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Behold a Pale Horse, Pt. 5: The Rotten Apple
Posted on April 15th, 2024 by Scott Ammora

1st Lieutenant Miguel Yzerra, Security

“Miguel, he’s had enough.”

The words weren’t registering in his ears. His brain had turned off. He had reverted to fight or flight mode, or in Miguel’s case, fight or fight mode. His stomach was settled even though he tasted blood, holographic blood, but blood none the less. It was his own blood. Mostly. He was certain that with the amount of damage he was doing, some of it was from this piece of garbage. The guy wasn’t even responding anymore. He was barely holding himself up.

The courier may have been forcing himself up out of sheer will. Geographical forces of his opponent’s weight standing in the awkward half-standing position may have been keeping his center of gravity up. Or maybe the bastard was mocking him. Miguel was going to go with that choice.

The right hand connected with the left jaw. “Never again, do you hear me?!”

The left hand connected with the right kidney. And Miguel had to hold him up. “When I say I want something delivered to me directly, by you, at a certain day and time, I do not want you to send one of your lackeys to drop it off with my receptionist 36 hours early, do you hear me?” Miguel stood him back up.

Right hand, left kidney. The man bent over, and Miguel held fast again, whispering in his ear. “There’s a way we do things around here. If this little infraction causes me any grief of any kind, you better disappear.”

Uppercut straight to the chin. Man on the floor. “Or I’ll make sure you do myself.” Miguel spat on the fallen.

“Holy hell, Yzerra.”

“What’d you think?”

“Uh, interesting, uh, violent…” His voice trailed off.

“Exciting, right?”

“Not the word I’d use.”

Miguel wiped the sweat off his brow and looked down at the man. He pointed at him and smiled, “Would you believe this guy had the audacity to blow every detail of a simple order? Here’s the crutch, the guy thought he was doing it better. Believe it or not, if he was doing it by today’s standards, Starfleet style, he probably would’ve been promoted for it. Initiative wasn’t highly-looked upon in this time. Toss me that towel, will ya?”

2nd Lieutenant Kory Kohanan, or ‘Koko’ as he was called, tossed him the towel. “I never got into the era. Everyone thought it was all gunfire and action adventure, but it also sounded like a miserable time for pretty much everyone: depression, famine, poverty…”

“Tommy guns, money laundering, in-fighting, backstabbing, assassinations… what’s not to love?” Miguel finished clearing neck and arms of sweat and pulled his tank top back on.

“You’re a sick man.”

“But a man nonetheless.” He snapped his fingers, “Oh, speakeasies are another one! Nothing like sneaking around to find a drink. Did you know those guys, they were called bootleggers, had special shoes that had hoof-like additions on the soles so their tracks looked like livestock? So the authorities couldn’t track them. Ancient stealth practices. Awesome.”

“I think prohibition is something that they did get right. Synthehol was always the way to go.”

Miguel threw a side eye, “Ever had real alcohol?”

Koko nodded, “My friends and I got hammered on a case of Romulan Ale after Academy graduation. I had the worst hangover I’ve ever had before in my life.”

Another side eye, “How many have you had?”

“Just the one. One was enough.”

Miguel rolled his eyes and picked up his shirt and jacket and waved them at Koko. “Look at these clothes! They were incredibly well made. None of that replicated stuff, but actual materials. One would argue that they probably felt the same as the stuff we wear today, but the craftsmanship was handmade of the time. You got to appreciate the artisanship.”

“What you’re holding is holographic.”

“I meant of the era, dumbass.” Miguel put his clothes on a hanger and placed them back in the armoire, closing the door gently. “And the architecture was solid and crafted with expert precision. That’s why I love this program so much. The city has so many different cultures you get to see their own specific way of doing things.”

Koko nodded, “And you get to beat people up.”

“And I get to beat people up.” Miguel responded with a smile.

“Who knew a neanderthal like you had such an eye for historical beauty?”

Miguel flashed a wicked smile, “I’m a man of mystery, my friend.”

The door to the bedroom burst open with a thunderous explosion accompanied by splintering wood pieces flying. Koko fell off the arm of the chair he was sitting on and hit the floor with a thud. Miguel didn’t move other than bending over laughing uncontrollably. There was even a knee slap in there at one point as Koko staggered to his feet, still reeling from the sudden intrusion.

“Stay where you are, don’t move, you’re under arrest!” The man in front of the group of six, clad as a police officer in traditional 1920s garb, aimed a pistol at Koko. “Do not move.”

“Computer, pause program.” Everything went still. Except for the repeated gulps of air Miguel was taking in as he fell out of his comedic euphoria. The belly laugh had tapered off into snickers that he was trying to suppress. “Oh, damn, that was good!”

“What the hell was that?!” Koko said, hitting Miguel square on the shoulder.

“Yeah, usually in this program, I am normally out the door immediately after I beat the living hell out of that guy,” He motioned to the guy behind them, which because they had been talking so long, had finally managed to pull himself to his knees, but frozen in the pause of the program. He wasn’t looking that great still, but that was a given. “They charge in if I stick around about ten minutes later. Takes the story in a weird direction. I don’t do it.”

Koko shook his head, “Asshole.”

“Computer, reset Program Yzerra Rotten Apple, Chapter 6 to the moment Goldy hits the floor and end program.”

“Rotten Apple? Goldy? Where do they come up with this stuff?” Koko said as the holodeck shimmered back to its resting mode and the two started for the door.

“Apple, as in New York City. Big Apple. Goldy as in he’s a Golden Boy. You know, always trying to do better than stick to the plan?” Miguel wasn’t surprised that his friend wasn’t familiar with the time period or interested in it. Miguel was. There were a great many things that Miguel Yzerra was familiar with, most of them related to security, combat, things of that nature, but he had a penchant for that time in Earth’s history.

“What happens next?”

“I’d show you, but the holodeck is reserved for some guy from Engineering. The stupidest program. Origins of Poker.” Miguel laughed the same laugh that he had laughed before, “I think that if I was spending my open evening in the holodeck learning the background of a card game as opposed to partying in ten forward, I’d throw myself out an airlock.”

Koko smirked, “To each their own, I guess.”

“Lieutenant Hill to Lieutenant Yzerra.”

Miguel stopped as the doors to the holodeck parted. “What’s up, Damien?”

“You going to the party tonight?”

“Who isn’t?”

“Come to the security offices on your way.”

“I’ll head that way now. Yzerra out.”

Koko had his arms folded the entire time. “He knows there is a party, he knew you were going, he knows you’re off shift, and he’s calling you into work at this hour? With Ammora gone it seems like Damien’s a little power hungry.”

Miguel shook it off, “Nah, man, Damien isn’t like that. He does take his job seriously, but he’s very grounded and easy to get along with. I’m sure it’s something stupid about when we’re meeting up. He always shows up later than usual, but it’s always on purpose.” They started for the turbolift.

“You’re burning through my one-liners early, man. I could go with ‘Better late than never’ or ‘always got to make an entrance’, you can take your pick.” Koko chuckled to himself. While he wasn’t a dad in real life, his humor had sometimes split universes to one where he was a dad and he took every chance he could to drop beauties like that.

“That’s smarts, Koko. Hill is one of the strongest, fastest, most tactically minded people I’ve ever seen at our level. I’d say I’ve seen Majors and Colonels the don’t have as much poise and collective thought as Damien.” Miguel’s supportive words belied his feelings for the man. They had grown up together, roommates at the Academy together, blood brothers for life. “I can’t believe Harper promoted Ammora over Damien.”

Koko seemed indifferent. He was indifferent. “Captain Ammora isn’t such a bad guy. I think he’s capable. I haven’t had any pro – ”

“Shut your mouth, Kory, or I’ll put my fist in it.”

“Mouth closed. You really don’t like the Captain, do you?”

Miguel balked openly, “The guy is an empty shirt. Comes out of nowhere, lays waste to protocol right off the bat, gets reprimanded for some fucked up situation with Sickbay, and in the end winds up as Chief of Security? Damien is carrying the guy as his second when he should be the first. His first mission out as leader and Damien had to pick up all the slack. Ammora should be scrubbing phaser rifles and sanitizing EV suits.”

Kory perked an eyebrow, “You think that Harper would promote him if she didn’t think she was capable?”

A shrug answered Koko’s question, “All I know is I would love to go ten rounds with Ammora and see how strong that little runt is. I can question orders to myself and to others all I want, I’m entitled to that right. But I still would love to kick his ass.”

“Violence never solves anything.” Boom. Another dad statement.

“We’re in security, Kohanan, violence is our job.”

“No, security is our job.” Kory retorted simply.

Miguel threw his hands in the air, “Which includes, a lot of the time, violence. I win.” Kory wasn’t wrong, but Miguel enjoyed when they got their hands dirty. The Xovul conflict was one of the most exhilarating moments in his Starfleet career and he had relished every minute of it. He’d put down two dozen of those fuckers by himself during the skirmish. He was proud of that.

There was a distinct discrepancy in the Security’s department’s personnel on the true meaning of their servitude to the Federation. There were a fair share of people who believed like Kory – that security was a means of keeping the peace and maintaining order in any given situation – and there were those that joined Miguel’s logic that it was done, a fair majority of the time, with physical force. He figured it was probably like that on every ship. Maybe not science ships, or diplomatic convoys, or starbases, but out on the front lines the mentality was a little more battle-hardened.

“You definitely need to relax, man.”

Miguel waved his hand back towards the holodeck as the turbolift doors opened. “That was relaxing for me.”

Kory grinned, “I meant, like, the party tonight.”

“Well, that’ll be fine too. Deck 7,” Miguel said as the doors closed. “Oh, by the way, I have to tell you about this girl I met in the mess the other day.”

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1 Comment

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    The cast widens! We finally get to meet Yzerra, who does indeed seem to have anger issues as Tara suspected, and meet a new face. Koko seems like a voice of reason that is completely and utterly ignored, much like many of the fatherly one-liners he’s fond of. I can’t say I’m fond of Miguel, but every cold calculating villain needs such a sidekick. Looking forward to more!

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