So Take These Broken Wings

By Linda

Rating: PG-13

Genres: adventure drama

Keywords: Romulan War

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Chapter Four: Learn to Live Life So Free

Chapter 4: Learn to Live Life So Free

 

AdmiralArcher stood in T’Pau’s office waiting for her to acknowledge him and let him sit.  V’Lar stood on one side of him and Kuvak on the other. 

T’Pau looked up trying for a surprised look, human style, which meant exaggerated - to a Vulcan’s sensibilities.  It was for Archer’s benefit.   Archer had been intimately tutored by Surak’s katra when it was resident in his mind; he was able to understand and deal well with Vulcan protocol.   He nodded at T’Pau without expression.

When all were seated, T’Pau steepled her hands and addressed them.  “You know why this very important meeting has been called.  You know what is necessary.  Now, I want your ideas on how to implement this secrecy.”

“First Minister, if I may?”  Asked Archer.

T’Pau nodded.

“Little more needs doing.  Starfleet, the Andorian High Command, and the Tellarite Planetary Council have already agreed to Vulcan clean up of all the battlefields.  Everyone is satisfied with the respectful way you are handling the return of alliance soldiers’ remains.   You have the most advanced salvage equipment.  Your return of the partially recycled metals to the closest starbases, efficiently tagged for pickup by the home world which built the ship, is very generous.  It saves all of us time and money.  As to the people who have actually seen Romulans, they are few.  And they have all been sworn to silence, as you asked.”

“Admiral, I deeply appreciate that.  And on our honor, we will not access computer databases, but simply return those untouched.  You can trust us.  But I want absolute assurance we can trust you.  I want a list of all who have seen Romulans.”

Archer leaned forward. “Trust is built through time.  We trust you not to access the databases, and you must trust us not to make public the true nature of the Romulans.  We can start building this trust by taking care of swearing to silence our own people without having you know who they are.”

“You speak for the humans.  Can you speak for the Andorians and Tellarites?”

“Of course not.  You will have to ask them yourself.”

“Good answer, you are not being egotistical enough to try to speak for them.  And I have spoken to them.  It seems we have this locked down tight.  For now.  If we do not, it would threaten the negotiations, the trust we four species are building, that must exist before our four worlds are ready to become the founding members of this federation you are proposing.”

“I can guarantee the silence of the humans and one Vulcan who knows: T’Pol, currently captain of Enterprise.  They are all close friends of mine and are under my command.  I know well their capacity to keep important confidences.  But you have even more people to keep silent.  How many of your captured Romulans are remaining under your jurisdiction?”

T’Pau answered sharply.  “Eighty-nine percent of them.  Silence as to their origin is a condition for them to remain on our colony worlds.  If they do not comply, they will be sent back to Romulan space.  So, they are very motivated to keep quiet.”

“I’ll bet they are,” Archer said, raising an eyebrow.  He looked at Kuvak and V’Lar who had said nothing, but both nodded solemnly to him.

As far as Archer was concerned, this silence could stand perhaps for...a few years, perhaps even twenty or so before the truth leaked out.   By then he hoped, the Federation would be well established and indispensible to its member worlds.      

....

 Vorush broke the docking seal with the Andorian ship in a final gesture of defiance.  Let her feel a moment of fright.  In his own weakened and frightened state he had really thought he must end his life and take the humans with him.  But she, damn her, had such convincing arguments and a calm voice that he really wanted to trust.  Now too weak to even walk through the access port of the joined ships, he would take this tentative trust a step further, while holding in reserve the one weapon he had left. 

He asked her beam himself and the welding equipment aboard.   

....

Hoshi had Vorush all trussed up in bandages and reclining in one of the convertible bridge chairs.  He felt like his mother had taken over his life and made him a child again.  That felt comforting but slightly demeaning.  It was good to be on the bridge where he could at least hear everything which was going on.

Hoshi gave Vorush a light pat on the shoulder.  “Malcolm, could you finish the bandaging while I go make Vorush some plomeek soup?  It won’t take more than five minutes with these instant soup packages T’Pol gave us as an alternative to the Andorian galley stock.”

“Sure,” Malcolm said, as he hopped by, half into an outside-the-hull worksuit.

Vorush had stoically endured the breaking and resetting of one bone, reallienment of his shoulder, five stitches in one lower arm, and the application of burn cream to his neck and shoulder.  They had had to guess on the amount of pain medication, hoping he was not allergic to the medication in the kit Phlox had given them, so they would not have to use the Andorian medical kit that had come with the ship.

Malcolm stood up and resumed donning his suit as Hoshi carried some steaming soup onto the bridge in a closed liquids container with a straw.  She stopped and frowned at Malcolm’s bandaging job.

“Malcolm, did we run out of adhesive bandages?  Isn’t that engineering super-duct tape you have on that last layer of bandaging?”  She said.  

Malcolm grinned.  “Just making sure he is secure.  We don’t want him able to move at all and undo a stitch or unset that bone, do we?  I am just looking after his comfort.”

Neither Hoshi nor Vorush said a word.  They both understood what Malcolm was doing.

“Well, I’m off to help Trip weld that nacelle strut in place,” said a self-satisfied Malcolm as he clumped back to the exit hatch on the far side of the galley.

 “How can you stand this bitter Andorian tea which you gave me?” Vorush asked in a petulant voice as he handed her his tea container, exchanging it for the soup.

“It has healing properties,” Hoshi told him in a voice which he found caring but condescending. 

Just like my mother he almost said, and just like a child, he felt rebellious.  “I refuse to drink any more of it.  Give me something else!”

Hoshi sighed and picked up the scanning console set to monitor Trip as he worked at welding on the nacelle strut.  She plopped the console on Vorush’s inclined chest and headed for the galley.   Trussed up as he was, Vorush could not reach the navigation or weapons consoles.

“Vorush, call me quick if Trip or Malcolm needs me.”

He heard her opening and closing cupboards and her voice muffled by the bulkhead between them saying in exasperation “How about some ale?  Not sure it is good for healing but it might be good for masking a bit of pain.  It’s Romulan.”

“How in the vast empty universe did you or the Andorians who built this rattletrap ship get your hands on THAT?”

“From what I understand, “she said as she returned to the bridge with a container and straw filled with the green stuff, “there is a brisk clandestine trade in all sorts of contraband throughout your vast empty universe – which is far from empty, actually.”

He grinned.  It was instructive to hear that he had lived a very sheltered life up until now, ignorant of so many things that these neophyte-in-space humans seemed to know.  His perceptions of alien cultures had been very limited.  He reached out a hand for the container and tipping the straw carefully to his lips, drained half of it.

“Well that should get you mellowed out,” quipped an amused Hoshi.  “I know how it affected T’Pol.   Being Vulcan, she might have the same reaction to it that you would.  But she is smaller than you.”

“Vulcan?”

“Yes, a shipmate on our normal ship.  This ship is only temporary for us.”

“I see.  But Vulcan?”

“And she is Trip’s wife.”

“But he is human!”

“So?”

Vorush frowned.  “I can understand sexual curiosity.  Most species are always seeking new forms of pleasure after working hours... But marriage?  Of course there could be no children.”

Hoshi laughed.  Then her face became serious and she leaned toward him.  “Oh but there can be children.  They lost a child.  But Dr. Phlox, our ship’s Denoblian physician told them it was possible to try again.  When they are ready.   Maybe after the war.”

“Oh.”  He was stunned and didn’t know if she was lying to him.  But why lie about this?  Lying had no tactical value that he could see.  “And this marriage, it is allowed?”

“There was and is some resistance to it among both Vulcans and humans, butTrip and T’Pol have many supportive friends, among all the alliance species.

Vorush now had more to mull over.  He handed back the console.  “They seem to be okay out there.”  And he looked away from her, draining the drinks container, setting it on a flat surface within reach, then sipping the hot soup with his eyes closed.      

....

Trip was impressed with the Romulan technology.  The electodless plasma weld equipment was invaluable because it worked with welding different types of metal.  And the Andorians had used different metal in their obsolete ship then they had used in their state-of-the-art warship whose nacelle he was attaching.  Damn, he wished he could talk to some Romulan engineers.  Vorush was not an engineer, but he had admitted that he had transported equipment around inside his ship for engineers, from the brief conversation Trip had had with him.  He knew how to set the equipment up, which saved a lot of time for Trip.

Trip pointed to another section on the strut and Malcolm changed a setting on the welding controls.  Trip nodded and resumed work.  Malcolm was good at both giving and taking orders and was a quick study with new devices.  With breaks for food and sleep, this job should be done in three days. 

  ....

He watched Hoshi monitoring multiple consoles and screens.   She was good.  Very good.  These humans were better then they seemed at first perusal.   They had talked off and on.   Not as soft as he had thought, these humans with this thing called compassion and an almost too easy acceptance of strangers.  But beneath that softness of compassion was a hard drive for survival. 

Would he be able to live in their world?  His wife would have to learn, whether he joined her or not.  She would not be trusted if she was returned to Rehansu authority.  She would lose her good shipboard job and be assigned to a labor camp.  His daughter would grow up there and that would be her only future.   Innocent though they may be, they would be relegated to the lowest level of Rehansu society because they had been prisoners of the enemy – an unacceptable status and affront to Rehansu honor.  Of course his wife would rather choose defection and assimilation of their child into Vulcan society!

Should he join them?   What about his soldier’s oath and his pride?  Honor, even though a concept of his social betters, was something he was not entirely untouched by.  And these humans had killed his friends, the few he had had on board Raptor’s Nest.   He thought he had made his choice but doubt kept creeping back.  He could take these three out with his personal self-destruct mechanism.  Easily. 

Then Hoshi smiled at him.  It was a guileless smile, a warm smile.  It made him uneasy.  He would kill her only with great regret.  To do it or not.  He wasn’t sure.  But he did not have to decide now because he would have to wait until all three of them were back on the bridge.

Vorush could reach his mouth to feed himself but not much else.  Fortunately, he could reach his brow ridge.   Buried in the cartilage was his personal self-destruct mechanism and he scratched the ridge carefully to be sure the mechanism was within reach.  It was his only weapon now.  He smiled thinking of how that Malcolm person had scanned his body for weapons and even looked in his mouth, especially at his teeth.  Who would ever put a self-destruct device in a tooth?   It would be impossible to eat many of his favorite foods without biting down hard enough to set something like that off.    

No, his self destruct mechanism was hidden within that which visually marked his people as different from the dominant Vulcans on the world of their mutual origin.  Ironic, he thought, since it was a mark of inferiority on that world – a ridge in wing shape which was a genetic inheritance that unfortunately was accompanied by a lack of telepathic ability, in most cases.  Telepathy, mostly of the touch variety, was an instrumental tool in the struggle for predominance among Vulcanoids on the home world.  It had helped back his people into marginality - militarily and socially.  So in the early days of space travel, in the days of the great Surak’s spreading philosophy of peaceful coexistence, both the dominant population and the marginalized one saw separation by distance to be a logical solution to the ‘Rehansu problem’.  Vorush’s ancestors boarded those ancient starships of questionable, largely untested technology, and left.  Those who bore the mark of the raptor’s wing on their foreheads became a rare sight on the home world.   Vorush sighed.  His fingers drummed nervously on his chest.  He held these humans’ lives in his fingers and he was still undecided.      

....

Trip ignited the jet pack and circled the strut at the weld, inspecting it on the highest magnification setting of his suit’s view plate.  It looked good.  Malcolm was packing up the welding equipment.  Trip nodded to Malcolm and they pushed the equipment toward the access port.  

Vorush watched them.  Decision time soon.  He heard them talking as they removed their pressurized work suits.  Then they were on the bridge, looking down at him.  He didn’t like Malcolm much.  But this Trip, his smile was genuine, like Hoshi’s.  And he was married to a Vulcan - the vey Vulcans who had once thought it socially unacceptable to marry a Rehansu were now even marrying outside their species.  Vorush sighed and dropped his hand to his side.

“One last thing to do after you make those connections inside the nacelle strut, okay?”  Vorush asked.

“And what would THAT be,” Malcolm asked, arms crossed over his chest.

Vorush addressed his remarks to Trip.  “Commander Tucker, would you ask your armaments crewman to damage Shadow Wing to make it look like anyone on board had been vaporized?"

Malcolm, smarting at the personal snub, spoke first.  “Gladly.”

....

Two months later....

Vorush took a deep breath of the air.  It would do.  As to the rest of this...  Well, the sky was the wrong color and it was a little too warm here.  Well suited to heat loving Vulcans but the humidity that made the planet lush and agriculturally productive was uncomfortable for any Vulcanoid.  But he would adapt.  This planet and others like it were probably invaluable for feeding the dry Vulcan world of origin’s growing population.  He sat on his carryall, head in hands.  It was lonely at this transfer station in this very basic amenities farming town.   He had been the only one to disembark from the low flyer air bus here.

Where were they? 

A ground vehicle was approaching over the unpaved road that ran out through miles of flat fields full of crops.   As it grew closer, he saw a driver and one small passenger – Vulcanoid as far has he could tell.   It was her!  He stood and waved, smiling.   She leaped out of the vehicle and ran to him.  They embraced, tears flowing, then he felt a tug on his pant leg.

“Daddy.”

He bent and picked up his daughter, hugging her against his chest.

The Vulcan transfer station master watched in silence, shaking his head in mild disapproval as he thought “they are like us in appearance, but their behavior is more like that of the humans.  Yet they are young and possibly will have a good life here.”     

The station master watched as the newly reunited family unloaded the boxes of produce from the farm truck before driving off to their new life together. 

Mi’ iw (The End) 

Note:  Mi’iw is how you end a story in Ojibwe, usually a story recited verbally.  Ojibwe stories used to be told only during the winter, I have been informed, or you would get blue marks on your body.  I guess in better weather you were supposed to be outside doing other things.  Anyway, I couldn’t resist adding a touch from a ‘non-dominant culture’ that is part of my family.


Comments:

Cogito

It's a great story rich in detail, and manages to say a lot about the humans and their new allies without seeming to. I'm especially intrigued by the image of T'Pol "mellowed out" on Romulan ale - I would love to have seen that! :p

Asso

A final more satisfying than this I think it is hard to find.
And how it is well written!
Makes you want to read more of this story.

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