Star Fleet Intelligence

Two: Judgement

Not long after that her grade was what was on the minds of two admirals and a captain as they met in a conference room not far from the holodeck. All three had finished reviewing the data, and much of it they had watched in real time.

"Well," Admiral Edward Jellico admitted as the silver haired, balding older man took a drink of his coffee, "that wasn't how I expected her to respond to the No Win Scenario." In the aftermath of the massive Borg invasion Jellico had resigned as Commander in Chief of Starfleet, but had been convinced to give being head of the Academy a try. He was still not sure he fit in, but it was interesting and useful work.

The No Win Scenario had been around for almost as long as Starfleet, based on real events confronting a early crew. It was updated and revised every few years with the latest ship types and possible enemies, as well as name changes to counter rumors spreading about the test. A few people had beaten it over the years, but it was a rare event, much like today's.

"Do you think it counts as a win?" Admiral Ross asked curiously. William Ross was one of the heads of the Federation forces fighting the Dominion War, and had been involved in some murky parts of the war. While he wasn't directly a member of Starfleet Intelligence he was well connected to that branch of the service.

"I'm not entirely certain," Captain Jean Luc Picard admitted ruefully. He took a drink of his tea as he mused, "If a Starfleet captain made that decision, he'd be up before a board of inquiry once he returned to base." He and Jellico were getting on surprizingly well, in this meeting. Their very different command styles had generated conflicts in the past, but they had mostly put it behind them.

"Commander S'teck interviewed her as to why she made the decision to fire," Jellico said, bringing up a file on the view screen.

Rachel Hunter looked tired, but was bearing up well under a debrief. "It was the Cardassian presence there," she admitted. "If it was just the Romulans we could have expected them to suffer rough treatment, but we'd get the people back in some POW trade eventually. But the Cardassians engage in torture, hell, they regard it as a art form!" Grimly Rachel finished, "I couldn't let Federation citizens fall into their hands."

"I don't know if I would want to be the one she shot," Admiral Ross admitted after a moment, "but she has a point."

Captain Picard looked uncomfortable, though that was quite understandable considering he himself had experienced Cardassian torture first hand. "Indeed," he agreed, "but Starfleet has a long tradition in trying to save civilians at all costs."

"She did successfully prevent a war breaking out with Romulus," Jellico noted, "at least, that's what the holodeck computer decided." He wondered if he would have made a similar call, and honestly wasn't that sure.

Picard looked amused, "The computer was probably as surprised as we were." Quietly he quoted, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one."

"A vulcan might make the call to sacrifice the ship based on logic," Jellico agreed, "but I'm surprised a human did."

"If you want my opinion, I think she passed," Ross said firmly, "she may be a bit cold blooded, but I think it was the right choice to make under those specific circumstances."

"I don't know, Ithink she should have looked for other options," Jellico said after a moment, deciding he probably wouldn't have done the same, "I'm not comfortable with a Starfleet officer deciding to destroy a ship in cold blood."

Picard sighed as both of them looked at him, seeking his opinion. "I think it would be wise for her to review the principles of Starfleet including out commitment to preserving Federation citizens," he thought it over and said, "but I think she made the best choice she could out of several bad ones."

Jellico nodded, though he didn't look terribly happy about it. "Thank you for your help," he said, "I'll include your comments with Hunter's grades." He smiled wryly, "Now I'm sure my aide has her usual pile of things I need to see too, so please excuse me."

"Glad to help," Ross nodded.

"It's been good seeing you again," Picard shook Jellico's hand a bit stiffly. They would likely never really agree on certain things, but they could at least be civil.

As he turned back Picard saw Ross activating the view screen, calling up the last image of Rachel Hunter. Like the admiral Picard took a moment to study that determined face, with brown eyes that seemed older than her years.

"What branch of Starfleet is she interested in?" Ross asked thoughtfully, not having the file close at hand.

Picard flipped through the old fashioned hard copies and smiled slightly. "As you'd expect, she's command track," he told Ross.

Ross tapped the table with a finger, frowning thoughtfully. "She'd be wasted in a normal command," he said after a moment.

"You want to scoop her up for Fleet intelligence?" Picard asked curiously. "She might not be interested," he pointed out.

"With those eyes?" Ross snorted, "She was born for this sort of work. I just have to hope the academy doesn't do too much damage before I can recruit her."

"Good luck, Bill," Picard smiled wryly as he added, "but I don't think this will be as easy as you expect it to be."

Later that evening William Ross reflected on that warning as he tidied his uniform, making sure the jacket was sitting right. Then he pressed the chime on the cadet's room, waiting a moment before pressing it again.

"Sorry, coming!" a voice called and the door swished open to reveal a semi nude Rachel Hunter, who had apparently just been in the sonic shower.

"Terribly sorry," Ross blurted, turning around as Hunter struggled to get her robe done up.

"I didn't expect company, sir," Rachel said as she tightened the robe and made sure everything was covered. Ruefully she added, "And I'm being shunned by some of my classmates, so they aren't coming by."

"Why is that?" Ross asked, though he expected he knew.

"They aren't happy with how today's test went," Rachel shrugged, "apparently my solution wasn't traditionally Starfleet enough for them." Irritably she added, "The only one who really approved was the Klingon."

"If it helps I think you made the correct choice," Ross said, "or at least the best choice out of several bad options." He shrugged, "Then again I spent a while in Starfleet Intelligence, where we dealt with murkier issues."

"Really?" Hunter looked interested and Ross had to fight back a smile.

'I've hooked her,' Ross decided, 'now I just have to reel her in.'

To be continued...

Notes: I've always wanted to see more in the various Star Trek series about what Starfleet Intelligence actually does. We've seen the shadowy Section 31, and occasionally seen captains like Kirk and Picard carry out missions for them, but other than that not much is known.

Why on hold? My original plan was to continue with a two or three part story set on Deep Space Nine. It always seemed to be that DS9 would be a major hub of spy activity, with it being the gate to the Gamma Quadrant as well as being of interest to the Romulans and Klingons.

I also wanted to write it in the novel canon, but sadly the DS9 books are in no shape to write stories in. (There was a time jump in the books, and at this point I barely know who's doing what.) Until the books clarify what's going on, I'm holding off on continuing this. Sorry!

Edited out Kathryn Janeway as well. If I'm gonna broadly follow the novels, I figure I can't just bring her back.