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The Price of Freedom, Part One
Introduction/Opening Credits

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment . . . inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose.
--Thomas Jefferson

(The scene shows Starbase 247. It fades to a shot of a docking bay, where the USS Akagi is berthed. Being one of the ships on the front line of the recently ended Dominion War, there are evident parts of the ship that are retrofitted replacements. The scene then fades in on two officers, both are in Command Red: one male, the other female. The female, considerably shorter than the male, is clearly a Captain. The male is a Commander. They are walking down a corridor on the ship and having a discussion. The scene opens on this discussion...)

"Captain, are you completely certain that our arrival was announced to the entire base?" says the taller officer. He is clearly a Vulcan by the pointed ears on his head and the stiff manner in which he walks. "Furthermore, I am not entirely certain that it is a logical choice for us to arrive in regular duty uniforms."

The shorter human woman shakes her head. "My dress whites are already packed. I'm not going to go digging through my bags to find it again. There will be time for such things at the formal reception." Pause. "And yes, Mr. Solvek, the base was informed of our arrival. What makes you think otherwise?"

"I did some investigation into the former Captain's reception and needless to say, it was far from... appropriate." Solvek frowns, "I do not wish to experience such an atrocity for my arrival to a base I intend to finish my career upon."

"Thinking a bit far ahead, aren't we? I thought Vulcans could live to be over 200 years old. You haven't even cracked 60 yet." The woman chuckles, turning down a corridor. The chuckle dies as she nears the airlock, as there is an honor guard of officers standing there. "What's all this?"

Another officer, a man also in Captain's pips, steps forward. "We thought we'd say goodbye, Captain, Commander. You couldn't have expected to just sneak away."

Solvek nods. "I believe the proper term in this situation, Captain, is 'I told you so?'" Not even a remote twitch of his cheeks occur. "Captain Arbor," he starts, "it was my privilege to serve with you. I will remember it always."

The woman shakes her head. "Rubbing it in my face that you're stealing my ship?" The words have no bite to them, and the man smiles.

"Not at all, Gwen. We're going to miss you. Both of you." He looks to Solvek. "It was a pleasure to serve with you as well."

Gwen smiles. "You'd better keep her intact, John, or I'll be very upset. I didn't keep her in one piece all the way through the war to have you blow her up on her first real exploratory mission in two years."

Captain Arbor smiles in reply. "Wouldn't dream of it. I'll just send back gloating messages from the frontier." He extends a hand, which Gwen shakes.

Solvek shakes the man's hand gently. He then turns to his Captain, "When you are ready, Captain Hawkins." His eyes shift forward to the airlock doors, his stance straight and stiff.

Hawkins nods to Solvek. Before she steps forward, she turns back to look at the ship. She says softly, under her breath, "Good-bye." Then she turns and, followed by the Vulcan, makes her way down into the airlock.

(Theme song plays and credits roll.)
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