Literary Challenge #33 : New Romulus
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Section 31's Second Call
12-10-2012, 08:20 PM
Three months ago, Section 31 commandeered the
drugged the crew, and had free reign of the ship for eight days. Starfleet Intelligence had classified the incident and threatened prosecution with anyone who tried to find out exactly what happened.
Now, the Odyssey is in Romulan space on an aid mission?and Section 31 is about to call.
Like any other good captain, Carter was a student of history. It seemed like 23rd century politics were replaying themselves right in front of him.
The destruction of Praxis almost tore the Klingon Empire apart. Slowly but surely, the Klingons turned to the Federation for help, which led to an era of peace (that unfortunately has ended). Now, the destruction of Romulus literally has town the Romulan Star Empire to shreds. The remnants have banded together and created New Romulus. Now the Federation has sent a fleet of beat up and outdated vessels to bring relief and supplies.
was due for a ten-year refit three years ago, but circumstances (and maybe an upset admiral or two?) had caused one delay after another. Now Captain Carter and his thirteen-year-old Luna-class science vessel were in orbit around Station Eleven, a staging point outside the New Romulus system.
Carter?s desk terminal chimed to remind him that his hour of afternoon solace was over. Commander sh?Raul had suggested that he adopt the practice four days a week in order to reduce stress levels. It hadn?t been necessary on this voyage since there isn?t much stress in watching subordinates transfer cargo, but Carter had kept his promise to implement the practice for a month before giving up on it.
Three hours later, Glotz informed Captain Carter of an incoming message marked personal. In his ready room, Carter opened the channel and was immediately filled with hate. The mystery agent from Section 31 had called.
"It?s good to see you, Captain. I have pleasant news for you. Thirty minutes from now would be an excellent time to take one of your runabouts out for a spin. How about the
? Take it on a short trip to the coordinates I am sending you."
"Why should I trust the man who kidnapped my crew?"
"You have no reason to trust me. But here?s why you will do it?"
"Warning: self-destruct in 5 minutes. This is the last audio warning."
First officer T?Panna ran through the door. "Captain, are you out of your mind? What is going on?"
Carter took a deep breath and tried to not scream. "The friend we met at Terra Nova has asked me a favor, which I hesitated to agree to. It appears that he has rigged our ship for remote access. Turning back to the screen, he scowled at the Section 31 officer. Do I have to go alone, unarmed, and naked? What are your terms?"
"You have to go alone, and you really should bring the little something I left you with. Will go you?"
"Do you promise to not destroy my ship? And leave a trail I can follow so I can hunt you down and kill you myself?"
"Oh captain, seriously? Last time I checked, investigating my little joy ride in your ship was a crime. Do you want me to report you to your superiors?"
"Point taken. I?m leaving for the docking bay. Turn off the self-destruct."
The image on the screen disappeared. Carter reached under his desk for the gift from Section 31. Then he and T?Panna raced to the turbolift and headed to Docking Bay Two. In the lift, he called Chief Engineer Jarvis, who assigned a crew to scan the Pauling as fast as possible.
"You know, we should really talk about what happened two weeks ago."
T?Panna turned to face him and slowly replied. "Yes, we should, but now is not the time. I have two things to tell you. First, this is foolish, and you know it. Second, and I hope that you know this too?I love you."
"Stop talking about love. It?s not even finalized yet and we?re already in love?"
"I never said you were in love, but you just admitted it. And your divorce will be finalized any day now. No one knows about this except for the main computer." She gently kissed his cheek as the turbolift reached its destination.
Jarvis and his technicians didn?t have much time to examine the Pauling before Carter left. Their report was unsurprising ? there was no trace of any foreign parts, subroutines, or programming. The starboard nacelle was slightly misaligned thanks to a rough landing a few months ago, but other than that, the ship was as good as new.
Carter sat at the helm, searching the area for anything unusual as the auto pilot left the Odyssey and went into warp. Then he turned around. "Alice."
The ship?s librarian appeared over the briefcase sitting on the floor. "Captain, why are we alone in this runabout?"
"That?s a good question, and I figured you were the best one who could help me. Section 31 forced me to head out in the Pauling to a set of coordinates about 3 hours away at maximum warp. I was told to come alone, which I assume means that whoever I will meet will scan the ship for life signs. So I had to choose between you or the photonic security agents. Personally I like you better."
"Thank you Captain. Let?s get to work and see what we can learn."
was hailed as soon as it left warp. Captain Carter, you have one minute to activate your device and confirm your identity. Otherwise you will be destroyed. Immediately a Mogai-class warbird de-cloaked and activated a tractor beam. Carter turned to Alice and nodded. She de-activated her holographic emitter.
The mystery gift turned out to be a simple one-time-use beacon, which satisfied the commander of the Mogai. About a minute later, Carter was beamed into a small conference room. Two Romulan guards escorted him to a seat at the round table.
"The Romulan seated appeared to be middle-age, which meant something between 85 and 200 years old. He had short gray hair and a completely out of fashion goatee. Allow me to introduce myself. My real name is not your concern, so I will call myself Absalom Jones. That is what your handlers also refer to me as."
Well you obviously know who I am, so what do you want?" Carter's scowl deepened.
The Romulan's face remained neutral. "Ah, so you are an impatient man. My sources said that you wouldn?t be the ideal candidate for your position, but I decided to trust my instincts. You don?t want politics, but just the straight truth. So here it is. First, Donatra is back, and she is silently running New Romulus. Yes, the one and only Donatra who also happens to be a Borg drone. So it is safe to assume that my government has embraced the Borg, or at least come to some sort of cease-fire.
"What will we do? My friend ? can I call you my friend? ? I am a man of means, and I happen to be connected to those who are running the telecommunications on New Romulus. I saw a situation like this coming, so I took initiative, which is clearly one of the Romulan virtues. I have embedded Thalaron emitters into the telecommunications satellites orbiting New Romulus."
"My plan is simple ? eliminate the current leadership, form a new government, and fight the Borg alongside the Federation. I am telling you this for one reason ? so that your newly-elected Federation President decides to send a less-favored delegate to attend the summit in 36 hours. I will strike as soon as the summit begins. If your President cancels entirely, the leadership will scatter and we will have lost our only chance to save the Romulan people."
"I will beam you to your ship now." With that, Carter found himself seated on the
Back on the Odyssey, T?Panna tried to be thoughtful. Being raised by parents who were best described as pure hedonists, she found introspection and reflection to be impossible most of the time. The fact that her father was one-half Vulcan didn?t bring her much inner serenity, but it did help with her looks.
A text message appeared at her terminal.
You two are a cute couple. Defend him when he gets back.
Immediately Glotz turned to face her. "You have an incoming transmission from Starfleet Security. It is marked as urgent but not classified."
"On screen." She sat up straight and wondered what is coming.
"Commander T?Panna, this is Admiral Leavenworth. Where is Captain Carter?"
"He is otherwise indisposed at the moment, admiral. What can I help you with?"
"Call him to the bridge immediately. I need to speak to both of you."
"I?m afraid that I cannot do that, sir."
"Captain Carter is not on the Odyssey. He is on a fact-finding mission in one of our runabouts."
"Interesting. That sounds a bit outside of your mission parameters, does it not?"
"Actually, sir, I believe that it was Section 31 calling again. He received a ?"
"What? You did not report this immediately?"
"Sir, the Captain refused Section 31?s request and the self-destruct immediately started. They have compromised our computer. We were doing due diligence before contacting you. There?s no way to know for certain that the ship won?t explode if we report them."
"You are lying! I hereby place you and Captain Carter under arrest. You are charged with..."
The screen went blank. Glotz, the Denobulan operations officer, turned around and smiled at T?Panna. "We must have had some interference with the signal."
"Thank you...I mean, hail Starfleet Security at your earliest convenience. But that has to be after we check our communications array, and the main computer, and perform a series of short-range communications with a runabout ? how about the
? Where is it anyway? I know the Captain asked for silence, but now?s a good time to warn him that he?s under arrest."