S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Settled and Unsettled

Posted on Thursday November 12th, 2020 @ 22:13 hours by Lozen Nachtnebel
Edited on on Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 @ 18:52 hours

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Deck 2, Quartermaster's Quarters
Timeline: MD 08

With the events of the last week filling her mind, Lo found herself unable to sleep and almost missing the heavy workload into which she fled when she first came aboard. For all the mess of the ship's records, the work had been straightforward and yet complex enough to take her mind off of other matters. But now there was the problem of the hologram. She debated with herself over what to do next. If she were still in Starfleet her duty would be clear, but here on the Fawkes morality took on shades of grey.

And would it really be simpler aboard a Fleet ship? she wondered. After all, moral decisions were what got her to leave the Fleet in the first place. There were currents in Starfleet that no longer allowed for complexities. Too many wars, too much fear; decisions were being made, not with betterment in mind, but instead with the atmosphere of protectionism. A creature like Liliah would have been treated differently just thirty years ago. Now? The Federation might not even stop and think before they either deleted her or locked her away in a sealed cache for future study. All artificial life provoked a deadly response. Fear of the Borg, fear of another event like Mars -- everything stank of fear.

For a brief moment, Lo considered opening a communications channel to contact the one person she had always felt she could go to with such problems (other than her father). But of course that was impossible. Alana Fairbanks was dead. Most of the officers who were Lo's closest friends were dead, all killed in the same shuttle accident that killed Fairbanks herself. And as for Nesmeth...? Father, how am I supposed to handle things like this on my own?

Lo kicked back the covers and stood. The lights in the room, detecting her movement, automatically increased the luminosity while maintaining the dull orange temperature that Lo associated with the Cardassian designers. A comfortable light for a people from a world with an orange star.

She went to her little desk by the door and sat in her chair, staring down at the console's blank screen. The emptiness of the moment surrounded her. She realized that, save for the new friends she was making aboard Fawkes, she had nobody to which to turn. Alex, Captain May, Kari -- but who else? Some family and family friends back on Earth, but none of whom she could speak to about the problems she now faced. She turned the console screen on, pulling up the landing page for the interstellar data network. For a private vessel like Fawkes, use of the network cost Federation credits. But Lo would absorb that from her salary. She needed answers, answers which were not likely to be contained in the Fawkes's memory banks.

"Computer," she said, "open Starfleet credential portal."

The screen flickered and the landing page for Starfleet's information network came up.

"Welcome to the credential portal," the computer said in its smooth tones. "Identification validation required."

Lo hesitated for a scant moment before saying, "Captain Alana Fairbanks, ID X-ray-nine-seven-beta-six-one-one-zeta. Second-level password: Heartshine." A momentary pause, then, while thee system worked. A moment where Lo's heartrate climbed. What she was doing was more than a little illegal if anyone found out, though she doubted they would. Granted, all data was cataloged, but Fairchild's ID could be accessed for a number of legitimate reasons by official sources. Even her family could access it, at least so far as to look at her public files. Nobody needed to know that Lo had more access than the public level. access given to her in secret by her ex-captain mere weeks before Fairchild died.

"Access granted to internal network. Welcome, Heartshine. Please be warned, use of this private connection by non-Starfleet personnel is punishable under Federation law."

"Open Fairchild personal logs and search for the Sciacoba Incident. Should be marked private."

"Entry located. Heartshine has access to private files. Access granted. Playing file."

The screen switched again and displayed an audio visualizer that spiked as a woman's voice began to play.

"...intelligence we discovered. That we obtained proof apparently didn't matter to Starfleet. Too many risks, they said, of another lifeform with that potential, that behavior pattern. But Commander Utnga explained that the science was clear, they were not that sort of threat. Their social cohesion naturally tended toward pacifism, toward community and betterment. Hell, they were more Starfleet that we were by that point. More than we are now, to be sure. So yes, I told them to go and screw themselves, that I maintained Captain's prerogative to deal with the situation as I saw fit. And if they wanted to bring charges against me, fine; I'd make the whole thing public. What I never counted on was that they would have a... ****** ... **** ... ****** ...waiting. That ... would resort to ..."

High-pitched sound spiked through the audio, cutting out any hint of Fairchild's words as the audio visualizer spiked above maximum. Lo stared at it. She knew what Fairchild had said, of course, just like she knew that the apparently damaged audio file was anything but random accidental fragmentation. There would be no copies of it left anywhere. A messy job.

"But messy is always better than clever," she whispered to herself. Her father's words came strong in her mind, another lesson from her youth. A mess is hard to decipher but a clever plan will always leave a loophole somewhere, a hidden chink or a flaw.

But the words of her ex-captain were salve, too, in their own way. She could feel the intensity in Fairchild's voice, could picture her strong chin, her gleaming steel-colored eyes and the passion those grey depths belied. What would you do, Captain? But the thought came with its own answer. Lo knew what Fairchild would do because she had already done it once before.

The whole affair had begun with the discovery of a new artificial lifeform, something which scared the Fleet brass badly enough that they had ordered Fairchild to eradicate it, something which she had refused to do. So they had one of their Section 31 ships turn the whole moon into glass. Then they pinned that on you. But they don't have any power here. I won't make the mistake of letting them even get involved.

Lo stood, straightened the brown leather jacket into the seat of her shoulders. Liliah deserved more than erasure or eternal imprisonment -- the only options Starfleet would be likely to offer an illegal artificial lifeform. But she also deserved more than Hirral had planned for her; she deserved to make up her own mind about the life she would lead. But offering that choice that meant finding out where the one person in a position to do something about it all stood: Lo would need to bring this to Captain Mayterial Droz and let the chips fall where they may.

END

 

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