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A Tale Of Two Boys

Posted on Nov 25, 2017 @ 3:28am by Ambassador Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Nov 25, 2017 @ 3:28am

Mission: Aftermath

"A Tale of Two Boys"


Location: ACAMAR III

Scene: Worker Hut

Time: Morning

Cam Moul woke up early with the sun, the light of which streamed into the hut. Yawning quietly he watched the light rays as it streamed through the cracks of the windows, the dust of the world dancing in the light.

Within moments he heard the rest of the hut get up,so he rolled over and got up. At nearly 7 summers, he was old enough to know his place within the hut; old enough to know better and know how to help. Too young to be responsible for anything but himself.

He saw the other kids -- some younger than him, some older -- all in various stages of getting up and ready. Knowing there would be a rush for breakfast, he rushed through the rest of his getting dressed, the thin tunic over his body and slipping the linen gray pants over his body. It was simple to get dressed; he discarded the only sleep clothes he had and put on the only miner clothes he had, swapping each for the other that he kept at the foot of his bedroll. Once he was done, he leaped over the rest of the sleeping bodies to the head of the hut. Even by doing that, he still wasn’t first. Complaining would do nothing except get a punch upside the head, so he stayed quiet, wrapping his long arms around his thin body.

Grabbing a bowl, he waited until the thick golden porridge slid into his bowl. Shuffling off out of the hut, Cam found a spot on the ground and looked up at the clear blue sky, all the while eating the lukewarm breakfast.

This morning he watched the other kids, all mostly around his age, a good chunk related to him (in some fashion or another if not in the loosest sense that they all worked the mines) while he shoveled breakfast in his mouth. But he watched and waited. There was a hurried motion in the air; a change in the wind that he couldn’t quite name.


Location: VULCAN

Scene: Bonviva Home

Time: Morning

Benito William Bonviva-Crichton woke up with the sun, under a pile of Tribbles. He pushed the Tribbles to the side, who at this point were used to this and did a variation of rumbling/purr/tumble to the side while the Human/Bolian boy yawned and slid down off the bunk bed. At this point he was used to the lower bunk not being used but didn’t want to go to a single bed in the room, although his had offered multiple times. He still held out hope that his brother would come back from “living his own life”; whatever that meant.

Instead, Ben (which is what everyone called him except for the person he was about to go see) padded out of his room and down the hall for the ritual he had almost everyday of his life.

Opening up the door to his mother’s room he stood there quietly and just watched; this was the new routine. Ben crept in quietly into her room and...watched. He used to cannonball into her bed, but not any longer. Now he watched.

He watched her chest rise and fall. Every morning, Ben Bonviva-Crichton snuck into his mother’s room to see if she was still breathing. There was no plan in place if she was not breathing, although he knew that was a real possibility. He was not sure why this had to be his responsibility; no one asked this of him, and probably would express shock that he felt the need to do this. And yet...he did. Every morning, Ben got up, snuck into his mother’s room to make sure she was alive once again.

“Benito,” Xana Bonviva yawned, her violet eyes still closed, “what are you doing?”

Perhaps he needed to work on his sneaking. Ben didn’t know how to explain what he was doing. But he didn’t want to lie either. “I’m hungry,” he said settling for another truth as he sat on the edge of the bed.

Swapping out one truth for another truth was not a lie; he was a politician's son and he understood this well enough to use it back on her, even when she didn’t realize it.


Location: ACAMAR III

Scene: Foolshope - outside the huts

It was almost time for the miners to jump on the carts, to take their rides down to the Hungry Pits. Cam hoped he hadn’t missed the carts otherwise he’d have to hike down which he hated.

Shimza Carey, who also worked the mines with him, came running up from the direction of the huts were the workers were made. “There’s going to be a dead body!” she heaved out.

The mines were there every day; but dead bodies were not. Truthfully, it was not guaranteed he’d get a spot on the carts…

“Let’s go,” he decided. As soon as he said it, he ran after Shimza who spun around and went dashing off, running along dusty roads so that the dirt kicked up along their feet, dashing in and out of the alleys.


Location: VULCAN

Scene: Councilmembers’ Dining Room

“Benito, why did you not want to go with your uncle and sisters today?” his mother asked as she looked at her menu. “I figured you’d want to do something fun with them since you don’t have school but I have Council.”

Ben was also studying the menu, looking in vain for a kids’ section. “I didn’t feel like it. Besides I like spending time with you,” he admitted still engrossed in the menu and totally oblivious to the pleasure on his mother’s face. Sighing he said while tapping his order, “I’ll have pancakes and eggs.”

“I’ll do the same,” Xana murmured.

With that Ben and his mother talked about what they were going to do today, which mostly involved the young boy trailing his mother and hanging out in her office. Before he could ask a question about the all-important ice cream break, a figure caught his eye. “Mom,” he whispered leaning across the table, “Isn’t that your old boss?”

Xana looked across the room to see Hussein Karimi walking in with Gavaar. “Yes, the man dressed in white and red is my old boss, Councilmember Karimi.” Pausing for a moment she clarified for her son, “He’s with Councilman Gavaar of Tellar Prime.”

The young boy watched the Human man for a minute before deciding, “They don’t look happy.”

The Bolian Councilmember watched the two men have a low, heated discussion. “No, they don’t,” she agreed.

“What do you think they’re arguing about?” Ben asked. As his mother was going to say something, a waiter came to the table with their pancakes and scrambled eggs on the side. After the food was in front of them Ben looked at it, playing with it, while his mother ate, her former boss now long forgotten about by both of them.

“What, Benito?” she asked.

“Mom, where do eggs come from?”

“These eggs came from a replicator most likely but it could have come from an animal. On EARTH the mostly likely ones would be a chicken and on BOLARUS IX it would a bula bird,” Xana explained. “But you know that. What’s up?”

The 7 year old boy kept playing with his food. “Yeah but some eggs become food and some become birds...why’s that? How does that happen?” Looking up he asked in the middle of the Councilmember’s Dining Room, “Is that what happened to me? Dee said I was supposed to be an egg but Dad replicated a baby instead, but I don’t think that’s right. So where did I come from?”

Ben finally shoved a pancake in his mouth and watched as his mother choked on her tea.

The young boy watched, and mostly listened, interjecting every so often with questions, as his mother went on a long, if soft, explanation about how some eggs became breakfast and the process was similar for animals as it was humans. It involved something that his mother called a “special hug” but only grown ups could do it, from what Ben could figure out.

It was confusing; but the pancakes were good at least.

“Any questions?” his mother asked finally with a tone indicating she really hoped there would be none.

Before Ben could say “yes”; that he had plenty of questions, a tall golden man showed up at the table, which caused his mother to get up. “Benito,” she explained with a raised eyebrow that he knew indicated he should be on his best behavior, “this is Councilmember Noellex of RUBICAN III.”

Ben thought about that for a moment. None of the introduction really helped explain why his mother and this man had just hugged each other or why the man still had his arm on his mother’s back. “You’re the Edoan Councilman,” Ben said thoughtfully as he stood up to shake the man’s hand.

The man leaned forward and shook the boy’s hand. “Pleasure to meet the future of the Council,” he said pleasantly, almost as if he was trying to make a good impression on the boy. “Your mother has told me about your efforts to save the efforts to save the Tribbles. We could that kind of leadership here.”

“Thanks but someone just had to save them, that’s all,” Ben said as he sat back down and played with his food. He continued to shovel food in his mouth and alternate between eating and observing. His mother and this guy she worked with were chatting about Bolarus and Edos.

“Well I’ll take this proposition for the trade deal,” Ben heard his mother tell the Councilman.

As she put the PADD down on the table, and just as Ben was about to ask her if he could have dessert, the blonde man asked her, “Whatever happened to the Save Bolarus Fund? I’ll need an answer for Rubicon.”

The boy saw his mother straighten up a bit. “The official answer is that Bolarus appreciates the warm wishes of its Federation brothers and sisters but we have much work still before us.”

Noellex leaned in, wrapping an arm around Xana that had Ben furrowing his brow. “Unofficial answer between you and I?”

“Someone mismanaged it. I was digging into it but with the election…” she trailed off waving her hand.

“I understand,” Noellex nodded. “Listen I saw that there were the ethics hearings scheduled coming up for you. You know, no matter what, you have my support. And now you’ve got Betazed and Bajor’s as well. Zakdorn and Andoria. That’s quite a lot. We’ll get you over the line.”

Ben was about to ask what an ethics charge was when he caught his mother’s eye so he drank some more juice. Instead he caught his mother’s nod, as she turned to Noellex. “Thank you,” she smiled. “But also remember, Gavaar has his ethics’ hearing too--”

Ben kept eating his breakfast, sipping his juice and listened to something about an ethics hearings. Eventually his mother wrapped up her conversation and Councilman Noellex said goodbye to both of them.

The 7 year old looked at his mother as she sat down across from him, the golden Councilman long having gone away. “Was that a special hug what you did with Councilman Noellex just now?” he asked her as she took a bite of breakfast. Watching the eggs she ate fly out of her mouth, fly in an arc out of her mouth, and sail across the dining room he said, “That was so cool, Mom, I didn’t know you could spit out your eggs that much.”

“Neither did I,” she admitted wryly, dabbing her mouth with a napkin.


Location: ACAMAR III

Scene: The Hungry Pits

Cam made his way to The Hungry Pits, where he went every day,

The sky was clear, with a few clouds; no animals circled above nor crafts here. The blueish-silver rocks of the eastern continent were wide and empty in the morning as the sun rose.

Beyond the immediate blueish-silver rocks, it gave way to small grayish black rocks and pebbles, the kind that often got stuck in one’s soles and in boots. However, if one moved the rocks in the slightest, even walking, it often danced up into their own clouds of smoke, the kind that danced on the wind and traveled for miles until it found a home. The dust from the rocks, from orange to black and every shade in between, traveled for miles and would land on everything. It stuck to carts, clothes, ore, skin, and even seeped into people’s lungs, making it difficult to breathe without the right treatment.

That wasn’t the only hazard as the ground quickly gave way to the ground that sloped down. Carts moved around in in paths that had been worn out from continual driving. The paths spun down for miles And in the far corners of the canyon were two entries to the mines where the carts came in and out.

The Hungry Pits were 3500 kilometers across, 1500 kilometers wide and more than 600 meters deep, and the engineers estimated by next year that number would reach 700 meters deep. The underground works were more impressive, a dizzy array of 3000 kilometers of underground workings, yielding last year 8.8 million ounces of Bramatine.

Tall men, dressed in black and gold, stood at various points along the twisty roads that lead from the top of The Hungry Pits to the entry of the mines watching the carts come in and out with the precious Bramatine ore, monitoring its production.

Before Cam could make his way in with the other kids who were climbing down into the mines to mine the bramatine, a cold hand on his bony shoulder stopped him in his place. “This is the one you want,” he heard from behind him.

Looking up, squinting his dark eyes, Cam looked at the guard who stopped him. Still he knew better than to speak to the man; even the guards were part of the upper clans, unlike those who worked in the mines. Another finely dressed man came closer, but not so close as to accidently touch the boy. “I’m told you’re one of the best miners, boy,” the man said.

Cam looked at the guards who knocked him upside the head as he growled, “Answer him; don’t you know who that is? That’s Pali Shepherd, he’s an overseer for the mines.”

The 7 year old boy wanted to ask if this man, with his fine green and gold jacket was an overseer for the mines, why had this man never actually ever gone into the mine? Cam could tell that because the man’s hands didn’t have the tell-tale calluses nor bluish-silver traces under his fingernails. Still the boy, seeing the men’s glares, nodded and answered the question. “Yes, I’m one of the best miners.”

“Good,” Pali nodded. He pointed to the side. “You see that woman over there?”

Cam looked at the woman; she was a Terran woman, wearing a dark jacket, and loose pants. She wasn’t Starfleet, they had some of them here on Acamar III; no she was a regular person. Squinting at her he realized he had seen her before but he didn’t say anything. “Yes, sir, I see her,” was all the boy said.

“She’s a pilot for our customer, and our normal head miner who helps inspect is not here,” Pali explained. “It all gets inspected before it goes in her shuttle.”

Cam nodded, knowing this was a step up for him. He stood there and listened as he was supposed to help inspect the bramatine that was to go into the transport that this woman would take off-planet.

“What’s it used for?” Cam asked.

Another smack upside the head from the guard. “You don’t get paid to ask questions like that.” Pointing across the way he ordered, “Now go inspect the bramatine.”

Cam went scampering over to the carts and inspected. Looking down the line he could see he was the last inspector, which gave him some relief and some stress. Relief in that most of the poor quality should have been weeded out; stress in that he was the last checkpoint.

Time passed; the sun beat down on him through his thin, coarse tunic and Cam kept working, his eyes darting every so often to the woman who was standing there, with a white stick hanging out of her mouth; the white stick bobbing up and down every so often. “Four billion years of evolution and people can’t friggin’ act like it,” she muttered twitching her head. Catching Cam looking at her she narrowed her chocolate eyes. “Don’t I know ya? Don’t get me wrong, I may not. My brains ain’t what they used to be.”

Cam stole a look at her before going back to looking at the bramatine, sorting out the good from the bad. “Yes, ma’am,” he said.

Exhaling the pilot took out the stick from our mouth, frowned at it and chucked it off to the side. Sticking her hands in her pockets, the pilot appeared to be rooting around for something while Cam continued his inspection. After a few moments she yanked out two more sticks, each wrapped with bright wrappers. “Whatcha favorite flavor? I got blue raspberry and cotton candy,” she said.

Cam looked around and whispered, “I don’t want to get in trouble.”

The pilot looked confused. “Why? For taking a lollipop?”

The young boy looked at the candy on a stick like it was both a fearsome item and the most precious item in the universe. “What is a lollipop?”

The foul-mouthed pilot’s mouth hung open before shaking her head. “Fuck me,” she muttered her body twitching. “I have fucking sad life but you’re giving me a run for the credits.” Unwrapping one of the sticks, she held out one of the lollipops and said, “It’s blue raspberry. It’s my favorite. It won’t bite. Go on, kid.”

Cam took it hesitantly, and watching what she did with her lollipop, put the round end in his mouth like he saw the lady do. His eyes became wide at the sensations swirling around in his mouth; he didn’t have words for all he was tasting. The rush of sweetness and tart hit his tongue at the same time, along with a push of sugar into his system. “This is the BEST thing I’ve ever had, miss,” he told her.

“Dude,” she said rolling her eyes, “It’s Montoya. I got a first name and all that but most people just go ahead and call me Montoya.”

Before Cam could say anything to that Pali Shepherd stalked over. “What’s the meaning of this? I’ll take him away if he’s bothering you.”

Montoya gave a long look at the overseer. “Do I look bothered?” she said very slowly as she popped in her own cotton candy lollipop in her mouth.

Pali looked at Cam and then Montoya. “You don’t fraternize with the help. Are you an idiot?”

“Fraternize, yeah that’s a good one. I’m just talkin’.” The pilot shook back her long back hair, and opened up her jacket to show a white tanktop and more importantly two phasers strapped to her hips. “I speak fluent idiot, it’s how I deal with you,” she said slowly, twitching every so often. “Now I know it’s painful for you, but I’m the rep for Pangeos Pathways here. So if I want to give the kid a lollipop I will. Sugar rushes are how I deal with this backward planet with its backward ways.”

“Look, I don’t know if you understand,” Pali explained. “But I’m happy to become your friend on this planet--”

Cam kept sorting the bramatine but watched Montoya out of the corner of his eyes. He never saw anyone stand up to the Overseer like this; it was...interesting.

Montoya pulled out the lollipop with a “pop” and waved it around. “If I wanted a friend, I’d get a dog. Far more loyal,” she said while shoving the lollipop back in her mouth. “And this planet is about -- I don’t know but I’ll guess -- a million ways to effed up with its boom-boom huts makin’ the babies-turned-workers--”

“You saw the future worker developments?” Pali gasped. Wringing his hands he impored, “You can’t ever say a thing--”

Cam watched as the pilot glared. “I been all around the universe and trust me -- no one would be believe this one if I ever said anything. Now be a good boy and go off or else you can talk to my sidekicks,” she said with a brush of her hand to her phasers.

As the overseer stalked off, the pilot leaned against the cart, closing her eyes, rolling the lollipop; if she was aware of Cam staring at her as he sorted the bramatine she didn’t say anything. After some time passed, Montoya scratched her head, rolled her shoulders, and pulled out the cotton candy lollipop, which had diminished to a much smaller ball on the white stick. “What’s up your butt, kid?” she asked.

The boy looked down at the bramatine. “Most people don’t speak like you,” he whispered.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Montoya agreed. Looking over at the pile she said, “The pile looks pretty good. So get out whatever you wanted to say.”

Cam nodded. Sorting wasn’t that bad; far easier than swinging on the ropes, pulling out the bramatine by hand and worrying about rockslides. “When you said you’d been around and that no one would believe you if you said anything. Why?”

“Kid,” Montoya sighed, “I grew up a Lake rat on Luna outside of Earth. Know where that is?” When Cam shook his head “no”, the pilot shrugged. “I figured but let’s say it’s a long ways off. Look, I can’t say when I was your age I had a perfect life but I’ve been to a lot of places and I know it’s not this. It’s not boom-boom huts making babies to be workers and it’s not kids in caves pulling out rocks.” When Cam kept staring at her the pilot threw the mostly-done lollipop off to the side and grabbed another from her pocket. Tearing off the wrapper she stuck the orange lollipop in her mouth. “Someday when you go to school they’ll teach you more that there’s more to life than this.”

Cam blinked his eyes at the overwhelming amount of information that was thrown at him. “What’s school?”

“Oh shit,” Montoya sighed rubbing her face; if she believed in a god or demon or something she’d pray. As it was she just ate at the lollipop like it was her last meal. “I shoulda seen that coming.”

“Sorry, Miss,” Cam replied.

“Nevermind. Look here’s another lollipop,” she tried grabbing one out of her pocket and tossing it to the kid. “Bonus for a job well done.”

Cam took the lollipop, threw the stick from the first lollipop like he saw Montoya do, and happily ate the second one. “Are you staying long?” he asked.

“No, I gotta take these rocks on a run to Denobula,” Montoya explained.


Location: VULCAN

Scene: FedComm Studios

Ben was sitting in a press control booth, watching his mother give an interview. To pass the time he tossed popcorn in his mouth. Occasionally it even made it into his mouth.

“I can’t believe I’m babysitting,” Yalar Traras, Chief of Staff for Councilwoman Bonviva, muttered.

Ben glared up at the man from where he was sitting. “You’re not ‘cause I’m not a baby,” he muttered.

“Welcome back to Coffee with Kiki with our guest for today Councilwoman Bonviva,” the eponymous host of the FedComm program said to the Bolian Councilwoman over in the recording studio. “Now you’re one of the supporters for Councilman Kevak but you worked for Councilman Karimi. Why did you throw your support to Kevak from your former boss?”

Xana Bonviva gave a warm, if firm look. “Councilman Karimi has touched on a number of issues that are important for the Federation. He’s right to bring that forth, as Councilman Kevak did before him. What we decide now could very well shape us for years to come. ”

Kiki looked at her notes and looked up. “Let me ask this: do you think that Councilman Karimi is qualified to be President of the Federation?”

“The President of the Federation needs to be able to handle complex issues; really less than ideal outcomes and you have to choose the best one for the Federation,” Bonviva explained.

Kiki smiled at Bonviva. “That’s a university explanation of what the President is. That’s not an answer as to who you think should be the President.”

“The Federation is advanced citizenship. It’s going to require you sit next to people who may have hurt your people not even a generation before. You will have to bleed for them; defend them as if they were your own. Now I’ve know Hussein Karimi for years, and I thought he didn’t get it. And I was wrong; it’s not that he doesn’t get it. It’s that he can’t sell it. Whatever your problem is, he doesn’t care,” Xana said quietly. “Elections can be won by making people scared and telling you who is to blame for it. That’s what he’s doing.”

Ben looked up at the adults in the press booth with him. Most of them seemed to be rooted in shock, staring at his mother, except for the older Zakdorn man who he met earlier. “Is my mom in trouble?” he whispered.

Councilman Betello chuckled. “No, your mom is about to kick Karimi’s ass.” Uncapping a flask he took a long swig. “Shame almost no one is watching this.”

“You said ass,” Ben pointed out. When Betello dark eyes only seemed to light up in delight at that he asked, “So can I have some of that?”

“No, you can’t have some,” Betello said smiling.

Back in the studio, Bonviva held up a hand and leaned into Kiki. “Councilman Kevak has done nothing but lead the Federation when there were crises on Earth, Bolarus IX, and all across the universe. He’s led the Council when we’ve had no leader. Quite frankly, what I’ve heard from Councilman Karimi, it sounds like he continues to have trouble articulating even the basics of what is needed for the office of President.”

But Ben watched and noticed his mother’s foot was twitching and wondered if anyone else noticed it too.


NRPG: With that this is my wrap up of the Aftermath story (thus far). Apologize for the length but it’s a story we’ve been telling for…almost a year :) This wrap up I tried anyway to tell from the perspective of two boys, same age, but in very different perspectives (thank you Dickens!).

Cam Moul/Acamar III:

There is a mineral called bramatime that is mined by children on Acamar III

Bramatine mining is dangerous; it’s a bluish-silver ore

There is a caste system on the planet -- lower caste mines, upper caste controls the mines

People on the planet don’t know what bramatine is used for

In order to get more workers, people in the lower caste are kept in poor conditions (e.g. no schooling, forced labor, repressed society, forced to create more children for labor force)

Pangeos Pathways is the company that takes bramatine from Acamar III to its next stop (Denobula); Evangeline Montoya is the pilot

Ben Bonviva-Crichton/Vulcan:

Xana Bonviva is still very sick

Bolarus IX has obtained one trilateral trade agreement (more than what they had) but it’s not enough; they’re close to getting another agreement

The Save Bolarus Fund is still an issue that is lingering over Bolarus/Xana’s head (there is still the lingering question as to where the funds went)

There are two different ethics hearings. One for Xana (over concealing a medical issue) and one for Gavaar (possible unethical use of a private company/gray market dealings) that Xana and Councilman Noellex discuss

Xana gives an interview to FedComm where she outlines support for Kevak (Councilman from Andoria) for President of the Federation while stating why Karimi (Councilman from Earth) should not win.


Sarah Albertini-Bond

Councilwoman Xana Bonviva - Bolarus IX

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

--from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities


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