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Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,858
# 8 Ash And Dust
04-17-2013, 11:47 PM
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"


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."

* * * * *


"Of my friend I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... Human."

Last edited by sander233; 09-08-2013 at 09:52 PM. Reason: stardate