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Prime Defective

Posted on Mon Apr 3rd, 2017 @ 11:45am by Commander Tyro Adina

Mission: Winter Shoreleave
Location: Betazed
Timeline: Final

:: ON ::

'Think' she always told herself. Like a meditation, she concentrated on the glass pad beneath her boots, allowed herself to feel the temperature of the room. Then, after giving the order to energise, she attempted to string together a simple-

Instantaneous felt so relative to the meditative mind. -sentence, thought Tyro. She was very accustomed to teleportation, having lived all her life in space or aboard ships. She had learned how to disorient herself, by focusing on that moment of displacement where nothing existed, the timelessness it took for her neurons to reboot. She found herself under a warmer climate, with sun falling over her and grey brick under her feet.

Tyro had beamed down outside the Convention Hall, and looked toward the towering colonnade of the building to orient herself. She walked down a couple steps toward the fountain, where she looked over the tops of heads to find the table she was searching for. Some people were selling things out here too, vendors taking advantage of the day's vote. Tyro was looking for a friend, who she knew to have volunteered to do what Tyro wouldn't. They had together been part of the lobby for this very vote to take place, as professionals lending their weight to the movement. Rather unconsciously, Tyro had chosen to keep a little more distance this time, in light of her growing responsibilities. Vele was a well regarded vulcan scientist on the other hand, and supported their cause more vocally than Tyro.

"Miss Adina," said Vele as Tyro approached the information desk. She stood from her chair to greet the commander as she made her way over. "It is reassuring to see you again. I did not think you would wish to associate your new vessel with these matters."

"I already voted," smiled Tyro. She squeezed between the edge of the table and the neighbouring tent to place herself on the same side as the vulcan, and insisted on a hug. "I'm sorry that I'm not actually here for support. I had to catch you before I left Betazed." Vele was puzzled, and Tyro indicated she could sit back down again. The commander sat on the table after moving a few books and pamphlets that were neatly piled.

"How are you?" she asked first, and they chatted for a few minutes. They talked about some of the other authorities who shared their views, some of whom had stopped by as well to show support or help spread the argument. In truth, neither of them were optimistic, but they shared a strong belief. Unfortunately they both knew that changing a common perception would be an uphill battle, and there were many who dismissed them as radicals without any further proof needed.

"I need a reference from you, Vele. I was hoping you could even tutor me to help accelerate the program. I don't have the medical background, and neither am I going to have the time to work up the credentials on my own. You're the only person I know in the field, so I hope you'll support me. This is what I've decided to pursue seriously, not the admiralty. Or I can do both... but step by step. Help me start with a degree in neurobiology."

Vele considered. She knew Tyro through correspondence. It was premature to believe she knew something of Tyro's mind, but as scientific peers Vele believed that there was something valuable in Tyro. They were interrupted however. "The voting is taking place... this way, correct?" inquired a tellarite man stopped in front of the table. Tyro turned, still sitting on the table, slightly irritated by the intrusion.

"Indeed. Just inside and around the corner. May I ask-" He again interrupted Vele.

"You may, and I will be voting against the resolution," he said firmly, making no move to continue on his course. Tyro dismounted, so she could look over the man and judge his demeanor. She did not like him declaring himself against her or her friend. Vele pursued calmly, accepting his challenge with the stability of a vulcan.

"An understandable position," said Vele. "You may wish to preserve your beliefs and philosophy, but not realise that an alteration to the Prime Directive will not change the ethics of Starfleet. To be progressive matters significantly more in the purview of Interstellar Law, so logically-"

The tellarite sneered, and huffed dismissively. "What of this human?" he snorted. "Her uniform doesn't cause her to jump to my defense when a Vulcan lectures me on ethics! Ha."

Tyro was reluctant to get involved at all, more or less for the sake of her uniform. "Your vote. Your choice," she said.

"A cowardly answer," nodded the tellarite in approval. Tyro noted people tuning in as they passed, out of curiosity, and in hopes of listening to the argument. Some of the faces tuned back out when the Vulcan spoke.

"You approached us to discuss this topic, I surmise. There is a sizable scientific body who believe as I do that the Prime Directive is flawed, yet we know that the vote to reconsider its validity is unlikely to succeed. The primary obstacle, you yourself are demonstrating: people are accustomed to Starfleet General Order Number One, and a majority will stubbornly defend it for little more concrete a reason."

"Comfort!" scoffed the tellarite, whose name was Laok. His disgust attracted a few looks across the square. He gestured to Vele and entreated support among the strangers around him, many of whom wouldn't be remiss for radicals against the Prime Directive to be reminded of Federation principle. "One side, diminishing another. No, my illogical foe, I do not speak out of stubbornness in the slightest! I can see why you might... presume that about me, but for once I cannot be the one in the wrong, can I? The Federation has had the Prime Directive for, what, near two hundred years? I say with distinction that it is both wise and ethical, so for the two of you to openly dismiss it is... revolting."

"Had it and never followed it!" interjected Tyro suddenly. She picked up one of the books supporting her position, leaned forward and dropped it at the man's feet. It slapped the brick punctually. "Starfleet Officers have been in positions where the Prime Directive is harmful. We have seen it fail over and over, and not just because we are too 'cowardly' or weak to follow it."

Tyro held up a hand toward Laok when he began to reply, and as if she could control him continued to speak without allowing him to do so until she was finished.

"The evidence isn't just that it doesn't work, or even that Starfleet captains are so hungry for glory that they violate it whenever they have a man down on an alien world. What one hundred-fifty years says about the Prime Directive is that a great diversity of Starfleet officers have broken it, and their superiors agreed. Who is the one diminishing whom?"

"That is not evidence that it isn't valid!" laughed the tellarite. He was caught pleasantly off-guard by the outburst, though Vele was looking at Tyro with concern that she might do something reckless. Humans were rash, but Tyro was downright unpredictable at best.

"I'm sure there are a great many ethical principals broken by Starfleet, but the incompetence of you off-" Tyro this time did not stand by and let him insult her. "I am as easily disgusted as you are," she cut in rigidly. People were taking more interest in the exchange, not yet sure if they were following to defend Starfleet or the Prime Directive. Laok nodded in a moment of apology.

"But! That is not the point! As a guiding principal, the wisdom of the Prime Directive cannot be mistaken. It is there for the protection of other peoples, aliens for whom our intervention would be destructive. It keeps us from believing we can solve all the problems in the universe, and from our own ignorance. It ensures we keep our beliefs out of other folks' business!"

"I do not agree," said Tyro. "The Prime Directive does not spare us ignorance. The moment we become aware of an uncontacted society, the Prime Directive asks us to judge them. It says we must decide who they are by an arbitrary scale. It limits how we are to see them, usually on nothing more than the level of their technology. That is ignorance, and a wise officer doesn't mistake it, no matter what their position on the directive. My argument isn't that we involve ourselves in every species we meet, but there is nothing wise or brave in reducing a critical decision such as contact, such as intervention, to something simple and rigid. You might believe it's smart to ensure the lowest common denominator knows what is destructive. I haven't got such low expectations of my Fleet."

"The centuries tell us a different story," said Laok. "Interference with a less developed society tends to do them no favours. Perhaps you are right, that we shouldn't assume any superiority. That is exactly why we shouldn't interfere."

"Or is that what the dogma has taught you?" asked Tyro. A ripple of murmuring brought her attention to the forming bubble of spectators, just for a moment. "An argument from ignorance," she continued.

"We can no more predict the outcome of intervention than we can any other hard decision. It's a pointless argument to make. The danger of the Prime Directive is that it justifies callous ignorance. We cannot measure the difference we choose not to make, but assume its positive effect anyway. We have learned nothing from our history of exploitation. We know that every new species we encounter will be unique, we claim to believe in diversity, but this is a directive that teaches us to see all peoples in one colour. Does that sound so different from imperialism? Faced with suffering, an officer can pass indifference and apathy as duty... I must be incapable of seeing how that is any different. So no, I'm not strongly in favour of policy that prevents us from applying ourselves to challenging problems. We don't need directives that encourage delusions. The Federation is a colonial power, but that doesn't mean-"

Another person who had been listening took exception to Tyro's slander of the Federation. They were barely keeping their anger measured, and interrupted Tyro from her side of the table. They were larger, older than Tyro, and a number of strangers nodded and murmured in support.

"You're a traitor," they accused. "The Prime Direction is for our protection! We don't interfere with aliens, whatever problems they make among themselves. It's not our job!" The rehashing made Tyro grimace. To her it seemed little more than dogma.

"Colonialism doesn't make us the same as conquerors," insisted Tyro, stepping toward the stranger. "You're right, the Prime Directive is convenient for us. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Think about the ideology itself for a moment; good intentions are not enough to justify your actions. But what are we protecting if diversity is less important than our rigid order to stand clear? All we have is a duty to steal agency from people we have already judged and sentenced. They are offered no choice in the relationship we have provided them, because finding a measure to do so is too much bother... and we pretend to be explorers. Non-interference is little different from isolationism and xenophobia!"

The stranger began to slide toward Tyro, closing their hands and breathing slowly. "Why don't you shut-up now?" they said banefully. Tyro felt her muscles were tense and took a moment to take in the atmosphere. She looked around her, hearing for the first time that people were angry with her dissenting comments. Very few of them agreed, but there was no part of her that regretted her position. She had every right to speak her mind, and the only guilt she felt was that she couldn't convince them to take a good look at their own beliefs. She opened her hands to show she would not fight for something as petty as opinion.

"You're right. I'm done. I didn't mean-"

"You are done!" The stranger lurched at Tyro suddenly, unmindful of her uniform or the people around them. "Stop talking!" they bellowed, balling a fist and guiding it toward the commander's torso. As a pacifist, Tyro always believed there was big risk and slim reward for violence of any kind. As an officer, she was far past flinching, even faced with a klingon. Her arm was up in an instant, and she deflected her attacker and grabbed hold of their arm, trying to subdue them. "Enough!" she insisted.

"Traitor!" Tyro wasn't fast enough for the anger of her assailant, and their next blow struck Tyro in the head. She released their arm and pushed the attacker hard away from her. She staggered back, but not faster than the attacker. Gasps hissed through the crowd. People were more interested in fights than debates, but nobody expected this. For a moment, the hologram hiding Tyro's face was disrupted.

Tyro held her hand over as much as she could, but there was no hiding the creeping burnflesh that dominated her face. Where the hologram had been, a simmering network of bluish, gored flesh was revealed. The pretty redhead was momentarily exposed to be... alien. Islands of freckled pale skin drifted on the spider limbs of seared skin, which seemed almost to shift in the sunlight. The hologram of her face flickered, attempting to reestablish itself. Without access to the ship, however, not all of the Haven program could initialize. Calls for security sounded in the crowd before Tyro's face returned, and Vele had taken up a position to protect her. Even the vulcan stared at Tyro, shocked.

Security arrived with their hands on their phasers, just in case. There were always rumours of changelings and sensational stories that never seemed too credible, but the convention would be a devastating time to pull off an attack. Tyro was now hairless, her long red hair being a difficult and complex feature for the small implant in her neck to generate. She moved her hand just to address the security officer, her heart racing in embarrassment. "Tyro Adina, commander of the USS Tranquility," she growled. She accounted the people closest to her, now mostly keeping their distance. Tyro lowered her hand and took a moment to calm herself, fixing her uniform and then finally looking the betazoid security officer in the eyes.

"I'm not pressing charges," she said, reaching up for a moment to place her fingers on her cheek.

:: END ::

Tyro Adina
Commanding Officer
Commander, USS Tranquility



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