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Chapter 1.2

Posted on Fri Oct 20th, 2023 @ 10:32pm by Captain Luzol Targaryen & Commander Galatea & Lieutenant Audrey Willa & Minister Zehoi D'ian

1,441 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Righteous Side of Hell
Location: Ready Room, Federation Headquarters
Timeline: 3189-03-31, 15:00

"Welcome to Federation Headquarters."

Standing inside the brightly lit command center for Federation Headquarters, Fleet Admiral Luzol Targaryen turned to see a young woman standing behind her party. Dressed in the uniform of Federation - and not Starfleet - Security, Luzol was impressed. There was a seriousness to the Lieutenant, an endurance and professionalism that far exceeded the youngster's age. Luzol was about to speak when Galatea did so for her.

"Nice to see you again, Audrey," Galatea interrupted from next to Admiral Luzol. "It's been far too long since I was last home."

Lieutenant Willa nodded, "Indeed it has. I'm glad that your mission was successful, but I was surprised to see you bringing the fleet back with you."

"Starfleet and the Federation need the support," Luzol interrupted as she looked at Galatea. It was a direct answer, a reminder that she was the ranking officer on deck. "You will have to excuse us, Lieutenant, it has been a very long mission. I would like to speak with your Mission Commander as soon as possible for debriefing. We have a lot to discuss."

Willa motioned toward the circular command center, "If you will follow me."

The circular command center of Federation HQ was a horrendous beauty, stark white in coloration and alive with activity. Located atop FHQ, panoramic windows were built into the bulkheads and a large railing opened up to the deck below. A holographic replica of FHQ hung in the center while dozens of Starfleet vessels were suspended in space around it. Officers in gray uniforms were busily working while the Fleet Admiral could not easily discern the Mission Commander. A quick glance and she noticed that there was a dedication plaque hanging identifying FHQ as the USS Federation, a fact she hadn't really anticipated. The Federation and Starfleet had dreamed of mobile starbases, it seemed like that was something they'd finally accomplished.

As they walked, Lieutenant Willa tapped her TriCom and the party beamed off the bridge and to the deck below. Above her the opposite view of the tactical map appeared, showing a better view of her own ship. Before her a walkway appeared out of nowhere from the programmable matter, leading them to a small conference room. Stepping inside the Enterprise itself was suspended in space outside the window, looking as beautiful as ever. Lieutenant Willa took a seat at the head of the conference room table, motioning for the others to sit.

"You'll have to excuse us for not pulling out the red carpet," Willa began, "but these aren't exactly the best of times for us."

"Where is Admiral Vance?" Galatea asked, interrupting again.

The Lieutenant looked at the android, then the Orion Minister, "I'm not comfortable going into such detail with a member of the Emerald Chain's leadership sitting across from me."

Now it was Luzol's turn, "Minister D'ian has suspended her involvement with the Emerald Chain. She has been serving aboard the Enterprise for several months now without incident."

"That's not as reassuring as you'd think," Willa continued. "Ma'am, as far as I am concerned, as far as the Federation is concerned, you're an anomaly that we have to investigate and confirm the validity of."

"I am a Fleet Admiral," Luzol protested. "Commander in Chief of Starfleet..."

Willa nodded, "In your time that may be true, but it's not anymore. Our Commander in Chief is Admiral Charles Vance and he's unavailable right now."

"He's meeting with Osyraa isn't he," D'ian assumed.

"What makes you say that?" Willa questioned, her comments clearly meant to interrogate.

The Orion Minister answered honestly, "I'd recognize the Veridian anywhere. It's Osyraa's flagship. She's here right now, probably meeting with Admiral Vance since he's not chomping at the bit to meet with us."

"I am afraid that, for security purposes, I will agree with Lieutenant Willa that this discussion end," Galatea interjected. "I can confirm that Minister D'ian did operate on behalf of the Federation and Starfleet on multiple occasions during my mission, Lieutenant. She sacrificed herself in an effort to save both myself and the crew of the Enterprise in opposition to the Orion vessel Cerulean."

"Did she support you or did she give comfort to our enemy?" Willa questioned her counterpart. "I'm not entirely sure you're being straight with me either right now, Galatea. You've been gone for a long time and you could easily have been compromised by the enemy." She looked at both D'ian and Luzol as she made that accusation. "As far as I'm concerned you brougt a fleet of starships with you that you weren't supposed to bring back. That's an invasion fleet."

"Then why'd you lower your defense screen?" Luzol challenged.

The Security Chief looked at the Admiral, "That wasn't my call. If I had my way, Admiral, you'd still be sitting on the other side of that screen probably being fired upon by the Veridian right now."

Luzol crossed her arms, "Well then I'd like to personally thank my benefactor. Who might that be?"

"In due time," Willa answered opening her holoPADD. "So, I had the opportunity to review your ship's logs on the Admiral's behalf. You report that the Enterprise was brought forward in time to this year while on an assignment to Ni'Var?"

"Yes," Luzol answered with a sigh. "We were on course to investigate the potential that Section 31 had placed an operative in a position of power within the Vulcan High Command who was set to become Praetor. Another 31 operative, Admiral Gregory Coulson, was working outside of normal channels and we were sent to stop him. While underway, there was an accident, and we were propelled here."

The Security Chief nodded, "That's what's in your logs, Admiral, too bad it's a lie."

"I beg your pardon?" Luzol asked incredulously.

"Galatea, care to tell them?" Audrey asked.

The android nodded, "Very well. Admiral, you and Willian have both inquired to me about the nature of my presence within this year while my program is still in storage aboard your ship's computer system. You had assumed it was evidence that you return to your timeline; however, the truth is that I never travelled to the future with you. The Starship Enterprise reached Ni'Var, was able to overcome the actions of Admiral Coulson, and would later be assigned to Deep Space 12 to establish a secondary command center for the Federation there. This very station is the fruit of their labor, our labor, in the late 25th Century."

Lieutenant Willa interrupted, "So, while you don't appear to be lying, you're lying about your history."

"I am not!" Luzol defended. "This is what happened to us, our crew."

"I'm certain that's what you believe, but the facts don't support it," the Security Chief answered. "Our history of your Enterprise indicates that it departed Deep Space 12 in the early 26th Century on a deep space assignment and never returned. A replacement Enterprise was constructed, and your ship stricken from the Starfleet registry. You're dead, your husband is dead, and the Enterprise was declared lost."

Luzol sighed, "You had me declared dead?"

Galatea answered, "Actually, Admiral, that was me. I had lost contact with the Enterprise and that could only occur in a handful of scenarios. Destruction of the vessel being one of them."

"So," Willa spoke, "Like I said, we have two scenarios before us. We have the Federation's history, and we have your story. Two stories. Now we have to decide which one is true."

"Since we know that the Enterprise continued on then your choice is simple. Send us back," the Admiral directed. "Strip the Enterprise of any tech that belongs to this timeframe and send us back to the moment that we left. Easy peasy."

The Federation Security Officer shook her head, "It's not that simple again. The Federation spent most of the 30th century fighting the Temporal Cold War, which led to an Interstellar Treaty that outlawed time travel of any kind for any reason. Your presence here is a crime, sending you back in time is a crime. So..."

"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't," D'ian chided with a laugh.

"Something like that," Willa confirmed. A message popped up on her holoPADD and she sighed. Rising from her chair, "You'll have to excuse me though. I have another meeting I have to get to regarding our tactical situation. Sit tight. As soon as Admiral Vance is available he'll meet with you. Until then, please make yourselves comfortable and available."

Before any questions or comments could be made, Lieutenant Willa tapped her TriCom and beamed away leaving the trio in the conference room to wait.


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