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The State of Things to Come

Posted on Thu Oct 10th, 2019 @ 11:29pm by Admiral Willian Targaryen & Civilian Viol & Captain Nathan Bishop & Commander Sherwin Porter & High Commissioner Jasmine Haynes & Secretary Jonathan Grayson
Edited on on Thu Jan 2nd, 2020 @ 5:11pm

Mission: Atlantis
Location: Transporter Room / Prefect's Dining Room
Timeline: 2429-12-03, 19:00

Admiral William Teagarden tugged on his white dress uniform as he walked through the corridors of Starfleet One toward the Transporter Room. They were running a bit late for the State Dinner on Atlantis the evening and he hoped that it was forgiven by the Prefect. Nonetheless, he had a feeling that this may not be as easily forgiven by the President himself.

Stepping through the door to the Transporter Room he approached the Transporter Chamber. "Better late than never," he quipped as he ascended.

Jasmine was not a big fan of the dress white uniforms. She was the second one to enter. She looked over to William. "Are you always the first one to arrive sir?" She asked, remembering most Admiral's were constantly late.

"An Admiral I once knew on a Space Station near the Cardassian Border would be shocked to think I was ever early for anything," William reminisced about one of his earliest assignments. He glanced at the Dress White uniform, "You look rather dapper today."

"Do you think, we can convince Starfleet to change this dress uniform. Maybe to something with more colors, and style to it." She asked jokingly. She knew Starfleet was slow to make changes. That affected the fleet.

"I doubt even I have that level of pull these days," he thought of his wife as he said it. It hadn't been long since they last saw one another, but it felt as if it were an eternity ago. He crossed his arms and mumbled, "I like to be fashionably late."

"Yet here you are, sir." Jasmine pointed out to the Admiral, with a big grin on her face. She had a lot of respect, for the man.

"Seems that way," he patted his stomach where he'd been injured during the training the previous day. He winced in pain momentarily from the strain, "Could have been a lot different." He glanced down to make sure that the recently regrown flesh hadn't broken down and blood wasn't seeping. It wasn't, but Sherwin would be along for join this little jaunt.

"How so sir?" Jasmine asked, wondering where he was going with this line of thought. One minute they are talking about him being here early, and the next he mentions it could have been different. She wondered in what way.

The doors hissed open and Bishop came into the transporter room, still fidgeting with his dress uniform and mumbling. He looked up and saw the Admiral and Haynes already there. "Sorry, I'm late, trying to get this blasted top to sit right." He explained.

"I think you look fine, Exec," William complimented glancing over at his First Officer. He wondered where Ambassadors Iril and Grayson could be as well as Doctor Porter. As soon as they arrived they would get this show on the road.

Jasmine thought to herself, save by the interruption. She had asked him a question. But he was under no obligation to respond to her question. She looked over to the first officer, and started to listen in.

As the words left the Admiral's mouth, Jonathan came through the doors. He was dressed in his most formal attire and why not? This was not only a First Contact but also a State Dinner and one did everything possible to impress.

Sherwin arrived on the heels of Grayson, snapping the button of the neck on his dress whites. He’d worn these things so many times he could’ve put them on in the dark while half asleep. “Sorry, he apologized as he hopped up to the platform, “I lost track of time as I was analyzing the items we brought up from the surface.

"Are those samples legit?" Jasmine asked, hoping that Sherwin helped Doctor Ilkun with the samples. She was not sure, if he was talking about her samples from the merchant, or from someone else.

William looked over at the Security Chief and his Doctor. "Samples?"

From the front of the transporter platform, the Admiral spoke, "Energize, Chief."

The hold of the ACB took over the away team as it enveloped them in a field of pure energy. Seconds later they were at the top of the stairs to the Prefect's residence, two guards standing with another Atlantean male in the center. William kept his diplomatic smile and whispered lowly, "Hopefully they don't shoot us for being late."

The CMO winced inwardly, knowing that was at least partially aimed at him.

"I am Subprefect Sotlall of the Atlantean Ministry," the gentleman presented himself from between the guards - neither of whom he introduced. "Welcome to Atlantis, Mister?"

William stepped forward and extended his hand, "I am Admiral William Teagarden, Commanding Officer of the USS Ent... Starfleet One. These are our officers," he motioned, "Commander Bishop, Commander Haynes, and Doctor Porter."

Sherwin nodded and smiled.

Bishop duplicated the CMO's actions by nodding and giving a smile.

Jasmine nodded and smiled as well. "We are honored to meet you sir." She simply said, as she bowed her head in a sign of respect.

He motioned toward the Ambassadors, "May I also introduce, from the Federation Government, Ambassadors Jonathan Grayson and Daeren Iril."

Jonathan stepped forward, "A pleasure Subprefect Sotlall. I hope this in the beginning of a new and lasting friendship."

Subprefect Sotlall nodded politely to the Diplomatic Team, "I hope that your visit to our world has been a productive one. The Prefect regrets she was unable to greet your party, she is attending to final details of State." A gentle series of tones echoed in the air subtly, "If you would be so kind as to follow me we have arranged a banquet feast of our finest foods."

"We appreciate your hospitality," William answered wondering exactly what all this would entail. After conversations he'd had aboard the ship before coming down he was a little concerned about what this could mean exactly for all of them. If the President were here someone would probably be sampling the food for them right now. He kinda wished that Gruzy had opted to travel with them on this little adventure.

"If you will follow me," the Atlantean said as he started through the grand, marble hall. In the distance the sound of waves crashing against the base of the island was calming, tranquilizing.

The Admiral nodded and started behind the Subprefect. There was a question he knew that was on many of their minds, so he chose to ask, "Will Commander Viol of your Space Forces be joining us?"

"Indeed she will," Sotlall confirmed as they approached a large banquet room at the end of the hall. "You may say she is going to be the star of the evening," he had a politico's smirk on his face as they entered the Dining Room. A large, oak table sat in the center with throne like chairs next to it. At the head of the table was a larger chair - probably for the Prefect - that was outfitted with a small control interface. It was an anachronism to see. It honestly seemed like the only piece of technology that he'd seen since arriving on this world.

"Please sit where you like, aside from the Prefect's seat," he chuckled after saying it.

Sherwin followed the group to the table. Assuming that the Admiral might take up the seat at the other head of the table opposite the Prefect, Sherwin left an open seat near that end so Bishop could sit next to the Admiral. Then he sat down and waited.

Bishop walked with the others to the table. He was however preoccupied as he looked for Viol. He liked the Atlantean Commander and he thought she liked him. So he was somewhat disappointed that she hadn't arrived.... so far.

William took a seat, impulsively, opposite the one that the Prefect would be sitting in. As he pulled the chair he was interrupted quickly by the Subprefect, "You will have to excuse my lapse. That seat is reserved for Commander Viol."

The word fascinating sprung to the Admiral's mind - not that he would say it out loud. Instead he decided upon something a little more diplomatically correct, "Of course."

As he moved to the opposite side and closer to the Prefect's Chair, William heard the doors behind the podium release. From just beyond a statuesque woman appeared with a long, flowing white gown that hung from her shoulder. Her blonde hair rested atop her shoulders, perfectly curled and accentuating. She had a diplomat's smile atop her lips as she walked gracefully toward them, the two guards taking position beside the door.

Subprefect Sotlall motioned, "Allow me to present to you Prefect Daiarcall."

The guards and Atlanteans snapped to attention at her name. The Admiral subtly nodded for his crew to rise in respect of the leader, but he could tell that this was going to be an interesting experience already.

As the Prefect approached him she rested her hand atop the back of her chair, her slender frame accentuated from the move. She lifted her other hand gracefully, keeping the back of her hand toward the Admiral as it approached his hand, "Charmed I am sure."

The Commander of Starfleet One nodded as he instead shook her hand, "The pleasure is ours, Madam Prefect." He motioned toward his personnel, "The Senior Officers of my vessel, some of whom you have already met."

Daiarcall nodded as she smiled politely toward them, "I am happy to meet you all."

Bishop smiled, "A pleasure to see you again Prefect." he answered pleasantly as his eyes scanned for Viol.

"Pleasure to meet you Madam Prefect, I am Lieutenant Commander Jasmine Haynes, Chief of Security." Jasmine said, as she nodded her head, in a sign of respect for the dignitary.

"Glad to be here," Porter replied.

"Secretaries Grayson and Iril of the Administration of the Federation President," William said introducing the Ambassadors.

"Prefect, a pleasure to meet you face to face. I'm sure we have much to talk about in regards to our people." Jonathan greeted the Prefect pleasantly.

"If you will all be seated we have a scrumptious meal planned," she announced as she pulled her chair back. Her voice was melodic, with perfect enunciation and precision as she spoke. "Then entertainment later for your enjoyment. This is a momentous occasion as we find our family, to help restore our home."

The Admiral sat down in the chair and regarded the Prefect for a moment, his thoughts replaying the entire scenario he'd just seen. From beside him an Aide walked along and poured water into his glass. With all that had been discussed these last few hours he was almost afraid to eat it. If the President had been on the world someone would've had to taste test their meals. He was almost tempted to request it anyway.

"Madam Prefect," Teagarden commented, "Your world is quite lovely from what I have seen so far. If you could what do you mean by the comment help to restore our home?"

The Prefect took a drink of her water, "Our world is your world, Admiral. We were an advanced society back then, evolving at a geometric rate. That was until the plague came. As more and more of our citizens fell to the disease our greatest minds worked to find a cure. Our entire civilization was on the brink of collapse, that was until the Preservers came. They gave us an incredible gift: an inexhaustible power source. We are a race of philosophers, of scientists, and we learned to celebrate what they brought us. They cured us of our affliction and we grew stronger for it, but the energy that powers us also had unexpected consequences. It broke our homeland apart, caused it to splinter and fall below the seas."

"The Preservers heard our cries and they saved us once more. A massive vessel descended from the heavens and helped to stabilize us. There was a price for our utopia being saved though. In exchange for our worship they provided us with an unlimited energy core, our actions caused them to take it from us. We are only now starting to recover. Commander Viol's warp flight was supposed to be a first step as we move closer to reclaiming what was once ours."

Jasmine had taken a seat, and even though she was going through the motions. Her mind was now focused on the safety of the Admirals, dignitaries and of course the President of the Federation. She was a little curious, what he meant, by reclaiming what was there. Obviously, there was a story there. "Madam Prefect, if I may asked. Why did your people stop reaching out to the stars." She asked, allowing her curiosity to get the best of her.

"Our benefactors had established natural defenses for the colony," Daiarcall answered. "They affected our ability to use our technology as a penalty of their saving our race. Surely you have felt the effects with your own technology as you scan our settlement and your equipment has failed," the Prefect reported evenly.

"Excuse me madam Prefect when you say reclaim what was once yours. Could you be more specific?" Bishop asked.

Sherwin was also curious about the specifics. He wondered about potential Preserver technology and resources that may have been left behind, and he listened intently to the conversation.

She kept her posture nonthreatening, but there was something behind the snow that was like a fire waiting to ignite. "The Preservers had gifted our people with amazing technologies as I said. The intent was for us to be leaders amongst the stars. We have never forgotten that reality and we want to return to it, to spread our worship of philosophy and science amongst the stars. If it had not been for the disaster Earth would have joined the stellar community millennia prior to when it did. We have a lot of time to make up for, but we will accomplish it."

Jasmine was debating about backing down on the line of questing. But the more she talked, the more questions she had. But was this the right place to address those concerns. She was curious, how this race, knew a lot about her own race? Granted the information was accessible, but why would she have it prepared ahead of time. She knew exactly what to say, and the security officer inside of her, was very suspicious. For the moment, she remained quiet. She was hoping the Admiral or Commander Bishop would chime in.

The comment and the way the Prefect answered were making the Admiral nauseous. She had tried to be as nonthreatening as she possibly could, but there was a deadly intention behind what she was doing. Had she intentionally made the comment sound like a threat? Because that was how he had taken it. "I hope as friends and not as conquerors."

"Conquering with words and ideas," she grinned, "not slings and arrows. Though, I can see their appeal for some. Your vessel, for instance, for a ship of explorers Commander Viol reported you to be well armed. You wouldn't turn your weapons on us? Would you?"

The Admiral remained quiet for a moment as he pondered the question. He could answer honestly and most likely derail any hope of a relationship with the Atlanteans or he could lie and develop a house of cards friendship. He'd walked right into that one though. The Prefect was certainly shrewd.

"We will defend ourselves if threatened, Prefect. As I am sure you would do the same."

"Quite, Admiral," she answered as the appetizer was dropped before her. "While we may not have the technology available to be much of a threat, we do have other options at our disposal should you become unruly." She took a sip of her soup, "Bon appetite."

Bishop heard the Prefect's last comment as they all had. A chill went down his back. Jus what was she suggesting? Were they about to become prisoners? Or something more terrifying that they were somehow beneath Atlanteans as a culture and a people?

Jasmine felt the same shrill as Bishop. She slowly moved her hand, to be in a position to draw her weapon, if she had too. But she made the transition, so it looked smooth, and non threatening. She wanted to be prepared, in case the Prefect, tried to make a move. Her first goal was the safety of her team. Especially the Admiral.

The Commanding Officer of Starfleet One looked at the food that had been placed before him. It was a soup, not too dissimilar looking to an Earth originating Italian Wedding Soup, but it had suddenly become unappealing to him. He smiled, knowing that diplomatic niceties had already gone out the airlock as he recalled the death of Socrates, "This isn't Hemlock Soup is it?"

She laughed, graciously retreating back in her seat as she wiped her hands with her kerchief. "Heavens no, it would be improper for me to poison my guests, Admiral, at least before dessert at least." She nodded to the Subprefect, "No, this is an Ancient recipe that my Chef pulled from Ancient texts for you - from the era where we were apparently on your Earth. Very hard to come by these days because our vegetation is not as it once was."

"Funny you mention Hemlock though." The Prefect pushed aside the bowl, "I do have a bit of entertainment for you though. You had asked about Commander Viol and her presence here tonight. Perhaps it is time for her to join us? Order in Viol," she directed to her subordinate.

William watched as the Subprefect stepped away and through the door. The Admiral's eyes wandered to his crew, warning them to be vigilant for what was about to come. He had a bad feeling about this and knew it wasn't going to be a happy reunion.

A moment later the far door opposite the Prefect opened. Before them was Commander Viol, but not as they remembered her. The statuesque woman with whom they were familiar was not before them. Instead, she appeared broken, old, and miserable as she stepped through the doorway. Her flowing robe from earlier had been replaced by a simple tunic almost as if it were one a prisoner would wear. Because that was what she had become.

"Here is our guest of honor now," Daiarcall said with a smile as the Subprefect walked with her. The Prefect stood, "Commander Viol, Director of our Exploratory Probe into the cosmos. Do you know why you are here?"

Teagarden looked at his crew, wordlessly ordering them to stay at the ready.

"I am aware," she said it with a shadow of her former voice.

"Speak up," the Prefect commanded from at the head of the table.

Viol looked like a beaten animal ready to give in as she spoke up, "I know why I'm here."

"But I don't," the Admiral challenged. "What is going on here?"

"The alien will be silent," demanded Subprefect Sotlall from the side of Viol.

The Prefect lifted a hand, "They know not of our ways. Allow us to educate them," the Prefect looked at the Federation team. "Our government has a strong requirement of service and devotion to the State. All are expected to pull their weight and contribute to the greater good of our society. Commander Viol had one of the highest roles in our world: the Director of our Expeditionary Forces. The problem is she failed and nearly cost us our faster than light vessel. If it weren't for you it would have come to pass and we would be without our prototype and unable to replace it. It creates a burden upon the State and our civilization cannot have that."

"You've been determined to be a burden to the State, Commander Viol, and this dinner will be used to hearing is to make a finding in the matter and make a sentence accordingly."

William truly did feel sick to his stomach and wondered what the others thought.

Bishop was shocked by what he saw. Viol looked completely beaten down. Not the proud and gracious host or the capable commander of the Atlantean shuttle. He heard what the Prefect was saying about Viol. " You can't be serious! That's outrageous! What nonsense!" He exclaimed from his seat. "Commander Viol did nothing wrong! This wasn't a case of Human or Atlantean error it was a mechanical flaw."

Jasmine hand inched closer and closer to her side arm. She was waiting for the right moment, to strike. So far things had not escalated beyond the point of no return. She hoped Commander Bishop, was able to talk some sense into the Prefect and her Sub Prefect.

"As the Director of the Project the Commander was responsible for every action that transpired during her mission," the Subprefect informed from next to the Commander. "Including failures."

"This is highly irregular where we come from, Prefect," Admiral Teagarden called out from his seat. "While I am responsible for the missions my crew undertake and their actions, we understand that failure can - at times - be nothing but an unfortunate accident. This is no different"

"Accident or no someone is to blame," the Prefect replied. "If the Gods plucked your ship from orbit at this very moment would your government not investigate? Would they not want answers to the question of what happened?"

He said nothing for a moment, considering the policies that happened in the event of a vessel's destruction. It depended upon the circumstances in reality, but it was possible. The Stargazer's destruction resulted in an investigation into Picard. The loss of the old Enterprise had a hearing toward Admiral Kirk and party. Was it so different for them?

"Has the Commander had right to counsel?"

The Subprefect answered, "She has - and has forgone that right."

"Very well then," the Prefect commented. "She has had the right to Counsel and refused. Are you sure she knows her rights?" The Prefect inquired from her seat, knowing it to be a coming question.

"She's been given orientation, Prefect," the Subprefect answered clearly.

"We may have been told that Commander Viol has had counsel and been given orientation, Prefect, but I'm still not sure in my own mind that we understand this purpose," Teagarden countered. "We are a people of laws, just as you are, but this is a travesty of justice to determine the Commander a burden to the State for such a transgression."

The Subprefect interrupted, "Her actions nearly cost us our prototype faster than light craft! Such actions are, without question, a burden upon the State. This finding carries with it serious implications. We would not act without confirmation."

"Where do you draw the line? Your blaming her for something she had no control over. Why not also blame yourselves? You assigned her to the project?" Bishop challenged.

"I have a function, a purpose," the Prefect answered the First Officer. "Therefore I am not a burden upon the State. Commander Viol has neither of these. Her function is moot, her purpose alleviated of her. She has no basis for existence and is, therefore, a burden upon the citizens. No one requires the service of a person without purpose."

"I respectfully disagree. Commander viol has a purpose, jst because your blind and don't see doesn't change that fact." Bishop countered.

The Admiral stared at the Prefect, the anger rising inside his stomach. The people of this world were a sovereign state, they had the right to make decisions for themselves without intervention by Starfleet. That was the rule of law in the Federation. He sat, not speaking. They could not intervene.

"We will not interfere with your rule of law, Madame Prefect, but know this: Any State, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of a citizen is a burden upon the galactic community. We will not interfere with your rule of law, but we cannot and will not condone it either."

The Prefect stood, slamming her hands against the table, "Leave this world and do not return."

Grayson watched as the dinner had dissolved into a cultural disagreement. he didn't fault Commander Bishop in the slightest but this wasn't their world and their laws. So he also understood Admiral Teagarden's opinion. "Madam Prefect. I'm sorry this dinner and these talks have ended before they got started. However has the Admiral has said any government that refuses to recognize the rights of the individual is doomed to failure. So it is with deep regret we depart from your world." He paused "If Commander Viol has no more purpose in your society, She can come with us."

Prefect Daircall shook her head, "The will of the State must be fulfilled. Burdens upon our world are to be put to death, not rewarded by a life amongst the stars. Your request is denied, now leave this place."

Admiral Teagarden stood from his seat and motioned for his away team to do the same. He was wordless, reaching for the communicator affixed to his chest and gently tapping it, "Teagarden to Starfleet One."

The Commander flinched at unexpected hail: "Go ahead, Admiral," he responded.

"Bring us aboard, Commander," the Admiral ordered from the surface as he looked at the Prefect. This may have been over as far as the Prefect was concerned, but he was not as certain.

Bishop rose but he was shaking with anger and disbelief at what he was hearing and seeing. "Your sentencing an innocent woman to death! Because of a flaw in a design. How can you call Commander Viol a burden?" He challenged the Prefect. "Hasn't she shown her loyalty to your state and your people by her willingness to serve and take the first step in returning to the stars?!"

Jasmine was just as furious, she was prepared to go back down to the planet, and rescue the commander, if so ordered. This backwards society, should not be allowed to kill someone, for something they had no control over. That was not fair or just. She also knew that the Federation could not intervene within the sovereign rights of a society. Yet if her Admiral, ordered her too, she would be able too. It would cost the admiral his command. She was not sure, how far he was willing to go to save Command Viol. "What are your orders, Admiral?" Jasmine asked, waiting to see what he was going to do.

Bishop looked as Viol. "Commander, you don't have to do this! You, your life has a purpose even if those in power are blind to see it and want to blame you for a mistake not of your doing." He paused foe a moment before continuing, "You can come with us."

Jasmine could see that things were escalating fast, she kept her hand by her phaser, but she was not going to draw it, unless the Prefect, or her people showed aggressive stance against them. Right now, they were only exchanging words. She hoped that Viol, would go with them.

The Commander shook her head, "I know how much you all care, and I appreciate your sentiment, but I failed. This whole situation is my fault and I must pay the price for my failures." She turned toward the Prefect, "I accept the burden of my actions, Prefect, and agree that I must be removed from the role of burden to our people. I accept your terms."

The Prefect smiled, "Excellent. The State proves supreme. What means have you selected? To remove the stain upon our world that you have become?"

"Disintegration," she answered. "Recorded for all to see."

"Ah I approve of such a decision," the Subprefect lauded. "Death by disintegration at dawn tomorrow. Should prove to be, illuminating," he looked at the team from the Federation ship. "As you see our justice prevails."

"Return to your vessel," the Prefect commanded. "If you will be supportive of our decisions I will allow you to witness this execution of justice; but only if supportive."

Teagarden looked at the Commander, watching her closely, "That will not be necessary, Prefect. We will make our report to our government and be leaving your world before then." He tapped his communicator, "Any time, Enterprise." He knew using the old name would get their attention.

A moment later they were surrounded by the matter stream as it returned them to the ship...

 

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