Part of USS Mariner: M1: Into The Gamma Quadrant and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

21) Conviction of Duty

USS Mariner - Ready Room
March 2401
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The Mariner was en route to Opaka outpost. The situation was under control on the ship. The required appointments were made to keep the operations and process of the ship moving along. However, the problems were far from over. The crew felt uneasy. Friends and colleagues were in the brig awaiting their fate. The transport of Dominion representatives didn’t fit well in this whole picture. The bridge, engineering, hallways, and almost everywhere it became quieter.

Sazra looked outside the window seeing the stars moving along. She felt conflicted about the entire ordeal. She obeyed the 4th fleet command orders, trusting nobody but the 4th. Enlarging her circle of trust to Silina and Adrián and keeping the truth from her senior staff. She placed her hands over her eyes and leaned back in her chair. 

Would the mission go differently if she had played her cards open to everyone? But what about the contradicting reports that came from Starfleet Command? Was the 4th truly playing their cards open to their captains? She took a deep breath and let her hands slide down her face. “On one hand I got both Starfleet Command and FNN speaking about Breen skirmishes and denying the involvement of any Dominion ships. On the other hand, I get reports from the 4th fleet that specifically state the death count, the wounded, and more about what is happening at Deneb.” She started to talk to herself to figure this out.

She brought up the timeline of everything on the Mariner since their departure from Starbase 86.  What made it possible that it went south so rapidly? Denial of information was a common practice among captains. Some information was classified for a reason. Sazra stood up and walked to the replicator “A glass of Pampero Seleccion” A small glass appeared in the replicator of a fine Earth rum as she grabbed the glass. 

“The question at hand is, was my reasoning to keep it classified from my crew validated enough? Or was I supposed to tell them because of their right to information so that they can operate within their duties?” Walking to the window and taking a sip of her drink letting the taste of dried fruit reach her taste template before swallowing it and feeling that burning sensation. 

Maybe she was approaching the problem wrong. She had been in the tunnel vision of being a Captain, but her heart was within science. So perhaps she had to look at it from that perspective? Sazra kept the glass on her lower lip letting the cold press against it. “Debunk the hypothesis” Pointing her finger up. “Which would be…. The order of the Captain is the direct cause of mutiny” Something didn’t feel right about that, and Sazra shook her head “No no… too vague…” 

She walked around her ready room with her glass still in front of her thinking. “The limited information provided by the command team is the cause of the mutiny?” Sazra could work that and gave a slight nod. Then the alternation of hypothesis came up for her “The limited information is not the direct cause of the mutiny, but other effects beyond command control were in play?” Nodding again “Behavior issues started around the moment we publically lied to Deep Space 9 and Opaka outpost for the sake of the mission” Still wandering around the room.

“Starfleet code of conduct dictates that it is our duty, to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. If we don’t do that we are missing the principle of what Starfleet is or should be.” Trying to remember her old lessons from her academy days. She takes a sip of her drink letting that burning sensation hit her again as she stops in front of the window again. “Code of conduct, that is what Rami meant with breaking the code of conduct.” She narrowed her eyes a bit.

How to formulate that into the hypothesis “So sub-question to the main question would be…is there a correlation to Rami behavior to act so rash on the limited information” The stars passing by reflected in Sazra’s eyes. “No, because he acted on limited information before at the Blood Dilithium mission and even further back on the Broken Wings mission. Has the weight of this mission something to do?” 

That was honestly a better question. The weight of this mission was different. It was loaded by all means. Rami’s family was involved in the Dominion War, and other crew members were also. That would justify her keeping the information limited; technically, she didn’t lie. She just told them what they required to know. A need-to-know basis “So what am I dealing with…Computer gives me data on the mutiny members onboard the Mariner? No names, just service and if they had any contact with Dominion. An extra query to this would be….if any of these members have a history with counsel session based on fear” 

[26 members have been involved with the mutiny on the USS Mariner. Their service records state that 23 members have been with Starfleet for less than 6 years, and 3 members have been with an average of 10 years. Of the 26 members, only 7 members have indirect involvement with the Dominion. The specifics can be related to family or friend losses. Counsel sessions related to these 26 members state that 24 members had sessions regarding fear. This can be categorized as anxiety, depression, or overthinking.]

Taking another sip of her drink she let the information sink in. “That would mean that Rami’s work affected emotionally unstable people.” She walked slowly around again as Sazra thought quite hard to fit all the pieces together. “Sub-question” she stated to herself as she stopped walking. “Would the members involved in this mutiny be a cause of the limited information or” Lifting her finger. “Be a direct effect of any kind of provocation” It didn’t make sense. Only Rami acted this way “

“Rami acted as the chain reaction in this situation. There is no other possibility. Or is there…?” Sazra leans at her desk. “Computer check Lieutenant Rami Shew’s record based on behavioral infractions from the moment he got on the USS Jaxartes till now. Based on this data, how likely is Lieutenant Shew’s behavior a risk of unstable emotional acts?” 

[Lieutenant Shew has received 7 infractions during his time on the USS Jaxartes. He received 4 infractions during his time on the USS Damascus and one during his time on the USS Mariner. Based on this data, his behavior would be unpredictable and shows acts of rebellion. Therefore, is the likelihood of unstable emotional act a 78% present]

Letting out a sigh “Frak, I should have known or at least noticed it.” She lowered her glass and held it now with both hands. “So based on that data, it means it beats the hypothesis, as the alternate hypothesis is proven right. Rami was the only one who acted on this. Wait…” Sazra blinks a few times. “Cailra also acted….Computer what is Lieutenant Junior Grade Cailra’s service record and has she any connection to Dominion or counsel sessions?” 

[Lieutenant Junior Grade Cailra has been in service for Starfleet for 7 years. She had no connection with any Dominion in her history. However, she is under counsel session for PSDT regarding the attack on Mars.]

Lifting her glass as she took a sip of her rum and closed her eyes leaning her head back and letting the alcohol sit for a moment before swallowing it. Then placed her head back down and opened her eyes. “Rami played on her feelings, f*ck that is messed up…” She placed the glass on the table. “Shit…” Sazra remembers all the times she had Rami on her side, the fun, the sad moments, and so on. But the man had dug his own grave with his arrogance. Sazra did her best to help him, and now he would drag 25 people with him.

Now that she had peace in her mind, she had to correct her actions, choices, and words. Sazra now had to carry out the conviction of duty. She sat down in her chair and tapped her console briefly as she hovered her finger over it before pressing it. A ship-wide broadcast alert came. 

This is Captain Kobahl speaking

Crew members stopped doing their work looking up.

A few days ago, our ship was hit by something that should never have occurred in any Starfleet ship. We had to face our own in a mutiny. A mutiny born out of fear. A fear based on lies, rumors, and leadership bias.” 

Adrián stopped his work looking at his work and letting Sazra’s words sink in.

While this act was made possible by someone I trusted personally for years, I am still shaken by what happened, and I believe every single one of you is affected by it also. I ordered my command team to act quickly and swiftly because it was against Starfleet regulations.

The bridge crew stared a bit around at each other as Silina was sitting in the captain’s chair hearing what Sazra had to say. 

However, I noticed the ship did not burst with energy anymore compared to when we left Starbase 86. We got tangled in a web of secrets and distrust. So the choices I made as a Captain were and always will be in the best interest of my crew. Because without my crew I am nothing. I need every single one of you to operate this ship and reach our goal.

In the brig, Rami opened his eyes as he looked up. “You damn hypocrite” He muttered.

So to mend these wounds, to stop the silence in the hallways, I am going to be blunt about our situation and what we face” 

Various nurses and officers stopped their work and looked at where the voice of their Captain was coming from.

We are to deliver Dominion representatives to Deneb. Our situation is dire and if we fail in this mission. Countless more people will die for a forgotten war that ended so many years ago. So as the Captain, I will accept the consequences of command and my choices. There is some struggle going on between Starfleet Command and the 4th Fleet. I was told to trust only the 4th, my mistake was not to trust you, so I limited the information to keep you safe. I was wrong in doing so” 

In the VIP quarter, Dezod looked at his sister sitting in the chair with her hand on her chin. “What an interesting development, quite interesting” Rahis spoke.

With that being said, I will complete this mission. I will lie against the Opaka outpost. Because if they realize what we are escorting, what happened on this ship? We fail to rescue millions of lives. So I will carry this weight. I will accept the punishment that Starfleet Command will give me. So I will ask you to stand one more time with me until the completion of this mission. If you desire to send in your resignation that goes active after completing this mission I would appreciate it much. But I ask you….to give me your trust and commitment again, and I shall be open to any questions you might have. Thank you” 

Closing the channel, she leaned back in her chair and deeply breathed. “Lies can break trust easily while honesty will mend over time that broken trust” A beep went off on her computer as her eyes looked at the title. Resignation of…She lowered her head and shrugged looking back outside. Now she did everything she could. She needs to finish this once and for all. 

Her scientific look at the situation concluded that based on what happened, who was involved, and what the results were not her fault. But as a Captain, whatever happens, you take responsibility for the actions of yourself but also that of your crew. You tell the truth, how brutal it might be, how painful it might be. Because the truth will be remembered and Sazra could only conclude that in the end, it was up to the crew to make their judgment as grown-ups.

Another ping came and another, and another. Sazra had sadness in her eyes as she looked at her screen and her look changed to confusion as a tear rolled off her cheek and dropped onto the desk. The titles of her inbox pour in.

I am here to stay

I will finish this with you Captain

You are my Captain

Whatever happens to you we will follow

Let us save our people

Comments

  • The guilt of missing what could have prevented this, and the anger of what Shew did. Will she struggle to trust in the future? Will she be more attentive to the crew? How will this impact her command choices? These are questions that the reader wonders, and you give us a little glimpse of the answer through the All Hands message she sends out to the crew. The notes she gets back at the end were a nice touch too, uplifting the reader much as it uplifts her.

    June 3, 2023
  • Unknown Author

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story! Your writing style is engaging and your characters felt so real. It was a delightful journey from beginning to end. Keep up the fantastic work!

    June 6, 2023
  • The ending moments are a nice arc back to Shew's messages of support earlier in the story and it's a great choice to play the two chracters alongside each other in that tone. It's a nice flow of development for the CO as she falls back on her scientific background to investigate the problem more objectively, initially I was worried she was missing the fact that the command teams actions were directly linked to the mutiny but i'm glad that as a character she's realised that the trio aren't exactly innocent in this situation. I'm starting to wonder if Shew isn't all he appears though... considering frontier day is coming up?

    June 8, 2023
  • Finally a crew acting like a crew. Loved the emotion in this post Great job.

    June 9, 2023