Hey folks! Some of you may have see my posts in Branflakes' Literary Challenges. My most recent entry, for the "Lone Drone" topic (here), left me with a question or two unanswered. So, without further ado, I present to you Mistakes: An LC finale:
Bryan stood looking out a window at Starfleet headquarters, watching as the sun set over the San Fransisco bay. The Athena had been brough back to Utopia Planitia for a brief retrofit that included a brand new, ship-wide holographic projection system that would allow for Athena to "appear" when spoken to.
"Kind of difficult to get used to being ground-side, huh?" Someone said from behind him.
Bryan turned his head to look at whoever spoke to him. "Leyla, ma'am," he said tiredly, "I didn't hear you approach. What do you need?"
"How have you been?" She asked, walking up next to him.
He sighed. "Front-line duty has really been taking its toll. Feels like I never get a chance to really get a good nights sleep."
"I know what you mean. Things have really been heating up out there."
"No offense, ma'am, but you don't know what it's like out there," He said, shaking his head. "The ship goes to red alert at least twice a week and actual combat occurs almost weekly. You, meanwhile, sit back on Earth Space Dock or Nova Prime constantly. I rarely see the Equinox out there fighting with the rest of us."
"All I meant was-"
"Forget it," Bryan sighed.
"Look, all I meant was that you've been working harder than most out there. You're an excellent example to all of Starfleet. Which makes what I'm about to ask even harder."
"What do you mean?"
"A hearing has been called for you. Nothing formal yet. It's just that some of the other Admirals are getting rather worried about some of your recent actions."
"Do you know what's going on?"
"No. The other Admirals opted to not tell me given that I'm your CO."
"When do they need me?"
"As soon as you can be there," she said, walking away. "Oh, and they asked that you bring your First Officer as well."
Bryan and Ibalei walked into the massive room to find the other Admirals already talking amongst themselves. As soon as he saw the pair enter, Admiral Quinn held up a hand to silence the others.
"Vice Admiral," The elderly Trill said amiably, "Good to see you again."
"Sir," Bryan replied evenly, "I'd like to wrap this up as soon as possible, as I'm still overseeing the retrofits to the Athena."
"Of course. But first, there are a few...questions that some Admirals have had about your recent actions."
"Well, first of all, there have been rumors surrounding your relationship with your First Officer. Care to explain?"
Bryan and Ibalei looked at each other. "Well, sir," Bryan said, choosing his words carefully, "If the rumors are that Commander Ibalei Zizania and I are involved in a romantic relationship, then they are correct."
That comment generated little reaction from the Admirals. a raised eyebrow here and there, nothing more.
"Not that it's a huge issue, but you really should have consulted with one of us first. Now, on to our more pressing issue. Valot, your actions as of late have been increasingly aggressive and reckless. Your latest engagement with a Borg cube, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Pakan and the loss of any possibility of a treaty with a species that may have resulted in another Federation member species. Would you like to explain what you were thinking, engaging a Borg cube without waiting for reinforcements?"
"What would you have done, Admiral?" He asked. "For that matter, what would any of you have done? You would have run away. You would have 'waited for reinforcements.'" Bryan began to shout now. "We need to stop running. If that means I'm reckless, then so be it. But when has running away from the Borg ever stopped them? Never! They have always been stopped by those who are willing to go out there and fight the hard battles! Did the Dominion stop when we pulled back from Deep Space 9? No! We fought an entire war with them before we finally had peace! Running from our troubles doesn't solve a thing! When Picard said 'This far, No further,' he didn't mean that we stop advancing and start retreating! He meant that this is as far as they go! When I attacked that cube, I made the choice to stop running! If I were to go back there, I would gladly do the exact same thing again! If you want to court-martial me for standing up against Starfleet's foes, then I will go purchase a private freighter, arm it as heavily as I can, and go into Borg space myself to fight them off!" He finally began to quiet down. "The choice is yours, Admirals. Either I stay in Starfleet, or I go fight them alone. What do you say?"
The entire room was silent. Some of the Admirals looked at each other, others looked at Bryan, and still others looked down, pretending to be buried in their notes. After what seemed like an eternity, Admiral Quinn finally spoke up. "Commander Zizania, do you have anything to add?"
"Not me," Ibalei said, "But I believe Ambassador Pakan has a few choice words for you."
"First of all, I'm not dead," The late ambassador said through Ibalei, "I'm merely sharing a body with Ibalei and all others who have been joined with the Zizania Symbiont. Second, Bryan is easily one of the greatest officers to date. He preformed his duties admirably. His crew would willingly follow him into Borg space and back, because they know that he will get them through. He has more courage than any other captain I'm ever met, even with two other Trill sharing a mind with me. To court-martial him for my loss would mean that you're willing to get rid of one of the few officers left out there who's willing to stand up to the Borg and say 'This far, no further.'"
"Will that be all then Ambassador?"
"He's done, sir," Ibalei said, her voice again speaking her words.
"Very well," Quinn said, after another brief pause. "It's time for us to make a decision then. Admirals, all in favor of court-martial, say 'aye.'"
Bryan looked out a window overlooking the Academy grounds, thinking about how close he had come to being removed from Starfleet. The vote had been unanimous in his favor, but that still didn't stop him from shuddering at the thought of losing all he had worked for in the past three years. Three years, he thought, shaking his head a little. Three years it took me to go from an Ensign, fresh out of the academy, to Vice Admiral and the Executive officer of an entire fleet. Must be the shortest journey to flag officer status yet.
"Hey there Bryan," A decidedly cheerful female voice said from behind him.
He turned to face the speaker, who happened to be none other than his Joined Trill wife, Ibalei. "Hey," He said, smiling a little. "Glad you're here. I could use the company."
"I bet," she said, walking up beside him. "I can't believe they almost put you on trial."
Bryan observed the campus grounds, still brightly lit for the night though they were empty aside from a few cadets who were getting some fresh air while they studied. "Really," He said matter-of-factly. "Never got the chance to thank you and Pakan earlier, by the way. You guys really came through."
"It was mostly his idea," She replied, leaning onto his shoulder. "I just provided the voice."
Bryan draped his arm around her shoulders, as he rested his head onto hers. "How are the retrofits proceeding?"
"Should be ready by tomorrow. We'll be able to pull out of dock as soon as they're off the boat."
"Good. I hate being ground-side."
"Me too," The Trill said, laughing slightly, "Especially now that I'm joined to Zizania."
"Lack-of-motion sickness?" Bryan said, laughing.
"You're enjoying this aren't you?" She retorted, laughing herself.
The two talked and laughed on, well into the night. Eventually, they both decided to retire to the quarters they had borrowed from the Academy while the Athena was held up in drydock. They both fell asleep almost as soon as their heads hit the pillows.
Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot
Commanding officer: Odyssey class U.S.S. Athena
Admiral of the 1st Assault Fleet
Join date: Some time in Closed Beta