Chapter 2.1

Posted on Sun Nov 5th, 2023 @ 11:19pm by Captain Luzol Targaryen & Admiral Charles Vance & Commodore Kovich & Willian Targaryen & Commander Galatea

1,473 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Righteous Side of Hell
Location: USS Enterprise
Timeline: 3189-04-01, 09:00

Former Admiral Willian Targaryen sat at the table in his Observation Lounge staring at the delegation on the opposite side of the table. It had been a day since they arrived at Federation Headquarters and the events had been beyond belief. Not long after their arrival the crew of the Enterprise learned that Starfleet Admiral Charles Vance had been meeting with Minister Osyraa of the Emerald Chain on behalf of the Federation Council, all 38 worlds. When he refused their offer, Osyraa returned to the commandeered Starship Discovery and had begun a campaign to take the Discovery to the Chain's Base 755. Discovery's crew was able to recover the ship, killing Osyraa in the process.

With the immediate threat ended, despite the risk that the Chain would launch an assault in retribution, the Federation had the opportunity to redirect its focus to other challenges of the modern era. With the mystery of the Burn resolved and the galaxy assured that the risk of a repeat performance nearly impossible the worlds of the Alpha Quadrant were able to breathe easy again. Their solving of the mystery had another unimagined side effect: an entire world filled with dilithium was the Federation's for the taking. Already, multiple ore freighters had been dispatched to begin mining.

"You'll have to forgive us for making you all wait as long as we did, but you picked one Hell of a day to come home," Admiral Vance broke through the silence as he addressed the senior officers of the Enterprise.

Captain Targaryen felt like answering, but knew that protocol dictated his wife was the one who got to reply due to her rank. Seated at the head of the table opposite Admiral Vance, Luzol was outfitted in her standard duty uniform with full pips on display. Technically, she was the seniormost officer in the room, but Willian knew Vance wouldn't stand on such ceremony. He could sense it through the Admirals words and the brief dialogue as they walked to the Briefing Room from the Transporter Bay.

"It's been a Hell of a year," Luzol answered. "We think you've had it a lot worse than the rest of us."

"We have, but we're finally waking up from this nightmare," Vance said as he looked at the PADD before him on the table. He picked up the display device and held it a moment, "But seeing this equipment of yours its like we're back in a dream. Your story is quite incredible and your logs are not exactly light reading."

Displaying her most diplomatic face, "We've faced our share of challenges. Captain Targaryen and his crew have overseen the Enterprise. I am still in recovery from injuries I sustained during our arrival in this time."

"I read that too," Vance said as he glanced at the other flag officer, the man identified as Kovich. "So what was your interpretation of our time, Captain?"

"Another day at the office for us," Willian answered. "You'll have to forgive me, Admiral, I'm used to asking these types of questions, not answering them."

Vance smirked, "I know. I can't imagine how troubling this is for all of you, but that's not really my problem. Your presence here is a big issue for the Federation, especially with the capture of Discovery that you witnessed."

"At least you have some experience with handling these types of situations then," Luzol interjected, trying to smooth things over.

"I'm curious," Kovich interrupted, "What was your strategy for survival? I read your logs, but I would like to hear your actual words instead of the niceties of a report."

The Captain of the Enterprise paused a moment, thinking about how to answer. There was a lot to Commodore Kovich, sometimes it even felt like he was the one really in command here. Choosing carefully, "We did what we could. I'm used to being the apex predator, having the ship that everyone else is afraid of. This Enterprise - when built - was the largest, toughest, and fastest ship ever produced by Starfleet. We led the Federation's defense against multiple combatants and, more important, survived. Here, we were outgunned more times than I'd like to count. A ship the fraction the size of this one nearly took it out at Titan, then the Emerald Chain locked on us for our dilithium. I've lost a significant portion of my crew, my ship's barely together, but we've survived."

"That's not the whole story though," Kovich chided.

"Excuse me?" Willian was surprised.

"The Emerald Chain wasn't after you just for the dilithium, were they?" Kovich continued. "You had one of their Ministers in your employ."

"Commander D'ian made herself appear as a Starfleet officer," Luzol interrupted. "Falsified records at Cold Station 12 to appear as true. With how hard you made it to find Federation Headquarters you really can't hold her against us."

"We weren't saying that we were," Kovich continued. "But, the Minister was a very high profile passenger - even if serving as a member of your crew. That, coupled with the Dilithium and your functional Coaxial Drive, meant that the Enterprise was one of the most important pieces of Starfleet equipment active in our galaxy."

"And your service to the renegade Battle Group Omega doesn't help your case," Vance added.

Willian crossed his arms, "As far as it looked to us they were the only active Starfleet unit. Like Admiral Targaryen had said, you didn't make it easy to find you. We needed answers and they provided them to us. They tried to help us even, augmenting our ship with modern equipment to keep it functional. They seemed gracious to see us. Are you?"

"Will," Luzol chastised.

Admiral Vance lifted a hand, "No, it's alright. I can see where you're coming from, Captain, but I have to worry about the entire Federation. The safety and security of what was left of the Federation had priority over everything else, keeping our location secret was necessary to maintain the protection of our very way of life. 38 worlds remain in the Federation as of today and, while the disruption of the Emerald Chain is undoubtedly going to help us pick up some of our fallen friends, it's not an absolute. Tough decisions were needed, and we made them. Just like we are going to continue to do."

"I see that Omega got your familiar with our technologies, so I won't be using this," he lifted the PADD and put it back down, "for your orders. We're requisitioning the Enterprise for analysis and and retrofit of its systems. Your crew will disembark for FHQ where they will undergo a full debriefing and then we will begin the process of integration."

Willian tried to put on his most diplomatic persona, "Admiral, with respect, my crew have been through a lot together. This team works very well together. I must officially protest this decision."

"Denied," Vance answered in a stern voice. "Now, you claim you're acting in accordance with Federation ideals and I need you to keep doing that by putting the needs of Starfleet ahead of those of you and your crew. You're way too close to these officers, and it's blinding you to their weaknesses and to the damage that they're doing. The transfer orders have been relayed to your computers and you should have access to them now."

The Captain of the Enterprise shook his head, "This is an overreach, Admiral. I won't standby..."

Luzol put her hand atop her husbands, "Understood, Admiral Vance."

Willian looked at his wife, "Why are you caving?"

Luzol answered, "We have our orders."

Captain Targaryen shook his head, "These orders are cruel, inhumane..."

"They are the orders of our superior officer. As long as we wear the uniform we accept the rules that go with it," Luzol answered her husband. As he pulled his hand away, the Fleet Admiral looked at the Commander of Starfleet, "Admiral, we'll cooperate with FHQ fully."

Vance smiled and spoke, for the first time, in a somewhat reassuring tone, "Thank you. I'll let you break it to your crew, Captain."

Willian popped his Tricom off his uniform and tossed it toward Admiral Vance, "Don't bother. This is your decision, but this is not my fleet."

Luzol looked in surprise as Admiral Vance lifted the Tricom and held it in his hands, "I'm sorry that you feel that way. Your resignation's accepted. We have additional business to discuss that are not for civilian ears."

Willian looked at his wife, "Come on."

Luzol remained seated.

Willian stared at her.

"Please don't make me have you escorted out," Vance said with a hint of sympathy.

Willian looked at the Commander in Chief then back at his wife, "Alright. Have it your way."

As Admiral Vance began speaking, Willian Targaryen exited the Ready Room ready to leave his old life behind.



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