Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Star Trek '12: 2312 AD - Humans

Marty Pressman was an engineer in Starfleet.  He’d worked on starship design theory for a couple of years before he became frustrated with the fundamental flaw of the program, and that was the moratorium on cloaking devices.

Everyone knew that the Federation had signed a treaty with the Romulan Empire forbidding it, but Pressman didn’t particularly care.  He knew what he wanted and didn’t like to be told he couldn’t have it.  So instead of conforming to expectations, he started to rebel.  He spent late hours pouring over documents about the treaty, its specifics, exact wording, history, alternate theories…His superiors started asking him questions, even though he was careful, and it was only a matter of works before he was called to speak with the captain, and during this little chat he was informed that the Romulans had learned about his activities, and Starfleet was not at all happy about that.  At the very least, he was told, he should have cleared this interest with his immediate supervisor, if not the chief, if not the captain himself.

Pressman asked if he could speak freely.  The captain allowed it.  Pressman hesitated for a moment, and then decided that he might as well seize the opportunity.  He started by asking if the Romulans really had a right, or if the Federation had a right, to make such judgments.  Was the price of peace really at the cost of progress?  Was it not Starfleet mandate to expand the horizon, rather than diminish it?

He started to feel a little giddy.  The captain said nothing, so he continued.  Surely there were secret programs, some agency or another, who were already working on it, or perhaps there were officers who had already cracked the code, or other species who would share the secret.  Romulans couldn’t be the only ones who possessed the technology.  In fact, he suggested, there must be several, if not hundreds, members of the Federation.  There were similar methods he knew of that Starfleet did allow.  Would it really be such a stretch to expand them, to work around the treaty?

He began to grow more bold.  The captain remained silent.  He continued.  Was peace with an empire that had now been silent for decades really worth the cost to the future?  Was not the foundation of the Federation built on the exchange of ideas, rather than stifling them?  Had not humanity itself struggled with Vulcans over this very issue for more than a century?

The captain finally spoke.  He said that Pressman was a valued member of his crew, with a promising career.  He would make many valuable contributions to the fleet, no doubt.  Except in this area.  It was vital that he put this behind him, and that he do it then and there.  Surely he must understand the need for security, the need for compromise?  Many individuals had looked into these matters before him.  The Federation had not signed the treaty lightly, but with great cost of life, and with utmost integrity.  Surely that was worth preserving?

Pressman knew when he was dismissed.  He saw the bored expression in the captain’s eyes.  He waited to be dismissed, and watched as the captain reviewed a data pad.  Finally, there was a slight nod, and Pressman stepped out of the ready room, and onto the bridge of the ship, where the helm officer, a friend of his, smiled weakly at him.  He continued to the turbo shaft, passing the science station, and thought glumly about what the captain had just told him, in so many words that he should mind his own business.  He stepped into the lift and gave the command for engineering.  He stood quietly for a moment, the doors opened again, and he walked into the busy hub of activity that did not hold anything for him, not now.

He knew he would not be promoted.  He thought of his young son Erik, attending primary school on Rigel IV.  If he stopped now, the boy would not be affected by these decisions, might still have a chance at a better career than him, perhaps be able to fulfill this mad dream.

Pressman continued in a haze for the remainder of the day, doing his job mechanically, which was the only way he’d survive from now on, no longer believing in anything, hoping for another war with the Romulans, or that the Klingons would do it, or that some miracle would happen and the universe would suddenly start making sense.  He started making private notes of everything he’d seen.

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