Proconsul's Chambers, Ki-Baratan: Romulus, Romulan Star Empire
Proconsul Semachs leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. His opulent office, trimmed in wood, leather, and red marble was once his personal symbol of Romulan greatness and power. Now, it seemed like the only refuge left. His whole world was rapidly being consumed by a spreading inferno. Everything that had brought stability and strength for the past thousand years seemed on the verge of collapse. Half of the Imperial Navy had been destroyed in one day. Most of the remaining vessels were damaged beyond the country's current capacity to repair. The plan to discredit Tigranian and isolate the Federation had been exposed as a plot by one of his personal agents…and the slaves, THE DAMNED SLAVES, were still fighting back. He looked up at the holoscreen on the wall. It was displaying a Federation News Service special broadcast from Camp Khitomer:
"In the very same hall where the First Khitomer Accords were signed over eighty years ago, a new treaty has just been signed," the human announcer proudly spoke. "President Bacco and Chancellor Martok both affixed their signatures to the 'Alpha Quadrant Mutual Security and Economic Cooperation Agreement' along with Prime Minister Elim Garak of the Republic of Cardassia and First Minister Shakaar Adon of the Republic of Bajor. MSECA not only restores all the provisions of the Khitomer Accords and the Federation/Klingon Treaty of Alliance of 2352, but expands them to include elimination of customs duties and visas between member nations, mutual economic growth incentives, free trade, and a promise of military assistance in the event of attack…"
The holoscreen shifted to an image of all four leaders joining hands together and smiling at the cameras over the signed document. Semachs nearly vomited. Not only were the Federation and the Klingons back together, even the Cardassians and Bajorans were making peace to unite against Romulan influence.
"Though she's only been in office four months," the announcer continued, "economists and political scientists are saying that President Bacco's actions today could reverberate throughout the Federation for centuries. She made the following statement after the signing ceremony."
The image changed to Bacco standing tall behind a podium emblazoned with the presidential seal. The flags of the UFP, Klingon Empire, Republic of Cardassia, and Republic of Bajor were displayed behind her.
"For over two hundred years of our history," she began, "the only way planets could achieve such a level of economic and military cooperation with the UFP was to gain Federation membership. However, as the events of the past decade have shown, many nations in our region of the galaxy are not interested in making Earth their capital.
We have different ideas of what freedom means. We have different thresholds for the use of armed intervention. We do not agree about whether it is appropriate to make contact with pre-warp civilizations. However, rather than focusing on what divides us, MSECA will allow us to focus on our commonalities. Member nations will keep their complete political sovereignty, their individual views on religion's role in government, as well as maintain their own independent militaries. We will strive together to make the quality of life for all our citizens, regardless of nationality, better than it ever was before. In addition, MSECA sends a strong message to our enemies who I know are probably watching these proceedings as I speak. Understand this," she said looking into the camera, "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us…"
"Screen off!" Semachs shouted before slamming his fist into the polished desk.
"Proconsul," his adjutant said through the intercom. "General Shinzon of Remus is hailing. He wishes to speak with you again."
Semachs cursed. For months, that disgusting freak, long thought buried in the dilithium mines of Remus, had been requesting an audience. Semachs had always been opposed to the use of Remans during the Dominion War. He became even more convinced it was a mistake after Shinzon seized control of the Reman shock troops by crushing every Jem'Hadar and Cardassian who stood against him. Now, he had an army of rabid dogs at his disposal and the audacity to believe his life mattered. Normally, Semachs could have easily dismissed the self-serving bleating of such a blunt instrument, but the situation was growing so desperate, the proconsul needed all the allies he could get.
"Put him through to my office terminal," Semachs said once he swallowed the bile in his throat.
An image appeared on the desk's computer screen. A figure, dressed in purple Reman robes, sat in a completely darkened room. Only the outlines of his bald head and revolting rounded ears were visible.
"Jolan Tru, Proconsul," Shinzon said with his ridiculously polished accent. "Glory to the Senate and the People of Romulus."
"What do you want, Shinzon?" Semachs said hoping to keep this unpleasant conversation as short as possible. Semachs was completely aware of Shinzon's unnatural origins. It made him wish the forgotten experiment actually was one of those demonic, subterranean creatures normally kept segregated from their Romulan betters. "I'm a busy man."
"Yes, you are, Proconsul," Shinzon replied. "It is quite a…dark…time for the Empire, is it not? The Federation and the Klingon Empire have reconciled their differences. The slave revolt has come back with a vengeance." Even though Semachs couldn't see his mouth, he knew that Shinzon was grinning. "Romulus has so many enemies and so few friends."
"And what exactly are you, Creature?" Semachs said furrowing his brow. "Don't believe for one second that just because you have a few thousand monsters at your command that you are a threat to me."
"Of course I am not a threat to you, Proconsul," Shinzon replied innocently. "In fact, the reason I called is to reiterate the unbreakable bond between Remus and her mother planet in this hour of need."
"You were used as cannon fodder during the war. Just because you somehow managed not to get yourself killed doesn't mean I'm willing to resort to that level of desperation again. I don't need more slaves. What I need are more soldiers."
"On the contrary, Proconsul," Shinzon said gesturing with his right hand. "What better soldiers to fight slaves, than slaves? I hereby offer the services of the Reman Imperial Auxiliary to exterminate all who would stand against the Empire."
"What exactly is in it for you?" Semachs asked skeptically.
"Merely the chance to prove that Remans are not worthy of your utter contempt. We are superior to all other sub-Romulan races in the Empire."
"I highly doubt you are capable of that level of excellence," Semachs retorted. "Besides, you are not Reman. We both know that."
"I am more Reman than you realize," Shinzon said angrily. "Do you want my forces fighting with yours or not?"
"What makes you think I simply won't order you to fight?" Semachs said.
"Because the last thing Romulus needs is another armed race of disgruntled slaves…especially one located right next door."
"So, you're blackmailing me, you disgusting filth?" Semachs spat back at him.
"Not all all," Shinzon said taking on a more diplomatic tone. "I am merely reiterating the facts."
"We both know your motives are not altruistic. Remans don't murder for free. What else do you want?"
"Only a small pittance…" Shinzon replied.
"How small?" Semachs asked rubbing his temple.
"Thirty years ago," Shinzon began, "about the same time they were conducting mis-guided cloning experiments, the Tal Shiar also conducted some cursory research into the biogenic effects of thalaron radiation. In addition to that information, we would also like access to the experimental data on mining stellar plasma collected by Doctors Jedras Vran and Sora Talv in the Cardassian State last year. These pieces of information might prove useful in pacifying slave planets that do not wish to submit to re-conquest."
"Feel free to waste your time all you want. Both of those lines of research were dead ends," he said. "Exactly like those mis-guided cloning experiments…"
Shinzon ignored Semachs' insult to his heritage.
"But we will have access to the databases, correct?" he clarified.
"Very well," the proconsul said with a deep breath. "But if you fail at ending this slave revolt, Shinzon, I will bury your corpse so deeply on that black rock of yours that not even the Mines of Alaram will ever reach it. Do you understand?"
"Perfectly, Proconsul," Shinzon said with a bow of his head. "The Senate will soon have nothing to worry about."
"It better not…" Semachs said as he disconnected the transmission.
In his chambers on Remus, Shinzon smiled again.
Vkruk, Shinzon's Reman viceroy, emerged from the darkness.
"Are you sure this isn't a mistake?" he growled in his deep voice. "The Senators we have recruited to our cause may betray us if we prove unable to defeat the slaves."
Shinzon's mirth instantly turned to rage. The veins on the side of his head popped out and he banged the side of his desk while writhing in terrible pain. Vkruk wondered if he had said too much, but Shinzon regained his composure with a few deep breaths.
"The slave revolt is nothing," Shinzon said turning towards him. "All I require is the freedom it provides."
"Freedom?" Vkruk said incredulously. "What freedom?"
"No one will pay attention to activity in the Reman shipyards if they believe it is in service to the Romulan cause," Shinzon said plainly. "Seizing control of the empire means nothing if we cannot defeat the Federation fleet…including their damned Pershing class dreadnaughts." He paused triumphantly before leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingers. "The construction of the Scimitar will allow us to do just that."