Future Past - Part 11 "What Have You Done?"
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: 2419, In A Future That Was
::2419, Bridge, USS Bunker Hill-B, In Orbit of Earth::
The USS Bunker Hill and several of her sister ships settled into Earth orbit as they came out of warp.
“Hail the HOSO.” Major General Adlerstein stated to the comm officer, referring to the Head of State’s Office.
Instead of General Bolanus, his chief of staff appeared on the view screen after a brief delay. “General Adlerstein.” Captain Haro greeted the Marine. “My apologies, but General Bolanus is in a meeting with the Romulan ambassador at the moment. I hope you have good news for him.”
“Tell him . . . that we have routed the 7th Fleet and captured Admiral Lee. I’m quite certain the good general will make time for that bit of news.” the German replied to the image on the screen.
There was a moment of hesitation as Haro tilted her head to the side and pondered Adlerstein’s words.
“Where is Captain Krage?” She asked.
“She was injured in the battle, and has been taken to sickbay to recover.” Hans lied.
“And the rest of your fleet?”
“The rest are undergoing repair from the battle, the remainder taking charge of the prisoners that we took.” Adlerstein added.
Anxious silence lingered on the bridge for the next few moments. The Orbital Defense Platforms were still under the control of Bolanus’ men. If anything went wrong, they could easily decimate the small squadron of ships the Marine had brought with him back to Earth.
“I’ll inform the General.” Haro finally spoke. “Welcome back to Earth, sir.”
“Thank you Captain.” Adlerstein said simply with a polite nod. Once the screen had gone blank again, to be replaced with a view of Earth, the German slumped back into his chair with an audible sigh of relief.
::Later, Starfleet Command::
General Arlon Bolanus was not particularly pleased with his meeting with Ambassador Tomalok. Unlike the Cardassians, who had officially declared neutrality, the Romulan Republic had remained suspiciously ambiguous on the small matter of Lee’s rebellion. Intelligence suggested that Lee had been in talks with the Romulans, and he could only assume the human was seeking the Republic’s support. As expected, Tomalok danced around the issue and never gave him a straight answer. But Lee was in custody now, and none of that mattered.
Of course, there’s still the question of what to do with Lee. He had hoped the rebel would resist arrest and allow Captain Krage the justification for lethal force - he could not in good conscience order the execution of a surrendering POW, certainly not one of Lee’s integrity and brilliance. It pained him, but Lee was beyond persuasion and reason, and so long as he’s alive, the 7th, the 3rd and the 12th Fleets, some of the most accomplished units in Starfleet, would never abandon their commander and his cause. He respected Lee’s ability to inspire loyalty in his men, but he would not allow such misguided loyalty to threaten the survival of the Federation.
With that thought, Bolanus entered his office with Captain Haro by his side, and there they were, Adlerstein and Lee, along with the two Marines guarding the prisoner.
“Welcome back, General.” He shook Adlerstein’s hand before turning to the other human. “Dr. Lee.” He said coolly, but without any hint of disrespect in his voice. Lee had forfeited his rank the moment he raised the flag of rebellion, so it seemed only proper to address him by his academic title instead.
It had been a long time since anyone called Oliver "Doctor", and the last person who did - his predecessor in the Bunker Hill’s big chair - ended up being complacent in murder. He couldn’t bring Enright to justice 25 years ago; would he fail again with Bolanus? No, it’s not the time for such thoughts.
Adlerstein came to attention before he could stop himself; old habits die hard, and the Corps’ reverence for Bolanus ran deep.
“Thank you, sir.” Hans said simply.
“No, thank you, General.” Bolanus said with a relief in his voice. “You might very well have ended the rebellion and allowed us to finally focus on pushing back the Dominion.” Turning to Lee again, he continued. “Isn’t that what we all want?”
“There are greater threats to the Federation than the Dominion, General.” Responded Oliver.
“Yes.” Bolanus nodded as he looked into Lee’s eyes. “Yes, there are.”
Adlerstein fidgeted behind his back once more. He and the guards awaited the signal from Lee before they sprung into action, and Hans figured Lee had earned to retort against Bolanus for all their shared history together.
“Please, General.” Oliver pleaded with Bolanus. “Please, stop this madness while we still can. The Federation cannot survive civil strife like this.”
“If you truly believe that, Doctor, then you would order the 7th, the 3rd and the 12th Fleets to stand down. We have already lost the 2nd and the 11th, thanks to your obstinacy. And I assume the 7th is badly depleted. You have already weakened us considerably at a time when the Dominion is pressing ahead with their advance. If you truly believe in the survival of the Federation, Doctor, order your men to stand down.”
“I would not order my men to abandon their oath to the Federation and to the Constitution, General. Even if I wanted to, I’m not the commander-in-chief. President N’Verix is.”
“She has no authority.”
“Not according to the Succession Act of . . .”
“Inter arma silent leges.”
“That’s not the Federation way.”
“That’s the only way to save the Federation.”
“What Federation are you saving, General?” Retorted Oliver. “A Federation without its ideas is not the Federation we swore our oath to.”
The towering Bolian took a step toward the human, frustration and disgust filling his voice. “This is not one of your academic treatises, Doctor. You debate the niceties of political philosophy while millions die and planets burn.” With a shake of his head, Bolanus stepped back. “Captain Haro, please escort Dr. Lee to the brig.”
“General . . .” Hans said, stepping forward to block Haro from escorting Lee. “I must respectfully agree with Admiral Lee’s points. I must further respectfully ask you what exactly is Project Moneta? I’ve seen the surveillance footage sir . . . perhaps I’m just a dumb Marine who should shut his mouth and toe the line, but it strikes me as cold-blooded torture and ‘re-education’. I also had to stop Captain Krage and one Major Renard from executing prisoners after the battle. Tell me they were not doing so on your orders or authority sir . . .”
Hans’ eyes turned glassy as the emotions concerning the event he had witnessed and the possibility of the great Bolian flag officer’s involvement came to the fore of his mind.
Bolanus frowned; perhaps he had misplaced his trust in Adlerstein.
“Dissension is a privilege in peace, a luxury in war, and a venom in an existential struggle for survival. I will not allow the Federation to fall on account of the obstinacy of a few. If words fail, there are recourse to other means. If all fail . . . just remember, General, the very survival of the Federation is at stake.”
“Sir, Lee is right on this point, that is not the Federation I swore my oath to; I raised my hand and swore to defend a Federation that was governed by equality, of fairness, of law and the respect of individual rights. I respectfully tell you that nothing, no right, no authority vested in you by law or by God gives you the right to make men and women surrender their conscience. Please tell me that you do not believe that you have that right.”
Bolanus shook his head. “Not right, General, duty.”
“Some of the greatest nations in history have been brought down by the misguided deeds of those who believe that any price is worth paying for security and survival. The Federation you choose to represent, sir, is not one of liberty and freedom . . . it is one of tyranny.” Hans retorted.
“Liberty and freedom?” The Bolian Marine sneered incredulously. “What good are liberty and freedom if no one is left to exercise them? What good are liberty and freedom if the Federation is not there to protect them? Do you think the Dominion is bringing liberty and freedom in their wake of destruction? Do you think the Klingons are amassing their fleets on the borders because they are concerned with ideas such as liberty and freedom? Do you, General?”
“What good is our survival if the thing we turn into is a shell of what we were? No sir; better to die a just and honorable man than to live for a thousand years without freedom.” Hans retorted. “I ask you, respectfully, stop this madness. Let us, the three of us, repair and heal the Federation.”
The great Bolian general shook his head. Regret was palpable in his voice. “I’m sorry, General, that you still have faith in your old captain, who care more about a piece of paper than the lives of billions. I cannot allow the Federation to fall because of your misplaced idealism.” After a pause, he continued. “General Adlerstein, you are hereby relieved of your duties.” He then turned to his chief of staff. “Captain Haro, escort Dr. Lee to his holding cell.”
Hans nodded quickly to the Marine guards, who immediately drew their phasers, Singh guarding the door. Hans withdrew his own Type I phaser and pointed it at Bolanus before releasing the catch on Lee’s cuffs.
“I’m sorry sir; it’s over. Believe me that I take no pleasure from this. I’m trying to do what is right by my conscience.”
Bolanus’ eyes gleamed with fire as the towering Marine general uttered the simple, yet vehement word. “Traitors.” With a tap of his old fashioned comm badge, he opened a channel. “Bolanus to security, my office, now!” But there was no response from the other end.
Bolanus’ expression turned from bewilderment to anger. Turning to Oliver, the great Bolian general roared. “What have you done!!?”
“I’m afraid no one will be coming to you aid, General.” Oliver said calmly. “General Adlerstein’s Marines began securing the Headquarters and the orbital defense network as soon as we stepped inside the building.”
As if on cue, Sergeant Major Signh spoke, “Sirs, Major P’Vor is reporting they have secured the HQ.” There were a few moments of delay as more communication came through the Marine’s earpiece. “Colonel Tang and her men have control of the orbital defense platforms.”
Oliver let out a quiet sigh of relief. “It’s over, General. Let’s not shed any more blood today.”
Bolanus was no longer angry at Adlerstein, not even at Lee - although such underhanded stratagem had Lee’s fingerprints all over it. No, he was angry at himself for allowing this to happen in the first place. The irony did not escape him that his own coup was undone by another coup, but his was born of patriotism, and theirs was treason.
"You spoke of not shedding any more blood, but mark my words: more blood will be shed, more lives will be lost, and the Federation will be brought to ruin because of what you have done today."
The Bolian would sacrifice anything for the Federation, but he also knew when he was bested, and his warrior’s code bound him to accept as such with honor. They might have taken the Federation away from him, but they would never take away his honor.
Dignified and poised the great Bolian general nodded and readied himself to be taken away.
“General, we cannot . . . “ Captain Haro protested indignantly, still dumbfounded by the sudden turn of event.
“It’s over, Captain.” Bolanus interrupted his chief of staff. “And that’s an order.”
Haro bit her lips and grudgingly stood down. It was not over, of course. Lee was supposed to die today - it had been foretold - and he would die. He must. She would make sure of it.
Adlerstein let loose a long-held breath; he had been sure that Bolanus would go down fighting, as benefited his aura, his mystique of do-or-die as a Marine.
As she surrendered her sidearm to First Sergeant Storr D’Arden of Malcor V, the human surreptitiously glanced around the office, and her eyes fell on the Bolian ceremonial dagger resting peacefully on an ivory stand by the exit. It was ornate and richly decorated, and its blade was as sharp as the fans of the Entor beast. It would do.
With D’Arden behind her, Haro followed Bolanus and Sergeant Major Singh to the exit. Just as they walked past the dagger, Haro surprised the Malcorian Marine behind her with an elbow strike to the face and a forceful kick to the knee in lightening succession. As the Marine fell backwards to the ground and before anyone else could stop her from her murderous intent, she grabbed the dagger from its stand and aimed it square at Lee’s heart.
“For the prophet!” She shouted fanatically as the blade hastened towards its intended victim.
“Admiral!!!” Hans shouted, jumping in front of his old Skipper. Something hit the German in the chest, and he had the sensation of both mild pain and wetness on his uniform. He looked down to see the blade protruding from his chest, and shock overcame him as he suddenly felt weak in his legs and knees, and he tasted iron.
Oliver had just begun contemplating all the arrangements he need to make after the coup’s end when the commotion startled him. Before he could react, Hans had jumped in front of him and took the blade meant for him. Mortified, he caught his old friend in his arms as the Marine slumped to the ground.
“Take her away! And call a medic!” He shouted. As the two Marines rushed Bolanus and Haro out of the office, he turned back to his old friend. “Stay still, Hans. The medic will be here soon. Just hang on there.”
Hans fought for breath; he knew the wound was fatal, even if a medic had been in the room, he was not going to make it.
“It’s . . . no good . . . Admiral. I’ve seen . . . enough wounds . . . to know . . . ” he coughed violently, which made the wound hurt all the more. As he coughed, blood tinged spit flew from his mouth. He did not have much time.
“Sir . . . sir?” Hans pleaded, trying to pull Lee towards him with his closest hand.
“I’m here.” Answered Oliver as he leaned closer to his friend.
“I . . . must tell you . . . some . . . things.” He gasped.
Oliver nodded quietly and listened.
“I . . . just wanted you to know . . . that serving with you has . . . has been . . . an honor. But . . . I so . . . badly wanted to . . . have a greater honor . . . ” his breath came in spurts as Hans felt immensely tired and weak.
“Anything for the hero that saved the Federation.” Oliver said with a smile in an effort to assure the Marine that he would be alright, but he wasn’t sure if he had pulled it off.
“For years . . . I so badly . . . wanted to call you . . . call you my friend. May I . . . say that I could call you that . . . in my final moments? May I stop calling you Admiral and simply . . . call you . . . Oliver?” The wounded German requested.
“Of course.” Oliver nodded. His voice began to choke. “I already told you 25 years ago that you . . . you could call me that.”
Hans smiled weakly. “Thanks, Ollie.” He laughed a tired laugh. “Heck . . . not even . . . against . . . regs . . . both of us . . . flag officers.” His next laugh made him cough and gag more blood, this time darker than the last.
Oliver wanted to say something, but there was nothing but sadness and a dreadful sense of what’s to come.
“Sir, Ollie . . . please . . . tell your daughter . . . I’m sorry . . . and that I tried to do right . . . in the end.”
“Please, Hans. Save your strength and tell her yourself.” Said Oliver with a forced smile. Turning to the Marines guarding the door, he shouted with palpable desperation in his voice. “Where is the medic?!”
Just then and through the doors a Vulcan woman burst through, all but tearing through the guards posted outside.
“You will not impede my entry.” A cold voice said, yet somehow full of emotion. Hans recognized the voice of his wife immediately. He had informed her secretly about their plan, and she had made a “visit” to the headquarters to “congratulate” her husband on securing Admiral Lee. The Admiral in question waved the guards to allow her entry. The female Vulcan moved quickly to Hans’ side.
“Hey, Liebchen.” Hans said, stroking her face. “I don’t think . . . it’s . . . good.”
“That appears . . . logical.” His wife said, the last word seeming to have more than cold calculation of the odds within it.
“I want . . . you to . . . know . . . that I . . . love you.” He coughed again, yet more blood pooling from his mouth. “I had no choice but to love . . . you. It was . . . only . . . logical.” He smiled at his wife. She leaned down and kissed him. It seems that even Vulcan logic must give way to love in the face of death.
He turned to Oliver. “I’ll . . . recon . . . the next world for you . . . Ollie.” He said.
Oliver struggled and failed to hold back the tears that began to stream down his cheeks. “I expect the report on my desk by 1300 hours, and if . . .”
Hans started to gasp, his breath couldn’t seem to make it to his lungs. His gasps became more frantic. He knew this was the end, and he was frightened. He knew not what laid beyond this life, and he had hoped not to find out for many more years. In his throes, he reached out, grabbing his wife by her hand and pulling it to his chest, as well as clutching Oliver’s hand. With both his wife, and his old Skipper clutched to his breast, his breathing turned shallow and rapid. His eyes went wide, as he breathed out his last.
“Oh, dear . . .” the old German said. His head turned slightly to the right, and his pupils dilated, his eyes now staring at nothing. His hands relaxed their grip on his wife and Skipper.
Johannes Kurt Adlerstein, Major General, Starfleet Marine Corp, Academy class of ‘85, veteran of 34 years of service to the Corps and of 12 different conflicts, was dead. He was 55 years old.
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Commander, Kalandra Sector
Major General Johannes Adlerstein
Commander, Fifth Fleet