U.S.S. Corsair - NCC-011979
Nebula Class Starship
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Reunions – Part Two”
Akina cringed as a fight suddenly ensued. He gripped his phaser, but then stopped. Something suddenly occurred to him. Ramius had deliberately precipitated the fight. Akina had no idea as to why, but Ramius obviously had a plan however half-baked. He decided to see the captain in action. This was after all his doing. If he was going to provoke several drunken men, then Akina would sit back and watch. Heading over to the bar, Akina ordered a beer. If Ramius was going to put on a show then Akina saw no reason not to enjoy himself.
After thirty seconds, one of the officers was upside down on the floor. Another lunged at Ramius only to wind up falling backwards onto the table rolling off its edge and onto the floor. Akina sipped his beer as another man threw a fist behind Ramius. To his surprise, Ramius reached up and blocked the man’s attack, grabbed his arm, and flipped the man forward sending him crashing onto the table’s surface with a thud. Glasses fell to the floor shattering as the entire bar had swollen up around the brawl as bets and wagers were being taken as to the victor and loser of the conflict.
Akina was halfway through his beer enjoying the bubbling refreshment as one of the men grabbed a nearby bottle and shattered it over Ramius’s head. Zane stopped sipping wondering if he should intervene, but his cynicism prevented his action. This was Ramius’s fight. If the man wanted the crap beat out of him who was he to stand in his way? He had provoked the fight.
To Akina’s amazement, Ramius shrugged off the attack as if he hadn’t felt it. The man who had attacked was equally stunned and was soon eating the pavement as a result of Ramius’s retaliation. A few more moments passed and the officers all lie panting and in some cases bleeding on the floor of the bar with split lips, bruised chins, and even more injured egos.
“WHAT THE HELL”, a voice yelled out from the back as a pilot stepped from the backroom with a bottle in one hand. He quickly noticed his pilots laid out on the floor which seemed to fill the man with anger. Ramius had quickly turned his back to the man presenting him with an obvious opportunity to attack unchallenged.
Indeed the man seized the opportunity without regard to Ramius’s rank which glimmered in the dim light of the now jam packed bar. Akina had been forced to push his way through the crowds, beer in hand, to maintain an eye on the action. He greedily slurped down more beer as the action intensified.
Several of the men had regained their footing and Ramius now found himself pinned on three sides by several angry pilots. They all charged at once now coordinating their assaults having been unsuccessful against the captain on an individual basis. With uncanny speed and power, Ramius not only dodged the men’s advances, but somehow counterattacked within the blink of an eye. In what seemed like an instant, three men flew backwards and a forth fell atop a nearby table which collapsed under the stress and clattered to the ground.
Ramius, composed and in a defensive posture still wore an unshakable smirk. Akina was convinced Ramius was enjoying every second of this shameless display of violence and combat. What was so incredibly disturbing was the fact that despite the combined efforts of all the man none of them had so much as laid a hand on the agile captain with the exception of the bottle which had shattered over Ramius’s head.
Akina was beginning to see NeoDyne’s lust for capturing Ramius alive. Taverain moved and acted just like the teenager Akina had been forced to fight within the research facility on Astate. This display was purely for show as this was only a mere fraction of the captain’s true ability. Akina was quite sure Ramius could have killed them all within seconds if he had so chosen. It was all suddenly so clear why Ramius behaved as he did. Neodyne wanted to capture Ramius and extract from him the building blocks needed to grow an army of Ramius’s all with the same levels of destructive capability. Such a force would be difficult if not impossible to stop by any of the galaxy’s powers.
Akina quickly swallowed the last of his beer. The necessity of keeping Ramius out of NeoDyne’s hands was now more clear than ever. If he fell into their grasp the Federation and indeed the galaxy itself would be consumed by a peril unmatched since the Borg had invaded and almost conquered Earth. A violent, bloody, and destructive fate would befall billions should the man before him be captured. In his blood ran the deadly secret of a bygone alien race whose abilities should have died with them.
Akina shoved his way through the crowds. He had to put a stop to this. Ramius was too valuable to risk in a stupid bar fight. Seconds from intervening, Akina stopped by a boisterous laugh that filled the entire bar. Glancing down, one of the pilots, a commander, lay on the floor with a split lip and a wide smile as he laughed uncontrollably.
Perplexed by the behavior, Akina paused unsure what exactly was occurring.
“TAVERAIN RAMIUS”, the man shouted. “You salty old pirate!”
Ramius moved and helped the man upwards from the floor. Then two men pulled each other into a tight hug before stepping back each with a smile. “Well hello Lawrence. Had I known it was you and your men I wouldn’t have gone so easy on you”, he said with a wide grin.
The gathered crowds groaned and muttered as they quickly dispersed the action now over. Within moments the bar was almost normal with little trace save for some broken glass and a split table that a fight had occurred.
“What the hell are you doing here”, the commander asked wiping the drying blood from his lip with his sleeve. “And why did you decide to wipe out me and my pilots? A simple hello would have sufficed.”
Ramius smiled saying nothing. “Barkeep, three bottles of your finest whiskey please.”
The group of men sat down as did Ramius as alcohol was delivered with all of the men taking part in some sort of ritualistic pilot drinking routine which Akina did not understand.
“You’ve gotten slow and sloppy”, Ramius said after knocking back a shot of the powerful, but excellent alcohol. “I’m disappointed Lawrence.”
“Did you show up here to inspect me and my men? I didn’t know. We would have worn brass knuckles if we knew you were coming.”
“They wouldn’t have helped…much”, Ramius quipped pouring himself another drink. “What on earth are you doing here wasting away in this dump drinking substandard rot gut? What happened?”
“No more war happened”, Lawrence responded. “After the end of the Second Dominion War, Starfleet put most of us combat pilots out of work. We were offered posts as helm officers, shuttle pilots, or honorable discharges, but many of us refused. Without a war there just isn’t a need for seasoned combat pilots these days in this new era of peace and goodwill. We’re washed up and have been hung out to dry by the very organization we fought and died to defend. It’s disgraceful. Now we just fill our days with whatever work comes our way. When we aren’t on a mission we’re stuck on starbases like this one for months at a time. It seems no one needs soldiers anymore. It’s a diplomat’s world now with the Dominion vanquished yet again. We served our purpose and like the other relics of war were now antiques relegated to the same dusty corners where our medals and commendations are hung. No one needs or wants a soldier these days; we’re liabilities at least until the next major conflict.”
Ramius sighed. He knew all to well the pains these men had and were facing. The war had been terrible on many, yet for some who had given everything the pain still continued onward long after the conflict had ended. Yet, despite his feelings, he knew exactly how these men felt and it was why he had diverted the Corsair.
“The war has been difficult on many of us”, Ramius said.
“Difficult?” Lawrence laughed. “You seem to have made out ok. They made you a bloody captain! Of all people! I would never in a million years have guessed Starfleet was that stupid!”
The pilots all had a good laugh at Ramius’s expense.
“So they made you a captain did they”, Lawrence stated. “So what’s it like being all respectable now?”
“Respectable”, Ramius asked with a questioning tone. “Who said these pips make me respectable?”
“Well we just assumed…”
“Well don’t. I’m the same Ramius I was as your wing commander during the war. In fact, its because of that I am here now. I’m here to offer you all a job assuming you’re up for the challenge.”
Lawrence’s eyes narrowed slightly. “What sort of job?”
“A dangerous job”, Ramius responded.
“Let’s just say the mission is classified and off the record. I can promise you all a chance to get back in the game and can almost assure you your skills, which I highly value and admire, will not go unused. In fact I can almost assure all of you that your talents will not only be needed, but will be vital to the success of our mission.”
Lawrence rubbed his chin as he stared at Ramius’s features. “Ramius you sound like those close lipped intelligence officers we used to make fun of during briefings. Tell me this isn’t an intelligence mission.”
“It isn’t an intelligence mission, it’s my mission.”
“Your mission? Since when does Starfleet let its captain’s run around the cosmos on their own personal time?”
“Lawrence, have I ever played by the rules”, Ramius asked.
The pilot thought for a moment. “No, no I suppose you haven’t. What’s the target?”
“Sorry, need to know only”, Ramius said with a grin. “You guys are either all in or all out right here, right now. I cannot say anymore. I’m offering a mission where you can do what you’ve been trained to do and what you want to do. You can accept or you can remain here drinking cheap whiskey in this burned out bar waiting for menial orders which I’m sure are typically insulting to your talents. What is it going to be?”
“Well could we have a moment alone to discuss the offer?”
“Of course”, Ramius said standing leaving the pilots to debate his offer. He moved to the end of the bar where an intrigued Captain Akina sat quietly his face a mix of confusion and interest.
“Ramius, please tell me you didn’t drag the Corsair all the way out here to pick a fight with a bunch of has been pilots for old times sake?”
Ramius shrugged with a smile. “Actually, I did drag us out here to pick a fight with some has been pilots.”
Akina quickly ordered another beer which he set about rapidly swallowing. Perhaps an alcoholic buzz might help him understand Ramius’s twisted logic.
“Come again Captain. The trail to Dr. Ballantine is growing colder by the moment and you decided to catch up with some old friends?”
“Yes”, Ramius replied ordering a beer for himself.
Akina looked at his beer in disbelief. He needed to be drinking something harder. Much harder.
“There’s more to it than that. While they don’t look like much, you’re looking at quite possibly the finest and most decorated combat pilots in the fleet. Each has a kill ratio an average pilot only dreams about. Everyone at that table is a three time fighter ace or better. The commander there for instance is a good friend. We went to the academy and fought together in the war. They don’t come any finer.”
“Funny”, Akina replied, “They don’t look like the best of the best.”
Ramius chuckled. “They’re combat pilots Akina. They abhor spit and polish as much as do I. They might be navy pilots, but that doesn’t mean they have to be pressed, clean, and shaven.”
“Is that what they are calling undisciplined and disgraceful officers these days”, Akina answered sarcastically.
“Would you care to tell them that yourself Captain”, Ramius asked.
Akina refused to answer. He’d had enough fighting to satisfy him for sometime.
“I’m here to recruit them. Admiral Valtren can fix up some transfer orders and I’ll have their fighters transferred aboard the Corsair. They all served under me during the war. Not only are they expert combat pilots with experience, but they’re loyal, brave, and most of all trustworthy. The insurance I mentioned, well that’s them. Should NeoDyne, the Romulans, or the Klingons decide to pick a fight they’ll think twice against the Corsair’s war time weaponry and a squadron of expert pilots.”
Akina sighed. “You actually think you can waltz in here, offer these men a mission with little to no details, fix up transfer papers, commandeer their fighters, and leave here like nothing happened?”
Ramius was about to respond to Akina’s skepticism when he was approached by the commander.
“Ok Ramius. We talked it over. You’ve bought yourself a squadron assuming you can fix the transfer paperwork. We’ll do it. Things were never dull when you were in command and we all decided it would be nice to have a proper commander again.”
Ramius smiled looking at Akina. “Captain Akina, meet Commander Lawrence Everic. Commander Everic, Captain Zane Akina, Starfleet Intelligence.”
“Just call me Mustang”, Everic said shaking Akina’s hand. “Mustang?”
Ramius leaned over to Zane. “It’s his callsign. Sheesh you’re dense.”
“Well I just knew someone in Intelligence was involved in this business. Well you guys always find a way to make our lives hell out there.” Mustang slapped Akina on the back with a laugh.
Zane merely looked highly annoyed directing his gaze at Ramius who was enjoying the entire situation far, far too much.
“Can a friend buy a captain a drink or is that considered inappropriate now”, Everic asked.
Ramius had duties to attend to, but he could postpone such matters for a drink or two with an old comrade in arms.
“I thought you’d never ask”, Ramius replied with a grin.
Akina, desperate to leave the bar, obtained Ramius’s permission to return to the ship. So confused by Ramius’s actions he was unsure if he should speak to the ship’s counselor if only to vent. Perhaps Commander Novada’s ear would suffice. Surely she had dealt with Ramius’s eccentric behavior long enough to be sympathetic.
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Commander Lawrence “Mustang” Everic
Squadron Commander / Pilot