Starfinder – Patronus Inocuus
The transporter beam materialized the forms of four individuals on the edge of a cliff.
Lightning squad. M.A.C.O.S (Military Assault Command Operations), special forces for Starfleet during wartime. Sergeant Charles Byrnes, Human male age 35; Corporal Naveera, Joined Trill female medic, (but raised on earth in Scotland), age 27. Corporal Hicks, Human male aged 31. And Corporal Hobbes, Caitian male.
Sergeant Byrnes gave the hand signal to drop from sight, as he spotted people in the distance.
He activated his anti-proton sniper rifle’s scope, and zoomed in to sweep the group. “Looks like humans, or close to being human. Four adult females, one female child about six or seven years old.”
Hobbes released a low growl of agitation as he lay prone behind rocks. He looked over to Naveera. She exchanged a look of concern over the situation with the Caitian.
“Byrnes to Drake. We are at the drop point, targets in sight. Awaiting your special orders.”
The comm badge chirped as Franklin Drake’s voice came through. “The target is the child. she must be eliminated. What you do not know is this was a classified mission, Sergeant. You and your squad have been sent back in time through a temporal transporter. We are communicating through special technology Starfleet Intelligence has “borrowed” from DTI”.
Byrnes raised a brow, as he and the squad members looked at one another with shock.
“Sir, why are we killing a child?” Byrnes asked. He didn’t like this one bit. He glanced at Naveera, the beautiful red haired Trill was his best friend. He trusted her more than anyone in Starfleet.
She did not look amused.
“That information is need to know, Sergeant. Carry out my orders.” Drake replied coldly.
Naveera lost it. She was raised in Scotland on earth, her father had died when she was little, and her mother had remarried a human. She adapted the renown Scottish fire the women were known for.
“You want us to do this? You better give us a damned good reason, Drake!” She barked.
“Fine. That child is the future Borg Queen. We have calculated taking her out before she is assimilated will reduce the casualty rate of Borg infiltrations into the Alpha quadrant by more than half. This time period is a few days before her assimilation, she was raised in the collective to maturity and groomed to become Queen.”
The Squad were silent a moment reflecting Drake’s words. They looked at one another, before Byrnes sighed. “Understood.” He looked at the others, who were disturbed. “We can’t do this Byrnes!” Naveera said angrily.
Byrnes nodded and aimed his sniper rifle, lining up his sight to target the little girl’s head. He could at least make it quick, and painless.
He hovered his finger over the trigger, hesitant.
Naveera looked at him sharply, anger and watery emotion filled eyes stared at him. She and Byrnes had a special bond, and she thought she knew him. If he did this, she would question everything her instincts tell her, instincts formed by several lifetimes of symbiont hosts.
“Byrnes..” She said softly.
Byrnes lowered the weapon and sighed. “Forget it Drake”. He said. “I refuse this order.”
Naveera sighed relief. Drake’s voice came over the channel. “You are relieved then, Byrnes. Hicks, you are now in charge. Carry out my orders. Eliminate the target.”
Hicks looked at Byrnes, then Naveera, then Hobbes. “Negative, sir. Lightning squad doesn’t kill children. Wer’e better than this.”
Drake sounded less than happy. “End program”. The planet around them shifted to the walls of a holodeck as the simulation came to an end. Franklin Drake entered through the doors arms resting behind his back.
“Soldiers are supposed to follow orders without question, Lightning squad. I am very disappointed. I had hopes to..recruit you..into a special unit.”
Byrnes stood up and at attention, as did the rest of Lightning squad. “Then court martial us, sir. We follow LAWFUL orders, we don’t assassinate children. Get a Romulan to do that, if you must.”
Drake shook his head. “The nature of this exercise, was to make you understand some decisions and orders are not made for lack of morality. The greater good. Had you taken out this target, millions of lives would be spared from assimilation.”
Naveera spoke up, angrily. “With respect, sir..the Borg would have just created a queen out of someone else. We would have possibly delayed their advance, but it would have still happened. And we would have had to live with knowing we made a small difference at the cost of our conscience’s.”
Drake sighed and shook his head again. “Lightning squad, you are dismissed. You are being reassigned to Starfinder.”
Byrnes raised a brow. “Starfinder? Major Shepard must have requested us to rejoin him after his transfer. Nice.” He smiled as he led the squad out of the holodeck.
Drake tapped his communicator. “Drake to Yolanda. No go. Lightning squad aren’t recruitable to Section 31. We’ll have to settle for the one agent we have on board now.”
A voice came through his comm badge. “Understood. One is better than none.”
Franklin Drake sighed once more as he turned and exited the holodeck.