Star Trek Hunter
Episode 11: Intersections and Reunions
Scene 4: Star Fleet Headquarters, Dubuque, Iowa
Star Fleet Headquarters, Dubuque, Iowa
“I honestly do not know what to do with you, Lieutenant.”
Kenny Dolphin had endured the more or less silent discomfort of Star Fleet Commandant Barrett th’Zoarhi, who apparently had decided to hand him over to the second and third ranking officers in Star Fleet – respectively, Chief of Staff, Admiral Jamaal El Fadil and Chief of Operations, Fleet Admiral Miriam Stewart.
Following the death of Dr. Scumuk, the former director of Star Fleet Medical, Stewart was now one of only two living Fleet Admirals still serving in Star Fleet. It was a rank that was only given during wartime. Both she and Fleet Admiral Alynna Necheyev, the shadowy Director of Star Fleet Intelligence, had earned that rank during the Cardassian War. Both women were now octogenerians.
The Chief of Staff had not spoken at all during this meeting, even though it was held in his office in the newly constructed Star Fleet Headquarters in Dubuque, Iowa. Part of this building jutted directly into and was partially submerged in the Mississippi River, which flowed around the two transparent outer walls of this office, offering views of wildlife and debris flowing in the river just outside. An enormous catfish patrolled back and forth just outside the wall behind Admiral el Fadil's desk.
Fleet Admiral Stewart continued. “Some people seem to think I should pin a medal on you. Others want you shot. I’m quite tempted to do both and I’m not really certain I care about which I do first.” She leaned forward and pointed at Dolphin. “You told me that Governor Ivonovic was willing to surrender his office and return to Earth with you…”
Dolphin waited until the silence had grown long enough that it was clear some response was expected from him. “And that happened…”
“You didn’t tell me you were going to put him on the Federation Council!”
“I… Yeah, I left that part out…”
“I know you left that part out! What was it that made you think such a lie of omission might possibly be acceptable?”
“There was no margin for error, Fleet Admiral,” Dolphin replied. “If I had not brought Emory back to Earth as a Councilmember, he would have surrendered himself to the Tribunal and that would have been a disaster.”
“What??” “What???” Fleet Admiral Stewart and Admiral El Fadil asked - nearly in unison.
“There was no case. No evidence. Nothing. I don’t know who convinced the Tribunal to order Ivonovic indicted, but if that trial had gone forward, the Tribunal would be buried in scandal. It could have severely divided the Federation politically – making it impossible to work with the Homeworld coalition. We could have seen a walkout from the Federation Council,” Dolphin responded.
“And you know this how?” Stewart asked, clearly more that skeptical.
“I researched it. You know that I was a prosecutor once… I know a lousy case when I see one. Why do you think the Tribunal never insisted that you reel Ivonovic in? Never shut down his subversive little subspace radio program? You could have done it easily and you had months to do it. The only reason Star Fleet didn’t do it could only be because someone at the Tribunal told you not to - if not you, someone close to you. A message must have gone out from this building to several hundred ambitious Star Fleet officers telling them Ivonovic was off limits. With just a little research, I bet I can find out whom that message came from…”
Miriam Stewart was flummoxed. She exchanged a glance with Admiral El Fadil, only to realize he was as much at a loss as she was. Star Fleet captains had occasionally boxed her into a corner - she had been Chief of Operations since the Cardassian War, so it was almost inevitable that would happen once or twice in so many years. But she could not remember ever being outmaneuvered by a lieutenant.
Fleet Admiral Stewart was clear about three things: 1) Lt. Dolphin had to be right – an order to leave Ivonovic alone must have come from Fleet Operations; 2) she desperately wanted to know who had issued that order; and 3) she had less than no desire to call Dolphin’s bluff and let him be the one to find that individual. There was only one thing to do:
“Lieutenant, in light of your testimony here, I am suspending this hearing pending further investigation. Keep your communicator on and don’t leave Earth..”