View Single Post
Old October 1 2009, 03:03 AM   #36
Vice Admiral
Admiral2's Avatar
Location: Langley
Re: The BOURNE Continuity!

Mistral: I can't promise you'll get why with this installment, but I'll state it plainly in the next one.


The conversation began soon after the quartet settled down to eat. Rabb made a point of taking a bite of his steak before starting things off. “Let’s hear it,” he said to Post.

“You know, I shouldn’t need a pitch, Bob,” Post shot back. “I would think the phrase ‘The Earth is in Danger’ would be enough to motivate you.”

You might think that,” Rabb said, “but I’ve already done the ‘Save the World’ thing and got nothing but a trip in a lifepod for my trouble. What makes you think I’m eager to repeat the experience?” A pause. “You’re not eating.”

Post looked down at his steak reluctantly. “It’s just that…”

He was cut off by an exclamation from Dr. Bush, sitting next to him. She had just finished a big hunk of steak. “MMMM-MM! That is incredible!”

Rabb smiled. “Sauce really brings out the flavor, doesn’t it?”

“It does! And it’s got a great, smoky flavor! Did you smoke it yourself?”

“Nope. That’s the big secret. That flavor’s natural to the meat.”

“Still haven’t figured out the biological source for it,” Etta Rabb added, “but I study random pieces of every batch we get, so I’m sure I’ll figure it out.”

Bush acknowledged that with a nod, then dug into more of the meat. “MMMM! That is so good!” She turned to Post. “Cap’n, what’re you waiting for? You gotta try this!”

Post leaned toward her and said softly. “Yeah, right. It comes from the Breen Homeworld by way of a Ferengi. And it smokes itself.”

Rabb shook his head. “Rod, did you not just hear my wife say she studies the stuff when we get it? That’s an understatement. She tricorders it all to hell and gone.”

“It’s perfectly safe for human consumption, Rod,” Etta said. “No pathogens or poisons…at least not this batch.”

Post raised an eyebrow before looking back at his plate, then he cut a small piece of the steak and forked it into his mouth. He chewed for a moment, then smiled. “Okay, fine…it’s great.”

Rabb smirked. “Yeah. Nice to know we live in a society where nobody judges others by their species or biology.”

Post turned the jibe right back on him. “It’s even nicer when we put aside our petty differences with that society and help preserve it when it’s threatened.”

“Oh, they’re petty, are they? Okay, fine. I’ll help you save your wonderful society. I’ll tell you how to do exactly that. Here goes: Give the psycho what she wants.”

Post’s face twisted up. “How does disrupting the very core of the society save it?”

“Back in the olden days the main thing you wanted to do to your enemy in a war was capture or sack the capital. Do that and you either end up owning the enemy country or disabling it for decades or even centuries to come. The problem with this tactic is that it only works if your enemy confuses real estate for nationality. No matter how much it gleams, a city is just a city. Same goes for a planet. The real core of any society is its ideals and the people who hold them. If the Federation is so strong, then removing a bunch of non-locals from one planet won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.”

“Unless you’re doing it at the behest of someone who just killed hundreds of people on the planet and its moon!”

Rabb frowned. “Yeah, well. You know that old Vulcan saying: Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I think the need of billions of sentients to live past the deadline outweighs the needs of the few thousand that aren’t alive right now.”

Bush, who’d been listening intently to the conversation, quickly swallowed the food in her mouth and looked at Rabb aghast. “That’s awfully cold.”

“Welcome to my life,” Etta muttered. She just continued eating.

“It’s also not how the Federation deals with threats,” Post said indignantly.

“Oh, bullshit!” Rabb said, tossing his utensils on his plate. “That’s exactly how the Federation deals with threats! Resolve the Conflict! That’s what they drilled into our heads at the Academy! Resolve it, hopefully before you actually have to fight it! And if you are unlucky enough to actually have to fight, just do it enough to make the bad guys stop! Y’know, just fight a little bit! And when that doesn’t work, you run out and beg somebody who actually knows how to fight a war to do it for you! That was our whole Dominion War strategy! Talk, talk some more, talk a whole bunch, shoot a little, talk a bunch more, then beg the Klingons and the Romulans to remind us what we used to know how to do! And that was after The Federation displaced whole shiploads of people in an effort to resolve a conflict with the Dominion’s main ally in this quadrant! That sure worked out great, didn’t it?

“But you know what? I’m glad you think that’s not how the Federation works! It’d be great if the government felt that way too, because this is the war the Federation needs to fight! For once, you’re up against somebody that won’t be talked down and who won’t be put to sleep with a computer command after committing mass murder! And the rest of the quadrant’s just going to sit back and let it happen! They’ll call ‘internal matter’ and throw the Prime Directive back in our faces and laugh their asses off if we ask for help this time! Well, maybe you’ll get the Bajorans to help. Exactly how big is their Starfleet again?”

Then Post threw his utensils on his plate. “All right, wise-ass. Y’Know what? You get your wish! The government agrees with you! They want a fight, and they want someone who doesn’t think like a typical Academy golden boy to lead it! That’s why I’m here!”

“Yeah, I get that you came here to recruit me, but I believe you were there when I stated plainly that I’ll be damned if I ever put on another Starfleet uniform!”

“Lots of people say that, and lots them change their minds later when the need arises!”

“Man, you don’t need me! What you need is about five or six hundred of the biggest, baddest, meanest-lookin’ combat spacecraft you people at the Design Bureau can think up, and then Starfleet needs to use those ships to scare the piss outta anybody that wants to try something like this…and if they try it anyway, Starfleet needs to use the ships to kill them and all their friends!”

“Maybe, but I haven’t got those ships! What I’ve got is one experimental ship, a third of a crew and orders to turn them over to somebody willing to kill ‘em all and let various deities sort it out, and I have to put them all together in the next couple of days!”

Rabb and Post sat there for the next few seconds, arms folded and glaring at each other silently, then Rabb glanced away, calmed down a little, then met Post’s gaze again. “One of these days,” he said, “that ‘one ship, one crew’ shit’s gonna be the end of all of us.”

Post smirked, but before he could reply, Bush shrugged and blurted out, “Just don’t let it be this time.” When she had both men’s attention, she said to Rabb, “I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. That’s kind of why I wanted to work on this project. And maybe one of these days we’re gonna push our luck with this ‘one ship’ thing, but we haven’t yet, and, well, we really gotta make sure it’s not this time. I mean, Federation or not, what that woman wants is just wrong.”

Rabb cocked his head a little and raised an eyebrow. “What makes you think she’s wrong?”

At that, Bush’s blood ran just a little cold. “What…it’s not obvious?!

“Two and a half centuries ago a Human Being named Zephram Cochrane discovered the secret of traveling at warp speed. Had he simply taken his maiden flight and flown back, the Human Race might have reached the rest of the planets and the nearest stars on their own, and then maybe branched out to the rest of the galaxy. Instead, the Vulcans spotted him and came down and decided to be our mammies, and our lives as an interstellar race have been managed for us ever since. We don’t even get to keep our own planet to ourselves. How many Andorians live on Vulcan? How many Tellarites live on Andor? How many Vulcans live on Tellar? Now how many of all of them live on Earth?

“The only thing obvious about April is that she’s willing to commit mass murder for her beliefs. Lots of people throughout human history have had the same motivation. That doesn’t automatically make the beliefs wrong. John Brown was an anti-slavery activist who used terrorism to get his point across. French and Russian peasants railed against absolute monarchy and went around beheading and shooting and running down every royal and noble they could find. We can say her methods are ‘obviously wrong’, but I’d be dishonest if I said I had any problem with humans getting the Earth back again.”

More silence. Bush was stuck for an answer, so Post jumped back in. “But you don’t agree with her methods, right?”

“No,” Rabb said. “Who would?”

Post smiled triumphantly. “So go to war for your beliefs. Go find her and punish her. Take my ship and go scare the piss out of her and kill her and all her friends.”

Rabb’s eyes widened a little, then he grinned, then he chuckled. “Well, damn, Rod. If you’re gonna sweet talk me into it…”

“Let’s be clear,” Post said, still smiling, “do I have a ‘yes’?”

“Yes, Roderick, I will do it! Was that clear enough for you? Can I finish my meal now?”

“Oh, absolutely! Wouldn’t want you crusading on an empty stomach, would we?”

Etta, who’d never stopped eating, huffed as she had some potato salad. “All that mess just to do what his old buddy wants anyway…”

“Don’t you start, Etta…” Rabb warned before he dug back into his steak. Etta smiled without looking up.

That left Dr. Bush the only one not eating. She was still staring at Rabb in disbelief, then she looked at Etta, then at Post. “What in the hell just transpired here?!”

“You convinced Bob to join up,” Post said with a mouth full of steak. “Congratulations! This is really good, Bob.”

“We’ll save some of the next batch for you,” Rabb said. “Gotta have someplace cold to keep it, though.”

Bush just looked at them like they had three eyes, then she turned to Etta, who finally looked up. “Don’t pay them any mind,” Etta said. “They’ve been like that ever since I’ve known them. I’m just sorry I only thought to put out lemonade. Get a couple of real beers in the two of them they’d’ve been much more entertaining.”
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

-Admiral James Greer
Admiral2 is offline   Reply With Quote