So Take These Broken Wings

By Linda

Rating: PG-13

Genres: adventure drama

Keywords: Romulan War

This story has been read by 750 people.
This story has been read 1685 times.


Chapter One: This Time Might Be the Last, I Fear

Disclaimer:  Star Trek Enterprise and the characters featured in this story are the property of whoever owns Star Trek these days. No profit was or will be made from this story.

Summary: An ensemble piece set during the Romulan war. 

_________________________________________________

Trip manipulated the controls of the small vessel while Hoshi and Malcolm watched intently, both leaning forward, tense against their restraint harnesses. 

“Are you sure we are being followed?”  asked Malcolm, trying to read the sensor data over Trip’s shoulder.

“Hmm, I could be wrong, with all the debris from the battle distracting me, but I thought I saw somethin’ moving out there.”

Hoshi sighed. “This battle was six months ago.  Starfleet thinks no ships have been by here since the Romulans were defeated here.  We didn’t have time to pick up our dead, let alone salvage any material immediately after the battle.  I understand we were just barely able to tow away damaged ships with living crew or beam them on board from unmovable hulks as we chased the retreating Romulans.   This war is moving too fast and our resources are spread too thin.  I don’t like being on the first ship to return here.  Couldn’t we have gone another way?  It’s spooky here, as if there were ghosts hanging about.”

“But it is the shortest route back to Enterprise.  It would take too long to go around a debris field spread over an area of space roughly the size of our solar system, especially this close to that station we just left.   Going through it at warp speed, even impulse, we might slam into something.   So it’s thrusters and a close watch on the sensors,” responded Trip, his eyes continuously scanning all the controls of the Andorian compact limited-range warp ship they were in. 

There had been much sharing of resources between the three allies in this war.  The Andorians had a supply of small semi-obsolete fighting ships left from skirmishes with the Vulcans over the mining asteroids they both had laid claim to.  These ships were being used by the alliance as utility vessels, mostly behind the lines, for a variety of short range purposes.  It was technology they did not mind sharing with the Humans, but only reluctantly with the Tellarites.  Yet the Tellarites had been generous with both the Andorians and Humans in the area of photon torpedo arming systems, now that they had a common enemy.  And even the Vulcans, though non-combatants, had been giving aid in secret – especially medical supplies, engineering tools, and also some star charts of Romulan space that they had been holding out on previously.   More and more sharing had occurred as the Romulan threat loomed larger and trust between the allies became stronger.

“The Romulans have given up on holding this part of space, haven’t they?” Hoshi asked hopefully. 

Malcolm answered her with a fixed half-grin and clipped words: “That’s the scuttlebutt, anyway.”     

“Even so, I’m glad we were able to apply those upgrades to the engineering, weapons, and coms systems at that outpost.  How many more small trading stations are there out here that we will have to do this for?” she asked.

“We don’t have the time or resources to upgrade all of them,” Trip said.  “I wish we did, because they are sittin’ ducks otherwise.   And those Romulans don’t care who the stations belong to, even civilizations that have no trade agreements with any of the alliance partners.    They even attack star systems that only trade with the Vulcans, which seems kinda strange since the Vulcans are not part of the alliance.”

Hoshi offered an explanation.  “They probably suspect that the Vulcans are a secret partner in the alliance.  After all, they mentored us for over a century.   Maybe there are spies on space stations where goods are transferred from Vulcan ships to alliance ships.  Secret though it is, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out.  Maybe that’s why they’re hitting all the space stations they come across.  Though why the Vulcans don’t flat out join us, I have no idea.   What relationship do the Vulcans have with the Romulans anyway?”

Malcolm looked at Trip.   Trip tilted his head at Malcolm.

Hoshi looked from one of them to the other in consternation.  “Well?”  She asked.  

“There are rumors that the Romulans were backing V’Las’s bid to completely take over the Vulcan government… not just the High Command, which was supposed to be limited in authority only to matters of off-world affairs,” Malcolm replied. 

Hoshi countered with, “There is no proof of that, and none of V’Las people have any influence now in the government anyway.   But I do have my doubts.  Last time I talked with V’Lar, that time she made that offer to me of a tenured position at the Vulcan Science Academy in alien languages, she said there was no relationship between the languages at all.  I don’t believe that.   I found definite indicators that the languages are part of the same language family.   But she insisted there was no contact at all between the two cultures.  She was standing close to me when she said that and I think she read my doubt of her veracity telepathically.”

Malcolm grunted.  “She wants you on Vulcan.  But not to give you a position where your genius for languages could be used.  Not hardly.  She wants to control your research into this linguistic connection.  Trust me, I know repression of information when I see it.  It’s been part of my career path, at least before joining Enterprise’s crew.”

Hoshi frowned.  “I like V’Lar, despite my doubts.  I would rather trust people until I have absolute proof they’re lying.”

“Then you’re fortunate that I have your back, because I don’t trust anyone until they show me absolute proof that they’re trustworthy.   That is how I keep myself and people like you alive, Hoshi.”

Tense silence reclaimed the bridge of the small vessel as Trip threaded his way through the extensive debris field on thrusters.  He was aching to be out of this area so they could go to warp.  Then suddenly he bent his head toward one scanner.  “Uh oh.  Got a live one.  A piece of debris out there is showin’ some activity.”

Moving toward them at a tangent was a small ship which looked unnervingly swift and intact. 

“I think they left a few surprises to hamper our advance as they retreat from this part of space,”   said Trip.  “We have to try to out run them!  Mal?”

“I’m on it,” Malcolm said, gripping a control board and charging up what weapons they had.

Hoshi started to monitor the coms.

“It’s Romulan,” Trip said, recognizing the configuration of the hull.

“Noted, and I have a weapons lock on it,” said Malcolm.

“Hoshi?  Can you hail them?” Trip asked.

Hoshi fired harsh Romulan words at the approaching vessel.  Malcolm held back on firing the Andorian deadly short range weapons as the other ship just barely came within range.

There had been no answer on the coms, so Hoshi tried again.

“He hears us! He must, if he has any comm ability!  Definitely Romulan and closing.” Trip said, unnecessarily.

Malcolm fired, and the Romulan ship evaded.

“I’m headin’ for that area of denser debris,” said Trip.  Jagged pieces of metal that once were pieces of ships sped by them faster under Trip’s expertise at the controls.

Something rocked their vessel, and despite restraints, the three of them braced against whatever they could reach with their hands.

“Aw, shit!  Lost the starboard nacelle!” Trip shouted.

“Noted, Trip.   He’s still firing.  We hit him, too, and he’s trailing vapor,” said Malcolm.

Hoshi was still trying to hail the ship, which had slowed considerably and was continuing to fire erratically in their general direction.    She suspected there was also damage to the comm systems, as warning lights winked red on her console.

Trip spotted a large section of outer hull from a ship blown apart in the battle six months before.  It looked like a piece of forward section close to the bow and had Romulan lettering on it - the last half of what might have been the ship’s name.  Probably a heavy cruiser, thought Trip, as he turned sharply to scoot in behind one blackened jagged edge of it.  He noticed that a piece of inner hull was attached as they rounded the edge.  It was wider than he had thought.  It was taking too long to tuck in behind.   Maddeningly, seconds took forever until parts of cabins attached to the inner hull told Trip they had slipped behind the huge section of debris.   Through the forward view screen, Trip saw a body bump off the bow of their ship.    

Hoshi blanched and cut off a high-pitched scream which ended in the word “Vulcan?”

“Take hold, Hoshi,” Malcolm reprimanded.

“Can’t see him now,” Trip said of their pursuer, “we’ve got a substantial piece of debris between him and us now.  We’ll stay here for the moment.  Not goin’ far anyway in our condition.”

They were everywhere...the bodies. 

Taking brief side glances away from each of their controls, all three of them scanned the layout of the cabins open to space.  It seemed a jumble of machines, tools, hand weapons, bedding, personal items, and bodies, bodies, bodies - in the cabins and floating in nearby space.  Well, not exactly floating, more like just hanging there.  If they had not been otherwise occupied, this would have been a terrifying and fascinating find to explore.

 “I’m doin’ a check on the extend of our damage,” Trip said.

Tense and highly alert, Malcolm replied “Okay, Trip.  I got all approaches covered.” 

Hoshi went silent.  There was no point in further attempts at contact which might only give the enemy a way to pinpoint their location.    Besides, she was trying to take deep slow breaths in order not to faint.

....

It had been ten hours.  Trip and Malcolm had taken turns standing by at the weapons.  All three of them had had idle moments to scan over thousands of pieces of debris hanging in and near this section of a ship ripped open in battle.  There were a few banks of lights still working off long-life batteries.  These dim and dying lights winked on frozen vapor from oil and other liquids hanging immobile, ghostly.  Pipes stuck out with ends twisted closed or sheared off cleanly.   Frozen water vapor hung next to the truncated ends of some of these pipes.  The bodies, in grotesque positions and slightly bloated before freezing, were simply everywhere. 

“Pointed ears,” Trip was the first one to note.  “What the hell?”

“The skin!  Greenish-beige.  And the eyebrows...” Hoshi whispered.  “Are they, could they be...”

“Vulcan.  You’re thinkin’ they’re Vulcan.  But the Vulcans are not supposed to be fighting on either side in this war.”

“Sure looks like they are fighting against us, then,” grunted Malcolm.

“No,” said Hoshi.  “I have never seen a Vulcan with a deformed forehead.  See there?   The fourth or fifth one we hit.  A bony V on the forehead.”

“Noted, Hoshi.   But there are some people on Vulcan like that.  Not many.  T’Pol told me there were a few people left of a race called the Rehansu, a maligned race on Vulcan.  Some of them refused to board the colony ships when those-who-marched-under-the- raptor’s-wing left Vulcan on their own or perhaps were deported.  Vulcans are generally closed mouthed on how that exodus happened.”  Trip grimaced and shook his head.  “So maybe they became the Romulans?   Damn!  Wait till Starfleet hears about this!”   

 It was disconcerting, almost unnervingly so, to see these bodies and all the paraphernalia of abruptly terminated alien shipboard life.   But their sense of it had dulled over the long hours of tension.  Besides, this was detritus of The Enemy.  Unspoken, all three were having similar thoughts that they should keep themselves from having any sympathy for this ruthless alien aggressor. 

Malcolm broke the intense silence. “I love their décor.  Those garish colors.  It reminds me of severe bruising on skin – purple, green, yellow.  The colors are on practically every damn cabin wall over there!”

“Mal,” said Hoshi, her voice rough with the need for sleep, “cultural differences.  Pastel colors relax me, and those colors are probably relaxing to them.”

“Bruising people probably is their favorite relaxing technique.   Well, we did a bit of bruising ourselves in this battle, didn’t we?  That bunch over there is VERY relaxed now.  And by the way, pastels are boring to me.  I like bold primary colors like red and blue.”

“Then I guess there are cultural differences even between you and me, but I like you anyway.”

Their conversation petered out.  Over the hours, they had examined their damage, eaten emergency rations twice, and tried to maintain alertness for far too long.    

Hoshi broke the silence again.  “Cool customer, isn’t he?”

 “He’s out there,” Trip said gruffly, “Can’t be any place else.  Sensors would have picked him up leaving the area.”

“We can’t just sit here forever like this!”

“No, Hoshi, we can’t.”  Trip agreed.  “I’ve been thinkin’ that in this large debris field there must be a few intact nacelles – both alliance and Romulan.   It might be possible to borrow one.  But...”

“Just what our friend out there is waiting for,” said Malcolm.  “So he can take us out as soon as we leave cover and start looking around.”

“Or maybe he’s injured… or even dead… and can’t hurt us. I could try contacting him again.  At least he can’t fire at us if we stay here while talking to him,” said a tired Hoshi, resting her head on her arms. 

Eyebrows furrowed in frustration, Malcolm said “He could find out just where we are, though, if we try to contact him again.”

“Well, we should try something,” sighed Trip.  “Go ahead, Hoshi.”

Hoshi spoke a couple of sentences in Romulan into the comm system.   Her words seemed weak and broken.  She frowned and played with the volume. 

They got an answer.

“Now I know where you are.”

“And we know exactly where you are,” Hoshi answered, nodding at Trip and Malcolm.

More taunting words came across the abandoned battle field from the other ship.  “You are not getting out of this alive, you know.  So why not end it now?  Show yourself!”

“Impatient, arrogant bastard,” mumbled Malcolm.

“You are not leaving here alive, either,” said Trip, leaning toward Hoshi’s console.

Laughter came over the comm, fading in and out.  “That is not my intention.  Never was, when I was assigned to this mission.”

“It doesn’t have to remain your intention,” offered Hoshi.

“You soft Humans!  Yes, I know what species you are despite your Andorian ship.  My scanners picked that up right away when they still were working.  Even if nothing much else works now, my weapons still do.  They work just fine.  It is over.  For both of us.  My mission is almost accomplished and yours..., he laughed, “probably is not.  Accept the situation.  Come on out and die with honor.”

The voice broke off abruptly in a choked gurgle and the connection went dead.

Hoshi said excitedly “He’s wounded.  And bluffing.  Maybe he still has weapons, maybe not.  And he just made a mistake with his coughing, giving away that he’s wounded.   It could be that he’s utterly helpless, just trying to keep us here until our food and air run out by pretending he is still a threat.”

“It could be a trick!  He might be scamming us that he is injured and has extensive damage, just to get us to come out in the open where he could blow us away, then return to his fleet or just sit here waiting to attack another alliance ship,” suggested Malcolm.

“Maybe.” Said Trip.  “But we have weapons, even if limited mobility.  We gotta try somethin’ cause it’s true we don’t have unlimited air and food.  But we do have supplies long enough for two weeks if we stretch them, and in that time I could cobble somethin’ together so we could limp outa here at low warp to within range of getting help.”

“Okay.  Doing something is better than nothing,” Malcolm said, with Hoshi nodding.

Trip returned to his controls.  “Then let’s take a peek out from behind this hideous piece of debris.”  

 

After chapter note:  One thing which has seemed almost impossible to me is that during the Romulan War, a battle where many ships were destroyed would not have enemy bodies that were unseen by at least some of the Starfleet combatants.   I don’t name the battle I use in the story, but assume that both sides quickly withdrew in ships which still could get away.   The retreating side would naturally not stick around.  The winning side might not stick around either if they were needed to fight elsewhere.  But it seemed likely that someone would visit the battlefield later and realize what the enemy looked like.  Then the powers that be could shut these few people up and destroy the evidence if that was deemed desirable for history.  More about that in later chapters.


Comments:

Cap'n Frances

It must have been a shock seeing how Vulcan-like the Romulans are. I really liked the way you showed the different ways Trip, Malcolm and Hoshi tend to think. They're really quite different but they complement each other in important ways.

Weeble

nice beginning linda, i like the graveyard as a set for your play.

Lt. Zoe Jebkanto

This is fascinating.  The bodies... chilling (especially the detail about "slight bloating before freezing"...) and a vivid touch of gritty realism.  I too agree that this makes the TOS series statement (I think it was Spock's) that no human or Vulcan had ever seen a Romulan ring like political propoganda.  I also really liked the little back-and-forth between Malcolm and Hoshi about the colours... sort of gallows humour that I would certainly indulge in in their situation.  Great job.  I am looking forward to more! 

Transwarp

Linda,

You write: 'One thing which has seemed almost impossible to me is that during the Romulan War, a battle where many ships were destroyed would not have enemy bodies that were unseen by at least some of the Starfleet combatants.'  I must agree.  In my opinion this is one of the more absurd aspects of Star Trek canon.  It will be interesting to see how our trio's new-found knowledge get's locked back up so that no canon is harmed in your story's making!

Your descriptions of the drifting Romulan hulk are very intense and appropriately spooky.  well done.

Asso

As always, absolutely interesting. Yes. Definitely worth to see how things go.
Nothing to say, your stories, my friend, always manage to grasp angles of perspective decidedly peculiar and original.

You need to be logged in to the forum to leave a review!