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Hawk Watching

Posted on Jul 07, 2017 @ 1:56am by Captain Michael Turlogh Kane

Mission: The Romulan Way

"HAWK WATCHING"

(Continued from "All's Fair In Love And Espionage")

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Captain's log, supplemental - our arrival on Romulus has gone as smoothly as expected, and we are getting to know our senatorial hosts while we wait for an audience with the Praetor...

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Location: Imperial Senate, Ki-Baratan, Romulus
Stardate: [2.17]0706.1800
Scene: Reception room


Michael Turlogh Kane took the knife from the hand of Kassandra Thytos. When Chevet had drawn the blade from beneath his robe, the diminutive marine had moved quickly to put herself between him and the Romulan, and her whispered warning about it being bugged only put him further on edge. He wondered if the Romulans were playing games with them, then found himself second-guessing what Kassandra had said - was she being sarcastic, or had she seen something through her sensor net, perhaps a surreptitious signal emanating from the hilt?

He examined the knife. It was a straight, single-edged blade about twenty centimetres long - the tip of the blade curved slightly upward at its point. The hilt was interesting - it was similar to a sword's basket hilt, made of one long piece of metal that was wound into a spiral around the central handle, and was decorated with leaves and birds' wings. There was an odd burnish to the hilt, too, like it had been buffed by liquid gold and had retained some of the shine.

Chevet was watching Kane's reaction with interest. "It is called a neca. Once the standard sidearm of our ancestors, now a ceremonial weapon, and benefitting from modern technology. Have a care, Captain Kane. That is a monofilament edge."

Kane inverted the dagger and held it out before him. If Kassandra was right, and the thing was bugged, then he could hardly accept the damn thing. "The hospitality of the Romulan people is enough of a gift for us, Senator."

Chevet's eyes narrowed. "You are refusing?"

Kane looked at him evenly. "I am declining."

A heartbeat passed, and Chevet shrugged. "So be it." He took the hilt of the dagger and drew it back, secreting it somewhere within his robes. "Perhaps not the most appropriate gift. Have I offended you?"

"No." Kane looked around the room, wondering how the other conversations were going, and how long it would be before the Praetor was ready to receive them. He could appreciate the psychological effect of making people wait - after all, he'd used it himself many times in the past - but given the knife-edge that everyone was walking on, he was starting to get the desire to pay his respects to the Praetor and be done with Romulus altogether. "I look forward to the day when all weapons are sheathed between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. Hopefully this visit can be the first step along that road."

"Well said," chuckled Chevet. "May your hope not be misplaced."

Kane raised an eyebrow. "Do you think it might be?" Seeing Chevet's quizzical look, he held up a hand. "Senator, I don't for a moment mean to suggest that this peace initiative won't or can't work, but I am not so foolish as to believe that it enjoys unequivocal support across the political spectra of both our societies."

Chevet put his hands behind his back - a curiously Human gesture - and thought about it for a moment before inclining his head in a Romulan approximation of a nod. "You are correct. There are several dissenting voices in the Senate that regularly speak out against the Praetor's desire for peace with the Federation. When we withdrew our fleet from the Bolian homeworld, many senators decried the move as showing mercy to a defeated enemy. Even now, following the Federation's most recent crisis, there is a strong argument to be made that we should begin a new offensive while Starfleet is weak."

"I can understand that," said Kane. "But surely that would be a long war, and one that would cripple both our societies."

"No doubt the Klingons thought the same," said Chevet pointedly, and Kane took his point well. The familiar Romulan-Klingon-Federation power triad in the Alpha Quadrant had been obliterated fifty years ago when the Romulans had finally crushed the Klingon Empire, bombarding Qo'noS back to its Stone Age and removing the Klingons from the main stage of galactic politics. "The war hawks believe that the Federation is in no mood for a long war, and that we would still make territorial gains from any conflict between us. That would strengthen the Empire and weaken the Federation."

"The war hawks?"

"The colloquialism given to that faction of senators who favour an aggressive stance against the Federation," said Chevet. He looked around the room, finding Cantor Von and Nevar, the Romulan who had earlier greeted them in a friendly fashion. "Senator Nevar is the leader of that faction in the Senate."

Kane frowned. "Nevar? But I thought, by the way he hailed us, that - "

"That he was well-disposed towards you?" Chevet looked at Kane sidelong, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. "Ah, now I see that you are wondering if he is your enemy. I am afraid that that evaluation would also be in error."

"Perhaps you could explain," said Kane, with more patience than he felt.

Chevet gestured to Nevar. "Many senators are former military officers who decide to continue their service to the people through politics. Surely this is not so alien to understand? So it is the way with Nevar, and the Praetor herself. The war hawks in the Senate are suspicious of the Federation's motives, advise caution, and repeatedly point out that a military offensive against a weakened Starfleet would result in victory. It does not mean that Nevar wants to drown the galaxy in blood - he is committed to the Empire first and foremost - but he does want the Empire to supersede the Federation, politically and economically. He, and his faction, are patriots."

Kane thought he understood. "So you see the war hawks as pragmatic."

"Yes, in a large sense. It is possible that, if the war hawk faction was in power, we would not be having this conversation at this moment." Chevet leaned in to Kane and spoke in a conspiratorial fashion. "But they are not in power, nor will they be without new elections. No, Captain Kane, the peace initiative will go forward. It is just that not all the lights on the path will be illuminated."

"And what of you, Senator Chevet? Do you favour peace with the Federation?"

The Romulan seemed unperturbed. "I did not rise to become an imperial tribune, nor aide to the Praetor, without being loyal to her and her ideals. I happen to think that too much Romulan blood has been spilled in the last fifty years. We have had too much war - war with the Klingons, war with the Kem D'Neel, war with the Bolians. Too many of our sons and daughters have died among the stars." The Romulan looked downcast for a moment, as if recalling a sorrowful memory. "I think our people deserve a century of peace. With the arrival of a Federation ambassador, I hope to make that thought a reality."

Kane looked around the room. The young Romulan guards, one male and one female, standing by the door to the Praetor's chamber stood up straight and tall, their uniforms crisp, their sharp-edged faces professionally impassive, their disruptors glinting in the sunlight coming in from off the ocean. Here in the centre of the room, older men and women spoke of peace, of the future, but that future was not just theirs. Eight hundred souls on the Phoenix as well as these young Romulan guards were waiting and watching to see how their future would be played out.

These were tense days. Not for the first time since the Phoenix departed from Starbase 56, Michael Turlogh Kane felt the weight of history.

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NRPG: Chevet seems like a reasonable sort of bloke. How are your characters faring with the other senators?

Also, this is a brief timeline of the recent interactions between the Romulan Star Empire and the United Federation of Planets.

2379: Military coup ends civilian republican rule in the Empire (Star Trek: Nemesis)
2381-2385: The Romulan-Klingon War, Klingons conquered
2391: Romulan withdraw from Klingon space
2392: Military hands power back to civilian republican government
2410: Treaty of Peace between Federation and Romulans
2411: Kem D'Neel ravage the Romulan Empire
2412: Romulans participate in the Battle of Coriana III
2413: Under influence of Locusta Regime, Romulans attack Vega, seize letridium, ending peace treaty, sparking a new state of phony war, no official contact for the next sixteen years
2429: Provoked by Neo-Essentialist attack, Romulans invade the Federation
2430: The Siege of Bolarus
2431: Romulans withdraw to their own borders when crew of USS Phoenix reveal Neo-Essentialist plot
Summer 2432: The Radaik Peace Initiative - now


Jerome McKee
the Soul of Captain Michael Turlogh Kane
Commanding Officer
USS PHOENIX


"He speaks an infinite deal of nothing!"
- Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", Act 1, Scene 1.117

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