The Path to 2409: 2385
Cryptic Studios continues their look into the future of the Star Trek Universe as the build up to 2409, the year that Star Trek Online will begin. Today they look at the events of 2385 and careers of several Enterprise E crew members.
Starfleet Command announces it has completed its re-evaluation of all of its post-Dominion War assets and resources and that it will be refocusing some ships that have been assigned to defense and diplomacy to exploration and scientific discovery.
Among the ships that will be assigned to new duties is the U.S.S. Enterprise-E. “The flagship of Starfleet is not a warship,” says Commander Marie Durant, a spokesperson for Starfleet Command. “The Enterprise and her crew are the pinnacle of Federation achievement. We need them out on the edge of explored space, making new contacts and reaching out in friendship to races across the Galaxy.”
The Enterprise’s final mission before returning to Earth for reassignment is to assist the population of Khitomer. On Stardate 62230.13, the Klingon Empire announces it is expelling all non-Klingon residents of the planet as a “safety measure.” It gives the residents 14 standard days to leave the planet, but Chancellor Martok agrees to extend the deadline after speaking to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The Enterprise-E leads a contingent of ships to Khitomer, assists in the evacuation, and the former residents are safely settled on Federation colonies.
That mission becomes the legendary captain’s final one for Starfleet as well. After a personal request from the president of the Federation and a great deal of personal reflection, Captain Picard resigns his commission with Starfleet. After a three-month sabbatical in France, Picard takes his place as the Federation ambassador to Vulcan.
He is not the only senior staff member of the Enterprise to be moving on to other projects. Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher accepts the position of captain of the U.S.S. Pasteur, an Olympic-class ship. Her first task will be to assist efforts to rebuild hospitals and medical facilities on Cardassia Prime.
Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge requests a long-term leave of absence from Starfleet to work on personal projects, including a plan to build and test his own starship designs. But his first project is to assist the team at the Soong Foundation studying the Soong-type android B-4. With his help, on Stardate 62762.91 the team unlocks what it calls the “Data matrix,” successfully accessing the personality, knowledge and memories of Data, who had downloaded this information into B-4 before his destruction in the Battle of Bassen Rift.
The Data persona asserts itself over B-4’s more primitive programming, and the android is able to assist the Soong Foundation team to upgrade the positronic brain and recreate the emotion chip invented by Dr. Noonien Soong. The team is confident that their work will be completed in months.
And Worf, son of Mogh, also resigns his commission to Starfleet. Worf believes that with the recent strains in relations between the Federation and the Klingons, he will best be of service in a diplomatic role. He returns to Qo’noS to take up the post of lead ambassador, and a few months later begins a tentative relationship with Grilka, the leader of a Klingon noble house whom he had met while serving on Deep Space 9.
With much of the senior staff off ship and its role in flux, the Enterprise-E is assigned to the shipyards of Utopia Planitia for an extensive refit. The Starfleet Corps of Engineers reports that the refit will take at least a year to complete because they are going to use the ship as a testing ground for new technology. Among the new equipment will be the advanced sensor array first tested on Luna-class starships, which has been approved for retrofitting onto other classes of ships.
Elsewhere in Starfleet, after more than two years with no reports of Borg activity in Federation space, Starfleet Command has decided to dismantle its Borg task force and use those resources elsewhere. “We can’t keep waiting for something that may never happen,” says Durant. “And most of our analysts now agree that Voyager dealt them a bigger blow in the Delta Quadrant than we initially believed.”
One Federation expert on the Borg who does not agree with Starfleet Command’s decision is former task force leader Annika Hansen, formerly known as Seven of Nine. She leaves her role with Starfleet in protest of the decision and accepts an offer to continue her research at the Daystrom Institute. When pressed by the Federation News Service for comment, the former Borg said “The Borg will return. If the Federation is not prepared, it will be their end.”
In diplomatic news, Bajoran hardliners still calling for the prosecution of Cardassians for war crimes have expanded their demands to include the surrender of colony worlds granted to the Cardassians in the Federation-Cardassian Treaty of 2370. Both the Cardassians and the Federation Council support leaving the boundaries as drawn, however, and the movement is expected to have little effect.
In Romulan space, what began as a tumultuous year after the assassination of Praetor Tal’aura has settled down into what could be a long-term solution, and both Starfleet and the Klingon Empire have pulled back some ships from the borders of Romulan space.
In the weeks following Tal’aura’s death, her proconsul, Sela, stepped in to take the reins of control in the government. Granted temporary executive powers by the Senate as an emergency measure, Sela uses them to replace more than two dozen of Tal’aura’s “populist” senators with representatives of noble houses who had opposed Tal’aura’s rule. Among Sela's appointees is the influential noble Chulan of the Line of Tellus.
The backing of the nobles gives Sela the clout she needs to run the government, but she does not have the support of the military or the Tal Shiar and her regime is generally expected to be short-lived.
Rehaek, the leader of the Tal Shiar, makes a rare public appearance to announce that he will personally lead the investigation into the assassination of Praetor Tal’aura. “There are certain things which may seem expedient but which honor abhors. We cannot allow this crime to go unanswered.”
And Empress Donatra of the Imperial Romulan Empire wins hearts among the people of Romulus by offering food shipments to non-military settlements.
Federation experts fear a three-way struggle for control of Romulus, but instead Donatra meets with Sela and Rehaek on Romulus to find a peaceful solution. The three begrudgingly agree to put their personal disputes aside for the good of the Empire, and the worlds of the Imperial Romulan State are folded back into the Romulan Star Empire. Donatra holds onto the reins of power of the military, and keeps much of her forces safely off-world in case the peace does not hold.
With the threat of civil war averted, the Senate opens debate on who to elect the new praetor. Sela, as Tal’aura’s proconsul, is one of the leading candidates, and she makes a play for the position. But rumors of her possible involvement in the plot to assassinate Tal'aura dog her campaign, and when Donatra declines Sela’s request for an endorsement Sela’s defeat is almost assured.
After an extensive debate, Senator Chulan is chosen to be the new praetor. He is a compromise candidate who is acceptable to, but not strongly supported by, any of the major powers. Federation analysts predict that without the backing of a coalition of factions, Chulan will be a weak leader.
Donatra, who most agree was the broker of this newfound peace, travels to Remus to meet General Xiomek of the Remans. She offers the Remans full citizenship in the empire and representation in the Romulan Senate in exchange for their support. While Sela opposes the plan, which she sees as rewarding the Remans for a violent uprising, Praetor Chulan will not go against Donatra’s military might.
The physical strength of the Remans, as well as their supplies of dilithium and heavy metals, adds to Donatra’s formidable military strength, and she re-opens shipyards and munitions plants closed since Shinzon’s revolt. And as resources flow back to Romulus from Remus and the worlds Donatra controlled, energy rationing and food lines become a thing of the past.
The Romulan Senate is reluctant to deal with the Remans but is swayed by popular support for Donatra, and it reluctantly allows Xiomek to take a seat in the Senate and extends citizenship to the Remans. In common practice, however, most Romulans continue to treat Remans as second-class citizens, and the Remans have been reluctant to openly move to Romulan settlements.
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