<USS Banshee> "Sands from a Farther Shore" Chp. 1
- From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 16:16:57 -0700
“Sands from a Farther Shore” – Chapter One
by Lieutenant Commander Joshua Asper“You’re being sloppy, Josh, they’re going to find you.”
Something inside him told him he wasn’t doing well. The replica of himself was becoming harder and harder to fight off, but there wasn’t a hostility in him that he remembered. The long nights on the Iliad were torture. Words became knifes and memories turned into daggers as a relentless onslaught of torment ravaged his body and soul. There was no escape then; for a while on the Banshee there had been. Now it was as if the medication was like throwing rocks at a shuttlecraft.
“I’m not being sloppy. Things are bit different on the Banshee than on the Iliad. More people for one, bigger ship, and a whole lot more restrictions governing everything you do. On the Iliad things were different, you were trusted.” He heard the irony in his voice as he remembered replicating the same substance on the small Venture-class ship so many years ago. “Things were simpler.”“Simpler times fade away and it becomes harder to live the life you know you want to live.”
“Look at me, I’m a regular philosopher. I know how the universe works and I’m managing to stay one step ahead. However, a new element has risen in this situation that wasn’t there last time.” Josh’s mind frantically searched to recall minute examples from his previous bought with himself; every detail he could remember played an important part. “Telsia. Lark.”
On the USS Iliad, out in the middle of unknown space near the Beta Quadrants far border, you pretty much kept to yourself. The Captain and the executive officer would spend much of their time in the ready room, the conference room, or the small area designated the lounge and have personal intimate conversation. Really, according to all the bridge staff, they just needed a place where they could lay down.
That’s how life was on the Iliad: you paired off. With a crew of twenty and an arsenal of science probes and terraforming surveying equipment, the excitement was whatever you made of it. Granted the silence and solitude had its perks, but other than that it was serving on the ship of the damned where everyone wanted to push the button and open all the airlocks.
This time was different. Josh had those who cared about him who were less than seven hundred light years away. He had a family with a woman who loved him and a son who was just getting to know the world. He had a friend that was by his side through thick and through thin and had a command staff who genuinely cared about their crew. Josh felt blessed to have so much, but felt at a disadvantage to be subjected to such torment that his earlier years had produced. “You’ll have to do away with him.”
“What?” Josh’s train of thought got derailed and turned into a fiery mass of tangled shrapnel. He blinked a couple of times realizing that he’d found a serene moment to himself away from everything. How little people realized those calm moments of bliss between the complexity and the plague of an existence they called life. “Lark? Why? He hasn’t done anything to me.”“Yet.”
“Ever.”“Give it time and he’ll stab you in the back, just like Kennemer.”
Josh through a picture of Cameron and Telsia across his quarters and watched it shatter into a million pieces and skid across the floor. “I didn’t know Kennemer. I didn’t associate with the people that were above the rank of lieutenant – I barely talked to anyone! Kennemer was a spoiled punk who felt that he could sleep his way to top!”“You know that’s not true, Joshua, he was next in line.”
A smile crossed his face and it was more for the fact of the amount of times he’d told the story. It was quite an amusing story that went against about every protocol in the book and was against moral ethics and things of the stature, but people didn’t seem to care. “Explain to me how he was next in line? He was the tactical officer – a damn good one at that – and he didn’t have any expertise in security procedures.”
He stopped. Josh realized was losing.
“I’m not arguing with you.” He watched a wicked grin cross the face of his mirror counterpart, Josh knew that that it what his friend – he – wanted. It wasn’t normal to argue with one’s self and it sure as hell wasn’t natural to lose an argument with yourself. “I know how to beat you. Once and for all. Without medication and without doing anything unauthorized.”“You try, Joshua, you try.”
“I’ll survive you yet.”“Or you’ll die trying.”
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