Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: USS Defiant - Ready Room
Timeline: Between "Arrival" and "The Other Shoe"
T'Pem had been present on the bridge, as an observer, when the object made landfall. She'd watched as the people around her scurried to try to save as many people as they could, and she was gratified that they took life to be of more value than Starfleet regulations. Now, however, she felt it imperative to discuss things with the captain.
Walking across the bridge she pressed the chime button and waited. When she was admitted entry she entered, her face a serene mask, and approached the captain's desk. "Captain, may I speak with you a moment?" she asked.
Charlotte looked up from behind her desk. She'd been thankful for the door chime, as it had given her a moment to compose herself before her visitor arrived. She'd retreated to her room for a moment to recalibrate and prepare herself to go back out and face the crew. She'd needed a moment. Only a moment. T'Pem's entry indicated that moment was now over. Time to be Captain again. "I need to get back out there in a moment, but if it's about the situation at hand, I'd appreciate your input."
T'Pem looked closely at the other woman and what she saw in her eyes caused her to do something completely out of character. Reaching out she placed her hand on the other woman's arm, a light, almost imperceptible pressure, but enough to indicate that she understood what she must be going through. "It is, in fact. I wished to make it clear that I am firm in my belief that you were correct in your actions. I would like to offer to place my support behind your reports back to Starfleet. You have broken the Prime Directive, and I would like to help, in any way I can, to mitigate the issues that may cause you," she said.
The gesture of understanding from the Vulcan was incredibly unexpected, but not the least bit unwelcome. "Thank you, T'Pem. Genuinely. I can only begin to imagine what my argument with Starfleet is going to look like. Your support would be most welcome." The Captain gave a mirthless laugh. "It's a little ridiculous to think about in a moment like this. Seeing a tragedy like that, you'd think that any action to save lives would be a good thing, not a potential risk to your career. I get the Prime Directive's importance. I do, but..."
She was fairly sure she didn't need to explain herself to a woman who had already expressed her report, but Charlotte found herself a bit moved in the moment. Rising to her feet, she gestured out the window, at the slight sliver of the planet that was visible from her viewpoint. "The worst part is, I wonder how much our interference even accomplished. The loss of life was bad enough. 12000 dead is never a light thing to witness. But what's worse is that we potentially witnessed the death of an entire culture, an entire race. Our interference possibly saved the latter, we'll likely never know. But the former? We've almost certainly destroyed that in the process. A thousand people suddenly uprooted without any of their tools, houses, belongings, writings...and then whisked off to the far side of the planet. I don't know how any culture comes away from that intact."
T'Pem, generally outspoken, and quick with an answer took a moment to ponder her response. Finally, she looked the woman directly in the eyes, "They do not, Captain," she replied, bluntly.
Walking over to the viewport beside the woman's desk she looked down, and even from space could see the waves of devastation crawling across the surface of the planet below. Closing her eyes a moment to allow the feelings of despair to wash over and through her, she breathed deeply and then turned back to Charlotte.
"If the people you were able to save survive they will do so while simultaneously creating an entirely new culture. Think back to your own species mythologies and I am sure you will see how this situation will impact them," she added, giving Charlotte a knowing look. "An unimaginably devastating event that resulted in the loss of nearly their entire species and some of them were swept away in an instant and placed in safety. Nothing about their lives will ever return to what they knew it was prior to this."
"Every culture needs a good flood story," the captain replied with a half amused shake of her head. "And we should have a few hundred years before they're in any condition to go discover the giant pylons that just landed in their ocean."
"I think that may be a bit of an underestimate, but only time shall tell us," T'Pem replied. "In any case, I shall not take up more of your time, I simply wished to let you know I will be sending reports back to New Vulcan and also to Starfleet Command, at their request. I will expand on my thoughts in relation to your actions, and their necessity."
Charlotte nodded appreciatively. "Thank you again, T'Pem. I suppose it's time I got back out there myself."