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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 2 – Wings of a Phoenix and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

What Lies Beneath

Kaseas Colony
June 18, 2400
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Kaseas Colony – Town Center  – 2115

Reid opened her eyes as the transporter’s glow faded and the team spread out.  She slipped on her field sunglasses as the sun slammed into them from above. A small greeting party stepped forward, their faces worn and burned, but relieved to see some help arrive.  Governor Tasawa trundled forward, his face sweaty and his breath labored, “Welcome to Kaseas Colony, Starfleet.  You must be the medical team they spoke about.”  

Reid accepted his handshake and motioned Thasaz forward, “This is Lieutenant Thasaz, our chief science officer.  She’s a former science officer who worked on a station.”  The two Romulans shared a glance and a handshake considerably more intimate and friendly than the previous, but Reid wasn’t hurt.  She was thrilled.  Thasaz was the friendly face that would help them figure out what they could on the ground.  She glanced around at the dust that seemed to cover everything, “This doesn’t seem to be your normal climate, Governor.”

He sighed, “It is not…it is best we go inside.  Standing in the light of Jasaw can have unpleasant effects.  Come, we shall discuss further.”  The team followed them down a path and into a larger building.  As the doors opened the cool air and humidity flowed over them and brought relief as they walked into a large meeting area with a long table.  Soon they were seated and sipping from the fresh filtered water as the Governor spoke in further detail, “Our land was fertile and green – crops in abundance.  The water fell from heaven and nurtured the seeds we planted every season…and the water from the depths flowed so that we could drink safely.”  He nodded to Reid, “You were right to ask, Doctor.  Our climate changed dramatically a month ago – the rains ceased to flow…the waters underneath our feet went dry – the sun shone brighter than it has ever burned…we all found out the hard way about the sun’s effect on our skin.”  He nodded to a few standing off to the side.

“Dear god…this is what it does?”  Reid had stood and moved to examine them, gently moving her medical tricorder over their body, “These are extreme burns, Governor…these people would be placed in our burn wards or critical care units…how did you care for them?”

He shrugged, “We did the best we could…our scientists are not like yours, Doctor Reid.  They do not have technology or equipment to aid them  We have what we know and what we learned over time – it was the best we could do for them.  They lived…we lost ten in the first week to the effects of the sun.”  He coughed, hard, and drank water to calm his throat, “There are other parts to this…my cough is not just me…we’ve documented over a hundred cases throughout the colony.  It’s not contagious and has not recorded a fatality…but our scientists suspect that it is a slow-moving condition that will eventually lead to death.  It just takes its time.”  He coughed further and took another drink.  “We suspect it is linked to Pasari.”

Thasaz spoke quietly and fervently, “Why did you not seek out help from other Romulans?  Surely there are some that you trust out there?”

Tasawa looked at her for a long time and grimaced as he replied, “We were exiles in the old days, Lieutenant. Spurned from our homes because of our ideas, our dreams…our hopes…our faith…we were not acceptable to those that stood above us.  We have kept to ourselves because as much as we would like to think they have forgotten us…they will not have passed us over.  We kept to ourselves so as to not bring notice to our case…to not bring attention. Our planet was alive for the longest time…we did not have a need for anyone.”  He slammed his hands on the table, “Can you imagine what they would have done had we filed a report of our bounties over the years?  They would have sent people, ships…all in order to glean what knowledge they could from us…and take it away.”  A growl emanated from his crackling lungs, “We kept this place for ourselves because we wanted to finally live without fear…without boots on our necks.”  He sat back in his chair, “We are dying, Lieutenant…and our hope fades each day our food stores grow scarce.”

She bowed her head in recognition of his story and the truth of his words.  Her head came up and she looked at him with new eyes, “I wish I had known your plight.  My station…we could have done something.”  She shared with him her story, of her station, of the attacks, and of how she came to be Starfleet.  She echoed his feelings in her own retelling.  His eyes grew softer as she spoke and on her last sentence he stood cautiously and ambled to her, extending his arms.  Thasaz felt her heart reach her throat as she stood from her chair and embraced him, their hearts beating through their clothing, their shared experiences connecting as never before.  Tears fell from her face, and her sorrow deepened knowing it had been some time since she had cried with such feeling.  They remained embraced for several minutes until they pulled apart, hands holding as they stared into each other, the moment of recognition of a shared pain laid heavy in the air.

They embraced one last time and Thasaz followed him to his chair, pulling it gently back as he uneasily sat down.  She shifted a chair so she could sit next to him, wiping her tears from his face.  Reid had remained silent and wasn’t sure what to say.  She settled on, “I am grateful for Lieutenant Thasaz…her experience has been hard to learn of as we’ve spent time with her on our crew.”  She let the silence fall for a time longer before she sat forward, “Governor…we need to examine as many of your people as we can…to find out all we can about the effects of this…situation.  If this has happened to Romulans – I would hazard a guess we will feel the impact or effects soon enough.  The more we know…the faster we can find a way to fight this and bring healing to your people.”

Tasawa gave a deep bow, “We will do as you ask, Doctor.  We have lived a great long time in this place…I wish for that to continue for generations.  We shall gather who we can.”

Reid and Thasaz shared a look.  They had scanned the entire Starfleet crew.  Something was affecting them.  They would need to run tests.

And they would need to move fast.