Having left R'lyeh safely behind (for the moment at least), Edward asks K'hallA about her growing violent temper. She tells him the news: she is with child. Both are happy at the prospect and they agree to tell the crew at a convenient time.
Later that night, Shield is awakened by battle-cries. He finds that the captain's cabin is being attacked by MACOs. They attempted to take K'hallA, but she was quite capable of holding them off. However, once she sees that Shield is awake, her focus is broken and she is subdued. He then follows and the MACO team take their hostages and leave.
Once they reach Earth, the two of them are incarcerated in a prison center somewhere on Earth, in what had once been known as New York City. While there, they meet a prisoner who tells them that they have a better chance with the Klingon tribunal than with the Federation Council. He states that he was brought in for trial just for making public speeches that were disagreeable to the ideals of the Federation. He pled guilty and recanted what he preached, and ended up with a life incarceration here. He says that, though he hopes that they are able to be released, he knows better than to wish for the impossible.
After only one night in the prison cell, Shield and K'hallA are taken before an official court martial before the Federation Council, Starfleet Command and the President of the United Federation of Planets. While they approach the place of judgment, Shield tells his wife that, no matter what happens, he is thankful for having shared her life. She responds likewise, but with more apparent Klingon influence in her words.
Once presented before the judges, Admiral Sanders, Commodore Gardner, the Federation President and Admiral Sulu (the jury being the entire Federation Council and Starfleet Command with an audience of thousands both in the judgment hall and on portable viewers across the Federation), Shield soon learns that this whole trial is a travesty. The "lie detector" they are both bound to has been configured to jolt them with an electric shock every time they answer to the dissatisfaction of the judges, rather than simply flash light and sound upon detecting a lie. What's more they are, as defined by Order 865, enemies of the Federation and therefore all their rights have been dismissed: they cannot speak on their own behalf, they cannot request counsel, and they are declared "guilty until proven innocent." When Shield interjects, Sanders has him shocked via the lie detector and then announces:
- You are enemies of the Federation. Under the terms described in Order 865, you both should have died on the spot. Don't question the wisdom of your betters! We, to let everyone know that the Federation is good, just and the one true hope for sanity, peace, reason, freedom and justice in this chaotic universe, have decided to let you live so that all may know the depths of your detestable crimes!
The trial begins with the reading of the indictment. The list is quite lengthy, and includes (but not limited to) the following: rebellion, destruction of Federation property, slander against members of the Federation Council, Starfleet Command and the august and noble United Federation of Planets, murder of Starfleet officers, treason, terrorism, depravity, kidnapping, piracy... "and last, but certainly the most grievous offense - for which reason you have been brought here - malicious and despicable hate-crimes against the most noble creature - humanity."
Meanwhile, Lianna Young has woken from sleep to find the USS Admonitor on red alert. Upon reaching the Bridge, she receives a report from the Enterprise: Rookwood is in command, due to the sudden disappearance of Edward Shield and K'hallA.
One by one, the charges are read out, with witnesses brought forth to testify in favor of the charges. Most of them are the poor and destitute of Earth's "no mans" lands (for whom Edward Shield has been fighting), bribed by Starfleet to giving a false testimony. Whenever one of the defendants tries to speak out in their own behalf or call this farce out, they are shocked via the lie detectors.
For the first charge, a clip from Admiral Sanders' ultimatum to them from when they were first declared enemies is played. However, it has been edited to appear that Sanders gave them fair warning, but Edward Shield killed the supervisors without any heed to the warning. Shield is electrocuted for saying that it was forged. When asked by the court what they have to say regarding these charges, they are both electrocuted when they say that the evidence has been falsified. Sanders tells them:
- When will you morons get it through your head? This honored body would never bring an innocent man before us, chaining him up like some common criminal, forcing him to answer uncomfortable questions. You are guilty until proven innocent, and therefore you will remain silent until all charges have been presented, after which you will have the time to answer them all to the satisfaction of this honored body.
The second charge is then read, which includes a list of vessels and facilities that have been "destroyed" by the USS Enterprise-C and USS Admonitor since they became outlaws. The USS Cochrane, which they claim was destroyed wantonly by the USS Enterprise, as well as the storage facilities of Lunar Colony 7 on Titan, all of which are fabricated to appear that Shield and his outlaws were the aggressors.
At the third charge, Sanders brings forth evidence regarding the murder of Admiral Shield which was done at Edward Shield's own hand. Shield tries to object, but is not only electrocuted but placed in immediate contempt by Sanders. Shield objects to this, saying that he hasn't been given a first warning, but Sanders turns the electrocution to maximum, almost killing Shield.
Another false witness is then brought forth to testify on some fabricated story about Shield assaulting a Starfleet officer while at Starfleet Academy. Having seen him suffer under the electrocuting "lie-detector", the poor fellow gains some bravery and refuses to lie for Admiral Sanders, denouncing the entire trial as one man's personal agenda against another, and announces to everyone that the accused are innocent and that the trial is a sham. He is swiftly killed, after which Sanders reminds everyone:
- I remind those assembled here that Order 865 is still in affect. Any fraternization with or on behalf of the accused will be considered an intentional act of treason, and you shall suffer the consequences as so ordained under said order.
Young interrogates every member of both ships personally, demanding to know how the captain and first officer could just vanish without a trace. She threatens to have them all executed unless they give her an answer, but they are saved when Loghri presents scanner history for both ships, and the appearance of a malfunction gap in scanner activity lasting two hours. After checking their navigational records on the ship's computer, Young recreates the events in her mind, where she recalls where they were near the Debrii cluster, effecting repairs. After making scans of the sector near the Debrii system and the star cluster, she discovers a third warp trail leading away from here and towards Sector 001.
Many hours later, the charges have almost been completely read. Shield is barely conscious from having been struck so many times with the electrocution of the "lie detector", and he fears that it might have seriously damaged him. K'hallA tells him to stand up and face his accusers with honor, despite his pains. After telling him that she will always be at his side, he stands up to hear the final charge.
For the crimes against humanity charge, Sanders brings up evidence of the two of them in par'Mach on the mirror Enterprise. This is the only evidence that has not been fabricated, but Shield is still incredulous as to how they got hold of it. Sanders says that it is the highest offense to nature to violate the human body with something as despicable as a Klingon. K'hallA demands that she see the Klingon ambassador. Sanders mockingly tells his "brothers" in the Brotherhood that, because she is a Klingon, they'll have to use a higher voltage electrocution to silence her. However, she is quite resilient, and even after three shocks, remains on her feet and defiant. Once again she demands to see the ambassador. She also is charged with contempt without warning, but she simply barks back at them insults in the Klingon tongue. She says that, on Qo'noS, even an enemy is entitled to counsel when brought before a trial. She points out that, despite their propaganda of being "more evolved", the Federation is more barbaric than they ever have slandered the Klingon Empire to be.
She receives nine times as much electrocution as Shield did, but her Klingon biology keeps her from passing out, but she lets out a small whimper of pain. To this, Shield can see that Sanders is almost fixated upon in deranged sadistic pleasure. He then openly announces that, the charges having been read, the accused may answer to them all. However, he tells them that they must choose guilty or be electrocuted.
Both are defiant, and both receive the shock. Sanders, red-faced at their defiance, explodes. He says that they have been a thorn in the side for too long, and now that he has them, their time has come to an end, he then passes his verdict:
- Guilty! And may you burn in the hell your own bible created!"
He is then carried away, clutching at his chest. One by one, the other judges leave, announcing a guilty verdict. Just as Admiral Sulu approaches to give her verdict, Shield can see her being hesitant, until she gets a threatening glance from Commodore Gardner, after which she also announces a guilty verdict. She then reads to them their sentencing, which has been given to her from Gardner: they are to be executed proportionately to the crimes for which they have been accused. She informs them that the execution will take seven days to prepare and then seven days to complete, after which she tells them:
- There is nothing more I can do for you. Go in peace.
Upon returning to the prison cell, K'hallA congratulates Shield for his worthy and honorable performance before "those tyrannical judges", and wishes that they could have been on Qo'noS, where some justice would have been done. The prisoner they spoke to before they find naked, huddled up against the corner of their cell. Shield asks what happened to him, and the prisoner replies that the guards had their way with him, as they are often accustom to doing and are allowed to do by their superiors. He tells them not to pity him, since he's been violated so many times it should be new to him.
The prisoner asks them about the trial, and they tell him in no small detail. He tells them that Sanders has been dying of an immune deficiency disease similar to AIDS of the 21st century for almost twenty years, due to his lasciviousness and hedonism, which was probably the reason he had to be taken out of the room. They ask him how he knows it: the prisoner tells them that he has overheard it from the guards, who worry about it constantly due to their actions against the prisoners. He also claims that he has it as well, from being violated so many times. Shield asks him if there isn't some cure for AIDS that he could have?
The prisoner responds that AIDS had been mostly removed from the upper echelons of Earth society in the early 22nd century, but that whatever means were used to remove it have long been forgotten, since there have not been any major outbreaks. He closes his eyes, which he says will surely be for the last time and wishes that their deaths are swifter and less painful than the one he now will have to endure.
Meanwhile, the USS Admonitor has flown down into Earth's atmosphere and to NYC (the Enterprise remaining in the Debrii cluster, since it being a larger ship, it would slow the Admonitor down). Nox asks Young why they can't sneak in to Earth and find the captives with stealth: she responds by telling Nox that they're all marked for death and, if they are identified (which shouldn't take but a few minutes with the technology they have on Earth), they'd have to take arms anyways.
Using the Manual Override, Young takes personal control of the Admonitor and flies it directly over the prison compound. With a phaser blast, she blows open the ceiling and then takes Nox and beams down into the prison. However, the entire place is on alert and, even with both of them either neutralizing or killing the prison guards and MACOs who are amassing against them, they don't have much time. Young finds Shield and K'hallA and breaks them free. But as they are about to leave, Sanders, in a hover-chair, approaches them. As they leave, he tries to fight them but, without a phaser, he cannot shoot them. He tries to get up out of his chair but falls to the floor, capable of only shouting out empty threats at them as they materialize out of the prison and the Admonitor leaves Sector 001.
Once they've left the system, both Shield and K'hallA undergo physical exams. During hers, Shield "accidentally" tranquilizes her, and then proceeds to transfer the embryo of his undeveloped child from K'hallA into a prenatal incubary canister. While she is out, he records a holographic message and encodes it into a data PADD which he places with the PIC in a photon torpedo casing. He then places the casing in a shuttle-craft and pilots the craft out into deep space near Jjorek. Rumors of a wormhole here have caught his interest, and he hopes that - in the future - their child might have a chance of survival. He ejects the torpedo into space in the direction of the wormhole and then returns. But when he does, he discovers K'hallA awake and angry at what he did. When he explains, she outwardly seems sad but resigned to this. But once she leaves, she explodes in rage at the first thing she sees.