U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Progeny of the Progenitors – Part 26”
Merikai smiled as he surveyed the room. Ramius was defiant as ever yet he needed his help to accelerate his plans and would get it one way or another.
“Commander Stone. Let us see if we cannot convince the captain to help us.”
Stone, who was watching the exchange with the eyes of a vulture, pointed at one of the guards. Ramius watched as one of his Marines was forced up against the white column in the center of the room.
“Since you refuse to assist Captain you leave me few choices. You will help me or else this man will die.”
Akina moved to assist but was struck in the neck with the butt of a weapon leaving the intelligence officer writhing in pain on the pristine floor.
“Merikai you bastard”, Ramius shouted.
“Stone. Motivate the captain.”
Ramius cried out as the whine of a rifle took the life of the Marine before him. The body fell to the floor. It its wake lie a patch of deep crimson in sharp contrast to the pure white of the column.
Ramius’s heart pounded in his chest as another Marine was forced up against the column in the same spot as the first. He couldn’t help NeoDyne. He couldn’t. Too much was at stake. Too many lives had been lost and more would follow. He could not betray the security of billions even if it cost them all their lives.
“Captain”, Merikai asked.
Ramius looked at the marine. Their eyes met. In that instant two soldiers exchanged what a million words could not convey. The Marine was the perfect example of honor and loyalty as he stood proudly looking at the captain. With a wry smile the marine communicated his intent for the Captain to continue the fight.
Another rifle fired and another Marine fell silent upon the floor while Ramius watched.
Ramius’s anger was no longer manageable as it erupted within him like a volcano spewing forth deadly magma from fiery depths. His fists clenched at his side as his breathing became ragged.
Akina, still on the floor, looked up and saw the captain and his reaction. Despite the throbbing pain in his back, he noticed something. Something few knew to look for. Ramius’s eyes were no longer blue as they glowed with an unmatched brilliance and fueled by deep, unquenchable fires.
His eyes, the color of the hottest burning star, were a telltale sign Ramius had triggered his unusual gift.
Akina smiled and waited. Ramius would end this and this time Merikai would have the privilege of watching his dreams fade before him.
Faster than any humanoid could move, Ramius turned and grabbed the solider’s weapon behind him in a single fluid movement catching the man off guard. A second later the man’s neck was broken as his body fell towards the floor. Weapon in hand, Ramius fired two shots from the rifle at the guards near Akina and the remaining Marines. The soldiers had only just disintegrated as the first NeoDyne solder Ramius had attacked hit the floor having never comprehended what had occurred.
Ramius spun and leveled his weapon at the NeoDyne commander having killed three guards in the span of only a few seconds. His finger closed around the trigger of the rifle. Suddenly a surge caught Ramius’s enhanced vision. He rapidly moved as the mechanized robots that had escorted him sprang to life with weapons of their own.
He narrowly dodged their attack, but not before it cut the rifle in his hand in half as the barrel fell to the floor glowing brightly with burning embers of molten metal. Several more shots rang out as Ramius dashed and dodged the computerized soldiers who could track his movements and react a hundred times faster than any living creature.
Ramius sprang backwards to avoid a blast from the mech’s guns only to be hit by several shots from the other computerized mech which had anticipated the Captain’s movements constantly learning, improving, and refining its tactics second by second, instant by instant.
Ramius fell the floor as the stun beams surged through him. All he could feel was the icy coldness of the floor upon his face. His body refused to move despite his sheer will for it to do so. The mechs closed in and so did more soldiers.
Someone harshly pulled him to his feet, but he was unable to stand his legs, arms, and body numb from the stunning effects of the robot’s sinister weaponry. The soldiers held him upright and dragged him back before the NeoDyne President.
“Admirable if not foolish Ramius. I’ve taken every precaution to ensure that even you and your abilities will not stop me this time. How do you like my robotic soldiers? They’re the latest in NeoDyne technology. I had them designed with you in mind. What do you think of their performance? Their stun beams are state of the art. More than enough to incapacitate even you captain without causing the target to lose consciousness. Of course there are still some nasty side effects to overcome, but I’d say you were a good test.”
“Go..go to hell”, Ramius managed to mutter his tongue as heavy as lead. He had lost control of his body and with it his final trump card.
“Commander Stone. It is quite obvious to me now that the captain will allow his entire team to be executed. I think we need an alternative form of persuasion.”
Stone pointed at Akina. “What about that one? The intelligence operative?”
Merikai smiled. “No. That one is mine. I have other plans for my father’s murderer. Leave him.”
Stone nodded. “Bring them in”, the commander ordered a nearby soldier.
Ramius’s head slumped against his chest, but the soldiers holding him upright pulled it upwards grabbing his hair forcing him to watch.
Two soldiers escorted in a female worker and a young boy roughly twelve or thirteen at most. The female was clutching the boy’s arm as tears ran down her face staining her soiled, torn garments.
The mother and child, both terrified, were pushed past the twin mechs and into the center of the room where they were lined up against the column and forced into the puddles of blood that ran from the dead Marines.
“Let us test your convictions now Ramius. You may be willing to sacrifice those who have accepted risk and danger as well as the possibilities of death, but what of those who have not? What of the innocent? How many will you sacrifice? Their lives are now in your hands. Can you watch them killed one after another? This facility has hundreds of innocent workers. If you do not help us I will execute them all one by one while you watch each and every one of them die. Can you live with that Ramius? Will you be able to live with their screams, their pain, their lack of understanding while you and you alone condemned them to death?
I ask you again Captain Ramius. Will you help me?”
Ramius couldn’t help but look at the mother and her child who clutched each other in terror and fear unaware what was happening. Their sobs and cries were more painful than the mech’s weaponry and tore at Ramius’s soul in ways few could ever understand. Still, he couldn’t betray the galaxy by assisting this mad man. He couldn’t no matter how high the price.
“Very well captain. Stone. Do it.”
Before Ramius could object weapons fired as he watched in horror. A second later the mother ceased to exist as her son sank to his knees in an attempt to revive her. The boy’s screams echoed filling the room as he eventually collapsed his cries muffled by his mother’s lifeless body.
The anger Ramius felt no longer held any power. It’s flame and fury had been beaten back by the stun beams used to immobilize him. A single tear ran down Ramius’s face despite his best efforts to steel himself against the onslaught of emotions attacking him from within.
“Ramius? Ramius”, Merikai’s voice called out. “What is your answer?”
Ramius looked toward the boy and shut his eyes. His life had been devoted to a single edict. He had sworn an oath to himself not to allow his gifts to fall into hands that would use them for evil. He had sworn this same oath to Admiral Valtren. And yet, when the time had come to end his life to prevent the enemy from capturing him he found himself unable to pull the trigger.
He was a coward. And now others were dying as a result of his cowardice. He hadn’t been strong enough despite years of preparing himself for this very moment he always knew would one day come. Yet when that moment arrived he lacked the resolve to end his own life selfishly preserving it despite the supreme risks to universal peace.
In the end he was a selfish failure and was now responsible for the blood of three people. His soul seemed to swim in it. His entire life had revolved around death as he had danced in and out of its grasp. How he was killing without pulling a trigger. By simply existing he was condemning the innocent he had sworn an oath to the Federation to protect to death. The conflict felt as if he were caught between two black holes each ripping at his flesh trying to tear him apart. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t think. For the first time in his life, Taverain Ramius experienced fear and was unable to stand against it.
“Very well captain. I see we shall have to continue this exercise. Commander.”
Two soldiers grabbed the boy who squirmed in their powerful arms. The boy was finally subdued and a rifle was placed against the young man’s temple.
Ramius could do nothing but watch as the boy’s eyes filled with terror. He could see the child trembling and worse he knew Merikai and his obedient troops would not hesitate to execute the boy.
“Looks as if the Captain is racking up quite the body count today. What’s one more? Stone, it seems Ramius needs some additional convincing.”
A soldier drew the tip of his weapon across the boy’s face bringing it to rest between the child’s wide eyes.
“WAIT”, Ramius shouted. “Wait!”
“DON’T DO IT RAMIUS”, Akina shouted from nearby.
“Leave the boy alone”, Ramius said his voice devoid of any life. “Let him go and I’ll do what you want.”
“Ah. I see you have finally come to your senses Ramius. And it only took three deaths. I estimated it would take several more, but then again you are the more compassionate twin full of duty, obligation, and honor.”
“Stone, clean up this mess and get that boy and those bodies out of here. The captain has work to do.”
“Yes sir”, the commander nodded and issued orders to his men. Ramius watched as the boy was escorted out his heart heavy with a terrible burden. He had broken his oath to himself and to the Admiral in favor of his oath to Starfleet and the Federation. But that mattered little now. Both oaths would eventually be broken if NeoDyne completed its aims and Ramius would be solely responsible for NeoDyne’s crimes having willingly participated in their implementation.
Akina bowed his head as he slumped to the floor. He could only imagine the burden which Ramius was carrying. The captain had been bested by Merikai’s infernal machines and brutally forced into aiding NeoDyne after watching three souls perish. If there was any hope left of escaping this place alive it had died with the fallen woman. For all of their efforts and all of the lives lost, NeoDyne had at last won the fight and broken Ramius. There was no hope left. All roads led to dark, humiliating, painful ends. They would simply be the latest anonymous casualties in a war that now seemed lost. Nothing short of a divine miracle could save any of them now…
[ To Be Continued ]
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Starfleet Inteligence Operative
President Alistair Merikai
Chairman, NeoDyne Defense Corporation