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[2005: JUN-JUL] All That Has Been


Ajescent

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The Chief craned his neck forward as a lone Terran stepped into the large echoing hall, needless to say, the Terran looked…”odd” to the Desarian Chief, his black, cow skin suit looked “unique” in the eyes of the Desarians, but no other part of the Terran’s outfit looked more confusing than what was placed on his head, because to the Desarians, the idea of a hat was foreign to them and the chocolate brown Stetson hat worn by the Terran, though intriguing was weird even by the most active of Desarian imaginations.

The tall, gloom-faced Terran completed the long and lonely walk and approached the Desarian Ensign manning the station, and with his dark brown eyes, the tanned skinned Terran looked at the Desarian Ensign sat at his desk and handed him a padd, opting not to waste time acknowledging the Desarian Chief hovering over the Ensign.

‘Ah…Commander Hart, we’ve been expecting you!’ Said the Ensign.

‘Yes, we have!’ Added the Chief with far too much enthusiasm than Commander Hart would have liked. ‘We are so pleased to have you here to relieve us of this prisoner sir!’ He said with an unnaturally large grin as his third eye placed in the middle of his forehead dazzled in the low lighting of the magnificent hall.

The Commander glared agitatedly at the Chief, it was possible to tell from his expression, he did not want to be here.

‘Please inform your Admiral Walker of our willingness and eagerness to hand over the prisoner to you, oh and if its possible, please would you kindly casually mention it to the rest of the Federation, let them know how we were willing to cooperate through any means necessary!’ The Chief added

Commander Hart momentarily glared at the eager to please Chief and returned his attention back to the Ensign.

‘Ermm…. also I would like to add just how much trouble it was keeping this prisoner in custody, I mean we the Desarians had no reason to hold him…it was because of your people that we held him.’ The Chief smiled eagerly, hoping the Commander would see just how much they were doing to impress the Federation.

The Commander merely ignored the Chief and continued with the Ensign as they went about filling in the necessary paperwork, when the Chief noticed something weird.

‘Ermm…’ He said ‘Where is the rest of your crew?’ He asked, with a look of panic on his lightly brown face.

The Commander sighed exasperatedly…he’d originally hoped to go through all of this without saying a word now it looked as though he had to speak.

‘No Crew,’ He said with the typical rough tone in his voice. ‘I work alone.’

‘Nonsense!’ The Chief shouted, clearly aghast by the comment. ‘This can not be, I was informed that a crew of three would be coming to pick the man up…that is standard procedure is it not?’ The Chief replied, eyeing Commander Hart, with two of his three eyes.

‘Yes but these are special circumstances.’ The Commander replied, turning his attention to the Chief as he darted him a cold, dark and malicious stare, which momentarily silenced the Chief.

‘Special circumstances?’ The Chief echoed and signalled to his Ensign to stop with the paperwork, with the intention to call further officers in case things grew out of hand.

‘If you are not convinced, ask Admiral Walker, he organised the whole thing.’ The Commander replied as coolly as was humanly possible.

‘Very well,’ said the Chief who was clearly in a huff. ‘I will ask Admiral Walker, we’ll see what he has to say about THIS!’ The Chief added as he surly turned his attention away from the Commander who could not show any less interest in the Chief if he tried.

Not long after leaving, the Chief return and the Commander noticed, so had his smile.

‘Ermm…’ The Chief said, placing his index finger to his lips as he tried to configure the right choice of words. ‘Forgive my scepticism of you earlier, but you have to understand this is anti regulation don’t you think?’ The Chief said, smiling amiably at the Commander.

Commander Hart stared at him but chose to remain quiet as the last of the paperwork was finished.

‘Admiral Hart holds you with high regards, he says you are pedantic about your work and you like things down a certain way-‘

‘Or if you’d like, I could return home and allow the Klingons to pick up their prisoner themselves…I’m sure your people would love that.’ The Commander replied, clearly insulted by the last comment.

‘Oh,’ the Chief replied with his arms raised as he took a step backwards. ‘I meant you no offence Commander.

‘Because I assure you, I have better things to do-‘

‘No really, here we see being pedantic about your work as a strength…’ The Chief interjected sensing he’d hit a sore point on this highly unusual Starfleet personal.

‘Very well…’ The Commander nodded, he knew there was no need for him to lose his composure. ‘I understand you were only doing your job…

‘Thank you.’ The Chief said as he bowed politely. ‘Bring forth the prisoner!’

The Commander watched as a scrawny figure, with his hands and feet in chains flanked by six fully armed guards marched this prisoner towards him, momentarily the Commander wondered what all the fuss was about, from what he could see of the brown unkempt haired “criminal” there was nothing seemingly important about him that the Desarians wanted so desperately to use him as a bargaining tool, the Klingon empire wanted him dead at least fifty times over and the Federation was keen to get rid off as quickly as possible through any means necessary.

Commander Hart shrugged, as he knew that his place was not to analyse but to finish the job he was sent to do.

‘Presenting prisoner NSC-1175682… Dylan O’Riley.’ The Chief said proudly.

Commander Hart stared passively at the prisoner as he wondered what all the fuss was about. According to his perception of the Prisoner, the way everyone was saying how dangerous and ruthless he was, he was expecting a 6-foot tall Terran with a heavily muscular built, but instead was presented with a scrawny 5-7” tall Terran with VERY messy brown hair…this was a disappointment to say the least.

Soon the Commander was ready to leave with his prisoner, final checks on the shuttles was being made as the Desarians led the prisoner to his seat and strapped him in.

‘Now are you sure you don’t need assistants? The Desarian Chief asked. I could-

‘That won’t be necessary…thank you.’ The Commander replied as politely as he could.

‘Very well, I wish you a safe journey.’ The Chief replied as his men stepped away from the shuttle and allowed it to lift off from the planets surface.

The Shuttle rose high into the sky and soon penetrated the planet’s atmosphere to start the prolonged journey back to Earth.

‘The return journey has begun, with speed at Warp 8, we should arrive in 8hrs.’ The Commander said for the benefits of the ships log.

The Journey had only been an hour long, when Dylan casually observed his surroundings, with his hands bound at the wrist and his body over-enthusiastically strapped to his seat, there was a good chance he was going be bored.

‘So…what exactly did they say I did?’ Dylan asked politely, but got no response from the Commander. ‘You must be very brave to want to transport me all by yourself, I mean-‘

‘I am here to transport you, not to converse with you…so please remain quiet.’ The Commander replied sharply.

‘For 8hrs?’ Dylan replied with disbelief. ‘I’m on my way to be sentenced to death, I don’t want to spend my remaining hours silent, you can if you want to, but I will exercise my right to speak!

The Commander glared at the reflection of Dylan on his polished dashboard as though repulsed by it, though he was allowed to stop him from escaping, there was no rule that allowed him to stop the prisoner from talking.

‘The Klingons claim that I am responsible for 52 bombings in the Klingon home world, 52?!’ He repeated with disbelief. ‘Where would I find the time?’ He added, shaking his head in disbelief.

With the same look, Hart glared at the reflection again but chose not to speak.

‘The Klingon Empire is only picking on me because I can’t defend myself…’ Dylan said, this more agitatedly. ‘Of all the time to develop Amnesia…’ He added with a defeated sigh.

The Commander decided to focus his attention on his piloting but could not distract himself from Dylan’s words.

‘They only accused me because I could not explain how I got there, but of course I couldn’t! The really big rock that smacked me in the head during the time of the explosion made sure of that! For 8 years they tried everything to get the story out of me, “Klingon interrogations” Vulcan mind-melds, Betazoid empaths/mindreaders- but nothing! Not one of them could find me guilty of ANYTHING!’

The Commander could see the stress developing in Dylan’s face, normally he would tell him to shut up but saw the anxiety of a man who was facing certain death and chose not to protest.

‘Admittedly,’ Dylan sighed, lowering his voice to a calmer tone. ‘I’m no Saint, I am a criminal, not even a good one.’ He added with displaced disappointment. ‘I’m only a petty thief at best, there is no way I could be a murderer let alone be a terrorist, I am incapable of killing anyone-‘

‘I know…’ The Commander interjected suddenly.

‘You do?’ Dylan said sceptically as he was expecting the Commander to tell him to shut up.

‘Yes…we’ve met before…’

‘We did?’ Dylan said with a smile. ‘Forgive me for not remembering you, but half my memories are missing you see so…’

The Commander nodded, as he understood the position of the prisoner.

‘I hope I made a good impression on you-‘

‘It was 10 years ago…you’d recently robbed a jewellery store on Cardassia and I was chasing you.’ The Commander replied sternly, glaring at Dylan’s reflection as the prisoner smiled sheepishly.

‘Oh well, guess not!’

‘Well…’ The Commander said, as though reluctant to finish the rest of his speech. ‘I was chasing you and you was too far ahead of me to catch you. Just ahead of us, there was a house on fire…and inside there was a little girl…instead of fleeing the scene…you ran into the fire to pull her out…no one that stupid would be smart enough to kill…’ The Commander added with disdain.

‘Did I manage to escape?’ Dylan asked eagerly.

‘No…’ The Commander frowned at the question, but took pleasure in his reply. ‘If you hadn’t stopped to help…I would never have caught you.’

‘Wow…’ Dylan replied resting on his chair. ‘That really was stupid…’

‘That is why I think you are not the one guilty of the bombings…’ The Commander realised he’d said too much, he knew it was not his place to be getting involved with the politics of others so he chose to remain silent until the end of the trip.

‘Glad to know someone believes me…’ Dylan said with a defeated sigh. ‘But…it is too late now…in a few days tie…I am to be executed for crimes I did not commit…all because the Klingon Empire wants to show face to its people…”honour”…that is all they ever preach but where is the Honour in this huh?’ Dylan said resentfully as he came to grasp the fact that all hope had gone.

For the rest of the trip back to Earth Dylan said nothing, the Commander felt guilty about it, he wanted to say something to lift up the spirit of the defeated Terran…but what do you say to a man who faces certain death…? The Commander occasionally snuck a quick glance at the defeated Dylan O’Riley, but could not think of a thing to say to him.

As the shuttle came within visual distance of Earth, the Commander knew the journey would soon end and Dylan would be out of his hands and he would not have to worry about him anymore. Sensing his own helplessness, the Commander decided to announce their arrival to Earth.

‘Commander Hart to Huston.’

‘This is Huston, reading you loud and clear.’ The voice from below replied.

‘I am here with prisoner NSC-1175682 as originally planed… Requesting permission to land.

‘Erm…yes sir, permission granted, you may enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but do note sir, the sky is a little hazardous, there is a thunder storm going on caution is advise.’

‘Noted, thank you Huston, over and out.’ The Commander replied as he slowly made his way into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Dylan braced himself for the landing as his heartbeat began to race, he could sense his end drawing ever closer and there was nothing he could do about it.

As the Commander entered the Earth’s atmosphere, the completely darkened and violent sky was worse than originally predicted, the Computer could not give a clear visibility rating or read how they were from earth, with the barrage of thunder and lightning, auto-navigation was also unstable. Not wanting to risk anything, the Commander chose to switch to manual and descended the shuttle himself.

Gently negotiating through the storm, the shuttle was suddenly out in the clear, much to the relief of those on board, when suddenly, out of nowhere a lightning bolt crashed into the shuttlecraft, causing it to crash violently through a forest as it came to a halt tilting on a cliff edge, a considerable distant from where they were meant to land.

A few minutes had passed before Hart could regain consciousness, all the while an immobilised Dylan was yelling at him to wake up. As Hart stirred, he realised his legs was trapped in the crushed front part of the shuttlecraft.

‘I’m trapped! I can’t get out.’ Hart yelled.

‘Me too.’ Dylan replied.

‘Computer remove restrains from the prisoner.’ Hart ordered desperately.

‘Unable to comply, restraints and force fields cannot be removed until shuttle has arrived at destination.’

‘Computer override restrictions, authorisation Hart gamma 114890.’

‘Restrictions removed.’ The Computer replied. ‘Restraints and force field removed.

Dylan rushed of his feet towards Hart, in hope of helping him from his own restraints.

‘What are you doing?’ Asked Hart.

‘Helping you.’ Dylan replied, trying to free the Hart’s leg.

‘No, we’ll tip over, you need to get out now!’ Hart shouted.

‘Relax…’ Dylan said calmly as he struggled to release Hart’s trapped leg, with is ands still bound together, Dylan decided to use his feet to force the impeding shuttle parts and with all his might, managed to release Hart’s foot.

With Hart leaning on Dylan, the pair managed to jump out of the Shuttle before it tipped over the edge, but not before Hart could grab the rifle attached to the pilot’s chair.

‘Ha!! We’re alive!’ Dylan yelled enthusiastically as he kissed the revolting wet ground.

Hart on the other hand did not share Dylan’s joy; the Commander glared at Dylan as he hobbled gingerly on his only working foot, he glared angrily at Dylan and slowly aimed the rifle at him.

‘Ha…’ Dylan said, with the smile disappearing from his face as he rushed to his feet. ‘What are you doing?! ‘He asked nervously.’

‘Put your hands up.’ Hart said with his face showing no emotion. ‘I want to make this quick.’

‘No…you…you are supposed to take me-

‘Shut up!’ Hart yelled, his face looking repulsed by the sight of Dylan. ‘Its time I end once and for all.’

With his heart pounding unrelentingly, Dylan slowly raised his bound hands and closed his eyes tightly.

Commander Hart looked at him, still with the same unflinching glare of disgust, he raised his rifle and aimed it and with a single pull of the trigger…it was over…

The impact of the blast caused Dylan to stumble backwards as he crashed down to his knees. Dylan could feel his heart rate slowing down as he broke down, with tears streaming down his eyes.

Hart sighed heavily, he knew he’d down the wrong thing had convinced himself a long time ago that this was the right thing to do as he took one final look at Dylan.

With all the life drained out of him, Dylan looked up at the Commander and said-

‘You shot me…you shot me, but yet I live…why?’ Dylan asked, realising his hands had been freed

Commander Hart sighed again, the time refusing to look at Dylan, as he brushed the rain from his eyes.

‘You saved my life…’ Hart said as though each word was a knife to stomach.

‘What? I merely released your foot from the shuttle…anyone could and would have done that…’ Dylan said, smiling feebly.

‘No!’ Hart yelled angrily. ’10 years ago…you saved my life.’

‘How?’ Dylan asked with a confused look on his face.

‘The night we met in Cardassia.’ Hart said, with noticeable difficulty. ‘I’d early decided to end my life…I had nothing else to live for and after that night when I returned home…I would end it…’

Dylan frowned as he wondered if the Commander should be telling him all this.

‘I-

‘Let me finish!’ Hart yelled angrily, it was important for him to finish. ‘But when you saved the little girl from the fire, it later turned out that her entire family had died in that fire and she had no one else…confused and freighted, she wrapped her hands around the first person she saw…and for days refused to let go…it was me…she refused to let go of me…I hated you for that, if you hadn’t saved her I would not be stuck baby sitting! But…slowly…I grew to like her…I could not imagine my life without her…I wondered how I lived without her…’

Dylan rose to his feet and saw the venerability of Commander Hart.

‘After a while it became apparent that there was only one option…I adopted her…it was the best thing that ever happened to me.’ The Commander said with little smile. ‘So by saving her life…you inadvertently saved mine…’

‘I’m Sorry.’ Dylan replied, as he understood where the Commander was saying.

‘You have no idea how hard it’s been to track you down so I could repay you, I had to call in several favours with Admiral Walker!’ Commander Hart said, smiling feebly. ‘But…its over now…I’ve honoured my debt…you saved my life, now I’ve saved yours in return…we’re even…’

‘But-‘

‘No buts…you and I both know that you had no part in those bombings… get outta here before I change my mind…’ Commander Hart said with a slight smile.

Dylan nodded and bowed to the Commander, quick as a flash the prisoner ran into the forest. The Commander looked up and noticed the rescue teams arriving at the scene, he wondered if he would ever see Dylan again…if he never did? It would be FAR too soon…

The End.

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