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JAN/FEB "Controversial Titles"


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((Act 1 / Scene 1))

((Bridge / USS Ennock / 12 Hours Ago))

The bridge of the USS Ennock was awash with amazement and astonishment as the piece finished. The Captain had brought back with him the most interesting thing: ‘a piece of music’ long since thought lost in the vastness of the Earth catalogue. Captain Jenkins explained the music concisely.

“It’s called ‘4’33’.”

Lt. Marcum stood against the wall by the Tactical station and muttered.

“It’s called BS, because that’s what it is.”

The crowd of officers looked his way and Captain Jenkins strutted confidently over to Tactical. When he arrived he leaned in smugly and opened his mouth.

“Another unenlightened barbarian who’d rather pull the trigger than listen to pure bliss.”

‘Shawn’ - Lt. Marcum - shook his head with some disgust and pointed a finger accusingly.

“Another ivory tower Captain too in love with his own Command to see beyond his bloated ego. It’s pure and senseless garbage. It is not music.”

((Act 1 / Scene 2))

((Bridge / USS Ennock / Now))

Lt. Marcum took his hand off the Tactical station and shook it before returning it to his side. Shawn stood for a moment staring at nothing. He eventually realized that nearly half a day had passed since the confrontation on the bridge... the first ‘confrontation that is. He held up his hand and reached out for the Captain. No one was there... save a few zombified corpses of his former colleagues. He could no longer help them. He stepped into the turbo lift and closed his eyes. His hand held onto the railing and he felt himself flashback.

((Act 1 / Scene 3))

((Turbo lift / USS Ennock / 11 Hours Ago))

Security held each of his arms firmly. While he struggled to get free of their grasp the two oafs were a flush with conversation about the Captain’s song.

“I thought it was the greatest thing I ever heard. Ever... in my whole life ever.” said the first guard.

“Oh I do agree very much, an absolute masterpiece of music.” said the second.

The banter was endless and idiotic. Shawn was going crazy listening to the air escaping their lips. It was all nonsense, the song had no noise in its whatsoever... totally devoid of it! These idiots had no understanding of the lunacy... of what they were saying!

“I probably could have listened to it for an hour. It’s just such a unique ‘take’ on music.” said the first guard.

“I think I may just put it on repeat after we dump this loud mouth - referring to Lt. Marcum - in his quarters. Hey Shawnny, what’s wrong? Not loud enough for you?” said the second.

Shawn shook his head and said in a disgusted voice.

“The volume ceases to be on any consequence when NOTHING IS HAPPENING AT ALL!”

“Alright that’s enough out of you spoil sport.” laughed the first guard.

((Act 1 / Scene 4))

((Deck 4 / Turbo Lift Junction / USS Ennock / Now))

Shawn didn’t miss those security guards as he took his hand off the railing. Forcing open the turbo lift doors he headed down the hallway to his quarters. As he looked over the mostly untouched corridor his thoughts turned to his family and loved ones. He couldn’t remember their names, or what they looked like, or even if he ever cared much for them - or vice versa - but he did take the time to think of them... or at least attempt it. Assumptions like that kept him on his toes: did he have a family? was he a loner? why all of a sudden could he not remember anything about himself?

These were all good questions and he had no explanation for them as they piled up around him metaphorically. However he did have a perfectly good explanation for that cursed song: ‘It’s BS.’ Arriving at his quarters brought about another set of doors to open. Prying them open Shawn wondered how the turbo lift was still operational when he couldn’t open doors. He approached his computer workstation and looked at his hand.

“Time for a flashback.” he said ironically as his hand-to-surface flashback technique - one he didn’t remember having yesterday. - took over and he flashed... back.

((Act 1 / Scene 5))

((Personal Quarters / USS Ennock / 10 Hours Ago))

“You’re obsessing over nothing!” She said.

“I agree... it’s driving me insane. I hate it to so much. It’s eating me up inside and I don’t know how to control it anymore. At first when I didn’t hear anything I thought it was stupid but we’re way beyond ‘stupid’ now.” He responded.

Ensign Sally Taylor had been talking with Lt Shawn Marcum for over a half hour. Word had travelled fast that Shawn had insulted both: the Captain’s amazing new song, and his “Bloated Ego”. Shawn sat back and tried to take stock of the situation - which was bad - but he couldn’t... because of that song. It was almost etched in the forefront of his mind... and it was a blank slate!

“What’s so amazing about it Sally?”

“Well you see: Centuries ago on Earth the piece 4’33 was premiered as part of a then ‘contemporary recital’. While the performer David Tudor played no actual deliberate sounds, there was still bound to be sounds heard during the piece in the room. It’s the unpredictable nature of these sounds - which are inherently unique to the specific settings of the space its performed in - that makes it so amazing Shawn!”

“... and that’s it?”

“No, much more in fact! 4’33 has great value and was instrumental in establishing and influencing genres of music to this very day!”

“... but it’s nothing.”

“But in it’s nothingness it represents both: everything as it is and constant rebirth.”

“It’s lacks real stakes and has no definition.”

“You’re wrong Shawn. Like life; 4’33 is made up of all those incidental sounds and throwaway moments in time. It represents perfectly the ‘tension’ that exists between the desirable ‘played notes’ and the undesirable ‘noise’ that makes up all music.”

“No you’re wrong Sally. You’re all wrong.”

“You’re scaring me Shawn.”

((Act 2))

((One Week Later / Runabout Kennedy / Bridge))

---Coroner Notes - Starfleet Mission Codename ‘Caged Bird’---

Something powerful must have snapped inside him because the levels of brutality observed here is not to be found in any of his psych evaluations. The chain of events following Lt Marcum’s conversation with Ensign Jennings are fragmented at best. It is the opinion of this recon team leader that the corpse found in Marcum’s personal quarters is Ensign Jennings and her injuries are similar to those suffered by other members of the crew... and that Lt Marcum is the sole belligerent in the brutality that followed said conversation.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lt. Martin Mendez rubbed his temples and noticed he was sweating. With a brush of his hand the main sweat was gone from his forehead but the symptoms remains oblivious to him. This recon assignment was his first since being promoted to Lt. and he was eager to do well. So eager in fact that he missed a number of important things in his attempt to analyze everything all at once. Oblivious as well was the crew of 4 he travelled with. The mother ship of the Runabout Kennedy - the USS Brinkman - was 2 hours away at warp 5. They had spent 2 hours travelling to rendezvous with the USS Ennock and just over 2 hours aboard. The mission was simple in nature: discover why the Ennock had missed its usual check in time at the DS11. What they found was controversial and horrifying.

“There’s something else too.” Said Ensign Tommy Hayward.

“I told you to keep to specifics.” Mendez spat in response.

“You also told me to keep my eyes open for anything unusual. This certainly qualifies as unusual on a cultural level!”

“What is it?” Martin asked trying to do a better job keeping a level head when dealing with his eager subordinate.

“A 20th Century recording of a piece of music, but the kicker is the piece of music contains no music whatsoever and consists entirely of the experience and sounds contained in whatever space its performed and/or heard in. It’s an amazing discovery!” The Ensign grinned as he finished.

“I suppose that will have to be our silver lining. This was by far the most disturbing and unsettling mission I've ever taken part in.”

“What do you think caused Lt. Marcum to snap?” Tommy asked inquisitively while he stroked his light brown ‘chin fuzz’.

Lt. Peter Bon entered and the conversation ceased. Bon was short and of Asian decent with black hair and eyes slightly too close together for comfort...and he was heavily disliked by both Mendez and Hayward. He was a genius however and at 22 had potential that far exceeded either of them.

“The extensive damage to the USS Ennock will make the determination of what caused the Lt. to snap virtually impossible. The data is quickly decaying as the two of you discuss ‘mindless’ things.” Bon was dismissive as he put the two of them down. He sat at the Ops station and adjusted course.

“Three men, three opinions on a piece of music from a ship whose crew was recently butchered by one their own.” Mendez said in grim summation.

“What a concise but unnecessary description. Would you care to recite how breakfast was as well or was that what Ensign Hayward was cleaning up on the Ennock?” The cold insult escaped Peters lips and as Martin wiped his forehead again his sleeve had become wet from the sweat that had accumulated.

“No Exit.” Tommy broke the silence that had frustrated the atmosphere of the room since he had brought up the song.

“What?” both Peter and Martin responded together.

“That’s what this reminds me of. It was a play from the 20th century just like the piece of music. A remarkably good one at that, I’ve read it many times and we performed it aboard the Brinkman two months back.”

“Why don’t you summarize the experience for us then-” responded Peter sarcastically, which was lost on Tommy who simply continued talking.

“Well in 1944 the play ‘No Exit’ written by Jean-Paul Sartre was released. It’s original french title referred to those private discussions that we tend to gloss over when we remember the past. Those little throwaway moments in the grand scheme of things.”

“But what is it about Ensign?” Martin asked as he leaned back and breathed deeply, closing his eyes.

“In a nutshell: the play depicts a possible version of the afterlife in which three deceased characters spend eternity locked in a room together.”

“It sounds like hell to me.” laughed Lt. Bon. “Why are these three ‘characters’ locked in a room together for eternity?”

“It’s their punishment.”

“For what?” asked Mendez quietly.

“The characters have various explanations for the what and why. They spend the entirety of the play discussing it.”

“What do they come up with then expert?” Bon said as he rolled his eyes.

Tommy leaned forward and thought back for a moment. Martin opened his eyes and looked over to Ensign Hayward as the man sat motionless. He looked over to Lt. Bon and two of them shared a look of pure puzzlement. After a moment Ensign Hayward shook his head and continued speaking as if no time had elapsed since Lt. Bon’s question.

“Garcin is a both callous and cowardly. He cheats openly on his spouse without remorse or sympathy. Serrano is manipulative and twisted. She is both honest and cruel. Rigault is a deceitful murderer and knows only a life of temptation and greed. They all have their own baggage.”

“What happens to them?” asked Mendez curiously.

“Oh eventually the three are given the option to leave... but they are too fearful of the unknown and so they decide to stay together in that room in hell.” was Hayward’s response as he finished typing on the screen in front of him.

“If you gave me that option I would gladly leave.” was Peter’s sarcastic retort.

Martin shook his head - splashing a bit of sweat on the console - and quipped. “The airlock is right over there Pete.”

Lt. Mendez looked over to Ensign Hayward at the Comm station and asked. “Who are you typing too anyway Ensign?”

“Oh it’s Sally... err Lt. Cmdr Kelsey sir. I sent her the song. She really likes it and is heading to show the Captain right now.”

Martin’s face went hollow as the words hit him. This kid was too eager and it wouldn’t be long before he was held over for promotion because of him. “I didn’t realize you and Lt. Cmdr ‘Sally’ were on a first name basis.”

“We had an introductory dinner like all Ensigns.”

Both Lt.’s exchanged looks with each other. “Introductory Dinner” was BS and they both knew it.

“Let’s just enjoy each other’s company in silence and get through the rest of our trip back to the ship without killing each other, shall we?” Martin said after thinking about it a moment.

“Should I put the song on?” asked Hayward curiously.

“No.” was the response from Bon.

((Act 3 / Epilogue))

((Several Hours Later / Runabout Bridge / Main Shuttle Bay / USS Brinkman))

Mendez was shivering a bit and his hands were clammy. All he wanted was to have some tomato soup and get some rest. He inquired again to Ensign Hayward at the comm. “Anything?”

“No response sir and I keep hailing. There’s no chatter at all.” was Tommy’s response.

“What about Lt. Cmdr Sally?” quipped Bon.

“Not now. But what about her Ensign?” said Martin effectively cutting Peter off mid quip.

“I haven’t heard a thing from her since she went to see the Captain hours ago. You don’t think she and the Captain are together do you?” his voice was nervous in anticipation of the reply.

“Don’t know, don’t care.” said Peter.

“All I know is someone is going to have to go out there and check the bodies.” said Martin.

Mendez, Bon and Hayward looked through the window of the runabout over the various zombified corpses that littered the Main Shuttle Bay of the USS Brinkman. The two Lt.’s looked at each other and then after a moment they looked at Ensign Hayward who wore the red shirt of the group.

“Fine. But this is the last time! Promise?” said Tommy as always.

“We promise.” lied Mendez and Bon.

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