The bridge of the USS Saratoga was as silent as a tomb with everyone concentrating on their duties. The only real sounds came from the faint but constant hum of the life support systems and occasionally from the ship's computers when one of them needed to alert a crew member. Experience earned from the spilled blood of friends and colleagues had taught them all that at any moment Jem'Hadar, Cardassian, or now even Breen raiders could leave carefully camouflaged hiding places and attack. The only thing greater than the tense and demanding nature of wartime duty was the realization that just maybe the tide had turned in favor of the Federation and its allies. No one wanted to make a mistake with the possibility of victory and peace now within sight.
In an attempt to promote diverse views, and to observe the behavior of cadets, Starfleet Academy allowed Professor Anton Stewart to teach a class on possible threats to the Federation. Stewart was in many ways a paranoid throwback to the days when Earth was divided up into competing nation-states all believing in their own unique exceptionalism. He believed that the Federation was far too open and welcoming to alien species and that the borders should be closed with Starfleet being turned into a full-fledged military organization. Thankfully, most cadets ignored his rantings realizing that while his viewpoint ran counter to everything Starfleet and the Federation was dedicated to, suppressing his opinion would only make him a martyr to his few supporters.
“That sounds like some of the crap he tried to pass off when I attended," Douglas said. "No Ensign, our primary job is to seek out new life and new civilizations, I admit being cops and soldiers is part of wearing the uniform. But if we define ourselves under Stewart's parameters we will become no better than the old nations of Earth and they almost killed each other off with their fears. No, Starfleet is something far different and the sooner you learn that the better.”
|LCDR Tallas Bim|