“In Memoriam”

Stardate 76002.8; January 01, 2399

 

 

EPISODE
97

 

 

 

Edited by Peter Bossley

 

Written by Chris Adamek


ADDITIONAL CHARACTERS

Overseer Artanis

Angela Christopher

Admiral Kathryn Janeway

Admiral Alynna Nechayev

Cerebrate Ra’thenn

Underling Tassadar

Ambassador Tuvok

High Overseer Xi'Yor

Overseer Zeratul

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSONAL LOG, STARDATE 76002.8:  More than a week has passed since the Elorg attack, and the universe is holding its breath, waiting, like the rest of us, for reality to sink in…

The past seven days have been little more than a blur—a surreal sequence of disjointed events that seem so very far removed from reality that none of it seems possible.

Every time I glimpse the blackened and charred remains of Sydney, or hear of the unfathomable death toll, I want to blink my tired eyes and awaken from this terrible nightmare, but to no avail…  Those haunting images remain, emblazoned into my memory for all of eternity—they are the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last lucid thoughts that cross my mind before I go to sleep each night.  Perhaps one day, those sullen memories will fade…   But some how, I very much doubt it.  After all, if we do not remember the past, we are doomed to repeat it.

 

 

 

Standing beneath the somber ashen clouds on a bleak and dreary field near the remains of Sydney, Australia, Doctor Sarah Hartman peered into her medical tricorder’s vast database for the information she required.  Under normal circumstances, the simple task usually yielded quick results—a diagnosis, the name of a medication or treatment… It was as mundane a task as one could imagine.  Today, however, was anything but normal.

 

The brusque January breeze was acrid, filled with tiny particles of dust and the vile, unmistakable stench of death.  No sunlight penetrated the thick deck of roiling clouds; no birds chirped in the nearby trees… The only reality that existed upon this barren plain was a deathly, bone-chilling silence.

 

Sarah Hartman waited, her blank gaze fixed upon the blinking tricorder…

 

And she waited.

 

And waited.

 

The seconds passed into minutes.  The minutes into hours…  The hours into days… And so on, and so forth, until it seemed an eternity had passed on the dark, dreary plain.  It was then, and only then, did Sarah Hartman get her answer.  Emitting a soft and gentle bleep, the tricorder produced little more than two small pieces of text: Morgan Welsh.

 

The words blinked on the tricorder screen for only a moment before a more detailed compilation of the data flitted across the screen.  At one point in time, Morgan Welsh had been a beautiful young lady, thirty-three years of age… she was a schoolteacher from Alpha Centauri, recently married… But now she was dead, and her remains—little more than an arm and parts of a head and torso—sat upon the grassy plains near Sydney.

 

Sarah Hartman solemnly placed a simple marker near the body for identification purposes, and then pulled a pale white sheet over the broken remains.  It flailed in the acrid breeze for a single moment of defiance, but an instant later, calm was restored.  Hartman allowed herself a brief moment to compose her thoughts and then moved onto the next white sheet down the line…

 

The line that stretched well beyond the dark horizon, flanked on either side by row after row after row of additional bodies…

 

 

 

It is often difficult to understand why certain things must happen.  If we were destined to endure this suffering, it is a certainty there was a reason behind it—the fates do not unleash their fury without cause.

There are some who say the attack was little more than an act of vengeance, the Elorg’s response to defeat in the Great War that ended nearly two years ago.  But the sentiment is nothing more than a substitution for the truth...

For many centuries, whenever the hand of fate dealt a fatal blow, certain factions would come forth with a simple theory, like revenge, to explain away the entire situation.  And for just as many centuries, people have embraced these simple theories—not because they were satisfied it was truth, but because they were eager for a simple solution to a very complex equation… and because they were all of them afraid the actual truth would be far less appealing.

 

 

 

“Two million dead.”  The vile words fell from Talyere Rosat’s ashen lips like poison—a sinister, rotten poison.  “Two million…”

 

Even from his quarters, thousands of kilometers above the Earth’s surface, the destruction was evident.  A black cloud—a poisonous cloud—hung ominously over the island continent of Australia, and in his mind’s eye, Talyere could see the death and destruction that lingered below.  Buildings fell.  Lives shattered.  The universe changed.  The universe was poisoned…

 

Poison.

 

Talyere clenched his fists.  Instinct demanded he storm off and do something to avenge those who had fallen, but he could not move.  His guilty eyes were glued to the destruction below.  The destruction that he himself had caused…

 

There was little doubt that the wretched Overseer Xi’Yor had masterminded the plot.  Over the years, Talyere had spent enough time with Xi’Yor to know that he did not take well to defeat.  The very moment the Elorg War came to a close two years ago, a small part of Talyere knew that Xi’Yor would strike back.  It hadn’t been prophecy, but it was a very, very strong suspicion.

 

But instead of acting upon that suspicion, Talyere did nothing.  He sat comfortably aboard the Starlight, lost in meditation on some strange and fruitless search for clarity.  He dined with his friends, had a good old time… He even allied himself with Xi’Yor for a short while after the massacre in the Beremar System!

 

And all the while, Overseer Xi’Yor had been plotting his next move—but even when confronted with this information, Talyere did nothing.  He could have joined with Underling Tassadar and led the promised army of light into battle against Xi’Yor.  He could have taken the actions necessary to prevent the attack on Earth.  He could have…

 

Instead, Talyere simply fretted about his destiny, stood by, and allowed Xi’Yor to strike.  As a result, his hands were soiled with the blood of two million people—and he was just as guilty, just as poisoned as Xi’Yor…

 

There was but a single, saving grace…

 

Talyere was the Chosen One.  The handpicked successor to the former Cerebrate Z’danorax…  It was his divine right to stand up and lead the Elorg Bloc, to lift the poison from their minds.  He was the antidote to the vile plague that was Xi’Yor—and it mattered not what immense obstacles stood in his way, come hell or high water, the plague of death would be purged.

 

His burning orange eyes lingered the blackened and charred remains of Sydney, Australia for only a moment longer.  Talyere knew that staring at the destruction—dwelling upon Xi’Yor’s treachery—would do little to further the cause.  “The time for destiny has arrived,” he said, his voice brimming with determination.  And on that stern note, Talyere Rosat turned his back to the death and destruction that had befallen planet Earth and marched on toward his destiny…

 

 

 

War may sometimes be a necessary evil.  But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.  We will never learn to live together in peace as long as we are killing each other’s children.

The conflict with the Elorg has endured for many years.  In the beginning, it seemed like a necessary evil, but in retrospect, it was as unnecessary a conflict as any other.  We fight the Elorg because we hate them.  We hate the Elorg because we do not know them… and we do not know the Elorg because we hate them.  It is a terrible, terrible cycle…  But every cycle is meant to be broken.

Warfare may bring about a temporary pause in the violence, but any peace that is forced upon a population with weapons is doomed to failure from the outset.  It is only in the darkest of hours, when the weapons have fallen silent, that the true harbinger of change can be heard above the cries of war…

Hope.

Soon, this magnificent Phoenix will rise from the ashes.  Soon, the universe will be reborn.  Soon we will come to know peace.

But until that day comes, I will hold my breath with the rest of the silent universe… and hope…

 

 

 

“Mommy!  Mommy!  Look!”

 

Moving as fast as her little feet could take her, Angela Christopher excitedly raced across the living room with a colorful piece of drawing paper in hand.  Once she reached the sleek desk where her Mommy sat, Angela happily submitted the piece of paper for inspection.

 

At long last finished with her log entry, Erin Keller quickly deactivated the computer terminal and accepted her little girl’s most recent piece of artwork—a simple, but brightly colored landscape.  A happy yellow sun shined down upon a grove of smiling green and purple trees.  Dozens of pink and orange flowers filled the foreground, and single, puffy cloud floated in deep blue skies.

 

Hopping around beside the desk, Angela excitedly waited for an opinion.  “Do you like it, Mommy?  I worked extra hard on it for you!”

 

Erin suddenly felt an odd sensation, one she hadn’t felt for an eternity…  a feeling of happiness.  It started off as little more than a notion, a tiny pang that barely filled the void in her soul—but with each moment that passed, the pure innocence radiating from Angela’s happy face brought a tingly feeling into Erin’s heart.  She was alive, and for the first time in a week, she knew it. 

 

The subsequent smile that crossed Erin’s face was undeniable.  “I love it, Sweetie!  That’s a very good picture!”

 

Angela’s bright blue eyes filled with joy.  She excitedly hopped up and down, doing a gleeful little dance to celebrate her accomplishment.  It was the highlight of the day in her magical little world…  And Erin was determined to make sure nothing undermined that happiness—because Angela and her happy dreams were the future.  She had to keep the hope alive…

 

 

 

 

 

Proceed to Chapter One

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