Poll

What is your vote for POTM April 2020?

Nominated post #1 - Written by Solluk
5 (62.5%)
Nominated post #2 - Written by Tess
3 (37.5%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Voting closed: May 04, 2020, 12:16:21 pm

Author Topic: POTM April 2020 - Vote  (Read 135 times)

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Offline Tess tLhoell

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POTM April 2020 - Vote
« on: May 02, 2020, 12:16:21 pm »
Hello everyone!

For last month's POTM we have received two nominations and we would like your help to decide which one of those two posts should be submitted as Katra's POTM of April 2020.

I will post both posts in full length below.




#1


Katra Station - Operational Control Center

Solluk turned as Tess appeared on the bridge:  Tricorder in hand, worry painted on her features as surely as if she'd been a canvas for Edvard Munch. 

"A medical issue.  Of course.  Carry on, Doctor."  Solluk could not believe it was an accident that there was a 'medical issue' being checked out within minutes of Rayek's actions.  But neither could he believe any 'medical issue' was legitimately at fault.  He had used that excuse in the past.  And perhaps it had even been true once or twice.  But by now, the pattern of behavior was undeniable. 

And Solluk knew it was his fault.

He had overlooked this sort of thing too many times.

His forgiveness has been a point of infection.  Not for any illness, but for the idea that there was no line that couldn't be danced over.  No trespass that couldn't be taken back. 

Well... not this time.




Captain's Personal Log - Twelve Hours Later

"As the minutes turned into hours, it became increasingly clear that the Atrosians were not going to become hostile, or spring some new scheme upon us.  Rogr's submission was not a ploy or trick.  He was not biding time for some larger play.

He was defeated.  He had conceded entirely.

That should bring me joy. 

The Atrosians are almost certainly guilty of terrible acts.  We now have the opportunity to prevent a genocide.  In fact, I'm confident that Counselor Beja will negotiate the release of the Etrosian refugees successfully.  She transported over an hour ago, packed for a long stay at the Atrosian homeworld.  I think I made it clear that if anything happened to her, I would come calling.  I think they believed me, which is good.  It was one thing I said which I was not bluffing about.

And yet... I feel no joy. 

This should be a moment of moral triumph, but we accomplished it by violating our own morals and ethics.  Striking a man acting as an envoy at a diplomatic encounter, while under a flag of truce?  It is the act of a villain.  And then disobeying an order, so that a pre-emptive strike could be launched against an enemy who had not enacted aggression yet?  How many of layers of wrong are in such a thing?

No... we have fallen into victory, but not through honor.  We have defeated an injustice, but not by employing justice.  We have wounded a villain, but only by carving ourselves in his likeness.  We have gained, here, today.  But we paid something of ourselves for the privilege.  We have taken a step towards bringing light to what Jada often calls 'The Outer Dark.'  But we have done so by dimming the very light we hoped to bring.

How many more victories like this one, before we cease to be any different than the flawed nations we oppose?

And more personally... how many times am I going to let people betray me, and then forgive them?  Trust them again?  Set myself up for another disappointment?

I wanted to believe the best of them.  Maybe it's time to instead believe the evidence of my eyes..."




Katra Station - Deck 12

"Leave us."

The security officer looked up from his console.  "Sir?"

"You heard me," Solluk said, giving the man a sidelong, stern look.

The security officer swallowed, nodded, and stepped out of the brig.

Once the door slid shut, and they were alone, Solluk walked up to the opening of the cell.

Rayek was there.  Looking nervous.  At another time, in another place, Solluk might have imagined that the man was ashamed of having let Solluk down.  But not here.  Not now.  Solluk knew better.  Whatever Rayek might have been in another place and time, this was what Solluk had made the man into.  The nervousness was a mask to conceal pure selfishness. 

What will happen to me, Rayek's face seemed to ask.  Will Tess leave me?

"Yes," Solluk answered the unspoken question.  "She will leave you.  Maybe not today.  Maybe not this year.  But soon enough.  Her people may be able to stretch a moment of time, exploring a single instant in all of its complexity.  But Tess left that behind, didn't she?  She came out into the changing, mortal world.  Because only in a changing world can you see things grow.  And evolve."

The Vulcan shook his head, "But you don't evolve, do you, Rayek?  You are the same shallow, self-interested traitor that you always were.  You betrayed your people.  I don't know why I should have expected any different. 

I lied to myself for a long time.  I told myself that you had sacrificed your career for noble reasons.  That you had risked everything for the greater good.  But... that's not true, is it?"


Solluk stepped away, turning slowly.   He walked to the control console, and briefly studied the arrangement of icons there.

"No... you left the Romulan Empire to save yourself.  A selfish motivation.  You came to the Federation to obtain safe harbor in the land of former enemies.  A selfish motivation.  You joined Starfleet- not because you valued our ideals, or because you felt gratitude for our protection.  No... you signed on because you knew that our philosophies would force us to overlook your Romulan heritage, your history of treachery, and seek out the best in you.  You came to us because we were suckers. 

A selfish motivation."


Solluk found the icons he wanted, and pressed them in sequence.  The energy field on the cell died away.

"You did what was necessary to prove efficiency and efficacy.  Not because you cared about Starfleet, but because you cared about your status and power.  A selfish motivation."

Solluk turned back to look at the cell.  Rayek's face was perplexed.

"You latched on to one woman after another.  Not because you valued anything intrinsic about them.  Saqa and Tess and Hrafn are as different as night and day.  No, you grabbed whatever was in range because of how they made you feel.  Because you saw yourself as the sort of person who should be adored by a woman, and who should have someone on his arm as he climbed the social and career ladder.  And maybe because you wanted someone to whisper in your ear from time to time that you are not a complete and utter piece of shit."

Solluk took a step closer to the threshold.

"A comfortable illusion for your heart, to shield you from facing what a monster you are.

A selfish motivation."


Solluk entered the cell.

"You couldn't even play a game without throwing a fellow player to the Wolves at the slightest challenge.  You are such a revolting back-biter that you couldn't even keep up the facade of goodness while being actively watched by the whole station- during a diplomatically important event!"

Solluk reached out and pushed Rayek, sending him backwards against the cell wall.

Rayek's file said that he had been a Romulan intelligence asset.  That he'd been trained in personal combat and was a dangerous living weapon.

But Solluk saw none of that in the Rayek who collapsed against the bulkhead, fear in his eyes.

"You betrayed me during the Omega incident, even after I'd dared to call you a friend.  And now, in a crisis, you betrayed me again.  For Tess?"

Finally, Rayek spoke, "Yes, for Tess.   I would do anything for her!"

Solluk sneered, his Vulcan blood veritably boiling in his veins and arteries.

"WRONG.  You've never done anything, ever, for anyone but yourself.  You didn't do what she wanted.  Or what I wanted.  You didn't do it to protect the Federation.  Or Katra Station.  You didn't even do it to protect a beloved wife.  Or unborn child.  Those are just stories you tell yourself, because you are too weak to acknowledge the Truth, Commander!"

Solluk clutched Rayek's uniform and drew him close.   Rayek's face was so near to Solluk's, the Vulcan could feel the warmth of it.

"You did it for You.  Always for you.  Everything for you.  And those of us who have been duped into caring about you, we just forgive you time and time and time again.  Look the other way.  Forgive and forget.

Well, I am done forgiving you.

And I will never forget."


Solluk threw the Romulan away again, with enough force to break bones against the cell wall.

Then he turned and walked out of the cell.

Out of the brig.

He turned right upon leaving the room, and then sagged against the outer bulkhead.  Tears welled up in Solluk's eyes.  Finally, a choked sound escaped his throat.  He tried to hold it back, but it had already been held back for too long.  It escaped him, engulfing his body with the spasms of sobbing that welled up from a wounded soul.

The security officer, horrified to see the Commanding Officer of the station behave this way,  drew near.

"Sir?  Are you all right."

Solluk looked up at the man, the image of his form blurred by an incessant flow of tears.

Finally, he choked out words.

"Computer..."

There was a beep of acknowledgement.  Solluk wrestled with himself to spit out the next phrase.

"End Program."



The world faded away, replaced by an amber grid.   Solluk's weeping continued for several more minutes.  Finally, he regained enough composure to stand.  He straightened his uniform, and contemplated stepping through the threshold.

He couldn't do that.  He couldn't be seen like this.

"Computer.  Site to site transport, under my command authorization, to my quarters."

He swallowed, feeling a new wave of despair about to rise up and consume him.

"Energize."







#2

NPC - Admiral Rogr of Atros
[Behemoth Battleship]



Rogr sat in his command chair, pensively rubbing his hand over his sligtly stubbled chin as the mighty battleship neared its destination.

That one of the Etrosians had been able to steal a ship and escape had caused a real shock to the Atrosian government. Probably because no one would have thought it possible. The Etrosians showed little to no interest in technological development. And even if there were one or the other interested person among them, the government had ensured that access to further education in this field had been denied - even made punishable. Which, in turn, meant that there were more bad eggs than initially assumed.

The recently elected governor Wye had been furious. His governmental approach had provided for some tightening of the rules regarding the Etrosians. And with the discovery of the largest Latinum mine in 300 years, Wye had ordered the involvement of more Etrosians for mining.

At this point it was also not clear who had made public the confidential documents that had led to the discovery of the Atrosian deception regarding the 'Ceremony of New Life'.
But none of this was Rogr's concern. His mission was to recapture the fugitive Etrosian and bring him back to Atros for his punishment.

The voice of his First Officer Sawyir interrupted his thoughts. "The sensors pick up a signal very close to our destination, most likely a ship, Pad-Sha. Jump complete in 60 seconds."

Rogr straightened up in his chair, keen cool eyes keeping an eye on the view screen. "Keep defence systems on standby. Is the hewahut still nearby?"

"Yes, we get strong tachyon readings."

Maybe they didn't need to care about the ship at all. Rogr was not keen on any delay to complete his mission.

"Jump complete in 10 seconds ... 5 seconds, 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ..."




With a mighty flash the Atrosian battleship appeared in close vicinity to the USS Healy.

"Scan for the Etrosian and the craft and bring us there", Rogr ordered. "What about that ship?" The Atrosian Admiral eyed the Healy on the view screen.

The officers on the bridge worked their stations. "Pad-Sha, the stolen craft is nowhere near the hewahut", Sawyir reported, sounding quite irritated.

Rogr drew his eyes away from the view screen and eyed him dissatisfied. The astrocetus never had failed to catch a fugitive criminal once it had swallowed its 'prey'. "Where is it, then?", Rogr asked impatiently.

"It is 0.01 light-years from here ...where this ship seems to come from."

Rogr's face darkened and he leaned slightly forward in his chair, fixating the Healy with his grey eyes. "Hail it."

Species: Ba'ku
"You explore the universe. We've found that a single moment in time can be a universe in itself."
Tess' biography (updated Nov 14th, 2020) - Previous name: Tess Moreno
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Offline Zex

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Re: POTM April 2020 - Vote
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2020, 01:10:10 pm »
Both are very good!

I voted.

Offline John Saxon

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Re: POTM April 2020 - Vote
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2020, 03:22:47 pm »
Ick! You're asking me to choose between two superb pieces of prose!

But...I've voted. Reluctantly.
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Offline Tess tLhoell

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Re: POTM April 2020 - Vote
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 02:56:18 am »
Vote is closed. The Captain's post really was excellent

Species: Ba'ku
"You explore the universe. We've found that a single moment in time can be a universe in itself."
Tess' biography (updated Nov 14th, 2020) - Previous name: Tess Moreno
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Offline Solluk

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Re: POTM April 2020 - Vote
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 11:46:28 am »
Thank you for voting, everyone.

Remember to keep in mind good posts this month to nominate for the next post of the month.  :-)

Cheers!
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