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Chapter Notes:

The trial of Justice Minerva Irons begins...

Star Trek Hunter

Episode 22: Sacrifice

Scene 12: Justice



Supreme Commander Sela attended the trial but did not play a formal role. Next to her on her right side was Senate Proconsul Vruncleel, who had negotiated the Gagarin Treaty with Justice Minerva Irons. To Sela’s left, Flight Specialist Jennifer Hopper was sitting. The courtroom was laid out like an amphitheater and was located on the top floor of the Imperial Romulan Administration Building on the edge of the Regar Sea on Vulcan. Unlike Federation courtrooms, in which the observers faced the judges, in a romulan court the observers were seated behind the three judges, seeing the accused from their perspective. A transparent wall behind the accused Justice Irons allowed a vast panoramic view of the Regar Sea swiftly darkening following a dull sunset. Lines of small lights defined the shoreline.

The three justices served different purposes. Only one was a professional judge - a vulcan named Soel who was part of a small vulcan population within the Romulan Star Empire. His job was to be the impartial judge and ensure the letter of the law was followed during the trial. Admiral Ekot was to serve as Justice Irons’ advocate - representative for the accused. The job of the prosecutor - representative for the romulan people - was assigned to Commander Hundeeth, who was, at the moment, asking the questions.

“Tell us, Justice Minerva Irons, how you came to invade the Romulan Star Empire and who ordered you to do it. Tell us how you came to destroy the planet Gamorlan, killing nearly ten thousand romulan citizens as well as destroying all life on the planet. How you came to damage the I.R.W. Fero, in an act of war against the empire. Tell us how, in a second incident of terrorism, you caused the borg to attack the I.R.W. Bestia, leading to the death of nearly a thousand more citizens of the Romulan Star Empire and how you then betrayed your own allies, leading to a death toll among them in the millions if not higher.”

“First of all, I want to thank you for that clear summation of events, Commander Hundeeth,” Irons replied. “And please forgive me for not standing. I am now 160 years old and this will be a somewhat long story. Recently, we have become aware of an illness that affects vulcans and is passed from one to another by mind-meld.”

“I must ask the accused to keep her remarks germane to the crimes with which she is charged,” Hundeeth interrupted.

“Oh, but the crimes with which I am charged are a small part of much larger crimes in which I am involved,” Irons responded. “I think this court may want to officially record crimes that the highest authorities within the Federation have concealed not only from their enemies and their allies, but even from their own people. But if the court prefers not to indulge in this larger context, I will restrict my remarks as instructed.”

There was enough of a silence that the sound of a few hundred romulans, vulcans and various vulcan/human hybrids drawing a sudden breath could be heard. Jennifer Hopper glanced at Sela and saw that her eyebrows were almost at her hairline and she was using all of her self-discipline to keep from smiling.

The three judges conferred quietly, then Admiral Ekot said, “This court will indulge the accused. You have raised our expectations, Justice Irons. We allow this indulgence in hopes you will meet those expectations.”

“Thank you, Admiral,” Irons said. “Two attempted genocides within the Federation have been carefully concealed from the public. The first of these was against trill/human hybrids and was accomplished by a powerfully telepathic serial killer. When my crew attempted to capture her, she forced us to kill her. At first, I thought this was because she desperately wanted to be free from the compulsion to kill. Only recently I have become aware of the actual reason. She was half vulcan, half betazoid. It was her father, a powerful member of the Federation Tribunal, who had laid that compulsion on her via repeated mind-melds. This is the illness I was referring to. Not only was she programmed by her father, she was specifically bred by him and genetically altered to become the perfect killer.”

“But she was not his only victim. Some of you might have become aware that Fleet Admiral Scumuk, the late Executive Director of Star Fleet Medical Services, died under suspicious circumstances. He actually died from the application of a drug that has terrible effects on vulcans and is usually fatal – quadropseudoprozadiazomine. This drug was designed specifically to counter the effects of repeated vulcan mind-melds and is only used on vulcans in case of emergencies. We used this drug on Fleet Admiral Scumuk in a desperate attempt to find a counter-agent to a virus he developed that threatened to exterminate the bolian people. In his death throes, Fleet Admiral Scumuk told me that I must go to the library.”

Irons paused to take a drink. “Of course Star Fleet kept these attempts at genocide, first against human/trill hybrids, then the bolian people a secret – what little they knew about it. At this point I should point out that my command is unique – my command is not under Star Fleet Operations, but under the Federation Tribunal. And it was one of the Chief Justices of the Tribunal who set these events in motion. And he was the one who arranged for our first incursion into romulan space.”

“I do not know if our first passage through romulan space was noted, but we did not encounter any romulan vessels. Our telemetry from that invasion revealed a galaxy that has produced waves of gamma radiation that are currently sterilizing the Romulan Star Empire and will leave the empire entirely lifeless within 500 years.”

“Shut these proceedings down!” ordered one of Sela’s admirals. 

Justice Minerva Irons sat back in her chair and had another drink of water.

Sela stood up, staring at the admiral who had given the order. Judge Soel was standing and staring at her as well. 

“Admiral Himela,” said Judge Soel, “this is my courtroom. You do not have authority to give such orders. Only I or the supreme commander have the authority to stop these proceedings. And I do not intend to stop these proceedings unless so ordered by the supreme commander. If you cannot control your emotions, I invite you to leave my courtroom.”

Sela watched Admiral Himela until she sat down. Only then did the supreme commander resume her seat. 

“Justice Minerva Irons, I entreat you to be careful with the charges you level against the Romulan Star Empire,” Judge Soel continued.

Irons took another drink, then said. “I have made no charges against the empire. The empire did not create this threat And while the gamma radiation will eventually sterilize the Klingon Empire, the Federation, the Cardassian Union and will, within 4,000 years leave the Alpha Quadrant entirely lifeless, there is nothing in the Babel Treaties, the Khitomer Accords or the Gagarin Treaty that requires the Romulan Star Empire to inform its neighbors of this impending doom that hangs over us all.”

Irons paused, watching her audience slowly digest this information. “It was this, my first incursion into romulan space that led directly to the second incursion, during which some of the events narrated by Commander Hundeeth happened as he stated them. The remainder happened during our third incursion into romulan space.”

Commander Hundeeth interrupted. “So you are claiming that you invaded romulan space not once, but three times and evaded capture all three times?”

“I have submitted into evidence a few sections of telemetry that is date/time encoded,” said Irons. “I have arranged for this telemetry to be broadcast at this time. The viewer behind me is programmed to receive this broadcast. I am aware this trial is being broadcast. Everyone who receives the broadcast of this trial will also receive the telemetry to which I refer, so I recommend this telemetry be added to the official record at this time.”

“The accused will not take control of my courtroom,” said Judge Soel.

The three judges conferred quietly for a few moments. Then Admiral Ekot spoke. “In the interest of learning more about the methods and technologies employed against the Empire and to further the jurisprudence of this case, we have decided to allow the telemetry for now.”

Justice Minerva Irons stood up. “Judge Soel, please accept my apologies for what may appear to be an attempt to take over your courtroom. I can only offer you the consolation that all of my plans have been similarly overridden.” She walked carefully to a very large viewer behind her. The viewer displayed a spiral galaxy.

“On our first incursion into romulan space, just over one Federation Standard Year ago, we were searching for a natural phenomenon that could explain the sterilized expanse known as the Dead Zone on the other side of the Romulan Star Empire from here. And we found it – one of my navigators dubbed it the ‘Gamma Gun Galaxy’ – a small spiral galaxy with a black hole at its core that went into a gamma emission stage about 2.5 billion years ago.”

The image on the viewscreen shifted to an image of the vast debris field the U.S.S. Hunter had traveled through. “Before we reached the Dead Zone, about 800 Federation Standard Light Years below the galactic plane, we encountered a great machine that Fleet Admiral Scumuk referred to as ‘the Hulk’. We had no idea what it was or how it got there, at first. Then we detected a massive gamma burst less than 40 minutes away from us, moving at the speed of light. We knew the intensity of the burst was more than 400 times what our shields could protect us from. We were going to get cooked. Even our circuitry could not have handled that intensity of radiation. The three artificial lifeforms aboard would not have survived either…”

Justice Irons was a good story teller and her audience was in rapt attention at this point. The three judges were just listening. Sela was relaxed back in her seat high above in the audience. Jennifer Hopper was on the edge of her seat, no longer casting side-long glances at the supreme commander.

“Alone, on a secret mission on the other side of the Romulan Star Empire, far from home, about to be boiled alive… We were about to join hundreds of romulan and klingon crews missing in action in the Dead Zone…”


Chapter End Notes:


Character: Judge Soel
Human Ethnicity: N/A
Additional Species: Vulcan
Hometown/Homeworld: Tith Vally, Romulus
Introduced: Episode 22.11
Age when introduced: 169
Role: Primary Judge, Romulan Star Navy

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