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“Bonafide Boniface”

by Lord Thanatos


02/01/10 06/01/10







1. Shuttle ray

2. Harvey ruttle

3. Subtle flay

4. Pray shuttle

5. Scuttle away

6. And now for something completely different…






SCENE 1: Shuttle ray


The captain is walking through the spacious shuttle bay. A number of engineers are working on the big weapon. LT meets up with Elpek, the engineer who designed the weapon based on the destructive Inj version.


Elpek: “Good morning, sir.”


LT: “Good morning… Is everything set up?”


Elpek: “Just about… We’re running one final diagnostic to make sure we don’t disappoint you once again…”


LT: “Good, good… I’m in the mood for a good show…”


Serrag approaches the duo.


Serrag: “The diagnostic shows all systems operational… We can start the test, sir.”


LT: “Alright, let’s go…”


Elpek taps his badge twice.


Elpek: “Will all personnel please exit the shuttle bay; we’re preparing for decompression.”


The few people that are there leave. The captain and the 2 engineers enter the control booth and Serrag locks the door.


Elpek: “Decompressing now…”


An alarm indicates the impending danger for air breathing species.


Computer: “Warning! Shuttle bay decompression in 10 seconds.”


Serrag: “Charging weapon…”


LT: “What are we shooting at anyway?”


Serrag: “Space.”


LT: “Of course…”


Elpek: “Not good enough, sir?”


LT: “Well, if it does work this time, I’d like to see it blow something up as well…”


Serrag: “We’re ready, sir.”


LT: “Fire at will…”


Serrag hits the fire button. This time, it actually fires a burst of about 2 seconds…


LT: “Heeey! That’s what I was hoping to see… Well done, gentlemen…”


Elpek: “According to these readings the yield and stability of the beam exceed expectations by 1 and 7% respectively…”


LT: “Good, good… Now, let’s blow something up already… Launch a probe or something…”


Serrag: “I think we could launch a simple class I sensor probe… Elpek?”


Elpek: “On it…”


Elpek pushes a few buttons…


Elpek: “Probe launched. It will hold at 250 meters from the ship.”


LT: “Alright, let’s see what a short burst will do… I want to see a disabled probe, not a pile of debris.”


Serrag: “Charging the canon again… I’ll set the duration of the shot to 8 milliseconds…”


LT: “8 milliseconds?”


Serrag: “Yes sir, any more and it will be a pile of debris… Although, at this point in space you can’t have a pile due to the lack of enough gravity to…”


The captain cuts Serrag’s monotonous monologue short.


LT: “Fire at will…”


Again he pushes the fire button and an almost invisible, short burst hits the probe. An exterior flashing light on the probe seizes to flash…


Elpek: “The probe reads as inactive, sir… The propulsion system is inoperable and the onboard computer is down.”


LT: “Alright. Now blow that damn probe up… Vaporize it.”


Serrag: “Yes sir… Charging… Increasing duration to 13 milliseconds.”


LT: “13 milliseconds is all it takes, huh? Amazing…”


Serrag: “I think so, sir… It should destroy the entire probe… We are going to schedule some additional tests to see how much the yield of the canon degrades at greater distances.”


LT: “Squeeze as much distance as you can out of this canon, gentlemen… If it comes to a direct confrontation between us and the Inj, I want to have the upper hand when we use the same type of weapon…”


Elpek: “We’ll do our best sir…”


Serrag: “Ready to fire…”


LT: “Fire away…”


Serrag pushes that same fire button again and another nearly invisible burst from the canon hits the probe which promptly disappears…


Elpek: “The probe is gone, sir…”


LT: “Perfect… Very good… I’m impressed, gentlemen…”


Serrag: “Thank you sir…”


LT: “Now, let’s do something a bit more spectacular… And it should also give us a little more of an idea of what this canon can really do…”


Serrag: “What did you have in mind sir?”


LT: “Captain to astrometrics.”


Amini: “Ensign Amini. Go ahead sir.”


LT: “Locate a boring asteroid for me…”


Amini: “Boring sir?”


LT: “Yes, one that no one would miss…”


Amini: “Just a second sir, I’m scanning…”


She operates her console and a moment later she has a result.


Amini: “I’ve located a boring one sir; 60 meters in diameter, nothing interesting about it… Distance: 61.000 kilometers off our port bough.”


LT: “That’ll do just fine… Transmit the coordinates to the helm please.”


Amini: “Yes sir.”


LT: “LT to the bridge.”


Eisinga: “Yes sir?”


LT: “Proceed to the coordinates you just received from astrometrics. You’ll find an asteroid at that location… Use the tractor beam to stop it dead in space and make sure the asteroid is 250 meters from the aft shuttle bay doors…”


Eisinga: “We’ll get it done sir. Bridge out.”


Eisinga nods to the helm officer and she gets to work.


Serrag: “An asteroid… Interesting…”


LT: “I’m kinda curious, hehehe…”


Elpek: “I don’t think you’ll be disappointed sir…”


LT: “I hope not; you kept me waiting for a long while…”


The tractor beam stops the asteroid and the ship slowly moves into position.


Eisinga: “Bridge to the captain. We’re in position sir.”


LT: “Yes, we see the asteroid. Thank you, commander. LT out. Fire at will.”


Serrag: “Is your aim to destroy the entire asteroid sir?”


A broad smile appears on the captain’s face.


LT: “Absolutely…”


He pushes that famous button again and a burst of a few seconds long hits the asteroid. The canon eats its way through the enormous asteroid in a spectacular show… When the weapon seizes the only remains that can still be seen are a few chunks flying off into the distance…


Elpek: “Near total destruction… All the debris that remains adds up to approximately 4% of the original mass of the asteroid…”


LT: “Oh yeah! That was gooood… This is what I wanted…”


Elpek: “Do understand we’re not quite there yet, sir…”


LT: “Yes, of course… Plan all the necessary tests as soon as possible…”


Serrag: “If we can mount it underneath the ship according to my schedule, the Greate Canon will be at your disposal in 4 days…”


LT: “The ’Greate Canon’? I like the sound of that… I’ll have to ask permission from the admiral to mount the weapon and such, but for now: get your tests and preparations started…”


Serrag: “Yes sir…”


Eisinga: “Eisinga to the captain… There’s a ship approaching. It appears to be a shuttle, origin unknown…”


LT: “I’ll be there in a minute, commander.”


The turbo lift doors open and the captain walks to his throne which is immediately relinquished by his first officer… The counselor occupies the guest chair.


K’Ehlen: “The ship is halting 2 kilometers dead ahead sir…”


Maresca: “And they’re hailing us…”


LT: “Alright, open a channel…”


The screen shows 2 humanoid aliens in what appears to be very formal, yet elaborate and predominantly red outfits.


Treseme: “This is the shuttle Eye of Vejo, Treseme speaking. Why have you destroyed one of Vejo’s creations?”


LT: “This is Captain LT, USS Greate Pier… I’m sorry, Treseme, we were not aware that this asteroid was eh… ‘created’ by someone or that this territory was claimed…”


Treseme: “Forgive us, captain… Sometimes we get… annoyed a little too quickly… We encounter many people who are not aware of this…”


LT: “In that case, if I may make a suggestion, perhaps you should mark your borders a little clearer… We’ll be happy to travel around your space if you do not approve of our presence here…”


Treseme: “That’s just the point, captain… We can’t mark our borders, because there are none… The entire universe belongs to Vejo…”


LT: “Well, I’ve heard of races that claim large sections of the galaxy, but I’ve never met someone who claims all of it, hahaha…”


Treseme: “One day you will meet him. Vejo is the god that created everything. After we die, we will all meet him in his sacred temple in the Unod dimension…”


LT: “Ah, I see... And what planet are you from?”


Treseme: “We are from Reiled, 4th planet of the 7 planet solar system not far from here… I’m a priest. And this is High Priest Mergaust.”


LT: “Nice to meet you, gentlemen… Two priests in a space ship; almost sounds like you’re missionaries.”


Mergaust: “Actually, we are. We travel from solar system to solar system to spread the word of Vejo. Either you are not aware of Vejo or you have disrespect for his creations…”


LT: “Ah, the asteroid…. We were testing a new weapon…”


Mergaust: “Ah, I see… So you do not know Vejo?”


LT: “I’m not much of an authority on religion, but there are many people on board who believe in one or more gods; but I’m not sure Vejo is one of them…”


Mergaust: “’One of them’? There is only one god; Vejo…”


LT: “A lot of religions have one god indeed. But there are many religions in the universe.”


Mergaust: “There is only one true religion.”


LT: “Again, it’s not my field of expertise, but if you wish to believe so, you may of course.”


Mergaust: “We don’t believe what we wish; we believe that which is true. And so should all of your people. Believe in Vejo and serve him. The almighty god of love and peace. Creator of the universe and all in it.”


LT: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention…”


Mergaust: “I don’t think you quite understand, captain… This is not a choice. Vejo will not tolerate refusal.”


LT: “I can’t presume to answer for my crew, but just to answer for myself: No, thank you, I’m fine. I’m not much of a religious person…”


Mergaust: “Refusal will mean your demise.”


LT: “Excuse me? So, you want us to convert to your religion and serve your god? Just like that?”


Mergaust: “Now you have been informed of his existence, you will worship him.”


LT: “Did it ever occur to you that some people are simply not interested in your religion? That some people might already have a religion?”


Mergaust: “We come across a lot of people who simply are not aware of Vejo. Perhaps even worshipping false gods. We had a hard time accepting that many races do not know of him or serve him, but we see it as our holy task to make sure everyone has heard the name of Vejo. Vejo does not allow for sinners to live and corrupt the minds of others.”


LT: “Serve the god of love and peace or I kill you? Hahaha, I must say, you’re a funny guy…”


Treseme: “That ‘guy’ is the High Priest of northern sector of Reiled. You will address him with all the respect that is due. I suggest you listen to him and serve the one true god. Vejo is great.”


LT: “And threatening to kill us is the respect we are due? You know what? Something similar happened to my people over 1600 years ago… A missionary named Boniface came to our land and wanted to convert everyone to the christian faith.”


Mergaust: “He didn’t succeed, I take it?”


LT answers in a nonchalant manner:


Mergaust: “No, we killed him.”


Mergaust: “You killed him?! Is that how your species does things?”


LT: “It’s apparently how your species does things. We’ve evolved since then, which sounds like a damned good idea for your kind…”


Both the counselor and Ensign Maresca are clearly worried about LT’s provoking words… Mergaust starts yelling and his face turns as red as his wardrobe…


Mergaust: “Watch your tongue! I will not stand for profanity of any kind! Like the rest of your blasphemous words…”


LT remains calm. He stretches both his legs out and crosses his feet… He folds his hands and rests them on his belly…


LT: “That’s the problem with religious people throughout the galaxy, isn’t it? You believe in something and then expect the rest to adapt to it. You demand respect for your beliefs. Respect is earned, not given out. But, to be honest, not because you demand it, but I do have a certain amount of respect for people who believe in an entity they cannot see. Some even devote their lives to worship something or someone invisible. Yes, I guess that does deserve some level of respect… I couldn’t do it…”


Mergaust: “Why do you insult me? Why do you insult Vejo? The hand of Vejo can be seen in everything. Vejo made everything.”


LT: “I never intended any insult; I just say what I think. Since you’re good in believing, believe me when I say it’s not your god I have a problem with, nor that you believe in him or serve him. The only thing I have a problem with is that you try to force your religion onto us. That was the trend for millennia on our own planet as well, however, as I said, we’ve evolved and we’ve outgrown the archaic notion that everyone else has to believe exactly the same what we do. People on our planet are allowed to believe whatever they want, including believing in nothing at all… And history has shown that since that freedom was globally introduced, war, suffering, death and general intolerance has been greatly reduced…”


Mergaust: “I have no interest in a history lesson of your planet or your false religions! Serve Vejo or he will have your life!”


LT: “Listen, funny guy… I’ll make it simple for you… You can believe whatever you want, do whatever you want and even bug others with your Vejo stories… But killing my people is simply not an option. Converting people who don’t want to be converted is also not an option… On our planet we have an idiom; ‘live and let live’… What you do is more like ‘live and kill’…”


Mergaust: “We’ve been doing this for 21 centuries… Only recently we expanded our missions into space… But it is our way… It is the right way…”


LT: “21 centuries? You must have killed a lot of innocent people then...”


Mergaust: “They were not innocent! Vejo’s bible says ‘lest their numbers grow too big, all those who are unbelievers must be killed’. We are doing Vejo’s holy work…”


LT: “How often the word ‘holy’ is used as an adjective to embellish heinous acts... I just used the words ‘live and kill’… But I think ‘live to kill’ would apply even better to your lifestyle… You say you’re doing the work of Vejo… That might have been true one time… But today I think you are professional killers who use some outdated, religious writings to justify what you do.”


Mergaust: “Stop your mockery! Resistance is futile!”


LT: “Now, where have we heard that before?... Anyway, like the great Arthur C. Clarke once said: ‘Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses.’


Mergaust: “You are weak; you hide behind the words and lies of others.”


LT: “Like you just hid behind the words of your bible, you mean?”


Mergaust: “How shamelessly you utter your evil irreverence…”


LT smiles.


LT: “It’s a gift…”


The counselor hides his faces in his left hand. He thinks the captain made a mistake in saying that… But Mergaust apparently doesn’t retaliate for his latest reply.


Mergaust: “And I do not hide behind the bible. I stand proud for the word of the bible. You’re the one hiding behind the meaningless words of your godless people!”


LT: ”Some words from a religious man then… Galileo said: ‘I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.’.”


Mergaust: “The insolence! Vejo will take his life away for this!”


LT: “Vejo needs an updated naughty list… Galileo has been dead for hundreds of years. And I should know better than to try to talk sense into a religious fanatic. Like I said, you’re free to believe whatever you want; that’s perfectly fine with me. Where I draw the line is where you try to kill my crew if they don’t instantly convert to your beliefs. Against my better judgment, I’ll give you some advice: If you really want to convert people to your faith, go about it in a more peaceful manner instead of making death threats. It would at least make more sense for a religion that preaches about peace.”


Mergaust: “The fact remains that you have no choice. In the name of Vejo we convert or kill anyone we meet…”


Still calmly relaxing in his chair:


LT: “Ah religion, …the last vestige of barbarism…”


Maresca shakes her head…


Mergaust: “Do your unfettered words know no bounds?”


LT: “Does your missionary work know no bounds? You won’t even stop at killing people?”


Mergaust: “I serve Vejo. And so will you… You can start by reading our bible. We’ll send it to you right now.”


Mergaust pushes a single button and ops receives the data.


Holcraft: “Received and stored sir.”


LT: “Thank you for your addition to our cultural database. I’m sure there will be some people who’d like to study it.”


Mergaust: “Well, that sounds a lot better already…”


LT: “In the meantime, in exchange, I’ll send you the collective works of George Carlin. I know you’re probably not very interested, but I’m sure you’ll laugh your holy butts off…”


Counselor Spalding sinks even deeper into his chair, as if he doesn’t want to be there…


LT: “Holcraft, send the material, please…”


Holcraft: “Right away sir…”


LT: “And, in addition, if you’ll permit me, let me give you a passage from an essay written by Julian Huxley.”


Treseme: “No, we are not going to…”


Mergaust takes over…


Mergaust: “If you must, captain…”


He turns to his fellow priest…


Mergaust: “At least they accepted the bible; perhaps there is hope…”


LT: “He wrote: ‘I recall the story of the philosopher and the theologian. The two were engaged in disputation and the theologian used the old quip about a philosopher resembling a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat, which wasn't there. 'That may be,' said the philosopher 'but a theologian would have found it’.”


Mergaust: “I’m afraid Treseme was right… We’re not interested in this kind of agnostic propaganda. And it seems you made some effort memorizing all those unholy words.”


The captain quite proudly replies…


LT: “It’s a hobby…”


The counselor’s face looks like he has given up…


LT: “But I’m sure it’s part of the divine plan, if something like that exists in your religion. A question if I may, High Priest Mergaust?”


Mergaust: “Hmm, go ahead.”


LT: “You said your god created everything in the universe, right?”


Mergaust: “Yes, everything. And it’s not our god, it’s everyone’s god.”


LT: “Yes yes yes… So, what you’re saying is, he really created absolutely everything… That would imply that he also created the ideas in my head…”


Mergaust: “You’ve strayed, sinner! You cannot hold Vejo accountable for your transgressions!”


LT: “By your own definition, Vejo created straying as well; and Vejo created sin and transgressions…”


Mergaust jumps up from his seat and with a red face yells at the captain.


Mergaust: “Blasphemy!”


LT: “Yes, that too… It seems you keep contradicting yourself and you keep finding excuses for everything. Most have no basis in fact nor do they adhere to any form of logic. How can you keep on doing this? First you say Vejo created everything, and then you call it blasphemy when I confirm he created particular things. You claim Vejo is almighty, but despite that, it seems that he somehow can be insulted… Now, how is this possible? You’d expect that an almighty being can stand a few insults… I’m pretty sure I’m not almighty, but even I can stand insults. But almighty Vejo can’t? Sounds odd to me… Either Vejo created everything, including sin and blasphemy or he didn’t create everything. Either Vejo is almighty and can stand insults or he’s not almighty at all. I’d like to know your opinion on that thesis.”


Mergaust: “Your impudence eats away at my patience, sinner!”


LT: “I thought you might evade the issue in true religious tradition… Anyway, said thesis reminds me of what Frater Ravus once said: ‘Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you from asking the questions.’.”


Mergaust: “Finally a quote I can agree with; you should listen to this Ravus. Sounds like a wise man.”


LT: “Hahaha, sorry, can’t oblige… I always ask questions and I love a good discussion… I know why most religions don’t allow for criticizing questions to be asked. Like Ravus said, simply because they don’t have all the answers, if any at all. They have to make up foggy answers as they go along…”


Mergaust: “How dare you?! Vejo is a fact! Vejo is real! Not a subject of discussion! No questions should be asked! No question should be necessary! The answers are in the bible! I will not stand for your brazen blasphemy much longer! You have one hour to repent and subject yourself to Vejo. Else we will open fire!”


The priests end communication.


Eisinga: “Ops, tactical… What can they do to our ship?”


Holcraft: “Their shields are not very sophisticated sir… We can penetrate them with a single shot.”


K’Ehlen: “And their weapons will not be able to break through our shields…”


Eisinga: “Empty threats…”


LT: “Good, good… Go to yellow alert anyway. I’ll be in my ready room… Inform me when the hour is up or if they appear to be up to something in the meantime…”


The captain leaves.


Eisinga: “Anything else on this shuttle?”


Holcraft: “They are the only 2 humanoids onboard, warp 2 engines and lots of hull damage from phasers and even old fashioned projectile weapons…”


K’Ehlen: “The only offensive capability they have is a double phaser canon with fire power equivalent to 0.4% of our own…”


Eisinga: “Any other ships in the vicinity?”


Holcraft: “None…”


Eisinga: “So they’re all alone, inferior weapons, weak shields and a big mouth… They’re either very brave or very foolish…”


K’Ehlen: “You cannot but admire their courage…”


Eisinga: “Well, there isn’t much else about them deserving admiration…”



SCENE 2: Harvey ruttle


The captain is leaning against the window frame and looks outside… The door chime is heard.


LT: “Come in, counselor…”


And indeed the counselor steps inside…


Spalding: “I was wondering if I could have a word, captain…”


LT: “I was wondering what took you so long… Please, sit down…”


Spalding: “I’m a little concerned about your conversation with the priests…”


LT: “I know…”


The captain moves away from the window and sits down on the couch…


Spalding: “I know their weapons don’t pose a threat to us, but…”


The captain continues the counselor’s sentence.


LT: “…but you think I shouldn’t use such strong words and piss them off? Spalding, I understand your worries… But I wasn’t aware of their weapon capabilities at first. I would have said the same thing if it was an Inj Behemoth out there…”


Spalding: “That would have gotten us killed…”


LT: “I don’t think so… We outsmarted them before and we even destroyed one of them before…”


Spalding: “Yes, yes, but I think you get my point.”


LT: “I do. Now let me explain my point… I think it’s quite clear we’re not going to do what they want; and not only because we outgun them… If you think it’s necessary, I’m willing to ask everyone onboard if they want to convert, but I’m pretty sure no one wants to do that.”


Spalding: “Of course not. But why not just fly away? I mean, they’re no match for us in any respect.”


LT: “Respect; that’s the word indeed… Someone has to teach them some… And there are a few other lessons they could learn as well… I might seem disrespectful towards their religion, but all I’m doing is matching their disrespect towards our people and religions. Now you choose the lesser of 2 evils for yourself, counselor. But I choose for my crew. By professional obligation and moral obligation. You may think I’m endangering my crew, but it’s those priests who are threatening us. And quite directly. And why not just fly away? Well, what if we do? We leave them behind and continue on our merry way as if nothing happened? We’re not in Federation territory; we can’t arrest them for making threats. But what we can do is teach them a lesson…”


Spalding: “You think it’s your task to teach these people what is right and what is wrong?”


LT: “They see it as their task to threaten people and kill them if they don’t cooperate. I might not be the right person to teach anybody anything; I might be doing this for all the wrong reasons, but they’re truly misguided in what they do… They’re extremists, Albert… It reminds me of religion on Earth during the early 21st century… At least agree with me that killing people for not joining a certain religion is not right by any standard…”


Spalding: “Of course I agree; totally unacceptable. But apart from the whole priest thing, the crew might start to think you are disrespectful towards religion in general…”


LT: “And it’s your job to ensure the crew that I’m mentally sane. Do whatever you have to, to prevent the crew from thinking such things… Use drugs if you have to.”


The counselor smiles…


LT: “But seriously… I don’t mind if people believe in invisible deities… But this goes far beyond your garden variety of religious practice.”


Eisinga’s voice is heard over the com system.


Eisinga: “Captain, the hour is almost up.”


LT: “Thank you, commander.”


The captain addresses the counselor again.


LT: “Will you join me on the bridge?”


Spalding: “Of course…”


The captain and the counselor get up, preparing to leave. But the conversation continues…


LT: “Counselor… Are you religious yourself?”


Spalding: “I’m not an extremist or even a fanatic… More like that garden variety of a religious person.”


LT: “Were you offended? Or was this purely because you are worried about what the priests are going to do?”


Spalding: “I wasn’t really offended myself. My religion is a personal thing and it will remain the same regardless of whether other people oppose or concur…”


LT: “Good. Because I do require a level of a sticks and stones mentality on this ship. Words are just words. If you are offended by words, you chose to be offended. Words can be as easily ignored as you can let them hurt you. It’s just a matter of making a choice. It seems to be universal with religious people to be offended by mere words… They made the choice to feel offended. Unnecessary for intelligent species.”


Spalding: “Well, yes, but…”


The conversation continues for a while longer…



SCENE 3: Subtle flay


Eisinga mans the captain’s chair on the bridge when the priests hail the Greate Pier.


Maresca: “Sir, the Eye of Vejo is hailing…”


Eisinga: “On screen, ensign.”


The priests appear on the screen once more…


Eisinga: “I am Commander Eisinga, first officer… How may I help you?”


Treseme: “One hour has passed… We await your decision.”


Eisinga: “The captain will join us on the bridge shortly. I’m sure he’ll provide you with his decision.”


Treseme: “Our patience is wearing thin, commander…”


The captain and the counselor exit the ready room and both men as well as the first officer take their correct places…


Mergaust: “Captain. You’ve had some time to think now and we require your decision.”


LT: “Oh, I didn’t do much thinking… Sorry. Anyway, you’ve won no souls on this ship. No sale.”


Mergaust: “Then your atheism will now be your undoing, fools.”


LT: “Well, like I mentioned before, not everyone onboard is an atheist… Lots of crew members have a religion. They just don’t care to trade it in for yours. Anyway, like Edmond de Goncourt so rightly said: ‘If there is a god, atheism must seem to him as less of an insult than religion.’


Mergaust: “Vejo will make all of you pay! Especially you, captain.”


LT: “I doubt it. Anyway, we have a policy called the prime directive, which does not allow for us to make contact with a race not yet capable of traveling at warp speeds. I think we should reconsider that directive and adapt it to other factors of evolution as well, not just the level of technology… You are religious extremists; other races shouldn’t have to meet you. Welcome to the universe, gentlemen. There are literally countless intelligent species out there. A lot of them have their own religions. Just don’t expect all or any of them to be as calm and patient with you as we are…”


Mergaust: “Enough!! You will now feel the vengeance of Vejo!”


LT: “Ok, thank you. Have a nice day.”


LT smiles and quickly breaks contact by smashing a button on his chair console, Kirk style.


LT: “Red alert. Shields up.”


The priests open fire on the Greate Pier. After a few shots K’Ehlen inquires whether she should fire back.


K’Ehlen: “Return fire, sir?”


LT: “No.”


LT patiently waits in his chair. After another few hits he speaks again.


LT: “Shield damage?”


Holcraft: “Shields down to 99% sir…”


The captain does nothing… After another 15 seconds the captain stands up and casually walks up to a replicator.


LT: “CAS, mushroom…”


The replicator provides him with a steaming cup of soup… The captain takes a whiff…


LT: “Nice…”


LT takes a small sip and starts a casual walk around the bridge… From the replicator near the left turbo lift he walks towards the master systems display, behind the captain’s chair… He inspects the entire display for a while before moving on towards the stations on the right-hand side of the bridge. He first approaches tactical I. K’Ehlen looks at the captain behind her, wondering if he’ll give the order to fire when he reaches her station. But he passes the station and slowly walks on. The bridge is very quiet, except for the occasional phaser blast hitting the shields. LT patiently walks past communications, past an unmanned astrometrics post, past an equally abandoned guest station, Holcraft’s operations console and down the steps… Continuing his slow pace, he finally reaches Pattison’s conn station. The captain puts his left foot on the elevated platform the conn station is mounted on and rests his left hand on his knee… After another sip he looks up at the main viewer which shows the enemy shuttle and the many phaser beams coming at the Greate Pier. After another few seconds he finally speaks…


LT: “Ops?”


Holcraft: “Shields at 91% sir…”


LT: “Communications, channel.”


Maresca: “Channel open sir, on main viewer.”


The firing stops and the holy men appear once again.


LT: ”Do you think this is some kind of David and Goliath story?”


Mergaust: “What do you want? David and who?”


LT: “Eh, never mind… Just seize firing, by now you should know that our shields can withstand your weapons…”


Mergaust: “My display tells me that they’re at 90% already…”


LT: “Yes, quite frightening… Ops, reroute auxiliary power to the shields please…”


Holcraft: “Yes, sir.”


LT: “By now your display should tell you we’re back at 100%. You may wish to continue firing at us, but it’s clearly not going to solve anything any time soon… Perhaps we could…”


The captain is interrupted by weapons fire…


LT: “I see… I don’t think this is…”


LT is interrupted again; this time by the termination of communication.


Eisinga: “Even if you would crossbreed a Ferengi with a Klingon you wouldn’t reach this level of persistence and stubbornness…”


K’Ehlen seems annoyed by the first officer’s remark…


LT: “Maresca, re-establish contact…”


Maresca: “Trying sir…”


Eisinga: “Are you really going to try again to talk sense into them some more? It’s like talking to a wall…”


LT: “No, I’m trying to give them a fair last warning…”


Eisinga smiles…


Maresca: “They’re not responding sir…”


LT: “I thought as much… Send them a message, ensign… Tell them to stand down immediately or we will be forced to destroy their weapons.”


Maresca: “Yes sir.”


Eisinga: “K’Ehlen, what would it take to neutralize their weapons without destroying their ship?”


K’Ehlen: “A short phaser burst at 20% power… I wouldn’t recommend exceeding that if you really intend to let them live…”


LT: “Prepare to fire at their weapons on my mark.”


K’Ehlen: “Locked on target and standing by.”


LT: “Maresca, did they receive our message?”


Maresca: “Yes sir… Confirmed.”


LT waits for another few seconds, but the aggressive priests keep on firing…


LT: “Alright, I’ve been courteous enough… Fire.”


The Klingon fires phasers and hits target.


Holcraft: “Weapons are out of commission…”


LT: “Well done…”


Eisinga: “Maresca, hail them. Let’s see if they want to talk now…”


LT: “Somehow I doubt that…”


Maresca: “No response sir…”


Holcraft: “Sir, they’re moving…”


Eisinga: “Where are they going?”


Holcraft: “They’re heading straight for us, sir. They’re going to ram us…”


Eisinga: “Helm, evasive maneuvers…”


LT: “Delay that… Helm, stand by to evade them…”


Pattison: “I’ve got my finger on the button, sir…”


The captain turns to his first officer.


LT: “We’re not going to give in, Eldert… K’Ehlen, take out their engines and their engines only.”


K’Ehlen: “Yes sir…”


The Klingon female pushes a few buttons to properly calibrate the weapon.


K’Ehlen: “Firing…”


Holcraft: “Direct hit… Their engines are damaged; they’re dead in the water sir…”


LT: “Good, good…”


Eisinga: “I’m beginning to doubt who’s more stubborn; the priests or you.”


Without showing any emotion, the captain gives the first officer his answer.


LT: “Me. Helm, fly over that ship at no more than 5 KPH. Get as close are you can.”


Pattison: “Understood.”


Pattison executes her orders.


Eisinga: “Why so close and so slow?”


LT: “First lesson of the day… A lesson in humility. If they think all species out there are eager to submit to their demands, I think it’s only fair to let them know they’re wrong. Better us than a species with a short fuse. If they met the Klingons…”


Eisinga: “I get your point…”


LT: “Besides, we’re out here to make contact with other species… That’s exactly what we’re doing…”


Eisinga: “I doubt this is the kind of first contact Starfleet is looking for…”


LT: “It’s first contact none the less… Not that I claim to be able to tell these people what they can or cannot do, but we should let them know that you can’t force anything onto anyone… Some people may be easily talked into something like that, out of ignorance or out of fear or whatever… But how many people do you think have died already by the hands of these missionaries? Their weapons are no match for ours, but I’m sure they’ve encountered species with technology far inferior to their own… I don’t think many people complied out of ignorance… Most of them complied out of fear. The rest, if they weren’t able to defend themselves, died… Religious intolerance can be so destructive… Human history is proof of that, unfortunately. I’m not going to play holier than thou; millions upon millions were killed throughout Earth’s history because of religion… ‘Thou shalt not kill’… But adding ‘in the name of this or that god’ to every sentence presumably makes it right… Holy wars my nose… I’ve visited many worlds, some with religious intolerance causing death and destruction beyond belief… But I’ve kept my mouth shut; it wasn’t my place to speak up and criticize the people, churches or governments of those worlds… But now that I’m in the middle of it myself, I can finally say a thing or 2…”


Eisinga: “Wow, quite a speech…”


LT: “Well, eh… as a good captain, I like to hear myself talk…”


Smiles appear on a few faces within the reach of the captain’s voice… The captain’s voice now issues a string of new orders.


Eisinga: “But you don’t need to justify your actions; I probably wouldn’t have been as patient as you have been, hahaha…”


LT: “Holcraft, prepare to tow the shuttle into the shuttle bay…”


Holcraft: “Gladly sir.”


LT: “Maresca, send them another message… Tell them to be prepared to be towed into our shuttle bay. They will be brought back to their home planet.”


Maresca: “Aye sir.”


LT: “K’Ehlen, send a security team to the shuttle bay. Let no one exit that shuttle…”


K’Ehlen: “Right away…”


LT: “Helm, can you locate that 7 planet solar system Mergaust was talking about?”


Pattison: “Hold on, scanning… Yes sir, it’s the solar system right next door… It’ll just take 20 minutes at warp 6.”


Maresca: “The shuttle is hailing us, captain.”


LT: “Really?... Well, on screen then…”


The communications officer activates the main viewer and yet again the religious men appear on screen.


Mergaust: “You will most certainly not bring our holy ship into the belly of that beast of yours! You have no right to do this!”


LT: “Holcraft, activate the tractor beam.”


Holcraft: “With pleasure sir…”


He pushes a single button and the small shuttle is caught in the beam.


LT: “Bring ‘em in…”


Treseme: “You will not take us to our home planet or anywhere else! Leave us be!”


LT: “Helm. As soon as the shuttle is in the shuttle bay, set a course for their home planet and engage at warp 6.”


Pattison: “Understood sir.”


Treseme: “Are you even listening to us, captain?”


The captain does reply, but doesn’t answer the question.


LT: “We will take you back to your planet so you may live. Without our help, you’d die when your resources would run out.”


Mergaust: “The answer is no!”


LT: “I wasn’t asking a question…”


Holcraft: “Their vessel is in the shuttle bay, sir.”


Pattison: “Warp 6.”


Mergaust: “You can’t do this! We are prepared to die for Vejo. Do not return us; Vejo forbids it!”


LT: “I insist… And if Vejo really minds, I’m sure he’ll intervene…”


Mergaust: “Release us at once!”


LT: “I insist on helping you just as much as you insist on converting us… Annoying isn’t it?”


Mergaust: “Vejo will make an example out of you and your crew!”


Holcraft: “I think we heard enough of this Vejo guy… Listen to yourselves! Vejo says this, Vejo doesn’t tolerate that… Bla bla bla…Don’t you have an opinion or a will of your own?”


Mergaust: “Religion is not about opinions… Vejo’s words are the facts.”


The captain allows Holcraft to continue…


Holcraft: “No, they are your facts! You can’t shove that garbage down our throats… How can you spread the word of such a bloodthirsty tyrant? What kind of cruel bastard of a god wants to kill innocent people? If you really…”


The captain stops the tirade.


LT: “That’s enough, Holcraft… Insults will get us nowhere.”


Mergaust: “Are you defending us from your crew member’s insolence, captain? A newfound respect for ‘our god’?”


Holcraft, still very angry, leaves the bridge… Commander Eisinga nods to Stilson who moves from the science II station to the deserted ops position.


LT: “There is simply no need for insults. A discussion is always interesting, but exchanging insults does not constitute a discussion…”


Mergaust: “You’re lucky the other missionary shuttles aren’t close by…”


LT: “Why? Would they tickle our shields as well?”


Mergaust: “Oh, you think you are so superior, with your weapons and tractor things! Just wait until you undergo Vejo’s wrath!”


LT: “Will you keep your red shirt on?… Religious people are so easily insulted and provoked… You want to believe in something and then demand respect for that. Then if a skeptic airs his opinion you get furious… Would be funny if skeptics would get angry with religious people for not believing in science…”


Mergaust: “We have never met such a disrespectful species before!”


LT: “I doubt it. But I also doubt you left any evidence for that… But honestly, we’re not disrespectful as a species… We never threatened to destroy all the people who practice your religion. You did threaten to kill all of us. I checked the database and it seems the crew members of this ship represent 41 different religions that you treated disrespectfully… I met someone recently who died over 700 years ago. Musashi told me that you can ‘respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help’."


Mergaust: “Our god always helps… He will help us! He will see to it that you do not get away unpunished!”


LT: “Nice to hear you’re starting to call him your god. Anyway, it looks like he agrees with our actions for the moment…”


The funny guy and his sidekick both look furious. Mergaust pushes a button to break communications. LT shows a little victorious smile…



SCENE 4: Pray shuttle


The Greate Pier approaches the planet Reiled.


LT: “Captain’s log, stardate 63646.73. We are about to assume an orbit around Reiled, but we won’t be the only ship in orbit.”


Stilson: “It’s pretty big, sir…”


LT: “Yes, I can see that…”


Stilson: “About 4 times the size of the Greate Pier and weapon systems to match…”


Eisinga throws in a joke…


Eisinga: “If they call that ship Vejo, I’ll convert…”


Stilson: “ Hull composition doesn’t match the shuttle in our cargo bay, sir. This is a much more advanced ship…”


LT: “Alright, hail them…”


Maresca: “They’re already hailing us, sir.”


A humanoid alien with grey skin and a formal green outfit appears on the main viewer…


Laivirt: “I am Retlo Laivirt, commander of the Battleship Skander 2. In the name of planet Taymun, surrender your vessel immediately and prepare to be boarded…”


LT: “I will do no such thing. We are only here to return 2 people to this planet… We have no hostile intentions.”


Laivirt: “Yes, I can see you have 2 of those priests in your shuttle bay… Your ship is much more advanced than theirs; I can see they have done more than converting and killing… Recruiting other species for their religious slaughterings!”


LT: “We have not been recruited by anyone… We only wish to return these people to their home. As a matter of fact, we ourselves have been threatened by these priests.”


Laivirt: “Oh of course, and that’s why you so kindly brought them back home… You lie…”


LT: “Well, since you already made scans of the shuttle in our cargo bay, you should also be able to tell that their weapons and engines have been rendered inoperative by our weapons…”


Laivirt now softly speaks with someone else on his ship in order to confirm the claim.


Laivirt: “You appear to be correct, captain.”


LT: “I understand your people have also been threatened by the priests from this planet?”


Laivirt: “You can say that… Unfortunately it didn’t stop with threats… It started about 4 weeks ago. Since that time 14 unarmed science outposts and 9 unarmed science vessels have been destroyed by these people before we could get the first armed ship into the area…”


LT: “I’m sorry to hear…”


Laivirt: “2,400 Taymuns died. For nothing. For not converting to the religion of Vejo… We are not a warlike race, Captain LT… But the slaughter of so many innocent scientists…”


LT: “I understand… We’ve had no prior engagement with these people and therefore probably have more patience with them than you might have left. And I also understand we were lucky then… We’ve suffered no casualties…”


Laivirt: “And you won’t in the future, captain…”


Stilson: “He’s quite right sir… The surface of the planet shows signs of a massive global attack… I’m reading approximately 9,000 humanoid lifesigns, scattered all over the planet.”


LT: “Is that your work, Laivirt?”


Laivirt: “The Skander 2 is the last ship to remain… 42 others left just 20 minutes ago… You almost sound disappointed, captain. Do remember that they also threatened and attacked your people…”


LT: “True, but I didn’t come here to kill anyone… I understand the position of the Taymuns and there’s nothing we can do about it now… But it’s always sad to see a civilization be reduced to almost nothing…”


Laivirt looks tired and a bit sad…


Laivirt: “Honestly, captain. I don’t really feel like talking about this any longer, about as much as I feel for the loss of this civilization… I just want to go home. But this civilization… It’s not lost; the few thousand that remain will rebuild their civilization and hopefully learn from this experience… Oh, and one more thing, captain… You can return these people to their planet, but I urge you not to help them in any way. Your technology might be superior to theirs, but ours is superior to yours… Good day.”


LT: “We will return them shortly and…”


The communication is ended.


LT: “…I hate it when people do that… Captain to Serrag.”


Serrag: “Serrag here.”


LT: “Report to the alien shuttle with all available engineering personnel for repairs … Commence your work as soon as the priests and I have beamed down to the planet. Make it a quick repair; I want to leave orbit as soon as possible…”


Serrag: “We’re on our way. Serrag out.”


Eisinga: “You’re not going down there, captain...”


LT: “Yes I am…”


Eisinga: “It’s too dangerous…”


LT: “You have the bridge. K’Ehlen, take a security team down to the surface and secure the area. The priests and I will join you shortly…”


K’Ehlen nods and leaves the bridge. LT inspects his phaser and sets in to the proper setting.


LT: “Captain to Amato. Transport me directly to the alien shuttle in the shuttle bay.”


Amato: “Yes sir.”


Eisinga: “Sir…”


The captain ignores Eisinga. Moments later the captain materializes inside the Eye of Vejo. The priests are startled by his sudden appearance…


Treseme: “How did you get in here?”


LT: “Magic.”


The priests stand up and LT grabs his phaser…


LT: “Relax, gentlemen… I mean you no harm.”


Mergaust: “What do you want? You are not allowed on this holy ship!”


Treseme: “Leave immediately!”


LT: “Shut up! Sit back down and shut up… I’m sick of hearing what I have to or cannot today…”


Reluctantly, the holy duo sits back down…


LT: “I have some bad news for you.”


Treseme: “More lies, captain? We don’t want…”


LT: “Shut up!”


Mergaust’s hand gesture tells Treseme to indeed shut up… He sees the serious expression on the captain’s face.


Mergaust: “Speak, captain…”


LT: “First of all, I want to make sure that you understand that we had nothing to do with it…”


Treseme: “With what, sinner?”


Mergaust: “Shut up, Treseme…”


Treseme’s face initially looks shocked to hear his colleague say that. After that, his expression changes to something even grumpier than before.


LT: “I’m afraid that the Taymuns have retaliated for the people you killed on their science outposts and ships…”


Mergaust: “What?... Retaliated? How? What do you mean?”


LT: “There are 9,000 people left on your planet…”


Mergaust: “9,000? That can’t be true! There were…”


Treseme: “Liar! You’re a liar! You’re just saying that to provoke us!”


LT: “You can call me disrespectful or whatever you want, but so far you have had no reason to call me a liar… With your consent, and if you will stand up, I will now return you to your planet. You can see for yourself what has happened.”


Mergaust nods. Both priests get up from their chairs and the captain taps his badge.


LT: “LT to Amato, please beam all 3 of us to the surface.”


Amato: “Energizing…”


The 3 men disappear from the shuttle… Serrag and his team open the door of the shuttle and enter to start repairs.


Serrag: “Alright, let’s do this as quickly as we can, people…”



SCENE 5: Scuttle away


The captain and the priests are on the surface. All 3 of them look around. What they see resembles a war zone… Ruined buildings, dead bodies everywhere you see, fires littering the horizon… Screams and crying people can be heard continuously… Some people are running around in panic. K’Ehlen and her crew can be seen in the background with drawn phasers. In a soft voice the high priest is the first to speak.


Mergaust: “Vejo will have no mercy for those who did this to us…”


LT: “You did this to yourself, Mergaust…”


Treseme: “You did this! You killed our people! Destroyed our holy temples! Vejo will kill all of you outlaws!”


LT: “Treseme, listen to me for a second. There’s no way you can insult me. But you can annoy me to the point where you'll break your nose… It’s getting awful close to that point. Like I said before: we are not responsible for this; the Taymuns are. As much as I am opposed to genocide, gentlemen, I cannot help but think this is your own fault… You killed 2,400 defenseless Taymuns and Vejo knows how many more of other species… I do not condone this kind of brutal and disproportional retaliation, but I can understand the Taymuns for not letting it go without any form or repercussions.”


An enraged Treseme walks up to the captain… The captain doesn’t flinch and remains where he is…


Treseme: “Vejo will come for you! Our people will recover and come for you! You will be destroyed, sinners!”


LT: “Final warning, buddy… You’re getting on my nerves… And that’s a hard thing to do…”


Treseme: “Do not threaten a priest of Vejo… Before the day is out, your lies will be silenced by…”


LT takes a swing at the priest… With a bloody nose he hits the dirt.


LT: “I just did the only silencing that will happen today… Not another word out of you until I leave…”


Treseme tries to get back up on his feet…


LT: “No no no no, stay down… Saves both me and you trouble.”


The priest complies and stays down… Mergaust seems to be equally quiet while he looks at the depressing scene around him…


LT: “As for you, high priest… I hope you’ll at least take this as a sign from Vejo. You wanted to spread the word of your god by force, and look what you got in return. Whether Vejo exists or not, this is probably not the will of your god; all this death, mayhem and suffering you see all around you is all your own doing.”


LT stands right in front of the high priest and leans slightly down to face him up close.


LT: “Enjoy life in hell…”


The captain beams out.



SCENE 6: And now for something completely different…


Holcraft walks through the corridor… He sees Amato exit the transporter room.


Holcraft: “Just, has the captain returned already?”


Amato: “Yes, he’s still in the transporter room…”


Holcraft: “Thanks…”


Amato: “No problem…”


Holcraft walks into the transporter room where the captain is talking with K’Ehlen. The other security officers pass Holcraft and leave…


LT: “Alright, report back to the bridge, ensign.”


K’Ehlen: “Right away sir.”


The Klingon exits the room and before the captain notices Holcraft, he makes a quick call to the chief engineer…


LT: “Captain to Serrag. What’s the status of the repairs?”


Serrag: “We should be finished in 17 minutes sir…”


LT: “Launch the shuttle as soon as it’s done. LT out. Ah, Holcraft, you came out of hiding again…”


Holcraft: “Yes sir… And I want to apologize for walking out during my shift, sir… It was unprofessional and I should have kept my cool…”


LT: “That’s quite alright, lieutenant... I think they got under all our skins… Come. Let’s get back to the bridge…”


The men leave the transporter room and enter a nearby turbo lift.


LT: “Bridge.”


The lift starts moving…


LT: “To tell you the truth Giles, it’ll be a few days before I get all of my own suppressed anger out of my system…”


A smile appears on Holcraft’s face.


LT: “When 2 parties are arguing, it usually doesn’t help if they are yelling at each other and exchanging insults… It’s like throwing more fuel on the fire…”


LT: “Though I must admit that annoying them was my tactic of getting back at them… But without direct insults and while remaining annoyingly calm. But I do agree with what you said, Giles… I was boiling on the inside, but I didn’t show that to the priests…”


The turbo lift opens and the men enter the bridge… The conversation continues as they walk towards Holcraft’s station.


Holcraft: “I was just so fed up with those guys…”


LT throws in a little additional joke on the priests…


LT: "Did you ever notice how people who believe in creationism look really unevolved?"


The 2 laughing men pass the communications station. Maresca gets up from her seat and joins the 2 men, who halt.


Maresca: “Sorry for overhearing you, captain, lieutenant… But I do think some of the things you said today were insulting. Including what you just said…”


LT: “You must be able to discern between a joke and an intended insult, ensign…”


Maresca: “Yes, but how can you make jokes after having seen so much death?… We should not mock them, we should help them…”


LT: “They don’t want any help…”


Maresca: “I’m sorry sir, but I just can’t understand the way you think. First you insult them and even now that they have lost almost everything, you refuse to help them…”


LT: “I think you forgot about our Taymun friends… The Taymun commander I spoke with earlier isn’t in too good a mood and he didn’t want us to help them either… And with 42 more of those big warships close by, I don’t think it’s wise to help.”


Maresca: “But I do want to help them…”


LT: “Then get back to your post and inform Starfleet of the situation. If Starfleet orders us to help them, we will… But at least for now it’s impossible as long as that warship is in orbit…”


Maresca: “I’ll send the massage sir…”


LT: “And after that, go see the counselor.”


Maresca: “What?! Do you think I’m in need of counsel? Are you going to force me to convert to your way of thinking or something?”


The captain smiles at the furious communications officer…


LT: “Easy, easy… I don’t want you to go see the counselor to have your head examined; I think you’re perfectly sane. Actually I applaud you for speaking up to a superior and give him your opinion. You have balls… if you’ll pardon the expression… I like a straightforward person who says what she thinks… But the counselor can probably explain my quirky thoughts better to you than I can myself… Besides, I have to get started on my report to the admiral… I wonder how I’m going to lie through this one…”


Maresca actually manages to show a genuine smile…


Maresca: “I’ll go send that message sir…”


She goes back to her station and starts executing her orders. The captain and Holcraft continue their walk to the operations station. Upon arrival, Stilson relinquishes operations and walks across the bridge to his science II station. Holcraft lowers his voice a little and smiles…


Holcraft: “She might be smiling, but you better pray she forgives you, captain…”


LT: “Ambroce Bierce once described praying as ‘to ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.’.”


Holcraft is amused…


Holcraft: “Mergaust was right, you know?...”


LT: “Oh no, not you too?”


Holcraft: “No, I mean about that you seem to have put some effort into memorizing quotes on this subject… And I bet there’s more where that came from…”


LT: “I could go on all day… One more then… ’Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.’.”


Holcraft: “Whose words are those?”


LT: “A brilliant man who lived in the 20th century… He was way ahead of his time, in a way… His name was Gene Roddenberry.”



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