Part 18: Episode 18: "Who You Gonna Call?"Episode 18: "Who You Gonna Call?"
"Hey, uh… pretend I don't know who any of these people are. Who are they again?"
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me. Ok: The one on the far left? That's Admiral Janeway. I'm not sure what she's been up to lately. The man sitting next to her is Admiral Chakotay, chief of Starfleet Intelligence. I'm pretty sure that means he's your boss. Next to him is Admiral Leonard James Akaar. He was saved as a baby by then Captain Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy, and so his mother gave him their names in gratitude. To his right is Admiral T'Nae, she's Vulcan and in charge of Starbase 39-Sierra on the Romulan Border. She's the one who introduced us to Admiral Zelle and got us into this mess-"
"What do you mean, 'us'?"
"Ok… got Korvat into this mess. On the far right is Admiral Riker. He's in charge of the Klingon front, and commands the Enterprise-D… even though Captain Data is currently in command of the Enterprise-F. Riker's pretty used to getting his way. The one in front is Admiral Quinn; he's asking the questions and doesn't have any direct influence on the outcome of the trial."
"Yes, that's… er, that's exactly right. I was just, uh… testing you. Or something."
"Hey, Doc… you've been around a lot longer than the rest of us. What do you think of the captain's chances of winning this trial?
"… As he's already admitted guilt, I would estimate his chances to be extremely poor."
"… I was afraid of that."
"What, you don't expect Korvat to come through this smelling of roses?"
"I have no idea what that means."
"Lieutenant Commander Korvat; you've plead guilty to the crime of treason against the Federation. Is there anything at all you'd like to say in your defense?"
"First, I would like to remind the Admiralty that my decision was made singly, without consultation with any of the officers under my command. I take full responsibility, and none of my crew should be censured for my choices. I would also like to issue a correction, Admiral. I plead guilty to aiding a 'hostile foreign power' and exposing a covert operation. I did not plead guilty to treason; as my actions were justified under Starfleet Regulation 3, Paragraph 12: 'In the event of imminent destruction, a Starfleet Captain is authorized to preserve the lives of his crew by any justifiable means'."
"Intriguing. Lieutenant Commander, please explain."
"Of course, Admirals. I had reason to suspect that Admiral Zelle was an Undine infiltrator and was attempting to lead my ship into a trap, and possibly drag the entire Federation into a war."
"I am curious, commander. What reason did you have to suspect Admiral Zelle as an Undine?"
"Isn't using her Undine nature simply an excuse to cover up an act of treason you'd already committed? If you truly had suspicions, you should have submitted them to Starfleet Command through proper channels."
"I was under orders not to communicate with Starfleet, specifically. Admiral Zelle's orders. Also: Admirals, I suspect that Admiral Chakotay is, in fact, an Undine infiltrator."
"I have known Admiral Chakotay for-!"
"Was there a purpose behind your accusation, Lieutenant Commander?"
"Indeed-and I must beg Admiral Chakotay's pardon, I have no reason to suspect him of being an Undine. This was a logical exercise: if I had brought my concerns about Admiral Zelle to Starfleet Command, would they have been believed?"
"An interesting example and an unusual defense. Lieutenant Commander, I knew Admiral Zelle better than any and I didn't see any indicators that she was an Undine. What evidence were you able to uncover that I missed?"
"My evidence is all empirical; I have no scans or bio-data to back it up. However, I do have experience with the Undine impostor pretending to be the Vulcan Ambassador, Sokketh and Admiral Zelle's actions onboard the ship were strikingly similar. Upon her arrival, she immediately went into seclusion-which is perhaps less telling than it was with Sokketh, who ate nothing on our trip to P'Jem, as there was a replicator in her quarters. However, I've been monitoring the replicator logs as a matter of habit, and discovered she only used it twice: both at times when I was visiting her quarters in an attempt to get to know her."
"Intriguing… I'll have my people go through the replicator logs of Starbase 39-Sierra and see if we can pinpoint how long Admiral Zelle had been an Undine."
"I'm not entirely certain that would work, Admiral. The Undine are a highly telepathic race, and I see no signs that Admiral Zelle put herself in seclusion while she was there."
"… A curious observation."
"But one I can explain. As you said, Admiral, you knew Admiral Zelle better than anyone and, being highly telepathic, I suspect the Undine simply took cues from your expectations. I, however, had never met Admiral Zelle before. I had no expectations about her behavior-"
"This is absurd."
"No, there is a logic to it. If nothing else, it speaks volumes about the Lieutenant Commander's personality."
"It says no more about him than his personal logs have. He has a persecution complex."
"I am inclined to agree."
"So, Admiral Chakotay, you're saying you haven't had operatives pouring over his every word searching for treason? You haven't filled his crew with spies to monitor his every action?"
"Admirals, please… Starfleet Intelligence is not on trial. As I was saying: I had no real idea how Admiral Zelle would act and, as Admiral Zelle is only the second Starfleet official to set foot on a ship under my command, I must admit I based my expectations on my experiences with Ambassador Sokketh-which Admiral Zelle mirrored almost exactly. I do believe in coincidences, but in this case the similarity between Admiral Zelle's behavior and my own expectations seemed entirely... too convenient. Additionally, one of my officers is highly telepathic, but complained of bad headaches the entire time Admiral Zelle was onboard my ship.
"Do you have a statement from the resident medical chief supporting this?"
"He does; and I'm prepared to share it right now. Elerena Galti came to me complaining of headaches for which I could find no cause. At the time, I made the medical assumption that she was simply dehydrated and supplied her with some analgesics. In lieu of Lieutenant Commander Korvat's recent testimony, however, I find it highly likely that the source could have been telepathic interference."
"… And I must concur, as Doctor Tamora's analgesics had no effect; and, looking back, the headaches always intensified whenever I neared Admiral Zelle's quarters. I suspect I began avoiding that part of the ship entirely during her stay, which may have been her intention."
"It was a combination of all these factors that lead me to suspect Admiral Zelle was an Undine and, being under strict orders not to contact Starfleet Command for any reason… I put in a call to the Romulan Ambassador on Vulcan. I gave no specifics, and left him to piece together the details himself."
"Thank you. I, for one, think I've heard enough. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance, and that all charges against Lieutenant Commander Korvat should be dropped."
"As do I. Lieutenant Commander, I must say I find your argument persuasive."
"Korvat, I appreciate your motives, but I find your judgment questionable. As you gain experience, however, I trust your judgment will improve. I see no need to sentence you at this time, however... I do expect you'll be far more careful in the future."
"I do not trust your motives, Lieutenant Commander, but for now I bow to the will of my colleagues. Do not let this happen again."
"I am inclined to judge you harshly, Lieutenant Commander. You are reckless, headstrong, and far too certain of your own abilities. However, as there is not an officer in this room who can't say the same about their choices when they were your age, I too support the dismissal of all charges, with one stipulation."
"We've received word from Romulus. Empress Sela sends her thanks for the Federation assistance which uncovered an Undine infiltrator in command of a Romulan starbase in an undisclosed sector. We've also received a request from a Romulan Ambassador with whom you are already acquainted: due to a recent shift in political power, he suspects the family of a rival may be attempting to assassinate him and his family. He would therefore like his daughter temporarily assigned to a Federation starship as a… 'good will ambassador' until such time as he feels it's safe to return to Romulus. Since the Ambassador already knows and, apparently, trusts you; we are assigning her to the Von Braun. Please try not to get her killed."
"Understood, Admiral. Thank you."
"Lieutenant Commander, you are dismissed."
"Oh, Lieutenant Commander: before you leave Spacedock, I'd like you to join my command staff for a game of poker."
"Poker? That seems unusual."
"Quite the contrary. I find poker to be an excellent way to judge a man's character."
"I see. Perhaps you would not mind if I imposed on your game, Admiral?"
"Not at all, T'nae. We'd be glad to have you."
Captain's Log posted:
I'm still not sure what to think of my 'stay of execution'. I'd been fully prepared to wind up in the Federation's New Zealand Penal Colony; or shipped off to mine dilithium in a mine populated only by the old EMH Mk I's. Admiral Riker's invitation to poker also has me a touch confused, and I'm forced to assume it was some sort of test. I did leave the game with slightly more chips than I had when I started, but Admiral Riker was the big winner. If nothing else, I've learned he's a very difficult man to read.
I'm still not sure what to make of our new Romulan, er… 'exchange officer', and neither is the Federation. We've been sent on a mission to the Neutral Zone to track a Cardassian fleet that seems to be engaging the Klingons. It's an odd move for the True Way, they've always seemed more intent on trying to spark another war with the Federation.
I may be called upon to open fire on my own people. Somehow, I suspect that this mission is another test.
Captain's Log posted:
The bulk of the Axion's crew was killed by these… Devidians. As if the Undine and the Romulans weren't enough, now we have to deal with time-traveling brainwave-eating ghosts. Still, I don't see that we've made any 'errors of judgement' here. Subcommander Vreenak has also proven herself to be a surprisingly capable officer. I'm equal parts impressed and concerned by her performance. The concern is for reasons that should be obvious, but it must be said that I begin to understand how Admiral Chakotay sees me. Perhaps that's the 'lesson' here.
With a Romulan on the crew, I can't let myself become complacent.
On a more personal note, I've talked Franklin Drake into releasing news of the Axion's fate to Cardassia. Officially, they were 'destroyed by Klingons'. Unofficially? I don't think the families of the Axion's crew should have to wait years to finally learn what happened to their loved ones.