Tuesday, August 5, 2014

[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241408.05 | Operation Aehallh Part 1 | EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu

"All warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu

241408.05 - Operation Aehallh (Nightmare) Begins

[IRW Hhveir Ri'hwathech]

"Our reconnaissance forces have detected Tholian fleet movements towards Federation Starbase 320."  Ael'Riov Jaiu tr'Leran , of the Tal'Diann, said from the other side of the holographic strategic display while updating the details.  The three-dimensional wireframe grid that represented the Tholian Assembly space rotated clockwise until focusing on an area that straddled Federation space "long range scans indicate approximately eight hundred vessels taking up a defensive posture."  Insignias of the Tholian Assembly flared onto the grid display representing the Tholian fleet positions.

Shiarrael nodded her head as she studied the diagram.  Raising her hand she slid a finger through the hologram causing photons to flicker around her finger and displace like a cloud of gas as she traced a line through the insignias of the Assembly "they are building a defensive barrier between 320 and Talla.  They think that is where we aim to strike."  Talla being the planet the Assembly had given to the Romulan Commonwealth as haven.

"Your feint seems to have work EnRiov."  Khre'Riov S'Hauen tr'Aimne, her Chief of Staff, slowly circled the display studying the readouts as he spoke "most of the Tholian forces appear to be moving in a position to intercept the second and third wing unknowing."

"With the holographic technology we equipped them with no doubt the Tholians think we have amassed the entirety of our force at 320."  tr'Leran said eyeing the updated display.

To Shiarrael Tholian space resembled an amoeba- no real form, a lack of elegance, with dozens of tendrils that stretched out seemingly at random.  At its nucleus was Tholia- the harsh home world of the Tholians with dozens of planets splayed out in every direction like organs.  Shiarrael's job had been to find those most vital organs to strike at.  Fortunately their spies within the Commonwealth were now many and the information they received about the Tholians significant.  It was always a risk to ally yourself with a faction of the enemy- a flame that could often burn both ways.  Unfortunately for the Tholians this meant that Shiarrael had a near complete picture of their space and force distribution.  Using the second and third wings equipped with advanced holographic technology they were able to weave a story of Romulan fleet movements that suggested they would attack Talla- but that story was fiction.  Instead they were moving in unaligned space, cloaked, and outside of sensor range towards the Tholian system of Lekesa which was home to the largest Tholian fleet production facility outside of Tholia. 

Turning away from the holographic map Shiarrael made her way down the steps to the heart of the bridge and took her place in the command throne "begin final preparations for the assault on Lekesa- have all wings move into predesigned formations."  She studied the two-dimensional strategic map on the view screen which portrayed her fleet in twenty insignias of the Empire- each representing a wing of 72 ships.  "How long until we enter the system?"

"Three minutes Rekkhai."  Lai said as his hands danced rapidly on his console.  Next to him Raha appeared stoic and focused ready for the coming battle.

Suddenly Raha turned to look at her "EnRiov, communications has detected a sudden increase in enemy chatter."

"So they've seen us."  Shiarrael slowly nodded her head and stood up "very well then let us go ahead and give them a glimpse of their coming nightmare.  Battle stations!  Order all ships to decloak!"  Klaxons sounded as the entire bridge was painted a hue of emerald from the battle lighting.

The view screen image shifted to a view of Lekesa II which looked like a tiny red dot on the middle of the screen.  As the planet grew on the viewer the image began to shimmer with distortion that reminded Shiarrael of gazing through rippling water at whatever lie beneath.  From that distortion hundreds of Romulan ships appeared like a flock of angry birds ready to dive towards their prey.  However, it wasn't their time yet.  In front of the fleet two large old style D'Dheridex ships de-cloaked and slowly ambled towards the massive diamond shaped Tholian Starbase that orbited the planet. 

"Tholians are targeting the D'Dheridex ships."  Raha said as she studied the readouts.

"Inform the fleet to keep back- patience is key."  Shiarrael said as she gazed at the view screen.  The D'Dheridexs continued towards the Starbase where bright beams of amber began to lance out at the massive ships.  Flares of emerald shielding met the beams of energy as the D'Dheridexs continued towards the base gaining momentum.  The first ship was ahead of the second and was taking the brunt of the attack."

"First D'Dheridex shielding down to thirty percent!"  Raha shouted.

"Calm!"  Shiarrael ordered "reroute all the power to their forward shielding.  Just a little more..."  She watched as the D'Dheridex was covered by emerald energy as it's shields ate the barrage knowing that soon the shielding would collapse.  Her eyes momentarily left the view screen to glance at her wrist chrono.  "Almost..."  Looking back at the view she could feel a knot of tension beginning to form in her gut "NOW!"

The D'Dheridex exploded in a massive white-hot conflagration which blanketed the Tholian bases' amber shielding until it blinked and collapsed.  The result was that the shockwave from the explosion sheared off part of the bases port hull with a can-opener like effect.  Hot crimson atmosphere poured out into space along with clouds of shimmering debris while lines of orange plasma fire ravage the explosion facing side of the base. 

"Second D'Dheridex in range."  Raha announced.

Shiarrael nodded her head "detonate."  Another white-hot conflagration filled the screen but this time without it's shielding to protect it the Tholian base cracked like a hollow eggshell and was ripped apart.  A tidal wave of debris echoed out from the epicenter of the explosion and smashed into everything in its path.

"Debris from the explosion has created an ablation cascade."  Raha said as she looked up at the view screen.  The expanding orbital debris field swallowed dry-docks and smaller orbital facilities as it slowly began to wrap itself around the planet.  "Computer simulation estimates that approximately sixty-one percent of all facilities in orbit of Lekesa II will be destroyed by the cascade- however facilities in higher orbit will be spared."

"Order the attack wings to take out any remaining vessels while the assault wings concentrate on the remaining facilities.  Have the command ships move in position to begin orbital bombardment of planet based facilities."  Shiarrael lowered herself back into the command throne as she watched the carnage unfold in front of her.  She knew it would get harder from here.  How will the Tholians respond?

Hundreds of light-years away that same question was being asked...

[To be continued]

Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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Friday, August 1, 2014

[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241408.01 | "War Drums" Part 3 | EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu

[I'Ramnau, Romulus]


The parade route that carved its way from the outskirts of Ra'tleihfi all the way to the center of I'Ramnau was lined by millions of Romulans as columns of soldiers, armored flitters, and tanks made their way down the ancient but well-kept cobblestone.  The people all cheered and chanted while the thousands of banners bearing the great bird symbolizing the empire along the route fluttered restlessly in the breeze.  It was a good day for the military parade preceding the beginning of war operations with the sun bright and high with a refreshing breeze to keep it's beating heat at bay. 


Shiarrael sat in her armored flitter as dozens of soldiers marched along side with disruptor rifles draped over their shoulders.  She wasn't one for spectacles  but the Praetor had been insistent on the exhibition of force to capitalize on the patriotic fervor that was quickly spreading across the Empire.  As the flitter neared the steps of the ancient senate complex that crowned the parade route it slowed and stopped.  The doors raised and the soldiers saluted as she made her way out to the deafening roar of the crowd.  Once out she tossed a momentary glance at the marbled steps where rows of Senators dressed in their best robes and patriotic jewelry lined in anticipation of the moment.  Resisting the urge to snort at the ostentatious display she turned her attention to the crowd wearing a vibrant smile and  dipped her head respectfully before making her way to the stage that had been set up in front of the Senators.  About halfway up the ramp a young erie'Arrain met her and ushered her behind the podium. 


Looking out over the large square Shiarrael reached up and gripped either side of the speaking stand.  As the parade ground to a halt several of members of her fleet command team were exiting flitters and making their way to her side.  All of them wore the violet sash over their dress uniforms that Shiarrael had chosen to symbolize the fleet with the golden sigil of a vicious thrai's open maw pinned to its heart.  Once all of them had carefully positioned themselves on either side of her the crowd instinctively began to silence themselves leaving only the gentle rapping of breeze tossed ropes against the army of banner poles.  Shiarrael looked out over the crowd and then focused her attention on the giant wave of soldiers that stretched on in organized columns far beyond her eyesight and deep into the distant horizon. 


"Never in my life have I been so moved as I am this moment looking out upon such greatness.  In this vast universe fraught with dangers I have before me a group of people composed of such mettle that not even the most formidable weapons brought to bear can crack their spirit.  Soon we shall cross the vast expanse of space to meet an enemy so brazen as to have struck upon our very marrow.  With us we will bring to them the fury of our people- an anger unseen since the sundering and we shall scorch them!"  Shiarrael took two steps back and unsheathed her S'harien holding the blade up towards the sun so that it radiated with reflected fire "Glory and victory to the Empire!"


The crowd and soldiers began chanting "vauthil!  vauthil!  vauthil!"


Beneath her boots the earth began to tremble.  The crowd went silent as a heavy drone began to echo between the city's tall spires- their eyes were drawn skyward as their faces held expressions of awe and horror at the unknown source of the commotion.  Out of the sun scorched azure abyss a cloud of over a hundred massive starships descended.  The flock of metallic winged frames eclipsed the sun casting a vast shadow over the Capital.  The ships neared as close as they dared to the building tips and hovered- the violent droning of their engines rattling window frames and teeth alike.  From the lead ship, a massive D'Dherex dreadnaught, a sliver of emerald metal left its primary landing bay and slowly curved between the city's spires as it descended towards the surface.  Shiarrael carefully sheathed the S'Harian and slowly made her way down the ramp followed by her staff.  A gust of wind from the landing thrusters caused Shiarrael's hair and sash to flutter wildly as the bomber touched down just meters in front of the speaking platform.  When it lowered its rear hatch Shiarrael entered with the others.  Once everyone was secured the bomber took flight again and headed back towards its perch as the crowds below cheered wildly.


[IRW Hhveir Ri'hwathech - Hangar Bay]


Stepping out of the bomber Shiarrael was greeted by a cool breeze that swept in through the open hangar bay doors.  Looking out beyond the large egress she found a breathtaking view of the landscape which stretched on in patches of green and olive with rivers of turquoise snaking through the fields and into the wide body of the apnex sea.  Directly below them the Capital resembled a majestic insect hive as hundreds of shuttles and flitters moved between the maze work of spires like tiny flying insects. 




Shiarrael turned around at the sound of Nnoil's voice to find her son standing a few meters away with his sister and grandfather.  "What are you doing here?"  She grinned and approached him running her hand through his spiked hair causing the boy to pull away sheepishly.  He wasn't that little child that would run through the decks of the Charon causing mischief with his sister anymore.  He had grown so much- they both had.


"They wanted to see you before you left Shiarrael."  Her grandfather offered her a nod and Shiarrael returned it without speaking- their relationship was still frayed.


"You both are doing well in school?"  She asked.


"Of course ra'nanov- Ael is the top of the class!"  Nnoil looked at his twin sister who feigned disinterest.


"Oh?"  Shiarrael grinned and placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder "when I return I will celebrate your achievement."


Ael shrugged "it's fine ra'nanov...just stay safe ok?"


"Of course.  Everything will be fine."  Shiarrael smiled but it was forced- no doubt her children were concerned about their mother going into combat.  She looked at their grandfather and could see their sentiments echoed in his expression "please take them back home.  I must finish final preparations" she returned her gaze to the twins "but don't worry.  I will make sure to call you both regularly- do well in school while I am gone."  They nodded to her and then left with their grandfather as he ushered them towards one of the waiting bombers.


[IRW Hhveir Ri'hwathech - Bridge]


"EnRiov! Vaed'rae!" 


The entire bridge crew stood and turned to Shiarrael saluting as she stepped off the lift followed by the other senior fleet staff.  She waved a hand instinctively dismissing them out of attention as she made her way down the steps and in front of her empty command throne.  Behind her the strategic operations area dominated the rear of the bridge where a holographic tactical table was nestled in its heart with six officers seated around it.  Currently a large holographic grid style image of ch'Rihan swirled overhead with hundreds of lines tracing their way in elliptical orbits around the planet "how much longer until preparations are complete?"


"All holographic equipment has been transferred to the third and second wings."  Lai answered from his station "personnel and soldiers are still boarding some vessels but the Hhveir Ri'hwathech has completed all necessary preparations Rekkhai."


"Good."  Shiarrael slid herself into the command throne and laced her fingers across her lap "order the second and third wing to depart and take the Hhveir Ri'hwathech out of the atmosphere and into orbit."


"Ie Rekkhai!"


The view screen image slowly shifted from azure to black as the ship made its ascent into orbit over Ch'Rihan.  In front of them hundreds of ships swirled in orbit of the planet stretching off into the distance until their metallic hulls became dim pinprick blips on the screen and looked like a clusters of distant stars that had wrapped themselves around the planet in a half ring.  Shiarrael drew in a deep breath momentarily overcome by the awe inspiring visage of the enormous battle fleet they had assembled.


After the moment passed she looked at Lai "inform the fleet to complete final preparations-  in thirty minutes we will depart for Tholian Space."



Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241407.22 | Joint Log - "War Drums" Part 2 | EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu & President Hutchins

[In orbit of Earth]


Space rippled just above the vast blue of Earth's pacific ocean which was partially obscured by an ivory swirl of gossamer clouds.  The large D'Dherex dreadnaught slowly formed out of the distortion of space followed closely by two Romulan cruisers acting as escorts.  As a planetary transport passed by people could be seen crowding the portside windows to a catch a glimpse of the unusual sight.


Inside the metallic beast Shiarrael was studying the visage with an onerous sense of nostalgia.  How long had it been now?  Six or seven years?  She turned to the ship's commander "prepare a bomber for me."


Riov t'Vraeh looked puzzled "you will not be beaming down EnRiov?"


"No, when so close to our enemies I prefer my atoms not be dissembled."  She smirked.  Though there was another reason.  Something was wrong on earth.  Though the Tal'Diann didn't know what exactly was occurring on the planet there had been whispers.  Those whispers were loud enough to give Shiarrael concern that things on Earth may no longer be the same as when she had left so long ago "please inform Senator t'Charvanek to be ready to depart shortly."


t'Vreah bowed her head "very well EnRiov."


[Romulan Bomber]


As they descended through the clouds and across the Eurasian continent Shiarrael finally could see firsthand the damage caused by the Cardassian attack on Earth.  The once beautiful city of Paris was now just a stretch of black scarring on the landscape.  Millions dead.  The thought caused her to shiver.  Twenty years ago she may not have been so sympathetic- but now it was different.  This was the home world of her children's' father- an equal part of them as Romulus will ever be.  To see it in such a state made her melancholy.


The bomber jerked slightly when it ran into a headwind as they lowered their approached.  Outside the cockpit window she could several federation fighters pull up from the surface and surround them.  They were sent to 'escort' them to the landing pad near the new presidential palace in Sandringham.  Though Shiarrael knew better- humans didn't trust Romulans, at least 'not as far as they could throw them' as she had once been told.  Not that she could blame them.  The distrust was built on centuries of hostilities between the two peoples and sadly she didn't fully trust them either.  The jostling sound of the landing struts shook the bomber slightly as they made their final approach.  The fighters broke away and flew off into the horizon past the high-rises of the London skyline as the bomber began its descent towards the more rural Sandringham.




Once they set down Shiarrael helped the frail Senate Speaker to her feet as the door began to lower.  A group of Gai'Shian guards exited first and stood on either side of the doorway as Shiarrael headed out with t'Charvanek and their entourage of half a dozen Romulan dignitaries.


A phalanx of UFP Security personnel, not Starfleet security or marines, formed an honour guard for the distinguished visitors. At the head of this column of black uniforms was President Hutchins, with his closest advisors. As the entourage from the Romulan ship made their way to the top of the parade, Hutchins had to suppress the disgust he felt at dealing with Romulans. Any non-terrans were bad enough, but from a non-Federation planet? The thought was enough to disgust him. Malone had allowed the Romulans to fight for Starfleet in the Battle for Sol, so it must be permitted. He put on his best face and stepped forward one step, extending a hand. "Welcome to Earth." He said, unsure exactly who he was addressing.


The hand wasn't taken.  Shiarrael simply nodded her head at the man feeling a certain tension arising from his slight gestures and eye movement.  A smile appeared on her face but it was forced "Greetings President Hutchins- I am EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu of the Imperial Romulan Navy" she turned and faced the much older woman who seemed to glower at the human before her "and this is Senator Liviana t'Charvanek, speaker of the Imperial Senate."  A title which effectively made her the third most powerful Romulan in the universe.


"An honor to meet you mister President."  t'Charvanek spoke with a gravelly voice as her obsidian robes fluttered in the slight breeze "I believe our government has informed you of the reason for our visit?"


"Yes they have." Hutchins replied, as he indicated that they should move the conversation inside, rather than out in the gardens of Sandringham. "We can discuss those reasons once we've gone inside and had refreshments."


t'Charvanek nodded her head and led the Romulan group inside as they followed their hosts.  For her part Shiarrael studied the surroundings.  There was certainly something amiss and it was beginning to irk her greatly.  Starfleet was nowhere to be seen and the President and his escorts consisted entirely of humans.


They arrived inside the great reception hall at Sandringham House, where tea and other beverages were being served. Once the pleasantries were dispensed with, they were led into a reception room where a very large, ornate table had been placed with chairs all around it. The President and his team sat on one side of the table, with their backs to a large hearth, with the Romulan delegation with their backs to the large floor-to-ceiling classic windows.


"As I am sure you are aware Romulus was recently attacked by forces of the triad.  The Praetor has answered the demands of the Romulan public for retribution against our enemies for this brazen assault."  Several of the Romulan delegates slid PADDs in front of her "the Romulan Empire has no shared border with the Tholians.  In past times we have been on good terms with the Assembly but with the formation of the Commonwealth that has obviously changed.  Previously the Empress didn't feel that it was necessary to commit forces to a war so far from our borders even to suppress the Commonwealth.  However- with the attack and the departure of the Empress the Empire's stance has changed.  We are in the process of reconstituting the the Imperial Navy's assets to form a large war fleet."


t'Charvanek threaded her fingers on the tabletop after Shiarrael finished and looked the President in the eye "we require access to space facilities along your shared border with the Tholians."     


Hutchins looked at the Romulan flag officer intently over the table. "As I'm sure you're aware, we're in the midst's of… some internal difficulties." He said, evasively. "We could not guarantee the safety of Romulan vessels in Federation space, nor can we guarantee the co-operation of our bases along that border. For the moment, they appear to be loyal to the government, but we've seen these rebels do all kinds of things." He paused to take a sip of water. "Perhaps we could come to some arrangement?"     


t'Charvanek winced momentarily.  "Please elaborate."


"We will permit you to use our facilities, thereby ending the Triad war, providing your military forces assist my military with suppressing our little… rebellion." Hutchins said, with a sinister smirk.


"I see."  t'Charvanek answered.  A chorus of whispers began from the Romulan delegates but t'Charvanek tapped her cane on the old flooring silencing them "I will be honest with you President Hutchins.  The Empire has little interest in suppressing your rebellion- you must understand from our point of view a fractured Federation is very beneficial to the Empire.  Our vengeance against the triad is our priority for the moment- but the Senate may be willing to assist you with intelligence and weaponry."  The old Senator sipped the water that had been provided "and as you have clearly outlined yourself President Hutchins you cannot guarantee that the forces along your border will remain loyal to you.  This forces me to wonder if you are the right person to meet with- as you seem quite impotent at the moment."


"Well, without my approval, you won't have access to our starbases along the Tholian border, rendering your war effort somewhat mute." Hutchins countered. "And I'm only asking for support so as to guarantee your security. A fractured Federation might suit your aims in the short-term, but in the long-term, it will be quite disruptive to the Empire, without Starfleet to enforce the peace."


"I am not convinced that our security is intertwined but the Praetor has given me authority in these discussions."  t'Charvanek glanced at Shiarrael, noted her panged expression, and then looked back at the President directing a malicious smirk his way "we will aid you in repressing the Starfleet rebellion but not until we have dealt with the triad."  Her irises twitched to the corner of her eyes as Shiarrael moved to speak but was silenced by the butt of the Senate speaker's cane hitting her in the gut "keep your peace Shiarrael- we will talk later."  t'Charvanek turned that wicked expression back on Hutchins "if this is not to your liking then perhaps we should talk to your rebellious Admiral.  Offer to take those Starbases from you in return for his approval.  I hear the Klingons are quite fond of him so at least we won't have to worry about those barbarians on our border if we aided him.   You have laid your weaknesses out quite too clearly President Hutchins."  One of the Romulan delegates slid a PADD to her which she pressed her thumb into before sliding it towards Hutchins "do we have an accord?" 


Hutchins growled to himself, having allowed these inferior beings to outmaneuver him. What hurt worst was they were right, he was in a position of weakness, and he DID need them – far more than he'd ever admit. "We do." He said, coldly, and pressed his thumb on the PADD.


t'Charvanek stood up followed by Shiarrael and the Romulan delegation "then it seems we are done."  She dipped her head "Bedah lloann'mhrahel praetelh."  Turned and then walked out.  The delegates followed her out except for Shiarrael who stood at the table staring at Hutchins.  After a long tense moment she turned and left.


Hutchins waited a moment, then threw his pen down in disgust. "Bloody Romulans." He growled.


[To be continued....]

President Hutchins (apb Frankie)


EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu

Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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