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Operation Remember

Hannibal Parker

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((Space Station Deep Space Nine, at the close of the Dominion War))

Hannibal Parker was tired. Two years of almost constant war with the Jem’ Haddar and their Breen allies had wreaked havoc on the quadrant. Billions were dead, planets wrecked, and hundreds of ships lost. Earth had been attacked by the Breen, shattering the idyllic myth of Earth. They too had been singed by the flames of war. The fighting on the surface of Cardassia before the surrender had been brutal, hampered by the fact that fifty percent of their troop transports had been shot down…but still, his unit fought on, buoyed by the Klingon detachment his unit had been fighting with almost since the war began.
With peace now won, and several barrels of blood wine consumed by his unit and the victorious Klingons (despite “suggestions” from Starfleet brass that they should not be participating in such ceremonious drunkenness and revelry), Hannibal, now in command of his own platoon, ignored it. His battle- hardened Marines, having fought alongside the Klingons, were deemed more than worthy to share in their celebration, and there was no way he was going to stand in their way. So…while Admirals, Captains, and Heads Of State were somberly signing surrender orders and giving interviews to the Federation News Service, his troops were drinking, singing, and seeking companionship, whether it be Klingon, Human, Bajoran, or any of a number of races sexually compatible with humans, and Hannibal was no exception. With three weeks’ leave coming to his platoon and currently berthed in the Habitat Ring, he was perfectly happy to let the ringing hangover he was currently suffering from subside long enough to further enjoy the Orion woman currently sharing his bed. Feeling her stir next to him, he did what a good soldier does….his duty….

One week into his leave, Hannibal discovered peace was not all it was cracked up to be. He found it strange to sleep through the night, and it was perfectly normal for him to sleep with either his Bowie knife or phaser within reach. Starfleet had Counselors available, but they were backed up on appointments from seeing Starfleet personnel...most of whom had seen no ground fighting. Starship duty had its horrors, but none compared to staring a drug-crazed Jem’ Haddar in the face and blowing it off, or sliding your blade through his body. He determined he would have nothing to do with the “couch mice” who were currently infesting the station, and Starbase 375, places where beings went off to war, and some never came back, and others who should not have.

There was also a repeated undercurrent…one which was playing out through the Marines and Starfleet personnel…a current of unfinished business. There were those who were ecstatic that Cardassia was little more than smoking ash, and more than a little animosity directed towards the Breen…who had managed to escape their murderous alliance with the Dominion with it seemed little more than a finger- wagging, in the face of the fact that the Breen had attacked Earth, namely Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. Thousands were killed, Starfleet was crippled, and there seemed to no desire for the Federation, or Starfleet, to demand the proper penance for the Breen to pay. Nursing a whiskey in Quarks’ bar, Hannibal was alone, contemplating his plans for the evening. He had begun working out again, and his body welcomed the slight soreness he was feeling. Dressed in civilian clothing, black cargo pants with matching black tee shirt, his considerable muscle bulging from rolled up sleeves, his freshly shaved head and shined, laced up black boots clearly identified him as a soldier, even when not in uniform. Hannibal barely looked up as another gentleman walked in. Hannibal immediately recognized him as a soldier, although he was smaller, than but almost as tall as the six foot four Hannibal. He was older, with greying hair at his temples, and steel gray eyes. Hannibal knew exactly who he was, and he thought it strange that a man of his stature would enter the likes of an establishment like Quarks’. Generals in the Starfleet Marines just did not do such things…unless they had a reason…and as he closed on Hannibal’s’ table, he had to wonder what his reasoning would be to come to see him, here, on leave…As the human approached, he began to smile, but his eyes held firm, locked on his. “Hannibal Parker I presume?”

Hannibal took another swig of his whiskey, hearing the ice tinkle in the glass. He had paid good money for the whiskey, and gave and upward glace at the man who stood before him…

“Depends on who is asking. And you are?”

“May I sit down? I would like to keep our conversation away from prying ears as much as possible.”

Quarks’ was known as the place where everything was up for grabs, and for sale…that included information, and as Hannibal looked around the room, the lack of obvious Starfleet personnel and the abundance of disreputable aliens and humanoids made his choice easy, to limit suspicion. Nodding to the empty chair across from him, he beckoned the General to have a seat…

“I know who you are, General Murphy. You led the assault to take back Betazed, secure AR-558…and took down a Breen warship which had attacked Earth. Your reputation precedes you.”

The General sat down. And smiled. He was pleased Hannibal knew who he was, but now it was his turn to express to Hannibal that he knew him as well…

“Captain Hannibal Tiberious Parker. Member of the 27th Marine Expeditionary Unit, combined with the 282nd Unit of the Klingon Defense Forces. Took down two planets during the First Battle Of Chin’toka, captured a weapons platform, first on the ground on Cardassia, plus early on your combined unit was winning engagement after engagement with the Jem’ Haddar and the Cardassians while everyone else was getting the snot beat out of them. You guys were making us proud, Captain….and I’m sorry to hear about your parents. I am sure they died with honor…”

Hannibal had been around long enough to tell the difference between genuine concern and garbage when he heard it, and out of respect, he nodded as the General had paid his respects. Looking back towards him, he took another swig of his drink, pulled a cigar from his shirt pocket, and lit it with his fathers’ ancient Zippo lighter…

“General…I appreciate your condolences, but I know that is not why you came here to speak to me. What is it you really want?”

The General sat back in his chair and regarded the massive, young Marine. He had seen more combat in two years than the General had seen in twenty, and the younger Marines’ rather flippant attitude was something he had been warned about, but Hannibal had earned a reputation for being ruthless in battle, so much so that even the Klingons respected and honored him. It was that kind of grit and toughness the general needed for what he had in mind. Leaning over to make sure only Hannibal could hear him in the crowded bar, Murphy began...” The war may be over, but things are far from settled. Some races did not truly pay for their transgressions against Federation citizens. Against Earth. Against San Francisco.”

Before Hannibal could speak, the Generals’ wording was clear…he was talking about attacking the Breen. Spoken resentment was now breeding actions, and the General was recruiting others who had voiced the same opinion. Hannibal maintained his poker face, belying none of his true feelings as the general continued to speak…

“There is a meeting tonight. Docking Port Three, upper pylon. Tell the sentry I sent you, that is if you want to make a difference instead of getting drunk, kicking [...] or chasing whores…Consider my offer, Mister Parker. We begin at 1800.” Leaning in closer to Hannibal, the General added one last thing, perhaps the most important thing he could say… “This conversation never happened.”

With mutual discrete nods exchanged, the General stood up, and Hannibal watched the officer leave. Pulling a drag off his cigar, and motioning the dabo girl who had been serving him to bring him another drink. He had about three hours to consider the Generals’ offer, one he would give considerable thought to. There was no doubt in his mind what he had in mind, but in Hannibal’s’ mind, it would be worse than treason. As much as he would love to leave the Breen homeworld a smoking cinder in space, the war was over. Although it was costly in men and treasure, victory was theirs. During the war, he would have happily scorched every Breen ship or planet in his sights, but that time was past. The words of his now-dead father rang in his ears…” There is no honor in battle once the enemy has surrendered.” To Hannibal, to even say the word “Breen” left a bad taste in his mouth…

Two hours later, particularly well lubricated by copious amounts of real bloodwine and whiskey, Hannibal had to make a decision…well actually, two. The first was whether to tell anyone of the generals’ plans, and the second…who to tell? What if he said nothing and the general did carry out his attack on the Breen? They would be at war again, this time the Federation, and Starfleet, would be the aggressors…and he would once again be the tip of the spear. He figured that the general would count on the “code of silence” which would keep his plans secret, even though he decided not to participate. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. He had a sister on Earth who was now his only living relative, and what if his actions indirectly caused her death? Hannibal didn’t want that…this war had deprived them of their parents in a just cause, but this…revenge on a planetary scale?

Hannibal then thought about the general, how clean he was. He may have commanded Marines, but he did not have the mark of a man who had seen combat, but saw no difficulty in ordering others to die to further the mission. There were few brass who had ever fought such a grueling campaign they had just finished, and men like that were reluctant to throw men into the fray while they stood back and orchestrated the outcome. Hannibal had been a pawn long enough to men like that. First was Chancellor Gowron, who threw Klingon warriors into the teeth of the Jem’Haddar to further his political aims. More than once it was only timing and dumb luck which had saved their combined unit from disaster from those orders, and Hannibal was not going to do that again, to follow the orders of a madman to further his ego.

The first decision…not to go along with the general, was relatively easy. The second question was more daunting. Hannibal knew that he had to tell someone what was being planned, but there were few he could trust with the explosive claims...and that was all they were…with nothing to support it. He had no evidence, no documentation, nothing. He was a grunt going against a Starfleet general, accusing him of treason. He also had no idea how high up the food chain it went, possibly clear up to Admiral Ross.

He now had forty-five minutes left to figure out what to do. He looked around the crowded bar, and looked for faces that had been there as long as he had. He was looking for Starfleet personnel who had been there as long as he had. It was relatively early, as the ships currently docked would have most of their crews on liberty, but most did not visit Quark’s until later in the evening…also, if there were those who favored the generals’ views, they would be watching him, checking his next move. He knew who to look for, and in fact, the place had turned over its crowd to such an extent that determining if he was being watched was difficult. At 1745, it was time to make a move. Closing out his tab, Hannibal left Quark’s, and headed out onto the Promenade. Being familiar the layout of Deep Space Nine, instead of making his way to the lift which would take him to the location of the meeting, he headed for the nearest empty corridor and made his way into the access trunks which ran the height and breadth of the massive station. If he was being followed, they would have to come this way, and he waited a perilously long three minutes before he started his climb up the trunk to just outside Ops. It was only two decks, but he knew where he needed to be and come out unseen. His destination: The office of Archer Greene, Starfleet Intelligence.
Hannibal popped out of the access trunk, a bit dirty and a little dizzy… the liquor was catching up to him, but after making sure he would not be observed, he popped the hatch on the access trunk, replaced it, and made his way to Greene’s office.

Hannibal didn’t like the man much, but he had been invaluable on board the Charleston to his unit when they deployed. He was a snug little snit, but he knew his job and could extrapolate with the best of them. Making sure he was not observed, Hannibal went down the hallway where the mans’ office was now located, in a space not much bigger than a broom closet…in fact, it was a broom closet, with not even a sign on the door denoting its use, the only thing giving it away was the security lock on the door. Feverishly trying the lock, Hannibal worked every conceivable combination he could think of, when the door opened…

Greene was sitting at his desk, decorated solely by a computer terminal and a stack of PADDS. He was a shorter man, about five foot eight, mid- thirties, with a shock of gray mixed in with brown hair. He was thin, and his skin was pale from being too long on board a space station or a starship, his clear blue eyes taking in the mountain of young Marine with a slight [...] of his head. He wasn’t quite sure why the Marine didn’t just knock, and he was in no position to fight him. Greene had seen his handiwork in person, and he knew he was no match for him. His best bet was to do what he was good at…extrapolating information from what he saw and heard, and he surmised the Marine has something very important he needed to tell him. In a calm voice, he called out to the man who was now less than ten feet away from him and staring him down the way a predator would eye his next meal…

“Mister Parker...you could have knocked”, he said. “What seems to be the trouble?”

Hannibal was now standing before the intelligence officer…it was now five minutes before the meeting was to begin. Standing before Greene’s’ desk, Hannibal knew it was now or never. He told him of meeting the general, what he had planned, where the meeting was to take place, and that he had been invited to attend. The intelligence officer listened intently, then leaned back in his office chair...which was scant inches from the bulkhead behind him, and Hannibal wondered if he had made a mistake, and Greene was part of the plot. His mind raced in the silence which had permeated the room since Hannibal had finished his explanation, and Hannibal had begun to think of scenarios on how to escape Deep Space Nine before he himself was caught. If he was wrong in his assessment, his sister would still lose him…not to war, but to becoming a fugitive. Finally, with the meeting time approaching, the intelligence officer spoke…

“That’s quite a story, Mister Parker”, he said. “You are aware that those are serious charges you are levelling against a decorated Starfleet officer, a man many would consider a hero?”

“It may be one hell of a story, but it’s the truth”, Hannibal said. “Why the frak would I have been trying to pick the lock on your office door to lie to you? I have no evidence other than a conversation I had three hours ago. Either you believe me or you don’t. General Murphy wants to start a war, so what the hell are you going to do?”

Greene looked at Hannibal, a man whom he would now test the trust between them. Working with Hannibal on board the Charleston, Greene knew he was a man of honor, and the PADD which held details of the meeting Hannibal had just confirmed lay concealed on his desk under his hands. That PADD held names, dates, places…even the targets in Breen space. Hannibal had only scratched the surface on how big the plot really was, but sharing that information was something he could not do with him. Looking up at the Marine, who now seemed to be taking up the entire office, he made a note on a PADD, then he looked up at the brooding killing machine which was Hannibal Parker…

“Hannibal,” he said, choosing his words carefully,” There is a transport leaving for Risa in fifteen minutes. Be on it. Speak to no one. Burn the rest of your leave time there. Leave the way you came. Report back to your unit on time. Is that clear?”

Hannibal looked deeply in his eyes. There was no deception there, and the unspoken message was clear…Nodding his head in understanding, Hannibal spoke:

“Risa is nice this time of year. Thank you…and good luck.”

Leaving Greene’s’ office, Hannibal did as he was instructed and went to Risa. Returning from leave, news broke about a Dominion War hero being arrested. The hero…General Simon Murphy.

Major Hannibal Tiberious Parker
Marine Commander
USS Thunder-A/Duronis II Embassy

Edited by Hannibal Parker
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