“Vulcans. They’re here to help.”
“Where the hell have you been? Asleep?”
“Back in orbit. I don’t know. Some ambassador is running the show. How should I know? Contact the bridge. Excuse me I have work to do.”
“Are they gone! Please! Please tell me they are gone! I..I can’t bear to see another one! Oh please, please help me…”
“All I know is I hope they hang the bastards in charge of this bloody ship! My wife and I never signed up for this! Now she’s in sickbay, I can’t even get in to see her, and…”
“I have no idea. All I know is that we’re in orbit above Vulcan and they are helping us with repairs and with the wounded. How we got here or what happened or is happening is above my pay grade. Security might know more. Sorry.”
“Hey this area is restricted! What? No. I don’t know what to tell you. A lot of people are missing, hurt, or worse. Comms are overloaded. The bridge? Ha. Good luck getting to it. Turbolift is out. Damage? Extensive. Hull breaches, blown airlocks, fires, explosions, - hell you name it, we got it. Damn Rommies tried to take out the ship by blowing the shuttlebay. Look I don’t have much information. It’s a chaotic mess right now and I’m sure it will be hours before anyone has a chance to take a breath and sort things out. Pilots? Shuttlebay is a total loss. You can’t even get in there right now with all the damage. Look I’d love to talk, but we’re somewhat busy right now. If you can’t get to your post perhaps you could lend a hand to help clear the deck and assist the injured?”
== Sometime Later ==
Pilot Leon Athalla slumped against a nearby wall having spent the last few hours helping clear debris, moving the wounded, and working to restore some semblance of order in the midst of utter chaos. Hours seemed like days and perhaps they had been. He had lost all track of time. Fighting the Romulans, destroying the shuttlebay, sabotaging the ship, helping the wounded, clearing debris – he had no idea how many hours he had been awake or how long it had been since he had eaten.
“Lieutenant”, a stiff voice said above him. Athalla looked up meeting the cold eyes of the Romulan mercenary turned ally, Aev Keirianh. “Here. Drink this.”
Athalla reached up and took a warm cup of some unknown liquid.
“Some crewmembers suggested this beverage may restore vitality. I believe they said the black variety was best. I sampled some myself and cannot believe you humans actually consume such foul drink.”
Leon chuckled. “It’s called coffee. It comes from a bean grown on Earth that when roasted is ground into a powder and then steeped with water. Strong for the uninitiated, drink enough and most people eventually become quite fond of its various forms and flavors. It’s one of the Earth’s most consumed beverages.”
Leon took a sip of the hot coffee which even black tasted as good as it felt slipping down his throat into a body pushed far beyond its tolerance.
“Any new news?”
“No”, the mercenary responded. “Damage control and medical care are the only topics being discussed. Securing the ship, caring for the wounded, and beginning repairs appear to be the top concerns. News as to what occurred is sparse. The Vulcans are assisting and we appear to be in orbit above their homeworld. That is all I could discover.”
“No one seems to know anything”, Athalla muttered in frustration. “I suppose just being alive should be news enough for now given the damages and injured.”
“Romulans are lethal, efficient adversaries. I am impressed by this ship’s recent performance given its limited capabilities. I did not expect to survive the encounter with my people. My opinion of the Federation and Starfleet personnel has been…changed by this experience.”
“Likewise”, Athalla muttered raising his steaming cup. “You Romulans are a dogged, determined race with highly skilled soldiers. I would not want to fight in a protracted conflict with the Star Empire.”
Keirianh respectfully, but silently nodded.
“Tell me lieutenant. When the current flood of activity inexorably ends and routine once again asserts itself over chaos what do you believe your superiors will do with me?”
Leon looked up over his coffee cup’s brim as he nearly choked on the unexpected question.
“I..I can’t answer that. What I mean to say is I don’t know.”
“You’ve been invaluable in the recent action and are a first rate soldier. Some of our own marines could learn a thing or two from you Keirianh. I can’t say what Captain Rehu may or may not do. Rumor has it you tried to kill her in addition to the good ambassador. She is not one to easily forgive or forget. However, she does value loyalty. You saved my life and the lives of several others by your actions. That has to be worth something. I will gladly testify on your behalf and I assume a few others will as well. Perhaps JAG can be brought in to help. I really don’t know anything about you or your past, but after what we have been through I’m not sure it really matters. You are a friend in my book.”
Athalla extended his hand which after a slight pause the mercenary took and firmly returned the offer.
“I don’t know about Romulans, but us humans have to sleep occasionally. I have no idea how long I’ve been awake and do not want to know. My next mission is to find a couch, a chair, or corner somewhere relatively quiet and sack out for as long as possible.”
“A wise choice considering the two of us have been awake for…”
“Don’t say it”, Athalla interrupted. “I’d rather die of exhaustion and hunger not knowing.”
Leon willed his aching, injured, and fatigued body upwards once more as every atom of his being screamed in protest. He offered his hand to the Romulan and helped him upwards.
“I wouldn’t worry about security for now. They have enough on their hands at the moment assuming you do not intend to murder anyone and escape to Vulcan in the midst of our current situation.”
“The Charon currently remains the safest place for me to reside. There are those who seek to end my life and their influence and reach is considerable. Vulcan, while tempting, is not an option. My fate seems to be inexorably tied to this ship. However I give you my solemn word that I no longer have any intention of harming anyone aboard. The contracts I accepted have long since expired and my days as a mercenary for hire appear to be behind me. The future is…uncertain.”
Athalla yawned nearly falling over. “That’s good enough for me. We can deal with your problems and mine later. I still have to explain to someone about the little issue with the shuttlebay. I can already feel my ass being chewed on. Too tired to care right now.”
“I believe I saw several empty cots in one of the cargo bays setup for both the wounded and the crew to rest. Perhaps we should head there?”
“Capital idea”, Athalla muttered fighting back another powerful yawn as the pair set off in search of sleep in the midst of a chaotic USS Charon.
[ End Log ]
Lt. Leon Athalla, Fighter Pilot
Aev Keirianh, Romulan Mercenary
NPCs apb Tav