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Part of USS Shepard: Tales from Virinat

Chapter 1

RRW Demorax
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The transporter room of the USS Shepard disappeared from Tallera’s vision in an orange glow before being replaced with its counterpart on the RRW Demorax. Before her stood a pair of security officers and a man she recognized as the Warbird’s Commander, all three of whom snapped to a Romluan arm-across-the-chest salute.

“Commander Zelenko, Ensign Tallera,” the Commander began, a slight but friendly smile on his face as he greeted the two officers. “Welcome aboard the Demorax. Commander Veraka, at your service.”

“We appreciate the welcome, Sir,” Zelenko responded, stepping off the transporter pad with an outstretched hand. Veraka looked at inquisitively for a moment before shaking.

It had been about a day since the battle against the Hazari had concluded, and the convoy, Demorax and Shepard included, had finally arrived at Virinat. As the freight haulers made way for an orbital station to unload their cargo, Shepard had been transferred from the Demorax’s tow to a pair of maintenance tugs, making sure the craft kept stabilized during repairs. The Warbird’s commander had requested his counterpart on the Shepard meet him in person, and had extended the offer to the Shepard’s resident Romulan Republic junior officer as well. Tallera had eagerly accepted, despite feeling more than a little uncomfortable with such special treatment.  

After shaking Zelenko’s hand, Veraka turned his gaze to Tallera, who saluted.

“At ease, Ensign,” he said. It sounded odd for a Republic officer to call her the Federation term for O-1 instead of the Romulan equivalent rank of Ulhan. “Look at you, a Romulan citizen in a Starfleet uniform. You certainly are a trailblazer.”

“Just doing my duty to the Republic, Sir,” Tallera replied, transitioning from salute to a proper reverse-arm-fold. 

Veraka nodded approvingly, then turned back to Zelenko. “Well, officers, if you would care to join me, I’ve arranged for a stateroom for us to discuss your operations.”

 

 

A few minutes and a turbolift ride later, and Tallera was watching with barely contained glee as an officer that technically outranked her poured her a shimmering blue glass of kali-fal.

The officer offered the same to Zelenko, who politely declined with a wave of her hand. 

“No offense intended, Sir,” she said as she looked to Veraka. “Your species’ ale is just a bit more potent than mine. I wouldn’t want to embarrass my forefathers by appearing to be a lightweight.”

Veraka laughed as he received a glass for himself. “And they used to say Starfleet Officers act like soulless politicians. Another lie of the old Empire.” He took a swig from his glass, and Tallera did the same. Damn, she’d missed quality ale.

“So, Commander,” Veraka continued. “How go repairs on the Shepard?”

“Slowly but efficiently,” Zelenko responded, sitting up a bit straighter and more formal in her seat. “EPS systems aren’t necessarily hard to repair, they just take time. Our impulse engines are nearly ready for testing, but it will take longer for a combat-sustainable number of phaser strips to come online.”

“And the damage to the rollbar?”

“That will require time in drydock to fully repair. And as much as we appreciate your offer of engineering assistance, I’m afraid it’s simply not Starfleet policy to allow foreign militaries access to our latest weapons systems, allies or not.”

“Fully understandable,” Veraka nodded. “To be honest, we would have been shocked if you’d let us help. I only offered because most of our senior officers grew up with the Tal Shiar gazing over our shoulders, so we really aren’t sure what information democratic states are comfortable sharing with each other.”

“How have your officers adjusted to life in a more liberalized military, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Veraka shrugged. “The shadow of the old regime looms heavy over the Republic, and it may for a very long time. There’s been a lot of figuring things out as we go. Some commanding officers cling tight to Star Empire operating procedures, others are a little too eager to shed any and all regulations we’re used to.” He gestured to Tallera. “Which is why you’re doing what you’re doing, Ensign.”

Tallera smiled somewhat awkwardly, and had to resist the urge to say I’m just doing my duty again. It had far too frequently become her refrain when met with people waxing poetically about how important her task was, and she had yet to find anything more accurate and respectful to say.

“And on the topic of Ensign Tallera,” Veraka continued, looking over to Zelenko. “I’d like to request that the Republic borrow her for a few hours tomorrow. We’ve been taking inventory of the supplies sent over, and I’ve got a few officers planetside who are scheduled to inspect the weapons your people have sent. Tallera’s experience with this hardware could prove useful to our fighting men and women, and I’d also like the existence of a Republic-Federation exchange program to get a bit of boots-on-the-ground publicity. I think it’d be a big morale boost.”

“That’s perfectly fine with me,” Zelenko replied. “As long as it is with Tallera.”

“Absolutely,” Tallera said with a smile, inwardly a little uncomfortable with the word publicity but nonetheless excited to work with her people again.

“Fantastic,” Veraka nodded. “I’ll send you an itinerary for your assignment, Ensign. Commander, feel free to send an entourage of other officers as well, particularly medical, logistical, or engineering. The more people who see Federation officers on Republic soil, the better.”

“I’ll arrange a list of such officers immediately,” Zelenko responded. “Any questions from you, Tallera?”

“Well… should I wear a Federation or Republic uniform?”

Veraka smiled. “Definitely Federation.”

Comments

  • I like this little intro into your new story and can't wait to see how this mission plays out. Tallera is excited to be back home and helping her people again. Great job with this opening piece and can't wait for more stories from the Shepard!

    January 9, 2023
  • I enjoyed this opening entry. It gives us an interesting view of the internal struggles of the Romulan people and the after effects of living under Imperial doctrine for so long. Although relations between the Federation and Republic are stable, I am excited to see how this exchange program will shape up. Love the closing line too and can't wait to see what's in store for the next installment.

    January 9, 2023