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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 2: Wayward Sons and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

43 – Running from the Devil

Voth Ship
11.20.2400 @ 1500
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Cardamon had been silent in his seat since leaving the Mackenzie.  He'd had to give up his PADD and settled for the in-kind technology of his people.  it wasn't as functional and lacked access to the human's massive library of information.  It was helping him catch up on all that had happened since he'd fled seventy-five years ago.  The ambitions of his branch of the Voth had been extraordinary in the time he had been away.  They had improved ship design, ship operations, and ship functions.  The only place they had not advanced as quickly had been in weapons.

“You will find your way once you return home.  Your instincts and natural habits will slowly come back to you.”  Larsak sat in the cockpit of the transport ship as they flew through space at warp speed.  Cardamon had largely ignored him, and he continued to ignore him as his lidded eyes glanced out the window at the stars streaming by.  The Delta Quadrant was a massive place, and he had only seen a piece of it since taking his place on the Markonian Outpost.  Yet there was a bigger place he was desperate to see.  The Alpha Quadrant.  Where the people who crewed the Mackenzie come from - he had been reading all about it on his ship-issued PADD.  The beauty of Earth and its tortured but glorious history.  The missions of old Earth to the moon…and then beyond.

What awaited him on his home planet?  A backlog of weaponization and ship adaption to those weapons he had an eye and a mind to make - a legacy mired in blood and death.  He had glimpses of the Federation - the cooperation, the ideals, and the goals that held it together for so many years.  Cardamon had been delighted in reading about the imperfections of human history - instead of diving deeper into the murderous hole dug by war, genocide, and destruction - they somehow found a way out of the trap and into the future each time.  He had found wonder in the length of time it took each generation to find the better path and that in each story, there was this wild abandon for hope and the future.

He didn't want to go back.  He looked up from his inferior device.  He had made a deal to save the crew of the Mackenzie.  They were safe now.  If he could escape, would the Voth hunt down the Federation ship and visit their vengeance upon them?  Would they try and get through the wormhole to hunt him down in the Alpha Quadrant?  Would he ever be truly safe?  He considered his options.  Larsak had not bound him or restrained him.  Glancing carefully around, he wasn't surprised that weren't any energy weapons.  What did surprise him was the staff weapons that were strapped to the walls of the ship.  He wondered if they had been intended as decoration…or even as a fallback defense use in case traditional weapons failed.

Could he kill?  The question surged out of the back of his mind and danced around the front of his thinking.  There was no scenario where Larsek would go quietly, even if he managed to knock him unconscious.  Voth's recovery times were notoriously troublesome with blunt-force combat - it never failed to end in the death of one of the combatants.  Could he do it?  Could he do something he had sworn off since the day he'd fled his homeworld?  He considered the question.  If he returned home, he would hate his life and eventually find a way to escape - by life or death.  The twinge that pulled at him of the galaxy beyond the Delta Quadrant had grown as he had sat, hearing but not listening to Larsak.

It was decided.  He sprang up and snagged a staff weapon, the knife gleaming in the dull light of the transport ship.  He tossed it down, and it slid to rest on the floor beside Larsak.  Cardamon snagged his weapon from the wall and stood, staring down the High Commander.  “I am not going with you, Larsak.”

He stood from the chair in the cockpit and picked up the staff, eyeing Cardamon, “You're breaking the deal.  You have no chance of survival, fool.  Why would you do this?  Why is this risk worth it?”  He played with the staff, judging its weight and heft.

Cardamon swallowed his fears, “I am not like you and the others.  I want something more…something…better.  The Federation offers that.  They accepted me…and were…friends…are friends.”  He spat on the hold floor, “There is no friendship on our home planet.  Just more need for weapons and war.  It is not my life…or my destiny.”

Larsak bellowed a deep laugh, “Destiny?  You speak of destiny?  And of life?  Oh, Cardamon, you are lost farther from us than I thought.  Your heart is dead, the fire within worn to dust that blows away at the slightest breeze.  Your destiny is to die and die quickly.”

He gripped his weapon, adjusting his feet, “And what of my position?  And it's the requirement?”

A shrug, “Once you are dead, it will pass to the next.  It will take time to shake their mind…but I will personally see to it that they never leave us or forsake us.  They will be taught properly in the ways of the Voth.  You will become less than a memory.  You will be a spirit we curse as we prepare for battles.  We will invoke you as a dark spirit needing bled.”

Cardamon growled and felt his face grow hot as his ears heard his guttural roar for the first time in 75 years, “Enough talk.  Let one of us die here today.”  His hands tightened on the staff, and he screamed as he charged Larsak.

Comments

  • This is a powerful scene. I like the way Cardamon’s thinking evolves throughout until he reaches a decision and his internal struggle over whether he can kill, since he knows the combat will come down to that, weighed against the life that awaits him if he doesn’t try and escape. Nicely done!

    December 18, 2022
  • Unknown Author

    This is a powerful scene. I like the way Cardamon’s thinking evolves throughout until he reaches a decision and his internal struggle over whether he can kill, since he knows the combat will come down to that, weighed against the life that awaits him if he doesn’t try and escape. Nicely done!

    December 24, 2022