[USS Vanguard] RPG: Seed of Destruction

  • From: "Andy W. Ho" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 21:52:05 -0700 (PDT)

Zena crossed her arms, hugging herself, and looked out the window.
Dominic Santos sat in a patio chair on the turf, with his back to Zena
and the facility where he'd been recuperating.

Zena felt him before she heard him.

"How long has he been like that?" Dr. Jaav E'thexx asked, taking his
place next to Zena. Zena saw the quick sidelong glance he gave her.

"All morning," she said.

They looked out the window at him.

"How does he do it?" Dr. E'thexx asked.

"Do what?" Zena asked.

"How does a man like him keep going?" Santos' friend and physician

Zena shook her head and frowned, the stress from these recent events
depressing her patience with Jaav's usual riddles and
thinking-out-loud. "Assume I don't know what you're talking about," she

Jaav gave a hard chuckle. "Well, let's see. Off the top of my head, I'm
just going to name the most notable commanders in the Fleet's history.
The ones we studied. The ones whose careers were most logged and

Zena held up a hand. "I get it. Just tell me."

Jaav nodded. "Jonathon Archer lost a good friend and close crewmate.
James Kirk lost a son. Jean-Luc Picard was kidnapped by the enemy and
had his mind destroyed. Ben Sisko encountered an alien anomaly, which
made him both feared and honored. Kathryn Janeway was lost among the

Zena looked at Jaav, expectantly.

"Zena, Dominic Santos has done all of that. And he's still alive to
tell the tale."

"You're forgetting the number of women that Nick has, er, wooed and
lost. And I think Kirk died and was revived at some point."

"Right, thank you. I forgot the assassination attempt on Nick's life.
And how temporal agents have been hunting his head for years now."

Zena Quetan and Jaav E'thexx--friends and crewmates and more--looked at
one another. And laughed.

Zena shook her head and smiled. "Damn, he's a tough son of a bitch."

Jaav nodded. "That he is."


"So let me get this straight," Ana Leonid said.

[Steve, is it "Leonid" or "Leonov"? I've seen you write it both ways.
:-) - Andy]

"We'll go over it again if we have to. I know you can't keep up with my
mind," Kieran Darkwater.

Ana scoffed. "I can still outrun you. From my life support system. I
can still outthink you six ways to Sunday."

Darkwater nodded and gave a rare chuckle. "Please, do continue."

"Perception affects reality?"

Darkwater nodded. "Did I ever tell you about a paper that Dominic Cesar
Santos wrote as part of his third-year studies in quantum mechanics?"

"You may have. But the timeline may have changed," Ana said.

"You are a wit and a scholar," Darkwater replied. Darkwater took a sip
of his ice water and continued. "Nick Santos wrote one of the most
ambitious papers on the Unified Theory that I have ever read."

"But didn't you say Operations was his focus? Not Science? Or even

"It was indeed. Which makes his understanding of quantum physics that
much more impressive. Santos set out to prove that Energy was the
single binding force of the universe. He argued that Energy comprised
all living beings. That thought was a form of Energy. That matter was
Energy in a solid state. That space-time was a form of Energy we hadn't
yet grasped."

"Some interesting concepts, but nothing that hadn't been put forth
before. How was it received?" Ana asked.

"It was a disaster. It was the worst grade he ever made. He nearly
failed his third year because of it. He couldn't prove a single one of
his ideas. Not one. He came up before an academic review committee."

"What happened?"

"This is Nick Santos, Ana. He talked his way out of it, of course."

Ana chuckled. "I wish I could have met him."

"You will," Darkwater replied. "Soon."

Ana nodded. Darkwater continued. "I've heard rumors--unproven--that
Santos was offered the big chair on the Vanguard because that paper
caught the attention of the right people. They wanted someone with
unorthodox thinking to command her."

Darkwater sighed. "Have you ever wondered why I've always kept Santos
in check? Why we had such a contentious relationship on the Vanguard?"

Ana snorted. "I always assumed you were opposite personalities. He the
extrovert. You the introvert. He the grand, bold strokes. You quiet and
contemplative. He the hedonist. You the ascetic. You get the idea."

"It goes beyond that, Ana," Darkwater said. "I see something in him
that few people see or even suspect. Not Zena. Not Jaav. Not Cynan. Not
Kavan. Miller, Shar, Nostrova--not any of them."

Darkwater sipped his water and continued. "Dominic Santos inspires
great loyalty and trust and love. I don't think I've ever seen anything
quite like it."

"Oh ho. So it's jealousy, is it?"

To Ana's surprise, Darkwater considered the question. "No, it's not.
Let me finish and you'll understand." Ana gave him a "please-after-you"
gesture. "But Dominic Santos has a...dark side, for lack of a better

"Don't we all? Oh, I'm interrupting again. Go on."

"It's more than a dark side." He looked at her, in her blue eyes. "Ana,
Dominic Santos has a self-destructive streak. He hides it well. He
buries it deeply. But it's there. He's too intelligent to purposely
destroy his life, so he does it in bits and pieces. Every relationship,
especially romantic. Every bad situation he finds himself in. The risks
he took with the Vanguard. The no-win scenarios he was embroiled in.
I'm afraid he's going to destroy himself, and along with him, he may
take some of the people who are closest to him, who trust him and want
to be around him."

"Were you trying to stop him?" Ana asked.

Darkwater nodded. "A part of me was. A part of me sought the job on the
Vanguard in order to blunt his personality, stop him from destroying
himself and the people around him."

Darkwater glanced at the screen. Chieftain Shar led a group of freedom
warriors into battle, their strange exotic mounts thundering toward a
fortress. Agent Nostrova coquettishly fanned her face as she listened
to the Nazi officer's obscene stories. He didn't notice the small vial
of liquid she upturned into his cocktail. Nick Santos stood atop a
pyramid, his arms raised to his sides, basking in the fanatical cheers
of the thousands below. An insane gleam radiated from his eyes.

Darkwater glanced back at Ana without saying another word.


The helmsman of the USS Thespiae studied her instruments and turned
toward the captain's chair. Kavan made a note of her behavior and would
let the first officer deal with it. Later.

"Sir," she said, "we've arrived in Earth's orbit. Starfleet Command has
cleared us on a trajectory that should bring us over Brisbane in
approximately--" She looked at her instruments. "--one minute."

Kavan inwardly sighed. He didn't want to show impatience with his crew.
They were so young and untested. The ship wasn't battle hardened yet.
However, that was sloppy bridge performance, and he would need to
address it. He hoped that this was simply a case of nerves stemming
from their unusual assignment. He also knew that hope was both a very
good and very dangerous thing.

"Thank you, hanson," Kavan said. He rose from his chair and nodded at
Lt. Fell. "Lieutenant Fell, Ensign Val, you're with me."

They fell into step behind Kavan. As the trio approached the turbolift,
the posted guard handed each a phaser rifle and phaser pistol.

Kavan and his officers walked into the turbolift. The doors closed on
Kavan, who said not a word and betrayed none of his emotions.

Dominic Santos stared at Brisbane in the distance and admired her
skytowers. He watched as a shuttle bee flitted between the city's two
tallest towers. The shuttle caught the gleam of the sun and reflected
it back. Santos watched the shuttle's reflection from the tower's
surfaces. It disappeared from sight and ducked behind another building.

"Nick?" Zena said. Santos didn't bother to turn around. "Come sit
down," he said, nevertheless.

Santos watched as Dr. E'thexx and Captain Quetan took the chairs facing

Santos looked at Zena, who had opened her mouth to say something. He
saw her gaze go over his right shoulder. Her eyes betrayed both delight
and something worse--confusion.

"Craig!" she said brightly, rising to her feet.

Dr. E'thexx joined her.

Santos turned and watched as Craig Kavan approached with two Starfleet
officers he didn't recognize.

Craig looked pained as he saw Zena and Jaav. A moment later, the look
of friendly but steely determination showed in his gaze.

He gave Zena a warm embrace. "Hello, Zena. It's been too long."

Zena broke from their hug and said, "Not since our wedding."

Craig nodded and grinned. "I believe this son of a gun had something to
do with that wedding." He wagged a finger at Jaav. "How are you,
doctor? No hellos for one of your groomsmen?"

Jaav opened his mouth to say something. Suddenly, one of the Starfleet
officers went from slightly behind and to the right of Craig to having
his hand around Jaav's throat.

Jaav made a sound but couldn't speak.

Zena turned to look at Jaav and turned back to Craig...in time to see
Craig pulling a phaser from his holster and training it on Santos.
Before she could stop him, the other officer trained a phaser on her.
"I'm sorry about this," she said.

Zena nodded at her, as if to say, "We'll settle this another time."

Kavan strolled up to Santos and grabbed his arm. He yanked up Santos'
sleeve and took a sample into the syringe. Santos was too stunned to
say anything.

Kavan held the syringe up to the light and studied it for a few
moments. Santos' blood remained red and liquid.

"That still doesn't mean anything," Kavan said. He turned back to
Santos and asked, "I saw your records on the way in. They say you still
remember Carillon."

"Every minute of it," Santos answered quietly.

Kavan stepped forward, almost nose to nose with Santos and peered into
his eyes.

"You, Dr. Droin, Ceelak and I were the second party to beam down. We
found something of Leah's. What was it?"

Santos stared at Kavan so long, no one thought he would answer. No one
said a word.

"Her wrist charm," he finally said.

Kavan drew his phaser and leveled it at Santos. "Now," he said. "You've
never told anyone what the symbol meant. What was the symbol on the
charm? And why was it important?"

Santos stared at Kavan and answered: "The symbol is phi. It represented
her love of philosophy."

Kavan lowered his phaser. He stared at Santos.

"If you were any other man," Kavan said. "I would have killed you where
you stood." He grinned and extended his hand to shake.

Santos took it.

"Welcome home," Kavan said. "Commodore."

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