View Single Post
Ensign
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 29
# 12
12-08-2012, 11:44 AM
Captain Janson Cates stepped off of the turbolift and onto the flight deck, rubbing his eyes to combat the fatigue. The U.S.S. Stalwart had spent the previous week on patrols of the Tau Dewa sector on assignment from Starfleet Command, and what a long week it had been. On the way to New Romulus, Cates? diplomatic training was put to the test as he was forced to handle delicate interclan negotiations among the indigenous peoples of the nearby Acamar system, and though he was able to navigate that minefield diplomatically in most cases, more than once the only way to make some of the Acamarian clans see reason was when they were staring down the barrel of the Stalwart's disruptor cannons. Later, the Stalwart responded to distress calls from the Azure Nebula, where Tholian ships were blockading Romulan vessels. Over a period of five days, the Stalwart engaged dozens of Tholian ships, pushing his crew to the limits of exhaustion. To top it all off, as they prepared for the final leg of the journey to New Romulus, Cates and his crew had been called to Carraya to investigate rumors of Tal Shiar rebels in the vicinity--rumors, which, of course, were all too true, and the Stalwart was once again put to the test.

It was still odd, aiding the Romulans. Rationally, Cates knew that an alliance with New Romulus could be a boon to Federation. But trust was hard to come by when it come to the Romulans. Now, that trust was about to be put to the test aboard the Stalwart.

The hangar bay was, by far, Captain Cates' favorite deck. He himself was rated as a fighter pilot, and he still used a Peregrine fighter as his personal shuttle. He'd considered it a tremendous blessing to be named captain of a carrier escort, and to get to work in close contact still with the pilots and engineers of Valiant Squadron, who had been stationed aboard his vessel. The fighters had performed exceptionally well, especially during the ambush by the Tal Shiar in Carraya, when they had scrambled into space quickly and helped defend the Stalwart under fire.

Now, however, the hangar bay was empty. Shortly after achieving orbit around New Romulus, orders had come from Starfleet that Valiant Squadron was to leave the Stalwart and descend to New Romulus to await further orders. Those orders were baffling enough, but it was the second part of Starfleet's directive that caused true concern: Valiant Squadron was being replaced aboard the Stalwart by a squadron of Romulan fighters, complete with Romulan pilots.

Romulans. Aboard his vessel. Under his command. It was difficult to believe. Starfleet had called it a "gesture of good faith" to work so closely with the military of the Romulan Star Empire, but even as open minded as Janson Cates was, doubts were difficult to stifle.

The first curved forms of the Scorpion fighters began maneuvering aboard the Stalwart through the hangar bay doors. Cates stood rigid while his engineers approached the Romulan craft for post-flight operations. In a moment, one of the Romulan pilots made his way toward Cates.

"Captain Cates, I presume," the Romulan said, raising one slanted eyebrow in an expression that contained something less than respect.

"Welcome," Cates said, extending his hand. "You are commander Suval?"

"Indeed."

"We are honored to have Romulan pilots aboard our ship. I am sure you will find --"

"Captain, please dispense with the pleasantries. We are no more pleased with this assignment than you are. We are soldiers; we do not need to pretend to be diplomats."

Cates considered informing Suval that he was, in fact, a diplomat as captain of a Federation vessel, but Suval never gave him the opportunity.

"I have two requests for you, Captain Cates, and then I will allow you to return to whatever it is you think needs doing. One, show my pilots to our quarters, and two, open the hangar bay doors when I request it. We will require no further orders from you or your officers."

With that, the Romulan commander turned and walked back toward the other Romulans exiting the fighters.

Cates exhaled, but the tension did not leave him. This was not going to be easy.

Last edited by mrcaton1; 12-08-2012 at 11:47 AM.