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Epiphany

Posted on Jan 06, 2018 @ 12:31am by Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jan 06, 2018 @ 12:42am

Mission: Bramatine: Truth, Justice and the Federation Way

"Epiphany"


=/\=
Man is by nature a political animal
-Aristotle
=/\=

Location: USS CAIRO
Scene: ExO’s Ready Room


After Captain Leki waved her off, Roffahg ignored the questioning glances of the PHOENIX and went quickly through the ship, down corridors and up turbolifts until she made it to her warm Ready Room.

It would be better if Captain Leki made this transmission; she could do it with Code 47. However, she had access to authority figures that Leki did not. “Computer,” she announced. “Secure line to Councilman Gavaar, Federation Council.”

Roffahg waited as she sat at her desk, actually doing her reports until the comm beeped that she had reached her intended recipient, her Tellarite representative. {{What is it?}} the older Tellarite asked without preamble.

“The PHOENIX is here,” Roffahg announced. “We don’t need that kind of interference.”

Gavaar, across the galaxy, appeared to be unperturbed. {{There’s always interference. Build a bridge and get over it.}}

“They dragged my Captain and I to their ship and said we answer to them,” Roffahg huffed.

Gavaar rolled his dark eyes. {{An entire ship dragged two people; it’s a wonder you made it out alive,}} he dryly stated. {{Everyone answers to someone, even this PHOENIX,}} Gavaar smiled wolfishly. {{That is hardly an insurmountable problem.}} Sighing he asked, {{Why is the PHOENIX sticking their noses into this?}}

Roffahg looked confused, “Didn’t you hear? There was a cave-in on ACAMAR, most of the child miners died. They’re supposed to be offering us assistance but there’s some confusion on their role.”

For a moment there was such a silence in the room of the Executive Officer’s Ready Room that nothing could be heard except the crackling of the comm. {{Child miners?}}

“Well did you ever see these mines--”

{{No, a man in my position does not ask how you get the materials you just get them,}} Gavaar exploded. {{And why didn’t you ask?}}

The Executive Officer glared. “Starfleet General Order 3.”

{{What the hell is that?}} the Councilman asked. Throwing up his hands he said, {{The rest of the universe didn’t decide to memorize paragraphs of rules when we were out making a living.}}

Roffahg was agitated, as heard by the growling and pounding she did on her desk; still, she answered the (unasked) question. “The sovereignty of each Federation member being respected in all things, Starfleet personnel shall observe any or all statutes, laws, ordinances, and rules of governance currently in effect within the jurisdiction of a member world. Violators of such ordinances will be subject to such punishments or corrections as shall be determined by local governmental bodies,” the ExO quoted. “The CAIRO has had to recognize ACAMAR’s laws. As does every other member of Starfleet.”

{{Well then as I stated, everyone answers to someone,}} Gavaar stated. {{It’s just a matter of finding that someone.}}

=/\=

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.
-Albert Camus

=/\=

Location: VULCAN
Scene: Councilman Karimi’s Office


“When is the next interview with FNN?” Karimi yelled from his plush office chair.

Gideon Bosley, the press secretary for Councilman Hussein Karimi of EARTH, was going through the press schedule. Sitting across from the Councilman, “Not until tomorrow.”

Karimi smiled at that, content in his position. Leaning back in his chair, he closed his eyes. “Well, then I can relax until then.” Hearing the nervous shuffling of his staff he said, “I’m up in the polls.”

“Still behind Councilman Kevak,” Bosley pointed out.

Karimi shook his hand at that in a dismissive motion, as if he could swipe away the words and focus on his own vision, which is what he often did. “My message is getting out there. The people are talking about Poxy Toerag--”

Marie-Claire Martine, the former Starfleet Secretary and now Chief of Staff for Councilman Karimi pointed out. “That’s not actually the name for the Romulan--”

“IT IS WHEN I SAY IT,” Karimi yelled. Shaking his head, the Councilman settled down just as quickly as he got riled up and said, “Soon everyone will agree that Poxy Toerag is a much better name for that scummy person. And then they’ll come around to my way of thinking on those creepy-crawly Borg people.”

As Marie-Claire, Gideon, and Leitas (the other Senior Staffer who worked for Karimi) looked at each other with their daily (and occasionally hourly) shared a look of “what now”. Before they could interject with a question as to what was next, Karimi’s console interjected. The Councilman had always been a secretive man, but since his announcement that he was running for President of the Federation he had become more so, taking calls in secret. “I need to take this,” he told his staff gruffly, dismissing them.

The staff walked out but left the door open, something Karimi didn’t notice or even cared about as he began his conversation.

“Gavaar, what is it you want,” Karimi sighed.

Marie-Claire put a finger to her lips to the others as she listened in to the conversation. The Candienne’s eyes closed during the conversation in muted frustration and horror, but she never left her spot so she could gather the information.

=/\=

Leadership is not wielding authority -- it is empowering people.
-Becky Brodin

=/\=

Location: ACAMAR III
Scene: Village of Deathfall


Waiting was a terrible business.

Kane had been waiting for anything up until that point. Information from the surface from the away team being led by Commander Crichton; the team on the CAIRO being led by Lt. Yu. He’d even take information about the pug.

Well no, he wasn’t *that* desperate. Close, but not really.

That’s why Captain Michael Kane did not wait; he was a Starfleet Captain. He acted with authority and stealth.

He took his FCO and they went down to the surface. The plan was simple; keep the Acamarians and CAIRO occupied with what was going on with the Hungry Pits. They *should* be occupied with that. Kane and Vukovic wanted larger answers as to *why* this was going on.

They were able to determine that the Village of Deathfall was one of the main areas, and it was gorgeous. The name was misleading; most homes had copper rooftops, copper walls and calm and quiet collection of ponds, Deathfall had an amusing atmosphere. The main attraction was the library, which was built 30 years ago and designed by the village leaders.

A man, clearly of some great bearing, with a very slightly formed forehead, came striding their way with a copper jacket and black pants. “Captain Kane of the USS PHOENIX,” the man called out graciously, “Greetings and Solicitations, we’ve been expecting you. Welcome to ACAMAR III and the Village of Deathfall.”

The only thing worse than coming in secretly was coming in and having your cover blown, was being welcomed with arms wide open.

The Acamarian was not done. He turned to Vukovic and said, “Apologies, but I don’t know your name.”

Before Tomas’ could say something, Captain Kane answered for him. “I wasn’t aware you were expecting us.”

The undertone was clear: You shouldn’t have been expecting us.

The Acamarian seemingly took no notice of it. “I’m Pali Shepherd, one of the officials here. And of course, I expected you. I have a call in my office waiting for you.” Smiling at both of them he said, “Do you want to follow me?” When they said nothing he offered, “Or did you want the Village tour first?”

The nostrils flared, the back of the neck started to turn red, but all Kane said was, “I’ll take my message.”

It was a trap, Kane thought to himself, it had to be. But as he and Vukovic walked through what would have been a small bucolic village on a Federation planet, he noticed that plenty of Acamarians were out and about going through their daily life, and for the most part either ignoring them or giving them sparing glances. All the while Pali Shepherd chatted on about the history of the Village, which mostly revolved around animal breeding, fletching and woodcrafting.

Finally, they arrived a nondescript tan building with wide windows. “My office is over here to the left,” Pali explained. Walking in he opened up a door to show a simple desk, a terminal, two additional chairs beside the one behind the desk. “I’ll keep the door open,” he said with a smile. “Tap the comm to begin your message,” he explained as if the two Starfleet officers had never used a communications terminal. “I’ll be across the way, in that other office, when you’re done.”

With that Pali Shepherd walked off.

As Kane settled down, he looked at Vukovic. “Thoughts?”

Vukovic looked around and said, “I don’t think there’s a rule against someone being *too* nice.”

Kane glared; clearly, he didn’t agree. “I’ll take this message,” he ordered. Once Vukovic went just outside the door (close enough to be of use, far enough to not hear), Kane tapped the comm (which he knew how to do, thank you very much).

However, instead of getting the information he so desperately craved (from an Away Team or from the Ship), the Commanding Officer was now hobbled with a call from Councilman Hussein Karimi. The man hadn’t called for months, which was fine with Kane. But to have him call now was at best inconvenient, and suspicious at worst.

Kane settled in this office and after the Starfleet logo dissipated to show a fuzzy image of Hussein Karimi by himself (unlike last time they talked many months ago). {{Captain Kane! I’m sorry that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to follow up with you,}} the Human Councilman began from across the universe.

The CO of the PHOENIX sat there, bristling at the intrusion during what was turning out to be a humanitarian crisis. “Many things have kept the PHOENIX busy as well as you I’m sure, Mister Karimi,” Captain Kane said dismissively.

Hussein Karimi bristled at that; that much was evident across the comm. {{Councilman,)) the Human Councilman corrected.

“Excuse me,” Kane bristled.

{{Well I realize that to a subordinate that things may be confusing,}} Karimi continued oily, {{but I would think that to a rules and regulations man such as yourself you’d understand the proper way to greet a superior.}}

“Superior?” The Irish CO ground out with such force that it was amazing that his molars weren’t ground into fine powder in his mouth.

Karimi was many things, but whatever he did he sold it with absolute conviction. {{Yes, we agreed upon that last time we spoke.}}

=/\=

Flashback from Jerome’s “Wheels Within Wheels”

If Karimi was surprised at being rejected, he didn't show it. His features creased into a picture of pseudo-confusion. {{An interesting perspective, Captain Kane - thank you for it. I wonder if you would agree to something, though. Following my recent election to the Council of the United Federation of Planets, would you agree that I am your superior officer?}}

Kane bristled and tried to control his temper. His finger hovered over the control to cut the connection. What sort of fucking game were they playing, he wondered. Still, there was only one answer to the question. "I would agree, Mister Karimi. Yes."

When his words had crossed the light years, Karimi smiled wolfishly. {{Excellent. I do hope, Captain Kane, that in future I shall be able to remain in touch with the crew of the starship Phoenix.}}

=/\=

TI: Current post

Kane’s nostrils flared as he racked his brain. It took everything in his being not to thrash the comm in frustration, for all the good that would have done (except maybe for his temper). In theory, yes, a Councilmember was senior to a Starfleet officer. There should be a way out of this; for now, he’d settle to get out of this conversation. “Is there something you wanted to know…*Councilmember* Karimi?”

Karimi smiled, somewhere between indulgent and smug. {{I enjoy our chats,}} he said sitting back in his overstuffed chair which looked as if it would overtake him, {{but I have to admit that the particulars elude me. But I was recently updated on something and I thought I’d ask for your opinion on something. I understand you’re near a protectorate of the Federation...ACAMAR III.}}

Supposedly superior or not, there was only so much Michael Kane was going to discuss. “Currently operations cannot be discussed--”

{{Of course, of course,}} Karimi nodded, his head bobbing along as if he was dancing to a tune. {{I was just thinking, well looking out for you really--}}

Kane’s thoughts were dark now as he could only guess what Karimi’s “looking out for” entailed.

{{--that you want to in this situation, as you do in all situations, pay mind to...what was it? Oh yes, General Order 3.}}

There was a long, unnatural pause in Kane’s Ready Room as he tried to figure out how a politician with no background in Starfleet could rattle that off. “Anything else, *Councilman*,” Kane said somewhere between pleasant and murderous.

Karimi either didn’t care for the tone or ignored it. Smiling he said, {{Just know that all our thoughts are with you. Quite a few people on EARTH, and on the Council representing all the Federation, will be interested in the...we’ll say judicious steps the PHOENIX takes. Karimi out.}}

With that the Councilman from EARTH cut the connection, even denying Kane that simple pleasure of cutting off the blasted man.

=/\=

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.
-Albert Einstein (attributed)

=/\=

Location: VULCAN
Scene: Kolinahru Monastery


The Monastery was quiet, and far away from most of the civilization here in the highest peak of Gol. Life here was simple. There were no computers, and all communication devices had to be handed over when you came. Writing was done the ancient way -- by paper, ink, and oil lamps. Food was not produced by replicator; it was grown here in the sand gardens, tended to by the acolytes. The acolytes and adepts were quite strict about their rules. This visitor was allowed in the gardens, and a few other small areas on the first floor, but that was it. Areas such as the natural hot springs below the monastery, or the bell towers that bracketed the buildings, were off-limits.

Sitting in one of the sandy gardens, under a Vulcan flatroot tree, sat a tall azure woman wearing nothing more than a loose grey tunic and slacks, her long white hair hung loosely around her face. She performed this meditation many times over the years; she had done it at Bajoran monasteries; at non-sectarian spiritual centers; on beaches; of course at the temples of Serendipity and Design on BOLARUS IX.

There was a lengthy explanation that could have been given as to what she was doing, but perhaps it was described best by the Trill Captain she had been Executive Officer to and performed this ritual with long ago. “So mediate, figure out where you went wrong in the last year, and then go off and fix it.”

Xana Bonviva had fasted that day, closed her eyes, was in the midst of her meditation on her transgressions when she heard the rustling coming from her right. “Councilwoman?”

The Bolian Councilwoman opened up her violet eyes and peered up, wordlessly questioning why she was being disturbed.

“You have a visitor,” the acolyte explained with a small bow, as his tan robes swept down.

Before she could explain that the precise reason why she picked Kolinahru Monastery was so she could *not* be disturbed during Epiphany (it came only once per year and she did hold it dear) she heard a determined opening of doors being opened a tad too forcefully and click-clack on the stones. “I have this,” she offered quietly.

As the acolyte walked away, the Chief of Staff for the Human Councilman made her way over. “What are you doing *here*?” Marie-Claire huffed.

Xana raised an eyebrow at that, noting the flush to Marie-Claire’s cheeks; something brought her away from Council to seek her out here. “It’s the Bolian holiday of Epiphany--”

“I *know*. I read the memo your office put out as to why you’d be out. You throw great parties, but you have a miserable holiday to kick off the universal Federation calendar year,” Martine sighed.

“I’m having a party to end Epiphany as well.” Xana smiled at her. “Really? Felt the need to follow me here for an RSVP?”

The Human woman was in no mood to be humored as she said, “Look I hope you got divine inspiration, got high, or whatever it was you were doing. But we need you.” When she said nothing, the Martine said, “Do you think I’d subject myself to all this if I didn’t have to? To Karimi’s inevitable rages?”

Xana sighed. “You survived longer than I did. And yes this is important.”. When Marie-Claire gave her an arch look she admitted, “What some have admitted about me is true. I am sick; it's progressing rapidly.”. She paused, “It's terminal and I have less time than I thought. So yes this is needed.”

Martine knelt down next down to her friend, “I've suspected.” Inhaling she gave a firm look and said, “But you're still the Bolian Councilwoman and you’re the one who’s been leading the charge against Councilman Gavaar.”

Bonviva frowned, tucking her aching legs under. “Sure. I know he owns Pangeos Pathways which traffics in grey materials.”

“And did you know they were mining something called bramatine on ACAMAR with child labor?” Martine asked quietly.

“Gods above and below...no, I didn't know about any children. I've heard nothing about ACAMAR, or even mining. All of our research didn’t go that far back in his chain.” The azure woman blinked her violet eyes. “But what is bramatine?”

“Something for medicine...or weapons...I’m not sure,” Martine said.

Xana sighed. “That leaves a lot of middle ground and we’re looking at the beginnings of collusion between a Presidential candidate and a Federation Councilmember.”

“Is it?” Martine asked. When the Bolian/Human woman looked quizzical she clarified, “I hate to say this but Karimi correctly was bringing up Starfleet General Order 3.”

Xana rolled her eyes. “Karimi being right...well a broken chrono is right every so often.”

"You can't just sit here on a mountain forever," Martine chastized.

Bonviva glared. "All I can't keep going out there tilting at windmills." When Martine said nothing, she sighed and began to get up over the pain in her legs. "Alright let me start thinking about charges of collusion even if I don't know what bramtine is."

=/\=

NRPG: A couple of throwbacks and thank yous here that I wanted to call out here.

Thank you to Ranjani -- way back in 2009 (!) Anaqueen (the ever elegant and wise Trill CO of the PROPHECY) went on an Epiphany (a Bolian holiday I made up for Xana) and I found that post that I refer to here. I found that post when I went on a hunt for old posts and I thought it would be fun to refer to this Bolian holiday that I write about in the beginning of the year.

Thank you to Jerome -- I quote from his brilliant post “Wheels Within Wheels”. I loved it when you first wrote it and the bit that Karimi wanted to follow up with the PHOENIX, I don’t know what was intended but now that Karimi (and the others with less altruistic intentions) have a reason it makes sense to bring that up again.

Thank you to Ken -- that twist with Vukovic and Kane going to the surface was inspired. Love it when you create chaos. Hopefully, you appreciate where I went with it.

Thank you to Su -- appreciate all that your help as always!

Everyone -- go post! We need to figure out *why* everyone wants this stuff but certainly everyone does! Plus more twists!!

=/\=

Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Xana Bonviva
Councilwoman for Bolarus IX

And

Iphie Bonviva
Chef/Bartender of Vulgar Tribble/USS PHOENIX
And
Evangeline Montoya
Pilot for Pangeos Pathways

 

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