In a surprise gesture that even the Bajoran Prophets might not have foreseen, the Federation News Service has received an offer for an on-the-record interview from none other than Commodore Gareth Tau. From the bottom of my heart, please enjoy this unredacted transcript between myself and the Executive Officer of Starfleet’s Task Force 72. Thank heavens for miracles great and small.
Cetus Lapetus: Commodore Tau, allow me to extend the most gracious thanks from everyone at FNS for this interview. It has been a long time coming, hasn’t it?
Gareth Tau: You pulled your strings, so let’s just get this over with.
CL: Is that how you Starfleet types respond to thanks?
GT: You’re welcome.
CL: Hum. Quite welcome, from the sounds of it.
GT: Just ask your questions, Rupert.
CL: *cough* Bad form, Commodore. Now, let us begin with the question on everybody’s mind: what happened on the SS Hermes, 18th of May?
GT: As you well know from your firsthand account, Mister… Lapetus… there was a barbaric protest on a civilian vessel which interrupted the Long Jump Gala.
CL: I do recall the incident, yes, but tell us more of Starfleet’s response to it.
GT: Starfleet has no mandate in civilian affairs unless granted by Federation authorities.
CL: But isn’t it true that Starfleet’s investigative teams have been apprehending demagogues across the Alpha Quadrant?
GT: That is clas–. *sigh* That is correct.
CL: What was that, Commodore?
GT: I said that is correct.
CL: So, then, isn’t true that your personal team of investigators, Law Enforcement Team 72, apprehended the mastermind of the attack on the Hermes? The one who calls himself ‘Legion’?
GT: I don’t know where you get your information, Mr. Lapetus, but allow me to correct your assertions: there was no terrorist attack; the protest on the Hermes ended through the unpreventable self-inflicted suicides of three members of the wait staff as a form of protest; the spokesman of the protest was apprehended the next day from a remote location by Law Enforcement Team 72; LET-72 performs interdiction actions against smuggling and other interstellar crimes, and is not my personal team of investigators.
As for ‘Legion,’ it is more of a manifesto than an individual. That was made abundantly clear upon questioning of the individual Pallas Cant who claimed responsibility for the protest on the SS <em>Hermes</em>, as well as the one on Rigel VII where he was apprehended.
CL: Then do you recant your recommendation to the Federation Council that this Freedom’s Legion movement should be added to its list of terrorist organizations?
GT: Starfleet cannot address concerns for which the Federation has not delegated authority to do so. Civilian protests are outside of our mandate until the Federation Council determines they have become criminal or otherwise dangerous in nature. People have died, and if calling them domestic terrorists empowers us to prevent more deaths, then I consider that is an acceptable pejorative.
CL: Egads, Commodore! How can you sit there and so brazenly espouse fascist ideology in the name of Starfleet?
GT: That is another pejorative that must be endured if we’re to safeguard the Federation.
CL: What about personal freedoms? Federation citizens have rights!
GT: Indeed they do. I recommend you petition your council member to address them. We are only tasked with the security of the Federation and exploring new frontiers.
CL: Just ‘following orders’ sounds like a rather archaic and tyrannical frontier to revisit, doesn’t it?
GT: It is not my place to debate Federation policy. Next question.
CL: Task Group Hecate has been busy little bees, hasn’t it?
CL: Go on.
GT: That’s not a question.
CL: Quite right. Your Office of Special Investigations has recently declassified a collaborative project with the Department of Temporal Investigations, isn’t that right? How is the old H.G. Wells these days?
GT: The USS H.G. Wells was decommissioned pending review of its classified technological systems and a potential replacement commanding officer. OSI will of course cooperate with all governing interests in this matter, up to and including the recommendation of new command officers, whether as a joint project with DTI or the Corps of Engineers, or under our own purview.
CL: Speaking of joint projects, let’s get back to Long Jump. The new Canopus Station was launched with only a few hiccups, correct?
GT: The separate modules of the Spacedock were launched separately and were quickly retrieved upon arrival.
CL: That isn’t what the FNS correspondent had to say in his recent report. It was a smidge touch and go there for awhile, wasn’t it?
GT: All’s well that ends well, Mister Lapetus.
CL: I shall put that on your gravestone, Commodore. While we’re on the subject of epitaphs, it seems a very remote colony has gone dark in Abadar’s Gate. Somewhere in the far reaches of Federation space, between two spiral arms of the galaxy. Is it a coincidence the fledgling colony in that neck of the woods was mentioned in the recent manifesto of Freedom’s Legion?
GT: Must be.
CL: So the worlds so named by the Freedom’s Legion movement have had no contact or influence from your jackboots in science coats?
GT: OSI processes hundreds of reports each month. It would be statistically impossible for Freedom’s Legion or anyone else to name-drop even the majority of what we document or record.
CL: So you are denying even a plausible link between the destruction of New Far Florence and your macabre agency so colorfully titled Memory Theta?
GT: Correlation is not causation.
CL: And coincidences are not explanations.
GT: Are we done?
CL: Not so fast. Let’s talk Alrakis Pact.
GT: What about it?
CL: So you affirm its existence?
GT: It was broadcast across the galaxy, sir. Rather hard to miss.
CL: Ah, yes, but they’re gaining strength, preparing to make their move. Aren’t you readying for war?
GT: That is not up to me.
CL: But Starfleet Intelligence has sent a reconnaissance team within the Inconnu Expanse.
GT: Go ask SFI.
CL: Fair enough. But TF 72 has recently opened new fleet yards in the Ivaldi system, have you not?
GT: The Vidal Fleet Yards have been under construction for years.
CL: Both actions taken after Hazard Team 14 goes M-I-A after investing the destruction of Deep Space 7.
GT: As I understand linear time, yes.
CL: So the timing was all just coincidental?
CL: Well, bully for you and all your happy coincidences!
GT: Any other questions?
CL: Just one. Can you name one ship or facility that is not being marshaled for war against potential enemies, whether foreign or domestic?
GT: Sure. The USS Hope, USS Atlantis, and USS Standing Bear each have their own diplomatic missions of discovery, the Starfleet Academy on Bajor is quite free of enemies, both foreign and domestic, and Roosevelt Station hasn’t reported any trouble from the Ferengi border.
CL: That was a rhetorical question, Commodore Tau.
GT: I know, Mr. Lapetus, yet aren’t those the best kind?
CL: *snort* I think I have everything I need. Thank you again, Commodore.
GT: Thank Command. This will never happen again, you can be assured of that.
As you can see, my dear readers, I was a gentleman and a scholar for tolerating that brute. Alas, there is no distance I won’t span or depth I will not plumb to bring you the juiciest tidbits that Starfleet’s TF 72 has squirreled away from the public eye. Stay tuned for future developments while we parse the crumbs and nuggets dropped herein for even more juicy secrets.
As always, I remain Cetus Lapetus for the Federation News Service.