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Part of USS Polaris: The Voices of Deneb (The Lost Fleet – Part 2) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Collision of Wills (Part 2)

Starboard Stardrive Computer Core, USS Polaris
Mission Day 4 - 1130 Hours
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“Computer, locate Commander Drake.” Dr. Hall had just alerted Commander Lewis that the overzealous JAG was digging, and he was having none of it. On principle, Commander Lewis disliked all JAG officers, but in practice, he particularly despised Commander Drake. They had a history. He knew why Admiral Reyes kept him around, but it didn’t mean he didn’t want to space the prick.

“Commander Robert Drake is on Deck 31, starboard stardrive computer core.” 

That was not a place one would expect to find a JAG officer, unless he was busy hunting for something. “Is he with anyone?”

“Affirmative. Chief Petty Officer Ayala Shafir.”

“Motherfucker!” 

Commander Lewis broke out into a run towards the turbolift. He wasn’t worried about what Ayala would say, but he was worried the aggressive JAG would get in her head. Commander Drake was ruthless. The JAG would rub salt in any wound, and Ayala Shafir certainly had wounds from what had happened on Nasera II.

While Commander Lewis rushed towards Deck 31, Commander Drake was already hard at work grilling Chief Shafir. After leaving Dr. Hall’s office with nothing, he’d gone hunting for any other member of that covert operations team that he might be able to elicit more from. He found the Digital Systems Specialist working on a control unit for the starboard stardrive.

Commander Drake had started by pressing her on what had transpired at the governor’s mansion. The murder of that Vorta, and the toxins in his bloodstream, were Drake’s primary objective to explain, because he was damn certain that was a war crime. That line of questioning got him nowhere though with the Chief, as she insisted she was down in the tunnels beneath Nasera City with limited communications.

“You say you know nothing about what Commander Lewis and Lieutenants Hall, Kora, and Morgan were up to,” Drake relented frustratedly as several officers looked on at the heated exchange between the pair. “So let’s talk about something you do know.” While Commander Lewis’ report was devoid of anything Commander Drake could use in a court martial against Lewis and his team, it did give enough details about the events to let him know where to prod. “Lieutenant Commander Jordan.”

Chief Shafir looked down as the memories came flooding back. Pressing that detonator had been one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do. Brock Jordan was like an older brother to her, the guy that was always there, pushing them along and picking them up when they fell. “What about him?” Chief Shafir asked lightly, really not wanting to have this conversation.

“His body was located in the rubble of the planetary defense system’s control center,” Commander Drake asserted aggressively. “You and Ensign Rel were with him, but you two are still here, and he is not.” His eyes narrowed on her.

“I am acutely aware of that,” Shafir replied sadly.

“So what happened?” Commander Drake wasn’t going to stop his line of questioning because a petite Chief looked upset. In fact, her demeanor just encouraged his attack.

“As we retreated from the control center, the Jem’Hadar captured him.”

“And you didn’t go back for him?”

“Against a full company of Jem’Hadar? No, that would have been suicide,” Chief Shafir explained as she looked at the soft hands, perfect skin, and unwrinkled uniform of Commander Drake. This was not a man who had ever been in the shit, or anywhere near it. He’d probably never even had to hold a phaser outside of the required Academy courses.

“So you blew up the control center with him still in it? Knowing full well you were going to kill him?”

“Yes.” Her single word answer came out flat, but inside, her affirmation cut deep into her heart. Every night when she closed her eyes, she saw that detonator in her hands again and relived that moment when she pressed the button that killed Brock Jordan. “It was the only option,” she added softly.

Commander Drake was shocked how easy the admission had come. Until now, he did not know who had pressed the trigger. Commander Lewis had omitted who from the report. But now he knew. “That will be for a court martial tribunal to determine.”

Chief Shafir looked at him with disgust. That was what this was all about? A stupid judicial process? There were things that mattered so much more than that. “You think for a minute I would have done it if there was any other way Commander?” A tear ran down her cheek. “Brock was our leader, our friend. But we had to. There was no choice. Otherwise, they would have regained control of that planetary defense system, and this whole mission would have failed,” she insisted, struggling to hold it together.

“It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what the law says based on…”

Commander Drake was interrupted mid-sentence as a burly hand grabbed his forearm from behind. The grip was firm and aggressive, spinning him around with a degree of strength far overwhelming any resistance he could put up. 

“Who the fuck do you think you are,” Commander Jake Lewis opened angrily as he thrust Commander Drake up against a bulkhead with both hands. “To come down here and harass my team like this?” He was not going to put up with that, not after everything they had sacrificed.

A crowd of engineering officers working in the stardrive computer core looked over and began to gather around the spectacle. This was not a sight you often saw on Deck 31, or anywhere for that matter, a lanky JAG officer pinned helpless against a bulkhead by an angry old spook. That they were both senior officers on the Polaris made it all the more out of the ordinary.

Commander Drake looked like a floppy mannequin in the grasp of a raging killer, but still he had a smile on his face. “I am simply speaking to a Starfleet officer about her conduct during an away mission, as is my job.” Commander Lewis’ outbreak was just making his job that much easier.

Commander Lewis brought his face right up to Commander Drake’s, so close their noses almost touched. Lewis’ expression looked like he was ready to kill the man. “You sit up here in your plush quarters, intellectually jerking off while we do the hard work that must be done, and then you swoop in like a vulture to second guess every decision we had to make.”

Commander Drake just stuck his chin up proudly.

“You have never put your life on the line for shit Drake,” Commander Lewis pressed, as he held the JAG up against the wall. “You have never stared down a dozen Jem’Hadar warships as you sneak onto an occupied world. Ayala has. You have never snuck around a city filled with trained killers hunting you. Ayala has. You have never gone into a building swarming with Jem’Hadar to carry out a mission where, if you fail, everyone you serve with will die. Ayala has.” Commander Lewis lifted the JAG officer off the ground by the slack in his uniform. “You’re only fucking alive because of what she did!”

The hiss of a door signaled the arrival of a pair of security officers. They rushed straight towards the entangled pair. Commander Lewis saw them coming, but before they could reach him, he chucked Commander Drake onto the cold floor of the computer core. The JAG landed on the deck, looking up at his colleague, shocked by the audacity. This was assault of an officer, plain and simple.

“So stay the fuck away from my people!” Commander Lewis spat at the pathetic JAG as the security officers grabbed him by both arms. The Chief Intelligence Officer didn’t resist. He knew the way to the brig.

Comments

  • I think Lewis is a dead man walking. He knows the game is up, he knows he is going to be up a particular creek without a paddle. If Reyes knew exactly what had gone on, would she be so willing to protect him and his team? I struggle to believe even she could condone outright murder and war crimes. I think Lewis has walked straight into Drake's trap. JAG is going to make someone pay, for certain. Right now, I feel Lewis might be in for the chop, but could I be wrong? This is excellent story telling and its got me hooked.

    June 5, 2023
  • Haha that last sentence says everything about Lewis career "He knew the way to the brig". But Drake has been pushing buttons to long and if I would be there I would have done the same thing as Lewis would. The interaction was brilliant and actually a long awaited answer on Drake snooping around. Great post!

    June 6, 2023
  • Dang! Lewis sure got a temper and Drake is soaking all that up, though I wonder how much of what Lewis says is true though has Drake even batted an eye at picking up a phaser, to help protect those lives that they all came to protect? All he seems to be worried about is what the law says in a time of war. I wonder where this goes and who comes out in the end. I loved this story and can't wait for the next!

    June 6, 2023
  • Man, from hating on Drake last story to now wanting to throttle Lewis for his inability to control his emotions and playing right into the JAG's hands! I love the back-and-forth feelings I have for the characters here, and it's excellent writing that pushes a reader to flip-flop on who they like or hate as they read. Onto the next!

    June 7, 2023
  • Jake Lewis

    Squadron Intelligence Officer
    USS Serenity Commanding Officer

  • Ayala Shafir

    ASTRA Staff Researcher, Computational Systems
    Intelligence Specialist & Hazard Team Operator

  • Robert Drake

    Archanis Sector JAG Officer
    Archanis Station