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Part of USS Jaxartes: Journey To Vashran

Part 5: Darkness and Light

Mine Number 2 – Shaft 7 – Level 4 – Sector 20
8th March 2401 10:00
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As the crew of the Jaxartes began their tour of the local area around the Villa and beyond; a lone Vashran male was heading down in a cage lift running on metal rails anchored to one wall of a vast shaft that ran deep into the heart of a mountain some 50km due west of the Villa.

No one had worked here since the Romulan’s had abandoned the mines, just like they had the rest of the planet.  Kexil had been a foreman here, forced to keep his own people inline, some had hated him for it, in fact he hated himself for some of the things he had done.  But in most cases the things he had done prevented far worse punishments being handed out the Romulan’s.  Punishments he had witness first hand and also felt.  A missing left eye bore testament to that.

Kexil knew every part of this mine like the back of his hand; he could have probably found the way to his final destination in total darkness.  However he did have a small light fixed atop his safety helmet and a large torch in one hand.  The lift rattled and groaned on its decent; the thing was probably as old as he was after all.

Level 4; the lowest in this part of the mine; but not the lowest altogether.  Some Shafts went deeper, but this was the last and Section 20 where he was heading had only been opened the previous year; when everything had changed.

As always on his visits to this subterranean location, it was the chant echoing along the tunnels that signalled he was nearly there.  Then there was the glowing red light from the flicking flame.  Kexil had not been the first to discover the eternal flame, but he was the first to fully understand and embrace it.  For here in the darkness there Lord and Master had come to them.  The prayers of the Vashran had been answered and they had been set free.

Seven naked figures knelt in a circle around the flame.  Seven once proud and fierce Romulan guards forever praising the name of He who had spared their lives.  They had accepted him when others had not; those that refused to believe were all dead now.  He had a thousand faces and as many names, one for every race he had created.  But these pitiful Romulan’s where forced to chant the name the Vashran knew him by.

“All hail the Helgeshran, all hail the Helgeshran.”  He of the light.

“What brings you here?”  The voice boomed and seemed to come from all directions at once, it chilled Kexil’s bones despite the warmth of the flame, a flame older than time.

“My Lord forgive me.  I bring news of those that survived the attack at V’Teck”

“Do you think I do not know everything?” The voice boomed again.

“I’m sorry my Lord.  I meant no disrespect. But they are here on the planet!” Krexil kept his head low.

“And you think I don’t know this!?”  The voice was much louder and for a moment the chanting stopped as fear crossed the faces of the Romulan’s; but only for a moment.

“I have sent two loyal men to deal with them.”

“Do you fear them that much?  And do you not think that I who crushed your enemies overnight would not kill them to if I felt the need?”

“Yes my Lord, I just thought.”

“No you did not think.  My time approaches and I will stand amongst you once more and all who do not believe in me will die by my will.  Call off your men now; or you will feel my wrath first hand.”

Kexil was in a panic as he rushed from the tunnel and headed back to the shaft he’d entered via.  He had no way of contacting the two men directly and by now they’d be in position ready to strike.  Why did that fool Krevis have to invite them. Why couldn’t he have just believed what he had been told?  Curse that idiot he had no idea what great power had set his people free.  He had one hope one gamble, he prayed time was still on his side.

_____

Devron and the crew where being shown all this area of the planet had to offer.  Chancellor Krevis was proud of his people and their resolve.  He wanted to show it off to everyone that came from their new friends the Federation and he hoped one day they would be granted his people membership.

They sat in a car which had once belonged to a high ranking Romulan official on the planet.  It ran on six wheels; unusual in an age where most vehicles hovered, but not completely unheard of.  Their guide Ishla a female Vashran, happily told them about all they saw around them and answered any question.  It was almost impossible though to distinguish gender by looks alone.

_____

The first sign of any trouble was a flash of light 60 metres ahead of the car.  The chauffeur yelled ‘down’ seconds before a rocket grenade hit the front of the vehicle.  But who’ve had fired the weapon clearly didn’t understand how well build this Romulan’s car was.  Though the vehicle was brought to a sudden jarring halt in the middle of the road; very little damage had been caused in general beyond the front engine compartment which had taken the brunt of the blast.  Even the drivers windshield remained intact.

As the two Vashran franticly tried to load a second grenade.  The unmistakable shimmer of a Federation transport beam took shape behind them.  Commander Gleway and three security officers appeared their phasers in hands.  Seeing that they were trapped with no hope of escape they committed suicide on the spot before the Starfleet officers even had chance to stun them.  “All hail the Helgeshran.”  Came their final dying words.

_____

A few minutes later everyone that had been in the car having been joined by Gleway and one of the security stood around it looking over the damage.

“Sorry I was a bit slow off the mark.” The commander apologised. “We only just got the tip off your lives were in danger.”

“Any idea who they were?.” Devron asked.

“There are those that believe your Federation will only prove to be as bad as the Romulan’s.” Answered Ishla. “For that I am truly sorry.”

Devron’s badge chirped a few seconds later.  It was Harris contacting them to make sure everyone was ok; having arrived with the Jaxartes earlier that morning.  Jason confirmed they were safe and suggested to the other they should beam up leaving Commander Gleway and the approaching Vashran Security Force to deal with matters on the ground.  He could hear the wail of sirens growing nearer.  The thought of answering yet more questions was something he’d rather leave to others.

_____

Once aboard Jason headed for the ready room and contacting the Chancellor to let him know everyone was safe, but that he and his crew would be leaving.   Though he did promise to return in the future.

Of cause when it came to finding new crew members Devron couldn’t have it all his own way, whilst his request for Andrianakis as doctor aboard had been accepted he had no say over his new Tactical Officer.  Which was why; despite knowing who would be sitting in that seat when Jason entered the bridge twenty minutes after beaming up; it still came as a jolt.  For Ensign Tholakath was no ordinary Starfleet officer not long out of the Academy like he was; Tholakath was a Cardassian.

‘Does the universe really hate me this much?’ Jason thought to himself. ‘Not content with keep trying to kill me, it sticks a Cardassian on my bridge.’

He sat down in the captain’s chair; feeling a chill across his shoulder as if some ghostly hand had been placed upon it.  Turning to his Communications Officer. “Ensign Cho, put in a request to the Johannesburg to beam out stuff over, if you will.”

“Aye captain.” Came her reply. It was just under half an hour before she confirmed everything was on board.

“Ensign Harris, prepare to break orbit.”

“Where to captain?” The helmsman asked.

“Anywhere but here.” Answered Jason. “See that blue pulsar over there. Head that way!”

“Aye captain. Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.”  Smiled Harris. “Course plotted and ready when you are.”

“Hit it!”