REP TOS-AU, Come The High Water, PG13, Col. West

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gojirob, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    This story, while focusing on an obscure character, hopefully explains a lot about the Ancient Destroyer Universe; it also contains an appearance by a non-ST but well known character-there's a reason he's in there, that'll come in later stories.



    A man makes his choice, and then lives with it. But will he have cause to regret it, and if so, what then? Colonel West learns the answer.



    Come The High Water

    By Rob Morris


    PRIVATE JOURNAL



    My name is Rene' Endicott West, and I am a Colonel in Starfleet Intelligence. I have been loyal to the United Federation Of Planets, and most especially to my native planet, The Earth. This is not out of a belief in its special or superior nature. I am loyal to it because it is mine. One must eventually choose what one is loyal to, and this is what I have chosen. I have no intention of seeing the Federation Flag fly over other sovereign powers, but I am doubly fierce in my resolve that none of the other powers shall ever hoist their banners upon the Eiffel Tower. There shall be no bloodwine drunk upon its summit; no Romulan will consider transporting it away as a trophy of conquest; no heads freed by Orion blades will adorn it, and for good measure, no Kzin Pridor will roar from it over the City Of Lights, unlikely as that might be.



    This is the oath I took as a young agent, entering into the silent service, the thing never even whispered of. Even when a simple invocation of its name was needed in the direst emergencies, we still used a euphemism: Prime Eleven. The eleventh prime number is of course, Thirty-One.



    I bear the other species I mentioned no ill will. They do as their heritage and culture demands. Klingons need to break things, including, it seems, their own gods, when those gods wanted to pay tribute to the Ancient Destroyer, Khiterah, also called King Death. The Romulans have a mania for order, and that mania means that the only way to protect Romulus from being someone else's province is to reduce the entire universe to being theirs. I fear at some point their planning and scheming will ensnare and strangle all the cosmos. As for the Orions, their desire for conquest is small-until awoken. When that happens, the opportunistic slavers become pirates of old, with all the worst that name conjures up. But there is no effective way to move against them, with punitive strikes needing to pass through Klingon and Romulan space. It keeps them in check, but it also gives them cover. The Kzinti are encircled in the Dead Zone, but live to replay that long-ago cosmic historical blip when they ruled over what the Iconians pulled back from.



    I have dwelled my entire life in an ambiguous world to support the unambiguous goal of the preservation of my way of life. I consider myself a patriot, rather than a nationalist. I support my state whether right or wrong, but never do I delude myself with the notion that our doing something makes it right. I had always believed that I could walk that fine line of dark actions taken to preserve the light without either falling into the abyss or becoming that lowest of pawns, the intelligence man who works to provide cover for the blatantly political. I might have been able to pull it off. Then came word that the USS Constitution had been lost while searching for evidence of the lost Vulcania Colony. Its captain, Robert April, had been my own first commanding officer. I saw him as too indicative of the soft-hearted nature of good men, while he saw me as far too hawkish on defense matters.



    But we each knew that the other was vital to the existence of democracy, and so I became his Chief Of Security during the shakedown of his first ship, the Enterprise. I yelled at Bob April about his presence on landing parties, and he yelled at me about firing into the air to disperse angry planetary natives. It was December 8th, 2255, and I determined to find out what had become of my fractious mentor and friend. I dedicated this task to two people: Bob's niece Robin, and the grandson of the ship's first officer, the man who took pains as the ship lost contact to send telemetry, my best and only evidence. That man had been George Samuel Kirk, Senior, and that grandson, born on Deneva 3 likely just as the ship fell, was named Peter. I imagined I might meet this boy one day. I had no more idea how that would come about than I did what that final latent telemetry would reveal.



    The universe, you see, was being murdered, and the being meant to stop that murderer in its tracks had just entered the cosmic stage. I had a hand in enabling them both.





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


    December 31st, 2255


    West showed his expert guest what George Kirk had sent, moments before the presumed end.


    "The timing between strikes indicates an attack, rather than an encounter with a cosmic storm or other phenomenon. The message about the crew losses indicates an enemy of immense power and the ability to deliver that power to a target's most vulnerable spots in almost the precise way to break that target at warp speed. In short, we face an enemy capable of wiping away a Constitution-Class starship in relative moments. George Kirk must have been just as invulnerable and/or lucky as they say, even to have survived as long as he did."


    The expert nodded.


    "He was a tough man to kill. His boy Jimmy is cut from the same stripe. Incredibly inquisitive mind. Tactically brilliant. Are you aware of what he wrought on Tarsus, a mere six years ago? He and his young lady, a Nyota Uhura...."


    "Doctor Gill, we are discussing the fate of Kirk Pere', not Fils. Also, I was among those who debriefed the young couple, so I know well of them. In any event, Kirk is dead, and so are over two-hundred excellent officers, including my mentor. Why a man of his accomplishments never made Admiral is beyond me. Bob April stood like a colossus over this fleet, the first such figure since Archer. So I want to know what killed him. It was suggested to me that your perspective and knowledge as a historian might give me some insight into what did this. Is there any precedent or mention of such a powerful ship meeting its end so quickly in your research?"


    John Gill struck West as a man who looked too much in charge, for someone so low on the Starfleet pole. His expertise was widely acknowledged and praised, but he answered to almost any officer of significant rank he dealt with, at least in theory. But his demeanor was that of a man with a secret, and it was a secret that put him above all those he should have bowed to.


    "I can honestly say, Lieutenant West, that there is nothing in all my studies or readings that lend itself to this circumstance. After all, we're not being invaded."


    West hated admitting that. That simple fact seemed to belie his notion of an attacker.


    "I know. Because we are not being invaded, it means that it is not a sovereign power seeking to expand into our territory. My superiors have made me painfully aware of that stance, these past three weeks."


    Gill shrugged.


    "I said that my experience as a historian doesn't help here. But then, I am also the Federation's premier authority on eschatology."


    West knew that eschatologists studied religious beliefs concerning the end-times, and politely waited for Gill to make his point, despite the urge to roll his eyes.


    "We, Lieutenant, are about to leave the narrow era wherein the loss of a single ship, or even a single world, counts as shocking or even noteworthy. If the kind of power exists to break a Connie-Class like that, then soon we will be transacting in the deaths of whole star systems, and clusters of star systems. Historically, this is necessary, every ten or so millennia. Clears out the flotsam and jetsam. The genetic driftwood, if you will. My advice is to be ready for it, and make sure that this old planet of ours is also ready."


    "Some, Doctor, might call such an attitude cold. Unfeeling. What of the other worlds in the Federation?"


    "Them? They can do for themselves, as I imagine they already are. Our Federation is largely an ambitious fiction, Mister West. Under the pressure of such an enemy as you posit, it will all fall away rather quickly. We must learn anew, to do for ourselves, and for our own. George Kirk and Robert April never understood this reality."


    West had wanted facts, and he instead was getting politics and religion.


    "Doctor, your feud with George Kirk is well known."


    "My feud, Mister West? Why would we two have had any manner of feud?"


    "Kirk opposed the construction of Admiralty Hall, which you were the chief cadet advocate of."


    Gill seemed amused.


    "Nonsense! George and I had a spirited debate, and he lost. He was spouting on about a tradition of Starfleet officers serving in the proximity of all their peers, while I helped people recognize the reality of the unique pressures our Admirals face, and their need for a place all their own."


    Gill was being disingenuous, West knew. Kirk had been far from the only one to oppose the Hall's construction, and an intelligence agent knew better than most that those who make the decisions needed to be near those they presided over. But he wasn't there to debate the historian. The man had given what he had, and West appreciated that much, end-times talk aside.


    As the New Year approached, so did the new era that John Gill predicted. It is worth noting that the era of vanished star systems would have been coming in any event. But in this reality, it would have a sinister bent beyond the mere perils of exploration. Rene West was the first to truly realize that something else had emerged, or, more accurately, re-emerged. In his zeal to investigate this matter, he had just unwittingly told the leader of The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer that his three-headed deity had broached the borders of the Alpha Quadrant.


    The Apocalypse would begin in thirty years.
     
  2. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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


    2264


    West was blunt with Nogura.


    "Admiral, this is the second Vulcanian Expedition to go awry. When will it stop? I know the Vulcans desire to know what became of their people on Vulcania Colony, but first, we lost the Constitution, and now, we nearly lost Enterprise. Why is this a priority?"


    The man who wore the burden of Commander-Starfleet gave in on an important detail.


    "Rene, two of the people lost on that colony, nearly a hundred years ago, were the only son and daughter-in-law of Lady T'Pau herself. No one on Vulcan even knows how in the hell the escape pod containing the infant who would become Ambassador Sarek got back to Vulcan. Now do you understand?"


    "So Security is an issue. Should Sarek even be a Federation Ambassador, if there are such doubts about his identity?"


    Nogura shook his head.


    "That's been verified so many times, it's not even funny. But knowing what happened and how he got away from it would not only relieve Vulcan, if you get my meaning."


    West moved on to other points.


    "How is Pike doing?"


    "I don't know. Other than his endorsing my choice of Jimmy Kirk as his replacement, we haven't spoken."


    "He needs to be debriefed, sir. Even in mourning, this needs to happen now."


    Nogura sighed openly. Good men like West or no, the existence of Section Thirty-One was a sore point for the man who had been protected by April and Pike against the secret machinations of the Order.


    "You have my permission to try. Lots of luck getting through to him."


    West found him in the apartment that had once been April's, and would soon be Kirk's. Each captain of the Enterprise was awarded it by his predecessor, owing to its prime location.


    "West."


    "Pike."


    April's former First Officer and his former Chief Of Security in fact got along just fine. Their politics clashed, so they never talked politics. Their views on religion clashed, so they never talked religion. They worked, and appreciated someone else who did their work. Theirs would never be a friendship, they reasoned, but the respect was far from grudging. If a debriefing had to occur, and Pike knew it did, then a no-nonsense, unsentimental man like West was the best one to do it.


    "How's life in the fast lane, Rene?"


    "Thirty-One is never fast, Chris. It's slow, and deliberative. My work is about as far away from Ian Fleming as one tends to get, unless you count Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. You might do well in it. Give you a chance to forget."


    Pike shook his head.


    "No combination of the hardest Saurian Brandy and the most mind-numbing analysis work you could throw my way could make me forget her for a nanosecond."


    West closed his eyes. He had seen the late Mrs. Pike, her husband's former Number One, after the Vulcanian Expedition. Her hair was white, and she was mumbling words from an ancient song that now haunted both men, one who had loved her, and one who respected her immensely.


    *Why do the birds go on singing? Why do the stars glow above? Don't they know it's the end of the world?*


    The later lyrics in that song had been more hopeful, but the maddened Berema Pike never seemed to get past those grim ones.


    "She was a good woman, Pike. And her memory deserves better than your moping and inactivity. I've heard that you plan to do inspections of cadet cruises. Not fit duty for Bob's right-hand man."


    The soon-to-be-replaced Captain Of The USS Enterprise could no longer feel enough to get riled at his old associate. That told West more than he wanted to know about Pike's state of mind.


    "You want to know what I saw out there, Rene'? Okay. I saw the Anti-Christ. I saw Satan, laughing with delight. It was the Devil killed Vulcania colony, and it was the same devil took apart our recent expedition. If Jim Kirk hadn't ordered the pullout while I was out cold, we would have lost everything. The Hall tried to nail him for mutiny, and it was my refusal to cooperate got me in their doghouse. Hence the cadet inspections."


    "He did override several ranking officers."


    "Who-were-dithering and they hadn't even seen the attacker!"


    West went back on point. Kirk had been correct to do what he did, and was soon to be rewarded with a captaincy that was almost a proper lordly title. He was not at issue.


    "Chris, you say you saw the devil, the Anti-Christ. Those claims alone would make me suspicious of the sanity of any man. In your case, I almost feel compelled to place you under care. I was the religious one, remember? You are an atheist, and rather hardcore at that. I've changed, but I can't imagine you have."


    Pike produced a file chip from his pocket. He pointed to the image on screen.


    "Now--I'm a believer."


    The image had been captured as Pike's shuttle flew end over end, hurled back by what had been deemed a gravimetric anomaly. The image was hard to view, except for one thing: The confirmable physical presence of three columns composed of what looked like chain-mail, many thousands of kilometers wide and long, told by the position of the shuttle as the image was taken.


    "What the hell are those things?"


    Pike closed his eyes.


    "Necks. Each leading to a head. The creature in question resembled greatly the dragons of Terran myth. Berema saw it and went mad. I would have, but the Talosians did something to me, all those years ago. I've never seen reality in quite the same way."


    West was close to losing it himself. He suspended all thought of asking Pike why he had never spoken of this before. How could he? Who would have listened, save an intelligence agent who knew him well?


    "Chris, do you know what you're saying?"


    Pike looked at the ceiling.


    "I'm damaged goods, Rene'. But they'll listen to you. Tell them."


    He then looked at West, straight in the eyes.


    "Tell them that all the legends are fact. Tell them that Ghidorah has returned."


    While West felt the bottom drop out on all that he held rational and dear, the door-chime rang. Pike moved to answer it, perhaps energized by his confession. It was the man who was soon to replace him.


    "Chris, I hate to bother you, but, your Vulcan Science Officer is adamantly refusing to stay on. Can you talk with him?"


    "I'll do what I can, Jim. Spock's a good man, but he's always been a bit of an odd bird, even by Vulcan standards. And who's this with you?"


    James Kirk held up an eight-year-old boy.


    "My brother's son, Peter. Peter, this man is Captain Pike."


    "Hello, sir."


    Pike seemed thrown off by something about the boy. West did not comment on this, but quickly realized that he now knew what killed that same boy's grandfather, on the very day he was born, and yet could say nothing about it. After a little hand was shaken, the pair left.


    "Chris? You saw something about the boy? Something based on your encounter on Talos IV?"


    Pike sat back down.


    "Rene', I've felt that devil's presence for weeks, now. But the instant I saw Jim's nephew? It went away. And I mean it went away as in it ran away, straight out of my soul. Like it was scared of that one child."


    West tried to fight his way back to the rational.


    "A child's smile can do wonders for a troubled spirit."


    "I saw wings on his back, Rene'. I saw whole colonies of crested wings."


    West left Pike alone, after that. He was shaking, having been handed the keys to the kingdom come. Who to tell? How to prepare? He recalled another odd meeting, eight years prior. He made an appointment. He made his choice. Good men often dithered in the face of something this large. Under men of good intent, the situation would go slowly to Hell. There was no choice.


    "I want to protect this planet. Our way of life. Us and our own."


    John Gill smiled, and shook his hand.


    "You've just taken your first step into a much larger world. But how did you know about me?"


    "All respect, sir-you talk a good code, but I break those for a living."


    Just a few weeks later, the boy West had seen in Pike's apartment became the target of an assassination attempt. Chaotic events swirled around the investigation, and when he asked to be a part of it, John Gill offered Rene West the *sensible* idea that he was not to interfere. West learned he had a new master, stated rank and clearance aside. By the end of that year, his new master had left to more directly oversee ‘an ongoing pet project' on a distant world called Ekos.


    John Gill would not be seen again by most living beings. His narrow-minded legacy would continue, and eventually threaten every last living being remaining in the universe.


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


    PRIVATE JOURNAL


    That a leash was now on me was beyond dispute. Yet with Gill gone off to play Hitler Version 1.8, it was a leash that no one was holding. This would change, and the secret he took to his grave concerning Peter Kirk would not stay buried with him. To this day, the thing that bothers me the most is not what eventually became of that poor boy. It's that the leash was one I placed on my own neck, when confronted with the reality of Ghidorah.



    As I was to learn, that old dragon was to cause many a strange occurrence, and even stranger bedfellows.
     
  3. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    -----------------------------------


    2267


    "You've done what, exactly?"


    Commodore Brock Cartwright should never have held that rank, most knew. In fact, after an incident seven years prior, he should have no longer been permitted to remain in Starfleet. It involved a group of Human colonists moving to a place held sacred by an insectoid species, the slaughter of their pilgrims, and Cartwright's protection if not tacit direction of said slaughter. The ship's then-Science Officer calmly and logically confirmed all details that Cartwright felt he needed to deny. Christopher Pike, it was known, liked neither bigots nor liars, and attempted to have him thrown both in irons and out of the service, the hell out of the service, to hear Pike.


    "Someone has crossed the Order, Rene. That doesn't happen, and it doesn't go unavenged."


    One night, custody of the prisoner Cartwright was transferred without explanation to the USS Lexington, under the command of the legendary Captain Garth Of Izar. This passage to undeserved freedom had been authorized by the USS Enterprise's Chief Medical Officer. When Pike did not like the few answers he was given, he did what no one thought he would do and let his old friend Philip Boyce off at the very next inhabited world. By the time the same Vulcan Science Officer who had testified against Cartwright had been found drifting in a shuttle after an extended leave, it was Mark Piper, nearly in retirement, who treated his sorry condition.


    "Brock, this is a slight, at best. He got confused, and then got full of himself. You dragged him up on that stage, unannounced. I warned you, trying to involve a Kirk in anything invites chaos."


    For you see, Spock Of Vulcan had been a prisoner of the Order Of The Ancient Destroyer on a Romulan world called Hellguard, where he had been forced to sire a daughter against his will, and been so brutalized that he suppressed all active memory of it after his escape. Philip Boyce, angered by his Captain's captivity by illusion-casting aliens, had joined the Order shortly after the never-discussed Talos IV incident. Before his ultimate breakdown, Garth Of Izar had been considered a prime candidate to replace John Gill as Order-Master. The aggressive, murderous colonists had been members of The Order, and they attacked not because they needed that world, but to live the mantra of ‘Humanity Prevails'.


    As for Lieutenant Brock Cartwright, he was still not through rising, and had been, since Gill had gone silent, de facto leader of the Order. On each world, the Order thrived, and each species hatefully believed that theirs would be the one spared when the Ancient Destroyer returned. In effect, the protected, nurtured career of little monster Brock Cartwright was set to raise him up to the level of King Bigot.


    "He mocked me. He called me a liar in front of the entire rally. I can't let that go."


    Peter Kirk, survivor of the parasite plague on the doomed planet Deneva Three, had been tricked into attending a major rally of the Order, almost a hate jamboree. During a speech, Cartwright had blamed the Klingon Empire for the parasites. Calling Peter Kirk to say a few words, Cartwright thought to take a confused young man and use him by giving him an outlet for the grief brought on by the loss of his family.


    But so far as he was concerned, the young Kirk's family sailed the stars in search of new life, the very new life the Order so feared and hated. More, he knew who and what had been the cause of the parasites, the vile organism that had spawned them from cells that fell from its hide. In dreams, he had seen giant silver-and-red armored warriors with eyes like lit-up crescents cause this before the Beta Quadrant fell.



    **Ghidorah killed Deneva. And if all of you worship him, then I will have to stop you. Then I'll stop him. On my little brother's memory and by the one true God, I swear I will kill your false one**



    The boy was not an egotist, and in fact wondered why he had said such a thing. He ran almost all the way from Colorado to Montana, and a house West knew all too well. But those attending the rally had all seen Brock Cartwright made an utter fool of.


    "Brock, the Klingons are responsible for endless atrocities. Listing them would take years. But they are not responsible for Deneva. Damn it, I could have provided you with charges no one could refute! This generational conflict your Order has with the Kirks is a distraction we can ill afford with your...deity...out and about, on the edges of the Greater Alpha Quadrant."


    The phrase ‘Greater Alpha Quadrant' sounded ridiculous to West, but he understood why an exasperated Sarek had allowed it when the Klingons considered being located in the Beta Quadrant as being some manner of insult. It was often said, diplomats and spies knew the same walls to bang their heads against.


    "Oh, Rene. I know you Thirty-One types like to be all business, nothing personal. But I cannot abide that brat's arrogance. It's part of your perspective, that you can't see why this is vital. I am like the fourth head of a Grand Dragon-while you are just a spook."


    West looked hard at the dark-skinned officer, waited till he was certain Cartwright wasn't kidding, and only then did he speak.


    "You've never even read one single history book, have you?"


    Rather than being enraged by this, Cartwright entered speech-making mode, a mode even James Kirk conceded that this man was a master of.


    "No, Rene. I haven't. We're rewriting history here. We're correcting its many mistakes. We're making history, and I want Peter Kirk to be made history! Contact the Vulcan assassin, Soltec."


    West knew that Soltec was good and this without any training, mental or marksman. Kolinahri adepts were said to avoid him for the chill wind that he seemed to generate. On a planet of emotional control, only one man truly had no real emotions of any kind, and he never had them in his entire life.


    "A problem presents itself. He is the property of Lady T'Pring-your counterpart in the Vulcan Order."


    Property was an imprecise transliteration of the Vulcan term, but it also summed up Soltec's position and devotion to his Lady.


    "Pay him double."


    "Double? His fee is already astron-"


    "DOUBLE!!"


    West tried a more practical appeal to end this.


    "There was an attempt to do exactly this three years ago. It failed. Witnesses said the shooter took the top of his head off. It just didn't stay off."


    Cartwright nodded, calmer now.


    "Tell Soltec to be more thorough than the kid's grandmother."


    West *neglected* to tell Cartwright that Order member Brianna Kirk had ceased all contact with them. That conversion from sinner to saint was a mystery no one outside of her grandson would ever solve. A week later, West called Cartwright to his office at the Colonial Affairs Center, where the Commodore still held the title of Chief Commissioner of Starfleet Colonial Affairs.


    "Did Soltec respond?"


    West pointed to the Vulcan woman sitting regally in a chair her people had insisted on bringing in.


    "No, not exactly. Commodore Cartwright-I bid you meet the Lady T'Pring of House Setekh."


    Owing to their precisely opposed agendas, never before had two different planets' chiefs of the Order Of The Ancient Destroyer met and talked. West swore that he felt the temperature in the room, and in that building, drop by ten degrees.


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


    PRIVATE JOURNAL


    To my great surprise, they got along fine. It seemed that, even if it was of each other, they were united by vast and deep amounts of pure hate. I turned to those history books Cartwright still spurns to find a parallel to the alliance that was bred in that meeting, after I left. I found it. It was made in 1939, between the leaders of Germany and Russia. You may have heard their names somewhere.



    Whatever offering T'Pring brought with her, it moved Cartwright enough to change the kill order to a kidnap and erase operation. Peter Kirk was to appear to die, and leave no trace as he went. I was to begin surveillance immediately. This surveillance led to my realizing that we could not make it look like the boy ran away, so a phony kidnapping scenario was concocted. Section Thirty-One was re-staffed in the interim, and my agents, essentially demoted, were to now serve as cannon fodder in the attempt to take and control a young god. The new agents, to my chagrin, barely acknowledged me. A spy is always reluctant to speak of coldness, but I felt an ill wind blowing through the new Section Thirty-One. I wasn't even permitted to meet with my replacement.



    While all this was planned, I received word that, on a distant world, John Gill had given his life attempting to stop his own best student in hate, a man named Melakon, from *ruining* his Neo-Nazi regime. He was dead, and an unknowing James Kirk did not call his former teacher anything harsher than misguided in his official report. But while Gill was gone, the leash I'd put around my own throat grew ever tighter.
     
  4. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    -----------------------------------



    2268



    The Admiral who performed the kidnapping was, if anything, even more of a madman than Cartwright. West knew all too well what-and who-was bound up in the carpet his men held horizontally.


    "Get him into cryo-stasis immediately! If he awakens, even for a moment, we're all done."


    The Admiral seemed to embody smugness as well as madness. The word was, his own son had perished in the ‘expedition' to Iowa. No one was saying exactly how he had perished, indicating that perhaps the target had not been involved.


    "Major West-heh-if you only knew how funny that was-Major West-I brought the galactic dynasty low. Gravimetric batons with duranium shells delivered over 9K per square centimeter to the brat's swelled head. Even his powers of recuperation-"


    West knew well what the ‘Major West' joke was. His first partner had annoyed him with it years ago. But he was past being annoyed by it, and cut the senior officer off, practically snarling.


    "Shut up! Do you know what his uncle did to Kodos' forces, on Tarsus Four? He was not much older, and he did that without any superhuman powers. What's sleeping in there is a young god, make no mistake. I am charged with maintaining all your miserable lives, including, to my regret, yours. Now get him in stasis!"


    West's adversary backhandedly jabbed his baton into the carpet, the contents of which jerked at the shock. West's eyes grew a bit wide. He knew, then. He looked at his opponent in apparent defeat.


    "You really enjoy your work, don't you?"


    Admiral Norman Osborn smiled. In one week, West would erase that smile by arresting him for the sale of Starfleet Cadets to the Orions. Some corruption ran too deep to tolerate, even for the Ghidoran Order. That this also cleared the way for Cartwright's uncontested ascension to both Admiral and Order-Master was almost bearable to the spy.


    "Let's just say I've always hated little boys named Peter, and leave it at that."


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





    The long nightmare had begun.


    Rene West watched it all on remote camera, and tried not to hate himself. But he was sworn to protect his charges, and in this case that meant remaining alive to call in the resources needed to protect them from their own foolishness.


    *Bad little boys don't get to keep their pants, Peter...*



    Admiral Therese Bunson was another of the Order's special projects, protected against charges of bullying, harassment, and ultimately, pedophilia. West washed his hands when even thinking about this woman.


    *I present to you the heir of Kirk the xenophile, and the prime enemy of our Lord Ghidorah, here to serve our uses and to be broken by our power..."


    Cartwright was in his glory. The others were so entranced by the sight of their quaking generational and in many respects, religious enemy; they nearly overlooked the presence of the Vulcan T'Pring, who had demanded this attendance as the price of certain logistical support. She began the so-called ‘Bacchanalia' that would rip wide the dignity of a young boy. West tried several times to switch to a text-only descriptive read. He found he could not. Whether this was for the safety of his charges, or to bear witness to an atrocity for the ages, he could not say.


    *Observe the ways of my people before their spines were ripped out by Surak and his domesticated pets. With but one touch, the sireling is ready to service us all. His body's response is now beyond self-control, hormones, or even his own involuntary responses. The muscle will remain in a state of tension. At the start, it is painful. As it continues, for each target it becomes a new definition of agony.*


    There were thirty-one Human adults, men and women, all of high rank and standing. For three days and three nights, they took turns at the boy, ten or more apiece. The boy took it, and took it, and West saw a look on his face not of terror or even shame, but of resignation, as though pain was his lot in life, that he deserved no better. But even when the vile are in control and the good have all but surrendered, a line can still be crossed. Evil may not always lose out to good, but it always oversteps.


    *Does it hurt, punk? I only wish it was your worthless uncle on the ground. You can take it...and you have. But him I'd make squeal. Him, his woman, and his entire worthless cre....aaaaarrgh...my...my...he tore off my....*


    West touched the screen. The gore began to fly.


    "Idiots! His psych-profile. Never insult his family. It was in the briefing!"


    The energy weapons failed. Osborn fled as his precious batons also failed. When people began to be split in two without being touched, West knew another fact as well. Their target was telekinetic. On screen, the boy stared at one of the largest guards, a man from a heavy-gravity world. But neither hell nor high-water was stopping him now. The boy's eyes glowed red. West recalled some of the more fanciful heroic fiction he'd read as a child.


    "It can't be....Wardsen! Get out of there!"


    The naked, bloodied boy spoke on-screen :




    *Burn!*



    The man before him did just that, in an arc of power that seemed to jump directly from the eyes of Peter Kirk.


    "The backup is pouring in now. Why doesn't he just escape?"


    *Orders, Colonel?*



    West shook his head.


    "The target is immortal. Lethal force is authorized."


    The boy engaged, by hand and mind, over a thousand guards sent in to ‘contain' him. The blood and bone would end up being so deeply embedded; transporter filters could not verifiably remove it all. Then came the move that would haunt Rene West for years.


    "What is he doing now? He's seized Cartwright, Bunson and Komack telekinetically-"


    West nearly spat out his next words.


    "-and moving them well out of harm's way."


    The most charismatic, the most loathsome, and the weakest of his tormentors, respectively, and an enraged Peter Kirk had gone out of his way to protect them, before at last some unknown limit to his power was reached and he collapsed. Cartwright emerged, and in a nervous state, finally did what West had told them to do all along, and put the boy into cryo-stasis. One of his arms was not working. Lady T'Pring's attendants finally got to her, and while she was under sedation, declared the eye that Peter Kirk had ripped out of its socket a loss. Bunson screamed when she saw the scars on her face. Komack, it was said, never regained complete control of his bladder, despite only having suffered minor injuries.


    The boy was moved, this time on West's unopposed direction, to the lowest sub-basement of Admiralty Hall.


    None of this mattered to West. He had done his job, directing the efforts to retake the Hall from the boy who they had kidnapped. But more than that, he now was forced to wonder why that boy hadn't escaped when he had the chance, and why he had spared the top tier of his mortal enemies' power structure.


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



    The man with the self-described, self-imposed leash on his neck suddenly found that he was the one holding the leash. Osborn's arrest, plus the price of ignoring his counsel on Peter Kirk, had raised his stock immensely. Cartwright, who had been increasingly keeping him at arm's length, now insisted on West's presence at nearly every meeting. In some cases, this insistence made a lot more sense than others.


    "A delay? A delay is unconscionable! We stand at the ready, even if the Hall is too weak-willed to unleash our might!"


    If Cartwright was the head of the Order that transacted in political and military power, then men like this one were its social front. They were really how the Order was everywhere. They were angry voices at public meetings, they were the means by which representatives' comm-call banks were overloaded, and they were people trained to lie to any pollster who sought to know public opinion, so that any reading of that opinion would be utterly worthless. In other words, West thought wryly, just regular folks, except for wanting to kill ninety-seven percent of all neighboring life in the universe, and being willing to tolerate the deaths of half of those remaining from that. After that, it was all on something of a wait-and-see basis.


    "The coup was supposed to go forward, Order-Master. It must go forward. Or we must have new leadership. The alien infestation of our planet-our universe-has been put up with long enough. The True Humanity will not be silent very much longer."


    "Please understand, we've been decimated. Fifteen of our top people went down that night, and the soldiers we lost were meant to command our wider forces. But good news also came of that nightmare. The Kirk boy is our means to control and direct the movements of Lord Ghidorah himself. Surely the coup can wait for the one true deity?"


    West, though no longer religious, winced inwardly at Cartwright's words. If God was out there, it was not in the form of a three-headed dragon. That much he knew.


    "The real people of this planet are restive, Admiral. They won't put up with the alien tyranny, and the imposition of their hive minds on the free and brave. Lord Ghidorah isn't the only sleeping giant. Be very mindful of that."


    The nearly-crazed man was somehow placated, but West realized from this that the people he protected, while dangerous, were not the most dangerous ones out there.


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



    2269


    West was apoplectic.


    "Kirk has violated the Neutral Zone-again. You all treat him as an enemy, but you're applauding him! Do you realize the amount of resources we'll have to turn to all parts of the Romulan border, to prevent reprisals?"


    Bunson shrugged.


    "Jimmy was always the bad boy. But he's handed us an enormous propaganda victory. The Romulans will be too busy trying to deny and then spin Hellguard to worry about reprisals. Heh. The Vulcans want their cousins' private parts chopped off in very illogical ways."


    Komack seemed in his element.


    "Even before I signed on over here, I was annoyed by how often he dances around the rules. But they were torturing kids. To the eyes of the media, kids are kids. Hurting them never goes well. He even adopted one. Federation maverick saves innocent kids. The Klingons are said to be seriously rethinking the alliance. They won't, of course. But this looks like the no-lose scenario."


    Cartwright joined in the chorus.


    "The aliens are happy, and not bothering us, which makes me happy. The Council in Paris has something to complain about with an election coming up, so they're happy. Even our people are happy, and that's next to impossible. We'll put on a public show of upset, and then let the people shout us down. We'll *grudgingly* accede to their will. But maybe there's an extra benefit to be derived. Kirk's people followed his orders, didn't they Rene?"


    "Yes. But Kirk bears ultimate responsibility. We'd be lucky to get minor prosecutions on the rest. An officer obeys their CO's orders."


    For people who absolutely despised James Kirk, the residents and staff of Admiralty Hall now seemed able to live with his existence and presence. It was not within West's ability to comprehend.


    "You fail to see the point, Rene. Let this serve as the stopping point for the ascendancy of the stock of the Enterprise crew. Lord Ghidorah put paid to the classic overman, George Kirk. James Kirk is an existing problem that we now know can be managed to our benefit. Peter Kirk will bring us the keys to the universe. It's his other heirs that concern me. We cannot stop Captain Kirk, and frankly, we don't want to. He gives our explicit enemies major pause, and removing him would embolden them. However, the careers of Captain Sulu, Captain Chekov, and so forth? Those we can put a stop to, and we must. We've broken the Kirks repeatedly. We broke their anointed champion only just last year, whatever the cost."


    Bunson smiled.


    "Quietly, though. The xenophilia Kirk spreads must stay contained to Enterprise. Any ideas come to mind, Rene?"


    The plan seemed calm, almost rational. Cartwright was a poser and a yeller. Komack was a careerist and a coward, broken by vids the Order had of him and the selfsame sick little girl who had gladly betrayed Peter Kirk the night he was taken. Bunson was about tender flesh, the more of it she could grab, and the less willing they were, the better. Yet this plan actually was a plan, and they wanted their best spy's input. What had changed? Was the savagery of that night truly enough to make the bludgeons into scalpels?


    "I've kept tabs on a group of malcontents. The lowlights of the Enterprise's crew, if you will. Many of them put off the ship with less ceremony than Paul Stiles, but with much better cause and with one hundred times the petty resentments. Spread throughout the Fleet and protected as all of you were, they can file endless reports and complaints that should slow and stop the careers of all of Kirk's officers save Spock and Sulu. Spock will likely never seek his own command, and Sulu will be hitting middle-age before he hits a center seat of his own. These cogs in their career machines, as it were, will never be dismissed or resolved, and eventually, the inertia will take its toll, with people wondering why they don't move up and assuming there must be a reason."


    West left with their approval, and later in his office, fought off revulsion at placing chains on the careers of good men and women. Once, when asked by his former partner if he would ‘pull a JFK' .West responded yes. He would kill the Federation President if it served the greater good of the Federation, and of Earth. So he rationalized keeping the officers of the USS Enterprise running in place by telling himself that it was there they could best defend the Earth.


    "A little boy sent to Hell, a crew in career limbo, aiding and abetting the rise of what may be Satan itself. Ah, but I did chastise the Federation's greatest hero, only to have his sworn and secret enemies exonerate him. All in all, a full, rich year."


    Rene West found that he was staring at the phaser rifle on his table for hours, before starting to contact the malcontents he had described.


    --------------------
     
  5. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    2271


    It seemed, by and large, the apocalypse had come fifteen years earlier than some might expect. But there was no dragon in sight, and no coup was raised. The religious prayed for salvation, and so did the agnostics, atheists, and even a budding artificial intelligence nurtured back to health by Richard Daystrom, who was being nurtured back to health by the maternal grandfather of the boy held in secret by Admiralty Hall.


    That boy was the only one likely to survive the destruction of Earth.


    Rene West did not cower in the bunkers with his charges in Starfleet Command. He did his cowering in the Seattle Space Needle, determined to see the end coming whenever it did.


    "This is Colonel West of Starfleet Intelligence. Is anyone out there? Anyone at all? Because from here...it looks like the end of the world."


    The Enterprise's refit had become a rapid priority when the probe had been detected. When ships and stations went down, wherever it passed, the concerns began. When word came that a Klingon attack force had been summarily wiped away by its power, the fear began. By the time it appeared over Jupiter, skirting its mighty gravity well without incident, the panic was in full swing.


    Grand Admiral Heichiaro Nogura (who had never wanted the ominous honorific Grand; but the Hall's cozy relationship with the UFP Council overrode his wishes) flew to Paris, to be with his family. The word came that the Enterprise had met the entity, called V'Ger, despite interference by the being once called Trelane, now referring to itself as a member of a continuum of beings called the Q. A request for an ancient NASA transmit information code had been received. West was the only one capable of sending it. He did, and all became calm. The earthquakes stopped. V'Ger simply vanished. All seemed well.


    Then, the second probe appeared, the waves churned and the cloud cover all over the planet reached one-hundred percent. The transparent aluminum in the space needle burst. An intense spray laden with salt and other minerals left West unable to see clearly.


    "Are you all right, Mister?"


    It was a kid, a teenager from the sound of his voice. What in the hell was he doing there?


    "How did you get here?"


    "I don't know, sir. I was staying at my grandma's place, and then some people grabbed me, and then I was here."


    Looters, he thought. Not caring what they took, so long as they took something.


    "I'll use whatever I have to protect you. But the Needle is probably coming down at some point."


    "He'll stop them. He always does. And he has the best crew helping him."


    His eyes were still stinging, but it was his ears West couldn't believe.


    "Little boy, please tell me how can you hold on to such an absurd level of hope? Don't you know what's out there?"


    The visitor's shape nodded in West's vision.


    "V'Ger and the other one. And beyond them-King Ghidorah. They aren't part of him, but it all seems to tie together, doesn't it? I wish I could be there with them. It took all I have to make it here."


    The clouds began to part and the rains stopped all at once. Rene West's vision also rapidly cleared, though by now he wished it wouldn't. He knew who he would see.


    "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. But your captivity protects the Earth, and perhaps the Federation itself."


    The image of a boy frowned at the lingering cloud cover.


    "I was hoping to see the sun again. The power for the psi-suppresser should be coming back on. I will be free. They can't stop that. But it won't be today, will it?"


    "No. Peter-why do they believe they can control Ghidorah through you?"


    "Because they're idiots, on top of everything else? To be fair, though, he and I are mortal enemies. We can sense each other. Night has day, up has down, and I have Ghidorah. We've battled across a thousand realities, and I've always beaten him. But this place is different. No guarantees, except..."


    The scary teen looked with contempt at the spy.


    "Except for the one about what happens to those who cooperate with evil, thinking they can do good."


    "Peter, why did you spare the lives of---"


    The image began to fade.


    "Ogasawara Island, not too far from Japan. Ask after it, Colonel. Ask after it. You're a good man. You're better than this. I challenge you to be bett..."


    As West begged him not to leave, he heard the first comm-call come through at last, and guessed correctly who it must be. Irony was like that.


    "Good to hear, Captain Kirk. I will inform Grand Admiral Nogura that the crisis has been averted, and look forward to your report on the Q."


    "Colonel, if I might. You look like---you've seen a ghost."


    West shrugged.


    "Very nearly my own, and just about everyone else's. I thought it was all over. But a wake-up call from a Kirk can still end a nightmare, it seems."


    When Kirk, standing next to what looked like a very exhausted Spock, signed off, West sealed the doors to the restaurant he had taken over as his staging area, and began to weep openly for more reasons than he cared to consider.


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


    2273


    The man in the bar had been one of the top scientists on the Hall's *unspoken project*. Now, he was a security leak to be plugged, for talking and hinting when inebriated. Before West did this, he got him good and inebriated.


    "Osgosh-so-whataa island? Yeeesh! Wadda fugup dat wash---shorry. Yeah, that really went wrong. Aaaggh. Basically, they tried to clone Peter Kirk."


    "They failed?"


    "Dependsh on your POV. Oh, they got something outta there. Did you ever wonder what would happen if you crossed a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a Stegosaurus, and then baked the DNA of the resulting hy-br-id with enough hard radiation to cook a large city? "


    West waited for the punch line, such as it was.


    "Well, the people on Ogasawara didn't have to wonder-about that, or anything else, ever again. Before the damned thing exploded, it gave off a shriek like a gorilla's war-cry mixed with whale-song-heh-thanks, Jimmy. Or mebbe a hundred bull-elephants, if they trumpeted backwards. Now, the only creature in the whole god-damned universe that can even set foot on that island ever again is the kid they tried to clone. Oh-I need a drink."


    West got him that drink, and a little something extra, as well. He wished he could drink, but, he reasoned, his dreams were sometimes horrible enough without toxins to aid them.


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


    2275


    West stared at the body of a boy who looked for all the world like a younger Peter Kirk. He instinctively kept back comments about knowledge they obviously had not wanted him to have.


    "His younger brother from Deneva?"


    Cartwright shook his head.


    "Half-brother."


    Bunson nodded.


    "Dear Carol Marcus got herself knocked up again. Since her first trap failed, she didn't even tell Jimmy about this one. She believes she miscarried."


    *So*, thought West, *we're now just shy of cutting wombs open. Lovely.*


    Komack, ever more spineless as the years passed, pointed at the corpse.


    "Raised and reared by the Order, and with powers similar to his brother, and none of his simplistic morals. Problem was, it was bit like sending an oversized iguana to fight a dragon. Project failure. In the end, he wasn't immortal. I would have thought better of Peter, than to kill his own brother, even in psychic battle. It does render him a bit of a hypocrite, doesn't it?"


    Aside from the raging hypocrisy of that statement, West fought off laughter at the boy's tormentors acting like they knew him, somehow. He also realized he had not asked a question in quite some time, and needed to keep up appearances.


    "Why wasn't I told about this project? And why am I being told now?"


    Cartwright was nearly beaming.


    "Our boy did it, Rene! He kept his older sibling busy long enough for us to make contact! Prime Contact!"


    West was bright enough to make the connection, and found that he still had enough ‘simplistic morals' to be utterly disgusted by what this meant.


    "Ghidorah. You've contacted Ghidorah."


    His hands behind his back West dug the nails from one hand into the palm of the other.


    "Congrats, Brock! It's what you've worked for. Your dream!"


    As he nodded and bowed, West fought to keep his afternoon lentil soup where it was. It was an effort.


    "Our dream, Rene. Ours. We could not have done this without you. I could tell sometimes that you thought I was insane---heh-and maybe I am---but you always followed orders, and did it quietly."


    Bunson seemed almost charming, and he could see how someone who didn't know her at all might see her as pretty. Then came the time after those first five seconds, when it became clear.


    "You made all this possible. You, Colonel West, make The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer quite literally the ‘they' in ‘that's what they say'. We don't even need to breathe on people to get them in line, anymore."


    Komack's words only registered because West felt like being punished.


    "You kept the religious loonies in line. Without your firm hand and ability to reassure, they'd have done something stupid, by now. Maybe exposed the whole deal."


    Cartwright glared at Komack, but then nodded.


    "Semantics aside, they can be a bit fervent. But now, with the cover and quiet you've given us, Colonel, we have the ultimate bone to throw them."


    Again, West sought to focus on business, to avoid grabbing his sidearm.


    "What-influence will we have on the movements of-The Ancient Destroyer?"


    Komack, still reeling from Cartwright's glare, answered so as not to look like exactly what he was.


    "Nudging, really. Kind of like grabbing the attention of an AI-based targeting sensor. We estimate ten years before his paths take him fully into the heart of this troubled quadrant."


    Bunson looked almost orgasmic, for once in a non-carnal way.


    "Then the cleansing can begin. Minus the Human worlds, of course."


    Cartwright then casually said among the most chilling words West would ever hear.


    "Well, those, he'll simply spare. Our Lord will know where his elect are."


    At last, West knew the fine details of the big plan to protect the Earth. Wishful thinking.


    "Everyone, this is obviously news for the ages. But I have a mandatory meeting with Nogura."


    Cartwright held up the emblematic comm-badge of the Grand Admiral, Starfleet.


    "Nogura died this morning. And guess who he nominated as his successor?"


    West took in the fact that not only were the lunatics running the asylum, but Madness itself was coming for an extended visit-coming to stay, really. He didn't even question how Cartwright would pull off this maneuver-the position could not be inherited or designated, or at least not yet. The Federation Council liked a quiet Starfleet, and the Hall gave them that. Nogura never had. Most of Starfleet's rank-and-file would mourn Nogura, the man who had kept a false fool's peace with the devil (though was West any better?), the Council never would. The supreme irony being that, most of them being by definition non-Humans, they were high on the Order's long list of the proscribed.


    "Well, Colonel? Shake my hand?"


    West lied.


    "Poison Ivy, Grand Admiral. A hazard of surveillance work, I'm afraid."


    After being jokingly told not to scratch, West left Admiralty Hall, and booked a shuttle away from the City By The Bay.


    "Where are you headed, sir?"


    West shrugged at the Ensign, and considered saying something witty.


    *To see a diplomat about diplomacy by other means.*


    But the Order was everywhere, and besides, he was sick to death of witty remarks.


    West ditched the Starfleet shuttle near what had become his Seattle office, and used a refillable pay-card to go the rest of his way, the way a tourist would. Spy-work taught one the means and methods of moving under the sensors, and, to coin a phrase, nobody did it better than Rene West.


    -------------------
     
  6. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    MINNESOTA



    Sarek of Vulcan saw a man who looked of Native American extraction, sitting where his call had said he would be. The statue he sat by was at one time considered offensive, being one of a Native American caricature holding a group of tobacco-laden ‘cigars'. Since World War Three, all such items, from Van Goghs to purest kitsch, that survived, were considered treasures beyond price.


    "Sarek Of Vulcan. I hear that you're looking for someone. A lost boy. Maybe Peter Pan himself."


    Sarek kept it all business, but had a visible reaction to the name ‘Peter'.


    "You are Proudfoot?"


    "That's the name I've chosen for this. Do you have an excuse for meeting me?"


    Sarek nodded.


    "Should anyone ask, I expressed an interest in your nation's oral traditions and folklore. There was not much you could tell me, so we parted ways quickly."


    West nodded. The man knew his art.


    "Is your ward about?"


    Sarek's face turned arch.


    "At one time, Captain James Kirk's adopted daughter, a Saavik Kirk, stayed as a guest in my home. This arrangement has ended. Is that to whom you refer? Because I am told she stays now in Montana, with Kirk's uncle."


    West knew that the fate of Peter Kirk's adopted sister had rivaled the boy's own for pain. Sarek's lengthy denial revealed his pain in the matter of Saavik Kirk's banishment from Vulcan.


    "Sorry. It's too bad that young lady isn't about. You see, Ambassador-her brother would love to meet her."


    Sarek looked hard at the man he knew only as Proudfoot.


    "Certainly, there are many that would welcome news of her brother. Could such a meeting be arranged?"


    They both had to measure their words carefully. Things may not have been that bad yet, but they were getting there fast.


    "I'm afraid not. The boy's been ill, and had to stay in his room. The accommodations have not been very good. He's complained of a chill."


    "I see. Then could he be picked up, say, by his and the girl's father?"


    West shook his head.


    "The family he's staying with is fairly abusive. Some don't even realize he's staying with them. Here is a map of where you might start looking."


    Inside the paper map was a file-chip, with schematics for Admiralty Hall, and the design for disguising nanoprobes. Sarek pocketed the paper, and folded over his hand on the chip.


    "Can you yourself aid the boy in getting better?"


    "I have a position in the household. One of the most trusted."


    Sarek took the inverted implication properly.


    "And therefore one of the most scrutinized, as well."


    "Actually, Ambassador, where I work, all positions are the most scrutinized. The paranoid are like that. I believe we can talk freely, now. If they had us pegged, they would have taken action by now."


    Sarek looked about, despite agreement with this statement.


    "If not right after you made such a fate-tempting statement. My debt to James Kirk is considerable. And I have learned that a member of my family committed a grave wrong against Peter Kirk. There is also another factor. It involves matters some might call occult. But it has importance far beyond such obscura."


    West did not want this meeting to last long, whoever was and was not onto him. His disguise was of course flawless, but some random factor undoing them increased in possibility with each moment they dawdled.


    "That dreadful day, come round at last. That day of wrath, as in the past. The final words of Surak speak of his coming, as do those of Kahless The Klingon. I'm afraid, Mister Ambassador, that in fact, pardon my Francais, it ain't all crap. The damned thing is real. It killed the boy's grandfather, on the day he was born."


    Sarek asked West one last question.


    "Why are you doing this? Whoever you are, you risk much by your actions."


    "Actually, Ambassador, I risk it all. When they figure out who betrayed them-I'm already dead. But I can accept that, because of my sins, and because I have re-thought a certain deeply-felt conviction. I once believed that the good dither while the world burns. I believed that, while people of good intent run things, the system goes slowly to Hell. I now understand at last, that while this may be true, when seemingly focused, seemingly strong people of malign intent run things-things go straight to Hell, and then just keep on digging downward."


    Sarek got up to leave.


    "If I have surmised correctly about the boy's location, my plans must take time. Does he have that time?"


    "He does. All of us might not have much more than a decade."


    Sarek appeared to shudder at West's words.


    "Indeed. I will, owing to the risk described, not attempt to contact you."


    "Nor I you. Get him out, Ambassador. But my frank advice is, do so without involving James Kirk. His rage, upon learning what they've done, might play right into their hands."


    "Most logical. Farewell, Proudfoot-a Native American name, or is it taken from-"


    The spy was already gone, so Sarek began to calculate a way to free the son of Captain Kirk from his own utmost superiors.


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



    PRIVATE JOURNAL


    I knew Sarek would either reason a way to get Peter Kirk out himself, or finally turn to James Kirk, despite my warnings. I wish I could have told him that Kirk's uncle in Montana had been my partner and trainer. He drove me out of my mind, but Bill Kirk knew the shadows and how to plot and strike from them. I was stunned when he left Thirty-One to become a cop, and then a lawyer. Then again, it kept him from singing. I called him a fool for leaving the world where the decisions are really made. Bill, forgive a young man his cocksure nature. My hubris may end up costing all of creation.



    In the three years that followed, Sarek bided his time. Neither of us was arrested, made to vanish or suffer an unfortunate accident. The girl, Saavik, even managed to get her order of banishment rescinded.



    I continued my work, though with a twist. I began to sow chaos among the cleverer members of the Order's rank-and-file. The ones smart enough to strike hard fast and effectively, but too dumb to realize the value of all life. I had decided I was a patriot, no longer just for one world, but for the Federation. When they came for me, as they must, I wanted not just helping free that one boy, but a laundry list of things to be vaporized for. I still believe there may be a God, and if he pushes me downstairs, I want a positive ledger as well, to at least make it not an easy decision. I will also request that I be permitted to stand above Brock and the others. That shouldn't be hard. The Admirals, except the monkish Cartwright, had all begun to follow Bunson's lead. Starfleet Academy was placed under In Loco Parentis, and even that was a pretext for turning our cadets into the residents of a brothel. If someone should read this, and think that In Loco Parentis is just par for the course at a military-style Academy, then you never attended Starfleet. We used to not want willing automatons to be used and then to die as cannon fodder. The fate of some young women who found themselves pregnant by officers they thought they could trust will haunt me all my days. If they did not arrest me, I determined, by the time Peter Kirk was freed, I would go down taking some of these monsters out. I have things to answer for, above and below, including the fates of children. But I will wager my soul that I will have fewer accusers on either side of the veil than any resident of Admiralty Hall.



    Yet whether by arrest or blaze of glory, before my time came, I was determined to solve one last mystery: Why had an enraged young god, or perhaps Archangel, saved the lives of those who had most directly caused him to suffer so hideously?



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


    2277


    West stared at the stark footage as he had for nearly ten years. It was ugly stuff, made harsher for him by the part he had played in it all.


    "None of them were gentle, nor did his face betray one hint of somehow enjoying it."


    A sick thought, he knew, but he had to allow for even insane possibilities.


    "Guards died after he moved the top three out of the way of his and the guards line of fire. So he wasn't sick of killing, if he even registered what he was doing."


    He could have just left them in the path of the invading guards. He could have killed them by blowing their heads off, their hearts out, or any number of ways.


    "You called me a good man, Peter. You challenged me to be better. But you are the designated hero. You had the chance to destroy your most powerful enemies, short of Ghidorah itself. So why did you forego it?"


    As a telepath, he could have even rendered them catatonic forever, the grand conspirators drooling in Alcatraz, or shouting next to Norman Osborn in Tantalus' secure lockdown.


    "Telepathy. If all his powers were in over-drive, then so was that."


    The boy picked up on something? What would Cartwright, all about the business of the Order, have been thinking about?


    "That lunatic we met with. The fanatic who demanded the coup go forward. That meeting was scheduled to take place anyway, and the boy had no way to get to all the members of the Order in Sector 001. And those three keep the others in line. So the boy crippled his opponent without causing a new opponent, more vicious and reckless, to move into the place of the one he beat back."


    West never spoke out loud while alone. Normally, that is. But he could feel the wheels turning, and speech focused thoughts he had not been able to put together for nearly a decade.


    "Yet he could have done this well before he was raped. He could have moved against them all, and spared the ones needed for stability. He certainly could have escaped."


    His endurance of the shame and humiliation had possible explanations. An immortal would process pain differently. Certainly the Immortals wiped away three years prior had done so. The two Scotsmen West had known of were said to be able to outright ignore it. In addition, the boy's psych-profile indicated someone who took pleasure in out-enduring those who thought they controlled him, like the parents on Deneva and the grandmother in the late, lamented town of Riverside. The loss of his little brother had also devastated him, probably adding survivor's guilt to his many problems.


    "You didn't feel you deserved any better. The Chosen One felt he was the lowest thing ever created. While the people who have doomed our way of life-possibly all life everywhere-think themselves saviors. Irony. Hmpph! I could do without it."


    But still, there was a missing piece. This Kirk, even for his tender age, had a plan. What it was finally hit the master spy.


    "You sensed that allowing them to hurt you so terribly would satisfy their need for revenge upon your family. So by choosing not to escape, and by letting those demons do their worst at you, you protected your uncle-you protected them all. You took the coup-a hopeless situation-and turned the monsters towards everyday business-giving the entire universe a fighting chance. You took your moment of Hell-and made it instead your high water mark."


    But it had gone wrong, West realized as well. Perhaps the boy had thought his heroes would soon rescue him. That had never happened, though it might happen soon.


    "Because-of me. At least in part."


    Whether or not his wild theory was true-and to be fair, in large part, it was-the example of a mere boy who, kidnapped, violated, drugged and taunted, had undone the plans of the ultimate conspiracy at the cost of his own dignity and freedom, inspired Rene West to do something he had never expected.


    He decided to forego arrests and blazes of glory, and see if the angels had room for a devil who had turned in his horns.


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


    2278


    "So you left right then and there?"


    West shook his head.


    "That would have been foolish. No, I bided my time, seeding the intelligence community with false reports that the Orions had a new supplier for Starfleet Cadets. I told Cartwright I needed to go undercover, and that it would necessitate an extended silence. Given Brock's general depth, I probably could have told him I was going out for smokes."


    Aaron Sisko raised an eyebrow.


    "Great-Uncle Brock is a monster. But he's not that stupid."


    Harriet Janeway agreed with her ex-husband.


    "What will you do when they figure you out? They never stop hunting traitors. Look what they did to Finnegan."


    To the divorced but still friendly couple's shock, West seemed to become blurry in their vision, before reappearing-as Harriet Janeway.


    "I'll just have to use a little trick I learned from interrogating Captain Garth."


    With the disguise even duplicating her voice, Janeway looked at Sisko, and they silently agreed that West would be a great asset. He shifted back, looking unsteady for a second.


    "Still haven't quite got the hang of this shape-shifting. I'll get there, though."


    Sisko still had a question.


    "Why come to us now?"


    West actually smiled.


    "Twenty-Four hours ago, a disguised Saavik Kirk entered Admiralty Hall. She is the other half of the Rock Of Prophecy, and has all the same powers as him. I would say that Peter Kirk's freedom is now a foregone conclusion."


    Janeway closed her eyes.


    "My father believed he was the Messiah. I babysat him. He was always sad, but when he would smile, you just felt like something good was about to happen. I pray he smiles a lot, very soon."


    Sisko got back to business.


    "What can we do for you? The information you've provided is a logistical feast, including double-agents' names. But you can't be around here for a while, maybe a good long while."


    West stated his terms flatly.


    "I need passage to a non-Federation, yet friendly, world. Preferably, someone we have no diplomatic relations with."


    Sisko was master of the Utopia Planitia shipyards. Janeway was Starfleet's liaison to the Federation President, Ydennek.


    "I can get you a ship. Slow, but tough. We built it to fight the Tholians, and named it after the first ship lost to their attacks. It'll weather the back-routes you'll want to take, to avoid attention."


    Janeway chimed in.


    "I can get you a pilot. A bit of a beach-bum, but he'll relish the challenge. As to the world, we were recently contacted by it. Its religious leader said that we would soon receive news of Peter Kirk's fate. Well off the beaten path."


    West focused, and then shifted to the form of the Native American who had spoken with Sarek.


    "Then Proudfoot is ready. What's this world called?"


    Sisko began to calculate how to do this.


    "Bajor. This leader-the Kai, they called him, said that we would also be providing them with a new constable for their security forces. But do you honestly want to use a name taken from the works of JRR Tolkien? That surname could be a red flag to those hunting you."


    West thought it over.


    "Good recognition, Commander Sisko, and a good point. Perhaps, during my stay on Bajor, I'll drop the surname Proudfoot and just use the character's given name-Odo."


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


    CONCLUDING PRIVATE JOURNAL



    On my new world, I may still have something to do. It seems that their Kai has recently become suspicious of extreme free-market traders who have set up shop on their world. They are called Cardassians. He'd like me to ascertain their true intentions. Sounds like fun.





    I hope that I can be the better man that young hero seemed to think I could be. But even if I myself can never be a hero, I have decided once and for all that I will stand with the living when Ghidorah comes. For all my fellow beings, I will stand with a bucket and a sandbag, to oppose the crimson tide, when comes the high water.
     
  7. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    I've been following your Ancient Destroyer tale and this was great, a revelation tying so many other parts together. I'm unclear, as you predicted, as to why Norman Osborn was needed but it doesn't matter. Telling the story from Col West's viewpoint was a unique take and gave a ton of information as well. I want Cartwright to get what's coming to him. You did great. And, yeah, I caught the Immortals reference. I assume there's a story in that?
     
  8. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Thanks, Mistral. As to Norman Osborn, he's my way of saying that the ADU is a 'funnel' universe, which attracts evil from other realities as well. Plus, I flat don't like his 1998/9 resurrection and subsequent stories (Sins Past, anyone) and I have some future scenes planned using that dislike.

    As to the Immortals, they will be seen. Two of the best were Peter's instructors in weaponry.
     
  9. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
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    You posted too many too quickly. i don't even know which order to read those 4 stories that are up. :( Little less have time if you keep posting like that....
     
  10. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    My apologies. Here's the reading order :

    1 - Passionate Intensity

    2 - Vulcan At The Temple

    3 - The Book Of Peter

    4 - Aegyptus

    Lombard Street is related backstory, and may be read at any time.

    Again, sorry. I just finally landed a job after almost two years of searching, and my attentiveness to detail suffered a bit.
     
  11. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Between the candle and the flame
    Congrats! and thank you!
    You should # the stories, like:
    REP TOS-AU#5, Come the High Water

    You got them over at Ad Astra?
    If you number them I'll go back there and check to make sure nothing missed and that i read correctly going forward....
     
  12. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Actually, I have them sectioned off by era at AA. Thanks!