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Lt. Commander
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 108
# 34
05-21-2013, 11:39 AM
The howling.
The howling wouldn't stop, it torn down the mental blocks SubLt Teelis T'Pren vainly erected to block its onslaught. Its intensity rising as if signifying a death knell for a planet, a people, a race and it wouldn't stop.

'T'Pren, come on. Strap yourself down!' The softer chorus intruded on the edge of hearing. Its siren call ushering her back to the safety of the group huddled in the dark.

She felt the sweat beneath her palms and its slick sheen across the face of the console. She could barely remember a time when she had been away from this station. Not since the homeworld exploded and flung that last fragment of the orbital docks into their path. The improvised missile crashing into their hull as the Warbird jumped to escape the supernova's wave front.

If fate had been merciful, it would have destabilised the warp field and left them all to burn in the death pyre of the Romulan Empire. It would have been kinder for them all to have died quickly, than to be flung across space, as child would dispose of an unwanted toy. To be sent hurtling out of control with the navigation array destroyed, the injectors fuzed and compartments venting to vacuum in a prolonged death ride. Finally dropping from warp and left to end their days within the gravity well of a forgotten world. The lost ship consigned as a discarded footnote to the end of recorded history.

'I can't' she rebuked the invisible spectators and refocused instead on her task.

It was Vaebn that kept her rooted to this spot. Vaebn the ever present watcher; Vaebn the informer; Vaebn the complicit murderer. They all knew about the Commander's grandfather. How the harmless old man was detained by the Tal Shiar and never returned home. How it had occurred barely a solar day after Vaebn walked onto the mess deck, whilst the grandson was regaling about his leave with his eccentric relative. Vaebn who had so often proclaimed the glory of dying in service of the Empire, that the crew joked that he was a Klingon infiltrator in disguise.

There was no glory on the lips of Vaebn now, only a fear that contorted his visage into something feral, ugly, un-Romulan. The eyes pleaded through the glimmer of the separating forcefield, while his voice continued its incoherent howl of fear and rage.

'I can't' she repeated more forcefully; to the group or to herself she was not certain.

Yes she wanted Vaebn dead, they all did, but not like this. In the dark place their Vulcan cousins suppressed, T'Pren would find it grimly fitting that the informer would be too late. To be finally not just excluded but physically separated from those he caused to fear. Left stranded as the citadel protocol was activated and the forcefields sparked to life. But this was neither the time nor the place. She knew Romulan blood was a scarce commodity now, far too precious to be wasted. Each added value to whole, however low their contribution.

T'Pren's legs trembled and she wondered if fear or fatigue and finally rendered her incapable. The motion instead originated around her, transmitted through the shuddering deck-plates as Warbird angled over into its terminal descent. A faint hope afforded in the final ship orientation, a parting gift from their Captain. The unprotected bridge and its sole remaining occupant were already being laid to desert by the plasma storm of atmospheric re-entry.

Only the few shielded sections now provided protection during the programmed braking manoeuvre. T'Pren felt her hand hover once more, over the symbol that controlled their vapour thin shield of protection. To disable the glowing fields under her command, would disable all of the forcefields around their refugee. Her only chance to retrieve their despised crewmate was to attempt a bypass to the compartment behind.

'Tel, please!' A single insistence, separated from the chorus.

Chavek then; only he would call her that. Simultaneously she felt him lightly grasp her upper arm, the coarse fabric of offered webbing strap, trapped between her uniform sleeve and his hand. She felt herself take a step back. The move an unconscious abandonment of one more soul, even as her hands remained fixed on the console.

'Now Tel. It's too late'
'I'm sorry' She offered, not now in rebuttal but in apology as the first plasma stream penetrated the bulkhead beyond and immolated the accusing face of Vaebn.

********

Darkness and Light.
The darkness resisted giving up its veil, but the light was not to be denied. T'Pren felt dust in her mouth and sensed the movement of others around her, before the spectral shapes gradually coalesced out of the glare.

'This is death' she whispered to herself, feeling derision at how the reality of the afterlife, compared to its depiction.

'This is landfall, Tel' came a familiar voice, along with the brush of a damp cloth to free her lips.

The humanoid shapes became clearer now and the stark relief of disjointed hull segments that lay beyond them. T'Pren moved her leg and felt loose soil give beneath her boot, as Chavek helped her to her feet.

'What now?' He inquired, as barely a dozen faces turned towards her expectantly.

She kept her own council for a moment. The insignia on her torn tunic was lost, but the survivors clung to the familiar hierarchy of their ship, their broken home, their decimated family. She felt the heat beat down like a furnace. It was far from the ocean breezes of her childhood home, more akin to the old tales of the Forge on the home of their distant ancestors.

'Now?' she tried the word as if repeating it would provide an insight to its response.
'Now we rebuild'.

Last edited by russellca; 05-22-2013 at 05:59 AM. Reason: restructured paragraphs