sat in the command pit of the starship. The universe spread out
before him in all its glory. His ship bored a hole through space
slipping between the fabric of here and now to travel faster than
light itself. His Icon was all his life expressed in a single
thought, changing with experience, but always the same. Humans
called him Captain Taraban. He was the commander of the heavy
frigate Questing. He is Ane, a telepathic,
that most resembled the antelopes of Earth's African savanna. Resembled
only for definite differences, few of them apparent, made
it obvious they where not of Earth origin. Ane had been a member of
the Federation from the beginning although little known outside
Questing was patrolling the Romulan Neutral
experience had taught the Romulans to choose Starfleet vessels for
test confrontations. "Ane Diplomacy" was not known for the
subtle approach which Romulans preferred. Likewise the Ane frigates
were tough and hard hitting, and the Ane more likely to shoot. Ane
might be herbivores, but they had no problem with preemptive strikes
Taraban did not expect trouble. He closed his eyes to intensify the
link with the ship's sensors. Space about the ship was calm, in the
back of his mind he could hear the ship's business, everything
normal. He searched the space about the ship. The usual buoys that
warned of the Neutral Zone where in place and functioning. Tending
them was not his task. In the distance he saw a Romulan freighter,
cruising the edge of the Neutral Zone. He knew their business, to
seek a place to cross over, unnoticed by either their own Imperial
Star Service, or Starfleet. He saw no reason to send word of them to
the Romulans. If they can't catch their own border crashers, he
wasn't going to help them. Besides, trade broke down barriers of
prejudice and fear. Let them trade, to this he turned a blind eye.
**Captain?** This was the word of the ship herself. **I have an object,
x270 mark 60.** Fiealan's
more direct connection with the sensors was telling.
it to our attention please.**
felt the minds of his other two bridge mates link closer with himself
and the ship.
days in the life pod had not been easy on Terkos or his companion. He
had no idea where he was, or when help would arrive, even if it
would. And if help did arrive, which was worse? The Imperial Star
Service would execute him as a traitor to keep itself safe, and
Starfleet of the Federation would arrest him as a spy. He knew of
the horrors that would mean. If he did not love life so dear, he
would blow the hatch and get it over with. Instead, he checked on
his companion yet again. She had not awakened in the three days of
their journey, he didn't even know who she was. They had both been
personnel on the station, that he knew, and he had carried her
bleeding body into the life pod and blown them free. The medic pack
said she was stable, but as of yet, she had not woken.
proximity sensor was beeping. Well, at last he would know which side
would have the honor of his death.
Questing dropped from warp, Fiealan
briefed the Captain as she did so.
is a Romulan life pod. It is of a type usually found on stations and
their larger ships.**
mused over this.
didn't think Romulans would have life pods, their fascination with
honorable death and all.** Snickered Gesilan at the helm.
Gesilan,** he replied, **I guess they are to avoid a dis-honorable
death. After all, you wouldn't want to waste dying in a mechanical
failure. You have to save it for something really important, like an
enemy caused mechanical failure.** Those in contact register mild
amusement. Ane in general didn't take much to the Romulan idea of
dying just because you lost. **In any case, there are life forms
present, and they didn't want to die, or they would not be in a life
aboard, and have a security and medical detachment to the transporter
have a lock Captain, no weapons, one is injured.**
bring them in.**
looked around. Gods of His Ancestors, what had he fallen into? He
was surrounded by apparitions from the mind of a madman. A
transporter room full of robots and animals. Terkos had never seen
non-Romulans in the flesh. He had seen holoshows of non-Romulans. All
such races where inferior in some aspect. He had seen the
training holos for recognition of other races, this race, if it was a
race, was not covered in his training. One spoke, or he thought so.=
aboard Terkos, your companion will be aided, do you wish to accompany
her to sickbay?**
do you know my name?" He found this alarming.
name is part of your Icon Terkos, it is obvious. Your companion must
go to sick bay, with or without you.**
was even more confused, he was speaking Romulan, yet he was
understood. That voice didn't sound like he thought a translator
should, but it spoke perfect Romulan. Terkos didn't know that going
to their sickbay was good, but it was better to stick with the only
other Romulan on this mad ship.
strange procession was moving down wide corridors, with more of the
animals in them, and a few of the androids. Other races seem to be
present as well, he though he saw a Human.
are on the Federation starship Questing.**
have you not arrested me? If you where on your side of the Neutral
Zone, then I am in violation."
pods are not ships Terkos, they do not steer themselves. As of yet,
being shipwrecked, is not a crime, at least with us.**
they did not know, that was good. He may escape with is life yet.
Moments took them to the ship's sick bay. Most of the equipment
seems built for this animal like species, but at least one of the
couches was for humanoids. His unknown companion was placed on this
couch and examined. He watched in silence. Finally one of the
is suffering severe cranial trauma, and is currently in a stable
coma. She will require nutritional aid, and extensive healing,
however, she is not beyond reach. I will move her to the healing
suite immediately. Casalan, will you see to her needs?**
was from one of the creatures. The robots moved the Romulan woman
from the table, and took her into the next room. She was laid out on
a large sunken bed and this "Casalan" got in next to her.
is happening, what are you doing?"
requires the services of a healer. Casalan will begin to heal the
damage to her brain, it will take several days.**
are not going to treat her?"
is treatment. We prefer to avoid drugs and invasive measures when at
all possible. She is stable, Casalan will take care of her. You
should be examined as well.**
allowed himself to be led back to the medical table. A moment later
the healer spoke again.
are well, in spite of your ordeal. Karlban will take you to your
quarters. The Captain will want words with you later.**
you I look forward to speaking with him."
look was odd, but he didn't understand the body language. The big
quadruped led him out of the medical suite and into a turbolift.
the Healer looked after the Romulan. She didn't understand the
custom of social lying. It was plain the Captain was the last person
he wanted to see.
turbolift carried the two with out seeming command or direction to
another deck. Terkos thought it was higher in the ship. After
walking down a short corridor he was led into an impossibly large
humanoid suite. Is it not big enough?**
is huge. I though we where going to the brig?"
I was told to see you to guest quarters. The replicator is over
there, the bedroom beyond that door, and sanitary and hygiene
facilities are the other side of that. The food processors will
produce your preferences. We are not up on Romulan foods, but you
can doubtless find something to your taste. Now if you will excuse
me, I have other duties.**
course...what is your rank?"
do not use a ranking system, my name is Karlban.**
looked after the retreating creature. He found his wits and faced
the food replicator. He had not eaten decent food in three days. Pod
rations were nutritious, but bland. Pods did not have power to
spare for replication.
He hoped it understood Romulan.
I make a suggestion?**
the ship's computer.**
your suggestion." Damn good AI, he thought.
prime rib medium rare, seasoned with trillium.**
beef is compatible with your preference for meat and with your
biochemistry, trillium is an Earth plant that Vulcans are fond of, it
should also be to a Romulan's taste.**
well, give me your suggestion."
carried the resulting tray to his table. It smelled good. He dug in
and found it a genuinely good meal. The meat was, well, replicated,
but other than that good. Afterwards he felt much better.
looked out the large window in his cabin. The ship was still at
sub-light, the stars had not moved. His door chimed for attention.
of the creatures entered. **The Captain will have a word with you.**
That can not be avoided any longer can it?" He knew this time
had to come, now he would have to die like a Romulan.
sat before the Captain of this vessel, the creature was beyond
strange. A four legged being with hooves on all four limbs, a bushy
short tail and a mane down his neck. His pelt was fur all over, an
attractive (he had to admit) deep brown covered the top with white
underneath. A black stripe ran down his side and the mane was also
black. His head had a long muzzle with a black, wet looking nose, a
black stripe on each side under the eyes. Large mobile ears, and
long curved horns. The eyes where most striking, a deep blue, that
covered the entire eye, with no white showing. Terkos sat stiffly,
and related his story, he knew it has better be good.
am Terkos, a crewman on the freighter 'Blood of Valtalar'..."
the Captain's pardon, but I have hardly begun."
begin with the truth.**
truth you wish to hear, or the truth as I know it to be?" Terkos
managed a defiant tone, he was nervous, this Captain had to be
truth as it is will do.** Taraban decided to end the charade. **Terkos,
Ane is the species I am. Ane are telepaths, every sentient
on this ship is a telepath. Not the weak telepaths that Romulans
train as truth seekers. But the kind of telepaths that need no
physical contact to have mental contact. I do not speak Romulan, or
any other language. You hear Romulan because you speak Romulan. You
can no more lie to me, than you can lie to yourself.**
sat as if phaser stunned. He had heard of such creatures, and the
horrors they could inflict. "I shall say nothing."
the bravado. Your companion will tell us everything. Casalan must
enter her mind to heal it, and she will learn all there is to know. It
will be better however, if you tell the plain truth.**
did not even realize he had moved. He leapt across the space and
grabbed the Ane by the throat. He fumbled for a killing grip. He
didn't know the anatomy, and the wind pipe felt wrong. He had to
kill this thing, find a weapon and kill the woman before all was
Taraban was taken aback by the attack. There was no warning in the
man's mind. The Romulan struggled for a grip over unfamiliar ground.
Taraban was not so disadvantaged. He stood, put his 180 kilos into
it, and threw the Romulan against the far wall. Terkos took the blow
on his back, and rolled to his feet for another lunge. The Ane was
fully aware now, and stood with horns forward, balanced on his hind
legs. He looked for an opening in the Ane's defenses, this fight he
had to win.
no" the thoughts flicked through his mind, "Eyes, behind
the eyes is the brain, use the horns as leverage." He lunged
forward, to late he realized he had betrayed himself. Captain
Taraban switched ends so fast Terkos didn't see him move. Terkos
took both hind feet in the belly, his heart skipped a beat from the
force. He was slammed back against the wall. Darkness threatened to
over come him, he fought it back, his lungs screaming for the air the
blow denied him. He struggled to his feet, he had to win.
mental command echoed through his being. Terkos felt his strength
you... will have to kill me," he gasped in ragged phrases. "Your honor
cannot... withstand... such an assault... by so
lowly a person... as a station janitor."
Taraban sat and looked the Romulan over. **You
have little concept of what constitutes my honor Terkos. I am not a
Romulan, and I am not compelled to behave in Romulan ways. Until
you, and all the other Romulans, get that through your heads, the
universe will be a very unfriendly place. What you have accomplished
is getting your quarters moved from our spacious guest cabin, to the
brig. I do not fear for myself or the crew, I fear for you. In the
brig your actions can be controlled, and you will not attempt your
hefty biomech security guards entered the room.
are those things?" Terkos felt the taste of fear in his mouth.
are computer peripherals, and what we use as hands.** Taraban spoke
to the androids. **Take him to the brig, and see he does not harm
Questing continued to scan the area for the
rest of the day. Extensive time was spent on deep scans into Romulan
usually brought a Romulan bird of prey sniffing around, but not this
time. The scans drove the merchant off. Taraban shrugged, he would
doubtless try again.
we have found what we can, much or little.** Taraban broadcast to
the crew at large. **Staff meeting in five.**
floated in darkness, memory returned is small sips. The reavers,
their cubic ship without grace or art. Pieces of the station
breaking off, the cloak didn't even deter them, weapons fire
ineffective... screams, running... darkness... darkness engulfed
her... a man, darkness... the darkness invited her... beckoned
her... to go... down into the darkness... to... go...
flooded her, a bright beacon in her world, the darkness fled. A
figure, unknown, but mother-like in its aspect, smiled on her.
you are wounded, I have come to heal, to restore you to health.**
are on a Federation Starship, I am Casalan, an Ane healer.**
I must not be here, must die.**
is unnecessary, military secrets are not worth dying for.**
know too much, I cannot live.**
you know is of no consequence, I am here to heal.**
can not reveal what I know.**
is enough. You where near enough to the Federation side to allow a
life pod to drift over the border.**
pod, how did I get into a life pod?**
of the other personal, you can thank him or not once you are well. Now
sleep, and heal.**
voice brooked no argument, she drifted into dreamless sleep.
Taraban entered the lounge. It was a large open space, the largest
in the ship next to sleeping quarters. Ane had no concept, or need,
for personal privacy. Holo panels in the walls played views of
endless vistas, the compartment looked like a roofed pavilion on a
semi-arid savanna. The rest of the staff had already gathered for
the briefing. A couple had salads in front of them, the rest laid
around chewing their cud. Captain Taraban called the meeting to
recorder on. Mission briefing; 'Romulan life pod'. Present,
Taraban; Ship's Captain, Yavalan; Healer, Gesilan; Helm, Riesilan;
Sciences, Kosoban; Engineering, Fiealan;
Ship's Computer and acting Caterer.
we all agree that a Romulan life pod in Federation space is unlikely
as it comes. Those pods do not drift fast, and don't have much of a
drive. Kosoban, your observations?**
pod had to have been ejected within half a light day of this
location. Its speed was very low, and other than a high yield, low
fueled impulse unit to kick it free of the wreck, and a possible core
explosion, it has no real propulsion.**
added. **The problem with that is there is no debris to account for
a wreck, we have a little junk inside the Neutral Zone, but not
nearly enough to account for a ship of any size.**
has found the patient to be highly concerned with the dishonor of
revealing any of her actions. To the Romulan mind, this is
understandable. In the interests of preserving her life, we have not
pressed the matter. However, we have several vivid memories that
would not break the patient confidence to reveal. Our patient's name
is Alveta, she is, or rather was a sensor officer on a Romulan
station with the rank of subaltern. Neither the name of the station
or her exact mission is public. Her station was approached by a
cubic ship, she called 'the reavers', the station was destroyed. That
is the last of her 'public' memories.**
said. **That is enough to conclude that the Romulans had an
intelligence station within the Neutral Zone itself. A clear
violation of treaty. What about the destruction of the station?**
said. **The cubic ship, and the lack of debris are both in accord
with the actions of a race called 'The Borg', the Enterprise D
encountered this race on stardate 42761.2. The ion trails indicate a
ship traveling at low warp passed through this space at the time the
station was destroyed. Deep scans into Romulan space do not detect
this ship, and the trail is more decayed in Romulan space than in
Federation space. Evidence suggests that the 'Borg' ship has entered
current course will carry it through Sector 001.**
lounge doors opened and two biomech security entered with Terkos.
said Taraban, **Our guest as joined us. Terkos, we have determined
that your station was within half a lightday of the Federation
border. A clear violation of the Treaty of Algeron.**
stiffened, they had that much already.
know nothing of this."
Taraban lowered his ears. **Terkos, we have established that you
understood where the station was located. Be frank with me, and I
have within my power to be lenient with you. Starfleet has not been
informed that we picked you up as of yet. That information can be,
would return me to my own people?"
do not consider that course of action wise. I will not send you back
sat for a moment. "Then what will become of us?"
could read the fear and confusion that clouded the Romulan's
has yet to be decided. Much will depend on what your yourself
decide. I can add that Vulcan is welcomeing.**
sat. The Ane waited. At last he spoke. "I
am a system maintenance specialist in the Praetor's Service. I was
assigned to the station five months ago to perform my accustomed
duties. I am aware the station was in violation of the treaty
because of over heard conversations. I know nothing of the mission
or exact location of the station." "I am further unaware
interrupted. **I am
receiving a general alert from Starfleet Command.**
mood in the room went quiet, there had not been a general alert in
Starfleet since the "whale probe" incident nearly 100 years
have it, Fiealan.**
is Admiral J. P. Hanson Starfleet Command. Attention all ships; a
Borg vessel of hostile intent is approaching Earth. All vessels
within three day's range of Wolf 359 proceed to that system in order
to intercept the Borg. This is a general alert, the Federation has
been invaded by a powerful hostile force, all ships within three days
converge at Wolf 359."
what is our ETA at warp 9.7?**
standard days captain.**
silence that could be cut hung over the room, not an Ane moved, or
well, make for Wolf 359, best speed, plus a little.**
room emptied in an order shorter than short. Terkos could not recall
anyone even moving, the doors didn't open, just a sudden gust of air.
He sat there in the lounge, forgotten, no one came to return him to
his cell, no one did anything. He could get a knife and kill himself
if he wanted. As he sat, and waited, a knot in his stomach got
heavier and tighter.
thought slowly dawned on him; no one had left the room, by normal
means. They were there, then gone. Captain Taraban had switched
ends without moving. Nothing, natural, moved that fast. Terkos sat
there a long time, fear of the great unknown welled up from the
depths and threatened to consume his sanity. Aliens. He knew, he at
last understood to his core that these where aliens beyond his
imaginings, and they where near neighbors.
universe suddenly felt its size, and Romulans where a tiny speck of
sand on the seashore, and he was a tiny speck on the speck. In the
lounge, the shift changed, the "sky" darkened, and stars,
not his stars, "rose" in the night. A moon, larger than a
moon had a right to be shone down defiant on the ersatz plains. In
the dark, Terkos wept.
next morning found him still in the lounge. This time it was full. It
seems the entire ship's company of Ane was chowing down. Yavalan
the Healer came over to him.
you should eat. We can't have you wasting away.**
thought I was a prisoner."
is not so, Taraban has indicated that your attack was a mistake. It
has been forgiven. I recommend a mild stimulant as well. You do not
seem to have slept well either. Oh, one more thing, Fiealan?**
Yavalan.** The computer answered
is to have no sucrose until after the battle, Healer's orders.**
if you will excuse me.** she said while slurping up yet another leaf,
**I have a sickbay to batten down. Make sure you eat.**
looked after the retreating Healer. He found his wits and got some
mild stimulant do you have compatible with my physiology?"
carry coffee for human passengers. It is also compatible for
his meal he noticed one of the Ane looking at him. The look in her
eyes seem to indicate a bubbly humor. He decided to get friendly. His
jailers had not returned for him.
I help you?"
can I help you? We will engage in battle in two days, and you know
nothing of this ship.**
are these Borg?"
the very ship that destroyed your station. The ion trail points the
you wish my help in this fight?"
there is little you can do, but yes, your support is desired. What I
am to do is teach you enough over the next two days that you don't
hurt yourself, or the ship.**
am not going back to the brig?"
Taraban tells me that if I can extract an oath that you will not harm
yourself or the ship's company, you are not going back to the brig.**
raised his hand in the traditional Romulan fashion of oath making. "You
have such an oath."
Alcialan, accept your oath in the name of the ship. Come, you have
much to learn.**
days later is head was whirring. While he had no delusions of
running this ship, he now knew where all the emergency equipment was
stored, and the use of 80% of it. He had seen almost every part of
the ship except the bridge and engineering. A cup of coffee mocha
steamed in his hand. It had a smooth, and slightly bitter taste he
found he liked. He had been informed that it was usually sweet, but
the sweetening factor was an intoxicate to Romulans. He found he
liked it without the sugar. He bent back to the firefighting
to the bridge." Announced the intercom .
"Computer! Which way to the bridge."
the nearest turbolift, you will arrive.**
emerged on a scene of quiet purpose. The ship's bridge was tiny. He
expected much larger from the size of the rest of the ship. Two of
the Ane lay in elaborate couches at the front. Strange devices
covered most of their heads. A third, the Captain, lounged in a
padded pit behind them. There was no view screen. Six stations to
the side and behind the Captain where occupied by the 'biomechs',
each was strapped in place. As he entered the Captain turned his
head to him.
get in here with me.**
are minutes from Wolf 369, there is no place for an additional couch.
As the sole Romulan functioning I wish you to observe. Now,
found himself in the pit with the Captain, he felt an intruder and
out of place. He felt something press down on him lightly.
Jumped into his thoughts.
field. It keeps both of us in here. Shortly I will not have a great
deal of time for questions. Provided we live through this, I'll
answer all you have. Relax and the tactical view will come into
are you doing this? I thought I was your enemy?"
mistaken impression at best. This is the safest place on the ship. It
is also the place where you can see the most. If you are to die
here, I would have you know why. We also face the thing that
destroyed your station. You deserve to see it, to face it.**
did not think you understood The Warrior's Way?"
we understand. Because we understand does not mean we agree with it.
Enough questions for now, the battle approaches.**
sat back against the creature, and the stars did come into focus. He
was floating among the stars, or rather traveling at high warp
through the stars. Around him the ship came to full alert.
stations to red alert, all hands to battle stations.** The Captain's
calm voice belayed the enormity of the fight ahead.
flowed in faster than he could keep track of them, it seemed that in
seconds the entire ship's company had reported. No blaring klaxons,
no audible alarms at all.
is fit for battle sir.** Reported by the computer.
all photon torpedo turrets, ready and arm a full queue. Power to
180%, all phasers charged and ready.**
359, 90 seconds and counting.**
Wolf 359 -.2 seconds drop to warp 2 for tactical evaluation, full
magnification on tactical display.**
warp two at wolf -.2.**
photon torpedo tubes armed and hot, all queues armed and hot.**
reports power 180%**
to full power.**
at full power.**
waited, the stars flowed passed, and they waited as the seconds
counted down. The ship slowed suddenly, and the situation around
Wolf 359 snapped into view. The scene was one of surreal horror. Ships
burned and tumbled through space, what few still functioned
threw all they had against the cubic beast like spit wads at a
battleship. The Borg batted them aside like flies.
order one. Warp two, Commence, at wolf 0 seconds.**
Taraban tensed in is pit. It was far worse than he had dared fear. If
all those ships could not damage that thing, what could he do?
in 5 seconds." Announced the helm.**
to warp 6 after we fire, commence evasion 'vineyard'.**
in 2 seconds.**
as the Questing approached the Borg ship it began
torpedoes. Ten times the four big eight tube turrets spat their
packages of death. Even as it passed over the top of the cube it
continued to fire, the turrets turning to bear. 320 torpedoes sped
through the burning night to the foe.
away, that was half our stock Captain.**
ship punched forward and lunged down to the right. It began a
dizzying spiral of varying diameter designed to throw off the
targeting of another ship.
fires around Wolf 359 faded in jealousy as 320 points of antimatter
died in a display of death. The Borg ship was tossed in the eddies
of destruction, but still the ship remained. It reached out for the
fleeing Ane, and touched it briefly. The Questing
and spun like a skipped stone as the Borg tractor wrenched them from
speed, anywhere but at them.**
Questing flipped and streaked off at warp 9.
Terkos felt he
was about to lose breakfast as the ship's compensators struggled with
the forces that wanted to pull the ship apart.
a light day out she slowed to impulse speed.
B at 50% power, rear shields at 30%, a few blown circuits, backups
functioning, and my nerves gone.** Came from Kosoban, the engineer.
few contusions time will heal when people got tossed around. No
serious injuries.** Reported Yavalan.
less than we would have liked. They are still moving under their own
power, and still warp capable. We hurt them, but not much. The Borg
are heading out system, course for sector 001.**
you estimation on a second pass stopping them?**
Captain, they have a remarkable ability to adapt to attack. Doubtless
the torpedoes they where hit with earlier in the battle cut
the effectiveness of ours. I question that a second attack would
have any effect.** She continued in a quieter tone. **That many
torpedoes should have destroyed anything that size. It barely
the Borg out of range?**
down to yellow alert, rig for rescue operations. We'll see how many
we can save.**
hours later the Questing was in the center of the
disaster. Stripped shuttle craft and life pods trailed in her wake, the
where crowded with stunned survivors. As fast as a pod or shuttle
could be tractored in, the survivors where removed and triaged. What
supplies and fuel it had striped, and it was tossed into the trail of
jetsam. They had been at it eight hours, and had only begun.
cargo holds where filled with medical equipment replicated from
stored patterns. What medical personal well enough to function,
moved between the beds doing what they could. Walking wounded and
physically unharmed survivors filled the lounge.
sat in the lounge once more. A cup of coffee mocha in his hands. His
tunic was stained with the blood of a dozen different species. Biomechs
worked relentlessly, Ane moved among the survivors. Offering
a soothing thought to one, a shared grief to another. In the bean
bag opposite him a dark skinned human with Lt. Commander pips
clutched a younger version of himself. Both appeared to be in shock.
had always heard of the glory of battle, the honor of dying for the
Praetor. No one ever told him about this. This Starfleet was made
of brave warriors, not weak races as he had been led to believe. No
one ever taught him about the aftermath of defeat.
me,** one of the Ane called to him. **Captain Taraban wishes to see
thanked him, and walked over to where the Captain was laying, a
corner of the lounge.
have a few moments for those questions you doubtless have.**
well sir, what happens to all these warriors? Do they commit
honorable suicide because of their defeat."
that is not our way. Some, will doubtless wish to die, but it will
be for their own reasons, not one of cultural making. Some will
leave the service, having taken all they can of death and dying. That
is provided there are worlds to return to. The Captain's face
looked very old, and tired. Some will pick up and continue. They
will become stronger for a defeat. They will have more reason to
live. Most, I would hope are of that kind.**
also suffered a defeat. How do you feel about it?"
**Worried. We didn't stop the Borg, the Fleet didn't stop the Borg,
stop the Borg?**
had weapons for a second pass."
and it would have been pointless, and given the Borg a second chance
at us. Even with the maneuvers we did, they got a little piece of
us. If we had died in a futile attempt, everyone would be dead or
dying right now. Because I didn't, these people will live.**
ways, are very different."
you come to understand them, even if you find you cannot accept them.
Now, I will answer more questions later. I must rest, and I think
you should also.** With that Taraban got up and left the lounge.
short distance down the corridor he entered the sleeping room. It
was similar to the lounge except that there where no tables. The big
bean bags where in evidence, clustered about the room. The walls and
ceiling were holograms of a semi-arid savanna. Taraban noted he was
the only one in here, an unusual circumstance. He lay down,
tucking his feet under him. He began the rituals of Cleansing, to
purge the mind of confusion. Within moments he had his center and
could begin. Tears rolled down his cheeks for the pain he had felt
that day, this he acknowledged, and he let it slip from him. The
sorrow and grief shook through him, and he felt them, and let them
go. The anger that such a species as the Borg could exist welled
within him. It raged across his neurons, and in it's time also
passed. Concern for his people was next. It gave him trouble
because the time for it was not passed. He became stern with
himself, and put aside his concern, for it was yet to come. At last
his high lobe was clear, and he could touch again the chorus of the
elevated his Icon, raised his Aspect, and asked the All, **How can we
stop this thing? I have tried and I failed.**
chours of the All considered his question. He felt the debate shift
about, and threw himself into it. Fifty billion minds surged like a
the All replied to the Many. **We have seen, the Borg are powerful
in the tools of technology. They are simple in the mind.**
the Few to the All. **The lion is powerful of claw and tooth, but
simple of mind also, and we turn him aside with a thought.**
the All to the Few. **Borg are not this simple, but link themselves
the Many to the All. **Are they as we are?**
the All to the Many. **No, they sacrifice Individually for
a brief time, the All mourned the loss. The debate continued.
the Few to the All. **If machines cannot stop them, and they are not
animals, then we must attack with our strength, or die.**
the Many to the All. **Can we abide this thing? To kill with the
mind touch is abhorrent.**
the All to the Many. **Is it not worse to die as a people?**
the All to the All. **It is worse to die as a people. Let first the
technology fail, for we must face their eyes. Then we shall do as we
must to survive, and mourn their passing.**
reveled in the touch of his fellows, and mourned for the thing that
must be done. Then he sought with his Aspect for the One, and
finding her, withdrew from the All, to speak.
the battle went poorly. The Borg are coming.**
my son, this I know. We are not likely to be targets, it is machines
if we are to stop them, we must face them.**
know this, there will be deaths.**
cannot be there.**
know this also, it is your place to live, and aid.**
let the Humans succeed. I would see you, and shade your head as you
let it be so my son. It is better if the Humans succeed.**
lowered his Icon, and took again his Aspect. For a long time he
remained still, others came, and joined with him. When they also had
Cleansed themselves, They raised their Aspects with him. Together
they rejoiced in life, in body and mind. Then they went forth again,
to aid the broken of mind and body, and to find sanctuary from the
got a clean tunic to replace his dirty and blood stained uniform. A
simple pullover supplied by the repicator. For a second night he
fell asleep in the lounge. This time a human child curled against
him. No parent could be found for her, and she cried herself to
sleep in his arms. His dreams were disturbed, but his sleep was the
sleep of exhaustion.
pondered the questions that Tim Kirk had asked her about. Grief was
heavy within her womb, she could feel the sense of loss, and closed
herself tighter about the wounded creatures with in her hull. Two
hours ago she had found the last life signs. Still she swept the
wreckage, but without sign. Reluctantly she left the graveyard
behind. Earth was unsafe, she would go to El Nanth. Always go home
when in doubt. She slipped from the graveyard with the life she had
stolen from its grip.
knew nothing of the battle, or of the carnage around her. She fought
only with the light, and sought the darkness. The Romulan Way,
called, and she would not be denied. In the depth of the night,
Casalan awoke, she felt the rebellion, and knew the fight was
pointless. What is not wanted, will not be taken. She sighed, and
gave wordless assent. The woman passed willingly into her rest, and
a single tear marked her passing.
found Terkos with a PADD in hand interviewing survivors. A strange
profession for a Romulan late of the Praetor's service he thought. But
as he had learned, tribulation makes comrades of the strangest
rank, ship, that worked for the Starfleet personal. The civilians
where a bit harder. Especially since most where children. The Ane
worked with them. The girl that had slept against him last night
still followed him around. He stuck with uniforms.
at last brought him to the two Klingons. They looked sullen, a "hang
dog" look as the Ane put it.
rank, and ship?" Terkos chanted once more.
are not Vulcan!"
could say the most obvious things. "No, I am not."
who are you."
am Terkos, a victim of the Borg, as you are also."
what will you do about this, Terkos?"
looked at the Klingons, for a moment. He realized they sought
something to hang their honor on, some way to survive this defeat. He
realized he could not hate them for it, but he would not be the
vessel of their anger. He decided on the simple truth. "I do
not yet know. I didn't not have a weapon in my hands when the Borg
attacked my station. I did not know we were under attack until the
alarms sounded and the place was exploding around me. Consider
yourselves fortunate to at least have been at the controls of battle
cruisers, no matter what your station. Was it not a Klingon that
said 'It is no dishonor to fight, and lose, as long as you have
fought your best?"
it is a Klingon thing to say." Spoke the larger of the two.
consider yourselves fortunate to have fought. I need your name,
rank, and ship for the survivor lists."
Junior engineer, Kathee's Pride." Said the smaller Klingon.
Gunner, Kathee's Pride. Did you fight at all, Romulan?"
sat at the Captain's side when he strafed that, thing, with enough
torpedoes to blow a fleet to the Ancestors! We suffer no dishonor in
losing. The only dishonor is in not having tried."
we have shared a battle, will you drink with us?"
thought a moment. "Yes, I will drink with you, but first I must
finish the duty I was given."
two nodded, and Terkos went about his business. By the Praetor's
toenails, he was going to drink with Klingons. Maybe Borg where good
called him over. **Terkos, a word with you?**
nodded and followed her into the corridor, the girl followed him.
Subaltern Alveta died last night.**
heart sank a little further. "What was the cause of death?"
did not possess a will to live. There was no physical cause, she
just would not accept living as an option.**
understand, it is The Romulan Way." He stood there a moment,
and wondered if it really was. Then he went back to counting the
sat once again in the now familiar lounge. It has been only eight
days, yet he felt he has always lived here. The girl, Dania
McCormic, sat beside him and played with a doll that he had
replicated for her. Everything of her childhood had vanished in the
death of her father's ship. They sat in Earth orbit. The Enterprise
D had destroyed the Borg in Earth orbit itself. The news had
reached them days after the Battle at Wolf 359, and they had turned
toward Earth. A few hundred Kilometers away, the Enterprise,
hero of the hour, sat undergoing refit for battle damage.
entered the lounge. **Terkos, have you made you decision?**
Captain, I cannot go back. I have no wish to die having been
snatched form the jaws of death. What am I to do?"
have friends, in Vulcan places. I can arrange for your citizenship
I am no Vulcan."
but after a few years on Vulcan even a medical scan will not know
and Romulans are the same people, only the trace elements in your
body from the planet you live on can show a difference. You even
possess the mental powers of the Vulcan, abate unpracticed and much
diminished for it.**
do not think I could devote my life to logic."
every Vulcan does. In any case, once the ink dries, you can continue
to El Nanth with us. We have some refit to undergo ourselves.**
about her." Terkos indicated young Dania.
has no living relatives. Her father was the last she had.**
we are but two waifs on the winds of space?" He managed a wry
grin, in spite of everything, or because of it.
would seem to be the case Terkos.**
Earth authorities eager to get her?"
they are not. She is one more headache, in a sea of headaches.**
seems she has chosen me. Would it be possible to me to adopt her,
once the 'ink is dry'?"
that is easy to arrange under El Nanth law.**
Captain, I will go with you."
Romulan Way -- Garry Stahl, October 1997.
story is the result of a request to know more about how the Ane
think. I hope I have revealed a little about the inner workings of
their minds, and some small part of their culture. I am still
getting the method of fiction writing down pat. It is still rough in
spots and I think it shows. The timing of this story is in
conjunction with the ST/TNG episode The
Best of Both Worlds. (I am of the opinion that
TNG has some
of the lamest episode names.) I don't recall it being mentioned how
the survivors got rescued, so I invented a means.
those that think 320 torpedoes in a pass is too many, I agree. I
will also point out that an A-10 Warthog has only 20 seconds of
ammunition if the pilot holds the trigger down. In other words, that
was not normal procedure. Because you can, does not mean you do. I
believe that if you are building a warship, you build a warship. The
Manta class ships are warships. Built to dish it out by the spade
full, and take it back as well. Ane multi-purpose ships and science
ships might appear in later stories.
2011: An editing pass and a bit of light Lucasing on the passages
that read as awkward to me. And as explanation:
Explaining your position to you in language that is exactly correct,
but makes you look like a heel if you still try to get your way. Used
when someone is beating around the bush about what they really want, or
tossing out red herrings to disguise their true intentions.
2: A bull in the china shop tactless approach to negotiation.
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Trek: The Stories
The Above is a work of fiction. All characters
are fictional, any resemblance to persons living or dead is
Copyright © Garry Stahl: October
1997. All rights reserved, re-print only with permission.