Part of USS Mogrus: Ih’shikaen Mnhaeu (A Family Bargain) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

The Calm Before the Plunge (Part 1)

Romulan Warbird somewhere in the Oumoren system...
June 7th, 2400; 1430 hours
0 likes 928 views

“What… what’s happened?” Munin managed to ask.It was Janas who answered, rounding on her. “Your ship,” he said with a dangerous glint in his eyes. “Your ship appears to have launched a distress beacon, despite there being not a single member of your crew left on board.”

“Would you like to explain, or should I?” Revasin said, with a hard glance at Muninn.

Muninn, staunching her bloody nose on her uniform sleeve, waved at the Reman telepath. Better to have it all come from her mouth anyway, that had been the whole point of letting her mind by pried open like a can of fish.

Revasin made remarkably quick work of everything she had gleaned, including Asenth’s presence on the Mogrus. Unexpectedly, the Remans seemed to take universal umbrage with her decision to involve a child in a dangerous situation. This did nothing to quiet her own guilt at having involved Asenth.

“We take care of the young quite seriously,” was all Janas said when he saw the  expression on Muninn’s face. Her scientist’s mind gave Muninn a background flurry of suppositions as to why this would be the case: dangerous living conditions, socialized group dynamics, some other and unseen force between the oft-telepathic species?

“And they haven’t found her yet?”

“No,” Janas said. “She’s eluded the boarding party and stirred up quite the hive. Hartresk is furious. That beacon took off at warp and started broadcasting a wideband signal to half the sector.”

Muninn nodded. Once piece of good news. She still felt queasy from both the mind probe and her sudden shock of fear over Asenth, but at least no longer felt like she might vomit.

And, regardless, Revasin’s testimony had otherwise done the trick. She had found no trace of Hartresk’s feared conspiracy in Muninn’s mind, which seemed to cement the notion that Hartresk’s wild paranoia was likely to do the revolution more harm than good. Through the splitting headache she had acquired, Muninn gathered that the rest of the Reman lieutenants were all swayed against him at last. They are all so afraid. She could feel it more strongly, now that she had come to spend time with them. Even after such little time as this, they were growing clearer to her: their mannerisms and expressions still seen as through a fog, yet visible now as more than alien shapes detached from all reality. For all that they were a hard species, with a visage to haunt the dreams of children, they were no less emotional beings than any Vulcan, human, or… Romulan. Muninn saw, then, how the rough tales she had heard, of Remans as an offshoot of the early Vulcan colonizers, might have some shred of truth. Three apparently distinct species, grown so different, yet not as disparate as appearances made seem.

And isn’t that just the way it’s always been? Different cultures, different colors of skin, and beneath it all: the similarities that should bind us, overlooked?

The rest of the Mogrus crew was reunited in the conference room with Muninn shortly thereafter, while the Reman conspirators dispersed to begin their coup. Allan, when he learned the details of the events that had transpired, looked grave, and sat at the conference table for a long time.

“This is an internal affair,” he finally said, his steely gaze piercing Muninn like an arrow. Maria and Shavar were conspicuously silent at the other end of the table.

Muninn felt a sudden wish that Lish could be there, though Janas had said that the Bolian was still in the ship’s infirmary, being treated by a trusted medic for his wounds. Beneath Allan’s bright gaze, Muninn felt very much alone.

“I know it’s not policy…” she began.

“No,” he cut her off, “it’s very far from policy.” He leaned forward on the table, placing his weight on his elbows, and continued to stare at her across steepled fingers. “There is much that you learn, when you are preparing to take on the role of a commanding officer. The duties responsible in the position mean that you are the person responsible for making these sorts of decisions in the field. It requires… it requires a philological mind, a mind capable of both logical and almost theological thought.” He sighed. “Which is, perhaps, one reason I have never sought command as actively as some of my peers. I can see the requirements, I know what they are, and that is a weight that I have been reluctant to accept on my own.”

“I wouldn’t, I mean…” Muninn started, then cut off her explanation. It felt sour on her suddenly dry tongue. “I understand that this will need to be marked in my permanent record, Sir. But I do believe that I handed the situation as well as I could, under the circumstances. Their worries hinged on me, on Hartresk’s belief that I was the agent of yet another foreign power, come to force their course of action. I tried to get them to speak with you instead.”

He nodded, slowly, still watching her coolly. “A belief that I still don’t fully comprehend.”

She stood on fragile ground, she knew it, and hesitated fractionally to gather her words. So much could be undone in so little a span of time. Not just my career, but my parents’ as well. The thought utterly chilled her. “When I killed those two Reman soldiers, the ones who boarded us… wehn I did that, I think I became more important in Hartresk’s eyes. These people have codes of conduct that I’m not certain of, beliefs about violence that respect strength and confrontation.

And, I think that Hartresk is unstable. His fears are grounded in reality, but the rest of him isn’t. It’s part of the reason his lieutenants are all turning against him now. They were just waiting for some chance, some excuse. Janas, certainly, recognizes the need to at least have the Federation’s recognition, even if they want to remain otherwise independent. Hartresk just sees more enemies.”Allan made a small noise of agreement, then looked at his two officers. “Ward, Maria? We won’t be alone for much longer to deliberate. I need some thoughts on this.”

Shavar looked at Maria, clearly unwilling to add his own voice to the discussion. But Maria Matsumoto took the question in stride, expression neutral yet firm.

“There was not a better way for these things to unfold, and now that they have unfolded in such a way, it seems clear that we must follow the flow.” She nodded at the closed door. “Remans have no reason to trust Starfleet or the Federation, let alone the other Romulan-centered factions that have been arising throughout Velorum. It is poor luck, pure and simple, that saw us land in this position. We must make the best choices available to us from this point on.”

Muninn felt a wave of gratitude toward the engineer, though she had no doubt that Maria’s words were the woman’s earnest appraisal of the situation. Allan seemed to think so, too, however, for he made a little noise of agreement and some of the tension in his shoulders relaxed as he leaned back in his chair. 

“What about this Romulan girl,” he said after a moment. “You noticed her life signs during the battle, but didn’t say anything?”

“I wasn’t sure what would happen to her if they found her,” Muninn said truthfully. “We were being listened to, at the least. I think I can trust Janas and these others not to hurt her, but Hartresk?”

“I suppose,” Allan said after a moment said, “this could also be considered good cause to explore our own security procedures aboard the Mogrus. How in the hells did your patient make it aboard my ship?” He said this without rancor, purely bemused.

“I suppose,” he said, “this could also be considered good cause to explore our own security procedures aboard the Mogrus. How in the hells did your patient make it aboard my ship?” He said this without rancor, purely bemused.

“Think I got an answer there,” Shavar said. He sat a little straighter under their combined gaze. “We beamed the whole cargo allotment up, right? All in one go to avoid triggering any second glances from the automated system or Bravo security when we grabbed the lieutenants.”

A spark of understanding flashed on Allan’s face. “Bloody hell, of course…”

“Right,” Shavar said. “She hid away in a container marked as biological material, and we’d already gathered two unexpected lifeforms. The system alerted us to that, but nothing else would have looked especially out of the ordinary. End of the week, I would have caught it when I went over the logs for my report, but until then…”

“She was free and clear to roam the access ducts,” Allan said. Muninn felt certain that she heard a note of appreciation in his voice. “Well, good. One less mystery. But we’re going to need to act quickly when we’re back on board. I don’t trust coups, they usually go wrong, and we’ve got a civilian to think about now as well.”

“Janas went to secure us passage,” Muninn reminded him. “Once we’re safely back on the Mogrus, we’ll be able to warp out while they make their move against Hartresk’s loyalists.”

At that moment, the door swished open, and the three humans turned to see Janas himself standing in the doorway. He beckoned to them. “Come, we’ve made the necessary preparations. Hartresk left the bridge for some reason, there’s no better time than right now to get you back to your ship without him being able to act.” 

Comments

  • Muninn's theories and suppositions about the Remans adds real texture to the Fleet Action and I have to suspect it's going to be important for the rest of the story to come. I thought the importance children have in Reman society was well played, and it's a relief to see many of the Remans here starting to question Hartresk's conspiracy theories. The real centrepoint here for me was Allan's philosophy of command. It spoke to me deeply -- as did the way he felt Muninn hurt him. His considerations bear great similarities to what we've heard from Starfleet captains before, but this is a wholly new arrangement and lens that I had never considered. I hope it'll come up again and further! It was heartening to read the crew coming back together by the end, prepared for what else is to come.

    July 9, 2022