Part of USS Arcturus: Non Nobis and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Act III, Scene 5

USS Arcturus, Deck 1
May 2400
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Captain Lancaster was ensconced with a dozen reports at the table in his office, his dinner pushed aside and untouched. The ship was close to being able to depart and resume course for the remainder of the convoy, but there were still loose ends to tie up and a few hundred more refugees to get aboard. One of the most important unknown questions was what to do about the barely functional but still-menacing D’Deridex-class warbird they were leaving behind. He doubted that the Romulans would approve of him scuttling it, but he couldn’t exactly leave it for anyone to stumble upon anyway. Fourth Fleet Command, also exceptionally busy, had told him to ‘use his best judgment,’ as they weren’t particularly interested in combing over the pieces of a half-century-old battlecruiser when so much about Romulan technology was already known.

The door chime sounded.

“Come!” Lancaster turned to see Lieutenant Galan entering the room with Lieutenant Commander Evandrion behind him. It was a curious pairing, so the captain was already running through the possibilities of what they might need from him together. “What is it?”

“I have recovered the information that Oban has been carrying, sir. Based on our scans of the third Romulan warbird, I’ve identified it and have extracted its full specifications, including the design frequencies of its cloaking device, shields, and engines. This should allow the Hokule’a to track it down,” Galan reported.

“That’s excellent,” Lancaster replied. “Shouldn’t either Commander Najan or Isethos be here then? Evandrion handles internal security.”

Galan nodded. “I have already sent them the contents of the data cache with the appropriate passages identified, sir. I asked Commander Evandrion to accompany me so that he can arrest me.”

The captain clenched his jaw; of course, the news that they finally had the intelligence data that was being held back from them was too easy. There had to be a catch.

“What did you do?” 

“I coerced the subject to reveal the information he had by threatening to reveal his presence to the rest of the refugees. I also had him at phaser-point. Briefly,” Galan explained calmly. “Though I recognize that the efficacy of this tactic does not diminish the fact that I have violated several Starfleet regulations, Federation laws, and likely the Charter.”

Lancaster sighed. “This is unlike you, Lieutenant. You’re the last person I’d expect to do something like this.”

“Yes, sir,” Galan agreed.

“That’s it, Lieutenant? ‘Yes, sir’?!” Lancaster shouted. “You’re not going to offer any mitigating circumstances?”

“With respect, sir, no. You must arrest me so that I do not make you party to this,” Galan said stubbornly.

Lancaster wanted to lash out again, but he just shook his head. One of his most promising officers had likely just thrown away his career, all because of a stubborn child. 

“Fine. Evandrion, take Mr. Galan into custody and put him in the brig until further notice,” Lancaster ordered. 

The Deltan security chief nodded and took Galan by the upper arm to leave through the side exit of the ready room so that the young man wouldn’t be paraded past his shipmates on the bridge. Lancaster clenched his fist for a moment before taking a deep breath to calm himself down. 

When Lancaster walked out of the ready room through the other exit, he found the bridge already buzzing with activity. He relieved Alesser at the center seat just as he heard Isethos coordinating with Odea on the Hokule’a, which had been hunting for the other Romulan ship for some time now.

“We’ve isolated the Romulan ship, sir,” Alesser reported. “But I think they know we’re onto them.”

“I’d almost rather they did: maybe they’ll turn tail and run,” Lancaster replied. 

“Doesn’t look like it, Captain. They’re decloaking and heading right for us,” Isethos replied.

“How long until they’re in weapons range?” Alesser asked.

“About two minutes,” Isethos said.

“We still have another hundred refugees to get off of the warbird, sir,” Navarro reminded him from the operations station.

“Order the runabouts and the Hokule’a to break formation and screen us. I want those people on here in those two minutes,” Lancaster ordered. The captain tapped the armrest console to switch the viewer to tactical display mode, watching as the dozen small dots around Arcturus let the medium-sized dot representing Hokule’a take point towards the Romulan ship. “Weapons free.”

The seconds counted down excruciatingly. To keep bringing passengers aboard, Arcturus had to keep her powerful shields down. They were vulnerable. Still, they had a shot with their support vessels.

“Captain, I have almost all of them. Still reading three life signs aboard Cardinal 1, on the bridge,” Navarro reported. “I can’t beam them off. They’ve raised shields.”

“Raise ours,” Lancaster replied. “What the hell are they doing? Hail them.”

The viewer switched to the interior of the looming D’Deridex-class warbird. Lancaster recognized Valar, the self-proclaimed leader of the flotilla.

“This works out well, Captain. I may no longer be in a position to return home, but I also couldn’t have turned over this warship to you. I thank you for your assistance,” Valar said simply before cutting the channel.

Lancaster stood up from his chair when he saw that Cardinal 1 was heading at full impulse towards the attacking bird of prey, which was focused on warding off the Hokule’a’s pulse phaser strikes. The two ships collided with a massive fireball seconds later.

“Inform Starbase Bravo that we are now ready to get underway,” Lancaster said. “Once the support ship is docked, we’ll resume course with the runabouts,” he said, tugging on his jacket as he sat down. “How many more self-inflicted wounds can the Romulans take?” he wondered. 

Comments

  • *Consequences*! Yes, Galan can force someone negotiating for political asylum to hand over intelligence - hand over *his blood* - at gunpoint, but that's not something a Starfleet officer does and then just carries on with their day. But it was convincingly written (I'm cheating you and combining reviews across two chapters, I guess) with the slow-boil (literally?) of Galan building to that point, of the churn of what Arcturus has been through and lost. It's a believable way for someone like Galan, for someone who's been through what he has - now and in the past - to decide needs to be done, for his ship and for himself as a Romulan. I hope it's not quite the end of him for Arcturus, but at the same time, can he exactly carry on as a senior officer on such a prestigious ship having committed such a crime? Starfleet must hold people accountable for such things, after all. Anyway, it's a nice and 'tidy' ending in the writing, if not the circumstances; the refugees are rescued but there's a cloud over Galan's career, and Valar's sacrifice is as much to spite Starfleet as it is to help them. Very satisfying. Good stuff!

    July 12, 2022