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The Price of Respect.

Posted on Wed Oct 28th, 2020 @ 5:15am by Fleet Captain William Hood

Mission: Broken
Location: Bridge.

Just as he had said in the briefing Will found himself sitting on the Bridge in his chair with the viewscreen on watching the planet start the throws of its death. A faint tail of white could be see sprouting from the planet as the atmosphere was being tugged at by the gravitational pull of the Black Hole. By all estimates the planet had little over a day before its crust would begin to crack. Even as he sat on the Bridge in relative safety of the armoured shell of his ship he couldn't begin to fathom the chaos and sheer destruction that must be sweeping the planet.

Then most damning thing however, all he could do was sit, and watch.

The Prime Directive was in place for a reason, its rules etched from lessons of old but it made his situation no more sweet to deal with. Morally he knew he could evacuate everyone, save those that are left but duty and orders demanded compliance. He had little doubt that his crew were not taking it well, the mood soured quickly following the briefing and he was the cause.

Will had lost people in battle, people following his orders, standing up for the uniform and all its integrity and tradition but this was different. The people on the planet had hardly begun to look to the stars completely unaware of what lay beyond in the blackness of space but its from that vastness that came destruction. The destructive capability of a Black Hole was something all knew not to underestimate and swiftly avoid, countless probes and ships had been lost in study of them over the years but there was a somewhat morbid feeling of curiosity about watching its destructive effects take hold and ravage something as large as a planetary body.

The probes that were launched were recording everything and relaying everything back to the ship via a line of probes due to the distortion effects from the Black Hole. Will had every sensor suit on his ship aimed at what lay before him knowing that science programs across the Federation and its allies would pick through the data for their own studies and projects. His shift had long ended and his third cup of Coffee long cold beside him. He felt he owed it to the people on the planet struggling for their lives, unaware that death was inevitable, that the planet would be wiped from existence and he could have saved them. This was his penance.

From his chair arm display he could see the science data streaming downwards, estimates, a counter that frequently dropped as life signs ceased, crust instability, atmospheric condition. He'd filtered out the information he didn't need or that were beyond his understanding but its reading was grim with a front row live on display view to go with it. Every fibre of his being, his conscience told him this was wrong, that he was presiding over the global genocide of a people but his hands were tied, his orders were strict even if inside he didn't agree with them.

He had tried to protest during his many briefings with Command just as his crew did during the briefing he held with them but he had his orders and he would carry them out.

The log he recorded in his office that also had a view of what was going on carried with it the weight of his feelings about the situation. It could be heard in his voice, in his inflections that he was troubled by what he had to do but always ended with the security that he would do as he'd been ordered. From the reflection of the window he saw himself and from that it was difficult to see himself as he once was. Since assuming a command he'd been in combat and destroyed enemy vessels, killed their crews but that was different because it was combat.

There was a certain understanding in battle between two adversaries but this was not battle, in the one hand he had the largest ship in the fleet with a score of systems and capabilities to make a fleet of ships blush and in the other he had a planet and its people being devastated. Killing in battle was easy, it was war or self defence, the protection of ones ship and crew.

There was no honour in this, no pride in victory, no relief, nothing to hide behind or smudge perception with that would make what he was watching any more palatable.

 

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