An Empire's Last Gasp
Posted on Sunday, 21 March 2021 - 6:09pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Commander Soral & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley
Mission: Operation: Trail of Tears
The Romulan major raised her head from her hands, looked at the Starfleet officers, and let out a small sigh. "You have entered this bubble, found us despite the phase cloak. You said that you've come to save us? Am I to presume that you have a way for the crew of this ship to escape?"
Not a way to save the ship... Kingsley felt it pointless to explain a shuttle could only hold so many. “That is our plan, but with limited information we cannot make promises. It would help to see your data.”
"Some data," the Major replied. "This is still a vessel of the Romulan Star Empire and I am Tal'Shiar. There is technology aboard that are still prototypes, and I will not allow that in the hands of your Federation nor Starfleet."
"I have a Romulan Senator aboard," she confessed. "By your account, perhaps one of the few, if not only member of the Romulan Senate to have survived." The Major spoke crisply. "He is priority" she added sharply.
“With all due respect those prototypes don’t interest me and are probably obsolete by now,” Alex retorted. “We cannot help you with one hand tied behind our backs. I have zero interest in Romulan prototypes unless they influence getting your ship and crew safely out of this mess.”
The Major shook her head. "If you think this ship is leaving the bubble, then you are gravely mistaken." The Romulan looked at the Vulcan. "Most aboard have no idea the catastrophe out there, that their families are long dead, that the Empire they serve is gone. What do think they would do with that knowledge? What would they do if you take them to your time?"
"We will find a place for them. I have faith that the Empire will rise again. We are not leaving anyone behind. I refuse it. I am not interested in the ship you can destroy it for all I care but I want to ensure the people on this ship are safe. I will not stand by and see more Romulans lost. The Senators are still alive and trying to rebuild. Major I know this is difficult, You are Tal'shiar I am Vashar we both know that things have an order to them but lives are nonnegotiable. We will save the people here."
The Romulan slammed her fist down atop her desk, nearly shattering the glass top. "The lives aboard are citizens and subjects of the Romulan Star Empire. They are not your political pawns to move about and relocate as you see fit, and relocate to where? One of your worlds? A facility somewhere that my people can have their wings clipped and the Federation watch and observe, nursing them back to health and resculpting our empire in your image."
"This bird will be destroyed, rest assured, but I cannot do that in its present condition. Our self-destruct will not engage. I have tried repeatedly to end this misery for us all, but I will not give these men and women of the Empire over to the Federation. All that I ask is that you take the Senator. That was my last order, our sworn duty was to get the Senator to safety."
“One senator?!” Alex repeated incredulously. She shot a look at Soral, imploring him to speak out. “Out of how many on this ship? You condemn them and yourself but will spare just one person?”
"Enough!" Soral yelled. "Major we will relocate the Romulans to Vashti or Vulcan, they will be treated with respect. They are not political pawns. I will not allow you or anyone to harm the people here. Frankly the Senator will find himself more then likely in a world where he has no power or importance. But shall make you a deal. I will save the senator on one condition. That you allow us to save the other people."
Alex literally jumped a little in her seat at Soral’s shout, although she tried to hide it quickly and quell her temper. She glanced at the Major, wondering how the proud woman would react.
The female Romulan was amused. "Clearly you were not as successful with your Kolinahr," she replied sharply. "We do not have that many aboard. We left prematurely with a skeletal crew. Some have died. The Senator will take whatever soil he is planted on and bring stability, but I will not leave here. You can take anyone who wishes to though it will likely be only a few."
It was a surprise to get the concession and, Alex mused, it was as much as they’d likely get. “If numbers are small, our shuttle may suffice.”
"Agreed." Soral straightened his uniform. It was getting harder and harder to control his temper. "I can assure you major, I did not take the Kolinahr and it appears that my Romulan half is surfacing. I agree to your terms. The Senator and who wishes to leave." He looked at her. "I know that this has been difficult and I wish you too would leave the ship however I understand your need to stay. Major if you are alright with things I will have my crew start with assiting and getting those that wish to leave to leave. I would speak with you alone if you will permit."
The Major scoffed. "I have no plans on staying here and wait as everything outside does until this bubble eventually collapses." The Romulan shook her head. "If you want to save us, kill the rest of us. I cannot send destruct this ship, but I can give you the harmonics of our shields and let you destroy it. It would be a suitable end to us."
Soral mulled that over. He couldn't do it. He absolutely couldn't destroy that ship but he understood her request.
Alex paled at the suggestion. “Then you need to find some other salvation,” Alex said, “because we are not destroying the ship and everyone left on it. Not today, not ever.”
Soral just observed. He understood her, he did, he understood Alex too. "My wife, go, get Rose and Kolani to help and Mac to get the people to shuttles, only those that wish to go. Start from the bridge and work down." He looked at the Major. "Please ensure the crew knows that we'll take all those who wish it. The Senator boards last. I will stay here I wish to speak with you alone Major." He met the Romulan's eyes. "The honour blade must be satisfied." He hoped that she understood the code. Romulans carried an honour blade that they fell upon when they were captured or dishonoured. But to satisfy the honour blade was also code that he would grant her request. He would help destroy the ship.
She wanted to say more, and she knew that he knew it. But instead, she sighed nodded and headed for the door without another word.
With the other woman gone, the Romulan Major looked at Soral. "She is your Chief Science Officer and your wife? A little advice...you may want to consider addressing her by rank and not as 'wife,'" offered the Major with a smirk. "I know," she added a bit softer. "Destroying a Romulan vessel with lives aboard seems cold to the Federation and to Starfleet's values, but for most of us aboard this vessel we were serving an empire with our lives and that empire is no more. Whether we are responsible for that occurring or not, we owe it to the empire to die beside it."
"That is not always the case. You owe the empire to help them rebuild. I wish to see a rebuilt Romulan Empire myself." He sighed. "But each person must do what they feel is right. If Vulcan was destroyed I cannot say I would not do the same...although I have my wife and children to think of."
The Major nodded. "I don't have the luxuries of the family to dissuade my decision," quipped the Major. "Those aboard may not either. The Federation only relocated so many of us before deciding to let the rest of us die, but I do not blame the Federation for the collapse of the Romulan Star Empire." She took a deep breath and let it slip out slowly. "That was our own doing, our politicians. Now, it is the duty of those politicians to do the rebuilding. Maybe if Vulcan were destroyed you would not do as I am, but consider this..."
She gestured out the observation area of her office to blank bleak blackness of space. "What if it were not just Vulcan...what if you were in the sol sector right now, returning to Earth only to find nothing but asteroids, debris in its place. If the Federation were brought to its knees and its founding worlds destroyed would you not do the honorable thing and die with it?"
"No. I would not. For Vulcan perhaps. The Federation? No. They do not deserve it. I would fight to rebuild Vulcan and I am fighting to raise Romulus again or at least bring Vulcan back to its senses and absorb our Romulan brothers and sisters and leave the Federation."
The Major could not help but to half-smile at the ambition. "If you live long enough to see Romulans and Vulcans reunited, please do me a favor. Make sure that I am not forgotten. I will download my personal logs to a PaDD and my logs as this vessel's Commanding Officer, redacted of course. I want to be remembered as a Romulan allowing her ashes to be scattered here today as one of the last of this empire's talons."
He gave a nod. "I'll do one better. If you have your honour blade I will ensure it is placed in the halls of the Katra Shrines."
"I'll give it to you with the PaDD of my logs when you step back into your shuttle. Just make sure to scan the debris before your shuttle leaves. I don't want any of us left and not a trace of this vessel."
He gave a nod. "I can, with your permission work with your Engineer to ensure that the ship is destroyed."
She nodded. "See to it. I have one last log to make and I will also include something for your Captain in the event your 'decision' to destroy my ship is challenged or questioned. You have my word and honor that I will leave all blame for the destruction of this vessel on my departed soul."