The Time of Trial (USS Pandora Mission)
|"The Time of Trial"|
Deep Space 4
Demotion of Iluvar to Captain
|[ Source ]|
There are some people who will do anything it takes to further their own careers, even if it is at the expense of someone else. When Rear Admiral Iluvar receives orders to appear before a Board of Inquiry, the USS Pandora must divert to Deep Space 4, where the proceedings are to be held. Word of the investigation has already begun to spread amongst the Pandora’s crew by the time the Board of Inquiry is officially convened. When a simple investigation becomes a personal vendetta, will one man be able to weather the storm?
An official Board of Inquiry was convened aboard Deep Space Four on the 28 May 2386 at the petition of prosecutor Captain Arnold Mercer and under the authority of presiding officer Admiral Bullock. Captain Mercer announced to all present he fully intended to prove there was more to Rear Admiral Iluvar than met the eye and that perhaps the admiral was not as innocent as people had come to believe. In response, Captain Joseph Wells argued the defense only wished to reinforce what people already knew to be fact...that Rear Admiral Iluvar was a dedicated Starfleet officer.
Proceedings for the Board of Inquiry began with the questioning of Commander Christopher McNeil by Captain Mercer. The prosecution sought to establish instances in which McNeil ever found himself questioning the admiral's command decisions. This eventually led to a brief discussion of the incident in which the USS Tethys crossed over into the Mirror Universe as well as the more recent incident in which the USS Pandora had diverted from her rendezvous with a representative of the Romulan Star Empire. When the floor was turned over to Captain Wells for questioning on behalf of the defense, McNeil's responses established that Iluvar was "far more concerned with the well-being of his crew and doing what he [believed] to be right than advancing his career." The commander further explained that he believed Rear Admiral Iluvar had acted in accordance with Starfleet regulations during the incident with the Mirror Universe. Satisfied, Captain Wells allowed the witness to step down.
Witness testimony continued with the questioning of Captain Jorian Dao by deputy defense counsel Lieutenant Aerus. Through is questioning, the lieutenant sought to establish a continuity of behaviour by making connections to people who had known the admiral during his early Starfleet career in the Briar Patch. The testimony of Captain Dao enabled the defense to paint a picture of an enthusiastic young officer who, despite the losses he had experienced, had grown over the years to become a seasoned officer capable sound command decisions. Commander Harking of the prosecution soon took over the questioning and immediately turned focus to the incident involving the USS Valar. She pushed the captain's testimony toward the fact then-Lieutenant JG Iluvar had been unsatisfied with the inquiry board's ruling and had taken it upon himself to launch his own investigation, an investigation which two years prior to the current board of inquiry had yielded results that "conveniently" affirmed Iluvar's argument of how the Valar had been destroyed. It was at this point she concluded her questioning and allowed Captain Dao to step down.
Lieutenant Aerus took to the floor once again, calling Admiral Alynna Necheyev to the stand, and proceeding along a line of questioning to establish the same continuity of behavior from the admiral's testimony. Taking into consideration what had just occurred during Commander Harking's cross-examination of Captain Dao, Aerus began focusing in on the fact Necheyev had been the one to grant Iluvar permission to take his leave on the surface of Ba'ku and the motivations behind her decision to do so. He concluded his questioning with the admiral's confirmation she had been confident in Iluvar's ability to return to duty. When Commander Harking again took the lead on the prosecution's questioning of the witness, she focused on Iluvar's extensive knowledge of the Briar Patch and questioned why such a dedicated officer would not have shared all the information he had available to him with his superiors. She presented evidence from the an engagement that took place during negotiations with the Tzenkethi that centered around two alien vessels that were unknown to any in the room except for Iluvar in support of this argument. It was at this point that Captain Wells interjected with an objection which brought an end to the questioning and allowed Admiral Necheyev to step down.
At his own request and against the better judgment of Captain Wells, Commander Earlond was called to the stand to provide testimony on Iluvar's behalf. The commander's testimony focused on how Iluvar kept to Starfleet procedure and how the admiral had been the one to keep Earlond in line on more than one occasion. Earlond testified that he saw Iluvar as a strong commanding officer who was capable of making sound command decisions. No sooner had Captain Wells turned away, however, than Captain Mercer took over questioning of the witness. He immediately began pushing the questioning further into the actions taken by Earlond which had required Iluvar to "keep him in line". After several minutes of verbal jousting between Mercer and Earlond, Captain Wells requested a brief recess which was granted by the inquiry board.
During the recess, Rear Admiral Iluvar and Commander Earlond had a brief, frank conversation about the latter's decision to testify before the board. Little was said between the two and, by the time it was over, there was no question in either man's mind as to what would happen when the board reconvened.
The inquiry reconvened promptly following the short recess and Commander Earlond returned to the witness stand where he was once again questioned by Captain Mercer. Questioning proceeded from where it had left off prior to the recess and eventually came to the recent incident of the undercover operation that Commander Earlond had authorized. While admitting his own involvement and accepting full responsibility, Earlond vehemently denied that Iluvar had been involved in any manner aside from being the one who ordered Earlond’s being confined to quarters as a consequence of his actions. Captain Mercer then abruptly shifted his focus to what he perceived as Iluvar’s preferential treatment toward the Pandora's EMH, the Peter hologram, and Aris. He questioned whether the commander felt that Iluvar was acting in accordance with Starfleet procedure in each case or whether he was allowing his personal feelings to influence his judgment, to which Earlond replied confidently that he felt Iluvar had acted in the best interests of all involved.
Once Commander Earlond was finally allowed to step down, Rear Admiral Iluvar took to the stand on his own behalf. Captain Wells began his questioning of the admiral with a focus on Iluvar's rapid promotion over the past three years, which took him from the rank of Commander to that of Rear Admiral. In each instance, the common thread seemed to be Iluvar's "performance as a commanding officer and, later, task force commanding officer”. Captain Wells focused in particular on the infamous events of the Battle of Altorus in which Rear Admiral Iluvar and the USS Tethys took a leading role. Almost as soon as Captain Wells concluded his questioning of the admiral, Captain Mercer took his line of questioning back to the incident involving the USS Valar. He challenged Iluvar’s interpretation of events by citing the official records and findings of the Starfleet inquiry into the matter. Mercer further questioned Iluvar’s decision to take a leave of absence and live amongst the Ba’ku rather than face counseling sessions as recommended by the inquiry at the time. Before Iluvar could respond to that point, Captain Mercer abruptly shifted topics to address Iluvar’s decision to assume custody of Aris. Despite Iluvar’s strong responses to each of the prosecution’s questions, the damage done simply by the possibilities raised was enough for Captain Mercer to confidently bring an end to the questioning and allow the admiral to step down from the stand.
Two days after the testimony of Rear Admiral Iluvar, the Board reconvened to issue its final ruling on the matter and hand down appropriate sentence. Admiral Gareth Bullock spoke on behalf of the inquiry board as he outlined their views of the testimony and evidence they had seen over the past few days. It was the final decision of the board that Iluvar be stripped of his position as Task Force Commanding Officer and reduced in rank to Captain. As a consequence of his new rank, Captain Iluvar was allowed to retain command of the USS Pandora.
- The idea for a formal inquiry into the career and command decisions of Rear Admiral Iluvar was based on scenes from "The Drumhead" (TNG) and an expressed desire to learn more about the admiral's mysterious past.
- This mission marks the second in-game reference to major events of Iluvar's Starfleet career prior to his assuming command of the USS Tethys and the first attempt to cast light on the continuity of his life thus far.
- The events of this mission were resolved by a formal investigation by Vice Admiral Andrew Hawkins which restored both Iluvar's former rank and position as Task Force Commanding Officer nearly a year following the inquiry itself.