bolanus gave a simple nod to the request. He took no delight in the almost reverential deference others, especially the Marines, showed him. Nor did he pretend to despise it as some self-styled philosophers might. It was a simple byproduct of his actions spanning decades of service with the Corps, actions that in any event should be taken regardless of potential accolades. Moreover, there were others, men and women, who were truly deserving of accolades and praise, for they were lying down their lives on the front lines every day and night, whereas he, now the head of the provisional government, was confined to Earth and light years behind where patriots were making the ultimate sacrifice for the Federation, but even that unbearable dishonor, the dishonor of watching your comrades die from afar and in safety, he was determined to bear, for that was what the Federation demanded of someone in his position, and there was nothing he wouldn't do for the Federation. Nothing.
"Sir, I am but a servant of the Federation, as I have been for over thirty years now. You are aware that Admiral Lee and I are friends, have been friends for over twenty years. He has been my comrade, my colleague, and a great mentor. I will confront him, and I will do everything within my power to end this conflict so the Federation can heal. But I must tell you, respectfully, General, that I will not kill Lee unless absolutely necessary. It is my every intention to bring him home to us, not in chains, and not as a prisoner of war. I believe that you are doing what is right, but I also believe that he is trying to do right as well."
Hans looked sad and far off as he continued.
"I hope you'll forgive me, sir, if I tell you that I'll gladly trade these stars to guarantee his safe and honorable return to the fold."
Bolanus nodded. He would not force an honorable man such as Adlerstein to violate his decade-long loyalty, not if there were other ways to achieve what must be achieved.
"Semper Fidelis." Said the Bolian. "Loyalty is what makes a Marine, General. I will never ask you to stain you hands with your old captain's blood. You have my word."
"Semper Fidelis, sir, and thank you." Adlerstein replied.
Bolanus acknowledged with a simple nod of his head. "It is time for your inspection of the Bunker Hill, General. You should not keep Captain Krage and her crew waiting."
"Jawoehl Herr General." Hans answered obediently. The German came to attention with a click of his leather heels and rendered a crisp salute.
Bolanus returned the salute in kind and watched as the new commanding officer of the Fifth Fleet turned and marched toward the airlock where the Bunker Hill's CO was already waiting with her senior staff, albeit not so enthusiastically.
Once Adlerstein and his welcoming committee disappeared into the airlock, Bolanus turned around and said to his chief of staff. "What is on your mind, Captain?"
Captain Alandra Haro, who had been standing quietly at a respectful distance as the two general officers talked, stepped forward.
"I'm still concerned by General Adlerstein, sir. If he decides to let Lee . . . . . ."
With a raised hand Bolanus stopped Haro in mid sentence. "General Adlerstein is a good man and a loyal officer. I cannot ask him to violate his conscience. When the time comes, Captain Krage has her order, and she will see it through. She has a score to settle."
Haro nodded. "And the Bunker Hill, sir, you don't really think Lee would just lay down his arms because we renamed the New York after his first command?"
"No, but Lee is sentimental if nothing else. The sight of the Bunker Hill - B will at the very least throw him off his balance, even if just momentarily, and if Captain Krage can seize that moment, it might just be enough to bring an end to this disgraceful distraction Lee has started." A small sigh. "If only Lee would see the errors of his way. If only."
::Later That Day, USS Themyscira, 7th Fleet, En-Route To Earth::
Oliver hastily stepped into the Command and Control Center of his flag ship. He had been in the middle of his daily debriefing with Nami, whom he had sent ahead of him to Earth to coordinate with the resistance movement, when he was alerted to the latest sensor findings.
"Report." He said to his new chief of staff.
Captain Thorin Trell activated the holographic display of the surrounding space. "According to long range sensors, the 2nd, the 5th, and the 11th Fleets are converging on the Raxon System. It seems they are planning to intercept us there."
"How many ships?"
"The 2nd Fleet has 81, the 5th 63, and the 11th 78 ships. None of them is at their full strength, but together they outnumber us by almost 5 to 3."
"At their current speed and trajectory, the 2nd Fleet will be at Raxon in 3 hours. It'll take the 11th and the 5th Fleets another 4 and 6 hours respectively."
For several moments Oliver didn't ask another question as he carefully studied the relative positions of his forces and the ones Bolanus had mobilized to stop him from reaching Earth. Then he broke the silence.
"Tell the Fleet to change course. We will intercept the 2nd Fleet at the P'Rex Nebula."
Turning to his chief of staff, Oliver explained. "As you said, Captain, we would be at a serious disadvantage once they rendezvous at the Raxon System, but we outnumber each of them by a comfortable margin, and there's quite some distance between them, so we'll neutralize them one by one before they can assemble into a single force."
Trell nodded. It was a bold plan, but after serving under Lee for more than five years, he expected it from his commanding officer. He might question the human's political judgement and his decision to fight Bolanus instead of joining forces with the Bolian, but not for a second did he doubt Lee's tactical brilliance. If he thought it would work, it would work.
"Aye, sir." The Andorian acknowledged his order with a nod.
As his chief of staff began dispatching the new order, Oliver held his gaze on the holographic display before him. In a few hours, he would be facing the most difficult battle of his life, a battle against men and women wearing the same uniform that he wore. It would be the first of many battles that he must win in order to put down the coup and restore the constitution to its proper place. But must he save the Federation by the destruction of so many lives, lives of his fellow men and women of Starfleet, of his fellow citizens?
He had no choice. Bolanus had refused President N'Verix' amnesty offer and rebuked his repeated plea to step down and resolve the crisis peacefully. The Bolian believed in the justice of his cause, and he believed in the justice of his own.
He sighed. How he wished that Korra or Michaela were there with him. They would know how to reassure him and put him at ease. But the two greatest loves of his life, Korra, he had lost her all those years ago, and Michaela, she hadn't spoken to him since he sent Alex and Enrin to their death. If only he could undo all those mistakes of his.
[To be continued in Part 7 . . . . . .]
General Ardon Bolanus
Head of State, Provisional Government
United Federation of Planets.
(NPC - Oliver)
Major General Johannes 'Hans' Adlerstein
Commander, 5th Fleet
Starfleet Marine Corps
Captain Alandra Haro
Chief of Staff to General Bolanus
(NPC - Oliver)
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Commander, Kalandra Sector