SD 12/18/04 - "Goodbye Freedom-E" aka "The Wrath of Ironbottom #3" It's over.

My ship and my career, they are both at an end.

At least everyone else is okay, although with some, "okay" may be a relative term.

We were shaking off the effects of the helium gas when Ironbottom gave us one more chane to surrender. This time he directed it at Lera rather than me. Perhaps he had assumed I was intractable and she would roll over. Or maybe he was refering to the warrant of arrest that I found in a PADD he must have dropped. He slapped all the senior officers, save Droolin and Kura, with charges, but only for me did he order my commision removed, on the grounds I technicaly never existed before my arrival on the Freedom several years ago!

Most of Ironbottom's charges are either fabrications or fanciful interpertations akin to a Ferengi employer looking for excuses to fire a secretary who won't wear a shorter skirt. Even the "missing and presumed dead" Dammers and M'Rander weren't spared, but given heaps of charges to shame their memory. Our actions on New California, he turned our removal of a corrupt government into vandalism and "interference with the performance of a local governing body." Lynx, he turned her kidnapping by Char Ritt into "treason." Lera, he made up some charge, accusing her of cooperating with the Ferrengi who kidnapped them. What bull! True they don't get along, but Lera trying to sell Lynx to the Ferrengi? Preposterous!

Most of the charges he put on me are bogus as well. M'Rander saying Lynx accused me of harassment? Absurd! But this saying I never attended the Academy ... I find troubling. Recalling those days, I had no idea how I got on the ship and little personal memory. But Captain Treki kept saying I was the new crewman, and Compy confirmed my time at the Academy. Thing is, I didn't remember a thing! I believed it all because I took their word for it. It was the only logical assumption. How else could I have gotten aboard? Now Ironbotom says there were no records prior to those edited by Compy, no one in my supposed years remembers me.

My time in Starfleet, he says, was all a fraud.

Everything else is clearly bogus, but I cannot truly deny this. I truly can't remember.

I shared the news with Lera, then told the others they could still turn themselves in. I, however, had nothing to lose. They, however, insisted in staying on. We even got a few reinforcments. Some of Tarra's Security squad had given the Marines the slip. But lacking phasers, the only weapons they could get were broom handles with the tips broken off. "Sharp pointy sticks," one called them, "Poke into enemy, repeat as necessary."

And during it all, Lynx was under a table, occasionally howling in what sounded like horrible pain. Tarra, however, warned everyone not go go near it if they valued their hides. The fact that she stayed clear spoke something of it.

We had only so long to comprehend our situation. A door blew open, and Ironbottom's goons came in blasting. Tarra's men fought bravely, but they could do so much with only broom handles against phasers on stun. Our position began to crumble. Tarra got the idea of outflanking using the Jefferie's Tubes, but it would take a major miracle to overcome being so outnumbered.

It was then the alert sounded, and Ironbottom's ship the Faluja called over, screaming the Borg had appeared, were beaming over, then communications went blank. Then came the sounds of transporter signals, and then the sight of Borg drones, who then began going after the marines!

Saved by the Borg? Will miracles never cease?

Actually, it was no miracle. "Demian," the rouge computer program had called them over in his fits of insanity. And it wasn't just any Borg, but the "Bored" whom we ran into months ago, giving them tribbles just to leave us alone. Maybe it didn't starve them, but they seemed a tad annoyed, "You have made us very angry." Their voice reminded me of some cartoon Martian I had seen in mid-20th Century media. In any event, they had the Marines on the run. We occasionally saw some poor sod getting grabbed by a drone, and after initial screaming his face would melt into a goofy grin, "I loooooovvvvvve yooooouuuuu, yooooouuuuu loooovvvvve meeeeee ... " Gads, how horrible.

It was poetic justice that Ironbottom himself would run right into Tarra in the chaos. Quivering and shaking, he was still willing to endure whatever she could deliver rather than face the Borg. Unfortunetly for him, he didn't have that option. Several Borg materialized around him and grabbed him from Tarra, ignoring us. Holding him, they injected him with the "assimulation darts." He screamed, but instead of the goofy grin the others made, he instead began laughing manically, like a condemed man who sought refuge in his insanity rather than face the truth of his impending doom.

Ironbottom came to destroy us, and fate made it so it was him who was destroyed.

Worried that the Borg would soon come after us, I was about to call Dover to see how he was doing with the phony self-destruct countdown when it began happening, "Thank you for pressing the self-destruct button ..." I then called Ben Dover to congratulate him, but to our collective shock, he told us he had done nothing. It was then that "Demian" began screaming, "AHHHHHHHHHH!! HAMSTERS!! AHHHHHHH!!"

The mad computer had begun to destroy the ship for real!

We looked for a way out of course, but with Lott found unconscious, and with the "Spaceballs" music playing, it was obvious our number was up. I ordered the evacuation of the ship, with a priority on finding the kids, and getting everyone to the escape pods and shuttles. Lynx, somehow, managed to get herself to one. Tarra was having problems, so Ennin helped her to one. Droolin, the pest he can be sometimes, went and got Lera's kids. Someone got Demian's. T'Sal and K'Tor managed to find their mother. Half ended up with Lera and Droolin. Orlan, he helped me a little in organizing the evacuation, then we headed to the shuttlebay. With the shuttles' warp engines removed for repairs however, they would only be so much better than the escape pods. We were the last to leave, gas containers in the bay exploding as we left the bay.

We heard the computer continue to shriek over the radio waves, then realize it could just beam the hamsters to the Borg. Given the distance, I thought it was unlikely, but it stated it's success, then it realized it had erased the self-destruct cancelation code.

And in a series of explosions, we saw my ship, our ship, go up in an orange cloud of gas and debries.

The USS Freedom NCC-1979 E was gone.

With us so deep in space and so far from any Federation station, our only real hope was to head to a nearby system with the only class-M planet within range, and pray that our absence will attract a search party. And so with my order, we began heading there. But things can still go wrong. We were in the area to begin with because of Ironbottom. Is it possible that he left our location unknown to everyone else? Will our rescuers be looking in the wrong area? And how hard will they be looking? We do not exactly have the best reputation in the fleet. We could concievably be stuck on the planet for the rest of our lives.

Lera might be pleased with that, the thought of delivering babies for the rest of her life, but not me. Then again, if Ironbottom filed the charges already, we could conceivably be arrested on the spot and hauled off to trial. I doubt any of us will see prison time, and the others will go on with their careers. Me however, my amnesia about my life before the Freedom tells me this evecuation is my last act as a Starfleet officer. My career is coming to a close.

I never thought much about life after Starfleet. Lynx suggested I might become an ambassador. But a discharge like this, I clearly can't expect that. I've heard stories of people with dishonorable discharges and Section-Eights ending up with only the most menial of jobs, garbage collectors, office cubicle workers, etc. Some did become colonists or asteroid miners, but for every gaia world and golden moon, there's a junior version of New California or a counterpart of Turkana IV.

Perhaps for me, it matters little whether or not I'm stuck where we land for the rest of my life.

But that is to worry about later. I'm having to deal with the complaints from the escape pods. Cosmo (maybe my habit of using first names at times won't matter now) radioed me he has the mixed blessing of having to watch over Tarra's birth, whom despite her usually gentle nature shreded his pants. Considering he was the one who implaned the embryos, I can find some humor in it.

Uh oh. I'm now getting screams from Lynx's pod. Did someone else end up with her by mistake? Hope this shuttle has a transporter and it works. Speaking of which, I thought I noticed a transporter signal to the back of the shuttle just before the ship blew. Probably just Melvin beaming something over, I think.

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