Star Trek: Defiant

"Information is the Key" - Part Four

Written by Cullyn MacBreandain

Bridges looked into the blackness of the holodeck and felt a twinge of annoyance when he heard MacBreandain chuckle and begin to explain the program he had made. "The first few levels are simple enough Cap'n. Just something to show you what I and my gifts can do. Daryl, initiate level one please."

"Complying" chimed the Defiant's computer.

Before the pair appeared a large boulder, approximately 4 feet in height and wide enough that it would take 3 people holding hands to encircle it with their arms. "Daryl, please give me the weight and composition of this stone," begin Cullyn, with a knowing smile.

"As per your program parameters, the stone is a combination of marble and granite and weighs one metric ton." replied Daryl.

Cullyn nodded, satisfied. "You see Cap'n," he began,"normally, when we would find something like this we would blast it with a phaser or some other modern device. But, the gifts that Sylvannus gave to me have their uses as well." With this he steped toward the boulder and stood before it. The Captain looked on with interest, but wasn't quite sure what he was going to do about that boulder with a pair of swords, no matter where they came from.

MacBreandain placed the smaller sword back upon his back and turned to the Captain once more. "You see Cap'n, both swords have specific gifts. First I will show you what Shadow can do." With that, Cullyn slid the flat of the sword underneath the boulder and took a deep breath, and heaved upward. Bridges did as well as he could not to let his jaw drop when the metric ton boulder lifted into the air and landed about 100 meters away.

Cullyn turned back toward the Captain and explained, "Keep in mind though, Cap'n. That it is the sword that has the strength, not I. I couldn't hope to lift that rock without Shadow's aid. And, just so you know, that is also the limit of Shadow's lifing power." MacBreandain put the first sword away and drew the second and continued, "On the other hand, Tempest here has a wee bit of a different power. Daryl, begin level two."

"Complying." Daryl intoned. And with that the stone appeared before them again.

Cullyn wasted no time with an explaination, but instead turned back toward the rock and made slash from top left to bottom right that was so quick that if Bridges would have blinked he would have missed it. The Captain was impressed when the rock slid apart in the pattern that it was cut, even though the sword was in no way long enough to reach to the other side of the boulder.

"I have found very little that Tempest cannot penetrate. I have not found the limits to his power yet. Though I'm thinkin' that life on this ship may show me what it is." Cullyn chuckled.

"That is impressive Cullyn, and I'm sure it'll come in handy to be sure. But why did you need the safties off to do that?" Bridges inquired.

"That, my dear Captain, is the next part of my little demonstration. Daryl, begin level three please."

"Complying" intoned Daryl once again.

With that Bridges saw a phaser rifle sitting on the left arm of his hoverchair. He looked at it a moment then returned his gaze to MacBreandain, who had drawn both swords again and was holding them in an unusual style. Shadow was being held directly in front of Cullyn, completely verticle, and Tempest was held exactly perpendicular to it. Just as the Captain was about to question MacBreandain as to what exactly he was doing, Cullyn answered him in the simplest fashion possible.

"Shoot me." Cullyn said, his voice flat.

Bridges started to ask for clarification on that, then simply shruged and put the phaser rifle up to his shoulder and looked at Cullyn one more time as if to ask... you sure about this?

Cullyn nodded his head, almost inperceptibally, and replied to the unspoken question, "Do it."

Bridges did as he was asked and fired the phaser rifle on it's highest setting. Which, in theory should have vaporized MacBreandain, his swords, and the bulkhead behind him. Instead it appeared as if the energy was absorbed into his swords with no harmful effect, if you discounted the fact that MacBreandain's eyes were glowing the same color red as the phaser beam.

Cullyn then turned toward the pieces of the boulder that were still standing after the previous level. "Watch," was all that Cullyn appeared to be able to say, and that came out almost as a growl. He pointed one sword at each half of the boulder and roared as an exact duplicate of the beam that Bridges fired came from the tip of each sword and lanced toward the boulder halves, incinerating them on contact. Cullyn went down to one knee, panting for a moment, before he was able to stand and explain.

"That," Cullyn began, still catching his breath, "is the ultimate hidden power of my traveling companions. They are able to absorb and redirect energy weapons of all types. The only problem with this is the fact that they use me as a conduit, and trust me Captain, it is not a pleasant feeling. And, I am the weak link in this chain, as I can only absorb so much energy as I can personally contain without frying myself to a crisp. The more energy I absorb, the quicker I must release it or else you would need to be cleanin' me off the walls."

"Impressive, if dangerous." replied the Captain, refusing to be surprised by his Strategic Operations Officer anymore than he absoultly needed to be.

"Aye, and with it's built-in failsafe that you have witnessed, it is sure to never be used without honor." Cullyn concluded and continued, "But, my Captain, there is one more point I must demonstrate to make absoultely clear. Are you prepared?"

Bridges felt the tension build within him again, almost as a warning, but he ignored it, for the moment and replied, "Go ahead."

Cullyn's sly smile returned, he bowed his head and simply said, "As you wish." Then he snapped his head up and ran toward the Captain at full speed, screaming something of a gutteral battle-cry and swept both swords in a deadly arc at the Captain's neck. Bridges didn't have time to react except to open his mouth to scream. A scream that never came to pass as surprise took over when the swords stopped about 3 inches from his neck in a shower of harmless sparks. When the Captain could see clearly again, the swords were still only inches away from his neck, gleaming dangerously, being held by MacBreandain who was shaking visibly.

MacBreandain pulled the swords away from the Captain and again took a moment to catch his breath. "There is the other reason I requested the first name basis, Jeff. There is no way that I can use Shadow and Tempest to harm one who does not attack me first. That's why I needed to make sure that you wouldn't attempt to defend yourself. If you would have the swords would not have stopped and we would have had a new Captain." He smiled grimly, "I just wish these demonstrations didn't hurt so damned much, though I'll recover very shortly."

The Captain reminded himself to start breathing again then asked the question that was on his mind. "What do you mean? I know the previous demonstration was uncomfortable for me but other than that shower of sparks I didn't see any damage being done to you."

"You wouldn't. But you saw the sparks which is the side effect of what happens to me. Electric flashback, I call it. Basically a few thousand volts of current get to run havoc among my innards." Cullyn explained. "Not one of my favorite activities to be sure. But one that I feel must be demonstrated to be believed."

"Well, Cullyn, if you hurt as much as it looks like you do. I believe you completely." the Captain replied.

"Thankfully, with both it's more of a mental hurt than a true physical one. So I heal quick enough, dinna fear." added Cullyn.

"That's good to hear, but while you're resting maybe you could answer the question that I had asked originally. How did you know Scott?" the Captain inquired.

Cullyn smiled one more time as he began to speak, "That's were all of this starts coming together. Let's sit down and I'll tell you the story."

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