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Part of Roosevelt Station: The Fall of Roosevelt Station and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

02: Personal Preparations

Roosevelt Station
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A Dominion task group was on its way to the station. The ships had broken off from the main force three hours before, and were coming fast. They would arrive in six hours, and Starfleet had no resources in place to intercept them.

The scholar in T’Ren wanted to go to the Promenade, to see the civilians and enlisted crew’s response to the stress they were under. She could likely gather enough information for a paper, something that would earn her acclaim on Vulcan and advance the understanding of the differences between various cultures’ responses to extreme anxiety.

The person in T’Ren wanted to huddle in her bunk until there was something useful for her to do, deliberately avoiding the contemplation of her own mortality. There was little practical need for an anthropologist in preparing for an invasion, and she and Commander Karinu had given the necessary orders, delegated the required tasks. If the station could be made ready, their crew would accomplish that. They were capable, well-trained, and while the senior staff leaned heavily toward scientists and diplomats, she and Karinu had worked to fill out the junior officer complement with officers who had significant combat experience.

She had sat with Kron, whose parents and grandparents had all been warriors, and with Keyere, who had been a child on Lagash on the Breen border during the Dominion War, to discuss what was coming. The conclusion was inevitable – the Dominion force was large enough that, if they should choose to take the station, they would. Their only chance was to make it too expensive, to convince the Vorta that their Jem’hadar would be better spent on softer, more valuable targets, and that was a slim chance.

She would be called back to duty soon, to allow Karinu time to rest before the battle began. This was, she decided, no time to be a scholar, and time off-duty was no time to be an officer. It was time, T’Ren decided, to be a person.

The communications and sensor arrays were prioritized for critical traffic, but there were moments when personal messages could be sent. Many on the station were using that time to send messages to family. They had, T’Ren decided, the right idea. She took a PADD in hand.

“My dearest brother Sorel…”

Keyere Hala Hualing rose from her seat, a large mug of tea cupped between her hands, and sat on the edge of her bed. A PADD was resting atop the blankets, a letter on it. She had written the letter six months before, when she first arrived at Roosevelt and the reality of serving on the Breen border struck home. It was addressed to her family – her husband Yichen, her wife Zhang, their children. Looking at it now, when the possibility of death at the hands of the Breen had become a significant likelihood of her falling to Jem’hadar, it seemed… insufficient.

Three months ago, Yichen had given birth to their second son. Keyere hadn’t seen the boy anywhere but a viewscreen. Now, she likely never would. What could she say to a child she had never met, never held, but loved as much as she did their eldest son, their lovely daughter?

Hualing took the PADD, closed the letter. She would start anew. But first, she queued a message to the Arbiters’ Council for delivery in the next available cycle.

“I, Keyere Hala Hualing, declare my intention to take a two-month leave of absence from my duties two weeks from today.”

If she survived this attack, she would make certain her children knew her. She would make certain her beloveds remembered her presence.

A quill and ink were a profoundly inefficient way to compose a message for subspace transmission, but Ensign Amie Hawke didn’t plan to transmit her message. She had few friends outside the crew – few within it, either, her youth and low rank creating a boundary between herself and the rest of the senior staff; her place on the senior staff putting a barrier between herself and the rest of the crew. Her only family was a mad old man who had been dead far longer than Amie wanted to think about, the nearest thing to family she had was a Temporal Investigations agent who had vanished before she finished the Academy. But sometimes talking to someone she loved helped, even if that person couldn’t answer.

“Benji,” she said slowly as she wrote, her fingers as certain on her pen as they were working within the tight confines of the Breen-built maintenance spaces, where comfort didn’t matter and everything oriented itself to the profoundly inhuman physiology of the monsters who had hollowed out the boulder she called home. “I would say it has been too long since I wrote, except that I have waited far longer before, and given that you are dead I do not expect a reply from you, which is deeply unsocial of you. Still, I suppose I could blame the tyrant that is time for your absence, though I worry that would be absolving you of yet further culpability for your many, many vices.” None of that was necessary to her point, but if the Beyond had post, he did need to know it was her writing.

“They’ve done well, this lot,” she added. “Fell to our fears, then rose above them. Achieved dreams we would never dare to dream, either because we did not know what was possible or because Man had already spent too much of our faith in him. But there’s evil here, the wickedness we knew painted across the stars, and that wickedness is coming to me. I fear I may be joining you soon, Benji, but if I do, I come protecting the good things I have found since last I saw you.” She wiped a tear away before it could smudge her replicated ink.

“If I see you soon, save a pretty girl or two for me to kiss. If I somehow walk away from this with head still on shoulders, tell my da he’s still a bastard and my ma I wish I’d known her. Remember it was all, in the end, worthwhile.”

A good day to die.

Kron’s father would have described this day as that. His mother, his grandparents, his siblings and aunts and uncles. He stood at the center of his quarters, his gin’tak in both hands, stepping into an imagined strike as he performed his forms. Warriors, all of them. He had been born a commoner, on the far edges of the Empire, but his family had all leapt when the call to war had come. Two brothers dead in Romulan space, an uncle and a grandmother killed by the Dominion, all at the bosom of Kahless. They had died warriors’ deaths, and those who lived had lived warriors’ lives.

Kron was a scientist. He would fight – he felt the call of his blood, the call to battle – but he preferred the laboratory, his enemies the puzzles no one had yet solved, the contaminants in his samples, to the battlefield. He had chosen Starfleet because it honored its scientists in ways the Empire did not, and because it would offer times for him to answer his blood’s call.

Tradition and instinct told him that today was a good day to die. His studies said something different – that there was no good day to die. That death was a loss of potential, a loss of all the skills and knowledge the dead had accumulated. Of weapons against the enemy that was ignorance.

He spun, jabbing his spear hard at the air he came to face, let out a roar of rage. He did not fear death, but he did fear the loss of the people he had worked with for the last year. He feared the universe losing the four hundred good people aboard the station. So, today, he would not be a scientist. He would be a Klingon.

He would keep them safe.

Karinu rose from the command throne as T’Ren came in, nodded to her XO, and stepped into the turbolift. It was a four minute ride even in Roosevelt’s priority turbolifts from Ops to her quarters, and Karinu spent that time thinking about the inevitable.

Too many Dominion ships, too long before backup could arrive. Her orders from Admiral Beckett were to hold, as best she could, to keep Roosevelt’s logistical support in place long enough for Beckett and Fourth Fleet Command to determine the destinations of the Dominion attack groups as they broke away from the main fleet. It was an uncharacteristic bit of kindness that Beckett had not brought up the chances of her crew’s survival, and she had not asked him if rescue would come. The best answer that question could possibly have brought her was uncertainty.

Her letters were written, sent to family on Kaminar and friends on Earth and Bajor. She had spoken with her senior staff, with members of the crew she knew, with the leaders of the civilian population of the station, prepared them as best she could for what was coming. The civilians had been moved to the lowest levels, the power core and other critical systems secured with codes only her senior staff had access to, the orbital weapons arrays set in regeneration mode so they would be fully powered when the enemy arrived.

Karinu had only one duty remaining before the Dominion came to Roosevelt – to sleep, to rest as best she could before the fighting began. Her threat ganglia had not retracted. Death had come to the Deneb sector, on a scale not seen in decades. She would have a sleep full of nightmares.

Nightmares, Karinu decided as she pulled her heavy blanket into place, were a small price to pay.