Obsidian Command’s Chief of Security, LtCmdr Sikan, contemplates his final martial arts test back on Vulcan from the current perspective in his new assignment to protect the lives aboard the stardock space station. This entry clues the reader in to the mind of Sikan, where he draws a defensive circle around his new post and contemplates the dangers that surround. The writing moves effortlessly between the big picture and the personal and between the past and the present… as Sikan begins to anticipate the future.
Posted on 29 Sep 2022 @ 9:22pm by Lieutenant Commander Sikan
Mission: M3 – Into the Deep
Location: OC Security Offices, The Dockyard
1982 words – 4 OF Standard Post Measure
.:Vulcan, 22 Years Ago:.
Sikan could feel the sun beating down on him, an unrelenting blaze that gave no quarter and offered no mercy. There were philosophies—because on Vulcan there are philosophies devised for everything—which held the fury of the Vulcan sun was what gave rise to the violent nature of the Vulcan peoples. It was, of course, a theory that was largely dismissed. The sun held no sway over a people. It gave light and heat. In the case of Vulcan, it simply gave a great deal of both. Vulcans had no history of sun worship that had ever been discovered, either. They had gods of war, gods of death, gods of agriculture. The sun was never one of them, as far as the archeologists had discovered. However all of these facts might be true, the refutation of the sun as a source of the Vulcan’s innate fury did miss one simple truth.
It was so damned hot sometimes that it became difficult to control one’s anger.
Sikan wore a simple close-fitting tunic and trousers, both roughly-hewn cloth. There was no outward indication of his rank, nor of the fact that his time at the Institute for the Defensive Arts was coming to an end. He stood in the center of a stone circle, unmoving. His arms hung loosely at his side, his head raised slightly, eyes closed. The sun was his only companion, and it was not a very pleasant one. His skin burned, sweat streaked his face and pasted his tunic to his body. His hair was clipped short, shaved nearly down to his scalp. He’d been standing in the stone circle for nearly eleven hours by this point, since before the sun had even risen to begin punishing his body with heat. There wasn’t even a breeze to bring relief.
But while Sikan was cognizant of all of these things, he set them aside. He set aside his thirst and his hunger, his pain and fatigue, his anger and boredom. A Vulcan felt everything, but a Vulcan managed them. He wouldn’t be ruled by these feelings, and so he stood and he waited. It was halfway through the eleventh hour that he heard footsteps. Bare feet on scorching sands and hard pebbles, just like his. Sikan opened his eyes as the footsteps approached. The new arrival was Elieth. Her name meant “free desert.” It was an old name, a good name. Her family came from the Forge, and she was one of the most impressive students at the Institute. Her hair was shaved down to the scalp, like his own. She wore clothes exactly like his. She was lean and hard, honed by years of training and study and trials, like his own. She stood before him. They regarded each other silently. Then her left foot slid out towards him fractions of an inch, a slight movement that could be easily missed. Sikan’s right foot moved the same amount. Her right hand, held easily at her side, came up diagonally across her body. As it did, Sikan shifted to his left, his knees bending slightly. They did this for several moments. She would move, and he would respond. Their eyes would examine each other, their form and their gaze. When it was finally over, Elieth simply favored Sikan with the barest of nods. “I concede.”
“I am honored,” Sikan replied. Elieth turned and left, leaving Sikan to resume his position in the circle. Over the next three hours, seven more students approached Sikan in the circle. Sometimes one at a time. Sometimes two. Again and again, a silent duel would be fought in their minds. A shift in position to indicate an oncoming attack. A move to indicate the defense. In the minds of each student, the battle was waged as Sikan was tested. No blow was ever thrown. The students performing this ritual were too advanced to need to test each other so physically. Each encounter ended the same way as the first, with Sikan alone in the center of the circle.
As the sun dipped low over the horizon, Dvir approached. The older Vulcan looked as if he had been wizened by the sun, burned down to only the most important primal elements. A slim body, a brilliant mind, an iron will. He stood before Sikan. “Why are you here?” He asked, his voice barely more than a whisper.
“To learn defense.”
“What will you defend?”
“Life. Justice. Truth.”
“If you must kill?”
“I will do so efficiently, logically, and without cruelty.”
“If you must die?”
“Then I must die.”
“How did you assess your opponents today?”
“Simple logic. Elieth is faster, and she is skilled. She would use my greater strength against me. I countered her speed with patience, forced her to attack when she would prefer to defend.” Sikan told Dvir how he approached each silent conflict, one after another. By the time he was done, Dvir gave the slightest of nods.
“And me, Sikan? How would you defeat me?”
Sikan looked at his teacher, and the old Vulcan looked back, a calm statue radiating peace. Finally, Sikan said, “I concede.”
“Most logical,” Dvir agreed. “You see the logic in strategy, Sikan. When you recognize the truth of everything, you recognize how to contend with it. Not only externally, but internally, as well. You must understand yourself as well as you understand another. Not every opponent can be bested.”
“At this time.”
“True. Someday I will be dead. Perhaps you might wish to try then.” Dvir gave the slightest raising of an eyebrow. Only his more advanced students knew him well enough to know that he was incredibly amused at that moment. Then, his face became impassive as rock all over again. “You are ready for the Rite of Tal’oth.”
Sometimes, Sikan still thought that he could feel the sun beating down on him again. It usually meant that his mind was trying to tell him something. Now that he was on the base, he was getting caught up on the many things which demanded his attention. There was most pressingly, the matter of the void space which Obsidian Command had been shifted off to. There were still far too few answers about what had caused that phenomenon and for what reason. Which meant it very well could happen again. That wasn’t something Sikan could simply ignore. The scientists and engineers were still puzzling out what had happened and why, which meant Sikan had to operate from the assumption that they had been targeted by somebody until proven otherwise.
Then there was the matter of the many—too many—criminals who had broken out of the brig and escaped in the chaos, a matter brought to his attention by CPO Isuri. If there were any of them still in the area, as unlikely as it might be, he meant to ensure they were brought to justice. When Marshal Steiner arrived back on the base, they could formulate a plan for that.
There had been Fenris Rangers in the area. Their status with the Federation was shady at best, acting as somewhat of a vigilante force. Perhaps with good intentions, perhaps not. In either event, Sikan would rather know how to handle them before they returned. An uneasy ally one day could very quickly become an enemy the next.
And finally, the most concerning element on the list, the Romulans. The Romulan government was in chaos, factions vying against each other for legitimacy and power. Obsidian Command maintained a Federation presence in the area, and as such was without question a high-value target for Romulan operations. Taken all together, Obsidian Command was like Sikan had been all those years ago, standing quietly in the middle of a circle, surrounded on all sides by opponents. How to keep her safe, when those opponents decided to come into the circle?
He applied logic to these questions, and formulated a strategy. Each opponent required their own counter, their own careful assessment. As fortune would have it, he knew where to start.
The Dockyard was a small bar with special dispensation to operate near the docking ring. It was a place where people could go when they had brief layovers, or following a long shift on a ship. People of all sorts passed through the Dockyard. Cargo handlers, Starfleet officers, independent contractors, freight captains and more all came to the Dockyard for a place to sit and have a drink, blow off some steam. Sikan had heard from his officers that it was the kind of place a new security chief would want to pay attention to.
Sikan walked into the small bar, observing the bustle. A Tellurite bartender was slinging drinks behind the long bar along one wall. Another Tellurite moved among the crowd with a tray. People of all species talked and laughed, and Sikan found who he was looking for sitting towards the back. A human woman sat at a table with a tall glass of ale in front of her. Her wavy gray hair was cut short, and she wore a dark blue shirt under a short maroon jacket. When she saw Sikan, she cocked her head slightly and lifted her glass just a bit. Sikan wove his way easily through the busy bar, not touching anybody as he came near.
“I heard they had a new Chief coming in,” the woman said.
“I am sure you heard it was going to be me, as well,” Sikan replied, sitting down. “How have you been, Lena?”
“Living the civilian life. Ish.” She smiled at that. “I’ve got a nice little ship, run along the border, delivering goods. None of the creature comforts of the Hood, but fewer people to answer to.” Her smile widened a little bit more. “But, then, you were never one for creature comforts, were you, Sik?”
“I do not understand that saying. ‘Creature comforts.’ In my experience, most wild animals live in rather difficult and uncomfortable circumstances.”
“Did you come all the way up here from your office to discuss colloquialisms with your old pal Lena?”
Sikan looked at her for a moment. She returned his gaze, placid, smiling. Lena always smiled like she knew something you didn’t. Which, in most cases, she did. “The Romulans.”
“They’ve been busy.”
Lena shrugged. “That, I’m not sure. They pay attention, I know that much. Whether or not they have the bandwidth to involve themselves here when they have their own problems? That’s unclear.”
“Who can make it clear for me?”
Lena grinned and took a drink. She seemed a little bit drunk, but Sikan knew it was an act. “I know somebody.”
“Ah. Now, there’s something interesting. Liv has been on this station, and she’s not somebody you play around with. I can put you in contact with somebody that can tell you more.”
“They are still operating in the area?”
“Without a doubt. And they only have so much use for Starfleet authority, and a lot of Rangers have been in Starfleet. It’s like the Maquis 2.0, only they’re not content with just pushing back against the Cardassians. They’ll push anybody they believe need pushing.”
“If it comes to it.”
“I would like to request a favor. In your journeys, if you might pay attention to things of interest to me, I would appreciate knowing about them. I can arrange for payment.”
“You don’t need to pay me, Sik. Not after everything. I’ll keep my ear to the ground. Not like I don’t already do that. Buy me a drink?”
Sikan nodded. “That, I can most certainly do.”