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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 5 – Answering the Call (ATC)

ATC 011 – The Court of Diplomacy

USS Mackenzie - Ready Room
02.04.2401 @ 1330
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The Mackenzie was underway and flying.  With much of the senior staff on the away team, it had now fallen to either assistant chiefs or lead techs to handle the day-to-day business as they sped to the rescue of their fellow crew.  Harris had met with each department briefly.  Bringing relief to their fears and worries had been first on his list. The second was getting the various groups shifting to prepare for what lay ahead.  The relative age and experience on the Mack still trended young.  It had been beneficial when his command team worked together to train and mentor them.  It would be challenging as they prepared for the legal and logistical challenges ahead.

He’d left Atega at the CONN and returned to his ready room.  The meeting with his new assistant science chief awaited.  The “judicial briefing’ was open on his PADD, and he began to sift through it again while he awaited T’Penga.

T’Penga had taken the time while the ship made its way to look over the legal procedure and, in fact, the law of the matter. She would have to learn exactly what evidence they had to cause the arrests. That would tell the Vulcan how they should proceed. She was a science officer, and law was not her specialty; however, logic was, and law was nothing if not logical. She mulled all of what was needed through her head as she made her way through the ship to the Ready Room. Other crew members seemed to return to their tasks and work a little harder when T’Penga passed. She conveyed a quiet calm and air of confidence. 

She arrived at the Ready Room and rang the chime. When allowed in T’Penga stepped before the desk. “You wanted to see me, Captain.”

Harris glanced up from the couch he had moved to and offered her a seat, “Looking through this is going to give me a headache.  There is certainly the Devore influence in the judicial rules and requirements – apparently, they don’t make it easy for the defendants in either quadrant.  There’s an incredible burden on us to prove the innocence of our crew.  There is a lot here that doesn’t mesh well with Federation laws and courts – most of it is the exact opposite in fact.”  He grumbled, “The charges are very broad – sedition, terrorism, intent to cause harm.  It reads like a list of suggestions.”

“My suggestion is to toss out everything you know about Federation courts. The crew is not being prosecuted in a Federation court, so none of that matters. As to the charges. Does it say what evidence if any that they have for the charges? I, too, have read the juror’s prudence of Devore, and just like a Federation court, they have to divulge all evidence to us prior to trial.” T’Penga simply stood there as she talked. She thought that this case would be a challenge and, in fact, welcomed it.

Ambrose tapped at his PADD, “If we had formal relationships with them or an embassy, we could use pressure to have our laws introduced as evidence, but given the involvement of the Devore…I don’t know how they’d react to that.”

“I have read Admiral Janeway’s logs from the USS Pioneer when they made contact with the Devore Imperium. The Devore are sticklers for procedure and protocol. That said, we have to find a protocol where we can introduce procedures to our benefit. Perhaps there is some precedent where they have dealt with people from outside the Imperium.” T’Penga cocked her head slightly as she spoke. It was something she always did when a part of her brain was lost in thought. Her hobby of anthropology would come into use here.

Harris continued to study the PADD, “Well, one difference is that Pantheon appears to be the only Devore on the planet – unless there are more hiding behind a hill or two…that suggests there is some tolerance…or something resembling a loyalty pledge…or even a way to check the loyalty of the people.  Devore are not a slacking or inattentive species – they’re like the robots of old – tenacious and unwavering in their mission.”  He contemplated, “We could always try to win the hearts and minds of the people around him – given how fast they trumped up the charges they probably didn’t get much of a chance to work to help the people.

“Agreed playing to emotions during a trial can work. But it is risky. What exactly did our people do that they are being charged? I believe a review of the prospective case from the prosecution would be prudent. Then we can prepare the appropriate defense. My other query is who will be our third?” T’Penga may have been getting ahead of herself; however, when legal matters were involved, one had to work quickly.

The CO handed over his PADD, “I’ve got two options.  Lieutenant Juliet Woodward, our chief counselor, is the first.  She’s a no-nonsense officer with a knack for reading people and understanding situations pretty well – and she won’t trip the empathic/telepathic alarms.  The other is our chief communications officer, Ensign Presley Atega.  Her linguistics and analysis skills have been a huge resource for us, and she has an eye for detail.  Take a look at their service jackets.”

T’Penga stood and studied each of the files in detail. Her eyebrow raised as she read the storied service records that she had come to expect from someone in Starfleet. Both did have merits toward assisting in the endeavor. Indeed the Captain had narrowed his choices down well. When she had finished, she handed the PADD back to her Captain and placed her hands behind her back.

Ambrose accepted the PADD, “Which do you think presents the best opportunity for success?”

“I would suggest Lieutenant Woodward. Logic would dictate that her training as a Counselor would allow her to read a person’s mannerisms and therefore know what is in their mind. This could be useful when evaluating the Devore and all that has to do with this case. In addition, her rank as a senior officer would show the Devore that you are giving this manner the respect that it deserves. Furthermore, we can employ Ensign Atega to evaluate the evidence here on the ship. It is there that her skills in analysis will come in useful.” She stood at attention and rattled off the information as someone may rattle off a list of their family members.

Harris noted, “I’ll bring her and Atega up to speed.”  He read through the details and stood, “We’re due to arrive tomorrow afternoon.  Study the case files on your own, and I’ll do the same.  We’ll meet for lunch before we arrive to discuss a final plan.”  He hesitated momentarily, “The possibility exists that this method of going through the courts may not succeed.  We may have to seek an alternative rescue plan if it fails.”

“I will sir…” T’penga said in reference to her studying the case files. “As to an alternate plan may I suggest security begin to plan a daring prison break.” If she meant that as a joke, there was absolutely no indication. In fact, the only movement was a raise of her left eyebrow.

Ambrose allowed a thin smile.  Vulcan humor was notoriously nonexistent or incredibly hard to detect.  “It’ll be daring, that will be for certain.  Until tomorrow.”  The assistant science chief departed, leaving Harris to contemplate the challenge ahead.  He remembered a phrase that was often put on Kirk and his contemporaries – ‘cowboy diplomacy’.  

“Yeehaw”, he muttered to himself as he returned to the case files.