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In the Face of Uncertainty

Posted on Tue Aug 31st, 2021 @ 10:24am by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Lieutenant Commander Jason Myers & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Lieutenant Naomi McLaren & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Veznia MD PSyD

Mission: Double Bind
Location: USS Astraea - Bridge

The source of the communications had been easy enough to locate, but as they drew closer and closer to their destination, scans and sensor data became more and more troubling. The space station that had been referenced during the communications it seemed was much more like the early Earth International Space Stations, running on something similar to photovoltaics rather than the fusion reactors or antimatter reactors that they would have expected.

The area of space around planet showed no signs of warp trails, nothing to indicate that space travel had been achieved. Indeed, given what they had seen so far, there was a strong probability that they were looking at a species that was not warp capable.

"Take us to the other side of the planet," Abigail ordered. "Use the moons to mask our presence. Lieutenant McLaren, get some probes ready to launch, we can use them to relay sensor data if needed." She paused, leaning back in her seat and crossing her legs. "Alright people, tell me what we're looking at."

"Aye Captain," Naomi replied, "Captain... Based on what we're seeing for technology I recommend we maintain our sensor probes to the upper atmosphere and we remain near the polar region of the planet."

‘Pre-Warp.’ Thought Veznia. This was a rather exciting. The Counselor, from an auxiliary seat, looked for a monitor to see what the sensors could gather from the planet. “Fascinating.” She whispered aloud.

In the image of the planet in the viewer slid to one side as Buck adjusted the ship's course. "That station of theirs looked to have docking ports for both a larger ship, so I'd say they were at least capable of interplanetary travel."

"Well, at the very least they managed to get some kind of structure into space," Abigail responded. "Commander Rogers, keep us safely out of view. Commander Myers, does the space station show any kind of weapons or defensive capabilities?"

"Copy that." Buck replied. "I'll have to take us up behind one of the moons. We're big enough to be spotted from the surface if we're not behind something."

"Negative, ma'am." Jason replied. "It looks like at the very most it could be a research facility but it has almost nothing to it. Looks practically like a very old space station before any of us were born." he added before analyzing further. "I'm detecting heavy damage, it appears there's a few parts of it sealed off and there's even a few chunks of it amongst the debris that hit it."

"Commander Gunnison, see if you can find any localised communications, it might help give us a better idea on what's happening." Abigail ordered again.

"I can do that," Will said. "Be aware that it might take a little bit to get anything that we can understand. There's a lot of radiation in the atmosphere that's messing things up."

"Lieutenant McLaren, as soon as possible I want to know what's happening on the surface. While we're waiting on the probes to be launched get some passive scans happening so we can start compiling data." Abigail drew a breath, pausing momentarily.

"Aye Captain," Naomi responded as she was launching the probes, "I've launched two upper atmospheric probes towards the planet to begin collecting data." She then began working on the parameters for a passive scan of the planet.

Finally, turning to Ichiko, Abigai's expression became questioning. "I don't suppose the Ts'usugi or Dalacari could shed any light on the planet or its inhabitants?" she asked hopefully.

"We have a policy of non-involvement in regards to races that have yet to leave their own system, nevermind their own planet. We only break that policy for two exceptions." she held up two fingers to emphasize this.

"Koldarans." was one, "Fera." was the other.

"In the presence of the former, we repel the Koldarans and see about damage control. In the case of the latter, we monitor for seed bursts and watch evacuations very, very carefully." Ichiko looked at the image that their sensors were returning to them. "I don't see either. To the Ts'usugi, this world is a non-issue. To the Dalacari, possibly a point to put a probe in for long-range observation. They have their curiosities to indulge about how multiple races come to the same conclusion."

Naomi looked at the Exec from her station, "So are we seriously going to just sit back and ignore their call for help if they've not fully achieved warp yet?" She asked, "I know the Prime Directive may apply, but how many times has that been ignored for some greater purpose anyway?" The second question was rhetorical, but she waited for an answer to the first.

"I could cite several examples of Starfleet vessels assisting in ecological disasters on pre-warp planets that were later considered acceptable by Starfleet Command," Will said. "Drema IV being one such example that was assisted by the Enterprise about 30 or so years ago. Of course, it should be noted that a part of it was that the Starfleet crews took extensive measures to ensure that the locals were not aware of them."

Ichiko took a breath, "I cannot speak FOR the Captain." she started, prefaced with the verbal disclaimer. She turned her attention towards Naomi, then to Will. "But, yes. Justifying the breaking of a rule by citing the previous times it was broken is a hollow defense. I did it because they did it implies that nothing was learned from the first time it was disregarded."

"Thousands of worlds beg the heavens for aid daily." she shook her head. "We're just here to hear this call. That is the only difference."

"Perhaps it comes from having been married to a defense lawyer," Will said, "but I do have a belief that rules are rarely, if ever, intended to be taken as completely black or white, since life itself does not work that way. There are many times throughout history where court systems have had to interpret laws to mean much more than the literal face value of the wording because of situations that were not even imagined, much less considered, by the authors of the law in question - taking into account the spirit of the law just as much as the letter of the law. If we really are just hear to 'hear the call' and nothing more, then we have done that and might as well turn around and leave right now, before there is any chance of the locals discovering our presence."

"The Prime Directive isn't just any law, Commander Gunnison." Evelyn said from her station where she was monitoring everything she could, "It is the preeminent law of the Federation. The spirit and the letter are made quite clear in the wording of it and the various parts of it." She shook her head slightly, "A bit of trivia, the Federation has allowed more than sixty species to die out rather than save them, all due to the risk of violating the Directive. Doesn't leave much room for creative interpretation." She hated bringing out that little fact she remembered from her Academy days, but it was relevant.

"But at the same time," Will said, "the Federation has allowed many other species - and pre-warp species, I might add - to continue to exist despite the supposed 'unbending rigidness' of that very law. Seems like more than a bit of 'creative interpretation' to me. True, in those cases, for the actions to be accepted without the issuing of any punishment by Starfleet Command and the Federation Council, a part of the catch is that the saving action had to be done in such a way that the locals never knew that an outside intelligent force - or at least a non-divine one - was involved, which, yes, I realize could definitely be the tricky part in this specific case. How do we clean up the atmosphere of a Class M planet with a society on the verge of warp drive without them knowing that we're doing so?" He shrugged. "But like I've said, if we indeed cannot intervene No Matter What, then what are we still doing here? Are there not other matters for us to attend to elsewhere, where we could actually do something besides sit around and discuss the legality of any potential actions that we could take?"

"Everyone deserves to have their last words heard, their final moments witnessed." Evelyn said quietly into the silence on the bridge, "Worlds are no different. Even if we can't do anything about it."

"I hear your side of the expression, Mister Gunnison. You'll understand if I do not agree with the notion of creative interpretation of what is essentially the foundation of a foundation." Ichiko commented. "If we bent, broke, or reinterpreted every law, rule, or mandate we encountered that we didn't like, then what would be the point in them?"

"My apologies - this would not be any reinterpretation of laws, much less breaking laws," Will said. "This would simply be going off of specific interpretations of laws that have already been recognized as being legal by the Federation civilian courts and Starfleet JAG. Creative interpretation would be unnecessary on our part. As mentioned, before doing anything, yes, we would have to be able to demonstrate that the method we would take has been done before and considered to be acceptable, legal courses of action by the courts. We have nothing to lose by checking. That way, even if it is still determined that there is indeed no legal course of action that we can take under all civilian and Starfleet court interpretations of the Prime Directive, at least we can go knowing we tried."

Buck swivelled his chair slightly, away from the viewscreen and back towards the rest of the bridge officers. "General Order One isn't law. Doesn't apply to civilians, so no need to worry about the courts. Besides it doesn't look like the people down there have time for us to conduct a legal review on the matter."

"Lieutenant McLaren, I want a report on the likely outcome on my desk within the hour. I don't care what resources you need to use to get it to me. Commander Rozia, I want to know where they're at with warp capability. We need something, anything to give us a chance to be able to help them. Commander Gail, my ready room," Abigail said quietly as she stood up from the center chair. "Commander Rogers, you have the bridge."

"Aye." was Ichiko's response, as she waited to fall in line behind the Captain.

"Yes ma'am." Evelyn then shut out the rest of the bridge and turned to her screens. This would have to be fast work, but most importantly accurate. She didn't desire to see the people on the planet die, she just didn't see any obvious choice... Yet.


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