Star Trek Raza, episode 7; Witch Hunt

Star Trek Raza

Season 1, Episode 7

Witch Hunt.

 

Starbase 718, Captain’s personal log.

 

After escorting the Terran starship Piranha, as my crew aptly christened her; back to Starbase 718 we have been ordered to stand down and await the arrival of a JAG officer along with Fleet Admiral Braun. It’s been a little over two weeks now and my crew and I are getting tired of waiting. In the meantime, Chief Engineer Sung is overseeing repairs to the Raza. She suffered minor damage when the rift opened between our dimension and the Mirror Dimension.

 

The engineering room aboard the Raza.

 

A’Ryn Sung can be seen amongst a mass of engineers hustling around her as she barks orders at them. “Come on people! I want that level one diagnostic done on the warp core chamber before anyone takes lunch!!” she screams.  A Junior Lieutenant stops and hands her a data pad. She gets visibly pissed and starts to show her teeth, like most pissed off Klingons do when they are angry. “God damnit I told you I needed all the phase inducers scrubbed, not just the primary. Now get your ass back down there and do it again!!” The young officer takes back the data pad and scurries off. “Fucking amateurs.”

Commander Mitchell has been watching the entire confrontation from the corner of the room. He walks up behind her with a shit eating grin on his face putting his hand on her waist and whispering in her ear. “Take it easy on the kid. This is the first starship he’s ever served on.”

A’Ryn pulls away from him in anger. “I though I made my feelings perfectly clear Commander?” and she turns her back on him going back to work at the main engineering station. Mitchell walks up beside her and leans against the wall looking at her trying to act cool.

“I thought you were just blowing off steam? I get why you are pissed at me, but it’s been two weeks A’Ryn. I’m lonely in bed without you.” And he smiles like a Cheshire cat again.

She looks up at him crossing her arms. “The only part of you that is lonely for me Commander is in your pants.  And if that is all we are to each other, then I don’t want any part of it.”

“Yeah but it’s REALLY lonely.” He jokes trying to get to her softer, more Human side. She rolls her eyes and walks away from him heading toward the Dilithium chamber. He follows close by still trying to get her attention. “Let’s get lunch. I heard that they have this little bistro that serves Klingon…” but in mid-sentence Sung cuts him off.

“No Commander.”

“No?” he asks shocked.

“That’s right. No. I already have a lunch date.”

Mitchell doesn’t know whether to be pissed she said no, or that another man is taking her out to lunch. “Ok, so who is it?” he asks trying to dig for information.

“What do you care? I didn’t think I was anything more than a pin cushion for your sexual needs.”

He knows she’s partially right. He does love having sex with her. But he does have deeper feelings for her. Something he’s never felt for any other woman before.  Feelings that he’s not very good at putting into words. “You don’t know him.”

“Really? What’s his name? What’s his rank? What does he do for a living?” as he continues to drill her for information.

A’Ryn smiles at him. “If I didn’t know better Commander, I would think you’re jealous.” His face gets red as she now gets a shit eating grin on her face.

“I’m not. I just…I thought that…”

A’Ryn gets close to his face so that nobody else can hear their conversation. “I told you James, if you are not willing to commit to me, then I am moving on.”

Mitchell rolls his eyes and blurts out loud. “Commit? What the hell do you want from me A’Ryn?” and all the engineers in the room stop dead in their tracks listening to what she has to say in response. “I’m giving you all I can for now!

She sees the crowd waiting to hear what she has to say. “Good bye James. I have a lunch date and I don’t want to be late.” And she slams a data pad on the engineering console and storms out of the room leaving him standing there dumbfounded. Mitchell sees the crowd still standing there in awe.

“What? Show’s over. Get back to work.” And the crowd disperses.

A’Ryn makes her way to the turbolift and as the door slides open she sees Rheyna, the Raza’s Chief Science Officer standing there. Rheyna is startled to see her Klingon friend standing there. “Hey I thought I was coming to get you for lunch?”

“Yeah well James stopped by Engineering.”

“And? What did he say?” asks the curious Cardassian woman who loves a little gossip.

“Same as always. He wants me for sex, nothing more.” And she crosses her arms getting more pissed off by the minute.

“He can use me for sex.” Blurts out Rheyna as the turbolift door slides shut and both woman giggle.

 

The Stargazer Lounge aboard the Raza.

 

Yeoman Braun is sitting by herself at a small table next to the observation window. She is dressed in her Starfleet uniform with her hair pulled back out of her face. She looks nervous as she sips her tea.

“Hey girl.” And Daisy jumps, startled from the voice behind her. She looks over her shoulder and sees the Cardassian proprietor Gilora standing there with a smile on her face. She sees that she startled Daisy. “Sorry honey. I didn’t mean to make you jump.”

Daisy slides her tea away from her across the table. “It’s ok. Just a little nervous today.”

Gilora sits down at the table across from her. “Talk to me honey. What’s going on?”

“It’s my grandfather. He’s due to arrive any time now.”

“Admiral Braun? Morgan told me that he was coming. So why are you nervous kiddo? The man raised you after your parents died.”

“That’s the thing. He was never an easy man to please. Everything I did was scrutinized. It was like living under a microscope my entire life.”

“Your entire life?” and Daisy can see that her friend is mocking her. “You’re eighteen kiddo. I’m sure he just wanted the best for you. Especially after your parents passed away. Tell me, how do you think he’s going to take you and that Romulan boy dating?” she asks with a grin on her face.

“I don’t think he’s going to like it very much.”

“You think he’s going to put you in front of the firing squad?” jokes Gilora with a giggle.

“Be serious! He’s a Starfleet Admiral. And to make it worse, I know exactly how he feels about Romulan’s.”

“Oh, honey I think you’re blowing this way out of proportion. It’s going to be fine. Really. It’s not like the two of you are having sex.” Daisy’s face turns red and she tries not to make eye contact with Gilora. “You’re not?! Tell me you’re not sleeping with that boy?!” Gilora leans across the table digging for information.

“Well not yet.” She states with a shy innocent look.

A look of relief comes across Gilora’s face. “Thank God. Not that I think that the two of you shouldn’t have sex. Everyone should be having sex. I just think that maybe you kids should just slow down a bit.”

“I know he wants to, and I want to; but neither one of us have ever…you know…”

Gilora sees how awkward this is for Daisy. “Let me just give you a little advice honey. When the time is right it will just happen. Just do me a favor and make sure you’re protected. Stop by and see Doctor Dorn and he will put you on something to make sure no little Romulan babies start running around the Raza.” Both women share a laugh when the door to the lounge slides open and the Romulan boy Sorek walks into the room. Daisy sees him and gives him a wave. He slowly makes his way across the lounge and approaches the table.

“Good afternoon ladies. May I join you?” asks Sorek with a boyish smile on his face.

“You know what, I was just leaving.” Exclaims Gilora as she gets up. Daisy looks up at her and gives her a wink. “Don’t forget Doctor Dorn sweetie.” And she kisses Daisy on the head and walks back to the bar.

Sorek sits down in the chair previously occupied by Gilora and looks at Daisy confused. “Doctor Dorn? Are you not feeling well?”

Daisy blushes as she struggles to answer him. “No. I’m fine. I just need…I just need a checkup that’s all.”

 

Starbase 718, the Admirals Conference Room.

 

Admiral Braun is sitting behind a long desk sorting through a number of data pads when a chime is heard at the door. “Enter.” Orders the Fleet Admiral. The door slides open and Captain Frazier walks into the room wearing the green colors of Starfleet Intelligence. Frazier, a forty-eight-year veteran of Starfleet thinks he’s seen it all. Wars with the Dominion and the Borg in most recent years have worn him down and he’s more than ready for retirement. Admiral Braun stands up to greet Frazier, hand extended in friendship. “Andrew! So good to see you.”

Frazier smiles as he shakes Admiral Braun’s hand. “It’s good to see you too sir.”

“Please have a seat.” And Braun pulls a chair behind the desk out next to his. Frazier walks around the table placing his briefcase down in front of the chair. He pops it open and pulls out a number of data pads of his own spreading them out on the table. He takes a seat and looks at Admiral Braun.              “So, you have been briefed as to why Starfleet Intelligence sent me here sir?”

“Yes. You are here to question the crew of the Raza about the Bates incident.”

“That’s correct. I have a list of crew members I would like to question.  My JAG office was supposed to supply you that list. Did you receive it sir?”

“Yes, I did. But let me ask you Captain, the Raza crew isn’t on trial correct? This is just an inquiry regarding the events that led up to Mr. Bates stealing a runabout?”

Frazier’s face turns serious. “My job is to find out why a Starfleet officer killed three shipmates, stole Starfleet property and escaped off of one of the newest ships in the fleet. My job is not to play judge, jury and certainly not executioner, sir.”

“Very well then, let’s begin.” Braun taps his comm badge. “Please bring in Lieutenant Ryder.”

“Yes sir.” Answers an older female voice on the other end. The door to the room slides open and in walks Lieutenant Ryder in his dress uniform. He walks right up to the desk and facing both men.

“Lieutenant Ryder reporting as ordered.” Barks out Ryder as he stands at attention.

“Please Lieutenant, have a seat.” Motions Admiral Braun toward the open chair in front of the table. Ryder pulls out the chair and sits down across from his two commanding officers. He straightens his dress uniform pulling out any wrinkles and takes a deep breath calming himself.

“Thank you for coming Lieutenant.” States Captain Frazier.

“You’re welcome sir.”

“Mr. Bates was your associate, was he not?” asks Frazier.

“Yes, he was sir. We both served in Alpha Flight.”

“And for the record, who is your commanding officer?”

“Lieutenant Jin, sir.”

“And how well would you say you knew Lieutenant Bates?”

“Not that well. When the Raza was commissioned I was reassigned from the Eighth Fleet to the Raza. It wasn’t until I got here that I met Cory.”

“And how would you describe his mental state when you first met him?”

“He was cocky. Full of himself. And a damn good fighter pilot if you ask me. He could have been one of the best.”

“Mr. Bates also had a prior record. Were you aware of that?”

“I heard the rumors. Locker room gossip. I didn’t pay any attention to it. As long as he had my back in a firefight I didn’t care what he did in the past.”

“So, let me get this right; you knew he got his flight commander and his entire squadron slaughtered, and you still didn’t care?” asks a confused Captain Frazier. “You were still comfortable with that man having your back?”

“I believe that in time of war people are pushed beyond reason. Now I wasn’t there the day his squadron was killed, but I do think that he deserved a second chance.”

“Did he deserve a second chance after he nearly started a war against the Romulans six months ago?  He could have gotten you and three Hospital ships destroyed.  Thousands killed.”

Ryder pauses choosing his words. “I believe that based on what happened then and in the months after; he deserved his punishment.”

“Lieutenant, why do you think that the Captain didn’t send Mr. Bates to a Federation Detention Center after the second incident?”

“I have no idea.”

“Do you think the Captain should have been sent Lieutenant Bates to a detention facility?”

“With all due respect sir, that’s above my paygrade.”

“Answer the question Lieutenant!” snaps the Captain. “Why didn’t Captain Morgan send that psychopath to a Federation Detention Center where he belonged?”

“I do not and will not speak for the Captain.  You will have to ask him that yourself.”

“Don’t worry Lieutenant…I will. You are dismissed.”

Lieutenant Ryder gets up out of the chair and leaves the room.

 

Starbase 718, Main Engineering.

 

Lieutenant Phos and Lieutenant Cho walk the main halls of Engineering making their way toward the Artificial Intelligence labs. “Jeremy, I wish to thank you for accompanying me.”

Cho smiles. “It’s ok. There’s nothing more I can do on the bridge. The engineering crew has my station torn apart. I’m just getting in the way up there.”

“Well your company is greatly appreciated.” And she grabs Jeremy’s hand holding it in hers. He’s curious what the gesture means to her. Does she have the ability to have feelings or is she just an emotionless bundle of wires. They make their way through a set of double doors that opens up into a huge laboratory that resembles something more like a Borg cube than Starfleet. Cho looks on in awe, but it doesn’t seem to faze Phos. A number of technicians can be seen working around different stations. Androids in different levels of assembly can be seen strewn around the room. Phos walks by a table and sees an androids head, but the face is that of a woman that looks very different from hers. She cocks her head curiously as to why they would create android heads with various looking faces.

“Curious isn’t it?” asks a man’s voice behind Phos and Cho. They turn around and see a human, in about his fifties with long stringy gray hair dressed in a white lab coat. His face and chin covered with gray stubble, not shaven in over a week.

“Professor Masters?” questions Phos.

The older man spreads his arms wide with a smile on his face. “In the flesh.” The professor walks over to the female’s head on display on the table. “Strange isn’t it? That we need to create different faces to make ourselves feel better. That we need to put unique faces on androids to single them out. To create individuality even though we know they have no soul. My android can’t look like your android.” And the old professor laughs at his own joke. “Phos, let’s get you into one of these chambers so that we can get these tests underway.” The professor opens a chamber in the body shape of a woman. The door swings open and green lights shine from within. Cho looks at Phos.

“Do you want me to stay?” he asks with a look of concern on his face, still holding her hand.

Phos turns her head to look at him with a smile. “I will be fine Jeremy. Thank you for accompanying me.”

Cho smiles at her. “Signal me when you’re ready and I’ll walk you back.”

Phos smiles, cocking her head. “Yes, I will do that.”

The professor ushers Jeremy to the door. “Go, go, go. She will be fine. She’s in very good hands.” And the doors slide shut behind Jeremy. As he walks away he looks back with concern on his face. The professor turns toward Phos with a smile, clapping his hands. “Let’s begin, shall we?”

 

Starbase 718, the Admirals Conference Room.

 

The inquiry continues as Lieutenant Jin now sits in the hot seat across from Admiral Braun and Captain Frazier. The room is quite as Frazier sits there reading a data pad, not saying a word. Jin, sits uneasy in the chair across from him wondering when the hell this guy is going to start asking questions. After a few minutes, Frazier puts the data pad down and turns his attention to her. “Lieutenant Jin, did you trust Lieutenant Bates?”

“Captain Decker assigned him to me. I trust the Captain.”

“Even though he got an entire squadron slaughtered?”

“I fail to understand your question.”

“I will simplify it for you. How could you trust a man who got his entire squadron killed?”

“It was war Captain. In war people make decisions that they sometimes live to regret. I believe that Cory Bates regretted the decisions he made that night his squad was wiped out.”

“Do you think he regretted his decision to single handedly attack a Romulan Warbird even after you ordered him to stand down?”

She looks away muttering under her breath. “No.”

“Excuse me Lieutenant? I couldn’t hear you. Can you please repeat that and speak up?”

“No.” she answers louder so that they all can hear. “No, I don’t think he regretted anything he did. Not the attack on the Romulan warbird or the incident in the Stargazer lounge and sure as hell not his escape from the Raza.”

“Please explain Lieutenant?” Asks Admiral Braun.

“I looked into his eyes and I saw the devil in him. A deep dark evil that eats away at a man’s soul. A man like Cory Bates should have been sent to a dark recess of the galaxy and forgotten about forever.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant. That will be all.” And Jin gets up leaving the room. Frazier turns to Admiral Braun. “What do you think sir?”

“I think that Mr. Bates was one sick son of a bitch that should have been dealt with years ago. The death toll keeps rising and that’s not on the Raza crew or her Captain, that’s on Starfleet for not recognizing his PTSD.”

Frazier smiles with a crooked grin. “We will see.”

 

Starbase 718, Main Engineering, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

 

Professor Masters has this weird tendency of whistling while he works. Sometimes he whistles tunes that he knows, and other times he whistles made up tunes. It all depends on what mood he is in now. Whatever strikes his fancy as they say. Today is a made-up day. But it doesn’t matter to him. All that matters to him is his wife and daughter. A chime can be heard at a back door to the lab. Masters quickly ushers his attendants out of the room through the front door telling them all to take a break. As the last person exits the room he blurts out. “Computer, lock the doors. Only open on my voice command.”

“Confirmed.” Answers the computer.

Perspiration rolls down his face as he hears the chime at the back door again. He starts to rush to the door, nearly tripping over a chair that someone left in the walkway. He fumbles for the door latch letting the two people walk into the room. The first, a tall Cardassian followed close by a hooded figure whose face cannot be seen. “It’s about time you opened the door Human. I was afraid that you valued your career more than you valued your wife and daughters lives.”

“I beg of you. Tell me they are alright. Promise me you didn’t hurt them.” As he puts his hands up in front of him like he’s begging.

“Look at you. You’re a pathetic piece of human trash. If I didn’t need you for this job I would end your miserable life now.” Threatens the Cardassian. He turns to the hooded figure and pulls back the hood revealing a perfect copy of Phos. Professor Masters eyes nearly pop out of his head as he eyes the perfect replica.

“What are you asking of me?”

“Here’s the deal professor. You are going to take my android and swap it out for that android.” and he points at Phos. “And in return I won’t kill your wife and daughter. Fair trade I think.” He says with a shit eating grin on his face.

Masters starts to panic. “But there’s no way this, this, this thing will pass for Phos. All her memories… experience’s… personality traits. The crew will catch on and then we are both screwed. My career will be ruined.

“Then I suggest Professor that you devise a way that Starfleet will not catch on then, because if they do I will not kill just your precious wife and daughter, but I will kill every member of your entire family no matter how far across this galaxy I have to go to hunt them down. I will slaughter them all!” The Cardassian pulls out a blaster and points it right at the professor’s face. “Now get back to work!” demands the Cardassian.

 

Starbase 718, the Admirals Conference Room.

 

“Lieutenant Commander Liira, we thank you for coming here today. We are sorry for the trauma that you went through at the hands of that psychopath. We will make this as quick as possible.” States Captain Frazier. The Orion ships councilor looks at the two men straight faced.

“It’s touching that you both are so concerned about my well-being, but I assure you both that I will be fine.” States a straight-faced ships councilor.

Both Frazier and Braun look at each other knowing that is the farthest thing from the truth. “Lieutenant, it appears that Mr. Bates suffered from some level of PTSD and your professional logs have confirmed that. In your professional opinion Commander, shouldn’t Mr. Bates have been taken into custody after the incident with the Romulans?” asks Captain Frazier.

“It’s my professional opinion, not to question the Captain’s opinion.”

“Yes, but you have spent hours counseling Mr. Bates. Do you think…”

Liira lashes out at the Captain. “Look, if you called me here to ask me if Bates was fucked up, then my answer is yes. If you’re asking me if he should have been locked up on day one for nearly starting a war with the Romulan’s, I’m going to tell you that it’s the Captain’s call. Not mine. My job is to find out what makes people like him tick. Not to decide if we should toss him in prison and throw away the key.”

Again, the two men look at each other knowing that this isn’t the Liira either one of them read in her personal file. They were both expecting a very calm, centered woman very much in control of her emotions. This is far from her being in control.

“Can I leave?” asks Liira.

“Liira we need…” but Frazier is cut off by Admiral Braun.

“Yes, you can go.”

Frazier looks at Braun confused as Liira gets up and storms out of the room. “I wasn’t done with the witness.” Exclaims Frazier.

“Witness?” questions Braun. “She’s not a witness, she’s a traumatized young woman who’s been through a hell of a lot in the past few months. From the incident at Elba II to being abducted by a man she was counseling. I think our young councilor needs counseling.”

Frazier slams his data-pad on the table yelling at the Admiral.  “Admiral, her mental state is not what we are here questioning. I demand to know if the Captain could have avoided getting three if his men killed over a terrible decision. I am here to determine of Morgan Decker is the right fit for the Captain’s chair! Liira’s fragile psyche is the least of my damn worries.”

“Well it should be. Just look at that young woman. She’s broken inside. She needs help and all you care about is destroying a good man’s career.”

“I’m doing my job Admiral.”

“I don’t think you are Captain? You told me this wouldn’t be a trial, but it feels more and more like a witch hunt to me.”

Captain Frazier chuckles at that comment. “Witch hunt, Admiral? Aren’t you being a little melodramatic?”

“Am I? Let me remind you that I will shut this down if you continue in the direction you are going. This was supposed to be a simple investigation. We are not here to put the Raza’s crew or her captain on trial.”

“Very well sir, let’s proceed.”

 

Starbase 718, Main Engineering, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory two hours later.

 

Professor Masters has been working at a frantic pace moving Phos’s memories from her core into the replicant’s brain. The Orion Syndicate member has been watching the professor’s every move and he’s getting tired of waiting. “Tell me professor, are you done yet? I hate to pressure you, but time is very much not on our side.”

The professor finishes putting the cranial plate back on the duplicate Phos’s head. “I’m finished. I’ve done everything you have asked. Now please, I beg of you; release my wife and daughter.”

The Cardassian walks around the duplicate Phos eyeing her up and down. “Tell me professor, how am I to be assured that the Federation will not be able to tell the difference between the two?” He stops and stands between the two not even being able to distinguish the two apart himself. The original Phos standing there bare chested, and the replica Phos now wearing the uniform of Starfleet.

The professor stutters as he answers. “I…I…I simply copied the positronic brain patterns from the original Phos unit over to the replica unit that you supplied. For all intense and purposes, they are exact duplicates of one another.”

The Cardassian smiles. “Very good professor.  Very, very good. But I am going to need to see this unit in action before I release your wife and child to you. You understand. Let’s call it an insurance policy if you will.”

“What do you mean? You told me that if I did as you ask you would give my family back to me. You gave me your word.” Begs the Professor.

The Cardassian grabs the black robe and drapes it over the original Phos’s shoulders, tying a knot to cover up her naked chest. “You see professor, if I were to give you back your family now without any assurances then what kind of businessman would I be?”

“But I promise you…”

“Yes, I know. And I am a man of my word, that I can assure you. But first professor, I will need to see my weapon in action.”

The professors eye pop open. “Weapon?! You never told me this was a weapon?!” exclaims the professor. “You told me…” and the Cardassian grabs the professor by the throat lifting him off the floor. The professor gags as he grabs the Cardassian’s arm with both hands trying to pry free, but the Cardassian is twice as strong as the professor.

“All you need to know, is what I told you. Once I am satisfied with the results I will set your family free. Do you understand?” demands the Cardassian. The professor struggles as the air escapes from his lungs and he begins to black out. The Cardassian sees this and drops him to the floor. Too weak to stand up he falls to the floor on his hands and knees coughing as he grabs for his throat. The Cardassian turns back to Phos and places the hood over her head covering her face. Together they head to the back door of the lab from which he first entered hours ago. He allows Phos to walk through first, but he stops half way through and looks back at the professor who has finally gotten to his feet. “Please do not take this personal professor. This is strictly business. I do hope that you will get to see your family again someday.” And on that not he walks out and the door slides shut behind him.

 

Starbase 718, the Admirals Conference Room.

 

Captain Frazier and Admiral Braun are seen again sitting at the conference table with Commander Mitchell sitting across from them. Braun, not a big fan of Commander Mitchell; sits back in his chair letting Frazier take the lead in his questioning.

“Commander, during your tenure with Captain Decker; have you ever questioned his orders?”

“Excuse me? He’s my captain. I follow all my superior’s orders to the best of my abilities without question.”

“Really Commander. I find that hard to believe considering that Admiral Braun gave you direct orders not to get involved in the Elba II incident and you easily, without question disobeyed his orders. So now you are sitting here, wanting me to believe that you never questioned your Captain’s actions? Do you take me for a fool Commander?”

“Oh, I take you for something, sir; but fool isn’t the word I was thinking of.” As Mitchell answers looking right at the Admiral.

“Tell me Commander Mitchell, did you agree with Captain Decker’s very lackluster attitude when it came to Lieutenant Bates?”

“Lackluster? Are you kidding me?” Mitchell looks at the Admiral. “And you’re just going to sit there and say nothing?” He looks back at Frazier. “The captain allowed Lieutenant Jin to handle her people’s discipline. When that failed, or should I say when Lieutenant Bates would not follow her orders; that’s when the captain stepped in and took charge of the situation. It’s called delegating authority. Look it up.”

“In your opinion, don’t you think the captain should have stepped in as soon as the Romulan incident occurred. Don’t you think that was enough “just cause” to get involved then, or was he still delegating then Commander?”

“Like I said, the Captain follows a strict chain of command.”

“So, it wasn’t until Mr. Bates came into the Stargazer lounge inebriated, stole a security guards weapon and discharged it that the captain decided to get involved?” Frazier smiles at Mitchell. “Commander, the Romulan incident wasn’t enough? He had to wait until a weapon was discharged in a civilian area before he came out of hiding to deal with the issue?”

Mitchell is getting pissed. “Captain Decker is one of the best captain’s in the fleet. There isn’t another captain I would rather serve under. Now if you’re going sit here and question why I disobeyed his orders…” and Mitchell points at Admiral Braun “…fine. I can live with that. But if you’re going to sit here and…”

Admiral Braun interjects. “Commander, we are not questioning your loyalty to Captain Decker. Captain Frazier just wants to know that in your personal opinion was keeping Lieutenant Bates aboard the Raza, after all he did; was that in the best interest of the ship and her crew.”

Mitchell pauses, and then looks away as he answers. “In my opinion I would have tossed his ass out the nearest airlock after what he did in the Stargazer.” And he looks back up at them. “But that’s why he’s in the big boy chair and I’m not.”

“Thank you, Commander Mitchell…”

Captain Mitchell blurts out cutting Frazier off looking right at Braun. “Oh, and by the way, sir; I did it because he would have done it for me.”

Frazier looks confused. “What are you saying Commander?”

Mitchell looks at Admiral Braun. “You’ve been wondering why I disobeyed your direct orders and took the Raza down to Elba II to save Captain Decker and the away team? I did it because he would have done it for me. For all of us. He would have done it for anybody on the Raza because that’s the kind of man he is. That’s the kind of Captain he is. He doesn’t leave anyone behind. That’s the kind of man Captain Decker is gentlemen. He sees the good in everyone. And I’m willing to bet my career that he would do it for either of the two of you if the circumstances were the same.”

“Thank you, Commander. That will be all. You’re dismissed.” Orders Admiral Braun. Mitchell gets up out of his chair and heads toward the door. As it slides open, he turns back to the two men.

“You know, crews like the Raza patrol Federation space every day. They put their lives on the line for the good of the Federation and what it stands for. Does it suck that three men were killed because of this shit-head? Yeah it blows big time. But don’t ever doubt the man that sits in the captain’s chair. He bleeds for the Federation, and everything he does is for the good of the cause.”

They stare at the man in the doorway as he throws of the Vulcan peace sign. “Live long and prosper.” He finally walks out of the room and the door slides shut behind him.

“Very unorthodox, isn’t he?” asks Captain Frazier.

“He’s a piece of work, but I’ll never doubt his loyalty to Decker or that ship.” Answers Braun. “Looks like all we have left is the man himself, Captain Decker.”

“The final piece of the puzzle.” Remarks Frazier with an evil grin on his face.

 

Starbase 718, Main Engineering, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

 

Three hours have gone by since Jeremy Cho left his friend Lieutenant Phos in the Artificial Intelligence lab with Professor Masters and he finally got the signal to come retrieve her. She was scheduled for a routine check-up on her positronic network due to the overload she received from a well laid Cory Bates booby trap. That bastard got her good and for that Jeremy will never forgive him. Bates deserves whatever he gets from this point on. The door to the lab slides open and Jeremy walks in. He first sees the professor walking around the room whistling a toon that he doesn’t recognize. Then he sees her. Phos is sitting on the examination table, already back in her Starfleet uniform. He walks up to her and puts his arms on her shoulders smiling at her. “How are you feeling?” he asks.

Phos cocks her head as she tries to remember. Her processors kicking in takes a second before she remembers. “Lieutenant Cho.” She pauses. “Jeremy.” She states in a very robotic tone.

Jeremy looks confused. “Is this normal professor? She seems… slower?”

The professor blurts out his well-practiced answer. “She suffered a large amount of damage to her neural processor. It/she needed a complete reboot and I also had to replace several of her sub-processors which may be causing the delay you are seeing. In time she will catch up and you will not notice any residual side-effects from the energy overload. I would suggest though that you keep her away from electrical panels for a while.” And the professor laughs at his own joke.

“No problem there, Professor.” And he reaches out his hand to Phos trying to help her off the table. Again, Phos cocks her head as she searches her data banks for what Jeremy is trying is offer. After a second her processors kick in and she too reaches out to take Jeremy’s hand. She slides off the table to the floor standing on her own two feet. Jeremy leads her to the door as the professor watches them leave. He grabs for his handkerchief and wipes the perspiration from his forehead. His job is done.

As Jeremy walks Phos back to the Raza he asks. “I was thinking, would you like to join me for diner? I’m starving and I…”

Phos cuts him off. “I would like… to return to my… quarters please.” As she stutters after every few words struggling to link an entire sentence together.

“Yeah, sure no problem.” Answers a dejected young man. As he accompanies her back to her quarters aboard the Raza he can’t but help thinking that he can’t even get it on with an android. The door to Phos’s quarters slide open and she walks in. Jeremy waits for an invitation, but it never comes as the door slides shut in his face. He walks back to the turbolift depressed. Back in Phos looks around her or her replica’s quarters surveying the room like it’s her first time. She sees a personal desktop and takes a seat at her desk.

“Computer, please show me the personal and professional records of all the Raza Senior Staff members.”

“Affirmative.” Answers the computer as it brings up the exact location of all the Senior Staff members of the Raza on her view screen. She cocks her head as she speed reads through all the files in record time searching for something.

 

Starbase 718, the Admirals Conference Room.

 

Admiral Braun and Captain Frazier sits waiting patiently for their next appointment when a chime is heard at the door. “Come in.” orders Admiral Braun and the door slides open allowing Captain Decker to walk in. Braun smiles at his old friend, but Captain Frazier sits there straight faced. “Morgan, good to see you again.”

Captain decker smiles back at Braun, and never even looks at JAG Officer Frazier.

“Please sit.” And Braun motions to the chair on the other side of the table. Morgan pulls out the chair and takes a seat and then straightens out his uniform, ever the professional. “Thank you for coming Morgan. This won’t take…” and Captain Frazier cuts off the Admiral.

“Let’s get right to it shall we Captain? Your decisions regarding Lieutenant Bates led to the deaths of three Starfleet officers. How do you defend your decisions sir?”

Now the Admiral is getting pissed pointing at Frazier. “Captain Frazier, I warned you earlier about turning this into a witch hunt and you’ve done just that. Captain Decker and his crew are not on trial here.”

Morgan puts his hand in the air trying to defuse the situation. “It’s ok David. I’m a big boy. I can handle the heat. Isn’t that why Starfleet gave me the Raza?”

The Admiral still looks pissed at Frazier, but he leans back in his chair allowing the line of questioning to continue.

“Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? When the Romulan Warbird Osiris decloaked you ordered Alpha Flight to stand down. Did you not?” asks Frazier.

“Yes, I did. If memory serves they were already on standard patrol in the area. When the Osiris decloaked we had no idea if she was looking for help or if she was looking for a fight. It wasn’t until they hailed us that we learned their true intentions.”

“So, you order Alpha Flight back to defend the hospital ships, but Lieutenant Bates had different ideas. He decided to rush the Warbird and in turn they launched all their fighters.”

“That’s correct.”

“He disobeyed direct orders that nearly caused a war, and all you did was ground him?”

“That’s correct. What would you like me to do? Cut his right arm off? I did what I felt was appropriate. I grounded him until I felt that he was capable of getting back in the pilot’s seat again.”

“Then there was the Stargazer incident.”

“Yes.”

“He went into the lounge aboard the Raza and started a fight with other patrons. He then grabbed a security officers weapon and discharged it, all the while screaming that he’s going to kill people.” Captain decker bites his bottom lip listening to this. “At what point thereafter Captain did you decide to demote this man and not send him to the nearest Federation Detention Center?” as Frazier starts to raise his voice.

“During that incident Captain we were already in-route Barisa Prime. Two of our crew members were abducted prior to Mr. Bates’s incident and we had retrieved one of them. The other was located on Barisa Prime. We were going there to retrieve him.”

“And after that?”

“After reviewing his past Starfleet records it was my decision to demote Lieutenant Bates down to Junior Lieutenant, put a black mark in his permanent records and confine him to quarters. I also assigned a security officer to be with him at all times and that he was to see Councilor Liira three times a week.”

“Were you aware that during the Dominion War, he was responsible form the deaths of his entire squadron?”

“Yes. I learned that upon review of his personal records that he planned the attack on a Cardassian Weapons Depot. I also learned that the plans of the attack somehow leaked out and the squadron that Mr. Bates was part of was ambushed. He was the only survivor.”

“Did you know that there were only two people that knew of Lieutenant Bate’s plan? And the other man was his Flight Leader who also died in that attack?”

“Yes, I knew that also.”

“And don’t you find that odd Captain that out of the two men that knew of that well-planned attack only Bates survived? Don’t you think this is beyond lucky?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“If you ask me, I think our Mr. Bates was a Cardassian collaborator.”

Admiral Braun interjects. “Captain, that’s enough.”

Frazier pauses to look at his notes on the data pad and then continues. “So, the weeks go by and Bates gets the counseling as you ordered. During any of that time, did you sit down with him to discuss his sessions?”

“No. I did however have numerous meetings with Councilor Liira to discuss his progress.”

“And was he making progress?”

“No, I do not believe so.”

“And then it gets to the point where Lieutenant Bates has had enough. After a late afternoon session with Lieutenant Liira he snaps. He attacks his personal security guard killing him. He then turns that mans phaser on an innocent bystander also killing him. Is the story correct so far?”

Reluctantly Morgan answers. “Yes, that’s correct.”

“Then things get real dicey. Bates, in a fit of panic tries to get off the Raza. He walks onto a turbolift where Lieutenant Liira and Lieutenant Monroe are riding and he beats them both knocking Faye out. He then takes Liira hostage and drags her to one of the shuttle bays. Please stop me if I get any of this wrong.”

Morgan just stares at him.

“He then booby traps the door, which in turn takes out your android Lieutenant Phos. He then seals himself inside the shuttle bay, and at the same time gains access to the ships computers overriding bridge control.”

Morgan starts to fidget in his chair.

“He then somehow pilots both ships out of the shuttle bay. Both on different headings away from the Raza. An amazing feat if you ask me. You then launch Alpha Flight to chase down one ship while you take the Raza after the other shuttle craft. Luck doesn’t go your way then either because when Alpha Flight finds the missing shuttle craft they also find a badly wounded Liira. She needed medical aid so you broke off your pursuit and head to intercept Alpha Flight allowing Bates to get away.”

Morgan and Frazier lock eyes. Frazier can see the hate in Morgan’s eyes and loves every minute of it.

“Did I miss anything Captain?”

Morgan leans forward putting his arms on the table and crossing his hands. “Everything you have said today is true. And with all due respect, in which I have very little for you; I would do it all again. Yes, I feel I did all I could to bring back a Starfleet officer back to the fold. He deserved that. Upon further review, he was damaged goods before he got assigned to the Raza; and Starfleet failed to see that. They dropped the ball sir. All I wanted to do was help the young man. I regret the fact that I failed to get him the help that he needed before anyone got hurt.”

Frazier snaps slamming his fist on the desk. “Damn-it Decker, three good men died under your watch and all you can say is that you regret it?  Three lives were lost all because you wanted to play savior to some scum bag like Bates!”

“I know that. I lost hundreds more during the Dominion War. Thousands more during the Borg Invasion. Every night when I go to bed I see all their faces. Every damn one of them. They will haunt me until the day I die. All those lives Captain, they are on me. Those were my people and I stand by every decision that put them in harms way. I make no excuses and ask for no pardon. Now if the two of you wish to take my command from me, make it quick. I have a ship to run.”

Decker stands up and neither man says a word stopping him. He stares both men down before leaving the room. The door slides shut and as if on cue Captain Frazier’s data-pad blinks with a private message. He fumbles with the pad getting nervous knowing who it is. More nervous than a man of his stature can ill afford. He grabs all the random data-pads off the desk and stuffs them in his briefcase. He then pops up out of his chair and he too heads for the door. Admiral Braun wonders what the hell is going on. “Are we through here Captain?”

Captain Frazier stops and looks back at the Admiral. “Yes, I… we… huh… we will send you our findings as soon as we can. Please feel free to assign the Raza their next mission.” And he rushes out of the room.

Braun tosses his data-pad on the desk. “Fucking politicians.”

Frazier races down the hall frantically as his data-pad continues to beep away. The person on the other end urgently trying to get ahold of him. The halls are crowded at this time of day. It’s just about dinner time and most offices are closing for the day allowing their employees to leave for the day. Not being able to find a quite secluded spot without anyone walking by he spots a restroom. He quickly darts through the men’s room door and starts looking under the stalls to see if he’s alone. Verifying that he is, he rushes back to the door and switches the locking device to the locked position. After assuring himself that he is alone, and that he won’t be disturbed; he tosses his briefcase on the sink top and quickly pushes the accept button on his device. A voice booms from the device. A Cardassian voice that sounds all too familiar. “What took you so long… human?” and the Cardassian stresses the word human like it’s a dirty word.

“I did as you have asked. I stalled the hearings for as long as I could. I bought you at least four hours.” And the Cardassian can hear the panic in Frazier’s voice. “Please let my sister go.”

“In due time Mr. Frazier. In due time. The Orion Syndicate just wants you to know that we are very pleased with your performance. When we are satisfied that the events put in motion today are going to play out in our favor, we will most graciously let your sister go free. In the meantime, please keep everything that happened today to yourself. If word gets out… well let’s just say your sister will not be the only person killed.”

The communicator goes silent. Frazier’s face is white as a ghost as he looks in the mirror and all he can think is… traitor.

 

Liira’s quarters back aboard the Raza.

 

Faye Monroe has been going out of her mind all day waiting for Liira to get out of the meeting with the JAG officer. Liira’s meeting was at ten in the morning and now it’s late noon. Hours have gone by without even a word from her. This isn’t like Liira. She’s a talker. Probably due to her career choice. Being a counselor, you have to get people to talk, and sometimes force people to talk. Faye started to worry about two hours ago and now a full-on state of panic is hitting her. Exercising isn’t really her thing, but she been power walking through the Raza all the way to Liira’s quarters. She stands outside the room and chimes herself in. No answer. She chimes again, and again there is no answer. “Computer, emergency access Monroe Beta Two.”

“Access confirmed.” And the door to the living quarters slides open. Faye rushes in, but the room is dark and she nearly trips over a piece of furniture in the middle of the room. A chair that was left out from the desk.

“God damn-it. Computer, raise lights eighty percent.”

“Confirmed.” And the lighting in the room increases so that Faye can now see where she’s going. The first thing she notices is that most of Liira’s personal belongings are missing. Photo’s off the walls and tables. Clothing, which is normally strewn around the room; missing. Liira has a few things to learn about keeping her quarters clean. The flowers. The vase of flowers that Faye just got for Liira a few days ago is gone also.

“What the hell is going on here?!” she blurts out-loud.

“Please redefine your question.” Asks the computer.

“Never-mind.” Then she calms down for a second and thinks. “Computer, where is Lieutenant Commander Liira?”

“Lieutenant Commander Liira is not aboard the Raza.”

“Ok. If she is not on the Raza, where did she go?”

“Lieutenant Commander Liira departed Starbase 718 at fourteen-thirty aboard the passenger ship Constellation.”

“Departed? Departed to where?” asks a frantic Faye.

“The Constellation’s heading was the Orion system.”

“She’s going home. Why?” and a voice reaches out from behind her.

“Because she’s broken Faye.” Answers Captain Decker.

Faye spins around to see her mentor Morgan Decker standing in the doorway.

“What do you mean she’s broken? What…what does that mean?” as she starts to cry.

Decker walks into the room and up to the young woman. “She needs time Faye. Time to heal. It’s been a very rough six months for her out here. In space. It’s not for everyone you know. It takes a special person to live out here, amongst the stars.”

“I need to get her back. I can help her.” And she starts to devise a plan in her head.

“No Faye, you cannot. Only time will heal her wounds. You see, her suffering started on Elba II. She could have died on that planet and just the thought of that hit her hard. The thought of her never going home. The thought of her never seeing her crewmates again. The thought of never seeing you again. It ate at her.”

“She never told me.”

“Yes, well she didn’t share it with anyone. Until today when she shared it with me.”

“I could have helped her.”

“Maybe if that’s all she had to deal with, but it wasn’t. She also had to deal with the ghost of Cory Bates. You see Faye, that man could have killed you and Liira. She watched you fight for your life in that turbolift. She watched as he killed a man in cold blood in the shuttle bay. The hell she went through I can’t even imagine. She needs time. Time to heal Faye.”

“Time? How much time? Is she coming back?”

“She’ll be back, I promise you. When, I don’t know.”

Faye sits down in the same chair she nearly tripped over when she first walked in, not being able to see too well in the dark. She bends over placing her elbows on her knees and her face in her hands trying to hold back the tears. “This is for you.” And he reaches out handing her the data-pad. “She asked me to give this to you.” Faye takes it and looks up at the man she has idolized for years. She sees the pain in his eyes also. Not the same pain that Faye is feeling for losing Liira, but the pain he is feeling watching a young woman he has viewed as his daughter go through this. Morgan walks out, the door to the quarters sliding shut behind him. She wipes her eyes and activates the device.

 

My dearest Faye.

How I wish I could have told you this in person, but I am afraid that if I were to stand there in-front of you trying to say these words I wouldn’t have the strength to go through with this. The past six months have been incredible. I have experienced things with you that I never thought would have been possible. You are my world. But you are also my Achilles heel. You are my one true weakness. In saying that, you need to know that I do love you. I love you with all my heart, but I must go. I need to go home and find myself again. I cannot stay another day aboard the Raza. So, my dear; I have asked for an extended leave of absence. I am going home Faye. I am going home to heal and to get my head straight.  Please remember the good times, and I’ll see you soon.

Liira

 

Faye begins to sob uncontrollably as she lets the data-pad fall to the floor at her feet.

 

Admiral Braun’s office at Starbase 718.

 

It’s been six months since Daisy has seen her grandfather and to say she is nervous as hell is an understatement. Her legs feel weak as she walks the halls heading to her grandfather’s office. She steps through the first door as it slides out of her and it leads into a small reception area. Sitting at a side desk is Ms. Crumpshaw, her grandfather’s longtime personal assistant. The older woman looks up at her with a wide smile. “Daisy my dear. How have you been?” and the older woman spins her wheelchair around the desk and out to greet her younger friend. Daisy bends over and gives the older woman a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“It’s good to see you too Mae.” Daisy always calls her by her first name. Nothing too formal between the two of them. “How’s he doing?” she asks, knowing that Mae will know who the “he” is that she’s talking about.

“He’s fine dear. He misses you.”

“I miss him too.”

Mae presses a button on her chair. “Sir, your granddaughter is here to see you.”

“Send her right in.”

“Right through that door sweetie.” And Mae points to a sliding door off to her left. Daisy pauses, knowing how awkward this is going to be. “Go ahead dear. He isn’t going to bite.” And with that final urging, she walks toward the door and it slides open in-front of her allowing her access to the Admiral’s office. Admiral Braun is already out of his chair, arms out wide and heading toward her before she can get a few feet into the room. He hugs her and lifts the smaller woman off her feet. He can feel the warmth and joy beaming from him as he hugs her.

“I’ve missed you so much.” He whispers in her ear.

“I’ve missed you too.” And he places her back down to the floor and pushes her back at arm’s length.

“Let me look at you.” And he looks her in her dress uniform with a proud smile on his face. “I’m so proud of you Daisy. Your parents would have been so proud of you.” And in just that moment, the stern man who controls a Federation Fleet turns to mush and starts balling like a baby.

 

***

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