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Old November 16 2008, 05:12 AM   #91
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part IV, Chapter 4

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Oh, man...I hope they can rescue the other crew! And even if they lose the race because of that, they should get the honor of having a ship named after them as a reward for their courage.
Thanks for the comment! Hope it satisfies, when it all plays out.
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Old November 16 2008, 06:02 PM   #92
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Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part IV, Chapter 5

Chapter 5:

Sunday, June 11th, 2243
Lady Grey
On the North Atlantic

For once, the sound of trickling water wasn't soothing. It wasn't like listening to rain running down a window, or a small waterfall in the woods, or even a brook running over stones. Oh, the basic sounds were the same, but this time, it meant something wholly different.

This time, it meant that the Lady Grey had been dealt a potentially mortal wound.

His boots sloshed in the water as Scott made his way along the dark corridor, deep inside of the Grey's superstructure, his hand light cutting a bright path through the gloom. Most of the lanterns were out, probably because no one had been down there to check them, and for some reason he found the presence of the torch reassuring.

Down there, where the wind and the chaos on deck were muffled to near nonexistence, the sounds of the ship were that much more powerful. More than once a loud creak made him jump. There were a few times that she rolled and he found himself up against the wall, praying through the cacophony inside his skull that she would come back to rights again.

So far, she hadn't let him down.

The noise of her laboring through the water wasn't nearly so distinct as that wail in his head, though. It wasn't a sound that could be described in human terms, because it wasn't a human voice... it wasn't any voice, it was just there. Just like the constant white noise air makes, only noticeable in a silent room, except this wasn't even white noise. It was louder, sharper and completely indescribable... familiar, but only to him.

The bilge was under his feet, and filled with water now. Stepping carefully, Scott shined the hand light down at the floor, looking for the hatch. He had put it there so that they could get the hose in and pump any water out... now he wanted to see if there was some way to get into the bilge and survey the damage.

Might require oxygen of some sort, even in short supply.

Tucking the light under one arm, he reached down and flipped the clasp, then pulled the handle. It came up easier than he expected; much easier. In fact, far, far too easily.

Water gushed up, temporarily shocking the heck right out of him. Yelping, he barely fought the urge down to jump away, turn tail and run up to the main deck. It was a brief battle, and he had to use every ounce of his weight to force that hatch down and lock it tight again.

Stumbling back and landing on his rear in two inches of sea water, Scotty toyed with the notion of having automatic electrical pumps installed, if they got out of this alive. "Sorry, lass," he murmured to the schooner, shakily. It was a stupid move on his part, and warranted an apology.

The hull creaked again, reminding him that this was still a very real issue and one that had to be dealt with as quickly as possible. But he couldn't see a way to repair the ship without diving under her... not without putting her at a more severe risk, anyway. The numbers were there to back it up; sixty-four pounds per cubic foot of water, versus volume of the bilge, free surface movement of liquid, maximum stresses of three inch oak deck planking... Jesus. Crawling to his feet, he ran through the list of emergency supplies onboard. There had to be something there, something he could use.

He turned, casting one last glance at the bilge hatch.

Then he looked up.

Standing there, looking as pale and a ghost and trembling from head to toe, was Harrison. Scotty startled, taking a backwards step and nearly landing himself right back down on the floor. "Bloody Hell!"

Harrison jumped back as well, eyes wide and almost manic. For a moment he stood there, like someone who wanted to run in several directions at once, then he apparently made up his mind and picked a way. Whirling, he headed for the steps.

Left behind, floating in the water, was a box of charges.

Scott blinked, looking down at the box. It really didn't click with him right at that moment. It had never once occurred to him that one of the Lady Grey's own crew would try to hurt her, no matter the grudge; maybe Kelley's team, maybe someone outside of the group, but not one of her own. Not after all that had happened and all they had gone through just to get there. Not even a weasel like Harrison; not like this.

When it did, he took off after Harrison like a racer from the block, sliding around the edge of the stairwell and bounding up the steps. There wasn't much thought behind it... just pure motion. He was a half-minute or so behind, but when he did end up catching up, just outside on the main deck, he leapt on the other cadet in what could well have been the most graceful move of his life.

They slammed into the pump handle, ironically. Harrison took a few blind swings, panic stricken... it wasn't every day that something jumped on you out of the darkness, particularly when that something was snarling. He managed to connect once, but every other strike hit open air. Before he even had time to cry out, he was pinned down on the deck.

The face he was looking up at was almost more terrifying than the leap. It took him a few seconds to realize that he was looking at a human, not an animal.

Needless to say, Scott was living up to his nickname of Wolf. He didn't make any move to hit Harrison, but he sure as Hell looked like he wanted to. Voice low, somewhere between whisper and growl, he asked, "Why?"

Harrison didn't answer... just quivered, throat working as he swallowed again and again.

Knowing that he wasn't going to get an answer, Scotty resisted the first urge to punch the other cadet's lights out. He wanted to, oh did he want to, but it wouldn't serve any real purpose aside from his own enjoyment. Shaking his head in disgust, he got to his feet and dragged Harrison up, all but throwing him at Corry, who had been watching and holding his breath the whole time. "There's the hull leak."

Corrigan nodded, finally remembering to breathe. Collecting himself, he latched onto the saboteur, doing his best not to stammer. "I'll make sure we lock him up. What's the situation down there?"

"Bad. Can't get into the bilge, so any repairs'll have to be done from outside." Scott gave Harrison one last growl, then went back to mentally working on the immediate crisis. "The Wildstorm?"

"Close... real close. We should be on her any minute," Corry said, casting a nervous glance up at the bow. Their reaction time would have to be exceptional once the call was given.

"Cor, I'm goin' to have to--"

"Wildstorm off the port bow!!!" Sallee bellowed back, unwittingly cutting off the shipwright in mid-sentence.

The reaction was instantaneous. Corry had been waiting for it, his nerves frayed, and when the shout came back, he yelled to his crew, "Bring the fore about! Helm, five to port! All hands on the lines!"

Scotty stood back, fairly sure that there wouldn't be anything he could do. Most everyone else had more experience in actually working the lines, and he had a big enough problem to deal with as it was. Grabbing 'hold of a shroud, he strained his eyes to see the Wildstorm, but through all of the gloom and confusion on deck, he couldn't even catch a glimpse.

The Grey rolled under his feet, and he tightened his grip on the line. She wasn't answering to her helm, not as quickly as she had to in order to avoid getting her rudder tangled in the Wildstorm's rigging... if she lost steerage, her lifespan was cut to minutes. She would turn beam to the seas, and end up just like the ship she was there to rescue.

"C'mon, lass, not much further," he whispered, without realizing it.

It was hard as Hell to think with all of the noise. The shouts of the crew yelling 'heave!', the wind shrieking, the waves hitting, the distant background noise of the Wildstorm's crew shouting for help, the creaking... there was no peace to be found outside of his own skull, and really, none to be found inside either.

Slowly, the Lady Grey came about. Her sails were rigged to cancel out her forward motion and still keep her head into the waves. There were almost thirty people onboard the schooner, and every single one of them was going to be devoted to saving the lives of the cadets and civilians in the water.

There was only one person who could save the Lady Grey.

His eyebrows drew together in a moment of profound realization, as he cast a look at his crew, trying to save lives and do the right thing. For a few seconds the noises seemed to fade away and everything took on another quality. It was like looking through a window into another world, and not being a part of it... alone, even among so many people.

For some reason Scott couldn't even begin to fathom, it made him sad. Taking a deep breath, he watched as they started lowering the boats, then turned and headed below.

The North Atlantic in this area was just above fifty degrees; cold enough to sap the life from anyone in the water for more than a very brief period of time. The wind was easing up, though, and so was the rain. Rescuing the Wildstorm's crew might not be as dangerous as it would have been ten minutes ago. The squall had blown it's brief life out, just like that.

Corry stood by the falls of the lifeboat, waiting impatiently for the sailors who were going to man it. They were all gathering emergency med kits, lights and life jackets, and he tried not to get too anxious waiting. His crew had performed incredibly well, even this far out of the element they were trained for. That, in some part, was one of the reasons they were still afloat.

The seven men finally leapt over the boat's side, settling themselves as quickly as they could, and Corrigan gave the order to the crew on the falls, "Lower away!"

He wasn't there to see Harrison sneak away. In all of the bustle, he hadn't been secured -- still, he seemed like he could do little harm, standing at the starboard side bulwark, staring out to sea. There were more important things to worry about than locking him away. He likely wouldn't create any more of a hazard now that he had been found out, and now that his own life was hanging in the balance as well.

If Corry had noticed, he might have wondered exactly what Harrison was doing, dragging on a survival suit and then jumping over the side and swimming into what seemed like nothingness. And if he had looked, he might have seen the Queen Mary, only a couple hundred or so feet away, almost invisible in the rain, mist and waves.

Not that it would have mattered anyway.

"Jerry! Go below and get every thermal blanket you can get your hands on." Looking around the deck, he trotted over to Lewis as Jansson followed orders. "Do you think we can spare anyone to man the pumps yet?"

Lewis paused in retying a line. "Maybe a few. You'll have to have them alternate, though... that kind of work exhausts people fast."

"Gotcha. Send 'em over. I have to get back to getting the other crew onboard."

"Aye aye, Captain," Lewis chuckled dryly, then went to round up people to start to pump out the water collected in the hull.

Corry watched him go, then went back to the bulwark, just as the Wildstorm's first boat arrived. Everything was proceeding according to plan.

Everything was going wrong. There wasn't any other way to put it -- every single thing that could throw a serious monkey wrench into his plans happened. There wasn't enough epoxy to patch a dinghy's hull, let alone that of a schooner. There was no serious diving gear, just a few emergency oxygen canisters that guaranteed, at their total of four, two minutes of air. There were survival suits, but every one of them was in use by the rescue team.

Not enough time, not enough air, not enough materials.

Scott ran around the below decks, gathering what he could. He growled about it the entire way, as was his habit when everything went wrong, but he certainly didn't think to give up his plan. Afterall, there wasn't a hope in the world of changing the simple facts: The Grey was going down. She now had near a foot of water on her bottom deck, and with every single drop, there was more and more stress on the boards. Something was going to give, or something would knock her over, but left alone, she had no hope. She would sink.

It was inevitable.

Leaping down the steps, he landed in that foot of water. There was now only one lamp still burning. Her nose went into the trough of a wave, and the water came rushing down the deck, nearly taking him right off of his feet.

"Dammit," Scotty said, to no one in particular, fighting the movement of the water as her bow rose again and he had to battle his way along a deck that couldn't decide if it was uphill or down. When he finally made it to the room he had been aiming for, it was a foot and an inch. Water was seeping up through the floorboards, where the caulking had sprung.

It was rapidly reaching the point of no return -- as Corry had called it, the zero moment point. It was that point where her center of gravity, now altered by the water, cancelled out her natural buoyancy. And once that point was passed, there was nothing that would save her.

With that much water inside of the hull, that point was getting closer by the second.

Digging through the equipment that had come loose from all of the wave action, Scotty was closer to panic than he had been in a very long time. Of all of the people onboard, he knew the numbers better than anyone. Her fate was his, and determined the lives of every single person onboard. If he failed, it wasn't just the schooner at stake.

He almost whooped for joy when he found the rubber life raft. Snatching it and a length of rope, he made back for the gun deck where the rest of his ship saving gear was stowed.

Corry didn't know what his best friend was planning. If he had, it was a surefire thing that he would have put a stop to it. It was dangerous... no, it was probably more than dangerous. On a storm-surged ocean during the wee hours of morning, it was dancing with Death.

It's said that there's a fine line between courage and stupidity, and Montgomery Scott was walking right on it. Not to say that he was usually foolish, at least not before this -- if anything, he tried to err on the side of caution most of the time. Double-check everything. Always have a backup plan. In fact, have a backup plan for the backup plan. Never forget about that bastard Murphy and his law, because it'll always be there.

He was probably the last person in the world anyone would expect to throw all of his chips down on one hand, particularly one this lousy.

That thought made him pause on the stern taffrail, looking down into the streaked waves, and reminded him yet again just how small he really was. Forward, people were running around, hustling to tend to the half-frozen rescues, pulling more people out of the water, and generally doing all they could.

And then, there he was, hesitating. Finding a reason to stall, maybe half-hoping in the back of his mind that someone would stop him. O2 canisters, check. Light, check. Epoxy, check. Life raft, check. Rope, check.

That was everything, and he still couldn't quite force himself into jumping. He wasn't a good swimmer, not compared to Corry or some of the other cadets. He didn't even know where the hull leak was, exactly. He didn't have a backup plan.

He was scared.

Taking a deep breath, Scott tried his damnedest to drive back that fear and the hundreds of questions that ran through his mind, not the least of which was, "What if I don't make it back?"

Inhale, don't think about not coming back. Over the entire history of man, there had been millions of people who had flung themselves into a situation where they might not survive. At the worst, they were younger than he was, torn out of a life that was comforting, familiar and safe, and thrown into a place where they had so little chance. At the best, they were revered as heroes.

At least he had a choice, and dammit, if he was going to die down there, he was going to do it like a man. If he was going to dance with Death, then he couldn't do any worse than make that price as high as possible before it all played out. Taking one more breath, he held it this time and dove into the Atlantic.

Well, he didn't succeed in holding it for long, and any thoughts of heroics or history were driven far out of his mind. The moment he was back on the surface, he was gasping for air a mile a minute, almost panic-stricken by the sudden cold, the sharp sting of salt in his eyes, the water pressure, everything. It was all Scott could do to keep his head above water, trying to calm back down, to get his shattered thoughts back together. To tell himself to think. To think and to breathe and to swim.

It took him far too long to calm down enough to actually take a breath, hold it, and dive.

Christ, it was cold. He knew it would be, but the actual shock of it was still too sharp and sudden to brush off. He'd been soaked already from rain, but this wasn't rain, this was salt water and three miles below him was an ocean floor that he would be on if the emergency line he had looped around his waist broke.

Keep calm, don't start going chicken now. There was nothing quite like a panic attack to eat away what oxygen he did have, and he was already feeling the pressure build. Pulling the light off of his makeshift rope harness, he turned it on and shined it ahead, trying to find the Grey's hull in all of that mess. She should be right in front of him, if the currents weren't dragging him.

It took another thirty seconds to find her, and Scott was aware of the passage of time... painfully aware of it, and of the fact that he was starting to suffer oxygen deprivation already. If this was the way it was going to happen, he would never be able to fix the hull.

He still held out for fifteen more seconds before grabbing the first canister and taking a breath. The clean air was making him light-headed, but it was better than the impending blackness if he'd waited much longer.

Bottom of the hull, and she was moving... up, down, left, right, it was all he could do to avoid having her come down on him. He kept the light pointed up, kicking evasively whenever it looked like he might be in too much trouble. One good whack from a schooner with one hundred and thirty tons of displacement would finish the entire endeavor. He would be dead, and after maybe another hour or two, everyone else would be close behind.

So, shoving any pointless thought out of his mind and approaching his own personal zero moment point, he continued to search.

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Old November 16 2008, 06:02 PM   #93
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Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part IV, Chapter 5


"How many more've we got?" Corry asked Lewis, as the bos'un came aboard from lifeboat three.

"Everyone's out of the water now," Lewis answered, grabbing hold of the bulwark and leaning on it for a moment or two. He was fairly exhausted -- most of them were. It was a Hell of a lot of work to pull soaked and torpid people from an ocean and still keep a lifeboat from being capsized by waves. The fact that Team C could do it was no small compliment. "A head count shows no casualties, but there are some pretty hypothermic people in there."

Corrigan nodded, mentally running through the checklist of things that still needed to be completed. He had control of the sailors, they had a few men on the pumps, everyone else who wasn't in the midst of those tasks were tending to the unexpected guests. Now... now for the hull leak. "We're going to have to get some people on patching the hull. Right now, the pumps are only slowing it down a little." Frowning, he looked around the deck. "Where's Scotty?"

"Haven't seen him," Lewis said, standing straight again. "Want me to go looking?"

"Yeah, send him up here. I need someone good to supervise whoever we end up sending down under the ship."

Lewis nodded and trotted off, fairly spry for being as tired as he no doubt was. Corry took a deep breath, turning to the next task at hand. Seemed like there was a million things to do, and every single one of them was vying for space at the forefront of his mind. But the weather was calming fast, and though the waves were still high, at least visibility had increased.

Only peripherally, he was aware that the sky was started to creep into light.

Turning and walking to the opposite side, he helped one of the shell-shocked crewmembers of the Wildstorm down to the sheltered quarterdeck, where there were people who could help. Then he went back forwards.

And then he nearly fainted.

Standing on the deck, looking like he was about to drop from pure exhaustion, was Sean Kelley.

Corry stepped forwards, more concerned than anything else. "The Queen Mary?" he asked, praying that the steel ship hadn't met a fate similar to the Wildstorm. If she had... if she had, Corrigan was seriously going to consider that Someone had it in for him and his crew.

Kelley shook his head, reeling, not able to find enough strength to answer in more than a word. "Safe."

Corrigan frowned, stepping over to support the other cadet. There would be time for the story later, and he was sure it would be one Hell of a story. But right now wasn't the time to grill the half-frozen Kelley. A sense of fear gnawing deep in his gut, he led Sean back to the quarterdeck.

One step at a time, one breath at a time. The hull had taken a fair share of damage, not so much from the blast that Harrison had dealt, but from the pressure of the water building in the bilge. Where the caulking had been sprung, there were now two boards come loose from her bottom, and if he didn't get the hull patched and the water pumped out, it would be a chain reaction.

An exponential curve, and it was climbing.

Scott had never had much of a problem when it came to knowing the urgency of a given situation. He could tell when something required immediate attention, and when something could be put off for a time.

This most certainly could not be put off. He'd abandoned the larger light for his penlight once he found the damage, which was easier to juggle with oxygen canisters and metal-based water-proof epoxy, and bright enough to do a tolerable job. Normally, he could have sealed the entire area off with that stuff, but there wasn't enough of it -- not for this kind of damage.

He hadn't failed to note that the large light, vanishing down into the blackness, was terribly eerie.

Lob the stuff on, fix an edge of the rubber raft to it. The raft itself was damn strong material, and he'd disabled the automatic inflation device... if they could relieve the pressure on the hull, it would hold until they could get her back to land. And he could always go down into the bilge and work on it, even at sea.

Another breath, and he was also well aware that he was down to one canister and thirty seconds of air. Take twenty more, and if he wasn't finished, he would have to make for the surface.

Another edge fixed. Just a little over half done. Thirty seconds of air, which roughly translated to six minutes more on the dive.

It had taken twelve to get that far.

Scotty didn't let himself think about that too hard. It was kind of amazing, though, that even in the midst of this there were still a few scattered ideas in his head.

Like Corry. He'd been right... the Grey couldn't have stopped before getting to the Wildstorm. Scott had only been down there for about fifteen minutes, and he was already suffering terribly from the cold -- if they would have waited, someone might have died from hypothermia.

And Barrett. Would he approve of this insane attempt? Would he understand why it had to be, and in particular, why it had to be Scott down there, and not someone else?

Scotty would have really, really liked to believe that yes, the professor would understand. Maybe not approve, but understand.

It was mercilessly cold. His hands didn't want to work right, and that was unnerving. He couldn't afford to fumble around, not now -- setting his jaw all the harder, he kept working, racing time and air and everything in the world.

Another edge, two, three, breath. Twenty-five seconds.

The work wasn't exactly mindless, but it wasn't anything that required intense concentration. His hands, even half-numb, knew what to do. The thing that required his focus was the movement of the ship, and that in itself took more out of him than patching the hull ever could. If it had been smooth water, this would have been an easy task. Of course, if this was smooth water, it could have been put off somewhat, and he could have done the intelligent thing and told someone about this crazy little venture.

Why was it he'd done something so bloody foolish when he was normally so cautious?

The answer was almost too simple.

Because he had to.

Tack it down, one more... one more, breath. Twenty seconds.

Kelley was shivering, the thermal blanket wrapped so close around his shoulders that it might as well have been a second skin. But he was still awake... not very alert, but awake. Looking up, eyes dull and forlorn, he was almost unrecognizable as the arrogant cadet he'd been only a week before. "I jumped."

Corry's eyebrows drew, as he knelt beside Sean's chair. He expected some kind of treachery from the Queen Mary's crew, but nothing that drastic. God only knew what the other crew had been planning, to make Kelley jump ship and risk swimming in a cold, stormy ocean to escape. "Why...?"

"Wouldn't s-stop." Sean's eyes closed. "Jamming the communicators, transponders."

"For us and the Wildstorm?"


Corrigan wanted to ask more, but Sean looked like he wouldn't be able to do much more talking. So he nodded, even if the other cadet wouldn't see it. "All right... get some rest, Captain Kelley. We'll figure it out when you're up to it."

Kelley nodded slightly. There was humility in his voice, and gratitude, but that wasn't what spoke most profoundly on his state of mind. It was the tears that ran down his face that did that. "Th-thanks, Corry."

Corry winced internally, but kept himself steady on the outside. Patting Sean on the shoulder, he stood and went back out on deck. There was still a lot that had to be done, not the least of which was repairing the ship. Frowning, he looked around for some sign of his best friend or Lewis.

It struck him hard when he didn't see either.

Fifteen. Tack, balance, tack, tack.

God, he'd never be able to finish in time. Before, Scott had done his best to forget that fact, but now that the determining moment was approaching, and fast, he didn't have the luxury of ignoring it. Two minutes left before he had to try to swim out from under the hull, fighting cold and current and waves. Still a third left to tack down, and one good wave would be enough to destroy his hard work.

Enough to destroy everything.

He was working as fast as he could, praying for a miracle. Praying for something incredible to happen, because if it didn't, he would fail and all of this would have been for nothing.

How many times now had he faced this situation?

One more breath between him and that, and the zero moment point only a minute or so away. The moment where he had to decide if he would keep working and almost certainly drown, or whether he would leave and hope that someone would be able to get back down there before the still sharp wave action tore the unfinished patch loose.

It sort of surprised him that it wasn't a panicky moment at all, but almost unnaturally calm. It would have been amusing that it was so anti-climactic, if it weren't such a serious issue.

It really only came down to two possible choices. Sink or swim. Fight or retreat. Maybe even live or die, but no matter how hard he railed against the universe for it's injustices, nothing would change it.

Zero moment.

If a miracle wouldn't be given to him, he'd just have to make his own.

The universe be damned.
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Old November 16 2008, 07:36 PM   #94
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part IV, Chapter 5

WOW. Unbelievable!

Interesting how both the Lady Grey AND the Queen Mary each had "traitors"--Harrison who had no conscience, and Kelley whose conscience got to him.

These later chapters are starting to remind me of an album by Thrice with some wonderful songs on the theme of Water--The Alchemy Index, Vols. 1 and 2. I could PM you with some links to samples, if you wish.
Are you a Cardassian fan, citizen? Prove your loyalty--check out my fanfic universe, Star Trek: Sigils and Unions. Or keep the faith on my AU Cardassia, Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius!
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Old November 16 2008, 08:02 PM   #95
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

If I had working speakers, I'd totally take you up on that; good music always gets the blood up. And thanks much for the comment! These parts seem to be a universal favorite; considering that I suck at writing action, I'm glad I at least managed to this time. Kinda. ;-)
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Old November 16 2008, 09:38 PM   #96
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

You did very well at it--I wouldn't have known you had any difficulties until you said so outright.
Are you a Cardassian fan, citizen? Prove your loyalty--check out my fanfic universe, Star Trek: Sigils and Unions. Or keep the faith on my AU Cardassia, Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius!
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Old November 16 2008, 09:49 PM   #97
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
You did very well at it--I wouldn't have known you had any difficulties until you said so outright.
I sincerely hope I can do so in the next 'big' story I'm working on, too. I much prefer the more character-study stuff; it seems to just come more naturally. But boy, do I appreciate your encouragement. It does help.
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Old November 16 2008, 10:47 PM   #98
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Chapter 6:

Sunday, June 11th, 2243
Lady Grey
On the North Atlantic

Courage isn't an easy thing to define, but Corrigan was certain that he had seen more acts of heroism in his one storm-ridden night on the Lady Grey than he had in his entire life. The sheer amount of sacrifice, duty and honor were amazing to see, let alone to be surrounded by. He had watched his own crew offer their clothes and bunks to the cold survivors of the Wildstorm, he had watched the Wildstorm's crew support each other.

The boats were stowed away, and time slowed down from the frantic rush it had been earlier, allowing Corry to have a moment or two to breathe. He'd been running around like a madman. The crew needed supervised, the survivors needed checked, the men were on the pumps...

Now he really, really needed to get someone to work on patching the hull. The waves were much longer and weren't breaking as soon as they had, so it would be almost safe to send a few people down in survival suits to start on the task. Frowning to himself, he spied Lewis across the deck, looking somewhat confused. It only took him a few seconds to jog over to the other cadet. "Find Scotty yet?"

Lewis shook his head, dumbfounded. "I've been from stem to stern and top to bottom... he's either hiding or he's vanished."

"Vanished?" One of Corry's eyebrows went up without him realizing it. People didn't just vanish, not on a schooner on the Atlantic. And Scott just wasn't the hiding kind; even seasick and off-balance, he was usually on deck or ready at hand. That only left two places where he could be -- one was aloft in the rigging and the other was in the ocean.

Corrigan knew instantly where his best friend was. What he didn't know before then was that fear could be that sharp and sudden; so sharp and sudden that it took his breath away.


The ocean didn't forgive foolishness. It was an indiscriminate killer -- judge, jury and executioner. There was no mercy to be found, no comfort. Under the surface, it was a dark, cold and lonely world; one that had no real sight or sound.

It was irony at its best. Men could love the ocean, but never trust it.

The Atlantic had claimed many lives over the history of humanity. Then, over the past century or so, there had been none. Rescue operations had gotten too efficient, boats had become much more seaworthy, people had become a little wiser and they finally thought they had somehow made everything foolproof.

Scotty was learning that hard way that it wasn't nearly so foolproof as he would have believed two hours ago. And this time, he was the fool. The ocean hadn't forgotten. He'd never thought of it before, but 'la mer ne pardonne pas' was far more than just a phrase.

He found that he didn't care. Cold wasn't a word anymore -- it was an entire state of existence, and pain didn't have much meaning either. The only thing that meant anything to him was the final brush of fingertips over the last bit of rubber, fixing it to the epoxy. It sealed the Lady Grey's fate... and, he had already realized, his own.

How long left? Maybe a minute. He'd worked so fast that he hadn't noticed just how the whole process of death was really overrated before. No epiphanies, no great moments of bright gleaming light, no saintly voices beckoning him. His penlight had slipped from his fingers, had followed the large light down into the depths, and left him in the dark.

Scotty felt kind of disappointed -- woulda been nice to go out in a blaze of glory.

Struggling vainly with the water, he was fairly sure he'd never see the surface. It was cold, he was tired and his ship was safe. What else was there? Everyone always says that there's a limit to what a human being can take before they give up, and giving up seemed like the best option of all. Go ahead and breathe in; it won't hurt for long. The worst of the agony from running out of air had long since passed, so what little pain there was left was meaningless. Then it'd be over.

No more fighting.

No more reason to fight.

If Scotty was hanging from a cliff, it would be by his fingertips, slipping. No one could save him, and he couldn't save himself. There was nothing left to fight for. The universe would just continue on, and he couldn't do one damned thing about it.

No rhyme, no reason, no moral, no nothing.

Ten seconds? Maybe less. Then it'd be over, and he'd be dead. Just that quick.


It wasn't self-preservation, sacrifice, duty or honor, either; it was courage in its purest form -- in and of itself. It would never be praised, understood or even seen. It just was.

He raged suddenly in the battle, thoughtless, fighting all the harder simply because there was nothing else to do. It was a war without morals or any of the civilized virtues society could bestow; illogical, hopeless, primal defiance. Blatant refusal to go quietly.

On an equally primitive level, wordless...

For the first time in his life, he realized that he'd actually been fighting all along.

Nothing more than courage, struggling for oxygen.


"Don't fight," the voice said, and it was panic-stricken. Even far away, it sounded panicked. Frantic.

He wasn't entirely sure if he was breathing or not. Only that the idea of not fighting, either to failure or victory or just because was an impossible concept to grasp. If this was death, he wouldn't go out quietly.

"Please!" And the voice was closer and still desperate.


Scott managed to drag himself out of the fog long enough to realize that his head was above water, and Cor had a death-grip on him, and it wasn't dark. But that was about it. And he was coming close to sinking the both of them, still half-battling to swim alone.

He paused there, finding the coordination to ask, "Got me?"

Confusion edged into Corry's voice as he struggled to keep them both afloat, but he answered, "I've gotcha."

"A'right," Scott said, and was somewhere he didn't know. Here, or there, or elsewhere. He just let his chin rest on the top of Corry's shoulder.

No more fighting.

And for the first time in his life, he trusted someone else to fight for him.
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Old November 17 2008, 05:11 PM   #99
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Part 5: Across the Line

---- --------------- - --------- - --

And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

-T.S. Eliot; East Coker

---- --------------- - --------- - --

Chapter 1:

Monday, June 12th, 2243
Lady Grey
On the North Atlantic

Nothing was the same.

There were no great fanfares or dramatic moments after the storm. Everyone lived when the wind died down, though there were enough close calls that it was most of a day before anyone really felt up to trying to actually tackle the big issues. What to do with the Wildstorm's orphans. What to do about the fact that the Queen Mary still had everyone jammed, according to her single orphan. What the plan of attack was.

Mostly, they just tried to recover; the only major thing that was dealt with quickly was the damage to the Lady Grey's hull. Most of the water had been pumped out, enough that she could be worked on from the bilge, and once that was done, the tired crew set sail again. Limping, but alive.

But nothing was the same.

Scotty and Corry only spoke about it once; about the dive into the Atlantic. It was just after they had set sail again, driving on, both of them burned out, standing at the bow and trying hard to grasp what it was to not be who you thought you were, or where you thought you were.

"I could have killed you," Corry had said, and his voice was filled with shock and a million other things, all of them painful. "I gave you an order that could have killed you."

Scott was careful about how he replied, more careful than he might have been in any other situation. But it was honest. "I followed it knowin' it could. And I woulda gone even if ye hadn't given it."

There was quiet for a moment, then Cor asked, "How would I have lived with that?"

And for that, there was no reply. All Scott could do was hold silent in deference to a question that had no answers. How do you answer a question that you never had to face before? Moreso, what would you do if you were the one who had to ask it? It wasn't just a question about one situation, one potential mortality. It was a question about the fabric of life itself. How do you ever answer that?

There was no answer.

There never could be an answer.

"I'm sorry," he said, when the silence had gone on too long. Not for crossing that invisible line himself. He'd felt it before he dove, that other world that he wasn't a part of, looking through to the one that he was. That other world, the one where you no longer had certainties. Only questions. And then, he became a part of it.

Except, he didn't go alone. When he'd crossed the line, his best friend stepped across it with him. Had given up a place in the world they both knew and understood, and stepped into something else.

And neither of them could ever go back again.

"I'm sorry," he said again, and it came from his soul.

There was no deference in the reply. Corry just looked over, resolute.

"I'm not."

"I didn't know what was going on until it was too late," Sean said, looking far more coherent, though just like the rest of them, he likewise looked exhausted. "I can't really tell you much about the system they've got set up, but I know that it jams your frequencies, then sets up a kind of 'ghost' of your signals so that anyone monitoring thinks you're somewhere else."

"Why the Wildstorm, though? I mean, Jesus, you've got a ship going down and you don't stop?" Lewis sounded more than a little pissed off about it.

"I..." Sean sighed, rubbing his forehead. "I don't honestly think they believed it. I mean, visibility was awful. The only reason I even saw you guys was because you had your emergency lights on, and I think they thought it was all a ploy so that they'd stop and you could fire on 'em."

"Which means they knew about the guns." Corry shook his head, holding his coffee mug close to his chest.

"Well, yeah," Sean said, smiling for the first time since he'd come aboard, though it wasn't in humor. "Did you genuinely think no one would catch wind of that?"

"We wanted to," Scotty piped up, getting a chuckle from the majority of the group gathered there, though he didn't feel his own deadpan humor right then. "Power o' wishful thinkin'."

"Wait. If they didn't know what was going on with the Wildstorm, why did they jam her transponder too?" Lewis asked, after a few moments where they were all chewing on what was going on.

Sean shook his head, plainly exasperated. "I have no idea. I really didn't know anything. We picked up you guys trying to call the Wildstorm, and we picked up them calling for help, and I tried to get everyone to heave to and help out. But they refused, and Keith just said to keep going. And everyone did."

It was a small comfort that Keith O'Sullivan would probably be facing a whole lot worse at the end of this than the Lady Grey's commanders, but Scotty would take it. "So, what we're sayin' is that he committed high seas mutiny, Harrison committed high seas piracy, and we're about to go and do the same. And that's all we really know."

"Succinctly," Corry replied, with a wan smile.

"So, what do we do now?" Albright asked, having been staying in the background and watching this discussion in rapt fascination.

Scott shrugged. "We go on."

"The Queen Mary's gonna round the corner, if she's running full and by, probably tomorrow morning. Given our hull damage, though, we can't really risk running all out. She'll hold, but she won't take too severe a beating." Corry handed his coffee cup off to Scotty, standing and pacing around his cabin table. "I guess we could try modifying some tricorders to see if we can't break through her jamming and call Starfleet about what happened... I can't imagine that the Wildstorm's crew wants anything more to do with the water, let alone high seas warfare."

"That would be the smart thing to do," Lewis said, sighing. "We'll probably still get into some crap for having cannons onboard, but if we don't use 'em..."

"That's a shame," Albright muttered, though he didn't sound like he was too against the idea of giving up the fight.

Scotty listened to them, absently taking a sip of the coffee he was holding before making a face at it. Then he shoved it back at Corry as he paced by, though he didn't bother saying anything about it. "All in favor o' not fighting?"

Kelley, not surprisingly, put his hand up. And after a moment or two, Lewis and Albright followed suit.

Cor took his coffee cup back and stopped pacing, raising an eyebrow at his best friend for a moment. But he kept his hand down.

"Good." Scott stood up, tossing a dry half-smile to the other three. "That way, when we do, ye've all done the right and proper thing by tellin' us it was a bad idea."

And with that, he walked out.

With two of the Wildstorm's boats, plus the regulation number of their own, Scott figured that taking one and doing a little work on it couldn't hurt. It wasn't like he was making it unusable; if they really needed to abandon ship, it'd still function as a lifeboat. But it would also serve as something else, in the meantime. Something a little more unorthodox.

The Lady Grey had a compliment of extra spars. The idea being that if anything happened to one of her yards, she could be repaired at sea. She also had a full suit of extra sails, and any number of extra coils of line.

Scotty had commandeered a good portion of the forward deck, having chased off pretty much anyone who would get in his way, and was in the process of building a miniature Lady Grey. If there was one thing that he had figured out about sailing, it was that getting an idea of scale on the ocean wasn't an easy thing -- there were any number of ways to fall for a trick of the eyes. And a trick was exactly what he was engineering.

"C'mon. If I'm gonna be called on to do any fancy sailing, I've gotta know what the plan is."

Corry had been watching and occasionally helping with this little endeavor. He'd already guessed that it was a decoy, but he hadn't managed to guess what purpose the decoy was going to serve.

"I need to know where she'll be, and when," Scotty replied, stepping in the little main mast he'd created out of one of the Lady Grey's spars.

"I don't know if I can give you exact coordinates," Cor said, as he helped from the other side of the boat, starting to hook up the standing rigging to the mast. "I can take a bunch of really good guesses, but that's about it."

"It'll have to be good enough, then."

"Then what?"

Scott focused on the task at hand for a minute or two, then glanced up. "We're gonna lay in wait. Douse our lanterns, send out our decoy here, an' we're gonna wait until she's close enough to breathe on, preferably in the dark."

Both of Corry's eyebrows went up at that. "Night attack?"

"Boardin' attack. I'm not about to go firin' on her while she's manned. But if she's lookin' at a decoy--"

"Then she won't be looking at us. And at night, without our lanterns?"

Scotty narrowed his eyes, looking off at the sea past Corry and the Lady Grey's bulwark. "We'll be the Ghost."
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Old November 17 2008, 05:45 PM   #100
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Ha, just when it seems like they might have an attack of common sense about the fighting...and now that the secret's out about their guns, I really find myself worrying what kind of heat the Queen Mary might be packing.
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Old November 17 2008, 05:48 PM   #101
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Ha, just when it seems like they might have an attack of common sense about the fighting...and now that the secret's out about their guns, I really find myself worrying what kind of heat the Queen Mary might be packing.
They still might surprise you, either way. ;-)
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Old November 18 2008, 05:58 AM   #102
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Chapter 2:

Wednesday, June 14th, 2243
Lady Grey
On the North Atlantic

The fog wasn't planned, but it couldn't have been any better if it was.

The Lady Grey had drifted through the peasoup haze that had rose from the sea, only a short time before the Queen Mary was due to arrive. Running under jibs and staysails only, she more crept through the water than bounded; all those on deck, only enough to keep her under control, didn't speak above whispers.

They had been playing something like chess for the better part of twenty-four hours, sailing the Grey into position, adjusting her course when needed. After the decoy was finished and outfitted with running lamps, Scott had put some of his improvisational talents to rigging a tricorder and communicator to try to track the Queen Mary, despite all jamming. The tricorder for its detailed information, the communicator for its range. It had taken him hours, some of those spent growling under his breath at not having enough tools for the job, but he'd finally done it.

They could have probably used it to contact Starfleet. But they didn't. In the end, the Wildstorm's crew decided to stay out of it all, and Sean Kelley just shook his head and likewise stayed silent. Team C, who had started this, was determined to see it through -- but when it came down to it, only two people on that team planned to take the fall for the rest.

More probably would have. They were a loyal lot. But part of loyalty was knowing when not to ask for it.

The decoy looked the part, even if she didn't have the size. She set sail into the fog, this little boat that mimicked a schooner, complete right to her port and starboard running lamps, and her masthead light. Still tethered back to the schooner, of course, but that one thin line wasn't enough to destroy the illusion.

The fog, in true approaching dawn form, was starting to ease up. With any luck the distortion of it, as well as the sometimes strange perspectives at sea, would convince the Queen Mary that the Lady Grey was just half-drifting aimlessly in her path.

The real Lady Grey was dark, silent and invisible. If the decoy was a phantom, a trick, then she was the real ghost. Team C, absent only a handful left to sail the Grey, were waiting in the lifeboats already launched from her side, still connected to the falls to keep them from drifting off. They were all counting on the element of surprise in this venture; counting on the Queen Mary not seeing them, but seeing their decoy. Counting on the other crew not to even know they're there until it was too late.

The order had been passed for absolute silence before they went down in the boats. All vital communication took place via whispered relay, and that was it.

That left the quiet moments before the attack for reflection. Most of the Grey's crew of cadets were a mix between determined and giddy; it was exciting, if nothing else, committing high seas warfare. While the danger of the storm had put a razor's edge on what had originally been a daring coup, nearly everyone still felt that it was a chance to do something outlandishly fun. Especially since they'd all come to the conclusion that Starfleet just couldn't afford to court martial all of them.

Corry sat shoulder to shoulder with his best friend, occasionally casting a look at the tricorder whenever Scotty uncovered the screen he had his hand over to check it himself. Other than that, though, Corry didn't say anything. They hadn't done much talking in the past few days; it seemed like neither was exactly sure of what could be said. But they kept silent company anyway.

It still felt a little like they were in the water, though. It was a feeling that Cor hadn't been entirely able to shake, despite his best efforts to get back to the status quo. His attempts towards humor were usually met with a half-smile at best, but he really couldn't feel frustrated by it. He didn't feel his own humor. It wasn't that he felt terrible, even. He wasn't exactly sure what he felt. He only knew that he felt shaken.

"How would I have lived with that?"

When his father was sick, he only knew that he was afraid and desperate. After the fire, he was miserable and more than a little regretful.

But this was the first time he'd ever had to genuinely look at that question. Not the question of what he would do to prevent the bad things from happening, but how he would live with it if he couldn't. The fact that he didn't even have an idea of what the answer would be to that question...

Scott shivered beside him briefly, probably a chill brought on by the fog, and Corry glanced over. Despite the look and quick nod he got back -- "I'm all right." -- it still bothered him. It was hard enough to grapple with the actual events; what it took to save his best friend, not only from the water but the fire before that, but the miserable question of how he could have lived with it had he not been able to, and finally, a spike of anger towards those who'd set up both situations.

He didn't regret following Scotty into the fire, or the water. He never could. That's what friendship was supposed to be about.

But someone was gonna regret both of those happening in the first place.

He gestured to the tricoder and then looked at the screen when it was shown to him. It was just about the time to go, and he asked Scott, "Ready?"

"I'm ready," was the quiet answer.

Corry nodded, unsmiling, then started whispering the relayed orders. Time to go.

"What is it?" O'Sullivan asked, having been practically dragged up on deck. He squinted into the dark and the slowly lifting fog, trying to get a clear idea of what exactly he was supposed to be looking at. The fact that the faintest edge of gray, dawn light had just started rising made it even more difficult.

It looked like a ship; a masthead light, a port and starboard running light, and the vaguely defined phantoms of white sails. But there was no way that it could be; they were in the lead, by far. The Wildstorm didn't even exist anymore, and the Lady Grey was crippled.

"Looks like a ship to me," Maggie said, quietly. "But--"


The single yell came from aft; the Queen Mary had taken in sail and she had barely been moving to begin with, her steel hull making it harder for her to make use of the very light air. O'Sullivan couldn't guess at why anyone would be yelling.

And then chaos broke loose.

Swarming over the sides, pulling themselves over the bulwark and through the scuppers were people. What was worse, though, was that Keith recognized some of them.

"Bleedin' Hell," he muttered, and got ready to fight.

When the Grey's crew came aboard the Queen Mary, the world became chaos. Over twenty bellowing cadets with war-cries, going from the bulwark to leaping on anything that moved, sometimes to the point of tackling each other.

Corry dodged two fists, one flying body and nearly ended up knocked back over the bulwark by another. "Cripes!"

"Reminds me of a barroom brawl," Scott commented, both eyebrows up, as he neatly sidestepped whoever it was who had nearly plowed Corry overboard. "Little more messy, though."

"You people are crazy!" the body said, then got to its feet and ran aft.

"Can you imagine this with swords and muskets?" Cor asked, having to dodge out of the way of one of their own teammates giving chase to whoever it was that just questioned their sanity.

"No, not really." Scotty shook his head and consulted his tricorder after looking up to make sure that he wasn't about to get ran into, decked or anything else. "I'm gonna try'n find whatever they're jammin' us with."

Corry nodded, then caught a glimpse of O'Sullivan across the deck swinging on Albright, who mercifully ducked in time. The gray light was beginning to rise at the same time as his own blood was. "I'm gonna do a little payback."

Scott picked his head up to follow the look, then frowned. "Be careful. Throws a mean right."

"So do I." Cor smirked, then started across the deck. He was just about to pick up speed and do a little body-checking when Maggie ran into him with a startled cry, trying to flee Jerry and Lewis.

"Corry, what are you doing?!" she asked, frantically, grabbing onto his arm and looking like the damsel in distress in one of those old movies. "This is... this is..."

"Deserved," Corry answered, with a grin. He pulled free then took her arm, though not very hard, and held her there for Lewis and Jansson. "Tie this one up good, guys. She's pretty slimy."

Maggie looked aghast, and the damsel in distress aura faded when she realized it wouldn't work. She was cussing at Cor even as the other two guys got a hand each on her arms.

"Love you, too, Mags." He gave her a sardonic smile and a mock salute, and then kept on going.

It was a clever little rig. Likewise tricorder-and-communicator based, just like his own modification, but much larger and more powerful. Overall, Scott counted three different cannibalized tricorders, two communicators (likely one each for them and the Wildstorm), and the damned thing used the Queen Mary's mainmast as a sort of giant antenna. Despite the fact that he was in the guts of the enemy's ship, he had to take time to admire the work.

The sounds of the madness taking place up on the maindeck were pretty well muffled down in the hold of the Queen Mary, though he could hear a couple of really good brawls going on up there. Part of him wanted to go and jump in, but any prior taste for violence he might have had lurking in his soul was firmly snuffed out in the North Atlantic a few days ago. Not that he still wasn't up for a fist-fight, if it came down to it. But the act of not fighting was still so new that he wasn't sure exactly how to live with it yet.

Corry, on the other hand...

He frowned to himself, even as a good part of his brain devoted itself to picking apart the contraption in front of him. He didn't want to disable it yet; once it was shut down, Starfleet would realize that the Wildstorm was gone, and it was a sure bet that they would be there in very short order.


Scotty couldn't blame his best friend for being a little off-balanced, and he certainly couldn't begrudge any righteous anger, but the idea that the same leap into the water that had saved his own life might have cost Cor something that made him... made him Corry was more than a little upsetting. That his best friend could have given up something vital, just to protect him.

Scotty tried to shake it off, but it was a persistent worry. Out of the two of them, Corry was the big-hearted, optimistic one who had been practically sickened by the rage that had gotten ahold of him before the fire -- he sure didn't spend his life with his fists up, ready to take a swing at anyone or everyone. And while they'd both been adrift and somewhat distant, still trying to find where they stood in this world, that grim look that Corry had been wearing earlier bothered Scott.

He looked at the contraption again, and then shook his head. He could come back and deal with this later. Then he turned around...

...and Harrison was holding a phaser.

"It's too late," Harrison said, practically crying from fear. "It's too late."

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Old November 18 2008, 05:58 AM   #103
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind


Keith O'Sullivan was one tough fighter. He'd managed to stun Joe Albright pretty bad with one blow, and he'd managed to knock down a few other cadets immediately after. Even while the rest of the crew was being taken down right and left, he was still on his feet.

He was just finishing up with another one when he turned around and got slammed across the jaw hard enough to put him on his knees.

Corry shook his hand, eyes narrowed. "I owed you that one."

O'Sullivan smirked, spitting blood on the deck before he looked up. "Ain't you I was after. But if ye're that worried about yer little pal, it's not me you should be lookin' out for."

"What d'you mean?" Cor asked, scowling.

"Harrison lost it when ya boarded. I'm bettin' he went to get that phaser we had hidden below-decks."

"Ye really don't wanna do anything stupid," Scotty said, keeping his hands out to his sides, and holding still otherwise. Harrison looked like he was about two seconds from having a major panic attack, and when it came to phasers, panic was not a good thing. "It's one thing t'do a bit o' sabotage, but phaserin' someone..."

"Maybe we can make a break for it. Starfleet won't do anything to me if I have a hostage." Harrison nodded, a bit manically. "It wasn't supposed to happen like this. You know that, right? I mean, no one was really supposed to get hurt."

"Aye, I know." Scott believed it. That didn't take away the fact that he was pretty sure that Harrison was desperate enough to hurt or kill now, though. "Why don't we... why don't we come up with some idea, an' maybe then we'll all get out o' this in one piece."

Harrison shook his head, and the tears started running down his face. "It's too late. You know? It's too late."

"John..." It'd be a damnable thing to die just when you're really starting to grasp what it is to be alive. Scotty shook his head, trying to stay calm and cool about this himself. But for some reason, he couldn't get the thought out of his head that if he died like this, after all of this...

There was a roar that he had never heard before, and the reason he was alive to begin with ran into Harrison so hard that they both rebounded off the bulkhead. Even as fast as Scotty could be on his feet, he barely had time to process what was happening before Corry was snarling at Harrison, now pinned and half-stunned on the deckplates.

Cor didn't say anything; hit the other cadet with already bruised knuckles, and he was radiating rage. Not like the rage he'd had when he and Scott had it out, not that cold anger, but something else, and it was... was...

This was it. This.

If he would have died like that, something else in someone else would've died with him. And if his life was saved in the Atlantic by not fighting, then this was his moment where he had to fight again. But not for his life, or for his right to breathe, or in plain defiance of the universe, but for something that his best friend was a swing of a fist from losing.

"Stop," he said, and it was a sharp note he'd never heard from himself before now. "Corry, stop."

"I'm sick of this," Cor snapped, but even with his fist drawn back again, and his eyes narrowed on Harrison, he held still there. And even with the anger in his voice, there was an edge of desperation under it. "How the Hell are we ever gonna be okay, when these things keep happening?! And this little... little fuck-up didn't even care. He coulda killed you, and it never woulda even mattered to him!"

That was some language Scott never heard out of his best friend before, and it was enough to make him fall silent for a moment. He didn't know what to say. What could he say? He didn't have the answers that they both once did, before that line was crossed, even if he was starting to get that those answers then were never the right ones.

But he needed to say something, and was desperate enough to say something.

"I know you," he said, and drew in a deep breath. "I know you. An' this... this isn't worth what ye'd give up. The part o' you that ye'd need to let go of... it's not worth it."

Corry tightened his grip on Harrison's coat, not taking his gaze off the other cadet, who was positively terrified and probably holding his breath. "I'm tired of us getting knocked down! We're still in the water. I want to."

"That's why ye shouldn't." Scotty shook his head, hard, trying to keep the frantic feeling he had digging a sharp point into some spot just below his breastbone from getting into his voice.

"He deserves it," Cor said, but he was wavering.

Still in the water. He was right. They were still in the water, but this time...

"Don't pull me out o' the dark, just to go there yerself." And it was a plea, and maybe defiance, and certainly desperate.

The universe never stopped for heartbroken pleas, or even primal defiance, but it paused when you answered one of its infinite, unanswerable questions.

"What if I couldn't have saved you?" Corry asked, and he was the one fighting for oxygen, here and now at this time, looking at his best friend for an answer he probably didn't believe existed.

And Scotty gave it to him.

"You already have."

Last edited by SLWatson; November 18 2008 at 07:44 AM.
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Old November 18 2008, 06:36 AM   #104
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

WOW. That had a hell of an impact.

I think part of it is the fact that you understand the "proper" use of the strongest swear words: they're big guns you shouldn't bring out very often or else they lose their punch when you need it the most.

As to the plotline itself...I think it's remarkable how you have Harrison at once doing what seems like a very bold thing (preparing to kill someone) yet simultaneously being almost terrified. He seems like the kind of person that you'd have to worry about turning the weapon on himself if he can't kill someone else.

And it seems they must still have chivalry in the 23rd century--a guy who did what Maggie did would probably get clocked for his trouble. Yet all she gets is tied up. Interesting how culture works, isn't it?
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Old November 18 2008, 06:49 AM   #105
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
WOW. That had a hell of an impact.

I think part of it is the fact that you understand the "proper" use of the strongest swear words: they're big guns you shouldn't bring out very often or else they lose their punch when you need it the most.
Mostly, none of the guys in here are the cussing types. I mean, most of the time, Corry's worst cussing is 'Cripes!' Which is a bit adorable. The Mirror Universe Arc (yes, I have that one too, but it's not postable here) has a whole lot more cussing in it.

Thanks! I actually really hesitated about using the f-word here (which is funny, IRL I cuss like a sailor) because this story is pretty solidly family friendly. But nothing else worked.

As to the plotline itself...I think it's remarkable how you have Harrison at once doing what seems like a very bold thing (preparing to kill someone) yet simultaneously being almost terrified. He seems like the kind of person that you'd have to worry about turning the weapon on himself if he can't kill someone else.
Harrison... he got himself into a bad situation. I don't think (neither did Scotty) that anyone was supposed to actually get hurt. But then one thing went wrong, and another, and another, until it snowballed out of his control and Harrison was left with his back against the wall desperate.

And it seems they must still have chivalry in the 23rd century--a guy who did what Maggie did would probably get clocked for his trouble. Yet all she gets is tied up. Interesting how culture works, isn't it?
There is. Scotty in canon is a knight-in-shining-armor type; I figure Corry, by virtue of being kind of a sweet guy naturally, wouldn't likely be all that much different.

Thanks for the comment!
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