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Log of the Month for November, 2011

Masterstroke
Posted on November 30th, 2011 by Ian Blackthorne and A.C. Zuriyev

The ready room was lit only by the glow of the terminal on the Admiral’s desk, where Ian was seated, staring at the displayed image of another Admiral with far less hair, but more importantly, one more rank pip. Both men had a half empty glass of scotch within easy reach, and the bottles weren’t far.

“This ‘Queen’ Ashexana almost wiped out a Federation colony along with several members of my crew. And Alexi… she almost killed my wife.”

“Ian, I know full well what you have to deal with, since I also married my XO, but it’s a risk you accepted when you let yourself fall in love with a subordinate officer.” Zuriyev took a drink of the scotch and continued, “Even though not expressly forbidden due to the nature of deep space travel, there is a reason it is not exactly encouraged, not that I was in a position to attempt to dissuade you.”

Matching his fellow Betazoid drink for drink, Ian quipped, “In that vein, I think T’Kirr’s a bit more persuasive than you anyway, though Brooke might debate me on that point.”

“I should hope so!” came Alexi’s reply, accompanied by their shared laughter.

“You said you know what I’m dealing with. How did you handle it?”

“Killed the bastards. Oh, you meant in general.” Alexi finished his scotch and poured another. “Trust your judgement – and hers.”

Ian nodded and downed the rest of his drink, also following suit with a refill. “My own judgement I’m not so keen on right now. I feel like I’ve been caught with my britches down one too many times lately.”

“Commanding a starship does not suddenly grant you the ability to see the future. Sure, go ahead and doubt your judgement, and let that doubt translate into more careful thought and planning, but only when you have time for it. Your command decisions in the heat of the moment must not suffer.”

Ian sat silently for a few moments and then simply answered, “Yeah, you’re right.”

With a satisfied nod, Alexi returned to business. “Now, back to our discussion. This mission is a grey area, as I am sure you are aware. Ron Gerard does not have very many fans in Starfleet Command.”

“Neither do I, so I guess that makes us a good team. Besides, use of local and mercenary assets in a Starfleet operation is not without precedent.”

“That is true, and one reason that I am not going to try to stop you. But I can not officially sign off on the mission, either.”

“That’s good enough for me.” Ian sat back in the chair and took a long drink. “What’s another reason you’re not stopping me?”

“Because I want you to win while we still can. We were attacked, and although we can not prove the identity of our attacker, I would like to see her brought to justice before she is out of reach. Preferably the kind of justice that one finds out an airlock.”

“While we still can?” He could tell Alexi was holding back something, likely information that he knew Ian wouldn’t want to hear. “Prove the identity of our attacker? She all but told Venya Kashar her intent before almost destroying Atlantis!

“Despite the help she has provided you, most here do not consider Venya Kashar to be a reliable source. The Free Fleets have not claimed responsibility for the attack on Gencodia, and we have no evidence to implicate anyone.”

“Bullshit.”

Both men drained their glasses and filled them again, in shared protest at the situation.

“Ian, we both know she did it, but this is a political issue now, and the ambassadors on the Council are a bit more difficult to convince. Ashexana has contacted the Council with a request to open diplomatic ties with the Free Fleets and recognition of their sovereign space.”

That was certainly what Alexi had been holding back, and he was right, Ian didn’t want to hear it. “That’s absurd. They’re outlaws, Alexi. Pirates. Since when does the Federation have diplomatic relations with pirates?”

“After the attack on Gencodia, there are some on the Council who feel that expanding into the Hinterlands is not worth the fight. That was clearly Ashexana’s goal in demonstrating both the power to bring such a biological weapon to bear, and the restraint to make it act slowly enough to give us time to find the cure, which was certainly no mistake on her part. It was a diplomatic masterstroke; they all know that she was responsible even without proof, and consequently, she was successful in convincing several ambassadors that the Free Fleets are too risky an opponent. Now you have to come to grips with the possibility that you might not get the revenge you seek.”

“Bloody hell, Alexi. You’re serious.” Ian seemed to deflate back into his chair, even leaving the scotch on the desk. “It’s hard to imagine the Federation Council being intimidated by a band of space pirates. Even if they are exceedingly well-armed space pirates, they’re not exactly the Klingons or the Romulans.”

“It is something you should think about as well, Ian, especially since you are on the front lines in this whole affair.” Alexi leaned forward and looked Ian directly in the eyes, with none of the gesture’s meaning being lost over the great physical distance between them, and quietly asked, “Is keeping Gencodia worth losing T’Kirr?”


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1 Comment

  • Atlantis Patch T'Kirr says:

    Well crap.

    Nice dialogue, all Admiral-y. I’d hate to be enemies of Atlantis right now.




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