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Pouvoir Absolu

Posted on Nov 15, 2015 @ 6:34pm by Captain Peter Aspinall & Lieutenant Izshlana Vort
Edited on on Nov 15, 2015 @ 6:35pm

Mission: Civil War

"Pouvoir Absolu"

(contd - "Bravery and Sacrifice")

Scene: The corridor outside the artefact holding position
Stardate: 2.151115.2152
Time Index: Concurrent with the Council of War

Lieutenant Izshlana Vort fired once around the corner of the corridor. The other force was heavily encased at the other end of the corridor, although none of them returned fire. The phasers were set to a setting lower than stun, if someone was hit it would send a slightly shock through their system but nothing more. They’d then return to the rendezvous point for further instructions.

Izzy’s team for these war games were her normal squad, a group of ten. Five of whom had been Starfleet officers before the Pendragon had gone missing, they had a more grizzled look about them, the others had all been trained by the combination of Izzy, Kat and Lieutenant JG Targel – the official security chief of the USS PENDRAGON after Izzy moved up to XO. The youngest person on Izzy’s squad was seventeen year old Amanda Thompson, and this wasn’t her first training session.

Katlina Gorman was at the other end of the corridor, her team consisted of her daughter, El’hron and 1 other experienced Starfleet officer. The rest were all recruits that she and Izzy had trained. People who wanted to try and protect the ship but had no actual interest in joining star fleet. Peter had nicknamed them Kat’s angels. It didn’t go down well.

Kat lifted her hand and indicated to the left with two quick sharp movements. The hand she waved had a device strapped to it, one that meant if anything did happen on the ship every phaser currently set to shock could be changed to stun or higher at the press of a button. El’hron followed her mothers instructions, she tapped two of the people on the shoulder and pulled them to the left the whole point being to circle around behind Izzy’s position.

The problem with having worked and trained and served together for the last twenty five years, Izzy and Kat knew each other far too well. Izshlana split her squad up, two went to the right, two to the left and then she pulled the hatch off the nearest Jeffries tube. The point was she was attacking, trying to get into the artefact and Katlina was defending the position. Kat will have pulled most of her squad out of the room but not all of them.

There was a zapping sound to her left, the two groups engaging each other. Izzy fired down the corridor while Lieutenant Targel slipped himself into the Jeffries tube, two more followed him and Izzy and her remaining squad took up defensive positions. The occasional zap came down the corridor towards her but there was no danger of anything actually hitting as she was fi9rmly hidden.

“Iz, have we reached a stale mate?” Kat called cheerfully.

Izzy’s tail swished around her waist while she desperately tried to listen for the other groups. “That depends. I’ve not heard El’hron swearing.” Izzy called back, she risked showing her head around the corner and a zap missed her by a hairs breath. She pulled back and then watched as the laughing little girl ran across the corridor intersection. It took her every effort not to rush forward, to pull the phantom out of harms way, not wanting to see the child she’ll never have hurt even in a game.

The laughter echoed in her head as the girl ran around a corner and then the sharp electric shock buzzed through her body. She froze and sighed as El’hron’s deeper laughter came to her. “Well, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever got the drop on you.” The voice came from around a corner where the half Klingon had dashed back to avoid any return fire.

Izshlana grimaced and then held her hands up allowing the phaser to dangle slightly in her right hand she trudged back to the rendezvous point.

Kat’s team won, the team in the ducts had been shot on arrival, and El’hron had picked off the others. Izshlana wasn’t particularly surprised. The hangar bay was fairly defencible. She made a note to run some beam in drills over the next few hours. El’hron wandered over once the drill was called as over and they walked back to the cargo bay together.

“How did I get the drop on you?” the younger woman asked her friend,

“I was distracted.” Izshlana answered honestly.

“You, distracted?” El’hron looked curiously at her, her brown furrowing even further. “I didn’t even know that was a thing.”

“No need to be rude.” Izzy answered, “I’m still older and better than you.”

“Hah! When mum says that to you you always disagree.”

“Well there’s a difference between older and old.” Izzy answered leaning in conspiratorially.

“Oi, I heard that.” Kat answered, she went to cup the Alterian across the back of the head but Izzy rapped her tail around Kat’s wrist before it came close enough to be a threat and held her a short distance away.

Kat’s face drifted into a smile. “Cheat.”

Izzy shrugged. “Using all of my assets to great efficiency.” She retorted.

They stepped back into the room containing the chronoton artefact and Kat called the games to an end, one crew left, mostly consisting of Kat’s angels but the mostly starfleet team secured the area while Kat and Izzy looked over the PADD. There was a moment of quiet before both of their commbadges chirruped.

[[The Captain's shuttle is returning from the Demeter.]]

Kat and Izzy looked at one another and the two of them left the room, determined to find out what had happened at this council of war.

Izzy paused in her movement. She’d been planning to go and see Cade. He’d been her back up plan, a dr who knew her and wouldn’t report straight to Peter. She wiped her mind, she knew the Captain never deliberately read her mind but in such a stressful situation, she picked up her step to carry on with Kat while forcing herself to think of routine matters, any formulaic information to disguise her thoughts.

Scene: Shuttlecraft Powys -->Pendragon Shuttlebay --> CO's quarters
Time Index: Following the Council of War

Peter was pointedly not looking at the pair of marines stood behind him. The shuttlecraft was not big enough for all the marines the President had ordered to accompany him to the Pendragon and the other's would be following shortly in their own craft.

If one of the pair behind him was telepathic or even empathic then the maelstrom in Peter's head would be giving them a headache; for a fleeting moment as he dwelt on the idea he actually hoped that one of them was telepathic so that someone else could feel the fury of the emotional maelstrom in his head.

His emotions broke at that moment; perhaps the realisation of the vindictiveness of the thought or the sight of the Stonehenge as she passed off to port. Since their first encounter with the Stonehenge last year; since he had explained all that had happened to them to Rharn and Matthew, since he had told his husband that his son, a son he had never seen grow up, had been killed, Peter has tried his best to avoid him, the avoid the pain he had seen in Matthew's eyes; pain that echoed the pain he felt down to his core but for all they shared, the good and the bad, there was decades between them; the Matthew of Peter's timeline had died along with every single member of the Stonehenge crew protecting the Pendragon and Peter could not stop seeing that with every sight of Matthew.

The Stonehenge slipped entirely out of view but Peter's mind would not settle. Lieutenant Doll in the pilots seat seemed to sense this, fidgeting as he was; though that could just be because Peter was stood looking over his shoulder so he didn't have to acknowledge the marines.

The on another day his gaze may have drifted over each starship as they passed, the engineer inside him uncontrollable as usual despite his command responsibilities but nothing held his gaze as he played the argument with the President over and over in his head, reliving the moment and racking his brain for how he should have handled it, what he should have said, how he could have protected his crew better than he had managed.

Finally the approaching hull of the Pendragon pulled his out of his self berating and the engineer reasserted itself as his eyes ran over her lines; she was the biggest starship present in either fleet; nearly a hundred meters longer than even the Century she was impressive; the changes wrought on her by her intense journey and then the beginning of upgrades on her arrival in what had become of the Federation were evident in spaces; her heavy sensor packages were upgraded still further, the new changes more suited to a combat ship requiring pinpoint fire patterns than to the explorer that she was intended to be. Her hidden weapon ports were hidden no more, the weapons themselves tooled to draw more power than they had been at launch. Her engines glowed though one would be hard pressed to describe the colour; they were dark and yet gave off light, they shimmered but yet didn't seem to change colour. An artefact of modifications made to aid their journey home they gave her a striking appearance.

Still refusing to acknowledge the marines Peter didn't turn from the view as the shuttle landed smoothly in the brightly lit rear shuttle bay and even when he moved to disembark he stepped through the space between them as though they weren't there and headed straight for the senior officers awaiting him.

They each hesitated in giving him a report and he could feel the marines stepping up behind them.

Once again Peter felt his ire rising and fought to keep it invisible; “Kyle, begin unhooking the artefact from the monitoring equipment; be careful I don't want an accident.”

He almost felt guilty that he would be foisting the marines off on someone else but it was something he had slowly got used to over the years; it wasn't easy for him to be so hands off but it was a habit he had to keep.

The chorus of objections he had been expecting didn't disappoint but he waved them off, “I have already had this discussion with the President; these are his orders.” His tone made it clear what he thought of the others and when Kyle once again began to object his cut him off before even a full word was said, “Now mister Calhoun, we have other things we have to attend to as well.”

Kyle trudged off with the marines in tow as Izzy and Kat circled in even closer.

“He ordered us to hand over the artefact?” growled Kat.

“He wants the Pendragon in combat but doesn't want the artefact in danger.”

Kat looked him carefully in the face; they had known each other for so long now that she didn't even have to ask her questions to get the answers; and Izzy's feeling on the matter were plain to see as her skin flushed, changing colour constantly, dark subdued tones and angry reds the most prominent of colours.

“See if you can't come up with a way to keep track of the artefact should the Demeter have to flea the field Izzy, and could you send Ryan over on you way out.”

Izzy dashed off, it wasn't often Izzy couldn't appear chipper no matter the circumstance and Peter wandered if there was anything else.

Peter wanted to ask Kat if she had heard from the Klingons; but if she had that would have been the first bit of information she had passed on; it looked like they were on their own.

“I want you to look at the best position we could put ourselves in using the cloak to cause havoc on the enemy fleet if we have to; in the mean time have someone plot a course through the fleet to the Phoenix and take us there as soon as the artefact has been offloaded, if nothing else we can try and protect her from the firepower that will undoubtedly be headed her way when this goes south.”

There was no comment from Kat on the pessimistic turn of the conversation; there was no need, the one word question she asked was more than enough; “Kids?”

The lump in Peter's throat was tight as he contemplated the question although the answer was obvious. “Evacuate remaining civilians to the Stonehenge, and you might want to suggest that Maddie gets her crew off the surface to the Stonehenge as well.”

Any last comment from Kat was left unsaid as Ryan Santiago arrived and she slipped away.

“Ryan; I want you to go to the Ulysses and load up Arcus; it seems likely that they will have secured any potential vulnerability but if we can make use of the fact we have his program I want to know how.”

“Aye aye sir.”

Left alone once more Peter walked to the turbolift once again caught inside his own head.

Out of reflex he called to be taken to the bridge and it was only a few seconds later he stopped himself; we would only sit brooding in the centre chair distracting everyone else, instead he headed for his quarters where he could at least brood in private.

Once there he the darkness of his quarters swallowed him with some strange sense of comfort; not needing the light to navigate such familiar ground he left the lights off and slumped in one of the chairs.

The circular thoughts began in his head.

The President was wrong

The President may have doomed his crew, he didn't know why but he knew they needed the artefact still.

The changes they had aimed for had been far from successful, this situation was all down to their changes, yes Edgerton didn't have quite so firm a hold yet, but how was this any better, two fleets facing one another so soon?

It was when it came down to it, all his fault.

He had failed, and now he was in no position to fix it.

His anger swelled and he slammed his hand down on the table, the satisfying pain doing nothing more than temporarily assuaging a minor part of his guilt. The realisation that even that hadn't helped made him scream; mercifully the walls of starships quarters were well soundproofed and his could let out his anguish in perfect privacy no one would hear the scream, nor would they hear the smashing as he swept his arm across his desk setting a padd sailing in to one of the pictures on the wall.

He had no idea how long it was before he moved to pick up the pieces but he was still on his knees when the chime announced a visitor.

He looked at the broken glass on the floor in front of him; he would never clear it out of the way fast enough to not make who ever it was wonder what was taking so long.

“What now; come in!”

He was immediately sorry when he saw who was the other side of the door and was apologising as he got to his feet;

“My apologies Madam Secretary; I wasn't aware you were onboard.” For the umpteenth time today Peter realised how much people communicated without talking as even before Martine spoke he knew that she was thinking that was obvious.

Her bland expression had changed to one of concern. “Clearly; are you alright, Captain Aspinall?”

There was a crumble of broken glass on the floor, the offending padd mercifully having been placed on a nearby table before Martine had arrived. The scene clearly told a story, just what story the Secretary was seeing Peter wasn't sure.

“Yes, no, I mean yes, I am fine Madam Secretary; please come in, can I get you anything?”

Peter realised he was blustering but turned towards the replicator anyway; the silence however forced him to turn back; after all he could hardly make the pretence of getting a drink for himself, his barely touched cup of coffee still sat on the side of the table he hadn't swept to the floor.

"Don't trouble yourself, Captain." Martine had seated herself on a chair and was just watching him.

He sat down opposite unable to think of another way of stalling. "To what do I owe the pleasure-"

"Save it, please" Marie-Claire Martine responded, gently cutting him off. "This doesn't have to be uptight."

It was everything he had not to snap back at the woman. "Why are you here?"

"Thoris seems to think that the artefact is a resource to be protected from the Neo-Essentialists. I know very little about it, and thought this might be my last opportunity to get a look. And, judging by your response to his request you agree with him, but weren't exactly prepared to separate the ship from it."

“I've followed orders I dislike before, I never had a problem with it before but I cant see any logic to this; yes the Pendragon will be in combat but so will most of the fleet, and the Demeter certainly has a target painted on her just as much as we do if not more so. We still don't know how this might affect the Pendragon, if all the changes we wrought in the timeline compared to the one we were originally a part of disappear because we no longer have the artefact....”

Martine crossed her arms. “Do you have reason to believe that will happen?”

“Not really, we don't understand enough about the artefact at all, it was a huge risk ever using it to get home let alone time travel, all I know is it wont do them any good on the Demeter but it might cause problems with it not being here.”

Martine didn't say anything; all she did was shift in her seat, and watch for the man to continue.

Peter's own brain filled in the gaps she was clearly waiting for.

“I'm not used to taking orders any more,” came the realisation, the flood of thoughts making it's way to his mouth now with little to intercept, “when the Pendragon was stranded and I took command I became the highest ranking Starfleet officer that would have anything to do with me and my crew for over twenty years; When we returned to our galaxy it was a whirlwind of change, we never really stopped to think, when we fled and joined the other's we discussed everything and even after our time travel we stayed hidden, we stayed independent, I haven't really taken orders in decades.”

The French Canadian woman considered his words. "You believe taking orders is the problem? I can't imagine what it was like to be separated from everything familiar and reliant only on your own cunning and resources for such a long time. The Phoenix, Demeter, Eisenhower and Zhukov were without Federation control for much less time than that, and when it became apparent we could reform the council, there was still hesitation. There was still the feeling that handing over control back to a governing body was some kind of defeat or admission that they needed the structure.”

Peter got the impression she didn't really think that was the case and the moments silence stretched on as he came to the realisation of what was actually the problem.

“I don't like not being in charge; I got used to the power.”

Now the knots his stomach had been feeling all day intensified as he pondered just how he had lost who he was, who he meant to be.

"Le pouvoir tend à corrompre le pouvoir corrompt et absolue absolument," she murmured.


"'Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Not that I think this is what has happened here, but it might be some of the source of your distress."

He stood again, feeling the need to move, to do something even if it had little effect.

Whether Martine understood that or had received the answers she expected and was satisfied he wasn't sure but she too stood.

“So, where is this artefact?”

Peter glanced at the broken glass still on the floor.

“Let me escort you, Madam Secretary.”

The smile on his face wasn't genuine and he was pretty sure Marine knew that, the dam of pent up frustration he felt was still present; but perhaps it now had a few cracks in it there had not been there before.


So ... its words; they happened.

A joint post by

Peter Aspinall the voice of....

Captain Peter Aspinall
USS Pendragon


Joy Phillips

Izshlana Vort

With the much appreciated editing and rounding out skills of

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Marie-Claire Martine
former Secretary of Starfleet


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