Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 2: Charter Worlds
2.2 - Charter Worlds
Justice Minerva Irons got up from her desk, stretched her neck and reached for her judge's robe. She set it upon her shoulders, adjusting it so the twin emblems of the United Federation of Planets were evenly displayed on either side above her breast. Her right hand brushed lightly over the long, straight dark hair that cascaded down from the top of her head along her right side, smoothing it and freeing some that had gotten under the black silk robe. Her robe fell much closer to the floor than the hem of her black silk dress. Her long, slender legs were clad in opaque black silk stocking with a subtle pattern.
An elderly Chinese woman, Irons had taken care of herself and did not look her age - her age-defying longevity was a gift from her vulcan grandmother. She could be forgiven some vanity about her looks. Beauty was a powerful tool of statecraft and she had used hers to her advantage - and the Federation's - for well over a century.
She strode toward the door of her office then out onto the bridge of the Hunter at the very moment her first officer uttered the words that would summon her there - "Captain to the Bridge!"
Her gigantic first officer rose from the captain's chair - the only person she had ever seen make such a chair appear entirely inadequate - as though an adult had barely squeezed into the chair of a toddler.
Commander David Pepper was over seven feet tall and well over 400 pounds - all muscle. His dark brown skin had a slight greenish hue inherited from an orion grandmother. Two small greenish antenna mounts at his hairline were the only visible inheritance from his andorian grandfather. The gigantic size and strength came not only from his orion parentage, but also from his human heritage, which included a number of star athletes.
The giant first officer waved an enormous hand toward a rather drab looking planet displayed on the viewer. "Welcome to the Colony of New Hope, Min, one of the nineteen founding worlds in the original Federation Charter, the fourth planetary colony established by Earth. Population about 5.5 billion, almost exclusively human. Agricultural products: quatrotriticale, kalecorn and onions. Natural resources: bauxite, cadmium and political extremism. Primary industries: aluminum manufacture, illegal pharmaceutical research and organized crime."
Irons would never have allowed this kind of informality in any of her previous commands, but the crew of the Hunter was different - hand-picked by her and held to standards higher than any other crew in Star Fleet. This was partly due Hunter's unique mission. Patrol class vessels were primarily used to prevent piracy and enforce law within the Federation. But the Hunter, in addition to that, also served as a traveling appellate court at-large for the Federation Tribunal.
Every officer had to double as a legal assistant, so every officer from ensign up was required to be a licensed attorney. On top of that, to maintain a pool of potential expert witnesses on board, Justice Irons required every officer to attain a doctorate or equivalent advanced degree before being promoted to 2nd lieutenant or higher. Like herself, there were a few crew members who had more than one such degree. Commander Pepper's doctorate was in literature with a specialty in Klingon poetry.
"What are we walking into, David?" Irons asked.
"Almost certainly a trap," Pep (as everyone but the captain called him) replied. "And they have only authorized you, me and Mlady to go. We will be positioned deep inside the Virtue prison complex. Extraction will be a challenge."
"Extraction. Of a planetary governor." Justice Irons tilted her head slightly and expelled a breath with an audible puff.
"As ordered," Pep observed. He didn't comment on how inappropriate that order was. That went without saying.
"I'm fairly certain the three of us will be the ones who will need extraction, your Honor," came a smooth, low alto voice from the tactical station behind Pep. If Pep was Star Fleet's largest first officer, Lieutenant Commander Mlady was easily the smallest second officer. Less than 5 feet tall and less than 100 pounds, Mlady was dark skinned with bushels of dark hair that cascaded from the top of her head to below her knees. She lounged with cat-like grace against the tactical console behind the captains chair. Like Pep, her black SF JAG uniform had red piping, denoting command. Mlady looked like a small and very pretty woman of Indian or perhaps Sri Lankan descent. Only her slightly large, protruding jaw and oddly shaped, black fingernails made it evident she wasn't entirely human. In fact, she wasn't human at all.
Lt. Cmdr. Mlady continued. "I authorized Lieutenant Smith to take her department down to provide technical assistance for the local authorities. The Iconoclasts are demonstrating just north of the prison complex. 2nd Lieutenant Tauk is coordinating from the ground operations center up here."
"That demonstration is no coincidence, and I'm willing to bet those aren't just Iconoclasts down there," Irons said.
"Naturalborn?" Pep asked.
Irons nodded. "Star Fleet Intelligence believes the governor is laying the groundwork for a declaration of martial law."
Pep finished her thought: "And that would require Star Fleet to support the declaration - starting with the planetary unit down at Prudence Base on the southern edge of the continent. We aren't certain he hasn't already made inroads with that unit."
Irons grimaced slightly, then called for her director of engineering - "Lieutenant Carrera.." The Hunter's intercom system adjusted to carry her voice down to the Engineering deck.
Dr. Sarekson Carrera, a small, young man with ruddy, dark skin, a bowl haircut and a small bald spot crowning his otherwise thick, black hair, continued some fine adjustment to one of the boat’s systems as he answered, not bothering to look up, “Your Honor?”
"Our new Director of Flight Operations has been delayed. The Enterprise should stop briefly in this system within the next hour to deliver him. Report to the bridge and take the con. When Lieutenant Dolphin arrives, inform him that he is ordered to relieve you and take command."
Carrera quickly completed his task and turned toward the lifts. "Aye Captain."