Memoir: Against the Rules

When the recorder first clicks on, it captures only the ceiling in its field of view. A hand comes into the frame, adjusting the camera until Ensign Kulko is visible, his duty blues unfastened and hanging casually from his shoulders. There's a lengthy pause before he speaks.

"Suppose now's as good a time as any to start recording these. Might be interesting to look back at 'em later. Might help to talk things out, even if it is to a camera. So here goes." Stephen draws a deep breath.

"Friday night, I narrated the end of a planet. It was TACCO's idea… well, no. It was the Skipper's idea. Made hella sense, when you get down to it. DRADIS is frakked? Well, the FNG has two perfectly good eyeballs, and they're better put to use getting intel than staring at a map full of faulty data. So, long story short, as soon as the brass figured out something was fishy, I got the boot from CIC and went upstairs.

"If I hadn't known what I was watching it would have been beautiful. Really. If every one of those dots of light hadn't been a thousand souls venting out into space, if they'd been models or simulations…"

He trails off. Looks down. Gets quiet, when he starts speaking again. "They weren't. Watched twenty seven battlestars go down… watched our fighters go dead in space. Gods, what that must have felt like! Hard enough to be shipboard when things are working properly, without the sun on your back and the wind on your face. But to be out there, in one of those little tin cans, and to have the frakking thing shut down? I ought to ask some of the Viper jocks what it was like. Me, I'd prolly jump right the frak out of my skin.

"Through it all, I was fine. Stayed on the horn with TACCO, made sure he knew what was what. Right up until the nukes started dropping planetside." Kulko falls silent again, then looks aside to his bunk, then to the camera, as if concerned what the recorder might think. Quickly, he retrieves from his locker an unmarked glass bottle containing some booze of a deep mahogany, and a small rocks glass. He pours two fingers and takes a quick sip.

"They're frakkin' /deterrents/. That's the whole genesis of nuclear strategy. We've all got enough to glass each other, so nobody glasses anybody, cause they don't wanna get glassed themselves. You don't frakking nuke civilians. It's against the rules."

Stephen finishes out the glass, slamming it back onto the table. "I know what I frakkin saw. I read my textbooks. Skipper and TACCO wanna tell me somethin' different, that's just fine. I can spit the party line as good as the next guy - won't do no good to have the ship in a panic. But the only things you really know are what you seen with your own eyes. I saw a frakkin' genocide - and t'werent the work of any colony of Kobol. The Gods wouldn’t stand for it." Kulko reaches out of the camera's field of view, and the image winks out.

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