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The Royal

Posted on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 @ 3:33pm by Commander Shayne Balthazarr

Mission: A Day in the Life
Location: Starbase 332, Cmdr Balthazarr's Quarters


The place was small. The place was small and confined... it was too closed in and it was very dark...

“Computer, load a slideshow of all Balthazarr images collected over the last 15 years, and display each image for 5 seconds,” ordered the Chief Diplomat.

The aircon was brilliant but... there was something so fabricated about it. Shayne touched his hand to his mouth in disbelief. Had he made the right decision? Should he have remained on Sirrah? He took a deep breath. No. This is home, Starfleet is home, the Federation is home. This is where I belong, he thought to himself. A chill ran through him... he was not at home. He closed his eyes and breathed in again, but this time he looked through his mind's eye. He imagined himself seated to the left of the Empress at her feet. He smiled remembering some of the jokes born of Sirran warriors bartering for an audience and stumbling against the royal barrier of status. He had surpassed that barrier. He was one of them... a royal.

He could feel his hands tremble... "a warrior's battle shakes," is what Mal would say. The entire journey from the gamma quadrant to the alpha quadrant, Shayne had spent watching his friend Lieutenant Commander MorDekhan interact with the Sirrans in a way he couldn't... with confidence. Was it the Starfleet arrogance? Did Mal not sense he was in the presence of a superior species? And why did he believe the Sirrans to be superior? These were all questions Shayne struggled with. The interesting part was the fact that Starfleet had made his rank permanent. Commander. That had made no sense, surely, they would think him to be compromised, or had he just become their greatest asset with clearly powerful connections? Of course, it was definitely the latter.

"Computer increase lighting by 5 percent," he commanded.

The debriefing before his arrival on SB332 had been as lengthy as expected. Intelligence, Tactical, Federal Agents... they all wanted to know about Sirrah. Yet, none could conceive that the initial intelligence on the planet and its inhabitants was incorrect. Even with an Empress sitting before the President it was almost impossible for the delegates to grant the due respect owed. There was laughter among the members of congregation, whispering, frowns... Although; the Empress did not respond... she was as regal as ever. A turning point in the gathering was when a Vulcan delegate asked if the Sirrans would need assistance from the Federation and another asked how Sirrah felt it would fit in with the already established Federation premise... She responded saying, "Sweet child... I see you are a master of concealing your emotions... I applaud you. However, do not ever approach me again with such a patronizing tone. You rule your own emotions... please… by all means, continue to do so. I sit atop an Empire. Remember that. You have had a problem with the machine people... the Borg... We on Sirrah have met the Borg onone fleeting occasion... they are yet to return. Now ask me again of how ‘I wish you to assist me’ and my response will be... Alert me when the Borg return to you and I shall assume command from then on... how dare you? Kindly be seated and do not move until you are instructed to do so." It was clearly one of the Empress' more compassionate displays of anger. Shayne caught himself. Had he just been reminiscing over a time spent with his captor? And to add to that... Had he just been reminiscing over time spent with his captor on his return home?

Shayne reached into his duffel bag and pulled out a bottle of vintage Blood Wine, a gift from Mal. Uncorking it effortlessly, he took a swig from the bottle. The Klingons would have been proud. One swig after another until it was a bottle half full or empty, dependent of your views on life, the commander stumble to his sofa and casual fell into a seated position. Legs sprawled, head cocked-back as if catching flies. He burst out laughing like a fool. Laughing at nothing. A laughter that had come from somewhere deep within him, his whole body shook and then... something else began to happen... a phrase, "turn that frown, upside down..." but the reverse of it. Soon the laughter died down, yet the shoulders still moved. Silence... movement. Tears fell. Reality had just arrived.

He drew deeply from his bottle of blood wine.

When it's all quiet... when all are at rest. When the dust has settled... A murky truth slowly works its way to the surface. Something dark, a secret barely above a whisper... and Shayne hated it and everything it stood for. There was only so much a person could take. There comes a point when you've walked for so long down a path where you must stop, take a breath and look back. With Shayne, that moment had come a while ago, and down that path he saw the silent etchings of the truth along the way. Beneath all the blood, the gore, the bravado... beneath the courage, his steel, the perfection, it shone like a beacon. You're a liar it softly spoke. A fraud. You sold out, it remarked.

Again, the bottle of blood wine found his lips.

He'd chased this truth since it first awakened. He had tried to stifle it, smother it. The blood wine well had been deep and plentiful, but when that had run dry, the Romulan Brandy had done it's best to keep pace. But the truth was cunning... it was vicious and although Sirran alcohol was strong, the truth was much stronger, invincible even. It would launch its attack in the dead of night. It would force screams and cries. It wore the faces of those whom no longer dreamt, it wore the battle stained uniforms of those from a time forgotten. No number of fake smiles or reflexive laughter could sate its thirst. Every mistake ever made, every wrong call, every impatient action, every kill, every tear, every scar... every bloo… they all wanted to be remembered... and they were... every night.

What does a mixed blood do when they ascend to their higher self before leaving their mortal self? They lie to themselves... and they lie to others. Shayne was no longer the battle-hardened Starfleet Officer as before. That officer was a cliché, a joke... a vainglorious attempt at life. He never knew at the time because he had always believed it would be with his life that he paid. Yet, now... now he had come to realize that it would be with his soul... that was the currency emblazoned on the unwritten promissory note. Sirrah was not a mission. It was a collection.

The empty bottle of Blood wine fell from Shayne's hand as he finally drifted off into a slumber deep. He was slouched on his sofa as images of his family danced across the view screen watching him, hoping he would find them in his sleep. There was no need for audio. The narration of the visuals came from within, "Not long now..."


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