Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: USS Arcadia
Timeline: 1922 Hours, MD 2 (March 4, 2393)
[Previously on Déjà vu and Revelation - Part 2 "Secrets of Medusa"]
. . . . . .
Oliver drank from his glass as he considered what Chrys had just said. Then he looked at Nami before turning his attention back to the science chief.
"Organize your findings into a report, Lieutenant," said Oliver, "I will forward it to Starfleet Command, but our current order stands, and until we receive a new order to the contrary, we will escort the Themyscira to Starbase 139 as soon as her repair is complete, nothing more."
Chrys stared at him. "Sir." she said her tone verging on a whine. "You cannot be serious, I can get you the report now. It's in my hands." she held out the PADD. "Sir, the time it will take to get to Starbase 139 and then for the higher ups to read the information.. it will be too late and we will have lost the element of surprise."
Oliver took the PADD and set it aside on the small glass table next to him.
"We are neither the Praetorian Guard nor the Tal Shiar, Lieutenant. We are Starfleet; we follow our chain of command, and the President sits on top of that chain, so unless and until she gives us the authorization to mount a surgical strike, we will not go anywhere near Dominion space. Is that clear?"
"Sir, while that is abundantly clear, we both took an oath to protect the Federation. Doing this, will protect the Federation; if we sit down and do nothing, and what happens comes to pass, history will judge us.." Chrys knew she was loosing this battle and it made her voice impassioned.
Rising from his seat, Oliver walked over to where the science officer was standing.
"Do not lecture me on history, Lieutenant." he said, looking straight into her eyes. "We have our orders, and as I told you this morning, if you have problem following any of them, you should let me know right now."
She crossed her arms and her eyes, hardened to dark agates. "Sir, you know this is wrong." She said her voice level. "I am letting you know, Sir, that I believe the orders are wrong."
"Wrong?" Oliver quirked an eyebrow. "What's wrong is to provoke an almost certain war with the Dominion right now and risk all the devastation and death that war most certainly would bring, just to prevent a war twenty years from now, a war that in any case might not even happen now that the time line has already been changed."
Straightening his uniform jacket, he continued, "Your objection to our order will be noted in my log, Lieutenant, but unless you prefer being relieved of your duty, I suggest that you carry out that order."
. . . . . .
Zim gathered his tools and followed Chrys and Themie inside. There were some visible damages to the lab - a few broken instruments and blown out bulkhead panels - but nothing as serious as Ming had led him to believe.
As his colleague accessed the logs on one of the terminals and the AI nostalgically surveyed the room, the Bolian engineer noticed what appeared to be two storage units embedded into the bulkhead on the far side of the lab. Making his way over, he tried the control panel situated in between the storage units. It seemed that whoever used it last time was in such a hurry that they didn't have a chance to encrypt it. And it looked like one of the units was currently in use.
An ominous feeling began to creep up his spine as Zim attempted to open the vault. A few presses of the holographic control interface later, there was an audible "click" as the vault's locks disengaged. Another few seconds passed before storage unit 2's cover slid down and a sealed cylindrical pod protruded outward. Zim stepped closer and looked through the transparent window on top of the pod. His eyes opened wide in horror and disgust when he saw what was inside.
"Lieutenant Capulet," he called out to Chrys. "we need to contact Captain Lee. Right now."
. . . . . .
::Corridors, Deck 5, USS Arcadia::
Captain Oliver A. Lee was not the kind of person who would lose his composure easily, but what his science chief and acting chief engineer found inside the Themyscira's science lab was testing the limits of his self-control. Followed closely by Ensign Navaar, the Arcadia's commanding officer quickened his pace through the corridors. As they rounded a corner, the pair were joined by the ship's chief of security and another security officer.
"Has everyone been secured?" asked Oliver. Unmistakable was the seriousness - one might even say the severity - of his tone.
"Ready on your command, Captain," Kevan nodded, hand already palming his phaser. "We've sealed-off the entire deck, and communications have been blocked. Are you...are you sure this is how you want to do this, sir?" He was aware this was a little on-the-nose as things went; arresting a Starfleet Captain, no matter what time period they were from, was a serious matter that would garner a lot of attention.
"You read Dr. T'Lor's preliminary findings, Mr. Dash." answered Oliver without slowing down his steps. "What Lieutenants Capulet and Zim discovered was nothing short of premeditated murder, and I'd bet my entire career in Starfleet that Captain Ishikawa knew what was going on in that lab. For her own sake I pray murder was all that she had in mind, but if our Romulan friend is to be believed, I'm afraid it was only the beginning of something far, far worse. Captain Werner's Marines have just secured the Themyscira. That ship must not be allowed to go anywhere near Dominion space, or we risk having another war on our hand soon enough." A brief pause later, he added, "Perhaps not everyone on the Themyscira is aware of what's going on in that lab, but until we can be certain, I'll not take any chances."
::Meanwhile, Guest Quarters 5-02::
Captain Nami Ishikawa, commanding officer of the USS Themyscira, was not the kind of person who would dwell on sentimentality - sentimentality was for children and fools, as the Rigellian proverb went - but even she had to admit that she would miss his company.
Oliver Antoninus Lee might have been an unbearably self-righteous fool, but he was also brilliant, kind, gracious, even inspirational - the Seventh Fleet would have surrendered like the rest of Starfleet if not for him, or rather the memory of him; even in death he was the last ember of hope for the Federation, a fallen dream that had never been real.
But more important, he was the man who had saved her from a life of misery and pain. He was the man who had shown her that in this dark and cruel universe there were still rays of light, however rare they might be. She would have done anything for him - she had done everything for him - even against her own better judgement.
But that was a different life.
Yet even in this one Oliver Antoninus Lee was still an unbearably self-righteous fool. He would . . . he could never understand what she was trying to do even if she had told him the truth from the outset. She might as well spare him the useless moral vexation that truth would inevitably exact from him.
In any event, by 1200 hours tomorrow, the Themyscira would be on its way to complete its mission, and there would be nothing he could do about it. She would save his precious Federation, whether he liked her methods or not.
At that thought, Nami emptied her cup of Durelian coffee and checked the chronometer on her desk. Hekoa was late for his report. Pressing her combadge, she opened a channel to her XO.
"Ishikawa to Hekoa."
There was no response.
"Commander Hekoa, respond."
Still nothing. But then the door chime rang, and the knot on her brows relaxed.
"Come in." she said as she picked up the coffee pot and refiled her cup. "You'd better have a good reason for being late, Commander."
"He does" Came the harried reply as Lieutenant Capulet entered the room. "Captain." She said as the door slid shut. "You need to go. And Go now"
Nami arched an eyebrow. "Why is that, Lieutenant, and where is Commander Hekoa?"
"In the brig, with the rest of your crew. Captain Lee is on his way here now to arrest you." Chrys said as she moved towards the far wall and the tube access point.
No sooner had Nami raised an incredulous eyebrow than the doors to the guest quarters hissed open, and in came the Arcadia's commanding officer followed by Lieutenant Kevan Dash and a pair of security officers.
Oliver frowned slightly when he saw Chrys in the room.
"Step away from Captain Ishikawa, Lieutenant."
"Captain..." Chrys protested "Sir you really...." she stopped and stepped aside at Oliver's look.
Walking over to where Nami sat, Oliver slid a PADD across the desk.
"What do you have to say, Captain?"
Nami tucked at the bottom of her uniform jacket before picking up the PADD. A quick glance of the device, she said, "That depends on what I'm looking at."
"You tell me." Oliver said tersely.
Another look of the PADD, Nami set it back down on the desk. "If I have to guess, I'd say that someone spilled an entire can of Salorian fruit jam."
Oliver was clearly not amused by the quip as he slammed his fist on the desk. "Damn it. That is a dead Founder. In the Themyscira's science lab."
Nami did not seem to be taken aback by either the man's outburst or his revelation. Nonchalantly she said, "Well, could have fooled me."
Oliver did not mince any more words. "What is Project Medusa?"
Instead of answering the question right away, the Themyscira's commanding officer picked up her cup of coffee and sipped from it.
"I know that tone of voice." she finally said, "It's the one you use whenever you interrogate someone with a question to which you already have the answer. You know, for the longest time I couldn't understand why anyone would do that. At first I thought that perhaps the question was meant to be rhetorical, but then I realized that you actually expected an answer. An honest answer at that. You thought . . . you believed that even the worst of sinners deserved a chance to come clean, to repent of their sins. Is my repentance what you want, Oliver?"
Oliver's brows tightened as Nami spoke. It vexed him that she was right.
"I want the truth."
"Good to know," said a defiant Nami, "because I'm fresh out of repentance."
"What is Project Medusa?" Oliver pressed again. "No more lies."
A small smirk crossed Nami's lips.
"Fine. Project Medusa is a biological agent that, when combined with axionic tetryon particles, will irreversibly destabilize a Founder's morphogenic matrix. The effect is nearly instantaneous and, of course, fatal."
The Trill sounded almost giddy as the last few words rolled off her tongue.
Taking another sip of her coffee, she continued, "But, of course, you probably already know that, seeing how you seem to have obtained quite a bit of information on Project Medusa from our database. So what do you really want to know, Oliver?"
"There is no Dominion bio-weapon on Galen II, is there?" asked the Arcadia's commanding officer.
"What is there?"
"It's the Founders' new homeworld."
"Come on, you don't really think that after the last war the Founders would allow the location of their homeworld remain public knowledge, do you?" asked an amused Nami. Taking another sip of her coffee, she added, "I have to give them credit for keeping it a secret for so long. Starfleet Intelligence won't ascertain its location for another year or two. Well, at least not where I'm from."
The revelation that Galen II was the Founders' new homeworld was not entirely unexpected for Oliver - after all, when she first came aboard, Nami was rather adamant that the Arcadia help her reach the Galen system at any cost. Nevertheless, the revelation only confirmed his worst fear.
"What was your plan for Galen II?"
"Why? The extermination of the Founders, of course." Nami answered matter-of-factly.
Pointing at the PADD, Oliver was incredulous. "Justice? You call that 'justice'?"
"Sure, I do." retorted Nami as she stood up from her chair. Walking around the desk, she stopped merely inches from Oliver. "When was the last time you were back on Betazed, Oliver?"
"What?" the man was visibly confused by the seemingly non sequitur question.
"When was the last time you were on Betazed?" Nami repeated herself, but this time she didn't wait for an answer. "It's not Earth that you call home, Oliver, is it? It's not even New Amsterdam on Luna where you were born. It's Betazed. The Betazed you love so much, the Betazed that took you in after you lost your mother. That Betazed, instead of trying to occupy it like they did in the first war, the Founders bombed the entire planet back to the Stone Age. Only a few thousand managed to survive the orbital bombardment. Those the Dominion rounded up, and their execution was broadcast to the entire quadrant."
Stepping past the man before her, she walked up to Kevan.
"And then, of course, there's our beloved Trill, Lieutenant Dash." she said, gesturing at Oliver, "After your captain here led the Dominion on a wild goose chase for a whole month, costing them hundreds of ships and two entire star systems, guess whom they vented their frustration on?"
A brief pause.
"Two hundred thousand were massacred over twenty-two days, Lieutenant. Men, women, and children. The Founders didn't care. And the largest of those massacres took place right at the foot of the Bes Manev, where your father used to take you on camping trip every summer. The streams were running red for days."
Kevan's jaw tightened at the mention of his father. "Don't you dare..." he growled.
Nami ignored the other Trill and turned back to Oliver. "Tell me, Captain, do the dead not deserve justice?"
Oliver let out a small sigh. The anger and indignation that had boiled inside of him when he first walked in were still there, but he also began to feel sorry for Nami.
"That is not justice." he said, "It's vengeance."
Nami sneered. "Call it whatever you want, but I have sworn an oath to protect the Federation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. If it means that I must wipe every last one of the Founders from existence, so be it."
Then she slammed her cup down on the desk.
"It's the Founders, damn it! Where I'm from, you once called the Dominion the greatest threat the Federation has ever faced because the Founders, and I quote, 'stand against everything the Federation stands for, and they will not rest until the entire quadrant kneels before them in servitude.'"
Oliver took a step closer to the Trill. "I also took an oath to defend the Federation, Captain, and yes, the Dominion is a threat, and yes, the Founders are the very anti-thesis of the Federation, but you are talking about genocide . . ."
"So? The Founders didn't so much as blink an eye when they exterminated the entire Zal population, just to set an example for the rest of their subjects. And all the Zal did was asking for a deferment on their dilithium contribution because they couldn't meet the quota after their mines were hit by an unexpected flood.
Oliver shook his head. "We can't defend the Federation by betraying its ideals, Captain. If we defend the Federation with weapons of terror, of oppression, of injustice, weapons our enemy wields without moral, without hesitation, without remorse . . ."
Nami did not let him finish and instead picked up where she had just cut him off.
". . . if with those weapons we emerge triumphant, we would have already lost, for we would have become our enemy, and our victory would only mark our abject and utter capitulation."
For a moment Oliver was at a loss for words. "How . . ."
"That was part of your long winded answer to the defense counsel's question during cross-examination at Admiral Coleman's court-martial. They called it the 'Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way' speech after it was leaked to the press."
Nami paused to pick up her cup of unfinished coffee from the desk, but didn't drink from it. Instead she shook her head with a sneer.
"President Ji'vek had thought that he could sideline you by making you the Inspector General, a mostly ceremonial post by that point. But then Talos IV happened, and you led the investigation yourself. Coleman did what he had to, but you, you just wouldn't let it go, and because of you and your little speech Starfleet lost one of its most accomplished flag officers in the entire war. And for what? Some dead Dominion scums?!"
Kevan stared hard at Ishikawa, starting to understand a little of what she had told him of the 'destiny' she had believed in. Right now it wasn't clear whether those words she had told him were true, or whether they had been wrapped-up in more lies to manipulate the situation to her advantage. Either way, the thought of a Starfleet Captain behaving in such a manner appalled him. He wanted to speak up, to condemn her just as Oliver had, but it wasn't his place. Not now.
Oliver remained quiet as Nami spoke. Jalor had mentioned the Talos IV incident when he questioned her in the sickbay earlier in the day.
"By 'some dead Dominion scums' you mean a few thousand dead Dominion POWs?" he retorted.
Shaking his head, he decided that he had had enough argument for the day. Nami was clearly beyond reasoning.
"Captain Ishikawa, you are under arrest for murder and attempted genocide. You have all rights udner Chapter 31 Article 12(c) of SCMJ, including, but not limited to, the right to remain silent and the right to a defense counsel. Do you understand those rights?"
A small smirk crossed Nami's lips.
"Are you going to court-martial me, too, Oliver?"
The man did not answer. Instead he repeated his previous question.
"Do you understand those rights, Captain?"
"Crystal." came the defiant response.
"Lieutenant Dash," Oliver turned to his chief of security, "please escort the captain to her brig."
"With pleasure, sir. Captain?" he motioned to the door, his colleagues flanking.
Chrys took a breath "Captain Lee, you need to stop and think on this!" She protested. "This is..." she didn't quail at the look and stepped between Dash and Ishikawa. "Sir, this is stupid! If Captain Ishikawa is correct and you are wrong... sir... MILLIONS will be wiped out!"
"I will not have this conversation again, Lieutenant." The irritation in Oliver's voice was palpable. "Unless you wish to join Captain Ishikawa in the brig, I suggest you get back to your station on the bridge."
Nami watched the exchange heating up before her. As much as she appreciated Capulet standing up for her and her cause, the human would be of no use to her if she got herself thrown into the brig, too.
"That's alright, Lieutenant." she said calmly. "We have to pick our battles."
Chrys nodded stiffly. "Captain." she said softly.
As Nami was escorted to the doors, Oliver turned back to his science chief.
"I will not tolerate repeated insubordination on my ship, Lieutenant." he said sternly, "This will go on your record. Expect disciplinary hearings once we get back to Starbase 139 with the Themyscira as per our orders."
Without waiting for a response, Oliver followed the others out of the doors, leaving Chrys behind to ponder her future within Starfleet.
Captain Oliver A. Lee
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Captain Nami Ishikawa
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Roger/Oliver)
Lieutenant Chrysanthe Capulet
Chief of Science
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Kevan Dash
Chief Security Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015