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Gambit

Posted on Aug 13, 2017 @ 2:16am by Lieutenant Tomas Vukovic

Mission: The Romulan Way

"Gambit"

(follows Ran's "We Have Guests!")

Location: Catalin Reach
Star Date: [2.17] 0809.0948
Scene: terrace overlooking city

Tomas' Vukovic sighed and set the fragile cup back onto its saucer with a barely perceptible click.

"Did it meet your expectations?" Jemasun Tor inquired, sitting ramrod straight in the chair across from him.

The two were sitting on the terrace of the Tribune's residence overlooking the Catalin Reach. The breeze off the water was light, and the day's warmth had just settled in. He could see crews already bringing the morning's catch back into the docks in the harbor. The sounds of a morning among town dwellers rose up around them. Voices of people calling out to each other as they passed, small vehicles whirring past with crates and baskets of produce stacked on their beds, morning bird calls. The town was fully awake, and so was he.

"It was very good," Tomas' nodded toward his host, indicating the "coffee" she'd offered him. "Reminds me very much of a Jamaican blend I encountered the last time I was on TERRA," he said. "Strong and spicey, with a bit of sweet for good measure."

Tor smiled faintly, pleased at his compliment.

She had taken him all about the town during the hours before dark yesterday, introduced him to various of the townspeople, talked knowledgeably about the process of working with the local environment to insure productivity without degrading their surroundings. It was all about sustainability. That was what had clued him in, finally. They'd had a quiet dinner on this very terrace the night before, listening to the Reach fall asleep as night arrived, telling each other stories about family and work. Tomas' had only had to lie a little bit about work.

"You have a lot to be proud of," he said at last, downing the last sip of that precious liquid.

"We serve the Empire," she responded stoically.

"Yes," he said. "You do. Everything is productive. Everything is clean and orderly. Everyone is busy and focused. And ... none of it is real, is it?"

Jemasun Tor stiffened almost imperceptibly, but her voice did not betray her.

"How do you mean?" she asked.

"There are Federation worlds that could take lessons from what you've accomplished here," he waved a hand to include the village, the harbor and the fields. "There's even art, of a fashion," he commented, remembering the decorated breads of the baker across the street, the huge racks holding quilts and rugs woven by masters and their apprentices higher up toward the forest, and the mosaics being pieced together from bits of colored glass and ceramic to adorn the public places of gathering. "But nobody lives here, do they?"

She didn't answer him, just sat looking off into the distance.

"This is a laboratory, isn't it?"

This time she looked at him. And nodded.

"Nothing wrong with that," he said. "Still a wonderful, productive place. But this is not how the average Romulan lives and works. These are good people working hard to improve your science, your craft, your lives. There isn't anyone here who isn't occupied with something important. There's nobody here who drinks a little too much for their own good. There aren't any conflicts ... nothing significant to require law enforcement. There are no police."

"I was tasked to show you the best of what we are," she said simply.

"And you succeeded," he smiled. "It is impressive, Tribune."

She accepted the compliment with a nod.

His com badge twinkled.

"Vukovic here," he replied, rising to his feet.

[Lieutenant. The Captain is calling all of you back to the ship.]

"Understood." He held out his hand, and she gripped it solidly. "It was a pleasure," he said. "One to beam up."

The light village breeze and the memory of her hand faded.

=/\=

Location: USS PHOENIX
Scene: the Bridge

"Commander?" Tomas' stepped next to the Big Chair where Chricton sat. "I have a report for the Captain regarding what I saw down world."

"He's occupied at the moment. You can report to me. I'll see he gets the word."

Tomas' nodded.

"Catalin Reach is a bio-research facility," he reported, "masquerading as a model village for Romulan culture and endeavors. They wanted us to see that and believe it was standard for the general populace, but it's not. Nobody lives there really. They work there on various projects, but it's a showcase that hides something far more important."

"What's that, lieutenant?

"They're getting ready to expand their reach again, sir. All the biologicals they're working with, experimenting on are for the sole purpose of seeding a new world with things that they can use to build their cvilization."

"How so?"

"For instance, the fish they're harvesting have been altered genetically to survive in radically changed water temperatures, able to adapt to considerable alterations in their environments. They've been adapting them and seeding them among local populations attempting to build them up enough to withstand transplant."

"Transplant?"

"They're going to move, and they're working on all the things they'll need to survive wherever they're going."

"You're talking the Romulan equivalent of terraforming?"

"Exactly. And I'm not sure they're overly worried about anybody they might be supplanting."

"Interesting. Have you mentioned this to anyone else?"

"No, sir. I always like to know who benefits from my intel. I keep the pool of informants small."

Jake Chricton grinned.

"Fair enough. Take your station."

"Aye, sir."

=/\=

NRPG: So ends Tomas' foray into the Romulan countryside. Always more than meets the eye. And it works in so well with what Kane has also learned. It's Warp Speed now.

=/\=

Kenneth Field
writing for:

Lieutenant Tomas' Vukovic
Helm One of USS PHOENIX
and
Section 31 operative

 

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