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

Collision of Wills (Part 3)

Brig, USS Polaris
Mission Day 4 - 1530 Hours
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Commander Lewis sat calmly in the brig. Imprisonment was not an unfamiliar experience for him, although the accommodations were far nicer aboard the USS Polaris than the dozen or so prisons he’d found himself in over the years. Starfleet was a bit too kind to its prisoners, he thought to himself. But that was coming from the guy who had just presided over the torture of a Vorta commander on Nasera II, and then who’d executed the creature in cold retribution afterwards.

His actions on Nasera II were not the reason why Commander Lewis had found himself in the brig though. The reason for his imprisonment today was far simpler. He’d given Commander Drake a piece of his mind for the way he was harassing his team. His covert operators sacrificed so much on Nasera II, and he could not stand idle as that idealistic scumbag made their pain worse. In hindsight though, Commander Lewis had to acknowledge that it probably wasn’t the best idea to physically assault the JAG officer that was investigating them, but it had felt good to lay his hands on that pompous prick.

The hiss of the door announced a new arrival. The way the brig officer snapped to attention, Commander Lewis had an idea who it was before he could see her.

“Allison, I was wondering how long it would take before you’d come down here,” he said as Fleet Admiral Allison Reyes came into view in front of his cell.

“It would have been sooner,” Admiral Reyes explained as she disabled the forcefield and stepped into the cell with a disapproving look. “But I had a few more pressing problems to worry about than a Chief Intelligence Officer that cannot keep his hands to himself.” Why couldn’t Commander Lewis have just kept his cool? She had a squadron to fix, a planet to rebuild, and a mission to get on with. This was an annoying distraction.

“What’s he got me in here for?” Commander Lewis asked with an amused look on his face. He had no concerns for the charges Drake would level. Worst case scenario, he’d lose his pips and go back to doing what he did before he reupped with the Polaris.

“He doesn’t have you in here for anything right now. You put yourself in here with that dumb little stunt of yours,” Admiral Reyes clarified with a disapproving stare. “An engineering officer called security out of fear for what you were going to do to Commander Drake. It’s not often they see a department head lifting the Staff Judge Advocate up against a bulkhead.”

“That piece of shit deserved it.”

“I don’t disagree,” Reyes laughed. “But there are other ways to deal with these things, like you could have…”

“Spare me,” Commander Lewis interrupted with a look of frustration. “He was harassing Ayala for a decision that she will live with for the rest of her life. A correct decision.”

“You and I both know how difficult the decisions we make in those moments can be, and I don’t doubt you all made the right ones the other day,” Admiral Reyes affirmed with a deep sense of understanding. Decades ago during the war, she’d thrown in with the dirtiest of the dirty, a kill squad operating behind Dominion lines. She was not one to question whether the ends justified the means when it came to the Dominion. Any means were justified against the Dominion. “But there are other ways to deal with the likes of Commander Drake. Ways that don’t give him more ammunition to press charges.”

“He’s going to press charges for this?”

Admiral Reyes laughed out loud. “No, when I went to visit him in sickbay, he said he doesn’t care about what you just did. He called it a petty small crime not even worth his time. He doesn’t care about a disciplinary mark on your messy and heavily redacted service record. He wants your pips stripped and your ass behind bars.”

“Oh please!” Now it was Commander Lewis’ turn to laugh. “Even if he does manage to stick something to me, you know I’ll be released within a week.” As despicable as men like Commander Lewis were to the Federation at large, they were highly valued by those who understood that sometimes you had to compromise ideals in order to protect them. Starfleet Intelligence had no qualms using people of his disposition to do their dirty work, and Starfleet Intelligence had been one of the largest customers of his private outfit after he’d been shelved the previous time for allegedly killing a Romulan Senator. This was child’s play in comparison. “And I’ll just go back to doing what I was doing before.”

“I’d rather that not happen Jake,” Admiral Reyes confided. “I sought you out two years ago for a reason, and I sense I may need you more than ever in the days ahead. I cannot help but think there are strange forces at play right now. Ramar, Dahlgren and Beckett, I trust them, but Starfleet Command, and the Federation government more broadly, they’re not making much sense these days. How can they sit idle with everything that is happening out here in Deneb?” This question had been irking her ever since the Lost Fleet had reappeared.

“Because they’re a bunch of lazy, terrified, appeasing, isolationist blowhards?” To Commander Lewis, the admirals within Starfleet Command were basically just proving what he already knew about them. He’d never had much respect for the bureaucrats that called the shots. If Allison Reyes hadn’t asked him personally to renew his commission, there was no chance in hell he’d be wearing pips today. “Oh, and they’re pussies. They’ll bury their heads in the sand until the Dominion piledrives them.”

Reyes laughed hard at that one. He might be right, but she wasn’t so certain. The depths to which information had been suppressed made her think it might be something more, but it could also just be her past experiences tainting her perspective on the present.

“So you planning on springing me from this joint?” Commander Lewis teased. “Or are you just going to leave me caged up here for a while?”

“There’s a part of me that says leaving you here will keep you out of trouble,” Admiral Reyes replied. “But I’m going to let you out on your own recognizance with one very specific order: you are not to interact with Commander Drake in any way for the next twenty four hours, and I have given him the exact same instructions about you and your team.”

Commander Lewis folded his arms and gave the Admiral a look of supreme displeasure.

“Neither of you is happy about my ceasefire, but this is how it’s going to be,” Admiral Reyes insisted. “I want your word Jake.” She looked right at him and didn’t blink. She was dead serious.

“Fine, you have my word,” Commander Lewis relented, to which Admiral Reyes relaxed. She knew he would not break his word to her. “But you know I’m not going to be any nicer tomorrow than I am today, right?”

“Oh, I have no doubt of that,” Reyes replied. “But in twenty four hours, neither you, nor me, nor any of your team are still going to be onboard the USS Polaris.”

Commander Lewis quirked his eyebrow with curiosity.

“Commodore Jori is arriving with the USS Verity to take over humanitarian operations on Nasera II, and she’s bringing us a new ship so we can get back in the fight.”

A smile flashed across Commander Lewis’ face at that. This was the Allison Reyes he knew, the woman he had agreed to reup with. She was a warrior at her core, and she would not rest until the scourge of the Dominion was eradicated. “Please tell me she’s bringing us something a little leaner and meaner than this whale of a heavy explorer?” Lewis asked hopefully. The Polaris was an impressive vessel, but she was no warship.

“Leaner, yes, but meaner, no,” warned the admiral to a disappointed look from Lewis. “There weren’t a lot of captainless Fourth Fleet ships just chilling idle at Farpoint. We’re going to be taking command of the USS Serenity, a Duderstadt class vessel just out of repairs following a tough run-in with the Jem’Hadar.”

“What the hell are we going to do with a Duderstadt?” asked Commander Lewis. In times of peace, it would be a perfectly innocuous ship to sneak around with, exactly the sort of thing he’d want, but this was an active war. “We just gonna buzz around like a gnat waiting to get swatted out of the sky?”

“That’s pretty much the idea,” Admiral Reyes laughed. She’d given some thought to what they were going to do over the last few days. “Supply lines, communications relays, ship movements, we’re going to stalk the sector, collecting surveillance and striking at points of weakness. Anything we can do to weaken their war machine.”

And so, trusting his word for she knew he would be good to it, Admiral Reyes set Commander Lewis loose on his own recognizance. They had more important things to worry about than some silly JAG prosecution. The Lost Fleet still ran rampant across the Deneb Sector, and it was well past time they got back in the fight.

Comments

  • Oh, Allison. You are going to be interfering with an investigation. At some point, someone over her head has got to become involved in this, or poor Drake and this investigation are not going to go anywhere. I can't wait to see who else becomes involved along the way. I must say, you've managed to turn me against Lewis somewhat. I am an NCIS fanboy and I love shows like CSI. I am always rooting for the investigations team, as I am now. So, while I am sure what they did was probably justified, I'm rooting for Drake on this one. Rules are rules, and the law is the law. Can't wait to see how this progresses next. What will happen while they are on the Serenity? You've got me, hook, line and sinker.

    June 5, 2023
  • My inner NCIS is saying that Allison interference can backfire on her someday. Using her pips would work in the given situation and yea while Lewis is a disliked guy in Federation and yet gets the job done. Someday that reign of favors might end also with everything Lewis has done in name for the Federation. Great interaction, good to see Reyes in that stand of who is boss mode. Great work!

    June 6, 2023
  • Lewis arrogance is going to be his undoing! I appreciate how Reyes knows him so well, but it feels like she's slightly blind to the true nature of the man and his actions - and those consequences when they come due will be pretty intense - whatever that looks like. I'm loving the amping up of the situation as it continues to unfold and how, even with the slow movement of this plot, the tension is slowly being coiled to a point where it will have to break!

    June 7, 2023
  • Allison Reyes

    Squadron Commanding Officer
    ASTRA Director

  • Jake Lewis

    Squadron Intelligence Officer
    USS Serenity Commanding Officer