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Imperial Romulan Navy Deuterium Refinery: Makar III, Romulan Star Empire

Stardate: 53380.3

Makar III was once a beautiful world: rich in minerals and resources. The native inhabitants used them to create beautiful artwork out of metal and colored glass. Until two centuries ago, the most advanced pieces of technology known to the Makarians were the magnetic compasses diviners used to find new veins of iron and nickel buried deep inside the craggy peaks of the southern volcanic range. Then, the Romulans came looking for plunder.

At the northern tip of the Southern Continent, a giant expanse of white limestone formed where seawater had once flowed inland. Twenty million Earth years ago, the waters receded leaving untold trillions of microscopic sea-creatures fossilized in stone. Their bodies had long since turned into a rich deposit of deuterium trapped inside nearly microscopic pockets inside the porous rock. The Iron Age Makarans had no idea why the off-worlders were so obsessed with the worthless pieces of white, chalky stone, but the pointed-ears lusted after it like it was made of gold.

A massive pit-mine had been established on the hot, dusty surface of the expanse. Chemical explosives were used to blast chunks weighing over one metric each from the sides of the quarry, then pneumatic hammers would break the large chunks into pieces small enough to be loaded into mining carts. Forced laborers would then push the carts up a large ramp made of a mining slag to the refinery on the top edge of gaping hole: a wound in the very flesh of Makar III itself.

The refinery ran night and day. Choking clouds of black smoke emanating from smokestacks often obscured the light of the sun, keeping the pit in a constant state of horrid twilight.

It was brutal, dirty, dangerous work. Almost a metric ton of ore was required to create one liter of refined deuterium. Luckily, the Romulans had a never ending supply of workers: the Makarans themselves. The once proud civilization of artisans, poets, and engineers now lived in chains mining the resources of their own planet to appease their alien overlords.

An entire garrison of Romulan troops lived at the edge of the pit. They took great pleasure in using their electro-prods to keep the Makarans furiously working. Sometimes, they would arrange for a worker to have "an accident" to keep the others in line. On certain days, a poor Makaran would not move fast enough and be crushed by a falling boulder of limestone. On other days, a worker would fall into the massive maw of the rock crushers at the edge of the refinery. Somedays, they would just push a Makaran in front of a railway car carrying rocks out of the pit. The horrors the natives suffered had become a game to the military overseers, and a tour on Makar had become a prized assignment to legionnaires seeking a break from the monotony of the fleet.

The sun was beginning to set over the mine. The last rays of the sun made the haze from the refinery shimmer orange as the light cooled into night. However, furious heat still radiated from the bare rock walls. The last train of mine carts from the day shift was making the long journey up the slag ramp on a pair of worn steel rails. They had already moved five trainloads that afternoon and they were on the brink of passing out. Their Romulan overseer, anxious to get to the bar next to his barracks, was not sparing any of his charges from his electro-prod.

"Get moving you worthless slime suckers!" he screamed at the reptilian Makarans. Their long, black tongues flicked in and out of their mouths desperately trying to expel some of their built-up body heat. It was burning days like this that a lack of sweat glands definitely proved to be an evolutionary disadvantage.

A Makaran at the head of the cart finally collapsed in total exhaustion. He lay on the burning slag, praying to the ancient gods to finally take his soul to the Pools of Paradise. The Romulan cursed under his breath as the carts ground to a halt.

"Get up you lazy piece of scaled filth!" He shoved his electro-prod into the Makaran's leathery skin. The pain was gruesome, but still the Makaran didn't move. Two of his fellow miners ran forward and tried to lift him. "I said get up!" the overseer commanded again. He was even angrier that the cart would lose two more pushers to this man. He was about bash the poor man's skull with the blunt end of his prod, when he noticed a tall figure appear out the haze a few meters in front of him.

The figure was tall and dressed in grey robes from head to toe. He appeared to have some kind of staff in his right hand. The Romulan immediately noticed the skin of his hands and face were blue. The stranger's yellow eyes stared at him with quiet ferocity.

"And just who the hell are you?" The Romulan overseer said reaching for the disruptor on his pistol belt. He never got an answer.

The figure heaved his staff which extended into a spear mid-flight. The point slammed through the Romulan's chest and flung him backward into the mining cart. The weapon pierced the thin metal sides and pinned the Romulan upright as the last breaths of life exited his twitching body.

As the other Makarans saw the white rocks in the car turn green with flowing blood, they looked back to Rellas and smiled.

"PERIMETER BREACH!" the loundpeakers arranged around the maw of the pit screamed to life. "PERIMETER BREACH!"

Dozens of guards poured from their barracks in various states of dress only to be immediately cut down in a hail of disruptor and phaser fire. They dove for cover as the craggy hillsides around them came to life with the army of the Soldiers of Akarath. A few Romulans managed to take cover and begin feebly returning fire, but a hail of heavy flashes blew through the sheet metal wall they cowered behind. The blast tore their bodies to pieces.

On the hillside, a two and half meter tall Aquinosian lept forward, firing an automatic pulse disruptor from his hip. His bluish-green skin glistened in the fading light. He flared his gills open, looked back over his shoulder, and roared for his fellow Soldiers to follow him. The sight of his massive maw filled with razor sharp teeth caused the remaining Romulans to flee in utter terror.

Down in the pit, the situation descended into chaos. The overseers were distracted by the frantic transmissions in their earpieces begging for help. The Makarans armed with pneumatic hammers saw their opportunity and leapt on their guards. A few pushed them to the ground while the others shattered their skulls into green chunks using the powerful tools the Romulans themselves had placed in their hands.

The Soldiers of Akarath seized the Imperial Romulan Navy's largest deuterium refinery in less than fifteen minutes. A few of the Romulan guards managed to escape into the surrounding mountains, but without water or shelter, the planet itself would finish the job by next mid-day.

Just a few months before, Rellas and the others couldn't even dream of getting near this system. However, Starfleet Intelligence was kind enough to provide them with the access codes for the planetary defense grid.

After disabling all the machines and setting fire to the refinery, Rellas ordered his forces to see if any of the Makarans wished to join his army. He was sure many of them would be leaving the planet with them.

Grisgok's platoon had been dispatched to raid the now vacant barracks for useful equipment and weapons.

"Should we destroy the building as well, Rellas?" he had asked his leader.

"No, leave it standing as a message," Rellas replied. "But be sure to let them know who did this."

As the liberators took the emancipated to their waiting transport shuttles, a new banner flew over the building where the Romulan Raptor once proudly waved. The new pennant was black and emblazoned with a red Klingon tri-foil. However, the script beneath was written in Romulan, not tlhIngan Hol. It was one phrase, taken from the Apocrypha of the Trials of Kahless:

"Swear to follow me, and I will show you salvation."

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