tagCelebrities & Fan FictionSurefoot 11: Patterns, Repeated

Surefoot 11: Patterns, Repeated

bySurefoot©

Starbase 154:

One of the first things Jonas Ostrow was told when he set off for Starfleet Academy on Earth three years ago was: Expect the Unexpected. It was a Big Universe, after all.

Still, he could be forgiven for not expecting to see Nazis window shopping.

He had been strolling along Broadway, the level of shops, restaurants and bars that ran the length of 154, along with Kit, Soolamea, Neraxis, and several other cadets who had chosen to stay on the station for their extended leave, rather than visit their respective homeworlds or the planets in neighbouring systems.

Now they waited outside a vintage clothing shop as Kit emerged, sporting his latest purchase: a battered black leather jacket, festooned with chains, studs, spikes, patches and archaic slogans, over a low-cut blood-red T-shirt with strategic tears offering glimpses of his lime-green chest, and faded blue denim jeans and steel-toed black boots. He flipped the collar of his jacket up. "Oy, Jonas, me old cock, check out me jazzy keks!"

Jonas blinked, distracted. "Your old what?"

Kit dropped his arm, his face flushing red with delight as he dropped the attempt at an English accent. "I respectfully requested that you scrutinise my outfit, Friend Jonas." He turned in place to show the rest.

Neraxis read the slogan on the back of his jacket. "Which Queen is God meant to save? For that matter, which God?"

"I... I am not entirely certain at this point."

Soolamea smirked, her dark-green segmented face curving with amusement. "What's it all supposed to mean, Kit?"

"I have been researching ancient youth subcultures, Friend Soo. This is the standard accoutrement of a Terran subculture called 'Punk', whose fashion, language and attitude was deliberately tailored to cause offence and outrage in the Establishment! Can you imagine, an intentional effort to offend?"

"Yes," Jonas muttered absently, still staring across Broadway. It can't be...

"The music is equally offensive!" Kit informed the others, taking out a small player. "Full of nihilistic invective! Listen!" He pressed the control, and the air filled with a metallic sound evocative of a shuttlecraft giving birth, and a snarling voice declaring, "The sins of all our fathers, being dumped on us — the sons / The only choice we're given is how many megatons? / And I eschew you! / And I say, SCREW YOU! / And I hope you're blue, too-"

Neraxis reached out and turned off the music. "Never play that again."

"I don't get it, Kit," Bill Beaudine admitted, his arm still around Charlie Ingalls', the pair of them the object of ship's gossip since becoming a couple. "Why would that interest you?"

"As a member of a protocol-driven society," Kit explained, "I have been attempting to make myself more socially... flexible." He held up a conciliatory hand. "Although I promise that should we slam our way into a gig, I will not gob on anyone."

Beaudine nodded, bemused. "That's... kind of you. I guess?"

Ingalls chuckled, his grin wide and bright and his dark, walnut-coloured features a contrast to Beaudine's blonde farmboy looks as he moved in and kissed Beaudine on the cheek. "I've studied Terran history; believe me, it's kind."

Jonas barely heard the banter, focused on the trio on the other side of Broadway, chatting amiably between themselves: pale-skinned humans or humanoids in identical jet-black uniforms, including peaked caps, shiny leather boots and thin baldrics. He did a double take, knowing he could be wrong and that it only resembled the uniforms he saw in history books and fictional videos.

Then he saw the armbands: red background with a white circle, at the centre of which sat a black spider with legs twisted to form a clockwork spiral pattern. There was no misinterpreting those.

Jonas was also trailing behind his friends, but now stopped and stared, first in disbelief, and then in a growing astonishment. After several seconds, he became aware of the others rejoining him, Soo asking, "What's up, Honey Bear?"

His mouth was dry, and he realised that at some point his jaw had dropped. "Am I seeing them? Are you guys seeing them?"

They looked across to the trio, his Rigellian girlfriend shrugging. "Do you know them?"

"What? No, of course not! Why would you ask that?"

"Why wouldn't I? What's wrong with them?"

Kit drew up, curious. "Good Friend Jonas, they look like the antagonists from that video of yours about the slovenly archaeologist."

"They are, Kit. They're Nazis."

Ingalls frowned in recognition. "What the hell? It has to be a joke."

"Who would be so stupid as to think it a good idea to dress up like Nazis?"

"What's the big deal?" Neraxis asked, confused. "So they're dressed as fictional villains from some ancient video, so what?"

"They're not fictional!" Ingalls exclaimed, "I mean, the ones in that movie were fictional, but there were real Nazis on Earth in the Twentieth Century: totalitarian fascist supremacists, responsible for some of the most terrible acts in our planet's history."

"Really?"

"Yes, really! Don't you know anything?"

"Sure - I know the Daixxlos Autocracy who started the Rixel Wars on my homeworld eight centuries ago. Do you?"

"Uh, no-"

"Then stop being such a Terracentric jerk! Earth isn't the centre of the Universe, you know!"

"Cut it out, both of you!" Jonas was shaking his head. "There has to be some sort of explanation."

"Perhaps they're actors in costume?" Soo suggested. "For a performance?"

Jonas felt his face tighten, trying to recall anything on the Station's Entertainment Bulletin that might corroborate it. "There's one way to find out..." He strode forward, amazed at his own courage - or at least, how much his outrage could override his fear. "Excuse me?"

They turned to face him, the tallest one, a chubby middle-aged humanoid male with blonde hair, stubby nose and broad chin nodding politely. "May we help you, young man?"

Closer now, Jonas examined their clothes more thoroughly: the tailoring, the stylised insignia, all of it seemed to match what he knew. "Yes: what's with the costumes?"

The man's gaze narrowed. "These are not 'costumes'; these are our uniforms."

"Uniforms?" Jonas echoed, feeling his friends draw up and flank him, and thankful for it. "They look very much like the uniforms of a culture that once existed on Earth four centuries ago."

The man nodded, smiling at the recognition. "Indeed: my people proudly adopted them." He held out his hand. "I am Major Donald Hurensohn of the Ekosian Verhandlungskorps."

Jonas blinked, his Universal Translator having difficulty with some of the German-sounding words, and never shook the man's hand. "Ekosian? I've never heard of you."

Hurensohn dropped his hand. "Your ignorance is not our concern."

He started to turn away, but Jonas snapped, "Wait!" He pointed at the man's armband. "This symbol - everything you're wearing - you need to know that it's highly offensive to Terrans. Especially for people with Jewish ancestry, like myself."

The man shrugged. "Your offence is not our concern, either; we have as much right to express our cultural identity as you do. Would you be willing to remove your uniforms simply because someone has told you that they find them offensive?"

"Well, no, but that's different-"

Hurensohn smirked. "Yes, it's always different when it's something that you revere."

Jonas felt a little confused by the turn of the conversation, as if a part of him was expecting the man to suddenly realise the grievous error he had made in appearing dressed like this, apologise and rush off to change into something less provocative. "You- You don't understand what it means to us-"

"On the contrary, we know of the Terran origins of our symbols and society, and what it might mean to you - far more than what you know of what it might mean to us. We have studied Terran history; your Jewish people have much in common with the Zeon race in our home system. Perhaps before you go out of your way to condemn others, you should know what you're talking about? Especially given your chosen profession?"

"Our profession?"

Hurensohn glanced past him, his reaction at some of Jonas' non-human-looking friends evident. "You're all in Starfleet, yes?"

Jonas frowned. "Cadets. How did you know?"

The Ekosian smirked now. "I can't imagine any other environment where one would find himself having to keep such... colourful company."

Neraxis stepped forward, her bald blue head darkening with anger, and her hands balled into fists. "You have a problem with people of colour, pal?"

One of Hurensohn's young aides stepped forward angrily, her face pinkening with anger beneath her tightly-bunned strawberry-blonde hair. "Alien pigs! You do not intimidate us! The Ekosian race is superior to all others!"

"Oh yeah? You want to try and prove it, bitch?"

"Hold it!"

All eyes turned to several members of Starbase 154's Security Team, enlisted members of Starfleet dressed in the expected mustard-black uniforms and striding purposefully forward. "Any more disturbances here and we'll take you into custody!"

Jonas had been grateful for the approach of the constables - until he realised the woman in charge was speaking directly to him and the other cadets, and not the Ekosians. "Us? What about them?"

The constable's gaze narrowed. "I've been watching you: you approached them, spoke aggressively, and then your Bolian friend there made threats. Now move on, or I'll report you to your commanding officer!"

Jonas felt Soo's hand on his forearm, and heard her whisper, "Come on, let's go."

He tensed, feeling like he was losing the argument, especially when he saw Hurensohn smirking at the situation. Then he reluctantly replied, "Yeah, let's go."

Looking triumphant, the Ekosian youths suddenly stood to attention - and offered them a raised extension of their right arms and straightened hands. "Hail Victory!"

Jonas' hands turned into fists. "You-"

But Soo tightened her hold on him, pulling him back. "No!"

As he let the others lead him away, unable to unhear the laughter from the young Ekosians, he tried to relax the knots in his stomach, but they remained, twisting and tightening. "I can't believe that. Nazis in the 24th Century. How is that even possible?"

"They called themselves Ekosians," Kit recalled. "I fear my knowledge of those people is non-existent."

"Mine too, Kit. But I'm gonna go back to the Surefoot and find out more now. Who's with me?"

"Now?" Soo asked. "What about dinner and the cabaret?"

"We have plenty of time to do both later." He looked to Soo. "Aren't you in the least bit curious?"

"Yeah, but..." She shrugged. "Well, I suppose we could take a few minutes."

Jonas smiled, looking to the others. "What about the rest of you?"

They looked dubious.

He smiled. "The first round at the bar will be on me."

That won them over.

*

USS Surefoot, Deck 1, Captain's Office:

Commander T'Varik sat behind the desk, collating the data from the latest inspection on the shipframe from the Starbase engineering staff, her Vulcan reserves called upon to control her initial reactions to where their reports seemed to be leading. She had the comments from Chief Grev, the Tellarite as argumentative as ever - though tellingly, not about the findings of the report so much as the presence of the civilian staff.

It was a growing concern, and it seemed inevitable that she would have to contact Captain Hrelle before he completed his well-deserved extended leave on Cait with his wife and stepdaughter-

Her attention was distracted by noises from the adjacent bridge. The ship was berthed, there was no one else on duty apart from herself; she rose and entered, finding a number of cadets manning the various stations around the circular bridge: Neraxis Nemm, Kitirik, Zaacool Soolamea, William Beaudine, Charlie Ingalls - and Jonas Ostrow in the Command Chair at the centre of it all. "Is there an emergency I should be made aware of, Captain Ostrow?"

Jonas bolted out of the seat as if it was electrified. "Commander! You're here!"

"It is good to see that your role as Alpha Squad's Deputy Leader has not dulled your powers of observation. Please explain your presence - utilising the ship's resources."

"It's, ah, a research project, Commander. We wished to learn more about a new race we encountered on 154. You don't have to stick around for it if you have things to do."

"Very magnanimous of you." She folded her hands behind her back. "Proceed."

He paused, clearly waiting for her to be satisfied with his explanation and depart. When it was clear that she wouldn't, he steeled himself and turned back to the others. "Okay, Kit, you start."

The Qarari shifted in his place at Science Station 1 and projected a planetary system onto the blank main viewscreen. "The Ekosians' homeworld is the fourth planet in the M43-Alpha system, in the Marcoli Sector. It is one of two inhabited Class-M planets in that system, the other designated as Zeon; the two humanoid races share a common genetic ancestry, with Zeon being more technologically advanced and peaceful, having visited and settled in communities on Ekos over the previous century.

The Ekosians themselves were an industrial, pre-warp society in the throes of anarchy and facing self-destruction when the Federation sent a covert cultural observer, a Professor John Gill, on Stardate 2154.1. Friend Soolamea?"

Soo took over now from an adjacent station, bringing up a picture of a round-faced, elderly humanoid male with iron-grey hair. "I found this in the Starfleet Archives: it seems that in the five years he was based alone on Ekos, Professor Gill had taken it upon himself to abandon the Non-Interference Directive and reshape the society in order to save it.

To that end, he established a modified version of the society of National Socialist Germany in the first half of Earth's Twentieth Century, complete with uniforms, ranks, language, symbols, weaponry - and himself in charge as their Fuhrer, their absolute ruler."

"That," Jonas announced slowly, frowning, "Is undoubtedly the most utterly insane thing I've ever heard." He looked to T'Varik, feeling lost. "Did you know about this, Commander?"

The Vulcan nodded. "Professor Gill was a controversial figure at the Academy in his day, espousing many disputed and antiquated views - in particular the notion that the original Nazi society of Earth's German state was the most efficient ever known, despite the evidence to the contrary. It was this belief that made him attempt to remodel Ekosian society in the Nazi image, attempting to curb the cruelty while still uniting the Ekosians and raising their quality of life."

"And was he successful?"

The Vulcan looked to Soolamea to continue; the Rigelian's face darkened as she proceeded. "Successful enough to unite the planet and advance them to the point of interplanetary travel. Then he was drugged and kept as a puppet ruler by one of his subordinates, who made scapegoats of the more advanced Zeons, persecuting those settled on Ekos, and planning on launching a nuclear strike on the rest of the Zeons, before it was all stopped by Captain Kirk of the Enterprise."

"Holy Hraxor," Neraxis grunted. "Did anything happen in the 23rd century without him getting involved?"

"Very little," T'Varik assured her dryly, interjecting. "Cadet Nemm, I believe you are accessing the related files on Federation history and the Prime Directive?"

Neraxis swallowed, her bald blue head darkening in embarrassment at the attention on her now. "Uh, yes, Ma'am. The events on Ekos triggered a radical change in Federation policy regarding the Directive and covert observation protocols, and experts were sent to help decontaminate the culture of the invading elements.

With limited success. Both planets were given protectorate status, with Zeon eventually achieving Federation membership in 2325. Ekos, however, preferred to remain independent, successive generations refusing to give up the Terran Nazi paraphernalia, believing it to have become a permanent fixture of Ekosian culture. The Federation has ensured they have been kept disarmed, but the Ekosians made contact with other non-aligned races like the Boslic and the Miradorn and began trading and exploring."

"Why are they here?" Jonas asked, looking to Ingalls.

The other young man nodded. "I've accessed 154's Information Board: that Major Hurensohn we met is with the Ekosian Interplanetary Corps; he and his people are here to meet with a Klingon delegation with a view to form an alliance, such as the one the Klingons have formed with the Ferasans, the Lyrans and the Hyrdan."

"A Klingon alliance with a planet inside Federation space?" Neraxis frowned. "Would we allow that to happen?"

"It would not be unprecedented, Cadet," T'Varik informed her. "Nor would we have any legal standing to prevent it, although the Klingons would need to include the Federation into subsequent negotiations involving passage through our space - dependent of course on the nature of the alliance. The Klingons may simply supply ships, arms and technology to the Ekosians, in exchange for a potential base within our space should our own alliance with the Klingons ever fail."

Leaning over the panel beside his boyfriend, Beaudine looked at the readings and reddened. "There's something else on the Net..."

Jonas looked to him. "Yes?"

"They're marching tomorrow."

"Excuse me?"

"There's a Rally scheduled for 1600 Hours Station Time tomorrow in 154's Main Assembly Hall, a celebration of their culture on behalf of the Klingons. They'll be marching along Broadway, flying their flags, singing the praises of Ekos and the Ekosian Master Race."

Jonas paled. "How can they allow such an obscenity? We have to stop it-"

"Mr Ostrow," T'Varik interjected. "I believe your purpose here is fulfilled."

He turned to face her. "Commander, you have to intervene, tell the station's administrators to cancel that Rally!"

"I will do no such thing. Starfleet manages the security on Starbase 154, but the administration is under civilian authority."

"But you can still complain!"

"And why would I do that?"

He swallowed. "Because these Ekosians are wearing uniforms, armbands identical to the German National Socialist government that started World War Two on Earth, that persecuted, that slaughtered Jewish and other peoples by the millions in concentration camps-"

"I am intimately familiar with Terran history, Cadet, having studied it before you or anyone else here was even born. I am also aware that the Nazis responsible for the barbarities on your homeworld are over four centuries, many parsecs and an entire species removed from the ones you've encountered today."

Jonas started, obviously not expecting her reaction. "I know that, Commander, but these Ekosians are no different from their Terran counterparts! They persecuted the Zeons, killed thousands of them, tried to wipe out their homeworld-"

"And again, the Ekosians who did that are almost a century removed from the ones you've encountered today. For all you know, there may have been as profound a subsequent change in their character as was experienced between the Terrans who initiated the Third World War and their descendants who helped form the Untied Federation of Planets."

"Not if you heard them today," Ingalls pointed out angrily.

"Respected Commander," Kit offered, glancing at his display screens, "They have published manifestos available for public consumption, extolling their racial and genetic superiority over all other peoples, condemning the Federation for encouraging miscegenation and equal rights regardless of race, belief, gender or sexual preference, and promising their eventual domination over the rest of the Galaxy."

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