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Cmdr Blake, "Background."

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A great sim by @Blake setting up some philosophical questions/debate to come...
Further Reading on the Wiki: Donova IV, Cobalt ClanSokarn zh'Kuujn

The peace and quiet of the otherwise empty walkway was disturbed by the ship's First Officer jogging to catch up with the head of the Starfleet Rangers division of the Shoals.

Blake: Caide!

The Trill stopped in the middle of the hallway to wait for her, the flaps of her unzipped uniform vest limp at her sides. Lieutenant Rairen Caide nodded his head in (unexpected) greeting. The corners of his mouth crinkled upward.

Caide: Commander. Aren't you supposed to be on Donova with the rest of the senior staff?

Blake: I got called back to help Zhou with something -- Ukinix has got it. But that's actually what I wanted to talk to you about.

Caide: Commander Ukinix?

She squinted at him, brow pinched in confusion.

Blake: Ukinix--? oh. Oh! No. No, not Ukinix. Um... no, no I recognise one of the organisers' names. Do you know anything about Sokarn zh'Kuujn?

Caide: I know a lot about zh'Kuujn. She is the head of the Cobalt Clan.

The Veritas XO blinked, wires in her brain shorting at the information. She rose a hand, finger accenting the words.

Blake: Sokarn zh'Kuujn is...

Caide:::gradually nodding with her:: ...head of the Cobalt Clan, yes.

Silence permeated the space between them, Blake's head moving to glance away. Confusion riddled the space around her eyes, and she gaped at Caide. Her hand snaked into her hair, gripping at it as she rested the other on her hip.

Blake: The Cobalt Clan are... criminals?

The definition gave Caide paused, tasting the word in his mouth before he commented.

Caide: Technically speaking, yes. They engage in what the Federation at large may deem to be criminal activities.

Blake: Caide, we're actively working with the leader of a criminal organisation! We have the opportunity to arrest her.

Caide: ...in theory.

Blake: In theory-- wh- ::she growls.:: That's not the answer I expected from you.

Caide: What did you expect me to say?

Blake: I expected you to say "yes Blake, go get the cuffs, I'll meet you on the surface so we can get zh'Kuujn".

Caide: And what would doing that prove?

Blake continued to gape at him, trying to find some hint in his deep brown eyes that maybe he was saying all this in jest.

He wasn't. Caide's thick eyebrows were pulled together expectantly, dimples crinkled as he waited for her answer.

Blake: We'd take down the head of Donova's largest criminal organisation. I'd thought you of all people would agree.

Caide: From a Starfleet Security standpoint, I ordinary would. But as a Ranger, I have to disagree.

Blake: On what grounds?

Caide: They're responsible for Donova's socioeconomic status.

Blake: The Donovan government is responsible for Donova's socioeconomic status.

The Trill's shoulders shuddered, lips pursing to contain laughter. He clasped his hands together in front of him.

Caide: No. That's what the Donovan government would prefer to say. In reality, the Cobalt Clan, and more specifically, the Kuujn clan, are caring for Donova.

Blake: I'm still struggling with how that's a good thing, Caide.

Caide: Even if we arrest Sokarn zh'Kuujn, we would have to release her to Donova Marshals -- most of which have the utmost respect for her or have been 'paid' by the Kuujn clan to have her released on sight. Nevermind government intervention of her arrest.

The words perplexed her. The very idea of allowing zh'Kuujn to walk free was an insult to the very fibre of her being. zh'Kuujn was not an innocent woman: the Cobalt Clan was behind significant crimes against the people of Donova.

Caide had been furious at Blake's skirting the rules on Ketar V -- which had resulted in Lukaik's death. Now he was suddenly okay with bending the rules?

Blake: Why? Why be complicit now?

Caide: Each colony has its own way of functioning in the Shoals. This is why I've made a point to visit each one. Donova is the most peaceful of the Colonial Coalition, by far. It is a functioning, prosperous Federation world. No one denies the Cobalt Clan is a gang of organised criminals.

Blake: So we could take them down under Operation Safe Harbor?

Caide cringed, tilting his head at her.

Caide: I recognise Veritas may have deviated a little from its original mission objective on account of the Tholians in the last five years, but Operation Safe Harbor's original objective was to protect trade routes. An argument could potentially be made to include the Cobalt Clan, but they're not pirates. They have transport ships, but no spatial artillery of their own. And if they do, they've been doing a better job patrolling the Donova system than Starfleet has.
Kelrod: =/\= Commander Kelrod to Lt. Caide =/\=
The Trill spared her a sympathetic look before tapping his combadge.

Caide: =/\= Go ahead? =/\=

Kelrod: =/\= I need your help to get an update on Donova's situation as well as help to prepare myself to the latest protocols to act with local authorities in case something comes up during the battle of the bands =/\=

Caide: =/\= I'll endeavour to assist. =/\=

Kelrod: =/\= I can meet with you wherever you consider best. =/\=

Caide: =/\= The command information centre then, sir? =/\=

Kelrod: =/\= I'll be there. Kelrod out =/\=
The com closed. Silence permeated the space between Caide and Blake, the latter looking up at the Trill.
Blake: If I were to arrest her...?
Caide: I believe Donova would rather you didn't.
Blake: But if I did?
Caide: Then she is temporarily inconvenienced until such time she is inevitably released from prison. The corruption runs deep within Donova, Commander. To dismantle the systems the Cobalt Clan put into place would take years, perhaps even decades. But what they have in place serves them well. No one is held there against their will -- debt notwithstanding, of course.
Blake: Yeah. That's the problem.
Bitter, Blake turned on her heel and walked away.
Tbc . . . 
Cmdr Sky Blake
Executive Officer
USS Veritas
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