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The Voyage Home

Posted on Sat Nov 7th, 2020 @ 8:58pm by Commodore Dazad & Captain Kiala

Mission: http://ds12.16thfleet.com/index.php/sim/missions/id/2
Location: VIP Quarters, USS Enterprise
Timeline: 2399-08-12, 20:00

Commodore Dazad walked into his temporary quarters aboard the Enterprise nearly exhausted from the events of the day. After all his time and experience with this ship he had been pretty surprised when Admiral Clancy had arranged for the flagship to escort him to his new assignment. He wasn’t offended or challenged by the decision, but it was a hard situation to him. He had always hoped to one day have a shot at the center seat of the Enterprise and with this assignment it was looking less and less likely. Besides, if he was true to himself, he knew that Captain Worf really was still the best man for the job; even if he had once been the Klingon Captain’s XO.

“Oh good you’re back,” his wife – Doctor Kiala – announced as she saw her husband come through the doors. “How was your day?”

“Challenging,” the Commodore answered as he sat in the large recliner beneath the window. He started to slide off his boots, “When I accepted this position I never imagined how demanding the Maelstrom would be. I’ve been dealing with briefing after briefing about the region and I’m just hoping I’m not getting in over my head.”

The Doctor nodded, “I can only imagine. The fact that this is your first assignment as a Starfleet Commodore is probably weighing on you too. You know though that you’ve got this. Clancy would never have approved you if she didn’t think that you could handle it.”

He smirked, “Or she’s setting me up to fail.”

“I really doubt that,” Kiala reassured. “Your handling of the standoff between the Free State and the Fenris Rangers got you a lot of fans at Command. You helped stabilize an entire Sector of the former Neutral Zone. That isn’t something that they’re going to forget.”

“This new assignment though is a far cry from the Pioneer,” he answered. “I’m responsible for a lot of lives – not to mention Federation policy – in a backwater region. It’s just messing with my head I think.”

His wife nodded, “Well, fortunately, you have a great medical staff with an amazing Doctor to support you.”

“Really? Who’s that?” he teased.

Kiala playfully smacked his arm, “Get ready. Jean-Luc is about to be on.”

“Is it really that late already?” Dazad was surprised. Today was the anniversary of the Romulan Supernova and Admiral Picard was scheduled to appear on the Federation News Network today in a rare interview. They were pretty far out from Earth and weren’t able to watch it live, but he was looking forward to seeing it. Actually, pretty much everyone on this ship wanted to watch it. Jean-Luc Picard had commanded the starships Enterprise for almost twenty years before he accepted a promotion and assignment to oversee the evacuation of Romulus and neighboring worlds. He was a legend aboard the Enterprise and one of the best men that Dazad had ever met. His leaving the Enterprise was devastating, his leaving Starfleet a disaster.

He unfastened his uniform and slipped into a civilian tunic as he heard the program begin in the main room. The interviewer, Richter, had started a narration of Jean’Luc’s life and accomplishments while in Starfleet. He could hear the highlights and smiled, having served on the Enterprise during several of them. He wasn’t exactly a fan of the program and felt that it had been a bit too critical of the Admiral and his place in history before. If anyone could handle this though it was Jean-Luc Picard.

“…thank you for inviting the galaxy into your study.”

Kiala commented, “His study is really beautiful isn’t it?”

“It’s been part of his family for generations. I can still remember hearing stories about it from a few members of the Senior Staff back then,” Dazad commented.

“Beverly had mentioned it too but I never imagined it being so lovely,” the Doctor said remembering her time as a civilian researcher on the Enterprise-D.

“When you first learned that the Romulan sun was going to explode and the terrible consequences that would bring, what feelings came up for you?”

Dazad remembered what his thoughts had been. After Captain Picard went to Earth he never returned to the Enterprise. Dazad remembered being called to the Ready room and seeing Worf sitting behind the desk with the new pip on his collar, having been promoted and assigned Captain as Jean-Luc’s first act. Hearing that Captain Picard was not returning had been haunting, hearing that he was to be Worf’s First Officer was shocking. When they heard of the pending loss of Romulus his mind returned to his El-Aurian heritage and the loss of their homeworld to the Borg. He knew how they felt, even though he had been just a child.

“Well, the Romulans asked for our help, and I believed we had a profound obligation to give it.”

“Many felt there were better uses for our resources than aiding the Federation's oldest enemy.”

“Well, fortunately, the Federation chose to support the rescue effort.”

“Yes. Initially.”

“I have been known to be persuasive. But the Federation understood there were millions of lives at stake.”

“Romulan lives.”

“No. Lives.”

“He looks pretty good for his age,” Kiala interrupted from her seat. “Probably from all the wine he’s been preparing.”

Dazad joked, “don’t forget drinking.”

“You left the Enterprise to command the rescue armada. 10,000 warp-capable ferries. A mission to relocate 900 million Romulan citizens to worlds outside the blast of the supernova. A logistical feat more ambitious than the pyramids.”

He remembered reading the brief after having chatted with Geordi about what they were planning. The Wallenberg Class transports were amazing feats of engineering and the plan was ambitious. He hated from a leadership perspective that they lost Commander LaForge though. While it had opened the door for him to be the XO – Worf would have picked Geordi – his experience was hard to lose. Jean-Luc needed him at Utopia Planitia.

“Dunkirk,” Richter repeated.

Kiala grew concerned, “I don’t like where this is heading.”

“I don’t either,” Dazad answered as he leaned forward. He had served as Jean-Luc’s Operations Officer following the death of Commander Data. He knew that the Admiral wasn’t keen on discussing Mars with anyone let alone the galaxy. “I think we may need a drink.”

“I thought we were here to talk about the supernova?” the retired Admiral questioned.

“A group of rogue synthetics dropped the planetary defense shields and hacked Mars's own defense net,” the scenes of the flyers attacking the planet appeared on the display next to Richter.

Dazad couldn’t take his eyes off the screen as he listened to her continue, to badger one of his heroes.

“Wiping out the rescue armada and completely destroying the Utopia Planitia Shipyard. The explosions ignited the flammable vapors in the stratosphere. Mars remains on fire to this day. 92,143 lives were lost, which led to a ban on synthetics.”

The El-Aurian’s natural instincts kicked in at that point. There was a motive here and it was the exact reason he never cared for this program. He felt sick to his stomach for Jean-Luc and could only imagine what his former Captain was thinking at this very moment.

“Yes,” Picard answered, “We still don't know why the synthetics went rogue and did what they did that day, but I believe the subsequent decision to ban synthetic life-forms was a mistake.”

“Lieutenant Commander Data, operations officer on the Enterprise, was synthetic. Did you ever lose faith in him?”

“Never,” both Jean-Luc and Dazad said simultaneously across the stars. He looked at his wife with dread, knowing full well that the death of Commander Data had been devastating to all who knew him. Captain Picard had taken it harder than any of them. He had been on the Enterprise during the Battle of the Bassen Rift and hadn’t been on the Bridge – instead he was hunting Reman shock troops on Deck 29 during the final conflict. He knew that Captain Picard had boarded the Scimitar and Data had went to help support the Captain’s efforts. The only thing was Data never came back, and Jean-Luc was never the same again. He had been protective and secluded toward many of his crew before that, afterward was worse.

“What was I that you lost faith in, Admiral? You've never spoken about your departure from Starfleet. Didn't you, in fact, resign your commission in protest? Tell us, Admiral. Why did you really quit Starfleet?”

“Because it was no longer Starfleet,” Picard whispered.

“I'm sorry?” He heard Richter say as he wanted to leave his chair, cross the stars, and tell off the interviewer himself for attacking Starfleet royalty.

“Because it was no longer Starfleet! We withdrew.The galaxy was mourning, burying its dead, and Starfleet had slunk from its duties. The decision to call off the rescue and to abandon those people we had sworn to save was not just dishonorable. It was downright criminal! And I was not prepared to stand by and be a spectator.”

“And you, my dear, you have no idea what Dunkirk is, right? You're a stranger to history. You're a stranger to war. You just wave your hand and it all goes away. Well, it's not so easy for those who died. And it was not so easy for those who were left behind.”

“We're done here,” the screen abruptly went off as Admiral Picard stepped out of focus.

Kiala sat staring at the floating holoimage of the FNN logo and sighed, “Did I just see what I thought I saw?”

Dazad nodded, “Indeed you did and I don’t think that the galaxy is ever going to be the same again.” For the first time since he accepted this assignment he was actually excited because, being out on the outer frontier away from Starfleet bureaucracy was going to be a benefit and not a curse at this point. The further anyone who had anything to do with Jean-Luc Picard was from him at this point the better off it would be for the rest of them.

 

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