Marching down the corridors of the Charon as prisoners was a sobering experience. Lamont made eye contact with the dozens of crewmen who streamed past on their way to an unknown location and unknown fate. The fear in the air and etched upon the faces of the crew mirrored his own. That fear soon blossomed into near panic when their attempt to reach the shuttle bay was halted by two Romulan troops who had noticed the officers moving in the wrong direction.
“Where are you taking these prisoners”, one of the soldiers asked. Lamont was not completely fluent in Romulan, but he knew enough to make out the utter contempt in his voice as his words were laced with crude adjectives for humans.
“I have orders to escort these prisoners to a secure location on this deck. I have been informed that the one in white is of special interest to command.”
“I have not been informed of any such orders”, the soldier stated glancing menacingly at Lamont before turning his gaze back toward Aev Keirianh who had yet to betray them as Lt. Remington had insisted would come to pass.
“Perhaps you have not been informed because our superiors deemed it unnecessary to inform you.”
“I am the platoon leader for this section of the ship. Everything involving the movement of the prisoners runs through me.”
“So your designation places you in a position to question our superior’s orders? Shall I waste their time, which is no doubt preoccupied with dealing with these hevam, by calling to confirm my orders? I will ensure that your name is prominently mentioned since you deem it necessary to confirm my orders.”
The two Romulans glared at one another with dark eyes neither flinching nor showing any signs of hesitation in their iron gazes. Sudden shouts and the whine of weapons fire somewhere down the hallway finally broke the silent showdown as the platoon leader dashed off around a corner. Keirianh motioned for Lamont and Remington to follow. Moving carefully, Lamont rounded the corner and was shocked and sickened by what he was forced to witness. A Romulan lie dead in a pool of his own green blood. A head spattered by emerald strands sat detached from its body bearing the shocked, wide eyed expression of the dead Romulan who had met a gruesome end. More shocking and horrific still was what lie beyond on a nearby bulkhead seemingly scrawled in the soldier’s own lifeblood – “abandon all hope”.
Had a crewmember done this? Lamont was sickened by the brutality before him. He couldn’t begin to fathom the dark motivations behind such actions. Had they gone mad? Perhaps they held repressed anti-Romulan sentiments? He didn’t know and at the moment he didn’t care. Something forced him to hold his gaze upon the severed head lying there with its twisted, frozen expression of shock mixed with fear. He strongly believed humanity had transcended its dark, primal beginnings exchanging brutality and savageness for reason and logic. They had evolved from such behavior and yet such sensibilities seemed so utterly useless in their current situation. No amount of diplomacy, logic, or reason would stem the tide of Romulans pouring onto the ship nor could it save, shield, or protect those currently in peril.
His eyes locked with those of the dead Romulan’s. What use was diplomacy now? What use was it at all? He had been unable to negotiate with the Romulans before and he was as impotent now as he had been then. Perhaps he somehow understood some of Rehu’s disdain for him. He was useless. Might always appeared to make right drowning out or silencing the voices that stood against it. Was he a naïve fool to believe in the honor and nobility of peace and the mediation of problems and issues as civilized beings? Had he simply been living a lie sheltered from harsh reality in places where civilization was less pronounced? Was the use of violence the only possible response when violence was inflicted?
Lamont was both riddled with anger, fear, depression, and a genuine sense of complete worthlessness all of which was suddenly converted from thought and reason into raw emotion as the shouts of Romulans. His musings would have to wait. Terror and adrenaline would be his close companions for the foreseeable future.
“Clean that up”, the Romulan platoon leader barked at his men as the fires of anger burned like glowing coals within the dark recesses of his eyes. “AND find those humans responsible for this outrage! Tear this deck apart if you must but I want them alive so I can personally rip their flesh off and feed it to them!”
The leader turned and glared at both Keirianh and his prisoners with eyes full of murderous rage and contempt. Without a word the soldier approached. Lamont never saw the fist that slammed into Lt. Remington’s baby face with a sickening sound. Drops of the lieutenant’s warm blood landed upon Lamont’s cheek and neck as the lieutenant crumpled to the deck wracked in pain.
“I don’t give a damn what you do with these things but get them out of my sight before I execute them both”, the platoon leader coldly stated his voice barely able to control the anger behind it.
Keirianh grabbed the lieutenant from the deck and drug the man to his feet as his face and uniform dripped with blood from a badly broken nose. Lamont moved to help, but a quick, stern glance from the mercenary conveyed the message to do nothing.
“Move”, Keirianh stated shoving the tip of his rifle abruptly into Lamont’s back. Ian grunted at the unpleasant strike upon his lower back. He quickly grabbed the lieutenant’s arm and slung it over his shoulder to aid the man who was visibly shaken and disoriented from pain combined with the force and violence of his injury.
Again the trio set off for the shuttle bay having survived capture and death but having to pay a high price for their passage. Lamont suddenly realized that he was alone and woefully unprepared for the dangers that now surrounded him on all sides. There was no bargaining table, no negotiations, nor diplomats to sway as the sword now ruled the Charon. Those unwilling or unable to wield a weapon would be injured or die at the tip of one.
Diplomacy was dead. As they trudged down a grim and sullen corridor Lamont couldn’t help but wonder, behind a thin shell of control that was on the verge of shattering, if he and those in his company would be death’s harbinger’s next victims.
[ To Be Continued… ]
Ambassador Ian Lamont – Diplomatic Advisor
Lt. Remington – Security Officer (NPC)
Aev Keirianh – Romulan Merc (NPC)