Star Trek Hunter
Episode: 16: Slavers
Scene 19: A Voice in the Dark
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16.19
A Voice in the Dark
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Justice Minerva Irons had fallen asleep in the armchair in her quarters. Two empty bottles of kanar and two shot glasses were on the table in front of her - one empty, the other, Pivin's glass, untouched from when she had set it down earlier.

Irons' head was moving slightly. It was a deep, unsettling sleep. Somehow she was aware that Pivin had gone to bed. She wanted to wake up. Was trying desperately to wake up. But she was dream locked. Her armchair was so comfortable, but the rest of her room was so far away - so far away in the darkness that she could not see any of it. Just the table next to her with a carafe of ice water and two tumblers and another armchair, just like hers, set at a 90 degree angle.

"I don't think my next guest needs a long introduction," said the Director of Section 31 in his polished British accent. "Here at Subspace Radio Bashir, I have been simply inundated with a request to interview At Large Appellate Justice Minerva Irons, a remarkable woman who has returned to service at the helm of a starship as a Star Fleet Captain no less than four times to avoid the many expectations her family has placed on her as matriarch of the enormous and fabulously wealthy and powerful Irons family. Minerva has published a number of treatises on the finer points of pre-First Contact Earth law from several cultures, particularly that of the People's Republic of China as well as Vulcan law and several in-depth studies of the finer points of Andorian law. She has also published a history of the United Federation of Planets that, like all of her other works, misses some of the most interesting aspects of Federation history."

"Justice Irons is also responsible for missions on assignment for Section 31, the most secret organization in the Alpha Quadrant. An organization so secret that the only two klingons who have ever heard of it served as members and died in service to Section 31. So, Minerva, and I call you Minerva because we have been friends as well as co-conspirators for more than a decade, why do you think I have not trusted you with the most important operation in the history of Section 31?"

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Irons found herself unable to answer. She did not have a mouth.

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"That's right!" said Chief Justice Julian Bashir. "You are too personally invested. Your loyalties are conflicted. You serve Star Fleet. You serve the Tribunal. You serve the Federation. All of that, you might be able to set aside with the understanding that Section 31 also serves all those things, but we must occasionally - far more often than we want, we must make great sacrifices and it is Star Fleet, the Tribunal, the Federation, even occasionally the sacred innocents we protect in their pre-warp ignorance - sometimes we must sacrifice them too for the longer range interests entrusted to us under our charter. To preserve Federation culture - not the culture of Earth or of Vulcan or of Andor - those may have to be sacrificed too… no, the culture of the Federation itself that made the grand alliance of Earth, Vulcan and Andor - and all the other worlds who shelter under their power - possible."
"So, Minerva, I am using this method of communication to give you instructions. I know you have languished in ignorance of our greatest and most significant endeavor. Now that it has been accomplished, you can contribute to it. But to do so, you must understand that your highest duty is to Section 31. Not Star Fleet. Not the Tribunal. Not the Federation. And not the Irons family. You may be required to sacrifice any or all of those things. Believe me, I have sacrificed. I have sent thousands of people to their deaths. I have withdrawn shelter from the innocents and seen them taken as slaves, ripped from their safe worlds, used as biological resources. I have allowed them to die in slavery and torment by the hundreds of thousands. Can you do the same?"

"Here are your assignments," Bashir continued. "You must keep Vulcan in the Federation - with new council representatives to be provided by the Imperial Romulan Senate. You must help the Romulan Star Navy to rip a world full of innocents from their homes. Not some of them - all of them. You must set a world on fire, consigning all life on it to death. And you must save another world full of enslaved innocents and bring them from that place to a new home where they will still be slaves. To do that, you must violate not only the Prime Directive - and egregiously… To get these people to give up their homeworlds to be brought into what amounts to a lifetime of hard labor, building new worlds from the wreckage of the old, you must violate the First Commandment. You must give them not just a god, but a monster. Now you may speak…"

"MMMmmmm, mmmMMmmMMM, mmmMMmMMMMHHH!" Irons moaned in a mixture of anguish, rage and terror - she still did not have a mouth.

"Oh, sorry about that," said Bashir. He waved his hand and Justice Irons found to her relief that she now had a mouth.

She took a deep, trembling breath. "Is this real? Or is this a dream?"

"Of course this is a dream, Minerva! But what in all the Milky Way makes you think for even a second that this is not real?"

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16 – Slavers