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Queen’s Gambit
Posted on May 19th, 2021 by Ashexana, AC Zuriyev and Ian Blackthorne

“In conclusion, despite our tumultuous introduction to one another, the Free Fleets and the Federation have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship for several years. Our trading partnership aside, we came to your aid in the resolution of your Section 31 Crisis, and to ensure our very survival, what we are forced to ask now is for the Federation to afford us the same protections you would any other friendly non-member world in the face of an unchecked aggressor. Thank you, Mr. President and esteemed Ambassadors of the Council.”

Scattered applause spread throughout the council chamber, but at least two of the flag officers present in the audience, Fleet Admiral A.C. Zuriyev and his wife, Vice Admiral Brooke Zuriyev, did not join in. Alexi sighed and shared a moment of eye contact with Brooke as their feelings on the matter mingled over the empathic bond they shared. “Matyeryebyets,” he swore under his breath before whispering to her, “I thought I might be able to actually retire sometime soon.” Brooke’s response was a sympathetic look as her own thoughts wandered to the horrors of war that her doctors could soon potentially have to face once again.


As the chamber of the Federation Council erupted into a din of conversations after Queen Ashexana concluded her address, the news broadcast returned to the studio. Federation News Network anchor Tom Wilson began his commentary, his voice the confident and trustworthy one of a veteran news anchor. “And there you have it — addressing an emergency session of the Federation Council, Queen Ashexana of the Free Fleets has formally requested that the Federation aid in their defense against the Xovul. The Queen’s nearly thirty minute speech came as somewhat of a surprise to the Council, since her departure from Refuge while the busy trading port was under imminent threat of Xovul attack was unexpected.

The USS Atlantis arrived on the scene immediately following the attack on Refuge, and relayed news of the Queen’s planned diplomatic visit to Starfleet Command. Queen Ashexana’s address came ahead of schedule as she received Starfleet assistance in traveling to Earth; reports indicate that her flagship, the Rixx, was intercepted by a Starfleet vessel equipped with quantum slipstream drive, and that the Rixx was able to follow in their slipstream wake, greatly accelerating her arrival. Although military escort for visiting heads of state is not unusual, it is still unknown to this news agency if that escort was planned by Starfleet Command, since no public statement has been made on the matter. However, it could be indicative of Starfleet’s stance on this issue, or at least the stance of certain members of Starfleet Command.”


Admiral Ian Blackthorne smirked as he watched the news from his office; of course it was planned. Why would he risk allowing anything to happen to the Queen on her way to Earth when it was within his power to ensure her safety while also expediting her arrival? In fact, the first thing he did after receiving the news from Captain Harper was to divert the nearest slipstream-equipped starship to intercept and escort the Rixx. His history with Ashexana might have been a rocky one, but as she said in her speech, Ashexana was at his side in the final confrontation of the Section 31 Crisis, and Ian was not the sort to forget that.


Tom Wilson glanced off-camera for a moment before announcing, “I am told that we are now able to cut to a press conference given by Ambassador Jaina Blackthorne, representing Betazed.”

The camera cut to Ambassador Blackthorne standing behind a podium bearing the symbol of the United Federation of Planets as a journalist asked, “Ambassador, Lakshmi Nayar, FNN. Queen Ashexana is a Betazoid. Will that have any bearing on your vote?”

“I represent the planet of Betazed and all of her citizens,” came her reply, measured and thoughtful. “Last time I checked, our government did not include a queen. That said, the people of Betazed are well aware of the terrors of war, occupation, and fighting for survival. Although I have yet to decide on this matter, I will consider the best interests of Betazed, along with the Federation as a whole, while taking to heart my great empathy for our friends in the Free Fleets.”

Ambassador Blackthorne answered several more questions, effortlessly crafting diplomatic, well-spoken responses seasoned with a touch of her usual wit, even to the questions that were lacking tact. The broadcast returned to the studio anchor desk upon the press conference’s conclusion, and Tom Wilson began to conclude the report.

“What the Council’s decision will be is still a mystery, though one thing is certain; the Queen’s impassioned speech will spark hours of spirited debate among the Ambassadors. The issue of the treaty with the Xovul potentially preventing Federation interference is the elephant in the room, but our legal analyst theorizes that there may be a way within its bounds to declare the Xovul aggressions against a Federation ally to be a treaty violation in itself.

Legality of a response aside, it could be that the member worlds wish to avoid any further hostilities with the Xovul, no matter the cost to our allies. The threat against the Free Fleets has been known for months now, but their attack on Refuge, along with the Queen’s formal request for assistance, has forced the issue, demanding an immediate response from the Council. Stay tuned to FNN for continued analysis and updates, and rest assured that we will deliver the Council’s response to you as soon as they announce it.”


Black-irised eyes smiled in the dimly-lit ready room of the HMS Syrinx, a video from the desk’s display reflected in them. Captain Travax leaned back in his chair, swirling a glass of Orion whiskey as he watched the news feed. “And I wonder what their response will be?” he mused to the empty room, speaking in his native Betazoid tongue. “If they’ve been paying attention, they’ll recognize the warning signs; the Free Fleets aren’t the only ones threatened by the Xovul.”

As the news cut to another clip of Ashexana’s speech, Travax chuckled to himself as he sipped at the whiskey. “Fantastic move, mother. I just hope that Refuge wasn’t the pawn sacrifice in your gambit.”

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  •  Emilaina Acacia says:

    Always interesting to see what the higher ups are up to. The consequences of these political actions will be important to watch. Good log!

  • D'bryn Zoë D'bryn Zoë says:

    P O L I T I C A L
    I N T R I G U E

    Very cool and exciting! Can’t wait to see how we get wrapped up in it!

  •  Alexis Wright says:


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