U.S.S. Hood NCC-80045
Near Pacifica, Disputed Space
27 December 2165
The U.S.S. Hood
was of the new "Flight III" Galaxy
-class ship line, one of the few post-Dominion War ships in Starfleet. A true "lessons learned" design that incorporated elements picked up from ten years of examining other navies' designs, the Galaxy
incorporated stronger shields and an armored hull, a greater complement of phaser weaponry, and a pair of large pulse phaser cannon batteries on saucer hull-turrets that gave them a wide arc of fire. Upon her bridge sat Admiral David Masters, Commander of the 10th Fleet of Starfleet's Defense Branch.
Below them the battle had been stalemated, and the Pacifican theater shields made it impossible for his fleet to effectively bombard any of the approaching troop concentrations or the capital itself. All he could do was wait and watch as more reinforcements moved in here and there.
As he studied a post showing the status on-planet and the continued withdrawal of the troops to their landing camps to defend them, he saw a subordinate shift at his post. "Sir, picking up multiple warp signatures."
"At least a hundred."
"I see the Pacifican fleet is coming back to the rescue," he said. He had the numbers to take them on, but then again, the tactical situation had changed somewhat. "Deploy all Cruiser and Battle Wings to meet them. Light Wings will watch our flanks."
WIth those orders the Federation fleet deployed to meet the Pacificans in battle once more, with two hundred and sixty vessels against the hundred, perhaps a hundred and ten, Pacifican. Over the next hour or so he watched their fleet come on, led by the battleship Abraham Lincoln
, an Alliance Missouri
-class vessel that had been rebuilt while in mothballs following it's crippling at the Battle of Alpha Paternis. Fortunately the Pacifican fleet was not very powerful, and the Pacificans had never been able to afford a superdreadnought, as the Federation still had no dreadnought-equivalent ships (preferring to make faster, more durable vessels that would, at most, rate as battleships in the Alliance Navy). Decent for it's size as of now, it could still not match the Starfleet force in firepower or number.
The Pacifican fleet acted conservatively, engaging at range and pelting Masters' cruisers, his Ambassador
s and Akira
s and Excelsior
s, with missiles. Watching some of his ships began to disappear from his tactical display after receiving mission-killing damage, Masters ordered his fleet's bulk forward, looking to decisively crush the Pacifican fleet before more lives were lost.
The Federation fleet advanced, the Hood
coming toward the lead, her quantum torpedoes lashing out and smashing into one of the Pacifican heavy cruisers and causing it's shields to partially fail. The Pacificans didn't react initially, remaining in a simple wall formation, and Masters began to get suspicious.
"Sir! More warp signatures, right behind us!"
Masters turned to the sensor man in shock. "What do you mean? Why didn't you detect them?!"
The answer to that was given when the ships that came out of warp behind them were seen to include two Marathon
-class electronic-warfare cruisers, their jammers having actively hidden the arriving vessels with the Pacifican fleet's open arrival "covering" them on subspace sensors. The fleet that came on was nearly equal to the Pacificans' in size, but looked a bit larger, and Masters felt his gut twist when his Vulcan tactical officer confirmed the presence of a superdreadnought-sized vessel that their systems identified as the Rek'ter
, a vessel of the naval force of the Thu'tassk Federated Republic, a union of Human, Tellarite, and Andorian charter colony worlds; she was a Sam Houston
-class heavy dreadnought of Texan FHI-8 design, their attempt to match the first "superdreadnought" of the Multiverse, the Israeli Tikvah
. She was clearly not as advanced, or deadly, as an Alliance Freedom
-class, but the size of her 600mm mass drivers was testimony enough to her raw power, and deflector screen systems could always be upgraded at least.
But what was truly jarring for Masters was the presence of the Thu'tasskian fleet. Robertson's failure to take Jefferson was taking effect now; other charter colonies that were starting to stir with anti-Federation sentiments were going to be emboldened.
"Come about!" he shouted. "Engage the Thu'tasskian fleet!"
The 10th Fleet began to turn, but it was already too late. The Thu'tasskian fleet fell upon his lighter starships and began cutting them to ribbons, mass drivers and railguns and particle cannons firing into the weak deflectors and thin hulls of the mass of Miranda
s and Steamrunner
s and even the newer Reliant
s. The four Defiant
-class vessels in his fleet were engaged by their Alliance-designed Boxer
-class counterparts, nullifying any advantage they might have given.
Now the Hood
and her counterparts came on, led by Hood
herself and the Sovereign
leading the way. He watched the Rek'ter
come up alongside the Magnificent
while her shields took the blows of the Hood
's forward guns without faltering. It's mass drivers erupted, sending out rounds that smacked the Magnificant
with the kinetic energy equivalent of four quantum torpedoes for each round, then added to it with their own shield-piercing warheads. The explosions were designed to put maximum stress on the other ship's shield generators, much as newer models of quantum torpedoes were meant to, allowing for shields to become too weak to stop the KE of other rounds.
-class's shields had been made to withstand, as much as possible, such broadsides, and they held, but Masters knew that they couldn't take many more hits like that. He saw their phasers lash out at the Rek'ter
while the Hebridia
's 290mm particle cannons retaliated across her shields from the Missouri
-class ship's position "above" the Rek'ter
Then the Rek'ter
fired again, and this time her cannons prevailed. The Magnificant
's shields buckled under the onslaught and explosions racked her port side from the multiple hits. Her port nacelle exploded spectacularly, sending debris everywhere, and the mighty Sovereign
's lights began to blink out.
As 10th Fleet began to plow through the Thu'tasskians, the Pacifican fleet came hard on the cruiser wings that had been watching their flank. Masters knew they couldn't hold out, not with the heavy units of the Pacifican fleet in the fight, and tried to pull the cruisers back and gather his fleet together to break out into open space and reform.
The many energy beams and pulses and solid weapon rounds were making space deadly, and as the Federation fleet closed range to it's preferred "knife-fight" tactics and to partially negate the advantages of the other fleet's superior point-defense, the Thu'tasskians and Pacificans tried to maintain a relative distance to take advantage of their ships' preferred range.
With concentration and drive, the 10th Fleet forced it's way through. The Hood
shook under the onslaught of the Thu'tasskian battleships Hebridia
, making it to warp just in time to escape from the trap.
Masters watched on his tactical displays as the 10th Fleet pulled away from the fight for the moment, forcing the Pacificans and Thu'tasskians to turn and very nearly causing them to hit each other with shots aimed at the Starfleet vessels. In these precious few seconds, he would be able to reform his fleet....
"Sir, warp contacts bearing from the upper plane of the system, coming from New Hollandia!"
That phrase brought with it defeat. New Hollandia, the actual origin for the colonists who later created the Algrossan Republic that had provoked the great crisis with the Alliance in 2158 AST, was a noted hotbed of secessionist intent, and their rich veins of dilithium and latinum ensured that even with the Federation's forced dues, they had enough money to buy a capable, if small, fleet. If they were coming in, there was no doubt that they were here to support Pacifica. And like Thu'tasskia and her federation of colonies, they had been known to purchase not one but two
superdreadnought-level warships, enough firepower to go with the numbers of the Colonials to overcome 10th Fleet.
"Signal to all ships, break combat and fall back to Starbase 19!"
With that order, the 10th Fleet went into full retreat, leaving almost a third of it's number behind for the Colonials to capture.Camp Cartman
Admiral Robertson listened intently, and stoically, as General Velasquez recited to him the offered terms of surrender. His people would be provided hospitable confinement at a prefab prison camp being erected in the temperate climes of the State of Stafford to the north, their weapons would be turned over, and the Starfleet medical personnel would be provided with ample support to provide for wounded Federation personnel. Admiral Robertson himself and Admiral Supek were being offered softer confinement at the newly-appointed Vice President Regina Gustafson's palatial home overlooking Adams' Bay, not ten kilometers from where his men would be encamped, though both men knew that they would not accept. Furthermore, promises were made that Robertson and Supek, and all of their men, would be offered asylum upon Pacifican or Thu'tasskian territory if, upon the termination of hostilities, they had reason to fear imprisonment for whatever reason.
Robertson looked to his staff and the looks upon their faces. The only missing face was Commander Hilton, who had been given the singular fortune of having beamed aboard the Hood
the prior day to go over plans with Admiral Masters, and had thankfully been detained by duty long enough to escape with them.
As for the rest of them... The bitter taste of defeat was already to be had, but would they accept the humiliation of surrender? Robertson believed they'd have to, and more to the point, he was willing to save their lives and take that upon himself.
"General Velasquez, you are a good and generous man. Despite the blood you have lost to this struggle, your terms are exceedingly generous," Robertson replied. "With my authority as commander of the Federation Armed Militia's Pacifica Expedition, I hereby accept your terms of surrender."
"Thank you, Admiral. History will honor you for ending this bloodshed now."
"That's good to hear, because I have a feeling History may yet find a lot of things to condemn both of us, and our causes, over, General Velasquez." Nodding to a subordinate to transmit the announcement to his field troops, Robertson continued, "I can only hope that the Federation sees the wisdom of negotiation now that armed might has failed, and that the bloodshed these past few days will not be joined by more. Robertson out."
As he closed the channel, and prepared to turn himself over to the arriving Pacifican troops, Robertson's heart quailed in the knowledge that his hope was a forlorn one. The bloodshed would not end. Indeed, he couldn't help but fear that it had scarcely begun...New Windsor, New Anglia
28 December 2165 AST
The Kingdom of New Anglia had never been very happy with the Federation, even in the pre-New Way days before the Basic Necessities Act and the yearly GDP dues to pay for it. The founding of New Anglia was rooted in British conservatism that had managed to survive the Eugenics Wars, the Third World War sparked by the Greenists, and the rise of "progressive" government spurred by Vulcan prodding. As the saying went, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and for every danger that the more misguided elements of late 20th Century progressivism brought, the more some people began to wonder if maybe things had been better off in an earlier time.
The final stage was the founding of the Federation and the successful salvation of Humanity and it's new allies from the Romulans. The government on Earth had won the war while implementing integrationist policies meant to nearly abolish national governments, and the victory in war gave them legitimacy for domestic policies that included the "final victory of rational, progressive politics over the savage past"; the "Dissolvement Act" of 2165 (ST-3 Calendar) that officially declared that all monarchies still legally active on Earth were dissolved without reservation.
At that point, the thousands of British, Canadian, and Australian monarchists still alive and committed to the Royal Family resolved to maintain the British throne, and to do so, they emigrated, finding New Anglia at what was then the edge of Federation space, unclaimed but with hitherto-undiscovered latinum and dilithium deposits in it's solar system.
The final catch had been the division of the monarchist movement into a pro-Windsor and a Jacobite faction, resurrecting the centuries-old Jacobite claim and adopting an even more extreme archconservative view, namely that the Hannoverians and Windsors had let things go too far. This feud had the potential to nearly kill the possibility of New Anglia being founded, but was resolved by a happy coincidence, that the current Windsor claimant had a German wife, Charlotte von und zu Liechtenstein, who was the rightful heiress of the Stuart claim that originated from the deposed King James II and VII (and of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein to boot, though the population of Liechtensteiner monarchists was so small that it was soon subsumed into the primarily English and Scots population of New Anglia, leaving only a quaint "New Liechtenstein" city near New Windsor that became a tourist oddity and where people learned a little German for matter of atmosphere). This neatly unified the two factions and, on 9 March 2173 ST-3 Calendar, the Kingdom of New Anglia was formerly created.
The reaction in the rest of the Human sphere was akin to the reaction of one seeing the bearded lady at a carnival freak show. Press pundits didn't know whether to laugh or be angry at such a display of "reactionaryism" as the Federation prepared to move on into the future. The progressivists of the Earth government, always aware that their Dissolvement Act had barely skirted by a court challenge and was dubious under the Earth constitution, pressed hard for the Federation to quash it. And nearly quashed it was, until the debate was subsumed by the wider debate of how to ensure that new alien races would want to join the Federation in the future despite a disparity in settled planets. As such, the "United Federation of Planets" essentially re-designated itself to a mere "United Federation of Homeworlds" (as one critic called it) while other worlds with populations of the founding races were offered "sovereign charter", meaning autonomy and partial sovereignty, in exchange for relinquishing any claim to a Federation Council seat, permitting Federation authority in foreign affairs, and agreeing to place all defense forces under Starfleet in time of war. Thus was the birth of the "charter colony".
The bargain saved the newly-formed Kingdom, which applied for and received charter colony status despite the vicious howling of the anti-monarchists on Earth. Most contemporaries, and later many historians, believed that the Federation Council accepted the charter just to get the issue out of the way, not wanting to delve into a "particularly Human" political matter, though it would find itself drawn back into the "monarchy" debate when the Betazoids applied for Federation membership decades later.
And so the "Great Joke of New Anglia" began, and while the loyal monarchists labored to make New Anglia prosperous, they were treated with scorn and popular derision by the majority of the rest of Humanity, though this didn't stop them from getting a sizable population as the latinum and dilithium mines opened up. Soon this early wealth, and a succession of excellent Prime Ministers in the early 23rd Century, made New Anglia one of the wealthiest charter colonies in the Federation, further permitting the diversification of it's economy with major industries such as shipyards, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. And the population continued to boom, with many millions proving that while they might particularly care for monarchial government, they didn't mind it if it let them be prosperous.
Then came the New Way, the Neo-Socialists, and their merger into the Idealogue Party. New Anglia felt the crunch as badly as everyone else, and the damage to their prosperity ironically turned an originally apathetic population into staunch supporters of the Royal Family, which resisted every dues increase, every nationalization, and every other injury to the agreement that granted New Anglia her rights. No longer was "God Save the King" constantly subjected to ridicule or humorous alteration at public events, or republican sentiments expressed by the population. The monarchy was their ally, their friend, against Core Worlder exploitation.
By Multiversal Contact secessionist sentiment was high and was very monarchist, while the republican movements on New Anglia were increasingly dismissed as Idealogue shills (ironic given that most had been founded almost at the origin of New Anglia by Earth progressive parties trying to get rid of the restored monarchy quickly).
Now the news spread across the worlds of the Kingdom of New Anglia like wildfire. First had been the successful defense of the Pacifican capital, now, the defeat of Starfleet's orbital sieging fleet by the combined might of the Thu'tasskian, New Hollandian, and Pacifican navies.
The popular reaction began soon enough. Demonstrators complaining about the Federation demanding a lump sum from New Anglia to compensate for "lost dues" openly harrassed a Federation official of the BNA Enforcement Bureau as he went to his office, pelting him with any object they could find and shouting at him while the New Windsor bobbies tried to hold the demonstrators back.
Of course, for the official, the day was not yet over, for no sooner did he get to his office that armed Constabulary arrived and asked for him to come with them for his own protection. Soon the official was on a shuttle to take him to a Vulcan transport in orbit which took him back toward Earth, along with every other Federation official on the planet.
Soon the rest of the population began to realize something was going on. Members of the Anglian Army reserves received comm-calls informing them to report to their mobilization centers. Royal Anglian Navy personnel on leave or off duty were called to their posts, leaving behind concerned and uncertain families. The families of Parliament members saw them off, and Parliament held a full emergency session of the House of Lords and the House of Commons by mid-day.
And then the news came. Starbase 32, the central Federation position inside Anglian territory, was undergoing some form of rebellion or uprising, and all communications were cut off. Reporters from nearby planets reported that local army units were mobilizing and that the navy was being called into action. All of New Anglia seemed to be in a strange kind of orderly uncertainty, with it's populace awaiting with bated breath whatever Parliament and the Government was up to.
They got their answer about an hour before sunset, as the Compensation Hours began to catch up the 20 hour New Anglian day to the 24 hour Earth standard. Every holovid and open news station showed the sight at the Winston Churchill Parliamentary Building at 12 Churchill Street as Prime Minister Wallace Pitts stepped out onto a balcony overlooking the street and the gathered crowd at Nelson Square. He was flanked on his left by Her Grace Duchess Diane Howard of New Norfolk, a prominent figure in the House of Lords and popular due to her long suffering and complete fidelity for her husband Edward Winfield, who as a young man disappeared during the Cardassian War and was later rescued from Madred Village 23 on Dervak by forces of the Allied Nations and Federated Commonwealth in the Winter War; on his right was Defence Minister James Hamblin, former Starfleet captain and military analyst most known in defense circles for his accurate assessment of the Alliance's potential in the early 2150s AST; on the left of Duchess Howard was also the Right Honourable Gregory Toomb, MP of Shetford, the Speaker of the House of Commons.
With hands on a PADD device, Minister Pitts began to speak in a loud tone to the crowd below, his "New Cornwall" accent prominent to the crowd.
"Three days ago, the Kingdom of New Anglia received privately a demand from the office of the President of the Federation Council, and the Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet Command, to relinquish the vessels of the Royal Navy to Starfleet possession, and to disband three quarters of the Army, demands concurrent with the resumed demand that New Anglia pay a sum of approximately three hundred billion pounds for 'purposes of recovering lost dues and penalty for defrauding the Federation Council'."
"Again, His Majesty's Government proclaims that it is innocent of the charge of defrauding the Federation Council, and further charges that the Federation Council is using the accounting irregularities of other governments to justify extortion from innocent ones such as our's. Furthermore, His Majesty's Government has already refused all demands on the issue of payment or disarmament."
"Due to Federation actions toward other governments to refuse their unlawful demands, and to the conduct of the ruling party of the Federation and the electorate that has supported it for the past fifty years, it is clear to us that the Federation no longer abides by the spirit or form of the charter agreements that lawfully bind it to the Kingdom of New Anglia or to any other Colonial government. As such, His Majesty's Government has only one course open to it."
"On this day, 21 July 2380 Earth Time, the Parliament of the Kingdom of New Anglia has elected by majority vote to adopt a resolution written by His Majesty's Government, with the full input and support of His Majesty Edward XI, King of New Anglia and Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein, that officially dissolves all political connection with the United Federation of Planets and which asserts the full sovereignty of the Kingdom of New Anglia as a lawful and independent Interstellar State of the Multiverse and furthermore recognizes as independent and sovereign all colony governments that commit the same act of dissolution from the Federation."
A cheer erupted from the crowd, with cries of "God Save the King!" from many voices. Even if the other peoples of the Federation, even the other Colonials, saw such monarchism as silly, why shouldn't they voice their loyalty and devotion to the King who had worked tirelessly to safeguard their rights, to strive for the return of property stolen from them, the King who sheltered innocent Anglians from fradulant terrorism charges that would have resulted in their abduction by the Federation for extradition to Cardassian torturers, the King who remained in the Palace of Saint George as Jem'Hadar and Cardassian ships approached New Anglia and the Federation bureaucrats abandoned the people they had been bilking for decades?
The cheer subsided as Pitts continued. "It is the opinion of His Majesty's Government that with this announcement, the Federation will likely commence military action to subjugate the Anglian people and to depose His Majesty from His throne. In light of this, the Parliament has elected to grant the Government with extraordinary Emergency Powers to aid in the Defence of the Kingdom, and so with this authority I herebly announce that the New Anglian Army and Royal Navy are considered fully activated. All reservists are to report to their mobilization centers and all leaves are hereby canceled. Furthermore, upon a careful study of the requirements for the likely coming war, the Government will adopt further measures regarding the economy, the production and distribution of both war material and ordinary goods necessary for civilian life, and the rationing thereof."
"Before I leave, I would like to read to His Majesty's People a letter written in His Majesty's pen, addressed to you. It is as follows.
To my Beloved People,
It is My Opinion that the days to come will be difficult, perhaps the most trying times for our people in over two hundred years. I furthermore hold that it is a burden that We must bear. These are the times that try the souls of all Good Men and Women, those times when Heaven places upon our shoulders the Heaviest of Burdens so that we might prove ourselves in the eyes of History and to ourselves.
I do not for a moment doubt that you, My Loyal Subjects, are capable of bearing this burden. I place my faith in you and in God that the Kingdom shall come through the times not merely as Survivors but as Conquerers. Traditional British Liberty is at risk. The tyrants of Paris and San Francisco move against us even now, and after numerous Offences against the Kingdom of New Anglia and it's People, We can no longer bide our time but must Act, and Act with Decision befitting Britons. As our ancestors Repulsed the tyrant Napoleon at Trafalgar and Waterloo; as they Repulsed the tyrant Hitler in the skies over Our Earthly Homeland, and Drove his evil Legions from the beaches of Normandy back to the German Homeland; as they Repulsed the Vile Aggressions of the tyrant Khan Singh and his Monstrous Armies at Basra and Bangkok; and as they Overcame the Lies and Delusions of the tyrant Colonel Green and his Madness, so too must we, their Descendants, their Blood, Repulse the tyrants Ovnork, Wilmington, and Milano.
The Honour of all Britons calls upon you, My Subjects, to answer the Call to Arms and to Gird yourselves for Battle. So long as your spirits remain Insurmountable, we will not be brought low and We Shall Not Surrender. We shall fight on the beaches, in the hills, in the cities and towns, in the deserts and forests, and of all the stars above our planets, and we shall never surrender. So long as a single British Heart beats Free, our People cannot be Defeated.
No matter what may come, I shall remain here, in the Palace of Saint George, as my sons and daughters and their children join their commands in the Army and Navy and prepare for battle. If this city falls, if this planet falls, I shall not flee, but will join any left here in facing our fates.
May God Bless Us With Victory
His Majesty Edward XI, King of New Anglia and of its worlds, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sovereign Prince of Leichtenstein
The crowd recommended the cheering, and across the planet, the people of New Anglia answered the call to arms resoundingly.
New Anglia would fight for it's freedom to the last.New Orleans, Earth
United Federation of Planets
1 January 2166 AST
Earth was burning.
For some it was hard to grasp. It seemed like a nightmare, not reality, but the truth was inescapable. Across the globe, much like many other worlds across the Federation Core, the populace was in the streets rioting, looting, protesting, as their response to the day's announcement that rationing had been imposed on the use of replicators for food or goods due to "impending material shortages brought on by the revolts of the colonies".
The ranks of revolting charter colonies was spiking every hour, it seemed. Fully a quarter of them had declared independence, representing about thirty percent of the Federation's industrial potential between them, and a dozen more had not only because Starfleet Security had acted swiftly enough to detain their governments as the Pacifican one had been detained. Three more were under interstellar siege, their navies having fought against Starfleet vessels and the planets in question actively resisting landing Federation forces.
Now the planetary mobs were lashing out. Convinced of their entitlements, enraged at having real limits placed upon them for the first time in decades (even during the Dominion War the "daily credits" were so high that nobody realistically used them all), they lashed out at the most convenient targets. They attacked shops and stores, seeming to present the "business owners" that in the colonies were responsible for this. They attacked government offices sometimes. But most importantly, they attacked anyone clearly identifiable as from a charter colony, even ones that had not yet seceded. Indeed, any outsider was immediately at suspicion of being a "Colonial" and thus risking attacked.
One of the mobs was moving through the city of New Orleans, hunting down a wealthy Pacifican family that had made the unfortunate choice of not leaving before the crisis started, and which had been barred from departure. A husband, wife, and two teenage children, they fled through the streets as fast as their legs could carry them, their home in New Orleans already being ransacked by some members of the mob while others sought to hunt them down, baying for their blood.
Jerry Stanton, the husband, led his wife Samantha and daughters Trudy and Wanda to the one place they thought they could find shelter, at a restaurant they always frequented when in the city. And it was through the doors of the closed Sisko's Bistro that he sought sanctuary.
They were soon met by the man who ran it, the elderly and snappishly tongued Joseph Sisko, father of war hero Rear Admiral Benjamin Sisko, and his grandson Jake. As Jake scrambled through the house, shutting all of the doors, Joseph prompted the family to escape over a wall into a nearby street while he distracted the mob, instructing Jake to follow them to the Planetary Transporter Terminal, run by one of Ben Sisko's former subordinates and a man who could be trusted.
Jake shook his head. "I can't leave you with them, Grandpa Joe. They're going crazy out there!"
"Jake, I'm not going to argue with this on you. Your dad needs you, and these people need you to help them get to the terminal. Now go!"
Seeing the look in his grandfather's eyes, the look that told him that the stubborn old Sisko wouldn't bend, Jake submitted and ran off to join the Stantons, helping Trudy get over the wall into the nearby street before jumping over himself.
Joe Sisko opened the door and was nearly knocked over by the mob. Some he recognized somewhat, others he didn't, all New Orleans natives who spread out and began to move around the restaurant. "Where'd the Colonials go, Sisko?!" one of the male voices demanded, and Joe Sisko thought he recognized it as a part-time patron who sampled his Cajun dishes every month or so.
"There's nobody here but me," Joe replied defiantly. "I''m closing up for the night, so please go."
"I saw them enter here," a female voice screeched. "Lying old man!" The crowd gathering around Joseph grew while their compatriots moved throughout the building, and began to loot it as well.
Two pairs of arms grabbed the elderly man from either side and a host of voices demanded answers. Joseph shouted, "You people should be ashamed of yourselves! Goin' around, destroying things and beating on people because you've been asked to sacrifice a little. Have you fallen so far?!"
"You were always one of them!" a voice cried, and Joseph did recognize this one as a man he knew named Weston, a young wastrel who lasted about three days in the bistro as a waiter before Joseph fired him for being a slouch.
Fist after fist, moving too fast and with the crowd too big for Joseph to identify, began to pummel the old man. Pain filled his ribs and stomach, and soon his face was being bashed in. Joseph's nose broke first, then he lost teeth, and an eye swelled shut, and he generally collapsed as his already ill-health couldn't take the strain of the beating. But it continued on and on, until long after Joseph Sisko breathed his last, thinking of his children and grandchildren to the very end.San Francisco, Earth
Barely an hour after Joseph Sisko's murder, his grandson stepped out of an aircar driven by Chief O'Brien with the panicked Stanton family in tow. The mobs were rampaging through San Francisco too, beating and even killing anyone who stuck them being wealthy, businessmen, or Colonials, as well as holding a violent, vicious protest that was besieging the Alliance Embassy, naturally the target of the mob's impassioned suspicions, though even they lacked the courage to actually attack it given the deadly rifles and weapons in the arms of the Embassy's enlarged Marine guard.
Of course, Jake was never bound for there in the first place, but rather to the Embassy he was most familiar with, a place he could get in easily at. He first looked back to Chief O'Brien, who winked at him. "Good luck, Jake. Hope your grandfather makes it out all right."
"Thanks, Chief, you're a life-saver."
"Just doing my duty," O'Brien replied in false cheer before driving off. Seeing him go, Jake turned to the building in front of them. The power armor-wearing guards opened the massive steel gate protecting the Embassy grounds for Jake, though the Stantons were nervous even as they crossed the threshold of that gate to legal safety and trod upon the beautiful tiled mosaic of a mailed fist, the same mailed fist on the blue flag snapping in the sunset sky of San Francisco and marking the building as the Embassy of the Lyran Commonwealth.
At the door, another pair of guards in power armor emblazoned with the same fist looked to him and, recognizing him, one said, "Mister Sisko, a pleasure to see you again," in a faint German accent. Jake nodded and led the Stantons inside, where he was quickly led to the office of the Charge d'Affairs
. The waiting room was filled with the mementos of it's office occupant and was exquisitely furnished. The secretary there, a somewhat plump blonde woman, smiled at him in recognition and then saw the Stantons. "Who are they?"
"Pacificans. They were staying in New Orleans when the rioting broke out, and a mob attacked them. Grandpa made me bring them here."
"Oh dear. Let me see you in...."
Moments later, Jake and the Stantons were standing in the office of the Lyran Commonwealth's Charge d'Affairs
, Gustav Furst. It, too, was well-furnished, though the desk was covered in papers. Most of the pictures in the room were upon the desk or nearby tables and stands, with the except of the replicated copy of a Titian-esque equestrian portrait of Archon Victor Steiner upon the wall behind Furst's desk, between the two windows looking out at the San Francisco sunset. The portly Tharkad native shook Stanton's hand and gave a gentlemanly kiss on his wife and daughters, as conscious of gentlemanly social mores as any Lyran dignitary, before turning to Jake. "Yes, it's so horrible out there. The Baron is upstairs in his office informing the Archon and his staff on our situation as we speak," Furst lamented. "I will have to speak with the Ambassador, but I certainly don't see why we can't give the Stantons, or you, asylum here, and perhaps even political asylum in the Commonwealth complete with visas."
"That would be good, Mister Furst. Thank you very much."
Jake had scarcely emerged into the embassy's main hall when footsteps echoed from behind and a slightly-accented voice cried out, "Jake!"
He turned in time to see a beautiful young woman with tanned skin - clad in a business blouse and skirt that only made her more attractive to him - run into his waiting arms. Cordelia Muller's blue eyes looked at him, tears in them, before she put her lips to his in a kiss. When it ended, she sobbed, "After I heard on the news. I was so worried...."
"What news?" Jake asked. "I... I haven't heard anything..."
"Oh Jake...." Cordelia began to weep. "Grandpa Joe.... they found him.... the mob, they.... they..."
Jake felt his eyes tear up and knew his grandfather was dead even before his lover managed to get "they killed him" out between her sobs, for between her fears for Jake's safety and her own admiration for Joseph Sisko, she was a complete wreck. Jake held her tightly, trying to fight the tears coming down his face as he thought about how, if only he'd stayed, Grandpa Joe might've lived. If only he had stayed...
Looking up, he saw Jerry Stanton standing nearby, looking exhausted from the day's ordeal. He saw the two of them together and said, "Your Grandpa said you were seeing someone finally."
"Oh, Mister Stanton, this is Cordelia, Cordelia Muller. She's one of the Ambassador's aides here. That's how I met her."
Cordelia waved weakly at him, tears still in her reddened eyes.
"I'm glad to hear it." Stanton wiped at his eye, a tear having been coming down from it. "Listen, Jake.... I'm sorry for your Grandpa Joe. I wish he had gone and I had stayed, just so long as Sammie and the girls were all right."
"He wouldn't have wanted that," Jake said softly. "He... he wouldn't have wanted your family to lose you..."
Stanton nodded at that. "I just... just wanted you to know that we're all sorry, and that if there's anything we can do for you or for your Dad..."
"Escape," Jake said. "Go to the Lyran Commonwealth like they're going to offer you. Grandpa would've wanted you all to be safe."
At that, Stanton nodded and left Jake and Cordelia to grieve.Paris, Earth
The fires were finally dying down, Ovnork could see. He stood in his office and watched as the violence finally subsided. It had taken a disorganized mobilization of the planetary militia, troops from Vulcan, and Starfleet Security detachments from every ship in the system to restore order, but it had finally been done. The casualty estimates were coming in every ten minutes as more bodies found, both of rioters and their victims. In the span of a single, horrible day, Earth had lost it's status as a happy paradise. The future never looked so much in doubt as it did at that moment.
Behind him, an aide came in to report that the rioting had ceased in London. Ovnork, without turning, thanked the man and sent him away, returning to his thoughts as he could still see the flames in the distance, the occasional flashes of phaser fire from the security forces stunning rioters joining them.
It was all coming apart. The AFU had forced Ovnork to overreact to the Pacificans and that had tugged at the string, unraveling everything. He could see the Federation begin to collapse all around him, with every charter colony secession, with every Starfleet ship defection, and now with the cities of Earth and of many planets across the Core burning as his own people turned their back on their vaunted, pacifist "enlightenment" and indulge in rampant violence, beating, looting, and killing in an orgy of madness.
Ovnork felt his soul shudder under the weight of what was happening. And he knew he was damned to sit here and watch it happen until the very end. He would be the last President of the United Federation of Planets, or at least of what it had been, since the Federation under Wilmington and Milano would be more akin to Cardassia or the Dominion than anything, not truly the Federation anymore.
This Federation, which he grew up loving, which he wanted to serve, was dying. His life's work was being trampled down into the dust, along with all hope of the better future, of the Enlightened Society, that Ovnork had felt when he was a young man. All that was left were the ashes of what might have been.
Ovnork looked out at the remnants of his sundered dream and began to weep, for even as the fires that lit up the streets of Paris died, even as the phaser flashes stopped, he knew it was not the end. It was the beginning.
The Federation Civil War had begun.End Prologue