The soft music of the Intergalactic News Network plays as its subspace signal is scattered through the cosmos, the familiar theme music of a rather renowned program invading the viewscreens of its watchers with a contemplating yet engaging song of real life and real people. As the logo fades, the figure of Sera Lane can be seen behind a desk, her eyes lifting up as the camera zooms in to close on her fluent expression.
- "Good Evening and thank you for watching Twenty Four." She begins, her voice the eloquent dance of a fine-spun silk dress. "Just who /is/ really protecting the galaxy in this time of strife? It's a question that up until now the answer seemed as clear as transparent aluminum. Starfleet. The name itself brings with it a history of honor and valor unparalleled by even the most prestigious of organizations encountered throughout the known Galaxy. It is a conglomeration of the best the galaxy has to offer, yet within those ranks there is alarming accusations of betrayal, brutalization, and negligence - and it goes right up to some of the highest levels of the Chain of Command." She leans back in her chair a bit further, the lockes of dark brown hair in front of her eyes quickly swept away by her nimble fingers and tucked behind her right ear.
- "It's disturbing to think that the very people charged with some of the most delicate and important situations within the known Galaxy could be negligent and even referred to as more paranoid that any of the Galactic powers have ever been described." She looks over toward another camera, her position changing as she does so. "With the conglomeration of powers into the Galaxy Alliance we have adopted certain aspects of the varying powers but could it be that these adoptions have not made us stronger but worse than ever before? Let's look at a few of the varying reports we here at twenty-four have come across during our investigations. First we have a Commodore by the name of Tycho Celchu who was charged with a number of crimes yet these charges were never made public and weren't even known by those of even command authority. How can an organization be true to freedom and justice yet not release what could be potentially important information to those that are charged with the Command of vessels, starbases and planets? We tried to contact several Starfleet Officers for comment but were met with little co-operation.
- Captain Enver Nushi, the Commander of the Starbase where Celchu's trial was held and one of the few who were aware of the charges had this to say when questioned: "I think the charges have legal grounding, and if they are to be disproved, it will take some work on the side of the defense to uncover and explain evidence that was previously overlooked or misunderstood." Yet today Celchu is still in the service of Starfleet, demoted to the rank of Captain and in Command of one of the most powerful ships Starfleet has in their arsenal the results of his trial known to no one. What kind of organization runs their justice system in such a fashion? When we contacted Commander Rel, Captain Celchu's first officer, we received this response: "While I have a great deal of respect for the news media, it would not be appropriate for me to discuss internal personnel matters with you unless I am ordered to do so by an authorized party." A fair response though when we tried to contact Captain Celchu to get his side of the story we were confronted with a very familiar response: While I have a great deal of respect for the news media, I'm afraid that it would be inappropriate for myself to discuss the details surrounding the said incident without permission from my Commanding Officer. I would direct you to inquire with Starfleet's Bureau for Public Affairs for more help."
- This kind of cookie cutter response is something we at twenty-four have learned to become accustomed to over our investigation. We had expected more from the Captain. And what would the public have to say if they learned that a powerful Starfleet vessel was stolen out from under them and is still at large somewhere in the Galaxy? What kind of security does the organization actually have?" Sera lifts up the dedication plaque of the USS Valiant. "Through anonymous sources, IGN has gained the actual dedication plaque of the USS Valiant, a defiant class starship. We've run complete analytical tests of the Plaque and have confirmed that it is indeed authentic. DNA tests from skin sources located on the plaque have also confirmed officers that were reported as serving aboard. Despite the Borg War, this is something that just can't be ignored. We're told that the Valiant was destroyed but here is evidence that it wasn't Is this something we feel safe having in the hands of who knows who? And just what is Starfleet going to do about it?
- And lastly we have a report of a rather unusual nature. Several days ago, a light freighter, the CCV Sirrah, was attacked by the SS Avenger in front of Spacedock. The ship uncloaked shortly after Sirrah undocked from Spacedock and was reported to have fired at the ship repeatedly, inflicting damage to all systems. The pilot called for help, and was advised by Spacedock to jump to warp but when he attempted to do so, the Avenger de-cloaked again and disrupted Sirrah's warp field, then opened fire again. In a last attempt to save the ship as its shields were buckling, a cloaking device was engaged to avoid further fire and escape. Immediately, Spacedock ordered Sirrah to de-cloak and dock with the USS Sovereign, the ship that is consequently commanded by Captain Tycho Celchu, for inspection and confiscation of the cloaking device.
- The very fact that Spacedock did not assist a call for help is criminal the fact that they choose to confiscate cloaking devices from one source and not another is equally so. Questions are being raised as to what kind of motive Starfleet has for these paranoid inspections. In a time when a cloaking device could recently mean the difference between avoiding the Borg and being assimilated, this reporter thinks Starfleet should be focusing their efforts on the more important. Just where is the USS Valiant and who has it? And just who is out there commanding the ships charged with our protection? These are questions I have Let's here what you have to say." The camera fades.
* Responses should be sent to 'Twenty-Four' by way of Sera Lane. *