Literary Challenge #42 : I Am the Legacy of Romulus
View Single Post
Survivor of Remus
Join Date: Dec 2012
05-06-2013, 12:17 PM
The Gripes of R'ath
It is a hateful existence, but it is ending. My days on a too-bright Federation vessel will be over soon. It is a needed change. I chafe here under Federation sentimentality.
I am R'ath. My story is not a remarkable one. I am of the last generation to be born on Remus. I worked the dilithium mines in my childhood and waged war on our oppressors in my adolescence. There is no greatness in me save what I have garnered from my long and loyal service to Obisek. It is by his order that I have suffered two years of indignity. It is by his order that, soon, I can retire to live a peaceful life on a new Reman colony world or even New Romulus if I wish it. If I had any joy in me, I might weep. I do not and cannot.
How I came to serve aboard the
is worth a recounting, albeit a brief one.
It was in the later days of our struggle against the Tal Shiar that some obdurate Federation captain, with more courage than sense, managed to impress both Obisek and Star Fleet High Command. Covert agreements were made. Aid was promised. The Federation could not commit their own war ships or much technology, but the medical supplies and fabricator units were useful, I admit. Their greatest gift, however, was expertise.
The bulk of the Reman fleet was made up of captured and converted Romulan vessels. We controlled a few shipyards, but most of our shipwrights were busy maintaining our collection of battleships and heavy escorts. Many second-line and auxiliary ships had not been properly maintained in some time. Their combat effectiveness had been dropping constantly for years and our ability to defend ourselves suffered as a result. A contingent of refit specialists under the command of a Captain Khas were dispatched to help address that.
Their arrival was slightly alarming. I admit that, in the past, when I thought of the Federation, I imagined smug-looking humanoids pontificating about morality from the enormous soapbox that is a Federation cruiser. So tiresome and self-righteous. What arrived was an inky, black nightmare in a captured extra-dimensional warship. It's transponder listed as the Terran deep recon cruiser
and it was almost as battered as our own vessels. If it was spotted, it would appear as though we had captured it ourselves from the strange not-Federation. That was the hope, I think. The sight of the arachnoid captain in an ill-fitting, blood-stained Terran tunic was memorable enough.
I, having been a systems control officer for years, was asked by Obisek himself to liaise with the Federation contingent and I spent the next year getting to know them as well I saw fit to. It was an irksome duty, but with the Federation vessel acting as a mobile fabricator and the Federation teams working closely with our own engineers, we were able to bring nine older warships up to current standards and properly maintain a dozen smaller ships. I suppose that was helpful. A task-group's worth of ships usually is.
Still, I found the Federation engineers difficult to understand. They did their jobs, gave what instruction they needed to and learned everything we taught them about our own ships and systems. They laughed and joked and needed more light than we did. It was very annoying. There were a few exceptions and these became companions of a sort. The first was the ship's Chief Science Officer. She was a Trill, I think, but without the bug inside of her. Her name was Tarayl and she did not find my kind unpleasant to be around. This confused me until I met the ship's captain personally. I admit that, by comparison, my people are absolutely effusive creatures. I am certain that Captain Khas was a being carved from some fundamental ideal of resentment. The other Federation crew member I came to know was Lovegood, a janitor of some sort. He was a human of some forty Earth years, though his gaze and bearing were of a wizened elder, much accustomed to horror. He reminded me of my mother and I found this comforting.
About on year in, our base on Abraxis was attacked by a small Romulan fleet. I was on board the
at the time, discussing something with Tarayl, when two Mogai cruisers and a trio of birds-of-pray uncloaked and started an assault on the planet. There was no warning. We, of course, were still within the shipyard hidden inside Abraxis' small asteroid-sized moon, along with the three birds-of-prey the
had been servicing. Not helpless, but outmatched.
The Birds-of-prey cloaked and launched within minutes, moving to try and flank the Romulan fleet. Their plight was hopeless, of course, but we are Reman, and we do what we must. I remember that Khas sniffed at the air for a few minutes before looking me in the eyes.
"Do you know enough of about our systems to man a system control station?" He asked in that hoarse, grating voice of his.
"I do." I responded.
He grunted and clacked his mandibles together. "Good. Man station two, R'ath. You're an acting Lieutenant for the duration." He issued a flurry of orders, none of which I can recall now. I turned to my station and got to work. Tarayl's pleasant voice and chilling aroma wafted over to me. "Mind the shields and tractors. I'll handle the rest, partner."
At first, I thought that he intended to move us out of the conflict. The
's presence was supposed to be a secret and, if the Romulans found out just how much the Federation was aiding the Reman cause, there would be an incident. It would have been the sensible thing to do. Instead, the captain ordered us into battle.
I learned to respect the captain's tactical acumen that day, but it was my own efforts that brought us victory. A short-range warp burst brought us abruptly into the middle of the Roman fleet. We managed to score a few with the Terran ship's odd Polaron weaponry before the Romulans could respond. The maneuver let us cause some damage to one of the two cruisers and gave the Reman squadron the opening they needed to strike.
Things went down-hill from there. The
lacked heavy weaponry and that turned the match into a tense and brutal short-range slog, with us battering down shields and the smaller Reman vessels exploiting the gaps.
I managed the shields and tractors during the battle and I had to use every trick I knew to keep us alive. Heavy plasma torpedoes were swatted away with carefully-timed bursts from the repulsors. I funneled radiation from the ship's warp core and overloaded shield emitters to keep the green lances of plasma beams from scorching our hull. Plasma fires were flushed by careful use of the ship's hazard containment systems. Remans are not much for dancing, but I imagine the feeling is not too different. I do not think I had ever fought so hard or so skillfully in my life. Within half an hour, the Romulan fleet was destroyed or disabled, along with two of the Reman birds-of-prey. The
was still space-worthy but damaged with more than two dozen crew members dead and another thirty wounded. Most of the ships would be recovered and put back to use, though that is another tale entirely.
Tarayl gave me a look after that fight that I still remember. She smiled and said that I was wonderful. I felt a warmth within me. It might have been gas.
The base and the colony it protected, however, were saved. Obisek was grateful and commended me for my efforts. In grattitude (and in exchange for the ship's compliment of Terran experimental polaron weapons), the
was repaired and outfitted with Reman technology. Plasma beams were installed, the ship's hull was layered with the same iridescent, energy scattering ablative armor our own vessels use. The Terran shields, badly damaged anyway, were replaced with high capacity ones of Reman manufacture. In all, it took another three months of work. The Federation seemed pleased enough to get access to the technology we installed and Obisek was happy to not be in the Federation's debt. Of course, a Reman had to go along to make sure they knew how to keep the systems maintained and I was the natural choice.
I have mostly regretted it.
The ship's adventures are shameful. I've been sent back in time, turned into a bug, fought in a battle of wits against a rogue Pakled, subdued a sentient holographic whale named Moby, and participated in a dance competition against a crew of Klingon "Battle-Steppers". I met a Borg drone who used to be an accountant. I have seen a Breen without his cryo suit. I had to spend four hours communing with the Tribble Hive-Mind. I long to return to the quiet sanity of my own people.
The only comforts I have found have been speaking with Tarayl, who's smiling makes my insides flex uncomfortably, and watching the shameful recordings of the crew's holodeck usage with crewman Lovegood. I will account these memories among the good ones.
It's time to get ready to leave now, so get out of my quarters. I never liked you much anyway.
Last edited by squatsauce; 05-06-2013 at