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Part of SS Vondem Rose: Talkin’ ‘bout a Revolution and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution – 11

Governor's Palace, city of T'ma'ru, Ta'shen
May 2400
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“Ah Major, how good of you to come by once more,” Lo’nic Creval said, adding as much warmth to his words as he could without sounding overly sincere. “Would you care for some refreshments? My steward just made a fresh pot of tea.” He’d long ago deduced that Major Suram didn’t like his favourite blend, so offering a cup was perfunctory pleasantries without actually offering something that would be accepted.

“No, thank you,” she answered as she strode across his office, her uniform as crisp as it was the day she arrived on Ta’shen eight months ago as the new garrison commander. “I’ve come to ask if you had heard anything further from Rator actually. My communications have all gone…unanswered.” The little pause before her last word brought a moment of concern to him, but nothing he let show.

“No I haven’t heard either Major, and it’s starting to grow concerning actually.” All of which was of course a flagrant lie. He’d been reading the communique from Rator the whole time, the increasingly demanding messages demanding updates, demanding to speak or hear from Major Suram. He was still only breathing, so many were in fact across Ta’shen, because he’d had all communications routed through his own offices, through staff he knew were loyal to him personally.

When the orders from Rator III for Suram to arrest and execute him had come through, they mysteriously disappeared. When the follow-up orders arrived, they too failed to arrive at their intended target. Suram’s messages back to Rator asking for orders, updates, and requesting reinforcements to put down a slave rebellion had all never been sent. As far as the Rator was concerned, Ta’shen had become an information black hole.

And as far as he was concerned, Rator had become increasingly more and more a font of inane ramblings, nonsensical orders and dangerous ideology. The Admiralty of Galae Command were claiming to save the Romulan people by destroying the very thing that had kept the Empire going for centuries – the firm hand of the senatorial families and their allies. Or at least those not deemed sufficiently aggressive enough, or supportive of the military, to remain and take up the reins of power when all was said and done.

“It has been three days since this rebellion here started and we haven’t even received confirmation our report has been receipted by Galae Command.” Suram stopped opposite his desk, never having once sat in an offered chair, so he no longer did so. She had arrived on Ta’shen, a reward for years of dutiful service, a chance at a nice easy command in her last few years before retirement, but seemingly had failed to receive that particular message. She’d taken a sleepy garrison whose only purpose was to crush the odd slave uprising and turned them into something merely acceptable on a core world. Given another year or so and she’d likely get another medal for her work if anyone was around to give it to her.

“I am aware,” he said. Slowly he stood and paced to his left, to the open balcony door, Suram joining him. Here he had a magnificent view of T’ma’ru, the entire city spread out before him like his personal kingdom, and why shouldn’t it be? Yes, the slaves were in rebellion, and yes, he and those currently residing in his household seemingly had nowhere else to go, but the governor’s palace was unassailable to such inferior creatures as those below him.

Sat atop a rock pillar with only a narrow access road up one side, the palace was then covered by a shield to prevent ground assault, surrounded by high walls made of duranium alloy and all powered by a nearly inexhaustible power supply. He and those under his protection could live here for years under siege until someone rescued them. And someone would surely. He’d spoken with the only senator on Ta’shen, they both agreed someone would eventually confront Galae Command and restore the Senate. It was inevitable after all, for it had happened time and again throughout history.

“What do you see Major?” he asked.

“I see a city in rebellion that I don’t have the manpower or equipment to make right,” she answered quickly. “I also see what looks like another fight between factions,” she added, pointing a finger at one part of the city with a few new pillars of black smoke rising from buildings. The odd flash of green could be seen, the savages using plundered disruptors on each other.

“Exactly Major. The palace is safe, the slaves are busy fighting each other. Eventually, either Galae Command will get around to sending us reinforcements to put this down and restore order, or the slaves will have killed each other in job lots allowing your people to sweep the city and impose order.”

He could hear her grinding her teeth at that. Her records showed Suram to be a woman of action, not of passivity. She’d rather push ranks and fight this problem now than sensibly wait it out. But she was also working without the complete picture that help was not coming at all. That would likely satisfy her, and convince her to wait, but it would also prove most likely to be hazardous for his own short- and long-term survival.

“Did you see that?” she suddenly asked, stepping up to the rail, hands bracing on it and she started at a portion of the city, closer to the palace. As he stepped forward, she pointed specifically where she was intending, another building smouldering away, flashes of green in the morning light as more pilfered weapons traded shots across a now deserted street.

Then he saw the orange beam. Two of them in fact, both slightly different colours from each other, but distinct from the green beams of Romulan disruptors. Then a series of green pulses shot out as well, one, two, three. Another orange beam.

“Phaser fire?” he asked. “And who fires green pulses like that?”

“Klingon disruptors,” Suram answered as a fist hit the rail. “Starfleet and the KDF, here on Ta’shen! No wonder the slaves are in revolt.”

He scrunched his eyebrows as best he could, trying to look deeply concerned, but he doubted it. “Likely those pirates actually who were here to meet with Hotet.”

“Pirates?” Suram asked. How didn’t she know? Hadn’t he briefed her?

“Andik Hotet was hosting a visit from an Orion merchant and her entourage. I call them pirates because aren’t all Orions?” Suram shrugged in response. “Anyway, they had just arrived before the spaceport exploded. Likely a result of their own poor maintenance.”

“And the slaves all took that as a signal to start their little rebellion,” Suram muttered, then sighed. “I don’t like this. I should eliminate them so their ship won’t be a problem.”

“Oh, they won’t be,” he reassured her. “They’ve attempted to confront the planetary defence grid twice now but have failed to so much as damage a single platform.” When she looked at him somewhat shocked, he offered a wry smile. “Oh, come now Major, I have powerful friends, interested in their safety when they visit Ta’shen as when they are at home. Of course, we have a state-of-the-art orbital defence system. I dare say you’d need the entire Third Fleet to punch through it in fact.”

“How confident of that are you?”

“Fairly,” he answered. “They’ve been forced to retreat no less than six times I’ve been informed.”

Before she could ask another question, her communicator chirped and she excused herself to answer it inside his office, leaving him to enjoy the morning breeze. The fighting in the city wasn’t gladiatorial combat that was for sure, but it was entertaining in some capacity. If only they had better surveillance systems to monitor it all, to make deals and wagers with his guests as to the outcomes of battles or which strategies each side would take.

When Suram rejoined him on the balcony he smiled. “Perhaps Major,” he started, but the whine of a disruptor charing behind him stopped him from speaking any further. He turned slowly, carefully, to see Suram with her weapon drawn and two uhlans now about two steps behind her.

“You lied to me,” she stated. No question, just a declaration of fact. “You’ve been lying to everyone.” Her tone was icy and cold and frankly that concerned him more than if she had actually given voice to any anger.

“What is this about?” he challenged. Play the fool, as if unaware of what she was likely referring to. It would give him more time.

“You’ve been keeping orders from me, from my people. You’ve not been sending my messages either,” she stated. “Governor Creval, but the orders of the Provisional Senate of Rator, you are hereby under arrest.” One of the uhlans shouldered his rifle and stepped forward with a set of manacles in hand.

“You can’t be serious!” he charged.

“I’m deadly serious,” she replied. “Your writ of execution was already signed,” she said and the other uhlan held up a data padd. “But your withholding military information also falls under treason, so…”

The rest of her words went unheard as a sudden roaring sound swept over the palace. It was as all-encompassing as it was sudden. The air was calm, filled only with angry words, then suddenly itself was angry. A pressure wave accompanied it, sweeping over the balcony with not enough force to topple anyone, but certainly to stumble them. And then it was gone.

His brain initially said it was a roar, but reflection put it more as a crack of thunder, or an explosion of sound and pressure. Something big as well. But it hadn’t started on the ground like he’d have expected out of another explosion like the two that had destroyed the spaceport. No, this one had started above them, in the air over the city.

All thoughts of arrest were put aside as everyone looked up and around, trying to find the source of that immense sound when the sky itself started to ripple and shimmer, going from blue with a few patchy clouds to a paisley purple smear. It rapidly continued to take shape as a warship emerged from nothingness over the city of T’ma’ru, the same one his people had dutifully informed him about, shown him images of in fact.

The Vondem Rose.

The ship’s prow was pointed straight at his palace and before he could shout a single protest disruptor banks smashed at the palace’s shields, cracking them in mere seconds. Then a single bright red glow formed on the front of the ship before launching itself across the intervening distance, smashing into a single building on the palace grounds – the orbital control centre.

Then a second torpedo dove into the ruins, breaching the bunker underneath at this close range. Those explosions rocked the entire palace, the plinth it was standing on, and likely the city itself. There was no denying the use of antimatter explosives, even at such a low yield.

There would be no response from orbit, no destruction rained down on this ship for its insolence. No reply to its brazen and cowardly attack on his palace. Without anyone to issue orders the platforms would sit there, awaiting a response, continuing to ask dead men what they should do to such an obvious threat.

Mindless guardians without direction weren’t guardians at all.

He stood there in shock, watching the smoking ruins, sparing a glance occasionally to the warship hovering over his city, his kingdom, its weapons now firing on the city in controlled bursts, on empty streets and parks, likely sending combatants scurrying for cover. He’d gone from king under siege, but confident in eventual victory to defeated in less than a minute. He never even knew this attack was coming, never knew it was even a possibility.

How very Romulan of these pirates, to find a way to remove him from power he could never guard against. His mind whirred with admiration at a job well done, even if it had all the subtlety of a Klingon targ at the end, to sheer unbridled anger that it was happening to him and not someone else.

He never heard the disruptor charging behind him, or Suram’s final words before she pressed the firing stud.

Comments

  • Wow, I like how Creval was so sure of himself which was typical of a Romulan of power. Thinking that nothing could touch him and that the rebels would kill themselves and they would be safe. How he thought that the Rose couldn't even get past the orbital defenses, how wrong he was. I enjoyed the ending to see that shocked look on his face right before he died. Seeing his work quickly in a matter of seconds fade from existence. What is going to happen next on the Rose? I can't wait to see what's next.

    July 5, 2022