Office of the Federation President, Paris, France
Guest_Dr Thomas Grayson (Adm-Ret)_*
Posted Star Date 21209.05 @ 22:10 (10:10 PM)
Posted Star Date 21311.02 @ 18:57 (06:57 PM)
The Federation Council had voted. The vote had been close, but definitive. After a consensus of no confidence in President Beckett, the council had determined that immediate removal was their only available course of action.
Emily Scott, Commander of Star Fleet Security, and among Star Fleet's most senior admirals, had been tasked with informing the President and seeing to his removal from office. The council was finished with Beckett and had already moved on to the task of replacing him.
She was flanked by two security officers as she entered the President's office.
Emily felt the whole situation to be an embarrassment. Beckett was still well respected within Star Fleet, still popular with the people, a forceful removal from office was not necessary. The council felt otherwise however and so, here she was, under orders to do just that.
Beckett's staff had quickly led her in. She shook the man's hand firmly, nodded with respect, and then did what she was there to do.
"Jonathan Beckett, by order of the Federation Council, you are hereby removed from office. I am here to escort you to San Francisco, where you will be placed into protective custody at Star Fleet Security."
It was done. Beckett was too smart to try and fight the order. The Council had ceased control of the situation and they were now all serving at its pleasure.
As she led her friend from his former office, she squeezed his arm and whispered, "I'm sorry, Jon."
Guest_President Selin Prenn_*
Posted Star Date 21311.03 @ 16:00 (04:00 PM)
Selin sat behind the desk. He looked around the room. It was slightly surreal to him. He’d aspired to his role—and had always known, at some level, that he’d reach it. He hadn’t expected it to come so easily.
This must be destiny. The vote was such an overwhelming majority. Beckett can rot in a Security cell now. I’ll hold up the proceedings on his charges as long as possible, to keep him out of the way, and to keep the public unaware of how little he did to earn this. Maybe we can find a few new charges in the meanwhile, tarnish his reputation completely.
He looked out the windows at Paris, smiled.
I’m here. I’ve done it. Me. No one else. Just me. Finally, I can lead the Federation into a new era. We can become explorers, spreading peace throughout the galaxy, and teaching those who disagree how wonderful we are. The transformation of Star Fleet has to become one of my driving policies. I will need to teach those barbarians that they can be so much more, if only they allow themselves to see the truth.
[Mister President,] the voice from the desk intercom spoke. That has such a nice sound to it…
[President Prenn, are you there?] That sounds even better… ‘President Prenn’. Alliteration at it’s best.
The door slid open and two of Prenn’s top advisors stepped in, along with his secretary. He looked the most concerned of the three. “Sir?”
Prenn turned from the windows, beaming, a huge smile on his face. “I’m sorry, Dorin. I was lost in thought.”
“Of course,” said Dorin. He was such an obedient assistant. Then again, why wouldn’t he be? He worked for the most wonderful man ever to lead the Federation. “Sir, your 10-o’clock is here.” He indicated the two with him.
“Gentlemen,” said Prenn, not getting up from his chair. He shouldn’t have to. They were subservient to him, and he needed show them no deference. “Sit down, please.”
He indicated the two chairs opposite. Dorin left. The two others entered and took the chairs. Prenn considered them for a few moments, and as one of them seemed ready to speak, he held up a single finger to tell them to wait. They did! Obedient serfs!
He turned to his console, tapped out a quick message, realizing a huge error had been made in the Presidential office décor, probably from the very beginning!
[DORIN: I need for you to call in the designers. We need a larger desk, and a larger chair for me with a higher back. Both need to be on a platform 5 centimeters above the rest of the office floor surface; and both need to be very ornate. We need to replace the chairs that others sit in with simpler, plainer, chairs. Less padding is crucial so that they don’t feel like they can lounge around in my office. Oh! Put a heating unit and massage field into my new chair as well! And on the guest chairs, please lower them 2 centimeters… just enough to force them to look up at me, but so little that most won’t notice. Please have a set of designs done by end of day, for implementation tomorrow.]
He sent the message and smiled as he turned back to the two guests. “The important tasks of running the Federation, and cleaning up the messes of my predecessor are never done. Now, what can I do for the two of you?”
Guest_President Selin Prenn_*
Posted Star Date 21311.22 @ 02:16 (02:16 AM)
The entire press conference was broadcast on all standard channels.
Prenn felt that the press conference was going amazingly well. His speechwriters had fed his holo-prompter with just the information that the reporters wanted to hear. It helped that they had such an amazingly good grasp of the journalists’ views and such great relationships with their organizations that they had a heads-up on virtually every question to be asked, so that they could be covered before they were actually asked.
After only 14 minutes he was about to leave the podium, with half of the reporters actually applauding a few of his statements.
I am every bit as perfect for this job as the naysayers feared. They feared that the people would love me this much. They were right to…
He smiled, waved, and started to step back.
“President Prenn!” The voice was familiar, and Prenn suppressed a wince, smiling instead, as he turned to face to Oliver Redav, the Palais correspondent from The Beam, one of the Federation’s most troubling news sources. The Beam was hardly worth notice to Prenn, and those who viewed the universe as he did. They were stuck in the past, over 2 centuries in the past. They reported a slanted, offensive, and horribly primitive view of things. They failed to see the value of the agenda which Prenn was putting forth, and their anchors repeatedly quoted the Articles like they were gospel from the Great Bird himself!
Prenn started to turn to leave again, hoping that the reporter would take the hint.
“Mister President! What of the stories circling that the Federation--that Star Fleet--is currently engaged in a quadrant-wide rout of the Krynar, and that other powers from the Alpha and Beta quadrants are assisting? And do you have any comment about the building fleet here? We just received a report that one of the ships has fired on the Krynar swarm, and that the Krynar ship may be preparing to fire on Earth! What plans are in place to protect the planet?”
Prenn saw his Press Secretary moving to take the podium, to rescue him, but he shook his head to her and turned back. Her Vulcan demeanor didn’t reveal it, but he knew she was annoyed at him.
So be it. I’m the boss.
“Oliver, you are obviously operating with information that I am not,” said Prenn with a smile that implied that he was being completely honest. “I can assure you that there are no agreements with other star nations for them to operate in our territory and that there are no fleets assembled in Terran orbit. Any information of this, must be erroneous.”
“We have holographic images showing--”
Prenn held up his hand. “There are some training exercises currently going on with the first fleet and our visiting guests. Perhaps one of your reporters mistook that for hostility.”
He then turned and left. Halfway to his office his chief of staff stepped up.
“I want to know what they’re doing,” he growled at his chief. “What is this about hostiles in our space? What is it about those Star Fleet barbarians and their desire to conquer the quadrant? I swear to you, if they start something with our friends--if they have launched some sort of attacks--if they have collaborated with the likes of the Romulans and Klingons and others--I will fire every last one of them!”
The chief of staff nodded. “I will find out immediately what is going on, sir, and report back to you within the hour.”
Prenn nodded as he reached the lift to his office, and turned. “I want names. I want to know who did what, when, and I want their asses in my office within 24 hours. And I want you to make sure that Star Fleet doesn’t **** off our new friends…”
The lift doors closed, and Prenn’s chief of staff turned and headed down the corridor. A Bajoran agent who’d been part of the government for over 40 years, she wasn’t one to dick around. She smiled to herself. I’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear, Prenn, just like I would have your predecessor if you’d not managed this coup. Either way, you’ll be my pawn for a while longer and then… let’s just say your usefulness might reach its end.
She turned the next corner and stepped into her office. That’s when the man in the shadows stepped out and pressed the cold end of an inactive laser scalpel to the base of her skull.
“Say a word and I’ll kill you.”
The door closed behind them...
Guest_President Selin Prenn_*
Posted Star Date 21311.23 @ 18:02 (06:02 PM)
Guest_President Selin Prenn_*
Posted Star Date 21312.18 @ 18:07 (06:07 PM)
Contrary to normal, this time he was clearly in the presence of armed Star Fleet Security forces, in body armor and PR-1 assault rifles. There was nothing subtle about his security contingent.
Prenn looked like he’d aged years in the weeks since his ascendancy to the presidency, crow’s feet near the corners of his eyes, and slight streaks of gray in his hair. He stood at a podium in one of the outdoor gardens where press conferences were often given.
The garden was filled with members of the press, and staffers from the President’s cabinet.
Prenn looked over the crowd, a stern and disappointed look on his face. When he spoke his tone was dark, and a bit harsh.
[Members of the United Federation of Planets, and our friends and allies; today I address you during a grave crisis.
Forces of the Krynar Confederacy, known also as the Krynar Inquisition, and serving the Voorik Congregation have spent the past two years waging a brutal war against the peaceful peoples of the Alpha Quadrant. They have subjugated, or ‘enlightened’, multiple planets’ populations, exterminated those who oppose them. They have killed countless billions in a brutal attack on Bajor, thousands of noble Star Fleet personnel perished at Star Base Charlie and Station Sierra Eighteen, as well as in other engagements across the Federation.
We’ve seen our member worlds stripped of their independence and ‘enlightened’. We’ve seen the invading forces attack and destroy anyone and anything that they could not brainwash to their ways.
Recently we even had a Krynar dreadnaught near Earth, just outside of Lunar orbit. That vessel, thankfully, left our system after only being here a short time.
In the past I have spoken of finding peace with the Krynar and other enlightened worlds and peoples. I have suggested that we should find a path which does not involve military action, but instead negotiation and perhaps even appeasement.
I was operating with false information.
Based on information recently obtained, I believe that we must fight back with everything that we are to push these invaders out of Federation territory, and work with our allies to ensure that they are kept out of the Alpha and Beta quadrants. We must defend our sovereignty and the sanctity of the Federation. We must rescue the Tellarites and other peoples from the grasp of this brutal inquisition, and ensure that they are kept at bay away from us.
As I speak to you today, Star Fleet forces are in the process of liberating the peaceful people of Tellar. The Tellarites will be re-integrated into our society, and we will be stronger for it.
There is no compromise. We must succeed.
Make no mistake about my intentions. I still believe that Star Fleet and the Federation need a greater dedication to peace and exploration than we have seen in recent years. I still believe that ours is a great star nation which has lost its way, and I will fundamentally transform the Federation into what it needs to be in the 25th century—a force for peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the galaxy, with a Star Fleet which, rather than building warships, builds peace-ships. Ships which will deliver the needed resources to the weaker and troubled societies, and which will share its resources with those less fortunate. Ships which will, only when defending helpless civilians, resort to armed conflict.
This war is to be the last war that the Federation shall fight. And we shall prevail. And then, under my guidance, we will scale back our war making machine and convert it to a prosperity machine.
Most importantly, we WILL prevail.
Thank you, and good night.]
The image faded as President Prenn retreated from the podium and back into the palace, his guards taking position to block anyone from approaching him.
Posted Star Date 21312.20 @ 03:30 (03:30 AM)
Kevin had a pretty good idea of what Prenn was going to say. So far it had seemed like Prenn was a broken record. Every time he spoke he mentioned peace, diplomacy, and exploration. These three things were not bad and Kevin honestly thought that during a normal election year Prenn would have a fairly good shot at beating Beckett in a Presidential campaign. Avery even had to admit that peace, diplomacy, and exploration might be enough to even gain his vote.
This however was anything but an ordinary time. Kevin had been a reporter for the FNN for over ten years. He had covered the most recent Romulan War in depth and he knew the horrors that war brought with it. The threat that the Krynar delivered made that feel like a rather peaceful time. Prenn therefore sounded like an ignorant broken record when calling for peace when the Federation was in a chess-like boxing match with a foe that was possibly the most dangerous they had ever faced.
Kevin however thought he knew something else Prenn was going to address. Kevin had received a very encrypted message a day before talking about a Star Fleet military attack in the Tellar system. Normally it would take several sources leaking such information for Kevin to even consider something so ludicrous being credible. This particular source had some very good connection in Star Fleet and the information contained only one sentence of personal message which simply said: "Consider us even."
Kevin knew at once who sent the data and that the data could be trusted. A few years before Kevin had risked his reputation, career, and even life (for he had very nearly died) to help fake the death of Derrick Grant. Kevin Avery had never been a big Derrick Grant fan but a man whose real name Kevin did not know had convinced Kevin that helping to fake Grant's death (while Grant was on trial for treason) was necessary for Federation Security. The man, who Kevin was sure was a spook, had promised to leak a few stories to Kevin in payment which he had done. Kevin had won two very prestigious awards in the last eighteen months thanks to tips from the mysterious man who had been posing as Grant's lawyer. Apparently this was the final tip Kevin would receive and it was proving to be the biggest of them all.
If Avery was right Prenn was going to confirm, and likely denounce, the operation at Tellar. While every other journalist present went to quickly write their story Kevin would simply release his already written piece and once again be the journalist who got the first scoop.
When Prenn arrived Kevin could tell that things were different. The President was almost never seen with a visible security detail. Avery doubted the President was actually allowed to appear anywhere without them but they usually blended in with the other staffers and were never in any special type of gear. Now however they were obvious and extremely visible. The guards were wearing heavy body armor and had PR-1's in their grasp.
Avery's attention had been so focused on the guards that he nearly missed just how bad Prenn looked. Kevin in fact was forced to take a second glance at the President of the United Federation of Planets. Prenn looked like he had aged a decade in the matter of days. Kevin had interviewed Beckett once while Beckett was president and while speaking off the record the President had mentioned that the job was the single most stressful thing he had ever done. Avery knew that, given Beckett's military record, that was saying quite a bit.
"He looks like hell ..." Kevin heard a nearby journalist mutter.
Kevin heard other comments begin to ripple quietly through the crowd but as soon as Prenn began to speak everyone fell silent.
Kevin listened with interest as Prenn spoke. It was almost as if a completely different man was standing before them. In the times that Prenn had spoken before he had always sounded 'bubbly'. He was the ever optimist who cringed at the thought of violence. Now however the man before them spoke in a dark and harsh tone. His language was as sharp as a blade and years of writing, which included speech writing, told Kevin that Prenn was speaking as someone who had perhaps been personally insulted. Maybe Prenn finally saw the threat that the Krynar posed and was insulted by the fact that he had had the wool drawn so powerfully over his eyes.
Kevin apparently had only been partially been right in his presuppositions about the press conference. His source had been correct about Tellar. Kevin had been wrong to think that Prenn was going to condemn the attack and vow another attempt at peace. Something had happened to Prenn that apparently changed the man and for the first time Kevin had a shimmer of hope that the new President was not going to get them all killed.
As the press conference drew to a close Kevin saw the security detail move in to whisk Prenn away before he could answer any questions. That however did not stop Kevin, and other journalist, from shouting out their questions at the retreating President.
"Mr President!" Kevin hollered loudly, "You said 'this war is to be the last war the Federation shall fight'. Has the Federation made an official deceleration of war? Is the Federation at war Mr. President!?"
Kevin waited to see if his question baited Prenn in to an answer. He doubted it would work but held out hope none-the-less.
Guest_Dr Thomas Grayson (Adm-Ret)_*
Posted Star Date 21312.20 @ 22:31 (10:31 PM)
“Pleassse,” hissed Gisss. “If you will all pleassse wait a moment, I would like to anssswer Missster Avery’sss quessstion.”
Others paused, turning. “The Federation Counsssil has not made a formal declaration of war against the Krynar Confederasssy, the Voorik Congregation, or anyone elssse. However it issssz the posssition of thisss adminissstration that with the invassszion and continued attacksss following the Presssidentsss attempt at a peassseful resszolution to thisss crisssisss a de-facto ssstate of war hasss been essstablissshhhed by action.”
“The Council isssz being called into an emergency sssessssssion by Pressszident Prenn and will, we sssussspect make a formal declaration within weeksss, if not sssooner.”
He held up his hand to stave off further questions.
“We will issssssue a formal ssstatement when there isss more to report.”
And then he left the room before anyone could follow up with another question.
Guest_President Selin Prenn_*
Posted Star Date 21408.20 @ 02:08 (02:08 AM)
President Prenn was having a good day. A major trade initiative he'd been pushing since taking office had just passed. It would be good for Trill, and good for the Federation. And it would help expand the power of his office, meaning it would be very good for President Prenn.
The election was in only a few months, on 21501.15; and it was what would be called a 'slam dunk' by some Terrans. He had no real competition, and the council was almost certain to renew him for a full four-year term. The first of many if he managed things properly, since there was no term limit in the Federation.
His new Chief of Staff, a Cardassian who'd grown up on a world awarded the Federation a half-century ago, was preparing the office for Prenn's latest statement. Enak Rinia had served Prenn well, and he was happy to have elevated him to Chief of Staff from his previous role of Federation Security Advisor. Rinia was also very good with the press, and often worked closely with the Press Secretary to ensure Prenn always looked his best.
Today the President was dressed in a dark burgundy jacket over a light blue tunic. His hair was being meticulously handled, and the make-up people were applying something to make his skin smooth and dull. Prenn didn't know why they couldn't just digitally alter his holo-image when it was transmitted. But they insisted it looked better this way.
They were just finishing up on his forehead make-up when the door burst open and in rushed his personal assistant, Pyzen Kinr, a fellow Trill. She was holding a padd with the latest (and final) revision to his statement.
“Mister President!” she said. Her voice was much too squeaky. Prenn could never see her addressing anyone seriously with that voice. Too bad, really. She was photogenic. But her voice would ruin it. Nobody could take her seriously.
“Yes, Pyzen?” he said. “What is the matter?” She got so easily excited.
“Mister President, it's the speech! You can't give it!” She looked panicked.
“Why not?” he asked. “Sit down, Pyzen. Tell me what's the matter.”
She wasn't the smartest girl. But she did do her job well.
She held out the PADD. “I highlighted the problem areas, Mister President. I think that... well the Klingons won't like the way you say that we should make peace with the Romulans, and the Mirak, and the... The Gorn, sir!”
Prenn smiled, patted her on the shoulder. “I've already spoken with the Klingon ambassador, Pyzen.” He reassured her. “There won't be any problems.”
She seemed to calm, and nodded. “Okay...” she looked relieved, perhaps a bit confused at being so easily relieved. Prenn was not confused. He knew exactly what he was doing.
He turned his million-credit smile on her and said, “Now go back and get those agriculture figures sorted and compiled for the Vardin sector. I will need them for my meeting tomorrow.”
“Yes, Mister President. Thank you, sir!” She bounced out of the room. Prenn watched her go.
Prenn then turned his attention back to getting ready.
“We're on in five minutes, sir,” said Rinia. He handed Prenn a glass of water. Prenn drank it down while the rest of the crew got ready.
Five minutes later he was sitting at his desk, a half-dozen holo-cams focused on him, and off-camera the press director counted down on her fingers.
5... 4... 3... 2... and she pointed at him as he saw the little indicators illuminate.
Prenn looked into the viewers for a few moments, a serious but pleasant expression on his face.
“Hello citizens of the Federation, of the Galaxy.
I am pleased to announce that today the Federation Council voted 96% in favor of a new trade agreement with the Gorn Hegemony and the Mirak Confederation. This agreement will mean a valuable exchange of resources vital to the rebuilding of our damaged Federation, notably providing food and medical support to our efforts at Betazed, Risa, and Tellar. In exchange, we will provide passage to Gorn and Mirak vessels through our space so that they may avoid passing through Klingon space in their trading with one another, ourselves, and the other galactic powers.
I have also conferred with the leaders of the other major galactic powers to assure them that this is no threat to their spheres of influence and offered them similar agreements. Those negotiations are on-going.
This will usher in a new era of cooperation in the Alpha, Beta, and with the advent of our transwarp gates, soon the Gamma and Delta quadrants as well. A new era where borders are no longer restrictive to trade, exploration, and settlement.
It is the goal of this administration to remove all barriers to peaceful coexistence between the peoples of the galaxy through cooperation, relaxation of our borders, and ensuring that Star Fleet has a less threatening stance toward our friends, and toward those we seek out.
It has long been the goal of this Federation to seek out peaceful friendship with the peoples of the galaxy, and it is this administration's primary purpose to make sure that's where we go.
Expect to see a Federation-wide change in how we conduct our affairs. Expect to see us reach out to our friends and neighbors, and then beyond, with an open palm of friendship and cooperation. There is no place for a closed-fist in this Federation!
Thank you, and may the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless this Federation and the Galaxy as a whole.”
The lights faded, and Prenn sat back, loosened his collar, and finished his glass of water.
Rinia approached and smied. “That was excellent, sir. Perfect.”
A few moments later things were not so perfect...
Guest_President Selin Prenn_*
Posted Star Date 21409.13 @ 01:27 (01:27 AM)
== Star Date 21409.13 ==
“There we go, sir,” said the nurse as she carefully removed the device from President Selin Prenn’s abdomen. It bleeped as she deactivated it and put it away. She carefully placed it in her medical kit case, and closed the case. She smiled pleasantly. “How are you feeling, Mister President?”
She pulled his tunic back down and helped him to straighten it. He could do it himself, and in fact it sort of annoyed him that she helped him so. He sat up and smiled at her, attempting to look thankful.
She was a young Terran girl, who was now living at Palais de la Concorde in one of the guest rooms. She had been since Prenn had his first spell. That’s what they were calling it. A ‘spell’. Like some magician had cast it upon him. Like it was something that would pass. But they had told him that not only would it not pass, but it was progressing very fast. It was not a spell. He would have it for the rest of his life. And that might not be as long as he’d once thought.
“Good today, thank you Shelley. I feel as good as new after each treatment. I only wish that they weren’t increasing in frequency so rapidly.” His voice was weak compared to before. They said that would happen. That the treatments would make his breathing dryer, make his breath a bit less deep. Make him feel older. Eventually make him look older.
Selin Prenn looked at himself in the wall mirror. He still looked like himself. The hair wasn’t graying. His skin was starting to get a bit dry, but moisturizing treatments were helping there, at least for now.
She finished packing up the equipment and made her way out. “Call me if you need anything, sir.”
Prenn just nodded as the door closed and she left. Then he went around to his desk and sat down heavily. He felt a hundred years old. And he was barely sixty.
He looked at his console. There were messages in there. His schedule for the day. He had a meeting. He was certain of it. He just couldn’t remember where, or with whom. And he couldn’t remember how to turn on the console. This was ridiculous. He’d been using computers for four lifetimes. His second host had been a computer engineer. And now he couldn’t remember how to open his calendar.
Prenn stared at the screen, frustrated. A single tear started to form in the corner of his right eye. He blinked it away, just as the door opened.
Enak Rinia, his Chief of Staff, entered carrying a PADD. She would have his schedule. She would tell him where he needed to be. She smiled warmly. Perhaps a bit sadly. Pity. Prenn didn’t need pity. He was the most powerful man in the quadrant. He needed pity from no one.
“Sir,” she said. “Good morning. I hope you slept well.”
“I did,” he murmured. Prenn had never murmured before the ‘spell’. “It’s one of the few things I find easy these days, Enak. What do we have today?”
“We have a pretty easy day, sir. This morning you are meeting with the Earth delegation to the council. They want to discuss upgrading the planetary shielding, and it’s within the plans we already approved in the budget. You are having lunch with Admiral Danvers of Star Fleet Logistics. He wants to discuss the future of logistics and support with you now that we have the transwarp gates working, and—“
The rest faded out as Prenn’s mind wandered. It was nearly five minutes later when he looked up to see his Chief of Staff looking at him with concern.
“Are you okay, Mister President?” she asked with concern. “Should I call the nurse?”
“No,” he said. “I mean yes. No. I am fine. What time is the Tholian ambassador arriving for our discussion over Acamar?”
Enak paused. “Mister President… you met with the Tholian ambassador last week.”
“Right right,” he said nodding. “I remember. But when is the follow up meeting?”
“We did not schedule one, sir…”
“Well get on that for me. I want to meet with him as soon as possible. We need to finalize the trade agreement. And we also need to get the Romulan and Klingon ambassadors in here. This whole matter of the triangle region needs to be settled before it triggers another war.”
She nodded to him, made a note on her PADD, and turned. “On it, sir,” she said, but her voice and her face were sad as she left.
Prenn turned in his chair, looking out the windows at the beautiful city beyond. He stood up, leaned against the window sill.
I really love this city, he thought. I only wish I knew what city it was…
A moment later it didn’t matter anymore.
A quantum torpedo had the blast output roughly equivalent to 64-megatons of TNT. A single torpedo, detonated in the center of Paris would devastate the city, the surrounding area, and would utterly destroy the Palais de la Concorde. It would be devastating.
Even a half of a percent of that would be devastating, if detonated within the ground below the palace. It would vaporize the earth below, and the palace would be incinerated, and a large crater would be created.
At the precise moment that the President leaned on his window, 2 kilometers below the surface, a 320 kiloton antimatter explosive was detonated. The city rumbled and shook, like an earthquake had hit. This was impossible, as earthquakes did not happen on Earth anymore… certainly not without plenty of warning.
The palace was incinerated, the debris sinking into a massive hole in the ground. The palace complex was now a large crater, 812 people killed instantly. A few thousand more seriously injured in the blast. Hundreds of thousands with minor injuries. A few million shook up from the rumble.
The Presidential Palace of the United Federation of Planets was now gone. And so was the President.
Star Fleet S&R teams responded immediately. Security forces beamed into Paris, to establish order, to begin an investigation. Scientists. Doctors. Investigators. Guards. Peace Officers. A massive manhunt would start within minutes. A massive investigation that could last months, or years.
A Federation President had never before been assassinated.
Thousands of miles away, in Tokyo, the Federation Council was being called into emergency session, only a few minutes after the attack.
Posted Star Date 21509.20 @ 23:03 (11:03 PM)
“I don’t like it. If this leaks to the press before we get ahead of it we’ll look like we’re not in control. Star Fleet answers to the civilian government. And if there is some sort of fracture within Star Fleet, we need to be on top of this. I need a statement prepared that I can read at least—if not a full press conference.”
Barnett was pacing in his office—his new office—in Paris. The Palais had been rebuilt in its old image—only with a lot more reinforcement. There were now overlapping forcefields. Above, around, and below the ground. Additionally there were now, cleverly hidden, phaser turret banks in the structure to protect from external threats, new reinforcement in the structure itself, internal countermeasures.
Of course to anyone visiting it looked just as always, perhaps with the doors and walls slightly thicker and heavier, but most would not notice.
“Mister President, for now at least, it is best if we avoid any public displays. It is best if we do not lend credit to these rumors. If and when, we find that this Admiral—“ the Chief of Staff referenced his notes “—this Admiral Grayson acts overtly, we have been assured by Star Fleet that he will be dealt with.”
Dealt with. Is that what we do now? ‘Deal with’ those who disagree? Shouldn’t we be opening a dialog. Isn’t that what the Federation is about? Talking out our problems, coming to amicable compromises and agreements? Not ‘dealing with’ our problems with fleets. That’s just what riles up the isolationists and others. That we have moved so far from the founding principles.
Joshua turned, looked at his chief, shaking his head. “Do we think this is a legitimate attempt at secession? Have any planetary governments announced allegiance with him? Or is this a case of a rogue Admiral becoming a warlord?”
“As far as we can tell, it’s an Admiral who may be misguided into thinking that the core has been infiltrated. At all levels, civilian and military. I have verified with Star Fleet leadership here at Earth that they have investigated and found no evidence of infiltration or insurrection here. And they state that Admiral Grayson has command of a significant portion of the Fleet, however we don’t know how many are truly loyal to him.”
Barnett leaned back on the edge of his desk, crossed his arms, looked out the windows. Aircars were flitting about Paris. It was a beautiful day. The weather was nice, and life seemed normal. People were oblivious of the crisis looming.
“I’d still like a public statement from this office,” said Barnett.
“We’ve arranged for Vice President Gavoath to handle that, sir. We feel it’s something that would not do your image good. When we have confirmed that Grayson intends to move on us, or does something overtly dangerous, then we’ll bring you out to rally the citizens.”
Gavoath. That doesn’t give me peace. I still don’t know how I feel about him…
“Very well. What else is on our agenda?”
“At fifteen hundred there is a meeting about scheduling your interplanetary tour,” said the Chief. “But in light of recent events we may have to alter the list of worlds to be visited—to keep you away from systems near any hostilities which may erupt.”
And right back to this…
“Very well. Make sure we are still visiting Trill, Betazed, and Bajor. The last two were hit hard in the Krynar war, and it’s important we visit them.”
The Chief of Staff shifted uncomfortably. “I’ll see what I can do, Mister President.”
A chime sounded, and the Chief of Staff answered on the desk unit.
[Ambassador Shirak is here.]
“Very well, send him in.”
Barnett moved behind his desk, and the Chief of Staff moved toward the other exit. “Call me if you need me. And Joshua—it’ll all work out.”
“I hope so,” said Barnett. I thought when I was elected that we’d have relative peace at least for a few years…
Then the doors opened and in came the pod carrying Ambassador Shirak. Shirak was of a squid-like species, and traveled in what looked like a giant fish tank, with a grav-lift and COMM equipment patched into it.
Barnett stood, motioning to a spot which had been cleared near the sofa in the room. He moved to the sofa while the pod floated over toward the spot.
“Ambassador, thank you for coming. I understand that you wanted to discuss a new trade agreement…”
== Fade to black ==
Posted Star Date 21709.07 @ 21:56 (09:56 PM)
== Palais de Concorde, Paris ==
Security in the past few years had been exponentially increased. But the beautify of ‘modern’ security is it was almost invisible, for the most part. The extra security checkpoints at a 1-kilometer perimeter weren’t invisible. Nor were the added guards—at least the uniformed ones. But apart from that—and the reinforced EVERYTHING inside the building, it was invisible.
President Joshua Barnett looked out the window. Modern technology couldn’t prevent the slight shimmer that the forcefields—three of them, one inside, one outside, and one in the middle—of the ballistic transparent aluminum ‘glass’ created, or the slight distortion from the thickness of the window. They had even installed a holoviewer into the windows, which could replicate the exact image of the outside on the inside of the window using some sort of technological voodoo that he didn’t understand. But it still wasn’t ‘real’.
He could, of course, open the windows. Or even the French doors and step out onto the balcony—still protected by layers of forcefields, sensor dampening systems, and other technological magic.
But he was still very much a prisoner. More so than any previous Federation President, Joshua Barnett, who had won in a landslide election, was a prisoner. He knew going in that he’d be a prisoner to the security, the politics, the life. But to actually live it was different than the briefings had indicated. More restrictive.
Right this minute, within seconds of me, are over two dozen security personnel.
He turned toward the chime, coming from his desk.
“Computer, open channel.”
His Chief of Staff appeared. “Mister President, the Gorn Foreign Minister is on the line.”
Joshua glanced at the chronometer on his desk.
That was quick…
“Wait ten seconds and then put him through,” he said, sitting at his chair. He composed himself just as the screen came to life.
“Minister Joraxx, how can I help you today?”
There was a delay as two dozen subspace relay stations sent his message over 100 light years. It was unnoticeable at closer distances, but now it was nearly ¼-second. Nearly.
[Pressident Barnett,] hissed the Gorn as his image fully resolved. He was a greenish/purplish, and one of the largest Gorn Barnett had ever met. When they met in person two years ago the man towered over everyone in the room. And had to weigh what a small moon did. Fat Gorn were rare. Minister Joraxx was fat.
[I sssussspect you know why I am calling today… ssso can we pleassse dissspenssse with the usssual pleasssantriesss?]
The minister’s accent was strong. He wasn’t using a translator, and he was about as far from a native speaker of Standard as one could be and still communicate. The fact that his syntax was so good was amazing.
Joshua nodded. “Very well,” he said.
The Gorn continued. [The recent eventsss in the sssyssstem you call Jeraptha are mossst troubling to usss. What is Ssstar Fleet and the Federation going to do about the attacksss there by the Tholiansss?]
Joshua frowned slightly. I really wish he’d just use the damned translator.
“Minister Joraxx,” he said, wondering why this had escalated to him speaking to the Foreign Minister directly. “As I believe my people have told you, we are still investigating those events, and we are not certain that the Tholians were behind it. The investigation is still—”
The Gorn slammed his fist down on the table on his end. [Unacceptable! If you do take action, we will!] Several words were spoken in the Gorn tongue and not translated. The screen, at the bottom, simply read [EPITHETS, INVECTIVES]. [The attackersss were in Tholian vessssselsss! And they usssed Tholain communicationsssss! Ssstar Fleet AND Gorn civiliansss were killed! If you do not take action in ssssix daysss, we will launch our third battle group and attack the Tholian border bassse at Sssector 319!]
“Ministe—” but Joshua stopped as the screen was now just displaying a Federation Flag and the words SIGNAL TERMINATED.
He tapped a control on his desk. “Get him back!” he nearly shouted.
There was a pause of fifteen seconds.
[I’m sorry, Mister President, but we cannot re-establish contact. It appears that the source is… well it’s gone, sir.] It wasn’t his Chief of Staff. It was one of the COMM-Techs answering.
“What do you mean, gone?” asked Barnett, a cold fear filling him.
[Well the COMM was originated aboard a Gorn station and that station is no longer responding to COMMs. I mean the systems are just not responsive—not that they aren’t answering. The computers always handshake back and they’re not. Perhaps a power or equipment failure.]
Most of what Barnett heard was ‘we don’t know what’s going on’. The rest was gibberish to him.
“Contact Star Fleet. I want to know what happened out there.”
He closed the COMM and sat back. His Chief of Staff entered a few moments later and shook her head slowly.
He nodded in agreement. This could mean a war between the Tholians and Gorn. And the quadrant couldn’t handle another war right now.
“Sir, there is an option,” she said. “To keep this out of the public eye, and maybe, just maybe, solve our problems.”
“Let’s hear it,” said Joshua.
She told him, and the more he heard the more he was relieved… and worried at the same time.
== Dun Dun Dun… ==
Posted Star Date 21710.25 @ 22:40 (10:40 PM)
== Palais de la Concorde, Paris ==
“The Federation, in creating such an obvious first strike weapon, has severely upset the balance of power in this quadrant!” shouted Ambassador Gorak, slamming his fist on the conference room table.
Barnett noticed his guards tense slightly from the other side of the room, but with a look from him, they didn’t act. Yet.
“Ambassador,” said Joshua Barnett. “There is no need to get so worked up over this. The Klingon Empire is our ally, and besides, as I already explained, the Transwarp Gate technology is only used within the Federation, and for deep space exploration. And we have offered to let the Klingon Empire use our gates for any peaceful means you wish. In fact, I have been informed that just last week thirty-one Klingon vessels used the gate system we have built.”
“Then share the technology with us,” demanded Gorak. “We demand—”
Joshua held up his hand. “I already explained to you, that we can’t do so. Besides, my people tell me that Klingon power systems are incompatible with the gates, so even if we—”
“Tell me, Mister President,” he said. “Tell me—if this is a technology for peaceful means only, why did the Federation use it to strike at the Hur’Q?”
It took Joshua a second but then he remembered. Hur’Q is what they call the Krynar.
“That was for the benefit of all peoples, and in fact your people helped us in that endeavor. And since then we have re-classified the technology. We do not use it outside our borders except for exploration purposes.”
A chime went off on Barnett’s desk.
“I’m sorry, Ambassador, but I have another meeting.”
“I bet you do…” said Gorak, standing. “This is not over. If we are your allies as you say then you will share this technology with us. Or there will be war.”
With that, Gorak stormed out.
== More to come... ==
Posted Star Date 21710.30 @ 18:13 (06:13 PM)
== Presidential Offices, Earth ==
[We find this situation to be unacceptable. We will discuss with our allies and decide on an appropriate response to the looming threat that your gate technology presents to the rest of the galaxy.]
The translator did nothing to soften the harsh tones of the Tholian’s voice, and Joshua tried hard not to wince at the volume.
I think he keeps it turned up to maximum volume just to dominate.
“As we have explained, we are willing to allow the Tholians, or any others, to use the gates for any peaceful means. And we have as a policy to only use them for peaceful exploration and internal travel, excepting in response to military action against us or with permission of others to use them to enter their space.”
[Define ‘response to military action’,] stated the Tholian.
“If we are attacked, we reserve the right to use all technology at our disposal to ensure the safety of the people of the Federation; but only if we are attacked first,” responded Joshua in carefully measured tones.
[You will then use it to project force anywhere required to, as you state, ‘ensure the safety of the people of the Federation’,] stated the Tholian. [Including invading others.]
Joshua sighed. “Look, Ambassador. With all due respect, it is only right that we would, to protect ourselves—”
[Define ‘protect ourselves’,] said the Tholian.
They could be so pedantic.
Joshua shook his head. “No,” he said firmly. “I am not going to sit here and define every statement made to you. Our public statement to your government explains in proper detail the use of the gates, and how they can benefit the Tholians. The Klingons have already agreed to use of gate warp into their territory for diplomatic and mercantile purposes, and we expe—”
[The Klingons are the puppets of the Federation, and have been for a century.]
“I think Chancellor Gorram would argue that statement,” said Joshua. “But it matters not. What matters is that—”
The Tholian rose, his forcefield rippling as he did so.
[I will concur with the assembly and our allies. As of now, we consider the gate technology to be a direct threat to the Tholian Assembly. We will decide if it constitutes an act of war.]
He left, and Joshua Barnett, President of the United Federation of Planets, sat back heavily with a sigh.
Why did I want this job?
Posted Star Date 21805.22 @ 14:08 (02:08 PM)
== Palais de la Concorde, Paris, France ==
== Press Conference ==
Fia Zh’Elch, Press Secretary to President Barnett stepped up to the podium. The holocameras came alive, and her words and image would be transmitted across the Federation (and beyond).
“I will read a prepared statement. No questions will be taken.”
Grumbles from the press corps could be heard.
“As you all know, for the past three years, Elizabeth Barnett has been suffering from advanced Irumodic Syndrome. Her condition has worsened substantially in the past six months, which is why she has ceased public appearances.
“The President has, in the past several weeks, been spending substantial amounts of time with the First Lady and has been in discussion with his cabinet and staff regarding how to best proceed, both for the good of his family and that of the Federation.”
Zh’Elch paused briefly.
“This morning the President announced to his staff and leaders of the Federation Council, in a private holoconference, that he will not seek re-election, and that he will be retiring from public service effective Star Date 21805.31. We expect a smooth transition of power to the Vice President or another person as selected by the Council.”
“Further information will be made available at a later date.”
The press corps erupted, but Zh’Elch, true to her words, turned and left without acknowledging them.
== This will be my last in-game post as President Barnett ==