The Dogs of War - Part 6 "The Price of Treason"
Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: Caldran System
Timeline: Late 2416 (Alpha)
[Previously in The Dogs of War - Part 5 "Cry 'Havoc'"]
. . . . . .
Two Marines rushed forward to take the lowered weapons, as the remaining officers were disarmed as well.
A crewman that was with Lee’s party held her hands out to prepare for the cuffs. The Englishman, who wore a Major’s oak leaf, simply smirked in a predatory fashion.
“Afraid that’s not the plan lass.” he said. His next action was to take his phaser rifle and use the butt to smash the crewman in the face. She crumpled to the ground, her face bloody, her shriek of pain echoing in the Hangar Bay.
Before anyone could react, the Marines had every member of Lee’s party covered by at least two phasers each.
“Take them to the gym!” the English brute ordered.
. . . . . .
Once Major Renard and his group arrived in the Themyscira's gymnasium, a squad of five marines in full combat gear were waiting, next to a wall with burn and scorch marks on it. Several dozen of Lee’s officers were against the bleacherson the far side, angry-looking Marines watching their every move.
When the group Lee was in was put into the large room, Renard lined them up by height, for reasons unknown. The tallest of the group, a dark human, was brought to the wall with scorch marks on it, and was stood against it.
The English Major stood before the group.
“Major Laurence Renard, Starfleet... that is, the TRUE Starfleet Marine Corps. By order of General Bolanus, the rightful head of state of the UFP, you are hereby sentenced to death for crimes against the state, and high treason, do you have anything to say before sentence is carried out?
Oliver stepped forward, his voice calm and dignified.
“Major Renard, you do not have to do this. Look at them. They wear the same uniform as you and your men. They are Starfleet just as you are. Do not do this, Major. Do not stain your hands with the blood of your brothers and sisters in arms. I am the one General Bolanus wants. My death will be more than enough to satisfy your order, but let these men and women live. Put them in chains if you must, but leave them . . . . . .”
Renard rolled his eyes. ‘Someone please shut him up.” Two Marines moved forward and began to hit Lee repeatedly, with their fists, their rifle butts, their boots. By the time Renard waved them off, Lee was bleeding from his nose and his mouth, and his eye had a bruise.
“Spare me ‘Admiral’.” the Major used air quotes to turn Lee’s rank into a curse. “Your turn will be sooner than you think.”
The five angry-looking Marines stood in a line across from the dark, tall man who had been brought forward earlier. Major Renard stood off to one side.
“Make ready!” he bellowed. The Marines cleared their rifles, ensuring a fresh and full charge was available.
The Marine lowered their rifles, aiming center of mass on the dark man.
“Long live the Federation!” the dark man cried.
All five rifles shot forth red-orange beams that impacted on the torso of the dark man. The impact flung him against the wall, and onto the floor, where he lay still.
“Next.” the Major said, almost sounding bored.
::USS Bunker Hill-B, 5th Fleet::
Major General Adlerstein paced frantically around the bridge, awaiting word from the boarding party. Just then, a voice only call came in.
“General Adlerstein, this is Sergeant Major Singh.”
Singh was one of the Marines he had brought with him aboard the Bunker Hill; he had served with the old man for nearly 10 years, and trusted him with his life.
“Go ahead Singh.” the German replied.
“Sir, the ship is secured, only sporadic resistance now.”
“Ok, did they find Admiral Lee?” Hans asked.
A few terrible seconds passed.
“Yes, sir.” Singh replied.
Hans immediately set forth for the turbolift. Krage got up from her seat.
“I’m beaming over there.” Adlerstein stated.
“General, I object to this...you are need…” Krage started.
“Objection noted.” the German said as the doors closed. he might as well have told the female skipper to go to hell in a handbasket.
::Gym, USS Themyscira::
“Now the main event.” Renard stated. As he said the words, two burly Marines brought Lee to the wall where he had just seen eight other officers and crew meet their deaths at the firing squad.
“Wait.” Renard said, seeing a young, frightened woman in a Cadet’s tattered uniform farther down the line. “Perhaps a little lesson prior to the main course.” Renard said with menace.
The young woman was shoved past Lee to the wall.
“No! You can’t!” Oliver cried out in vain, his voice shaking with hopeless despair. “Please! Don’t do this! She’s only a child for heaven’s sake!!”
“Let this be a lesson to all those here, now and forever! No age is too young to spare you from the price of treason!” Renard yelled.
The frightened young woman’s lip quivered, and tears trickled down her face.
“Make ready!” Renard bellowed to the death squad.
“Make ready!” Renard yelled once more.
“Sir, she’s a kid!” one of the Marines on the firing line replied.
“You will obey or you are relieved Marine.” Renard said simply.
“I didn’t sign up to kill kids. I’m a Marine, not a murderer.” the defiant Marine stated. The man dropping his weapon and leaving the gym. His four companions, after a moment's hesitation, followed suit.
Renard was left with but a handful of Marines. The Major simply shrugged.
“Luckily, I have no such moral high ground.” he said.
The Major picked up a phaser from the ground, levelled it cooly at the young cadet, and pressed the trigger. Several people cried out in anguish as the female crumpled to the floor, her eyes still wide open.
“Your turn Admiral.” Renard said, a wolfish smile on his thin lips.
::Corridor, USS Themyscira::
Major General Adlerstein was surrounded by his personal guard of 12 Marines as he walked briskly through the corridors of the Themie. These guards were hand picked to accompany him, almost to a man, everyone of them had served with him at some point in his career, and two of them had been mere privates when he joined the first Bunker Hill. He trusted them to be personally loyal to him, and him alone.
Their tricorders had picked up weapon discharges coming from near the gymnasium. His guards had insisted that it must be the sporadic resistance Singh had mentioned, but Hans was determined to end the fighting, even if it meant he had to put himself in the line of fire.
There was no more plea. There was no more despair. The gray-haired Admiral stood there in silence. Composed, stoic, he awaited the inevitable darkness that had awaited him since birth. His uniform tattered, his face bloodied, his body broken, but there was no force, no violence, that could deprive him of his dignity, of his humanity. All good things must end. Such was life.
Major Renard levelled his phaser rifle at Lee. Before he could pull the trigger, a Cardassian lieutenant stepped forth from the group and walked briskly to stand in front of Lee. There he stood, defiant, facing his Admiral, as he came to rigid attention and saluted Lee.
With a tear in his eye, the Lieutenant said simply, “It’s been an honor, sir.”
There was a crack in his voice as Oliver returned the salute.
“The honor has been mine, Mr. Tazz.”
Major Renard pushed the fire trigger, and the beam did its deadly work, as the young Lieutenant crumpled in front of Lee.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.” Renard said as he aimed his weapon.
Before he could depress the trigger, a pair of hands grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him, before punching him in the face.
General Adlerstein thought of himself as a peaceful man, a man of virtue. But now, all he could feel was boiling rage...and all he wanted was to kill this man.
Hans grabbed Renard by his collar and slammed him against the closest wall as hard as he could, over and over, before Renard countered with a headbutt. Hans was in such a state of hate that he barely registered the hit, and punched the Major in his nose twice before flinging him to the ground. Renard tried to level his phaser at Adlerstein, but Hans grabbed the man’s hand and forearm and bent it back as they both went to the ground. He held the Major’s hand against the floor as Renard punched Hans several times in the side. Hans ignored him, bending his arm and hand back, hyperextending it as the joint separated loudly. Renard cried out in pain as Hans released his now useless arm and hand and began to punch the Major, over...and over...and over, until his hands were coated in blood, both his own from bleeding knuckles and Renard’s.
A hand grabbed ahold of Hans’ bloody right fist.
“The casualty report for the day is already too long, General.” Said Oliver. “Don’t add another name to it, not even his. We are better than this. You are better than this.”
Hans looked at his old Skipper. The tears of rage and hate were stinging his eyes, as he looked at the bodies next to the scorched wall. Scenes of this sort had played out too many times in Hans’ people’s history, and the thought of it, being even a peripheral part of it, sickened him to the very being of his humanity. His lip quivered with sadness as he spoke to Lee.
“Sir...let me do it. My soul may be heavy with death, but it can take one more life on my conscience, especially his.” Hans said through gritted teeth, looking back at Renard.
The Englishman’s face was bloody from a dozen cuts. His left eye was beginning to turn a purplish-red from a bruise, and his nose had been disfigured. A tooth on his lower set had been chipped, and his mouth had filled with dark blood, which he now coughed and spit out in fits.
“You are an honorable man, Hans. Always have been. Do not let this man’s blood stain your honor. Do not become him. Remember who you are. Remember what that uniform stands for. Please.”
Hans looked at Renard for a long time, until it looked like he might disregard his old Skipper’s pleas. Eventually, Hans, with a growl that might’ve come from the throat of a rabid wolf, released his grip on the Major and lowered his bloody fist.
Adlerstein stood up, watching Renard spit out more blood as he did so.
“We! Are! Marines!” He yelled at Renard’s prostrate form. “We are the defenders of the innocent! Not their executioners!” he yelled through misty eyes, pointing his bloody finger at the dead female cadet who lay before the Murder Wall.
Adlerstein turned to the NCO next to him.
“Singh!” he bellowed.
“I want every member of this boarding party to report to the shuttle bay immediately, once everyone is accounted for, you place them all immediately under arrest.”
“Already getting them all together sir.” Singh replied.
Renard spoke, his voice gurgling through blood and gritted teeth. “On what charge?”
Adlerstein wanted desperately to punch this man to death, but held off.
“Violation of Article 90 of the Starfleet Code of Military Justice, Mistreatment of Prisoners of War and Those in Custody! You piece of…”
“What are you doing, General?!” Captain Krage barged in with several security officers and marines, her contempt for the man bursting through the thin veil of formality.
Major General Adlerstein looked up to see Krage and several of her goons enter the gym.
Coldly Krage said, “Lee and his followers committed high treason the moment they installed N’Verix on Betazed, and per General Order Number 3 the only penalty is death. Step aside, General, and let justice be served. Or have you forgotten your oath to defend and uphold the laws of the Federation?”
“Captain Krage, by the authority vested in me by General Bolanus and the Provisional Governing Council, I hereby order you to stand down. Admiral Lee and his people are to be taken into protective custody. Major Renard and all the members of this away team are to immediately be placed under arrest for violation of several articles of war, including mistreatment of prisoners of war. Lee will have a fair trial, as stipulated in the Starfleet Code Of Military Justice.” Hans said, his voice brokering no argument.
Krage waited for the marine to finish his empty order before taking out a PADD and reading it out loud.
“Provisional Governing Council Order 814: Oliver Antoninus Lee, former Admiral of Starfleet, United Federation of Planets, is hereby convicted in absentia of high treason against the United Federation of Planets. Lee is to be apprehended on sight and returned to Earth so that his sentence of death may be carried out. If any resistance shall be offered, Lee is to be executed on site. Order 814 supersedes any and all conflicting orders previously issued. Signed: General Ardon Bolanus.”
“You’re lying.” Adlerstein said, although his voice had no fight in it. “General Bolanus guaranteed me that I was to bring Admiral Lee back...alive.” The German made sure to use special emphasis on Lee’s rank, still considering his former Skipper an Admiral of the fleet.
Krage sneered at Adlerstein’s vain protestation. “General Bolanus promised you that you would not be asked to carry out the execution, nothing more. And now, per Provisional Governing Council Order 814, stand down and step aside, General Adlerstein.”
The German, with a scowl on his face, took a step towards Krage and her goons. He jabbed his finger at her as he spoke.
“I... will...not. This is wrong and you know it. No piece of paper, no order can allow you to surrender your morality, your conscience! Our oaths allow us to question those orders we deem to be immoral or unethical, and THAT! IS! UN! ETHICAL!” the German General shouted, pointing to the pile of dead now resting against the scorched wall.
“Marines and soldiers under Krage!” Adlerstein said, trying to speak around the form of Captain Krage “You took the same oath I did! What is happening here is wrong!”
“Oh my God…” a young Marine exclaimed softly, upon seeing the bodies against the wall.
“As you were Marine!” Krage shouted the young man down.
“No!” Adlerstein exclaimed. “Let them look Captain! Let them see their fine work! Let them gaze upon the fine handiwork that you will praise them for! Allow them to see for what they will be remembered! Murderers! Killers of the innocent! of Children!”
“Oh God…” a even younger Marine said. He promptly threw up in the rear of the formation, expelling his horror along with whatever he had eaten previously.
“Remove that man!” Krage shouted. Two Marines escorted the young man out of the gym. It was telling that they did not do so roughly, but humanely, gently, with care as if with a wounded comrade. Perhaps they sensed that he was wounded in soul.
“You men have a choice today. You can remember that you are Marines, remember that we swore an oath greater than our oath to any government, or any one person. We took an oath to our morality, our humanity, our conscience. Or you can choose to betray that underlying oath. If anyone here can live with that betrayal, then I shall stand beside this man..” Adlerstein gestured to Lee “...and I will face the same punishment as he. I know this man! I served with him for nearly ten years! He is a man of honor, of integrity, he is a far better man than I!” Adlerstein shouted, his voice crescendoing as he was shouting himself hoarse.
“He deserves his fair trial.” the German General concluded.
Hans was soapboxing, but cared little. If he lost, if he had to die, let him do it beside his old Skipper, on the side of the right and the moral and the just and the ethical. And they’d have to kill him first before they laid a hand on the man whom he so badly wanted to call his friend for over 20 years.
“Choose, men of Starfleet: the side of your conscience, of justice, or of simply doing what you are told? I know my choice.” Hans said.
With those words, Hans stepped in front of Admiral Lee, and faced away from the group of Marines, towards Lee. He came to attention, ready in case a phaser shot him in the back.
Oliver watched quietly from the side as Hans spoke. After all the wounds and abuse, he himself was in no shape to give a speech, but more importantly these were Hans’ men, and it was his stage.
“Sir…I just wanted to say...that I wish…” Hans began.
“Ich bin einer Moerderer nicht.” a voice called out through what sounded like tears in a Germanic voice similar to Hans’ own accent.
When Adlerstein turned to face the group of Krage’s goons, he saw a young man of blonde hair and blue eyes, their color stained and glassy with tears.
The young man pointed with a shaking hand to the pile of bodies. He repeated himself.
“Ich bin einer Moerderer nicht. Ich will die neue SS nicht bekommen.” the blonde said through streaking and freely flowing tears.
Hans translated for the young man, who seemed too shaken and distraught to do it himself.
“I am not a murderer. I will not become the new SS.”
The young man, with his phaser rifle in tow, took up a position in front of Hans and Lee, standing with them.
An older Marine, a Gunnery Sergeant, was next.
“I’ve seen enough death for one lifetime. I did not sign up to kill our own, no matter their crimes. Consider this my resignation.” the NCO went so far as to toss down his rifle and joined Hans and Lee.
That trickle turned into a flood as all but one Marine joined the line formed around Lee and Adlerstein.
Sergeant Major Singh spoke up then, pointing a phaser at Krage and the remaining Marine.
“Ma’am, if you’d kindly hand over your phaser?” the senior NCO said.
Krage was speechless as she watched the events unfold before her. Not in her wildest dreams could she have imagined such a dramatic turn of events. This was supposed to be the big day, the day Lee finally met his end. She had lost everyone she had ever cared about to the war, a war Lee’s hubris had started. He’s supposed to die. He must die.
Taking the phaser from her side holster, Krage held it out as if to surrender it as asked, but as Singh reached out for the phaser, she grabbed his wrist and struck his left kneecap with her foot. Once the marine was down on the deck and out of the way, she made straight for Lee and Hans, phaser in hand. “You sons of . . .”
Captain Krage had come in with fifteen total Marines. Now, fourteen pairs of phasers stood pointed at her in an immovable wall around Hans and Lee.
“It’s over ma’am.” the Gunnery Sergeant who had “resigned” stated, levelling his phaser coolly at her face, the sound of a fresh charge warming up as he did so.
“Traitors. You are all traitors!”
“You are relieved of duty Captain Krage.” Hans stated. He turned to the Gunny that had resigned.
“Disarm the Captain, and place her, Renard, and the Marine who stood with her in the brig. She is to be given full and complete care, understood? Renard, on the other hand, gets bread and water, as much as he likes.” Adlerstein stated, with disgust at mentioning Renard’s name.
“Roger sir, but that might be difficult as I’m no longer a Marine; I resigned just then, remember?”
“We’ll...do the paperwork when we return. Until then, you have your orders.” the German said.
The Gunny smirked at the remark.
“Aye sir.” he sketched a salute and disarmed Krage and the other Marine, and escorted his three prisoners to their new quarters.
Hans turned to Oliver.
“Are you alright sir?” he asked his old colleague.
“I will live.” Oliver nodded as his eyes turned to the blood stained walls and deck around him. “Not everyone was so lucky.” With a shake of his head, he set aside guilt and sorrow, at least for now. Turning back to the marine, he said with a small teasing smile. “It seems that after all you did read the Cicero’s Orations I lent you. It wasn’t so bad, was it?”
Hans shot the flag officer a glance. “What are you talking about Skipper? I saw that one in a holonovel and it sounded good.”
Despite being on opposite sides of a conflict, the two old friends shared a small laugh.
[To be continued in The Dogs of War - Part 7 "The Price of Honor" . . . . . .]
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Commander, Kalandra Sector
Major General Johannes Adlerstein
Commander, 5th Fleet
Starfleet Marine Corps
Starfleet Marine Corps
(NPC - Hans)
Captain Phaelo Krage
CO, USS Bunker Hill - B