The Offer of a Lifeline by Captain Lindsey Craig Faces filled her line of sight, all looking at her, expecting something from her. She'd said her piece, they'd heard it all before, and yet they still sat there and looked on, indifferent. Lindsey was beyond frustrated with these people. She knew she was right, why couldn't they see it? What in hell was wrong with them? "This cannot be allowed to continue. With all due respect, the actions of the Federation over the last few years have been beyond dispicable." She ran a hand through her short blonde hair and her soft brown eyes shifted from face to disinterested face. "We are guilty of crimes that even the Romulans would be ashamed of." "You have yet to provide us with conclusive proof of what you are saying, Commander." The voice rang from the back of the meeting room, from a squat, ugly little Andorian. "I have presented the evidence, what more proof can I give?" "It is all circumstantial. Your word against those whom you are accusing. Provide us with solid facts, Commander, not trifles that should never have seen the light of day." "Trifles? We distroyed the whole damn settlement! Our weapons' signatures, our engine trails in the atmosphere, there were even standard issue Starfleet handheld phasers scattered around the place." "But no witnesses." "That's because we killed them all!" Her temper was beginning to get the better of her and her voice was rising. She tried to calm down but all she wanted to do was ram this stuff down their beaurocratic throats. John had warned her about this, but she hadn't listened. Now she was beginning to understand. She'd been here a dozen times, each time with more evidence and each time they'd thrown it back at her, telling her it was circumstantial, there wasn't enough of it, there were no eyes witnesses. Finally her fuse ignited and she blew. "They're all dead!" The little blue man glanced up at her again and gave her a thin lipped smile. "If you cannot keep your temper, Commander, you will be asked to leave and there will be an official reprimand on your long term record. Do you understand me?" "Yessir." Lindsey slumped a little, knowing what was coming next. "There is not enough evidence. We asked for you to provide us with conclusive proof, you have not done this. We will not hear this complaint again. Do not bring it before us, do you understand?" "Yessir." Turning slightly, she saluted the Chair and made to leave. "You have not been dismissed, Commander, there is one more thing we wish to discuss with you." Looking back at him, she simply nodded and returned to her position before the Council. "It has been brought to our attention that you have had a colourful and decorated career." Catching her eyes, his smile was genuine for the first time. "We would like you to consider a new assignment. A new wave of exploration in the Gamma Quadrant has been proposed and your name was put forward to lead it. You will be promoted to Captain and given command of your own vessel. A, er..." he glanced at his secretary, who handed him a PADD. "Ah yes, an Akira class. It is a new ship, never been manned and you will be her first captain." Seeing the look of shock on her face, he added, "You will, of course, be given time to think this over. Dismissed."