Star Trek Hunter
Episode 24: A Trillian Problem
Scene 2: The Dream Team
The Dream Team
Dolphin wasn't certain when his reverie had merged into lucid dreaming, but suddenly he was back with Governor Emory Ivonovic in the recording studio for Subspace Radio Ivonovic. Only it wasn't Governor Ivonovic – a man with far more weight on his shoulders sat in the chair to Dolphin's right – Federation President-Elect Emory Ivonovic. Another chair had been added to the far right – in which sat the Trantor Police Department Intelligence Division's Deputy Director for Offworld Activities, Johnny Canada.
"I'm sorry to call you together this way," Johnny said. "I am far from certain this is a secure channel, but it is the only mechanism the three of us have to communicate real-time across the distances that separate us. I am currently very far from Earth at an undisclosed location on an undisclosed assignment…"
"I asked for this meeting, Kenny," said Ivonovic. "I know you are only a few hours out from dealing with the disaster at Trillus Prime, but I need your advice both as a strategist and an ethicist. Yours too, Johnny. Maria and I are at loggerheads about how to respond to the Venus Incident and considering that I've heard rumors that our most powerful ally, the andorian emperor, has been quietly beheading a large number of andorian prisoners behind the scenes, there really aren't a lot of people I can turn to for advice right now."
"Wait," said Dolphin, "Okay… let me catch up here… this is not a dream? This is real?"
"It is a dream, Kenny," Johnny replied. "But yes, it's real. Dreamcomm technology. Please try to keep up."
"How…" Dolphin started.
"Oh please, even if I could explain it…" Johnny retorted, rolling his eyes.
"Stay focused, please," said Ivonovic. "Venus?"
"First Minerva, now Venus," Dolphin groused. "All the gods are falling. Better keep an eye on Jupiter and Mars."
"What?" Ivonovic asked.
"Sorry, I'm still catching up here," Dolphin apologized. "Dream lag. Yes, I saw the Venus First ultimatum. What does President Rodriguez want to do?"
"She's terrified of another river filled with dead children," said Ivonovic. "She wants to give them Venus and be done with it."
"Can't do that," said Dolphin at almost the same moment that Johnny said, "Not good."
"I want to tell them that as soon as they're settled in nice and cozy there on Venus, we're going to obliterate the planet and let them see how the Venusians felt." Ivonovic was nearly shaking with rage. He calmed himself deliberately. "But that's probably a little over the top…"
"Can't do that either," said Dolphin. "Ethically, Venus is a grave. It is sacred ground. It must not be defiled by the murderers of its previous inhabitants. Better that Venus be left barren and dead. At least for now. Venus should be off limits to all for at least double the lifetime of the longest lived human child born today. Considering that child may be part vulcan with a potential lifetime of 200 years, make that a 400-year moratorium."
Johnny Canada raised his eyebrows. "I would recommend a different strategic approach, but I'm curious, Doctor Dolphin… What is the reasoning behind your approach?"
"This is the greatest crime in the history of the Federation," said Dolphin. "In all of recorded history to my knowledge. The deliberate slaughter not of a species, but of an entire unique biosphere teaming with lifeforms beyond imagination. Genocide is not a sufficient word. Ecocide – the destruction of an entire living, thriving environment." He took a deep breath. "After the horrors of the 2nd and 3rd World Wars, humanity was faced with ethical questions arising from the systematic torture and genocide of humans and other animals in medical experiments. If the results of those experiments could save millions of lives, were we not duty bound to accept those results into science for the betterment of mankind?"
"The consequentialist answer to that question is that no one in living memory of those events could profit from these unspeakable crimes," Dolphin continued. "And so the science was preserved, but a moratorium was placed on the research so that the criminals and their descendants could not profit from their atrocities. By the time the moratorium was lifted, the answers to those questions had been found in other ways and in many cases it was revealed that the answers produced by the criminal activity were the fruit of the poison tree – the answers were misleading and would not have been of the benefit that many imagined. They would have set medicine and other sciences back rather than advancing them."
"With the Venusian Massacre – ecocide is just too pleasant a word – the same consequentialist principle applies. The criminals and their heirs cannot be allowed to profit from their crime. Not even the vicarious profit of having opened a new environment for their own species even if that new soil is sewn and reaped by their enemies. Venus must remain a dead world," Dolphin concluded. "But it is only up to us to speak for our generation and the next, not for all of humankind for all time."
"And my people occasionally wonder why I make it a point that we correspond at least weekly," said Ivonovic. He laughed. "You have lightened my heart, Kenny. I've been carrying Venus around like a stone and it feels as though you just lifted it off of my shoulders. Johnny, what was your answer?"
"A crass, covert operations answer," Johnny Canada replied. "And a strategy I think you can still use even while officially taking the high road with Kenny's moratorium…"
"How do you compromise a moratorium with a covert operation?" Ivonovic asked.
"Well, the only stroke of luck in all of this is that it happened in January," Johnny started.
"It's September, Johnny," Ivonovic retorted.
"Figuratively speaking, it's January and you and Maria Rodriguez are Janus – the god with two faces. So take the opportunity to speak out of both of them… First, you can buy yourselves some time by putting out a statement that due to the extraordinary nature and implications of the Venus Incident, you are carefully weighing your response. Then you make an official statement about the moratorium while at the same time Maria's office quietly lets out that Star Fleet will not be patrolling Venus. You will say nothing to contradict this."
"This strategy should allow two things to happen," Johnny continued. "It should draw Venus First into the open, making them a good target for infiltration. Pass laws against landing and settling on Venus, but mumble when it comes to talk of how to enforce those laws. If they think the Federation is deliberately turning a blind eye they may hold off on their terrorist threats while they try to settle Venus. We can then use that to drive a wedge between Venus First and Earth First – there is no way all those millions of Earth Firsters would have agreed to give up on a human-only Earth. Or the rest of the colonies. Start rumors that Venus Firsters are turning Earth Firsters in, make a bunch of high profile arrests and set the two organizations at each other's throats."
"Once we have agents in position, they can play on that internecine warfare to convince each group to reach out to the Federation to help roll the other group up," Canada concluded.
"Okay, that is starting to sound something like a plan," Ivonovic mused. "Kenny, can you draft a Venus Moratorium address?"
"How soon do you need it?" Dolphin asked.
"That gives me less than three hours to write the most momentous public address in the past 200 years – since it will take almost two hours for you to receive the transmission," Dolphin objected.
"Nothing fancy, Kenny," said Ivonovic. "Just write down what you said a few minutes ago and you're pretty much already there."
"Johnny, does this dream-tech communicator auto-transcribe?" asked Dolphin.
"It might," Canada replied. "But I have no idea how to operate it…"
"I'll draft it for you, Emory," Dolphin said. "I won't promise that it will be the most eloquent thing ever, but I have a fair idea what needs to be said."
"The more plain-spoken, the better," Ivonovic responded. "I'll definitely owe you for this…"
Dolphin nodded his head emphatically: "Yes. You will."