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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 7: Sundered Wings (Wings of Salvation) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

CH4 – Banter in the Library

Library, Deck 7
May, 2400
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Temeraire was on her way to Starbase 23 with a sense of great urgency and, with Commander T’Prynn in command of the bridge for the first time, the Captain had returned to the ships library on deck 7 to carry out some research into the history of the Star Empire. The research was nothing she couldn’t have done in her ready room, or on the bridge itself, but the change of scenery to somewhere quiet would be more conducive to her success – or so she hoped. To help her in her efforts, she had summoned the Counsellor to join her.

Vittoria was no stranger to the library, either here or on the Santa Fe before now. It was a quiet place to help her unwind with a new book after a long, hard day, and she had become a frequent visitor to countless libraries over the years, although today she was here on official business, and as she entered, she spied the Captain at one of the library access terminals.

“Hey boss,” Vittoria said casually as she approached Tharia, but then she blushed when she realized this was not the proper way to greet her commanding officer. A momentary lapse, or had she misjudged her relationship with the CO? “Reporting for duty,” she then said to sh’Elas, trying to regain a sense of proper deportment.

Hey boss?” sh’Elas grinned as she turned slowly to look at the Counsellor, antenna bolt upright in surprise as let out a laugh. “From now on, it is standard procedure for you to greet me like that at all times,” she declared in between laughter, reaching out for a second chair and pulling it closer for her colleague to take a seat. For the usually prim and proper commander of the Temeraire, it was a great change to have someone at her side who was less.. weird… and less stiff. Someone willing to speak her mind and, apparently, even act like a goof at times.

Vittoria’s blush deepened. “Please tell me you’re joking, Captain,” she said, taking the offered seat. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Zinn liked to ‘ruffle her feathers’, but now the Captain was doing it too? They must have been plotting with one another!

“No, I’m deadly serious!” Tharia shook her head, “greet me in any other fashion and I’ll demote you on the spot,” she told seriously before looking at the console she had been working on. “So… I’ve been looking into the history of the Empire,” she said before looking back at Vittoria, “what do you know about it?”

Vittoria took a deep, deep breath, then let it out slowly. ‘See what you’ve done now?!’ scolded herself internally. Refocusing on the matter at hand, Vittoria answered sh’Elas with, “The Romulans originated from dissident Vulcans who rejected Surak’s philosophy of peace, during the Time of Awakening and emigrated from their homeworld around the 4th century. They settled on the planets Romulus and Remus, subjugating the native Remans in the process. In 2152, the Romulans came into contact with the Earth starship Enterprise. Relations between the Empire and United Earth deteriorated until there was a four-year period of open warfare in 2156, only ending after a humiliating Romulan defeat at the Battle of Cheron. The ensuing peace treaty established the Romulan Neutral Zone, after which the Romulans had no substantial contact with Humans for a century.”

Tharia sat back as she took in the history lesson from the Counsellor, who had been doing her own research and would no doubt be a great asset to the captain, as she always was.

“When the Romulans emerged from their isolation, they pretty much engaged with us in a cold war like state until the Dominion War. A brief alliance existed until the closing of the conflict. During the war, many Remans were conscripted from the mines of Remus to serve as shocktroopers,” the Counsellor paused, shifting uncomfortably in her seat as she recounted what she could recall from her research. “One particular man, a human clone named Shinzon, distinguished himself in battle, and became a respected leader among the Remans; he and his followers began amassing greater power within the Empire. In 2379, Shinzon seized control of the government, assassinating the Senate and declaring himself Praetor. Despite subsequent efforts to launch a genocidal attack on Earth, Shinzon’s defeat led to hope on both sides that a lasting peace between the Romulans and the Federation would follow.”

“And how did that pan out?” sh’Elas asked with a smirk, knowing exactly what followed. The discovery of the Romulan supernova, the destruction of the Romulus star system, the attack on Mars and the evacuation armada, and the banning of all synthetic lifeforms (which had, thankfully, been overturned more recently).

“Yeah, the Star Empire has changed significantly in recent times…” Tharia frowned as she pulled up a new record, “but one thing that has always remained, even during the Dominion War, was the oppression of the Reman species. It would seem they have finally had enough,” the Andorian pulled up a list of recent uprisings ever since the initial coup on Rator. “Twenty-three worlds so far, and that’s only the ones Starfleet Intelligence knows about.”

“That’s unsettling,” Vittoria replied as she looked over this new information. “This is going to change the dynamic in the Beta Quadrant significantly,” the Counsellor advised, giving her take on the situation, looking over the data on display. “Surely the Romulans would be the lesser of two evils? At least we know what we are dealing with there. The Remans are so… unpredictable,” she added.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the Captain quoted as she leant back in her chair. “Whilst they may be unpredictable, everything they have shown us so far suggests they have united behind a common cause – to rid themselves of their Romulan oppressors and bring about a fairer civilization,” she let out a sigh as she rubbed her blue temple. “Let’s not forget, the Romulans that led the coup on their Senate started this whole situation,” she added, folding her arms across her chest and glancing at the Betazoid.

“What I’m most confused about is why we’ve had nothing from the Free State, or the Republic for that matter. Not so much as a word…” Vittoria mused aloud.

“That’s easy,” the Captain told as she pulled up a map of the Psi Velorum sector, “Not a single world that has claimed independence has shown any intent to unite with either the Free State or the Republic. They both operate differently, but they still represent the same oppression that the Star Empire stood for. Neither regime has granted the Remans equal status, or freed them from their work in the dilithium mines across what was Romulan space,” the Captain mused as she folded her arms again and glared at the screen. “According to Starfleet Intel, this Resak we are helping saw an opportunity to project strength and power for his people, but he is doing it with support from some in the Romulan military,” she informed before adding again, “my brain hurts.”

“I concur,” Vittoria replied, pinching the bridge of her nose. “It’s all terribly disappointing. We were making so much headway before the supernova, and now it seems the Empire has taken a total nose dive off the cliff of insanity.”

“Perhaps…” the Captain trailed off, before leaning forward and tapping the screen. The file on display changed to an image of the Kunhri system in the Psi Velorum sector, the very same areas that the Temeraire was headed towards. “They don’t like Starfleet here, but they hate the Romulans even more right now. If that makes them more receptive to our overtures and helps bring about peace with at least one group of people, then this will be worth it, right?” she asked, almost looking for reassurance that what she had said was right.

Vittoria didn’t notice the Captain’s expression as she glared at the screen. “Peace at a cost? Let’s hope that history sees things our way,” Vittoria ventured.

Tharia lent so far forward this time she banged her blue head on the work surface and let out a slightly muffled “God, I hope so…”

Vittoria actually jumped in her seat slightly at the thunk of her head hitting the work surface. “I’m sure we’ll be perfectly vindicated in everything we do, but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to come to light that we don’t know about, and I hope we don’t regret getting involved so quickly, and so heavily.”

Tharia sat up in her chair and rubbed her head before looking over at the Betazoid again. “Maybe you’re right, but I hope you’re not,” she smiled, more out of hope than anything. “I’m going to need you on the bridge during our dealings at Kunhri,” she ran a hand through her silver mane as a loud sigh emanated from her. “We’ve got so much to do and I’m going to need all hands on deck for this one.”

Letting out quite an audible ‘Ugh’, the Counsellor almost did a Noli and threw herself backwards in dramatic fashion, but opted against it. “You know I hate the bridge…”

“I know, but we need you up there,” sh’Elas nodded as she rose to her feet. “I’ll make it up to you with an extra off shift when we’re done,” she twitched her eyebrows a few times playfully in an attempt to persuade the Counsellor.

“Oh, alright,” Vittoria replied with a laugh. “If there’s nothing else, then I will get right on up there-” she had to stop herself from saying ‘Captain’, then with a sigh she said, “Boss.”

sh’Elas let out the biggest grin to date and playfully slapped the woman on the back as she walked past the Counsellor and towards the opposite exit. “See,” she laughed, “I knew it would catch on!”

Comments

  • The interaction between the Captain and the Counselor is great to see, working together to find out all they can about the RSE. I am curious to see how the relationship between the two develops as time goes on, not just the Counselor but the rest of the crew, and how they will work together. I am looking forward to seeing what is in store once they arrive at their destination.

    May 31, 2022