A Historic Day - Part II
Posted on Sunday, 10 October 2021 - 6:14pm by Commander Soral & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Captain Barret Stillwater
Edited on on Sunday, 10 October 2021 - 6:14pm
"Pissed a lot of people off and made himself a galactic enemy in the process," replied Stillwater. "Lieutenant, the Standing Bear is yours until the new Commanding Officer is arrives and orders to change command is given. See to it the starship is ready for their arrival."
“Sir?!” Alex turned to face him. “You aren’t staying until they arrive?”
Stillwater glared at the monitor showing and replaying the Vulcan matter. Stillwater, in uniform reached across his chest up towards the collar of his uniform a popped of pip after pip. Then, his communications badge with the Starfleet emblem. He handed it all to Kingsley.
"I was going to stay and arrange transport back to Prairie. Please let my husband know that he should stay on the Standing Bear and get that transport to Prairie."
“And when he asks where you are?”
"If he's watching that," Stillwater said pointing to the monitor with the news feed. "He won't ask where I am. He will know damn well where I am, but he might be pissed that I didn't take him. So, let him stew a bit."
Alex nodded, closing her hand around the pips and comm badge. “I’m sorry,” she offered. “You should be on that transport home not dealing with this…”
She had put off saying any notion of a goodbye and here it was, literally in the palm of her hand. Nothing seemed the right thing to say. “I’ll take good care of the ship Sir,” she promised. “What about the crew? They will want to say goodbye.”
"I said my goodbyes in that briefing room, anything else would be extra. The crew knows it was a fine crew and that I was proud to have been their Captain, but I believe they also would understand that with what is going on right now..." he shook his head. "My missing that transport is on Soral as will be the blood of thousands...millions, if he continues down this path."
“Permission to be completely unprofessional for a moment sir?”
"Abso-fucking-loutely granted," Stillwater replied. "My pips are off. You're dealing with Barret Stillwater right now, Lieutenant. Speak your mind without hesitance."
“Oh yeah,” she grinned, glancing down at her hand before she stepped forward and hugged him. “Thank you. I know you took a huge chance on me and many wouldn’t and it means a lot. And for everything you’ve done for Soral. I’ll miss you a lot. And Talarn too.”
"I'll miss you too," Stillwater replied. He embraced the woman. One day she would make a fine First Officer is she so chose it, but she was already a great Chief Science Officer.
“And Captain or not, you have permission to punch my husband if you want, just make sure to tell him one is from me.”
Barret could not look her in the eyes and agree to that. In his mind, Soral did more than make a political statement. He turned his back on the Federation, on the Standing Bear, and betrayed all trust Barret had placed in him. This was not a punch sort of matter. He would be fortunate to continue breathing when I'm through with him thought Stillwater.
A tall Vulcan woman walked by. "Excuse me," She said to Stillwater and Alex who were still embraced. "The vote is in, I wish to hear the result."
“The result is in already?” Alex frowned. Was that a good or bad sign?
The woman gave a nod. "Indeed, our people do not take long..."
"This is Sovan Kavel reporting, in record time the votes have been counted. We are being let back in the chambers to bring the vote results. This is a historic happening!" The video panned to the head of the council. "We have heard much talk today and those assembled have voted. A tie, equal votes for and against. By Vulcan rules the council will break the tie." He motioned for the Admiral to stand by his side. "We have heard all sides and with the vote being … so divided we the council are prepared to cast our vote."
The Vulcan woman back on the station looked at Alex. "This has never happened....a tie."
A tie. Alex heart sank. Had Soral’s speech almost ripped Vulcan from the heart of the Federation? It was unthinkable.
"That was too damn close," muttered Stillwater. What would have happened if the Vulcans had voted to leave? It was bad enough that the Andorians already had done so. If the Vulcans left, the Federation would collapse.
On screen the council member continued. "Vulcan will leave the Federation perhaps down the line, but not today. We cast our vote to stay within the Federation. There will be no planet referendum at this time, however, Shar of Vulcan."
Soral stepped forward.
"We have heard your side as well. It is time we engage in diplomacy with the Federation our citizens must be safe, Vulcans and Romulans must feel safe within the Federation and as you say, the conditions our Brethren must endure are not ideal. Vulcan will begin reunification talks perhaps not the Romulan empire but a new RomuloVulcan one."
Soral bowed. "A new age of unity for Vulcan and perhaps more understanding from the Federation." Soral and the Admiral both shook hands with the Council members, not a Vulcan way but a Federation ceremony.
The Admiral's voice carried. "Starfleet, the Federation are honoured that Vulcan will stay...we have much to discuss and a new path forward. Vulcan, just as any of our member planets are vital to the Federation. We have been through much and I hope that it will never come where our Vulcan brothers and sisters will separate" He turned and followed the council out of the room.
Back on the station the Vulcan woman sighed. "Thank the Gods of your Earth," She said to Alex. " My husband is Terran...It would have been difficult to leave him and return to Vulcan..Shar spoke well I have read his writings and...the questions he posed changed my view, I wonder how many more views were changed. Nonetheless Duty awaits." Relived she left.
Alex stared after her, unable to really share the woman's apparent relief and gratitude. Yes, Vulcan had rejected a second call to withdraw from the Federation but at what cost? Soral had spoken out against staying in the Federation. In essence a complete role reversal to the role Starfleet officers played during the times of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.
This time, a Starfleet officer argued in favour of Vulcan turning away from Federation. In her heart she knew he truly felt every word he had said and that only made it feel all the more painful. As if he had launched a personal attack on her, rather than against the wider Federation. And, feeling as he did, why would he ever want to come back?
Assuming Starfleet didn't kick him out.
"I wonder how much Grappa it would take to drown this particular headache," she whispered before turning back to Stillwater. She took a deep breath, "I hate goodbyes but I wish you a safe journey and please, stay in touch. I promise I will take care of the ship until our new CO arrives and I will ensure Talarn gets on that transport for home. After I convince him to leave behind some of his tea. I'm growing quite fond of it. It's been an honour, no longer Captain Barret Stillwater. Now, please go stop my husband from doing something else insanely stupid..."
"Insanely stupid or highly illogical," replied Stillwater. "I would like to think there is some sort of endgame here, something that you and I are missing, but I just do not see it, Alex. This move blindsided me. I will find your husband, but if he continues down this reckless path...I cannot protect him from the enemies he will be making in the upper echelon of Starfleet Command nor the Federation."
“Soral has always followed his own path, but it should be me protecting him, not you. Soral can be stubborn beyond imagination but I wish you luck.”
"Thank you, but I am his Captain. Though I am leaving Starfleet behind once again, the actions of my First Officer reflect on me...I do not want him undermining everything I have spent the past several months trying to protect."
“Of course,” she nodded. “Safe trip.”