"The Problematic Profession of Peace -Part II”
His fingers pressed the badge activating the ship’s intercom. Seconds later the ambassador’s cool, subdued voice echoed throughout the Charon…
“Attention all hands. This is Federation Ambassador Ian Lamont. Romulan forces have seized the Charon. Many of you have escaped capture and have taken up arms against them resulting in injury and bloodshed on both sides. While your struggle is noble such guerilla tactics cannot be maintained indefinitely. Too many have fallen in this conflict which must soon reach a conclusion. Needlessly perpetuating violence is not an option and cannot be sustained.”
Lamont fought to keep his breath steady and voice clear despite significant amounts of pain and a swelling mass of anxiety and fear that was building within him like water beneath a geyser. So anxious was the ambassador he could barely keep the hand clutching the comm. badge from shaking.
“I have been asked by our Romulan guests to aid in ending this strife and struggle. It must be quickly ended so that no additional lives are needlessly lost. I personally implore each of you to search yourselves for the courage and tenacity to end the violence. Think of your fellow crewmen, think of the Charon, and for everything that your uniform stands for. Do your part in bringing an end to this conflict by making the decks run green! Wade into them! Spill their blood! Avenge those who have fallen in the line of duty and reclaim the ship….”
Lamont managed to fend off his furious Romulan captors just long enough to get in a few additional words as they tried to pry the communicator from his hand. “…RISE UP! RETAKE THE CHARON AND ENSURE…” The open intercom crackled with static and went silent.
“YOU DISSAPPOINT ME AMBASSADOR”, the Romulan officer shouted tossing the communicator to the floor and crushing it under the heel of his heavy boot. “I should have known not to trust a bastard human politician. No matter. Your call to arms will only result in more of the crew losing their lives.” The Romulan smiled with a sinister grin. “You have given us all the more reason to eliminate the crew Ambassador as my men will have no choice but to ‘defend’ themselves. How does it feel knowing that instead of saving lives you have condemned dozens perhaps hundreds of your own people to the grave?”
The officer laughed with gusto. “Has anyone here heard of an ambassador waging war?” The Romulan soldiers in the room chuckled at the rhetorical question.
“Even the human ambassadors, so called men of peace, cannot be trusted! It pains me to think that our own diplomats do not show the same lust for blood as this human! If they did the Empire would have already crushed the Federation out of existence!”
Lamont was suddenly hoisted into the air and slammed against the nearby bulkhead as the Romulan officer’s powerful arm and hand threatened to squeeze the life from the Ambassador’s throat.
“Shall we play another game Ambassador? I grow tired of being made the fool. Give me your computer access codes or I will remove you from the mortal coil.”
Barely able to breathe Lamont attempted to swallow what could be his last few sips of oxygen before he met his end. His voice hoarse and at whisper due to the pressure on his throat, Lamont looked directly into the cold officer’s eyes, “Seeing as you will likely dispose of me anyway I decline.” His final act of defiance was somehow reassuring. If he died at least he did so with a clear conscious and with the knowledge that despite a strong desire to capitulate to the Romulan’s demands he had performed his duty and remained true to his ship and crew. His words may very well be responsible for countless deaths however the Romulans had spilled first blood and deserved to answer for their crimes. Who knew? Perhaps his speech would spur on the valiant men and women that had eluded capture to achieve the impossible. He had seen such things before and had long since learned never to bet against the sheer power of a determined, passionate individual.
The officer’s face grotesquely twisted with anger and rage at the refusal. With a swift fist the officer struck Lamont in his bleeding shoulder causing the ambassador to shudder in pain trapped within his iron clad grip. “GIVE ME YOUR ACCESS CODES! If you refuse I will ensure your death with be excruciating and slow at the hands of someone far more talented in such arts. We are lightyears away from the Federation and no one will be charging to your rescue at I’rak Prime.”
Lamont was barely able to remain conscious. He was losing blood from his wounds and the pain tearing at his very soul was nearly unbearable. Yet, despite a strong desire to simply surrender to unconsciousness or the unrelenting pain, Lamont still managed enough energy to reply.
“Fine”, he whispered weakly pinned to the wall as the officer maintained his chokehold. “If you want my code so be it not that diplomatic access will grant you any spectacular military secrets. “
“The code is: Golf, Oscar, Tango, Oscar, Hotel, Echo, Lima, Lima.”
The officer released Lamont who fell to the floor gasping for breath. “Well perhaps you have some value after all ambassador even if you are a coward and a traitor despite your call to arms.” The Romulan officer turned toward one of his soldiers. “Ensure this is sent up the chain.”
Lamont managed a weak smile despite all that had happened. It wouldn’t take the Romulans long to realize his code was in fact a cleverly disguised insult. This Romulan officer obviously had little knowledge of human concepts. Coughing up a mouthful of blood, Lamont fought to remain conscious as his life slowly seeped out of him moment by moment. The Romulans need not kill him. If he did not receive medical attention soon fate would deny them the pleasure of execution.
He briefly wondered if Captain Rehu would find humor in his ruse. It was ironic now at the end he should be thinking about a Romulan officer he usually despised. He inwardly chuckled. Rehu would curse him for his perpetual stubbornness and stupidity had she been here. He could almost hear her biting response. If his fate was to perish here at least he would do so with one last act of defiance. Irritating to the last – so be it. Perhaps he would live long enough to see the anger and disbelief on their faces.
Lamont coughed several more times as mortality edged closer with each passing moment. There was no way to negotiate with fate. He was out of leverage, out of concessions, and out of time. He hadn’t envisioned such an end and yet he could think of no place he would rather be than aboard this ship. This ship and crew had grown on him despite his initial revulsion at his orders and assignment to the Charon. His old life seemed petty and dull compared to the new one he had been thrust into so unwillingly. Had the Charon changed or had he? Such answers he would have to find in another place.
“GO TO HELL! THAT IS HIS CODE? ARE YOU SURE!? THAT LYING…”
Lamont proudly lifted his head and smiled at the enraged Romulan officer as his angry words reached his ears. He silently wished for Rehu was here if only to push him out an airlock as she had so many times threatened to do. Sensing his end approaching the airlock seemed preferable for what was about to occur.
As the Romulan officer approached to exact revenge for the ambassador’s deception, Lamont broke into spontaneous laughter. Gone were his fears, doubts, and even his pain. Laughter simply bubbled out of him from some unknown spring filling him with contentment. The officer’s face had been priceless and he would always remember it even if that memory was to be short lived…
[ To Be Continued ??? ]
Ambassador Ian Lamont