<FWG> <Patronus> Issue 1, Article 6: "A Distant Chorus of Thunder"

  • From: Jason Ziredac <ziredac@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: fwgalaxy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 19:55:41 -0800 (PST)

  A Distant Chorus of Thunder
  by Captain Hayes McQuarrie
   
  Hayes was burrowing for a private moment, a span of minutes when he could 
talk with Admiral Ramirez, to speak of the happenings below. Idly, impatiently, 
he stood on the bridge while ensigns were filtering to Ramirez?not him?for 
orders. The Admiral looked frightened, beleaguered by a shaking past, it 
seemed. Many questions, probably that had much to do with said past, needed 
answers now.
   
  Why did he know its language?
   
  What was that blue orb?
   
  How was it all connected?
   
  Pounding and pouring over the questions that were to be asked, Hayes still 
waited. They had time, for the time up until now, at least. Hayes nearly 
spilled with anger and confusion when Ramirez ordered the tactical officer (the 
current replacement for Varia? dear God) to prepare all weapons, and to hail 
the Primo Morire to do the same. At that, Hayes?s patience died away.
   
  ?Belay that order, Lieutenant,? he said, halting the tac officer with his 
outstretched palm. The Admiral looked as if he?d been punched in the gut, and 
that Hayes had been the one to bruise his abdomen. ?Admiral Ramirez, what?s the 
meaning of that??
   
  He could perceive the admiral?s ardent unwant to answer the question, but 
with everyone else on the bridge he was pressed to oblige. ?We are firing upon 
that planet.?
   
  ?No, Admiral, we?re not,? Hayes was surprised to find himself responding 
immediately. 
   
  ?There are people down there, our people, colonists, and unless we know where 
we?re firing, we could endanger them.?
   
  ?We don?t know where we?re firing. We?re firing everywhere. The presence of 
those? those beings? you saw what it did, what it was capable of doing to all 
of us. There are more of them, and they?ve probably killed everyone else down 
in that colony by now. If we don?t eliminate all life down on that surface, 
then we endanger the Federation.?
   
  Hayes felt out of breath, stripped of his right to breathe, an unnerving 
sweat breaking out of every pore. ?This? this is against countless laws, 
Admiral. I will not allow it to??
   
  ?It won?t be against any law when Remington hears of its nature.? Ramirez 
waited for Hayes to cut in, to put forth another contention, but he didn?t. 
?It?s for the good of the Federation that we do this. That? that these people 
die, if they haven?t already.? There, he said it: blatant sacrifice. 
?Lieutenant,? he said to the tac officer, ?hail the Primo Morire and charge 
weapons.?
   
  The tac officer said, ?Hailing??
   
  Hayes shouted desperately, ?Stop!?
   
  But the hail had already gone through. The tac officer reported, ?Sir,? 
probably meaning the admiral, ?the Primo Morire has an ETA of one minute, and 
they are asking the nature of the distress.?
   
  ?Tell them it?s a Code Omega 47.?
   
  Omega 47? Hayes thought.
   
  The tac officer stared at his console, and then nodded when the reply came. 
?They are charging their weapons, sir.?
   
  ?Get our weapons up, now.? There was sheer panic in the old admiral, and he 
kept glancing over his shoulder at the screen, which showed Metriaga in its 
green and stormy silence, sitting like a marble in black cloth. 
   
  ?Belay that order, Lieutenant.? Hayes said directly. ?Computer, lock all 
weapon functions to access only McQuarrie 
two-nine-alpha-eight-phi-two-four-two.? 
   
  ?Computer,? the admiral smugly retorted. ?Override McQuarrie 
two-nine-alpha-eight-phi-two-four-two, access code Ramirez 
eight-beta-nine-beta-seven-three-four.?
   
  ?Unable to comply,? the computer calmly responded. ?Captain override code has 
been altered to deny access to anyone regardless of Starfleet rank.?
   
  ?Can?t blame me for being too careful, now, can we, Admiral?? Hayes had the 
upper hand, now, and was preparing to be at bat. ?Now, you?ll tell me exactly 
what is going on, why??
   
  Hayes kept talking, and Ramirez tried to interject with, ?That is against 
Starfleet regulations! If you lock weapons and you die, then what is to happen??
   
  ??you are preparing to break more than Starfleet regulation by eliminating 
all life on a struggling colony when you haven?t even scanned to see the status 
of its people since we beamed off. You?ll tell me exactly why you knew that 
thing?s language, why your little blue ball warded it off, and why Remington 
will wash your hands of this when he ?hears its nature.??
   
  Ramirez growled, ?When did you alter that code? How??
   
  ?The Coldstream?s never been in a fight, Admiral. And to be perfectly candid, 
I thought myself more collected than you. I wanted to ensure that that which is 
lawfully mine remain in my sole control.?
   
  ??Lawfully yours?? You call this ship yours? You do nothing but sleep with 
your female officers, go on dates in the Holodeck, eat, sleep, and challenge my 
authority! I am an admiral, Captain McQuarrie, and if you?d like to remain 
Captain McQuarrie, I suggest you walk off this bridge and let me deal with what 
you couldn?t even possibly begin to comprehend!
   
  ?Yes, this ship was yours, given to your command to transport me. But I 
walked on board and didn?t see a ship. I saw a day spa. It was like Risa was 
now spaceborne, and even more insouciant than the entire damned planet. This 
ship is mine, and it will be mine until further notice. You are hereby ordered 
to release your lock on the weapons and to report to your quarters until you 
are summoned to my ready room for a complete and thorough review of your tenure 
as captain. Understood??
   
  Hayes lifted his chin up, and let his eyes shine to the ceiling, acting as if 
he hadn?t heard a single asinine word the admiral had just shouted directly 
into his face. ?I will not let this ship be a weapon on a civilization.?
   
  ?Fine,? the admiral barked, and he turned to everyone else on the bridge. The 
officers at the rear consoles, the tac, and the helm and said, ?Everyone is 
ordered off this bridge. If your captain refuses to act in the Federation?s 
best interests and safety, then I will take it from here. Everyone is not 
dismissed, but ordered to their quarters. Go. NOW!? 
   
  Frightened, like startled flies on a corpse, the other officers scattered out 
of the bridge, leaving only the admiral and the captain. ?You have three 
minutes to unlock those weapons,? Ramirez said, circling the ramp and heading 
to the tac station. He hailed the Primo Morire and brought them up on screen. 
   
  The PM had a Klingon captain, and he rose from his captain?s chair. ?Admiral 
Ramirez,? he greeted.
   
  ?Captain,? the admiral ambiguously greeted in return. ?I am having a bit of a 
control issue over here, so the main attack on the surface will be up to you 
until I have my weapons back online. Begin your attack when ready.?
   
  Proudly the Klingon bowed his head in a gracious nod. ?Admiral, we will 
gladly aid in Omega 47. For the open freedom.?
   
  ?For the open freedom.?
   
  Hayes rushed the screen, shouting, ?Wait! Stop!? But the channel was closed.
   
  ?You?re down to two minutes.? Outside, Hayes horrifyingly watched as the 
torpedoes began to fly out of the PM?s hull. Thinking quickly, he turned his 
head upward and ordered the computer.
   
  ?Computer, fire an EMP field at the Primo Morire! Stop their weapon 
functions!? Soon, a white flash came from above the screen, and a little 
missile was tossed at the other ship. Another white flash, and the lights on 
the ship went out, and the weapons stopped firing. Thirteen torpedoes had 
entered the Metriaga atmosphere, and Hayes wished he had time to check for 
survivors (or even if the random shots hit any colonists), but he turned 
challengingly to the admiral and waited for his next move.
   
  ?You?you defiant bastard!? Ramirez brayed. ?You fired upon a fellow Starfleet 
ship! You?ll be marked as a traitor!? He pressed another control on the 
tactical console and entered a vocal distress call. ?Attention all ships, 
attention all ships, this is Admiral Elian Ramirez on board the USS Coldstream. 
Any receiving ships please come to our coordinates; we are orbiting an 
extremely dangerous planet called Metriaga along with a ship from my fleet, the 
Primo Morire! The captain of the Coldstream has locked weapons and I cannot 
access them, and he has fired upon the Primo Morire! It?s an act of treason! 
All receiving ships respond with intent to kill??
   
  But his cry for help was silenced by a hammering fist to his jaw, and he 
tumbled to the floor. Hayes stood over him, now completely over the edge, 
waving goodbye to the Point of No Return he barely saw coming. Ramirez 
scrambled wildly to a crouch, but Hayes threw a kick that fractured the 
admiral?s wrist. 
   
  ?You?re going to get a lot of people killed with that attitude, Admiral,? 
Hayes taunted patronizingly. ?Throwing treason around, saying I tried to 
destroy the Primo Morire? When your help arrives, you know what the captain of 
the Primo Morire is going to say? He?s going to say, ?Well I was about to fire 
on Federation colonists when suddenly all my ship?s functions were silenced. We 
weren?t fired at after that, and, well, I don?t know?? Then do you know what 
will happen, Admiral Ramirez? This little brawl will be examined, the distress 
call you sent out as well, and then the question of these strange and powerful 
beings you seem to know a hell of a lot about will need answering. Not by 
Remington, but by everyone else. There are people above Remington, sir, I just 
hope you know that. And they don?t fuck around.?
   
  Despite his broken wrist, Ramirez threw a furious punch upward that landed on 
Hayes?s nose. He felt his neck crane backwards and his back begin to follow 
like a train derailment. The admiral rose to his feet, the years of battle 
rising with him, lifting him up, restoring him as an old warrior for a 
federation that held thousands of planets in its grip because of men just like 
him. 
   
  His good hand backhanded Hayes before the captain could block it, and a hook 
of a foot swept Hayes?s stance from under him, and his back hit the floor, and 
a foot hit his ribs three times. ?Speaking of those who do not fuck around, 
McQuarrie, those who do least of all are myself and Remington, as well as 
another admiral. That?s three admirals, three fleets, and one thing you do not 
do with that is fuck around. You?ve thrown a stone into a giant?s eye, and for 
you, the giant blinked.?
   
  Breathing became a doable task just as Hayes?s collar was seized by the old 
bastard. A hard, calloused hand grabbed the hair on the back of his head and 
his top half was pulled up. He noticed that this because his ear was being 
brought severely close to two lips that didn?t want anything else to hear them. 
They said, ?You will attack the Primo Morire. You will destroy them. And you 
will be tried and convicted of treason. Now, before I kill you here and now,? 
and a jutting phaser tip was nudged into his ribs, ?unlock the weapons.?
   
  It took a simple roll to his left, and his body became a steamroller for the 
phaser; it was caught underneath him and plucked from Ramirez?s ugly fingers. 
Ramirez straightened himself instinctively, backing away from the fast-moving 
man at his feet. A fist went to his balls, and he crumbled, grasping his 
excruciatingly pained crotch. No longer playing a fair man, Hayes kicked. And 
kicked. And kicked. And kicked. The ribs, the abdomen, the hands that 
barricaded the Ramirez family jewels, the face, the head.
   
  Something had overtaken him, and as each kick landed, the more he wanted to 
be knelt over in order to pulverize the admiral with his bare fists. There was 
something evil about a man who would immediately destroy innocent people and 
then try to blame it all on a fellow commanding officer who was barely involved 
otherwise. He could feel is eyelids rolling outward, itching to crawl over his 
eyebrows and down his cheeks, which were getting red. Hayes McQuarrie was 
overcome, and every blow he brought down on the admiral ensured him more and 
more: this was not the wrong thing to do.
   
  ?I forgot another kind of people not to fuck around with, Admiral,? Hayes 
growled. ?The righteous.?
   
  And Hayes pulled all of his strength into one final kick, the kick that would 
make his back hurt five years from now (if he lived that long), and it cracked 
the admiral?s skull from the temple to the mid-forehead, and his limbs went 
limb, no longer trying to block the barrage that battered him. 
   
  I could have just stunned him, Hayes thought. Nah, I?ve been waiting for the 
other method for a long time. Shit. Shit, NOW what do I do? Oh shit, oh shit?
   
  ?Cta to McQuarrie.?
   
  The call surprised him, the same manner of surprise that freezes the fetching 
fingers of children prying open the lid of a cookie jar. ?What do you need, 
Aylyn?? Streams of blood trickled from his nose, so he sniffed and attempted to 
stop it with his sleeve.
   
  ?Sir, it?s imperative that we leave for Starbase 104 immediately for medical 
assistance. Varia?s spine is broken in two and I don?t have the proficiency??
   
  ?We can?t, Aylyn.? As it was spoken (he couldn?t believe it was him speaking 
it, for one) he realized that it was true. They had to stay and wait for the 
help to come, so that the Primo Morire could give the correct story, so that 
things could be done right. And even if not, it?s not like he was ready to go 
to prison for defending innocent lives.
   
  ?We can?t? Why not? Sir, Varia may never walk again.?
   
  ?We can?t because?they?we might not be able to dock.? It was really 
happening, the crisis was now really beginning to eat him.
   
  ?Is this another one of the Admiral?s reasons, Hayes?? She was angry, annoyed 
now. He wished she was in the same room (no he didn?t, maybe another room) so 
he could put his hands on her shoulders and comfort her. ?Are you bending over 
for Ramirez again? Look, tell him that Varia may not walk again if we don?t get 
moving. He?s a son of a bitch, but I don?t think he has a heart cold enough to 
leave a man he doesn?t like to be paralyzed from the waist down.?
   
  ?Aylyn?? 
   
  ?What? What, is he in the room? Good! Admiral, I swear, if you don?t let 
Hayes take this ship to Starbase 104 right now, then so help me, I?ll come up 
there myself and??
   
  ?Aylyn, stop! He?s?he?s here, but he can?t exactly hear you right now.?
   
  ?Hayes?Hayes, you?re beginning to freak me out, here. What?s going on??
   
  It took a lot to say, but just as the old bastard would want, no secrets. 
?I?ve just?Aylyn, I?ve just beaten the hell out of the Admiral.?
   
  Naturally, he didn?t expect her answer to contain calmness and comprehension. 
?What??
   
  ?You heard me.?
   
  ?You?ve got to be kidding me.?
   
  A finger-curling scream came from the other end of the channel, and when 
Hayes almost asked who it was, what it was, why it was, he turned and looked at 
the viewscreen. The Primo Morire was in a strangely esoteric process of being 
sliced in half by a fierce, white beam that was pointing up from the surface of 
the planet. ?Jesus God, red alert! Red alert!? Hayes cried, rushing to the tac 
console and tapping out the unlocking code for the weapons. ?Red alert, red 
alert, the planet has fired upon us, repeat, the planet has fired upon us. The 
Primo Morire has been destroyed. I repeat, the Primo Morire has been destroyed. 
   
  Everybody, battle stations, battle stations. All who were released from the 
bridge by Admiral Ramirez, return to your posts immediately!?
   
  The helm officer, Ito N?Ges, came back first, and was horrified to find the 
captain with a bloody nose and the admiral with a bloody? a bloody everywhere? 
lying unconscious next to him. 
   
  ?Don?t ask questions now, N?Ges, just get this ship turned around and headed 
out of here. Hurry! Go! Go!?
   
  N?Ges flew to his position and navigated the ship around, spinning in space, 
pivoting and rushing outward. He flew evasively, and luckily so; before they 
were out of range, two more beams of white lashed after them, and then were 
gone forever. 
   
  ==

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  • » <FWG> <Patronus> Issue 1, Article 6: "A Distant Chorus of Thunder"