Redemption is Just Over the Horizon

By Tom Bateman

With Celesta Haines

Published as a multi-part feature by the Devu Sun Times.

Dedicated to H. Roger Darby—a friend, a mentor, and a damn fine man

and

Sam—the woman I’ll spend my life with.

Preface – The Low Point

They say you should start at the lowest point. For me, me the lowest point was sitting on board the USS Talisman, pounding my fists on the comm board, listening to Starbase Horizon break apart from a thousand light-years away. I still remember the shocked look on the faces of the command crew, the thousand-yard stares. I remember the anguish at not being there, and at not being allowed to go back. I won’t ever forget that—and I’ll never forgive it either.

Returning from the most worthless mission ever—an inspection tour of GorVosh Station, we encountered the first sign that nothing would ever be the same. Debris, big chunks of twisted steel and plastic, and globs of metal that had been fused together under immense pressure all floated into our view. We had expected to see damage. We never anticipated total destruction.

And bodies. Hundreds of bodies. Our crewmates, our friends, our family; floating through space. It would take three months to collect all the bodies floating in space around Devu II. It took another seven months before we were able to identify all the parts we pulled out of the wreckage. I was there for all of it. Every agonizing second.

Horizon was my home. My story is, for the most part, her story. Horizon brought me here, and Horizon made me the man I am today. As Governor of Devu II, I can see how Starbase Horizon figures prominently in the history and future of our planet, but as a young boy growing up in the wilds of Alaska, I had no way of knowing how my future would be forever intertwined with a giant starbase in the farthest reaches of the Delta Quadrant.

CH 1 Wilderness, for a boy…

I was eight when my father died. The job of a Starfleet Captain is to tempt fate, and one day, along with a couple of Dominion battle cruisers, fate caught up with him. I was alone at the time, well, with my uncle Brad, hanging out near the summit of Mt. Denali, the last of the great mountains of Earth. My mom, Auralea t’Ling’t, was, and is, an investigator for the Federation Temporal Activities Commission. She was on assignment, and I learned about the destruction of the USS Chaffee from my uncle. From that point on, I was on my own.

Alaska in the summertime is a boy’s playground. It stays light twenty-four hours a day, so I spent my days climbing mountains and my evenings studying. I wasn’t a good student, but I was a genius in the woods. When I was fourteen, I ran into a brown bear on Kodiak Island. He was at least fifteen feet tall, with big teeth and bigger claws. I suppose I could say he was as scared of me as I was of him, but that would only be true if he was wetting himself, which I don’t think he was. He looked right at me, right into my eyes, and I knew he wasn’t going to hurt me. I could read him. As a cop, I did the same with killers and rapists, thieves and terrorists, and every time, I could read them. I knew their intentions, just like that bear. It served me well, although I’m still not sure it was worth ruining a perfectly good pair of pants.

When I turned eighteen, I enlisted. My mother wasn’t happy, but I figured it was a good way to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I joined the Security program, and found out I was pretty good at breaking up fights and finding the kernels of truth in the drunken statements we got every night on Mars. I was accepted into the Warrant Officer program, but never entered. Instead, at the request of a commander, I entered the Commissioning program at Starfleet Academy.

Now the Academy, that was wilderness. For a boy from the sticks who talked with bears, and a Security Officer from Mars who talked with his fists, the Academy was culture shock. For starters, I was twenty-four, at least four years older than any of my classmates. I immediately became Pop, or Gramps. I think it was a rule. I wasn’t the best athlete. I couldn’t run the fastest, or jump the highest. The only thing I did well was boxing. My days of scrapping on Mars had taught me to read my opponents. I was so good, in fact, that the medical staff asked me to withdraw from the course. So I turned my attention to the rifle team. I was a crack shot, and my team and I brought Starfleet Academy three championships.

But it was still a lonely place. I wasn’t a great student. I had to work hard to keep up, and even then my studies suffered. I didn’t have many friends, but the friends I made at the Academy are men I can still call today. One of those men turned out to be my best friend today.

I met Marney Robinson in my second year at the Academy. He was loading up on Jello in the cafeteria (we could live weeks on nothing but cherry Jello), and I was trying to scrub donut jelly out of my uniform. I’m pretty sure he ran into me, dumping Jello all over my pants just as the klaxon rang for class. Needless to say, he had me at Jello.

With a little ass-kissing, I was able to get him as a roommate, replacing the moron who was my previous roommate (who somehow managed to sneak out of the Academy in the middle of the night to drink with a couple of Andorian exchange students, and then got caught trying to tip over a cow in a farmer’s field). I was the old man, and Marney was the youngest guy in his class, so we were a perfect match. We used to terrorize the rest of the student body with our practical jokes. One night, right before weapons qualification, we replaced the background of the phaser range with mirrored foil. Anyone who missed sent phaser bolts shooting around the range.

On a particularly magical evening, Marney got hold of a fifty kilo box of soap powder. Somehow (I’m not admitting anything), it made its way into the fountain in front of the Commandant’s House. There were bubbles everywhere for almost a week. That was our cleanest prank, and one that would have gotten us in the most trouble, if one of the computer science cadets hadn’t created a fake holovid of some cadets from Talaxia doing it.

Marney was a pilot, and I was a security man, so our classes rarely crossed. He helped me master mathematics and warp theory, and I taught him how to fight and how to shoot. I think they scheduled us apart for a reason—we were a pretty formidable team. Summer was fun. During my junior year I took him to Alaska on spring break, and he climbed Mt. Denali. We got into a fight at the Great Alaska Bush Co., and nearly got arrested. I wonder sometimes how we ever got our careers going.

Also during my junior year, we started hearing rumors about a buildup of Starfleet assets in the Delta Quadrant, including the building of three massive starbases; SB 109, SB Phoenix, and SB Horizon. The Delta Quadrant was a wild, crazy place where survival was law and Starfleet was only one of many factions looking for a place. In my senior year, we heard about the Kharian assault on the wormholes. I decided right them and there that Earth was where I wanted to be. But fate, as my father found out twenty years earlier, doesn’t care what you want.

CH 2 Wilderness, for a man…

Graduation day should have been fantastic, and for most officers it was. For me, it was a lonely time. My only friend was Marney, and he was an underclassmen. My mother was on assignment for the Temporal Activities Commission, and I was alone. While the rest of my class were clamoring for a look at the assignment list, I stood back, thinking I’d be happy with a Mars posting, or running a Security station on Earth, or even a ship on a milk run in the Alpha Quadrant. When I finally got a look at the list, I saw my name and read across: Starbase Horizon, Security. I almost threw up.

Twenty-eight years old, pissed, lonely, and hung-over, I boarded a Klingon freighter bound for Devu II (there were no Starfleet ships making regular runs to Devu in those days). Not speaking the language, I pretty much spent my time in my quarters, which were spartan to say the least. I did manage a little time on subspace, making contact with my superior, then Lt. Art Agramonte. I was happy to be working for a guy who knew the Delta Quadrant as well as Art. He was a DQ legend (sadly, I never met Art. He was transferred to GorVosh Station before my arrival, and was killed in action there in 2399).

Not speaking Klingonese didn’t keep me from snooping around, however, and when I stumbled on a cache of weapons and a couple small children in stasis, I had to report it to my boss. Art told me to stay quiet—he was sending the cavalry. I didn’t know that to Art, the cavalry meant a lone Marine fighter pilot by the name of Kras. While a big Klingon monster named Grog beat me senseless, Kras raced his fighter to us, and got there just as Grog tossed me out an airlock. In case you’ve never been tossed out an airlock—don’t. You’ve got about two seconds before the gasses in your blood begin to bubble out. It hurts. If Kras had been a second slower on the emergency transporter—this would be a really short story. The Marines stormed the freighter, confiscated the weapons, and rescued the children, who just happened to be the son and daughter of Captain Tizar Gruber and his beautiful wife Sequari.

Tizar Gruber was a legend. He single-handedly brought the Kharian assault to a halt, and managed to marry into the Kharian royal family. It was at his insistence that Starfleet built Starbase Horizon. He was Horizon’s builder, and her first commander. He was, however, a qualified asshole. He ran his station with an iron fist—but he kept it safe. I took up my position as Chief of Security in 2395. Horizon was young then, and I had the pleasure of serving with some of the finest people to ever wear a Starfleet uniform.

Sydney Mallory was the operations officer. She would later go on to develop a procedure for stabilizing wormholes, allowing for routine shipping into and out of the Delta Quadrant. Our Chief Engineer was a familiar name—Thomas “Mick” O’Rielly, who would later go on to command Horizon and become Ambassador to Devu II. Deacon Flasheart, another engineer, became famous for well, he was just a really fun fellow. There were also some unpleasant names, like Tony Dark, who was the Executive Officer. We all know him as part of the crew of traitors that stole the USS Warchief. And Colonel Ricardo Torres, whose claim to fame is losing nearly 90% of his Marines in a firefight on Devu I.

Horizon herself was a beauty. Nearly four hundred decks tall, she had a crew of almost eleven-thousand, and at any time housed nearly twenty-thousand Devuians. She was a symbol of Starfleet’s mastery of the stars, and a target for those who didn’t approve of Starfleet’s approach.

My quarters were small. I mean tiny. So tight I could almost touch both walls. On a station so big, why I got the crappiest quarters on the planet, I’ll never know. So one night, I used my Security clearance and quarantined a cargo bay on deck 327. A couch, a modular kitchen, a few quick walls, a bed, and I was in business. Suddenly, I had the largest quarters on the station. A few cases of Scotch bought me a sonic shower, courtesy of Mick O’Rielly and his very efficient engineering staff.

Deck 327 became THE place for raging parties. I imported a piano from Earth, and set up a large table. Every year I hosted a Christmas dinner for the command crew. One year, O’Rielly rigged the environmental system to make it snow about halfway through the meal. He meant it as a practical joke, but it is one of my most pleasant memories. We were, at that time, a very tight family. When the snow started falling, we just moved closer together, and sang late into the night. Of course, it cost another case of Scotch to make it quit snowing!

We worked hard, we played hard, but those were, for me, the glory years.

CH 3 The Station House Blues

The center of my universe was the security station house. It was a plain, austere office space. No fancy computer systems, no external turbolifts, just a receptionist, a set of stairs, and a few holding cells. We made it our home.

On the left of the main foyer was our wall of honor. On it were plaques bearing the names of Security Officers killed in the line of duty. By the time Horizon was destroyed, that wall had over five hundred plaques on it—including mine. In the floor tile was a mosaic bearing the Security shield and the words “Nunquam non Paratus.” It means “Never not Prepared,” and we tried to live by it. To the right of the foyer was the Chief’s office. Sometimes it was my office, sometimes it wasn’t, but I left my mark there just as well.

I needed a bigger desk just to hold all my stuff; I found a wonderful greelwood desk on Devu II, a native product, and had it packaged and sent to Horizon. That desk is one of the few artifacts we were able to salvage from the wreckage of Horizon. It has a gouge down the center, and one leg is a few inches short, but the heavy desk survived the explosion and the decompression. It’s going in the Governor’s office until I can have it installed in the new Horizon.

Upstairs wasn’t as pretty. The cell block was just that, eight single cells and three multi-prisoner cells, along with two high-security cells that could be monitored at all times. We also had three interrogation rooms—rooms that I used all the time. I was a pro “in the box.”

Upstairs also held the offices for the investigative staff and locker rooms for the patrol teams, and one conference room, conference room C. Why our lone conference room was room C, I’ll never know, but it was an unending source of amusement and discussion among the twisted crew we had in Security. The investigative office was typical squad room, a few desks, a board to list the major investigations, and a bank of access terminals. The place always smelled like stale coffee and donuts. To me, stale coffee and donuts is the smell of hard work.

It was the people, though, that really made the place work. I only had an assistant Chief intermittently, so I depended on several key people to keep things running. H. Roger Darby was probably the smartest man I ever knew. He was a cop, an old-school cop, who took shit from nobody and could tell if you were lying by the way you breathed. The things I learned from him helped keep me alive, and the things I didn’t learn helped him keep the place running when I still didn’t know shit about shit. He was responsible for so many aspects of running Horizon’s security that we’d have been lost without him. Even after he passed in 2398 he was still thinking of us. On his last mission to SB 109, he purchased a security dog and had it shipped back to us. Zeus arrived just after Roger died, and he’s been at my side ever since.

Michelle Crawford was my partner for most of my tenure on Horizon. She is the keenest investigator around. A career Marine, Michelle carries herself with the confidence of someone who knows how to defend herself, but she also has a soft spot for kittens and children. She once gave up her quarters to house our newest security officer, Ensign Phaeal, who was receiving death threats. The two formed an enduring friendship. Michelle has always been there—a fighter, a thinker, and a good friend.

Because of the length of time it took to get to Starbase Horizon back then, I was actually promoted to LT(jg) before I ever set foot on the station. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was in WAY over my head. We didn’t handle the usual guard post assignments—that fell to the Marines stationed on the base. We handled law enforcement for the civilian population on the station, as well as assisting local law enforcement planetside. It was closer to my days on Mars than regular security duty. We spent our time breaking up fights on the promenade, handling domestic disputes in the crew quarters, deterring shoplifters and the street crime that is so prevalent on an outpost of that size. In addition, we investigated everything from minor vandalism to homicide. Michelle and I took care of those—and there were more than I care to remember.

I made LT in 2397, and got a special treat. For the first time, I had two other officers working with me. LT(jg) Catherine Belhai had been assigned to handle planetside security, and Jack Carver, a fresh-from-the-academy Ensign, was assigned to handle the newly formed tactical team. Zeta team, as they were knows, were specially trained to perform high-risk operations like ship boarding and entry and removal procedures. Carver was a good luck charm, if a little goofy. When a Klingon Bird of Prey arrived in 2398, his team performed a tactical entry, blowing the hatches off one side of the ship. I watched the whole operation through an open hatch on the other side. In his defense, it was a textbook operation—except for checking for open doors, that is.

Horizon Security also dealt with a new threat—terrorism. The People of the Federation, a group of local miners, farmers, and natives who disapproved of Starfleet’s handling of local matters, were increasingly making themselves heard. They were, for the most part, non-violent. They staged a few protests, rant their own newsletter, and talked to every reporter who would listen. Other groups, the True Way in particular, used the movement as a cover for their more violent agenda. When a True Way operative took a shot at Captain Gruber’s head during a People of the Federation rally in 2397, things got personal for me. Gruber wanted heads, exactly what the True Way wanted him to do. To make matters worse, one of the organizers of the rally was one of my crewmen, Casper St. James. When Gruber found out I’d met with St. James, he wanted my head, too. He ended up getting my rank.

So in December of 2397, I was stripped of my commission and demoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. It worked for me—less pressure, more fun, better job—but it was the start of my slow downward spiral onto Starfleet’s blacklist.

CH 4 Operations…

I spent the next year as Chief Investigator for Starbase Horizon, and met a new friend, my Chief of Security, Devan Gorvock. Gorvock was smart man, a transfer from SB 109, and a pretty good security administrator. He didn’t have the feel, however, for dealing with suspects, so he left it to Michelle and I. He was a good man to work for, and a good guy to have around in a fight.

Being Chief Investigator, I handled cases from all over Devu. One of the most baffling was the disappearance of Governor Richard Getz, whose shuttle vanished enroute to a trade conference in Diggerstown. Evidence was slim, and it pointed nowhere. Lt. Governor Fujimora, who had assumed the office left vacant by Getz, promised full cooperation with our probe, but we never saw that cooperation. We were stonewalled at every turn. When an informant leaked us documents linking Fujimora to the purchase of several high-powered energy weapons, we thought we’d broken things wide open. But when our informant went missing, we knew we were at a dead end. Three years later, we found the remains of Getz’s shuttle. It had been destroyed so thoroughly that all we found was a puddle of glass and a few strands of DNA. We took apart the glass molecule by molecule to extract the DNA samples we finally matched to Governor Getz—practice for doing the same after the destruction of Starbase Horizon.

In late 2398, Horizon’s long-time Chief of Operations, Carin Unari, was transferred to another posting. It had a great deal to do with her marriage to Casper St. James, my security officer. Captain Gruber wasn’t happy, and Carin (and Horizon) suffered for it. Because of a lack of officers for Delta Quadrant duty at the time, I found myself being recommissioned and promoted—twice in three days. On December 29, 2398 I was returned to my rank of LT, and on January 1, I was promoted to LtCdr. I was also transferred to Operations.

Ops is a strange hybrid assignment. It takes a multi-tasker to stand watch in the situation room and instinctively know who needed to be where. You had to have your hand in every pot, constantly checking to see if Security was staffed, if the fighter wing needed anything, and if the Marines were actually doing their jobs. Ops is the scheduler, the timekeeper, the tracking system, and the overseer of everything that goes on onboard the Starbase.

The Operations Officer is known as the Battle Captain because he’s supposed to know the plans. I tried to know everything. My team knew the menu in the officer’s mess, the number of toilets out of service on the promenade, and the order of chow for most of the Marine units on board. I made it my business to know everything.

The knowledge came in handy in 2399 when our XO was captured by Kharians and Captain Gruber was stranded in an energy storm on Devu II. I assumed command of Starbase Horizon, mounted a search effort, repelled an assault, and weathered a near mutiny by our medical officer, a hook-nosed fellow named Artorius Gratillonius. He ended up in the brig, and I ended up being awarded a command certification and a commendation. My team pulled around me and helped me through, just like Horizon always has.

The rest of my tour as Operations Officer was pretty uneventful, even a little boring. But things weren’t all peaches. My next promotion was delayed—in fact, I still haven’t gotten it. Word filtered down from Starfleet Command that I wasn’t fit to command, and being ever eager to please, I set out to prove them right. I wasn’t a bad officer, but once Starfleet made it clear that I would never make Captain, I decided to have a little fun.

My time in Ops wasn’t all bad. It left me with another endearing memory—from another Christmas party on deck 327. The latest addition to our crew was a Tosk named, well, Tosk, as they all are. We all enjoyed his sense of humor and we took him in like a little naïve brother. Right before I served dinner, I realized that Tosk wasn’t there. I only had a moment before the ceiling panels came crashing down, carrying Tosk, dressed appropriately as Santa Claus. He laughed the entire way to the floor, brushed himself off, and began delivering presents to all the good little boys and girls. And he even brought some to our crew, too.

Another person I’ll never forget, and one to whom I owe a great deal of my success, is C.R. VanBuren. C.R. was a smuggler, and a pretty good one. I knew he was smuggling, trading on the black market, but I could never prove it. He was too slick He had a fleet of ships that rivaled most navies. That fleet came in handy in 2399 when he loaned us his fleet to combat an AU incursion into Horizon territory. I found myself sitting in the command seat of an armed freighter named the Rebel Yell, plotting a space battle that we had no way of winning. Somehow, C.R.’s people pulled it off.

C.R. and I became friends. His restaurant, cunningly named “C.R.’s,” became a hot spot for off duty crew. Criminals and cops tend to have the most in common, so CR and I spent a lot of time discussing theoretical criminal activity. Sometime in our friendship, he transitioned most of his naval assets into a legal shipping company—that would later become Devu Lines. I don’t know where C.R. went, but when he left in 2400, he left me a large chunk of his shipping business. I’ve kept it for him, even grew it a little, but I know he’s out there somewhere, and it’ll be waiting for him when he gets back.

I was transferred back to Security in 2400 when we started hearing rumors coming from the planet about a new influence on the populace. With my reputation as a going-nowhere shit-disturber, I was the perfect man to go undercover.

CH 5 Undercover, Under Wraps, Under Stone

People ask me all the time. “Tom, did you really deck Captain O’Rielly?”

And I answer them. “Yes. I knocked him on his crazy Irish ass.”

OK, it wasn’t that simple. And he got me back for it. But it did feel good. More importantly, it cemented me as a person not to be trusted by Starfleet, which made me just the guy to infiltrate the Devu Provisional Defense Force (PDF) to figure out what was happening inside the Devu military.

As early as 2397, we had been hearing about strange happenings inside the Devu military. It was small things, missing units that reappeared and went back to work, dark deals, missing equipment. But it was starting to worry the command of Starbase Horizon. Within a day of knocking O’Rielly onto his butt, I was contacted about bringing my expertise to the Devu Provisional Defense Force. In fact, I was made a Major, which made me privy to a number of the inner workings of Devu politics. What I found was a typical military machine. Most of the PDF were hard working, professional soldiers. It wasn’t until late in 2399 that I discovered, too late, that part of the PDF had been infiltrated by species 8472. It was a costly oversight, and it allowed the 8472s to gain a foothold on Devu II, a foothold they used when attacking Starbase Horizon.

Species 8472 work in several ways. First, they’re nearly impervious to energy weapons. When they first attacked in 2399, we had nothing to respond to them with. It wasn’t until one of the Marines decided to use a TR-116B projectile rifle that we actually stood a chance of killing one. Second, the 8472s used hybridization to expand their army and create confusion. Infected humans became incredible strong, with impressive powers of regeneration, and developed claws underneath their fingernails to infect others. They gained a resistance to energy weapons, and we found that we had to kill most infected crew. It was almost a biological version of the Borg assimilation.

The Marines, under Lt. Colonel joH rIa, were taking heavy losses on D-18 (Mendas), but with the TR-116B were starting to turn back the 8472s. On Devu II it was another story. The USS Talisman, under the command of Devan Gorvock, took a disabling hit from an 8472 mothership, and crashed into a field outside the 8472 controlled Devu City. My PDF unit responded, but so did a large contingent of hybridized humans from Devu city and a large group of 8472. It was a race.

We won, but only by an hour or so. Casualties on the Talisman were surprisingly light, so we loaded the wounded on our troop carriers and headed to the nearest cover we could find—the Devu Mines. My PDF soldiers were mostly miners, and knew the mines like you and I know our bed. With the 8472s hot on our tail, we made it to the mine system, set up a shield generator in front of the door, and waited.

It became clear that the shield would give out long before help would arrive, but one of the miners said he knew a way out the back. With the wounded, though, they’d never make it before the 8472s had us. We’d be fish in a barrel inside the mine. Three of the PDF miners began setting up a pulse cannon, and three Starfleet Security officers took up defensive positions.

I don’t know their names. The security officers stood next to the PDF soldiers and faced down an unstoppable enemy, knowing it meant certain death, but knowing it was the only chance for the survivors of the Talisman. When the shield failed, we pummeled them with the pulse cannon. We held the 8472s for nearly half an hour, killing hundreds. Soon, though, our seven became six, then five, then four.

We needed a way to buy some time for the Talisman crew. Without prompting, one of the remaining miners began shoving grenades into a natural fault in the mine shaft, as the other aimed the pulse cannon at it. I still remember the remaining security man asking if we were gonna bring the mine down, and shrugging when I said yes. Exposed, it only took seconds before both miners were brought down. Back to back with the security officer whose name I’ll never know, I triggered the pulse cannon, dropping a hundred tons of rock into the tunnel, sealing us in with the 8472s.

We fired until our phaser cores were empty, then waited for the end. I remember the man next to me asking if we’d done it, if they’d made it safely, and when I said we had, he had a satisfied look on his face. He died knowing he’d made a difference. I don’t remember anything past that. I think I remember singing. I know I remember pain. I know I remember pride.

I don’t regret what I did during the Talisman Retreat. I regret that I’ll never know the names of the men who died around me, men who gave everything for the safety of people they barely knew.


Horizon was lucky. Either the 8472s were probing Horizon or just plain lazy, but the casualties they took were light in comparison to the attacks later that year. The Talisman was repaired and returned to duty, and the station herself suffered only minor damage from a few internal scrimmages. The reports from Horizons command staff to Starfleet Command and Delta Quadrant Command went unheeded. “We need further study,” they said. “We need more data.” They would come to regret that request.

When the 8472s returned in July of 2399, they bypassed Horizon altogether. But they attacked other, less prepared units. The USS Saratoga was the first to go. Sounds of her breaking up were picked up as far away as GorVosh station. The Sara was followed closely by the USS MacKenzie, which got off a haunting distress signal—in a screaming voice, “God save us!” The silence.
SB109 was completely destroyed. There wasn’t enough left to recover, and since it was out of the shipping lanes, most of it is still there, pieces no larger than a PADD. IKV Foothold, a Klingon outpost, suffered the same fate, except that the Klingon warriors put up a better fight. They weren’t interested in studying the 8472s, they just fought them to the death. Foothold remains the gravesite of over three thousand Klingon soldiers, and nearly one hundred thousand 8472s. The Klingon Empire has declared it a shrine, a holy place, where warriors met a glorious death in battle.

GorVosh Station was decimated. The 8472s weren’t interested in hybridization—they left no survivors. A survey by the USS Hunter in 2401 proved that the GorVosh crew managed to shut the door and save the civilians inside the Dyson Sphere, but gave their lives doing so.

The USS Ticonderoga managed to join with the IKV Maj’Hegh and mount a defense near Mendas. For over four hours, the two crews fought off wave after wave of attackers, even repelling boarders at times. From the bridge video log, we know that the Ticonderoga suffered heavy damages, and when the MajHegh went dark, the Ticonderoga’s First Officer ordered the auto-destruct sequence set, then aimed his ship into the heart of the 8472 formation.

Starfleet Command failed the officers and crew of the Delta Quadrant fleet. Information regarding 8472 defenses was available, but it was held as Top Secret “in order to avoid panicking the civilian population and reduce recruiting numbers.” As a result, thousands of Starfleet and Klingon crewmen died needlessly that day. To a man, they fought to the last cartridge, and proved our pride in them to be well deserved. This chapter is dedicated to them.

CH 6 Going Native, Coming Back

Michelle Crawford:

We had a ceremony, after the fighting had stopped, and put Tom’s name on the wall of honor in the station house. Since there wasn’t a body, we felt this was the best way to pay tribute to him. I remember Horizon’s command staff being a little miffed that they weren’t allowed to sit in the front row, but that was Tom’s rule—the front row was reserved for the front-line security crewmen. I read the name, Carver placed the plaque on the wall, and the Captain Gruber read the citation that accompanied Bateman’s Medal of Valor. Zeus just sat next to the wall and whimpered. For almost a week, he never left. It was heartbreaking.

I don’t remember much about the next two years. It’s all sort of like a dream; fuzzy memories clouded by time. I’ll try to piece things together here.

I don’t know how I got out of the cave. The Srellians who excavated the mine claim there were no survivors, and they burned the bodies in accordance with their religious customs. A later survey found my phaser, which was returned to me, and part of the pulse cannon. No bodies were recovered, and what few artifacts remained are currently on display at the Devu Museum of History.

A 2404 study by Devu University, before the campaign, attempted to trace my “lost time.” They tracked me back from Horizon to a small Trellian village in the northern hemisphere where I’d lived for almost a year with a family named Y’amlec. They remembered me stumbling in, nearly dead from exposure. They said I only spoke when I was asleep, and my only words were “take my hand.” I don’t know what it means, but I know I am eternally grateful for their hospitality, and for an insight into their culture and religion that few have the chance to explore.

In 2401 I made a triumphant return, somehow stowing aboard a transport to Horizon, and crashing a party for some Romulan dignitaries. Bearded and thin, and crazy, I must have been a frightful sight. I looked so bad, Michelle Crawford shot me with a phaser before I made it to the punchbowl. In her words, "He looked so bad I thought he was a ghost. It took several minutes for anyone there to recognize him, and when we did, we immediately thought it was a ruse. A DNA scan proved it was him, but I’d have shot him anyway—he just had a crazy look in his eyes. It was Tom’s body, but it wasn’t his soul."

Luck was on my side. Most of the crew who could recognize me were at the party that night, or I’d have been toast. Anybody else would have spaced me—I’d have done the same.

The Srellians credit my resurrection to Mother E’y’eya. I can’t say any different. Something happened in the Devu mountains that I can’t explain. But if anybody is to take credit for bringing me back to the civilized world, it has to be Dr. Renu D’Olimoi. For years, Dr. D’Olimoi was the chief pathologist on Horizon, often consulted by the detectives of Investigative Services on difficult cases. As a hobby, he studied infectious diseases. When the 8472 plague hit us, it was Dr. D’Olimoi who first came up with the nanocyte rounds that allowed the Marines to handle the 8472s. And it was Dr. D’Olimoi who determined the best way to de-hybridize humans.

When I popped up in 2401, it was Dr. D’Olimoi who determined that I had been hybridized, and even though I was still pretty incoherent and suffering from a serious memory loss, I do remember him being positively giddy about the prospect of having a live human guinea pig to test his latest de-hybridization therapy. While it was impossible to completely reverse the effects of the hybridization (I still have small, hollow claws underneath my fingernails and I still can’t use a transporter) he did render me non-contagious. His nanocytes are piggybacked onto my 8472 DNA, rendering it sterile. I have an injection every twelve days to keep it that way.

It was Zeus and Phaeal who brought back my memory. Zeus never left my side, and Phaeal stuck near as well, and their gentle words brought me back to reality. Hour after hour, Phaeal sat with me reviewing security case files until they triggered things in my mind. Like an avalanche, my memories cascaded over one another, rumbling into my head. It was a true eureka moment—I could remember almost everything. It was like being born again. In a way, I suppose I was.

CH 7 Embattled Embassy

John Henry Bearkiller was commander when I came back. It was a strange experience finding a Marine in charge. I remember the fuss they made when I wanted Michelle, a Marine investigator, to join my department. You’d have thought I was breaking a commandment, having a Marine in a Fleet unit. But times had changed, and while there was still major resentment over having a Marine run a Starfleet base, I thought it was a good change.

Some things, however, hadn’t changed. I was still persona-non-grata to most of Starfleet Command. My hybridization didn’t help matters, so my reinstatement was held up for several months. I took that time to get my bearings, deal with some issues at Devu Lines, and work for the Federation Embassy.

Bren Chanur was a young, energetic, and eager Ambassador assigned to the Devu Region. I’d met him several times, and he always struck me as a particularly bright man with the best interests of Devu and the Federation in mind. I was comfortable in diplomatic circles, even developing a friendship with Tabani Tei, a former Romulan Ambassador. So, since I wasn’t cleared to work for Starfleet yet, when the opportunity to work for the Federation Embassy came along, I jumped at the chance. I was a contract worker, handling security issues, escort duties, and anything that nobody else wanted to do. Mostly, I was there to make googly eyes at Bunny McMahon.

In the mean time, Starfleet was having more trouble with the True Way. I feel that I must point out that the True Way isn’t, and never was, affiliated with any real political organization. They were thugs, goons hired by various criminal elements to spread distrust and disunity through terrorist activity. By the time I joined Bren Chanur’s security detail, the True Way was already plotting a large operation. This time, the target was diplomatic.

In 2401, I was trying to keep a low profile. I was reviewing security tapes when it happened. True Way operatives snuck in explosives in a crate labeled apples. By the time we realized something was wrong, they’d been inside the Embassy on Horizon for nearly half an hour. I won’t detail the horror they wrought, but the men went out of their way to brutalize the embassy staff. My only thought was getting the Ambassador out, and Bunny with him.

Explosives went off around us, and flames shot everywhere. It was a struggle just to see through the smoke and fire, but with the help of T’ca, Bren’s bodyguard, we were able to make it to the front gate. We almost lost Bren to an assasin, but in one of the most amazing feats of dexterity, Othlan, one of the Ambassador’s Orion companions, swept past us and…rendered him. After what he did to Leela Callea, the embassy’s public information officer, he deserved it. Othlan ripped his jugular from his neck, and though I was trying not to look, I swear she plucked out his eyes.

We were on the promenade, and since the attack was at night, Bren was in his nightclothes. My only thought was to get them out of the line of fire—I hadn’t thought of the political consequences of being caught with your pants down in public. Again, CRs came in handy. The store room behind the kitchen held a secret lounge, and I was able to hide Bren, Othlan, Enrich, and Bunny there. It led to one of the most humorous questions I’ve ever seen at a press conference: “Mr. Ambassador, is it true that the Embassy will be run out of CRs bar?”

The Romulans took the blame for a while, thanks to some well-planted evidence. It was a week before the investigation started turning up other clues. Again, Starfleet ignored the lessons they should have learned from the embassy attack. If they’d spent a little more time sealing the cracks in their internal security, they might have saved Starbase Horizon.

The Federation Embassy, however, did learn their lesson. They relocated the embassy to Devu City, where it stands today. It is a fantastic building, and very well secured. It has a well trained staff, and a security system designed by, well, me.

After the attack, Bunny and I spent more and more time together. Not just work, but afterwards as well. I was a hard man, calloused and cold. When I looked at the world, I saw all the things that people did to each other, all the fights, all the brutality. When Bunny looked at the world, she saw beauty; everything that could be. Bunny opened my eyes to a new world. She is directly responsible for my political views—every time I have to make a decision, I use the Bunny test: What would Bunny do?

Bren and Bunny are gone. He was assigned to the first Federation Embassy on Romulus, and Bunny, true to her calling, went with him. She’s still there, making the galaxy a better, friendlier, nicer place to be. She offered to stay with me. But I knew she’d regret it, so I let her go. I watched her shuttle drift out of sight as we began the mission to Outpost Hope One. I let her go. I regret it every day.

Someday, I hope she comes back.

CH 8 Intelligence, or lack thereof…

In 2405, I was back to my old haunt—Chief of Security on Starbase Horizon. Colonel Bearkiller had managed to get me re-commissioned, and I was happy to do a good job for him. Not that I could focus on my job, though. Starfleet Command’s old guard, the collection of Admirals and Captains that made up the bulk of the Aplha Quadrant staff, were pretty unhappy that a Marine was heading the most prominent starbase in the Delta Quadrant. Determined to make him look bad, they sent an investigator, an intelligence officer named Vanar Odan, to dig up whatever dirt they could get on Berakiller and his crew. First target: LtCdr Tom Bateman.

Odan was trying to trying to discredit Bearkiller by making his crew look bad, and I was an easy mark. Recently returned form the dead, I still wasn’t trusted by the Starfleet elite. Most of the information surrounding my time on Devu II and in the Privisional Defence Force was still classified, and I couldn’t convince anyone to release those files. I had holdings in a (legitimate) shipping company that had (unproven) ties to smuggling activities. And as part of my daily work I had dealings with some of the smartest criminals and businessmen around.

So by February, I was out of work and up on charges. And most of them were true, if a little petty. Sure, I’ve overlooked crimes, but that’s part of my job. Let the little fish go to get the big fish, you know. Sure, I had holdings in the Devu Lines, but by that time they were completely legitimate. And yeah, I consorted with a million known criminals. I was a cop—it was my job. And I certainly violated Starfleet rules and regulations—probably all of them. But this is the Delta Quadrant, and Alpha Quadrant rules don’t always apply.

Not that I was the only one facing a hearing about my activities. Bearkiller, usually beyond reproach, was looking at an Article 32 hearing regarding his affair with his former XO Commander Phaeal, and an affair with his Marine CO, Major Smyth. My old friend Marney Robinson, now Horizon’s Executive Officer, was under suspicion for his affair with a Romulan Centurion. Deacon Flasheart, our Chief Engineer, had spent time in a Romulan prison. Ambasador Chanur had an ongoing relationship with an Omarian crime boss. Former CO Mick O’Rielly had ties to the Irish Republican Army, which had substantial holdings on Devu II at the time. And these were good people, people I would, and did, trust with my life. Living in the frontier just called for a different type of officer. We were, as one of my colleagues put it, “Delta Quadrant standard-issue.”

But I was the only one relieved of duty. While I sat and waited for someone to make up their minds about my future, Bearkiller was challenged to a duel by a Klingon General. Third Arm’Ktrn became the Chief of Security, and that bastard Odan became head of Intelligence. That was the beginning of our problems.

Bearkiller’s big duel—another illegal activity on the part of our command staff—didn’t go as planned. Instead of a fight, we got attacked by a renegade group. Bearkiller was seriously injured, and the Klingon General was arrested. Horizon faced attack by a Klingon ship, and that was just the morning. By the end of the day, Marney had faced down a Klingon ship and the Chief of Security, Third Arm’ktrn was dead. There was a larger plot happening, but since I wasn’t on duty, I didn’t know it at the time. Rogue General Vas Karn was behind most of it, and it wouldn’t be the last time we heard from him.

This was the moment that I realized that in addition to being a prick, Odan didn’t know anything about Intelligence. Any first-year cadet with a brain could have seen such a poorly managed attack coming, and Odan didn’t. My investigation led directly to Vas Karn after the destruction of Horizon, and linked directly to this attack. Odan never caught it. He was too busy trying to end the careers of most of Horizon’s command staff to actually do his job.

I had four other officers in Security by May, when things had settled a bit, and Lt. Chat Ammerran was handling things nicely. I needed away from Odan and his oppressive investigations that seemed to go nowhere (the charges against me were never filed, and Odan never followed up on them), so I took the temporary position as XO on board the Talisman for the ill-fated trip to Hope One. I liked the Talisman, and even though it was a little cramped, it had great quarters for the first officer, so I was pretty happy.

Since I was a boy, I’d always wanted to travel the stars on the bridge of a sleek, powerful starship. My talents, however, led me elsewhere, and kept me pretty much grounded. The trip to OH1 let me indulge in a fantasy, and escape from my real world for a while. And for a while, I did.

Then fate intervened, and my real world came crashing down.

CH 9 Tragedy

May 3rd, 2404 should have been a normal day for Horizon. Its crew should have kept the station running at peak efficiency. Its shops should have opened, its shuttles should have run, its visitors should have come and gone as they had for ten years. But May 3rd, 2404 was no ordinary day for Horizon. By the time May 3rd, 2404 was over, 4363 men, women and children would lose their lives. Twenty-three thousand people would be homeless. And my life would forever be changed.

At around 1300 on May 3rd, 2404, two Klingon Warbirds, under the command of rogue General Vas Karn, decloaked less than three kilometers from Starbase Horizon. With no warning, they loosed a volley of torpedoes at Starbase Horizon. The Talisman was gone on an inspection trip to Hope One, and Marney had taken the Lexington on a rescue mission that, in hindsight, was probably a ruse to leave the station undefended. It worked.

Vas Karn’s ships were firing a type of weapon that Starfleet had never seen. I’m no engineer, but I’ll try to explain it. The first volley, of conventional photons, was really to knock out Horizon’s few defenses. The second volley was the death blow. It consisted of multiple warhead torpedoes of an unknown explosive, timed cause a harmonic disturbance in Horizon’s decks. Horizon literally tore herself apart.

Not that she didn’t have help. My investigation uncovered several pieces of evidence that were left out of the official Starfleet report. Why they chose to cover up the blatant acts of sabotage is beyond the scope of this book, but I will tell you that there WAS inside help.

First, Horizon’s phaser coils, when recovered, were largely intact. Powered phaser coils are glowing and nearly molten. When destroyed by force, they simply splatter apart. Standard operating procedure is to power on the phaser system any time the shields are down, so that the massive phaser arrays can destroy any incoming torpedoes. The intact coils prove that most of Horizon’s phaser defense system wasn’t powered when it was destroyed.

In addition, several torpedo tubes appear to have been sealed closed, causing the torpedoes fired by Horizon to impact inside their tubes. The tubes showed evidence of explosions from the inside, with metal edges curled outward. This caused destruction of these tubes and major damage to the surrounding areas, rendering all but three of Horizon’s torpedo tubes inoperative.

It is possible that the tubes malfunctioned. It is possible that multiple power failures caused the phaser coils to malfunction. But given the excellence of Horizon’s engineering staff, I find it highly unlikely that all of the starbase’s weapons malfunctioned at the same, critical moment. The fact that every defensive weapons system on Horizon failed during the one moment when they could have saved the station points directly to an intentional act. Starfleet cut short my investigation, ruling out the possibility of sabotage before I could narrow a list of possible suspects. There are several crewmen who are still listed as missing. Some are certainly among the dead. One of them might not be.

Not that there is any shortage of blame to go around. The new star on Bearkiller’s collar shifted his focus away from Starbase Horizon at a time when she most needed his leadership. He took the Talisman, one of two ships protecting the station, and half of Horizon’s senior staff, including the Operations Officer, the Commander of the 25th Tactical Fighter Wing, and the Chief of Security on a misguided inspection tour of OH1. Marney shares the blame, too, because he took the Lexington, the other ship assigned to protect Starbase Horizon, on a phony distress call, leaving the station under the care of an officer who wasn’t even part of the station’s chain of command.

Odan gave Marney crappy intel, leading him away from the station at a critical moment. He also failed to give any advanced warning of a possible attack—warning that would have given the Lexington and the Talisman time to return, and Horizon’s crew time to mount a proper defense. Captain Rockwell Davenport, who was commanding Horizon at the time, was a JAG officer. He wasn’t equipped to handle the station during a crisis. My requests to interview both Davenport and Odan were denied by Starfleet Command, and inquiries to there whereabouts continue to go unanswered.

I’m not blameless. I should have been on Horizon, watching over her like I always have, instead of wandering the quadrant playing starship captain. I left security in the hands of two junior officers who, although competent, certainly didn’t see an attack coming and had no idea how to react when it did. Could I have helped? Would Horizon’s command crew have noticed something that the replacements failed to see? I don’t have the answer, but those of us that weren’t there to protect our homes will always be haunted by that question.

The first problem we faced when we got back was the cleanup and investigation, but there were more invasive issues at hand. We all dealt with our grief and guilt in different ways. “Every, single time I closed my eyes I could see Horizon going up in a fiery ball,” Alex Paige, Horizon’s operations officer, said. “True, I was just an operations officer, but had I been there, had General Bearkiller and Commander Robinson been there, maybe things would have been different.”

I threw myself into my work, setting up camp at the site on Horizon where we brought all the wreckage. My investigation was thorough, and it consumed me. My anger outweighed my guilt, and it powered me through each piece of wreckage. We took the station apart molecule by molecule searching for any trace of the victims of the attack. We worked seventeen hour days, weeks at a time. The site was a myriad of noises and sounds and sights, but it was punctuated by a powerful odor. The odor of burned metal, oil, and plastic filled the air, mingled with the stench of rotting, singed flesh. It was overpowering. Most people who visited the site stayed only a few minutes. I stayed for three months. And I could smell it every day.

And when I close my eyes, I still can.

CH 10 End of one Road…

The investigation nearly brought me to a breakdown. I submitted my report, which was summarily dismissed, classified, and disregarded. Then I took a vacation. I needed time to clear my head of the pain I’d seen, of the betrayal I felt from Starfleet Command, and of the overwhelming tiredness that seemed to dog my every step.

Zeus and I walked the valleys and hills of Devu II, past Mt. Devu, over the Annat Range, and into the sacred country of the Trellian stories. We lived off the land, Zeus and I. We carried what we needed, and shared what we carried. Out in the Devu wilderness, I realized I was home. And home was all that mattered.

When I came back to Camp Hunter, I found a unit in disarray. The crew was sneaking around, there was talk of the Captain acting strangely—it was all very disconcerting. But my heart was elsewhere, and I somehow let things slide past me. Could I have stopped the Tilver incident from happening? Maybe. But I was already processing my retirement papers, and really didn’t care about dealing with another crisis. I was an unassigned officer, with no official duties, so I found myself with no real input and no real desire to force the issue.

In all honesty, my involvement in the Tilver incident came at the end, when Starfleet finally came to the aid of the people of Devu II. The Marines were getting beat pretty badly by the Devuians, which I found more than a little amusing. I ordered the ships of the Devu Lines to pick up refugees, and along with a small team of Devuian Provisional Defence Force officers and a couple of dedicated Security crewmen, held off anyone who tried to attack those civilians. It was the first time, and last time, that I ever secured an LZ.

I suppose the hardest thing I did was toss my commbadge at Marney. I’d been funneling money to the Provisional Defence Force for years, and I admitted it freely. Starfleet had interfered one too many times, and I felt I had to take a stand. Still, resigning to my old friend Marney was a tough call.

Problem is, my resignation didn’t take. Since I still had three years left in my contract, I had three years as a Starfleet Reserve Officer. And exactly three minutes and forty-two seconds after retiring, I was called to active duty, with orders to take command of Camp Hunter. I am, it seems, fate’s bitch.

CH 11 …Or the Start of a New Road

Being CO of a Starbase is tough. Being Commander of an outpost full of people still reeling from the destruction of their home is damned near impossible. And presiding over the courts martial of two solid officers is just plain miserable. But that's where I ended up. I won’t spend a great deal of time on the case or the trial. There are several excellent books (and more than a few poor ones) by Devu authors going into detail about the Tilver situation. I recommend Duty and Betrayal in the Delta Quadrant, by Kara West. It gives excellent insight into the accused, and shares more than a few of Starfleet’s secrets. Secrets like classified mind-control experiments. Secrets that I’m not allowed to talk about. Suffice to say that Tilver had help—from Starfleet itself.

As much as Starfleet tried to keep the trials of Cameron West and Marney Robinson quiet, interest on Devu was high. The trials themselves were a joke, a kangaroo court designed to shut up West and Robinson, and downplay Starfleet's involvement in the situation. Had I known what I know now, that Starfleet had developed the mind-control serum that Ralon Tilver used to coerce Robinson and West into committing
their acts, I would have cut them both loose In the end, I made my judgements based on the men accused. Both were outstanding officers, and men of their word. Marney said he wasn't responsible, and I believed him. West didn't know any better, and swore he was guilty. I believed him too. I took them at their word. And because of that, a good man went to jail. Because Starfleet Command refused to own up to their research in
mind-control, Cameron West, a devoted family man and quality Marine, was exposed to unspeakable horrors in prison. This chapter is my apology to him.

Admiral Griffin, however, wasn't pleased at the outcome. Whether it was because he knew of the Starfleet research, or because he didn't like Robinson, or because his son was on the promotion list for Commander, he took great offense to the way I conducted the trial. The last conversation I had with him went something like this:

Me: "I'm tired of your attitude, I'm tired of your meddling, and
I'm through having you treat this crew like they're your personal chew
toy. They're the best crew in the quadrant, and you've reduced them to
plebes. I won't have you belittling them anymore. So if you want to
yell, do it to me, and we'll take it up the chain of command. I'm sure
Starfleet Command will be thrilled to hear of your mishandling of this
situation. In the meantime, you're not welcome on my base."

Griffin: "Do I need to remind you I'm an Admiral?"

Me: "Do I need to remind you I'm a retiree?"

And just like that, I was a civilian again. I'd like to say my time as CO was productive, or at least interesting or valuable. But it wasn't I. stood up for my crew, I got them through a tough time and a painful court martial, but aside from pissing off the brass, I didn't accomplish much. The change of command was quiet, and the retirement
ceremony was just as short.

I officially and finally retired from Starfleet on 2505.03.07. I’d spent twenty-three years in the uniform; twenty-three years of which I was, and am, fiercely proud. I served with some incredible men and women, many of whom I’d follow through fire. I made some mistakes, and while Starfleet Command and I have our differences, I still firmly believe that most of the officers of the fleet are dedicated professionals, and that Starfleet can serve a purpose for the greater good. Starfleet has lost its way, but if they look inside themselves, it’s officers—the men and women who wear the uniform—can put it back on a righteous course

CH12 The Fringe Campaign

Even in March of 2405, the People of the Federation were still
considered terrorists to many, particularly Starfleet. But on Devu,
they were becoming recognized as a legitimate political party. Their
defense of Devu sovereignty was widely hailed for bringing Devu the
recognition and respect it deserved. Several powerful political
leaders, including Senator Cleeg Freunch and labor leader Lazarus Cane
threw their weight behind the fledgling political party.

When Elaine Getz, the widow of slain Governor Richard Getz, came
to me in early March, I figured she wanted me to endorse their next
candidate. My status as hero of the Talisman Retreat afforded me some
popularity among Devuians, and my experience afterwards had earned me
the respect of the Trellians. I figured I'd be happy to endorse a
decent candidate. When she asked be to run for Governor, I was taken
aback.

Of course I would, I thought. Devu had been everything to be.
It had given me life, and I loved the planet and it's people. Of course
I'd run. When she showed me the campaign poster they'd already had
made, I knew it was time.

Early on, we had no money. In fact, our early bills were all
being paid from Richard Getz's insurance policy. It was critical that
we find some contributors, and quick. It was Lazarus Cane that stepped
in to help. Not only did he send us a substantial donation, his
endorsement brought us the votes and the pockets of the Devu Labor
Movement. His endorsement really got the Bateman Campaign moving.

It took me time to really settle into the shoes of a politician.
I had a stylist who dressed me, a coach who taught me how to shake hands
(one hand double-pump—unless they were a contributor or close friend,
in which case they got one hand and the other on the upper arm), and a
group of people who kept me up to date on everything from politics to
entertainment. It was tiring, and exhilarating. The one thing I
refused to let anyone else do was write my speeches. I take pride in
the words I used on the campaign trail-because they were mine. I don't
have to remember what promises I made, because I wrote them, I said
them, and I meant them.

I won by a landslide. I can't take credit for it, it was Elaine and Lazarus and Alex Paige who did the hard work, but we won.
I wasn't sure I was ready, but I was willing to try. My acceptance
speech was one of the best I've ever written, and I feel proud to
reprint it here:

"We've always talked about tomorrow. Tomorrow, we'll be equal.
Tomorrow we'll fix the environment. Tomorrow, we'll worry about fair
trade. Tomorrow we'll join the Federation. Tomorrow, tomorrow,
tomorrow.

Yesterday, that was OK. Yesterday, we thought that someone would
come along and fix things for us. Yesterday, we thought Starfleet would
keep us safe tomorrow. Yesterday, we let others make our
decisions.

Well, yesterday is gone. Devu stands at a threshold in time, a
decision point that separates our past from our future. Today, the
people of Devu took their future into their hands, and voted for
tomorrow, today. Today, Devu came of age. Today, I stand ready to guide
us into that tomorrow.

Today, we'll start work on all those things we said we'd do
tomorrow. Equality, environment, economics, education—all of our
tomorrows start today.

It wasn't too long ago that we weren't sure there would be a
tomorrow. The great starbase that gave us our fame was shattered and
falling from the sky. We were attacked on our own soil, by our own
people. Brother fought brother, father fought son. All because yesterday
we let someone else make decisions about our tomorrow. No more. No
longer will we let madmen cloud our today with visions of tomorrow. From
now on, our tomorrow will be our own. Our tomorrow will reflect the
values of our society. Equality, freedom, love."

Our tomorrow is a beautiful one. Not because I say so, but
because the people of Devu say so. Our tomorrow is a great one, not
because I'm going to make it so, but because WE will make it so. Our
tomorrow is ours to shape.

Our tomorrow starts today."

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