Literary Challenge #56 : Academy Teachings
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Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Aug 2013
01-07-2014, 08:27 PM
I'm going to extend and refine this as I go. Because perfectionism. Also, I want to do this from my Romulan's perspective.
UPDATE: Added a third piece after an idea from marcusdkane.
What were you thinking, Contract-holder Quinn
? I think.
More importantly, what the everloving **** were you
? I need to get me some of that.
So yeah, here I am sitting at this little podium in 'Frisco. I don't know what the hell I'm doing here.
Seriously. This time yesterday, I was on Risa with the Klingon ambassador (he was
fun, by the way), getting some well-earned...well, neither rest nor relaxation, but definitely vacation. Klingons are fun. The week before, I was getting the living daylights kicked out of me by sentient ooze, which was less fun.
And so I got the call from Contract-holder Quinn this morning on Risa, saying that I have to give a lecture on a subject of my choice here at the Academy.
Which I have never been to before, being a genetically-altered living superweapon from another universe. So I have absolutely no clue what I should be talking about.
I've been sitting here--standing, technically--for about ten minutes now. The cadets seem to be rather bored.
I clear my throat.
"Right. So. I'm Captain Nemesis unit designation Three. Commanding officer, USS George Takei. I'm here to talk about the many applications of genre savvy."
The cadets look politely confused.
"Ahem. So. Rule number one of genre savvy is to NEVER, under any circumstances, wear red clothing at any time, but ESPECIALLY not on duty or on an away mission. Rule number two is to wear Lieutenant or better pips at all times, no matter what. Rule number three is to be CERTAIN that you can be described with a minimum of three distinct adjectives in five seconds at any particular point in time. Rule number four is, if think you're having great luck with someone you are attracted to, he, she or it is a spy for some rival faction. Rule number five is to put some surge dampeners or something on every single bridge console on your ship, so that there is absolutely zero chance that a random EPS conduit blowing out on deck 12 or something can blow out a bridge console."
They're looking at me like I just crawled out of a Vorta cloning pod or something. Ah, well. In for a penny...
"Rule six. Reinforce decks six through twelve on your ship. In a fight, those will take the hardest hits. Trust me. Rule seven. If you follow these rules, you WILL run into crazy stuff. However, these rules will keep you and your crew safe--if you're just the nameless NPC starships, you're basically screwed, so it's really better this way. Rule eight. In order to minimize risk, never allow any sophont of any species who has had any sort of irregular spatiotemporal...things happen to them onto your ship. This does not hold for anything that happens on a crewman's career on your ship. Also, refugees from spatiotemporal phenomena do not qualify under this rule, so they're fine to bring onto the ship."
Some of the nerdier-looking cadets have gotten looks of dawning comprehension and are writing frantically. I see a man with a set of fancy veterans' medals looking sick over by the main building. Huh, he sure looks like Barclay. Like Barclay on a transporter pad.
"Rule nine. If you wish to engage in rank-inappropriate fraternization, there are two essential guidelines: Keep your official rank out of the bedroom, and make up some drek about alien mind control to cover it up. Hell, the old alien mind control excuse works like a charm for me."
Admiral Janeway is giving me a death glare. Heh. Fortunately for her, Contract-holder Quinn has informed Command of my physical abilities. Fighting me on the ground is suicide for a baseline.
"Rule ten. And this is critical. Unless your first officer is a Vulcan or Vulcan hybrid, never leave him or her in charge of the ship. NEVER. For any reason. Rule eleven. You can never have enough geeks. Hire as many geeks as you can. If you have a choice between a geeky Tellarite and a steroid-pumped Gorn, pick the Tellarite. In the same vein, if you have a choice of computer techs between the brilliant and erudite head of the universe's largest computer conglomerate and a teenage hacker dweeb who's trying to impress his subject of romantic attention, pick the nerd and leave your worst enemy with the genius. Rule Twelve. Klingons make the best security chiefs. Any questions?"
About twenty hands go up instantly. The rest of the cadets look lost. I hear Admiral Janeway growl quietly to herself from across the crowd. The guy who looks like Barclay is whimpering quietly and checking something on his PADD.
"You, in the back. What's your name?"
"Edwin Anderson, sir. Sir, I was just thinking, you make the universe sound like a Captain Proton holonovel, sir."
The guy who looks like Barclay looks up from his PADD, white as a sheet, and faints dead away. Admiral Janeway is glaring lasers at me. Admiral Riker is whispering something to a woman who looks like Troi. It sounds like "So THAT's why the Enterprise kept getting taken over by complete idiots! I WAS bad karma as a first officer!"
"Yeah, that's the point, although it's neither a holonovel nor a poorly-scripted sci-fi franchise. Well, except for Star Trek 5 and that one Voyager episode, at least. Anyway. Sorry, off topic. Now, where I come from, we have this thing called Star Trek..."
Rihannsu (Romulan) Republic Officer Training facility. Mol'Rihan planet surface.
I can see the fire in the Reman's eyes.
There's only one Reman in the first officer corps, but her eyes burn, the same way mine do. The rest of the cadets are Romulan and Acamarian, with a few Suliban refugees who joined up after the Helix incident. They are young, green, and idealistic for the most part, but I can see the fires of loss in some of them.
The Reman has it worst, though. I see myself in those hard, hating eyes.
Well, I'd better get started with this "motivational speech". Proconsul D'tan and his crazy ideas. He spends too much time around humans. Then again, some say that I spend too much time with Klingons, Breen, and Jem'Hadar.
"I'm going to be honest with all of you, and I'm not going to waste your time. You all know who I am and what I've done. I know that many of you--hell, I can pick which ones out of this crowd--lost something or someone special. Like I did."
I have their attention. Good.
"We're in a tough spot, and I'm not going to lie to you. Our two strongest allies are still in a cold war, and there are about a dozen major powers committed to wiping us all out. I know that you lost someone, or something. I know that you still love what you miss, and I know that you hate. I know that hate. I have known that hate for fifty Terran years, and I have known that love for the same time."
I pause for a breath.
"She was everything to me. And that monster Hakeev took her from me. I was young, idealistic. I broke. I couldn't take the hate. I left ch'Rihan the next week, stowed away on a warbird and left for good. I was useless for so long. The captain took pity on me; we were a scout ship, T'liss-class, full of dissidents, malcontents, and other military personnel who had pissed off the Empire and the Tal Shiar, but not enough to warrant more permanent punishment. A good ship. The captain gave me a bunk and a cut of the rations."
The Reman has a look in her eyes. She's been through this, too.
"We were about two weeks out from ch'Rihan when I figured out how to cope. At first, I just embraced the hate. Let it fuel me. It was tiring; I spent every night crying myself to sleep, and I kept getting stiff from the exhaustion, but it was fuel. Like oil for a fire. I lived like that for twenty years, made lieutenant, killed hundreds; mostly Nausicaan and Breen pirates. I had a weapons console, a disruptor, and my hate.
"It all changed on a little dung-heap mudball world in the Psi Velorum sector. We had an away mission. There were Tal Shiar there, a crashed ship. I was used to the hate being cold, dispassionate. Something that I used as a tool to power myself, to kill pirates and other random space scum. This time, it was hot. Passionate. And it used me.
"There were five survivors, all injured. I found them huddled in a mostly-intact piece of the ship, in their Tal Shiar uniforms. One looked so much like
. And I felt it rise and control me.
"The captain found me from the shots and screams. They beamed me back to the ship and I spent two weeks in the brig, and a month in therapy. To this day, I don't know why they let me live, and why they didn't tell the Imperial authorities, although I can hazard a few guesses. Sometime in there, I decided that I needed to control it somehow. So I made myself rules. A personal code of conduct. Every time I went into battle, I would ask myself, "Is this what she would have wanted? Would she have wanted me to do this?" And it worked."
The Reman is staring at me with rapt attention, as are two of the Suliban and five Rihannsu. The others look somewhat nervous. Obisek and the Admiral are having a frantic, whispered discussion with Proconsul D'tan.
"So I harnessed my love for her to hold back the hate. And I spent some time thinking. After the Hobus event, we ended up at this little colony world, Virinat. It's gone now. The captain decided to help them thrive while staying out of the way of major powers. That day, I remembered the last thing she said to me before she tripped me down the escape hatch and told me to run. She said "Whatever happens, find something to care for. Find something to love. Hate is destruction. Love is construction." And so I lived like that.
"We had a good, simple life. Then the Elachi came. They annihilated the colony, kidnapped about half of the colony for subsumption, and killed almost all the rest. And in space, at the bridge of my first ship, I saw him. And I felt it rule me again.
"I made quite a few mistakes. I assumed the Elachi were working for that monster. That killing him would be enough. I was wrong. The Iconians are behind that entire mess, and they want nothing less than our extinction. And I was ruled by my hatred. I killed so many people."
I'm clutching the lectern now, crying to myself. The Reman and one of the Romulans are both crying.
"I had peace, after I killed him. The hate was still there, but it was lower, sated. Simmering, not boiling. Then we went through the gate, and I found that Iconian console. And it returned even stronger.
"This time, though, I'm ready. I will chain it. It is always there, it will never really leave--for it is rooted in my love for her, and her loss. But I will chain it, and I will make it come to heel. For hate is a monster, a beast in your heart. And if you unleash it, you will burn as it kills.
"The take-home point is to never let yourself be ruled by your hate. Don't use it. Restrain it. Think of that person you lost, or someone you love. Think of the most wonderful person you know. And ask yourself, every time, "Would he/she/it be happy with what I am about to do?" Always remember that, no matter how bleak the situation, no matter how many species wish for our extinction, no matter how many forces are arrayed against us. For if you let it out, it may not come back."
I step back, tears flowing down my face. The Reman, the two Suliban, five Romulans, and a trio of Acamarians all stand and clap, grimly and forcefully. The others follow, somewhat more hesitantly. The higher-ups are still in conversation. Kererek makes a suggestion, but Obisek cuts him off forcefully.
I step off of the stage, behind the curtain, and Omek'ti'kallan grabs my shoulder with a respectful but iron grip.
"Alright, sir, time for your appointment," says Daysnur. "I have some new ideas for combating your depression, and I want to try a few before your meeting with D'tan later. IRW Vengeance, three to beam up to my counselor's office."
Starfleet Academy. San Francisco, Earth.
Well, this is a new one. Giving a lecture while drunk. Maybe those experimental meds of D'vek's weren't a good idea. Normally, I can hold my ale, but today I'm boozed up on what normally would be a light breakfast drink. Unfortunately, the part of my brain in charge of rational thought is no longer in charge.
My name is Azip Shran. First officer, USS George Takei. I'm giving a guest lecture to fill time while Professor Barclay is revived after fainting during my Three's--I mean, my captain's--speech.
Need to stay professional. Don't show the Romulan ale that I've been hooked on ever since we got sucked back in time and Three predicted EVERY SINGLE THING that happened to us.
That was when I first got hooked on her, too. But that's another story.
"Oo-k, class," I drawl, slurring my words a little. "Let's forget about what my sweetcheeks--I mean, the captain--just said; it'sh perfectly fine, we'sh all real. Real enough. Something. So I'm gonna tell you 'bout...the...the whatsit, the thing that happened to ush lasht week. That thing, with the thing, and that other thing, and that big thing, and the exploshion, and the things, with those other things, using thoshe things, to shoot at ush, and that guy, with that thing, and hish evil plan, and--" I take a drink from my bottle. "that thing, that he wash gonna use, and that other thing, and that thing, that we ushed to shtop him, and that other thing, with the pewpew gunsh..."
I try to remember exactly what happened. Admiral Janeway is heading for the podium with some hulking Benzite MACOs.
"Right, we took the ship, and we were on this planet, see, and there was this guy, see, who was this mad scientist, and wanted to ushe this thing, see, to make this slime sentinet...seintinelt...think, see, and so we had to stop him, see."
Three is with Professor Barclay, who demanded her assistance the moment he woke up. Perhaps unfortunately, the infirmary where they are located is on the other side of the academy. Elements, but this Romulan ale is good.
Part of my brain watches this train wreck with a feeling of mounting horror.
"And sho, see, we had to shtop him, b'cuz Three shaid that thinky-slime was bad, so we shot him, see, with out phasers, like this, see," and here I pull out my phaser and shoot it in a random direction, blowing up an empty chair. There is much screaming.
"Jusht like that, see, so then his thing, his pewpew, his gun with the DNA stuff innit, shot th' mud, and the slime became thinky, so it tried to kill ush."
One of the MACOs grabs my shoulder.
"Hey, 'm not done yet! Hey, gimme m' phaser! Gimme!"
The other MACO pulls out his own phaser and shoots at me, but I trip over the other guy's foot as I bend over and retch on Admiral Janeway's boots.
, thinks the part of me in charge of logic and reasoning.
Two hours later
"Well, no physical harm done, lesson learned, Admiral Janeway pissed off. All in all, a good day!"
D'vek is cheerful and happy, which is a not uncommon sight with the Romulan chief science officer and part-time doctor. Three is carefully inspecting every inch of me for damage. It's kind of hot, to be honest.
"Yeah, except the part where your so-called wakey-wakey meds made me drunk. And I'm being court-martialed for vomiting on Admiral Janeway."
"Heh, the captain'll get you off that in a minute. Right, sir?"
"Yeah, shouldn't be too much trouble," says Three. "The blame's spread widely enough, and it was Admiral Janeway herself who told you to get up there and say something while they double-checked Barclay. I figure if you gimme three minutes and a decent lawyer I can pin it all on her."
"Apportioning of blame--the most important function of Starfleet," I mutter. "Do you guys remember when we got to explore cool planets and didn't have to give lectures?"
"Yeah," says D'vek. "I got to try all kinds of weird meds back in the day."
"Well," says Three, sweeping me up into her arms...mmm, those strong arms...as I yelp in exaggerated shock. "I can pull a favor or two. Admiral Riker owes me some latinum, and Admiral Quinn owes me a favor or seven for services rendered out of Contract. I can get us a six-month exploration posting in the Delta Volanis cluster, if it helps."
I lean in close to her ear and kiss the lobe. "Sounds great, honey. Now, let's get out of Earth space before Admiral Janeway comes after us."
Last edited by worffan101; 01-11-2014 at
. Reason: Typo fixes + refining the ending + added Do'eth's perspective.