The Final Flight of the Champlain

From Star Trek : Freedom's Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The next program contains images of war which some viewers may find distressing. Stay tuned to the Federation News Network channel afterwards for an up-to-date report on the reconstruction programme.

Stardate: 2407.07.10

EXT – USS Champlain

The modified Galaxy class vessel hangs suspended against a dusting of stars. Slowly the camera sweeps around her hull, a beautiful unbroken steadicam shot that is trademark Davok. The sheer bulk of this vessel, not often appreciated even by her crew, is apparent, from the tapered elegance of her saucer, to the ungainly vestigial warp nacelle she carries on her back like a mother turtle. In space.

HAL STANZA (VO): The USS Champlain. Three months ago, an explorer under the authority of Starfleet's so-called seditionist 52nd fleet. Yesterday, a fully-fanged ship of the line poised to form the tip of the spear that would breach the Mars Defence Perimeter. Today – merely a memory, along with dozens of her kind, and many of the brave souls that served aboard them. Gone, but not forgotten, a heroic footnote to the fleet action that may prove to be a turning point of Federation history. This... is their story.


INT – Ship's corridor, outside Ten Forward

STANZA stands in the foreground, as he delivers his trademark narration, poker-face in place. Behind him, the usual bustle of shipboard activity, officers coming and going. Some notice the camera, most studiously avoid it.

STANZA: Six months ago, war came home for Federation citizens, something nobody thought would ever happen again. The Federation has torn itself apart, planetary bombardments have brought untold devastation to worlds across the galaxy, and Starfleet's very name is mud. But that, say the crew of this battleship, is all about to change.


INT – Federation Council chamber

The grandiose central chamber of the Federation's legislature is austere and simple, for all its size, dominated by sleek, angular silver-grey surfaces. At the head of the room, Rodrigo Doenitz holds forth behind a podium, animated and intense. His speech is muted beneath Stanza's voice-over.

STANZA (VO): President Doenitz calls them terrorists, traitors, pretenders to the Federation executive, and a cancer on the soul of Starfleet. According to his regime, they are the very reason for the current miserable state of our society, floundering under martial law and riven with strife these past months, setting back centuries of political progress. The 52nd fleet, meanwhile, insist that's all a lie, and they are the hot needle that will lance the boil of corruption and restore the Federation to its former glory. But for the people of the Federation, it's difficult to know just what to believe.


INT – USS Champlain, Captain's Ready Room

CAPTION: Captain Susan Rivers, Commanding Officer.

A sharp-featured woman, brown-haired and serious, fills the screen. The camera makes a focal point of her pips of rank, underscoring her authority, which oozes from her words. Her eyes blaze as she speaks.

RIVERS: History will be a better judge than you or I. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that you can always find clear space between our two positions. War - and particularly civil war - is a nasty, brutal business. No side can ever say they alone stand in the light and do no wrong. There's honour and dishonour on both sides. But - and this is a big but - we are fighting for freedom, as anachronistic as that sounds. Not just for ourselves but for the Federation. And I daresay there are those who disagree. The difference between us and Doenitz is they are free to do so here. Under Doenitz disagreement is a death sentence.

EXT – Mars Defence Perimeter

Stock footage of the MDP filmed from extreme range. It has been used in countless news reports. A defence platform looms large, specks of shadow belonging to patrol ships passing across its surface.

STANZA (VO): For the Champlain and her sister vessels of the 52nd then, it's destination: Earth. But before the Federation capital can be recaptured, they must contend with the Mars Defence Perimeter. It's been breached before, but it took a Borg flotilla to do it. This time, the odds are not in the attackers' favour. But even in the face of that, they remain sanguine.

INT – USS Champlain, Observation Lounge

A handsome man of clear Mediterranean origin stares into the camera, speaking impassively. He is framed against the majestic vista of space glimpsed through the large windows.

CAPTION: Lt Cdr Ahmed Ibn Salid, First Officer

SALID: It's true that most of the simulations have been less than shining, but there have been a few that show promise. It is in that vein that we are undertaking this action. Additionally other military actions will be taking place at various other key locations in the quadrant to tie down any possible reinforcements that Doenitz may have had access to previously. I'd say that while everything is not as assured as I may like, there is an acceptable chance of success for the risk involved. If there was not. We wouldn't be undertaking such a risky maneuver.


INT – USS Champlain, Captain's Ready Room, as above

RIVERS: In any battle, one's chances of survival depend on a number of factors. In something as big as this... I wouldn't put money on anyone I know in the fleet, and especially not on this ship, coming out alive.

The camera lingers on her face as she stares at her unseen interrogator, punctuating the powerful statement.

STANZA (VO): And barely a week later, we discovered for ourselves just how prophetic those words had been.


INT – Deck 10, outside Sickbay.

All is flickering lights and chaos. Red Alert sirens are blaring, the camera is shaking crazily in spite of Davok's formidable efforts. Stanza is standing, bedraggled and looking the worse for wear.

STANZA (shouting): It's been at least three hours now since we started our attack run on the MDP, and let me tell you, it's been the longest three hours of my life. As you can -

He is interrupted by a large booming that echoes through the structure, followed by the creak of straining bulkheads. The picture tilts crazily and Stanza struggles to keep his balance. A moment later, his composure returns.

STANZA: As you can see, it's chaos here. Sickbay is out of action, we know that much for sure. There have already been casualties, some of them bridge personnel, but the worst may be yet to come. There are plasma fires and hull breaches across the ship, but nobody can tell us the status of the mi-

His words are again swallowed by a huge boom and this time the picture goes fuzzy as the camera bounces violently. It comes to rest on the face of a Vulcan, apparently unconscious.

STANZA (off-camera): Dave?! Oh god! Can you hea-

Stanza's voice is drowned again by the sudden exclamation from the PA system.

RIVERS (VO): All hands, this is the Captain speaking. Abandon ship! All hands, abandon ship! This is an order. I say again, abandon ship!

The camera moves and Stanza manages to get the lens pointed at his face. He seems to be trying to switch the machine off. A gash has opened up on his soot-smudged forehead, trickling blood over his features. He is frowning, attempting to get orientated, babbling senselessly.

STANZA (off-camera): Oh god. Oh my god. Oh my fu-


INT – Escape Pod

The pod is cramped with bodies. A sussurration of chatter fills the air, over the small sounds of sobs and the pained cries of the wounded. Stanza sits against a viewport showing the Champlain against the starry backdrop. Her hull is scorched and battered, the third nacelle utterly gone, drive plasma venting from the wound. It is ugly. The other occupants of the pod are shooting Stanza ugly glances, but he is oblivious, caught in a news-trance unlike anything he has experienced before. Phaser fire lights the pod's interior every now and then, and once or twice the coruscating glow of a photon torpedo glitters.

STANZA (whispering): We're outside the ship now, inside an escape pod. I don't know what just happened but it looks like the Champlain has lost a nacelle. I'm not an expert, but I believe that's catastrophic. We were lucky enough to get out in time, but I don't know how many are still left aboard. We spotted some of the enemy ships actually opening fire on escape pods. Incredible. It's surely just a matter of time now befHOLY <bleep>.

Before the screen whites out, there is the briefest glimpse of the Champlain's outline tearing itself to shreds. The pod erupts in screams and cries of disbelief. The picture flickers, static fogging the screen as the blast's radiation reaches the camera's sensitive imaging hardware. Then, abruptly, the picture goes black. It stays that way for two seconds.



LAUNCHED 2407.03.02

DESTROYED 2407.07.09




INT – USS Hypatia, Shuttle Bay

The shuttle bay is crowded with refugees and escape craft. Stanza's face is framed in the shot closer than usual. He has clearly tried his best to clean himself up, but his features remain smudged and a brown smear of dried blood mats the sideburn on his left cheek. His eyes are bright and he is talking a shade too fast.

STANZA: It's now approximately 2130 Federation Standard Time, and we're just getting word that the fleet action is over, and it's victory for the 52nd. We're waiting for confirmation that Doenitz has officially offered his surrender, but we're reasonably certain that the worst is behind us. Only time will tell now what lies in store for the Federation in this post-war epoch. Victory hasn't come without a price though. The Champlain is lost with dozens, possibly hundreds of hands on board, along with unconfirmed numbers of other 52nd vessels. A costly offensive, then, but one that will surely enter the annals of Starfleet history.

INT – USS Hypatia, Transporter Room

The room is as crowded as the cargo bay. The atmosphere seems strange, a volatile mix of relief, joy and sorrow. Animated chatter mingles with the sound of muted crying.

STANZA (VO): Costly indeed. It will be weeks before the true toll can be tallied, but even as we try to make the best of it aboard this vessel, the USS Hypatia, there's a sense that the losses were not in vain, that our comrades died as heroes.

EXT – Budapest, Hungary A tumbled ruin of scorched rubble fills the screen, cracked plasticrete shot through with tortured rebar, still smoking days after the bombardment that levelled the city. It is an all too familiar glimpse of devastation on a massive scale. Mercifully, there are no body parts visible, but the occasional patch of dried blood points up the real carnage of the scene.

STANZA (VO): For the citizens of Earth though, along with those of Tellar Prime, Betazed and Andoria, who finally claimed the victory will perhaps matter little. It will take time for the wounds of this senseless and bloody conflict to heal. Something the survivors of the conflict know all too well.


INT – USS Champlain, Captain's Ready Room

RIVERS: I could sit here and talk platitudes about not making omelettes without breaking eggs but I'm not going to. It's about people dying - innocents along with the guilty. None of us have hands untainted by blood. And I, for one, expect to be held to account for my part in it and will do so willingly.

What I've done - what all of us have done - will stay with me the rest of my life. What enables me to sleep at night is the knowledge that if I had not taken those actions then things would be far, far worse and thousands, possibly millions, more lives would have been lost. Whether those actions were 'right' in some wonderful, blame free, holier-than-thou sense is not for me to judge.


INT – USS Champlain, Observation Lounge

SALID: My ideology doesn't have anything to do with this situation. It's the heart of who I am that is driving me to do this. We could all give up. We could stop fighting and we could disappear somewhere. But every man and woman in this fleet has sacrificed everything that they held dear to do the only thing that they could do to put an end to these atrocities. They left behind their families and friends under the rule of a dictator, knowing full well that Doenitz would have no qualms about killing them in retaliation. They gave up their homeworld. They did it to do the right thing.


EXT – Federation Council Chamber, San Francisco

A swooping shot of a squat building, rounded and looming, dominates the horizon, the familiar outline of the Federation legislature. Across the large apron of concrete before it, beings swarm about their business.

STANZA (VO): So, then, begins the tiring business of rebuilding. Not only rebuilding the homes and lives of those left bereaved and destitute by this incomparably difficult time; not only rebuilding the ideals and philosophies that allowed the Federation to flourish in relative peace for so long; but also rebuilding the trust that we once had in ourselves and in Starfleet to be the vanguard of that trust as we extend the hand of peaceful advancement to all in the galaxy that will take it. And for the crew of the Champlain too, it is a time for reflection and high emotions in the wake of her destruction.


INT – USS Hypatia, Sickbay

The face of chief medical officer Jennifer Caskie, expression hard and cynical, glares off-screen.

CAPTION: Dr Jennifer 'Josh' Caskie, Chief Medical Officer

CASKIE: I am not a 'ship as a person'. Person. I am far more interested in the people on the ship so its destruction simply equates to me the number of people who died there. Far, far too many.


INT – USS Hypatia, Arboretum

The striking plumage of Lt Dralar makes for an arresting image.

CAPTION: Lt Dralar, Flight Operations Officer

DRALAR: She was a marvelous ship. Her captain is a true warrior who understand sacrifice and duty. I am honored to have served as her helmsman.


INT – USS Hypatia, Ten Forward

The brows of Counsellor Rhinehart are knitted deeply, as he considers his words carefully, clearly unnerved by the prospect of galaxy-wide broadcast.

CAPTION: Lt Olen Rhinehart, Chief Counsellor

RHINEHART: I think... I think we as a whole have a great deal of philosophical rethinking ahead of us. This... this conflict must become a stain, a badge of shame in our history, if we are ever to prove ourselves worthy of the ideals we claim for ourselves. If nothing else, it's proven what liars we can be.


INT – USS Hypatia, Arboretum

DRALAR: Victory is a bitter thing. There is first elation then sadness when the costs are tallied. There will be those that say, never again' but you will see that there will be another war when the horrors of this one are forgotten. I am pleased for the victory and have hope that the federation may regain it's strength. The honour of Star Fleet will take longer to rebuild than the cities.


INT – USS Hypatia, Sickbay

CASKIE: I sat in a totally destroyed Sickbay waiting for one of my nurses to die because I could not rescue her from under a pile of rubble and ceiling beams. I sat with her until she finally died, in my arms, because the one thing I would not do was walk away and leave her to die alone in the dark.


INT – USS Hypatia, Ten Forward

The friendly faces of Durnik and Ari beam amiably into the camera, clearly the worse for wear.

CAPTION: Durnik, Marine

DURNIK: 'Sgood. Lost some good mates though. Ol' Crabs Macaulay didn't make it. Nor Heckler Djinn. And what's his name. The one with a face like a targ's <beep>.

CAPTION: Ari, Marine

ARI: Targ-face.

DURNIK: Yeah, Targ-face. Good man in a fight, Targ-face.


USS Hypatia, Arboretum

STANZA (off-camera): What's next for you?

DRALAR: I will return for a while to Skorria and tend to my District, then I shall return and shall continue my service to Starfleet and my Captain. I have plans to construct a Starfleet Preparatory Academy on Skorria so that others of my people may see the nobility of the Federation Alliance for themselves.


INT – USS Hypatia, Sickbay

CASKIE: If I am allowed, I will go back home and try to find my son and my family. I imagine that will be the same for most of the crew.


INT – USS Hypatia, Ten Forward

DURNIK: Dunno. Prolly got some eksher...eksher....exercises tomorrow. Should get some sleep soon I 'spose.

Ari smiles beatifically, and then slowly slides off his barstool to lie on the floor. A snore drifts up, followed by an even less genteel sound.


INT – USS Champlain, Captain's Ready Room

RIVERS: I believe I'm in the right place, fighting for what I believe to the the right cause. I'm not in favour of tyranny and oppression, Mr Stanza. I believe it is my duty to fight it, to protect the ideals I hold dear.

We didn't sign up to stay alive. We signed up to protect the Federation. And we're doing that the best way we can. Even if it means we give our lives for it.


EXT – Earth

Viewed from orbit, the blue-green orb seems as peaceful as it ever was, an anachronistic image to end the film.

STANZA (VO): And so, life continues. Let us never forget the blood price that has been paid for our privilege to enjoy it. This is Hal Stanza, for FNN.

(USS Hypatia – Temporary Quarters – FNN – Correspondent Hal Stanza - 0342)

Stanza sat back, a grin on his face as he hit the 'Stop' button on his voice recorded. A yawn crept up on him and he stretched as he loosed it, gazing around the cramped quarters he was sharing with Davok, and the impromptu editing suite they had crammed into one corner. He caught sight of the Vulcan's impassive gaze at his exuberant gesture and cracked up.

“Oh man,” he said. “Wait till they get a load of this.”

(Reply Davok, any iyw) (Posted by Hanspeter Bosshard)

This article relates to the Federation Civil War