Part of USS Polaris: Infiltrate and Liberate Nasera (The Lost Fleet – Part 1) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Collision of Truths

Admiral's Ready Room, USS Polaris
Mission Day 6 - 1100 Hours
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“Admiral, we need to talk!” 

The JAG prosecutor barreled onto the bridge, his veins pulsing, his eyes blood red, his entire being seething over what he had just learned. The bridge was otherwise silent. The outburst drew the attention of all present.

“Now!”

Fleet Admiral Reyes turned slowly. “Excuse me Commander?” she asked in a calm and measured tone. Only the way in which she accented his rank gave any indication that he’d elicited a rise out of her.

“Your Ready Room. Now!” he demanded with an aggression completely unbecoming of a Starfleet officer addressing a superior, let alone one holding the rank of Fleet Admiral.

Captain Devreux, who’d been deep in conversation with ops and tactical about a variance in the secondary hull’s regenerative shield matrix, pulled himself away and took a step towards the new arrival. Devreux was no fighter, nor a subscriber to rigid discipline, he looked ready for a fight. He wasn’t going to let that offense slide. Who the hell did Commander Drake think he was to address Allison Reyes that way?

Reyes, for her part, didn’t fret. She’d picked Robert Drake for the USS Polaris. After what had happened a few years ago, she needed a sharp-witted JAG who would not be afraid to take on officers of any rank. In this case, that meant even her. The Commander’s occasional outbursts were a small price to pay for his incorruptible zeal. And so, she simply gestured for him to follow her into her Ready Room.

As soon as the Ready Room door was shut, Commander Drake laid straight into Reyes: “Admiral, are you aware that, in taking us to Nasera, you are executing an illegal order?”

Reyes sat down at her desk calmly, clasped her hands, and waited for him to elaborate.

“It is the position of those at Starfleet Command that the Deneb Sector is the AOR of Task Group 514, and that the TG 514 CO is the Combatant Commander for the Breen border skirmish. Unless you are operating under his authority, this mission you’re taking us on is off the reservation Admiral,” Commander Drake explained. “These regulations exist to ensure an ordered battlefield, and they must be adhered to.”

Admiral Reyes could have countered with a battle of the pips or a finessed argument about the purview of the Fourth Fleet or a personal plea for him to trust her, but she chose a different tact: “We are not conducting an operation related to the Breen Confederacy. We are responding to hostile acts committed by the Dominion, a multi-quadrant enemy force that, to the best of my knowledge, Starfleet has not yet acknowledged, let alone appointed a Unified Commander for. And, if one were to be appointed, it would be Fleet Admiral Ramar due to the galaxy-wide mandate of the Fourth Fleet.”

“That’s a load of rubbish, and you and Fourth Fleet Command both know it,” Drake insisted, his tone remarkably accusatory. “The Breen simply refurbished old seventies era Dominion ships for their continued sorties against our border. This whole Dominion-is-back thing is just some fantasy Ramar and Beckett cooked up to justify their ambitions. Maybe you’re just too blind to see it due to some unaddressed PTSD you have from the Dominion War, or maybe it’s because you have your own personal motivation attached to this fantasy.” Listening to him talk, it didn’t sound like the Commander Drake that Allison Reyes knew. Drake was an aggressive prosecutor, but he was always fact-driven. He did not blindly suppose, and in fact, he’d accused many security and intelligence officers of letting such suppositions taint their investigations.

“Are you sure the Dominion is nonsense?” Reyes asked pointedly, chucking a PADD across the table at the JAG Officer. “Why don’t you get your head out of HQ’s ass for a moment and watch this. It’s a video, fresh from our colony Izar, of Jem’Hadar soldiers mass executing twenty teenagers.”

Drake looked down at the PADD on the desk.

“Pick it up Commander. It cost two good officers their lives.”

Hesitantly, Commander Drake picked up the PADD and hit play. He stood there shocked, not because of the brutality against children – he’d seen plenty of that over his prosecutorial career – but rather by the dissonance between what he had been told by senior officials and what he saw in front of him. The video showed the Jem’Hadar, not Breen, on the ground of a Federation colony killing Federation citizens.

“Admiral, has Starfleet Command seen this video?”

“I would certainly think so.”

“Then why have they said nothing?”

“I don’t know Commander,” Admiral Reyes sighed. She’d asked herself this question a hundred times since the intel started flowing in six days ago. “I think that might be more your area of expertise than mine, somewhere between gross negligence and dereliction of duty?”

Commander Drake’s mind was racing. The calls he’d received were very clear on the position of Starfleet Command: Fleet Admiral Ramar was outside his authority; this was a simple Breen issue under the purview of TG514; and he, as a senior JAG official aboard a flagship, had an obligation to act. Maybe those magistrates and admirals were just oblivious to this one video? Or maybe it was a forgery?

“Here, try this one,” Admiral Reyes said, sliding another PADD across the table. “Or this one… or this one… or maybe this one,” she continued as she slide three more PADDs across the table, so aggressively that one slid right off the table and hit the floor. “We can do this all day if you’d like. I’ve got dozens here, each a verified intelligence report from a different operative in a different system. They paint a very clear picture of the situation.”

It was now the JAG’s turn to stand there silently.

“You’ve known me for years Robert,” Reyes said as her tone softened and her appeal became personal. “You think, after all this time, I would suddenly violate the oath I swore to uphold?” She’d certainly skirt the regs when it was necessary, but conspire with other admirals on a power play? That accusation had particularly stung. He should have known her better than that by this point. “The Dominion is back, and we’re going to stop them.”

“Alright Admiral, suppose I accept your thesis. Then explain to me then where Lewis and his goons have gone? I hear they linked up with mercenaries for a dirty op.”

“I think you mean Sebold Logistics, a private logistics company that holds active contracts with Starfleet Intelligence and the Corps of Engineers,” Reyes corrected. “They were just so eager for our scheduled shore leave on Nasera II that they ran ahead, taking a bit of a pleasure cruise on a Ferengi trawler.” Drake glared at her. “Unless you’re wrong about this Dominion thing, in which case, they’re clearing a path for us so your pompous ass doesn’t wind up dead when they carve us stem to stern.”

Commander Drake wondered why these Starfleet officers were so damn fatalistic.

“Now get the hell out of my office,” she ordered, pointing at the door. “I don’t want to hear one more peep about this from you until this crisis is over. At that point, you’re free to file whatever complaint you’d like about me. Is that understood, Commander Drake?”

“Yes ma’am.”

The JAG officer turned and stormed out of the room. 

“What was that all about?” Captain Devreux asked as he stepped into the Admiral’s Ready Room to check on her. “Is he nervous, like the rest of us, about the battle ahead?”

Admiral Reyes laughed. “You think Commander Drake so much as conceptualizes what is coming?  No, he just came up to badger me on the legality of our orders.”

“Seriously? That’s what he was all worked up over?”

“That’s what he’s always worked up over,” Reyes laughed. “We need men like him though. He’s a big part of how we stopped Banda and Morgan back in ‘99.”

Devreux nodded. They’d been out on the rim of known space together when Reyes had abruptly turned the USS Khonsu around to help put a stop to a coup attempt within Starfleet. Commander Drake had been integral in that success, and he’s been a part of their lives ever since. Still, he could never quite figure out man’s schtick. “Is he going to cause us any more problems on this mission?”

“No, although he may have revealed a new one,” Reyes replied somberly. “Don’t you find it odd how insistent Starfleet Command has been that nothing of notice is happening in Deneb? And the sheer amount of propaganda to that effect that is flooding the Federation News Network? It may be more than just ignorance.”

Devreux kinked his eyebrow for elaboration.

“Drake didn’t march up here on his own this morning,” Admiral Reyes explained. “We’ve been on this heading for six days. Why would he just get worked up now? Someone must have given him a push to get him to come up here today and try to stop us. I’d certainly like to know why.”

“I don’t know Allison,” cautioned Devreux. “That all seems like a bit of a stretch. You sure you’re not just seeing ghosts?”

She shrugged. Maybe, or maybe not.

Comments

  • Brilliant to see a JAG officer loose his temper against none other then an Admiral haha. Love the interaction in how Reyes just tune him down and tells him to get the hell out of her office. But it also gives the vibe of what is going on, the disbelief, the forgery of false information spreading around and someone pulling the strings. Wonderful job!

    May 20, 2023