A Crisis of Confidence

To: CDR Nathes (@Garak234)
From: CitV@subspacemail
Subj: A crisis of confidence

My friend,

I apologize for bothering you. I understand that your work is important, and it leaves you far from myself for important reasons. I need advice from someone who is not myself. Though you and I share a burning fervor in our heart of hearts, there is an understanding that continues to elude me. I have never felt any loyalty to any state or nation as an entity on its own, but I see it everywhere in others. Particularly in the matter that I bring to you. You hold a greater connection to the physical Rihannsu nation-state than I would ever have or seek to have. And I trust you more than anyone else in this galaxy. Thus,

On Deep Space 13 serves an Ensign in the medical department. She is physically a Rihannsu, though she grew up in the Federation and strikes me as more human than anything by her mannerisms and beliefs. Still, she sought to learn more of the Rihannsu and culturally transition in that direction. Though I find cultural adoption and cultural identity to be an antiquated and tribalistic view of the galaxy and our potential, I still sought to help her reconnect with the Rihannsu identity. I cannot explain my reasoning entirely. Perhaps I sympathize with her plight, or I admired her determination. It is clear to me beyond any doubt that she has internalized the goal and seeks to embrace it.

Yet I cannot help but feel that I have made a grave error. Perhaps not one in my overall decision to assist, but I cannot help but feel that I should have been more of a guide than a facilitator.

There is an absurd idea that exists in our galaxy that culture is some sort of designation. That one is either Rihannsu or not. That entails speaking the language, acting in the same mannerisms as the rest of the species, and seeing all others who do not fit the caricature as foreign. I speak not about the Rihannsu in particular but of all petty tribalistic boundaries we insist on drawing between us.

I apologize for digressing from the point. I feel the need to make my point of view clear to avoid any miscommunication. It is clear to me that she is progressing towards cultural adoption of the Rihannsu. Yet I also suspect that there may be ulterior consequences as well. I have made it clear to her that I will assist on the condition that any attempts of defection from the Federation are expressly forbidden. I am not unfamiliar with superpowers seeking to persuade malleable individuals of talent to their side.

This is coupled with the Federation’s failures and the Republic’s potential intrigue. She has been witness to the same things that cause me to distrust others, and to distrust Starfleet as an entity. Wayward renegade captains that hold high office and command respect abusing their authority for their own power trips. Unconcerned with the people around them or the consequences of their actions, they seek only to fulfill their own ego and status. It is exactly that which I devote my own duties to to fight against, having earned Admiral Quint’s trust as an adopter of the newer school of thought and unconcerned with my own power and status. Though try as I may, it seems to be a hydra. With every head cut off, two more sprout. The Ensign has found her faith shaken as a result of their actions. It is not a situation I am unfamiliar with, but I have not found the confidence to approach her about the matter. Or perhaps our situations really are too separate. I am the adjutant of the fleet now, not a junior officer on the Pegasus.

And I suspect the Ensign is being courted by the JSI commanders. Partially due to my actions of believing that exposing her to the JSI would help her understand the Romulan Republic more. But it would be foolish for them to not court her. I see it occur, and it is exactly what I would do if I were in their position.

Secondly, I was hoping she would learn what I have in my own trials. Perhaps I am foolish to see myself in someone else. After all, everyone is a different person with different beliefs, views, and events that have shaped them the way they have. I was too reckless in my willingness to see Ensign Sovum discover who she is and what she believes that I failed to realize an important pitfall: It is one thing to find what you are looking for, and another to be led to it. I think the environment I have placed the Ensign in may lead her to find answers, but perhaps not the right ones. Rather than understanding, she may simply find another obfuscation. Rather than progress, she may only find a facade. Rather than discovery, she may only find a red herring. Rather than identity, all she may have is another mask to wear.

Am I a fool? Is this the ramblings of someone who has lost their senses? Or do you think I have found something, either of myself or what I have to do? Or am I wrong? Did I misread the situation, and am I trying to force something that is not my place to see occur? I cannot help but feel as though I am wandering in a deep fog, and my lantern does nothing but reflect the light into the mist and back unto me. I cannot help but feel that I am acting a fool, and that all is as it ought to be. I dare not speak about this with anyone else lest I betray anything.

Irregardless, how do you fare? Your work is important, and you have always earned respect from me for your care and selflessness towards those who need it. I await the day I meet you in person again.

May we light the flame of progress that the ages themselves cannot extinguish.

Your eternal friend,



To: CitV@subspacemail
From: CDR Nathes
Subj: RE: A Crisis of Confidence


Do not apologize for reaching out. The final struggle is one that is met together. It is not something that is met on your own. Important as my duties are, I do not place them above the welfare of those who strive for a better world.

I am no counselor. But… I plainly see what you are suffering from. So I will share a couple stories with you. You know one, but do not know another.


The first moment happened during the Dominion War. As you recall, in the opening months, I was sent to the Cardassian Front. Without delving into the psychological horrors that I am still recovering from, it was horrid. After my first assignment, I remember waking up on this Federation hospital ship. I was crying uncontrolled. I remember this Starfleet nurse coming over and telling me.

“Sublieutenant, you have to stop crying. Your Men are all over the place.”

Then I remember this big, burly Reman meandered over. I had never seen him be anything but wrathful. But he came over, gripped my hand, and looked this nurse straight in the eye. He then said.

“Nurse, that lieutenant there don’t gotta stop doing anything.”

I loved him after that. Whatever hatreds I held were shattered. He just came over and told me it would be all right.

Then, there was another moment. You do not know this one. I was really hurting. Hobus had just happened. And the Star Empire was demanding we participate in unspeakable acts. I was situated at my desk with my standard issue disruptor in front of me. I gripped the handle of the weapon and pointed the barrel at my neck. But you know what stopped me?

My little Sat’leth starting clawing at the door of my office which lead to my bedroom. She was hungry. I quickly dropped my disruptor and meandered to the door. I opened the door and filled her dish. She saved my life. Just a little pet wanting some food and wanting to snuggle with her mother.


These were dark moments in my life. In each of those moments, I was a mess. Completely lost. Confused. Lacking confidence. It was not some grand revelation that saved me though and helped me find my footing again. It was just a couple of small things. Someone gripping my hand and telling me everything would be okay. And a little pet clawing at the door and wanting attention.

Experiences are wounding. Horrors are wounding. Injustices are wounding. And upon dealing with them, you want to impart a measure of wisdom onto those up and coming. You want those to embrace their being while at the same time ensuring they do not suffer through the barbarity of our system. The problem is, though, is that we do these things when we do not even know where our feet stand.

You are never going to stop feeling this way, Valore. You might be able to temper this sentiment when duty and obligation take precedence. But you are never going to be able to quell lingering doubt and uncertainty. You are never going to be able to fully abide to confidence. But you know what? Maybe that is not the worst thing in the universe.

The only time I have seen total confidence is among tyrants. They always have answers. They always have solutions. They never express doubt. They never take the time to consider their own plights or the plights of those around them. They are devoid of empathy and compassion. What they offer is cold and calculated. It is devoid of what matters.

You call what you write to me a crisis of confidence. But I do not see a crisis. I see acknowledgement of sentiment. You feel lingering doubt about your actions because you have a conscience. People call you devoid of feeling. I have seen and heard plenty. They would call you cold. Distant. But you are anything but.

You are not a fool for wanting to help this ensign. You are not a fool for helping her embrace what she wants to embrace. You ought to continue what you are doing. Share your experiences. Acknowledge her plights. You might help find a path forward. But maybe more importantly, she might help you find your footing.

I will leave you with the words of a human. Woody Guthrie.

“And if the road gets rough and rocky
And if the hills get steep and high
We will sing as we go marching,
And we will win the One Big Union by and by!”

//In Solidarity//