Littlejohn didn’t like it. She didn’t appreciate that sometimes being a politician meant having to do such things that she found herself in right now. She was sitting uncomfortably behind her desk in her office as she shared a call with the Andorian Chancellor. The two world leaders were debating over the recent Docana incident and how best to respond to it.
“I appreciate what you’re saying Madam Chancellor, but can you seriously say that revealing to everyone what happened would be beneficial?” She threw back at her as their discussion continued to heat up.
A sigh could be heard from Margerit’s end. Unfortunately, due to a severe snowstorm on Andoria they were unable to engage in a face-to-face conversation over subspace. Instead they were forced to speak over a secured audio channel. “Madam President, you are asking me to hide the fact that a ruthless enemy has attacked one of our worlds and mutilated our sovereignty. Place yourself in my situation, if this had been Vega would you do the same if I was asking you to cover up the identity of the true aggressors?”
The President looked at the others in her office. Sat around the room was Prime Minister Samuels, her Chief of Staff, members from her cabinet and Admirals Hathaway and Gardner. He grimaced at the fact it could have been Earth and its Commonwealth in the situation the Andorian Empire now found itself. “I would hope Madam Chancellor that you would be a good enough friend to me to remind me of my responsibilities as a leader and not to allow mass public panic to settle in if news reached them that an ally had been attacked by a neighbouring nation that we had yet to see. On top of that I would expect you to tell me that my actions would not only have a drastic impact on my people but those we were allies with.” She paused. “Neither of our fleets are ready to face war Chancellor. Your losses at Docana alone have placed the Andorian Imperial Guard in a bad situation and there’s no way Starfleet could take on the Romulan fleet alone. We’ve seen what their drone ships can do to our ships and if they’ve mined more systems then we need to work together to deal with it. Please, Chancellor, let us plan our response to the Romulans carefully.”
“So, you agree we need to do something?” She finally said back to him.
Littlejohn looked briefly at everyone in the room. Knowing that half of them were reluctant to take military action. “I do but I don’t think we are in a good position yet. We need to plan carefully and make sure we are truly ready for it. If we go public with this then we won’t be in a strong position both politically and militarily.”
“Very well then Madam President.” Margerit finally gave in. “We will continue this discussion at our summit on Babel later this month, in the meantime let us rebuild and review what has happened here.”
Littlejohn’s relief was clearly showing now. “Thank you, Madam Chancellor, and yes I look forward to seeing you in Babel soon.”
“Farewell Madam President.” She said, signalling she wanted to end their conversation.
“Goodbye Chancellor.” Littlejohn said and then tapped the button on her inbuilt desk computer to close the channel. She looked at everyone in the room. They all remained silent and just stared at her for a moment.
Clearing her throat, Secretary Madilyn Campbell spoke. “So, where do we go from here?”
“Isn’t it clear Madilyn?” Prime Minister Samuels replied. “We begin preparing for a possible war with the Romulans.”
Deputy Prime Minister Malik, who was sitting on the other side of Samuels in her own chair, appeared to deflate at his words. “Sir you can’t be serious about this?”
Samuels nodded and looked to Littlejohn for affirmation.
“I don’t like it either, but Nathan is right. I cannot see how we can avoid it, we are now on a warpath.” Littlejohn remarked and looked over at everyone. “Let’s begin putting plans together.”
“Madam President, I must protest-” started Deputy Prime Minister Malik, but she was interrupted by another strong female voice in the room.
“I’m pretty certain the Commander-in-Chief of the United Earth’s forces has just issued an order, Madam Deputy Prime Minister.” Admiral Hathaway said from where she sat on one of the sofas. Her irritation at the politician’s lack of support for their leader clearly came through the way she spoke.
The Indian woman turned to look at the older British flag officer. “The Earth Commonwealth is not in any position to wage war against another nation state, especially one that has yet to reveal their faces to us.”
“We’re not waging war yet Kalinda.” Defence Secretary Stark stated from where he stood at the side of the room. “But preparing for war does mean we are heading down that road.”
“I think we need to remind ourselves of one thing.” Home Secretary Haroun al-Rashid uttered from where he sat next to Campbell. The entire room’s attention fell on him now. “We didn’t start this, they did.”
“And if what we’ve seen at Docana is any indication of their resolve then we need to be prepared for the worse.” Admiral Gardner added.
Littlejohn now sat up in her chair and placed her hands together on her desk. “We’ve got just under three weeks before the summit at Babel, by that time I want the entire Commonwealth to be in a strong position. So, where do we start?” She asked them all.
Thirdmoon, Fesoan Lor’veln Year 463
Chancellor Margerit sipped on her glass of Andorian ale as she looked out at the arctic winds sweeping across the cliff face that held up her mansion. Something about the patterns they were causing in the sky made them almost hypnotic. She wasn’t paying attention as such to hear the doors to her office open. Her mind was still going over her recent conversation she had with Earth’s leader. Lydia Littlejohn was quite the politician she thought to herself. She made a Tellerite look tamed in her opinion. She found herself feeling frustrated at having to give in to the Human’s request and hold off on taking any military action against the Romulans. After the call had ended, she had sent out from her office her advisors and the other senior government officials. She wanted time to collect her thoughts. She wasn’t going to let the Romulans get away with it, but she knew she needed to keep the Humans close to her if they were to do anything.
“Ma’am?” Lieutenant Carenth said, trying to get her attention from where she stood at the doorway.
Margerit released herself from her staring and turned around in her chair to look at the woman who was second in charge of her protection. “Yes Carenth?” She answered.
“Commander Anthi is here to see you.”
“Yes, send her in.” She said, a small smile crept across her face, as she had begun to formulate a plan in her head, and she knew what she had to do first.
Wednesday, May 21st, 2155
It was getting late into the evening and after the crew had thrown him a surprise birthday party; Captain Burton was pleased to finally head to his quarters to sleep before he had to report for duty the next morning. He had just entered his quarters and was scanning through the latest round of messages that were waiting for him. He had a number of birthday messages from his family, the recent one being from his sister. Burton was about to open it when the intercom went off.
“Bridge to Captain Burton.” Spoke Ensign Larsen over the channel.
Burton pressed the button on his desk to respond. “Go ahead Erik.”
“Sir, you have an incoming call from Andoria on a secured channel.” Larsen stated.
At that news Burton sat at the chair behind his small desk in the corner of his room. “Transfer it to my quarters Ensign.” He ordered. Moments later the screen activated. He was pleasantly surprised to see the Andorian leader before him. “Chancellor Margerit, this is a pleasant surprise.”
Margerit smiled at him. “Captain Burton it is good to see you again and I believe it is Human custom to wish you a happy birthday today?” She said.
He smiled at her attempt. “Thank you, Madam Chancellor.” Burton hated the fact he was reminded of how old he was getting, Levesque and Stanton had both made remarks earlier in the day about him losing his youth.
“I know it’s been almost a month since we last spoke and with the Docana incident being classified I haven’t been able to get back in contact with you.” She said, starting to get on why she had called him.
The Human captain frowned on the inside at the reminder that once again the Romulans involvement in something had been classified to avoid a public panic and the possibility of war being declared, nevertheless almost every Starfleet captain believed they were on the fringe of war with the faceless aggressors. “It’s understandable that you’ve been busy ma’am.”
“Even so I know we both share a joint frustration over the need for us to hide what truly happened there.” She said, hinting at the same thing that Burton was thinking about. The cover up of the Romulans’ involvement had been a hard one to digest. However, it was easier to share with the public that Malurian and Nausicaan mercenaries had banded together to try and take Docana’s resources, but the joint Andorian-Human task force was able to stop them. The evidence of the Romulan mines and their attack were covered up and evidence now stated that the Malurians and Nausicaans had mined the system, undetected, and had attacked the planet in a last-ditch effort before they retreated. “That all said I wanted to inform you of some news, I’ve decided to follow in your footsteps to a certain degree.”
“Oh?” Burton said, curious to know what she meant.
“We’ve just launched a brand-new ship; I’ve named it the Avenkerev.”
Burton smiled at the sentiment of her choice in its name, “I’m sure General Ghelev would value that.” He said referring to her fallen friend who commanded the previous ship named that.
The Chancellor smiled at his words. “I believe she would have. The new Avenkerev will be assigned to exploratory missions, just like Challenger and will be commanded by Commander Anthi.”
“That’s excellent news to hear!” Burton said pleased to hear that the senior Andorian officer they had saved from Docana was being rewarded for her efforts.
“I thought you would appreciate that news, I have also ordered Commander Anthi with the task to begin exploring in space not so far away from you.”
“Well I look forward to running into her.” Burton returned.
“I’m sure you will but I wanted you to know that as we’ve said before Andoria owes you and your crew a debt of gratitude for your help, so the Avenkerev will be nearby to help you if you ever need it.” Margerit said.
“I appreciate the gesture Madam Chancellor.” Burton said. “Perhaps we can do some more joint operations but ones that don’t involve firing any weapons?”
Margerit chuckled at that. “Safe travels to you and your crew Captain.” Margerit said, signalling the end of their conversation.
“Thank you again for calling Madam Chancellor.”
“Margerit out.” And she closed the channel.
Burton sighed as he leant back in his chair and wondered why Margerit called him to tell him about Anthi’s new assignment. It just seemed bizarre. He even found how calm and content the Andorian leader was; especially over the fact they had to keep the whole Romulan aggression a secret. An unusual way to end my birthday celebrations he thought before deciding it was time to call it a night and go to bed. For tomorrow Challenger was going to carry on its current mission of exploration, something he was finally happy to be doing.