Literary Challenge #42 : I Am the Legacy of Romulus
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Join Date: Jun 2012
05-21-2013, 03:23 PM
The strong smell of Cinnamon and Grola Root whisped into her nostrils. D'Elon Salran groggily came to, her vision blurred, her mind foggy.
"Welcome back to the conscious world."
The voice was female, very close and comforting, but with a slight edge to it. This was someone who held power. D'Elon had heard such people most of her life. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs away and looked up. She found herself bound to a chair in what appeared to be an inactive holodeck. The owner of the voice stood nearby, a Romulan female in a military uniform. She held a small broken bar in her left hand, the equivalent of smelling salts and what was obviously the cause of the smell that woke her up. D'Elon blinked a bit at the Romulan.
"Who are you?"
The Commander smiled sadly, looking down a moment and half turning away before returning her gaze.
"So the first stage didn't work this time? Shame. These go so much easier when they do."
"First stage of what? What are you talking about?"
The commander sighed, then drew up to her full height and faced D'Elon fully.
"I am Commander Tonen D'varo. Tal Shiar. Here to debrief you on the Mol'Rihan situation."
D'Elon slowly shook her head, confused.
"Wait... no. I'm not getting debriefed on anything. I don't even work for the Tal Shiar. I'm just a farmer from Paldoore."
"No. You are Operative 113, working a Deep Cover assignment to gather intelligence on the Romulan Republic and keep us informed of what is happening."
"NO! I'm a farmer! My home was destroyed by a Hirogen hunting party. I moved to Mol'Rihan to make a home for myself. Try to salvage some kind of life. I would never work for you lot."
"It looks like this is going to be a rough one. Allright. Computer, chair."
A chair materialised infront of D'Elon. Tonan sat down, keeping upright and prim at all times.
"Listen. You are Operative 113. You have been assigned to the Tal Shiar for over ten years. You became one of our best undercover operatives, developing strategies on how to turn our enemies against each other. You operated out of the Vault for the last four years, before we allowed it to fall to Obesik."
Well that just made no sense at all. The Vault had recently become public knowledge, having been discovered by a large party of Reman Rebels led by Obisek. The Vault had been captured with heavy effort on the part of the Rebels, but they had succeeded in driving the Tal Shiar out of the base. Rumours and tales of these events circulated all around Mol'Rihan, especially near the Reman Sector. D'Elon was getting agitated.
"I know you're lying. You didn't allow anything to fall. The Reman's took The Vault from you easily, just as easily as we stopped your operations in Vastam Peaks. I've seen your soldiers fall easily. The Tal Shiar is not what it once was."
Tonan remained calm.
"A wonderful ploy, that you yourself developed. The Reman victory at the Vault was simply a guise. As is the Mol'Rihan 'defeats'. Drone ships and traitors serving the Empire one last time. Listen to me One-One-Three. We had to pull you out of cover. We need to know what exactly Obisek and D'Tan have been working on with the Federation. You have become friends with D'Tan. Has he confided in you? What is the current state of affairs within the Romulan Republic governing body?"
"My parents told me stories about the Tal Shiar. Told me how agents would appear at night, taking away anyone who spoke out against the Preator, never to be seen again. They told me tales of how a Tal Shiar Warbird would strike fear into the hearts of any Romulan civillian. But with the fall of Romulus, the Tal Shiar have grown weak. You are beaten in every encounter. The once feared secret police have become a joke. And this...."
D'Elon looked around at the holodeck.
"This little game will not work. I know who I am. I know where my allegiance lies. And it's not with you."
Tonan sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation.
"Look, we don't have time to play these games One-One-Three. View these logs, they usually jar you back to reality when agents have trouble regaining their senses. Computer, play Archive Delta-One-One-Three-Hookson."
The room shimmered, now displaying a Romulan Command Centre. Tonan was in the centre, overseeing a map with a number of other agents, one of which was D'Elon.
"This is a trick!"
D'Elon struggled against her binds, but couldn't move.
"I assure you One-One-Three, this is an unaltered recording of The Vault two weeks before we abandoned it. Watch."
The recording began playing. Tonan listened as one of her lieutenants reported that the Reman Rebellion had somehow located the station.
"How is that possible?"
"I'm not sure. But reports indicate they are amassing an assault from somewhere near the Devron System."
"We may be able to defeat them, but not before they cause serious damage."
Tonan swore as she looked back to the map.
"These Reman Rebels have been an annoyance ever since Shinzon gave them the idea that they could stand beside us. And they're too scattered for us to take them down properly."
"Ma'am. I believe I may have an idea."
D'Elon let out a sharp gasp as she recognised the new person who joined them. It was her! This had to be falsified. But..... what if it wasn't? It was known the Tal Shiar were not above using memory manipulation and brainwashing to get what they wanted. What if she had been a victim of this? No, she couldn't be. She remembered everything about her life, from playing in the farm's fields, to visiting the Romulus Memorial and hearing the story from her parents about what happened, to leaving Mol'Rihan aboard that civilian freighter and it getting attacked by Leatheans. Which was when she woke up here. The hologram recording continued.
"Well, let's hear it then."
"I believe we should ultimately let them have The Vault."
The male officer who had been present let out a scoff.
"Are you mad? This station is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the Empire."
"Was, Darex, it was the most closely guarded secret. But we've exhausted all of the technology to be gleamed from here. What remains can be shipped off to another base. Let the Remans think they've secured a major victory."
Tonan looked deadpan at D'Elon.
"And why would we want to do that?"
"Because then, we can launch a number of small scale offensives to attempt to retake the station. All of which will fail. The Remans will see this as a well defensible position and more of their kin will flock here."
"Ultimately getting them all together for one final attack that will wipe them out."
Darex sounded unconvinced.
"But we won't be able to get at them. This station is too well defended."
Tonan slowly nodded, already thinking of a strategy.
"Actually, we won't need to get into the station, or even at them. Once they have all gathered, we can use an installed backdoor patch into the Thaloran Generator to wipe them all out quickly in one fell swoop."
Darex looked gobsmacked at the plan.
"And if it fails?"
"We've been trying to put down this rebellion for over forty years. This plan is the best I've heard that could succeed."
"And if it fails-"
"IF... it fails.... then the Reman Rebels will have got access to a single space station that has been stripped of all useful technology, and we will at least know where they all are."
"Computer end playback."
The hologram paused before dissolving back into the empty room. Tonan looked back to D'Elon.
"That plan is currently ongoing. We have sent various waves of ships against The Vault, and they have all failed. The Remans are getting more confident in that station's ability to defend them with each passing day. More are flocking to it. Soon, we will trigger the Thaloran Generator and end one threat to the Star Empire."
D'Elon shook her head slowly.
"That's your plan."
"That was false. I've never set foot on a Tal Shiar station, let alone be one of your puppets."
Tonan stood up. Clearly, she was tired of this game.
"One-One-Three, stop and think about it for a minute. What possible use would I have for kidnapping a farmer? Unless you are who I say you are, and your altered memories to provide your cover are stopping you from seeing the truth."
"To get me to tell you about the state of the Republic and the Mol'Rihan defences. Obviously. But it won't work. I know who I am. I know where my loyalties lie. You will just have to kill me. And your attack on Mol'Rihan will fail."
Tonan let out a quick snort, her lip curling in disgust.
"Oh I've thought about killing that bunch of hippies more than once. But my superiors would rather we give Mol'Rihan a gentler, subtler approach. Rather than wiping them out, we intend to give the Romulan Republic a nudge here and there, towards a more favourable outcome for all."
Tonan pulled out a communicator.
"Get the mind probes. One-One-Three is not breaking cover."
"Do your worst. The Tal Shiar shall fall. The Republic is the future of Romulus. Loyalists like me will see to it. Our people will live free from your iron grip, free from your fear. Free from control."
Tonan smiled and slowly turned her head to D'Elon.
"You're right about one thing. Loyalists like you will be the future of Romulus."
There was a hiss and pressure on D'Elon's neck as a hypospray got her. Obviously there was someone standing behind her the entire time. As her mind started to cloud to fog, she fought back the sleep, focusing on what Tonan was saying, although she knew it was only a matter of time before she would succumb.
"Loyalists like you, who put not just their lives on the line, but their very existence. Our operatives in D'Tan's group will help us to bring down the Republic, and restore the Romulan Star Empire to it's once great standing. He may not realise that the Tal Shiar is not as stupid as the Senate. We do not centralise the entire chain of command to one spot. A simple miner was able to take them all out for pity's sake. With that as the standard of our leadership at the time, is it any wonder chaos fell from Hobus. But the loss of one planet, even the Homeworld, does not cripple an Empire. D'Tan is playing up to the outsiders the true state of the Empire, in order to gain supporters from outside. I want to know why. And you, One-One-Three, know why. You can help the Raptor fly again. You will be remembered. You are the True Legacy Of Romulus."
Something pressed against her lips. With a splutter, she opened her eyes and pushed away. Someone fell backwards away from her as she tried to get her bearings. There were Romulans all around her, friends she knew from Mol'Rihan. The guy who had fallen backwards came back over to check on her. Now with a clear head, D'Elon was able to see it was D'Tan.
"Were.... were you kissing me?!"
"No D'Elon. I was giving you mouth to mouth. You were not breathing when we found you."
D'Elon slowly pushed herself up on her elbows. She was lying on her back in a mountain region. There was a wrecked escape pod nearby.
"We were installing a sensor net in the area when we saw your escape pod come down through the atmosphere. You were injured, but nothing we can't take care of. What was the last thing you remember?"
"I was on a freighter from here, heading for Nimbus Three. Leatheans attacked and boarded. Last I remember is trying to fight them off."
"We picked up other survivors from that ship last week. Their stories were pretty much the same thing. Once boarding parties started arriving, the Captain ordered everyone to the escape pods to abandon ship. I guess your pod just took longer to come back home."
D'Tan offered D'Elon a hand which she gratefully accepted. As she got to her feet, she realised she was in the Vastaam Peaks district of Mol'Rihan.
"A new sensor net you say?"
"If you're putting it up in this area, you must be trying to find Tal Shiar operatives."
"That's right. Hopefully we'll be able to find all of their bases and make this planet a secure home for all of us."
As the others turned and picked up rods that D'Elon could only assume were part of the sensor net, she walked alongside D'Tan.
"So, tell me about this new sensor net."
A Romulan Strike Team, Missing Farmers and an ancient base on a Klingon Border world. But what connects them? Find out in my First Foundary mission: 'The Jeroan Farmer Escapade'