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Send in the Cannon(Fodder): The battle hymn of the redshirts

Posted on Jul 04, 2014 @ 3:30pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos

Mission: The Tangled Webs We Weave

"Send in the Cannon(fodder): The battle hymn of the redshirts"
(Cont. 14-5)


Scene: Bridge

Time Index: Simultaneously with the "Der Rache Holle"

"If we care about the children, the grandchildren, the future
generations, we need to make sure that they do not become the cannon
fodder of the future" - Helen Thomas

Pia Kuenzi and Joe Massimo had been inseparable since basic training.
Although they weren't dating (yet, as their squad mates all joked to
their consternation), they spent almost every waking moment together
and had the eerie ability to communicate silently and anticipate each
other's actions. So good was their intuition about each other that
that they could be put into a training sim on opposite sides of the
course, with no comms and no previous discussion, and they would
finish it as perfectly as though they had planned out everything.

They were an unlikely duo, as different as night and day.

Kuenzi was a tall, graceful, pale woman with serious dark eyes, and
long chocolate hair that she kept pulled into a habitual bun. She
always seemed to be thinking deep philosophical thoughts and drinking
in the sights and sounds of the world around her. She seldom spoke but
when she did it was short, succinct, and commanded the attention of
her teammates. All her squad mates swore they had never seen her
smile. She also swore like a sailor, but that was neither here nor

Massimo on the other hand, was the life of the party wherever he went,
and if there was a party, he probably was the one who instigated it.
He was a slight man of Filipino and Italian ancestry with a wicked
smile and a perpetual mischievous twinkle in his eyes. He was also a
keen judge of character, able to get the measure of a person quickly.
Everything about him was just barely regulation; black hair exactly as
long as it was allowed to be, well trimmed mustache veering
dangerously close to goatee territory. He was loud, brash, and quick
to jump into situations that required Kuenzi's intervention to escape.

For once, Kuenzi and Massimo wore matching expressions. They had been
recruited to the Neo-essentialist movement right out of boot camp
three years ago. Fresh from the Second Dominion war and watching their
homeworlds fall to invading forces, they had embraced the movement
with open arms. If the Federation had been stronger, then maybe their
colonies would be prospering instead of picking up the pieces of their
shattered lives and living with the ever present memories of the dead
haunting them.

Since then, they had taken half a dozen special missions for the
movement. Mainly espionage on Starfleet officers or technology theft,
though there had been one sabotage mission. Never ever had they been
asked to kill for the movement, and the one thing they had never
expected was to be asked to participate in what amounted to a cold
blooded mass execution of half a starship worth of personnel. They
were grim, uneasy, a little scared hearing the conversation between
Commander Stonn and Major Thytos, and it was with some trepidation
that they entered the lift with their CO, Trebond and Raoul.

"Did you know about Balbossa?" The Major abruptly asked, her voice was
brittle, a little bit angry, and sad at the same time.

Kuenzi glanced at Massimo: Should they admit they'd known about it?

He shook his head fractionally: No, she feels guilty about it, it's
not something she wants people to know about.

Her brows creased: I wonder why that was the first thing they told us about her.

His shoulders twitched: I don't know, I think they misjudged who they
were getting.

She gnawed on her lip, her frown deepening: Do you think she's going
to go through with this?

Massimo let out a sigh: I don't know.

Their silent conversation stopped as the Major's voice rose in
impassioned appeal, and PFC Trebond and Private Raoul got antsy, the
testosterone was ramping up to 10.

"... We swore to uphold the ideals of the Federation, and killing in
cold blood is not it!" The Major's voice rose to a much higher octave
than normal.

Interesting. Major Thytos wasn't going to follow Stonn. Kuenzi felt a
flood of relief. She'd resigned herself, but she hadn't wanted to do
it. She glanced at Massimo, his eyes were fixed on her, waiting for
her to make the first move. She dropped her hand from her phaser and
relaxed, ready to voice her agreement with the Major. Massimo followed
her lead and put his hands behind his back, doing his best to appear

"...Unfortunately we're going to have to eliminate you." Trebond
growled, his phaser out. Pia rolled her eyes at Massimo. Trebond
always had been over enthusiastic and looking for trouble. She didn't
even have time to react and come to the Major's side when suddenly the
elevator was filled with blinding light. She heard the sound of phaser
fire, and the wetness of blood spray hitting her face, and then it was
over. The Major said something to her and pushed them out into the
corridor. Pia blinked until she could see. Trebond and Raoul were
dead. It had been terrifyingly fast. The Major must have been ready to
kill them from the moment they entered the lift.

"What should we do?" She blurted out. Her normal composure rattled.
The Major reached her hand out suddenly, and Pia flinched
involuntarily, half expecting a killing blow to come. The Major seemed
hurt, and gently told them they should go to engineering, while she
went to sickbay.

Massimo and Kuenzi nodded, and headed back into the turbolift to
travel the two floors to get to Main Engineering. The ship seemed to
them to have taken on a sinister silence. Still full of people, it
already seemed like a ghost ship. As they approached the door of
Engineering, Kuenzi paused to look at Massimo. She tapped the
rebreather on her belt. Massimo nodded, and unclipped it for quick
access. She removed a knockout gas canister from her belt, and set the
switch. She waited as the door opened, and entered.

"Attention, comrades. We're here to collect the Engineers to move to
cargo storage, and to disseminate some information regarding the plan
to secure the ship, and deal with our current problem. As you all
know, this situation could have severe impacts on our organization if
the data contained on the CENTURY is allowed to come to light. If
everyone could please come over here so I don't have to yell, I would
appreciate it, it is imperative." Kuenzi's voice carried over the buzz
of the Neo-Essentialists.

They shut up and came to stand around herself and Massimo. She glanced
at him, and triggered the gas. She slapped on her rebreather, and
pulled out zip tie cuffs from her supplies. As the Neo-Essentialists
fell to the ground unconscious, Massimo and Kuenzi cuffed their hands
and feet and moved them into one of the side rooms.

"Go find where they've stashed their colleagues, I'll ID and count our
former compatriots, and attempt to persuade them to defect." Pia
Kuenzi strode into the break room where they'd stashed the
Neo-Essentialists. The engineers were beginning to stir, and sitting
up groggily.

"Listen up." Pia crossed her arms on her chest as the last of them
woke up. "The situation has changed, as you're no doubt guessing. We
were promised that if we needed to stage Operation No Return that it
would be bloodless, and that any casualities would be limited to only
dangerous elements who possessed knowledge dangerous to our movement.
This was a lie. Thus far Stonn has killed at least six of our
crewmates, and he has made it clear that he plans to maroon all of
them on the planet below, which would effectively be a death sentence.
So what I need from you, is for you to all reach deep within your
conscience and decide whether you can live with that. If you cannot,
then I need you to identify yourself right now. You have one minute to

Ensign Enuki was the first to decide, and he was quickly followed by
Crewman Buchholz, Kolb, Subotin, and Thompson. Pia had to admit she
was a little bit disappointed. She'd expected the emotional impact of
realizing they were dooming half the ship to death would have been a
little bit more of a motivator.

"Kuenzi, we've got 32 hostages, they've been released. How'd you fare
with this bunch?" Massimo stuck his head in the door.

"Five out of 26 only. Let's get them ready to move. Maybe Lieutenant
Rochemont will be able to convince more of them when she gets here."


Scene: Jeffries tubes. Somewhere.

Time Index: 45 minutes later.

Sneekums, Rodger Van Horne, John Doe and Dido Loftus were not having a
very good day. They'd been minding their own business in Journey's
End, when out of nowhere martial law had been declared. Half of the
patrons of Journey's end had pulled phasers out and marched their
colleagues out. Apparently, they were not considered a risk, and a
very apologetic Sharon Pinkerton was tasked with standing guard
outside the lounge.

Dido was getting hysterical, imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios
that ended with her boyfriend, Solomon Arn, dead, maimed, or even
joining the Neo-Essentialists. Sneekums' eye rolling, John Doe's
placating 'there theres' and Rodger's lecherous offers to help get the
beautiful blonde over her grief if something happened to Solomon had,
predictably, not helped at all.

She'd slapped Rodger, and then burst into tears which hadn't stopped.

Finally, the three men, tired of listening to her sniffles and broken
sobs decided to take her to Science so she could be with Solomon.
Their pleas to Crewman Pinkerton had been politely refused, with an
apologetic reassurance that their takeover was meant to be bloodless.
Dido had insisted they find another way, and Sneekums had mentioned
that the area under the bar where nonreplicated supplies and the bar's
utilities were accessed joined directly into the Jeffries tube
systems, and they decided to attempt to navigate to Science using

That was two hours ago, and Sneekums finally had to admit that they were lost.

"I thought you knew the maintenance system." Rodger groused half
heartedly. He currently had a fantastic view of Dido's shapely
derriere as she wiggled her way on hands and knees through the tubes.
Even better, her skirt was short enough that it was riding up and he
could almost see-

Sneekum had come to a bulkhead exit, and he was leaning on the hatch
as he twisted the handle when it was opened suddenly from the other
side. Dido stopped abruptly as Sneekums tumbled out, and Rodger,
unable or unwilling to stop, had a moment of gratification as his face
planted right into Dido's rump. Dido bolted out of the tube with a
shriek, and there was a clattering. Then John Doe, oblivious to what
was happening, bumped into Rodger, who fell from the entrance
ungracefully. His face hit something solid, and whatever it was let
out an angry squawk. He looked up to find himself face to face with an
absolutely furious woman wearing a marine combat suit, the insignia of
a captain painted on the pauldrons. He remembered her, she was the one
that had caused a drunken ruckus in Journey's End.

"I'm gonna give you five seconds to move your hand before I break it."
She said snidely in a twangy colony world accent. He looked down, and
found his hand was firmly planted on her thigh. He jerked his hand
back, biting back his reply. He didn't think the Marine would find it
amusing or flirty, judging from the faint pink tinge of anger on her

She could probably use a good lay. That would probably sweeten her
temper a bit. She was a little bit older and battle scarred than he
usually liked them, but she was very athletic which always counted for
a lot. He could imagine her-

The Marine had been saying something to the pretty young redheaded
engineer she was traveling with (Cindy? Candy?), but she slowly turned
around to glare at him with her glassy blue eyes. Rodger's blood
froze. It was like she knew.

Finally after some discussion with John Doe and Cindy, the Marine
threw her hands up in the air.

"God help me, because I know I'm gonna regret the hell out of this,
but I can't let you idiots roam around on your own. You're liable to
get yourselves killed an' we don't have the time to play catch up with
PFC Kuenzi and Massimo so we can send you on with the other hostages,
so you'll hafta come with us to the computer banks. " The frown on her
face said that she was unhappy about it.

"There are people rescuing hostages?" Dido stopped her weeping and
looked hopefully at the Marine. "Was Solomon Arn with them?"

The Marine's face froze, and her jaw worked before gently breaking the
news of Solomon's apparent demise in the NILE. Dido began to sob in
earnest, and threw herself at the Marine, sobbing into her chestplate.
The Marine was entirely taken aback, like she didn't know what to do,
before finally giving Dido a perfunctory hug, and patting her hair and
rubbing her back as Dido snotted all over the Marine's armor. Cindy
Rochemonte, the tasty little engineer looked on with an incredulous
stare as the Marine gently detached the crying woman from her, pulled
out a hanky, and proceeded to gently dab and clean up the tears and
snot from Dido's face before depositing the now damp hanky in Dido's

"Come on, Dido." The Marine said gently. "Solomon wouldn't want you
getting hurt, OK? So let's get to the computer mainframe junction so
Cindy can get a few distractions going, and we'll get you to safety,

Dido sniffled, and nodded.

With everyone ready to go, Cindy Rochemont crawled into the tube.

Rodger hustled in quickly behind her. If he was going to have to spend
another two hours crawling on hands and knees, he might as well have a
change in scenery.


NRPG: Alrighty. Let's get this started! Tag to Chris if he wants to
flesh out anything. I thought it might be good to look in on some of
the crew and see what they were up to.

Alix Fowler:
The conscience/tormentor of
Captain Kassandra Thytos
Cranky Marine CO


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