<USS Banshee> "Sands from a Farther Shore" Chp. 2
- From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 25 May 2004 14:33:55 -0700
“Sands from a Farther Shore” – Chapter Two
by Lieutenant Commander Joshua Asper
Captain Tandia Lavette. She was an accomplished science officer and had risen through the ranks at alarming speeds. Her contribution to many of the scientific finds of the twenty-fourth century went above and beyond what any other scientist had offered and for that she was widely respected. Daystrom even awarded her a special commendation and named some science lab in the Prastic system after her. Command, however, wasn’t her specialty.
She loved science. She loved men even more. Her second in command, Commander Brett Caston, was married and had three kids back on Earth. Unfortunately, he was human and gave into the indulgences of being in a distant place on a small ship where words and gossip can only travel so far. They were joined at the hip – quite literally – and were rarely seen outside of each other’s company. Lavette didn’t bother keeping one boy toy; no, she moved from male officer to male officer faster than most people blink.
Josh wasn’t an exception. Being a good-looking, hard-working man with the maturity of two years out of the academy made him privileged enough for a weekly meeting with her. He knew it was wrong and that his job was more important, but he gave in every time. Plain and simple she was a bad person. She was greedy and self-centered with the sole intent of crawling over others to an admiral’s rank.
Someone might say that she wasn’t any different than other captains, but there was. With a crew of twenty on a small ship in the middle of nowhere doing the dirty work that Starfleet just has to pour through, there wasn’t much by way of friends or companionship. Officers were forced to pair off and get close to people that they would hope would soothe their intellectual yearnings. Needless to say there were people that didn’t care much about the conversational portion of the relationship.
The breakdown of the crew was sort of awkward. There was a chief science officer with five scientists under him. Lieutenant Commander Oliver Patterson was not only a modern day hermit, but he was the one that would drool over finding a pocket of interstellar debris or a third magnetic pole on a planet. While others were provoked by the thought of being with another person space fungus appealed to him more.
On top of that there was the captain and the commander, obviously, and the helmsmen and the tactical officer. Then there was the chief medical officer with two assistant medical officers – whom did nothing but inventory for the most part – and the chief engineer and three assistants. For the most part the individual departments stuck to their own kind, but occasional hybrid couples were sighted. The ships, by that system, ran like clockwork and probably was one of the most proficient ships in the fleet; that is, if the ship ever made contact with Starfleet.
That left the chief security officer, Lieutenant Avek, and two assistant security officers. Josh had been assigned to the vessel as part of his command training courses that he was taking through correspondence to Starfleet Command. The Vulcan superior officer was a great teacher, but the man was against phasers and weapons of any kind. Josh would admit, however, that the man was great with his hands. In a split second, faster than most people can stick their tongue out, Avek would have his opponent unconscious on the floor or pinned against a bulkhead – it was art in its finest physical form. It was Avek that started Josh down his path to temporary insanity and the eventual diagnosis of cabin fever.
“This training session has been devised as an atonement to your hand-to-hand combat skills that you were taught at the academy,” Avek, the Vulcan, had his hands behind his back in the traditional Vulcan posture with his steady brown eyes gazing at his two subordinates. “The thing you must remember above all is that anger has no place in fighting another person.”
Josh smirked slightly and shot a gaze at his friend, Ensign Jorge Valdes. The man was fresh from the academy and couldn’t stop talking how it was punishment for nearly failing the second semester of close quarters combat. A little ship, not much action, just the right place for someone lacking skills should be placed, but Josh didn’t dare say a word.
“I hardly find the notion of combat of any kind funny, Lieutenant,” Avek’s words tore Josh’s eyes back to his.
“No, sir, not at all,” Josh said, “but if someone assaults me and punches or kicks me then you can beat I’m going to be a bit agitated at him or her no matter the circumstances. That in itself is an emotion that humans portray.”
Avek’s eyes seemed frustrated with the young lieutenant, but his Vulcan emotion barrier was stopping it from being brought to light, “that, Lieutenant, is why you are taught to put your emotions aside and fight with focus in determination rather than hate and aggression. If you fight with anger or hatred than you have already lost the fight.”
Nodding in defeat, Josh resumed his listening stance, “understood, sir.”
The Vulcan stepped back towards the middle of the holodeck and motioned around him at the yellow and black hologrid. “You two have to learn to fight opponents that don’t have anger, therefore you will be sparring with one another. The purpose of this exercise is to teach you how beat opponents who are on the same level physically and emotionally.”
“Why don’t we just fight you?” Valdes asked.
“For fear of sounding arrogant, ensign, I would say that because you are not currently on my level of expertise,” Avek looked rather arrogant – whether he intended it or not, Josh didn’t know – standing there in the middle of the room with the smuggest look that a Vulcan could muster. “Maybe at a later date I will engage the two of you.”
Josh fought the need to roll his eyes and proceeded to the middle of the room. Valdes was a tall and muscular man for being only twenty-six years old. He’d worked for a long time in the rain forests of Brazil working for some excavation teams that his father ran and that built up tremendous strength. Josh was a frail (when compared to the ensign) man who hadn’t done much physical activity in his life. That is what a year or two in a detention facility would do to a person.
The two moved to the center and shook hands, as was the custom before a sparring match. They circled each other for a moment or two to gauge their opponent up and down even though both knew of the weaknesses of the other. “Good luck, Josh,” Jorge said with a smile on his face.
“I don’t need luck, Valdes,” Josh smiled back at him, “I may need an emergency transport to sickbay and a week of leave, but that doesn’t mean that I need or want your luck. Just keep your eyes on my hands and this will all be over soon.”
“You wish, Ass-fur.”
Avek stared at the taunting pair. If someone would have watched him long enough one might see struggle to stop from rolling his eyes. “Taunting will not end this exercise any sooner; you know what you have to do and I suggest you do it.”
Valdes was a quick worker. His legs faded left and then went right and his arms went one way and then jetted back in the other; Josh didn’t really stand a chance, but he could make it look like he knew what he was doing. They sparred for about ten minutes without much contact or pain inflicted and Valdes wasn’t looking tired, but Josh looked like he’d been trampled by a pack of wild targ and then roughed up by a hoard of angry Naussicans.
Taking a shot to the chest and then a kick to the stomach, Josh felt like his insides were going to explode outward. Staggering backwards he caught his breath and resumed his stance, but this time it was with a new attitude and idea to become the proverbial story of David and Goliath. Josh did his own fade and when Valdes over-corrected for his move, Josh spun and landed a roundhouse kick to the center of Valdes’ chin.
Valdes fell to the ground coughing and sputtering and gasping for breath. A hand came up from the fallen ensign calling for a brief pausing to regain his bearings, but Josh wasn’t going to have any of that. Surging forward with a new purpose and dedication, Josh went for his throat, as was the typical maneuver for the situation he found himself in. Josh took three steps and a fist came slamming into his stomach. His vision darkened and he stumbled backwards himself and found that the floor was more inviting than standing.
“Both of you to the security offices, I’ll be on the bridge.” Avek disappeared without much notification.
Josh opened his eyes and realized that the darkening of the room wasn’t just his vision but the dampened lights of red alert. His mind raced and his lungs attempted to catch up to need to breathe. “God damn you, Jorge, next time leave my ribs in their places. Evolution put them there for a reason, you know.” Josh was cradling his stomach and a searing pain shot through him as he stood to his feet.
Within moments the brutalized pair had found their way to the security offices which were no bigger than a conference room on a galaxy-class bridge. There were two tables, a couple of chairs, and a tactical display. The ship’s one armory sat against the far wall and contained the ship’s only heavy weaponry. Ten phaser compression rifles, some plasma grenades, and two portable forcefield generator made up the artillery. It wasn’t the most glamorous arsenal, but it got the job done if ever they encountered anything more than a transphasic nebula or an ion drift.
“Engage the bridge viewing relays, Jorge.” Josh watched the one display change into a version of the bridge from the rear. Captain Lavette was sitting in the Captain’s chair and Commander Caston was just to her right side. A strange red ribbon of sorts was on the main viewer, and even with his straining eyes he couldn’t make out the consistency to compare to other phenomena. “What the hell is that?”
Jorge looked at the screen and then back to his console, “I would guess some space entity that has never been seen before. Chalk another up to Captain Commendation’s array of awards for super discoveries.” Jorge’s words dripped with sarcasm and it brought a smirk to Josh’s face. Neither was quite fond of the woman, but she did have a lot of luck in finding amazing finds. “She’ll write a paper or do some major project on it.”
“As long as I’m not involved…”
“I’m involved,” Jorge finished the phrase. It was an ongoing joke among the shifts that the people who weren’t on shift were just as involved as the people that were. Small ship population, what else could they think of to pass the time and keep a positive attitude and high morale? “I wonder why we’re at red alert.”
Josh shook his head, “not the slightest idea, actually, maybe it’s a hostile nebula.”
“I doubt it.”
Josh stood and moved to the monitor and pointed to the outcroppings of energy on either side of the ribbon-like formation. “See, these are pockets of interstellar debris and they’re charged from something inside the nebula. When the charge gets too much for the nebula to maintain it suddenly repels it and changes the polarity of the charge…”
“Hurling that hunk of rock at the nearest thing that has a charge of any kind,” Jorge finished again. He was bright and well versed in most things, but science he had trouble with. “That would explain shields and red alert for the most part.”
Avek stepped into the screen and Josh rolled his eyes as he took the other side of the captain. The three were talking but it wasn’t anything that the security officers eavesdropping could make out or understand. Avek nodded absently and tapped his combadge as he disappeared off the screen.
“Avek to Asper. Report to science lab one.”
Josh nodded and rolled his eyes again as he moved into the corridor. One minute later he walked into the science lab to see Avek laying on the floor with a huge phaser blast to his chest. Josh’s jaw dropped and he managed to blink before the impact came. The ship shook massively and the space swirled around like they were in the center of blizzard or in a blender. Josh gripped the table nearest to him, but his hand slipped and he found himself pinned to the opposite wall with a thunderous force that caused him black out.
On the bridge, Lieutenant Matthew Kennemer put the phaser back behind the tactical console and resumed his duty station as the ship spiraled out of control.
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