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Literary Challenge #42 : I Am the Legacy of Romulus

pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
edited June 2013 in Ten Forward
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:

Today we start the two-week run of the forty-second Literary Challenge: I Am the Legacy of Romulus
Romulus and Remus are gone. You are one of the survivors, struggling to survive in the aftermath of unspeakable destruction.

These are dark and dangerous times for your people, as the Tal Shiar crack down on any dissent and mysterious beings unleash terror throughout the far-flung colony worlds.

You will be the one to reshape an empire. Gather allies, go undercover and find the proof that will rally your people to revolt.

Together, you will rise up against an oppressive regime and demand freedom. You will fight for your people.

You are the Legacy of Romulus.
Use this Literary Challenge as an opportunity to create the backstory for the Romulan Republic character you will be creating when Legacy of Romulus launches next month. This could be a simple biography, or as complex as a complete story of your history. Have fun!

This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.

The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
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  • awesometificawesometific Member Posts: 41 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    To: Colonel Hakeev
    From: Sub Commander Velka
    Re: Transcript from FNN


    Colonel,

    As expected former Admiral Tilitus Gell is on Earth to gain support for D'Tan and his upstart Republic by enlisted Federation support. This is a transcript from one of their open source news services. It gives fascinating insights on the direction that Gell wants to take the Republic. I believe he seriously wants to use it to challenge Empress Sela.


    Begin Transcript

    Kathy Swift-"Welcome to tonight's episode of Illuminating the City of Light on FNN. This is Kathy Swift sitting in for Pol Grevia who is away on maternity leave. We here at FFN and the program wish him a swift recover from his delivery."

    "With us tonight is acclaimed lecturer and retired Admiral of the former Romulan Star Empire, Tilitus Gell, who is in Paris this week speaking with the Federation council on behalf of the fledgling New Romulan State to encourage diplomatic and economic ties. Admiral Gell, it is a pleasure and welcome to the program."

    Tilitus Gell-"It is my pleasure to be here, Kathy and please call me Tilitus, I haven't been in the military for decades."

    Swift- "Certainly and again thank you for being on the program. Tilitus, before we discuss your work on behalf of New Romulus I would like to discuss a bit of your past as part of the Romulan Empire. You held a pretty prestigious position in the Star Navy but gave it up shortly after the death of Preator Shinzon. Why did you leave when it looked like Romulus needed you the most?"

    Gell- "Well Kathy, Shinzon's coup took many of us in the military by surprise. At the time I was a ranking member of the Tal Diann, that is Romulan Military Intelligence. I took it personally hard since I was one of the ones responsible for the Reman conscription program during the Dominion War. Shinzon and his ambitions slipped through the cracks. I must confess that I felt perhaps if I had been on top of my game and saw the early warning signs Shinzon would not have happened and thus the Empire would not have been thrown into such chaos afterwards. So I retired to Rator III to spend well deserved time with my family"

    Swift- "That seems like a harsh assessment seeing how most believe even the Tal Shiar missed the threat of Shinzon."

    Gell- "Perhaps but it was more than just Shinzon. The Empire I served and loved was not heading in a direction I felt was the best for the Romulan people. However, my loyalty to the Empire was greater than my own self interest so it was time to turn the reigns over to younger souls than I."

    Swift- "So you retired to Rator III and that was where you were when the Hobus Incident happened. Correct?"

    Gell- "I don't think that any Romulan forgets where they were when they heard that the heart of the Empire was burned that day. Yes, I was on Rator and just finishing up a sub space call to my eldest son when Romulus was destroyed. Sorvan was commanding a warbird in the Homefleet and was in orbit of Romulus when the wave hit."

    Swift- "I am sorry to hear that."

    Gell- "He died doing what my family had done for generations, serving the Empire."

    Swift- "After Hobus the Empire was really in chaos. From my understanding both Sela and Donatra approached you to rejoin the military on one of their sides. However you refused to come out of retirement. Why?"

    Gell- "Donatra represented the direction of Romulus that I was opposed to while Sela let her personal ambitions get the better of her, also she was not pure Romulan. I was not about to get in the middle of their plans. I had given the Empire decades of service as well as the lives of 6 of my 8 children. That was more than enough service."

    Swift -"Pardon my saying so Tilitus, but your statement about Sela seems a bit racist."

    Gell- "It would seem so, but I did not mean that she was an incapable leader because of her mixed heritage. You have to understand that her desire to be more Romulan than a Romulan and a self loathing of her human ancestry drove her ambition, not a desire for the supremacy of the Romulan people and culture."

    Swift- "So if you felt you had given enough to the Empire, why then after so many years would you accept D'Tan's offer to join the colony on New Romulus and become an advocate for it's statehood?"

    Gell- "D'Tan approached me and offered me something that neither Donatra or Sela could. He offered me a chance to rebuild the Romulan people not into what they once were but into what they could be. Everyone else was focused on returning to the past glory of the Empire. D'Tan and I will add, myself, believe now is the time for the Romulan people to demonstrate the full meaning of what it is to be Romulan."

    Swift -"That is surprising considering that you and D'Tan share a very opposing view on a sensitive subject for the Romulan people. Reunification."

    Gell- "That is correct. D'Tan believes in Reunification of the Romulan people with the Vulcans. I believe that it is no possible and not the best future for the Romulan people."

    Swift- "And why is that?"

    Gell- "The way Reunification is currently understood and taught is the Romulans learn and adopt Vulcan teaching and culture. It is about changing the Romulan people to be more like Vulcans. There is no impetus or requirement that Vulcans learn to embrace and adopt the culture and teaching of the Romulans. For Reunification to be a reality not only must the Romulan people change but the Vulcans as well. The Vulcans are not willing to accept that."

    Swift - "So if you oppose D'Tan on one of his core beliefs why join him on New Romulus?"

    Gell - "I feel that it is time for the Romulans to become navigators of their own course. Like I said this is not about restoring the past Empire but forging something new. Call it a New Romulan State or Romulan Republic, but it will be new and it will be uniquely Romulan. We have so much to give to the galaxy, but we must stand on our own to do so."

    Swift- "That is why you also advocate a middle of the road approach when it comes to the Federation and the Klingon Empire."

    Gell- "Yes, by working with both governments and giving allegiance to none we help erase some of the animosity that the Federation and Klingons have built up over the years with us. Also this gives both sides a chance to not look at us as either a threat or pawns to be exploited but partners in a new beginning for our corner of the galaxy."

    Swift- "What about threats from Empress Sela that the Romulan Republic will not be allowed to exist?"

    Gell- "Well she sees us as a threat to her power and we are. I believe that those partners in peace I just spoke of will have a stake in what she can or cannot do to us."

    Swift- "It sounds like you are advocating manipulating the Federation and the Klingon Empire to fight Sela as New Romulus's proxies."

    Gell- "Not at all. That is just the reality. The rebirth of the Romulan people is very fragile. Just as it is a threat to the Old Empire it is vitally important to the Federation and the Klingons that we not only survive, but thrive as well."

    Swift- "So your participation in D'Tan's government is strictly as a civilian advisor? What about the rumors that you are helping to build a military force for New Romulus?"

    Gell- "D'Tan sees the wisdom that New Romulus needs to be able to defend itself. Like I said we are to be partners with the Federation and Klingons, not dependents. As for me any new military force would not need an old Admiral commanding ships, maybe if they open up a position for a 'seasoned' ulan or centurion to polish the plasma torpedos while young Commanders chase after glory, maybe I will sign up."

    Swift - "I am sure the last thing a young Commander wants is be ordering a legend to scrub plasma conduits. Tilitus I am afraid that is all we have time for. Please stop by again."

    Gell- "Kathy it has been a pleasure. I hope to be seeing more of the Federation very soon and I look forward to speaking with the Federation Council tomorrow."

    Swift - "Thank you and we look forward to hearing that speech. Tilitus Gell's speech to the Council will be broadcast tomorrow morning at 9AM. That is all for this segment of Illuminating the City of Lights. Stay tuned for the Starfleet Report and thank you to our guest tonight Tilitus Gell. On behalf of FNN this is Kathy Swift have a wonderful evening and a bright tomorrow."

    End Transcript
    Fleet Admiral Marcus Red-Six
    Commanding Officer
    Strategic Exploration Command

    David Retsil
    Alpha
    Dilthium Dogs (KDF)
  • stellardriftstellardrift Member Posts: 21 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    (Somewhere close to the earth year 2390)

    Governess Ynala Hvalli steepled her hands in front of her face and rested her hands against her palms staring at the picture in front of her. The afternoon sun had peaked through the ordinarily dismal gray clouds that shrouded Hraja, the Capitol City here on the Romulan agrarian colony of Colius II, and glinted off the glass of the picture frame, creating a halo above the smiling face of Kim Sharp. Absently, she reached to the back of her neck, and the wisps of raven colored hair that had freed themselves from their captive bun and tickled her flesh defiantly. It was as though the warmth she felt from this cold, distant world was the warmth she had felt that day among the spring-kissed mountains of the Ildaareen province. The day when she snapped this photo when Kim wasn't looking.

    She was smiling softly at something Ynala had said, her eyes loving, but bashfully aimed at the grass, and her delightful European cheeks blushed with the flattery of a woman's love. A Southern wind had kicked up around her and wild strands of her wavy golden hair had come loose in a graceful fashion that was a betrayal to the strong, military character that Kim projected outwardly. It was a side of Kim that she loved to see, and only she knew.

    The reflection of the high clouds moving in from the East and the gloomy, darkened hull of a cargo hauler descending from orbit in the glass brought her back to the reality that she now found herself in. She felt numb for a moment, half hoping and half wondering if she was merely trapped inside the worst kind of nightmare. Any moment, Kim would turn over and wake her, and she would look over and listen to the wind jostle the vines in the yard and the fences y the Kali-Fal distillery. Safe, at home.

    Ynala turned to the bay window behind her and watched the cargo ship make its way to the landing pad at the granary. Its shadow grew smaller the closer to the ground it got, and the trees nearby began to flail wildly as she turned on her thrusters to maneuver in position. Whoever was at her helm was a bad pilot. If Kim were here she'd have something to say.

    But she wasn't here, and she would never be. She was gone. Swallowed into the fire along with Romulus, and to be remembered only through a photograph.

    She was angry and heartbroken all over again, and the tears came just as they had been for the past six months. She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the glass . Horrific images flooded her mind, and made her want to cry out in anger. She balled her fists, and looked at her reflection in the window, only Kim stared back at her.

    "How could you?" She whispered through a clenched jaw.

    The sound of the door chime knocked her out of her thoughts and once again back to the reality of cold, dismal Colius II. For a split second in her pent up rage, she was tempted to overturn the desk, but then suddenly seeing the ridiculousness of that action couldn't help but laugh at herself, only it wasn't light laughter, it dripped with sadness and self-loathing.

    "Enter." She said amidst her laughter. She wiped her eyes with the thick, dark blue fabric of her tunic, and hoping that somehow that mere gesture would disguise the fact she had been crying, looked up to meet the familiar, tall, demure figure of her favorite Orion, Captain Janei Nori.

    Captain Nori raised a brow quizzically, and cautiously entered the room. She wished that she could say she had seen this sight before from Ynala. The tall, gracefully framed Romulan woman, clutched the back of her gray, plush chair as though she were about to murder it. Her eyes were green and puffy, and the corners of her mouth curled in that of sad laughter. She wore the same midnight blue tunic with silver piping, and matching robe bottom that seemed more like an elegant dress than a robe, that she had worn the day before and the day before that and the day they all had landed here on Colius.

    Recognizing that this was not the state that she wished her guests to see Governess Hvalli in, she turned to the two women standing behind her, on the other side of the door, and gestured quickly for them to remain outside a moment.

    Turning around, Janei curtsied slightly and addressed her. "Mistress," she said in cautious tone. She moved forward, allowing the door to hiss shut.

    Ynala frowned suspiciously, and glanced at the door.

    "Who was that?" She asked.

    "Governess, I need you to take a moment to comp--"

    "Janei, I asked you a question?" Ynala asked sternly, feeling raw anger bubble to the surface as she looked back at her long time friend.

    "--And--"

    "--And what? You were told not to bring people here without my authorization!--"

    "--If you woul--"

    "--If I would what? If I would just capitulate to you--"

    "--YNALA TR-ILDAREEN T-ILURREEN S'HVALLI SHARP! Stop."

    Stunned, Ynala was quiet enough for Janei to finally speak.

    Captain Nori's heart thudded in her ears, and she stared across the dark, mahogany colored desk and glanced at the drawer in front of the Romulan woman where she knew she kept her disruptor pistol. She wasn't moving to it.

    "I have an explanation, and you have no reason to be alarmed."

    The suspicious scowl remained on Ynala's fair complexion. Much had changed in the weeks that had gone by since she last encountered her employer. The Ynala Hvalli she knew of old had been so kind and gracious on Romulus had never been so tormented. She had been filled with hopes, dreams, and the silly notion that the darkness in the Universe could be overcome by the flick of a light switch. Like so many people, Ynala Hvalli seemed to have died with her homeworld.

    Janei knew more sorrow than good, though, like Kim Sharp had been taken in by Ynala's infectious love of the brighter side of life, and had even gotten to a point where she had begun reconsidering her salty view of the Universe. That was all past, but unlike Ynala she knew how to cope with the heartache, the disappointment, and the shocking imagery that came with death and destruction. She also had never really known what it was like to have a gun pointed at her head everywhere she turned. In spite of the coldness which she prided herself on, she felt a measure of sorrow.

    "Governess, if it were anyone but me you'd have a right to be suspicious." Janei said in a disarming tone. "We have been friends far too long, and I have shown you nothing but loyalty. Why would I start trying to betray you now?"

    Ynala kept her cool, green, almond-shaped eyes on Captain Nori, but relaxed her posture.

    "Before I get to that, I brought back the figures from Dentan II, and Alhala Prime as you asked."

    Ynala watched the Orion reach into a pouch about her Klingon utility belt and procure a PADD. The leather of her "borrowed" Klingon defense uniform creaked as she set the PADD at the end of the desk.

    Ynala met Janei's crystalline gray eyes which were contorted with a mixture of exasperation, hope, and exhaustion. She felt a measure of regret at how she had behaved and recalled the request. She picked up the PADD and frowned angrily at the figures.

    "This is telling me a third of our shipments to them are making it through."

    "Yes Mistress, and according to Governor Vrrhai the Tal'Shiar are extorting him. Maybe a third of that make it to his people. The Alhalans are in similar shape, but they have some semblance of a Navy that every now and then gets a lucky punch in. I also made some trips to Lvhhei, Mol'Vrhia, Orhheu, and some of the colonies closer in. Seems as though the Tal'Shiar is getting their hands on what they can and just hoarding it for themselves."

    Ynala sighed in frustration and straightened her posture. She ran a hand through her dark hair and felt the rage return.

    "Our people just had their world wiped away, and yet they wish the suffering to go on."

    "You know, Ynala, we've had this talk before. We're not shipping Hvalli Label Ale anymore. These other worlds look to you, because you are the only one giving them a chance to survive. If we were to band with them...I could certainly use the Alhalan Navy's numbers. We've been lucky, Governess, but we can't live on luck. I know the Tal'Shiar's tactics well enough to stay ahead of the game, but you know they adapt quickly."

    "Why doesn't Dek do it? You know General Vrrhai is capable."

    "He's not the leader your people need."

    Ynala skewed her lips and her eyes went to the photograph she had been lamenting over earlier.

    Following the Governess, Janei added. "We both know if she were here she would have already done it."

    "Yes..." Ynala said, her voice distant. "I always envied her strength, and her devotion."

    "And she envied yours."

    Suddenly remembered Janei's direction for the two unknown guests to remain outside. "What about--" She gestured to the door.

    Janei smiled. "I was just getting to that. If I may?"

    Governess Hvalli nodded. "By the way, it's 'Hvalli', not 'S'Hvalli.' Don't mistake us for the stodgy aristocrats of the past."

    She gave Janei a humorous smile.

    The door hissed aside revealing the familiar, husky figure of Janei's younger sister, Tevnu, and a tall, lithe, dark haired Trill wearing the tattered remains of a Starfleet Commander's uniform.

    Her eyes went wide and she went to Janei.

    "Don't be alarmed, Mistress." The Trill spoke, bowing her head slightly.

    "My name is Zadari Iminei, in case you don't know me I am the former First Officer of the USS Majestic. I'd like to help."
  • benkenobi09benkenobi09 Member Posts: 18 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    (This is from the actual account of the Romulan colonist Sarik Karzinak)



    My name is Sarik Karzinak and I am one of the survivors on the distant colony world of Shikar and have been living here since I was a youngling. My mother is one of the original survivors of the destruction of our homeworld gave birth to me as while her ship escaped the shockwave from the planet's destruction. My father, unfortunately didn't survive the the destruction of our homeworld. My mother has told me stories of Romulus and what our original home looked like and I have often dreamed of what Romulus looked like and what our home looked like.

    Now here on Shikar, we are slowly continuing to rebuild our lives with the help of our friends and families who did survive the the destruction of our homeworld. My friend Darok was also born during the destruction of Romulus and for him he has often wondered what life is like out there in the stars and I admit I too have the same curiousity about the stars. My mother though says that "curiousity can get the catarik" but most of the time I would not listen. Life was starting to look up for us and the people of Shikar or so we thought.

    On the 7th year of the Kara cycle, a mysterious force came from the heavens and started to take over the colony. I heard whispers from the elders saying that they are the Tal Shiar. My mother has told me that the Tal Shiar were once a secret organization bent on finding technology and even killing our own people by any means necessary. The Tal Shiar started to recruit and oppress us and many of the elders and the young ones started to rebel. My mother was one of them and like she told me, they were relentless and started to shoot all of the protestors. My mother protected me from the wrath of the Tal Shair and ended up getting killed herself. My mother died believing in peace and freedom and I was at first filled with a terrible resolve, but Darok's mother told me my mother died beleiving in peace and freedom and from that time forward I devoted myself to the philosophy of peace and freedom that were instilled in me by my mother.

    But, these are dark and perilous times for Shikar. Now on the 9th year of the Kara cycle, our people are continuously being harassed and oppressed by the Tal Shiar and a new and mysterious ominous force has threatened the lives of not only my friends and family but also other outlying colonies. My friend Darok and I have decided enough is enough and decided to join the ranks of the fellow rebels called the Shikar Trune (Shikar's Freedom Fighters), but for Darok and I, we continue to maintain the philosophy of peace. Hopefully one day, our actions will cause the people of Shikar to stand up and fight for what is right: for the colony, for peace, and for freedom.


    Jolan'tru
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Day 29 9th Year of the Kara cycle:

    On the planet Shikar, the streets are quiet in the province of Sevan, my friend Darok and I continue to elude the Tal Shiar while supplying the Shikar Trune with massive amounts of thyredozine and stockpiles of weapons. My comrades of the Shikar Trune are hard working and dedicated to their cause of peace and freedom. Many of them are very friendly and think very highly of me, saying that I have the wisdom of that of Ambassador Tulsen. Others say I also have the capability of top rank commander and I should command a ship of my own. I myself of course had never considered commanding my own ship, let alone being a top ranking Captain. Many of my comrades, including my friend Darok continued to persuade in taking up command. Even I knew that it was inevitable to have them change thier minds, I willingly decided to join command.

    Day 31 9th Year of the Kara cycle:

    Through the persuasion of my comrades of the Shikar Trune and my friend Darok, I took up command and became ensign of the SRW Valtor (Shikar Romulan Warbird Freedom). Under the command of Captain Silvest, we headed off to assist the outlying colonies under the oppression of the Tal Shiar. But, before we headed off to the other colonies, I made a personal request to the Captain if Ensign Darok could be transferred from the ground forces of Shikar to the Valtor, for I knew that Darok was one of the best officers in the field of science. His way of thinking outside the box can help us get out of very tight situations. After looking at his files and careful consideration, he granted the transfer of Darok to the Valtor.

    Day 35 9th Year of the Kara cycle:

    We were continuing our liberation of the colonial planet Caparx from the Tal Shiar. Captain Silvest ordered the helmsman to decloak the ship and to disable the shields and weapons of 2 of the Tal Shiar's ships. This threw the commanders of those ships completely off guard and didn't give them enough time to order a counter attack. We were victorious and began to deploy reflief aid and clothing to the colonists. A few hours later in the mess hall, I was eating my usual Spicy Plomek Soup when Darok came over on a happy note. As usual my curiousity has gotten the best of me and I asked "what in Surkon's name are you happy about Darok?" He told me that he overheard one of the senior officers talking about promoting me to Lieutenant. I almost spit out my Plomek soup on my friends face. I knew that I was in good terms with the Captain and also he also knew that I had potential in becoming the next commanding officer. At times he would come to my table and began to talk philosophically about freedom whether it was a concept or not. We began to go in a heated debate and we both knew that no matter how hard we try to up the ante, we always ended up laughing. After the debate I showed him some new tactical maneuvers that we can use against the Tal Shiar. Silvest was rather impressed and he said that he would take it up to his senior officers for consideration. Little did I know, that those ideas would one day be put to the test.

    Day 39 9th Year of the Kara cycle:

    On my way to the bridge, I began to take notice of officers standing still and saluting me as I walked to the bridge. When I arrived at the bridge all the senior officers, my friend Darok, and the Captain were saluting and waiting for me. As I walked up to the captain, he began to express that he was truly honored to have a fine young officer who was tactile and willingly risking his own life for the cause of liberation and freedom. So on the behalf of him and his senior officers, they bestowed upon me the rank of lieutenant. After the salute and thanking the Captain, all the crew members clapped and gave the traditional music of "Saruk de Tompare" (Pomp and Circumstances). After the celebrations were over the Valtor's commicator notified the captatin that we were receiving a distress call from one of our Trune frieghters at the nearby colony of Tansalak IV and Captain Silvest ordered the helmsman to set a course and engage at maximum warp. When we approached our destination, we dropped out of warp, but all we saw was debris and the void of space. Silvest told the helmsman to continue hailing them and asked Darok to continue scanning the area for lifesigns, but as we were searching, 2 Tal Shiar warbirds and 1 mysterious ship decloaked and begin to fire at us at full strength. This caught all of us completely off guard and a couple of consoles exploded rendering a couple of the Valtor's officers unconscious. The captain ordered us to take evasive maneuvers and to continue firing all weapons. But, as we were firing, the two warbirds split off and the mysterious ship fired a mysterious energy beam that overloaded a few more of our consoles and one of them exploded in front of the captain, his first officer, and most of the senior staff, leaving myself, Darok, and 4 other ensigns . We knew that all of the senior officers were dead and I was the only one with the highest rank to take command of the Valtor....

    To be continued...
  • capnmanxcapnmanx Member Posts: 1,450 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Tamsu gazed down at the face of a dead man. It seemed that the years had been kind to Sorall's roguish features. The shuttle crash, less so.

    She had not seen Sorall since her university days; when they were young and hopeful, and when the Tal Shiar had, no doubt, first marked them as 'agitators'. It was not a great surprise to see him here; Sorall never did like facing his fears alone, and had had a knack for finding people who didn't want to be found. The only mystery is why he thought the Tal Shiar would allow him to disappear to a far away backwater this late in the game.

    It was stupid for her to be here. Not that there was much choice really. As an acquaintance of the deceased, and as the commander of Serriena's small town security department, her avoiding this responsibility would have drawn the wrong sort of attention all too quickly. Tamsu had been working very hard to avoid drawing attention of that kind lately.

    Patrolman Ansavi, one of her very few subordinates, shifted restlessly by the door. 'I do not wish to rush you Commander, but the doctor wants to lock up for the night soon.'

    Tamsu sighed wearily. 'Of course. I confirm, for the record, that this is indeed Sorall Dhesh.' Ansavi nodded and made a note on his PADD. 'We are certain it was an accident?'

    The Patrolman nodded again. 'We have checked everything we can, given the damage. No signs of foul play.'

    She accepted that without comment. If there had been signs of foul play, it would mean the Tal Shiar probably hadn't been involved; not much chance of that under the circumstances. Tamsu bade Ansavi goodnight, and started walking; and thinking. Twelve former students; once a close circle of friends with high ideals. Twelve one time campaigners for change and reform. Eight were now dead.

    D'Elon, and Sahen, taken by the Tal Shiar for 'questioning' and never seen again.

    Nveid, supposedly murdered by the Hirogen; even though poor fat Nveid Hweirai, and his heap of a merchant ship, would surely have been no sport for the Hunters.

    Vaoben apparently killed confronting an armed intruder in his home; despite him being both a pacifist and a coward, who owned little worth stealing.

    Hannam, Llran, and Hanajh, one by one, simply gone. Vanished without a trace.

    And now, Sorall.

    Of the four who remained, Lovok had defected to the Federation, perhaps the catalyst for all of this, and who knew where the ever adventurous Erren wandered? Erren never left traces; he was as safe as could be. Only Tamsu and Yhea were still in danger. She had thought them well hidden here, but the Tal Shiar were certain to wonder why Sorall had chosen to come to this world. If they didn't already know where she and Yhea were, they soon would.

    Whatever they thought, there was no conspiracy. No fiendish plan to topple an Empire. Her student days on Rator Prime were far behind her, and contact with most of her companions of old had been infrequent and perfunctory for over two decades now. Only Yhea remained amongst her friends these days; and Yhea had never been more than casually involved in the student protests. But the Tal Shiar's paranoia was going to kill them both if they let it.
    ***

    Yhea answered the knock on her door to find Tamsu gazing up the stars with troubled eyes. Her old friend spoke without looking at her.

    'It is time to go.'
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 485 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    "Who are you?"

    So many possibilities in a question of three words. So many opportunities for misunderstanding, or revelation. So heavy a weight those words can lay upon one's heart. But then, we of the Rihannsu have become familiar with the heavy heart over the last cycles.

    When I was asked this question by a Federation Officer who failed to recognize the robes that are obligatory for one of the vest'ualu, it was truely a shock. Never had anyone presented me with such a request for what all could see, and it was this that firmly brought to me how the destruction of ch'Rihan has changed all of us. It also caused me to think on his question during the passage from the starport to the place I have been for several months now.

    Like other Priestesses, I was taken as a child into the Temple and made an alcolyte to the services of the Five, the great Elementals that form and bind this universe together, and to the Stars that were the embodiment of their purity. It was my life's work to seek their sanction for our glorious Empire and its great work, and I performed those duties with the precision expected of the vest'ualu. To the People and the Lower Castes, I was the image of grace and dedication.

    In private chambers, however, the other Priestesses complained that I wasted time that should have been used in seeking greater understanding of the Five instead learning useless things such as space tactics and the great battles of the Empire. I paid them no heed, for I was but a foolish child who dreamed of the great heroes forging our path to the Stars. What child did not dream of those great men and women who ever sent our glory onwards? It was this lack of caution that, I now believe, led to the Aug-vest'ualu to reassign me to far-off Rator III. A small world at the time, and far less important a Temple than one of my lineage should have had, but this was my penalty for not disguising my ambitions as well as the others did.

    There I was when ch'Rihan fell to the anger of the Stars, and there I continued to serve for the years that saw my maturity into a full Priestess. I comforted the refugees as best I could, and explained how the Five had judged our world and found it lacking. Even the Havrannsu did I permit to speak of their own loss, to the displeasure of my sisters for who cared what the undercaste thought? I also used the connections all vest'ualu aquire to divert the increasingly scarce resources from what remained of the Empire to those projects and initiatives the Temple found most inline with our goals.

    But the day came, after the new Capitol had been established and the present emergency had stabilized, when those of the Tal'Shiar remembered we existed. Our pressure on several members of the new Senate seemed to have been subverted, for we found no allies among that august body when the day came that the Tal'Shair decided we were no longer needed in the society they wished to make, and began razing our Temple. I alone escaped the slaughter, aided by the few contacts within the High Command who were au'Unn to me, settling their life-debts by arranging for my travel to a new world, and a new life as a common colonist on the frontier.

    It was no doubt the will of the Stars that I was approached a year later by one who had heard the words of D'tan. In a field where I was planting cruli, of all things. How far I had fallen. In any event, I was struck by the...well...honesty, I believe the Humans call it....of this lone man. I had never encountered anyone with that quality of openness and lack of desire to entrap others in their plans, and it intrigued me. I accepted his offer to travel to Mol'Rihan, and begin again in a place strange to my ears. Certainly, it seemed better than awaiting the attacks on other colony worlds that had been reported by the few transport ships to arrive on my current planet.

    When I arrived on Mol'Rihan, I quickly deduced that this was, indeed, a new world. Here, those of the Federation and those of the Klingon Empire worked with our people to bring forth a new way of being. I had never been one to accept the Unification, yet here I saw for myself that it was possible. More, I knew my path had also changed when I met D'tan himself, and saw the Rihan'iLu'vorr, the Wings of the Eagle upon him. Perhaps it was simply an illusion of the mind brought on by the strangeness of my surroundings, but I did not think so and do not still. I saw what I saw, and am as watchful as any Rihannsu of the illusion and obscurification that is always about us. It was a true vision, and I am not one to discount the will of the Five lightly.

    When our conversation ended, I left his office in my traditional robes, the first time in over a year that I had been allowed to wear them. I understood his intent, a statement that the Five had granted their acceptance of this new world as the true heart of the Empire, and did not disappoint him. With word and gesture, I gave to the lost Rihannsu and Havrannsu the familiarity of our ancient traditions, the rememberance of the days gone by.

    Perhaps I should have realized more would be expected of me. I do not know how D'tan obtained the secret journals of our Temple, but it is clear he has remained as careful as any Senator in retaining sources within the Empire. I had no idea what he desired of me when I was asked to board a Federation shuttle and travel to a place on Mol'Rihan I had never been, and except for the question asked by the Federation Officer piloting it which had so made me think, the passage was uneventful.

    That was five months ago. I no longer wear the robes of a vest'ualu, and no longer speak for the Five. This does not concern me, as I know they look upon my new task with eyes bright with promise. For, did they not proclaim to my people at the dawn of our race that we were destined to rule the Stars as we are now ruled by them? Now, I will have my chance to contribute to that duty.

    As my shuttle climbs out of the atmosphere, I write this as my final entry into my thon'ro, my chronicle as a Priestess. When my hand strikes the command to end it, so ends my life before, and begins my new life of Duty. So, I will simply state what all who have walked where I now walk have known.

    The Vulcans have referred to us as 'Those Who Walk Beneath Raptor's Wings'. But they do not understand. For, while it is true that we revere the Great Bird of the Galaxy whose claws brought forth the eggs from which the first Rihannsu emerged, we do not seek to walk beneath his wings.

    As I look out the forward viewport at the T'liss class Warbird that is only one of many being brought to our service by agents within the Empire, I know the truth. The truth the Tal'Shiar will learn all too soon.

    We will become the Raptor.



    End recording and file.

  • cosmonaut12345cosmonaut12345 Member Posts: 114 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Agency
    Kaol Othan

    I was actually in the Tal Shiar, you know? Back in the old days. Not for any grand reasons of strategy - I was part of that generation that was just of age when they saw Shinzon slay the Senate and throw himself cheerfully onto the spears of the Federation, and what that taught me was that the military was for fools and children, and that their generals and commanders were nothing but particularly charismatic fools and children. So I resolved that my service to the Empire would be through cleverer means. When I had finished my medical training, I volunteered for the Tal Shiar's Medical Service, and after passing a few exams that tested my cleverness and loyalty to the state, I became a doctor for the Tal Shiar.

    What's that, you say, the Tal Shiar had doctors? Of course they did - what officer would trust himself to a ham-handed military surgeon, or worse some too-clever civilian? Competition in those days was fierce, oh yes, but mostly for the prime posts in Intelligence. If you wanted a 'lesser' job and pressed for it hard, you could get what you wanted with only a few enemies to walk over on the way. I remember I was so excited when I received my first assignment - assistant physician to the new prison they were building in the Rator system. It was exactly the easy job I had always dreamed of - tending the minor wounds and ailments of prison guards, assisting in the interrogation of worthless political scum, and perhaps wooing some lovely sub-lieutenant to bear me some fat children.

    That must make me sound so old to your young ears. Oh yes, my friend, there once was a time when Romulan children were fat and happy, when we reclined in the sun like so many well-fed serpents, digesting an empire of mice without ever noticing the farmer's boot about to come down on our necks.

    I never made it to Rator. Our ship was diverted by Hobus, first to a rendezvous of Tal Shiar ships in deep space (that was the first time I saw the Empress - fascinating woman, but proof of the dangers of interbreeding if you ask me), then back to the Homeworlds for the last mad dash of evacuation. I remember the captain of our transport ship, an old field agent, an interrogator who had lost an arm fighting the Dominion, a lean-faced, poison-eyed man whose chief entertainment was telling hilarious stories of what Klingons could be made to do under mind-torture - I remember the way he wept openly when the ship was full to capacity on each evacuation run and we had to fly away and turn off the comms that pled with us for rescue, the way hard-faced Tal Shiar agents gave up first their comforts, then their quarters, then sometimes even their place aboard ship to save another civilian.

    We were one of the last ships in the system. I remember I was holding a baby, not more than a few weeks old, whose mother had pressed him into my arms when we were evacuating Intelligence Headquarters, and when I heard the cry over the intercom - it was the captain, the hard-faced old monster, crying in grief and terror! I looked up from the place I'd found in sickbay and saw our planets break in half on the monitor...I am not ashamed to say that I wept then, too. I actually saw a ship that may have been the so-famous Narada, but it looked nothing like the abomination of Borg technology that made all the comms - we were warping away too fast to tell.

    Afterwards, we put the bodies of the suicides in the cargo bay and vented it to the Elements. There was no time for anything else. There were so many of them - by honor blade, by poison, by strangling. By exposure to hard vacumn. By an officer's disruptor against the temple. I could not blame them. I know they were by no means the only ones. Suicide was our most common cause of death for some time...I lost track of the infant some weeks after we arrived at Rator, what had been a prison now our greatest stronghold. I am sure he grew well, I left him with a creche raising the orphaned sons and daughters of agents lost when Romulus fell. He would be now just a few years younger than I was the day I first stepped aboard that transport craft. I think of that, sometimes.

    Why do I wear no mourning colors? I did once, when I was younger, as so many of us did, but they have since become political. We are all in our own way in the shadow of Nero. Wearing the colors came to mean more than just mourning - they came to mean rebellion, strife, a war against the Federation for Spock's betrayal and a war against the Klingons for standing between us. For a galaxy that we sought to set aflame in cold revenge for planets lost to fire and ash. I could not let the memories of those lost be tainted by the actions of one man, so I had them removed and carry the marks in here, over my heart. All of us who were there on that day will carry those until the Elements claim us and we are dead.

    Death. Yes, let us speak of death, and life that arose from it. I learned many things in those years on Rator - how to build field hospitals with no supplies, how to treat plagues once extinct in our space, how to tell parents that their children were dying of malnutrition because there were no supplies to spare for Remans. They say that Remans don't have emotions the way we sons and daughters of S'task do, but I saw the grief on their faces as those small bodies were lowered into the charnel pits. I had trained to be a healer at the pinnacle of our civilization. Now I was watching as that mighty edifice slipped through my fingers like so much ash.

    And what did our former allies do while all this was happening? Nothing. Or worse than nothing, in any event. Oh, the Federation came with their aid and their promises of friendship. But what Romulan would take the aid of the Federation in those years when people cursed the name Spock and all of Vulcan? Only the desperate, who it was too easy to brand as traitors to the Empire for choosing a full belly over a flag. And so we fought amongst ourselves, not to _take_ Federation aid, but to make sure others could not have it. But we judged Spock too harshly. Romulans should know better than anyone how easily one man can be defeated by the inertia of five billion.

    And the Klingons. Feh. You know, we are close enough to the border that we occasionally get Federation comms, and you should hear the things they have to say about J'mpok. Now, I can understand that - the man is a blustering bully who had helped embroil the quadrant in war, but you expect that. The man is a Klingon. But the man he replaced, Martok? Martok was worse than a Klingon. Martok was a traitor. Did you read his speech in your primary schools? "No hand that does not hold a blade," indeed. Why, because Nero destroyed Klingon ships? Because a man maddened by vengeance destroyed his enemies and gave Klingon warriors honorable deaths? Feh. There is much to dislike about the Federation, oh yes, but they are what they appear to be. Klingons have no honor.

    But enough of galactic politics - you were asking about me. There was no one thing that made me finally leave Rator, really. Too many bodies, too much death, too many fat officers watching as men starved in the back alleys, too many grim reports of exploitation and horror from the colony worlds. The day after I sat in on a physician's panel that debated whether or not to secretly sterilize the lower 50% of the Reman genetic bracket to ensure there would be no further competition for resources, I took a medical kit, boarded a freighter, and left. I traveled afterwards, moving from world to world, sometimes as a healer, sometimes as just another laborer, going as far as from Rator as I could.

    It was easy enough to leave. Our struggles with the Undine had been less...vigorous than those of our former allies against the Dominion, but our already-disordered state had made the authority of the Empire particularly weak in those critical years. Do I think the Empress was secretly taking orders from the Undine? Oh, no, she may have allowed alien trash from the Delta Quadrant to hunt in our space, but even Sela with her mixed blood would draw the line at an alliance with the three-legged fiends from fluidic space. No, the truth is, much as Romulans may hate to admit it, is that we had nothing, and no one, worth stealing. Why go to the trouble to replace some high-ranking officer in the military or the Tal Shiar when doing the same on Qo'nos or Earth could gain you so many more men, so many more ships, and so much more power?

    Oh, we had our conflicts - I still remember that Tethys monster that appeared in the skies over Rator and scorched the eastern continent, it must have been, what, eleven, twelve years ago now? What a panic that was. That was the last time I was aboard a military vessel, deep in the sickbay of a wretched old T'Liss, trying to hold the crew together even as that terrible yellow plasma scorched their flesh. If that maniac in that D'deridex hadn't simply rammed his burning starship into that thing's guts, perhaps we wouldn't have an empire to fight over even now. Oh yes, it was a great victory, and I am grateful for the sacrifice of the Tomalak, but you know such things have consequences. When heroes die, and vipers live in comfort in their burrows, what does that mean for our people?

    No, I think you've been listening too much to the stories told by your elders. The Reunificationists are hardly vipers - they are not nearly so interesting as a serpent. The older generation, the men of my father's and grandfather's day, they saw the whispered promise of Vulcan as something to fear, something to suppress and drive into the shadows. But what did that do but make it something forbidden, something secret, something to learn about in hidden caverns or back rooms. I think that if Neral and his predecessors had been wise enough to simply let Spock speak freely on the Homeworlds the day he first arrived on Romulus, that movement would have died aborning. But we Romulans do love our secrets, don't we?

    When I was younger, I might have favored reunification on our terms, a liberation of the Vulcan soul from millennia of logic to a more...enlightened perspective. But those are dreams of a long-gone empire, and we must discard them. For today, if they seek to be Vulcan, why, let them emigrate there! And if that world should reject them, as it has rejected so many Romulan entreaties over the years, perhaps that would be a fine lesson to them about the true nature of the cold, unfeeling logic they so covet. By all means, let the would-be Vulcans bring the Remans with them - give them the equality they so crave, but do so as far from us as they can. With no Remans in the Empire, Romulans can learn the value of honest labor and Remans can learn that freedom is not so easy a thing as they imagine it is.

    But again I have let myself fall into politics - how foolish when we are so far from the Empire's heartland! Indeed, this world is at the very edges of our space. Despite my desertion, I had thought I had escaped the Tal Shiar's attention entirely until you came to my door. Oh, don't look so shocked - I may not have been a field agent but I know that lean and hungry look all too well. Are you beginning to feel cold despite the heat of yon fire? Yes, you should not trust ale given freely this far from the military's worlds - the only reason I would share it with a stranger here is to hide the taste of the paralytic. Don't look so frightened, either, in those widening eyes of yours. I am a healer. When I have killed, it has been in battle, not a guest under my roof.

    I will instead let you rest in that chair by the fire and think while I begin packing my bags for the trip offworld. I could have killed you easily here, so easily, or turned you over to your masters and let them punish you obscenely for being too obvious in how you came to an old healer in the woods. But how many of our people have died already for Sela, or Donatra, or Shinzon, or Rehak- how many more will die until the killing stops? We have been jackals too long, I think. It is time for us to become raptors again...
  • sander233sander233 Member Posts: 3,992 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    I'm waking up to ash and dust
    I wipe my brow but I sweat my rust
    I'm breathing in the chemicals

    I'm breaking in, and shaping up
    Then checking out on the prison bus
    This is it, the apocalypse

    I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
    Enough to make my systems blow
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age
    I'm radioactive, radioactive...

    I raise my flag, don my clothes
    It's a revolution, I suppose
    We're painted red to fit right in...

    All systems go, the sun hasn't died
    Deep in my bones, straight from inside...


    Dan Reynolds and Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons - "Radioactive"




    ASH AND DUST



    STS Storm Station (Lunar Orbit over the Oceanus Procellarum) - Stardate 88077.42

    "Just sit back and relax, Captain," K'Jetsk instructed. "This neural scan should take no longer than three hours."

    Frank Grimes settled comfortably into the examination chair. "Did you already scan Ming and Fozz?" he asked.

    "Yes, but I don't believe they were as traumitized as you were. After I compare your scan to their baseline, hopefully I'll have enough data to help Dr. Espinoza formulate a treatment for Commander Traa'cee."

    "How is she now?"

    "Unchanged," K'Jetsk announced. "Comatose, very low neural activity."

    "Well, lets get on with it so you can figure how to help her."

    K'Jetsk activated the scanner. "You'll need to actively use your limbic system for this to work. Talk to me."

    "About what?"

    "Whatever. Your life story."

    Grimes laughed. "That would take longer than we have. Besides, most of it is so highly classified I can't even look up my own files if I start to forget parts of my life. And there are a lot of parts I'm trying to forget."

    "You can't. It's impossible to destroy a memory engram. They can only be supressed, and that doesn't work on all species. Even humans can be trained to resist. But even if you suffer total amnesia, all of your memories and experiences are still stored somewhere in your mind." K'Jetsk picked up the Tal Shiar neural interface. "That's what the people who designed this device were counting on."

    "You seem to know a lot about the Tal Shiar and their technology," Grimes remarked.

    "That's what comes from spending my adult life fighting them," K'Jetsk replied.

    After a moment, Grimes asked "Does it matter if I'm doing the talking or just listening?"

    K'Jetsk pondered the question. "I don't think so. It should make no difference whether you're accessing long-term memories or creating new ones; the limbic system is active either way."

    "So could we talk about you instead of talking about me?"

    K'Jetsk slowly nodded. "Alright. Where to begin..."
    * * *

    I might as well start at the beginning I suppose. I was born on Remus in 2385. I don't remember the homeworld at all. My people were forced to evacuate the planet the following year due to overmining. Most of the Reman people moved to Crateris, but my parents found better work digging tunnels on Talvath. The colony there was expanding, especially after the Hobus event destroyed Romulus and Remus. Life was good for a while. Though we were second-class citizens, we weren't treated badly. I was even allowed to attend school with Romulan children. I grew up in daylight, which is why I am not uncomfortable with it now.

    Soon though the political turmoil that gripped the Empire reached Tavarth. The governor was unwilling to pick sides, and in 2390 he actually petitioned the Federation for Starfleet protection. Some leaders were even talking of joining the Federation. Well, my parents were among those who didn't really trust the Federation. My family moved to Rator III, to aid the construction of Taris' new capital city. My mother's brother, Obisek lived there, and he was overseeing the construction of the aqueduct system.

    Unfortunately, the citizens of Rator III clung to the old ways when it came to dealing with Remans. Conditions for us degraded quickly. We were even evicted from the home my father had built because some Romulan officer thought it was "too good for a Reman." By then of course we weren't allowed to leave. We were slaves, for all intents and purposes, and I was put to work as soon as I was big enough to carry tools. I think I was eight. We served the rusting underbelly of the capital city, inhaling the toxic chemicals and dealing with the radioactive byproducts of their industry.

    Well, we weren't the only Remans on the planet, and we certainly weren't the only ones who didn't like the way we were treated. In 2395 we banded together and went on strike. Every night we'd protest in front of the senate building. Several sympathetic Romulans joined us. You can imagine what the military thought about that. At first it was just a few light beatings and we were shoved back to our hovels. But the protest movement got more aggressive, and so did the Romulan response. Eventually they started killing us to force us to leave the streets and get back to work. My father was among the first to die.

    So we went back to work, but life in the tunnels was worse than ever. Uncle Obisek was arrested, because the Romulans pinned him as the instigator of the protest movement and with his knowledge of the aqueducts they figured he was a security risk. So for eight years we toiled away, and plotted our escape. When I turned twelve I was employed by one of our higher-placed Romulan sympathizers. His name was D'Tan, and he served as an aid to one of the senators at the time. Since I could stand the daylight, I was used a go-between by the resistance movement and our Romulan friends. We didn't really make any progress though. The Tal Shiar had rebuilt itself by then and their oppression made any sort of organized resistance rather difficult.

    Still, that was an important time for me, personally. I was able to study the Tal Shiar and the military, and learn their tactics. There was this one Romulan priestess who was rather well-connected, and she looked upon me kindly. She taught me about history and how the Elements are supposed to guide us. D'Tan also taught me the teachings of Surak, and kindled my interested in science and medicine. D'Tan became a senator before too long. He believed then that Romulan Empire must change from within. He could have moved to Tavarth and lived comfortably under the Federation's protection, but his goal was for every Romulan and Reman to live in peace, without fear of the Tal Shiar or the Klingons or the Federation. At the time I thought he was naive. The Tal Shiar seemed too powerful to defeat. But they had killed my father, and so I vowed to try to defeat them anyway.

    Then in 2403, Sela came back to overthrow Taris. We saw our chance to escape in the chaos, but my people were still under heavy guard. That night, while the forces of Sela and Taris were still fighting in orbit, my mother kissed me goodbye for a final time, strapped on a jacket stuffed with mining explosives, walked up to the guardhouse at the entrence to the tunnels, and blew it up. I don't remember what exactly happened right after that. I was... suffering, from the loss and... I don't remember. But we were able to get off-planet, with help from D'Tan and some others. Uncle Obisek was released somehow. We stole two ships, a
    D'Deridex-class warbird and a Mogai escort. Not enough to start a revolution, but enough to start something.

    We made our way to a frozen little world called Dera IV. We landed the warbird on the surface and built our base around that, and kept the
    Mogai-class in orbit. Obisek named it the Zdenia, after my mother. I joined Uncle Obisek and we fought for a few years to free our people. We had some success. Our numbers grew, and we also earned the attention of the Tal Shiar. By 2409, they were letting us know it. And worse, we had discovered that their leader, Colonel Hakeev, was operating under the influence of the Demons of Air and Darkness. We had to stop Hakeev, somehow, before he not only destroyed us but plunged the entire quadrant into chaos. We had amassed a sizeable fleet by then, but mostly birds-of-prey and cargo ships - not nearly enough to take on the Tal Shiar.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, as the Human saying goes. We broke into the Vault - a massive space station in the Haakona system, and managed to steal thalaron weapons technology. Barbaric devices. But they helped Shinzon take over the entire Romulan Empire, and I suppose they could have helped us do the same, if we ever got the opportunity to use them.

    Fortunately, we didn't have to find out. Our presence in the vault got Starfleet's attention. They dispatched Admiral LaRoca to investigate. He and Hank Miller managed to sneak into the heart of the facility in a single Manta-type fighter. He confronted Obisek, and Obisek tried to kill him. But they escaped, fighting their way out past Scorpion fighters, a bird-of-prey, and even a warbird we had in the system. Needless to say, Obisek and I were fairly impressed by the Admiral's resourcefulness.

    Well, we got away with the thalaron weapons, and we were preparing to use them on a Romulan mining colony that housed a Tal Shiar listening post when Admiral LaRoca tracked us down in Dera IV. Obisek granted him an audience, and he told us that he already destroyed the listening post we were targeting, and used it to find us. We realized if he could find us, the Tal Shiar could too. Sure enough, they arrived in orbit and started beaming down to our base. We formed an alliance with LaRoca and made our escape. Eventually, LaRoca and some friends of his in the KDF helped us destroy the Tal Shiar's base on Brea III, shatter the Iconian gateways, and kill Hakeev.

    At that point, Uncle Obisek was through fighting. He returned to the Vault and fortified it, and opened it as a haven to all oppressed peoples. Eventually of course he joined D'Tan to help found New Romulus. But I wasn't done fighting. Not as long as the Tal Shiar remained out there. I knew the death of Hakeev was not the end of them. I knew we had not cut off the head of the snake; we had only cut off one head of the hydra. I reached out to Admiral LaRoca and asked to join his crew. I respected his skill and cunning as a warrior, and I knew he saw the Tal Shiar as I did, and that he too desired peace and freedom for all peoples. And I've fought the enemies of peace and freedom by his side ever since.

    * * *

    "So that's how I ended up here," K'Jetsk concluded. "Still fighting the Tal Shiar. A few weeks ago, I was blasting them with a disruptor rifle to stop them from stealing your technological achievements. Today, I am attempting to thwart their attempt to destroy Traa'cee's mind." He sighed. "The Legacy of Romulus."

    "How's that?" Grimes asked.

    K'Jetsk made a short laugh that could be mistaken for a cough. "You, me, Traa'cee. We are the Legacy of Romulus. Everyone who has been harmed by the Tal Shiar, or their Iconian puppet masters. Everyone who lost someone when the Homeworlds were destroyed. Every other planet reduced to ash and dust by that same unholy cataclysm. Everyone still living on Rator III or one of the other Empire colonies, leaderless, forsaken, left to the mercy of the Tal Shiar or whatever fleet commander has declared himself that world's "protector" - every victim of the whole endless tragedy of our peoples - we are the Legacy of Romulus."

    Grimes stared in K'Jetsk in silence.

    K'Jetsk looked over his instruments. "Ah, excellent. You can get up now, Captain Grimes. My readings are complete."

    Frank Grimes slowly rose, and pulled on his uniform jacket. "What about D'Tan, and Obisek, and those who have joined their work on New Romulus? What about Admiral LaRoca, and Ambassador Xean, and General Ssharki, and the others helping them build a new world? Where to they fit into the legacy of Romulus?"

    Obisek stared out the window, past the Tiburon floating near the station, past the Lunar horizon, and Earth beyond, toward a tiny star called Tau Dewa. "Hopefully, they will build us a new Legacy. And I will fight to protect it."
    * * * * *

    ...
    16d89073-5444-45ad-9053-45434ac9498f.png~original

    ...Oh, baby, you know, I've really got to leave you / Oh, I can hear it callin 'me / I said don't you hear it callin' me the way it used to do?...
    - Anne Bredon
  • shevetshevet Member Posts: 1,644 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Three moons' light cast difficult shadows as Darus loped across the rocky ground, skirting the edge of the vast canyon that crossed the desert's face like a scar. Darus's own face was set, intent, feverish with concentration. One misstep - he knew these rocks, he knew them well - but one misstep would be enough -

    And that was the least of his worries, of course.

    His ears were alert, painfully alert, to the sounds of the night. There was the inevitable scuff and rattle of his own feet on the dry stones... was there something else? Animals lived in the desert, somehow; tiny hairless foxes, and slow torpid lizards, and nameless things with too many legs. But there was something else, too, echoes of his footsteps... that weren't echoes.

    They were close. One of them was close. Darus fought to keep his nerves under control. He knew they were close - he had to let them close - once, at least -

    Six hours to sunrise. By sunrise, it would be over, one way or another. He would reach the perimeter, he would find a transporter station... or he wouldn't.

    Footsteps. Not his own. Very close, now.

    The hunter loomed out of the shadow of a rock, features twisted in a grin of triumph; tall, black-armoured, a weapon in his hands. Darus slowed almost to a stop, his eyes narrowing, judging the situation.

    "Halt!" the hunter commanded.

    Darus's mouth was very dry. He breathed heavily, sucking at the thin dusty air of this world. The Hirogen stood there, his body armour blending with the shadows. A young one, Darus thought, an initiate, puffed up with pride at his first kill.

    He pointed to the Hirogen's gun. "Are you hiding behind that, hunter?" he said, putting as much scorn into his voice as he could manage.

    The Hirogen looked down as if seeing the weapon for the first time. "This?" he said, his scorn more than matching Darus's. "This is for dangerous prey." He tossed the weapon aside. Darus took the opportunity to sidle, inconspicuously, a few steps left.

    "For such as you," the hunter continued, "I will use only my hands." He gestured with his balled fists. They were lethal enough weapons, Darus thought. His body tensed, but he kept his voice level as he spoke.

    "You should be sure you know where you stand, hunter."

    The hunter's eyes glittered in the moonlight as he stared. "I stand with my pack!" he answered. "And the pack stands with your Empress, who gives us hunting grounds - and prey, in traitors like you, Romulan!"

    "That wasn't quite what I meant," muttered Darus.

    His rangy body seemed to explode, to uncoil itself into a leaping kick, a martial arts strike that hammered into the Hirogen's massive chest. It was delivered with Darus's full strength; an unarmoured foe would have fallen with his sternum caved in. The Hirogen staggered at the force, took a step back. His foot came down on a rock, which moved underneath it. Arms flailing for balance, the hunter took another scrambling step, then another; then, finally, his foot came down on a rock which wasn't a rock at all, only a shadow. With a shriek, he toppled and fell, vanishing over the lip of the cliff.

    Darus stood up, every limb trembling. He wrapped his hand around a fist-sized rock and advanced, cautiously, to the edge of the precipice. Poised to throw, he looked down. It took a moment, in the dim light, to make out the scene. The Hirogen's lumpish shape was hard to pick out among the other lumps, of rocks, some twenty meters below. Darus relaxed, a little.

    One down. One pursuer down, out of how many? But at least the odds were fractionally less against him. And at least, now, he had a gun.

    He retrieved the weapon from where the hunter had thrown it, checked the charge and the settings. It was enough to make his spirits rise. Just a little.

    "Damn you, T'laihhae," he said aloud.

    ---

    Two days before.

    "Damn you, T'laihhae," Darus said cheerfully, "why not at least try it?"

    The slim young woman looked up at him, dark eyes watchful. "Your rock climbing? I don't care for broken bones, even if you do."

    "So you'd rather stay here?" Darus made an expansive gesture which took in the whole of the dusty compound, the blocky administration building, the stark shapes of the barracks. "This has got to be the worst outpost in the entire Empire! Damn it all, at least climbing rocks is good for something. What else do you want to do? Sit around and work extra shifts? Listen to the educational broadcasts from our glorious leadership?"

    T'laihhae's eyes flickered from side to side. Her voice dropped a little as she said, "Please don't speak disrespectfully of the leadership."

    "Oh, come on," said Darus. "It's just you and me here... haven't we known each other long enough to speak freely?"

    T'laihhae's gaze dropped. "Sometimes... you speak too freely, Darus. You should not be so - so critical."

    "Why not? Honest criticism's needed sometimes. Like when someone's too repressed to try a new experience, say."

    "Don't make light of it, Darus. Please. We should -" The young woman drew in a deep breath. "We should respect our leaders... because they're all we have. All that's left, after...."

    Her voice trailed off. Darus remembered just how many of her family had died, in the disaster, in the painful aftermath.

    His voice dropped. "Maybe not all we have," he said. "There are alternatives."

    "Such as what?" asked T'laihhae with asperity. "Refugee status on some Federation world? As well sell ourselves as slaves to the Klingons."

    "There's always D'Tan's people."

    T'laihhae opened her eyes wide in astonishment. "The pipe dream of Mol'Rihan? Under the leadership of that... that academic idealist?"

    "There must be more to him than that," Darus said thoughtfully. "Obisek's terrorists are prepared to work with him... and nobody ever accused them of idealism. Besides, have you noticed how much time on those educational broadcasts is devoted to rubbishing him? The powers that be wouldn't devote so much time to putting him down, if he wasn't a real challenge."

    "You shouldn't say things like that," T'laihhae reproached him. "Besides... how could we even reach him? It's as much a fantasy as D'Tan's politics."

    "Well, now," said Darus, "that isn't strictly true, is it? The whole point of this outpost is to maintain the transporter network... beaming supplies from the mines and refineries to the orbital stations, for transfer to trading ships from all over the sector. Maybe in the old days they could monitor everything, but now they haven't a hope. Think about it, how easy it would be. An extra transporter signal or two, routed through the system onto a neutral ship - a claim for diplomatic immunity, or maybe a straight-up bribe to some captain - and anyone here could be on their merry way to Tau Dewa inside a week!" He grinned at her. "You mull that over. Me, I'm going to climb some rocks."

    ---

    Cold and gritty, the rocks tore at the palms of his hands as he pulled himself up. Teeth bared in a grimace of effort, Darus reached the top of the rock spire, wriggled across it, lying flat, trying to keep the sounds of his movements indistinguishable from the night sounds of the desert.

    He peered out, over the edge of the rock. Light stung his dark-adapted eyes. The Hirogen had built a fire. Two of them were standing by it, bulky bodies silhouetted against the flames; a third sat on a flat stone, staring into the blaze.

    It reeked of complacence, of overconfidence.... It was meant to, of course. It was a trap.

    All right, Darus thought. I can see three, the bait. Where are the ones I don't see? If I were them, where would I be waiting?

    The rock spire was a natural marker; he had spotted it by the dim red reflection of the firelight.

    They wouldn't expect him to have the gun. They would expect him to come in cautiously, to tackle the ones by the fire... the one who was sitting down, now, he would have his back to the direction they expected him to come. A broad, tempting expanse of Hirogen back... and hunters in cover waiting to gun him down as he made for it. In cover where?

    At the base of the rock spire, of course. Darus grinned. He must have passed within meters of them already - but they were so limited, the Hirogen, they saw only what they expected to see, heard only what they expected to hear. He was Rihannsu.

    If there is one thing we know, as a people, he mused, it is the strength of being unexpected.

    Cautiously, hardly breathing, he worked his way around the top of the spire, eyes straining in the uncertain light of moons and fires. Complex shadows lay around the base of the spire, but eventually, he had them. Two hunters, crouching in makeshift foxholes, weapons ready, waiting to shoot... along the path they expected.

    One of them was beneath an overhang of the rock. Darus reached out and down, found a loose stone, a chunk twice the size of his head. It made a faint grating as he dislodged it, it dropped silently, it hit with a dull, solid thunk. One hunter left. One of the ones by the fire looked around, troubled, but not quite alerted. Darus moved into position, forcing himself to do it quietly, silently. Every lesson he had ever had in mental discipline came back to him, now, guiding his limbs, his eyes, his breathing, even the beating of his heart.

    He was in position. He leaped. He dropped.

    The armoured body of the second ambusher didn't make for a soft landing, but Darus was braced for it and the Hirogen wasn't. He recovered first; his hands shot out, seized the hunter's thick neck, twisted with force and precision. The Vulcans had a word for this sort of killing, he thought. He couldn't remember it right now.

    There was no time to think. He knew he'd made too much noise, this time. Now, he had to announce his presence. Decisively.

    The gun was in his hands, spitting blue lightning across the night. One Hirogen dropped where he stood. The others had time, just, to reach their own guns -

    Cold rage mounted in Darus, the controlled fury that was the legacy of his people. Shots flared into the darkness. Rocks shattered in blue fire, an instant after his body left them. For a few brief moments, there was a storm in the desert, a storm of lightning and death.

    And, at the end of it, the Hirogen lay dead, and Darus pulled himself up to his full height.

    At the end of the fight, the Rihannsu was the only one left standing. It was always the way.

    ---


    One day before.

    Darus stood, rigid, at attention, while Colonel Vorkov's cold eyes appraised him.

    At length, the colonel turned his long, doleful, threatening face to one side, towards T'laihhae. "Centurion T'laihhae. You will relate the topic of conversation between yourself and Centurion Darus. You know the incident to which I refer."

    T'laihhae's face was graven in stone. "Centurion Darus believes he has discovered a flaw in our security, Colonel," she said flatly.

    "Yes," Vorkov said, and turned to look at Darus again. "A means of desertion. With so few of the loyal military left, desertion is an exceptionally heinous crime." His gaze switched back to T'laihhae. "Why did Centurion Darus discuss the matter with you? You have no security responsibility."

    "I -" A muscle jumped, just briefly, in T'laihhae's rigid face. "I believe Centurion Darus's ideas in this respect were not fully formulated, Colonel. It was - a speculation. Nothing more."

    "But you reported it to the security authorities," Vorkov said. "As was your duty."

    "Yes, Colonel."

    "And Centurion Darus did not so report it."

    "I do not know, Colonel." T'laihhae's face was under control again, blank and impassive.

    "I know. He did not." Vorkov's cold eyes were on Darus again. "Why not, Centurion Darus?"

    "I -" Darus racked his brains. "It was as Centurion T'laihhae says, Colonel. It was idle speculation on my part. I did not - I did not consider it worthy of security attention."

    "You do not have security responsibility. That was not your decision to make."

    "I -" Darus knew he was trapped. "I am in error. I accept your judgment, Colonel."

    "An error." Vorkov's voice was almost kind. Darus knew that was when his superior was at his most dangerous. "Such an error might be misinterpreted, might it not? A suspicious mind might think that you yourself intended to exploit this security vulnerability."

    "I am a loyal soldier of the Empire." The lie was almost palpable.

    "Centurion T'laihhae is a loyal soldier of the Empire. She has demonstrated that. You, Centurion Darus, will be given an opportunity to demonstrate your loyalty. Centurion T'laihhae, you are dismissed."

    For a brief instant, Darus thought he saw something in her eyes... fear, shame, grief? Then she saluted, turned briskly on her heel, and left.

    Darus and Vorkov were alone. For an instant, Darus thought of attacking the man, taking his disruptor, fighting his way out of the building - Stupidity, he thought. He wouldn't stand a chance.

    "You may consider yourself under arrest," Vorkov informed him, in that kindly voice. "You may protest... you may continue to describe yourself as a loyal soldier. You will be given a chance to be of service."

    "Sir." Darus could think of nothing to say. Colonel Vorkov leaned back in his chair, steepled his hands in thought.

    "You may demonstrate this security vulnerability. You will be taken to the perimeter of this base, and you will be released to make your way to a transporter substation. Should you reach the station and abscond, the vulnerability will be demonstrated. Should you abscond and return, voluntarily... then your loyalty will be demonstrated." Vorkov stared hard at him. "I tell you frankly, I do not expect this."

    "I am a loyal soldier of the Empire."

    "So you say. There are others in the service of the Empire - or allied to it." Vorkov actually smiled. "Our allies will be engaged, for the purposes of this exercise, to ensure that you do not attain your ends. It will be good for them. They grow so restive when they do not have the opportunity to hunt." The smile broadened. "So, Centurion Darus, one way or another, you will be of service to the Empire... whether you like it or not."

    ---

    The transporter substation was a glowing jewel laid on the dusty bosom of the desert. Crouched beneath a boulder, Darus stared at it, longingly.

    They knew he was making for it. It was as much a trap as the fire by the rock spire, perhaps more so. It was the one place they knew he had to come. There was no chance of reaching the next closest station, not before sunrise - and, in sunlight, he would be fully exposed; the hunters would find him, if the desert didn't kill him first.

    The substation was maybe three hundred meters away. Darus ran through the options in his mind. Vorkov would already have changed the override codes, revoked his security clearance - that didn't matter. He could open an access panel and toggle in the settings he needed; Vorkov would need to replace the system's entire hardware setup to stop that. It would take maybe three minutes. He had to cross three hundred meters of desert, and buy three minutes of time at the end of it.

    It would have been so much easier with help.... I'm sorry, T'laihhae, he said to himself. I shouldn't have damned you. You trusted your superiors, you trusted the system, the world you live in; how could you know it was this bad? That it was ruled by merciless thugs like Vorkov, that Rihannsu lives could be traded to the Hirogen for favours? I will come back, he promised. I will come back for you, T'laihhae, and I will make you see the truth. By the Elements I swear it.

    Three hundred meters. His gaze swept across the ground, over and over again.

    At least he had more equipment, now; spare guns, two knives, a Hirogen personal shield. Darus thought furiously, then unslung one gun from his back. His fingers worked busily for minutes; then, he placed the weapon carefully on the ground, scraped a loose layer of sand over it, and scuttled away from it on his hands and knees. He was committed, now, he had to move quickly.

    There was another large boulder, some fifty meters closer to the substation. Darus reached it just in time, vaulted over it, crouched behind it -

    The force chamber explosion of a Hirogen tetryon carbine, set on overload, made a very bright flash, a very loud bang, and an entirely satisfactory diversion.

    This was no time for stealth; Darus ran, his breath burning in his chest, his feet somehow finding the right purchase, never stumbling on a shifting stone or tripping over a half-glimpsed obstacle. The desert was alive with blundering black-armoured shapes, dazzled by the blast, confused, some of them firing at shadows. Amid the confusion, there was a chance, just a slim chance -

    He was almost at the transporter when the air ahead of him shimmered blue, then turned solid.

    The Hirogen grinned down at him, towering above him; a massive, monstrous Alpha of the pack, securely confident in his own invulnerability.

    This was it. This was the final fight. Darus felt himself grinning back.

    ---

    The outpost was bleak in the colourless dawn light as T'laihhae followed Vorkov down to the perimeter fence.

    "Loyalty," the Colonel said, "is always paramount. But its importance may be said to increase in troubled times. It is in troubled times that we show our true selves. Any person may be steadfast while they are not confronted with challenges. It is in the meeting of those challenges that our character is revealed."

    T'laihhae stared at the black shapes approaching in the growing light. Hirogen hunters, striding along the ground for the most part, but a few were riding a battered military hover-truck. There was something on the truck's flat bed....

    "For those who demonstrate loyalty," Vorkov continued, "there is advancement and preferment. The truly loyal do not yearn for such things - their service is enough in itself - but the rewards are the natural consequence of their actions. For those who demonstrate faithlessness - there is punishment, of course. And such punishment as will serve as an object lesson, for others whose loyalty is... more delicately balanced."

    The hover-truck came to a halt. The hulking Hirogen leader stepped down.

    "A good hunt!" he crowed, and slapped a balled fist into his cupped palm. "Fine prey, strong, brave and clever. The pack is stronger for his culling of our weaklings!"

    T'laihhae could see the shape lying in the truck, now. The Hirogen had done... things. His head was mostly intact, the features still recognizable. Of course, T'laihhae thought, the Hirogen pack leader would want a trophy in good condition.

    Vorkov nodded, briskly. "We are grateful," he said. He turned to T'laihhae. "We shall discuss your opportunities for advancement, later. For now, though, attend to the details here. And see that this vehicle is properly cleaned." He sniffed, audibly. "Our equipment should not be tainted with the blood of a traitor." He turned on his heel and stalked off, back towards the administration building.

    T'laihhae addressed the Hirogen Alpha. "Please take whatever trophies you require," she said. "I will then take the vehicle and return it to the transport pool."

    She did not watch what the Hirogen did next. She stood impassive, her eyes fixed on some distant point beyond the horizon, until the snarling, laughing pack had finished and loped away.

    She was still staring into the distance when she reached up and took hold of the rank badge on her tunic. She pulled it away from the cloth, held the metal raptor in the palm of her hand, closed her fingers about it. Her hand became a fist, her knuckles turned white. Olive-green blood seeped between her fingers, trickled to the edge of her wrist, became a droplet that fell to the dusty ground. One drop, another, a third.

    T'laihhae opened her fist and looked down for the first time. The raptor badge was bent and twisted, green and sticky with her blood.

    "Tainted," she said aloud, "with the blood of a traitor."

    She dropped the badge into the dust. With a sudden, savage movement, she crushed it into the ground with her boot heel.

    Then she got into the hover-truck and drove away, never looking back.
    8b6YIel.png?1
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Romulan Ink

    I was standing at my desk, going through the day's appointments when an incoming message window winked into existence within the flat black surface

    Bella Calling:

    Reaching out, I tapped the icon, and swiped my finger towards a wall monitor. The slowly rotating slideshow of images was replaced with the face of my older sister.

    "Hey, now's not the best time, I've got a client due in any moment," I said, reaching out to pick up a tall glass, and took a long draft of iced Tarkalean tea.

    "I'll be quick," Bella replied. "I've had an idea for expanding my backpiece into a bodysuit, and wondered when you might be able to fit me in?"

    "I'm pretty solidly booked for a couple of weeks," I admitted. "But you can always drop by after hours this evening. What did you have in mind to get done?"

    "Do you remember the koi carp I described to you a while back? I thought that might be a nice place to start with a sleeve."

    I nodded.

    "I'll get something drawn up for you, but I've really got to go," I said, as the doors to my studio slid open, admitting a Romulan female in a Starfleet uniform, with a cylindrical holdall slung over one slender shoulder. The division color of her uniform was the mustard yellow of ship's services. "My ten o clock has just arrived."

    "Okay, I'll let you go, Boo."

    "I'll give you a call back when I'm through here," I promised, before cutting the link and smiling at my visitor. "Sorry about that, good to meet you at last."

    "Not a problem at all," she assured me, approaching the work desk. "Did you get the last design modifications I sent last night?"

    I called up my inbox, and saw the message.

    "The additional script to run down your spine?" I asked. I was fairly sure that this was the last message I had received from Ael t'Kazanak, but what with communications glitches, last minute inspirations and changes of plan, I had learned never to assume anything when it came to communicating with a client.

    Ael nodded again and smiled.

    "That's right," she said as I called up the concept sketches I had drawn and rotated them on the desk for her to view.

    "So we're definitely going with the raptor wings, circa 2370s across your shoulders, and the text running from neck to coccyx, with the other wings on your lower back?" I asked.

    "I actually had another idea for the second pair of wings," Ael admitted. "Rather than them being on the lower back, I'd rather have them here --" She placed her hands against her abdomen. "-- what do you think?"

    "You're the client," I replied. "Front or back, it makes no difference to me."

    "Hmm, I've heard that about Terran men," she mused, a decidedly playful glint in her eye, and I realized I'd walked into that. Not that I minded a little banter with my clients. Tattooing was an extremely personal experience, and it was essential to be able to put the clients at ease. Of course, I knew from initial consultations which clients I could joke with, which ones preferred to be more formal, and the ones who preferred to say nothing at all. Versatility and adaptation were the nature of the business, but Ael and I had exchanged messages for some time, and if the Romulan beauty wanted to flirt with me, I was a single man, and not about to complain.

    "Is the text right?" I asked, expanding that aspect of the design.

    Ael nodded as her eyes drifted down the curved glyphs.

    "'Legacy of Romulus'," she read, translating into English, despite the text being written in Rihannsu. "Yes, that's absolutely perfect. Where will we be starting?"

    While I transferred the design to the replicator to produce the stencil, I took another draft of my iced tea.

    "I'd like to start with the text," I replied. "It'll make positioning the wings easier, and give a frame to branch off. If you want to just read and sign the waiver, then head through to the work area, we'll be able to get started in a few minutes."

    With another nod, Ael scrolled through the legal disclaimer which said that, while fully licensed, I could only do my best to execute the concepts I was given, and unforseen circumstances could always arise.

    "That's fine," she said, affixing her thumbprint and signature to the document, which then automatically saved itself. "What method are you going to be using?"

    "Do you have a preference?" I enquired. "I was going to use a dermal stylus, but did you have something else in mind? I can replicate coil or rotary machines just as easily, or if you wanted me to employ a more traditional method with hand tools, I could do that."

    "Just curiosity," Ael said, slipping off her uniform jacket as she walked through to the work area, which had already been prepared and set up. "I had a friend at the Academy who was tattooed while on a first contact mission, and the shaman worked on her for twelve hours with hand tools. The design goes from her chest, all the way to past her elbow."

    "Sounds cool," I admitted. "You'll have to inbox me a picture of it, I always like to see styles from different cultures. But if you've no preference, I'll just use a dermal stylus."

    Pulling on a pair of polymer gloves, I crossed to the replicator, and picked up the first stencil while Ael pulled her undershirt over her head, but then dropped her arms, so the singlet sat on her shoulders and chest, where it kept her TRIBBLE covered.

    "Okay, I'm going to need you to roll your pants down a bit, and stand perfectly still," I said, taking hold of the disinfectant spray and spritzing it against Ael's spine.

    "Cold," she said, with a slight shiver.

    "Sorry," I replied, blotting the excess away with a paper wipe before laying the stencil against her spine, gently pressing it into place so the carbon would transfer to her skin without spreading. Peeling away the transfer paper, I scrutinized the result. The glyphs were all crisp and clear, the alignment flawless, so I directed Ael to check the result in the full length mirror.

    "I like it," she stated, moving over to the seat and straddling it backwards, her arms resting on the backrest.

    Tabbing a preset control on the replicator, I changed my gloves while the dermal stylus materialized on the tray.

    "I'm going to start at the bottom, and work my way up," I said, adjusting the stylus' output to give a focused result for lining, rather than a more diffuse setting for shading. "If you feel light headed, nauseous, hot, cold or just want to take a break, just say so."

    "Mm hmm," Ael agreed non-verbally, resting her forehead against her arms.

    Reaching out, I positioned my left hand to stretch her skin, while with my right, I brought the tip of the stylus into position. Even through the polymer gloves, I could feel that Ael's skin was warmer to the touch than a Human's would be. Depressing the trigger, I activated the stylus, and its tip illuminated as it began to manipulate the pigment in her skin, darkening it immediately to the black hue Ael had requested in her messages.

    "How was that?" I asked, as I always did after doing the initial line.

    "Absolutely fine," Ael assured me, her voice muffled by her position.

    "So tell me more about yourself," I invited. "I just realized we haven't really talked that much about your past, only what you wanted done and your scheduling conflicts."

    "Well, I'm thirty seven, and tactical officer aboard the new USS Endeavour," she began, things I already knew. "I was born in the capital on Romulus, but as my parents were stellar cartographers, I spent most of my childhood going from outpost to outpost, so we were all off-world when Hobus went nova. My parents had a few colleagues in the Federation, and my mother had a great uncle on Vulcan, so they managed to get work at the Science Academy and we lived in ShiKahr. I applied to attend Starfleet Academy when I was seventeen, and was accepted for the following academic year."

    "Did you still need a letter of recommendation?" I asked, settling into the procedure, and allowing my hands to move automatically, while I conversed with Ael. "I understand that non-Federation members need a letter of recommendation from a Starfleet officer to apply to the Academy, but as you were living on Vulcan, did that still apply?"

    Ael shook her head,

    "No, we were initially considered refugees, but granted citizenship three years later, so I was able to apply, just like anyone else."

    While we talked, I had made considerable progress, and was already half-way done.
    "I remember you said your parents relocated to Mol'Rihan?"

    "You are a clever boy," Ael teased. "Did you read the name while looking up the text?"

    "Hobus isn't exactly new or secret information," I replied, manipulating the tip of the stylus in a swooping motion as I finished the last of the glyphs on Ael's upper spine. "I could be tempted to take a trip there some time, maybe do some research into Romulan mourning tattoos."

    "Well, I'd be happy to show you around," Ael replied. "Although my parents wouldn't want me bringing you home for dinner, they're actually still pretty traditional, despite everything."

    "I wouldn't want to put you to any trouble," I said, as I replicated the stencil for the raptor's wings. "Can I get you to sit up straight for a moment? I need your shoulders in a relaxed position while I place the stencil."

    Ael silently complied, and I laid the stencil in place. As we had discussed via inbox, the tips of the wings spread to the tops of the deltoid muscles, and slightly over the trapezius muscles.

    "How do you find it serving aboard a Federation starship?" I enquired, changing my gloves before activating the stylus again.

    Ael shrugged, and I quickly lifted my hand, so the stylus would not mark her skin.

    "Oh, sorry!" she exclaimed. "I'm sorry, I'll sit still. Serving on a starship... Not too bad, really, I mean sure, a few people just see the ridges on my forehead and look like they're about to douse their drawers, or that I'm going to eat their children, and there're a few who seem to think they have to be Super Formal and treat me as if I'm a Vulcan, but I can't complain. I've had no issues with delayed promotions or anything like that, and I've got to see some amazing sights over the years. I'm just really looking forward to shipping out on the Endeavour, given that it's one of the new Odyssey-Class cruisers."

    "Are you going to be with the same crew?" I asked, sliding my chair so I could work on Ael's left shoulder, having completed the lines on the right. "I mean, if it's a new ship, are the crew from the last Endeavour being transfered over?"

    "Mostly," Ael replied. "Of course, there's bound to be a few new faces, but for the most part, the Admiralty likes to keep command crews together when they have a good track record. Captain Atreides is a very stabilizing influence, it's a pleasure serving with him. How're we doing back there?"

    "All done," I replied, scooting my chair over to the replicator for the final stencil. "If you want to hop up on the couch and get yourself ready, the stencil is cooking now."

    "Hmm, should I take these off completely?" Ael deliberately wondered out loud, as she hooked her thumbs into the waistband of her uniform pants.

    "Whatever you're comfortable with," I replied as casually as possible as I picked up the smaller, almost heart-shaped stencil. When I turned back, Ael's uniform pants were in a heap by the couch, and the waistband of her underwear had been rolled over. She was still decent, but it was clear that she was being genuinely inviting, which, after our online chats, was always nice when that connection transferred into the real world.

    I positioned the stencil and changed my gloves again, before picking up the dermal stylus and returning to work.

    "It's quite interesting to actually see the process," Ael commented, as I deftly drew the stylus over her skin, quickly etching the lines of the wings into her abdomen. "And addictive... I think I'm going to have to have more work done. Maybe my parents names somewhere..."

    "Sadly, I've got another booking right after, or I'd say we could continue," I said, genuinely regretting that I would not be able to enjoy my new friend's company for longer. "But I was going to be staying open after hours tonight to do some work on my sister, I could get them written up if you'd like to come back then?"

    "That would be ideal," Ael said as I filled in the last segment of the design.

    Sitting up, she rolled her underwear back into place, covering the lower half of the winged design, before sliding off the couch to pull on her uniform pants.

    "Now, about payment," she said, reaching down, to the holdall she had been carrying, and taking out a large bottle of Romulan ale. "I believe this was what we discussed..."

    "Absolutely so," I agreed with a smile while I cleared up the work area, placing everything on the replicator tray to be recycled. "We'll open it later."
    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 34,562 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    *A small agricultural Colony at the edge of the Romulan Empire.

    An ageing Romulan is tending the crops of his farm when a younger man walks over. The ageing man (Toramek) scowls at the dead vine at his feet.*

    Toramek: Blasted Kali! How am I supposed to produce a meaningful harvest when every single one of my produce is dying in the fields?!

    Younger man (Kortrel): Father...

    *Toramek looks up to his son.*

    Toramek: Yes Kortrel, what is it?

    Kortrel: There's someone at the house to see you. It's an Officer.

    Toramek: Starfleet or Klingon?

    Kortrel: Romulan, father. Imperial Navy, by appearances.

    Toramek: Probably a recruitment Officer.

    *Toramek stands and walks with his son back to the house, where a Romulan Officer his age is standing at the door.*

    Korak!

    Korak: Jolan Tru, Commander.

    *Toramek nods to his son, who walks inside.*

    Toramek: I've been retired for 15 years, Korak. What does the Star Empire want from me?

    Korak: I'm not here on behalf of the Empress, Toramek.

    Is there someplace we can talk, in private?

    Toramek: Of course.

    *Toramek leads Korak into the cellar, turning on a jammer.*

    I never thought we would need to take such measures in our own Empire.

    Korak: In this case, I'm afraid it is necessary.

    You have heard of Mol'rihan?

    Toramek: Korak, I am getting too old for the games of politics...

    Korak: Do you think they can survive?

    Toramek: I neither know, nor care to know.

    Korak: The Empress has denounced them as traitors--

    Toramek: Get to the point, Korak!

    Korak: Sela is sending 3 ships to attack Mol'rihan with Thalaron weapons. I cannot warn them because it would jeopardise--

    Toramek: Korak! Are you involved with D'tan's people?!

    Korak: You believe in the Republic as much as I do.

    Toramek: I may be against Sela's warmongering, but I never said I supported the Republic!

    Korak: Toramek, please!

    Toramek: *Sighs* If you cannot warn them, what makes you think I can...?

    No. I will not put him in that position Korak!

    Korak: He can warn the Republic and save Millions of lives Toramek! You always said that your Duty to the people came before your loyalty to the state. Prove it.

    Toramek: Very well, but this is the last time!

    *5 hours later, Toramek is sitting in front of a Comm unit.*

    Toramek: Computer, connect to Federation Comm network.

    Computer: Connection established.

    Toramek: Contact U.S.S. Excalibur, Vice Admiral Soval.

    Computer: Stand by.

    *The Image of a Vulcan Starfleet officer appears.*

    Soval: Toramek?

    Toramek: Jolan Tru, Admiral.

    Soval: Live long and Prosper, Toramek.

    What do you need?
  • superhombre777superhombre777 Member Posts: 147 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    January 2411
    On the uninhabited third moon orbiting Cirini Prime, Onias Sector


    His wife called three hours ago to let the kids say goodnight to their father. She called again an hour later to complain about his devotion to work being stronger than his devotion to family. Now Nahash could finish his work in peace.

    Tomorrow would be a busy day. The expendable shuttle D'Nash had been outfitted with external plating from the U.S.S. Columbus. The intensity of the experimental combined disruptor and antiproton beams would be oscillated in a way that the models said would increase the damage by two hundred and eleven percent. If the test worked, he would be the most celebrated Romulan researcher since D'thraan fifty-three years ago. If it failed, he'd crunch the numbers again and hope for success next time. The Rihanson Institute understood that great successes don't come quickly.

    A squeak in the deck plating caught Nahash's attention. He turned around to see a man dressed in an unfamiliar suit.

    "Good evening doctor Nahash," the man said evenly. "I am one of the benefactors of the Rihanson Institute, and I would like to talk with you about your progress."

    Nahash turned around and looked towards his desk, where the emergency button was on the bottom side.

    "Go ahead and push the button, but I have already disabled the security system. And please don't reach for the disruptor holstered underneath your chair. I only want to talk."

    "Who are you?"

    "Who I am is not relevant to this conversation. Who you are, and what you have done, is worth discussing. I have every confidence that tomorrow's test will be successful. Because of that, I would like to offer you an opportunity to work directly for me full-time."

    Who would know about my alarm and weapon? "I don't know who you are. Why would I want to leave the Institute to work for you?" This man has me at a disadvantage.

    The man smiled. "I am offering the opportunity of a lifetime. Tomorrow's test is the most complicated one you have attempted, and I assure your future projects will dwarf anything that you could have done here at the Rihanson Institute. You will be well paid, and your family will be taken care of.

    "You are probably thinking about your children. Your salary will be tripled, which will allow young Bil'hesh to attend the private school you wanted to put him in, but couldn't afford. Your younger daughter will be able to enroll there also once she is old enough. Isn't this the best thing you can do for your children?

    "I also understand that things are less than satisfactory with your wife. You do know why she calls you before 'going to bed' every two or three nights, right? That is her way of making sure that you don't come home. She doesn't want you to find her in bed with her colleague from the bank. Don't tell me you didn't know about that. You are a smart man."

    Nahash's gut dropped inside of him. "You must be from the Tal Shiar."

    "Who are the Tal Shiar? Has a mortal man ever seen them? I am merely a messenger, and here is my message. Go ahead and perform tomorrow's test and evaluate the data. In one week, be at the spaceport at noon. One of my associates will greet you and lead you where you need to go."

    "And if I refuse?"

    "We all know that you want what is best for little Bil'hesh and Sindari. If you do what I say, they will have their needs met. I'm sure that your wife will continue to take care of them as long as you don't call her out for her infidelity. All you have to do is take this opportunity.

    "One last thing: if you refuse my offer, it might be hard for you to explain how you happen to have hull plating from the U.S.S. Columbus, eight pristine quantum torpedoes with U.S.S. Tuscaloosa painted on them, and a dozen or so Klingon firearms stashed behind a panel in the hallway. Are you collaborating with the Federation and the Klingons?"

    The mysterious man disappeared in a transporter beam. Nahash fell to his knees. He passed out a few seconds later.

    Exactly one week later, he followed a stranger at the spaceport, entered a small shuttle, and left Cirini Prime.
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Kovem sat down heavily onto the stool at the bar. The creaking sound alerted the Orion bartender and he looked toward the source. The Romulan replied with a small wave and the bartender nodded. Within moments a familiar clear red drink slid across the bar and stopped under Kovem's chin. That caused a brief smile to appear before the contents of the glass were washed down his throat. The red liquid burned on the way down and literally splashed into his stomach. The familiar sensation was reassuring, as if to remind Kovem that he was not in a nightmare he could not wake up from and that he was alive enough to try to change his lot in life.

    What do you want?

    The last words his father said to him haunted his memories and every other thought he had since then. It was a simple question, but the answer eluded him for years. Without an answer, the words taunted him at the same time because how can anyone not ... answer ... the question. It was frustrating.

    Glory?

    The Romulan Star Empire was a shadow of its former self even before the Hobus Event. Nowadays it's even worse, from a certain point of view. Sela wants to restore the Empire as it was; D'Tan wants to rebuild the Empire into something new. As long as these two factions exist then nothing will really happen. So, proud Romulans like him are stuck between two opposing forces. A choice will need to be made. Soon. It won't matter who is right, as long as a clear path is made. The Elements can then decide what glory there is for Romulans and Remans in the galaxy.

    Kovem swallowed the last drops from his glass and ordered another round. The new glass slid and stopped like the first.

    Fortune?

    The galaxy has not place for entrepreneurs. The Ferengi are fools to try to think money is a compelling factor in anything worthwhile. Those who follow the Ferengi ways are idiots themselves. The galaxy is at war and those who seek to monetize from conflict will only find death. They deserve it, such scum. No loyalty except to the highest bidder or the greater largess. Scavengers are even worse! There is no sympathy to those who eke out some paltry existence from the sorrow or misgiving or others. But really, the pirates are the bottom-feeders of the universe. Pillaging, plundering and pilfering from anyone in their path. Piracy has little regard for law and true honor.

    Kovem snarled into his drink and looked around to see if anyone was watching him. Seeing none he brooded further in his solitary quest for relief from the question that vexed him.

    Revenge?

    It's been years since the colony on New Romulus was attacked by the Tal Shiar. Little Biel'tan and Al'tioc - their lives cut short because of Sela's hubris and anger. The Romulans lost their homeworlds and one person - one half-Romulan! - decided those that did not stand with her were against her. Kovem's children weren't given the chance to choose and that seared at his aging soul. His wife, Iyasha, was inconsolable. But she chose a one-way path: she felt her purpose in life - to be a good mother - was gone, so her life had no purpose. He yelled to the dark stars above the ruins of New Romulus ... but no one listened.

    Kovem's knuckles were white as he gipped the glass tighter. He stopped himself from destroying another bar glass. If the cursed Vulcan's had one thing right, it was their control of emotions could help keep a bar tab from getting bigger.

    Duty?

    ...

    Duty.

    His eye widened and he sat up straighter and slowly.

    One word.

    In the many years since his father uttered his last breath, Kovem had not considered it. Was "duty" the legacy his father wanted to bestow upon his son? Why didn't he just say it? Why didn't he try to do something about it? Duty. The word solidified in his mind's eye. It pushed aside all other thoughts.

    He looked around, hoping to wake up from a dream: hoping to find the inspiration to act: hoping the alcohol would evaporate from his blood so he could run.

    Kovem kept looking around him, seeing the same faces he saw before minding their own business. He took account of his situation. After his wife's death, he jumped on a freighter and fled New Romulus. He did not take up arms, but instead found a place on the civilian crew of Drozana Station. The dirty place allowed him to hide from his past but he could not find his future. Maybe he lost his future in the throngs of miscreants, merchants, privateers, pirates, scavengers and scum.

    Or maybe he just found it.

    What do you want?

    But there was more than the cold, expressionless idea of "duty". There was the warm and renewing feeling of hope.

    Kovem smiled to himself and paid his tab in full, then walked toward the doors to the bar. He could see himself standing on the transporter pad, his destination to a vessel traveling away from this trash heap in space. The doors swished and creaked open and the hallway gaped open. He stopped, unsure where his next step would take him besides one step closer to the transporter room.
  • ironphoenix113ironphoenix113 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Bryan touched the door chime for the door to the Athena's guest quarters. A second later, a soft voice whispered "It's open," over the intercom, and he stepped through the doorway.

    Inside the Athena's relatively spacious guest quarters, a lone Romulan women sat in a chair facing the window. She glanced back before returning her attention to the window. She was very beautiful, her long, black hair in distinct contrast to most Romulan's shorter styles.

    "You don't need to keep checking up on me Bryan." She whispered.

    "I know," He replied sitting down in the chair next to hers. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for everything that's happened to you, Selana."

    She looked over, a deep sadness playing through her green eyes. "It's not your fault. If you want to blame anyone, blame Sela and the Tal Shiar."

    Bryan opened his mouth to speak, but was immediately cut off by the blaring of the Alert klaxons. Sighing, Bryan got to his feet and left for the bridge, followed closely by Selana.
    *******

    "Status," Bryan called as he sat down in the Athena's central chair.

    "Three Romulan D'deridex class warbirds, directly off the bow, sir," Athena said, her holographic form shimmering to life nearby.

    "They're hailing us, sir," Aara called from the comms station.

    Bryan thought for a moment before replying "Put them through."

    "Vice Admiral Valot," the Romulan captain said as he appeared on the screen. "I've heard a lot about you."

    "What do you want?" Bryan replied icily.

    "You are harboring a criminal on board your vessel. The same one that commanded that D'ridthau class warbird that we were pursuing."

    "And?"

    "And, on behalf of the Tal Shiar and the Romulan Star Empire, I hereby demand you turn her over to me."

    "The Tal Shiar doesn't get to make demands of Starfleet," Bryan replied, anger flashing over his face momentarily.

    "We outnumber you three to one."

    "We out gun you by a wider margin than that. The Odyssey class was desgined to be able to compete with the Scimitar, so your numbers are effectively meaningless."

    "She has committed crimes against the Empire. She is a criminal."

    Bryan glanced briefly back at the Romulan women standing by the Turbolift. "She's also my sister."
    *************

    One day ago

    Bryan sat in the command chair idly watching the screen. He had taken up the delta shift so that his third officer and chief Tactical officer, Lieutenant Commander Kerry Avalrez, a chance to get more command experiance. He got up and began pacing around the bridge, watching the other crew work their stations.

    "Sir, we've got a ship decloaking nearby!" Athena called out suddenly.

    "Classify!" Bryan replied.

    "D'ridthau class warbird, sir!"

    Bryan raced back to his chair and tapped the intercom button. "Attention all hands, this is the Admiral speaking. Red alert, all hands to battlestations, red alert, all hands to battlestations. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill."

    "Sir, they're hailing us," The delta shift comms officer called out.

    "Really?" Bryan asked, confused.

    "Yes, sir." She replied.

    "Put them through."

    The screen changed bfore Bryan's eyes, from a starry sky to the bridge of the Romulan vessel. Bryan could see that the ship had seen battle, as multiple cosoles had been blown out, wires were strewn across the deck, and several crew were visibly injured, including the Commanding officer, who had just stepped into view.

    "I am Selana, of the Romulan warbird T'verix," she said, raw fear visible in her eyes, "and I hereby request asylum for my crew and myself."
    *******

    "How is she, syiseda?" Bryan asked, stepping into the sickbay.

    The Betazoid doctor looked at one of the beds, where a Romulan women sat talking to one of the doctors. "Some small injuries, nothing too severe though. Mostly just light cuts that were easy to repair. Slight malnutrition, but apparently their replicators were damaged, so that's probably why. I do have one other concern, however."

    "Go ahead, Lieutenanat."

    "It's regarding her genetic structure. I ran a test on her genetic code just to make sure she would be receptive to standard medical techniques, and I found something rather," she paused, "Disturbing."

    "Syiseda?"

    "Sir, her genetic structure has a 50 percent match to yours."

    Bryan stood there too stunned to speak. "Are you sure?"

    Quite sure. You have a sister Bryan. Or, at least a half-sister. Syiseda whispered telapathically.

    Does she know? Bryan thought knowing that Syiseda would hear his reply.

    No. I was hoping you would.

    Why do you always do this to me?

    First of all, it's fun. Second of all, she's your sister, not mine. So she's your responsibility, not mine.

    Did she tell you her age?

    She's about two years younger than you are.

    Bryan walked over to the medical bed that Selana was sitting on. "Could you excuse us for a moment, doctor?" Bryan said, and the doctor walked off. "Are you alright" Bryan asked her.

    "I'm fine," She replied a little sadly. "By the way, I never got the chance to thank you for trying to get us amnesty."

    "I never said anything about trying. I am an Ambassador as well as an Admiral. You have been guaranteed full amnesty. I could even expedite making you an official citizen of the Federation if you so wanted."

    "Thanks but I'll pass for right now," she replied smiling a little for the first time.

    "Never hurts to ask," Bryan said, smiling as well. "Can you walk?"

    She got up from the bed. "What does it look like?"

    "It looks like you can stand. Walking is another matter entirely."

    "Look, Bro-" She stopped herself quickly. "Bryan. Sorry. I'm fine."

    The two of them walked out into the corridor. Silently, they strode through the halls to one of the Athena's multipurpose rooms. "You can stay in here while we preform maintenance on your ship. Let me know if there's anything else you need."

    "Actually, I wanted to tell you something, Bryan."

    "What is it?" He asked, stepping further into the room so that the door shut behind him.

    "I'd imagine they haven't told you about this, and that if it has ever come up, they've denied it, but I'm-"

    "You're my sister. I know. Syiseda told me. Related by father, correct?"

    "Yes. Your father," she paused, "He was a different man when he and my mother met. You actually have a little in common with how mother described him. At least until she tried to tell him that I was his as well."

    "I remember something like that. About twenty years ago, correct?"

    "About then, yes. I was five years old at the time."

    "Do you know how they met?"

    "Your father was making a delivery on the colony world I grew up on, Vinirat. My mother was helping to unload the cargo when our father noticed her struggling to move on of the crates. Long story short, they spent a few noghts together, and when he left, my mother never heard from him again."

    "Until she tried to tell him about you?"

    "Yes."

    "I'm sorry Selana."

    "Don't be. I never knew him, so I don't have any memory of him. The only one who mattered was my mother."

    "How is she? Your mother, I mean."

    "She was killed when I was almost ten by the Tal Shiar."

    "Oh, I didn't know. Sorry."

    "Don't worry about it. I've had fifteen years to come to terms with what happened."

    "Well, anyways, I really should get back to the bridge. I'll be back later."
    *************

    Present time

    Bryan watched as the lead D'deridex turned to engage the Athena, followed closely by the other two.

    "Last chance, Bryan," the commander said.

    "You have my answer," Bryan replied, looking patiently into the Romulan's eyes.

    Suddenly, the channel closed, and the viewscreen changed back to the scene of the Romulan Warbirds.

    "Emergency power to the shields, revrese shield polarity, and standby all weapons, but hold fire until I give the order," he called.

    "Sir, they're cloaking," Athena called.

    "Selana, tell your ship to cloak."

    "You think they're going to try and attack my ship around yours?"

    "Yes."

    Bryan looked out one of the windows to where Selana's ship was. Suddenly, it shimmered faintly and dissapperaed from view.

    "Sir, the Tal'Shiar vessels are decloaking right beside us," Athena called.

    "Thryiss, fire at will on all phaser banks, launch quantum torpedoes, full spread."

    The Athena leapt into action, phaser blasts lighting up the shields of the Romulan warships as the Athena's torpedo spread detonated around them. The Athena turned gracefully through space, beam arrays lancing out at the Romulan Warbirds and gradually wearing away their defenses. Eventually, the shields of one ofthewarbirds faltered, and the Athena's phaser banks began to cleave at the hull, creating multiple gashes as they did their work. The Athena spun around to face the crippled warbird, and a single quantum torpedo sped away from the torpedo tube. Shortly afterward, the torpedo slammed into the "beak" of the ship, tearing the ship apart. As its hull collapsed, the ship was suddenly enveloped in a sea of black, which rapidly expanded outward until the ship disappeared completely, at which point the unstble singularity the Rom;an ship had kept in check seemingly disappeared, until it dotonated, knocking the athena and the other two warbirds back.

    "Damage report!" Bryan called.

    "Minimal damage, structural intgrety holding at nintey-five percent, no risk for hull breach. Most of the damage is completely superficial," Six replied.

    "Sir, the other two warbirds are retreating," Athena said. "Shall we pursue?"

    "Negative. We accomplished what we set out to do. Selana, can your ship go to warp?"

    "Yes, why?"

    "Good. I'd like you to follow us to Starbase Nova Prime. I have an offer you can't refuse."
    *******

    Selana stood in her quarters, looking out the window to the Federation Starbase known as Nova Prime.

    "You all right, Sel?" a feminine voice said behind her.

    She looked back to see her first officer, a Remen woman named Veril, standing in the doorway. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just never thought I'd ever be in orbit of a Federation starbase is all."

    "It is rather unusual. But we're also in some rather unique circumstances because of our work with D'Tan."

    "Any word about if my brother got approval for us to join the fleet?"

    "Yeah, he did. We are now an official auxiliary combat unit within the 1st Assault fleet."

    "Good."

    "What's wrong?"

    "Nothing. I just-" Selana paused for a second. "He's not what I expected."

    "Bryan, you mean? Well, what were you expecting?"

    "I was expecting the cheery naivate of most Starfleet officers. He's nothing like that. He's knows that not everything can be solved with words alone. And yet, he's not willing to compromise his morals to win."

    "He sounds a lot like you."

    "I guess."

    "Well, I'd best get back to it. I'll be on the Bridge if you need me."

    "Of course."

    Just as Veril turned to leave the room, Selana called out, "Veril, before you go, I wanted to say thank you, for being there for me for the past few years."

    "Of course," The Remen said, smiling a little, "That's what I'm here for."

    With that Selana turned back to the window. Thank you, Bryan she thought, smiling slightly. I know you're takeing a big risk for me and my crew, but I promise you, we will not betray the trust you have given us.
    Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot
    Commanding officer: Odyssey class U.S.S. Athena
    Admiral of the 1st Assault Fleet
    Join date: Some time in Closed Beta
  • fu11ofstarsfu11ofstars Member Posts: 37 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    "Nalah, give up. Plants hate you."

    A loud snap punctuated Ael's sentence. Nalah stood up straight, half the handle of a spade in her hands, and sighed.

    "And it's not the only thing."

    Nalah narrowed her eyes at Ael and threw the broken handle at his head. He dodged it. He was good at dodging things.

    She sighed again. She was no farmer. She knew it. Ael knew it. Even the soil of Mol'Rihan knew it.

    She'd been fighting that soil for a while now and, she had to admit, it was winning. As long as the old rusted out gravity sled had been working, she'd been able to use it to pull a plow and the odds were at least even. But, a few days ago the sled started shuddering, lurched to one side, gave out a puff of smoke and finally died. Now it was little more than an ugly garden sculpture and she was reduced to turning the soil over by hand.

    She looked at Ael again, a hand cupped behind one ear. "Don't I hear your mother calling?"

    He shook his head sadly. "Oh, Nalah. You try that one every time." Then he smiled sweetly. "You know how much you like to have me around."

    "Excuse me..."

    Nalah spun, grabbing the figure behind her with one hand. With the other, she swung the edge of the spade up to its throat.

    After a fraction of second, she realized with a sick feeling that she was staring into the wide-eyed face of the village Preceptor. She stepped back and dropped the spade, her hand still shaking slightly. She hadn't heard him walk up behind her. She was getting soft.

    "I'm....I'm sorry, Preceptor Nov." Her heart was beating much faster than it should have been. Definitely soft. "I...well...I'm just a little jumpy today I guess. My apologies. Jolan tru."

    Nov was a large man, which made it all the more humiliating that he'd been able to lumber up behind her. He must have made a racket walking up the hillside. But she'd been too focused on Ael, who was now loudly and unsuccessfully stifling a laugh. "Go on and do it again, Nalah," he whispered loudly.

    "Ah, yes, well, apology accepted, of course," Nov said as he absently rubbed his throat. "Don't be concerned at all. We're all a little jumpy these days. I can completely understand."

    "Thank you, Preceptor," she said, bowing her head.

    Nov then turned his attention to Ael, who was still giggling. "As for you, young man, you should be off to school." His voice was especially harsh. "Go on. Join the other students now. I'll be along very soon. In the meantime, Nosath will be leading your calesthenics this morning."

    "But...but, Nalah was teaching me about farming..." Ael protested.

    "Enough!" The Preceptor said sternly. "Off with you, now! You young ones don't know the hardship ahead of you. Go, now!"

    Ael reluctantly slid off the rock he'd been sitting on and began to walk down the hillside, shoulders slumped.

    "Now, Nalah," Nov turned to her, his face still red from the climb up the hill, "I have something very important to talk to you about."

    Everything Nov had to say was important, at least to him. Nalah scolded herself inwardly at the thought. She'd been talking with Ael too much. "Please continue, Preceptor."

    Nov seemed to be calming down at her show of deference. "Yes, thank you Nalah. Do you mind if I sit?" He motioned to the same rock that Ael had perched himself on.

    "No, please, Preceptor." She stepped aside and he walked past her and settled himself down.

    After a moment to collect himself he began to speak. "I trust you've heard about some of the recent...attacks on the village?"

    She had. A gang of thugs had ransacked one of the local homesteads several nights ago. The prevalent theory was that they had a hideout in the mountains and were coming down when they needed supplies. A few rumors suggested they were Tal Shiar, but Nalah had had enough experience to know if that were true, no one would be talking about them at all.

    "Good, very good." He paused, carefully considering his next words. "Rinna told me that you'd been in the Tal Shiar."

    For the first time, she looked straight at Nov, her eyes hard. "No. No, I was not, Preceptor. And I think I need to correct Rinna on that point before she tells anyone else..."

    "Ah, I see. Well, don't correct her too harshly." His awkward joke drifted off into the silence. He cleared his throat. "Yes, well, you were in the Imperial Navy, yes?"

    "Yes."

    "Ah, good. Well, I've come asking for your help. The residents of this village are simple people. When I was a professor at the Imperial University, I came to understand them."

    Nalah braced herself for another story about Nov's professorial days. But, thankfully, he continued on.

    "Perhaps you saw many of them in your tours of duty. They're easy prey. They always have been. That was the value of a strong government, to protect the plebians..."

    "With all due respect, Preceptor, and as much as I'd enjoy it, I doubt you came here to offer a civics lesson."

    "Ah yes. Quite right, Nalah." He smiled at her. "Yes, we understand each other. Now where was I? Yes, I recall. We could use your help."

    "With the attacks?"

    "Yes, with the attacks. You have training that none of us have. We need someone to take charge of protecting the village, a strong hand to keep everyone in line."

    Nalah cringed a little at his last statement, as if it had anything to do with protecting anyone. "I'm not a naval officer anymore, Preceptor."

    "No, no, of course not. And I'm no longer a professor at the Imperial University. Life has changed for us all, Nalah." He paused. She saw the far-away look in his eyes and almost felt sorry for him.

    "I'm no hero, Preceptor. I'm just a farmer now. All of us are."

    "Yes, but..."

    "I'm sorry, Preceptor. There's really nothing I can do to help."

    Nov sighed deeply and stood. "I understand, Nalah. I'm sorry, but I understand. All of us lost so much..." He let the thought trail off. "Well, if you have a change of heart, please let me know." He stood and straightened his robes. "I wish you the best, Nalah."

    She watched Nov walk awkwardly down the hill.

    - - - - - - -

    It was three days later that they came to her house. She was preparing dinner when they smashed though her door.

    That was her first mistake, she thought. Anyone who knew anything would have showed up in the early hours of the morning. And they would have picked the lock, if the mechanisms on the doors of the local cottages counted as locks.

    She turned, a frying pan in one hand and a knife in the other, and watched them file through the splintered door as if they'd achieved some major victory.

    "Can I help you?" she said calmly.

    That seemed to take a little bit out of them. The last one through was obviously their leader, if only because he had the least number of holes in his clothing. "Yes," he said with a smirk. "You can help us."

    She decided she'd kill the one off to the left first. It would be unexpected. "What is it you want?"

    The leader shot her a lopsided grin. Half of his face was scarred and one eye was a milky white. "A lot of things." He looked her up and down, while his men snickered behind him.

    "What do you want?" she said again, adjusting her grip on the knife.

    "We heard you talked with the preceptor the other day."

    "And what of it?"

    The leader of the thugs narrowed his one good eye. "He asked for your help?"

    She saw no advantage to lying. "Yes."

    "And you said no?"

    Again, she weighed her choices. "Yes."

    The leader took a step toward her, his hand on the pistol holstered at his side. "Good. You should have."

    She was too busy calculating the chances that she could deliver a concussion with the frying pan before he drew his weapon to answer. Nalah was sure from the look in the leader's eyes that he was making the same calculation. He wasn't Tal Shiar, but he must have been military.

    "Good," he said again, as if buying a little time. He'd come too close to her, and he knew it. "Good."

    "And I'll continue to say no," Nalah said finally, "under one condition. You don't attack any of the homesteads within 5 kilometers of me."

    She knew she'd taken a risk. She'd put him on the spot in front of his men. They were all looking to him now.

    He looked around at the cottage as if he owned it. Still, she could see the fear in his eye. "Nice place."

    She decided she'd be nice and offer him a way out. "There's a shed out back. It has most of my food."

    Obvious, but maybe he'd accept it. His smile got more grotesque. "You don't say." He signaled his men and several slipped outside in search of the shed. "So I think we understand each other?" he said quietly.

    "Yes," she said just as quietly.

    He turned without any preamble and walked through her shattered front door. It was only when the silence of the night returned that she dropped the frying pan and started to breath.

    - - - - - - -

    Nalah was packing, stuffing clothes hapharzardly into her duffle bag when the Preceptor stepped through her door. She hadn't bothered to repair it.

    Nov cleared his throat. "Nalah...Nalah?"

    She continued to punch clothing...or whatever...into the bag.

    "Nalah...have you heard?"

    She turned, and slung the duffle over her shoulder. Instead of bowing her head, she gave Nov a hard stare.

    "They attacked the homestead of Ael's parents last night. Shiya and Rast are both dead. Ael is in the village infirmary. If he doesn't have any brain damage, he may be ok..."

    It was a message. To her. Now she knew they weren't Tal Shiar. A Tal Shiar would have accepted the deal, at least until something better came along.

    "There was nothing you could have done. They're animals..."

    She wished she'd had the old broken spade now. "Shut up."

    Nov took a second to register what she said.

    "I can't do this anymore. I can't." Nalah clenched her fists. "I'm not a farmer. And there's no more Imperial Navy. There's nothing. I was a fool to believe anything else. I've been on planets too long. It makes you soft."

    She stared into Nov's wide eyes.

    "And there's no Imperial University." She walked past him, slamming her shoulder into his. "Get used to it."

    She walked down the hillside.

    - - - - - - -

    There was something appropriate about it, Nalah thought. She'd arrived on the planet in the capital city. And she was going to leave from here.

    Mol'Rihan. The presumptuous of the name made her want to laugh.

    But she didn't. She walked purposefully down the street, half-finished buildings to either side of her. Pedestrians, schooled by decades of life in a police state, recognized the way she carried herself and gave her a wide berth on either side.

    The sounds of new construction filled the air, but she was deaf to them. She hated planets. She always had. She belonged in space. Perhaps she could find a position on a freighter, anything to get her back out among the stars. Things were simpler there, cleaner.

    She nearly didn't notice the large Romulan male who stood in her path, like a large rock, even as the civilians parted. She decided not to kill him.

    She stopped.

    "Nalah Veris?" he asked.

    She stared at him and he took her silence as affirmation. "Someone wants to see you."

    "Fine," she said. She'd kill them, instead.

    He turned and led her into a side alley. At first, it was crowded, filled with ramshackle stalls and bustling shoppers. She kept a hand on the knife on her belt as they moved through the crowd. Ordinarily, she'd be more circumspect, worried about harming an innocent civilian, but, she told herself, she didn't care anymore. No one was innocent.

    They came to an alcove and the big male lead her in. They paused as he scanned his retina at a small wall console, then proceeded through a large metal door.

    She tracked every twist and turn as they moved deeper into whatever structure they'd entered so she could find her way back out.

    Eventually they emerged into a large room. There was a door on the other side, and a transparent aluminum booth beside it. She recognized automated guns lining the walls to either side. She'd have time to kill her escort. She took some comfort in the fact that her own end would be quick.

    The male walked up to the booth and stood still for a moment. Something scanned him and the door opened. "This way," he said. She followed.

    After a few more minutes, they arrived at an ordinary looking door. It slid open and she saw an ordinary room. In the center of it was a medium sized desk, and sitting at the desk an unexceptional Romulan male.

    Her escort waived her in. She hesitated for a moment and then stepped in and took a seat in the chair facing the desk.

    It was just her and the man behind the desk.

    "I'm D'Tan," he said, matter-of-factly.

    She sat silently. Of course she knew who D'Tan was. He was the reason she'd come to Mol'Rihan. Him and all of his promises. She clenched her fists as she sat there looking blankly at him.

    "And you are Nalah Veris?"

    She sat silently. He knew her name. She wondered what else he knew.

    "We need your help, Nalah."

    She nearly laughed at the serious look on his face.

    D'Tan steepled his fingers in front of him, considering. Then he spoke again. "You may know, Mol'Rihan is not yet safe. We are under attack from many directions, though I believe that all these threats have their source in the remnants of the Tal Shiar."

    He waited for her to respond, but she did not.

    "We need someone like you to help us defend our new home..."

    Finally, Nalah spoke. "Let me stop you there, D'Tan. I can't help you. No matter what you think. I'm no hero. I'm just a farmer."

    "No, Nalah. You're wrong," D'Tan said slowly. "We're all heroes now. All of us. We have to be."

    For the first time in as long as she could remember, Nalah had nothing to say. She stared at D'Tan, waiting for him to waiver or laugh or look away. But he continued to watch her.

    She waited to speak until she knew her voice wouldn't crack. "I'm sorry. I'm not who you think I am. I've done things..."

    "Yes, we know." D'Tan tapped a PADD on his desk. "I have your file right here. I know all about you, Nalah."

    So, she thought, they brought her here to kill her. She relaxed a little at that. At least it would be over soon.

    "And I don't care. Every Romulan deserves a second chance now."

    Nalah looked at D'Tan for a long time.

    Against all reason, she heard herself speak. "Alright."

    D'Tan smiled and waited. He was still enough of a Romulan to know that more was coming. "And?"

    Nalah smiled. It felt a little like the old days. "I need three things from you. First, there is a boy in a village infirmary. I need him to get the best medical help on the planet."

    "Done," D'Tan said without hesitation. He tapped at a console on his desk and gave the order for a medical shuttle to be dispatched.

    "Second, I want to name my own ship."

    D'Tan considered for a moment. "Highly unusual, but I am willing to grant you this. And third?"

    "Third, I need your help to make a deal..."

    - - - - - - - -

    Sorat and his men were waiting at the site their government source had indicated for the weapons exchange when they hear the whine of a transporter.

    He'd expected to see a crate full of small arms materialize. D'Tan thought his government was so noble. But it was as full of corruption as the old Empire. A few bars of latinum he'd found in the secret compartment of a farmer's shack would buy him enough sidearms to take over the entire valley.

    It took him a moment to register the five figures there instead, and a moment more to see that four of them had plasma rifles aimed at him and his men.

    A viscous wind suddenly whipped across the rocky hillside where they all stood. Sorat looked up, shielding his eyes from the flying debris to see a warbird hanging there in the sky.

    He laughed.

    "So, Nalah, you think any of this is impressive?"

    Nalah took a deep breath. The wind pushed at her, but she did not move. "I don't really care. Be impressed or not."

    Sorat laughed again. "Such studied indifference. The rumors must have been right. You were Tal Shiar."

    "Shut up," Nalah said quietly. Her voice could barely heard over the noise around them, but, still, Sorat and his men became still.

    "You're going to kill us?" Sorat asked.

    "You're going to leave this valley and never come back."

    "Or what?" The smirk was back on Sorat's face. "Or what? If you aren't going to kill us now, you aren't going to kill us at all." She saw the hate fill his one good eye. "Besides, there's nothing you can do to me. You think you've lost so much?" He spat at the ground at her feet. "The Tal Shiar killed half my family. Hobus took care of the rest, and gave me this," he motioned to his scarred face, "to remind me."

    Nalah said nothing.

    "I know your kind." Sorat was screaming now. "You think you're better than us. You're not a Romulan. Go join Starfleet. Or the KDF, though I think they'd eat you alive. But you're not. You're not a real Romulan. You're not better than us."

    Nalah just stared at him.

    "And you know what you and your kind taught me? Only the strong survive." Sorat sneered at her. "Fine, fine. We'll leave. We'll move to another valley. And we'll do just what you'd do. We'll threaten everyone until we get our way. You're not better than us." He turned to walk away.

    And he was engulfed by a flash of light.

    Nalah had turned the energy level of her disruptor pistol so high, it was painfully warm in her hand.

    "Elements forgive me," she said quietly to no one in particular. "I'll be better tomorrow."

    Instead of holstering her disruptor, she trained it on Sorat's men. "Leave, now. If I hear anything about any of you, there won't be enough left for an epohh to nest in. Do you understand?"

    The men nodded, and slunk away into the rocks.

    Nalah's communicator chirped. "Captain. The Ael can't take much more. We need to leave the atmosphere."

    "Very well," she said. "Beam us up once you're in orbit."

    "Yes, sir."

    She watched her ship streak away, up and into the darkness beyond the sky.
  • chivalrybeanchivalrybean Member Posts: 9 Arc User
    edited April 2013
    Cur peered through the slit in the door at the combat ring. Gray blood from the last fight cooled in the garish colored lights shining from above the few hundred spectators seated and standing around the ring. The crowd thumped and roared as the adrenaline-soaked heartbeat of music pounder out into the arena.

    "Welcome to my palace!" cooed a feminine voice over the music. "Show us what your toys can do!"

    The crowd clapped as Lady Hedon entered and sat alone in a sky box back lit with pink and blood-red lights that contrasted her sparkling blue skin.

    Cur punched his palm and cringed when the annoyingly full of himself announcer's voice came out of the speakers.

    "Our first Entertainer is the man from the Darkest Space, Th'look!"

    Another sky box lit up with dim greens and blues, revealing a masked figure with shadowy figures around him. The Entertainer Tips screen a little up bove the sky box lit up and started at zero, then counted up to 250.

    "He is providing for us today Daurt, a Nausicaan who is an up and coming fighter who has won a few fierce battles so far!"

    The number above Th'look went to 425 as Daurt stepped from a shadowy doorway into the combat ring, raising his spiked fists and growling.

    "You are in for a treat today, for our other entertainer is none other than Edak!"

    Another sky box lit up with strobing bright colors that morphed into a spotlight on a thin worm of a man with spiked hair and shining clothing. He waved with flourish and sat, his thick guards flanking him. The Entertainer Tips screen above Edak flashed on and instantly made its way to 5475.

    "That isn't all, for today the arena will be graced by the scion of the shadows , the Reman with a broken world... Cur! "

    The crowd shouted and the tips screen above Edak grew to 13,955. Cur spit out the bad taste in his mouth as the door in front of him opened and he stepped into the combat right. The Nausicaan glared at him, then Edak's tip screen, then back at Cur, and took up a defensive stance.

    The music in the arena got louder and the announcer shouted something to get the match started. Cur took a few steps to the right. Daurt's most vital points and weak spots were covered with armor, but a lesser vulnerabilities were not covered by the slap-dash armor he was wearing. Cur jabbed a few times at the Nausicaan who somewhat sluggishly reacted, swiping away the weak attacks. Cur slipped a kick towards an exposed area of the leg and scored in a small hit. Daurt skipped back a pace. As Cur moved in, Daurt took a swing which was easily ducked. Cur landed a few more small blows, putting the Nausicaan further off balance.

    Cur glanced up a Edak's tip screen. 14,235. Daurt swung again. Cur grabbed the arm and used Daurt's momentum to throw him spinning to the ground.

    The crowd shouted. 17,235.

    The Nausicaan jumped up quickly, growling curses. Cur dodged more blows, and landed many more light punches and kicks, moving carefully over the floor, the Nausicaan following him, throwing increasingly slower blows which Cur dodged with greater ease.

    19,550 showed on the tip board.

    Cur stepped in close and let loose a flurry of light blows to the few exposed weak points, bruising muscles and striking some nerves. The Nausicaan howled in pain, stumbling backwards. Cur moved away in a curve, eyes on his opponent, then he stood straight up and waited. The Nausicaan shook himself and spit, then glared at Cur. Cur yawned then started to turn away. The crowed chuckled. The Nausicaan screamed and rushed him. Cur stepped out of the way and shoved the Nausicaan, who slipped on the slick puddle of blood, and fell flat on his back. The crowd roared with laughter.

    50,325.

    The Nausicaan struggled to get up. Lady Hedon stood. The music's tone changed to something darker. Cur stepped up to the Nausicaan and with one heavy blow, shattered the bones in Daurt's right leg. The arena resounded with cheers. The tip screen ticked up to 100,345. Th'look's tip jar flashed red and the red symbol of Lady Hedon's medical team flashed.

    The announcer came back on the speaker. "Oh, sorry Th'look, your tips didn't even cover the medical team's flat fee to fix up your wounded fighter!"

    Edak's screen flashed green and ticked to 101,345.

    "And of course, Edak gets a bonus for not even needing those same services!"

    Lady Hedon clapped from her sky box and Edak bowed. Lady Hedon winked, and blew him a kiss. The crowd gasped. Cur cringed and stared at Edak, the knuckles on his fists turning white.

    Cur slipped back into the darkened corridors as Daurt was carried off on a stretcher.

    ---

    In the dank living area, Cur sat, sipping tepid soup from a rough wooden bowl, bit of sour bread sticking to the side. A young Romulan woman, around his age he guessed, came up to him out of the mingling groups of other Romulans and a few Remans.

    "Excuse me ..."

    He looked up and Cur saw her face, illuminated by light from the small window above him. Her cheeks reddened.

    "Can I help you?"

    "I, I wanted to thank you. I have heard you talking, I know you hate fighting for Edak, but we appreciate the extra food your ... performances bring us."

    Cur nodded. The girl just stood there. He looked at her expectantly. "Uh, I, uhm ..."

    "What is your name?"

    "Charva."

    "Well Charva, if I knew my real name anymore, I'd tell you, but I don't. They took that from me. What did you want to ask?"

    "How did you learn to fight?"

    Cur sat down his bowl and sighed.

    "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have ..."

    "No, it's OK. I was trained from a young age to be a bodyguard by the Tal Shiar. I was assigned to a scientist who studied agriculture, how to make things grow, and how to make growing things die with biological weapons. But he decided he didn't want to work for the Tal Shiar anymore and ..."

    Charva gasped. "He turned against the Romulan Empire?"

    Cur shook his head. "No, not from his perspective. He wanted to help his people, not use his knowledge to destroy other people's lives. He escaped and went into seclusion. We had started a small colony on a moon and after some years, the Scientist, D'Luune was his name, learned of Spock's warning about the Hobus star and we boarded the few ships we had and fled into space with no home. We had been far enough away to escape, but everything we knew burned up behind us."

    "I know what that feels like."

    Cur nodded. "We all do."

    "So, you were on one of the smaller ships that joined our fleet, before we were attacked and captured?"

    Cur nodded. "Yes, I ..."

    Something fell down from the window and landed near Cur. He picked it up. It was a small cube with a holoemmiter on one end, and a button on the other.

    "Some kind of message?" He pressed the button.

    A green hued display appeared showing a date and time, the words "Be ready", and was signed TK.


    Cur turned off the device. "That is when Edak is going to put us on display and sell the ones he doesn't want anymore. Looks like this TK has other ideas.

    ---

    Cur stood in the display booth, feet set apart so he wouldn't lean and touch the agony field that shimmered with a red hue. Even still he felt the slight touch of the energy field. Several shoppers looked over him, but as he was not for sale, they didn't linger. They did however linger over many of the others, mostly Romulans. but a few other species as well. Many of the shoppers had dark gleams in their eyes. Gleams that come from watching the sport of other people dying, gleams farm dark appetites. Cur analyzed each deciding the fastest way he knew how to kill them. If they were a species he used his vivid imagination.

    A new group of hooded figures came in, perusing the wares. Cur noted the guards taking notice, tensing up. One figure came up to Cur and held out a hand. There was a cube in it. It activated and for a brief moment words flashed above it. "Hello, my name is Tovan Khev. When the red light blinks, close your eyes -TK". Then the hand retreated into the cloak, but the figure's boot tapped against the base of the display booth. Then this Tovan Khev turned off to examine elsewhere, taking interest in many of the display booths. Cur noted some of the figures acting in distracting ways, while others more subtly tapped their boots against many of the display booths. A small device that blended in was left behind. After a several minutes, Tovan spit. "Rubbish goods. Let's go!"

    They left.

    The remaining shoppers shrugged, whispered to each other, and eventually forgot about it.

    The guards relaxed.

    Edak came in and started personally describing the finer details of some of his merchandise.

    He was noting the fine figure of Charva when on every display a boot had touched a red light blinked. Cur shut his eyes. Even through his closed eyes a bright light shone. He felt the absence of the agony field and he opened his eyes leaped off the booth. The nearby guard was scrambling for his weapon while blinking. Cur dropped him with a sharp chop to his cranium and then shoving his knee into his lower abdomen that housed the lungs. The cloaked figures were rushing in, cloaks removed. They were Romulans. Guards shouted and fell. Edak slipped out through the commotion. Cur followed.

    Edak snaked away down corridors. Cur slipped out of sight into shadows when Edak turned to look for pursuit, then continued following. Edak turned a corner and Cur went faster to catch up. He stopped short at the corner when he heard voices.

    "Lady Hedon! What a pleasure to see ..." "What is going on Edak. I heard yours slaves are escaping, and you are running away?" "Oh, no, I was going to get help!" "I will help. Lead the way." "Yes ... as you say ... this way."

    Cur leaped out, grabbing Edak around the neck.

    "Please, no, what are you ..."

    Cur tightened his grip, choking off the words. He pulled Edak, putting him between himself and Lady Hedon.

    The woman shook her head. "You've lost control of your little toys, Edak."

    Cur felt the man wriggling, trying to get free. "Please, it has never happened before!" Cur kept him close and secure, but let him speak. The pleading was music, and might even turn into groveling, which would be melodious. "Lady Hedon, please, I've worked so hard for your favor, so hard to ..."

    "Quiet! You mean nothing to me anymore. You aren't even half the ... man ... I thought you were. You will be stripped of all status for this."

    A Romulan walked up beside Cur, rifle pointed forward. "This is her, huh? Not well protected for figure of such high status." Lady Hedon smirked. "If I die, this whole rock goes with me. You with it." Tovan raised the rifle. "That so?" Edak struggled again. "It's true! Don't!" Then he slumped. "Just kill me, please."

    Tovan looked over to Cur. "Well, you've been here more than me, is she for real?"

    Cur shoved Edak into an alcove. Lady Hedon laughed. "You can't even get him to kill you when you asked politely." Cur grabbed her around the neck. "We'll be back for you." Then he pushed her away. "Let's go."

    Tovan nodded. "Not much time to get out before reinforcements come, both here and in space. They turned and started away. Edak shouted. "You're a monster!"

    Tovan lead the way to their exit. "Better than being a cur."

    Alternate, my preferred, ending

    Cur lifted Edak higher, tightening his grip. "You enslaved my people, and used their hunger against me as they starved, forcing me to fi ..."

    Lady Hedon sighed "Spare me, please. It's embarrassing. Put him down."

    Cur shook with anger. "I will have me vengeance!"

    Lady Hedon shook her head. "No, you will not." With a flick of her wrist, a long thin blade was at Tovan's neck. "Leave him to me, and you can go so long as you do as little damage to my house as possible. Otherwise I will have you both killed and everyone with you will sit below in cells until they die."

    Cur dropped Edak. He landed sideways on one leg, which crunched. Edak screamed "You monster!" A dark stain began to form on Edak's pant leg.

    Lady Hedon flicked her wrist and a slice of pain cut across the side of Cur's face. She scowled. "I said not to break my things!" Sne knelt and caressed Edak. "That is my job." She looked up at Cur. "Now leave."

    Tovan searched a few pouches on his belt, then shrugged. "Thought I had a dermal regenerator. Anyways, I guess we had better go."

    Cur stood for a long moment, staring into the eyes of Lady Edak, then he turned and walked away, images of both her's a Edak's death playing in his mind.

    ---

    Aboard the Ship Tovan and the other Romulan's came in on, the sensor officer looked up, worried. "There are a whole bunch of warships that weren't here a moment ago."

    The Romulan at communications spoke up. "They said he needed to leave. Now."

    The Captain looked up to Tovan and Cur. "I guess she meant it, and we can leave. Let's go."

    Tovan clapped Cur on the shoulder. "Let's go get something to eat."

    They walked off the bridge and Charva was waiting. "Oh, Cur, hello."

    Cur nodded. Tovan smiled. "Hello! New here?"

    She nodded. "Yes, I was down there with Cur. I wanted to make sure he was OK,"

    Cur nodded. "I'm fine."

    Tovan pointed down the hallway. "Food is down that way, how about we all get something to eat? I'm Tovan, by the way."

    "Charva"

    They started down the hall.

    "Speaking of names, Cur? What sort of name is that. I saw you fighting before we broke you out. That Edak guy, just doesn't know how to name people. First it was Cur, then he called you Monster ..."

    "Monster." He smiled. The cut on his face stung with pain. "I like that name. I'm free now. I'm a free monster."

    "Monster?" Tovan scratched his head. "I don't get it. How does that fit?"

    "Because if anyone tries to abuse any of us every again, that is what they will discover me to be."
    Chewson Pwan - VA
    S.S. Doff Lundgren
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited May 2013
    I'm going to extend this challenge for another two weeks :) If you are going to be making multiple Romulan Republic characters, feel free to break the rules and make additional posts in this thread if you'd like to flesh out their background stories.

    Cheers,

    Brandon =/\=
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 485 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    Here is my second entry, thanks to the relaxing of the 'one post' rule. Enjoy!

    ____________________________

    He ran through the back alleys, the darkness of night as much something he craved as dreaded. Between the tall buildings and puddled streets, he desperately fled a doom that only nightmares could justify.

    Jumping over a fallen pile of debris, the man stumbled and fell as he landed. His hands slid painfully on the durastone pavement, and his head stuck one of the waste receptacles that had been carelessly left just beyond, causing his cry of pain to be lost in the clatter of metal impacting the ground all around him. In terror, he scrambled blindly to an alcove and pressed his scraped hand to his mouth to keep from screaming, looking back the way he had come.

    From a distance that was hard to judge, he heard the electronic pulsing that marked the Watcher, and knew the time granted by his chaotic dash through the city had only delayed the pursuit. The machine would not stop, and would continue searching methodically until it picked up his specific DNA trail. Then it would come like death itself, which it was.

    Taking a brief moment to gasp precious air, the man felt as though his chest would burst from the hammering of his heart. Pressing his free hand to it, he begged the Five for a moment of rest. His thoughts spun with the lightheadedness of oxygen lack, and the building against which he leaned was all that kept him from toppling over into the mud and grime. As he sat, he thought about what he had seen.

    As a trained Science Officer for the High Command, he had never once doubted he would find a place in the Fleet. After all, officers such as he were the eyes of every ship, the ones everyone turned to when something new needed explaining. However, the great number of officers seeking any posting and the smaller number of ships available worked against him, and he had found himself cast out of the Military shortly after his graduation from the Great Hall. And Rator III was no place for a rihannsu without a duty to perform.

    He drifted among the civilians, trying to find employment but learning very soon that he had not received training for any of the work expected of that level of society. The various lounges and drinking centers had provided both a place to watch the periods pass and a quick means for reducing his credit supply to almost null quantity. At length, his ragged clothing and long hair made him indistinguishable from the various other outcasts and havrannsu that survived in the cracks between the monumental buildings of the capitol, just another unneeded and often intoxicated waste of the Empire's space. He knew his life had descended to a level below that where his family could help him, where even speaking to him would cause a loss of face to the others in their tier of society. He would not bring down them as well, and he resigned himself to the fact that there was no farther he could fall.



    Until the night he stumbled back to the junkyard that served as his home to witness something far worse. There, in the center of the stacked bins of recycling metal, he had seen the black assault shuttles of the Tal Shiar parked in a ring around the huddled forms of the others who lived there. Ten of the feared secret police were holding them by their arms in the floodlights of the vehicles, and the man carefully concealed himself from sight before they noticed him as well. Raids and arrests had increased recently, and this seemed no different than others he had heard of.

    Until the Tal Shiar produced strange dual-pronged hypos the man recognized all too well and began injecting the prisoners. Immediately, they began to convulse, their skin turning grey and their mouths gaping. As he watched, their eyes seemed to lose focus, and their struggles became only twitches. And when the Tal Shiar told them to stand and board the shuttles, they did so as though they were nothing more than androids.

    The man knew what he had seen, and it filled him with unprecedented fear. That the Tal Shiar would use Borg technology was something whispered among candidates at the Great Hall, but he had never imagined they would begin using the Borg assimilation process on other rihannsu. It was simply beyond conception, a violation of everything the Empire had stood for since the beginning of the Glory Road.

    In his shock, he had revealed his position, and the Tal Shiar had not been slow to attempt to silence him. The frantic escape he had accomplished had kept him alive for several days, but they had dispatched a Watcher now. The robotic hunter units moved on anti-gravity units and had become a too-familiar sight in recent months. The man-sized machines emitted a pulsing electronic shriek that told all that this was a servant of the Tal Shiar, and interfering with it or trying to aid the target of these units would be a lethal mistake. The Watchers were the ultimate proof that the secret police wanted someone found and executed, and they performed their task with mindless dedication.




    With that thought, he heard the Watcher coming closer, and he stumbled back to his feet. The repeating, upward-screeching tone was also a message to the target, letting them know their hunter was closing in, and often pushing them into panicked mistakes or complete insanity long before the final confrontation. As a trained officer, he did not panic, but that did not mean fear failed to grip his very being. He had seen what the robot had done to the drinking center where he had attempted to hide after his discovery, and knew that if the machine gained sight of him, it would be enough to end his running. Plasma beams traveled slower than light, but not much slower. Certainly faster than his muscles could propel him.

    He chose a stairway going down, and leapt them with fear-weakened haste. This section of the city held many ruined buildings, and he knew his best chance would be the abandoned concourses below ground level. The city had grown too fast after the Hobus incident, and much of the undercity had been built and then left to fall apart. Sensors were mostly a luxury in the sections no one had a use for, and this offered a chance to escape.

    As he touched the bottom and stood bent over catching his breath, he stumbled again and collapsed in a heap. Escape? To where? The Tal Shiar controlled the entire planet! He might make it to a sublev and then ride to another city, but they would simply be waiting for him there. If he tried to pass into the limited wilderness still left to exist, they would still come with their Watchers and shuttles, if the wildlife didn't end his flight first.

    It was hopeless, and he simply did not have any more strength to push further.

    "You really need to stop being so fatalistic. It's going to get you killed one of these days."

    The voice startled him so violently that he scrambled back on his hands and knees until he could see the man standing over him. The rihannsu was middle-aged, and wore a Centurion's uniform, but the casual stance of the man seemed out of place for a soldier. More, the eyes of the stranger seemed a mixture of foreboding and sarcasm that further eroded the image the uniform was meant to convey.

    And hadn't the old sublev platform been empty a moment before?

    "You people always make noticing the obvious seem like an accomplishment worthy of the Praetor's Citation." the stranger said in a mocking tone. "I expected better of you, Citizen Tosik. At the very least, a 'who are you?' or 'why do you say that?'. Aren't Science Officers supposed to be nosey?"

    Tosik blinked as his mind made several connections despite his shock. In a shaking voice, he asked "Who...are you?"

    "Well, that's better. At least you know when to take a hint." the stranger looked over at the stairwell as the sound of the Watcher increased. "Which is more than I can say for some things around here. Maybe I should just leave and let you two work out things on your own?"

    "No!!" Tosik half-screamed, choking on the word as he realized it would only bring the robot faster. "Please! If you can do something about that thing, then do it!"

    "Oh, maybe I will. As a favor to that meddlesome Captain. Always getting into trouble, that one." The stranger seemed to consider Tosik "Not that I enjoy the idea. I've enough to do without stepping into the affairs of your little Empire."

    "Please!" Tosik brought himself to his knees, summoning his strength and calming his voice as best he could "Keep them from finding me!"

    The stranger gave Tosik a half-grin that any rihannsu would have known. It was the same one the superior in an agreement gave to the inferior when it was known the later could not refuse the offer about to be made. "And if I do? What do I get out of it? What would you do for me?"

    Tosik swallowed, knowing his next words would determine his fate. "Anything."

    The stranger's smile bloomed to full satisfaction. "Done!" and he raised his hand. Snapping his fingers, there was a bright flash and...



    Tosik found himself kneeling before a startled woman. While his own shock mirrored hers, he saw that she did not jerk backwards involuntarily as he did, but merely stepped backward slightly in what he noted was a small room with a central control pillar. He knew this room, had dreamt of it for years.

    He was on the bridge of a warbird!

    The stranger was seated on a nearby railing, in a posture that was anything but proper. He gave an elaborate bow to the woman. "Mon Capitan. I present you with your new Science Officer."

    The woman turned her gaze to the stranger, her eyes becoming slits. "Q! What is this? Another of your games?"

    "Oh, hardly. This fellow just told me he'd do anything to escape the foul, evil clutches of the Tal Shiar, and I just couldn't help but notice your ship is one crewman short." The man raised one eyebrow in a way that made him seem almost Vulcan. "That -is- why you're still in dock, isn't it?"

    The woman nodded slowly, never taking her eyes off the man. "Leaving aside the fact that it was your own actions that cost me my Science Officer, I don't see any reason to trust that was your reason in coming here. You've never had our best interests in mind before. Why this man? Why my ship?"

    The stranger leaned forwards, his previous levity gone in a flash as he locked eyes with the woman. "Because this ship has a very important role to play in the events about to play out, and that role is not to be sitting here for the next three months while the High Command decides which of its officers to punish by sending them to you. So I decided to both pay off my debt to you, and get you back where you belong."

    The woman regarded Q for a moment before turning back to Tosik. "I expect my Subcommanders to follow proper decorum. You are..." she glanced at his ragged clothing for a moment before finishing "...out of uniform."

    At her hand motion, a Centurion came forward and guided Tosik to the nearby turbolift. As the doors closed, he heard the one called Q say "You Romulans. Always so concerned with appearances! I understand now why Q spends all his time among the Humans. And these ears...."




    The Centurion gave a short bow to Tosik as the lift descended. "I am Centurion First Rank L'voss. Welcome aboard the warbird R'uhuv. It appears you will be joining us?"

    Tosik nodded distractedly, his mind sharpening as it hadn't since...well, since he had lost his dream of serving in the Fleet. This was a T'liss class warbird, a relic of the days before the Klingons had provided new designs for the rihannsu to adapt. Its single plasma torpedo was still a fearsome weapon, and he knew many of these ships had received extensive refitting with singularity drives and more current technology.

    He looked at the Centurion, and noticed the uniform did not match what he expected. The man wore clothing more of what Tosik would have thought of as frontier gear than a ship's uniform. With a sinking feeling of dread, he asked "You are not part of the Imperial Fleet, are you? Are you...Tal Shiar?"

    L'voss shook his head. "We serve the Republic. The Tal Shiar are not welcome among us. Does this upset you?"

    Almost sagging against the side of the lift in relief, Tosik said "No. No problem at all. Whatever this 'Republic' is, it sounds like someplace I would not mind living at all."

    L'voss nodded as the lift arrived and the door opened. "I will make the data files available to you, as you will be our new Science Officer, should my Commander so approve. It will be good to have a full crew once more." He gestured and escorted Tosik down the corridor beyond.

    As they walked, Tosik realized he was standing straighter, moving with more confidence. He felt as if he were coming out of a long, dark storm into the day beyond. He felt...needed...again. With a purpose, even if only a temporary one should the Commander not chose to accept him.

    Stopping at a door, the Centurion palmed the control pad. It opened to reveal a small but well-kept cabin. "This will be your quarters. The replicator will provide you with a suitable uniform. When you have finished refreshing, notify me, and I will take you to see my Commander. No doubt she will wish to speak to you at length."

    Before he stepped into the room, he gave the soldier a frank gaze. "The Commander. She seemed very unimpressed with that 'Q' person. Even though he obviously has some impressive abilities that I've never seen the like of. She has encountered him before?"

    "We have suffered his presence on this ship several times." L'voss grimaced "The last time, he sent us all into the middle of a temporal loophole that had us eating the same meal over and over. That's what caused our previous Science Officer to leave the ship."

    Tosik stared in shock as the Centurion held the door open for him, his mind trying to sort and understand all the ramifications of what he had just heard. He shook his head in amazement. "And this does not cause her to treat him with caution, at the least? I thought she was about to order him shot!"

    L'voss gave the impression of a shrug, even though his military discipline kept anything so crude from the soldier's actual conduct. "I understand my Commander was a vest'ualu before assuming command. No doubt communing with the Five on a daily basis made other celestial beings...mundane."

    After a moment, Tosik stared back into the room before him. Once he stepped into that room...his quarters...he knew the reality of where he was would finally settle on him. There in the room ahead lay the future, and in a flash, he saw it before him. He would do as instructed, find the uniform of a Subcommander and go see the Commander. She would offer him a position aboard, and he would accept, starting his own Glory Road with this ship and crew. He would find challenge and terror, joy and tears, and the satisfaction of performing his duty. He would face his deepest fears, be tempted by his farthest dreams, and called to account for his actions before his superiors.

    Most of all, he would have purpose.

    With no more hesitation, he stepped into the room.

  • dominionchrisdominionchris Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    My name is D'Nal Lovok, you've likely heard that name before. My grandfather was a Conel in the Tal Shiar, prior to the Dominion Wars, and joint leader with Enabran Tain to attack the Dominion, he would of saved the quadrant if he had won, but acording to federation records, a changling had replaced him, either way, he died a patriot. He had two sons, Khaiel my uncle, and Aerv my father, my Uncle worked for many years with the Tal Shiar, while my father led many missions in the dominion war, including the battle of Benzar.
    Years after the war, I was born on Romulus, just months prior to Shinzon's coup, I lived on Romulus until the age of five, the year my uncle left the Tal Shiar, instead turning to the reunificationists whom were fleeing to Cirini Prime, my family was lucky, if it hadn't been for my uncle's training, we would of never escaped. We escaped with sixteen other refugees cramed in a small shuttle, only half were Romulan, the other half Reman refugees, even though my uncle had worked for the Tal Shiar he had no anamosity toward Remans, in actuality, he adopted three reman children, a brother and sister, and an infant boy he'd saved from his last mission to the Tal Shiar, the main reason he quit, being sick of all the unnessesary death.
    On Cirini Prime my family lived as farmers for a time, a span of about three and a half years, even witnessing the fall of homeworld. I remember everyone crying alot it those days, a lot was lost in that day, Not only the homeworlds of Romulus and Remus, but every colony within range of the Hobus supernova, unknown billions, the entire homefleet, and for the reunificationists ambassador Spock, my mother was most saddened as her brother, the only family she had left, perished with a mining ship, the Narada. But at least our family on Cirini Prime was safe, too far from the destruction, and life goes on.
    With the destruction of our homeworld, and many members of the fleet fighting for power, an invasion was imminent, the klingons, blood enemy to my people at the time, they saw weakness in our civil war, and began invading several worlds at the edge of our space, and raiding planets deep into the empire. Our biggest fear was that they would attack our colony, and the fronlines seemed ever closer as time passed, so we left Cirini to head to Rator III, a new homeworld with a powerful defence grid. As our convoy arrived each family had to choose, one member to join the defense force, in exchange we'd be allowed to settle. My father joined as he'd survived the Dominion war, commanding a Mogai attack cruiser, we wished him luck as we settled in, opening a small resteraunt near the edges of the Reman district serving both species.
    My uncle was a great chef strangly enough, he told me he'd gained the skill from having to poison many enemies during the days he served the Tal Shiar. My uncle helped many romualns and remans during the protests and riots, listening to secret military information. He was a leader to some in the reunificationist movement, preaching that we must instead unify with our Reman brothers rather than our Vulcan cousins. After eight years on Rator III we fled again, the Tal Shiar had found us, they assasinated my father, and then came after us, we escaped with help from our reman friends. In hiding my family was able to move more freely, serving on a Federation freighter visiting Earth, Vulcan, Bajor, Cardassia, Q'onos, and everywhere else in between. Uncle Khaiel often disappered for months on end in a romulan shuttle, leaving me, my mother, and my cousins, alone on the freighter with only a small federation civilian crew to keep us safe. As we traveled I learned to hate Vulcans, they use their precious logic way to much, no way to win in an argument against them, sometimes I just wanted to strangle them, except for one thing, there stregth and numbers, only thing I had was my cousins keeping me out of a fight.
    We spent almost a decade on that freighter, in 2406, with the Federation at war again, this time with the klingons we were unfortuate enough to be behind enemy lines as we were delivering supplies to Boreth when we were attacked, most of the crew were slaughtered after our sheilds dropped, and my uncle saved everyone his shuttle could fit, but it was too late for my mother, she died in my arms after a klingon disruptor blast, the klingon that killed my mother died quickly, as my uncle had set the ship to explode, which took the bird of prey with it.
    After delivering the federation crew to Seirra Outpost we buried my mother at the remains of the homeworld, she would of wanted it that way. We returned to Romulan space later that year, a small agricultural colony, my Uncle was invited by D'Tan to start something new, he left to join D'Tan's fleet in hopes of founding a new homeworld, and my cousins went off helping Obilisk with his insurrection. For years I lived on the colony as an engineer, only now do I command a ship to help the Republic. Now my uncle he works as a department head of intelligence, my cousins are working on building on the infistructure of the capital city on this New Romulus for their people the Remans, and as for me, I've followed in my father's path, I now command a ship in a new fleet, working with both the Federation and Klingons to find a peace, and a new start for my people.
    "Centurion, our guests have arrived." My Reman second officer said entering the room "A Klingon captain Rynor, and a Federation Admiral Kaav, there waiting in the mess hall when your ready."
    "Thank you V'hiren, continue your security scans for both the tholian and hirogen vessels you detected, make sure they don't head this way. Also, if they do, make arrangments with the klingon ship and the starfleet vessel to include them inside our cloaking feild, we don't want a fight on our hands."
    "Yes Centurion."
    As I entered the mess I could see the two other captains, Vice Admiral Kaav of Vulcan, captain of the Andromeda, and Rynor captain of the Ye'thak.
    "Welcome Commanders, I'm glad to see that your ships aren't attacking each other for a change."
    "That's half due to your bloodwine." Rynor spoke up. "I know why you asked for myself and the Ye'Thak, but why did you invite this pa'tack."
    "I requested you Rynor because of the time your family spent with mine, before the war, to show I have no animosity towards the Klingon emoire, as the same for Vulcans, as I don't hate all Vulcan's either, as the reason I requested Kaav, a high ranking starfleet Vice-Admiral.
    Kaav nodded, the same old vulcan look I hated so much, Vulcans, repressing emotion, I still have no clue what D'Tan sees in these people, but for some reason D'Tan had me invite him.
    After several hours of diplomacy and three bottles of Bloodwine and Romulan ale we were no closer to a decision. "Centurion, we've detected several Hirogen vessels inbound heading this way."
    "I understand, put on Red Alert."
    "Also, I've intercepted attack orders to the Hirogen, a taskforce of twelve Tal Shiar and Hirogen vessels are going after one of our colonies near the Azure Nebula."
    "We can't allow that, signal the fleet." With that I ended the call. Captain, Admiral, if you could help us."
    Rynor almost immediately nodded agreeing, "Warriors of the Empire, prepare for battle." he spoke into his intercom. Then with the red glow of the transporter the captain vanished.
    "How about you Admiral." I looked over to the vulcan drinking his spice tea.
    "This is a Romulan internal affair from all looks of it, as the Emperess invited the Hirogen."
    "Well Admiral, here is the situation, the Republic is divided in two, half want to help the Klingons and half the Federation, if a Federation Starship with Dominion weapons and Breen Shields allowed our colony to be destroyed while the klingons fought valiantly to protect our planet, the favor of the federation would suddenly fall."
    "Are you threatening me Centurion, or the Federation." the Admiral looked up.
    "No Kaav, I wouldn't, I'm just stating fact Euigenier." With that the Admiral looked up in almost shock, the only time in history I'd ever seen a Vulcan loose face. "Yeah you heard me, my Uncle is with intelligence, and you are with the Euigenic fleet, the side of starfleet that believes in integrating alien tech into your starships, so based on fact I say it's in your best intrest to help the republic."
    The Admiral nodded and then touching his combadge was beamed away, with his ship moving into position.
    "Excellent finally something going right. Centurion's personal recording, in case I don't make it back, D'Tan, I suggest the republic remain free of the Federation Klingon war, but if we must join a side, I suggest the Federation, nothing against the Klingons but I fear ending up like the Gorn, a conquered race. End Log." Hopefully we do survive this battle.
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #42: I Am the Legacy of Romulus

    LC42: Sleeping Set'leth
    Captain's Log, Stardate 87033.66. The majority of the Lord English's crew is out of commission since our furball in the Husnock Necrohol. The senior crew has therefore moved off of the now mostly-empty Odyssey into the much snugger Aquarius mission pod. While the crew is recovering from their injuries, the Federation Diplomatic Corps wants me to assist the Romulan Republic in a little headhunting. We're off to talk to one of the leaders of the Romulan Republic- and our Romulan exchange officer's estranged sister.

    ===

    On board USS Jake English, the Aquarius mission pod of USS Lord English, Vice Admiral Remus Lee met with his Romulan and Reman exchange officers. Commander Liviana, Lord English's resident Romulan research lab scientist, sent a file to the PADD's of Admiral Lee and Commander Twimek, the Reman biochemist.

    "Proconsul D'Tan wants us to find an officer of the Romulan Republic who returned to civilian life," Liviana explained. "Commander Lirina was a resident of the Virinat Colony before its destruction by the Tal Shiar; she was instrumental in rescuing refugees from many of the colonies attacked by the Tal Shiar during their attempt to reunify the Star Empire by force."
    "Lirina is held in high regard by much of the Romulan Republic. She's utterly unconcerned with galactic politics, yet she's done much to bring people under the banner of the Republic. If it wasn't for her assistance at Crateris, I would most likely have been a victim of the Tal Shiar," Twimek added.
    "She seems to be quite the hero," Admiral Lee said. "What role is the Federation supposed to play in reclaiming a Romulan officer for the Republic?"

    In response, Liviana opened a file detailing Lirina's genealogical data.

    "Quaestor Llhreenor of Rator III married Llatta, a refugee from Romulus, and had three children, Liviana, Lirina, and Lhian, before dying in one of Praetor Taris' secret prisons. Of those three children, the eldest remained on Rator to work in the Romulan Ministry of Science before fleeing to New Romulus after the disappearance of Empress Sela. Lirina and Lhian, however, left Rator after Sela came to power and moved to the Virinat Colony to escape from the conflicts," she explained.

    Twimek then displayed the Romulan Republic personnel file for Lirina.

    "Lirina is considered one of the finest tactical minds to have ever served the Republic. She and another Virinat survivor, Tovan Khev, attacked Tal Shiar assault forces several times in a derelict T'Liss Warbird and survived. She later infiltrated the Tal Shiar, who tried and failed to indoctrinate her, and escaped with valuable data about Romulan research into Borg technology, some of which was adapted onto ships of Task Force Omega. She has been instrumental in the fight against the Elachi and the Tal Shiar for the Republic, the Federation, and the Klingon Empire," he added.

    Liviana closed the rest of the files, leaving a rotating hologram globe of Virinat on the display.

    "Growing up in a Ratorian prison, Lirina had underwent the same indoctrination that all children of political prisoners were exposed to, but it only made her apathetic to galactic affairs; that's why she moved to Virinat in the first place. Now that Sela is gone and the Star Empire is fragmenting, she's returned to hiding on Virinat, far from the core of the rebuilding efforts. The Republic doesn't want to see a prodigy like Lirina tucked away while the Republic still needs help, so D'Tan is sending us three to convince her to return to service. The Federation Council, meanwhile, wants to at least prevent her from being kidnapped by the Tal Shiar or some other rival faction," she concluded.

    Having absorbed all the information given to him by his Republic liaisons, Admiral Lee reclined in his seat while putting his feet on the table.

    "In essence, we're on a charm offensive to get a retired Republican officer who doesn't want to return to the Republic and convince her to return to the Republic," he summarized.

    Liviana and Twimek looked at each other before nodding; Lee's comment was right, if too oversimplified. At that moment, Commander Kira hailed the conference room.

    "Admiral Lee and Commanders Twimek and Liviana, we are now in orbit around Virinat and are ready to beam you down at your convenience."
    "Acknowledged, Commander Kira. We'll be ready to disembark within the hour," he replied. Turning to Liviana and Twimek, he added, "If your descriptions of Lirina are correct, it looks like we'll be here a while, so you better pack everything you need."

    Admiral Lee left the room, whistling "Traumerei" by Robert Schumann. Liviana wondered whether Admiral Lee could successfully convince Lirina to return, and also wondered how she would greet a sister she hasn't seen for over six years.

    ---

    Soon after making landfall in the town square of the recovering Virinat colony, the three Starfleet officers rented hovercruisers and set off for the Set'leth Ridge, where Lirina was said to be living. After half a day's journey, they finally reached the ridge, where they found a ranch hand tending travits while playing a slow tune on a flute.

    "A remarkably relaxing tune, it seems almost hypnagogic," Lee thought to himself.

    Presently the ranch hand saw the three officers.

    "Lloann'na? (Federation?)" he exclaimed.
    "Ie, Lloann'na. Dochai Lloann'mhrahel doaege? (Yes, we're Federation officers. Do you speak a Federation language?)" Lee answered.

    The ranch hand was taken aback, but returned Lee's salutation.

    "Yes, yes, I speak a little English, Master Sleeping Set'leth has taught me," the ranch hand replied.
    "Sleeping Set'leth? Would you happen to mean Commander Lirina?" Liviana asked.
    "I have heard those close to her say Lirina, actually," he said, "though those who live on the ridge call her Master for her good works. She lives in a structure on the far end of the ridge."
    "I see, thank you very much, good sir," Lee responded, before riding off towards the far end, Twimek and Liviana in close pursuit.

    Twimek took the opportunity to ask Lee a question.

    "Your Romulan was pretty good for a human. Are you fluent in Romulan?"

    In response, Lee pulled back his sleeve. The phrases he spoke were written on his sleeve.

    "I always have a temporary tattoo of important phrases put on for occasions such as this," he replied coyly.

    Twimek chuckled while Liviana rolled her eyes. Presently they ran into a depression in the ground; all three officers crashed off their hovercruisers, but were otherwise unhurt as they fell onto the cloaked ship which lay inside the hole. A shadowy Reman opened the bow hatch and stepped out.

    "Are you all right?" she asked.

    Lee dusted himself off and greeted the figure.

    "Jolan tru, miss. I am Remus Lee, Vice Admiral of the United Federation of Planets Starfleet, Federation Diplomatic Corps Ambassador, M.A.C.O Elite Commander, Omega Force Shadow Operative, and commanding officer of USS Lord English, and I'm here to speak to Commander Lirina," he replied.
    "I missed everything after 'Remus Lee'," the Reman replied.
    "In that case, just say Remus Lee came to inquire, miss..."
    "My name is Veril, and I work as Lirina's chief engineer. She left earlier this morning to attend to personal business. I don't know where she went or when she'll be back. My apologies, Admiral ch'Havran."

    Admiral Lee was bemused. His Romulan and Reman companions were amused.

    "Let's go back to the ship, since we can't see her now, Admiral ch'Havran," Liviana said with a smirk.
    "Let's wait a little longer instead, since we're already here," Lee replied.
    "We could be here longer than is socially acceptable. Let's return to the Jake English and inquire later, Admiral," Twimek suggested.

    On the urgings of his officers, Lee relented.

    "Please inform Lirina that Admiral Lee was here, hopefully we will meet the next time I come," he finally said as the trio beamed back to the ship.

    ---

    The day after they returned to the ship, a fierce blizzard swept over the Set'leth Ridge, blanketing the area in chilling winds and deep snows. Despite this, Admiral Lee prepared to leave the warmth of the Jake English to try to meet Lirina again, to the disapproval of Commander Kira, the Klingon Chief Science Officer.

    "It will be very dicey for you to go down to the planet, and you don't even know where this Lirina is. Why don't you let me beam her aboard, or at least ask her to come to the ship?" she told him as he and the two Republic bridge officers stepped on the transporter pad.
    "My personally going shows our sincerity to Lirina. If it wasn't necessary, we wouldn't have to go," he replied.
    "Honestly, I think it's a wild targ chase, I just hope you're not wasting your time going down there," she shouted as the transporter activated and the officers beamed down.

    The three officers trudged to the warbird that served as Lirina's residence. Veril greeted them again at the cargo bay hatch.

    "Oh admiral, you should have warned me earlier that you were coming," she exclaimed. "Please, come in from the snow."

    As the three officers entered the cloaked ship, Lee heard the voice of a young woman humming to herself. Presently, a Romulan female reading Commentaries on the Civil War by Suran walked down the transverse corridor.

    "Veril, who is it?" she asked.

    Lee made a sweeping low bow as he introduced himself to her.

    "Jolan tru, esteemed Master. Proconsul D'Tan has spoken highly of you as a person of unparalleled talent. Although previous efforts to find you have been lacking in results, today's excursion has paid off. I am glad to finally make your acquaintance."

    The startled woman returned the bow. Liviana, who had tried and failed to get Lee's attention during his introduction stepped between the two.

    "Admiral Lee, this is my youngest sister, Lhian. Lhian, please meet Admiral Remus Lee of the Federation Starfleet," she said.
    "Welcome, admiral," Lhian replied. "Thank you for caring for my sister, Liviana."
    "My apologies, Miss Lhian. Liviana has been most helpful. Is Lirina home?" Lee asked.
    "Lirina just returned from an overnight trip," she responded.

    With that, she sauntered off. Lee was quite pleased that the goal was in reach. As they reached the Commander's quarters, they met Veril, who was exiting.

    "Is the commander available?" Lee asked.
    "I'm sorry, Admiral, but she is sleeping off a hangover," she whispered.
    "In that case, I'll wait outside," Lee said in a hushed voice.

    Lee and crew knelt in front of the commander's quarters waiting for Lirina to come out. An hour passed before somebody realized the silliness of the situation.

    "Admiral, you've been motionless for a long time," Kira said through the combadge.
    "Admiral Lee is waiting for an audience with Lirina, but she is sleeping off a hangover," Liviana replied.
    "I can wake her up from here on the ship," Kira fumed. "A few orbital phaser blasts will rouse her."
    "I doubt it," Liviana said. "Lirina has been a heavy sleeper since forever. A round of phasers probably won't work."

    At that point, the door opened, and Lirina stepped out, yawning. Dressed in a sleeveless shirt and underwear, she started moving towards the mess hall, but stopped short upon seeing three Starfleet officers kneeling in front of her room.

    "Hello, little sister," Liviana said in greeting.
    "I must still be hung over," she replied, as she returned to her room.

    ---

    "I am honored that you've paid us so many visits, but I must decline your offer."

    Lirina, now dressed in civilian robes, sat across from Admiral Lee at a table in her room as she pushed a plate of osol twists towards him.

    "Please hear me out. The Romulan Republic needs experienced personnel to ensure the safety of its citizens and train the next generation of guardians. Proconsul D'Tan has cited you as the prime example of the type of leader the Republic needs," Lee replied as he pushed the plate back to Lirina.
    "My business with the Republic was revenge-based, and with Hakeev's death on Brea III, I have no incentive to continue working for someone else," Lirina responded, pushing the plate more forcefully towards Lee.
    "Hakeev may be dead, but the Republic still needs help. The Tal Shiar and Hirogen have been menacing Mol'Rihan and causing untold havoc, not to mention whatever the Tholians have planned throughout the sector block. The Republic needs all the help it can get."

    Lee attempted to push back the osol twist plate back to Lirina but was stopped midway by Lirina's powerful counterpush. Unable to overcome Lirina's pressure, Lee was forced to concede the field to Lirina.

    "The machinations of galactic powers do not interest me. Here I can do whatever I want. My free time here can be spent improving the lives of the Virinat colonists rather than embroiled in another galactic conflict between rival factions. I am grateful that you hold me in high regard, but I am unwilling to embroil myself with politics. Please inform D'Tan of my decision."

    With that, Lirina retired into the inner section of her quarters. Lee and Twimek were dismayed at Lirina's stubborn refusals.

    "This may take some time to iron out, if Lirina is set against serving the Republic again," Lee pondered.
    "It seems that Lirina's experiences have soured her even more than I expected," Twimek mused.

    At that point, Liviana slammed her hand on the table.

    "We're focusing too much on trying to coddle Lirina, aren't we? She hasn't changed at all in six years; all she wants is for the galaxy to revolve around her. She's not as perfect as D'Tan makes her out, either. I can tell you lots of stories about her as a child..." she shouted in exasperation.

    Liviana proceeded to tell Lee and Twimek several luridly embarrasing stories about growing up on Rator. As she got to one particular story, the door to the inner quarters opened, and a seething Lirina pounced on Liviana.

    ---

    A short while later, Lhian, Veril, Twimek, and Lee were busy cleaning up the mess that Lirina and Liviana's brawl made. The two Romulan sisters found themselves in the same cell on the ship's brig.

    "Living on an agriworld hasn't hurt your skills at all," Liviana noted.

    Lirina smiled at her sister for the first time in six years.

    "Laboratory work hasn't dulled you either," she responded. "It makes me think that you're not here just because D'Tan sent you."

    At this point, Liviana decided that an appeal to ego would be more effective than an appeal to reason.

    "Admiral Lee is here because D'Tan asked him to be here, but I thought I should come along as well, given the amount of information we've discovered that the Tal Shiar has on you," she insinuated.
    "Whatever the Tal Shiar has on me is of no consequence anymore," Lirina responded.
    "Oh, it's not what the Tal Shiar have on you, but what they think of you which brings me here," Liviana said with a smirk.

    "What do the Tal Shiar think of me?"
    "They're afraid of you, of course. They can't seem to figure out how a Virinat farm girl can do as much damage to them as you did, so they're trying to wage a slander campaign on you in order to impugn your image. They're posting doctored images of you and sending chain e-mails with your name on it, among other things. I could go on about all the things they're trying to do."

    Lirina turned red. She began wrecking the cell in a rage.

    "Do those Tal Shiar wretches have the nerve to do that? I have fought in every major confrontation in the Tau Dewa Sector Block this past year, such that even the Federation and the Klingon Empire have acknowledged my services. What the Tal Shiar is doing is unforgivable! I'll show them!"
    "Does this mean you're leaving Virinat?"
    "I planned to stay here and avoid the galaxy at large like the sages of old, but I won't let the Tal Shiar malign me this way. If the Republic needs my help in fending off its enemies, then perhaps our goals can once again align."

    Liviana was pleased with herself as Lirina contacted her crew and Admiral Lee about her intentions to return to the Republic. Perhaps her little sister did mature a little over the years.

    ===
    Captain's Log, supplemental. We are returning to New Romulus to give word to Proconsul D'Tan about our mission's success. The Lord English is waiting in orbit to receive the mission pod, and from there we'll continue patrols in Tau Dewa for another week. This will allow our Romulan exchange officer to bond with her sister before we part ways. I see great things for the Republic with such a talented person in its service.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • squatsaucesquatsauce Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    The Gripes of R'ath



    It is a hateful existence, but it is ending. My days on a too-bright Federation vessel will be over soon. It is a needed change. I chafe here under Federation sentimentality.

    I am R'ath. My story is not a remarkable one. I am of the last generation to be born on Remus. I worked the dilithium mines in my childhood and waged war on our oppressors in my adolescence. There is no greatness in me save what I have garnered from my long and loyal service to Obisek. It is by his order that I have suffered two years of indignity. It is by his order that, soon, I can retire to live a peaceful life on a new Reman colony world or even New Romulus if I wish it. If I had any joy in me, I might weep. I do not and cannot.

    How I came to serve aboard the Shimmering is worth a recounting, albeit a brief one.

    It was in the later days of our struggle against the Tal Shiar that some obdurate Federation captain, with more courage than sense, managed to impress both Obisek and Star Fleet High Command. Covert agreements were made. Aid was promised. The Federation could not commit their own war ships or much technology, but the medical supplies and fabricator units were useful, I admit. Their greatest gift, however, was expertise.

    The bulk of the Reman fleet was made up of captured and converted Romulan vessels. We controlled a few shipyards, but most of our shipwrights were busy maintaining our collection of battleships and heavy escorts. Many second-line and auxiliary ships had not been properly maintained in some time. Their combat effectiveness had been dropping constantly for years and our ability to defend ourselves suffered as a result. A contingent of refit specialists under the command of a Captain Khas were dispatched to help address that.

    Their arrival was slightly alarming. I admit that, in the past, when I thought of the Federation, I imagined smug-looking humanoids pontificating about morality from the enormous soapbox that is a Federation cruiser. So tiresome and self-righteous. What arrived was an inky, black nightmare in a captured extra-dimensional warship. It's transponder listed as the Terran deep recon cruiser I.S.S. Shimmering and it was almost as battered as our own vessels. If it was spotted, it would appear as though we had captured it ourselves from the strange not-Federation. That was the hope, I think. The sight of the arachnoid captain in an ill-fitting, blood-stained Terran tunic was memorable enough.

    I, having been a systems control officer for years, was asked by Obisek himself to liaise with the Federation contingent and I spent the next year getting to know them as well I saw fit to. It was an irksome duty, but with the Federation vessel acting as a mobile fabricator and the Federation teams working closely with our own engineers, we were able to bring nine older warships up to current standards and properly maintain a dozen smaller ships. I suppose that was helpful. A task-group's worth of ships usually is.

    Still, I found the Federation engineers difficult to understand. They did their jobs, gave what instruction they needed to and learned everything we taught them about our own ships and systems. They laughed and joked and needed more light than we did. It was very annoying. There were a few exceptions and these became companions of a sort. The first was the ship's Chief Science Officer. She was a Trill, I think, but without the bug inside of her. Her name was Tarayl and she did not find my kind unpleasant to be around. This confused me until I met the ship's captain personally. I admit that, by comparison, my people are absolutely effusive creatures. I am certain that Captain Khas was a being carved from some fundamental ideal of resentment. The other Federation crew member I came to know was Lovegood, a janitor of some sort. He was a human of some forty Earth years, though his gaze and bearing were of a wizened elder, much accustomed to horror. He reminded me of my mother and I found this comforting.

    About on year in, our base on Abraxis was attacked by a small Romulan fleet. I was on board the Shimmering at the time, discussing something with Tarayl, when two Mogai cruisers and a trio of birds-of-pray uncloaked and started an assault on the planet. There was no warning. We, of course, were still within the shipyard hidden inside Abraxis' small asteroid-sized moon, along with the three birds-of-prey the Shimmering had been servicing. Not helpless, but outmatched.

    The Birds-of-prey cloaked and launched within minutes, moving to try and flank the Romulan fleet. Their plight was hopeless, of course, but we are Reman, and we do what we must. I remember that Khas sniffed at the air for a few minutes before looking me in the eyes.

    "Do you know enough of about our systems to man a system control station?" He asked in that hoarse, grating voice of his.

    "I do." I responded.

    He grunted and clacked his mandibles together. "Good. Man station two, R'ath. You're an acting Lieutenant for the duration." He issued a flurry of orders, none of which I can recall now. I turned to my station and got to work. Tarayl's pleasant voice and chilling aroma wafted over to me. "Mind the shields and tractors. I'll handle the rest, partner."

    At first, I thought that he intended to move us out of the conflict. The Shimmering's presence was supposed to be a secret and, if the Romulans found out just how much the Federation was aiding the Reman cause, there would be an incident. It would have been the sensible thing to do. Instead, the captain ordered us into battle.

    I learned to respect the captain's tactical acumen that day, but it was my own efforts that brought us victory. A short-range warp burst brought us abruptly into the middle of the Roman fleet. We managed to score a few with the Terran ship's odd Polaron weaponry before the Romulans could respond. The maneuver let us cause some damage to one of the two cruisers and gave the Reman squadron the opening they needed to strike.

    Things went down-hill from there. The Shimmering lacked heavy weaponry and that turned the match into a tense and brutal short-range slog, with us battering down shields and the smaller Reman vessels exploiting the gaps.

    I managed the shields and tractors during the battle and I had to use every trick I knew to keep us alive. Heavy plasma torpedoes were swatted away with carefully-timed bursts from the repulsors. I funneled radiation from the ship's warp core and overloaded shield emitters to keep the green lances of plasma beams from scorching our hull. Plasma fires were flushed by careful use of the ship's hazard containment systems. Remans are not much for dancing, but I imagine the feeling is not too different. I do not think I had ever fought so hard or so skillfully in my life. Within half an hour, the Romulan fleet was destroyed or disabled, along with two of the Reman birds-of-prey. The Shimmering was still space-worthy but damaged with more than two dozen crew members dead and another thirty wounded. Most of the ships would be recovered and put back to use, though that is another tale entirely.

    Tarayl gave me a look after that fight that I still remember. She smiled and said that I was wonderful. I felt a warmth within me. It might have been gas.

    The base and the colony it protected, however, were saved. Obisek was grateful and commended me for my efforts. In grattitude (and in exchange for the ship's compliment of Terran experimental polaron weapons), the Shimmering was repaired and outfitted with Reman technology. Plasma beams were installed, the ship's hull was layered with the same iridescent, energy scattering ablative armor our own vessels use. The Terran shields, badly damaged anyway, were replaced with high capacity ones of Reman manufacture. In all, it took another three months of work. The Federation seemed pleased enough to get access to the technology we installed and Obisek was happy to not be in the Federation's debt. Of course, a Reman had to go along to make sure they knew how to keep the systems maintained and I was the natural choice.

    I have mostly regretted it.

    The ship's adventures are shameful. I've been sent back in time, turned into a bug, fought in a battle of wits against a rogue Pakled, subdued a sentient holographic whale named Moby, and participated in a dance competition against a crew of Klingon "Battle-Steppers". I met a Borg drone who used to be an accountant. I have seen a Breen without his cryo suit. I had to spend four hours communing with the Tribble Hive-Mind. I long to return to the quiet sanity of my own people.

    The only comforts I have found have been speaking with Tarayl, who's smiling makes my insides flex uncomfortably, and watching the shameful recordings of the crew's holodeck usage with crewman Lovegood. I will account these memories among the good ones.

    It's time to get ready to leave now, so get out of my quarters. I never liked you much anyway.
  • johngazmanjohngazman Member Posts: 2,826 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    +++ Commence Log Entry +++

    Personal Log, T'Mara Preax, Officer Commanding R.R.W. Ventarix.
    Our mission into the Carraya system was a success - in part. The relief convoy was saved with minimal damage and loss of life on their part. The Tholians, however, were not content with allowing their quarry to escape, and the Ventarix bore the brunt of their attack. Repairs are...ongoing.
    End log.


    +++ Log Entry Terminated +++

    +++ Present Day +++

    Romulan Republic Flotilla
    R.R.W. Ventarix


    As the flotilla's ships shifted into their night cycle, there was always a slow ebb of activity across the ships that formed it. Tired officers trudged slowly back to their quarters whilst their counterparts, still half-asleep, sat at their posts with mugs of Raktajino - or occasionally, human coffee - and tried to get themselves awake and up to speed on what problems and issues they were inheriting for their shift. And this happening shipwide - from the bridge to the engineering deck.

    This was, of course, all routine for the duty officers. The senior officers, however, had no such luxury.

    Captain T'Mara woke with a start at the sound of the door to the ready room chime. Realising that she had been slumped in her chair asleep again, she sighed. As she walked to the room's replicator, she called out;

    "Enter." The doors hissed open as she reached the replicator. "Vorcha'ak, hot."

    Removing the mug from the replicator, she turned to face the visitor. She was met by an imposing figure. The Reman stood at least a foot taller than her, his uniform a dulled purple accented with black. And out of the side of his face jutted a large cybernetic implant - from which a bright red targeting beam glowed, fixed upon T'Mara's face.

    "Subcommander R'Vek." T'Mara welcomed him, adding "Vorcha'ak?"

    "Negative, Captain. I do not require a beverage" R'Vek replied. His voice still bore the cold metallic undulation of a former Borg drone, something that T'Mara still found unsettling. "I have an update on the repairs from our last combat engagement."

    "I see. Status?" T'mara asked.

    "Secondary torpedo launcher is a total loss. We will have to replace the entire assembly. The hull breaches on deck nine and deck twenty one have been sealed and checked. Fused EPS relays have been replaced on decks five through seven. Section nine of deck two is still off-limits until the thermionic radiation clears. Damage to the core, however, was superficial."

    This was not the news T'Mara had hoped to hear immediately after waking up. The lack of damage to the core was good, but even now it was not easy to get a working torpedo launcher assembly and the ship would undoubtedly be needed again before they had time to find one, let alone install one. And she had no doubts that taking the ship into battle with weapons missing would not be the best of tactical choices. She sipped her drink, and then looked up at him.

    "And the crew?"

    "Crewman Crelok perished during the battle. Lieutenant J'Kor is missing, but I believe he is trapped in section nine, deck two. In which case, he will also have perished. Several more crew are in sickbay with less serious injuries." R'Vek informed her. "Doctor Arvek is adamant that there will be no more casualties from the current injuries, but several crew will be relieved of duty until they are well enough to return to active service."

    "Once they've been treated, get them moved to the Genorex. If we have to go out again, we're going to need that sickbay, and we don't need to put them in any more uneccessary risk." T'Mara ordered.

    "Of course, Captain." R'Vek replied

    "Okay. Keep me appraised of anything else that arises. Dismissed."

    R'Vek bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement, and left without another word.

    'Another two dead' T'Mara thought to herself. Their personnel files appeared on her console's screen at the tap of a few controls. "Computer" she said aloud - it chimed to acknowledge her - "Adjust crew records of Kerit Crelok and J'Kor. Set status."

    "Please confirm new status" the computer asked

    "Deceased" T'Mara answered, so quietly it was almost a whisper.

    "Record alteration confirmed." the computer informed her.

    "Thanks." she retorted quietly. Sitting down, her mind began to wander as she tried to recall all their names.
    +++ Eight Months Earlier +++

    Tau Dewa Sector
    I.R.W. T'korex


    This day was not turning into a good one. The T'korex streaked through the Beta lankal system at full impulse. Her cloak had been rendered non-functional from an engagement with rebel elements in the Beta Thoridor system and her long range sensors were picking up all kinds of ship activity in the area - none of it friendly. But Colonel Avrak had completed his mission - over fifty rebels had been captured from a group of freighters and his orders were to take them to Rator III for further questioning and processing.

    "Sir! Klingon ship on sensors!" the T'korex's sensors officer called out. Avrak frowned - his day was not getting better.

    "How far out?" he demanded. He never got an answer. The Hoh'sus class bird-of-prey skimmed low over the D'Deridex's hull, causing the ship to rattle in it's engine wake. "A Hoh'Sus?" Avrak mused aloud "Unusual for one to be operating so far out on it's own."

    "Sir, they're hailing us."

    "On screen."

    The viewscreen flicked to show the bridge of the Bird-of-Prey. The captain, a Nausicaan, glared back at Avrak.

    "Romulan commander, I am Commander Glaxei of the I.K.S. Reclaw. My orders are to conduct a search of all vessels passing through this area of space for illegal cargo." the Nausicaan informed him, brusquely "Cut your engines and prepare to submit to an inspection, or you will be fired upon."

    The rage inside Avrak was building. Under no circumstances would he allow a member of the Klingon Empire "inspect" his cargo, let alone one of their hired thugs.

    "Commander Glaxei, this ship is under the juristriction of the Romulan Empire. Even if you could stop us, you have no authority to do so." Arvak replied, equally as brusquely. The Nausicaan looked unperturbed by the fact he was facing down a battleship with a small raider - Arvek did not like this. Something was afoot.

    "This is your last warning. Cut your engines or we'll cut them for you." Glaxei ordered. The viewscreen cut out.

    "Full power to forward shields. Weapons, destroy this pest" Avrak demanded. A disruptor blast lanced out at the I.K.S. Reclaw, causing visible damage to it's port warp nacelle. Avrak grinned. Perhaps this wasn't such a bad day after all.

    "Colonel! Picking up a massive tachyon surge, aft of us!" the sensor officer informed him

    "On screen!"

    Behind them, space shifted as an enormous Klingon dreadnought decloaked. It's own disruptors fired, easily penetrating the T'korex's weakened rear shields and causing major damage to the ship. It's main drive was offline, and it dropped to low speed as the Klingon warship locked a tractor beam into them.

    "Sir, Klingon raiders have boarded!" the sensor officer cried, nursing a cut on his head from a system overload

    Avrak grabbed his disruptor.

    "All hands, prepare to repel boarders"

    He flicked the controls from 'Stun' to 'Kill'.

    "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"
    +++

    T'Mara felt the blast as she lay in the holding cell. So powerful, it flung her off the shelf that was her bed. The guard outside also lost his footing, collapsing to the floor, his plasma rifle clattering away from him.

    The fall left her somewhat dazed, and she felt the blood dribble down her forehead. Had it not been for the second blast, she might have lost consciousness and not noticed the cell's forcefield come down. Half-walking, half-stumbling, she tried to regain her balance. That's when she noticed the guard - he was alive. He was awake. And he didn't appear to be nearly as injured as she was. Recalling the plasma rifle, she effectively threw herself towards it.

    Unfortnately, in her dazed state, she didn't judge the distance correctly, and landed on the floor a good foot from the rifle itself. In a mad dash, she tried to get to her feet and reach the rifle. But the guard was quicker - his hand wrapped around her hair and pulled her to her feet. He didn't even bother about the rifle, instead landing a heavy blow to her abdomen with his other hand. She cried out in pain but he ignored her, landing another blow, and then another.

    And then, suddenly, he stopped.

    With what was left of his life, he glanced down. A razor-sharp blade was piercing his chest cavity, protruding out through the front of his uniform. He looked back to T'Mara, shock etched across his face, unsure of how she had managed to stab him as he held her there. Just as suddenly, the blade was twisted left, then right, and then removed. He slumped forward onto her, his strong grip gone, and since she could not hold him up, he slumped to the floor.

    Her head hurt. Her ribs hurt. She was covered in blood. T'Mara began to fade out of conciousness. As she opened her eyes again a moment later, she was looking up at the ceiling of the ship.

    And to her surprise, she was sure that there was a Klingon and an Andorian leaning over her. Shortly after, her world faded to black.
    +++

    "She's lost conciousness, General" Commander Shanxi Ophani informed her captain. Inspecting the body of the guard, she added "Looks like she's another one of the prisoners."

    General Sorval Valkris nodded in agreement. Tapping his wrist communicator, he spoke aloud;

    "Sorval to Reclaw. Transport all survivors to the cargo bay and have guards waiting to seperate the prisoners from the crew. Then destroy this ship and set course for our rendezvous point. Energize"

    He, Shanxi and T'Mara vanished in a beam or red light. Shortly afterward, the T'korex's brig, along with the rest of the ship, was consumed by it's own singularity core. As the debris settled, it became the only evidence that the ship - or any ship - had ever been there.
    +++ 24 Hours Later +++

    T'Mara awoke slowly. Her vision remained blurry, but her sense of touch was still sharp as ever. She felt the hard slab beneath her back. It must all have been a dream, an escapist fantasy. Of course, there was no escape from this holding cell. And then something passed by in her field of vision. She sat up slowly, gripping her abdomen in pain as did. Suddenly a clawed hand wrapped around her arm. Looking up, she saw the scaly skin of an incredibly large Gorn - she'd have screamed if it didn't hurt quite so much. However, despite the lack of a scream, her fear was clearly evident. Yet in perhaps the must un-characteristic manner, the Gorn steadied her until she was sat upright and simply told her "Be still."

    As he applied the dermal regenerator and gave her a hypospray for the pain, she sat there contemplating whether or not any of this was real. Klingons, Andorians, Gorn. It could have happened, but it seemed ludicrously unlikely that she had been rescued by a Klingon warship - of all things - with a Gorn medic and an Andorian warrior. Yet a glance around the ship's sickbay showed that several other Romulans were being treated there for various injuries. As he finished, the Gorn turned to her and said "If the pain returns, come to me. I believe General Sorval wishes to speak to you in his ready room."

    Short of an adequate reply to the well-mannered Gorn, T'Mara could only nod. A Klingon officer escorted her from sickbay, along the many corridors of the Klingon ship. She gazed at the design in wonder - it was a far cry from the Romulan ships she'd been aboard, and it was nice not to be in the brig for once.

    As they arrived the General's ready room, the door was already open. Sorval was seated behind a desk, his workstation adorned with only a small model ship and his computer. As she waited at the door, she saw the Andorian woman who she had seen earlier. Clearly, as Sorval saw her, whatever conversation they were having was ended.

    "We'll finish this conversation later, Shanxi." Sorval told the Andorian, firmly. She opened her mouth to argue, but saw the look on his face, glanced to the door, then thought better of it.

    "Yes, General. I need to ensure the Tal Shiar operative is going to be more co-operative anyway." Shanxi informed him instead. He nodded silently, and she left, barely glancing at T'Mara as she passed by. Sorval motioned T'Mara to enter, and the doors slid closed behind her.

    "Please, sit." Sorval motioned to the chair. His voice was somewhat more enthusiastic than it had been a moment ago. "Raktajino?" He offered. T'Mara shook her head silently. "Suit yourself."

    He stood and ordered one for himself. As he turned, T'Mara caught a glimpse of his face - along his right cheek was an unhealed scar, beneath which the dim green glow of cybernetic implants was visible.

    He was a former Drone.

    He turned back, and T'Mara averted her gaze from his scar.

    "So." he began, sipping his Raktajino "The brig is the place to be these days, no?" Since she didn't quite understand, he added; "The ship you were on. Fifty others were crammed into the warbird's holding cells. But you..." he sipped again "...You had a cell all to yourself. Why?"

    She said nothing at first, and the General simply continued drinking his Raktajino, expecting her to regale him with the tale of her capture.

    "I...uh...I was captured by the crew, along with the rest of the refugees." T'Mara began

    "Refugees?" Sorval interrupted. T'Mara nodded. "I thought as much. That Colonel Avrak tried to convince me you were a terrorist cell."

    "I...think he believes we are. We're not with the Sela's Empire..." T'Mara continued

    "Ah. So that is what makes you terrorists."

    "I assume so." T'Mara said "Their warbird attacked our merchant convoy en route to a new colony world we had been informed of. Most of the ships were just freighters - I was just an engineer on the only combat worthy ship sent to escort them. Against a battleship - we didn't stand a chance."

    "When did this happen?" Sorval pressed

    "About nine days ago. We disabled the ship's cloak, but we were boarded shortly after. They...Avrak...executed the captain. And most of the senior officers." Sorval muttered under his breath, but motioned for her to continue. "We've been interrogated since then. When we were first captured, there were five of my ships officers with me. One by one, they suffered...accidents...during questioning."

    Sorval stood. He had clearly heard all he needed to hear. He walked slowly, and a pair of crossed weapons on the wall - halberds, by the look of them - caught her eye. Sorval was silent for a few minutes, until finally, unable to wait any longer, T'Mara spoke;

    "Please. What are you going to do with us?" she whispered. Sorval turned to face her.

    "What do you think I am going to do with you?" he asked

    "I...well...I don't know. I don't want to know" she admitted quietly

    "I am no barbarian, my lady." Sorval pointed out "My people may be aggressive, but we do still value honor. And my honor demands that I protect those under my command."

    She smiled slightly at this.

    "I gather from some of the others that you are headed for a world called Virinat. We will take you there." Sorval informed her. He picked something up and stepped close, pressing it into her hand. "Take this." he said "And know this - I am out of favor with the Empire. Hence my presence here. If ever you should need me, use this. I will be here, for a time. And my honor will only be satisfied if I can help."

    "I...thank you." T'Mara replied, her hopes raised by his generosity. He merely nodded.

    "Now, go. Get some food. Speak with Shanxi if you need anything. She will make sure you get anything we can afford to spare."
    +++ Present Day +++

    The comm chimed.

    It chimed again. T'Mara awoke with a start.

    "Yes?" she asked.

    "Captain." R'Vek's metallic voice emanted through the comm system. "We need to launch. Another convoy is under attack."
    You're just a machine. And machines can be broken.
    StarTrekFirstContactBorgBattleonetumblr_lln3v6QoT31qzrtqe.gif
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 653 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    Author's note: v.2

    Darkness settled over the colony of Virinat, and the seedy underbelly of the colony was stirring as the illumination ports activated for the night workers who fixed things in the dark. In one bar, barely lit and smelling of rot and sweat, sat a man who gulped down his last glass of ale, looking to the bartender for another glass and finding a tall, stalwart, and stern Romulan staring down at him. "Hello Gregs *hic* I missed your arrival, when did you come in?" the man asked.

    "Sal'vin, you've drank too much again, the owner has asked me to escort you back home." the stern man replied.

    "Now Gregs, I can*hic*t, go with you, the kind owner isss, being payed." said the obviously drunk man slurred his words. The Romulan wrinkled his brow, bringing his hand up to his head in annoyance at the drunk Romulan in front of him, an example of what the empire had come too.

    "It's Tovan, Sal'vin, not 'Gregs', you drunk slop now stop acting idiotic and sober up." replied Tovan Khev, a security officer of the Virinat Colony. Suddenly the drunken Sal'vin stood up tossing his chair away like it was a light box, and stared Tovan in the eyes, his burning with cold fury. He was like that for four seconds before his expression changed to that of an off kilter smile.

    "Sure friend," he replied, and walked off and out of the bar, heading towards his small farm home where he could rest in peace.

    "What have you gone through old friend, no one knows..." Tovan muttered under his breath as he fixed the upturned chair.

    "By the way Tovan, twenty glasses of ale is my record, and I was barely at glass number thirteen." he shouted back at Tovan as he passed through the doors. Tovan merely watched the large Romulan lumber down the street.

    "Sometimes I feel like he does this just to mess with me." Tovan muttered to himself, going to check on the other patrons of the bar.

    **********

    Present Day, Two weeks before Vega Colony Attack:

    Sal'vin Chernok, a Romulan who has seen his world die over again, looking down at the burning homes of the villager's homes, and wept at the destruction that he saw. He was a mechanic, pure and simple, a farmer that fixed machines for a living so he wasn't put back onto a Romulan Flotilla or drafted into the Tal Shiar. But this wasn't his true life and he knew it. It was horrible nightmare, one warped and twisted by Sela and her Tal Shiar cohorts, fueled by the anger and loss of their empire. Now it was a dead dream because of them.

    ***********

    Earlier...

    He grimaced at his work, as he combed through harvester's heart of gears,, springs, and nuts searching for the problem that was affecting its performance. That's when he got a communiqu? from Tovan to meet him at the town center.

    ***********

    Present:

    Now all that was left was a burning rubble of a now dead world. He turned to the survivors, including his friend Tovan, walked straight past them, and into the pilots seat.

    ***********

    2394:

    Fourteen years old and he had already lost his mother, who disappeared after he was born. Now his father had disappeared off of the Flotilla, leaving only a crate and a letter instructing him to give a Romulan pilot a second letter, in exchange for a small ship. He had followed the letter's guidance and had found the pilot. He was small, mysterious, with a grimace shadowing his face, he had blond hair and brown eyes that seemed to suck the life out of those around him. "What do you want." the pilot asked in a gruff voice.

    "I was told to give this to you." was Sal'vin's response. The small man looked over the letter briefly, closed his eyes, sighed, and let a teardrop fall onto the page.

    "Fine kid, I can give you a ship." was all that he said. They began loading the small craft with the few possessions Sal'vin took with him.

    "The food stores will last a week, two if you ration them," he said, "Head towards the Virinat System, there's a colony there starting to build itself up, they could use a trained operative like you." He paused for a second, like he was unsure if he should continue. "You know kid, not many people get a chance to leave, take your money and run, that's my advice," the man continued, "Your father was a great man, and he had already set up a place for you, my debt is paid, and may the Tal Shiar fall beneath the shadows of the new empire." Sal'vin didn't understand the last part, but all he saw as he departed was a small flash of light as the small man touched his belt, and was gone.

    ***********

    2394:

    After rationing his food stores, and haggling with traders, he was able to find Virinat and landed his ship and found the contact. For food and a place to rest, he gave the contact the small crate that his father left him, a small debt his father repaid. His father was like that, honorable even in his apparent death. Then he was sent to meet the founders of this backwater colony.
    He found a man, who eventually after a lot of persistence, gave him a job as a mechanic so he was at least useful to the fledgling colony. He also gave the colony his P.A.D.D, in exchange for keeping up on his schooling, so as to increase his knowledge.
    This was Sal'vin's new life, he just had to work to make it a good one.

    ************

    There were things he had to overcome on his way to being a normal citizen, a Tal Shiar obedience code had to be removed, he had a few close encounters with native life, but he had become a normal citizen again. He became a broken man again in light of the new attack but that doesn't mean life was hopeless. Now he had a new path to take, one of freedom, one for unification, he learned enough to be someone new again. Now he could forge his own legacy aboard the starship Naul'iscint.

    Present

    Above New Romulus, aboard the Naul'iscint:

    A bartender pours a glass of Romulan ale, where he hands it to a young half-Romulan new to the ship, where he sips at it. A shadow appears looming over the man at the bar. "You know Sal'vin, you might show the crew your bad habits," the stern XO Tovan said, "and we both know that we don't want our crew worrying about their captain's health." Sal'vin chuckles at this, and turns around to face his first officer and friend, Tovan Khev.

    "You know me better than that Tovan, I'd never tell them I'm their captain," Sal'vin Chernok, captain of the R.R.W. Naul'iscint, replied, "Plus half of them don't even know I'm their captain yet." Both men sat side by side at the bar, the bartender serving some of the young officers in the lounge. The silence was a thick as a nebula, as both men sipped at their drinks, then Tovan broke the silence.

    "Sir, you should inform the crew that you've been selected to take over as captain, you're the only one with the qualifications and training to do so." He said. Sal'vin merely took a swig, and sighed at his XO's request.

    "Yes, but I also know Xenophobia is still high since the Tal Shiar's attacks began on the colonies," he looked out to the stars behind him, "Maybe it is time for them to meet their new captain..." Tovan Khev looked at his friend, a question on his tounge he dare not ask. "I'm part Reman, if you were wondering Tovan, my mother was half Reman, a failed clone that they let live, since she passed for Romulan more than her bretheren," he sighed before continuing, "and I'm a telepath, as she was, which is why I could read your surface thoughts." Tovan merely looked a bit startled, though overwhelmed by this, and merely nodded.

    "Sir, I think the crew will accept you, no matter what you think." And with that he left his captain at the barstool. Sal'vin Chernok, merely took a sip of his ale, then caught up to his friend. "You know, I'll have to tell them about how I got here right?" Tovan chuckled.

    "What makes you think they'll want to hear how you ran away from the little insects?" Tovan replied.

    "Little!" he said with indignation, "Tovan, thoose bugs were huge, menacing, and flying! All the things I hate!" Tovan chuckled at his captain, and slapped him on the back.

    "There is the troublemaker I once knew," Tovan continued, "You should've seen your face though!" Both Romulans, both friends, continued on their merry way as they left their dead past behind to leave a new legacy.
  • superhombre777superhombre777 Member Posts: 147 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    February 2411

    I do not know who I work for or what they are ultimately after. All I know is that by keeping them happy, I have a chance of keeping my family alive. That is what I tell myself as I try to go to sleep every night. It's a hard concept to swallow, but after drinking a few ales, I can manage to sleep some.

    Today I am at a Federation starbase named K-7, pretending to be a Vulcan geologist named T'Nalsh stopping en route to the Zibal Sector. In reality I am here to transfer information gained from a classified Starfleet engineering conference. My employer has ties to a "Vulcan" lieutenant who is sympathetic to our cause, whatever that is. He attends the conference sessions and then tells me about them. He has an amazing memory. It is a shame that he's just an underling like me and will probably disappear once my employer is no longer in need of his services.
    ---

    Amanda Carpenter tugged on Miguel Jarvis' arm. "You can skip a session or two. Stay with me in bed."

    Jarvis smiled at the thought but rose and walked to the shower. "I'd love to, but unfortunately I am presenting at the first session this morning. It's kind of bad for your career development to skip the talk you are giving."

    "Will you at least join me for lunch?"

    "Of course, my love. I might have to bring a smitten ensign or two with me though. Sometimes it's hard to shake the newbies away from you at places like this."

    Carpenter covered herself back up. "I can put up with that as long as they are fascinated by your knowledge and not your good looks. Dinner is just the two of us though."

    "We have a deal."
    ---

    After three days of waiting around, I got tired of the civilian barracks and decided to wander the station and find a way to kill some time. My contact was at the conference all day, so I had nothing to do but wander.

    I entered a turbolift and stood opposite a human female. We were both headed to the main level of the station. The lift took longer than normal?and then it stopped completely.

    "It figures that the turbolift would break when all the engineers are off playing with each other," the human said.

    I pretended to be ignorant. "I beg your pardon?"

    "Oh, I just meant that all the engineers are probably at the conference, so no one will be able to get this turbolift working again." She smiled at me, which made no sense.

    "Conference?"

    "Never mind." The human woman looked at her feet and ran a hand through her blonde hair. I realized that I shouldn't have pressed her for information.

    We stood in silence for a few minutes. Then she decided to talk to me. "What do you do for a living?"

    I told her my cover story and then asked why she was at K-7.

    "Geology?" My brother is a geologist working on Pellme II. It's actually near Vulcan, where I assume you are from. Have you been there?"

    At this point I knew I was in trouble. "Yeah, everyone starts their career there. I spent a few years there and then decided to go somewhere that isn't as popular."

    The human looked confused. "Jeff told me that his posting was a way to punish him for being so outspoken. He said that there is nothing new or interesting on Pellme. Are you sure that we're talking about the same place?"

    "You know, now that you mention it, there is a moon of Agrama VI with the same name. That's where I was referring to. I agree that your brother's posting sounds like punishment."

    The human talked to me for the rest of our forty-seven minute delay. I'm pretty sure that I blew my cover.
    ---

    Carpenter knew that this conference was primarily about Jarvis making connections and looking good in front of the Starfleet engineering community, not about a romantic getaway. That didn't stop her from being jealous whenever socially inept ensigns or lieutenants got in the way of her spending quality time with the man that she loved.

    The Rigellian ensign shuffled away as soon as everyone stood from the table. The Ferengi ensign appeared ignorant of human traditions, so Carpenter decided to give Jarvis a long kiss to make him leave.

    "I spent a little over half an hour stuck in a turbolift this morning," she said once they were alone.

    "I'm sorry. All of the engineers stationed here were probably at the conference."

    Carpenter nodded. "The delay wasn't too bad. But I did get stuck with a Vulcan geologist named T'Nalsh. He was friendly, but his knowledge of geology appeared to be lower than mine. Jeff is a geologist posted at Pellme II near Vulcan, and this guy sounded like he had never heard of the place. I felt like he was lying to me the whole time."

    "Have you told anyone about it?"

    "Only you."

    Jarvis glanced at his chronometer. "I'd report that to the station security. It could be that mister T'Nalsh is not who he says he is. I hate to sound paranoid, but that's the right thing to do."
    ---

    Two days later

    The U.S.S. Odyssey and the transport Midnight Breeze met at the pre-arranged coordinates. Captain Carter thanked the captain of the Breeze for taking a new passenger - a civilian trader from this sector whose mother just died. Odyssey then departed for the Regulus Sector, while the Breeze headed towards K-7.

    Lieutenant Commander Hillel was secretly excited about this mission. A potential Romulan spy named T'Nalsh would come onboard at K-7. Hillel's job was to follow the spy and learn as much as possible.

    K-7 security confirmed that the person of interest had been seen socializing with a Vulcan lieutenant that was attending the conference. If Amanda Carpenter's feelings were correct, then T'Nalsh probably wasn't a geologist, and very well could be a spy.
    ---

    I boarded Midnight Breeze and waited for my employer to contact me. Five hours after we departed, I received a communication. He wanted me to send him copies of my records. I may have been an amateur, but I knew better than to do that. Giving all of my information would make me disposable.

    We argued for a while, and then I agreed to send everything immediately. I pulled out a data card containing classical Terran literature downloaded from K-7. I translated the documents - Gilgamesh, The Brothers Karamazov, and a few others - into Andorian, encrypted them, and sent them to my contact. Another round of arguing ensued, where I held my ground and promised the encryption key once I was picked up.

    The pickup was the one thing that my employer refused to elaborate on. All I was told was that I'd know when it was time to leave. I was in bed thinking about that when something slammed into the transport's shields.
    ---

    Hillel was able to hack into the Midnight Breeze's communications systems before the ship departed from K-7. It took a few more hours to find a way into the sensor system. After a few hours of waiting, a Romulan Mogai de-cloaked.

    Hillel ran out of the room and down the hall to where T'Nalsh was. The deck swayed as shots penetrated the Breeze's shields and tore into the hull. He wasn't surprised to find T'Nalsh's door locked. A quick phaser shot into the controls, followed by pulling on the exposed wires, caused the lock to open and the doors to part.

    The nose of a disruptor pistol poked between the doors. Hillel suppressed a chuckle - what an amateur! - grabbed the pistol, opened the doors, and pointed the weapon at the man.

    "Why are they after you?"

    "You must already know the answer," the Vulcan, or Romulan, replied. "Are you here to kill me first? The information..."

    The Romulan's sentence was cut off by the transporter effect. The Mogai put a few more shots into the Breeze's hull and then departed.

    A few minutes later, a clearly stressed voice came on the intercom. "This is the captain. The bumps were caused by Romulans, who attacked us and stole most of our cargo. We haven't received any reports of fatalities, but if any of you are injured, please seek medical attention now. K-7 has responded to our distress call, and the von Braun will be here in forty minutes to assist us."

    Hillel walked back to his assigned bunk and patiently waited to be picked up. Failure never sat well with him.
    ---

    I was beamed into a holding cell. A forcefield came on before I could get my bearings.

    A tall man emerged from the shadows. "Where is the information?"

    I hadn't thought this part through. "I swallowed the data card when you attacked the transport. That way it wouldn't get lost in the shuffle."

    "Very well." The forcefield dropped, and I was shot a fraction of a second later.

    When I awoke, a surgeon was stitching my chest back together. Restraints held my arms, legs, and neck against the table. "Thrashing won't help you any," the old man commented. "And we now know that you didn't swallow the data card. It was in your left boot. You could have saved yourself some pain by being honest."

    It took all of my strength to reply. "You could have given me pain medicine."

    The old man stopped stitching and elbowed my gut. "It sounds like you want to put yourself back together. The centurion told me that you weren't to be given pain medicine or have the wound healed. He never said that I had to be the one to put in the stitches."

    I passed out. Sometime later I woke up with a festering wound on my chest. Once I learned to handle the pain, I wondered what punishment they inflicted on my family.

    ---

    Nahash was introduced in this entry.

    Part three is here.
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited May 2013
    I'm going to extend this challenge for another two weeks as I think now that players have had a chance to check out Tribble, more might like a chance at this :) If you are going to be making multiple Romulan Republic characters, feel free to break the rules and make additional posts in this thread if you'd like to flesh out their background stories.

    Cheers,

    Brandon =/\=
  • stellardriftstellardrift Member Posts: 21 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    "Who am I?" The sentence echoed through the mind of V'Tel Hvalli as her reflection stared back at her. Fresh, cool water dripped from her soft forehead ridges, and her chiseled nose and chin. She ran her hand along her head, through the long strands of obsidian colored hair that hung about her shoulders, closing her eyes and attempting to connect reality to the tactile sensation of the hairs and the contours of her skull against her hand.

    Music thumped through the door behind her as the party continued into the night, the smell of drugs, alcohol, and perfume wafting under the door that she recognized all too well as the typical Saturday night atmosphere at the estate owned by the infamous Janei Nori here on the planet Groth. Then again, most of the planet was owned by some aspect of the Nori Trading Company, and despite her oath to the Republic, her continued allegiance.

    Even before Ynala's death, she had decided that Janei would have her loyalty wherever else she went. She did the work that most pirates wouldn't do anyway, and had been the true heroes behind Ynala's legacy. They fended off Tal'Shiar once before, and they would again.

    The young Romulan opened her eyes and searched those slate colored eyes that stared back at her. They were hers. As was her trademark slightly down turned nose, high cheekbones, and pouty lips dolled up behind a faint tint of clay-hued makeup that complemented her black and gray checkered suit remarkably well. The longer she looked, the more she saw her sister, Ynala staring back at her--a ghost, clouding over her face, her body, inhabiting her heart and soul once again. Putting her grief on hold once more with a simple smile.

    Everyone was outside on the floor dancing and smiling, and never paying any mind to the carnage that they lived with day in and day out. They knew today was real...or did they? She fathomed she wasn't the only one struggling with the increasingly blurry line between the reality of the present and the fantasy of the past.

    Knuckles pounding against the door startled Ynala away. V'Tel turned around to see the door slowly opening and a familiar, short, dark haired woman slowly peeked her head around.

    "May I come in?" Lieutenant Cyvia Ravala asked cautiously.

    V'Tel sighed in relief and nodded.

    The twenty-something, baby-faced Betazoid woman gently slipped around the door and closed it behind her. The room instantly filled with the sweet, ethereal smell of Bajoran lilac perfume, and the mild fruit-like aroma of Cyvia's lipgloss. A low-cut, plum colored Bolian silk dress hugged Cyvia's thick, muscular physique and showed off the elegant tattoos that adorned her skin. Her hair, normally tied behind her head, hung about her shoulders, and a platinum necklace hung from her thick, muscular neck and dangled a subtle teardrop-shaped amethyst amulet halfway down her chest. The normally brutish security officer was uncharacteristically feminine that V'Tel couldn't help but be distracted by her.

    "Nice combat uniform." Cyvia quipped.

    "I should say the same. I had no idea that Ishal To was now making such fashionable field wear." V'Tel retorted.

    Cyvia smiled sarcastically, and lifted up the hem of her dress, revealing a phaser pistol strapped to her thigh.

    "You ready to get out there, or do you need a few more minutes to cry?"

    "I had to talk to my sister." V'Tel said, her voice drained of any emotion.

    Lieutenant Ravala turned and met V'Tel's gaze. Gently, she brushed a strand of hair out of the Romulan's face. "What did she have to say?"

    Another knock at the door dashed the words from V'Tel's lips.

    "Come in." She said.

    Slowly, the door parted revealing the dashing, tall, powerful image of the blonde haired human she knew to be her sister-in-law and Starfleet Captain Kim Sharp. Instead of the uniform V'Tel had been accustomed to seeing on her, she wore a sleek, dark tuxedo with a white shirt underneath and french-cut cuffs that were exposed from her suit jacket. At her side was an elegant, dark haired Vulcan woman with a piercing stare, and a unfriendly military stature known especially to the V'Shar's finest. V'Tel recognized her former agent, Sevak Sharp, and a long time friend and now romantic companion of the captain's. She complemented Kim well in a soft plum colored wrap-around suit.

    Looking at Kim was looking at a ghost as well. A phantom from the past, that had risen from the ashes that once had been the Romulan homeworld; now returned and stood in the doorway, her flashing cobalt blue eyes imploring, and all judging by the stir from Cyvia beside her, still trying to forget just as much as she, the loss she still bore; the memories of the woman that bound each and every one of these women in this room together, and all the dancers on the floor, and V'Tel's two employers that waited patiently outside. The woman whose dream still ignited their hearts and souls.

    For a moment, V'Tel felt shame as she looked on the woman that she remembered from her raw youth, the woman that had stolen her sister's heart, and changed their lives forever. None of this was about living in Ynala's shadow, but the hope that there was more to life than hate, fear, and suffering.

    "You guys coming or what?" Kim asked. "Tevnu and Janei have been asking about you."

    V'Tel blushed slightly and turned back to Cyvia. "She said I should go dance you, and the rest of my family."
  • dinoyipidinoyipi Member Posts: 141 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    Early 2408. Only recently, a wormhole was discovered in the Beta Quadrant that leads to Polaris. Though previously thought to be a star, travel through the wormhole proved it to, in fact, be an entire galaxy. Although easy access to a whole new galaxy proves to be an exciting prospect, it also presents some dangers...

    The T'laets are one such danger. They are a species not unlike the Romulan Star Empire; seeking to expand their borders through deceptive means. And what better way to expand borders than the discovery of an entire new galaxy? One day, the Imperial Command at T'laet Prime dispatched a small vessel, under the command of an elite covert operative named Yenrab, to scout out potential targets in the Milky Way for conquest. His search took him to many locations over many months, and it wasn't long before he arrived at the Virinat system.

    Yenrab and his small crew of about 20 began scouting the Romulan colony. Using their species' natural ability to create isomophic projections, they disguised themselves as Romulans and blended in with society. They gathered data over a few weeks, and the data looked promising; several weak colonies ripe for conquest.

    Bet then, their cover was blown. A scouting party discovered Yenrab's vessel a couple hundred kilometers outside the colony. When they searched the computer database, they learned of it's mission to scout planets for conquest, and also discovered the T'laets' ability to disguise themselves. At an upcoming festival, they used a photonic dampening field to break the disguises. A few of the T'laets were killed in a fight, and a few more managed to escape and were never found. Most of Yenrab's crew, however, including Yenrab himself, was taken into custody.

    Yenrab was expecting a short stay in prison pending execution, for that was how the legal system on his homeworld of T'laet Prime worked. But much to his surprise, they didn't execute him or his crew. In fact is captors were rather hospitable, comparatively speaking. This impressed him, and he slowly began to warm up to the Romulans. It wasn't too long before a good portion of his remaining crew was released, though they remained on probation. Yenrab found himself preferring the peaceful way of life that the inhabitants of Virinat partook in, and decided not to return to T'leat Prime.

    Unfortunately, this peaceful way of life would be short-lived, as in January 2409, Virinat was invaded. Most of his remaining crew was killed, and Yenrab was forced to return to his militaristic origins to fight the tyranny of the Tal Shiar.
    For personal reasons, I've left Star Trek Online.
  • ironphoenix113ironphoenix113 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    Selana sat down in her quarters, waiting. Slowly, delicately, she reached out with her gradually developing telepathy, seeing the minds of her crew, set against the silence of her room like the stars of the night sky. She quietly withdrew back into her own mind, letting herself rest for the lesson she was about to have with Veril to practice. As if on cue, she heard the door chime faintly.

    "It's open, she called," and Veril stepped into the room.

    "Hey there, Selana," The Remen woman said, walking over to her. "Are you ready?"

    "Yes," She replied, standing up and looking into Veril's eyes. "Usual beginning?"

    "Sure. Reach out with your mind," and Selana did, once more seeing the minds of her crew set against the night sky. "Find one person. What do you feel?"

    "Strength. Determination. A lifelong soldier."

    "That would be Tovan. What else?"

    "Information. Theory. Scattered points all somehow culminating into a single cohesive thought."

    "Satra. Find another. What do you feel?"

    "Anger. Pain. Loss. Hiven?"

    "Yes. Very good. Anthying else?"

    She reached in a little closer, and felt something completely new to her, but only briefly before it withdrew. "Warmth. Almost like a campfire. Warm, peaceful, and inviting."

    She opened her eyes and saw Veril looking slightly dazed. "A lover, possibly? I'm...not sure who that might be."

    Selana stared for a brief moment. "Do you mind if I take a brief break in the next room?"

    "Sure. I could use one as well.

    "Thank you Veril."

    Selana walked through the door to her bedroom and sat down on the bed, unable to believe what she had just felt. She knew whose mind she had touched last. The lover that Veril had mentioned was herself. To her surprise however, she didn't feel at all repulsed, or even disturbed by the idea that she might have fallen in love with a Remen women. Rather, she found herself feeling the same way. Slowly, she came to realize that she had slowly been developing feelings for Veril since they had met that day on Crateris. She had helped Veril with dealing with the loss of her father, and Veril had begun helping her develop her telepathy, which she had mostly kept a secret from everyone else. Slowly, she stood, unsure of what to tell Veril.

    Before she could think of anything, however, the Remen stepped through the doorway. "Selana, I need to tell you something," she said, her voice shaking a little.

    "Go ahead Veril," she replied, smiling reassuringly.

    The Remen woman walked across the room towards her. "I'm...I'm not sure how exactly to say this, so I guess I just start from the beginning," She said, her voice almost a whisper. "You've been there for me for months now. Ever since my father...Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is you've been much more than my commander, more than a friend even. That warmth you said you felt before you took this break? That was me. I love you Selana." Suddenly, she looked away, saying, "You know what, forget I said anything. This was probably a mistake and-"

    "Veril, it's all right," Selana replied, smiling a little.

    "Please, just...Forget this."

    "Veril," She said again, reaching up to her, gently turning Veril's head and looking into her eyes, "it's all right."

    Suddenly, she found herself in Veril's arms, being kissed passionately. She didn't resist. Instead, she reached out with her mind to join with Veril's, and allowed Veril's to join hers. Finally, after months of running from the Tal Shiar after the fall of Virinat, she felt at home.
    *******

    "So, what happens now?" Selana asked, lying in her bed next to Veril. "Are we...What does this mean?"

    Veril turned her head a little, reaching out from under the blanket to gently stroke Selana's face. "I love you Sel. I think that's all that matters at this point."

    She kissed Veril lightly. "I love you too, Veril." She sat up, and slid an undershirt on over her body. "You realize this would be quite a scandal in the old Empire."

    Veril laughed a little. "And yet, here you are."

    "You're really not afraid of what might happen to either of us, are you?"

    Veril just lay there, smiling at her.

    She leaned down and kissed her. "Well, if you're not afraid, then neither am I."
    Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot
    Commanding officer: Odyssey class U.S.S. Athena
    Admiral of the 1st Assault Fleet
    Join date: Some time in Closed Beta
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,707 Arc User
    edited May 2013
    Capsule description:

    Nniol tr'Keiniadh was once a Subcommander in the fleet of the Romulan Star Empire, chief science officer of IRW Raptor's Claw. Unfortunately for him, he found evidence that then-Captain Hakeev, a rising young star in the Tal Shiar, was colluding with unknown outsiders. He attempted to bring this to the attention of his superiors. Within a month, everyone he had spoken to was dead; he lived only because of some amazing coincidences. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, he immediately resigned his commission and fled.

    The following years saw him bouncing from Ferengi freighter to Gorn transport to completely-unaffiliated trader, taking whatever jobs came his way, and drowning his problems in whatever came to hand. Eventually, he wound up on Drozana Station, unemployed, without prospects, and doing his best to hide in the bottom of a mug of Klingon bloodwine. It was here that D'Vex, an old friend of Nniol's family, found him. Drying the younger Rihannsu out, D'Vex made him an offer: he could come to Virinat, where the agricultural colony was struggling to survive after being virtually abandoned by the Empire, and where D'Vex could keep his young friend's past concealed. Stricken by a homesickness for his own people, Nniol agreed.

    On Virinat, Nniol found people who looked like him, sounded like him, and didn't ask a lot of questions about his background. He settled in as an agronomist's assistant, helping to keep the crops growing. He made friends, built a life, and began to believe he might have left his old life behind - that is, until the Tal Shiar attacked...

    Nniol knows now that Hakeev will never let him alone. The old thrai will keep hunting until Nniol has fallen. He has only one refuge - in the fleet of the new Romulan Republic.

    Your love is cradled in glory,
    Eyes in the mirror, still expecting they'll come,
    And sensing too well, when the journey is done,
    There is no turning back, no,
    There is no turning back on the run...

    - Robert Plant, "Big Log"
    Lorna-Wing-sig.png
  • takeshi6takeshi6 Member Posts: 752 Arc User
    edited October 2015
    Veleen t'Enalis stepped through the doorway into her apartment, the raven-haired Romulan Woman looking at her Datapad and checking information on her account, which had just received a rather hefty deposit thanks to her activities earlier that day.

    Veleen had been born on Romulus, but she held no memories of the planet, having been only two years old when her parents had fled just before the Hobus Incident. They'd established a home on an out-of-the-way, mostly unknown colony world named Virinat, and had raised her as best they could until she was 12, at which point illness took them, forcing her to live on her own.

    Rather than take to the farms as most children her age did on that world, Veleen instead took to racing, an activity made possible thanks to the presence of the Colony's Kestrel-Class Runabouts.

    While she started as a member of one of the pit crews, and then became a supporting crew member, she learned more and more about the craft, trying it out in simulation mode every chance she could, until the age of 18 when she competed as an actual pilot for the first time.

    Since then, she had become quite the accomplished pilot, winning almost every race she participated in. Sometimes more veteran pilots would defeat her, but she was still a very skilled pilot.

    "An impressive race today, Miss t'Enalis."

    Veleen looked up at the slightly familiar voice, seeing a human with purple hair and eyes, wearing a black jumpsuit.

    "Thank you, Mister Erde," Veleen replied. Tieria Erde was a bit of a mystery to Veleen - he showed up last year, seemed about as emotionless as a Vulcan was supposed to be, and had appeared and disappeared seemingly at random over the course of said year. It was obvious that he was from off-world, and often told Veleen about galactic events in exchange for hearing her talk about life on Virinat. "What brings you here today?"

    "My superiors wanted me to pass along a warning," he admitted. "We have heard from reliable sources that the Tal Shiar are making moves on some of the outlying worlds, to bring them back under the Empire's heel. There is a chance they may come here to Virinat."

    Veleen's eyes narrowed. Tieria had admitted to belonging to an intelligence agency in the past, and she got the feeling that she was being cultivated by him as a local contact - as to his parent organization, she had no clue, but doubted he was part of the Tal Shiar her parents had told her about.

    "This colony is out in the middle of nowhere," she replied. "You managed to find us, true, but I'm assuming luck played a massive role in that. The odds of the Tal Shiar having that same luck are extremely low."

    "Luck did play a role in my finding this world, true," Tieria admitted, "but something seems off about these latest Tal Shiar moves. It's more than simply attacking these colonies - somehow they manage to abduct entire populations with little to no warning or evidence."

    Veleen's eyes widened at that. "How is that possible?" she asked.

    "I am not sure. It is quite possible that the Tal Shiar have found some new allies, who could possess the ability to perform these abductions."

    Veleen nodded. It was quite possible, from what Tieria had told her about the galaxy and how much of it was still unexplored. "So... what should I do about it?" she asked. "Going to the Elder with what you've just told me would only cause a panic."

    "That is true," Tieria affirmed. "I simply ask that you be cautious. Keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary, and if something happens, do what you have to in order to protect your fellow colonists."

    He then walked closer to her. "This is the last time you will see me here," he mentioned. "My superiors do not want to risk me being discovered by the Tal Shiar, so I must leave. However, if you are forced away from this world and have need of my help, simply send an omni-directional subspace message out at this frequency." He handed her a slip of paper, which contained a set of numbers which were obviously a communications frequency, and a word: 'Virtue'.

    "That frequency is one that is rarely used," Tieria explained. "In fact, it is only used by people I give it to, and only when they have need of me. The word written on the paper is all the message you send should contain."

    Veleen nodded, a small smile on her face as she took the paper. "Thank you, Mister Erde," she said. "If I need your help, I'll be sure to give you a call."

    "Thank you, Miss t'Enalis," Tieria replied as he walked away. "Until we meet again, then."
    He passed through the doorway, and was gone.

    ***

    Soon after Tieria left the apartment, Veleen received a request to help fix some water pipes in the fields, given that she still had mechanical skills from her time in the racing pits. That request, though small, set the wheels of fate in motion, sending Veleen and her fellow colonists away from Virinat, and into the camp of the Romulan Republic...

    (EDIT 10/3/2015: Changed Veleen's last name after reading through a 'semi-official' page on Romulan names, and realizing that "Veleen t'Takor" didn't roll off the tongue as easily as "Veleen Takor" did - Enalis [obtained from the same site I originally got Veleen's name from, EXONOMA] works a lot better with the t' prefix.)
    Post edited by takeshi6 on
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