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From the Ashes of the Federation

Posted on Sunday, 10 January 2021 - 4:31pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Commander Soral

Mission: Operation: Ouroboros
Location: Earth: San Francisco


Commander Stillwater has been back on the Standing Bear momentarily, speaking with Lieutenant Vali and meeting with Lieutenant Kolani in regards to separate matters. The Kolani meeting still had Stillwater thinking, but he and his First Officer were due back on Earth scheduled for a meeting with the Chief of Starfleet Operations which was originally slated to occur at in Paris, but had been pushed back and relocated to San Francisco. There still had been no official word of who had or had not been aboard the shuttlecraft that exploded nor any reports of survivors, though Stillwater was not optimistic in that regard.

Stillwater had arrived, dressed in the current dress uniform version of the standard uniform of the era. He had sent a notice to Soral of the change of attire. Normally, the dress uniforms were worn for formal functions, not for a mission briefing by Starfleet Command or the Chief of Starfleet Operations, but the past few days had been bizarre to say the least. Stillwater had been asked to wait outside the doors to a conference room, waiting for his First Officer to arrive and for their mission briefing to begin.

Soral had never liked the dress uniform. It had been uncomfortable and restrictive and as of late he had felt like a fraud wearing it. Yet he'd put it on and arrived on Earth early to have cup of calming tea and visit the Vulcan shrine. Once that was out of the way he checked on a few 'issues' that the Ambassador had brought to his attention and he in turn to the V'Shar. Now he made his way to Commander Stillwater who seemed to be waiting for him. "Sir. You are early."

"I'm not Vulcan," replied Stillwater. That was evident of course, but Barret used it as a quick reasoning for why he was early. "I like to be early, Soral. It has a tendency to unnerve people, and I've been trying to listen to conversations that I'm not supposed to be hearing."

"A most logical reason." He gave a nod. "Has anything come up in the conversations you were not supposed to be hearing?"

"Unfortunately, I have not been able to gather much," replied Stillwater. "What I would give to be a Ferengi just for a few minutes, just to hear what was going on in these rooms," he added looking at Soral. It was only a moment later that the doors near them opened and a man, a rather short Efrosian with snow while hair and deep oranged skin and a PaDD in hand came out and scrutinized them with a narrowing look.

"Stillwater and Soral," he said to the two of them. "Right this way, gentlemen. We have been expecting you, come on. Come along now," the Efrosian said. They were never a species known for small talk nor much delicacy. They were known to be varying degrees of assertive and often radiated confidence that bordered on arrogance.

"As you say. We come to serve." He said to the Efrosian.

Stillwater had followed the Efrosian with his First Officer. They had walked right into a conference room, and found themselves in a room with several people. The seniormost councilor on the Federation Council was there, a fluted glass in hand. The man looked practically Human, but was not of Earth. He was a Ramatisian with sunken eyes, dark circles around them indicating that he had not slept much, if at all for quite some time. His hair was silvery gray and had a rather high forehead or receding hairline. He was a thin, frail-looking man, probably past a century old, but looked as though he was still as sharp as ever mentally.

Soral stood by his captain's side. He was curious as to the pomp and ceremony. He was by no means happy to be here and something in his gut was not right...or it could be the Plomeek soup he had.

"Councilor," Stillwater said addressing the man, thought the Ramatasian simply nodded and gestured for the two to have a seat.

"Gentlemen, please be seated. Thank you Commander, but it is actually President as of a few hours ago. The Chief Justice oversaw my oath of office."

Stillwater's heart felt as though it sunk. If the Chief Councilor had been sworn in as President, it meant things were bad. The President and Vice President had been unable to perform the duties of the office...killed perhaps.

Soral raised an eyebrow but said nothing. "How may we be of service Mr. President?"

The President of the Federation looked over to another man, a staff member undoubtedly. The man carried two PaDDs over and handed them to the President who in turn handed one each to Soral and to Stillwater. "Your orders, gentlemen," commented the President with a raspy voice in a stern tone. "The USS Standing Bear is going back into the frying pan. Our intelligence communities here and abroad across the Federation will handle matters here. You and your crew have been beneficial and for that I am grateful. The Federation is grateful, gentlemen"

Commander Stillwater nodded. "Mister President, thank you. We were doing what we were sworn to do, protect the Federation."

Soral gave a nod, "Indeed."

"Be that as it may, gentlemen, you have done so with heroism," the President responded. The President's aide once again stepped forward, flanking him with a rectangular box. "In recognition for heroism, acts to protect the United Federation of Planets, the prestigious and exclusive Order of Karagite has officially requested that I present you both with these medals. The Karagite Order of Heroism is not a decoration given out lightly. You are now members of this order, a brotherhood. You will receive more information in due time and invites to gatherings held by your brethren."

Soral simply raised an eyebrow. A medal of Heroism? It felt a little hollow given that Soral's feelings towards what the Federation had become and their treatment of Romulans had soured him. But it was an honour. He gave a nod of thanks to the president.

The President cleared his throat, and an Admiral then stepped forward, joining at the President's side with a smaller metallic box which the Admiral opened. Two solid gold rank pips were contained inside. "I have read your personnel file, Barret Stillwater. You have served as Commanding Officer of several commands as Captain in position, but never in rank. Today, this changes, and it is great honor that I as President of the United Federation of Planets do hereby promote you Barret Stillwater to the rank of Captain in Starfleet with all the privileges and responsibilities that come along with the rank."

The Admiral took one pip and placed it delicately next the the other three on Stillwater's uniform. "Congratulation, Captain Stillwater," said the Admiral in a hushed voice.

Turning to the Vulcan, the President reached out extending his hand to shake the Vulcan's. "Lieutenant Commander Soral, your service record is distinguished yet marred with an incident in 2386 which resulted in a reprimand, all but snuffing the flame of your career in Starfleet. Nevertheless, you persisted. You rose above that reprimand and became First Officer of the USS Standing Bear and earned a battlefield promotion to Lieutenant Commander."

"I am hereby ordering the Chief of Starfleet Operations and the Secretary of Starfleet by Presidental order to expunge the incident from your service record and retroactively certify your promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 2393 as an official promotion in rank. Furthermore," the President said as the Admiral stepped forward with the other pip.

"Lieutenant Commander Soral, you are effectively and immediately given a provisional promotion to Commander, with caveats. This rank is provisional under the condition that you remain aboard the USS Standing Bear as First Officer, any request to transfer will nullify this provisional rank and you will be restored to the rank of Lieutenant Commander; however, you have been given five months to complete several command courses and a final examination through Starfleet Academy. Upon successful completion, you will be officially the holder of the rank of Commander with full rights, responsibilities, and privileges of Commander."

Soral was rendered speechless. He stared at the man. He kept his mouth tightly shut for moment less he babble. Finding his voice he bowed. "I am honoured." He paused. "May I ask a question sir?"

"Of course, Commander," replied the President.

"Does that entail me leaving the Standing Bear for the next five months?"

The President looked smugly at Stillwater. Then, returned his focus to the Vulcan. "No, you can take most things remotely through subspace and holo programs we will prepare and submit to the Standing Bear." The President cleared his throat. "You only require to have a proctor advising you, and we believe with his experience, Captain Stillwater will do just fine in that position."

"I see. Another question sir?"

"Yes?" inquired the President

"Is it still custom to bribe the proctor with an apple?"

Stillwater looked at Soral. "I am not a fan of apples, Commander. You may, however, bribe me with apple flavored whiskey or hard cider."


The President gave a nod to the two men. "Captain, Commander, you two gentlemen have your orders. I suggest getting back to the Standing Bear shortly. You are slated to disembark from Jupiter station within the next 48 hours and be underway heading to what used to be the Romulan Neutral Zone," said the President as his bid adieu to the men. "Dismissed, gentlemen," he added, the Admiral and staff member joining him.

Soral suddenly felt at home going towards the neutral zone. The irony wasn't lost on him. They were going to the place that had ensured a reprimand in his record and he was once again...pardoned for something he didn't see as a pardonable offence." Suddenly uncomfortable he waited until Stillwater and he were clear of the room before he took of the new pips and put them back in the box. "Fascinating."

"You heard the President," said Stillwater. "Time for us to get out of here and get back to our starship." Stillwater led the way.

"Indeed sir." The shuttle is ready and waiting. He pause, "Captain would you mind if ... we kept talking to a minimum?"

"I wasn't aware I was a chatterbox," replied Stillwater.

"I haven't meant it that way sir."

Stillwater remained quiet as they left. He was intrigued at reading more about their orders.



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