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[Round 12] Rage


Rahman and Rivi Vataix
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((Bridge, USS Victory))

:: A way. They had a way home. Radi had stumbled on it by accident, but it was a way. Not ideal... not ideal at all... but certainly, it was a way. ::

Rais: ... hell- only a few years after this, fifteen years or so I believe, JAMES T. FRACKING KIRK HIMSELF comes back to this time in a great big honking Klingon Bird of Prey! Why don't we at LEAST say "Hi!" and find out how THEY get home, which he most certainly ended up doing... there'd be minimal timeline involvement, we'd just have to follow them... or at least monitor them from a distance.

Nicholotti: ::Quietly.:: We know how they got home, and trust me, we will look over the same technique for our own use.

:: Vindication? ::

Nicholotti: You know we can’t do any of that.

:: Radi's fists balled in anger. He knew nothing of the sort. His black eyes narrowed at the former Marine. ::

(( FLASHBACK:Zama Beach, Praxi VI, 2383 ))

Zeet: You know what happens when you DO leave? You get your brain back.

(( Flashback ends... ))

:: Seemed that wasn't a universal rule. ::

Nicholotti: Tressa, let me know the minute that you have something.

Tressa: :: Swallowing slightly. :: I'm, I'm trying...

Nicholotti: I know you’ll find it.

Tressa: I won't let you down, Commander.

:: Kali nodded and turned back to look as the Operations chief spoke again. This time, he didn't hold back. ::

Rais: Go to hell.

::That was one thing she could honestly say that she wasn’t expecting.::

Nicholotti: Excuse me?

Rais: Sorry, "ma'am", but are you out of your fracking mind...? "We can't do any of that"- You know what that is? That's rationalizing your way out of avoiding xenocide!

(( Radi's imagination, Ohmallera ))

:: A bright light, warm and yellow, flooded in through the window. Dawn? Already? It was not yet midnight... ::

:: PANIC. SHOCK. FEAR. ::

~~ What's that light...? ~~

~~ GODDESSES, HELP US! ~~

:: PAIN! Ten thousand voices screamed directly into their minds. Jhaan and Lita clapped their hands over their ears, trying in vain to shut out the cataclysmic din. ::

~~ The southern district is on fire! ~~

~~ We're under attack! We're- ~~

~~ Help! Help! She won't move! ~~

(( Bridge ))

:: Radi's voice dripped with venom. ::

Rais: Do you know why we have the Prime Directive? Do you know why? Because without it, our interference causes more harm than good, in the overall scheme of things- but you know what? There are times when you just have to say, to HELL with the Prime Directive, when the alternative is extinction! How does non-involvement help THEM, huh? When we get back- IF we get back- are you going to waltz right over to the Romulan ambassador's office on Starbase 118, look him in the eye and say, "We did what we had to do- one hundred fifty-odd Federation Citizens were worth more than the BILLIONS you lost- tough break! Have a [...] cookie! Hell, you lost your whole civilization and homeworld in one fell swoop- take the whole jar!"

::Kali looked to the man. He literally seemed to drip with emotions, mostly rage. She understood; they had the chance to save billions of lives just with the knowledge that they now had. Looking to the screen, and the blue ball floating in space in front of her, she sighed. They could save millions on her own planet alone, but that was not their job. It was not their place

to fix history and possibly make things worse in ways they couldn’t even imagine. And he certainly wasn’t going to speak to any higher ranking officer like that on the bridge.::

Nicholotti: My office. Now.

::Her voice was firm, but soft and controlled. The crew didn’t know she would be taking over as first officer, and the ‘office’ that was hers was really MacKenna’s at that moment. But MacKenna was out of it, and for now, she was in the role acting or not.::

Nicholotti: Lieutenant Tressa, you have the conn.

Tressa: Ma'am..

::It wasn’t an expected break, but it was something that had to be handled right then. Kali would not have such outbursts on her bridge. Practically shaking with rage, Radi rolled his eyes and followed her into her office.::

(( Radi's Imagination, Deep Space 17 ))

:: Rais lifted the emitter, placing it directly on the transparent aluminum of the suit, pinning her head against the wall. ::

:: A dark, pleased smile came over his features. ::

Rais: Long live the Vaadwaur Imperium.

:: There was a bright white flash and Brockton's body slumped down against the deck, the faceplate melted in. ::

:: With his work done, Radi shouldered his weapon and resumed the hunt without a second thought for what was left behind. ::

((Deck One, First Officer’s Office))

::Kali walked into the office with the livid operations officer on her heels. Taking a moment, she made her way behind the desk and sat, steepling her hands and looking up at the still standing, and rather animated man in front of her.::

:: Wasting no time, Radi jabbed a finger at the Second Officer, barely able to control himself, his voice gaining volume and urgency. ::

Rais: Don't give me that lump of steaming ss'raal, all that "It happens for

a reason" garbage- you're PATHETIC. You sit there on your lofty perch,

pontificating about non-interference, when you- YOU haven't lost a [...]

thing in your entire, Federation-Fracking-Standard-Issue life, 'cept for

that tiny, black, shriveled husk you called a heart. You know what I have to

say to that? It's a [...] pity that Hirogen didn't kill you. I'm ashamed to

serve with you and if you're an example of what it is to be a model officer

then I am so *unbelievably* glad that I'm not like you at all.

:: Images of that fateful day flitted through her mind. For a moment, she

wanted nothing more than to share the pain with him, but a few moments later

she was able to compose herself. The nightmares were over; and while the

comments hurt, she was able to avoid responding in kind.::

Nicholotti: Is that so?

:: She raised an eyebrow at him.::

Nicholotti: Cause I’m sure that you know all about who I am and what kind of

officer I am. How long have you been in Starfleet? Do you even know what it

means to be an officer here?

::Far too many Marines that she had met along the way didn’t.::

(( Radi's memories, School District, Northern Continent, Betazed, twelve

years and three months ago ))

:: The teacher shook his head. The child had a bruised face, cut lip... ::

Teacher: Radi... another fight?

Rais: It wasn't my fault! They said I was a psycho!

:: The teacher raised an eyebrow, his hands on his hips. ::

Teacher: So they said you were a "psycho"... and to prove them wrong, you

bit them?

((Deck One, First Officer’s Office))

:: Enraged beyond reason, Radi bit down on his lip so hard it bled. ::

Rais: How long have... I...? I've been in Starfleet since the Gorn invasion,

I've been through the three wars- I've cut my way through so much blood and

darkness I'm drowning in it- all so people can live normal lives. Everyone I

know is dead, in a psyche ward or missing, all because I gave up everything

to serve. I may not be an officer, but if you think you're going to lecture

me on what it means to sacrifice for others, you don't want to tread down

that path.

:: He jabbed a finger at the side of his head. ::

Rais: You want to peer into this little head of mine? You think you know

what it's like to watch your entire life turn to ash as you gleefully cheer

it on? Worse, you think you're able to pass judgement on *billions* of

lives, billions of souls- those Romulans had families, hopes, dreams,

ambitions- you synthetic hearted val'chak desanni mel ot al'charrem! If

nothing else-

( FLASHBACK: After the Azure Nebula ))

(( Radi Rais's shared quarters, USS Victory ))

:: Radi's room-mate wasn't present. It was late, so he wondered where she or

he was. Dropping his possessions at the foot of his bunk he had one more

thing to do before he slept... ::

:: His PADD found its way back to his hands. He looked up the crew

compliment of a standard Romulan ship, like the one they had damaged. How

many would be likely to be in the nose section... along with a brief

"eyeball" on how many would have been killed. ::

:: Radi asked the computer to disable the fire suppression in the quarters

then lit eight small candles, kneeling on a single knee and praying. ::

Rais: I have done a terrible thing this day.

:: A pause. ::

Rais: I took the lives of eight of the Children of Eisn.

:: Another pause. ::

Rais: I ask you all to consider this a righteous act... the women and men

who wished to kill were, themselves, in turn slain. My soul is heavy with

their passing, but I light these small candles to honour their sacrifice-

much as I wish to be honoured if I, myself, am slain.

:: He extinguished each of the candles in turn, pausing with reverence as he

did each one. As each flame died he whispered,::

Rais: Forgive me.

:: When it was all done, he picked up the candles and rested them on his

desk. He let the wax dry before packing them away, stripping out of his

uniform and crawling into bed. ::

(( Flashback ends ))

:: His voice rose to a shout. ::

Rais: -OUR DUTY IS TO STAY HERE AND PREVENT THE EXTINCTION OF THE ROMULAN

PEOPLE! If nothing else, we OWE it to them! They're PEOPLE, [...] it, we

can't do anything less! Trying to get home is POINTLESS, SELFISH, and quite

frankly you can go *straight* to hell if you think for one moment I'm going

to be a part of this insanity! This selfishness! This MADNESS!

Nicholotti: Very well. You are relieved of duty. Feel free to be [...]ed at

the universe in your quarters.

Rais: FINE! Their blood is on YOUR hands!

::Kali stood now. He had been given time to speak his part, and much of it

she was willing to let go. Personal attacks, no matter how deep they cut,

were often the result of hurt, confusion, and regret. He had discovered a

way to save the lives that had been taken, but it was not something they

could follow up on. He could blame her, she could live with that. She

couldn’t live with the chance, however, that they would change things and

billions of others would find themselves where they weren’t supposed to

be.::

::He tried to speak again, but she cut him off.::

Nicholotti: Shut up.

:: Radi's voice dropped down, the blood trickling down his lip. ::

Rais: Or what? Go on- tell me. Or what? Or wha-

::Walking from around the desk, she leaned back and crossed her arms. Even

at her full height he towered over her, but it was nothing new to her. She

used to command Marines that were twice her size.::

Nicholotti: I said shut the frak up. Now it’s my turn.

:: She narrowed her eyes at the man again as if to drive her point home.::

Nicholotti: So we save the Romulans. But at what cost? What if doing that

creates death in other places? What if we prevent the original formation of

the Federation? What happens then? How many people die then? Are you willing

to risk changing history and putting every living being in the galaxy at

risk?

:: Radi could scream at her. What could be worse than what had happened?

Billions and billions dead... it was the absolute worst case scenario they

had outlined in their briefing only a couple of months ago. And it had

happened. Now she was saying, "Oh, but it could have been so much worse?" ::

Rais: YES.

::Kali shook her head.::

Nicholotti: Well, I’m not. Time flows in all directions, not just the one

you see. If preventing change to our own timeline is heartless and cruel,

then so be it.

::Kali’s voice was calm and collected, despite the aggression she could see

in the man. He was passionate about this, and it was that passion that was

blinding him from seeing what needed to be seen. Still, the aggressive

nature and his attitude was unacceptable.::

Rais: It's more than heartless, it's insane! If it were up to me I'd fix

this- some things, some brutal horrible things we can let go, but not this!

We have a chance to save so, so, soooo many lives...!

Nicholotti: Which is why it is not your decision. Our duty is to preserve

the timeline. History must repeat itself.

:: Radi stabbed a finger at her again. ::

Rais: Do you know what happened at Zama beach? I was there, Princess- a

thousand Starfleet Marines died on her sands trying to stop the Gorn, died

in the rain and endless night. Somehow, I managed to survive. But do you

wanna know the truth?

:: He leaned closer to her now, a hair away from losing control again. ::

Rais: It wasn't the Gorn disruptors that killed us, in the end- it was the

officers who thought they knew best. Officers who clung to their principles

no matter what. Officers who were so out of touch with reality all they had

were their text books and their vaunted education, they had no idea what the

reality of the situation was, and if they did, they just ignored it.

Officers who didn't even know their subordinates names, but were happy to

order them to their death. You and your kind- you think you have all the

answers, but reality is a place you're so very far from.

Nicholotti: And you, I suppose, are an expert on ‘my kind’.

::It didn’t matter what she said. Like so many others, he had to speak his

mind. She knew that he wouldn’t be able to be calm, cool, or collected until

he did. It would take even more time for him to really process things. She

held her ground, but didn’t allow the emotion that he showed to affect

her.::

Rais: More than you could ever know. So, okay, things might go "bad" if we

fix things. They might even be worse... don't rightly know. All I know is,

they're probably going to be a [...] sight better. So you... you look me in

the eye right now, and you tell me that we're going to sentence eleven

billion people to death... I'll just say it again, so the number sinks in...

eleven... BILLION... people... to death, because of your fear that things

"could" be worse.

Nicholotti: Got it. Eleven billion. I was there, remember? But think about

this. If we prevent the federation, and perhaps even allow the Romulans a

real foothold in the galaxy, how will things turn out there? How does this

end? No. We can’t change things, especially things that big.

:: Kali understood. She really did. Death was something she had come face to

face with and it was horrific. She could only thank whatever gods were out

there that the Romulans had gotten a death much faster than so many

others.::

:: Out of all that had happened in his life, this was the most crushing

thing that had ever happened. He couldn't convince her to abandon her

course, no matter what he said, no matter how mad he got. ::

Rais: Then I guess we're just as guilty as Nero is. We have a chance to end

the genocide and we are choosing to allow it to happen.

:: Radi stepped back. He felt numb to it all now, casually throwing up his

hands. His tone became defeated. ::

Rais: Fine. But I meant what I said. I want you to explain this- personally-

to the Romulan ambassador. Tell him we had a chance to stop Hobus, a slim

chance granted, but we didn't on your authority... because we were too

afraid that things "could turn out bad for us". I'm *sure* he'll

understand...

Nicholotti: No one is getting any ambassadors involved. :: She paused.:: If

you want to blame me for this, then you go right on ahead. You can do so

from your quarters.

:: Nothing mattered anymore. He couldn't win. ::

Rais: Fine.

::Kali pressed a few keys on her console notifying security that they were

required in the First Officer’s office. It took only moments for them to

arrive. The chime on the door sounded and she turned back to Rais, this time

standing tall and conveying the impression that she was done taking any

verbal insults that he had to throw.::

Nicholotti: We have more than just Romulus to worry about. This could affect

the entire galaxy and the many more billions, more than eleven, that are out

there. You will go cool off. Then, you will talk to the counselor and learn

how to control yourself before returning to duty.

Rais: This is all your fault. You're making us into murderers.

Nicholotti: I don’t care. This was your chance. Your one and only. Talk to

me like that on the bridge of my ship again, and I will kick your sorry [...]

all the way back to the twenty fourth century and a court martial.

Dismissed!

::The security officers were there now, and they had stepped inside her door

and looked up at her questioningly. ::

Nicholotti: He is to remain in his quarters. He is not to go anywhere unless

ordered by me or the Captain, and no one is to visit him until the counselor

arrives.

::Kali watched as the security officers led him out of the room. Radi

couldn't even stand to look at her. ::

::They would be down an officer now, which worried her. The crew was going

to need all the help that they could get in getting home, but instead, she

had officers incapacitated by hallucinogenic drugs, lead bullets, and now

rage. Would it have helped to tell him that she agreed with the sorrow over

the loss of Romulus? Probably not. If he hated her for this, so be it.

Command was not always a bed of roses and there were bound to be officers

that would dislike her from time to time.::

::Making the hard decisions would do that to a person. It was something she

would have to get used to, especially if she ever wanted to command her own

ship.::

(( Radi's quarters, USS Victory ))

:: How did it feel to be complicit in the murder of eleven billion

people? Rais hurled his combadge into a corner of his quarters. Security

watched the door, and by now he assumed his transporter and access codes

would have been revoked. He didn't even bother trying anything. ::

:: Oh, sure, in that way that frustrated, desperate people do he entertained

thoughts of somehow sabotaging the ship. Of forcing Nicholotti and her smug

little face to remain in the past... so they could fix what was coming.

Hobus was hundreds of years in the future, but if they told the Vulcan High

Command now, they might be able to stop it in time. Or, at the very least,

have an ordered, safe, complete evacuation of the planet. Billions and

billions of people would be saved. ::

:: He thought about overpowering one of the security guards, taking their

phaser and blowing out the warp coolant tanks, forcing a warp core ejection.

The warp signature would be detected by the Vulcans, eventually, forcing

them to action... ::

:: Of course, it would never work. There were three security personnel there

and, even though Radi was a former Marine, they were tough. He doubted he

could beat even one. And, of course, the moment he was detected outside of

his quarters (possibly by automatic process) they would have forcefields up

and he would be transported to the brig. If he was lucky. ::

:: Still didn't stop his imagination from going wild with fanciful ideas. He

wanted to do something. Anything. Maybe he could pry off a conduit cover and

force an overload in the... ::

:: But, just like his younger self in the trenches of Praxi IV, there was

nothing he could do. He was powerless to prevent it all from happening

again. ::

-----

Lt. Commander Kalianna Nicholotti

First Officer

Starbase 118/USS Victory

And,

SCPO Radi Rais

Chief of Operations

USS Victory

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