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|Star Trek: Justice episode|
|Original post date:||5 March 2013|
|Next episode:||"Prime Directive"|
Cadets is the first story in the Star Trek: Justice Fan fiction series. It introduces the USS Justice-D and it's senior staff: So'Gam, Vi'cky, Yoana, and Car'los. It also introduces Velma, Jil'eesa, and Mi'key as cadets. The story was originally given no title of its own, simply "Star Trek: Justice," but was later retitled as "Cadets" to avoid confusion when later stories in the Star Trek: Justice series emerged.
The story is loosely based on the events of the Feature Episode (mission chain) "The 2800" from the game Star Trek Online.
The year is 2412. The Alpha Quadrant is in chaos. In the midst of a war with the Klingons, the machinations of the remnants of the Romulan Star Empire, and the resurgence of the Borg, Starfleet must now deal with a threat they never thought they'd face again. Follow the paths of three ambitious cadets and the crew of the star ship Justice.
The story opens as Velma Garcia is leaving her temporal mechanics class at Starfleet Academy to meet her friend, Jil'eesa. She is fascinated by the subject, but even more so by the influential captains who've shaped it, whom she calls the "Bigs": legends such as Jonathan Archer, James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, and Kathryn Janeway. All of these have had at least one known temporal incursion, and she (unlike many people) knows of two for Kirk. She's also fascinated by rumors that So'Gam the relatively-impulsive Vulcan captain of the USS Justice has also been involved in a time-travel incident. Velma wishes she were assigned to his ship, but admits that she needs Jil'eesa with her, as the Vulcan's steady demeanor balances her impulsive behavior.
As she's discussing some of these thoughts with Jil'eesa in the mess hall, both cadets receive pre-recorded messages from Commander Vi'cky informing them that they have been chosen to serve as backup crew members for the newly-commissioned USS Justice-D, under Admiral So'Gam. Velma is naturally excited by this news, but Jil'eesa reminds her that, as they are part of the backup crew, they will not even be called upon unless other crew members are unavailable at the time of the vessel's launch.
Meanwhile, So'Gam is on Earth Spacedock holding a conference with his senior officers regarding their first assignment with the new Justice-D: retaking Deep Space 9 from a Jem'Hadar fleet. The Justice is to lead the first wave of at least 20 ships to attack the Jem'Hadar forces around the station, followed by the USS Defiant and a ship under the command of Captain Va'Kel Shon. After the meeting Vi'cky remarks on how helpful the Romulans were to the Federation and their allies during the Dominion War, and how unfortunate it is that they can't expect any such help from them now that Romulus has been destroyed and the Romulan Star Empire shattered. So'Gam remarks on how he would not want Romulan help even if it were available. Vi'cky accuses him of letting his emotions get the better of him, but So'Gam is unfazed. Unlike other Vulcans, he allows emotion to play into his decision-making process, though he still doesn't display it. He's had plenty of past dealings with the Romulans and the Tal Shiar to color his opinion of them.
Elsewhere, Cadets Velma and Jil'eesa are on assignment in a small nebula. They're joined by an Andorian Engineering Cadet, Mi'key. Velma has designed modifications to their runabout's shields to allow it to remain in the nebula longer. While Mi'key initially expresses doubt over the practicality of Velma's theories, he soon completes the modifications and the cadets enter the nebula, taking samples as they go. Velma is convinced that there are denser samples of gas at the heart of the nebula, based on a mass analysis and for two hours she orders the runabout deeper and deeper without finding the results she'd expected. Just when she's about to give up, though, the cadets stumble upon a badly-damaged Romulan warbird hiding in the nebula. Five Romulan civilians hail them from the warbird, revealing themselves to be the only surviving crew, refugees whose cloaked ship witnessed the recent Jem'Hadar attack on Deep Space 9. They claim to have vital intelligence about the Jem'Hadar fleet and say they will hand it over to the cadets since they are the first Starfleet ship they've found that they didn't believe would shoot them on sight. The Romulans beam over a Tal'Shiar data node with the information, claiming any attempt to retake Deep Space 9 without it will result in disaster for the Federation. Although the runabout's sensors show their ship is critically damaged, the Romulans refuse to abandon their ship, fearful of capture. The cadets are forced to abandon them and retreat out of the nebula as the warbird is destroyed by the forces of the nebula. They argue over what to do with the data node, with Velma eventually deciding to keep the node and perform her own analysis on it for fear that Starfleet will simply destroy the piece of enemy technology rather than take any risks on it.
Before Velma can do so, however, she and the other cadets are assigned to the Odyssey-class USS Justice-D, which is departing immediately. Velma, Jil'eesa, and Mi'key board the ship and take their stations, but when Vi'cky announces their destination, Velma rushes to get the data node and take it to the Bridge, demanding to speak with So'Gam immediately. With Jil'eesa's help and security clearance, she's able to secure an audience, but So'Gam remains unconvinced. He knows that Tal'Shiar data nodes are designed to extract information from any non-Romulan system they're connected to and broadcast it back to the Tal'Shiar and he will not risk sensitive information on Starfleet's newest ship falling into Romulan hands.
While they're talking, however, the Justice comes under attack from a Jem'Hadar ship, causing it to drop out of warp. For a single ship, its attacks are impossibly effective against the defenses of the Justice, and it's shields are able to harmlessly absorb the larger starship's opening volley. So'Gam is able to destroy the attacking ship by diverting all power, even shield power, to the phasers and concentrating on a single spot on the Jem'Hadar ship. This gives the Justice a momentary opening which she uses to fire a single photon torpedo at the Jem'Hadar ship's exposed hull, destroying it.
Despite this victory, the situation is grim. The Justice, which should be able to fight off a Borg cube by itself, barely survived the attack. Four other ships of the first wave, which reported similar attacks, have all been destroyed. The USS Potemkin has assumed command of the first wave and is proceeding under radio silence toward what will surely be a slaughter. Velma urges So'Gam to use the data node, as it is their only hope of finding out where this new advantage of the Jem'Hadar ship's comes from and how to counter it in time to save the fleet and complete the mission. So'Gam refuses, again saying that the risk of data on the Justice being passed to the Romulans is too great and that the data node must be a trap. Velma insists that this is not so, that the Romulans who gave it to her were civilians, not Tal Shiar, and accuses So'Gam of basing his decision off his hatred for the Romulans.
So'Gam realizes that she is right and privately reveals that his father is a member of the Vulcan Science Academy and was among the most outspoken opponents of providing the Romulans with aid to avert the Hobus supernova that destroyed their homeworld, and that he did so out of his personal bias against their government and culture. So'Gam admits to blindly following in his father's footsteps. Velma tells him that it isn't too late to give the Romulans another chance, and he does so, ordering the data node be used.
When the crew activates the data node, a Hologram of one of the Romulan refugees immediately appears warning them to erect a forcefield to prevent the data node from transmitting their ship's information as theta radiation. They do so, and the hologram then thanks them for giving his people a second chance. Thereafter, they are able to extract technical information from the node on the Jem'Hadar fleet, which allows them to modify the Justice's systems to counter the Jem'Hadar's advantage. They then warp ahead to catch up with the first wave, which has already suffered extensive losses, including heavy damage to the Potemkin. Justice resumes command of the fleet and orders the Federation ships to put the same modifications in place on their own systems.
The tide of the battle begins to turn, but the Jem'Hadar forces are still numerous and concentrate their attack on Justice, threatening to overwhelm the ship. Before they can, however, the second wave arrives, led by the the Defiant and the newly-launched USS Enterprise-F, under Captain Shon. The second wave is able to relieve pressure on the Justice and command of the fleet is transferred to Enterprise. Justice withdraws for brief repairs before re-entering the battle. Soon, the Federation forces drive the Jem'Hadar back to the wormhole. Justice stands watch over the wormhole while Enterprise and the rest of the fleet board the Deep Space 9 and conduct rescue operations.
Suddenly, the wormhole opens and a new fleet of 2,800 Jem'Hadar vessels begins to emerge, led by a massive battleship. None of the other Federation ships are in a position to respond in time and the Justice prepares to die trying to fight off the massive fleet alone. However, suddenly So'Gam is contacted by the Emissary, who tells him that this fleet is the same one he and the Defiant faced during the Dominion War after Operation Return. He assumed that they'd been destroyed, but the Prophets had simply sent them into the future, causing them to emerge in 2412. Sisko says he will correct this mistake and advises So'Gam to turn his ship around. The wormhole then begins converting into a singularity, destroying the Jem'Hadar fleet. So'Gam wants to make sure that the battleship does not escape, however, and opens fire on it. Once it is destroyed he orders the Justice to turn around, but it has already become trapped in the gravity well of the singularity. It cannot escape even at maximum warp and its quantum slipstream drive is inoperable because not all of its components were installed prior to launch. So'Gam orders the slipstream drive components jettisoned and detonated with phasers, using the resulting explosion to knock the Justice clear of the singularity. The ploy works and the Justice is saved.
Some time later, repairs are being completed on the Justice and the Enterprise. The Bajoran wormhole has returned to normal, but no one is eager to traverse it just yet, meaning the Dominion threat is over. Captain Shon hails So'Gam to be briefed on his new orders, which are to go to New Romulus, the capital of the newly-formed Romulan Republic. While Shon expresses concerns about this new Romulan government, So'Gam assures him (as he never thought he would be doing) that the Romulans are not a concern, that they have disavowed the ways of Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar. They have called for assistance from both the Federation and the Klingon Empire—which could be the first sign of peace in the Alpha Quadrant. Thereafter he calls Shon to witness his promotion of Velma, Jil'eesa, and Mi'key to the rank of Ensign and his assignment of all three to the Justice.
Later all three newly-promoted ensigns and the senior staff are on the bridge when So'Gam gives the order to depart from Deep Space 9 for New Romulus. The story does not end there, however, but continues a moment further to show Q suddenly appearing on the bridge of the Justice and declaring its crew "almost interesting." So'Gam expresses exasperation at Q's appearance before the story ends.