Head to Head with Cassandra Angel

This is Cassandra Angel for the Federation News Network. Tonight on Head to Head we discuss the ongoing situation at the Federation Bio-Medical Conference on Risa. With me today is retired Admiral Estaban Islington, a keen and insightful critic of Starfleet. Thank you for being here tonight, Admiral.

Thank you for having me, Cassandra.

Let us begin with the latest news on the situation on Risa. We learned earlier that Federation scientists had gone missing at the conference and that the USS Nightingale, on scene so its medical and science contingent could attend the conference, was heading the investigation. Now we have reports that even crew from the Nightingale have gone missing. And, most shocking, latest reports just in today have stated that the Nightingale has placed itself in emergency quarantine after an unknown pathogen was introduced to the ship. Do you have any further information on developments, Admiral?

(chuckles) Unfortunately my access to classified intelligence is less than I would like it to be since I retired from Starfleet Intelligence a decade ago, Cassandra. But I do still have contacts inside the current Starfleet Command. They are playing things very close to the vest, of course, but my sources have mentioned that the situation on Risa may be related to events that occurred on Trill a couple years ago that were handled by the USS Nimitz.

Oh? There wasn’t much news on that incident other than that the Nimitz raided a terrorist camp. So these events are related?

I cannot confirm or deny that at this time. But I think both events throw a stark light on the problems inherent in the current Starfleet Command. These are a generation of admirals who came to power without knowing the horrors of war. They and the politicians like to spout off about Starfleet as an organization dedicated to exploration and science. And that is an important part of its mission, to be sure. But after twenty years of peace following the defeat of the Dominion, an era when the Federation’s major enemies were severely diminished, Starfleet has gotten complacent. We nearing the same situation now that we were thirty years ago, with few threats other than some border skirmishes with the Tzenkethi and the Tholians. It wasn’t until the Borg destroyed a third of our fleet at Wolf 359 that we started to take the threats in the galaxy seriously. We are in danger of that same complacency now. We are beginning to forget what it was like when the Dominion occupied Betazed, one of the signature planets of the Federation!

Do you think Starfleet is responding properly to this current crisis? The USS Nightingale has recently had a checkered past. They botched a first contact mission with an alien species. They were pivotal in the events that led to the destruction of the Menope colony, although they were cleared of any wrongdoing in that situation. It has all led to a lot of turnover in their command. And now Starfleet placed an Orion in the center chair, a man who, until only this year, wasn’t even a Federation citizen and who has known ties to the Orion Syndicate. What is Starfleet thinking? How did he even become a Starfleet officer?

With help, I am afraid. (sighs) It is no secret that Starfleet Academy has long allowed non-Federation aliens to matriculate on the mere recommendation of a Starfleet captain. It is a practice I feel needs to be changed for the safety and security of the Federation. Loyalty oaths are no substitute for a good blood and soil tie to the Federation. Can we trust this Captain Tejera? I hope so. Should we? I think it would be better if Starfleet was more circumspect in whom they allow to sit in that most important center seat. I mean, Starfleet has even started allowing reintegrated Borg into sensitive positions. One even now sits on the sensitive border with Cardassia at Langley Station.

That does sound most distressing. Clearly it makes one wonder just what Starfleet Command is thinking. Admiral, any chance you might return to Starfleet.

(laughs) Perhaps if I get bored of retirement. But I am enjoying fishing and my grandchildren. But I admit I do keep my hand in things from time to time. Old habits and all that, and old friends. But perhaps it is time for some of us old dogs who survived the Borg and the Dominion to come back. If only Starfleet Command were not so near-sighted.

Thank you, Admiral. It has been a pleasure talking to you. I am Cassandra Angel, here with retired Admiral Esteban Islington. And this is Head to Head. Up next, an in studio performance by Steampunk Zombies of their mega-hit Hearts Devoured and an interview with the band and lead singer Victoria “VeeVee” Vincent. Please stay tuned after this word from our sponsors.

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