=/\= Starfleet Command =/\=
Vice Admiral Jason Roberts walked slowly through the Starfleet Command
campus dress in a set of black BDU's after getting word that the
Starfleet Chief of Operations wanted to see him. The message was
cryptic but that was something he was used to after having to have met
with everyone all the way up to and including the Federation President
at some point or another in his career. The higher ups rarely explained
why they sent for someone. As he stepped off the lift after the short
ride up to the chiefs office he smiled and walked to the desk, "excuse
me, I'm Admiral Roberts, the Admiral sent for me?"
"Admiral Roberts, please go in, they're expecting you," the aide, Cmdr.
Jason nodded his thanks and walked through the solid oak doors, "Admiral
Roberts reporting," he announced to the gathered brass and civilians in
the room then came to a loose attention, learning long ago the top brass
usually didn't stand as much on ceremony.
Within the office stood the CinC, recently confirmed by the Council as a
permanent posting, and next to Adm. Travers was the President's Chief of
Staff, Tura D'nes of Bajor. "Admiral Roberts, thank you for coming on
such short notice," Zeke said. "This is Ms. Tura D'nes, Chief of Staff
for President Vora's administration," he introduced the civilian.
"Not a problem, sir, y'all seem to save the cryptic invitations for when
I'm back in the neighborhood," he replied with a smile then nodded to
the Bajoran, "ma'am," he greeted then clasped his hands behind his back,
"sir, ma'am, I'm going to assume that since we are within a month of the
anniversary that I sent the Zentrad towards Earth a year ago that they
are close to arriving?" he asked, having kept track as much as he could.
"That's correct," Travers said, motioning to the star chart on the large
monitor behind them. "They're still a month out at highest warp
capabilities, but our diplomatic corps has been in regular communication
with them, particularly the one known as Zrenn. Commodore Drayson's
been representing them at the Council meetings regarding the Zentrad
The Bajoran woman then spoke, "As the man who negotiated the First
Contact with these people, the President has asked if you would be
willing to remain in the Sector until the Zentrad ship arrives in
Federation space, so that you could join the delegation sent to greet
them and provide a..." she glanced at Travers then back to Roberts,
"Familiar face, sir."
Roberts nodded as he listened and looked over the star chart, Zrenn had
made good time, "aye, sir, I've kept in contact with Zrenn as well, to
help make sure he wasn't to overwhelmed by culture shock," he replied
then looked back, "and I can do that, ma'am. The Zentrad are a refugee
people, I'd like to make sure that they get settled easily," he added
then rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "if I may, do we know where they will
be getting settled?"
Travers looked back to Tura, who answered hesitantly. "Well, Admiral,
that's..." she sighed resignedly. "The truth is, sir, the President has
a number of enemies in the Council and abroad, people who were more than
a little embarrassed by his victory in the election. Please understand
that the settlement of the Zentrad is a priority on President Vora's
agenda, but there's been some serious opposition from the Colonization
Appropriations subcommittee. If he were to try to push it through now,
the politics would bury it for years."
"Well, let me be the one to push it through," the Admiral said, "I never
do it, but being a Medal of Honor winner among the other things I've
done for the Federation and even UCF have to give me some clout, right?"
he asked and looked between the two, "I command First Force from deep
space because I hate all the political....well, crap, but I know how to
play and they'll be hard pressed to bury this if I'm at the forefront."
This time, Tura looked to Travers. The CinC tapped the desk control
which zoomed the map and showed the expected path of the Zentrad ship.
"Unfortunately, it's not only the President's political enemies we have
to be concerned with. I'm familiar with some of the observed technology
of the refugees, and Intelligence reports the Romulans have gotten wind
of the Zentrad approach as well. Starfleet patrols have noted an
increase of listening posts being set up along the northern half of the
Neutral Zone, so when the Zentrad do arrive, even if they alter their
flight path by as much as 500 light years, they'll still get seen arriving.
"Most of our colonial efforts," Travers said, showing the number of
colonies in the past half century on the chart, which now zoomed out
once again, "are toward the frontier and the borders of the Federation.
We settle them too close to the Romulan or even the Klingons, you can
bet someone will try to make an incident out of it. Alpha Quadrant
isn't any better, with the Cardassians and the Breen making strong
showings along their own borders periodically."
Travers turned back to Roberts. "Asylum is one thing, but permanent
settlement is another entirely. It's going to take time, one way or the
other, to find the right place, and to ensure that everyone is adjusted
and prepared for it. I would suggest that you focus your efforts on
helping us to better understand what you believe the Zentrad will need
when they arrive, apart from a home."
"To be blunt, Admiral, it's a tad late to be concerned with who's going
to make an incident of it, it's going to happen sooner or later," Jason
replied with a shrug, "I'm surprised you don't have any of the mentioned
governments in here already saying that we negotiated behind their backs
in an attempt at power grabbing," he added then looked over the chart
again, this time seemingly past it, "they'll need friends first and
foremost, their outrunning conquerors, if they get that feeling here I'm
not quite sure how they'll take it. They are seeking peace but a large
part of their history is being bred for war and fighting. Outside of
that I'll have to look into their short term needs," he added and looked up.
"To return your kindness, Admiral Roberts," Zeke answered in utterly
politeness, "You should have made sure they knew of that before sending
them our way. Now, we're going to honor our agreement in due time, and
we will extend our protection to their ship when they arrive to deter
any overt attempts upon it. But the truth is while we can't control the
reaction of the neighboring empires, we can try to contain the extent of
it. As for the practical matter of finding a suitable world we can't
just go handing out planets on the spot to anyone who asks for it. It
takes decades to terraform those worlds to habitable conditions, with a
scheduled waiting list just as long. There are rules and a process for
doing these things, even for galactic refugees. It's a little
insensitive, but it's what keeps the Federation functioning. They've
had a long journey, and much as I would like them to see it end the same
as you do, they will be able to endure a little longer once they get here."
"With respect, Admiral, you can tell a shut in that walking out of their
home is safe and take them out but they're still going to be twitchy
until they've gotten accustomed to being outside," Roberts replied with
a shrug, "the purpose of having them cross the expanse between both
Quadrants and not trans or slipstream warping them was to allow for them
to study what goes on here and each governments....quarks, but I still
do not know if they do truly understand everything," he added honestly.
"Nothing is ever guaranteed," Travers responded with a solemn nod.
"Like them, we'll all have to do our best to adjust to the circumstances
as best as we when they come. In the meantime, we have considerable
preparation. Admiral Roberts, I'd like you to work with Commodore
Drayson in trying to anticipate the immediate needs of the Zentrad when
they arrive, and see about possibly setting up an arrangement for
progressive cultural exchanges to help them get a taste of what they'll
be experiencing in Federation life."
Jason nodded, "aye, sir. I'd also like to request to be on the ship
that escorts them in when they get to the edge of the Beta Quadrant and
also to be present during their first few meetings with the council. I
have nothing but faith in the Commodore and the Diplomatic Corps, but I
started this and I'd like to see every step through," he explained.
"I expected as much," Travers said in agreement. "You'll be there."
Roberts gave a nod, "thank you, sir. If there's nothing else I should
go get my Task Force squared away and inform Enterprise I'll be meeting
up with them later?"
"Very good. You are dismissed," Travers said.
"A pleasure meeting you, Admiral," Tura followed.
"Thank you, sir, and a pleasure meeting you as well, ma'am," Roberts
replied then turned and headed out.
Admiral Zacharias Travers (NPC)
Chief of Staff
Office of the President
Vice Admiral Jason Roberts
First Force Special Operation Commander [Task Force Commander]
Starfleet Command [Enterprise Task Force]