A/N: I don't own star trek...*GASP* I know it's shocking to me too. I will own an OC I bring in. ;-)
Surak woke, he didn't know how, but he managed to sleep through most of the night's bombs. They were distant and growing closer. He was afraid, everyone was, but he had a job to do and under penalty he must do that job. He followed in line with the fifty other computer programmers that worked in his department. He missed his home; he pined for his home, and his late wife. He ached for everything this infernal civil war had stripped from him.
He stood in line the cafeteria workers handed him a plate with meat. He shouldn't complain he knew, there were those people fighting who probably hadn't had a good since the war began, but he complained anyway, to himself. He was tired. Line after line of code, each code requiring a series of dedicated calculations, this much he loved, what he was tired of was that he only had a piece of it, and not the whole picture. He looked at this co-workers, each of them looked as weary as he, each of them held some part of the next piece. Until it went to the overseer to be completed none of them would ever know exactly what work they were doing.
Surak suspected he knew. He suspected they were doing the calculations for a program that would become a part of the next great weapon his side would use on the other side. Putting a fork full of meat in his mouth he stifled a laugh. He didn't who whose side was right anymore, a few years ago he thought his people were correct, but the more green blood that flowed over Vulcan the less he believed either side was right. They were Vulcans, all of them, no matter what tribe they hailed from. They were Vulcans and they were killing each other and the planet they loved.
He pushed his plate away and looked at the chronometer. Ten minutes exactly before they would be called to the programing lab. The young man across from him was eying his left over meat, Surak pushed it toward him, and a fight between the young man and the man next to him over who would eat it, nearly alerted their guards. Surak pulled the plate back and cut the piece in half. He threw a half at each of them, "No be silent before we are all punished you fools. You act like wild beasts."
They snorted their derision at him and gobbled it down. He wasn't hungry before, and he was less hungry now. He looked at the chronometer again, eight minutes seven seconds. His eyes closed, what he wouldn't give to be able to see the Vulcan sky again, what he wouldn't give to breathe clean unfiltered air, to see the sun rise over a mountain, to walk free without fear. He opened his eyes, five minutes forty seven seconds.
He turned away from the clock and looked at the fifty others sitting blankly around him. They all looked old to him, if not in body in spirit. He bet he looked worse, even though he handn't seen a mirror in two years. He closed his eyes again and began doing calculus in his head. Math. It soothed him, calmed his inner demon. No matter what number he crunched together, no matter what way he made them move, the answers it gave him were either correct or they were wrong. There was no fuzzy middle ground, no moral ambiguity, it was pure unadulterated logic.
The buzzer sounded and Surak stood like all the others in the room, like some kind of trained animal he had seen at the festivals of ages past.
He filed into the room and took his seat at his station. The computer jumped to life giving him a countdown of two minutes until his work would commence. He turned his head and from the one window in the room he saw nothing but the fire and smoke of a mushroom cloud in the distance. He looked back at his terminal one minute twenty seconds. The only thing he regretted about that cloud of death was that he was not under it, that this whole complex wasn't under it. From the overseers, and the tribal warlords, right down to that vile janitor who "made use" of any female caught out of her rooms after lights out.
They were all disgusting, and he was no better. The computer chimed and his fingers flew to the keyboards to begin the first computation he would turn into code. He could try to say he was innocent. He could try to say that he had never killed anyone. He knew it was a lie. He knew these codes were going to be responsible for the death of more of his people, and then in turn a man like him on the other side, in another tribe would turn more codes into death for his people. It would never end.
He could feel his blood boil in disgust. Beside him the woman who had joined their group when another died began to weep. Surak looked at her and then looked back at his keyboard. She wouldn't last long she was already buckling under the strain. The darkness of the job, of this grim existence was already like a worm in her brain eating her alive. It didn't surprise him, the people nearest the window always seemed to crack first. She had only been in their group a year. He could not remember exactly, but he estimated that this would be his fifth year. He was conscripted shortly after his clan home was ransacked, and his family killed. His tribal leader had called him a coward for not joining the fighting ranks, and his sentence was life in this safe dungeon.
The hairs on the back of his neck prickled, as the woman beside him cried louder. This wouldn't end well. His screen went blank and the overseer commanded, "All stand!"
Surak did, and without looking he knew the woman did not. He knew she would not, and he knew this would be her last day in this space. Two guards came in and grabbed her up by the arms. She was screaming and pleading. Surak felt the hem of his gray robe move she had struggled, and she either fell or they threw her at his feet. He looked down, she was looking up him her pale blue eyes rimmed with tears, she held out her hand, "Please…please help me…please…"
He felt the leather of a slap across his face, "Eyes forward Surak. She has failed you, she has failed her people. She will be deal with." He did as he was commanded.
The larger of the guards dragged her from the room, while the second stayed to measure the reaction of those left. "You will all have three hours duty more today. To make up for what she has cost us. Take your seat your work begins in two minutes."
The group sat in unison. Surak stared at his screen. He wanted to help her. He wanted to take her hand, lead her out of this miserable place. He knew it was pointless, if he took her from this place the next place they went would be the same. This was his people. This constant rage of war, it was in their blood. The computer screen flashed on again. He looked out the window, a second mushroom cloud was forming, and the aftershocks were rattling the compound. He wondered if that one was theirs, he wondered if his work had caused that. He looked back to his screen and put his fingers on the keys.
The computer beeped and he began to type.