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Lt. Cmdr. Alex Brodie “Forever Is A Long Time


Alora DeVeau

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I've been waiting eagerly for the final installment of this series of sims by the Thor's own @Alex Brodie, and he did not disappoint.  He really knows how to engage the reader and I can really relate not only to his main character, Brodie, but to all the others he writes into the story.  Well done!

 

IC:

((USS Loki, Approaching Moon ‘Solace’))

 

Alex woke as the sensors chimed denoting his arrival at a safe distance – he hoped the situation on the ground would be better than what he was looking at on the monitor. He stretched from his seat and walked back to the replicator – keying in a few commands.

 

Brodie: White coffee, Sumatran blend.

 

It was strange. The horrific scenes in the slipstream had shown the very best in people, the political intrigues on New Bajor had shown the very worst. Everything seemed a little upside-down.

 

The mug materialised in the opening and the smell filled the air. It had been a few day’s journey but now he was on this side of the wormhole it was simply a chance he couldn’t not take, although it might be the last chance he took.

 

It had taken a while to get the appropriate permissions and authorisations but here he was...the console cut through the silence as he sipped his drink.

 

LCARS: Warning. Target lock acquired.

 

He hopped forwards and opened a comm. channel to the satellite that had targeted the Loki. His fingers skittered across the console as he input the authorization codes for the system. Only a handful of people had them and, as soon as they were transmitted, he erased them from the ship’s logs.

 

Some things were just too risky to let out.

 

The shuttle slipped between the gap in the orbital net and began its descent to the surface. He wondered what he would find there? He’d read the reports but a lot can change in nearly two decades…although in some ways a great many things would have stayed the same.

 

The first thing that struck him, as the cloud cover broke, was the landing pad – so far, a good sign. He had rather expected a flattened piece to rough ground but it seemed there were elements of infrastructure. He didn’t think that there would have been many visitors to this area. The Loki touched down as gently as he could manage – having not landed a shuttle since the academy…and even then, only a handful of times.

 

He opened the munitions locker and took one of the protective vests from inside and slipped it around his chest, pulling the straps tight. He didn’t like them but this was certainly a place where it was better to be safe than sorry. He pulled his field jacket over his shoulders and opened the door, lowering the exit ramp.

 

It was a bright but cold day and the sun was low. He could just make out the figure walking towards him – unassuming, relaxed, like they had all the time in the world – which they did.

 

Alex allowed himself some butterflies at the thought of what to say – it was a refreshing feeling - before deciding to keep it formal. He bowed slightly in greeting.

 

Brodie: Eminence.

 

((Zone Of Mediation, Solace))

 

Alex awoke early as the sun blinkered through the window, dappled by the trees. He wasn’t sure what he’d expected from a prison – but it wasn’t this.

 

The door wasn’t locked and, after having dressed, he walked down the corridor towards a communal room that had been set aside. As he walked in some heads turned…but not many and, as he saw the faces, there were more expressions of confusion and…was that a little fear.

 

He smiled, though not openly, from what he’d heard about the Ennis and Nol-Ennis but he hadn’t expected them to appear so…alike. It reminded him of an old song ‘One Tin Soldier’ the mountain and the valley people fighting over a supposed treasure – and all the pain that brought. He wondered if the two factions even recalled what they were even fighting over?

 

He took some fruit and a bowl of what tasted like sugared oats and took a seat at the rear of the room – not deliberately watching but making sure he had everyone in his field of vision. This place was still a prison and if anything happened to him here then…well…he’d be stuck there. He wouldn’t mind so much but Garcia would certainly want to get the Loki back.

 

It was a testament to the work that had been going on here that they were able to mix so freely and without incident, although he was led to believe that not everyone shared or appreciated the attempt at a more peaceful philosophy. That said, it was still standing nearly two decades later…but then what would they do…kill them?

 

He wondered about this place, a planetary prison – a prison without bars; although it did have a sophisticated satellite defence system. He certainly appreciated the intention towards punishment but this was akin to torture. The violence was playing out, and perhaps – at first, there was a revelry on each side flying into an eternal battle with no sense of one’s own mortality. It seemed oddly Klingon – perhaps similar to Sto-vo-kor; he was unlikely to ever find out. There was a further fleeting thought, he wondered how Hannibal was getting on in his quest for the next battle?

 

Back to the problem at hand, that was all well and good – teaching them that conflict was futile, a cycle doomed to repeat itself over and over until the end of time.

 

And that was the issue, it never ended.

 

How could there be any justice in this? There was no final punishment nor was there any chance at rehabilitation – the two peoples pushed aside as an inconvenience. Their people couldn’t reconcile them so they were shut away in this endless purgatory. Out of sight and out of mind…but it didn’t solve the problem.

 

All that changed when she arrived though. It was odd that yet another death might be the start of something more progressive – they couldn’t leave, but perhaps they could grow. Perhaps they could find some sort of redemption…or maybe that was all wishful thinking?

 

A bell tolled and the hall began to empty, their day had begun. He sat alone for a moment and then looked across the room to where Her Eminence now occupied the doorway, her eyes more alive than his – he hadn’t been able to find anything remotely resembling coffee. He stood in greeting.

 

Sulan: Commander, good morning.

 

Brodie: Good morning, Eminence

 

Sulan: Please…there’s no need for formalities. Come, walk with me.

 

It wasn’t a command, but strangely he didn’t feel anyone would ever refuse. It was simply a statement of how things were.

The planet was still barren in the most part. The two walked along one of the paths that overlooked what had once been a battlefield but now was showing the literal green shoots of recovery as farmland – not that food was required but it gave structure and allowed cultivation of a less war-torn scenery. A group approached and nodded in greeting at his companion – standing little taller as they passed.

 

Sulan: I’m not a leader, you know?

 

Brodie: I think some of these people would beg to differ.

 

Sulan: I brought a new perspective to this place…that was all…an alternative path. I can’t make anyone walk it, but I will assist any who wish to, or those who choose another. I’ve already seen enough violence to last a lifetime; even one as extended as mine.

 

He'd thought about that already. He had read some of the reports but they were scant on detail – all he knew was they couldn’t leave.

 

Brodie: Have you considered those who may wish to leave. You say it is no longer a prison but the satellite grid I came through would beg to differ. What of those who choose to end their lives by leaving - the Federation may be able to assist with that.

 

The woman regarded him slowly, her expression slightly confused but still cheerful.

 

Sulan: Would that not be a violation of the culture of this world though, Commander?

 

She was right of course; the world had been designed to be a prison - by another culture. While they were aware of the galaxy out with their borders they were not, themselves, warp capable – at least not any more…the Prime Directive applied…at least at his level of authority.

 

Brodie: I appreciate your point, Eminence, although I would say that does not sit well with my desire to provide care and ease suffering.

 

Sulan: Who says anyone is suffering? Perhaps once, and perhaps some still, but when you have all the time then is anything truly a constant state?

 

Brodie: I would not have been surprised if

 

Sulan: Life is what you make of it, Commander…and when you have all the time in the world you can make of it whatever you want.

 

Suddenly Brodie realised the point the woman was making. It wasn’t that time was never ending – it was the realisation that time simply did not apply. Time was still linear for the inhabitants of this world but without the restriction of being finite it didn’t matter – and that brought a freedom that he had a hard time comprehending.

 

Brodie: So…you’re saying being bound here has made them free? Psychologically speaking I mean.

 

Sulan: They always were, Commander, they just had to realise it. Now some have also realised they are not bound to keep fighting a futile war – they don’t have to be confined by their past.

 

He thought on his own years…how true that was.

 

Brodie: In that case I’d say they’re lucky to have you…not leading them on this path.

 

She smiled.

((Landing Site, Solace, Gamma Quadrant))

 

All good things had to come to an end and, while this had been a short visit to this world it had felt longer than it was. He wondered if that was just a feeling he had or if it was another factor of the prison’s original design – which would have been especially cruel.

 

Alex dropped his kit bag into the shuttle and returned to where his host was standing.

 

Brodie: Thank you, Eminence, for your hospitality. This isn’t strictly allowed but I will ask, do you have any messages I can pass on to anyone.

 

He had worried that thinking of a life past

 

Sulan: No Commander, my son is gone, and I have no other blood family…looking back I wonder if I was already past my time. There was one thing I wanted to ask you, you mentioned there is a Bajoran colony on this side of the Celestial Temple?

 

Brodie: That’s right, New Bajor. It would have been established not long after your arrival here. The Dominion destroyed it’s first incarnation, but it’s been re-established now.

 

Sulan: So many now feel the touch of the Prophets in the Celestial Temple as I did?

 

Brodie: Some, although perhaps not all appreciate the significance in the same way you did.

 

Sulan: And the colony is well?

 

Alex hesitated…he wondered if she’d been reading his draft mission report behind his back. He opted for something that was true…from a certain point of view.

 

Brodie: It is – Governor Velos is an excellent administrator who cares deeply for her people. You’d be very proud.

 

She reached up slightly and cupped his ear - checking his Pah. He allowed it, he was fairly sure after his time here he wasn’t in any danger in her company.

 

Sulan: Your Pah is strong but…::unsure::…there is a darkness there, Commander…

 

She was correct of course…there were more than a few shadows lurking in his past. Like those here, however, he’d been able to change his destiny – to some extent.

 

Brodie: They’re a defence mechanism – of sorts. One must always guard against the darker side of one’s self, and that means you must acknowledge your own.

 

Sulan: Just take caution not to become it…I have seen the damage a corrupted Pah can bring first-hand.

 

Alex thought of Samara and her past, there were true horrors in the occupation – and beyond. Though he’d seen plenty of his own, both professionally and personally, he still heeded the caution in her words.

 

Brodie: I believe there’s more good than bad in the universe, Eminence, besides the light shines brighter in the darkness.

 

The sound of the comm sounding alerted him that the start-up routine on the shuttle was complete. It was time to go.

 

Brodie: Farewell eminence, I would say stay safe but I’m not sure that applies here. ::He bowed slightly:: Prophets be with you and the blessings of Bajor be with you.

 

Sulan: And also with you, Commander.

 

He returned to the shuttle and began his accent…it all felt like some surreal dream until he encountered the perimeter in the low orbit. Keying in a few strokes, he set a course for the rendezvous with the Thor.

 

FIN

------------------------------------
Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie
Chief Counselor
USS Thor NCC-82607
Writer ID.: A239005BM0

 

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