UT10 - ST:Intrepid / Wayward Son

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Galen4, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 27, 2007
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    United Trek is celebrating its 10th anniversary! Most of us are posting stories for the occasion, many of which have the number 10 somewhere in the tale as a tribute. This is my contribution. It’s a two-part episode about a young, green Jason Aubrey on the cusp of assuming his first command.

    But the strange forces at work in his life are always present, sometimes hidden and almost always plotting against him. Here is a short peek at a pivotal moment of his career.

    Star Trek: Intrepid

    Wayward Son - Part 1

    I’m masquerading as a man with a reason, but my charade is the event of the season…

    --- Kansas

    New Latakia, Syria

    Damien Carter entered the room warily, hunting for his adopted son among the crowds.

    He was nervous for no good reason that he could fathom. They spoke regularly since the day Jason went off to Starfleet Academy, so there was very little catching up to be done. They hadn’t quarreled in the recent past, nor was he about to meet a fiancé or some other person of significance to his son; none of the usual suspects were involved that might cause him to fret.

    He supposed there was just something about personal visits that carried with them an inherent weight. Somehow they registered higher on the family visit index than your average long distance chat.

    At least, that’s what he told himself.

    The large banquet hall was thick with at least a hundred people, most of them wearing Starfleet dress uniforms. Their ages ran the spectrum from snot nosed cadets to command level officers. He finally spotted his son at a large bar that ran the length of the room just in front of a concave window.

    As Damien threaded his way through the population, he noted with bemusement that a group of plebes were finishing up an enthusiastic rendition of Le Miserables’, “One More Day”. When it was done, the room broke out in applause, including Jason Aubrey, who had been enjoying a front row seat.

    It brought a small, sentimental smile to his father’s lips. He always did like show tunes.

    Jason could easily have passed for his biological offspring. He had Damien’s broad shoulders, his angular nose and oval face. Even his hair was dark blonde, Damien’s shade before his original color was lost. Aside from age, only their eyes set them apart; his were dark brown, while Jason’s were large and intensely blue.

    He waived over a young Bolian woman who was tending the bar and asked for nelag, an Andorian beverage that was one of his favorites. It derived its pleasing effects from a plant based narcotic, rather than alcohol, which made it easier on the stomach lining. He noted that Jason had a glass of the bright purple liquid himself. Little wonder, Damien had introduced him to it.

    Jason’s father was sixty-seven and had retired from Starfleet fifteen years ago. He had been an Operations Chief and backline maintenance engineer throughout his career, which had meant postings to ground based facilities and starbases for the most part. He had preferred it that way. Roaming the stars just wasn’t in his blood.

    He still kept his appearance simple, much as he had in the old days. His preferred hairstyle was a crew cut, which did little more than show off a litter of gray stubble.

    “My word, quite the fanfare. You’d think they were promoting you to the Admiralty.” He spoke with a blended English accent that identified no particular region. That was normal, considering Earth’s richly diverse population.

    “Didn’t think you’d make it.” In Jason’s case, he was originally from North America, which had its own mixture of dialects, but he had caught Damien’s accent after spending his formative years under the other man’s roof. “Tell the truth, dad…you just came for the nelag, right?”

    “Quite so.” Both men clinked their glasses together and drank deep.

    “Congratulations on your first starship command, kid. Sorry your mum couldn’t make it. She’s still on Berengaria VII.”

    “Slaying dragons, aye?”

    “Only the political kind. She’s still the Senior Liaison for the Bureau of Planetary Affairs. Don’t know how she does it, pacifying administrative buffoons on dozens of different worlds, including the Federation Council. I told her she’s gone daft, putting out fires for these people. That’s what they have diplomats for, but does she ever take advice?”

    “Definitely not from you or me.” Jason smiled wirily. “Waite a minute, I thought mum was transferring into BPA’s Environmental Impacts Division last year?”

    “Her Department Chief did some pleading, talked her into staying put. Should’ve told him to piss off is what I said, but she doesn’t listen, does she?”

    They shook their heads in unison, for a moment looking like a man and his mirrored reflection.

    After a few voracious gulps of his drink, Damien said, “So, the Guadalajara, hunh?”

    “That’s right.” Jason’s eyes lit up, despite the drinks he had consumed.

    “I have to admit, I was a little surprised. You just made XO a year ago.”

    Jason raised his chin haughtily. “Well, obviously Starfleet sees a lot of potential in me.”

    “I’m wondering how Captain Cheng took it? He sent you off to the Advanced Tactical Training Program, and then bumped you up to First Officer when you came back. Now you’re leaving him for the first command docket that comes along.”

    “You make it sound as if they’ll be plenty of other offers.”

    “There may be, actually. After a few more years as Cheng’s XO, you could write your own ticket.”

    Jason snickered. “I’m a starship commander at the age of thirty-one. I think my jacket’s looking pretty good at this point.”

    “Well, there are commands and there are commands.” He grimaced the moment the words left his mouth.

    Jason turned slowly on his stool to face him. “And just what does that mean?”

    Ah, Christ.

    “Nothing. Forget it. This drink is creating semantic fracturing in my cerebral algorithms, that’s all.”

    “Stop being cute, dad. You’re barely into your first glass. Now, you obviously don’t think highly of my appointment. You can spit it all out. I promise not to cry.”

    “Really Jason, forget I said anything. This is your special night. I’m not here to ruin it with fatherly criticism. I never should have brought it up.”

    “I insist.” His expression darkened ominously, as if his own father were a subordinate who’d stepped out of line.

    Damien sighed resignedly, rubbed the bridge of his nose, then dove in. “So here it is then: Nothing against the Guadalajara. But she’s an Oberth-class science vessel. The old girl’s a dinosaur, used mostly as a support craft to modern ships. You’ll be operating well within Federation borders for the most part, ferrying specialists back and forth from starbase to starbase. If you’re really lucky you might get to tag along on terraforming missions.”

    “Then I guess my crew will have to provide all the merriment.” He could see that his son’s festive mood was already beginning to curdle and he felt a stab of guilt.

    On the other hand, he’d already committed himself. If his son was too delicate to receive disparaging viewpoints, he had no business running a ship. The rationale brought resolve, and thus armed he plunged ahead. “Speaking of your crew, you’ll have a grand total of maybe fifty-four, none of whom you’ll get to select. You’re looking at a handful of aloof Vulcan crewmen and a motley assortment of NCOs, all of them too immersed in their work to acknowledge the presence of a skipper who’s not even a science specialist. You’ll be more caretaker than captain, I’m afraid.”

    Jason stood and held out his glass, as if making a toast to the room. “The Wizard Damien has worked his foul magic yet again, my good people! Presto! My victory is now a resounding defeat!” He bowed in mock supplication. “I yield to you sir, and throw myself on your tender mercy.”

    From the other end of the bar, The Bolian woman moved uncertainly in their direction, trying to decide if Jason was requesting another round.

    Damien ground his teeth irritably. “Oh, stop your bloody whining. You asked for my thoughts, so here they are. Now, you know I’m proud of you, son. I have been from day one. I’m just saying there won’t be many ways to distinguish yourself on the Guadalajara.

    The Baghdad. Now that’s a ship. An Ambassador-class workhorse with a variable mission platform. And it’s a posting that’s been very kind to you, as made obvious by your recent good fortunes.”

    “I spend one more day on that ship and I’d blow myself out an airlock with a smile on my face, my good fortunes not withstanding. As for Captain Cheng, I nearly resigned my commission because of that son of a bitch.”

    “I remember. You two were at each other’s throats from the moment you became Second Officer. But he’s also the same son of a bitch that made you his right-hand man. If he was able to readjust his comfort level for the sake of his crew, why can’t you?”

    Jason looked back at him impassively, saying nothing.

    “What’s more, I’ve heard he’s retiring soon. Hell, they probably would have given you his ship. All you had to do was wait for it.”

    “Or I can have my own command right now. There’s no time like the present.”

    You’re as impatient as you are arrogant. Luckily, Damien caught that one before it got away from him.

    There was an uncomfortable stretch of silence as they both feigned interest in the clumsy dancing that had started around them. A new show tune was being sung, something from Far Beyond The Stars, a 22nd Century musical about the ill-fated Terra Nova colony.

    When he could no longer stand being ignored, Damien said: “I’m half way to spoiling your celebration, aren’t I? You’re probably counting the minutes till I leave.”

    The younger man sneered in agreement. “Don’t let the doors pinch your ass on the way out.”

    “Right, then. Well. Before I go, let me leave you with this: you’re wasting your talent, you know. You had some of the highest scores on record at ATTP. It’s a gift you have, tactics, starship combat and all that. Now, maybe Starfleet doesn’t recognize people with your type of gifts at the moment, but the day is fast approaching when we’re all going to need officers like you.” He swept his hand expansively at the large window behind the bar. “And you’ll be needed out there as a first line of defense, meeting threats head on, not paddling around the backwaters of the Federation.”

    Jason was taken aback by the tirade. “Dad, you act like we’re on the brink of war. All things considered, the Federation’s done a fine job of keeping the peace. I doubt any major conflicts will flare up in my lifetime.” He frowned suspiciously. “Unless you know something the rest of us don’t.”

    A somber grin quivered to life. Damien seemed distant as he spoke, as if recalling a sad episode from his past. “I don’t have to. I know what I know because chaos and war are a cycle---a rhythm just like the change of the seasons. When you’ve been around a spell or two, you can catch their scent in the air.”

    Jason regarded at him for a few moments before presenting his customary half-smile. “Sometime I wonder if you aren’t just hoping for it.”

    Damien screwed up his face in a parody of rage. “There’s a lot of nerve. Aren’t you the bloke who nearly started a civil war on the Gorn home world?”

    “Hey, now. There were mitigating circumstances.”

    “No wonder Cheng hated you. You’re a diplomatic crisis with feet.”

    Aware of Jason’s growing scrutiny, he held up a finger, “I see that look on your face, so before you ask, I get wind of all sorts of supposedly classified information from Starfleet. Or rather, you mum hears about it via the BPA. You know…diplomatic Snafus and all that. I promise we haven’t been spying on you.”

    Jason’s half-smile slipped away, but the intensity of his gaze lingered. “Still, it’s curious. You and mum don’t speak much these days. And for a guy who stayed an enlisted man his whole life and is now retired, you seem to really have your ear to the ground.”

    Damien put his hands up. “All right, you caught me. I secretly moonlight for a sinister organization that has tendrils in every level of Starfleet. Spying on you is just one of my nefarious activities.”

    “The next time you wonder where my sarcasm comes from…don’t.” Jason said drolly.

    At that point Jason’s old Academy buddies accosted them. They pulled him off his stool and all but dragged him off for some type of drinking contest. But he hadn’t quite turned off his probe before he left. For just a moment there, Damien was the recipient of a frigid, piercing examination.

    That look of his---like being dissected by lasers.

    Then the probe snapped off and he was laughing merrily with the gang.

    How long had it been since he’d seen that? Now that he had a little time on his hands, he ordered another drink and pondered the idea, watching as his son squared off against a Ktarian across a table with two shot glasses and a bottle.

    It finally came back to him: the first time that look made an impression on him was during an incident from his son’s childhood. It happened when Jason was twelve, just two years after his adoption. He had run afoul of a bully named Pierre, a fourteen year old who lived across the hall in the housing complex at Starbase 323.

    It started after the kid had tackled Jason as he walked home and beat the living tar of him. Pierre had learned a thing or two from his daddy---a security man---so he knew how to dispense a beat down without inflicting serious damage or leaving marks.

    Jason told no one so his father didn’t learn about the beating until much after the fact. He was, however, there to see how his adopted son had chosen to retaliate. Coming home from his duty shift one night, he had stumbled upon a bizarre tableau in the hallway that burned forever in his memory.

    He had found Pierre backed against a wall, sobbing hysterically. “You can’t do that! You can’t DO THAT!” the boy was shrieking. Jason stood a few feet away, his arms crossed. He wasn’t threatening the other kid physically. He had no weapon. Indeed, there not even so much as tussled hair on either of their heads to indicated a physical altercation had occurred.

    In fact, Jason hadn’t uttered a single word during the time his father was on the scene. He just stood there, an expression of cold amusement on his face, like a predator toying with his victim, delighting in the terror he was inflicting.

    Pierre ran off the moment he spotted Damien. When he pressed his son for details, he made up some vague story about bluffing the other kid with a threat.

    To this day, Jason would not say exactly what that threat had been, or how it could have made a hard-as-nails Starfleet brat wet himself in fear.

    What Damien did know, was that Pierre never bothered his son again. The angry visit that should have followed from his security officer dad never occurred, either.

    The event was unsettling because it wasn’t the first time he’d seen flashes of cruelty in the boy. But up until that day, they’d been minor incidents that were easy to dismiss. Now he was forced to wonder how well he actually knew his child. Back then those thoughts had led him in a strange direction…

    He had wondered if Jason were a shell, devoid of all empathy. What if his disarming smile, the compassion he sometimes voiced for those in difficulty, was just a mask worn by a talented actor?

    Then, just when he was steeling himself to swallow that bitter pill, his new son decided to just plain confuse the hell out of him.

    Three years later, while visiting Earth, Jason witnessed a rare accident: two hover cars colliding in midair. One of the vehicles was so badly damaged, it lost its anti grav pods and spiraled into a house where it exploded. Jason had sprinted without hesitation into the burning structure to save the lives of the residents trapped inside. He made three trips through the inferno, suffering ghastly injuries each time. When it was all over, he was left with third degree burns throughout his body and needed a new set of lungs. He nearly died on the operating table.

    Once he recovered, Jason waived off any accolades regarding his heroism. Whenever the subject was broached he would dismiss it by saying, “It was the right thing to do.”

    At this point, Damien couldn’t decide if his son was a hero or a closet sadist.

    So it was, that when the boy later showed an interest in joining Starfleet, Damien did all he could to encourage it, even pulling strings to expedite the admission process. He reasoned that only Starfleet could bring Jason’s dueling natures into harmony. If that could be done, he might become one of Starfleet’s most formidable instruments.

    The bartender suddenly appeared before him, interrupting his contemplations. “Excuse me sir, are you Damien Carter?”

    He said that he was.

    She pointed across the hall full of milling people to an open doorway. “That gentleman over there sent me a whisper. He said he’s an old friend who’d like to speak with you outside. Sorry, I don’t know why he did it that way.”

    Damien looked over to see who would send the bartender a tight beam audio broadcast directly to her ears, rather than using a communicator. He spotted a heavyset man just about his own age, standing within the open door. He made out a full head of salt and pepper hair, bushy eyebrows and a wide, brown face. Once eye contact was made, he motioned for Damien to join him outside before moving out of sight.

    Well, now the whisper made sense. His “old friend” obviously wanted their meeting to take place off the grid; nothing sent through any COMM network.

    Apparently Kevin was still compulsive about protocol, even after all these years.

    Damien sighed bleakly. He decided to make the clown wait while he ordered another drink. Once in hand, he downed half its contents in less than a minute. After it had achieved the desired effect, he slipped off the stool and shuffled towards the exit, his reluctant footfalls lost in the roar of celebration.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  2. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 27, 2007
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    Wayward Son – Part 2

    Damien walked out onto the large balcony that encircled the cone-shaped tower. At four hundred meters up the nighttime vista overlooking the Port of Latakia was stunning; a thousand lights danced off the water’s surface. Even the stars were clearly visible. Thankfully, modern city lights cast only a small amount of visual pollution in contrast to their ancient counterparts.

    His old surveillance habits were dying hard. He had automatically scanned his surroundings the moment he was outside. His brain had inventoried the environment and then neatly logged each detail: The shadowy balcony with only few a lighting panels to create a relaxing ambiance, the nearest bodies, which was a man and woman necking on a bench about twenty meters away, the nearest entry and exit points, the blind spots which could hide a hostile, etc. What’s more, it was all done with his peripheral vision. Not once had his line of sight moved off center.

    Not bad for a bloke two decades out of practice and---let’s be honest here---three sheets to the wind.

    He saw Kevin standing at the railing, making an unconvincing effort to appear pedestrian. His ensemble was civilian right down the line: violet windbreaker, green shirt and dark slacks.

    “Long time no see you.” Damien said as he approached. “Not long enough, I don’t mind adding.”

    Kevin smiled humorlessly. “You wound me, sir.”

    “I don’t suppose there’s any chance you’re dropping off an invitation to a bar mitzvah?”

    “Afraid not.”

    Damien grunted. “We’re still doing this? We spoke for barely twenty minutes.”

    “You know the drill. Anytime you have contact with the subject, you report. You just had contact.”

    “I remember this is how it always began. You’d start off each visit referring to him as “the subject”. You must still enjoy pissing me off. Then again, since it’s been ten years since your last house call, I suppose I can let it pass.”

    “My apologies,” Kevin said blandly. “Jason, of course.”

    “So…you’re laboring under the belief that after all these years he suddenly gave me a big reveal during his command celebration party, shouting over loud music while he’s half drunk?”

    “Oh, you’d be surprised the nuggets that get passed along during fleeting encounters, especially when mood-enhancing substances are involved. You’ve been out the game for a while, so you may have forgotten that.”

    Damien put his glass down on the balcony, his mouth chomping away angrily, like he was working a piece of jerky. “I haven’t forgotten anything. I was a field agent while you were still getting your diapers changed by your recruiter. So you’ll be wanting to curb that attitude.”

    Kevin rolled his eyes. “Oh, knock it off. You’re only ten years older than me, you twit.”

    Damien winked drunkenly. “Are you sure?”

    “Can we just get this over with?”

    “You didn’t get on station quickly enough to pick up our conversation, did you?” He snorted. “Not a mistake I would have made.”

    “I was in position way ahead of time. You were jamming my ears and we both know it.” He gestured at Damien’s maroon overcoat. “What have you got in there? A J25?”

    Damien patted his side pocket. “It’s a 23 actually. I’m surprised the old thing was so effective. Sounds like you need to update your gear.”

    “More likely you tinkered with your unit to bring it up to specs. You always were good at that. Anyway, you’re no longer active so you shouldn’t have any tech in the first place. It’s against regs.”

    “Piss on the regs. I’m retired, as you just pointed out. And I’d like to have a private conversation with my son every so often, if you don’t mind.”

    “You know full well that we do mind. Now…short visit or not, I’d like a report.”

    Damien groaned dramatically. “Okay then…here’s my ‘report.’” He began speaking in a jaded singsong tone, like a kid being forced to recite a list of rules he’d broken. “At no time did Jason give any indication that his real memories have returned. He still believes he was born in the 24th Century. And no, he hasn’t displayed any unusual interest in the 20th Century or in time travel. And, oddly enough, he hasn’t shown any behavior traits that might indicate he’s about to set a holocaust into motion.” He had splashed a bit of sarcasm on that last sentence before passing it along.

    Kevin glowered at him. “I’d scold you for being so cavalier, but it’s never done any good in the past.”

    Damien flashed a lopsided leer. “Can you blame me? This so-called assignment I was given to raise Jason was all horseshit.”

    “You’re drunk.”

    “And you’re getting pudgy around the waistline. But none of that changes the facts, does it?”

    “Damien, you’ve said enough out loud. Why don’t you---“

    “Did you really think I didn’t know the truth? And I don’t mean the briefing I was given way back at the beginning.” He peered studiously over Kevin’s head, as though reading from a holo-prompter. “How did that narrative go? Ah, yes: If Jason had stayed in the past where he was born, he would have destroyed humanity. No Starfleet. No Federation. All snuffed out before it could ever begin. If he regains his memories, it could increase the risk of him fulfilling his dark destiny here in the present, blah, blah, blah.”

    “Keep your voice, down you idiot.” Kevin hissed.

    Damien ignored him. He barked out a hoarse laugh. “Even if somehow, someone somewhere actually knew any of that for sure---and I can’t possibly see how anyone could---it doesn’t explain why his original memories make him more of a threat.”

    Kevin turned his back on him. “I’m not going to indulge you. Thank you for the briefing, such as it was. Now, I have more important errands to attend. Enjoy the party.”

    “If he really was a knot in destiny’s gut, if he really was some type of “focal point” in time that’s a dire threat to the Federation, we would have eliminated him long before he saw his first pimple.”

    Kevin spun back angrily. “I told you to quiet down.” He closed the distance between them quickly, all the while casting nervous glances at the couple on the other end of the balcony. So far, they still seemed oblivious.

    “Because that’s what our little country club does, doesn’t it? We eliminate threats to the Federation. You know what we don’t do? We don’t adopt them. We don’t give them little pecks on the cheek, stick a replicator card in their pocket and send them off to school each day.”

    Kevin looked sideways at him. “Ah, I think I see what all this is all about now: the old agent wrestling with compunction in his golden years. Tell me, is this where all the moral hand wringing begins? If so, you can spare me the theatre. You wanted out and we made you a deal instead. You accepted the offer. And quite an offer it was, I might add. You retired from Starfleet with distinction and your activities with us were scaled back to the occasional report on Jason. The rest of the time, you drank cognac on the beach and played father to the son you never had. So if you’re looking for a partner to fall on your knees with while you beg for redemption, look elsewhere.”

    Damien allowed his inebriated smile to grow wide. “Know what I think?” He used his index finger to waggle Kevin closer. When the two men were face to face, Damien leaned in and whispered loudly into his ear: “We haven’t been watching him all these years because we’re afraid his real memories will return. We’re watching him because we hope they will return.”

    Kevin wrinkled his nose and leaned away. “Ahh, that smelly Andorian crap. I liked it better when you drank cognac.” He waived his hand before him to emphasize the point.

    “Jason isn’t a subject. He’s an asset. Always has been. Why else would we protect him? Even going so far as allowing him to enter Starfleet, a place from which he can exert the greatest effect on history?” Damien waggled his eyebrows playfully. “Want to hear my theory as to why he’s an asset?”

    “I can see I have little choice in the matter.”

    “It’s because he used to know something, something now lost with his original memories. Something so big that it could change the balance of power in the entire quadrant---either for us or against us depending on who gets the Intel first.”

    “You’re embarrassing yourself, Damien. Go sober up.”

    But it seemed that sobering up wasn’t on Damien’s to-do list for the evening. He downed the rest of his drink in a single gulp and then waived the empty glass defiantly in the air. “I think the agent that brought him into our century knew what that something was, too. That’s why he reconfigured the boy’s memories…and that’s why he probably killed himself to avoid capture. Maybe he shared his secret with a ten-year old Jason Aubrey, either by accident or design.”

    Kevin started. “How did you know about the suicide of---?” He stopped himself, and then sighed in exasperation. “Oh, why should I even pretend I’m surprised?”

    “And because of all that, the powers that be have decided it’s worth the risk of keeping him alive---despite the threat he supposedly poses.”

    The agent didn’t offer an immediate retort this time. His voice softened with empathy, an unusual event in the two men’s shared history. “We know you love him, Damien. That was expected. He is your adopted son, after all. That was the idea, of course. Who better to notice changes in a person’s behavior or memories than his own father?”

    “Yes. Well put. And when you finally get what you want from him, he’ll no longer be worth the risk anymore.” Damien swallowed hard. When he spoke next, most of the bluster had evaporated. He nodded groggily at the open door and the laughing crowd within. “He’s a dead man walking. I’ve known that for a long time.”

    “We all have a purpose to serve for the greater good of the Federation, and that purpose is different for each of us. I have mine, you had yours.” He followed Damien’s unfocused gaze to the party guests. “Jason Aubrey has his. Take comfort in the knowledge that the big picture will come out as it should in the end. Take pride in the role you played.”

    “Maybe he’s here for another a reason.” Damien’s voice had the shrill ring of desperation now, but he didn’t care. “Maybe he’s not the destroyer of worlds. What if he’s destined to save us, instead? Have you ever thought about that?”

    “Well then, maybe we should have him come work for us.”

    The quip was ill received. Damien’s face became an angry red mask. “As much as I love him, I guarantee you I’d strangle him in his sleep before I’d let that happen.”

    “Who knows? You might be doing billions of people a favor in the process.”

    Damien slapped the railing with his palm. “He’s not a MONSTER, God Dammit!”

    Kevin put a comforting hand on his companion’s shoulder. “We’ve been friends a long time. And it’s as a friend that I’m speaking to you now. Here’s what I’d like you to do; go back in there and look into Jason’s cold eyes. Look not as a father but as the agent you once were. Then ask yourself if you truly believe what you just said.”

    For an awful moment, Damien was lost in despair and couldn’t speak. Then his fire re-ignited. He knocked Kevin’s arm away. “Sod off, you shifty bastard! I don’t know what the hell we are, but it’s never been friends. And by the by, I won’t be reporting anymore to you or anyone else. I’ve done my bit as promised but I’ll do no more.” He stepped back and glared furiously. “Have a good life, Kevin. Or whatever your name really is. We’ll never speak again. That I can promise you on my mother’s grave.”

    “You’re right about that, my friend. We will never meet again.” Kevin said quietly. He looked remorsefully at the ground. Turning, he padded stealthily into the shadows, throwing a final bit of advice over his shoulder. “Go be with your son tonight, Damien. Absorb every moment you both have together.”

    Damien spewed a string of vulgarities at his retreating back, many of which concerned Kevin’s genealogy and sexual habits. Once it was out of his system, he felt emotionally and physically drained.

    And there he stood; long minutes after the other man was gone, just feeling the cool air caress his scalp, listening to laughter and bad singing from inside the banquet hall. Somewhere within, he heard a dish break, followed by cheers and applause.

    With the threat of sobriety looming on the horizon, he came to realize that the last bit of advice he was given actually had some merit.

    Wiping away his watery eyes with the back of his sleeve, Damien Carter swept up his empty glass and went back in to join the party.

    -----THE END -----
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Very nice and a great reminder of Jason Aubrey's complicate and in fact quite special history. This character is just incredibly fascinating. What exactly is he? Will he bring about the apocalypse? And does he know about any of this?

    The focus on his 'father' here is great to give us a lot of insight into this character. And it seems Damian has gone native as part of his deep-cover assignment. Of course I can't blame him. He has clearly caught on what the real purpose of his mission has been and is right to oppose it. I don't recall if he appears or is mentioned in your other work, but something tells me he too might meet a not so pleasant end in the not so distant future.

    Awesome story!
  4. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 27, 2007
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    Thanks for the feedback!
    You're right, this the first time Aubrey's adopted family is mentioned or discussed.
    His past and his real memories continue to plague him throughout his life and are the subject of some intense stories down the road.
    I appreciate the read!
  5. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Very good, yet sad story. With Jason Aubrey's "complicated" past it's interesting to get the perspective of the man who was handler, spy, and father. I think the not-knowing is what is really eating at Damien. He fears the worst for/from his son, yet obviously still has high hopes for Aubrey.

    Like CeJay said, Damien may have gone too far with his drunken encounter with "Kevin." He may have shifted from asset to liability. I wonder what Jason would have made of that conversation?
    Galen4 likes this.
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    An incredible little vignette, as poignant as it is harrowing. Section 31 has orchestrated so much of Aubrey's life, creating a bubble around him of which he's unaware. Meanwhile, one of the architects of that illusion, his own father, has come to fear Jason as deeply as he loves him.

    Ultimately, who's to say which of these men is correct? Only time will tell...
    Galen4 likes this.
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    An interesting way of doing a character sketch. I mean who knows a person often better than their parents? And then we learn that there is more to both Jason and Damien. You've set up an intriguing, portentous mystery and destiny for Jason, and I got a feeling its going to end badly for somebody.
    Galen4 likes this.