While Starfleet headquarters and the academy in San Francisco and the surrounding area, including the golden gate bridge are being rebuilt following the Breen attack. Starfleet is operating out of temporary headquarters in the American city of Washington DC.
Starfleet chief of operations Fleet-Admiral Veloru also a Bolian is sitting in his temporary office reading war reports, casualty lists and damage estimations of all the personnel and ships lost in the war.
When his assistant Lt. Practahn buzzes to let him know Rear-Admiral Kelvin Hudson his 09:00 am appointment is here waiting to see him.
“Admiral your 9 am is here, should I send him straight in?” Practahn asked.
“Yes send him in,” Veloru answered.
Outside Velorus’ office Kelvin is standing waiting while his assistant a young lieutenant announces him.
“The admiral will see you now” Lt. Practahn said to him.
“Thank you lieutenant” Kelvin says as he walks past his desk and into the office. Inside Veloru is sitting at the big antique wooden desk an historic piece of furniture that originally belonged to a famous military leader of Earths’ past but he can never remember whose it was. Veloru stands up and comes around his desk to greet Kelvin and shake his hand.
“It’s good to see you Kelvin, I trust your journey here was a comfortable one, and I’m sorry not to have given you much notice before sending for you but this is extremely urgent and important.”
“Oh, I’m sorry where are my manners Kelvin but the first thing I meant to do when I saw you was pass along my condolences over the loss of your daughter, I’ve seen Elizabeth several times since the news came through and she is handling it remarkably.”
Kelvin takes a brief moment to compose his self, to think of dear little Liv, only twenty-one years old when she was killed while serving aboard the USS Stargazer at the battle of Cardassia, before replying.
“Thank you Admiral for your thoughts, both Elizabeth and I are trying as best we can to carry on in memory of our little girl and for our other children and my sympathies to you for the loss of your wife.”
“Thank you Kelvin. Well, I know you’ll have been curious as to why I called this meeting and was so secretive about it”
“Let me guess, you finally got sick of my disagreeing with practically every decision you make and are either going to ask for my resignation or you’re really sick of me and are planning to vaporise me.” Hudson answered with a smile on his face trying to lighten the mood of what usually turned into a tense conversation between them.
“Not quite, see the reason I called you here is that I wanted to say to you in person that I’ve come to realise that you were right a lot of the times when you disagreed with me.”
“That I’m sorry for leaving you sidelined during the war, stationing you at Utopia Planitia and putting you in charge of Starship construction was a waste of your abilities and an act of cowardice on my part.”
“I felt sticking you there was a punishment for disagreeing with me, but the more I thought about it the more I realise it was just ego I knew you could be a threat to my leadership and decided to sidetrack you, it was a bad choice and one I regret so I just wanted to offer my sincere apologies”
“The apology is appreciated, but I can’t accept it that easily I mean, although I liked serving at Utopia more than I expected, it was still insulting to be cast aside and ignored just because I disagreed with a few of your decisions”
“I appreciate your honesty Kelvin and you should know that the idea to put you at utopia was Cole’s idea.”
“Still I made the choice to listen to him and follow his recommendation and I hope that what I’m about to tell you and that you’re the first person I’m telling about my decision will go some way to make up for it.”
”See now that the war is finally over I’ve decided to step down as chief of fleet operations and I’m resigning my commission. I know it comes as a bit of a shock, but I’ve thought about it everyday for months now even before the war ended but I knew I couldn’t simply leave until the war was over, and now that it is I’m returning home.”
“I’m not sure what I’ll do once I get there which I guess is one of the perks not knowing what’ll come next not having to answer to anyone for every little decision I make it’ll be a blessing. You see Kelvin the truth is my heart just isn’t in this anymore, so its best that I make way for someone who can rebuild Starfleet restore the morale in our survivors and the desire for exploration, and in my opinion that person is you”
“I thought you’d be surprised”
“Absolutely, although I think surprised may be understating it, stunned is probably closer to what I’m feeling, I’m most definitely surprised seeing as how you and I haven’t always seen eye to eye and for another there’s Admiral Cole I thought he was your golden boy, your personal choice to succeed you.”
“Well, you’re right, you and I have had some major differences of opinion during my tenure but I’ve always respected you, you stand your ground always and aren’t afraid to admit when you are wrong.”
“As for Cole well, I hate to admit it, but you were right about him. You told me he can’t be trusted and I’m shocked that I didn’t see through him from the outset he’s duplicitous and power hungry.
“You know that at the height of the war he was trying to gather support to unseat me, trying to insinuate that I was mentally incapable of doing the job and he doesn’t know that I found out and put a stop to it, so he’s out only he doesn’t know it yet”
“I mean my wife a serving Starfleet Captain had been killed, so yes, I did lose a little enthusiasm for the job, but for someone to use that as a means to try and remove me, left me beyond angry.”
“If ever there was a sign that I’m past my best and need to get out of this job, it’s my failure to see Cole for the weasel he really is when so many others could see it and told me so, and I just defended him, it makes my skin crawl thinking about it really”
“Well, I’m glad you have realised what a bullying, manipulative bastard he really is. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that he won’t be given control of Starfleet.”
“I’m serious when I tell you that I was working to gain the support to stop you handing the reigns over to Cole. So I have to ask where is he now and when will you let him know, and on a personal note can I be in the room when you do.”
“I did know what you were doing and considered letting you get the support and letting Warren think I wanted him to take over an it was taken out of my hands.”
Until I thought about it and knew that I had to make sure he knew who stopped him and why. I’m not usually a vengeful man, but I have a pre-recorded message I’ll send out to him after the changeover is official, as for your questions right now he’s on his way to Cardassia aboard the USS Melbourne.”
“The Melbourne,” Kelvin muttered under his breath.
“Something wrong Kelvin, it’s just you said the name of the Melbourne and then seemed to be somewhere else for a moment.”
“No, it’s just the mention of the Melbourne I know the first officer, Admiral Keane’s son, it got me thinking that I haven’t spoken to him for quite a while and I have a few things I need to talk to him about, anyway you were saying about Cole.”
“Yes, I have him going to Cardassia to oversee the final departure of the last remaining Dominion personnel, from Cardassia space and the Alpha Quadrant altogether."
"He didn’t want to go, but I told him he was only going to be there temporarily to get the ball rolling and that he’s the only one I trust to get it done right and he believed it.”
“I discovered recently that if you play to his ego, he’ll fall over himself to do what you ask, of course, even if I weren’t retiring I’d still leave him to fester with the bloody spoon heads and as for when he finds out hopefully when he sees the changeover covered on the Federation news service.”
“Regarding the message for him, you may not be able to be there in person when he sees it, but I can have my aide give you a copy if you’d like.”
“I think I would like that”
“Excellent you can tell Lt. Practahn on your way out you’d like a copy of file 20,66-DS. For what’s it’s worth you could do a lot worse than keep him on as your aide he’s very good at his job but it’s just a suggestion”
“I’ll think about it, but just so I know what exactly is the time table for the hand over not that I’m trying to get rid of you already and jump into your seat, it’s just I’ll have some business to wrap up at my last post and I want to be prepared.”
“Because I’ve a feeling that when you announce your retirement and then publicly name me your successor all hell’s going to break loose, especially among the brass. Cole isn’t the only Admiral or officer who doesn’t like me and there are gonna be a lot of seriously damaged ego’s wanting to take a shot at me and you as well I imagine.”
“You’re probably right about the brass hats in command throwing a fit at the news, but I’ll be gone pretty soon so I really don’t care about how any of them react as I won’t have to listen to it.”
“All that posturing and the smug self satisfaction in their voices the moment they get even the slightest trace of a good idea fall out of their oversized heads.”
“You’ll have to bear it for a while, at least until you can start cleaning house, but that should be a relatively small price to pay for what you’re getting in return.”
“As far as your last post goes, I’d already decided if I was staying I’d move you out of there and into somewhere more important you are too valuable an officer to leave there, so your assistant should now be getting the call to clear out your office. Right now, though you and I have an appointment with a group of FNS reporters in fifteen minutes to go live with the announcements”
“Right now you mean we’re doing this right now the announcement and the handover”
“Yes, there’s no point in stretching this out any longer and I’m eager to get home and try and find some sort of relative peace so there’s no time like the present”
“I don’t mean to ruin your plans, but I think it might be best to save the announcement of the changeover until after the memorial service later today”
“Yes, you’re right, I’d completely forgotten that the service is today I was so wrapped up in getting everything finalised and getting out of here, how could I be so insensitive.”
“Another clue if you were looking for them, that I’m no longer up to the job so yes, we’ll make the announcement tomorrow morning at 08hundred, in the meantime, I’m sure that I can trust you to keep this to yourself I’ll come up with something to tell the news people I’d called.”
“Yeah, ok why don’t you announce that today will be the first of a permanent annual memorial day to honour those lost during the war, I think that would be a good last official act and a legacy for you to leave behind.”
“That’s a great idea Kelvin thank you it would’ve been nice to leave behind a positive legacy some kind of change to Starfleet that would have improved the lives all species who serve.”
“However, my tenure as the chief of Starfleet will be remembered for two things, first taking over from a man who tried to overthrow a Federation President, because I was one of the few not tainted by him.”
“Second, being in command during the bloodiest war in Starfleet history, and making a complete mess of it. Honestly the sooner I get out of this job and someone more competent takes charge the better it will be for every single officer that you all put my reign behind you.”
“You really are overestimating how badly you handled the war.”
“You do think I mishandled the war, I mean not that I’m surprised to hear you say that, after you criticised practically every tactical decision I announced.”
“I didn’t mean to, that is I didn’t lay the blame entirely at your door every time but yes, I think bad decisions were made, decisions that made the war drag on longer than it should have done.
“However, I think it was more that you listened to bad advice form bad officers underneath you and you let them colour your judgement and the choices you made.”
“You did have the final say on those choices and I can’t even now just absolve you of criticism even if it means you reversing your choice to name me as your successor.”
“Don’t Worry Kelvin I have no intention of changing my mind, I would do if you changed your mind now and attempted to take back any of the critical comments you made about me and my leadership of Starfleet.”
“Like I said we may rarely have agreed but I always respected you so the job is yours as of right now unofficially and officially as of 08:01 hours Earth Standard Time tomorrow morning.
“Now though I suggest you return to your office and start planning on the appointments and promotions you want to make.”
“Very well Admiral goodbye and thank you”
Kelvin gets up and walks out of the room leaves the offices and heads for the shuttle pod that will take him back to the temporary quarters he’s staying in.