Central Dining Hall, Georgetown University: Washington D.C., Earth
Crestia pulled a bowl of oatmeal from a replicator and put it on her tray. She then grabbed a banana from a pile of fresh fruit. She had to admit, human food was growing on her. She walked from the food line and then found an empty table to enjoy her breakfast. On Thursdays she didn't have class until 10:00, which gave her plenty of time to enjoy the morning.
She was just about to take her first bite when the holoscreen mounted on the far wall caught her attention over the noise of the other students in the room. She looked up to see the talking head of a morning news program:
"And now to breaking story coming out of the Romulan Star Empire. Last week, the crew of a Cardassian State Science vessel was rescued by the Federation starship USS Pershing along the border with the Republic of Cardassia. The Federation Diplomatic Corps reports that two Romulan scientists that were also aboard the Cardassian ship have been safely returned to Romulus. The State Information Bureau released this televised press conference in which the two individuals describe their experiences while in Federation custody:"
The screen transitioned from the Federation News Service studio to a marble hall on Romulus. The official Raptor Crest of the Romulan State Information Bureau was watermarked on the top right corner of the screen. A reporter asked a Romulan man and woman questions while a uniformed Tal Shiar escort stood behind them.
"Dr. Vran, Dr. Talv," the reporter asked while making notes on a digital PADD. "If it is not too difficult, could you please describe your experiences while being held hostage by the convicted war criminal, Daniel Tigranian? Is it true that he treats captives with brutality?"
The Romulan man was about to speak, but the Romulan woman grabbed the microphone and began to speak loudly to the assembled media.
"I would like to answer that question, if I can," she began. "Unfortunately, I can absolutely confirm that Daniel Tigranian is as brutal and unforgiving as the Information Bureau has suggested. We and our fellow captives from the Cardassian State were treated with utter contempt. Our movements were controlled and he often spoke of how he wished to be rid of us once and for all. I would often lay awake at night, worried if I would survive till the next morning.
However, the intense lobbying from our allies in the Cardassian State Central Command as well as the tireless efforts of the Tal Shiar ensured that we not only survived this terrible ordeal, but that we were able to come home as safely and quickly as possible. The Star Empire and its leaders have my eternal gratitude."
Crestia was shocked. Even though she knew that there was no way the report was anything more than propaganda, it still chilled her to hear someone talking about the Son of Tigranian and the crew of the Pershing with such vitriolic contempt.
The feed returned to the Federation News Service studio.
"Of course, Dr. Sora Talv was referring to Captain Daniel Tigranian, captain of the USS Pershing. We reached out to Starfleet Command for comment on the allegations against Captain Tigranian and received the following response:
"Starfleet Command takes all allegations about misconduct by its senior officers extremely seriously. However, at this time, we only have unconfirmed allegations from the Romulan Star Empire. A full investigation will be conducted and appropriate measures will be taken if evidence proves that violations of laws and standards have occurred."
The news anchor continued:
"The civilian watch-dog group, 'Uphold the Prime Directive,' has strongly condemned the Starfleet response as 'window dressing' and 'camouflage of serious abuses being committed by Starfleet personnel against the Cardassian State and Romulan Star Empire.' They have demanded that Captain Tigranian, already the subject of several investigations at the behest of the Romulan Empire, be immediately relieved of command for his 'systematic and deliberate disregard of Federation principles and humanoid rights.'
Starfleet has responded with the assurance that if abuses are uncovered, 'appropriate civil and criminal measures will be taken.' The office of the President as well as the office of Federation Council Head Speaker, Yupina Zhvong, declined comment at this time citing ongoing investigations. We'll bring you more as this story develops."
"That's Starfleet for you!" a student cried out from a few tables down. "They commit crimes and the government covers them up! It's got to change!" Dozens of students in the dining hall began to cheer, but a few more started booing.
"Why don't you go back to Romulus, Hippie?" another upperclassman shouted back. "All Romulans are liars and murderers!" A different group then clapped their hands in approval.
Crestia placed her spoon back on her tray. Suddenly, she wasn't very hungry anymore.