Star Trek: Defiant

"Stereotypes Broken" - Part 1E

Written by Valas Maerret

Lieutenant Mak casually strolls into the detention center housing a security guard and one caged Romulan. The guard snaps to attention as Mak walks past, who stops in front of the cell holding Maerret.

Maerret looks up. This was the fourth person who had came down here this morning. They had continued asking him questions, running tests and some just giving him a piece of their mind. In any case, it was all very annoying to the Romulan.

Mak stands and stares at him for a minute.

"So, another one has come to give the old traitor another chance to proclaim his guilt, huh?" Maerret asks.

"Actually, I came to see if you wanted to play a quick game of strategema," Mak responds.

Maerret usually isn't taken aback so, but this truly caught him off guard.

Mak turns to the guard. "This cell is equipped with a holo-emitter, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir, but..."

"Open the force field, crewman."

"Yes, sir."

Maerret gets to his feet as Mak enters the cell. The field is reinstated.

"That was tactically dangerous, Lieutenant," Maerret states. "And procedurally incorrect as well. A crewman from security is required to escort all officers into an occupied cell, while at least two others stand outside. You are unarmed, and I might have escaped."

"I knew you had the sense not to try," Mak responds. "And in any case, you wouldn't have made it past me."

They stand staring at each other for another minute before Mak speaks, "Have a seat. Computer, activate standard dueling positions for strategema - extrapolate type II hand positions."

With a series of beeps, a grid appears between the two players, filled with the strategema playing board.

"Your move," Mak states, giving Maerret the opening stage. Maerret gives Mak one last look before twisting certain fingers, officially starting the nerve-racking game. Both played well as the game lasted seven minutes. Pretty good, considering the circumstances, Maerret thought. The grid disappeared, leaving Mak as the winner.

"You had me nervous there for a minute," he states.

Maerret asks "So, why did you come here, anyway?"

"That was all."

Maerret gives him an unconvinced look.

"I know how it feels to be isolated, not only in body, but in mind. Its one thing to be physically secluded. Its quite another to be socially alone. Besides, you're one of the few on the ship who gives me a challenge at it."

Maerret contemplates his words. "You understand a lot about people's dignity," he responds thankfully.

Mak gives him a nod, and with that, he exits, leaving Maerret again alone.

* * *

"The Yamato reports all pirate activity in the Antarus sector has been dealt with," Commander Lebin relays to Captain Bridges from his position at ops. "The raiders have been handed over to officials at Delis. Captain Needa's report is coming in shortly."

"Very well," Bridges responds, "what's our ETA at Starbase 13?"

"Two days," Commander Hardin replies. "Engineering reports that they have done some bypassing and salvaging of the core, and can now give us a consistent warp 4 for the remainder of our trip."

The Communication Officer on duty approaches the Captain.

"Captain, we just received this message from Starfleet," he states, handing Bridges a padd.

"Thank you, Ensign," Bridges glances down at the communique.

Hardin approaches. "What's it say?"

After reading for a minute, Bridges looks up to fully contemplate the message. He hands the padd to Hardin.

"Number one... a great injustice has been done," he states before walking off to the turbolift.

Hardin, with a confused look, glances down at the message.

To: Starfleet Command and Affected Personnel
From: Antimatter Regulatory Commission
Re: Antimatter Contamination Caution
Stardate 60935

To all Starfleet vessles and stations untilizing anti-duterium reactors with dilithium reaction agent. The A/MRC has issued a Reactant Caution in effect for all antimatter received from the Mars Goldswell Processing Facility or Utopia Planitia Yards, specifically from the following containment units: BR2, BR3, SNR16 and IYF90.

The antimatter from these units has been found to contain an unacceptably high level of anti-tritium. This contamination will inevitably cause a breakdown of the dilithium reaction element and possible damage to reaction components. We recommend keeping reactions below 40% until this antimatter is replaced. All affected vessles and stations should immediately receive a refurbishment of this fuel. This condition was caused by an error in the processing of the fuel and has been remedied. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

A/MRC, Stardate 60935

Hardin looks up from the message, shaking his head. So, the Romulan was inocent after all. Perhaps a great injustice had been done. But from the facts at hand, he was not upset with his previous actions, nor were most of the others who saw Maerret convicted. Even Maerret understood. Everything just seemed to fit. A person of less than reputable heritage, with questionable background, serving quietly on board - it just seemed too convenient. Even what little evidence they had pointed to him.

Justice demands that criminals be condemned for their crimes. It is also true that suspicions, more often than not, prove to be correct, and that it is usually more damaging to ignore such suspicions than to be over-careful. Especially out here, where one wrong action can get you killed in the blink of an eye - one can't afford not to take that kind of chance.

Hardin had to believe these things, for to not believe them would mean giving up the uniform he was so proud of wearing. He had to remember, though, that there is a very fine line between suspicion and rampant paranoia - Captain Bridges taught him that. And one thing is for certain - this would make him all the more careful in the future about his preconceptions of people. How indeed he detests things that affect his judgement.

Oh well, he thought. We learn by doing. He almost laughed at the irony of it all.

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