The first nominees for Best Post are Admiral Nathan Cowell and Lieutenant Deeana Karras of the USS Ariadne for "Shenanigans, Curmudgeon Style". If you believe this post is the best, cast your vote by emailing Commodore Brett Gann at brett.gann (at) sixth-fleet.com and include your character name and simulation. Other nominees to follow in additional articles.


The text of the post follows:

=Unknown…=

“Wake up, Mister Bond.”

Those were the words that jarred James Eubanks awake. A harsh light blinded his still weak eyes and forced him to squint, the pain of the light overwhelming him for a few long moments. Once he could finally tolerate the intensity of the light source that assailed him, the Security Officer looked around and found the scene to be one out of a holo-novel. Strange equipment out of a mad scientist’s lab was strewn about the floor, covering the walls, and even hanging precariously from the ceiling. Though every room had its own energy, the one James was occupying had an almost unreal sinister feel to it.

“Where am I?” James demanded, suddenly aware as he tried to sit up that he was being restrained, and rather tightly, “Who’s out there?!”

Silence was the only response he received at first. It was suspiciously quiet in the room; none of the devices around him seemed to be on, nothing creaked, nothing clattered together… it was just deathly silent. Finally, after what could have been seconds or hours, finally the sound of footfalls echoed in the room. The first few sounded so hushed they could have come from any direction. James squinted yet again, this time trying to focus on the sounds, and where they seemed to come from. After the fourth footfall he registered that it was behind him that the source of the sounds was coming from. Immobilized, James could do nothing but wait until the person potentially responsible for his situation revealed themselves. And reveal they did.

The form that appeared before James was ancient. Despite the fact that the man standing before him looked human, the piercing stare that he was being subjected to had such weight to it that James almost couldn’t look him dead in the eyes without feeling supremely uncomfortable.

“I see you’re awake, Mister Bond,” the man’s voice had a tone and demeanor that took James completely off guard. There was authority behind it, such that only someone who knew they were in complete control could muster even in such a bizarre setting as the one James found himself in.

“Bond? What do you mean, Bond? I’m not this Bond character,” Eubanks argued.

“Oh, but you are… Quite the spitting image of a spy, I think. You have that worldly look about you; those well-defined features, those lean muscles, that devil-may-care countenance. That and I hear you’re quiet the lady’s man. Can’t have a secret agent without that female attracting charm, now can you?”

“Who are you? Where is this? What’s going on?” James demanded answers as he continued to struggle against his restraints.

“Who I am is unimportant, what is important is that you are here, now, in my clutches. You’ve done some very naughty things, Mister Bond. Things that I don’t much care for. I’ll have you repent, now, if you don’t mind… or die trying.”

The old man began laughing in a manner both menacing and maniacal, as if he were actually some manner of villain playing out a role in a novel. James couldn’t shake the feeling that though most of what he was experiencing wasn’t real, the man he’d just spoken to felt very much a real and dangerous person. His tormentor disappeared soon after his laughing fit concluded, leaving James alone in the strange room. James struggled against his restraints again, wondering silently how he might extract himself out of the situation he’d woken up in. Several jerks over various muscle groups didn’t seem to do the trick, but when he tried to pull his arms upward in a sort of curling motion, his bonds suddenly gave.

“Huh…” he muttered aloud as he tossed the shackle-like fragments off himself and began the task of fully extracting himself from the table. Once free, James noticed a distinct lack of visible exits. It was as if all of the walls were solid. James knew that couldn’t be the case, since his recent visitor had both entered and exited the room.

“Computer!” James demanded, hoping that he was simply in a holodeck and that someone was playing with him. The only thing that greeted him in reply was the echo of his own voice. It wasn’t too farfetched to assume that voice commands could have been disabled. It was also not so outlandish to think that he might perhaps not be in a holodeck at all. As unlikely as it seemed, James’ mind flitted to several case reports he’d read not all that long ago that spoke of strange abductions in much less populated sectors than the one the Ariadne was visiting.

The next logical step James took was to search the room for something useable. Eubanks assumed his captor had more confidence in his restraint device than it had suddenly displayed, which meant his captor might also be secure enough in his superior position to leave something lying around that could be of use. A rather hasty search of the compartment led to James discovering a rather old looking piece of hardware that James had to stop and search his memory to recall what it was. When it hit him what he had discovered, a smirk slide across his lips.

James lifted the device, something he recalled being named a bazooka, and pointed it to the far wall that his captor had seemed to have vanished beyond. His fingers slide along the tube of the weapon until finally he found the trigger and depressed it. The projectile resting inside surged forward and rushed to the opposing wall, colliding with the solid object with such force that James was knocked off his feet in the resulting blast. It was only after the impact with the ground that he’d remembered reading that people fired the things knelling rather than standing.

With little time to admonish himself for his mistake, James gathered himself off the ground and hurried toward the hole he’d made. He expected a corridor, or some other manner of walkway to be waiting for him just outside. What James hadn’t expected to see was the garden he stumbled his way into.

Looking around, the space he’d escaped from looked very much like a box sitting in the middle of a vast and rather beautifully decorated garden. The landscape was immaculately sculpted and the fragrances that wafted around him bespoke of the presence of a multitude of flowers. It was a complete juxtaposition of what he’d thought to find. Even more so the two people he found himself staring at just across the small pond that sat in what James could only assume was the center of the garden.

“Deeana?” Eubanks muttered in confusion before calling out to her more loudly. When there was no response, James began to make his way over to the pair, only to realize that Deeana was standing next to the man who he’d just spoken to moments ago. Rage swelled up in him as James surged forward, hell bent on rescuing his superior.

“Get away from her!” he yelled as he reached out to grab hold of the mad man who he’d thought to be a threat to his department head.

His hands never made contact with their intended target. The old man turned around with the most devious of looks on his face and took hold of James’ wrist, twisting it in a most horrendously painful way. James dropped to his knees and yelled out, his eyes closing at the pain. The moment his eyes slammed shut, everything went deathly silent, and the pain he had been feeling suddenly stopped. James’ eyes snapped back open only to find nothing the same as it had been just a moment ago.

“What in the hell…?” James muttered as he found himself suddenly in the middle of an old office setting. This time, the old man he’d been talking to moments before was standing next to him wearing a suit and tie, looking very much the image of a proper business man.

“James, are you alright, lad?” he said, reaching out to pull the man to his feet, “One minute we’re talking and the next you’re on the floor screaming. Should I fetch a doctor?”

Eubanks blinked several times before he somehow just accepted the setting, “No… that’s alright… I’m fine…”

“You don’t look fine, James. Ms. Folkin, come take a look at James. He’s looking rather frightful,” the old man called out.

James was about to protest when a figure that looked every bit like Lt. Karras walked up. Her hair was in a conservative bun, and the most striking thing about her was the fact that he ears looked nothing like a half-Vulcan’s. James’ mouth hung open in shock as the woman approached him.

“You’re right, sir, James isn’t looking well at all,” the woman said. Though it sounded like Deeana, she had a decidedly ‘British’ accent, something he’d never heard Lt. Karras speak in. James suddenly wondered if he wasn't inside of a very vivid dream.

“I’m fine, really…” James protested.

“Are you sure?” the old man inquired with genuine concern.

“Yes, really…” Eubanks nodded, straightening his attire in an effort to get the point across.

“As you say, James, though I wonder just how well a man can be when he’s running about with his pajamas on…” the old man pointed out.

James looked down and saw that he was indeed wearing his sleep attire, and looked back up again and found himself staring into the mirror of his bathroom. James nearly jumped out of his skin when he realized what he was doing, and began looking about the small compartment for any clues as to what was happening. He couldn’t find any evidence that he wasn’t exactly where he thought he was, and such a fact hadn’t done anything to slow his heart down. As his pulse thundered in his ear, James cautiously inched into the bedroom of his quarters to find the old man he’d been talking to standing next to Lt. Karras, their arms linked in a rather familiar fashion.

“Took you long enough to wash your face, young man. Got tired of waiting for you, you know? It is a bit odd you’d choose to come out in your underwear though, not that you’ve got something I haven’t seen a thousand times over mind you,” the man remarked casually.

James looked down at himself and then back up to find that the old man was wearing a Starfleet uniform, and that it was displaying four pips enclosed in a box.

“You’re an Admiral?” James stammered in disbelief.

“I am,” the old man nodded, “And you’re late for duty son.”

James searched around his room for a moment and closed his eyes, rubbing them violently. When he opened them, he was sitting bolt upright in his quarters. Looking around, neither Deeana nor the Admiral he’d just been talking to were standing in the room.

James was about to chalk it up to a bad dream when the comm chirped at him and he was assaulted by Lt. Karras’ voice, “Mister Eubanks, you’re thirty minutes late for duty, would you care to explain yourself?”

James looked over at the chronometer on his bedside table and found that it was indeed displaying a full thirty minutes past his normal report time. James struggled to untangle himself from his sheets and nearly planted himself face first on the deck.

“I’m sorry!” he cried out in response, “I must have overslept. I’m on my way!”

James struggled to get dressed, a task made even harder by the sudden rush of adrenaline in his system. When he was finally dressed, though not overly well, Chief Eubanks rushed out of the room only to find Deeana standing outside of his door with her arms folded and a rather displeased look on her face. Standing next to her was the very same Admiral he’d just thought he’d dreamed up.

“What the… how did he? I thought… Wait… Is he really real?” James couldn’t manage to formulate a proper sentence as confusion assailed him.

“This is Admiral Cowell, and I was in the middle of giving him a tour when I realized you had yet to report. He thought it might be a good idea to come check on you,” the Security Chief explained, her displeased tone barely contained.

“Now now,” Nathan said, patting the woman’s shoulder soothingly, “I’m sure he just had a few too many drinks on shore leave is all. No need to give the man a tongue lashing. Next thing you know you’ll be strapping him to a table or something…”

James’ eyes went wide as he began to second-guess the reality of what he was currently experiencing, “How did you know about that?”

“About what? Come on my boy, it’s hardly the time to act like you just got out of the old rose garden. Pull yourself together, Alice,” the old man chuckled.

James sank back and his face reflected visible fear, “Get away from me!”

The Admiral smirked and took a step forward, “Come now, James. You’re not looking too well. Might need to get you checked out.”

James let out a very shrill scream and rushed back into his quarters without as much as another word. When the door closed, Nathan looked over to his partner in crime, “That’s how you screw with someone’s head.”

“Noted,” Deeana said with a smirk as the two departed the area before James managed to put two and two together.

=OFF=

Admiral Nathan Cowell
Messing with Bond-type losers since 1953