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Posted on Jun 19, 2017 @ 10:31pm by Lieutenant Cantor Von
Edited on on Jun 19, 2017 @ 10:31pm

Mission: The Romulan Way


(cont'd from "Game Face" written by my SusieQ)

- Translation from Japanese: "Advantage"


SD: [2.17]0619.0644
SCENE: Gymnasium, Primary Hull, Deck 10

Kass Thytos moved from foot to foot. Cantor Von could feel her discomfort in his telepathy and the Marine's effort to block him mentally. He was by no means a strong telepath, but it didn't take much to gather the information that Kass was projecting.

For the twentieth time the Betazoid moved as he had been taught by D'Mara - but definitely not applying full force as no one wore any protective gear. Kormerek was brutal and close in, so Von advanced close to the Marine. In the moderately lit gymnasium, he could feel Jasmine Yu's critical gaze on both him and Thytos - her disapproval of the female Marine was also not very well hidden.

Von's approach triggered Kass as he thought it would. She struck out with moves that weren't exactly Starfleet Martial arts - a well delivered elbow that was to be followed by a head butt. Von immediately countered with two moves simultaneously - many of Kormerek's counters were "dual-moved" as he labelled them. His arm reached out toward the back of Kass's neck causing the elbow to slide harmlessly along the length of his arm. At the same time his back leg struck her thigh - careful to not strike at full force - causing that leg to falter. Her momentum removed, Kass felt her elbow be captured and her going to the ground. Trying to spin out of it she encountered Von's leg and looked up to see an elbow stop at the bridge of her nose.

Cantor helped the Marine up and Kass said nothing, getting back into a fighting stance. The Betazoid felt her frustration, but it was actually more controlled than he thought she had in her. Perhaps this was her Marine training kicking in.

From the side Jasmine Yu evaluated the evolution of each encounter. Kormerek had the directness of Vegan Tosharra, but had the unusual aspect of often utilizing two attacks as simultaneously. Instead of a serial evolution of techniques, it was a parallel strategy of actions. Sure there were some martial arts in the Federation that incorporated something similar, but for the Romulan martial art it was very much a main feature. Perhaps Romulan neurology could more easily facilitated multiple actions at once.

With each iteration, Jasmine saw Kass adapting to the attack/attack or defense/attack, covering up when attacking, protecting her legs and anticipating multiple attacks at different angles. Yu didn't know if this would eventually lead to a successful defense or counter attack, but it showed Kass was very much thinking and learning with each exchange.

But Yu was paying more attention to Von. She realized two things almost immediately. First, he wasn't applying maximum force. She could see where the "bone-breaking" portions of Kormerek would have been levied, and it would have been, indeed, brutal. She didn't doubt a Romulan utilizing such moves could snap a femur or shatter a forearm. Second, though, and more surprising, was that Cantor Von was fast. And not just in reaction - something she assumed he would have the advantage with by just being a competent telepath. No, his moves belayed a fast-twitch muscle response that was well beyond normal range. This was confirmed by the increasing string of expletives from Kass at the end of each exchange. It wasn't the martial art. This was Von himself.

"Yu, it's your fuckin' turn," Thytos said, finally, nodding at Von and sitting down with barely controlled frustration. Jasmine Yu approached, but not with Starfleet Martial Arts. She opened herself up in an Aikido stance, waiting for Von's attack. In short order it came, and again, the speed. She turned letting the force go past her, but didn't turn far enough as the Betazoid's foot sheered her shin and slammed down on her foot, pinning it to the ground. What came next was a series of attacks and counter attacks, with both combatants immobile due to the pinned foot. Finally Yu shifted her weight forward and slammed her shin into Von's, breaking the foot pin and countering a simultaneous attack to the chest. She couldn't get her weight around to defend against the elbow that stopped short of her cheek bone.

"Yer too fast," spat Kass from the sidelines. "I don't know if it's your telepathy or somethin', but it's somethin'."

Breathing hard, Yu nodded. Von blinked, then smiled. "I'm not using my telepathy."

Jasmine took a deep breath. "I can see Kormerek, but I can also read your reaction times and speed. It's fast, Cantor." She looked at Thytos in thought. "I don't think it's telepathy, though."

"It's ridiculous. An' I love it." And just like that Cantor felt her frustration turn to excitement. "Von, I want you to be my sparring partner going for'd. An' I reckon Yu can use moar practice seein' how she's gettin' her ass kicked." Yu frowned at this, but nodded turning to Von.



Scene: The Vulgar Tribble, Deck 10, Primary Hull
Time Index: Some time later

Cantor Von walked up to Captain Kane and Commander Jaron as the two commanding officers viewed the distorted warp field in front of the PHOENIX. Von took a sip of Romulan Ale - not the simulated stuff, authentic Romulan Ale he noticed - and stepped in beside Jaron.

"Jolan Tru, Commander," the Betazoid nodded. "." Von grimaced internally as he knew the universal translator had most likely translated the idiom "good" into "advantageous" for Captain Kane's ears.

Jaron seemed to know this as well as he nodded his greeting. "Your Romulan is excellent, Lieutenant Von, I presume?" he replied in Federation Standard. He held out a hand in a very human gesture. Von accepted it, and the two shook with less awkwardness than the Betazoid had anticipated. Around them soft music and subdued conversation filled the air.

Captain Kane spoke up. "Lieutenant Von, as you are aware, spent some time aboard a Romulan vessel in the Gamma Quadrant."

"Yes, I read the mission reports." Jaron turned back to the PHOENIX's CO. "I found that Romulan Naval and Federation Starfleet personnel worked together in a very advantageous way." The Romulan CO turned back to Von. "What were your thoughts of the mission, Lieutenant Von?"

The Betazoid could tell the Romulan Commander was uncomfortable. Not via telepathy, but just having spent six years with Romulans. They had tells that were common across the entire species, much like humans grimacing. And during Von's six years he had made many Romulans uncomfortable. "We accumulated a lot of information on the Dominion during the mission, Commander. Sub-Commander Nevar and his crew were a credit to the Romulan Star Navy."

Jaron nodded, his expression mute. "That is...good to hear, Lieutenant Von. Sub-Commander Nevar's report speaks highly of you and your fellow Starfleet officers during the mission."

Von kept his gaze as Kane's golden eyes surveyed them both. "I hope our cooperation will be a good for the dialogue between our two people," replied Von, using a more optimistic version of the word "sign" in Romulan.

Jaron put on a smile. "Captain Kane, you never told me that Lieutenant Von had diplomatic blood in his veins," he chuckled, looking at he PHOENIX's CO.

"Commander, while we spoke of officers and Senators who may be against strengthening relationships between our two people, there are many like Lt. Von who see it as a benefit."

Jaron cast a sidelong glance at Von. "Unless it is"

Von's smile never wavered. "I assure you, Commander, my intent is clear and I believe the advantage is mutual," the Betazoid replied, avoiding the word "truth".

"I can appreciate that intent, Lieutenant Von. Thank you. Now, if you two will excuse me, I will refill my glass."

When the Romulan Commander had disappeared into the milling crowd, Kane spoke to Von quietly. "Thoughts, Lieutenant?"

"He's not happy with this assignment." Von looked into Kane's golden eyes. "He especially doesn't trust you."

Kane straightened his uniform. "I didn't know I had a reputation outside the Federation," he chuckled. "Do you think it's enough of a sentiment to try to sabotage this mission?"

Von shook his head. "No, Captain, command-level officers like Jaron are very loyal to the Praetor. There are always outiers, however, for the most part they will go to their death on the Praetor's word without a second of hesitation."

Kane took a sip of his drink. "He revealed to me that one of his security detail is a Tal'Shiar agent."

Von looked back at Kane. "Really? That *is* unusual. I'm not sure what that means. It's not surprising that there are Tal'Shiar agents aboard, but for him to reveal them as such, to an enemy Commander no less-"

"'Enemy,' Lieutenant?"

"That's the closest word to what they think of us, Captain. 'Unresolved combatants' is another. It is not 'advantageous' to expand in our direction at the moment."

Kane shook his head. "How will there every be peace between our two people?"

Von smiled. "Starfleet Officers a century ago said the very same thing about the Klingon Empire and their war-obsessed culture. But cultures adapt and evolve. And events influence." Von took a sip of his ale. "It may look like an insurmountable mountain, but I think this is just the first step. It may take a thousand steps to reach the summit, but taking the first step is a requirement. A necessity."

Kane nodded. "Good point. Do you trust them, Lieutenant?"

"Gods, no," replied Von, causing the CO to laugh. "But for the Praetor to invite the the Federation Dreadnaught to orbit the Romulan Homeworld is unpresidented. Shocking, in fact."

"There are going to be hundreds of cloaked vessels targeting us in orbit, aren't there?"

"Yes, sir. Without a doubt." He looked back at Kane. "We'll need to tread carefully while there and keep our heads about us."

Kane nodded again. "Good advice. Thank you, Lieutenant."

"My pleasure, Captain."


NRPG: I *really* wanted to explode Jerome's "Kane" search. Kane. Kane. Kane.

On another note, giving hints about Von's neurological condition.

For those who are interested, I modeled Kormerek after this martial art:


Marko J. Sertic
Lt. Cantor Von
Chief Operations Officer


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