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Hopatachogue

Posted on Wed Nov 23rd, 2016 @ 11:40pm by Lieutenant JG Wakeham Paul Alasia PhD
Edited on on Thu Dec 8th, 2016 @ 7:00am

Mission: https://gladiator.pegasusfleet.net/index.php/sim/missions/id/34
Location: Hopatachogue Terminal, Bangor, Maine, Earth
Timeline: Early May, 2391

OLD:

“Lieutenant, this message serves as a binding contact pursuant to Federation statute 2-A181. You are subpoenaed to appear no more than 15 days from today at Federation Courthouse 1 on San Francisco, Earth to testify in the matter of the People of the United Federation of Planets vs. Trevor Alasia, docket number 11122025, part A.”

“Wait what?!” Paul asked, his eyebrows skeptically offset.

“Yes, sir.” The woman looked up from her PADD. “I am a representative for the prosecution in a state case against your father. We need to depose you as soon as possible."

------------

“Paul, honey, is that you?”

“Hi, mom.”

“Why is this coming in from an Earth exchange? Where are you calling me from?”

“I’m in Paris, mom, like I told you I would be last month.”

“You’re in Paris? For how long? Are we going to see you?”

“Mom, we… we’ll talk about that in a second. I just got a call from the Federation court system. We have to talk…”


NEW:
For as long as Paul could remember, it had been a joke amongst all the kids in his school. If you’re from Bangor, you can just sense the exact moment you’re approaching the cross at Congress Street where Hopatachogue ends and Arthur begins. Hopatachogue where, in the mid 21st century, an Ecadorian immigrant leaving work, walked briskly past three drunk college kids on his way home, caught their attention and antagonism, and ended up killing one and taking an eye from the second. Hopatachogue, where in the county courthouse, which was the only one remaining in the northern hemisphere that maintained its own on-site holding facility, a group of locals led by the dead kid’s uncle over the loud and pleading protestations of the dead kid’s mother, stormed the facility, and dragged the Ecuadorian man into the streets, nearly killing the on-duty Sergeant-at-Arms in the process. Hopatachogue, where on the courthouse lawn, the group of locals slowly raised the Ecuadorian man by the neck in what turned out to be the final public lynching in what was then known as the United States of America. The crime, as far as anyone could tell, was being in a hurry to get home, walking in a manner that annoyed someone, and being a better hand in a fight than three drunk college kids. Sensing when one had left Hopatachogue was treated, at least with a snicker by Paul’s friends, as a matter of survival.

Hopatachogue, which had given the planet Desiree Fuller, who served as Earth’s representative to the Federation Council for nearly two decades and Arthur, which was the only voting district 300 kilometers in any direction that never went for her.

Hopatachogue, which was named after an Oneida leader who lobbied the Penobscot tribe of Maine to join the Iroquois League even as their cultural sovereignty over their homes was at its weakest to that point in history. Arthur, which was named after an activist known for, among other things, successfully fighting off housing projects for displaced soldiers proposed by the United Earth Government.

In reality, “Hopatachogue” existed primarily as an idea, a needed functionary to otherize the ongoing inability of Bangor to achieve sovereign status and end its toxic association with the effete, collectivist, universalist, kleptocratic, failed state of the United Federation of Planets. No sixth sense was required to know when one had crossed into the tiny fiefdom within the fiefdom of Bangor called Arthur. Neoteric futurist architecture abutting streets lined with trees, and lit by soft, Teslavic streetlamps give way to clapboard Victorian homes built in the late 19th century, colored by the crisp, blue-white light of LED lamps installed at the end of the 20th century and crudely jury-rigged to whatever new energy paradigm had led to the most recent works project.

But even as the neighborhood changed, the generations-old lie about the dangers Hopatachogue – the muggings, property crime, gang activity and murders – proved remarkably persistent. Hopatachogue, like nearly all of Earth 250-some years after Zefram Cochrane’s voyage, had for all intents and purposes, no murders to speak of – averaging perhaps one in the entire neighborhood every generation. One fewer on average, Paul would have been quick to point out, than Arthur over the same period of time. Context, such as it was, rarely mattered, in any discussion where those numbers might have come up.

Arthur had long had a history of electing ceremonial “mayors,” though the neighborhood fell within the city limits of Bangor and the jurisdiction of the Bangor municipal government. The residents of Arthur, almost universally, chose not to vote in the actual, Federation-backed elections, but instead built a series of ad-hoc, parallel governance institutions for themselves in a twisted, almost forceful, take on the notion of home rule.

Paul had, famously, been the youngest “mayor” ever elected in Arthur.

It was in the hopes of avoiding his former constituents that he had his shuttle drop him off at the Hopatachogue terminal and not directly home in Arthur. Paul checked his communicator as he stepped off the shuttle to a reassuring message from his sister that she would pick him up shortly. But it took not five steps beyond that before Paul instantly recognized the visage of his father’s friend, Mr. Kellogg. A man he had not seen since the end up his “administration” nearly 15 years earlier. Paul hoped, in vain, the man might not recognize him.

“Wakeham?” He asked, as Paul slinked past the man's bench. “Is that Trevor’s boy?”

“Hello, sir. How are you?” Paul resignedly dropped his bag from his shoulder and stepped closer to the man. He was a thick, ruddy and youthful-looking man for his late 60s with a graying beard and a casual but closed demeanor. and body language”

“I’m ok, Wakeham. Been some upsetting happenings around here. I’m sure that’s why you’re here." He paused. "Months late, but you’re here.”

Paul nodded politely at the barb.

“Why don’t you take a seat, son?” He asked. Paul extended his neck to look for his sister out the front door. No luck, she hadn’t arrived yet.

“I’m just waiting for a ride from Jessica.”

“Oh, little Jesse!” Mr. Kellogg enthused. “Love to say ‘hi’ to her, as well. She here, yet?”

“Not yet.” Paul slid onto the opposite end of the bench his interlocutor occupied. He sat, silent, for a moment, unsure of what he could say.

“I notice you didn’t ask me to call you Doctor.”

Paul bristled slightly. This was going to be excruciating. "Most people call me 'Paul' these days, sir. 'Wakeham' is fine as well."

"All that schooling. You're not proud? Don't want people to know?"

“No, sir - it's not about pride. I don’t really ask anyone to call me 'Doctor.' I feel like it’s confusing.”

“How’s that?”

“Well, I mean, it’s pretentious…” With that the corner of the older gentleman’s mouth raised into a smirk as if he was going to make a comment but decided against it. Paul continued. “…plus, you call yourself doctor, people automatically assume you’re an M.D. So, it’s easier to drop it altogether than spending my life correcting people: ‘oh, I’m not that kind of doctor.’”

“Don’t want to be pretentious after all.” The older gentleman said with a droll smirk.

“You surely don’t, sir. How’s Geoff been doing?”

“Oh, he’s been doing real fine. Does technical work for a company out in Nashua. Got a Ferengi owns the branch, but I he doesn’t screw him too bad like another scrag-eared bastard might, so he’s actually pretty lucky to have gotten one of the good ones.”

“Thank God for what.” Paul withered at the casual way the gentleman dropped epithets into conversation. The man was testing Paul.

“What are you doing these days, Doc?” Mr. Kellogg asked.

Paul felt his eyes reduce to angry slits. “What do you mean 'these days?'”

“What do you do for work, son?” The older man pressed innocently.

Paul was rapidly losing patience with his father’s friend and his sister was not appearing to save him. “I think you know what I do.” Paul said flatly.

“Well, you weren’t wearing your uniform or your jackboots. Figured you mighta saw the way your United Federation was screwing your father, you might just have come to your senses.”

“I guess my senses remain compromised.”

The man leaned his forearms on his legs. “Can I give you a little bit of advice from an ignorant, mouth-breathing nobody, Wakeham?”

Paul sat motionless.

“In all your schooling in that liberal c***stain over there in Madison, they never taught you the value of experience, of seeing the world outside your own little bubble. Your father loves you and he raised you right. For you to go sail the Goddamn stars opening up our home to every manner of scrag and spoonhead, and changeling that wants to destroy our way of life… I think you ought to take this time and have a serious look inward, son. You have become a living slap in the face to your father and for what? All that beautiful metal and fast ships, hopping from star to star to do what? Protect some earringed terrorist or pointy eared bastard? What they do for us?" He gestured around the station. "Here? Everything you’ve done, everything that you keep doing. You join up with the Federation, you spend years at some limp-wristed Goddamn school get yourself good and Goddamn brainwashed then you join up to become a thug for the lawless, collectivist despots who want to lock your father away.”

“Mm-hmm?” Paul nodded vigorously.

“And you don’t even have the courage to put in honest work. You don’t fight, you don’t defend. You negotiate. You talk. You talk and you talk and you talk 'til you’re blue in the Goddamn face. You talk us right into the backpockets of Cardassians and Romulans and Ferengi. Changelings murder our children and you want to talk. Borg want to jam a rod into the side of your neck and you want to talk. Some Talarian would sooner smile in your face and rape your sister than lift one God finger to help any of us, and you want to talk. Your father's a better man than I am, boy, because if you were my son, out there talking us right into the Goddamn shitter, I’d blast my Goddamn brain out. Or yours.”

Paul sat quietly fuming for what felt to him like a long time. “I’m sorry, was there meant to be some advice in there?”

“Yeah, Wakeham. There was. Be a fucking man. Fight for your family. Fight for your people. Don’t get dropped off in Hopatachogue like a Goddamn coward, thinking you can avoid what you got coming to you. Do the right thing.”

Mercifully, Paul caught the visage of his ride out of the corner of his eye.

“Well, sir. I hadn’t really thought to be a man before or do the right thing, so I’ll definitely take that under advisement.” Paul said, affecting as much calm as he could. He turned to the door.

“Tell your dad I said ‘hello’ Will you, son? Tell him I said 'stay strong.'”

Paul stopped and turned back a moment. “I would, sir… but, I just can’t seem to remember your name.” Paul resumed his path home. Mr. Kellogg smiled and leaned back on his bench.

 

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