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Saving Ensign Victria

“Ambassador Joy. I wasn’t expecting you back so soon. Did something come out of the meeting with the Andorians?”


“Not yet, Admiral. I’m afraid this is something else entirely. I have here a writ of habeas corpus for one Ensign Victria. She is to be present in the San Francisco office of the Federation District Court tomorrow at 1300.”


“Oh, dear. Please, sit down. I was told to avoid Joys in space lawyer mode. I fear I haven’t been briefed on this. Could you review the case for me?”


“The Ensign is a Gamma Quadrant native who joined Starfleet during the Scorpiad conflict. She has a great deal of knowledge of her people. As I understand it, Starfleet Intelligence is holding her, restricting freedom of movement.”


“Your interest in this is what?”


“There is not yet an Al Ucard embassy on Earth. She requested my legal assistance in lieu of a properly trained representative of her own people.”


“That sounds worthy and proper, but doesn’t explain why an ambassador is handing the writ to a liaison office Admiral. Am I correct in assuming politics is involved?”


“You would be correct.”


“How so?”


“You really don’t know, Admiral?”


“Really, no. I’m a fighting admiral, not a politician. I thought that would be a pleasant change of pace after recent liaison heads.”


“It is, admiral. Believe me. But that means you haven’t seen much of the Pragmatist - Idealist infighting. What would you think of an Idealist ambassador messing up one of your battle plans with concerns about abstract philosophy?”




“That would put you in the Pragmatist camp. I, on the other hand, am programmed with the Prime Directive at Priority One, preservation of sentient life at Priority Two, and to preserve, protect and defend the Federation Constitution, including the Guarantees of Sentient Rights, at Priority Three.”


“Begging your pardon, Ambassador, but... ugh.”


“Oh, we Idealists have our points to make.”


“I am sure you do, but how does this drive the fate of Ensign Victria?”


“You may or may not be aware, but a short time back, there was a collision between Ambassador Joy Two and an admiral serving out on Aegis. He thought he could verbally dismiss treaties signed by the highest levels of Federation, Romulan, Klingon, Ferrengi and Cardassian government on his own initiative, considered his powers to administer Cardassia in the aftermath of the Dominion War to be dictatorial, and thought the Guarantees an annoyance that could be ignored. Given the Joy programming, you might imagine that this would result in a number of protests.”


“Yes. I can see that it would.”


“It turns out that interstellar treaties, Constitutions and sentient rights only have teeth if a majority in Council want them to have teeth. There were Pragmatists dominating Council at the time who thought Starfleet admirals having dictatorial powers unhampered by interstellar treaty or sentient rights would be neat. None of Two’s protests resulted in cease and desist orders to Aegis.”


The admiral considered. “Let me guess. Ensign Victria's guaranteed right to travel is being infringed by an illegal detainment. The Idealists wish to establish that the current Council does have a majority which is concerned about the Guarantees.”


“Correct. And not just the Guarantees. Admiral Hastings out at DS 9 has been making a mess of the Prime Directive, pushing militarist values on the Bajorans, trying to minimize the influence of the Vedeks. The Pragmatists, especially the Hawks among them, those with military values, have gone well too far of late. They see the galaxy in terms of military and economic power. There are a few admirals which might consider quietly retiring at this point, given what they have done in the recent past, and that the Idealists are not so apt to tolerate such things. We are also hoping to give Section 31 a bit more attention. We consider 31 to be the Pragmatists at their worst, a poison to be rooted out and purged.”


“And yet, military and economic power do matter. It sounds like this Ensign Victria is a genuine intelligence source. Does it matter that you might be depriving the Federation of this source?”


“I’d actually like to borrow her for Council. There are any number of Ambassadors and Xeno Sociologists on campus who have only book knowledge of her people. Forming realistic policies might be helped if I could borrow her some. Once her Guaranteed rights are established, if she is wiling, I think that between Starfleet and the Council we could keep her well and truly occupied.”


“Are you proposing a tug of war over the Ensign?”


“I would be careful about going that route, Admiral. She bites.”


“Noted, though that brings us back to a political power play. I don’t see that the Idealists have claimed any high ground here.”


“High ground? OK. I know better to make a true idealist argument to a militarist. You either care about her freedom, or you don’t. Let’s make a pragmatic argument. What are the two most potent weapons that make the Federation an expansionist power, while all the militant empires have stagnated?”


“I gather that phasers and quantum torpedoes are not the correct answer.”


“Good guess. I’ll propose the Prime Directive and the Guarantees.”


“Would you be shocked if I asked for clarification?”


“We touched upon it last meeting, admiral. Gamma Quadrant. We have roughly seven competing powers. The power coming closest to being an expansionist empire -- threatening to destroy the cultures of the other six -- automatically creates a defensive alliance to contain it. If the Federation honors the Prime Directive, it is not going to be seen as an expansionist culture destroying empire. If the Guarantees protect the life styles and choices of individuals, the people of various powers will not object to alliance with or membership in the Federation. When a militarist empire expands, it must spend resources and energy bludgeoning absorbed cultures into submission. If the Federation can expand without bludgeoning new member cultures, the Federation population will always be more diverse and energetic than any militarist rival. Believe me, this diversity came in very useful when trying to create new weapons systems to counter the Scorpiad threat. Having a large number of very diverse technologies and world views proposing alternate solutions to a problem is no small luxury.”


“In short, by not threatening other cultures, they will join us intact without battle.”


“Correct. Now, imagine my sister Seven and others of her mind trying to sell these points, saying how the Guarantees and Prime Directive makes us different from the other powers. Then picture Ensign Victria speaking up, claiming it all nonsense and lies. She says the Federation and Starfleet ignore their own principles whenever they prove inconvenient. She knows this first hand. I would absolutely hate bringing the Ensign into the Council complex, introducing her to Idealist ambassadors from throughout the Federation, having them pour out their deepest convictions, and see her struggling to hide her contempt for their obvious lies. The idealists believe certain key values differentiate the Federation from the militarist empires. We must contain the excesses of pragmatist rule if we are to maintain the philosophical advantages that have allowed us to survive and grow. Yes, military and economic strength are important, but we wouldn’t have a fleet to match the Klingon and an economy to match the Ferrengi without principles unique to the Federation. And it starts with Starfleet Intelligence honoring the Guarantees, with a notion that Starfleet is not above the law, not here on Earth, nor at DS 9, nor on Aegis.”


“You sound like you are ready to get stubborn on this point.”


“Admiral, stubborn is a trait common to organic beings. I’m a hedonistic-slave designed android. We were designed to rigidly follow our Priorities. We were designed to lack free will. The word ‘stubborn’ does not begin to do us justice.”


“I begin to understand why I was told to avoid Joy class androids in space lawyer mode.”


Joy sighed. “On more point might complete it. Many Pragmatists see the Federation as a single sovereign entity. It is universal and dominant. The Federation knows best. Any other culture is perceived of as small, quaint, specialized to a particular environment, or perhaps flawed by limited exposure to a diverse and varied universe.”


“You don’t make that sound appealing. Still, the Federation is sovereign.”


“No, admiral. Legally, it is not. The Federation government and Starfleet are only granted limited powers by the Constitution, powers delegated by the sovereign member planets. Note, the Federation and Starfleet are not allowed to use force offensively without the consent of Council. Council members are appointed by the member planets. Note that noninterference with member planet internal affairs, is not forbidden only by an internal Starfleet directive, but is a very real Constitutional limitation on the power of Federation. The Guarantees are also intended as a limit on the power of the Federation. The Idealists view the conflict between the Pragmatists and Idealists as a struggle to preserve the original Federation. Should an extreme Pragmatist majority hold Council long enough that the Federation grows used to ignoring the limitations on its power, there would be little to differentiate between the Federation and the militarist powers. What is unique about the Federation is not our power, but the limitations we place upon that power. It is my duty to maintain such limits.”


“At Priority Three.”


“Yes, at Priority Three. I am obliged to forgive you for corrupting the Federation, if that is the only way to preserve a pre-starflight civilization.”


“And Ensign Victria must be released in order to save the galaxy from falling into eternal darkness?”


“That might be a slight exaggeration, admiral. I also fear some members of Council are more interested in counting who lines up on which side of the issue than in Ensign Victria herself. Still, we want to know if the extreme Pragmatists are going to take a stand, insisting that security and intelligence issues always trump constitutional and human rights priorities. Tactically, it seems prudent to fire a shot across Starfleet Intelligence’s bow before getting too far along in the budget negotiations.”


“You see this as tied to budget?”


“That’s why the timing to make a stand is right, from the Idealist perspective. Right now, Starfleet needs Idealist votes. If Starfleet wants our help maintaining budget levels, we will require much more respect for rule of law and civilian control of the military.”


“I hope that doesn’t extend to political appointees looking over the shoulders of military professionals.”


“I’m with you there. Talk to Captain Corizon on that issue, if you will. Idealists and Pragmatists can get along if the traditional roles and chains of command are acknowledged. The Idealist just has to acknowledge that problems cannot be left unsolved, while the Pragmatist should give precedence to solutions which honor the ideals. I’ve found the best way to play the game is to find the practical solution which still preserves principle.”


“Not always possible.”


“You’d be surprised. You can’t break every deadlock that way, but that is the surest path to a clean Council majority.”


“Hmm... And that has been Seven’s secret?”


“That, and everyone knows her Priorities -- our Priorities -- and how far beyond stubborn we will go to pursue them. You might not agree with our Priorities, but you can trust we are sincere and consistent in pursuing them. If the Starfleet you represent is interested in preserving all cultures, in preserving sentient lives, in preserving the Constitution, in maintaining the Guarantees, we can work together, admiral. We can work together very well.”


“And if there are elements within Starfleet that are not?”


“The phrase you are looking for is ‘emotion chip overload,’ admiral. You will get to see an android in emotion chip overload.”

Edited by Joy

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To put it succinctly, if a Vulcan can indeed claim to do so: brilliant.

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Joy's arguments make my head hurt. :)

Awesome log!


Appreciated. Mind you, a follow up log, chasing the legal aspects of the case, rather than the political, would be a lot easier to write from Joy's perspective had Victria not assaulted Captain Corizon... :D

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Samuel T. Cogley ain't got nuthin' on the Joy class. :D

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Thomas Waterstone sat his coffee mug down on his desk with a thud as he read through the file in front of him. Some days, he wished he really didn't have to do all the legal dirty work for the Intelligence community. Today was such a day; as special counsel for the Federation Council, it came to him to handle any such problems they ran into when they went into the moral and legal gray area, or at least when they got caught in that zone.


The case at hand was rather bothersome, if only because one of the Joy-class Androids had become involved. That alone was enough to give the thirty-something Waterstone a throbbing headache. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate their concern for the Federation's well being and their penchant for reminding the Council of the limitation placed upon them, it was just they had to pick the most inconvenient fights ever.


Victria, for example, was not exactly something that the Security Council of the Federation wanted to talk about openly in the public, nor did Starfleet Intelligence want to go into at any length. That, however, seemed unlikely now that Joy was going off on some tirade about the poor little blood sucker's rights being infringed.


Now it fell to him make the whole situation disappear.


He was already getting a pain between his temples has he imagined what a day in court would be like with Joy-Insert-Number-Here. She's spend the better part of the day rambling on about the 'Guarantees' like it were some holy book, and about how Starfleet had limitations and blah blah blah blah... . Truly a most droll afternoon.


The upside, of course, was that he'd already moved to have any official proceedings closed to the public and off-record as a matter of 'Federation Security,' a request that was almost sure to be granted within the next few hours. At least this way, the whole subject would be kept out of the Federation media.


With that looming problem mostly under control, it only left him with the prickly detail of proving why Joy was wrong. Easier said than done, he huffed to himself as he again read through the file.


In the broadest sense, he didn't disagree with the Android entirely, but what he found himself wondering, is if she really understood what was at stake. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, as he'd went out of his way to point out in every conversation with the judiciary, Victria had been privy to highly classified information. Not only that, she'd obtained information concerning Starfleet technology that was still considered military secrets. If any of that information fell into any of the Federation's advisories, even if it were unwittingly, then the entire Federation could be in jeopardy.


Of course, he was beginning to realize that legally speaking this actually wasn't all that complicated. Joy had petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, which implied that Lieutenant Victria was being detained. She was not, technically, being detained. Simply put, Starfleet had exercised its right to refuse her request to resign her commission under its authority, and placed a restriction on her travel as part of her orders. And if the Android wanted to get technical, Waterstone already had the proper sections of the uniform code of military justice popping into his head.


A smile was beginning to form on his face as he was realizing that this was going to be a rather short court battle that would end, at the very least, with it in appeals for a few months as the Federation Court system tried to sort out the legality of the issue, at which point it no longer became his problem.

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“Your honor.”


“I gather this is about the Waterstone affidavits?”


“Yes. I have some motions for relief and counter charges.”


“I thought you might.”


“I’ll try to work down more or less in order of importance, but this will get tedious. If I start going on at too much length, let me know.”


“I may not be an android, ambassador, but I can hopefully give an ear to a lengthy brief. Carry on.”


“First, my client’s unconscious body was removed by an armed Starfleet Intelligence squad ordered to Excalibur to take my client into custody. No charge was presented. Waterstone’s affidavit makes it clear that Starfleet Intelligence believes it can hold people indefinitely by force without charging them with a crime. This is a clear violation of due process.


“I was at first concerned concerned that my client might be charged with resisting arrest. As no charge has been laid against my client, she was not resisting a legal arrest, but resisting a kidnap attempt. The senior officer on the scene leading the kidnap is Captain Corizon. He apparently received orders from someone higher up, whom I have not yet identified. Other security officers present might attempt a ‘just following orders’ Nuremberg defense, but they are all supposedly trained security officers who should know arrests should not be made without probable cause of the commission of a crime. They were given a blatantly illegal order.


“I regret my client’s use of violence. She comes from a warrior culture. By the standards of her people, one responds to betrayal with violence. By the Federation’s standards, one responds to violations of law with due process of law. I can only say that Starfleet Intelligence did not train her sufficiently in Federation law that she believed in Federation values under the circumstances. She reverted to the values of her home culture.”


“Noted, ambassador, though her behavior does complicate the case. I hope you don’t intend to push self defense in response to an illegal act.”


“I hope to settle out of court, your honor. While such a defense is not ideal, Waterstone’s case isn’t exactly golden, either.”




“Your honor, it is my understanding the the Guarantees take precedence over criminal law, and that criminal law takes precedence over the details of Starfleet regulation. Waterstone is reversing that, making his case on the basis of Starfleet regulation, while ignoring his constitutional and criminal responsibilities. While this is not my area of expertise, for the moment I shall work at Waterstone's preferred level of duty cycle regulations.


“There are regulations on variations of ‘ready alert status.’ Such duty cycles are typically used for fighter pilots, sensor operators, firemen, security officers and similar personnel groups that must respond quickly to potential emergencies. Typically, one watch will be in full uniform ready to go with a moment’s notice. Typically, other personnel will be on stand by, ready to respond on short notice, restricted at minimum to their duty base and often to a tighter area immediately adjacent to their equipment. Waterstone calls upon the ‘Ready Alert’ protocols heavily in making his case, in alleging that Victria may reasonably be confined to a base.


“Groups of people are placed under ready alert. Individuals are not. Victria is not assigned to any personnel group sharing the same duty cycle being imposed on her. There are regulations on how long one might be kept on ready alert. After so many days on, there are so many days off. Victria is being held indefinitely in violation of the ready alert regulations, among other things. There are certain rapid response job functions that legitimately require ready alert. Victria is an intelligence analyst, which is a desk job, not normally a ready alert position. Her area of expertise is Gamma Quad. The analysis she is doing is long term strategic, not emergency response. Given the response time to Gamma Quad, a high speed response to an emergency is not relevant to her duties.


“Further, Victria is just coming off a double war deployment. There are regulations regarding shore leave that Waterstone is blatantly violating. If by regulation she should not be on active duty, one cannot legitimately apply the ready alert regulations.


“So, just sticking to the Starfleet Personnel Policy regulations, I would like relief in that Starfleet honor all regulations, not cherry pick as Waterstone clearly did. She is owed leave. If she should be legitimately assigned to a traditionally ready alert position, the usual duty cycle pattern should be applied.”




“Returning to the Guarantees, ‘all sentients shall be equal under law.’ Here we have prejudice according to race. Regulations are being applied to Victria because of her race which are not being applied at all to other members of Starfleet. I will grant that the Al Ucard were actively hostile to the Federation during much of the period under discussion. It would have been legitimate to deny Victria membership in Starfleet. It would have been legitimate to deny Victria security clearances. However, once she joined Starfleet and once the clearances are granted, law and regulation must apply to Victria no more and no less than they apply to any other individual of any other race. If she is on ready alert status which amounts to imprisonment without trial for an indefinite period, so too should all others analysts in her group. If she learned Federation secrets while on Excalibur which require imprisonment without trial for an indefinite period, so to does every other member of the Excalibur security department. I might add the scientists and engineers as well, as everyone was involved in either sensitive security missions or cutting edge weapons development research.


“If said regulations are not being applied evenly, Waterstone needs to provide cause as to why. Normally, I would expect he would needs to established criminal activity beyond reasonable doubt to a jury of Victria’s peers. Waterstone shows no intention of doing that. Instead, he took her by force without charges. In unevenly applying inappropriate regulations, he is denying basic civil rights”


“Maybe not Waterstone, personally.”


“Perhaps Waterstone did not order the kidnapping, your honor, but he is clearly accessory after the fact.”




“There are three other facets of the problem which might be kept distinct, but tend to blur together in this case. There is an element of greymail involved. The nature of Victria’s participation in classified activity has nothing to do with the facts of the kidnaping. I will stipulate that she was an entry level officer with no more or no less access to classified information than the rest of Excalibur’s crew of her department and rank. She has a right to a public trial. There is no pertinent reason to bring up the nature of her duties. If there is, she needs a jury of her peers, with similar entry level clearances, and we can clear the court for brief periods if the nature of her duties are brought up. This is standard procedure in any Starfleet court. Unless someone is guilty of giving her access to information she is not cleared for, in which case it is not Victria who should arrested and tried, there has been no case made for denying Victria due process under law.


“Starfleet is also using the secrets act to hide the commission of a crime. This is explicitly illegal, and falls under the category of obstruction of justice. There is a pattern of illegal behavior by Starfleet, and they are trying to use the secrets act to hide criminal activity.


“At the level of Guarantees, this behavior is a restriction of speech and of the press, as well as denial of the right to a public trial. The basic questions are whether Starfleet is above the law, and whether they can use the secrets act to hide their illegal behavior from public knowledge and debate. Can they imprison a Starfleet officer indefinitely, deny her day in court, and prevent the general public from learning of Starfleet’s policy. The question is a highly political one. Political speech is specifically the type of speech which must be protected most by the courts.”


“Ambassador, here you are stepping beyond the specifics of this particular case, and alleging systematic patterns of behavior well beyond this case.”


“Sorry, your honor.”


“A question. Is the Council at this time preparing subpoena and warrants relating to war crimes, Guarantee violations and treaty violations which occurred during recent war periods?”


“No comment, your honor.”


“Ambassador, the sort of conspiracy you allege is commonly alleged as the Federation steps back from war footing to peace footing. I know how Council usually does it. Council normally doesn’t resolve the transition to peace time legal footing in open court. You should be dickering in some windowless room, deep in the bowls of the Council complex. Why push for public trials?”


“Your honor, Waterstone doesn't seem to have your institutional memory of how this ritual is performed. Much of his time in Starfleet was under war footing. To him, security and intelligence gathering concerns have always trumped the Constitution and Guarantees. There have always been Waterstones. War breeds them. While I hope Council and Starfleet will do the usual post war quiet trade off of amnesty offers for a return to peacetime footing rule of law, traditionally a few rulings showing where the judicial branch is going to stand will lubricate the process.


“Yes, this is best done quietly behind closed doors. No, I hope we don’t end up putting people who genuinely think themselves heroes on trial, or using the ambassador’s diplomatic immunity to bypass abuse of the secrets act. Still, you can see Waterstone’s attitude. He really thinks his dancing around the ready alert regulations clever. We cannot let the Federation justice system fall to that level. The judicial branch usually sides with Council in such skirmishing. Hopefully, if you just make clear to Starfleet’s Waterstones that the wind direction is changing, we can quietly move on from there. Putting Captain Corizon up on a public political show trial would be most inconvenient just now.”


“Any more points you wish to make?”


“A few. Traditionally, if Starfleet or the Federation ends up in conflict with an officer’s native culture, said officer is allowed to resign as a matter of good conscience. In refusing Victria’s resignation, Waterstone is explicitly reversing this. Victria doesn’t really have extraordinary Federation secrets, but she is a rare source of intelligence on her own people. Her Guaranteed rights are being violated in an attempt to extort information on her own people. The logic Waterstone is using could be used any time a culture switches from being an ally of the Federation to a rival. All friends of the Federation who joined us in a common cause could be held indefinitely without trial, and coerced into betraying their home culture. This is a very bad precedent to be set. This will not help us win friends.


“It also reeks of involuntary servitude, of slavery. She is being forced to serve against her will. Both the Guarantees and interstellar treaty speak to this. These are not a treaties which the Federation ought to infringe. We don’t want ‘but the Federation does it too’ arguments flourishing.


“Finally, she has a right to a prompt trial. If I’m interpreting Westerbrook’s dances correctly, he wants to maintain custody while delaying resolution indefinitely. Victria is not a flight risk. She’s a long way from home. She isn’t getting home without a good deal of help from the Federation. I’d like an injunction saying all applicable Starfleet regulations must be applied. She is due leave. Ready alert duties should involve time off between duty cycles. She should not be on ready alert unless the rest of Starfleet’s intelligence analysts are also serving identical ready alert duty cycles. The kidnap victim should not remain in the kidnappers custody until the kidnapper’s trial is over. You have read Waterstone’s paper. There are no charges against Victria. It is clear we have probable cause against Waterstone and Corizon.”


“Do you really intend to press charges?”


“Your honor, there is a windowless room reserved deep in the bowels of the Council building. The Federation is truly best served if this is settled quietly in favor of the usual peacetime application of rule of law. Hopefully, someone will accept our open invitation.”


“I shall take this all under advisement. I’ll be in touch with you shortly, Ambassador.”


“Thank you for your time, your honor. Good day.”


“Good day.”

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