Log of the Month for August, 2023
Posted on August 31st, 2023 by Nico Slate
The Rylanan Air Force hangar was massive. There weren’t fighters that lined the steel plates sitting on the deck. There was a transformation that occurred that changed the room into a conference hall of sorts. The fighter jets, some used and some pristine, had been pushed back into a jigsaw puzzle-like formation to clear the space for something better; for something more important than war and fighting: for peace.
Rows and rows of Trinoran and Rylanan soldiers stood at attention. Clad in dress uniforms with their hands behind their backs. It showed a symbol of unity. Medals of each faction emblazoned their dress garb that matched the huge flags hanging behind the dais. On the left, the Rylanans. On the right, the Trinorans. In the far back were the Starfleet Marine detachment that served as mediators for the conflict. It truly was a sight to behold.
There were hushed murmurs, both positive and negative. There were random glares and awkward glances between each. But there was a calm in the room, a calm that the planet hadn’t felt in a long time. Soldiers would be soldiers, so to speak. However, they had all been called here for a special occasion and for a reason – no one would doubt that, regardless of whether or not they knew why. For now, there was mutual respect among the ranks. There was a curiosity, there was an official respect, and still there was a bewildering mysteriousness about the whole event.
On the platform at the front stood each delegation, Trinorans and Rylanans both, and a single oak podium centering the entire affair. There was a unity in the moment, but still a fracture in understanding and emotion, but there was a generosity in the air that one couldn’t put their finger on. The entire moment seemed surreal and uncomfortable.
Suddenly, someone at front called for attention and the troops snapped together with respect and stood ready to be addressed. Lady Walora walked across the stage, poised and collected, with a gait that was so presidential that it exuded authority. Following her was the Prime Minister of the Trinorans, his walk more heavy and with purpose. It had an authoritative stability nonetheless. They both moved swiftly to the microphone and took up their public speaker positions. A hush fell across the room as they gestured all the attendees to be ‘at ease’. Everyone shifted into their respective relaxed stances.
“Rylanans. Trinorans. I stand here today with an official declaration of armistice.”
There were some cheers, there were some boos, but neither drown out the other.
“The last week has been difficult for both sides. Both sides have been angry for so long. Both sides have had losses for so long. Both sides are still wanting what’s best for their people… for so long. But, we are a singular people on a singular world. I’m grateful that the Trinoran Prime Minister and myself have been able to meet, discuss, and talk about the future of all of us.
“There have been wrongs on both sides, we do not doubt that. Both sides have made accusations, assumptions, and unilateral decisions that have put all our respective people in danger. We do NOT deny that. To that end, we say ‘no more’! What divides us is less important than what connects us! There is a place on this world for all of us to live in harmony, albeit with different ideologies and different ways of going about bringing that to fruition, but we stand here united to say that violence is NOT the answer!”
There was a pause for a smattering of applause and some obvious groans and misgivings. President Walora composed herself, looking back at the diplomatic personnel behind her and getting a nod from the Trinoran Prime Minister. She took a breath. She tapped the PADD in front of her that no doubt had her speech and copious notes on how not to incite another rebellion. She looked up, smirked slightly, and bobbed her head.
“Peace isn’t easy. Peace is hard and challenging. However, it is worth the fight. This armistice isn’t the end, but a glorious beginning. There have been mistakes on both sides, but the path to a wonderful reconciliation is understanding that there will be differences, there will be disagreements, and there will be hardships yet to endure. The leaderships of both of our people are committed to those difficulties without bloodshed, without in-fighting, and without the segregation our world has experienced these past years.”
More agreement and disagreement simmered from each side. The marines in the back stood stoically; peacekeepers doing their duty.
“We want to thank all of you for your perseverance, your dedication, and your stalwart attitude to ‘fighting the good fight’. It’s time to lay down those arms. The ‘good fight’ is now to be fought without weapons, without anger, and without the destruction that we’ve all inflicted on our each others’ communities. We now seek to find common ground. We do this for you, for our families, and for our future as a united people.
“We thank Starfleet and their marine detachment that has protected so many of us. We thank them for their bravery, and we hope to console them on their losses. Collateral damage has affected them as much as their Rylanan and Trinoran brethren that they were sworn to defend. We thank you, Starfleet. And, with permission of the Rylanan and Trinoran delegation, we hope to petition the Federation for membership as a unified world, with a unified purpose, with a unified people!”
That brought tons of accolades from the crowd. Soldiers broke their stance and clapped, hugged their neighbor, and handshakes across the aisle. People joined hands that mere days ago they saw as their enemy. There was a positive feeling in the room as Lady Walora spoke. The Trinorans weren’t her biggest fan, but seeing the power and mutual respect on stage of the leadership meant the world to them. War would end, fighting would end, death would end – that’s all most of them wanted. That was the most important thing.
“These Rylanans and Trinorans that stand before me have known hardship. They’ve known battle. They’ve known loss. I thank you for your service to your cause. The only thing that remains constant in this universe is that everything changes. And, together, that change will be good, will be stable, will be amazing because of people like you! From my heart, from Prime Minister Bavan of the Trinoran people, we want you to know we appreciate you, we love you, and we can’t wait to build a better future with you by our sides. Thank you.”
That brought an eruption of applause as the two leaders, and their delegations, walked off the stage. Each faction’s military leaders dismissed their infantry, and the Starfleet Marine leader in charge of the peacekeeping force did the same. Nico nodded his head and beelined towards the exit as instructed. He felt that it was a good speech, albeit grandiose politically and not nearly enough to encapsulate what he’d gone through, he understood the premise.
At least, for now, he could breathe peacefully.
The medical bay had been cleared out. Carlos Ramirez was the last remaining person there. His injuries had been severe and although he was recovering nicely, he hadn’t been cleared to leave and to return to active duty. So, there he laid with a PADD and a grimace that only a marine could offer. He hated being laid up without anywhere to go, without anything to do, and without anyone to converse with.
Nico parted the doors with an ardent stride. “Hey Carlos.”
“How was the ceremony?”
“It was all pomp and circumstance, but a great speech by Lady Walora.” Nico said, sliding a chair to sit next to his friend.
“Sorry I missed it.”
Nico shook his head and placed his hands on the gurney, resting his chin on his wrists. “Nah, it wasn’t anything to write home about.”
Carlos tossed the PADD on the cart next to him, laughing, “Are you kidding? It’s peace. It’s a treaty. It’s all the things that we’re here for: to alleviate hostilities and bring two warring groups together for mutual collaboration. I think that’s awesome! It’s what we are supposed to do.”
Nico looked up, his eyes slightly downtrodden, “Yeah, but to what end? People died. You got hurt. And the peace is still fragile. It could go to hell tomorrow.”
Carlos put his hand on his friend’s arm, “Then we’ll be here tomorrow. One day at a time, one fight at a time, one peace at a time. Right, sir?”
Smirking, Nico stood up, “You’re right. I guess I’m a pessimist.”
“Realist,” Carlos retorted, “But I see where you’re coming from. We did good, Nic.”
The hiss of the doors behind them shattered the moment as an officer walked through, tapping away on a device that Nico didn’t recognize. She was blond, maybe mid-twenties, and had a marine captain pip on her neck. She wasn’t paying attention to either of them as she said, coldly, “Lieutenant Slate, President Walora would like to see you, please.”
“Yeah, give me one second.”
“It’s the President, Lieutenant. Your second was up five minutes ago.” She smiled in that ‘sorry, but not sorry, and orders are orders’, kind of way. She nodded, Nico nodded, and the woman disappeared back into the corridor. That was pretty on the nose, but when it comes to politicians and diplomacy, it made sense. You did what was asked and you dropped everything else to fulfill your obligation. So, it was time to go.
Nico looked at Carlos and his friend shrugged him off, “Go, I’m stuck here for awhile anyway. Give her hell.”
“Are you kidding?” Nico blurted out with a slight chuckle.
“We saved her life, she owes you.”
Nico laughed again, “That’s not how it works.”
“You know what I mean, now go.”
“Okay. I’m going. Get better, Carlos.”
Carlos sat there on the bed, obviously in a bit of pain and suffering from the things they’d experienced in the last couple of days. But he still smiled and nodded, motioning towards the door, “I’m at peace, Nic, go.”
The executive suite wasn’t what he thought it would be. It wasn’t lavish, it wasn’t ornate, it was just your standard room. No pictures, no frills, and nothing governmental was to be found. It was, quite seriously, just a room with a table and chairs. Nico moved into the room and found a seat, clasping his hands on the cold surface of the table and sat as he always would – professional as he was always expected to.
President Walora entered gracefully. She was wearing a navy blue robe and it flowed behind her with an elegance that complimented her position. One wouldn’t know her guerilla fighting attitude given her garb, but Nico would always know her gumption and fortitude.
Nico stood. “Madam President.”
“I thank you for your heroics and for your ingenuity. Please sit.”
Nico nodded, “It was my pleasure, ma’am.”
The President smirked, “I’m here to give you a commendation, Lieutenant.”
“Not necessary, ma’am.”
There was a slight gap in the moment. One could have played a game of chess with how long the lapse in the talk was. After what seemed like forever, Lady Walora finally spoke. “You’re an honorary citizen of the Rylanan people.” She smiled, her grin bright with honor and humility. She slid an insignia of the Rylanan people, a badge of sorts, across the table. There was a sincere appreciation in her facial expression that couldn’t be turned into words. And Nico could feel the positive energy she was exuding, even though he didn’t have the understanding of narrowing down what it all meant. He knew there was pride in her statement.
Ultimately, Nico didn’t know what to make of it. He was a Federation citizen. He was a Starfleet Marine. He had a duty, pledge, and a posting for service. What did she mean? And how should he respond? Was it legal, was it anything he’d have to go through Starfleet command for? Symbolic? Don’t overthink it. It was symbolic. He reset his mind and allowed himself the privilege. Nico swallowed the lump in his throat and smiled. “I’m honored, Madam President.”
“I hope that when Starfleet has a permanent presence here in the future, once our petition for Federation membership is approved, that I get to see you again.” President Walora squeezed Nico’s shoulder, gave him another smile, and moved to the door. She stopped briefly, turning back to look at the Lieutenant, “Keep doing what you do, Mr. Slate.”
Nico bowed his head with a mixture of embarrassment and bashfulness, “I will, ma’am.”
“Good.” And then she was gone.
He was alone for a moment. He breathed deeply, he collected his thoughts, and reminisced on the happenings of the last week. There was a lot to digest. The layers of things he’d have to peel back and assess would take time. His heart was still racing on all of it, but that would subside with time. For the time being he would just keep doing his duty, take the recognition he received with a grain of salt, and move forward professionally as was his focus.
He bolted upright, standing again, suddenly ripped from his revelry. His commanding officer waltzed through the door with a presence of power and authority. Nico pushed the chair back, the screeching of the metal on the floor belying the obviousness of his startled state, and he stood at attention. “Colonel.”
“At ease. I have your new assignment.”
“We’re moving you to the Minuteman. Chief Engineer. Given the testimony of 2nd Lieutenant Carlos Ramirez, your own recollection of what happened during the attack on the palace, and the first-hand account from President, uh, Lady Walora… we think your skills are useful in another capacity.” The Colonel beamed slightly with a prideful adoration for his subordinate. Their interactions had been hasty, off-putting, and borderline hostile since the attempted insurrection occurred. But there was no bad blood. Nico felt that.
“A ship, sir?” Nico felt pride, but also a sense of misgivings in himself. Again, he couldn’t place what he was experiencing. But he didn’t have time to analyze what he was experiencing or what the Colonel was feeling. Sometimes he hated being a Betazoid.
The Colonel’s smile disappeared, “You have a problem with that, Lieutenant?”
Nico shook his head voraciously, “No, sir, I’ve just, uh, never served on a starship.”
“You’ll get used to it!” He slapped Nico on the back, “And they’ll be happy to have you.”
A starship? Chief Engineer? Marines under his command? One or two in a contingent was okay, but a full department? His breath caught in his throat as he contemplated being in charge of the life, heart, and brain of a starship. He’d have to be in control of a lot of things that could affect a ton of people, a mission, and Starfleet’s vision for the future. He took another breath. Every new mission would come with challenges. One day at a time.
“You leave in the morning; all the details are on this PADD.” The metal of the device clanged with the metal of the table as he slide it in front of Nico. “You done good, kid.”
Nico blinked, “Thank you, Colonel, it’s been a pleasure.”
“Give Colonel Rak’nar my regards. He’s going to kick your ass. But you’ll love it.”
And, just like that, Nico was alone again. He stared at his orders, his mind raced to the events of the previous days, and the events that led him to this moment. It was okay. He may not have been prepared for a new posting, but he was smart and he was strong. He was also scared. Each day was a new adventure and sometimes the adventure was perilous. He’d go where the wind took him, where the orders took him, and where Starfleet took him.
And in that turmoil and uncertainty, there was a semblance of peace.