Future Past - Part 3 "What Awatis Us"
Posted on Sun Feb 18th, 2018 @ 3:27am by Captain Oliver Lee PhD
Edited on on Sun Feb 18th, 2018 @ 3:29am
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: 2418, In A Future That Was
OOC Note: I just realized that I forgot to include the following post to the background/flashback to episode 3. The post takes place after Future Past - Part 2 "Patriotism". I will renumber the relevant parts accordingly. While this one doesn't change the narrative in any way, it does add more details to how Oliver rescued N'Verix from Bolanus' clutch and convinced her to assume the presidency, something that is only alluded to in some of the other posts. I will add another one later. That one will help clarify the complex relationship between Terri and Hans. So stay tuned! - Roger
[Previously in Future Past - Part 1 and Part 2]
. . . . . .
"According to my sources inside Starfleet Command, there have been quiet whispers of a coup going the rounds." Said Deputy Director Jhmal Zame of the Federation Security Agency.
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."
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
Once the other teams that had beamed into various other locations in the palace all reported in, Haro signaled the HQ of their success. Then she addressed Jiv'ek directly.
"Rhus Jiv'ek Tharin, you are hereby relieved of all your duties as the President of the United Federation of Planets."
Jiv'ek sputtered at the demand. "WHAT?!" He shouted. "By whose authority?!!"
"Mine." Came the stern reply as Bolanus materialized in the room. "You and your cabinet will stand trial for corruption, conspiracy, and high treason against the Federation" The Marine laid out the charges as he approached the stupefied politicians. How they disgusted him.
"What the hell do you mean by that?" One of the cabinet shouted. "Security! SECUR- GAH!" The aging human woman crumpled to the ground holding her face where the butt of one of the Marine's phaser rifle had struck her.
Bolanus ignored the impotent protest from the Secretary of Defense and looked directly into Jiv'ek's eyes. "Mori'L and Lee started this war, but however misguided they were, they had the best interest of the Federation in their heart. You, Mr. Jiv'ek, on the other hand, you and your cronies treat the Federation as your personal fiefdom and Starfleet as your private and dispensable militia."
"How many men and women of Starfleet and the Marine Corps have you sacrificed just to win the last election? How many officers and citizens have you persecuted for standing up to you? Too many, Mr. Jiv'ek, too many. And what has the Federation Council, what have the courts done to fulfill their duties under the Constitution? Nothing. The vile and poisonous influence of your corruption has penetrated every crevice of the system. And yet, you were still not satisfied. No, Mr. Jiv'ek, you would not be satisfied until the Federation burns and crumbles around you."
The Marine paused and looked up at the azure flag of the Federation that hung on the wall behind Jiv'ek's desk.
"I have sworn to defend the Federation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and it is my intention to keep my words, or die trying. But for the Federation to survive, for the Federation to have a future, she must first be purged of the venom that has ravaged her vitals from within." Looking back down, he continued. "And that is exactly what I'm doing. If there is still a sliver of conscience in you, Mr. Jiv'ek, you will go quietly with Captain Haro, or if you choose to make it difficult, Captain Haro will respond in kind. Either way, you and your associates will stand trial for your crimes."
. . . . . .
::Marine Corps Camp Entock, The Planet Benzar::
Etana N'Verix was not the kind of person who would dwell endlessly on regrets, but ever since all hell broke loose three days ago, she had begun to re-examine some of her career choices in life. She was a rather successful business consultant in Tucson when she decided to run for the mayor's office, which had just been vacated after its previous occupant was kicked out in a recall referendum. Like most people in this North American city, she was fed up with the corruption and nepotism of the city hall, but unlike most people, she believed that there was still hope and that all her city needed was an outsider, a non-politician with management experience to fix the fiscal morass and restore confidence. So she ran. And she won.
She left her business before taking the oath of office and never went back. From Tucson, she went on to serve in state, national and planetary governments until the then Federation President-elect Jiv'ek approached her and asked her to join his cabinet. The Hakaran had run and won on a platform of honesty and accountability; in him she saw herself when she first stepped into politics. Just like in Tucson, she was dismayed by the corruption and incompetence of the previous two administrations, and just like in Tucson, she saw an opportunity to make a difference so she took the offer and was immediately put in charge of the Department of Transportation.
In retrospect, it seemed that she had been so eager to believe in the possibility of salvation for the Federation that she convinced herself to overlook the muddled records of Jiv'ek throughout his political career. It didn't take long for her to realize that Jiv'ek was just as bad, no, he was far worse than his predecessors. Sleazy, vindictive, and self-absorbed, he was the epitome of everything that was wrong with today's politics. But not in her wildest nightmare could she have imagined that the President of the United Federation of Planets would sacrifice an entire star system and its billions of inhabitants just to settle a decade-old grudge against a personal enemy. It seemed that there was no salvation for the Federation after all, at least not in the Place de la Concorde.
Yet, she hesitated, until her mother's illness gave her the excuse she had been looking for to leave Earth so that she could clear her thoughts and decide what to do. On her way to Benzar, after much struggle and vacillation, she finally made up her mind: she would resign from her post as the Secretary of Transportation and retire from politics all together. She had had enough of it. But then the coup happened, and as soon as she landed on Benzar, she was immediately arrested for corruption and a host of other charges that she was too stunned to process, although treason was probably mentioned there somewhere.
They first put her in a detention center just outside of the capital city and then moved her to a marine barracks somewhere less accessible to prying eyes and protesters, some of whom cheered as she was being led to the transport shuttle.
They told her a ship would be here in four days to take her back to Earth so that she could stand trial for her "crimes against the Federation." In the first two days, as she sat in her cell, she agitated over how to defend herself in court against those ludicrous charges, but this morning she woke up to the realization that perhaps those charges were not that ludicrous after all. Perhaps after serving in the Jiv'ek cabinet for more than four years, she was indeed guilty of being an accomplice to a President who had treated the Federation like his personal fiefdom. She could, after all, have resigned a long time ago, but she didn't.
At that thought, the Ktarian woman sighed. Falling back against the wall, she looked up at the ceiling from her bed, but before she could ponder further, the lights in the holding cell flickered several times and then gave out completely. As the emergency lights kicked in, she could hear a rush of commotions just outside the brig, followed by what sounded like phaser fire and, was that an explosion? Then everything was eerily quiet for a brief and unsettling moment before the doors to the brig slid open and a team of three fully armed and armored commandos rushed in with their weapons raised while another three secured the corridor just outside the entrance.
Having quickly made sure the rest of the brig was empty, one of the commandos approached the holding cell and deactivated the confinement field. Raising the visor on his helmet, the Rigelian lowered his weapon and said, "Madam Secretary, I'm Lieutenant Commander Gaelan, Starfleet Special Ops. We are here to free you. Please come with us."
"Where are you taking me?" Asked the Ktarian, visibly alarmed.
"Somewhere safe and away from here, ma'am, and please, we must leave now." urged the commando.
With a hesitant nod, N'Verix gave her consent. Did she really have a choice?
"Emerald to Indigo," Said Gaelan to someone on the other end of the comm link. "Axiam has been secured. Proceeding to the extraction point." Then with a hand gesture, he signaled the other two commandos in the room to fall into defensive formation around the Ktarian.
As the commandos escorted N'Verix out of the brig, she couldn't help but wonder what awaited her. She was ready to resign to her fate, but what did fate have in store for her?
::Later That Day, Kalandra Sector Command HQ, Betazed::
N'Veris looked out of the view port as the runabout made its descent toward the planet's surface. It was not until they reached the Betazed System was she told where they were taking her and to whom. She could only surmise the reason for the secrecy: perhaps they thought it would be better if she knew nothing so that she would have nothing to divulge if the rescue failed.
But whatever the reason was, she was still not sure if this change in her fortune was for the better; she simply didn't know what Lee's intention was. Yes, he was one of the most accomplished commanders in this war, and yes, he had managed his sector rather admirably, minimizing the use of draconian measures such as martial law, which were rather common these days. Nevertheless, she didn't really know much about the man; they had had only met briefly once, and that was some years ago. There was no telling what his motives were. After all, Bolanus was also a highly decorated, respected and capable commander in his own right, and yet he did not hesitate to seize the rein of power. But what could Lee do with her?
At that question, the runabout touched down on a landing platform in the sprawling complex of the Sector Command Headquarters. Two of the commandos first exited the ship with their weapons drawn, and then Lieutenant Commander Gaelan gestured at the open hatch, "Ma'am."
Taking a deep breath, N'Verix stood up from her seat and walked over to the exit. There he was, Admiral Oliver A. Lee, the Sector Commander, waiting for her just outside the runabout. With him was a brunette captain, who had the black irises of a Betazoid and two rows of spots more characteristic of a Trill running from her forehead down the sides of her neck.
With the help of the two commandos standing by the exit, the Ktarian finally set her feet on Betazed. She managed a small smile, a gesture reciprocated by Lee, who stepped forward and offered his hand. "Secretary N'Verix, welcome to Betazed. I hope the trip was not too unpleasant."
"It was . . . unexpected." Replied N'Verix as she shook Lee's hand. The man looked a lot older than the several years since their last meeting would suggest.
"I apologize for the haste, Madam Secretary." Said the human. "But time was of the essence; we had to act before you could be transported to Earth."
"Why am I here, Admiral? Am I a prisoner?"
Lee frowned slightly at the question. "Of course not. I have neither the authority nor the cause to arrest you, Ma'am." Turning to the side, he gestured at the the entrance to the building. "Please, your accommodation is ready. Captain Ishikawa will take you there, and I' will answer all your questions once you have had a chance to rest."
"Ma'am." Ishikawa addressed her respectfully, if a little detached.
The Ktarian nodded, and followed the other woman to the entrance. She still had many questions, and she still didn't know what to make of her situation, but Lee was right about one thing: she could definitely use a shower and some fresh clothes.
::Later, Office of the Sector Commander::
"Come again?" Asked an incredulous N'Verix.
Lee leaned slightly forward over the coffee table between them. "You are the most senior official in the line of presidential succession who is not already in Bolanus' custody. You have every right under the law to assume the Office of the President."
"Do I have a choice?"
"Of course. I cannot force you to do this, Madam Secretary, but by now Bolanus must have known about your rescue and he would have already secured the few remaining officials in the line of succession. It would be impossible for me to reach any of them without a direct assault on Earth."
"But why do you need a president in the first place? You have the ships, you have the Marines, you have everything you need to do whatever you want. If Bolanus has proven anything, it's that the sword has no master."
"But it should." Said Lee. "Civilian control of the military is one of the founding principles of the Federation."
N'Verix looked away and out of the office windows for a moment before turning back to Lee. "Even if I assume the office of the president as you suggest, Bolanus is not going to give up or surrender just because there is a new president. He will have to be defeated militarily, and Earth will have to be recovered by force. That's civil war, Admiral, and whichever side wins, it's the Dominion who will benefit the most. It might even be the end of the Federation. Is it really wise to recover the Federation only to lose it to the Dominion?"
The resolution in Lee's eyes did not abate. "As an old friend of mine once said, we are fighting not only a territorial war against the Dominions, but also a war for ideals, ideals such as freedom, justice, and the rule of law, ideals that the Federation is supposed to stand for, and frankly we have been loosing that war for quite some time now, but it's that war of ideals that we must win, even more so than the war against the Dominion. I don't know what awaits us, Madam Secretary, but I would be damned if we defeat the Dominion only to become the Dominion. We lose the ideals of the Federation, we lose the Federation itself." After a brief pause, he continued. "But with a legitimate president in office and by restoring the proper constitutional order, we will show the galaxy that the Federation still believes in its own ideals, that we have not completely lost our way."
N'Verix listened as Lee spoke. He reminded her of herself when she first ran for office, full of idealism, a rare commodity these days. "You are quite an idealist for someone in your position, Admiral."
"I'm just a constitutionalist, Madam Secretary." Said Lee. "Besides, there are others who also believe in the Constitution. If you succeed to the office of the president, by the virtue of that office alone, we will be able to rally support that might otherwise acquiesce to Bolanus because they think the cause is already lost."
N'Verix wanted to be convinced, but part of her still had doubts. "Forgive me if I sound ungrateful, but if I were to become the president, who is to say I would be free to exercise my office? I will be completely dependent on your support, your ships, and your Marines. If you find me or any of my decisions disagreeable to you, you could easily push me aside and install someone else as the figurehead."
"I give you my word, Madam Secretary, if you assume the presidency, you will be free to exercise all the powers of your office, including the power to appoint and dismiss any commanders of Starfleet."
"You would step down if I appoint someone else in your stead?"
"I hope it will not come to that, but yes, I would step down."
N'Verix tilted her head slightly at the answer before looking away and out of the windows. The more cynical part of her found everything too good to be true; after Bolanus, it had become increasingly difficult to believe that anyone with substantial military forces at his command would willingly step away from that power and submit himself to a politician who has no authority except that conferred on her by a mere piece of paper.
But Lee's words were sincere and the look in his eyes earnest. Perhaps it was an opportunity to atone for her complicity in the Jiv'ek administration's misdeeds and corruption. Perhaps there was still hope for the Federation.
Turning her attention back to Lee, she looked into his eyes. She had resigned to her fate.
[To be continued in Part 4 . . .]
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Secretary of Transportation
United Federation of Planets
(NPC - Oliver)