A quiet place
Title: A Quiet Place
Author: Ghost who Walks
Summary: A very long time in the future a familiar figure passes on some hard earned advice.
Rating: 15, Well a lot death and destruction is mentioned.
Spoilers: Nothing really, but then again theoretically everything for all shows.
Disclaimer: Anything you recognize is not ownned by me. Heck if you don’t recognize it it’s probably not owned by me either.
Author’s note: This was supposed to be a one shot, but it got away from me. That said it will not be updated until I finish my Bolo stories. “Many of us volunteered to fight for the Union. Some came mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many came because it was the right thing to do.”
-Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamblerlain, Commander 20th Maine “To find a quiet peace is the dream of every soldier. For some it takes longer than others.”
-Major Dick Winters, Commander Easy Company, 506th PIR
The two of them walked though the garden quietly. The tall, young one seemed confused perhaps not sure why they were there. The short one’s age wasn’t easily determined. Her youthful appearance was at odds with her mannerisms. As she walked she leaned heavily on her cane and hunched her shoulders somewhat as if a heavy weight were on her back. Her blond hair lay in a limp braid down her back.
“There,” she stated, pointing at bronze plague set in the walkway with her cane. “My first command, U.S.S. Valiant
class. I became her captain when I was forty-five years old.” As she spoke, her spine stiffened, and a grimness entered her face as well as the tone of her voice. “Ten years later my assistant chief engineer was telling me that the second Cardassian cruiser had dealt us too much damage and the warp core was going to blow.” The young man made to stop but the young-old women commanded “Don’t stop now, boy, we’ve a ways to go yet.”
The pair walked on in silence until the women pointed at another plaque. “U.S.S. Horizon
, I was her Captain for almost nine years, Constellation
class. Admiral Temrev thought that if we attacked deeply into Tholian territory it would force them to talk peace. He was right but I lost 93% of my crew and the Horizon was pounded into scrap metal while we covered his flagship, the Lor’vela
, as it took out a Tholian starbase.” She tapped her right leg with her cane, “that’s where I lost the leg.” The young man clearly wanted to say something in response but again spoke the voice of command “Keep moving Miah, and no questions till we’re done.”
They moved on down the walkway, passing one bronze plaque after another, until the ex starship captain started speaking again as they approached one bronze plaque with a rose bush sitting beside it. “U.S.S. Courageous
class, probably the best handling ship I ever sat in the command chair of, although maybe that was my chief helmsman.” Her voice became gentle, almost wistful. “You find them, you know, every now and then. A pilot that can fly anything and seems to make any ship she helms dance.” She swallowed hard for a moment, as if something had stuck in her throat. When the captain continued her voice was grim. “She died, along with most of my senior staff, and well over half my crew, as the Borg brushed us aside as insignificant as they rushed on their way to Wolf 359. The last sight I had with the eyes that I was born with was of Lieutenant Granger dying at the helm controls.” Her longest speech, yet, the captain paused for a moment before leaning over the rose bush and smelling deeply of its blossoms. “Let’s move on now grandson.”
They walked on in silence for a while. “I should have retired then. I was seventy-three years old and had spent almost five decades wearing the uniform. I was ready to retire, but Owen Paris talked me into one more command.” She motioned to another plaque set into the walkway. “So I took it, took command of the Renown
before she ever left the shipyard.” She and her grandson walked up to the plaque. “An Akira
class commissioned 2368, destroyed 2374, one Captain, me.” Her eyes took on a far away look. “Everyone knew the war was going badly ... so many ships lost so many casualties, still there were places that we thought were safe. Betazed was supposed to be safe. We were transporting our wounded to a surface hospital when the Dominion invasion fleet warped into the system. Not long after my first officer was dragging me into an escape pod. I spent the rest of the war in a Dominion prisoner of war camp. Lost my left hand too.”
“Let’s go sit down over there” she stated pointing at a bench. “Miah, you’re an academic, there’s nothing wrong with that but if you decide you want a career in Starfleet you’re going to have be something more, a warrior. Starfleet has always been the place the Federation has put its warriors, its soldiers. Oh the constitution mandates us to ‘seek out new life forms and new civilizations’ but when a time of war comes, and war always will come, it is the warriors of Starfleet that the Federation calls upon.”
“I had over 1800 men and women die under my command. Over 1800 times I had to write condolence letters telling how brave someone’s love one had been. Most of them had not joined Starfleet to be warriors. They were academics, like you, or engineers, or explorers. Most of them became warriors only as needed; transforming themselves as needed from scholars to fighters, as it were. When the fighting ended not all of them could make the change back. Not all of US could make the change back. Some of us were never able to put the war, or wars, behind us. We carry it with us all the time.”
“Miah, don’t join Starfleet because you think I expect it of you. Don’t join because you think your mother would expect it of you if she were still alive. Don’t join because you think there will be ‘fascinating scientific opportunities’ as I heard you once say. Don’t join Starfleet for any other reason then that you think you can live up to the examples that the men and women that these bronze plaques really represent give to us. If you don’t think you can, I won’t think any less of you. Just because you’re a Summers and my great-grandson doesn’t mean you have to fight. Go to Oxford like my little sister, or the University of Chicago I know that you’ve been accepted to both. But don’t come here, don’t come to Starfleet Academy unless you can pay the price that being in Starfleet brings. It will come, sooner or later, a price in blood, or in spirit, or in will, or perhaps in all three.”
“They call this place the ‘Memorial Garden’, and almost since it was built most of the cadets who have eaten here, or studied here, or socialized here, have never really understood what this place really is. It’s a cemetery, Miah, filled with Starfleet’s ghosts. Ghosts who call upon not only their living comrades to remember them but, also call to the next generation to live up to their example. An example they set in blood, sweat, tears, and fear.”
“Sit here a while boy, you’ve got a lot to think about, and this is a good as place as any. I’m going home to London to tend my rosebushes.”
So, he sat there, the tall young man, son of a Starfleet captain, and great grandson of the formidable Starfleet captain who had escorted him through the garden. He sat there for a while and, after a longer while, the stars came out.
Finally, a serious looking you man in a cadet’s uniform came up and said “Do you need some assistance sir?”
“No,” replied Jeremiah Alexander Summers-Jones, “I just wanted to watch the stars from here, you see I’m starting in the fall.”