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[2006: SEP-OCT] Past, Present, Future


Nemitor
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Well, here we go. Enjoy!

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Past, Present, Future

by Nemitor Atimen

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It was silent. Even the ship was silent, not even a beep was heard. The two officer’s focus was directed toward the massive half-spherical view-screen, covering around half of the bridge. Off in the distance, thousands of small lights began to appear, growing ever larger. The silence was broken by the young woman on the bridge. The holographic console in front of her flickered and flashed as she spoke.

“Sir, all squadrons are ready and requesting orders.” The bridge was small, as most ships in the fleet were as well. The largest ships only had a complement of five men, and were the command vessels. The majority of the fleet were just one or two man fighters, although capable of immense speed and power. The woman spoke again, her voice a mixture of fear and anticipation, “Sir?!”

The elderly man on the elevated chair in the middle of the bridge sat unmoving, the fingers on his right hand moving up and down. His left index finger twitched, and a holographic display of the fleet appeared in front of his chair. His left hand began to fly around the display, selecting units and giving orders. Soon enough, his hand returned to the arm rest as the display flickered and faded.

“Incoming transmission from Captain Ritter.” The command to open the channel was a given, and a young man in his twenties with short dark hair was displayed. His eyes were filled with purpose – he knew what was expected of him, as well as his duties.

“Admiral – the second armada is stationed one system away, awaiting orders. We believe that our presence is being masked by a nearby quasar, but this cannot be determined. The enemy may know that we are coming.” His image flickered as the Admiral and the other officer watched.

“Understood – warp the fleet in to these coordinates and attack the incoming fleet from the side. Do not attack until the command is given – there still may be a way out of this” The admiral’s face commanded great respect, a quality gained through both age and wisdom.

“Yes Sir.” There was a slight pause as the captain’s eyes narrowed, “Sir, the enemy must be annihilated, for if not, then our entire civilization… our entire species will die. If the battle seems to be lost, then drastic measures will be taken. You do understand that he must be stopped at all costs.” With this the connection destabilized and vanished, collapsing into itself. The admiral furrowed his brow and spoke once more.

“Reverse course, heading 112, 245 mark 4. I want to be able to overlook the fleet. Send the main fleet forward.” As the ship flew backwards, thousands of vessels headed at near warp speeds toward the lights in the horizon. The ship slowed to a stop, and they were able to oversee the entire fleet in its glory. Literally thousands of one or two man fighters and a few hundred five man command ships raced in the distance. “Keep us right behind them – tell the fleet to hold position at these coordinates, and to await further orders.”

The commands were instantaneously given and fulfilled – the chain of command operated flawlessly. Of course it had to… these officers and pilots were trained with a distinct respect for authority. It was almost a part of them; for they were the answer to a problem which had spawned out of a thriving society, a once loved curse...

“Sir! There is a new vessel warping in, much larger than any vessel in either fleet! It is joining the enemy armada. We are being hailed by the newly arrived vessel.”

“On Screen” The view screen immediately changed once more, it showed a man in his forties. Surrounding the man was a dim light, with a slightly red tint. Around him stood men and women at attention, all wearing dark uniforms. The man was the only one not in a black uniform, but rather a blinding, dazzling, white.

“Father… I see you have come yourself to stop me. I’m afraid it won’t work.” The young man on the screen spoke with determination and hatred, his eyes narrowing as he spoke. When he said these, everyone around him froze, and faced their leader.

“You cannot win this battle, and then the war. We greatly outnumber you. You still have time to surrender, and many lives can be saved.” The older man spoke softly, his gray beard swaying with his voice. He had no idea if his son knew of the second fleet, but he hoped that it wouldn’t come to that.

“Have you forgotten father, that you raised and taught me a multitude of things, including strategy? Have you forgotten that I was the one hailed as the greatest scientific mind in history? Have you forgotten that my fleet has more advanced technology? I believe you are growing senile, old man. Am I not the one that brought our civilization to the level that it is at currently? I can guarantee that my mind has not slowed.”

The older man’s eyes began to water, and tears began to form on the edges. “I beg of you, please, surrender and we can end this mess. I’m your father, not your enemy.”

“It seems like your mind cannot comprehend such complex things as mine can. I will not be defeated, and the tyranny will fall. Prepare to be defeated.” The connection was cut, and the elderly admiral sat, tears flowing from his eyes. The enemy fleet grew larger on the screen, and flashes of light dashed across it. The woman a few feet away from him stared, awaiting a command.”

“You Orders?” there was no answer, “Sir?” still no answer. “Admiral? Your orders?”

“Engage the enemy fleet. Send the signal to the second armada. “

--

The two fleets clashed violently, vessels destroying each other in a mad frenzy of warfare. The admiral almost couldn’t bear to watch the men and women under his command die in such high numbers. They were fighting for a worthy mission – one that if failed would bring ruin to an entire civilization. The largest battle every seen in the history of the galaxy was now unfurling before his eyes. At first, the enemy seemed to be winning, advancing closer and closer to the Admiral’s position. Out of nowhere, the secondary armada appeared, and fired, destroying hundreds of enemy vessels in a single instant. The largest ship, the flag ship for the enemy, began to change position. The massive vessel rotated, and began to light up in sequence – before becoming completely dark. An instant later, the enemy fleet withdrew, warping out of the system. The confused pilots changed positions, and headed directly toward the massive vessel, and opened fire. As the weaponry bounced off the shielding, the ship vanished, leaving behind a large, glowing, spherical object.

Before the Admiral could call the fighters back, the object imploded, and destroyed the majority of both armadas. The shockwave shook the Admiral’s ship as he was pushed into his chair. The screen went blank, and alarms flashed in the background.

When the screen returned, he saw a ship firing some sort of energy continuously into nothingness.

“Sir, there is a temporal vortex opening at coordinates 115, 232 mark 14. One vessel has moved to enter the vortex.” The Admiral, still stunned by the massive destruction caused by a single bomb, stared at the vortex, and the lone ship entering it. He knew that ship any day… it was his second in commands, Captain Ritter.

“Enter the vortex immediately! Maximum speed – use warp jumps for all I care! Get us in that vortex!!” The Admiral was yelling at the female commander piloting his vessel, as they flew at breakneck speed toward the vortex. It began to close, the ribbons of energy folding in on itself. The ship barreled into the collapsing vortex…

--

It was dark… only a small red light blinked in the background. The Admiral pulled himself from the floor, where he was pressed against the curved view screen. He looked around in the darkness for his shipmate, but saw her no where. Activating emergency lights, he saw her pressed against the back of the bridge, her temple pierced by a sharp piece of shrapnel. Quickly hurrying to his chair, he checked for the position of Ritter’s ship. It was a few hundred thousand meters away, lying dormant just as his was.

Suddenly, a unique energy signature emanated from Ritter’s ship, one consistent with a transporter. The Admiral traced the signature, and without calculating its route and beamed himself to the location, one meter off.

When he materialized, the first thing he felt was excruciating pain. His entire left leg was inside a steel wall. As he began to scream, a hand reached across and grabbed his mouth, muffling the sound.

“Quiet! If you keep yelling, we’ll be discovered.” Reaching down, Ritter pulled out a hypospray, and injected the Admiral. The yelling subsided, and he removed his hand.

“Where are we?” The Admiral asked with a bit of intimidation as he tried to free himself from the wall. The Captain next to him backed up a few feet and told him slowly.

“We are approximately 42 years in the past, on Earth. To be specific, were in the nursery room for the newborn infants at a hospital.” Ritter spoke with confidence; he knew exactly where he was going, and what he was planning to do.

“Why?”

“A good question, Admiral. I am going to stop this war from happening. I am going to save the human race from extinction.” The Admiral stood confused, his cloudy eyes staring at Ritter.

“You still don’t understand? This war was caused by your son, although he was extremely influential in our civilization’s development before the war. His technology, philosophies, and leadership brought us to an amazing height – as we were able to take on foreign alien powers with ease. Technology, culture, and our civilization thrived… all due to the workings of one man. We improved more in twenty years than the hundred before that.”

“But this still doesn’t make any sense… why are we at a hospital surrounded with infants?” realization hit the Admiral, who began to shake his head violently. “No… no… NO! You can’t be thinking of that. Temporal changes are dangerous Ritter. History happened for a reason!”

“You don’t understand Admiral. If I kill your son here and now, there will be no war. There will be no casualties… our species will not come to an end.”

“You don’t know that! How do you know that our species will come to an end? How do you know that someone worse won’t come out instead?” The Admiral’s eyes began to water, as he still shook his head. He reinforced his statements with a periodic hit against the wall.

“Why Admiral, I know that our species will come to an end because I saw it with my own eyes. I was streamed information from a younger species detailing the end of our species… it is directly caused by your son’s actions. I first thought that it can be stopped… that I can stop it myself with advanced strategies and tactics. That seemed to have failed, and all hope was lost. This is the last resort for our species. I will not allow our species to die out.”

“Ritter! There is a reason that history unfolded the way that it did. It is not our right to change the past for the future’s sake!”

“I beg to differ… Admiral. If you could kill one man to save a billion, would you do it? That same question was asked to me by your son himself, at a lecture he gave ten years ago. But what Admiral, if you could kill one man to save a near unlimited number? It’s hard for the human mind to contemplate, but that’s exactly what is happening here.” Ritter raised his right hand, and pointed the barrel of his weapon at an infant. “This is for mankind…”

As he began to press down on the contact point, the Admiral stood struggling, still attached to the wall. The Admiral stopped struggling for a second, and reached down, picking up a large brick. Tossing it with the rest of his strength at Ritter, the old man collapsed under the weight. It hit the target, Ritter crumbling down before being able to fire. The weapon fell from his hands, and skidded across the floor.

“D*** you! I will not have my species die out due to an old man and his philosophies!” Sliding across the floor, Ritter reached for his weapon, snatching it up in an instant. Pulling it out toward the Admiral, he barely smiled, “Admiral. I understand he is your son, but this must be done for the survival of the race. Ritter now stood across from the Admiral, the baby cradle between both of them.

Ritter pointed the weapon at the infant, and once more began to squeeze the trigger. In one last act of desperation, the old Admiral spit at Ritter’s face. Clutching his eyes, the blinded man cursed, firing randomly at the Admiral, hitting himself with the weapon in the process…

--

Rear Admiral Kramer sat in his ready room, staring at the picture on his desk. It was an old photo of himself, his wife, and newborn son.

Kramer stood, and headed out to the bridge of his own ship – a Constellation class. He wondered if anything would be different for the United Federation of Planets if his son had lived…

Edited by Nemitor
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