"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
"I refuse to do nothing."
Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr.
Loosing The Maelstrom
Boyce sat in his office composing a letter on a datapad. That was the second letter he had written tonight. Finishing the letter, he saved it and locked the file with his personal encryption code. Shutting the datapad off, he quietly looked around his office. After a moment of reflection he rose from his chair and headed to the door, taking the datapad with him.
"Nice day," Boyce thought to himself as he left the shuttle landing area. Bright blue sky, warm sunshine, a few fluffy clouds, and chirping birds – perfect for the opening of the year’s Federation General Assembly. As he made his way across the Grand Plaza, his eyes drifted across the crowd of delegates, family members, aides, reporters, observers and honored guests making their way to the Assembly Hall, a sea of strange and brilliant costumes from myriad worlds which were surely no less remarkable than the people wearing them. Dressed in their native civilian formal wear (or in a full dress uniform such as he was wearing) most were bipedal humanoids. Others, like the members of the Voxxan, Caitian and Rakshan delegations, were vulpinoids and felinoids. And still others, like the delegation from Chakona that he saw pad by, were not even bipedal. From such a diverse group of beings had been formed the Stellar Federation.
The admiral entered the Assembly Hall and, after showing his special pass to Security, he made his way down to the Delegate Floor and to the section of the Assembly Hall reserved for the Star Fleet delegation.
"Admiral?" a voice called from his right.
Turning towards the voice, Boyce replied, "Hello Hal."
"Hal" was Admiral Hal Johnson, Supreme Commander Star Fleet and Boyce’s commanding officer.
"What are you doing here?" Admiral Johnson asked him. "I’m required to be at these meetings but I’ve never seen you here before."
This was true. While members of Star Fleet with the rank of Fleet Admiral and above were technically voting members of the Federation Assembly, very few ever attended, let alone participated in these kinds of proceedings.
"Oh, I thought I would just drop in to see what all the pageantry and excitement was all about."
The large Kenyan laughed. "Well, I’m glad to have the company. Maybe today won’t be as boring as I thought it was going to be."
The two men made small talk for about ten minutes. At 0859, a soft series of tones sounded and the hall grew quieter as delegates hurried to take their seats. A minute later, at precisely 0900, the entire Assembly Hall rose to its feet as Brandavai Ni Khentulu, the Voxxan who was the current President of the Federation, entered the hall and walked to the Speaker’s podium.
"Gentlebeings," she began. "Welcome to the opening session of this year’s Federation General Assembly."
After the initial enthusiastic round of applause, the President continued with her opening speech. The speech was widely general and politically bland – exactly as it was meant to be – designed to promote general good feelings and not offend anyone at the same time. At the conclusion of the President’s speech, control of the opening session of the Federation General Assembly was turned over to the Speaker. The Sergeant-At-Arms began announcing the various ambassadors and dignitaries on the speaking schedule.
At 1035, the Sergeant-At-Arms announced, "The right honorable representative of Star Fleet, Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr, has requested ten minutes of time to address the Assembly."
A murmur of surprise ran through the Assembly Hall at the announcement. It was very unusual for a representative of Star Fleet to request time to speak.
"The chair recognizes the right honorable representative of Star Fleet, Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr, for ten minutes."
Boyce rose from his seat and walked down towards the podium. Reaching the podium, he composed himself then began to speak.
"Thank you, Mister Speaker. Madame President, honored members of the Federation Assembly and their families, distinguished guests, members of the media and gentlebeings. While it is true that the Federation currently enjoys a time of peace and prosperity, there is a disturbing matter that I feel must be brought to the attention of the Federation General Assembly as a whole, and not just brought to the attention of the Federation Security Council."
Another quiet murmur went through the Assembly Hall, prompting the Speaker to rap his gavel once to quiet the Hall.
"Over the past four years approximately, there have been a number of violent attacks directed against the non-human citizens of Earth and their human supporters by human bigots. Most, if not all of these attacks, were committed by a group calling itself ‘Earth For Humanity’. These attacks have resulted in the injury and deaths of many on Earth, including members of Star Corps and Star Fleet. With only a very few exceptions, Earth authorities have done little or nothing about these attacks."
"These terrorist attacks are no longer confined to Earth alone. At the Freedom Celebration on Chakona, forty-one people were murdered and over one hundred injured in separate ‘Humans First’ attacks in the Skunktaur Archipelago and in central Amistad. Among the demands of the terrorists was the release of ‘Humans First’ leaders held in custody on Earth, Cait, Voxxa, Chakona and other planets. This proves that these terrorists are not just an internal Earth security issue, but that they have become a security issue for the entire Federation."
"On the 24th of April 2331, the Star Corps/Star Fleet transporter facility at the Goddard Star Port was the scene of a terrorist attack specifically targeting Star Corps and Star Fleet personnel. As this facility is under the shared control of both Star Corps and Star Fleet, this attack required that an official Star Corps/Star Fleet investigation be conducted. While the methods used to gather information in the investigation are classified, I can share the findings of that investigation."
He looked around the Assembly Hall, his eyes taking in all those present, then touched a control on the podium.
A flow chart appeared on the large screen behind him and on the display screen of each individual delegate. "The investigation uncovered a number of detailed membership lists of ‘Humans First’ and ‘Earth For Humanity’ members. These lists have been compiled into the organization chart you see before you. You will note that at the top of the organization chart are the names of high government officials and leading citizens of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America."
Several members of the Assembly turned to look at the Earth delegation. The HCKNA members of the Earth delegation looked very uncomfortable. Justin Krakow, the head of the HCKNA members, had no reaction at seeing his name listed near the top of the chart.
Another image appeared on the screen. "These documents are financial records of Sterling Pharmaceuticals, the largest of the pharmaceutical companies currently doing business on the planet Amazonia."
"Very few people outside of those directly involved are aware that there is a full-scale guerilla war going on on Amazonia. About one hundred years ago, a group of war beasts were abandoned on Amazonia, then an uninhabited planet. They flourished. One hundred years later, Federation colonists began arriving. The Federation Colonization Authority had ruled that the war beasts – which now called themselves the Three Tribes – were not autochthons subject to legal protection as a native species but were instead ‘squatter colonists’ that had been placed there illegally. This prevented the Three Tribes from redressing their grievances before the Federation Bureau of Autochthonal Affairs. The colonization company took this as license to seize whatever land it wanted and drive the Tribes off by force, especially after the Federation colonists discovered a number of plants in Amazonia’s lush jungles that could be used to produce a range of highly profitable pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical companies moved in and set up large-scale plantations."
"When the Tribes struck back, the colony was unable to adequately defend itself. The Cartel of pharmaceutical companies used its political influence to pull strings to have a Star Fleet security force deployed to quell the ‘uprising’. The Tribes responded by setting up black market drug plantations, selling the produce to smugglers and using the profits to purchase weapons. The ‘uprising’ escalated into a full-scale guerilla war. Again using its political influence, the Cartel prevented Star Fleet from scaling up its efforts, fearing that such an escalation would lead to the colony being declared a war zone and closed to commercial exploitation. Star Fleet was thus prevented from bringing to bear the resources needed to end the conflict."
"The Star Fleet security force has been on the planet for sixteen years with no real change in the situation and no end in sight. The Cartel has no reason to stop it; they are making money hand over fist. The colonists sell drugs to buy weapons to fight the Tribes. The Tribes sell drugs to buy weapons to fight the colonists and Star Fleet. Star Fleet pays the cost in money and blood to keep the colony open. It’s a win-win situation as far as the Cartel is concerned."
"Now you may be wondering why I am telling you this and what this has to do with the first part of my speech." A financial flow chart grew larger and came into clearer focus. "I’m telling you this because Sterling Pharmaceuticals, through these shell companies, is financing both ‘Humans First’ and ‘Earth for Humanity’."
The Assembly Hall erupted with shouts of anger and disbelief. The Speaker pounded his gavel on the podium.
"The Assembly will come to order!"
After a minute, order was restored. Turning to the admiral, the Speaker said, "Admiral, you may continue. Your time will resume from the point at which you were interrupted."
"Thank you, Mister Speaker." Boyce looked out over the General Assembly and continued. "Honored members of the Federation General Assembly. Most if not all of you may be questioning why I have brought this matter to your attention, today of all days, instead of presenting these findings to the Federation Security Council. The findings I now show you will require that a decision be made by the Federation General Assembly as a whole and not just by the Federation Security Council."
"Unlike other major pharmaceutical companies, Sterling Pharmaceuticals is a private company wholly owned by one entity." The screen changed again to show Sterling Pharmaceuticals organization flow chart. "The government of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America."
Reading the flow chart on the screen behind him or on their own display screens, the delegates were able to read the names of the Board of Directors – all current or former high level members of the HCKNA government. Listed as the Chief Financial Officer – Justin Krakow.
"Through its wholly state-owned company, Sterling Pharmaceuticals, the government of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America has been, is and continues to be a state sponsor of terrorism."
The mood of the Assembly turned ugly. Most of the delegates looked with hostility toward the HCKNA members of the Earth delegation.
"Since Sterling Pharmaceuticals has been revealed to be a sponsor of terrorism, I hereby formally call for the seizure of all physical and financial assets of Sterling Pharmaceuticals not located within the borders of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America."
"I also formally call for the Assembly to order Star Fleet to immediately halt all shipments of non-humanitarian personnel and material to the planet Amazonia, to declare a cease-fire and to make preparations for the withdrawal of all non-humanitarian Star Fleet personnel and material from the planet. The Federation must not continue to spend treasure and lives to allow a few private companies to operate there and make a profit. Furthermore, I call for the Assembly to order the Federation Bureau of Autochthonal Affairs to open talks with the Three Tribes of Amazonia so that their grievances can be addressed and their rightful classification of autochthons established."
Admiral Johnson sat stone still, his face not revealing the roil of emotions he was feeling at his subordinate bypassing him like this, blind-siding him with this direct appeal to the Assembly.
Turning to the Earth delegation, Boyce said, "The government of the HCKNA, with its exportation of terrorism to other parts of Earth and to the Federation as a whole, is in material breach of the Ozark Treaty. Therefore, as per the terms of the Ozark Treaty, I hold that the HCKNA has forfeited the right to exist as a political entity independent of the UNTWG."
"Finally, gentlebeings of the Federation General Assembly, Article 35 of the Articles of Federation clearly states that any Federation member found to be exporting war or terrorism to another Federation member shall be put under interdiction. I hold no malice for the people of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America nor are they guilty in this matter, but their government must be brought to account for their actions. Therefore, by my right as a voting member of this Assembly, I hereby formally move for an immediate vote of interdiction by the Federation General Assembly against the government of the HCKNA."
Boyce looked around the Assembly, his eyes meeting those of the delegates. "Before you make your decision, delegates to this Assembly, allow me to remind you that today, your families are here and watching. The media is here and watching. Your constituents are watching. The Federation is watching. History is watching. Fail to do the right thing, fail to vote to interdict the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America and you will each have to explain to your families, to the media, to your constituents, to the Federation, to history why you allowed a government to continue to sponsor terror, putting the lives of your families, your constituents and the Federation itself at risk. And so that no delegate can hide their decision, I ask that the vote be done by roll call. I reserve the balance of my time."
"Thank you, Admiral Kline," the Speaker said.
"Thank you, Mister Speaker." Boyce stepped away from the podium and made his way back to his seat.
The Speaker addressed the Assembly. "There is a motion on the floor by the right honorable representative of Star Fleet, Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr., for a vote of interdiction against the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America. Is there a second?"
"Seconded," called the voice of Khondis ap Jandentec na Zoll, the senior delegate from Raksha.
"The motion has been seconded."
"The chair recognizes the right honorable representative of Terra’s Holy Christian Kingdom of North America, Justin Krakow."
"Mister Speaker, I ask for ten minutes time to answer the charges brought against the HCKNA by the right honorable representative of Star Fleet, Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr."
"The chair recognizes the right honorable representative of Terra’s Holy Christian Kingdom of North America, Justin Krakow, for ten minutes."
"Thank you, Mister Speaker." Justin Krakow stood, dressed like an Earth 20th century "Fire and Brimstone" preacher, the light gleaming off his immaculate blonde hair, his blue eyes bright as he looked out over the delegate floor. "The motion by the right honorable representative of Star Fleet is a transparent attempt on Star Fleet’s part to get around the limits of its authority as laid out in the Articles of Federation and force its will upon a Federation member state using a tissue of lies and half-truths worthy of the ancient Earth senator Joseph McCarthy. Admiral Kline is known to hold a grudge against the HCKNA, so Star Fleet has sent him forward to be their hatchet man so that they can sit back and keep their hands clean while Admiral Kline does their bloodletting for them. If this dastardly and criminal act of shameless slander is allowed to stand, then the HCKNA will withdraw from the Federation because democracy will no longer exist. The Federation will become a military dictatorship and any who dare speak out will be crushed, with the oppression justified by the same sort of trumped up ‘evidence’ that the admiral has just presented." He began pointing around the Assembly chamber. "Who’s next? You? You? You? Are you so sure? Apparently all Star Fleet has to do is assert terrorism for a state to be judged guilty. Do you honestly believe that, at this very moment, Star Fleet isn’t compiling a list of enemies? If you don’t put paid to this flagrant and criminal abuse of power now, you won’t get a second chance. If no one speaks up when they come for us, who is going to speak up when they come for you?"
"Mister Speaker!" Boyce said, standing.
"The chair again recognizes the right honorable representative of Star Fleet, Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr."
"Mister Speaker, I ask to use the remainder of my time to respond to the statement by the right honorable representative of Terra’s Holy Christian Kingdom of North America."
"The chair recognizes the right honorable representative of Star Fleet, Admiral Boyce Garald Kline Jr. for three minutes twenty two seconds."
"Thank you, Mister Speaker. In response to the statement by the right honorable representative of the HCKNA that my motion is a transparent attempt on Star Fleet’s part to get around the limits of its authority as laid out in the Articles of Federation, I would direct the representative’s attention to Article 127 Section 3 Subsection 2 of the Articles that grants me the right to vote or present motions in this Assembly. Just because no Star Fleet flag officer of the rank of Fleet Admiral or above has ever exercised the right to vote of offer motions in this Assembly does not mean that that right does not exist," Boyce said, addressing his comments to the Assembly as a whole. "I am sure that the Secretary of the Assembly can look up and quote the section of the Articles that grants this right." Behind him, the Secretary of the Assembly began to go through a copy of the Articles to find this information. "If the Assembly wishes to amend the Articles to repeal the Article subsection granting this right they are free to do so in a future vote. As of now, however, I do have and choose to exercise this right. Again, I reserve the balance of my time." Boyce sat back down.
The Secretary of the Assembly, an elderly Merraki, rose to his feet. "Secretary of the Assembly?" the Speaker asked.
"Article 127 Section 3 Subsection 2 states ‘All Star Fleet officers with the rank of Fleet Admiral and above shall have the right of vote and be able to present motions in the Federation General Assembly’."
"The chair recognizes the right honorable representative of Raksha, Khondis ap Jandentec na Zoll for one minute."
"Mister Speaker, I move for a two hour recess to review the findings of this official Star Corps/Star Fleet investigation to immediately be followed by discussion and vote on the current motion of interdiction of the Holy Christian Kingdom of North America before this Assembly."
"Seconded!" a voice called.
"All in favor?" the Speaker asked. "AYE!" the Assembly thundered. "The motion passes. All members of the Assembly to reconvene here at 1245." The gavel rapped and the delegates began to file out of the Assembly hall.
"My office, Admiral," Admiral Johnson ground out. "NOW!"
Boyce stood at rigid attention in the office of the Supreme Commander Star Fleet, his eyes fixed straight ahead. It had been years since he had last been ‘called onto the carpet’ and it was just as unpleasant now as it was back then.
"Just what in the hell do you think you were doing back there, pulling a stunt like that?!" Admiral Johnson yelled into Admiral Kline’s face, his eyes flaming in anger.
"What I had to, sir," Boyce replied.
"Just what in the hell does ‘What I had to, sir’ mean, Admiral?!"
"Someone had to get the truth out, sir."
"There are proper channels in place to get the truth out, mister! Why didn’t you give that report to me?! That was an official Star Corps/Star Fleet investigation report!"
"Sir," Boyce answered, still staring straight ahead. "Proper procedure would have been for me to give you the finished investigation report which you then would have passed on to the Federation Security Council."
"Very good, Admiral. You know the procedure," Admiral Johnson said coldly. "So why didn’t you follow it?!"
"Because in this case, following procedure would have been the wrong thing to do."
Admiral Johnson glared into Boyce’s eyes. "Explain yourself."
"Sir," Admiral Kline replied. "Meetings of the Federation Security Council are closed both to the general public and to non-Security Council members. If you had delivered my report to the Security Council, it could have been stuck there for weeks or even months. Earth, being a permanent member of the Security Council, could have prevented the report from ever seeing the light of day."
"Go on," said the Supreme Commander in a calmer voice. "I’m listening."
"Presenting the report on the opening day of the year’s Federation General Assembly with all the delegates, their families and the media present made sure that the Security Council couldn’t delay the release of the report or bury it. Demanding that the Assembly deal with the problem of the HCKNA in front of their families, the media and their constituents will force the delegates to vote on the motion I made today. By shaming them into doing the right thing if for no other reason instead of keeping this tied up in endless committee meetings, reviews and Assembly investigations."
"Why didn’t you let me know what you were going to do?"
"To give you deniability, sir. If I had told you beforehand what I had planned to do, you would have been duty-bound to stop me. Now, when you are asked, you can truthfully tell them that you had no part in this and I did what I did without your knowledge and without the authorization of Star Fleet."
Admiral Johnson looked long and hard at his subordinate. "Your career is finished, you know. Even if I didn’t demand that you step down, there are people – powerful people – that would demand that you do so after what you did today."
"Yes sir. I knew going into this that that would be the case and to save Star Fleet the publicity that a court-martial would create, I would like to submit my request to retire, effective at midnight tonight."
"I should demand that you resign your commission!"
"Yes sir. If you demand that I do so, I have also written my letter of resignation." Boyce took out his PADD and unlocked the two letters he had written the previous night before handing the PADD to the Supreme Commander.
Hal Johnson looked over the two documents then handed the PADD back to Boyce. "If your motion passes it would look bad for Star Fleet if I forced you to resign your commission. If it fails, it would look bad if I simply allowed you to retire." He retrieved a PADD from his desk. "Let’s get back to the Assembly Hall."
At 1245 the Speaker rapped his gavel. "The Assembly will come to order. There is a motion on the floor of the Assembly for an immediate vote of interdiction against the government of the HCKNA. There will be a one hour discussion period followed by a roll call vote."
During the discussion period, any argument the HCKNA delegates brought to defend their government fell apart in the face of the Star Corps/Star Fleet investigation report.
The roll call vote was taken. Most Assembly delegates looked resolute as they called out their vote of Aye. Others voted Aye to the resolution but looked uneasy. There were several abstentions, the delegates looking uncertain, annoyed or angry. Most if not all the delegates were angered at having been put on the spot with this vote that had been forced on them.
When the votes were tallied, seventy-eight percent of the delegates had voted to interdict, two percent had voted against interdiction and twenty percent had abstained.
"The motion passes," the Speaker announced, rapping his gavel to make the roll call vote results official. The other proposals Admiral Kline had asked for were also approved.
"Let me see your PADD, Admiral."
Boyce handed his PADD to Admiral Johnson. The Supreme Commander downloaded the retirement request to his own PADD then handed Boyce’s PADD back to him.
"When you stepped up to that podium, when you gave that speech, you stopped being a soldier and became a politician. I hope that what you got out of this was worth the price you paid."
After a minute of silence, Admiral Johnson asked, "Why?"
"Why what, sir?"
"Why did you do this? And I don’t want the ‘Someone had to get the truth out, sir’ answer you gave me earlier either."
"My niece, sir. Shi was murdered in the first major ‘Earth For Humanity’ riot on September 13, 2330. Shi was only six months old and those bastards MURDERED hir!!" Fury was in his eyes as he fixed Hal with his gaze. "Tell me that you wouldn’t have done the same thing! It took a long time to do everything nice and legal so they couldn’t wiggle out of it on some technicality, but I’m making those bastards pay for what they did to hir! I don’t want what happened to Greypaw to happen to any child. Ever. If the price for that was my career, then so be it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat."
Boyce rose to his feet and saluted. "It has been an honor to serve with you sir. Request permission to disembark."
Admiral Johnson rose to his feet and returned Boyce’s salute. "The honor was mine, Admiral. Permission granted."
"Thank you sir."
Boyce dropped his salute. Pivoting to the left, he walked out of the Star Fleet section, walked off the Delegate Floor, walked out of the Federation General Assembly building.
And walked out of his career as a Star Fleet officer.
Story copyright © 2006 Boyce Garald Kline Jr
Chakats and the Chakat Universe are the creations of Bernard Doove and are used with permission.
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