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The Table of the Presence

Posted on Thu Dec 8th, 2016 @ 12:20am by Lieutenant JG Wakeham Paul Alasia PhD
Edited on on Thu Dec 8th, 2016 @ 7:06am

Mission: https://gladiator.pegasusfleet.net/index.php/sim/missions/id/34
Location: Kitchen, The Home of Ann and Trevor Alasia, Bangor, ME
Timeline: Mid May, 2391

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.” His father’s friend responded. “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.”


NEW:

Paul walked up the stairs to the kitchen of his childhood home – the kitchen directly across and above his old bedroom so that every clanging pot, every moved chair, every slam of a cabinet rang through his ceiling. Paul’s mother sat on the far end of the long wood table that had bubbled and crusted from too many pans placed directly onto the surface. She read through a book absently, a half-drank tea dangling from her left hand. Standing at the stove was his sister, Jessica, who also had been staying with the family in preparation for the trial.

“Making that for yourself?” Paul asked.

“No, it’s for everyone.” His sister flipped the eggs in the frying pan she held in the other hand. “I was just about to send Mom to get you.”

“Thanks, Jess. I really appreciate it.”

“It’s not free.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Paul knew exactly what she meant by “free.”

“You seem him today.”

“You still haven’t visited?!” Paul’s mother chimed in. “You said you saw your father on Friday.”

“I meant to.”

“Damn it, Paul!” His mother shouted.

“I got caught up in a meeting…”

“I don’t give a shit Paul.” His mother leaned her arm over the table and pointed in his face. “He’s your father and he has nothing over there. The number one thing they say makes these people lose hope is they think people have forgotten them.”

“I’ll go today.” Paul insisted

“I can’t believe you lied to me.” His mother shook her head.

“Jesus, mom. He’s in fucking jail, and the thing you’re really upset about is that I haven’t visited my father in a sufficiently quick timeframe. I haven’t visited him in jail.”

“What, do you think you’re blowing my mind, Wakeham?” His mother asked incredulously. “You want to high-road your father who is in jail for doing nothing?!”

“How is that nothing?!”

“I’m not… Wakeham, I swear to Christ, I’m not in the mood for this.”

“It’s not nothing!”

“Spiking one server that’s spying on us!”

“What does that even mean – spiking?! Dad, had some freakin kid infiltrate a government server and delete people’s records!”

“He’s helping them!”

“By deleting medical records?!”

“Oh, for the love of… grow up, Paul! These are not nice people. You think they’re keeping track of how many colds people get or they’re keeping track of their psychiatric histories?! Whether they’re having sex! STDs!”

“Why? Why in God’s name would they do that, mom?!”

“For control! To get… to control everyone! They brainwash well-meaning people like you and they scare everyone else into doing what they want!”

Paul put his hands up and shook in frustration. “Mom, there is no ‘they.’ I am they and they really couldn’t give less of a shit about who does what or who has what. It’s just not what’s happening.”

“How do you know?!” She shouted loudly. ”How do you know they’re doing what we need them to do? We’re just supposed to blindly trust them?!”

“THERE’S NO ‘THEM.’ They are you, you are them. The government is just an institution that represents the collective us. It’s not some shadowy cabal. It’s people we elected.”

“Paul, I really… you just have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Mom, I…”

“HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY’RE NOT CHANGELINGS, PAUL?!”

“Jesus Christ, Mom.” Paul’s sister finally rejoined the conversation. “Changelings?”

“Let me ask you a question, Jessica. They had a changeling in every level of Starfleet, no one had any clue. How do we know they haven’t…”

“Mom, how do we know anything?” She replied, exasperated. “Have you ever read any of the articles about what’s out there? There’s, like, God-aliens, and reptiles and Christ knows what else. I mean, of all the things in the world to be scared of. Changelings?”

“They tried to kill us, Jessica!”

“So did the Klingons, mom. You hate Klingons?”

“No, I love Klingons.” She smiled for the first time in the conversation. “They’re so cute!”

“I know you love them, mom. They’re a warrior race. They do brutal things…”

“They have a sense of honor. A sense of right and wrong. It’s why we’re friends…”

“We weren’t always friends, mom.” Paul interjected. “There was a time when Klingons wanted to wipe us from the galaxy.”

“Paul, you’re being very naïve about all this.”

“Really, it’s not…”

“Paul, the Federation is too big. It might have been good for Earth at one time but it’s gotten way too big. We are the most important world in the Federation but when was the last time we had a human president, hmm? They’ve got Deltans in there. Andorians. Vulcans vote overwhelmingly for Vulcans, Andorians overwhelmingly for Andorians, but I’m a racist if I say I prefer a human president?”

“Who cares if the president is…?”

“Paul, you don’t think a Deltan president is more likely to look out for Delta? Bajorans for Bajor? Betazoid? All of them! You’re father is trying to carve out a world where we are looked after instead of ignored.”

“I just don’t… ignored? Seriously, mom?”

“Yes! I’m dead serious!”

“Do you realize the dividing line of the entire quadrant is Earth?! Literally, on one side of Earth is the Alpha quadrant and the other side is the Beta quadrant. We live in Sector 001. That means that from the perspective of the UFP, the galaxy literally revolves around Earth. We’re the first thing. Everything else is subsumed to us. Humans are the largest race in Starfleet, the most represented people at all levels of business and the government. We provide a huge number of the resources…”

“Yes! We provide. And what do we get for it? Nothing! We’re sending people and our planet’s precious minerals to all these backwards planets that do nothing for us.”

“Mom, I just don’t… it makes us safe…”

“How?1 How does it make us safe?”

“All these different peoples. Different planets. We have a shared fate. We share resources. We share our knowledge. We share our cultures. We win together, we lose together. Instead of competing with 160 different species, we cooperate. We turn 160 potential enemies into 160 friends. We make sure they never attack us – not because we are tougher than them or stronger than them, but because attacking would them attacking themselves. They have nothing to gain from our defeat since we all fail together. It keeps us safer than 10,000 starships ever could.”

“Paul, it’s just… maybe it’s because you’re young. Maybe it’s just… I don’t know but you just sound so incredibly naïve to me. In the whole history of the world, they only thing that has ever worked is strength. When you’re strong, you’re safe.”

Paul took a bite of his now cold eggs. “Mom… how can you ever be strong enough to take on an entire galaxy?”

“You start by taking care of yourself and let other people take care of themselves.”

Paul took another bite and picked up his plate.

“I’ll clear that.” His sister interrupted him softly.

“I can do it.” Paul motioned over to the counter.

“No, I… give them here.” His sister smiled. “I want them.”:

“Oh, sorry.” Paul smiled. “Alright, I’m going to go.”

“You’re going to see your father?” His mother asked.

“Yes, mom, I am.”

“Now?”

“Yes, right now.” He walked through the threshold and headed down to his room.

“Think about what I said.” His mother called after him. “Seriously. Think about it.”

Paul sighed to himself. “I will, mom. I will.”


 

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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant JG Nuxac on Thu Dec 8th, 2016 @ 5:32am

Great post!

I've always thought family can be a great source of conflict.