Imperium in Imperio
Deputy Director Jefferson was glazing into a brightly lit mirror as he finished washing his hands, as the computer beeped informing him that he received a message. He gingerly walked over to his desk and tapped the control panel, extending a small monitor while he sat down on his chair.
“Admiral, have I disturbed you?”, asked Major Winslow.
“No, I am fine. Go ahead.”
Major Winslow slightly grimaced and hesitated.
“Well? Is it done?”, asked Jefferson.
“No. A bunch of Klingons intervened. According to the Klingon general, J’mpok received some intelligence about an impending attack”, Major Winslow said.
“The Klingon general did not say where the intelligence came from. Also, the Leeds’ new point defense weaponry was much more effective in repelling incoming fire, as our analysis predicted. Along with the Klingons, those enemy ships posed no substantial threat.”
Jefferson turned away in his chair. After a short while Winslow responded:
“Sir, I have devised a plan B, so-to-speak.”
“No. I am not interested in your ideas. It would look suspicious, if another attempt on the President’s life is made. No matter, what is done, is done. You had one job and you failed!”, said the old man.
“Sir, why don…………”, said Winslow.
“No...what is done, is done. It has already been finished”, replied Jefferson.
“What is that supposed to mean?”, asked Winslow.
“I will be meeting up with you soon”, Jefferson replied.
He deactivated his communications terminal before Major Winslow could respond. He groaned as he stood up, his knees weren’t as good as they used to be, or maybe it was simply frustration about the incompetence of the people working for him. As he started to pace around in almost complete darkness, the only thing that lit the room was the stars that were passing by the windows.
“I knew he would not be up to his task……… you know what needs to be done”, a second male voice said from a corner of the room.
As Jefferson turned in the direction of the person addressing him, he answered:
“Yes, I do, I will contact the Fixer. The Fixer will take care of our little problem.”
He then went back to his computer terminal, hit several buttons and brought up a picture of a plain looking man in his thirties with brown hair.
“Sir, how can I help you today?”
“Major Winslow failed his assignment and needs to be taken care of and soon”, Jefferson told him.
“I will fix it, consider this matter taken care of.”
The image on the monitor went black again.
On his way to the turbolift down the corridor, Jefferson had hardly passed any crewmembers and those who showed were looking very apprehensive. The death of the admiral heading Starfleet Intelligence and an attack on the President’s ship made everyone feel a little uneasy.
A few hours later
Once again Deputy Director Jefferson and his associates, Jones and Mettus, had assembled in the Valentine’s briefing room, Captain White and Commander Low were also attending. Everyone was waiting silently.
The door opened and a group flocked in, guards, aides, assistants, some carrying suitcases with built-in communication equipment, data padds etc. The last person stepping through the door, a short and elderly, light blue-skinned Saurian took a seat at the end of the conference table.
The others had risen from their seats, Captain White and Deputy Director Jefferson approached the Federation President Aennik Okeg.
“Sir, welcome aboard USS Valentine. It’s good to see you up and well”, Captain White exclaimed.
“Thank you, Captain. But please, let us not talk about my well-being after this little mishap on the way here.”
He gestured for everyone to sit down.
“I just want to know what happened and why.”
Jefferson rose to speak:
“Sir, as of this moment we have not been able to come up with new information on the attack on Admiral Pita. Jesse Phoenix is our main suspect. As of 20 hours ago, he was last seen on Drozana Station. It would be reasonable to assume that he could have boarded a commercial vessel heading for Klingon space”, he explained.
“Though very quick to react in force, the Klingons are unusually reluctant to share any information on their intelligence, which made them come to your rescue in the first place”, Jefferson told the President.
President Okeg responded back:
“What about our resources in this region?”
“All the relevant sources in the Klingon Empire are doing their best, our operative at Drozana was able to confirm that Phoenix passed the station. But that is as far as we have come”, Gracie Jones added.
“Very well. In the meantime, have a look at the data from the attack on my vessel and see what you can find out. My staff will give you full cooperation”, the President said.
In a more ceremonial tone he added:
“And finally, in accordance with Starfleet regulations and agreed to by Starfleet Command, I am promoting Rear Admiral William Jefferson, currently Deputy Director to the position of Director of Starfleet Intelligence, with the rank of Vice Admiral, effective immediately. I certainly wish the circumstances were different. Good luck to you, Admiral.”
“Understood, Sir. Thank you”, Director Jefferson replied.
As the President began engaging in talks with his staff, Jefferson approached one of the President’s guards and whispered:
“Where is Winslow? Shouldn’t he be here as well?!”
Without turning his eyes away from ‘the package’, the guard answered:
“Major Winslow had to be relieved from his duties, Sir. There was evidence that implied his participation in the attack on the President’s ship. Winslow is already on his way back to Starfleet Intelligence for debriefing.”
Jefferson just nodded at this revelation.
18 hours later, the USS Valentine docked with Yorktown Station. There were dozens of other vessels docked or in orbit. Several Klingon and Romulan Republic cruisers were patrolling the perimeter, together with a number of Federation starships.
Director Jefferson was walking with Station Chief Gracie Jones through a fairly crowded hall on Yorktown Station, Jefferson stopped for a moment to look through the large overhead windows at the massive fleet that has gathered to provide security and to deliver dignitaries; starships like the Leeds, Devore, Valentine, Venture, Voyager, Defiant, Enterprise and many others.
“Sir, we should be going, it’s time”, Jones reminded the Director.
In a large ceremonial hall, hundreds of high-ranking functionaries were attending the funeral, a lot of Starfleet brass, governors, foreign dignitaries. A number of armed guards lined the walls and entrances. A grey coffin with the Federation flag draped over it was sitting on a pedestal.
The Federation President began to address the crowd:
”Ladies and Gentlemen, Admiral William Jefferson, the newly appointed Director of Starfleet Intelligence, has asked me to allow him to hold the eulogy”, he said before stepping back while Jefferson ascended the podium from his front row seat.
“Today, we honour Rear Admiral Jessica Pita. She was an admiral’s admiral. An exceptional mother. A loving wife. A great good friend. She was also a person of faith. She believed in rules, in law, in God, and in Starfleet. These beliefs gave her the strength to lead and compared her to uphold the values in which we hold dear to us. Those of us gathered here today, feel her passing as a personal tragedy for which we will mourn for the rest of our lives, but to Starfleet in which she lived and the civilization she struggled to defend, her death is nothing short of calamity. We often hear it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness and so in my heart I light a candle in honour of Admiral Jessica Pita, but I curse the darkness also. This awful shadow falling across our hearts like a cloud, darkening the principles for which she stood. I ask that, with Admiral Jessica Pita as our example, we leave here today recommitted to the rules of Starfleet and to the rules of the Federation in which she sacrificed her life. Goodbye, my old friend.”
A small band started playing a farewell tune, while a squad of neatly dressed MACOs fired a 13-gun salute with their phaser rifles.
With the official ceremony over, the crowd began to get up from their seats and engaged in small groups for conversation. Captain White, who had followed the proceedings silently, got on his feet and started making his way towards a bar area in the back of the hall. He walked by several high ranking officials and a crowd of people expressing their condolences to the husband and child of Admiral Pita.
“May I have tea, Earl Gray, hot, please?”, he asked the bartender with a spent smile.
Captain White was enjoying his tea with a thousand-yard stare when a man approached and suddenly stood next to him.
“That was a very touching service for the Admiral, don’t you think?”, asked the man in a gentle voice.
“Yes. Yes, it was”, White replied, barely taking notice.
“I guess Director Jefferson and the late Admiral were close, being that he used to be her deputy for so many years”, White added.
“Oh, trust me, Captain White, they weren’t.”
White, now turning to the man, said:
“Excuse me, but have we met before? I am sorry, but I am afraid I can’t remember you, although you look familiar.”
“Don’t be. We have not met before, but I know you, Captain. My name is Phoenix”, the man said.
“Phoenix?! … PHOENIX?!”, White exclaimed.
The Captain, his eyes now wide, jumped from his barstool, as Phoenix turned and started walking away. White was about to give chase, when a young ensign stepped in his way, blocking him.
“Captain, I was looking for you. You are supposed to meet with the others in Conference Room 3, Sir.”
Captain White was not paying attention at all, trying in vain to track the unknown man, as he disappeared into the crowd. The young ensign noticed his Captain’s behavior and confusedly turned his head as well, then facing Captain White again.
“Captain, is there something wrong?”
“I… uhm, no, nothing, I think. Sorry, Ensign, you were saying?”