Episode 8: The Changing of the Guard, Part V

Oct 4 2004, 02:08 AM

Lieutenant Commander Rune Sith - OCC

"I just have to check a few more things," Clark said as he entered the Command Center where Sith was watching the silent viewscreen of the meeting.

Clark immediately went to a console behind Sith and began tapping at it, hard at work. "Ugggh."
"Clark..." Sith turned and tried to get his attention, but he was so preoccupied. "Clark... Clark!"
"Yeah?" He finally realized his name was being called.
"Relax. You're starting to remind me of me once."
Clark turned around and sighed. He thought it was time for him to take a break anyway. "I guess you're right. I have been pushing myself pretty hard lately." He leaned back against the computer edge and crossed his arms.

"Err..." Sith then realized something. He looked to the side uncomfortably, unsure on how to express what he was thinking. "Listen... the thing is... No matter how much you reinforce the computer technology with structural technology there's always going to be somebody somewhere who are able to get through..." He knew he couldn't say anything, though he felt bad and really wanted to.
"Huh?" Clark asked a bit confused.
"Just," Sith then let it go, "realize that no matter how advanced our systems are, there's always a chance someone else out there is more advanced."
Clark nodded this time, still a bit confused at why he was talking about that. But philosophy was philosophy, so he shrugged it off.

Just then the Turbolift doors swooshed open and Sith and Clark and Zeta were forced to turn thier sights to someone who was entering. It was Lieutenant Hertz.

"Goodevening, gentlemen," he walked over and shook Sith and Clark's hand.
"Hertz!" Sith recognized him from the auto simulation. "What are you doing here?"
"Didn't you know? The Akira is docked for a few hours. We just got back from the Argolis System, then we'll be heading off again."
"Oh yeah," Sith then remembered having been caught off-guard, "Well I believe this is the first time I'm meeting you in flesh and blood."
"Flesh and blood?" Clark asked.
"Hertz is a fellow racer from the Miyazaki Auto Simulation. You know, the program you gave me that chip on?"
"Oh right," Clark said, "I've been meaning to check it out but I've been so busy lately."
"When I found out you were up here, I had to stop by and see if you were watching the race," Hertz said.
"Race?" Clark and Sith glanced at each other confused.
Hertz looked around for a screen of it, "You mean you're not watching the Race??" He went over and activated a screen, "Computer, connect to Federation-General-Transmission-Alpha-4."

A Race suddenly blinked on another hovering screen. On it, two cars were shown, driving and drifting past wide and tight corners.

"Looks fun," Clark mentioned.
"That's the least bit! It turns out this racer, Gaines Hudson, is the fastest and most agile driver out there!" Hertz said.
Sith smiled proudly, "Actually, I'm the most agile racer. I actually started that whole drifting thing."
"No way," Hertz replied. "Gaines beat your record by almost double the time on your track. Everyone's drifting now!"
"What??" Sith stood up immediately. Clark smiled a bit amused. "But I'm the fastest racer ever to drive on that simulation. Miyazaki came to visit me himself. He even gave me his latest car design!"
"Since then he's come up with five more designs!" Hertz said excited. "Gaines has been beating records everytime he races. Not to mention that special track you once drove has become a begginers course!" He sighed, "I only wish I was as good as Gaines." He turned to the screen in time to see the race finish. It looked like Gaines had beat another opponent. "Well! I got to get going. The Akira will be leaving pretty soon tonight. You two look tired, you should get some rest. Later!" And then he left in the same good mood he came in on, totally oblivious to Sith's and Clark's reactions.

"Ggrrr..." Sith crossed his arms and turned to view the Race Highlights.
Clark smiled in a fake-good mood, hoping to change Sith's sour mood. He slapped his hand on Sith's shoulder, "That simulation stuff sounds like fun, heh, heh. Well I'd better get back to this," having failed in changing the sour mood he turned and quickly went up one of the stairs to the upper platform computers.

Sith just remained staring at the Race viewscreen, a bit angry, before it blinked off.Gaines Hudson!? Grrgh!!
Captain Archer
Oct 6 2004, 08:28 PM

Ambassador Michael Larkin-Briefing Room

Michael took the awkward pause in conversation to his advantage. “Well, now that we’ve all gotten to know each other a little better, I’d like to start the meeting…. if that’s okay with you Admiral?” Garrison nodded “Of course, go right ahead.” “I’d like to plant an idea in your heads. I have been considering opening up diplomatic talks with the Klingon Empire, to reestablish our alliance with our old friends. I have several contacts within the Empire…or rather had, as you know the political landscape on Quonos changes as frequently as I do underwear.” A chuckle rose from the group “Your suggestions are welcome on any aspect, but most importantly help me find a way to do this that won’t make the Klingons take the wrong impression…that we consider them weak.”

“Secondly…and Admiral Garrison can vouch for me on this…many members of the Federation are unhappy at not having representation on this Council, I think we need to address this immediately, before it gets out of hand. We cannot defeat the Alliance and face a civil war at the same time. We need to assure these members that it is only a temporary solution and we will be conducting normal elections as soon as the current crisis is brought under control. If we each take a handful of member worlds to contact, it will go a lot quicker.” Michael sat back down at the table “That’s all I have at the moment Admiral.”
Oct 8 2004, 12:57 PM

Fleet Captain Drayson Hardgrove:
Stratigic Command Director

Hardgrove sat listening to the introductions his mind concentrating on what he wanted to address. He looked around the table at the faces of the other council members and then spoke up.

"Michael, I agree that the worlds of the federation should be involved in the war coucil , before that can happen we need to have stability with in it. We are in a war and right now our phocus sould be to find a way to end it not rebuild the federation council. I am sure the Federation worlds leaders want to be envolved but as Ambassador you should explian to them that as their repersentitve you have their best intersts in mind."

Kyst Blacksun scowld and stood up. "Captain Hardgrove I disagree, You your self said that this War is effecting everyone not just the federation. Although they are federation worlds I am sure they might have their own forces or ideas of how to handle this war. Perhaps Starfleet should consider that when planing their offensive."

Hardgrove shoot he back a look. "We are all effected here Captain, that's why your fleet was asked to join this council. The people of the Federation count on Satarfleet to protect and make those decissions for them, and since the Federation Council was disbanded We're doing that job now."

Hardgrove shot a look to Garrison and then passed the pad he had been reading to him.

"what are your thaughts Admiral?"
Oct 9 2004, 09:59 PM

Major Lietra Kayana - Briefing Room

"What are your thoughts Admiral?" Hardgrove asked as he looked at Garrison.

Before Garrison could say anything, Lietra sat forward. Showtime, she thought to herself.

"Excuse me. I haven't said anything until now, but I have a few things that need to be said. An alliance was worked out between the Federation and Bajoran governments to fight the Alliance before this rebellion began. We do not support what Starfleet Command and the Federation Council were trying to do, but we also weren't thrilled with the idea of a rebellion.

"First Minister Hallan only decided to commit Bajoran forces to the Battle at Betazed, and to officially ally with the Federation, after assurances from Admiral Garrison that he would not retain sole power - that a war council would be formed.

"The Bajoran government is not happy about sitting on the same council as criminals like pirates and smugglers." She avoided making eye contact with Ottel and Kyst as she said that. "But we recognize and respect the fact that we need all the help we can get. We can not fight among ourselves, and we can't let the Federation fight internally. We don't have the luxury of resources and time to spare, no, to waste, doing such things. It must be made clear to the entire Federation, now, that this War Council exists to protect them, and let that be the end of it. We can't start allowing dozens of governments to have a say in this, this is not supposed to be a Federation council."

There was a moment of silence after she finished speaking. "Your Bajoran government might not like the idea of sitting on the same council as a criminal like me," Kyst said sarcastically, with emphasis on the word criminal. "But at least the Orion Syndicate shows respect for this alliance by sending one of its leaders. At least the Smuggler's Coalition show respect by sending one of their leaders. Who does your government send? A youngmajor in their militia?" Kyst laughed a short, cynical laugh.

Lietra felt the blood rushing to her cheeks. She tried to think of something to say in return, but was saved by Admiral Garrison.

Admiral Tom Garrison - Briefing Room

Tom listened to Captain Blacksun tear down Major Lietra, and decided to step in before things got out of hand. "People, people, that's enough," he said. "Fifteen minutes into this thing and we're already bickering among ourselves. We can do better than that."

There was a moment of silence, then Tom continued.

"Everything brought up so far is important, and will be addressed by this Council. But we have a more pressing matter." He noticed a few people sit forward in their chairs, their curiosity piqued.

"The reason I called this meeting for tonight is because of an urgent situation which arose earlier today. Perhaps the best way to explain is to show all of you some recordings." Tom got up and walked over to a giant holoscreen occuping one of the walls. He pushed a button and the lights lowered. "These are recordings of conversations which took place between the Chief Medical Officer of this starbase, Dr. Ullii Lauren, and a Romulan citizen." He pushed another button and the recordings began.

* * * * *

A few minutes later the recordings ended. Tom brought the lights back up and looked over the people assembled in the room. "Dr. Lauren went against my orders and invited Yasha to the station. She will be arriving tomorrow morning. It appears, assuming this isn't a deception, that a member of a Romulan rebellion will be coming aboard to ask for our help. We need to discuss our response to this."
Captain Archer
Oct 10 2004, 11:03 AM

Ambassador Michael Larkin-Briefing Room

Larkin let out a heavy sigh after the recording ended. “We should tread very carefully into this matter Admiral, the Federation hasn’t had formal diplomatic relations with the Romulan Empire since shortly after the Dominion War ended.” Michael stood up “I think, I’ve got it here somewhere…. ah there it is.” He fiddled with his padd and sent a document to the others at the table. “The document you’re seeing is the last contact we officially had with the Empire, as you can see they threatened massive retaliation if we should violate their borders. Then shortly after the war with the Alliance began a Federation vessel wandered into Romulan territory and the rest is history. They joined the Alliance and are attempting to destroy us. If this is some sort of deception, we could find ourselves in a world of trouble.”

Michael took his seat once more “If this rebellion is real, I think we should explore the possibility of helping them, but we defiantly need specifics, how many of them are there, what’s their main objective and will this leave us with more problems at the end of the war?”
Oct 10 2004, 03:34 PM

Lattrel Ottel - the Briefing Room

The news about a possible Romulan rebellion threw Ottel into deep thoughts. His head was down, his eyes squinted, as if he was trying to remember something. Finally, he raised his head and looked straight at Admiral Garrison.

"Gentlemen," Ottel began, then remembering Lietra and Blacksun, "ladies. I might have something to put on the table about this possible Romulan rebellion. Now, nothing is certain, but I have countless accounts from our men that 'work' close to the Romulan section of the Alliance border, that report of strange activities by Romulan ships."

"What type of strange activity?" Hardgrove asked. "Our intelligence has nothing specific on the matter."

"Captain," Ottel answered with a smile, "I don't think your intelligence goes as deep into Alliance space as we do. I think Captain Blacksun can say the same thing." He shot a look at Kyst, and received a warm smile from her. He continued, "The strange activity I speak of is nothing serious. On several accounts, our ships have been able to detect cloaked Romulan vessels and decloak them, with hopes of boarding and capturing the ships. On two occasions the Romulans have been on the losing end, but instead of handing their ships over, they've acitvated the self-destruct. On all other instances, the Romulans have simply disabled our ships and left. There have been no attempts by them to destroy the smugger ships.

"Now, like I said, this doesn't have to have anything to do with a Romulan rebellion, but it might be something to take into consideration. These ships appeared to only be concerned about not being taken over or followed. Speaking from personal experience, I don't know a Romulan that would pass up an opportunity to blow a smuggler ship into high heaven."

"Any information is valuable information, Mr. Lattrel," Garrison said. He seemed to want to go on, but Ottel cut him off.

"My thoughts exactly, admiral. I might be able to offer you more. The padds that I have right here," Ottel noted the pile in front of him, "will provide you with all kinds of information that I'm sure Starfleet intelligence doesn't know much about."

Ottel tried to stack the padds in a more orderly fashion, pushing them towards Garrison. He spoke again, "I am not presenting the content of these for review at this moment. I simply wanted you to know who and what we know." Ottel made sure to everyone around the table that his last sentence was directed at Garrison and Garrison only.
Oct 15 2004, 11:29 PM

Lieutenant Commander Rune Sith - OCC

It was getting late. Even if it was, Sith hardly cared anymore. He crossed his arms and looked up at the monitor showing the Briefing Room. There they were, talking with the most intense atmosphere ever. He began reading lips now. He was starting to process sentences and phrases unintentionally. Dr. Lauren went against my orders and invited Yasha to the station. She will be arriving tomorrow morning. The Admiral said after a short visual-playback onscreen. "Who?" Sith said. He wasn't sure if he read right.

Leaning back against a computer he sighed. Glancing around, he made sure he was alone up here, for he was the only person allowed and able to see this view-screen. There was no doubt the right measures were taken to secure it. Right measures... Sith thought to himself.

The right measures had to be taken earlier in his and Clarks operation when securing a relocation of the meeting. Was it going to be on the lower decks, was it going to be up here, was it going to be on Earth? The usual day to day stuff. Funny as it was, Sith knew it would all work out. Looking up he saw Captian Hurst enter the Command Center.

"Get through all the confusion?" She smiled as she went over to a console. She was going over the status of the Gambit's systems. "I noticed how busy it seemed earlier."
"Yeah," Sith replied. "I'm just glad I'm back here. I thought you were the last human I'd ever see after that fight at Betazed."
She stopped tapping at her console. "I thought you were killed back there." She glanced up at the screen with the meeting. "Then I thought I almost lost Michael."

Sith glanced up to what she looking at and realized she wasn't supposed to be watching the viewscreen with the meeting on it.

"In all the busy-ness of life, we always make time for us. To have that taken away... would just be wrong." She smiled and then shut off her computer.
"I understand," Sith said. He had seen her and the Ambassador together many times on the Deck. They were inseparable.
Hurst nodded and began downloading information into a holo-padd. "Have you ever been in love, Commander?"
"...Once," he answered. Hurst looked over at him, hoping he'd continue. But there was an uneasy pause.
"You look like someone who hasn't talked about it at all for years."
"To be honest, I've completely avoided the subject ever since I got back." He toyed with the idea of seeing the Councillor, but he just couldn't bring himself to it.

"Well, why don't we start with her name?" Hurst turned from her console, this time sincerely hoping to help Sith.
"Julia," Sith replied, accepting the fact he had to deal with it. "She was... Bajoran."
"What do you feel when you think of her?"
Sith thought about her in that instance, "Like she's the one..." But feelings like this are what he used to always try to avoid, because of his initial hate for the Alliance.
"Was she killed?" Hurst knew being Captian also meant being part everything, which included Councillor. Getting to the point was one thing Councillor's had to do.
"No," Sith answered. "She... had to leave."
"How did she feel about you?"
"The same way. She said I changed her life, that she felt things she never had before."
Hurst fell silent for a moment, trying to think of the next thing to say. This was something she didn't want to screw up. "Then you were torn apart," she realized. "I'm sorry." But her natural empathy was forced to take over.
"It's okay," Sith said. "I guess it's something I have to accept and move on. We were getting really close when she had to go. Part of me wants to escape and just imagine what it'd be like if we could have stayed together. An obsession with escape may be why I almost joined a Networked Holo-Simulation. But the fact is she's gone and a lot of time is going to pass from now until... whenever. And in that time, I hope I don't die of sorrow from missing her. I guess I have to move on." They looked at each other for a second, both knowing that if Hurst and Larkin were forced apart, she wouldn't have gotten over it either.

*Marlene to Captian Hurst,* a comm signal cut in.
"I'll be just a sec," Jen tapped her commbadge.

She looked back at Sith and sighed. "...If you keep her in your heart, then you'll never feel that uneasy way that you do." Hurst got her holo-padd and prepared to leave. "Because from what I hear, you'll always be in her heart."
Sith stared away thinking about it. She was right. But it was obvious Hurst had to go.
"Did I help?"
He nodded, "Yeah."
"Good," she took her things and left.

Sith turned to the view-screen meeting once again, but in deep thought. He appreciated the Captian's efforts, and she did help. But the inital feelings remained; he missed Julia. Only this time he didn't allow the Alliance to circumvent his emotions. ...If only she was here.

He crossed his arms and leaned back comfortably. It looked like he was going to be up all night.
Oct 16 2004, 08:04 PM

Admiral Tom Garrison - Briefing Room

Tom sat back in his chair, tuning out the words being spoken for a minute. Things are going well. There's some distrust, naturally. I don't think any of us like sitting at the same table with the other people in the room. But at least everyone is still talking...

He tuned back in just as Hardgrove was speaking. "I think only the Admiral and myself should meet with Yasha tomorrow."

Garrison smiled, knowing what was coming. "Now wait a minute..." Kyst jumped to her feet. At the same moment, Ottel looked up with a frown and Lietra looked ready to say something.

"Everyone," he spoke. Everybody stopped and looked at him. "It's getting late. It's..." he glanced down at a display on the table and his eyes widened. "It's already past 2300 hours. We've been going at this for several hours now, and yes, we have much to accomplish. But I don't think there's much more we can do tonight. We need to wait and see what Yasha has to say."

Seeing the look on Kyst's face, who still hadn't sat down, he added "And everybody will be hearing what she has to say. I'll meet her at the airlock when she arrives. Me, and me alone. But I'll bring her to this room where we'll all meet with her."

Kyst finally looked satisfied, and sat down.

"So why don't we call it a night?" Tom asked. "Are there any objections?"

Nobody said anything. "Good. We've had a productive first meeting, people. We can make this work. I'll see you all tomorrow morning."
Captain Archer
Oct 17 2004, 08:35 AM

Ambassador Michael Larkin-Briefing Room

Michael stood to leave, and waited for everyone to file out “Is there something else Michael?” Garrison asked him “It’s just…I don’t claim to know Doctor Lauren very well, but if I’m any judge of character, I don’t believe she would lead us down the wrong path.” Garrison gave Michael an odd look “I know she’s done some questionable things, but I can’t imagine her betraying us…especially to the Romulans.” Garrison set his padds on the table “I appreciate your input Michael…I really do, but I prefer to handle this situation by erring on the side of caution, we don’t know anything about this Yasha, and from what I know about Doctor Lauren, I prefer to treat this matter very delicately.” Michael nodded “I understand…Well I’m heading over to the Double Helix would you care to join me?” Garrison stood up “Lead the way.” The two walked out to the turbo lift.

Ambassador Michael Larkin-Double Helix Bar

Michael and Garrison took a seat at the bar, just as Michael caught a glimpse of Jen at a table in the back, surrounded by a group of officers. He waved to get her attention, inviting her to join them, she nodded and held up two fingers, indicating she needed two more minutes to finish whatever story she was telling. “She is a lovely woman Michael, how long have you known her?” Garrison asked “It’s funny, I feel like I’ve known her all my life, but it’s only been a few short years.” Tom smiled “You sound like me when I first met my wife, we were inseparable, she made me feel like nothing else in the galaxy mattered.” Michael nodded “That’s the feeling all right.”

“Well, how was the meeting gentleman?” Hurst asked as she stepped up, signaling the bartender for another round. “Classified…but productive, at least I thought it was.” Tom nodded in agreement “I’m just happy that everyone left still speaking to one another. I had visions of our alliance being ripped apart in there.” Michael caught a glimpse of Major Lietra walking into the bar “The night is young Admiral…Major, won’t you join us?” Jen tapped Michael shoulder “I’ll be right back, I’m going to go say hi to someone.” Jen made her way through the crowd. “Ambassador, Admiral.” Lietra looked a little uncomfortable “Can I buy you a drink Major.” Michael offered “I would be honored.” “Let’s get a table and we can all get to know each other a little better.” Michael suggested. The three of them stood and moved towards an empty table in the center of the bar.
Oct 19 2004, 06:07 PM

Fleet Captain Drayson Hardgrove:
Stratigic Command Director.

Hardgrove left the breifingroom and headed down the hall to the occ, The last few weeks had drained him considerabley. He needed an ear to let him clear his head off his troubles. it had been nearly a month since he and Sam had shared dinner, He missed being able to see her heare and there when he was commanding the Gambit. Now that he was almost constantly on the station he had the chance to see her more often, Yet he hadn't seen her once since he took over as Director.

As he reached the OCC , He scaned the faces of the officers working, not seeeing CAptain Halliwell anywhere. Drayson checked the chronomiter and sighed. It was getting late, almost too late for social calls. Yet As Stations Commander Halliwell had to be availablefor staion business 26 hours a day. As Startigic command Director he had to see that the station would be taken care of durring Yashas stay, that was ships business but it could wait reguardless of the hour he need to talk.

He headed down the hall to the closets tl and too it to the habatat quarters. Nearing Halliwells door he took a deep breath.

Heading to her door he paused a monet and blew out the breath, and rang the chimes and was shocked when a young boy ansewerd the door.
Oct 21 2004, 04:55 AM

Captain Samantha Halliwell ~ Her Quarters

Halliwell stood preparing the promised Jelly and Ice Cream, a surge of excitment ran through her as she did so. For once in her life, she felt like a mother, a proper mother, doing motherly things and making motherly food that would probably rot her child's teeth. But she didn't care, he would enjoy it and that's all she cared about. The chime rang out and without thinking she shouted, "Sweetheart, could you get that?"

Matthew bounded across the room and opened the door, he stared up at the tall man. He looked a little shocked to him, but what did he know. He reconised a uniform and so automatically assumed it was someone who knew his mom. "Hi," he smiled brightly.

The man just stared back at him. Without taking his eyes off the strange silent man at the door, he shouted. "Mommy, it's for you."

"Just one second," Halliwell said wiping her hands on her trousers, she walked over to him and stopped dead in her tracks. Paralysed. "Drayson?"
He looked from her to Matthew, then back to her and finally back to Matthew. "I think I have some explaining to do," she said when she found her voice again.
Oct 21 2004, 11:59 PM

Lattrel Ottel - the Double~Helix

Ottel walked into the Double~Helix after making a brief stop at a comm terminal. He expected to see both the admiral and the ambassador in there, and he wasn't disappointed. The two men seemed to be talking about something, but he couldn't help noticing Larkin's eyes following Captain Hurst with great care. Ottel approached the bar, and not wanting to bother Hrag, who was quite busy with all the customers, he himself stepped behind the bar to prepare a drink. A few minutes later he walked away from the bar with a drink in his hand, his eyes searching for Shani. Where could she be, he thought,I hope she's not spending any more of my credits. He walked closer to Garrison and Larkin.

"Admiral, ambassador Larkin," he greeted them.

"Ottel," both men acknowledged him, though Michael's mind was still taken by Hurst.

"I thought our first meeting went..." Ottel searched for a suitable word, "...well, I thought it went well."

"I think we did do pretty well for a first meeting," Tom responded.

Ottel thought about what to say for a moment. He took a big gulp from his drink, and moving closer to Garrison, he almost whisperred.

"Admiral, just so you know, the padds I handed to you were for your eyes only."

"Oh?" Garrison looked at him.

"I'll be honest with you, admiral," Ottel looked around, making sure noone was listening in, "I just don't trust the pirates."

Garrison kept staring him down, surprised at what Ottel was saying.

"Don't get me wrong," Ottel continued, "I'm willing to sit down and work with them, but it's going to take a long time to build up that trust. You might think that since both us and the Syndicate are on the opposite side of the law, we might get along better, but that's not the case. The truth is that we've had quite a few conflicts."

"I'll be honest too, Mr. Lattrel," Garrison said, all serious, "what you say is rather surprising, but not completely unexpected." He paused, then gathering his thoughts, continued, "So then it shouldn't come as a surprise to you, if I told you that I don't really trust you either, and it is going to take me equally long a time to build up that trust."

"That's only fair, admiral," Ottel replied, relatively calm. He began to turn to walk away, but at the last moment he turned around and said, "For what it's worth, Tom, I trust you completely."

As Ottel moved away and disappeared into the crowd, Larkin turned to Garrison.

"What just happened here?" he asked.

"Nothing important," Garrison replied. What Michael failed to notice was the faint smile on the admiral's face.
Oct 24 2004, 12:05 AM

Admiral Tom Garrison - The Double~Helix

Tom sat alone at a table working away on a holoPADD. It was late, the bar was almost deserted. Ambassador Larkin had left an hour ago to go to bed. Bed, that's where I should be. But there's still so much work to do. Tom was working on a draft of a letter he wanted to send to the member worlds of the Federation in an attempt to assure them the War Council was only temporary. He knew it probably wouldn't help, that many would still object to being left off. But even if he could convince a few of the member worlds, it would be that many less worlds he would have to contact personally.

"Excuse me, sir?"

Tom looked up. It was Hrag.

"Yes," he asked?

"Sir, we're going to be closing now," Hrag informed him politely.

Tom looked around. Sure enough, there was nobody else in the bar besides him. He knew it was late, but didn't realize it was quite that late. "Yes, of course. Sorry about that, I'll be on my way." He got up and walked out of the bar.

The Deck was deserted. Tom thought about heading back up to his office to finish the letter, but decided he didn't feel like it. I spend far too much time in that office. Then he thought about going back to his quarters and going to bed, but decided he didn't feel like that either. So instead he just walked.

As he strolled about the station he would pass somebody every once in awhile, but for the most part the corridors were empty. He found his thoughts turning to the War Council meeting earlier that night, and from there he began thinking about everything that had happened since he had first learned Counselor Rasin was being held against his will.

We went down to rescue him, boy that turned into a mess. Tom winced as he remembered the shoot-out in Starfleet Medical. He put his hand to his cheek and felt the scar that was still there from the phaser blast that clipped his cheek and jaw. That would be one scar he would carry for the rest of his life.

And then the bomb at Utopia Planitia. The rebellion. The battle of Betazed. The capture of Larkin, Hardgrove, Major, and Lietra. Major's death, a death they would probably never have all the answers for. The War Council, sitting down at the same table with criminals. And now tomorrow, the arrival of Yasha.

He thought about all that as he walked. He found he had wandered into the personnel quarters section of the starbase. The corridors were silent, and he knew sleeping people could be found behind most of the doors. People that still had a Federation to be a part of because of the actions he had taken, and because of the sacrifices of so many.

Suddenly, Tom realized with a start the date. According to the Earth Calendar, it was January 1, 2753. One full year had passed since Captain Major first arrived on the starbase. One full year. Wow, so much has happened in this past year, but it all went by so fast.

As he continued to walk and reflect on the last year, he began to feel very happy. It had been an extremely difficult year, and they faced an uphill battle in the coming years. But everything he and everybody else had done - all the difficult decisions, all the actions and inactions, all the sacrifices - all of that had helped give the citizens of the Federation hope.

Hope alone won't beat the Alliance, he thought to himself, but it is the necessary first step.

He turned and strolled down another corridor. We might just survive this after all, he thought to himself. He knew it was the first time he had ever believed that to be true since the rebellion against Command had started. "And that," he said aloud, "means we've already succeeded."