Chapter 1 - A Long Needed Pause
Ghas returned to his quarters from the Computer Lab exhausted. Three hours of pouring over everything he and Nuhl had discovered plus the broadcast transmissions that repeated the same narrative had been challenging. The President was dead. Captain Crow was to blame. The Federation was complicit. When he was finished, he sent all he could to Commander Crow with the hopes that the rest of the Command Team could parse the truth out of what had happened within the last 18 hours.
Ghas walked to the Commode and relieved himself, too much water, too much stress. When he finished, he leaned his head against the coolness of the mirror above his sink. He looked at the reflection of his eyes and saw his years. How many times in history have stories like this played out? Assassinations, cover-ups, and political coups rarely ever ended peacefully and without more than just the death of a single politician.
A brief wrinkle crossed Evan’s forehead. In his mind’s eye, he could see the doctored picture of him and the Captain. Deep within him, a smile formed that passed to his lips. And then came the laughter. A guffaw. A burst of silliness that only he could feel. How absurd it was to think they would use him as a source of propaganda. Ever since Mercutio started her orbit around Firste, Ghas had remained neutral to the whole situation. His only goal was to serve Starfleet, to serve his captain. As an El-Aurian, the political affairs of one species had no bearing on his long life. He had seen the rise of The Federation as a younger man. He watched the lauded institution grow from a confederation of four worlds to what it was today: a shining example of strength in unity.
What was it that the Vulcans say, “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”?
But Firste was far from being unified. A planet whose entire existence was unknown to him and the crew until recently. A planet that was on the verge of all-out planetary conflict long before the Federation even decided on asking it to join its ranks.
Diversity? Yes, Firste had that in spades; in their philosophies, their religions, their socio-ethnicities. But from what Ghas could tell, diversity of thought even among each of these was not allowed. Somewhere, somehow, they remained stringent in their corners of the field. The Federation was founded on the principle of greater unity. And, every member world understood that greatly. Yet, Firste was nowhere near unified.
Why was the Federation adamant about having them join? This was a question that repeated often in Ghas’s mind. In fact, others in the crew vocalized this thought; the Firste weren’t ready. Something was missing from this narrative. Whatever that had cost a man his life. And nearly killed Captain Crow in the process.
That thought alone was far more frustrating to Evan than anything else. He had been a captain once, in a former life. He knew the risks. But that still didn’t make it any easier to watch his new friend drive off into the unknown. He can handle a politician dying. But Henry? Dead? No, that he couldn’t.
Evan finally laid down on his bunk. Weary from all the emotional energy around him. He didn’t bother to change out of his uniform, nor did he bother to shower. Tomorrow, or at least six hours later, he would wake up and a new day would be there. A new challenge to face. The Firste be damned.