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[2006: JUL-AUG] Hidden Warrior


Ryan Horn
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A low sobbing echoed through the room.

The Captain sighed as she went through the records another time. Of all the tasks she had to do, this remained the hardest. Explaining to families how their children had died. As she wrote each one she could imagine the shaking hands as they opened the sealed envelope, one of the few times they would ever receive a paper document. Their eyes tearing as they read the note then reread it a dozen times hoping to find some error, some flaw. Anything to prove it wasn’t their child, their loved one. Then, the cursing would start. Of Starfleet, of the Federation, of each and every thing that caused their loved one to die. Finally, they would curse her for allowing that death. She was responsible for each…and every…death.

A cry of anguish was ripped from the figure as another stone was dropped onto its load. Already overwhelmed, the weight pulled at muscles far overstrained. Eyes long devoid of hope looked up to see another stone falling.

The Chief Tactical Officer rubbed his eyes as he restarted the battle log again. They’d won the battle, but at far too great a cost. He saw again how he’d misinterpreted a flanking attack as the primary thrust. That mistake had allowed the forces to the rear to concentrate their attacks. He was responsible for the deaths in engineering, the burn victims, and the damage to the ship. He couldn’t make a mistake, not with this many lives on the line, but he had. So here he sat, finding ways to improve, to perfect his skills. It was far better than thinking of the damage he had allowed.

The crack of the whip sounded, echoed moments later by the sound of it hitting flesh. The figure’s back was a mass of wounds, stripes of flesh missing from each strike. With each strike, the figure raised the whip again saying “Never again”

The Chief Medical Officer scrubbed her hands in the sink. They were already a bright pink from where she’d been scrubbing, but she continued. She knew that logically, her hands could not be stained with the blood of those she’d been working on. Modern methods of sanitation alone would prevent that, not to mention modern medicine itself. However, she still felt the need to scrub them clean. Logically, this was a simple aftereffect from the work she’d been doing. Trying to save as many as could be saved after the last battle. Equally logically, there were some that simply could not be saved. No one could. So she scrubbed the blood from her hands, willing them to be clean again.

The figure, wrapped in the shadows of the room, rocked as the crying intensified. Deep racking sobs shook it again and again. Low mounds surrounded the figure, one of which revealing a half buried body.

The Counselor sat alone in her room, quietly reviewing the reports she’d gathered. The war was done; once more the Federation had triumphed. However, from her point of view the battle was barely begun. She now had to fight the hidden war, helping the people recover. She began sending out messages to the senior staff first. They had the double burden of giving the orders, and watching their people die from them. She tapped her badge, calling the Captain…

The figure looked up, seeing a sudden soft light above it. As the light touched, the worst of the wounds faded, healing. They would always remain as a testament to what had occurred, but no longer were they all encompassing.

Hope had been sorely tested, Faith pushed to the very limits, but the Spirit would endure. All thanks to a hidden warrior, who fought the hardest, most secret, battle of the conflict.

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Sorry, the first post was my draft copy, wasn't intended as my final post. Here's the final.

----------

A low sobbing echoed through the vastness.

The Captain sighed as she went through the records another time. Of all the tasks she had to do, this remained the hardest. Explaining to families how their children had died. As she wrote each one she could imagine the shaking hands as they opened the sealed envelope, one of the few times they would ever receive a paper document. Their eyes tearing as they read the note then reread it a dozen times hoping to find some error, some flaw. Anything to prove it wasn’t their child, their loved one. Then, the cursing would start. Of Starfleet, of the Federation, of each and every thing that caused their loved one to die. Finally, they would curse her for allowing that death. She was responsible for each…and every…death.

A cry of anguish was ripped from the figure as another stone was dropped onto its load. Already overwhelmed, the weight pulled at muscles far overstrained. Eyes long devoid of hope looked up to see another stone falling…

The Chief Tactical Officer rubbed his eyes as he restarted the battle log again. They’d won the battle, but at far too great a cost. He saw again how he’d misinterpreted a flanking attack as the primary thrust. That mistake had allowed the forces to the rear to concentrate their attacks. He was responsible for the deaths in engineering, the burn victims, and the damage to the ship. He couldn’t make a mistake, not with this many lives on the line, but he had. So here he sat, finding ways to improve, to perfect his skills. It was far better than thinking of the damage he had allowed.

The crack of the whip sounded, echoed moments later by the sound of it hitting flesh. The figure’s back was a mass of wounds, stripes of flesh missing from each strike. With each strike, the figure raised the whip saying “Never again”

The Chief Medical Officer scrubbed her hands in the sink. They were already a bright pink from where she’d been scrubbing, but she continued. She knew that logically, her hands could not be stained with the blood of those she’d been working on. Modern methods of sanitation alone would prevent that, not to mention modern medicine itself. However, she still felt the need to scrub them clean. Logically, this was a simple aftereffect from the work she’d been doing. Trying to save as many as could be saved after the last battle. Equally logically, there were some that simply could not be saved. No one could. So she scrubbed the blood from her hands, willing them to be clean again.

The figure, wrapped in the shadows of the room, rocked as the crying intensified. Deep racking sobs shook it again and again. Low mounds surrounded the figure, one of which, partially open, revealed a half buried body.

The Counselor sat alone in her room, quietly reviewing the reports she’d gathered. The war was done; once more the Federation had triumphed. However, from her point of view the battle was barely begun. She now had to fight the hidden war, helping the people recover. She began sending out messages to the senior staff first. They had the double burden of giving the orders, and watching their people die from them. She tapped her badge, calling the Captain…

The figure looked up, seeing a sudden soft light above it. As the Counselor spoke to each person, the light spread. Where it touched, where she spoke to the people emotionally ravaged, the wounds began to heal. The scars would always remain as a testament to what had occurred, but no longer were they mortal wounds.

Hope had been sorely tested, Faith pushed to the very limits, but the Spirit would endure. All thanks to a hidden warrior, who fought the hardest, most secret, battle of the conflict.

Edited by Ben Walker
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