Posted on June 6th, 2006 by Ian Blackthorne
Vice Admiral Ian Blackthorne turned from the tactical display on the main viewscreen to address Lt. Commander T’Kirr. In an even tone, looking directly into her eyes, he said, “Launch the reserve fighters.” The preparations were complete, and it was time to make his final move, the outcome of which would decide this fleet’s fate. T’Kirr’s acknowledgement was lost to him; he knew it would come anyway, and soon after, the turbolift doors swooshed closed behind her.
Minutes later, a prominent patrol of Mustangs displayed on the tactical overlay. “Comm channel, fleet-wide,” he ordered to the air behind him, and a chirp and an aye sir indicated that he was on the air. Days ago, he had written a speech, but it had been long since deleted, filed as irrelevant garbage. Who could prepare an oration for such an affair? Now or never, Ian.
“People of the Xindi,” he began, his voice solid and authoritative from the start, “Tagan, your leader and representative to Starfleet has been found dead. Assassinated.” He let the word hang in the cold void separating him from his audience, and continued, “My mission has always been to deliver you to safety, but without a functioning government in place whose continuity can be guaranteed, I can not do that. After much thought and consultation with Tagan’s advisers, I am declaring martial law upon this fleet, effective immediately, and terminating upon safe delivery to your new colony.
“I do this not out of lust for power or desire to dominate the Xindi people, but out of duty. My responsibility is to get you all through hostile space safely, and I intend to do just that. Transition back to civilian government will be seamless at this trip’s end, so have no fears of lingering military dictatorships. That is not how the Federation ideals are expressed, and I would not welcome you into our space thinking that we seek to usurp your right to self-determination.
“I have led you this far successfully. Despite this setback, I will see this through. I ask you to trust me, follow me, and your people will have a future. I will be working closely with Tagan’s advisers to preserve the ideals of the Xindi. That your culture survives is just as important as your physical survival, and I will see to it. Our journey together is nearing completion, and I ask you to stand with me through to the end.
“Vice Admiral Ian Blackthorne, out.” The comm channel chirped closed behind him.
Ian regarded the tactical overlay with interest as quiet settled over the Atlantis’s bridge. His hand was revealed. Would the pot be lost?