Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by SLWatson, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    They still might surprise you, either way. ;-)
  2. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    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."

  3. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio

    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: Nov 18, 2008
  4. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    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?
  5. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    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.

    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.

    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!
  6. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part V, Chapter 3

    Chapter 3:

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

    "It's gonna be a good sailing day."

    Cor's voice still sounded a little shaky and dazed, which wasn't too surprising. Scott still felt a bit shaky himself, though of the two of them, he was in better shape and therefore quietly stepped into the leadership role. Directing their crew on what to do with the now-secured prisoners, directing the boats be hoisted and secured, long enough to allow his best friend to get his head together.

    He paused in his coordinating then though, looking at Corry, who had his face into the wind that had dissipated the last of the fog left after the sun rose. "Aye?"

    "Yeah. Good strong wind, and a following sea."

    Scotty tried the same trick, sticking his face into the wind. But he couldn't seem to tap into exactly what sixth sense told Corry that. After another moment, he quit trying and went back to rattling off orders to the crew, albeit on the low-toned side. Still, the comment stuck with him.

    "If O'Sullivan doesn't walk the plank willingly, can I push him?" Albright asked, still rubbing his head from where he'd been hit, as he made his way over.

    Having been on the receiving end of that fist once, Scotty could sympathize. "Ye'll get first go."

    "Good." Joe took a breath, looking at Cor. "You okay, Corry?"

    Corry just nodded, still feeling the wind and probably the sunrise, and probably the roll of the deck in the easy swells.

    "Where's Lewis?" Scott asked, glancing around the deck.

    Joe half-shrugged. "Still making sure our prisoners are comfortable. We're kind of a packed ship right now. Want me to go get him?"

    "Not yet."

    Jansson was the next to join the impromptu design team reunion, looking tired but cheerful in the orange light. "Well, what's left? We've got prisoners, we're still afloat... time to go sink the Queen Mary?"

    There was a long pause, and Scotty thought about it. "Cor... ye sure about the weather?"

    That got Corry to look away from the wind, and he nodded, sounding a little better. "Yeah, I'm sure."

    Scott nodded, gave his best friend a pat on the shoulder, and then walked away.

    "Where's he going?" Joe asked, looking after the shipwright.

    "Take her."

    Sean Kelley was standing at the bulwark, looking at the Queen Mary, but that was enough to jerk his attention right back to the immediate vicinity. He blinked in surprise, eyeing Scott as though he hadn't quite heard that right. "Huh?"

    "Yer ship, Kelley. Take her. And as many o' the crew as ye need to sail her; just leave us the saboteurs, and promise ye won't disable that jammin' device until sunset." Scotty looked at the steel full-rigger himself for a moment.

    "Seriously?" Sean still looked a little shocked, but there was something disturbingly like... happy in his face and voice, too. "You're not going to sink her?"

    "No." Then a thought occurred to Scott. He chewed it over once or twice, and for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, had to fight down a laugh. "Don't win the race, though."

    "But you guys aren't going to be able to," Sean replied. He didn't sound like he was protesting, though, more like he was just confused.

    "We're not, no."

    "So... who will?"

    Completely despite his best effort, Scotty grinned. "After all o' this? I want Command to have to name a starship 'Barely Afloat'."

    Kelley stared at him for a moment, incredulously. And then he started laughing, hard, practically to the point of tears.

    "You what?!" If the fact that they were cutting the Queen Mary loose wasn't enough to break through Corry's distraction, then the fact that the Barely Afloat would win the race was. It was absurd. And even though he was still reeling, the back of his throat was tickling with a laugh at it. "That's... that's really absurd."

    Scott nodded, perfectly earnestly. "Aye, it is."

    "So, what're we gonna do between now and sunset?" Joe asked; unlike Corry, he had been laughing pretty much from the moment the announcement was made and still was chuckling. So was Jansson.

    "Good sailin' weather, right?" Scotty shrugged, crossing his arms and leaning back against the bulwark. "We sail. Heave to before sunset and throw some bastards overboard for a quick swim, and then wait for Starfleet to show up when they realize what happened."

    It was amazing how you could want to laugh and cry at the exact same time. Corry huffed out a breath, trying to get the feelings back under control, but he couldn't quite do it. After the struggles, after the repeated near-death experiences, after all of it... he almost couldn't breathe, but it was in a good way, not in that terrible way where he felt like he was sinking into some place where man was never meant to go.

    "I mean, ye'll have to mind the repairs," Scotty was saying, looking off to the horizon. "And ye might have to put up with me heavin' over the lee bulwarks, or finishin' off the saltines..."

    Cor swallowed hard, taking a few deep breaths. Shaky all over again. But he managed a slightly cracked, "Thank you."

    "It's what I built her for." Scott chuckled, dryly. "Kinda lost sight o' that."

    "Yeah, me too," Corry said, and didn't feel too bad at having to wipe his eyes on his sleeve. But he was chuckling, even if he didn't exactly know why, and it felt good. Right. Geez, he felt okay; dazed and raw, but...

    He felt right.

    "Pick a horizon," Scotty said, half-smiling. "I'm goin' and takin' a nap."

    In the end, the Lady Grey took the bone in her teeth and ran; drove rainbows from under her bow, every thread of canvas rigged flying aloft. Hauled over to a portside tack, she nearly buried her lee rail under the sea a few times in her graceful run.

    The Wildstorm's crew, despite their gratitude (and the promise that they would tell all about the rescue at sea by the Lady Grey at whatever hearings would be due soon), ended up going with the Queen Mary. Most of Kelley's crew ended up going with him, too, aside the saboteurs; it was doubtful that they'd do anything but be well-behaved themselves with that many people to keep them in line.

    Which left the original Team C with their prisoners, but no one was thinking about that right now. There was a certain sense of relief in the air, almost tangible, certainly as substantial as the wind that had the Grey bowing and dancing through the water. As though they had faced the real trial, regardless of what Starfleet would end up doing.

    Half-dozing, sometimes asleep, sometimes adrift, Scotty was sure that was exactly what it was. The storm was over. There was nothing that a court-martial could do to him that came close to what he had lived through and nearly died for; nothing that they could take from him more important than what he'd lost and gained. In the fire. In the water. On the Queen Mary.

    And now. There against the bulwark, in the play between sun and shadow from the sails, only occasionally getting jolted when the spray made it up over the weather-side rail where he was reasonably sheltered from wind and water.

    He drifted there, tired all the way into his soul, but a good kind of tired. Just weary, and peaceful, and still. He probably could have gotten up and pretended to be a sailor; hauled the lines, manned the wheel or just stood watch, but in the end, this was the spot that he had come to think of as his. Braced against a bulwark, secure enough that he didn't feel seasick. Even the bells being sounded didn't bother him, and he'd grinned a bit drowsily at the realization that he was actually kind of relieved to hear them ring for the normal watches again.

    She wasn't a starship, but he wouldn't have traded her in that moment for any starship.

    This was what he built her for. To sail fast, full and drawing, under the command of someone who loved her and who was now probably living and breathing this run back on the quarterdeck.

    It was probably as close as Scott could get to turning back time for awhile, and it had cost a lot of everyone, but it was worth it.

    The Lady Grey was where she belonged, and so were they.


    Corry smiled, but didn't open his eyes. The air was pretty warm, even into the evening, and after the hours he spent on the quarterdeck or on the mast, or hauling lines, trimming sails, running the Grey as hard as her patched hull would allow, it was nice to sit. He still felt raw, like his nerve endings were all exposed, but it wasn't in a bad way.


    "I love that sound," he said.

    "It's not too bad," was the grudging reply from the other side of the brace. "What time is it?"


    "Start of the First Watch."




    It was hard to believe how fast the day had gone. Not to say it was a short day -- sunrise to now, 2000 hours, in the summer on the Atlantic, and it would be awhile more until the sun set. But it still had gone fast. Cor had only just slowed down a half-hour or so ago; settled down on the other side of the brace from Scotty, letting his crew handle the sailing for awhile.

    There were a bunch of times he thought about dragging his best friend away from his spot there to show him something, but in the end, Corry had decided that if anyone deserved to spend a day dozing in peace, it was Scott. The fact that it was peace, something Corry wasn't sure he'd ever actually seen from Scotty, made it worth it.

    Cor didn't let himself think about what was going to happen at twilight, when Starfleet showed up. He would have to give up his ship, and then there would be inquiries, court-martials, maybe even prison time. He didn't regret anything, but he didn't plan on thinking about it until he didn't have any other choice. For now, they were on the ocean.

    "I, uh..." Corry chuckled at himself, shaking his head. "I wouldn't be here if not for you. You know that, right?"

    There was a long pause, then Scott grumbled, "Don't go gettin' sentimental on me, all right? I'm drawin' the line at heartfelt discussions."

    Cor had to laugh at that one. After everything, maybe there was a good point to that plan -- what could anyone ever really say about it all?

    Maybe they'd already said it, in all the ways that mattered.

    "I've gotcha," Corry said, not entirely out of the blue, and he knew that it would be understood. If only because it was the first time he truly understood it himself.

    He could hear the smile in the answer: "I know."

  7. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part V, Chapter 3


    The deck was a bit rowdy, but that wasn't anything like a surprise. After the past few days, people were having fun; the certain knowledge that things would all come to an end shortly had something to do with it. It was decompression, in a way -- trying to release some stress before it was over.

    "Arrrrrr!" Jansson said, striking a pose, sounding and looking like a fool and obviously not caring.

    Scotty was absolutely sure that Corry would make Jerry look like a top-billed Shakespearean actor, regardless.

    The 'prisoners' were busy glaring darts at everyone else; tied quite well and with sailors' knots, the only one of them not glaring was Harrison. He was still looking kind of stunned, kind of miserable, kind of terrified. Scott couldn't blame him -- impulsive as he himself had been of late, Harrison's terrors and ambitions had gone much further.

    He paused from watching the plank being put out for this little high-seas 'execution', a moment of indecision, then headed over. O'Sullivan gave him a long, hard look; Scott only briefly returned it, one eyebrow up, then ignored him further.

    Harrison looked at him in appeal, but Scotty wasn't quite ready to go grant one. Still, though, he wasn't about to go kicking a man while he was down, either. "They can't kill ye," he said, without any preambles.

    "They can kill my career," Harrison replied, swallowing then looking anywhere else. "Send me to prison to break rocks. I mean, I held a phaser set to kill on you. That's prison time right there."

    "Aye, it is." The fact that the phaser really had been set to kill made Scott's stomach do a flip, but he managed to keep that out of his voice. It was over now, and he was still alive. "But that doesn't change the fact that ye'll live to see tomorrow."

    "I guess not." Harrison didn't look like he believed it. But, Scotty reasoned, it wasn't his job to comfort someone who could have killed him -- only, maybe, to be fair about things.

    Maybe Harrison would figure out what the important thing was, in the end. Maybe not. At least Scott had.

    "All right, swabbies, let's send some blackguards to the briny deep!" Corry's voice cut through any introspection, and everyone on deck looked at him. Then looked harder. "Mister Albright, please scan and make sure there are plenty of sharks in the near vicinity!"

    Albright was too busy staring to acknowledge the order. In fact, everyone on deck was too busy staring to.

    The fact that Cor was in full, stereotypical pirate regalia had something to do with it. Absurdly bright colors, with a fake gold hoop in one ear, with fake hook covering his hand, and a not-so-fake cutlass in his sash, he looked like he'd stepped out of a storybook.

    But it was the huge, obviously false black beard that was hanging to his waist that did it.

    "What arrrrrrrre you waiting for?!" he barked, brandishing his hook high. "Get to it, ya slacks!"

    And the entire deck crew, with the exception of the prisoners, busted up laughing. Corry kept playing his mad pirate routine, generally insulting his crew with the worst imitation oaths ever, but eventually Albright managed to quit laughing long enough to report, "Twenty-three sharks in a half-mile, Captain Blackbeard!"

    "ARrrRRgh! And bring on the chum!" Corry replied, pulling his cutlass dramatically once he made sure that no one would be accidentally impaled.

    While they were doing that, he made his way over to Scott, quieting a little. "What?"

    Scotty just shook his head, slowly, trying his absolute best not to start laughing again. But it was a fight he was losing. "Ye look like..."

    "Like a fearsome, deadly pirate about to turn people into chum?" Cor asked, grinning.

    "Like an idiot," Scotty finished, and was still laughing when Corry dragged him to the side and threatened to pitch him overboard.

    "Mister O'Sullivan! For mutiny, piracy -- arrr, we be hypocrites! -- assault and various other nefarious deeds, we're hearby offering you to the sharks! And may whatever higher power you believe in... well, to Hell with it! Over with the bastard!"

    Far and away, Corry's pirating routine was more memorable than throwing the prisoners overboard. Simply because, despite some growling from the mutineers, the real theatrics were in Cor's over-the-top performance.

    O'Sullivan didn't actually put up any fight, probably to deprive them of the joy of throwing him over. He wasn't afraid; despite all talk of sharks, everyone knew that the scans had been confirming the lack thereof. And all of the prisoners had life-vests on before they were pitched over, along with cadets ready to haul them out if something did go wrong.

    In as such, Keith just gave a long, narrow-eyed look at the crew and Scott in particular, then stepped off the plank.

    As the rescue crew was busy working on hauling him out, Maggie made the walk. She was trying to take a page from her boyfriend's book, but wasn't doing nearly so good a job of it.

    "This is absurd!" she said, setting her heels and requiring the cadets escorting her to the plank to half-drag her the rest of the way.

    Corry briefly dropped his mad pirate persona for a moment, grinning back at her brightly. "Well, yeah. That's kind of the point."

    She didn't apparently get it, just stared at him, incredulously. The cadets stuck her on the plank, then nudged her out. "Why?!"

    Scott was the one who ended up replying, with a smirk. "'Cause it's good for a laugh."

    And it was. Not only did she screech when she was pushed off of the plank, but she likewise screeched when she hit the cold water. Corry and Scotty were grinning as they watched from the bulwark, both of them rather tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing.

    "Those wet clothes cling nice," Corry commented aside, casually.

    "Aye." Scott nodded, in full agreement. "Shame that if she shed her skin, she'd be a snake underneath."

    Harrison was the last one, mostly because the crew of the Lady Grey felt the most strongly about his deeds. While O'Sullivan had a part, and the others did as well, Harrison was the one who nearly sunk the schooner and likely had masterminded quite a bit of it.

    As of now, he simply looked miserable, as though any fear of being pushed overboard couldn't compare to the internal grief. If not for the fact that he had been so much a part of the whole mess, Scotty would have probably felt more badly for him.

    Corry was about to say something, but Scott cut him off; he didn't raise his voice much, but after only a few words, the entire deck fell silent.

    "I don't think any of us were particularly thinkin' when we got started on this whole mess. I know I wasn't. And," he shrugged there, "I don't really think we've got all that much right to judge ye. I'm guessin' the inquiry we're all gonna be facin' here shortly will do a better job than us lot can."

    Harrison looked briefly relieved, but then Scotty shook his head and the look faded as he continued talking, "I'm not goin' to pretend this isn't revenge. It is. Ye damn near destroyed this schooner, damn near killed a lot o' people, and I don't think there's any possible explanation or excuse ye could give that'd make any o' that acceptable. We all made our share o' mistakes. But when it came down to givin' up the race and everything else, or continuin' on and maybe costin' lives, we made the right call."

    There was a long pause, and Scott nodded to the 'executioners', who pushed Harrison up onto the plank. It wasn't a huge struggle, but it was enough of one.

    It wasn't all that satisfying, watching Harrison start to panic. But the next words were.

    "We made the right call." Scotty tipped his chin up. "Consider yerself lucky that ye'll someday get the chance to make the right one yerself."

    The sun settled down on the horizon, low and vivid. Things had quieted down again; on the quarterdeck, it was nearly silent, just the sounds of the sea and the light of the sunset throwing out the last warm colors of the day in a brilliant display.

    The taffrail he'd gone over to dive under the boat was warm under his hands, and the internal calm he'd managed to find today was still entirely present. It was, for the moment, just the sea and the schooner and himself. Corry was up aloft, on his platform, or had been last time Scotty had looked -- doubtless soaking in these last moments on the Atlantic, steeling himself for the inevitable, reflecting on the same strange inevitability that had led them here.

    It wasn't really fate. Or destiny. Still all about choices -- which ones could make you, which ones could break you. Upsea or down. Sink or swim. Maybe even live or die.

    The universe may or may not notice.

    Scott nodded to himself.

    To Hell with the universe. It could ask all of the questions it wanted, and some of those could never be answered. And he could ask it all of the questions he wanted, and those wouldn't be either. When it came down to it...

    When it came down to it, regardless of the universe, regardless of everything, the choices were still his own.

    "Shame we won't get to use those guns," Corry said, stepping up to the taffrail just as the sun's bottom red-orange edge touched the horizon, likely just down from his time aloft. It didn't sound like he was all that bothered by it, though. More just a random, slightly amused comment.

    "Aye, I think Joey may be mournin'. All that work, and they'll never be fired."

    "Yeah. Probably be melted down or something." Cor leaned on the rail on his elbows, taking a deep breath and letting it out, watching the sun sink faster.

    Scott nodded himself, and mirrored the motion. "They'll be here in probably a half hour? Give or take."

    "I know."

    Half down, sunk into the ocean, the sun was all red now. Good sailing day tomorrow, even if by then they would likely be behind bars or at least confined somewhere.

    "Didn't the navies do somethin' with the guns, to salute other ships?" Scotty asked, at length.

    "Yeah," Corry said, with a side-long glance. "They'd fire their cannons. Show that they were willing to put themselves into a vulnerable position, since it takes time to reload, as a salute to another nation's ship."

    "Well, we do have cannons..."

    Corry grinned, just as the sun left the sky.

    And when Starfleet's shuttle showed up in the twilight, hovering near the Lady Grey, for the first time in centuries a full-gun salute was fired by a ship at sea.
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part V, Chapter 3

    Ooooh, very it's time to face the music!
  9. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part V, Chapter 3

    Indeed it is. Thanks for the comment!
  10. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part V, Chapter 4

    Chapter 4:

    Tuesday, July 4th, 2243
    Administration Building, Inquiry Hall
    Starfleet Engineering Academy
    Belfast, Ireland, Earth

    It took weeks. Weeks of cadets being paraded in front of the board of inquiry, weeks of testimonies, weeks of Starfleet trying to get over the black eye from the media that, not only had they not known what was happening at sea during the jamming incident, but had nearly lost people due to it... and that they were court-martialing cadets, often considered the best and brightest that the Federation had to offer.

    The buzz eventually faded in light of interesting developments in the cold war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, but the inquiries didn't.

    They couldn't very well court-martial the entire group that had been involved. When it came down to it, four of them were formally charged -- O'Sullivan, Harrison, Corrigan and Scott.

    They had indeed made the history books -- the second time for Scott -- but instead of for some accomplishment, they were noted down as the first cadets ever court-martialed in Starfleet history. O'Sullivan ended up being offered a choice between years of community service and a dishonorable discharge, and took the discharge.

    The last time Scott saw him was two days before his own sentencing; O'Sullivan dressed in civilian clothes, Scott in his black dress uniform, outside of the inquiry hall.

    "See ya in merchant service, maybe," O'Sullivan said, and Scotty was surprised that the dark glowering he'd been getting from the other cadet since the mutiny wasn't there anymore.

    "Aye, maybe," Scott replied, not exactly sure what to make of this unexpected amiability.

    O'Sullivan looked around the marble hall, his gaze settling to rest on the flag of Starfleet. "Never really was meant for this." Then, with that reflection, he half-shrugged with a grin that was rather nonchalant considering the circumstances. "Good luck. Ye put up a good fight, for a tyrant."

    Despite his best judgment, that made Scotty chuckle. And despite everything, he meant his reply: "Good luck to you, too."

    The very last thing he ever heard about Keith O'Sullivan was that he had blown his own ship to kingdom come, a captain at thirty of a ship he bought himself for cargo carrying, taking a Klingon battle cruiser with him. And when he heard about it, Scott could only reflect that maybe the mean-as-a-snake Irishman wouldn't have chosen any other way to go out of the game.

    Harrison took the worst of it. He not only had been charged with the worst crimes, but he had lied during the proceedings, adding perjury to the list. Thus far, everyone else had been honest about it all, even Maggie -- some out of fear, some for the sake of honor -- and Harrison's lies stood out like a beacon. It finally came out that he had been behind manipulating the whole thing because if Kelley, Scott and a handful of others between the two teams were sunk, career-wise, he would be the top of the class. So he had taken the tension already there, then further pitted the teams against one another.

    Led away in restraints, on his way to break rocks on a prison asteroid for five years, Harrison looked defeated and broken-spirited, and no matter what had been done and said in the past, Scott never quite forgot that look.

    That had left Corry and Scotty, who stood together for the last round of it, and stood outside together waiting for the sentencing.

    "Is it bad that I'm more afraid of going home and seeing Mom and Dad, than I am of what's gonna be said in there?" Cor asked, arms crossed as he looked out of the windows.

    "Not really." Scotty wasn't really looking forward to explaining to his own family, either. At all. While there had been some very limited communications between Corry and his family since the inquiries started, none of it had really done much to ease the disappointment, and that would only get worse when this was over. Scotty hadn't even attempted to call his own, though they had been informed.

    The cadets had been honest about it all. Scott saw no point in trying to find loopholes, or play the system to get out of it. Not only would that be against his own nature, but it would be downright dishonorable to boot. When the charges came up, he made no effort to fight the ones that he knew he was guilty of, and only dug his heels in on the ones that were genuinely unfair or inaccurate. Corry had done the same.

    The conviction was already over and it had been, at least, honest.

    "Well, the worst case scenario is that we end up like Harrison. The best case scenario... uh..." Corry laughed, albeit quietly. "Help?"

    "We don't get charged by the civilian court for high seas piracy?" Scott replied, with a half-grin and a shrug. "Damned if I know what's gonna happen, Cor."

    "If we're still in Starfleet when this is over, I'm betting we'll be kept ensigns until we're fifty." Corry glanced back at his best friend, looking wryly amused at it all. "Sure I can't talk you into going pirate? The Grey's in dock, not too far away."

    "Oh, I've had my fill o' that, I think." After a moment more thinking on it, Scotty added, diplomatically, "For now, anyway."

    Corry just nodded, still smiling some, and it fell to silence again. But... a comfortable silence. Really, even a peaceful one. When the deliberating was over, they would go and face whatever was due them, even if they didn't know what that would be.

    Together, into the fire and the storm.

    The board consisted of Admiral Pirrie, Captain Pearson and Captain Robert April, who had been overseeing the construction work on the four new Constitution-class starships being built in orbit. Starships that, at this point, Scott wasn't so sure he would ever get to see with his own eyes. If there was any real sorrow for how things had happened, it was that he might never get to step foot onto the Constitution, the starship he'd been dreaming of now for years.

    But before he could give his heart to a starship, he'd had to give his heart to a schooner. And that, he was sure now, was no bad thing.

    "Do you have anything further to say in your defense?" Pirrie asked, eyeing the two cadets standing at attention in front of the table.

    "No, sir," Scotty said, knowing he was speaking for the both of them. "We made choices we can live with, or die with."

    April raised an eyebrow, his mouth in a straight line, but something like amusement written in his face despite it. "That is a rather decisive lack of remorse, Mister Scott."

    "Nothin' can be done to change it now, sir. Only live with it, and we can do that."

    "He speaks for me, too, sirs," Corry said.

    After a moment, April nodded and Scotty thought that maybe the Captain understood that. But April didn't say anything more, simply looked over at Pirrie. "Admiral?"

    Pirrie stood up, looking at his students, who looked back steadily.

    "Mister Corrigan," he started, walking around in front of the desk, pacing back and forth with his cane, "You had recently requested a transfer to the Medical and Sciences Division in Baltimore. Needless to say, that request is now very much denied."

    Scotty didn't need to look over to know that had hit Cor hard. Despite how he had gotten tangled up in the sciences, the other cadet had still found a real passion for it in the end that wasn't obsession-driven, a passion that he'd never really had for engineering. Scott winced himself, internally, too.

    "However, Commander Barrett and several other instructors have mentioned that you have a good deal of potential, if not a rather notable lack of discipline." Pirrie stopped in front of Corry, facing up to the cadet. "Therefore, Starfleet is prepared to give you a choice. An exchange program is being considered to allow cross-training between our own Medical and Sciences Division and the Vulcan Science Academy. Commander Barrett has already arranged for you to have a position in the test program, firmly believing that the discipline of Vulcan would do you some good. The board is in agreement. In the meantime, your commission will remain probationary for one further year, revocable at any point should you get yourself into trouble."

    Scott could hear Corry draw in a bit of a sharp breath. The Vulcan Science Academy was perhaps the toughest, and the best, school in the entire quadrant for the living sciences. He could get a degree there, and the finest of training, within two years instead of four to six. On the other hand, the kind of focus and discipline needed to complete that kind of work was astronomical. Nevermind that he would be far from home, family, the ocean and everything he loved.

    "Your other option," Pirrie continued, "is to take a dishonorable discharge and be barred from any further involvement with Starfleet for a period of ten standard years."

    "Yes, sir," Corry replied, a quaver in his voice. "Do I... do I have time to make a decision, sir?"

    "You have three days. The program starts in two months." Not giving the cadet any further attention, the admiral turned his gaze to Scott.

    Scott didn't let himself relax from where he stood at attention, but he didn't flinch under Pirrie's look, either. There really was nothing that could be done to him that fire and water and fear hadn't already tried to do, and the least he could manage himself in this moment was to face the consequences of his own choices with a steady heart.

    "You... are a sore disappointment." Pirrie sounded it, too, something that did sting a little. "Despite some debatable marks that you've gained in this timeframe where you were in the midst of trying to destroy your promising career, your academics have been top rate. It's been unfathomable to us how a good student could turn reckless and irresponsible in so short a time. Ultimately, we can only conclude that you may have just been too young to graduate and perhaps missed some vital training within that extra year that could have saved this from happening."

    Scotty had a damn hard time not growling at that one. The thought that he was at least a year younger than the rest of his class hadn't even crossed his mind, really, and to have that blamed for his decisions felt like a slap across the face. He went to reply, briefly grinding his teeth together.

    Pirrie must have noticed that look. He knew Corry did, because the other cadet broke stance to look over. And even though he only caught it out of the corner of his eye, Scotty knew what the message was.

    He kept his mouth shut.

    "In as such, given your high marks as well as your apparent lack of readiness for active duty, you're going to spend another year under a probationary commission. In that time, you'll be expected to attend courses on good conduct as well as perform community service on Lunar."

    Lunar Spaceport. About as far from a shining start to a career that Scott could see, within Starfleet. The notion of good-conduct classes galled him, too.

    "Further, you'll be spending three years on corrective action, with a firm eye being kept on your performance. Your other option is to take the dishonorable discharge, just like Mister Corrigan." Pirrie raised both eyebrows. "Are you able to live with that, Mister Scott?"

    For just a split second, Scotty thought about taking the discharge, thought about taking O'Sullivan's route, thought about it all. But it was a fleeting thought. He'd fought too hard to get this far.

    Now he would heave to, ride out the gale, and set sail again when it was over.

    "Aye, sir." Scotty nodded, smartly. "I can."

    It was after all of the paperwork, and after the bell had been rung signalling that the inquiries were all finally over, that Scott got to talk to Barrett again. He hadn't really been looking forward to seeing the disappointment he was sure to get from the Commander, who had been nothing but fair throughout the entire thing.

    And so it had surprised him to no end when that disappointment never appeared.

    "Did you find it?" Barrett asked, with that same eerie certainty, the same question he had asked the morning before the Lady Grey had been set ablaze. Standing outside of the hall, as the sun was setting on Belfast, he looked like he already knew the answer to the question that he was asking, too.

    Scott clasped his hands behind his back. "Aye, sir, I believe so." He took a moment there, thought about how to word his response. How to show that he'd found the answer to that question, had even fought for it, when the universe didn't want to give it up to him.

    "It's not destiny or fate; it's life, it only ever gives ye two choices at a time, and whether ye sink or swim, fight or don't, live or die... the choice on how ye face it's still yours," he finally said.

    Then he nodded, putting the final and perhaps most important part in, "Still mine."

    And that was the nature of wind.
  11. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Epilogue: Fair Wind

    Epilogue: Fair Wind

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

    It's all to the wind,
    It's all in our hands...

    'Cause we break,
    And we burn,
    And we turn it inside out
    To take it back to the start;
    And through the rise and falling apart...

    We discover who we are.

    -Lifehouse, Who We Are

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

    Saturday, August 19th, 2243
    Starfleet Academy Main Campus
    San Francisco, California, North America, Earth

    The chatter at the back of the crowd was more of a buzz than a solid noise; whispers that broke occasionally into silence, then started up again just as unfathomably.

    San Francisco was surprisingly sunny and warm. There was a good haze that made the Golden Gate Bridge look ghostly, but no true fog like there had been that morning. People had gathered, admittedly slowly, over the course of the hours approaching mid-afternoon, and it seemed as much like a big picnic as anything else.

    Of course, the area near the water's side was packed, and the view was less than perfect higher on the hill and further back, but it was still all right.

    Scott had just gotten off shift at Lunar, having rearranged his hours as best he could to be here. He needed a shower in the worst possible way, and probably had more black grease showing on his face than clean skin, but that had its benefits too -- people gave him a reasonably wide berth.

    Well, most people.

    "You look like a grease monkey," Corry said, pulling no punches. Dressed in his new Science blues, he looked clean, neat and not like someone who left his half of their former room in shambles. Unfortunately, Scotty knew perfectly well that appearances could be deceiving. "Smell like one, too," Cor added, wrinkling his nose up, jokingly.

    "Sympathy's as legendary as ever," Scotty replied, with a scoff, crossing his arms and glancing down at his stained up coveralls. "Been called worse, though."

    "Like chicken. Or puppy. Or cub."


    Cor chuckled, "Yep. That's me."

    Corry was leaving in four hours for Vulcan; had grabbed the last transport he could to the desert world that would still allow him to report on time. And despite all possible banter, Scott knew that his best friend was struggling with it. As much as Scotty was always reaching for the stars, Corry was always trying to keep his feet on the ground (or on a boat's deck), and two years spent so far away was going to be difficult for him.

    Then again, they'd managed to do some rather difficult things over the course of... well, of a long time. In Scott's case, maybe even a lifetime.

    He had gone back with his best friend to South Bristol, had stood at Cor's side while the inevitable explanations had to take place with Corry's parents, and then he had gone back to Aberdeen to give his own report. In the end, though, there was no fury, just a kind of apathetic disappointment in his actions. And where he might not have been able to stand that even a year before, Scotty could live with it now... it stung, but he could live with it.

    He wasn't exactly sure what would happen from here, for either of them or any of them. He really only knew that he would keep his head up and work himself back out of the mess that they had gotten into -- eventually, provided nothing happened, he would be let off of corrective action and even if he had to fight for every single promotion from there on out, he still felt that it was worth it. Right or wrong, it had been worth it.

    The schooner that had been a very big part of all of it was due to be tugged into San Francisco Bay, having been brought across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the coast by dynacarriers.

    "I'm kinda glad they're tugging her in," Corry said, after a few minutes of quiet. "I don't know if I can take seeing her under sail without me."

    Scott wasn't sure that he could take it either, and he still wasn't much of a sailor. But both of them loved that schooner, and even though there were a few old scars they had gotten from working on her, it was doubtful that they'd trade those. Seeing the Lady Grey sail without them would be a little too much. "At least she's gonna have a good home, though."

    "Yeah." Cor laughed, shaking his head, "I wish I could be here to see the first sail-training crew from Command School try to take her out. That'd be a more painless riot."

    It had been Barrett's idea to send the ships built by the Engineering cadets over to the Command Division for sail training. An old naval tradition that had long since fallen out of practice, it was a way to salvage the tarnished reputation that the windjammers had gotten due to the race. The pitch hadn't been hard to make, and it was accepted by the brass without much fuss.

    Now, as to the Barely Afloat... the decision had been made to honor the deal that they had made, but that really had a lot of accompanying fuss. And that alone, despite hearing about it in the middle of one of those damnable good conduct classes, had forced Scotty to put his head down on his desk to keep his laughter from disrupting everything. Command would honor the deal, and christen a starship with that name, but would immediate re-dedicate it to a name that was just a little more dignified.

    When he called Corry about it, Cor had laughed so hard that he couldn't even really breathe, just setting Scotty off all over again. And while duties had meant they didn't see all that much of each other in the time since the court martial, they still had managed to keep each others' spirits up.

    That would get a lot harder in short order.

    "Almost forgot," Scotty said, having been prompted by that last thought. He pulled the smallish box out of his pocket, rather glad that the box itself wasn't all that important, given the current state of his hands. "Here."

    Corry looked at it for a moment, then took it and eyed Scott, imitating his best friend in a worrying accurate way, "'Don't go gettin' sentimental on me, all right?'"

    Scott laughed, "I'm still drawin' the line at heartfelt discussions."

    "Well, good," Cor replied, rolling his eyes. "Wouldn't wanna go have any of those, nope." But he was still smiling about it when he opened the box, and then the smile faded. "Cripes, Scotty..."

    It hadn't been easy to get ahold of the pocket compass, and Scotty refused to spend that kind of capital on anything that had been less than well-made, but he figured that it was an entirely worthy gift. Maybe not five hundred years old, but a solid three or so, it was one of the finest ones that had been made and still worked, despite some wear on the cover.

    "This... really had to cost way too many credits," Corry said, obviously getting a little choked up.

    Scott waved that off, even though he was kind of touched by the reaction. "Wasn't that bad. Besides, a decent piece of equipment like that's never really a bad investment."

    Corry struggled to get himself composed, and finally said, "Thank you."

    "It's so ye can find yer way back home," Scott replied, not looking over, with a bit of a smile.

    Corry nodded, a quick bob of his head, and Scotty wryly reflected that they really were getting into dangerously sentimental territory here. Still, though, if he couldn't be there to go and bolster his best friend's spirits, especially on Vulcan where Corry wouldn't likely have all that many people to joke with, a reminder couldn't be a bad thing.

    He was polite enough not to look over at Corry wiping his eyes, either. Supposed that the same thing that made Corry who he was, was the same thing that made him get all misty-eyed when emotion got the better of him, and that it was a good thing.

    "Well, uh... since we're already all sentimental--"

    "Speak for yerself," Scotty interrupted, a somewhat weak attempt to lighten the atmosphere.

    "--here. Since you lost yours saving the Grey."

    After a moment of staring at it, Scotty carefully took the new penlight. He had reached for his old one countless times since he lost it, and missed it quite a bit when he was trying to work on something in cramped or low-lit places. It had really never left his possession from when it was given to him, to when it slipped from his fingers under the Lady Grey, and despite not really saying anything about it, he had quietly mourned the loss.

    It was both surprising and not surprising at all that Corry had noticed anyway.

    He looked it over, not holding onto it too hard for the sake of not marring the new matte black surface with the grease from his hands. Then held it out of his own shadow to read the little letters, etched silver, around the light-end of it.

    "Wolf," he said, and wanted to make a joke about it being puppy, cub or mutt, but he couldn't quite make himself speak much more past the constricted feeling in his chest.

    "In case you find yourself in the dark." Corry managed to keep a fairly steady note. "At least you won't be there alone."

    Mercifully, at least for his pride, Scotty didn't have to reply to that. He was having a hard enough time trying to even breathe past it. Like all of it... the past couple of years, and all that had changed, and all he had gained, and lost, and given up, and still searched for... all of it was summed up in just a few words. What it was to face the fire, what it was to face the water.

    What it was when you trusted someone else enough that they could save you from both, and the dark cold places you knew too well.

    The tug materialized out of the haze, and behind it like a ghost was the Lady Grey. Trim from stem to stern, clean practical lines, built from the keel up with blood, sweat and tears. The rest of the crowd got louder, pointing and talking in excited tones, at the first full-sized sailing ship to grace the Bay in a very long time.

    They didn't say anything, just stood and watched as she became more distinct, clearer, her fine details easily seen by those who spent so much time on them. Kept watch as she was pulled to her new home on Hyde Street Pier, where there was a flurry of first year Command cadets who were staring at her in awe, their silence and stillness easily apparent even at a distance.

    There was nothing more to say, at the moment. After the crowd moved, heading closer to the pier where the schooner was now being tied up, they both turned around and left, Scotty putting his new penlight in the usual pocket occupied by the old one.

    There was nothing more to say, at the moment, about it all.

    It had all been said already.

    They walked away together.
  12. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Epilogue: Fair Wind

    Damn. What a fine story. Well-crafted, literate, full of heart. Thank you, it was a pleasure to read.
  13. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Epilogue: Fair Wind

    ::bows!:: Thanks for the comment! I'm glad it held up, considering most of it is seven years old.
  14. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Epilogue: Fair Wind

    Man...what a WONDERFUL story!!! This was well-woven all the way through...I hardly know what to say about it other than what's been said already. My compliments to you! :)
  15. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Epilogue: Fair Wind

    I really appreciate it! I always worry that it'll read wrong, or people won't quite get it, or it won't be fun -- there's no objectivity when you've been working on something for so long. So, it's always a huge relief when people enjoy it, and when they say, "Yeah, I can understand how it all happened this way." And, of course, when they don't freak out and go, "You mean, Scotty has a friend outside of the bridge crew?! An OC no less?! Scandal!"

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting; you've made my week!
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Epilogue: Fair Wind

    You're so welcome! :)
  17. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Uncommon Language

    So, On the Nature of Wind is completed. But, given that it was written first, and there are a few things in there that beg for more attention in retrospect, there are other stories that take place in the same timeframe as this one. Some by me, some by other folks who threw in and wrote a piece for it. They're not in the main story, just because they won't fit -- ONOW has a definite, solid plot and flow to it, and the other stories are more snapshots.

    But anyway, here's the first one, which I wrote on a lark -- a good-natured little piece about Corry voice-coaching (read: getting ever more frustrated with) Scotty, and the inherent results.


    Title: Uncommon Language
    Rating: G
    Words: 534
    Timeline: 2242
    Disclaimer: Scott is Paramount's property, Corry is mine.
    Notes: Takes place between the Prologue and Part I of that story... a light-hearted look at accents, and a building friendship. Hopefully, you don't have to be a Mainuh to appreciate it. Originally posted here.


    "Seriously, you're driving me crazy! It's 'yes' and not 'aye'!"

    Scott narrowed his eyes at the proclaimed Corry the Magnificent and thought about how nice it would be to knock his mouth out of commission for a little while. He wouldn't do it, but he sure thought about it. "Patient as I've been, ye dinna have--"

    "Don't." Corry looked like he was just as frustrated, and ran both hands through his hair.

    Scotty twitched. How many times had he heard that since this whole tutoring thing began? "--don't have to keep harpin' on me!"

    "You still sound like... like you just walked in off of the heather or whatever!"

    That was absolutely the wrong thing to say. Scott didn't even blink, just launched into a somewhat impatient tirade against Corry. Except, in Doric-Scots. After about thirty seconds of him speaking that particular dialect, Corrigan was staring at him open-mouthed and he raised an eyebrow. "Fit?"

    "Was that English...?"

    "Think ye sae? Ah dinna ken," Scott said, then went back to his own, far less Doric native. "If ye're goin' to accuse me o' just steppin' off the heather, ye should at least know what that sounds like."

    Corry shook off the Doric, complaining, "That still doesn't change the fact that it's 'yes' and not 'aye'!"

    Back to this again. Corrigan was pacing around in agitation, though Scott got the distinct impression that Corry was actually enjoying his frustration in some way. That it was as much funny for him as irritating.

    "It's not that big a deal, is it?"

    "Ayuh!" Corry said, stopping in his pacing. Then his eyes went wide and he hastily amended that. "Er, yeah!"

    Too late. Scott eyed him. Really eyed him. A slow grin crossing his face. "What was that?"

    "I said 'yeah, it's that big a deal'," Corrigan replied, but it was obvious that he was squirming a little. "Because we already answer--"

    "No, no. Ye said somethin' else before that." Scotty tipped his head to the side, grinning even more. "Ayuh?"

    Corry cleared his throat. "It's... it means almost the same thing, it's just..."

    "Ayuh. Ayuh." Testing the word out like it was a fine mouthful of whiskey, Scott decided he kind of liked it. Plus, it had the effect of making Corrigan turn red. Nevermind the irony, which was the best part. "Ayuh."

    Corry grabbed his books off of the table. It was his turn to twitch. "I'm gonna go and get dinner. See you tomorrow?"

    Completely unable to let this pass, Scotty beamed back. "Ayuh!"


    "Anyway, I dinna have--"


    "Ayuh. Anyway, I don't have to go an' tell ye that the calculations ye just did were all wrong." Scotty didn't even let the smirk he felt cross his face at the way Corrigan winced at the affirmation. "Wicked good try, though." And he was awarded with another wince.

    "Okay, seriously. I totally understand that you're trying to prove a point, but isn't this going a little far?" Corry asked, a bit of a pleading note in his voice. After a week of this, he was obviously more than willing to come to a compromise.

    "That depends, really," Scott replied, keeping his expression and voice neutral. "Are ye just about done railin' me on the 'aye' versus 'yes' question?"

    Corry nodded, emphatically. "Aye."

    They had finally found a common language.
  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Uncommon Language

    Ha...that's cute! :D
  19. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

    Oct 27, 2008
    NE Ohio
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Uncommon Language

    LOL! Yeah. I wrote it on a whim. One of the things that irritates me all to bits is people harping on Scotty's accent as not being authentic enough. I figured that I'd give a 'canon' explanation as to why he uses all the usual contractions (don't, can't, won't, wouldn't, etc) versus the Doric-Scots versions (dinna, canna, willna, wouldna, etc.) -- it's mentioned in ONOW, this just clarifies it more clearly.
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Re: Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Uncommon Language