<FWG> <Patronus> Issue 2, Article 1: "And Hereafter, All Roadsigns Point North"

  • From: Jason Ziredac <ziredac@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: fwgalaxy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 12:20:45 -0700 (PDT)

  And Hereafter, All Road Signs Point Northby Ito N'Ges
    
 
  Ito N?Ges. Helm operator for the former USS Coldstream. Now, pilot for the 
Patronus. He didn?t like the thought of it either, being guilty by association, 
having done the maneuvers that gained the upper hand over the Lexington; it 
brooded, wallowing in his morning mind, erasing his calm. Disquieting him 
further, however, was the irony of silence that greeted him when he emerged 
from his cabin on that morning after.
   
  Out of habit, out of fear, out of boredom, Ito?s destination was the bridge, 
as it always had been. Just go in, sit down, and wait. Like always. Only the 
variable of ?wait for what?? was muddled in the equation, somewhere on the 
other side of those two parallel bars of justice and righteousness.
   
  He beat his mind, for repeating that word, righteousness. Like a kid forced 
to listen to his parents fight, Ito had been one of the many bridge crew 
members (aside other eavesdroppers) who had to listen to the heated 
altercations from the ready room between former-Captain Hayes McQuarrie and 
former-Commander Narin Luviox. And that R-word had become one of McQuarrie?s 
favorites. Right around the twentieth time he used it as a one-worded excuse to 
twenty different questions, Ito might not have been the first to believe that 
word had lost its full meaning.
   
  Ito blinked and tried to divert his mind to something peaceful, not to reach 
for stars or anything. He attempted to figure out just what to do with himself. 
Obviously, if Hayes McQuarrie was as smart as he seemed, he wouldn?t hand out 
orders unless a majority of the crew backed him, which was far from any means 
of the proverbial case. So he felt like he might not do a bit of flying for a 
while. Maybe he?d head down to Engineering, see if Claire Eyensworth needed any 
help. Or maybe he?d just walk.
   
  But for now, idling on the bridge was the compulsory function, and it 
sufficed. The odd quiet, stillness, the deadness of the halls would follow him 
in, to sit with him while he chewed the length of time between his arrival, and 
McQuarrie?s. 
   
  When He-Who-Would-Otherwise-Be-Called-Captain McQuarrie entered, his 
appearance was unexpectedly unexpected. Ito had, out of habit, out of fear, out 
of boredom, worn his fastidiously kept uniform, but McQuarrie had donned pajama 
bottoms and a white T-shirt, wrinkled from a night on a mattress. The funny 
accessory was the black wool scarf he had on his neck, aside from the cup of 
coffee and his bare feet. The pathetic accessory was the mood he?d arrived in: 
when McQuarrie stepped out of the turbolift, he did not see an empty unkempt 
bridge and a screen showing stars; he saw a mountain cradled in miles of pine 
trees that held up a pastel blue morning sky, and he was breathing in fresh, 
dirty aromas of nature and Folgers?. 
   
  ?Mornin?, Ito,? McQuarrie said. ?Didn?t expect to see anyone here.?
   
  ?Yeah, well?? Ito replied, hushed. ?Uh?what should I be doing??
   
  McQuarrie sighed, head down, and walked to the opposite seat, in which he 
subsequently sat. He outstretched his legs and leisurely leaned back to ease 
the next hearty sip of coffee. ?Well,? he finally said, ?you?re doing it.?
   
  ?I should be sitting at helm with nothing to do??
   
  ?No, no,? McQuarrie laughed, almost sorrowfully. ?Waiting: that?s what you 
should be doing. Until we all agree on something?whatever that may be?we?re not 
going anywhere. So just relax. Go to the Holodeck, go to your quarters, hell, 
go back to sleep if you want.?
   
  ?I don?t know if I?d be able to sleep,? said Ito.
   
  ?Me neither,? said McQuarrie, setting his empty coffee mug on the lonely 
floor beside him. ?Even though I didn?t really get much sleep last night 
anyway. Slept with a One Eye Open.?
   
  Ito clarified that he said a one eye open, and McQuarrie laughed, embarrassed 
and heavy-eyed. ?The one time I think anyone?s actually given in to a Ferengi 
salesman. You know, I think it was his uncharacteristically passive attitude 
that sold me on it; when people push me, I get stubborn. Yeah, the One Eye Open 
channels into your nervous system, frighteningly enough, and when someone comes 
within the programmed proximity, snap!, instantly awake. I didn?t need it 
though. Couldn?t sleep a wink. Not after??
   
  A nightmare drew over his face, sketching terror in his eyes.
   
  ?Yeah,? he resumed. ?Coffee?s keeping me going.?
   
  ?Captain,? Ito instinctively addressed. ?Are we going to do? Honestly, will 
they kill us if they find us? I saw what happened with the 
Lexington?terrifying, I mean?there was??
   
  ?Murder in the air.?
   
  ?Yeah.?
   
  McQuarrie heaved in a breath, embraced it, and let it go slowly. ?I think,? 
he began, swimming?floundering?in overtaxed mindfulness, ?that our lives are 
questionable. In such?unaccustomed situations like this, there?s nothing any of 
us can say. I, for one, can say that they will want my life. Other kinder 
captains in other kinder ships may bypass the rest of you as long as they have 
me, and anyone else they may find as doubtless contributors to the cause. As 
for people like you go, Ito, I think you?ve nothing to worry about the 
ask-questions-first-shoot-later types. (The other kind, well, you?ll have to be 
on your defense.) They?ll most likely see you as no more than someone trying to 
survive, obliging the ?crazed rebels? so you could ease your way back home.?
   
  ?How do you know there are kinder ships?? Ito asked, for argument?s sake.
   
  ?There are always good people in high places, as that is what high places 
were reserved for back, way back in the day. When there were good kings and 
good captains of men. But nowadays they?re often not seen until you?re graced. 
When they come from the darkness to tell you everything will be as it should, 
not as any one person would have it by choice. They?re just, and simple, and 
will speak in your tongue until their mouths are dry. The people who chase us 
are going to be chiefly comprised of the callous, droning individuals doing 
what they?re told, but among them will be good people, who will deliver mercy. 
The evil we?ll survive, and the good we?ll survive for.?
   
  McQuarrie stopped talking, watched the stars, and wondered. Ito too turned 
and looked at them, now cured of the envy he?d had for explorer ships. Because 
of the Dominion War, exploration was on a burner so far back that it was almost 
cold, but now, one ship was outside, ebbing the unknown and eyeing the unseen. 
New worlds were common as matchsticks, another one here, another there, but now 
it was their turn to strike it on a fresh surface to light a way, to ignite a 
cigarette, to leave beacons of candlelight for others to follow. Later, at 
least.
   
  ?Ito, it would probably behoove you to not be on the bridge today, now that I 
think about it,? McQuarrie said at last. ?Wouldn?t want you catching strays.? 
Bullets, he meant, proverbially.
   
  ?But Captain, I??
   
  ?I?m not your captain anymore.? McQuarrie?s stare was directed firmly at 
Ito?s eyes. ?Now go on, go to the Holodeck or something. It?s not?it can?t 
really be an order, but just take it as a strong advisement. It?ll get tense, 
awkward, and you might get dragged in. So get out while you can, man, go.?
   
  Before leaving the lonely McQuarrie to stare at the amorously mysterious 
patch of space the screen could allow, before the meandering of odd halls whose 
carpeted floors would carry new things to new purposes, before stacking on more 
wonder of when things would align and smoothen in this new atmosphere of 
Patronus, Ito N?Ges, out of habit, out of fear, out of?a dangling sense of 
dedication, saluted his captain and left.
   
  ==
  
 
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  • » <FWG> <Patronus> Issue 2, Article 1: "And Hereafter, All Roadsigns Point North"