ASSIGNED TO TASK FORCE 37 OF PEGASUS FLEET
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Highest Moral Obligations

Posted on Tue Sep 28th, 2021 @ 12:08pm by Lieutenant JG Shaille Levine & Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Lieutenant Keth Soban & Lieutenant JG Henry Ashton & Linza (Lin) Esni & Joquer & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Lieutenant Tavis Styvek & Lieutenant Alanah Matashi & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Commander Calvin Morgan & Lieutenant Veznia MD PSyD & Lieutenant Alexis Aenera & Lieutenant JG Tamarack & Ensign Jaimie Nolan & Chief Petty Officer Lisa Terrix & Ensign Rajeo & Warrant Officer Koh Ottasu & Warrant Officer Callisi Veera

Mission: Double Bind
Location: Observation Lounge

As Abigail rounded the corner, approaching the observation lounge, it became clear that the crew had taken the all hands quite literally. The sheer number of crew that had turned out packed the lounge and the surrounding corridor outside. Each step she took came with questions, concern and opinions.

Cradling a PaDD against her chest, Abigail held up one hand as a request for silence as she moved through the gathered crowd and into the observation lounge where the entirety of the senior staff, as well as a number of other crewmembers were waiting, talking. She walked through the observation lounge, moving directly to the window, pausing momentarily to look at the planet before she turned, setting the PaDD down on the table in front of her, drawing in a deep breath.

"There is a reason that the Prime Directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations. This directive carries the highest of moral obligations. The right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacrosanct and under absolutely no circumstances are Starfleet personnel able interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive. This has been made abundantly clear, to the point that Starfleet vessels and crew members are considered expendable to prevent violation of this rule." She drew a breath, looking up at the sea of expectant faces in front of her. "In short, under the rules of the Federation, our hands are tied, there is nothing we are allowed to do to help these people."

Though the Ferengi bartender was in no place to argue from a Federation standpoint, as Federation principles fell outside his domain of knowledge, from what he understood the situation by based on the whisperings he had heard of those around him, he could certainly offer his perspective from the Ferengi Alliance:

"Maybe in your Federation, that's true!" Joquer spoke up. "But in the Ferengi Alliance, we believe in something a little different: 'A race that dies out is a customer lost:' It's the 250th rule of acquisition, you know: Think about it; these people are a potentially untapped market, that could mean profit for years, if not centuries to come, and you're willing to just sit back and let them die??"

Ichiko Gail stood with her Captain, stood with her back to the visual of the world below. She'd seen enough of the devastation and the storms to last a lifetime... literally. She had something to say, something to add to the moment, but then Joquer spoke up. His people were such a refreshing addition to the mix, his points of view, his historical context. What a fantastic people.

"Remind me to get a copy of those rules, Captain." she commented softly. As her own people and Joquer's people were the only ones in the room with a worthwhile set of ears, maybe he heard her too. Maybe not. But she gave the diminutive Ferengi a nod all the same.

Styveck could sense and see the myriad of emotions on the faces of most of those in the room, some looked scared, indecisive, nervous, horrified, depressed, anxious, and many others. He was not surprised to hear a Ferengi speak first, and true to form it was about profits. He cleared his throat gently before speaking, "If I may Captain, I know we have all been affected at the events we were unfortunate enough to witness. Logic dictates that this is another step in the evolution of this planet. Though these inhabitants are close to warp, they are not there yet. This event may unify them enough to work together or it could set them back even further. I believe the logical conclusion is to determine if their lives are worth your careers," the Vulcan said bluntly and emotionless.

Veznia had been a silent observer until Lieutenant Styveck spoke. She shot a rather pointed look to her Vulcan charge, though she was certain he didn't see or care.

Evelyn had hidden herself past the front row of personnel, deep in thought. She knew the rules and regulations as well as anyone there, with a few exceptions, and it all felt wrong. Yes, they were bound by the Directive to do nothing. Nothing at all. Everything they'd been looking at on the Bridge, without the Captain to see it, told her that she couldn't even give the Captain more than a potential fig leaf, one that had just sprouted and was tinier than... She'd barely heard the Ferengi's words, being as deep in her thoughts as she was. But the bland words of the Vulcan had cut through those thoughts and she nodded slowly before she stood up and shouldered to the front right next to him. "I do think that's the point." She reached up and plucked her commbadge from her chest and took two steps up to the table and placed it in front of the Captain, "It's worth my career."

“Primum non nocere,” Calvin said, loud enough for at least the Captain to hear. “First, do no harm,” He added, translating the Latin that was etched into his mind. He wasn’t sure what the harm would be, acting or not acting. But the phrase echoed in his mind as he thought about the situation.

"That's precisely what we're doing." Alexis sat at a table near Calvin and spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear, no matter what, "WE aren't harming anyone. If that asteroid had smacked straight into that world, it would have just been over faster." She took a drink of the water she'd obtained, then placed it back down, "How many worlds have had extinction events like this? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions? How many times did Earth have mass die-offs before humanity took hold? Betazed? Trill? And what if we help them? We could do more harm than good. The lessons of Inshoran on Betazed, America on Earth come to mind. We could save these people just to kill them out of our kindness. We could spread some disease that we're immune to that they aren't. THAT would be doing harm. Of course, there'd be some survivors. There usually are, if history has any say to it. This," She gestured to a window of the lounge, "Will leave some survivors, most likely."

Linza was listening, and processing, all of this. Both sides had good points, but after watching what they'd just watched, would they actually all be able to just fly away on the ship and hope that the planet and its people could fend for themselves? She had no rank, was just a security officer, but...she wasn't sure what she wanted to do. Would helping them cost her the second chance she'd been given?

Buck looked about before cleaning his throat to speak. “Unlike most of you I’m from a pre-warp civilization. One even less advanced than the people down there.” He gestured towards the planet below. “But there were truths we held to be self-evident: that all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We didn’t practice those truths as well as we should have, but I don’t understand how we can stand here and decide to take those rights from the Caetovans. We could follow General Order One, but ‘I was just following orders’ is a weak excuse for allowing the horrific to occur.” Buck shook his head and exhaled sadly. “We have the power to help these people. When it’s within your power to help and you don’t then the bad things that happen are your fault. It’s something that cost sixteen people their lives for me to understand. I don’t want any of you to learn that lesson the way I did.”

Abigail listened as each person spoke before holding up her hand, a quiet signal that she wanted silence. It was only as the murmurings faded that she spoke again, words coming slowly, clearly carefully chosen.

"The Prime Directive protects lesser-evolved, unprepared civilizations from the dangerous tendency of well-intentioned starship crews to introduce advanced technology, knowledge, and values," she stated firmly, casting a glance back through the window toward the planet. "A human rights activist on Earth once said 'One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws'." Another pause as Abigail turned back and looked at the crew in front of her. "Who are we to declare this species to be 'lesser-evolved' or 'unprepared'? Directives may tell me that we are to watch or walk away. Morals tell me that from one sentient being to another, we owe them whatever help we can give in their time of need."

She paused for a moment, taking in a deep breath, straightening her back slightly, almost as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. "This is my decision. I am aware that some, if not many, of you will not agree. Please file your grievances with Commander Gail. You may be relieved of duty, effective immediately if you do not wish to be involved. Anyone that does follow my orders, I want you to understand, any repercussions from this decision will be mine and mine to deal with alone."

“No, ma’am.” Evelyn spoke up from where she was still standing just in front of the others, her comm badge still sitting in front of Abigail, “I cannot in good conscience allow you to shoulder the entirety of the responsibility for this. I request to stand by your side should anything come from our actions here.” She wanted to use the word ‘demand’ instead, but that would have been unthinkable to actually do.

"Me too," said a fuzzy support beam holding up one corner of the Observation Lounge. Whilst Keth didn't have to duck under the ceiling, though doors were tricky, he stood out from the crowd by being a clear head taller than most. To help highlight that he was speaking, he held up a glazed ham sized hand. "The Prime Directive is meant to make sure that a race is able to grow on its own, in its own way, until they attain warp flight. These people are close, like you said. So, they're like friends we've not had a chance to meet yet. And if we follow the letter of the Prime Directive we'll never get that chance. We can't explore and meet new species and new civilizations, if we stand by and watch one go the way of the Barneys."

"Well, we can, but it doesn't mean we should." A lilting Irish voice spoke up. Lisa hadn't remarked one way or the other earlier because she wasn't a commissioned officer and almost everything she'd heard from other NCOs was that the commissioned ones were the ones to make the decisions, it was up to the NCOs to make sure that what they decided actually happened. "I'm with the Lieutenant and the Commander, Captain. And I believe I speak for most of the Non-Commissioned Officers as well. We've been having informal chats about what we were seeing and how it affects the rest of the enlisted. We didn't enlist in the Fleet to stand by and do nothing, we're here because we want to make the difference in the galaxy." She spoke as she weaved her way up to next to her Department Chief and patted her on the forearm, "I say bugger it all."

Again, Alexis didn't stand or move from her seat, but spoke up instead, "Any which way, doesn't matter." It was more laconical than anything firm from her, "I'll do what I can to help, but I don't want the responsibility for making the decision. I'll do it because I'm ordered to, to the best of my ability." She shrugged.

"We're all enthusiastic!" Keth said, picking up the vibe of the room and rolling it down the hill and out of sight.

Linza finally made up her mind. "Captain, I'm on your side. I spent enough of the last few years not helping anyone, I want to help now."

“Lt Aenera if you don’t want to be held responsible for these decisions, you’re better off being removed from duty.” Buck suggested kindly. He turned and addressed the room more generally. “It won’t be us who decides who’ll shoulder the blame for what we do: It’ll be Starfleet JAG. We don’t know how far down the chain they’re going to send punishment. Square yourself with that when you decide what you’re going to do: like Styveck said, it could cost you your career.”

"If there's one place Starfleet JAG doesn't have jurisdiction over, it's the Ferengi Alliance!" Joquer said, raising a hand into the air as he made his way towards the front of the crowd. "Captain, allow me to be of assistance in any way I can; and I'll deal with any repercussions from either my own government or whatever hit my stocks might take. Because most of this room agrees that the reward far outweighs the risk."

Alanah kept quiet as she took in all the perspective. In her recent training she had taken the skill.of listening is a huge tool in her new line if work. She looked around as many seemed to be figuring out where they stand. She decided the best course of action was to stay neutral in the situation and continue to follow orders as given and collect as much information as she could. When the time was right she would reassess and make a decision then.

Styveck continued to listen to the conversation as it evolved around him. "I believe Captain, that if this is the course you choose, you do not have enough room aboard this vessel to haul the inhabitants below to a safe location. Do you know of anyone in the area willing to help?"

"We don't have to move anybody if we can figure out a way of getting the planet's weather stabilized without them detecting us," Will commented.

"Before we make any decisions we need to know what we're dealing with. Our sensors can't penetrate the atmosphere because of the interference, so we need another way to get the information we need. I have an idea... it's a tad audacious, but I think it will work. Everyone is dismissed. Commander Gail, prepare an away team. You're going to visit a space station."

=/\= TO BE CONTINUED =/\=

 

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