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Moral Dilemma (LP episode)

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As the Dominion War is becoming a losing effort, Captain Limis Vircona contemplates whether her use of extreme interrogation methods was justified and will ultimately result in helping Starfleet achieve even a minor victory.

Takes place two week prior to DS9: "A Time to Stand".

SummaryEdit

Stardate 51196.3Edit

The USS Lambda Paz, part of the Seventh Fleet, is fighting in the Battle of Tyra. When the fighting is over, only fourteen of one hundred twelve Starfleet and Klingon vessels survive.

Captain Limis Vircona retires to her ready room and begins a personal log asking herself if she has become the enemy she seeks to destroy.

Stardate 51189 (Two weeks earlier)Edit

For nearly a month, the Seventh Fleet had engaged the Dominion in small-scale hit-and-run battles in the Tyra system. The Lambda Paz is in the atmosphere of a gas giant to try to outmaneuver two Jem'Hadar fighters. Both enemy fighters are destroyed thanks, in part, to a daring maneuver suggested by assistant engineer and Limis's former Maquis colleague Erhlich Tarlazzi.

Soon afterward, the ship is raided by alien mercenaries consisting of Nausicaans, Breen, and Ferengi. Most of the antimatter tanks and bio-neural gel packs are stolen. At least one crewmember is killed. Security personnel have captured one of the mercenaries, a Cardassian civilian. When Limis confronts him, the Cardassian gives only his name and service number. After giving answers that are obvious lies, he taunts Limis about how he is not on Bajor facing execution and that Starfleet prides itself as too civilized to torture prisoners.

Tactical officer Mandel Morrison and flight controller Sara Carson come up with a way to locate the mercenary ship. The ship's course leads it to a Dyson sphere. One of the artificial habitats is a base for Romulan agents who hired the mercenaries. Despite Romulan resistance, away teams from the Lambda Paz are able to retrieve most of the stolen equipment. One of the teams comes across mysterious technology, which Chief Medical Officer Aurellan Markalis determines is used to synthesize Ketracel white. Limis confronts Mirren again, this time placing him in an airlock and decompressing it. He eventually reveals what sector the plant is located in. Mirren then dies soon afterward.

Following this incident, first officer Ronnie Kozar relieves Captain Limis of command. A few days later, however, Limis is reinstated when Admiral William Ross recommends that no disciplinary be taken against her. Upon learning of this, Admiral Edward Jellico warns Ross that the decision sets a dangerous precedent.

Stardate 51196.32Edit

Limis finishes recording her personal log. All she can do now, she says, is hope her actions pay off in helping the Federation win the war. She then erases the entire log.

Memorable quotesEdit

"We’ve suffered another major defeat at the hands of the Dominion. They outnumber us two to one at nearly every turn. I can’t help wondering now if my actions two weeks ago were warranted. The information we received may help the Federation achieve even a minor victory. In the meantime, have I become the enemy I seek to destroy?"
Limis Vircona reflecting on the last two weeks after the disastrous Battle of Tyra
"Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair, Mister Kozar."
— Limis unknowingly repeating James T. Kirk's statement to John Harriman on the USS Enterprise-B's maiden voyage (Star Trek Generations)
"We don’t have phasers and we don’t dare try torpedoes with these gases screwing up their guidance systems."
"Then we try something else, whether that meets with safety protocols or not."
--Morrison and Limis while the ship is playing cat-and-mouse with the Jem'Hadar in the atmostphere of a gas giant.
"The eruption could encompass us."
"Not if we time it properly."
"'Not if we time it properly'. Why didn't I think of that?"
-- Chaz Logan and Erhlich Tarlazzi in reference to a plan to defeat a Jem'Hadar fighter.
"For enlightened races, a lot of the Federation members have broad definitions of privacy. Even the logical, unemotional Vulcans are reluctant to discuss their mating practices with off-worlders."
— Limis in regards to a crewmember's medical files being off-limits.
"You’re carrying the weight of the Alpha Quadrant on your shoulders."
"That’s one of the short definitions of captain."
-- Tarlazzi and Limis
"I’m not one to discourage fraternization with subordinates, but make sure they are not late to their duty shifts."
— Kozar chastising Morrison for his role in Sara Carson's tardiness.
"I didn’t expect this kind of reaction from you, Ed. Your style of command is one that demands results. You’ve had plenty of dealings with the Cardassians during your career. This is war, Ed. We can’t be distracted with penalizing someone for a petty violation of protocol."
"'Petty violation of protocol'? That’s what you call torturing a man? By letting this slide, you’re basically giving all Starfleet CO’s unlimited freedom to use whatever methods they may deem necessary. And to blazes with the Seldonis Four Convention."
--Admirals William Ross and Edward Jellico regarding Ross's recommendation that no disciplinary action be taken against Limis.
"I was off the hook. I’ll bet Jellico was furious. Kozar was not too happy either. He said the JAG office was setting a 'dangerous precedent.' As much as I wanted to gloat, he was right. At some point, we have to be willing to stand on principle. Even if we do defeat the Dominion, they’ll still achieve a philosophical victory if we started to behave too much like them. Even so, I have done things I am not proud of. I sold sexual favors to high-ranking Cardassian military operatives. I killed more Cardassians than I would care to count, including civilians either to achieve mission objectives or in acts of petty revenge. People die in war, and Mirren is just one more casualty of war. I may hate myself for some of the horrible things I have done. But I can learn to live with that guilt."
— Limis final thought in her personal log.

Background informationEdit

Based on elements from DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight" and ENT: "Anomaly". As was the case with "In the Pale Moonlight", the story flashes back to a series of events that had led the captain to have a guilty conscience. The main story is based upon that of "Anomaly", in which the ship is raided by alien thieves. The search leads the ship to mysterious ancient technology. Further investigation reveals the thieves have information critical to achieving the ship's overall mission. The captain then uses torture to obtain that information from one of the thieves. And that is where the two stories take different turns. In Jonathan Archer's case, the prisoner survives the decompressing of an airlock and is later set free. In Limis Vircona's case, the prisoner dies and she is temporarily relieved of her command for her actions.

The story arc that follows from this narrative, in which Gul Enic Hadar has a score to settle with Limis, mirrors the story arc involving Archer and Duras that began in ENT: "Judgment" and ended in ENT: "The Expanse" (as a result of the latter's death).

ReferencesEdit

CharactersEdit

Shinar sh'AqbaSara CarsonMirren HadarWillis HuckabyEdward JellicoRonnie KozarLimis VirconaCharles H. LoganTor MakassaAurellan MarkalisMandel MorrisonWilliam RossRebecca Sullivan

Starships and vehiclesEdit

USS Lambda Paz

LocationsEdit

Dyson sphereRomulan Neutral ZoneStarbase 375Tyra system

Races and culturesEdit

BreenCardassianFerengiNausicaanRomulan

States and organizationsEdit

Romulan Star EmpireStarfleet Seventh FleetStarfleet JAG Office

Other referencesEdit

Battle of Tyraketracel white

Related Deep Space 9 episodesEdit

  • "Call to Arms": The non-aggression treaty between the Dominion and the Romulan Star Empire, first referenced in this episode, is mentioned.
  • "A Time to Stand": The opening features the final outcome of the disastrous Battle of Tyra, alluded to in this episode. The ketracel white manufacturing plant mentioned is the one Sisko and company are sent to destroy in this episode, using the Jem'Hadar fighter captured in "The Ship".

External linksEdit

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