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JP: Lt. Cmdr. Alex Brodie & Cmdr. Geoffrey Teller - Of Sails and Swords and Sailors

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I spent the entire reading of this JP laughing. Brilliantly written @Geoffrey Teller @Alex Brodie. Great action, great dialog, and great one liners.



((Holodeck One, Deck Five, USS Thor))


It didn’t seem that long ago that he, Dar and Quen were gathered in this room trying to plan for a possible ship rescue mission considering mass casualties and possible Dominion involvement. Looking back, he’d have taken a horde of Jem’Hadar over Anroc any day of the week. He rubbed his eyes and went back to the table he was working at.


The room was warmer now, the holographic projection of oak panelling and brass fittings all around with the large workbench in the middle. He wondered what Geoff would make of the content…


He unrolled his kit bag and laid out the various items...more for show than anything else. There was only one thing he needed here, he unsheathed the rapier from its scabbard and took a small bottle and cloth from the side pocket of the bag. He dabbed some of the oil onto the blade and began to work it along the metal. He’d not really had a chance to indulge in his pastime since they’d left the Embassy and, while the edge was still good, he wanted to make sure there wasn’t any rust or corrosion seeping in...there was plenty of that in his own old bones.


He started whistling a tune and singinging slightly to himself but it didn’t last long. 


Brodie: ::singing:: The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees; the moon was a ghostly galleon; tossed upon the cloudy seas. The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor; when the highwayman came riding, riding, riding...The highwayman came riding up to the old inn door.


As if on cue - the door hissed open and Geoffrey Teller walked in; Alex looked up from the glistening metal blade. 


Brodie: Geoff, good to see you. ::Holding up the sword:: Last chance to back out.


Geoff raised his hands slowly in a show of mock surrender.  


Teller: Look Counselor, if you want the promotion that badly you can have it. ::Geoff winked:: This isn’t a Klingon ship.  


Geoff put his hands down and smirked, taking in the details of the room.  The holodeck doors had closed behind him, so the illusion was complete and somehow agreeably warm.  Rich old wood and well worn metal fittings covered the classical walls.  It was a suitably anachronistic setting for what they had discussed, and Geoff was immediately engrossed.  


Brodie: As I recall, when we discussed this originally, you were having trouble adjusting from being an Engineer to being in Command?


Geoff nodded, his attention more on the selection of cutlery arrayed on the great wooden table in the middle of the room.  


Teller:  Yep, although I suppose I’ve had a bit more practice since then, little time to process when the ship wasn’t flying apart.  ::Geoff leaned against the table for a moment, suddenly a bit tired.::  Job keeps you busy, that’s for sure.  


Brodie: Would it be fair to say that the role is more ‘hands-on’ than you envisioned?


Geoff gave it some serious thought, trying to recall what it was he had ‘envisioned’ the role of the First Officer to be.  It seemed like a very long time ago.  


Teller: Alex, this may sound strange to say, but I honestly don’t remember what I imagined on the way in.  Certainly not...this, though.  ::Geoff tried to change the subject and nodded to the table.:: So, are you going to explain these things to me or am I just supposed to guess which part is sharp?  


Brodie: Well...this…::Flicking the sword upright:: is a Rapier. My personal favourite and the sword I’ve spent the most time using. A lot of people think of this as a light and flexible weapon, similar to a foil.


Alex lifted one off the racks on the wall and waggled it around, the tip of the blade whipping around as it flexed. He held it up next to the thicker, longer, wider bladed weapon with the basket hilt.


Brodie: See the difference?


The engineer in Geoff could appreciate the visual difference in the metals, the thickness of the polished steel blades, and the honed tip of Brodie’s rapier.  If the Counselor ever needed to make a point, he had found the perfect implement.  Geoff put a hand on one sword hilt, then the other.  


Teller: ::To his right, the foil:: Stabby sword.  To his left, the rapier:: Stabbier sword.   


Geoff wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but the Counselors expression mirrored that of many teachers, doctors and counselors he’d known over the years.  It was a unique combination of bewilderment and mild disappointment science had come to call ‘The Teller Effect’.  


Brodie: The rapier, truth be told, is sometimes called a murderers sword. So names because it’s a thrusting weapon and almost impossible to do less than catastrophic damage to a person...although cuts and nicks are possible in the right hands.


He placed the sword down.


Geoff reflexively took a step away from the rapier.  He’d never particularly enjoyed weapons the way some of his colleagues in the security and tactical departments had.  To Geoff, a phaser was simply a tool, and not one he particularly relished using.  


Teller:  Got anything a little less...well..murderie?


Brodie: Probably best not start you with that. I do have one question for you though, Geoff. Do you want to learn how to fence...or fight?


Geoff thought about it, not especially clear on the difference. 


Teller: Well, lets just imagine for one second I’m not even sure what divides one from the other.  Is there a level zero we can start from?  


Brodie: Well, there are manuals for both but fencing is more competitive whereas sword fighting is far more practical.


The word ‘practical’ rang in Teller’s ear and he needed to hear no more.  Certainly, this would be at least as ‘practical’ as his attempts to learn Vulcan martial arts had been.  Unconsciously, Geoff rubbed phantom sore ribs.  


Teller: ::Geoff snapped his fingers::  Oh ok got it.  In that case, let's skip the ‘En Guarde’ and go straight to ‘Avast Ye Land Lubbers.’  

Geoff scanned the table and found something that looked the part of a pirate cutlass to him.  Some kind of antique saber, with a bright bronze hand guard and a slightly curved back blade, fit his hand perfectly.  


Teller: This looks a little more my speed.  Uh...matey.  


Brodie: It’s a good look on you. That’s actually a sabre rather than a cutlass but both are a type of backsword.


Teller:  Hey I’m willing to take your recommendation, especially since I know you’ve got all this ::Geoff nodded towards the impressive collection of sharp objects:: stashed away somewhere.  


Brodie: They’re mostly holographic I assure you but the data they’re built from is accurate. Have you ever done any studying of fencing or the like?


Teller:  Hmm….well I once studied an ancient text on sword fighting during a long shuttle trip.  Fell asleep on it but I think I remember the key lesson.  ::Geoff picked up the saber and raised it with feigned precision.::  ‘The pointy end goes in the other person.’  


Brodie: Sometimes...if you’re lucky. The sabre, like the rapier, is used in ‘academic fencing’ or Mensur. We’ll not be doing that.


Geoff had no idea what a type of erotic massage on the Andorian homeworld had to do with sword fighting, but he nodded along with the Counselor and took a few more experimental swings.  Excited to get started, Geoff looked back to the table, and then to the equipment racks on the walls.  There were swords of all description in abundance, but no helmets or shields or even particularly thick shirts.  Knowing his tendency towards unexplainable accidents for which he was completely faultless but often proximate, Geoff found the lack of protective gear somewhat alarming.


Teller: Uh, Counselor...shouldn’t we be wearing...uh...well, anything, really?  I feel strangely underdressed for the swinging of sharp metal things.  


Brodie: Because you wear minimal protection about your head and the idea is to strike your opponent on the face and brow. The concept is to not dodge the blow but suffer the impact and stand unflinching through it. Rather barbaric but they say it builds character.


Brodie rubbed his own dueling scar that was hidden under his beard.


Geoff’s eyebrow went up.  


Teller: Let me see if I’ve got this straight.  There’s a sword fighting technique that says get stabbed, it’s fun?  I know a couple klingons who would love that, but fleshwounds aren’t exactly my idea of therapeutic.  


Brodie: Well, again…we’ll not be doing any of that. There’s a lot of added extras…


His eyes glanced back towards the table where his pistols, parrying dagger, half cloak and vambrace were all sat.


Brodie: ….but they key thing….is footwork.


Geoff ignored the pistols and the smaller knives, immediately donning the half cloak over one shoulder.  It swished agreeably as he pantomimed a few movements.  


Teller: Think I could sell the Captain on adding these to our uniforms?  Slap a division color stripe around the edge, they’d look dapper.  


Brodie: They do serve a purpose ::Alex picked one up and draped it over his own shoulder before pulling it onto his forearm.:: You stand with it forward and hide your point behind it...harder to defend against. 


He returned it to table

Brodie: I’m not sure command would go for it though. Our uniforms don’t even have pockets...I’m not sure how they’d feel about capes...


Geoff put the half cloak down, not entirely convinced it was a bad idea.  


Teller:  Fine fine, it’s Starfleet’s loss.  You were saying something about footwork.  Not sure if you heard about my springball game with the Captain, Peri & Dar, but I’m pretty sure my skeleton is a different shape now.  So I’d say my footwork has room for improvement.  


Geoff winced slightly as he patted his ribs.  The game had been days ago and he still felt stiff.  


Brodie: Heard about it? ::Smiling:: My dear Geoff, I won five slips of latinum on it….but I think we need to test your form a little...


Teller:  Well if you think I’m ready for that, who am I to argue.  To the field of honor, good sir.  


Brodie: Hmmm….yeah...about that field.


Alex moved to the side of the room and pushed open the heavy wooden door a crack - he beckoned Geoff to follow him.


The fresh air hit him at once...albeit not fresh but holographically generated...as well as the sound of creaking wood and the sound of the swelling sea. The ship shifted as the waves carried it along - and then came the song...


Geoff stood in awe of Alex’s recreation.  Through the magic of the holodeck they had stepped seamlessly from a stationary room to the rolling deck of a ship at sea.  The sheets fluttered in the breeze, block & tackle swinging lazily from the masts, all to the backdrop of the gently lapping sea.  Geoff swore he could feel the salt building up on his skin.  


Brodie: ::Shouting:: Oh, the year was seventeen-seventy-eight!


Geoff smiled and raised his voice in song along with the crew.  


Assorted crew: How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!


Brodie: When a letter of marque came from the king to the scummiest vessel I’d ever seen!


Assorted crew: Goddamn them all!


Geoff hooted and shouted with the crew.  He wasn’t entirely sure who the king was in this context, but the holographic crew seemed to dislike him and that was good enough for Teller.  


Brodie and crew: I was told we’d sail the seas for American gold, we’d fire no guns-shed no tears. Now I’m a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Teller’s privateers!

Geoff laughed and cheered along with the crew as they returned to their duties, hauling line and tending the thousand small duties a ship at sea required.  It was a magnificent recreation, with a flair and a charm that was unique in Teller’s experience.  

The counsellor turned to the Thor’s first officer to check his expression.

Brodie: You like?

Teller: I’ll be putting you in for the Daystom Prize for Holography as soon as I get back to my desk, Alex.  This is absolutely fantastic.  Plus...how have we served together this long and I’m only just finding out about your singing voice?!  That’s one hell of a baritone you’ve got there.  

Brodie: I have to say it’s not an authentic sea shanty, it actually originates from the mid-twentieth century it’s more of a folk song.

Geoff shrugged expansively.  

Teller: To paraphrase a wise man, ‘never let the truth ruin a good shanty.’  ::Geoff stepped to the rail and leaned over in delight, the saber at his side forgotten for the moment.  Sparkling blue waters stretched to the horizon.::  This is beautiful, Alex.  I didn’t realize it, but the sea must be something special to you.    

Brodie: I’ve always lived near water...I love the smell, the sounds...the freedom.

Geoff took a moment and savoured the feel of the ship and the texture of the wood under hand.  Alex was right...this was the perfect setting.  

Teller: Well Counselor, here we find ourselves on a fighting ship at sea, a stout crew at our backs and the wind blowing true.  I wonder what use a sword would be in this situation.  

Brodie: Ah...well...when we’re also in the Golden Age of Piracy...you never who you might meet on the open seas...

Geoff smiled, but his laughter was cut off when a heavy metal hook dug into the railing a few centimeters from his fingers. Behind him somewhere on the quarterdeck a lookout began ringing the alarm bell in earnest.  

Master At Arms: Prepare to repel boarders, ya dogs!  No pay for any man who doesn’t carry a weapon.  And you!  ::The man pointed directly to Teller:: Shut that slack gob and ready your steel, halfstack!  

Geoff’s hand went to the hilt of his sword but his face screwed up in a scowl.  

Teller:  Hey who you calling halfstack, you photonic…

Brodie: Keep it friendly...

Teller:  Hey, he started it. Watch yourself!  

The pirates, or whoever they were, had begun boarding their vessel in earnest, swarming over the sides from an unseen location.  .  

Teller:  So this is one of those learn as you go trainings…got it.  Any last words of wisdom before we slice into the fray?

Alex unsheathed his own weapon, the blade glinting in the sun.

Brodie: The only plan you can have in a situation like this...don’t die...if we don’t die then we win.

Teller:  Simple, easy to remember…::Geoff drew his saber and nodded to Alex in salute::...Shall we?  

Brodie: Oh...after you, I insist.

With a war cry that carried clear across the deck, the two men waded into a melee of ringing steel and pistol shot.  Geoff wasn’t sure if this was a particularly effective way to learn the graceful art of the sword, but he was having more fun than he’d had in ages.  Even when he got stabbed.  

((Two Hours Later, The Bloodied Deck Of HMS John Paul Jones))

With an exhausted cheer that ran from stem to stern, the crew declared victory over the invading pirates, the few remaining survivors scampering over the sides or leaping from the rails back into the sea.  Geoff’s chest was heaving in exhaustion, his arms felt like they were full of hot iron and he was fairly sure he was bleeding from at least three separate wounds, but their hearty photonic crew had carried the day and the ship was safe to ply its wares on the simulated waves once more.

Alex was sat with his sword propped up against the crate he was sat on, the waves were still and were gently rocking the John Paul Jones as she made her way towards port...wherever that was to be. His own little joke...a founding member of the navy of the United states in the eighteenth century...a Naval Officer and a Pirate all at once. He’d even been a member of the Russian navy at one stage. It was a fitting mix for Brodie of several facets of his life.

He opened the crate and took out the anachronistic looking medical kit. He popped open the box and removed the dermal regenerator and gestured to Geoff to lift his shirt so he could see to his wound.

He also handed him a bottle of not at all replicated dark spiced rum.

Brodie: That’ll numb the pain a little. What do you think then? It’s actually based off of a Klingon battle program I picked up - it’s no Battle of Klach D'kel Brak simulation but it’s quite a work out.

Geoff saw the dermal regenerator but smelled the rum, and grabbed for the dented tin cup gratefully.  His eyes widened when he realized he was enjoying the genuine article.  With a satisfied sigh, Geoff plopped down on an adjacent overturned barrel.  

Teller: You know, I’ve known a few klingons in my career and never really understood the whole fetish for swords they have.  Always seemed like a bit of a mess to me.  Now…::Geoff looked over the ruined deck and the wounded crew::...well, it still seems like a mess.  But one hell of a fun one.  So how’d I do?  Think I’ll earn a berth on this fine privateer?  

Brodie: Your footwork was pretty good - I wonder if that’s a result of the years you spent as an engineer balancing on ledges and hanging in Jeffries Tubes while you worked. Just remember to try and close up a little and get involved - a lot of sword clashing will just leave you with a blunt or broken blade.

Geoff rubbed his arms which he could barely lift.  

Teller: Or arms that feel like they’re going to drop off if you look at them wrong.  Still though...this was a good time.  Thanks Alex.  

Brodie; You feel better - letting some of that steam off?

Geoff leaned back, enjoying the lapping waves a moment.  

Teller: Yeah, I did.  Don’t do it enough and recently…well, the stuff with Sern...that Vulcan stuck in my head…::Geoff sighed.::...it’s getting bad, Alex.  Alieth doesn’t want to admit it but she’s worried, both about my passenger...and me.  ::He shrugged, then turned his attention back to the water::  She’s got me on light duty till she can consult with some “specialists” but I’ve been around enough Doctors to know when they’re getting desperate.  

Alex had hoped things might be able to be resolved during their trip to Vulcan...or that Alieth would have found a way to extract the...what was it...consciousness? Soul? Essence or Sern?

Brodie: I’d wondered if it had found a kind of equilibrium. I know it’s a delicate matter so I haven’t wanted to pry but it sounds like things aren’t getting easier?

Teller: It’s strange, Alex...really strange.  Sometimes I wake up and walk to the replicator and don’t realize I’m drinking tea till ten minutes later.  Yesterday afternoon I was trying to give the computer my access code and I kept saying it in Vulcan.  I even discovered I can pluck a decent tune out of one of those lutes.  Alieth tried to help but now I think....::Geoff tried to find the words that could explain the bizarre patchwork amalgam of memories and experiences and emotions that were now rattling around inside his head.::...there’s just too much in here.

Alex paused to think before he spoke his next sentence...it was a fleeting thought but one that was also recklessly stupid. That having been said, he had a duty to try and do something for Geoff and his struggles with Sern.

Brodie: I’ll reach out to some people - see if there’s anything I can do to help you and Alieth resolve things with your...mutual friend.

Teller:  Well whatever happens, it’s good to know that at least the ship…::Geoff nodded to their surroundings::...is safe from the scourge of high sea piracy for now.  If you think that’s enough sword fighting for one day, I’m going to limp my way to sickbay and hope Alieth isn’t on duty.  Or Quen.  Or...hmm...actually maybe I should just go find a med kit in a shuttle.  

Brodie: Well, you’re not actively bleeding anymore. Maybe see how the bruises heal before you worry the medical team? As for the ship - the pirates are an optional extra, feel free to use the program whenever you like if you need a little space.

Teller:  Appreciate that, Alex...and hey, if I haven’t said it enough over this last year, I appreciate you.  You’ve helped me, and this ship, more than you realize.  ::Geoff smiled::  And that’s a Good Job Guarantee, Counselor.  

Geoff raised his rum tin and the two cups clinked together.  

Brodie: ::Taking a swig of rum:: Happy to be of service. ::Raising the mug a second time and speaking softly with a smile and a wink:: Drink up me hearties...yo-ho.

Sharing a drink and a song neither man made a move towards the exit.  For a few moments more they were worlds away from their lives and responsibilities, duty and labor still safely on the other side of the heavy holodeck doors.



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


Commander Geoffrey Teller
Executive Officer
USS Thor - NCC 82607
Commodore A. Kells, Commanding



Edited by Wes Greaves
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