“Honor Among Pilots..and Mercenaries?”
Ejecting a spent disruptor cartridge and jacking in a fresh power cell looted from a fallen Romulan soldier, Leon Athalla returned the pistol to the meager collection of weaponry he and the mercenary Aev Keirianh had assembled. The two men had made their way into one of the Charon’s classrooms on the assumption that the Romulans would ignore such places. On the floor lie two grenades of Romulan design, two disruptor pistols, a Romulan rifle, a Starfleet issue type-II phaser, one additional power cell, and a elegant Romulan blade of considerable craftsmanship.
Keirianh was currently monitoring communications with a captured Romulan communicator. Athalla leaned back and folded his legs anxious to remove the black flight suit that clung to him like a second skin. In a cockpit attached to proper equipment the suit provided heating, cooling, and oxygen to his body. Unattached the suit was uncomfortably hot acting to seal in the pilot’s body heat and sweat creating a tropical, humid layer between the suit and his skin. Athalla had already opened the suit as much as possible without hindering his agility or mobility, but in lieu of other suitable clothing he would continue to make do with the circumstances at hand. While a naked pilot might work in their favor to generate shock and surprise when encountering the enemy it was hardly an ideal situation.
“Lieutenant, I believe your tactics are beginning to bear fruit. It appears several teams have been diverted to deal with the situation in the hangar bay and surrounding areas.”
Athalla looked up at the Romulan mercenary and nodded. “Setting off explosions lend themselves to such responses. Any mention of Ambassador Lamont? Any idea where they may have taken him?”
Keirianh slowly shook his head. “Negative. There have been no communications regarding the Ambassador on the limited number of channels I am receiving.”
Athalla nodded. Moments before the ambassador had made a rather unusual speech to the crew over the ship’s intercom system. The ambassador had urged the crew to fight which was ironic given the man’s mission to secure, promote, and maintain the peace. Despite the plea, Athalla had noticed a pained quality in Lamont’s voice. Faceless radio communications in fighters had developed his ear in recognizing subtle inflections in voices. Experience had trained him in identifying excitement, fear, panic, nervousness, anger, sadness, and even pain. The ambassador sounded tired in addition to being someone in a great deal of physical distress and discomfort. He could only wonder what horrors the Romulans were inflicting upon him for his blatant defiance.
“It would seem this area is clear Lt. Athalla as the Romulans do not appear to deem the classrooms and teaching facilities aboard as a key strategic location.”
“Exactly why I chose this area”, Leon replied. “We need a chance to think.”
Leon took the Romulan blade in his hand and ran his thumb along its long, razor sharp edge. Even in the dim light the ceremonial blade seemed to possess a force waiting to be unleashed. Neither malevolent nor pure the weapon simply resonated with strength as if it took on and amplified the intentions of those who possessed it.
“You mentioned something about thinking lieutenant”, came the voice of the mercenary snapping Athalla from his trance-like affixation.
“Yes”, Leon replied unable to immediately part with the blade his eyes transfixed to its clean, deadly lines. How old was the weapon? How many battles had it seen? How much blood was it responsible for spilling?
“That is an Aleh lieutenant”, Keirianh stated pulling the earpiece of the Romulan communicator from his ear. “A common term though the blade likely has a name given to it centuries ago and passed down from generation to generation. Alas its name may never be known to us. I can tell you that it appears to be quite old and was likely a prized and cherished possession of the fallen Romulan it was taken from.”
“I had no idea. I only grabbed it in the…”
“Do not apologize. Such is the way of things. That soldier was not the first to lose a family treasure in addition to his life and will not be the last. Pride yourself in the knowledge that you bested the soldier who wielded that blade. It is rightfully yours paid for in blood. So long as you maintain mnhei’sahe it will honor and serve you as it has those who have come before. Its strength will become your own if you possess the will and courage to wield it.”
Leon had little knowledge of Romulan culture. He did know the race had deep roots in honor and tradition much like their Vulcan cousins. Sliding the silver blade back into its scabbard, Leon gently returned the weapon to the floor with care. “Perhaps you should…”
“NO”, Keirianh quickly stated with a sudden passion. “No. My hands are forever stained and my heart too hard to touch yet alone wield an honor blade. Too long have I strayed from the path of mnhei’sahe. Far too long. I doubt there is any way back for me. No way back to what was – so long ago.”
The two men sat in silence for several long moments. Athalla could not appreciate or understand the Keirianh’s words yet he could sense some tiny thread of regret and pain in his voice as he stared at the Romulan weapon. Whatever the importance was attached to the blade, Athalla felt some odd connection to the inanimate object. He seemed drawn to it for an unknown reason like a moth to a flame driven simply instinct or perhaps something more.
“What are the Romulans doing”, Leon asked breaking the silence between the two men.
“They are responding to your actions in the hangar as anticipated”, the mercenary replied.
Leon nodded. “We must find a way to continue applying pressure. We must find an advantage and exploit it if we are to fight back.”
“Lieutenant. We are but two men against soldiers numbering many times our own strength. Fighting against such odds will only result in death for us both. That is a statement of fact not of cowardice.”
“You may be many things Mr. Keirianh, but from what I have seen you are anything but a coward. However, I cannot sit still while the Charon is overrun. We must fight back. If you cannot then I will go alone. I do not expect you to fight your own people.”
“I made enemies of my own kind long ago lieutenant. I have no reservations killing those who deserve death. Any Romulan who attacks in the manner I have seen is without honor and deserves neither mercy nor compassion.”
“Well at least we can agree on that. Look I’m not planning on storming the bridge, but we have to keep up the pressure. How would you characterize the Romulan forces currently?”
Keirianh replaced the earpiece and listened to the communications for a time before answering. “They are stressed, but not defeated. Anger is pervading their ranks.”
“Good. Anger is good. Negative emotions cause mistakes. Mistakes work in our favor.”
“I sense you have a plan. You have the look of a politician ready to strike a political rival.”
“Engineering is too big a target for the two of us to take alone. Even if we did we couldn’t hope to defend it let alone do anything useful there. Same goes for the bridge. The Romulans likely expect such a thing. So since we cannot go after the big prizes aboard I will settle for a dozen small ones. All we need are some EVA boots and a few additional hands.”
“Forgive me lieutenant. I am afraid I do not follow.”
“I’m talking gravity! We go after gravity. If we disable the gravity generators on each deck our Romulan guests will lose their advantages in numbers and coordination. If they cannot move they cannot fight. All we need are some magnetic boots, a few extra marines, security officers, hell anyone who can hold a phaser will work!”
“And these gravity generators – how do we access and disable them?”
Athalla flashed a tiny smile. “I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you a gravity generator from a hole in the deck. However there has to be an engineer or maintenance worker around here who does! We just have to find them.”
“Hmm. Interesting. The tactic is sound even if the odds are stacked heavily against our success. However I must point out that each success, especially our actions in the hangar, will increase the peril to the ship’s crew on an order of proportional magnitude. Already some soldiers are using events to justify killing prisoners. Increasing the pressure upon them will only embolden my people to use violence as a means to an end.”
Leon picked up a disruptor pistol and shoved it into the holster built into his flight suit for a pilot’s side arm. “A calculated risk Keirianh. I would expect another to act if they were in my shoes and I in theirs. We must do something.”
The two men quickly collected their tiny cache of weapons. Leon grabbed a phaser leaving the Romulan blade alone on the floor before standing. “We need to find others who are fighting back and join forces. We’ll use that Romulan radio to listen for possible leads. If we can scare up a tricorder perhaps we can use it to search for human lifesigns.”
“Very well.” Keirianh stopped as Leon moved toward the room’s exit. Moments later he felt a solid hand grab his shoulder and hold him back. Suddenly the Romulan blade he had left behind reappeared before his face.
“Lieutenant. Take the weapon. It calls out for a new master and has chosen you. Do not reject its power. Embrace it and let its strength become your own.”
Leon looked at the foreign weapon again captivated by its presence. He didn’t understand Romulan tradition or mysticism and understood even less the mercenary’s insistence he take the weapon, yet something within told him he could not refuse. Reaching up, Athalla took the blade and affixed it to his hip. Oddly, it felt almost natural as it settled into place against his upper leg.
Leon went to move, but remained locked in the mercenary’s grip. His cold, stern eyes affixed themselves to his own as he spoke to the pilot.
“It has entrusted itself to you. Do not dishonor that for which it stands.”
Leon said nothing. Somehow he seemed to understand even if he had no understanding of the tradition surrounding the blade that had somehow affixed itself to him. In that moment of clarity, Keirianh released his grip sensing the man understood. No words were needed. The blade and the man were now one.
Leon shot a curious glance at the mercenary who collected his belongings and moved into the next room almost as if nothing had happened. Curious indeed. Placing a hand on the blade at his side, Athalla quickly followed the mercenary hopeful they could locate others to help aid in the cause of creating chaos.
[ To Be Continued ]
Lt. Leon Athalla
<< Ok all! Let’s take the fight to the Romulans! A certain half-crazed pilot and an equally curious Romulan mercenary need some help putting the hurt on Romulan soldiers. If you’re interested in lending a hand (or rather a character) shoot me an email! ( email@example.com ) The more players who can help out on this little sub-plot the better! Anyone who can hold a phaser is wanted. Who said the marines should get to have all the fun – although they’re certainly welcome to join in the mayhem too! That goes for computer generated avatars, medical staff, counselors (yes we might need a cool voice of reason somewhere though I can’t guarantee anyone will listen) and anyone else who has an itch to do their part to fight back! >>