Author: David C. Nutt

The Chair of the Classics Department made her way through the corridor of the ship to the command section. Along the way the bodies confirmed the Captain had been correct in his assessment: mutiny. She knew what would come next. Execution of the loyal crew, then there would be the mutineer’s celebration, then the mutineers would get rid of all the ‘superfluous’ colonists. Especially persons like herself, a classics professor, with command grade rank to match her academic seniority.
The Professor arrived at the command suit. The Captain’s severed head was on display. Armed guards flanked either side of the door. She looked neither left not right but stood at attention, eyes forward.
“Announce me.”
Despite their sneers, the guards snapped to her command presence, opened the door and announced her to the “new” captain.
It was the Chief Engineer. He smiled like a reptile. “Professor, I think you know your days are numbered. I have control of the ship. I just need your authorizations. I could torture the information out of you, or kill you here and now until my tech people figure a way around it. Make it easier on both of us. For the life of me I don’t know why you have a ‘mutiny protocols’ authorization.” The engineer giggled.
The Professor shrugged. She saw by the former Captain’s computer displays he had time to trigger the lock out. She sighed. “Can I convince you that this is wrong?”
The Chief Engineer laughed “We planned this from the early days of the project. None of you should be out here with us. The old ways are dead we will bring about-
“A new world order? Spare me Chief. I’ve heard it before. Ever thus with tyrants.”
The Chief Engineer scowled. “Give up, you lost. Give me access to your protocols.”
The Professor Drew a deep breath. “No. Computer, mutiny protocols- Accipeiussis tantum vocalis. Latinae tantum.”
“Intellexerunt, Dominae meae.” The computer said
The Chief stood up, reaching for his holster.
“Protegit” the Professor barked out. The crackle of shields surrounded her. The Chief whipped his chair over to the command console and tried several different strings on the keyboard. Nothing worked. He slumped into his chair.
“Immobiles a coniuratis.” The Professor said.
“Intellexerunt.” The computer replied
From all over the ship they both heard the tell-tale hum of stunners, immobilizing the conspirators according to lists so recently entered into the computer by the overconfident conspirators themselves.
The Chief Engineer handed over his blast pistol. The Professor laid it on a bookshelf. She picked up a book belonging to her former Captain. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. The Professor teared up. “He would have been a great man on the new world. I think I understand his wisdom now. He saw this coming. He arranged all this.”
The Chief Engineer sneered “Now what?”
“Detention and trial for all but the main conspirators.”
“And for them?” the Chief.
The Professor sighed, “The Captain made it quite clear: summary execution.”
The Chief Engineer laughed. “You don’t have the will or the means.”
The Professor shook her head. “I never used to have the will, but I do now. As for means the, Captain provided those for me.” She pointed to the chief Engineer “Pugione in cor meum.”
From the security node in the command cell, a thin beam neatly bored a hole in the Chief Engineer’s chest. As he died he looked to the Professor in confusion. She smiled sympathetically “Latin. It means ‘a dagger to the heart.’”