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Rated: E · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2291152
Episode V: Part III - Returning Gella & Ragel to B'alos
Part III

Stardate: Sept. 16, 2097

Ragel’s unexpected entrance into the ready room took Gella by surprise. She immediately stood, backing away from the small conference table and against the bulkhead. “What’s he doing here?” she demanded.

Foxwell caught the look of genuine startlement flashing across Gella’s face. He turned and glanced at Ragel, his placatory tone and gestures now replaced by a sardonic expression.

Chu’lok stood. “Captain, I must protest this intrusion. There was no warning or advance notice of this B’alosian’s participation in our meeting.” He turned and faced Ragel. “Who are you … and why are you here?”

“You know who I am, Vulcan,” Ragel voiced in an accusatory tone. He paused for a moment before continuing: “However, for the benefit of everyone present, and as I have already explained to the Captain, I am the Chief Administrative Officer on the Board of Political Traitors from the planet B’alos.” He quickly glanced at everyone in the ready room, then pointed at Gella. “You are harboring a fugitive from justice. You are protecting this criminal with the explicit knowledge and approval of your government in collusion with Earth authorities.”

Beta walked next to Gella and turned around, staring at Ragel. “You stated she was tried and convicted of treason. Exactly what treasonous acts has she been charged with committing?”

Ragel revealed Gella was previously arrested and charged with leading a revolt against the ruling order. Gella responded by alleging Ragel’s people are responsible for sowing seeds of hate and destruction, persecuting and arresting her people because of our ideas and beliefs. “They lack empathy and the ability to compromise,” she charged, “to include unrelenting efforts to thwart and dismiss our ideas and beliefs. We are simply attempting to make our voices heard,” she maintained.

Ragel lurched forward, his face contorted with rage. In an angry voice, he yelled out: “If burning, looting, and terrorizing the general populace fits the description of making your voices heard, then you and your people are doing an admiral job ... you traitorous criminal of order and decency."

Foxwell stood and leaned over the table. “Calm down, mister.” He turned and looked at Chu’lok. “What do you know about this?”

The Vulcan diplomat remained seated at the ready room table, craning his head in Foxwell’s direction, his face expressionless. “Vulcan is aware of their long-standing civil war. While we abhor the violence and destruction the conflict has inflicted upon the people of B’alos and their planet, their conundrum has nevertheless been confined to their world. Their hostilities are no threat to Vulcan or neighboring planets; therefore logic dictates it is a matter for the B’alosians to resolve.”

Nonplussed for a moment, Foxwell stood there, not quite sure what to say next. He let out an exasperated sigh. “Then why on Earth and Vulcan are you and Gella here?"

“I have been tasked with ensuring that Gella is returned safely to her planet,” Chu’lok answered.

“You’re telling me that our new mission orders are to return Gella to B’alos?” Foxwell repeated, an incredulous expression appearing.

“That is correct, Captain.”

“How did she get to Vulcan ... and what was the purpose of her visit?”

“The same way Ragel made his appearance on the Stargazer,” Chu’lok replied. “We took her into custody after violating our planetary sovereignty in a vessel which disintegrated after entering our atmosphere. They have the ability to generate a protective force field which is penetrable only by others of their species.”

Foxwell exhaled another disgruntled sigh. “That explains why they were not injured.” He turned and looked at the Vulcan diplomat. “Continue,” he prodded.

“Gella asked for asylum as a political refugee. Her request was refused, and a decision was made to return her to B’alos. She then voiced her concern that the B’alosian Ruling Council would send a political officer to Vulcan to take custody before we could deport her. We decided to return Gella before that party arrived.”

“Captain, I must protest,” Ragel cut in. “This is interference in the internal affairs of my world. I demand …”

Foxwell wheeled around, a stern expression appearing. “You’re in no position to demand anything. You have been granted guest status aboard the Stargazer in spite of your illegal embarkation. Consider yourself lucky I haven’t confined you to the brig.”

Beta exchanged glances with Chu’lok. “What is the ideological nature of their conflict?"

The Vulcan diplomat's piercing eyes swept over Gella and Ragel in response to Beta’s question. “Perhaps it would be better if the two parties from B’alos answered that question,” he proposed.

Foxwell nodded. “I agree … so let’s hear it,” he politely demanded. “And I want no interruptions.” He turned and exchanged a look with Gella. “Make your argument.”

Moving away from Beta, Gella’s golden brown eyes swept over everyone in the conference room, stopping when they rolled over the face of Ragel. Returning a pointed finger at her accuser, she began: “His people seek power over others. They are motivated by wealth accumulation, and prefer conformity, hierarchy, and clear-cut rules for everything. Their goal is domination of society by aristocracy. Their views are incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place on B’alos.”

Foxwell glanced at Ragel. “Your turn.”

Ragel countered by explaining that Gella’s people want to use government to impose their values; "in the process reduce people and issues to crude identity politics … and by hiding radical agenda programs and policies behind an impoverished sense of morality. They have no loyalty, no respect for authority, and no sanctity. When we refuse to acquiesce to their demands, they respond by encouraging and fomenting violence and destruction of property, threats, and acts of terrorism.”

Beta walked toward the conference room table. “This conundrum is exactly what Earth politics devolved into in the latter 20th and the first several decades of the 21st century,” she explained. “It was known as ‘The Ideological Conflict Hypothesis: Intolerance Amongst Liberals and Conservatives.’”

“That is true,” Foxwell cut in. “People moved on, matured ... became wiser. They decided it was in their best interests to be more tolerant. Liberals and conservatives made the mutually beneficial decision intolerance was no longer a viable policy. Society and government transformed and adapted to the point where political parties and partisanship had outlived their usefulness and no longer served productive purposes.”

“Vulcan evolved as well,” Chu’lok continued. “Logic overcame political infighting, and our propensity for violence due to past differences and inequities slowly dissipated. Our planet is governed by the Vulcan High Council, a group of seven non-political civilian officials, each responsible for a different ministry. Elections are held every ten years, with candidates selected logically based on merit.”

Beta glanced at the two B’alosioans. “This explains the blue and red hues regarding the color of their skin, as well as their inflexible and uncompromising liberal and conservative beliefs, respectively, novel traits for each side. It’s reasonable to hypothesize that strictly enforced partisan segregation over centuries somehow resulted in a change in each groups’ genetic structure; resulting in the slow evolvement of blue or red tinted skin. It means the people of B’alos are literally blue or red at birth depending on which group they are born within. Their liberal and conservative personas and behavior develop as they grow into adulthood within their segregated environments.”

Ragel let out a snickering laugh. “Those are all interesting theories and stories,” he began. “And thank you for the history lesson involving your two worlds. I applaud your political and societal progression, but I have every intention of completing my mission, and that is to deliver Gella to the prison authorities and to pursue additional charges for escape."

“You mean to a concentration camp,” Gella ranted in a frightened tone. “I am to be incarcerated as an enemy of the state, without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment. Their ultimate goal is my elimination, and that of my people.”

Foxwell glanced at Beta and sadly shook his head. “It appears your hypothesis is rings true.” He turned and faced the two B’alosians. “Our mission orders do not specify anything other than your safe return … which is why I have decided to return you to your own people,” Foxwell reiterated. “You will be ferried to the planet via our shuttlecraft, accompanied by Beta, Chief Weapons Officer Warwick, and two security officers.”

Chu’lok stood. “And I am available to meet with the B’alosian authorities as an unofficial representative of Earth and Vulcan," the Vulcan diplomat affirmed, "should the condition for such a meeting present itself.”

Ragel gazed at Chu'lok and sneered. "Rest assured your logic and assistance is neither necessary nor welcomed."

"My people will never attend or even suggest such a meeting," Gella emphasized.

“Nevertheless, any interference to return either of you to your planet and to your own people will be regarded as a provocative incident,” Chu’lok cautioned. “You would be wise to consider my warning.”

"I concur,” Foxwell broke in, glancing back and forth between the two B’alosians. “And I don’t want any more trouble now or on the shuttle when we return you home … from either of you.” There was a slight pause before adding: “Have I made myself perfectly clear?”

Gella slowly stepped forward. “Yes, Captain … understood.”

Foxwell turned and locked eyes with Ragel. With a subdued sigh, he muttered, “You have my word, Captain.”

Click to read Episode V Part IV "Star Voyagers: "THE B'ALOSIAN PARADIGM"
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