Star Trek Hunter
Episode 21: The Enemy of My Enemy
Scene 12: The Next Generation
The Next Generation
Supreme Commander Sela had gathered the commanders of the first fleet along with Admiral Ekot and Commander Hundeeth. A few other lower ranking officers were also in attendance – those whose specialties could provide insights the commanders might need.
“Now we have confirmation that it was a swaeshaeul that has been operating in romulan space,” said Sela. “And we have learned some very valuable things about these small ships. Hundeeth:”
“Given our scans of the ship’s outer skin, it does not require a cloaking device to be extremely stealthy,” opined Commander Hundeeth. “The fabric of the skin absorbs some scans, fractures and refracts others. Additionally, dozens of independent passive systems make penetration of that skin with scans, transporter beams, even malware exceptionally difficult.”
“We have applied a layer of iridium to the outer hull of this vessel which will greatly reduce these effects,” Hundeeth continued. "It will also make it possible to track the ship across great distances."
“Assuming the Hunter’s crew do not find that iridium and remove it,” remarked Centurion Cireeka.
Commander Hundeeth smiled grimly. “I would never make such an assumption. The only safe way to remove the iridium would be to use a transporter. But this would damage the transporter system so thoroughly that they are more likely to burn it off, which will leave microfractures in the skin that can be penetrated with scans. We took the added measure of lacing thier food with a few molecules of iridium, which can also be traced at distance.”
“And it is on this basis that you allowed them to escape?” asked Commander Thutuk of the I.R.W. Pistris. “The hope that you might weaken their ship enough that on the off chance we find them again that we can scan the interior or upload a virus?”
Supreme Commander Sela smiled. “I had no intention of preventing their escape. They are far more valuable to me no longer in custody. I have the most solid evidence I need of their presence here – telemetry of their ship in my hangar. In my custody, they would be a liability. An unnecessary fight with the Federation. Now, although they do not yet know it, they provide me leverage with the Federation. Leverage that I intend to use them for very soon. But we learned something far, far more important about the Federation by their escape.”
“Morality,” said Admiral Ekot.
“Precisely,” said Sela. “Those vaunted Federation morals, cornerstone of the Khitomer Accords, fascinating charm that holds the Klingon Empire at bay, the bauble they dangle before the Senate of New Romulus on Vulcan to seduce the more educated part of our culture away from us, the very glue that holds that motley cabal of species enthralled to the humans – their morality – which we now know to be a sham!” Sela emphasized her conclusion with her fist on the table.
“Respect for the sovereign rights for all intelligent, sentient beings,” Sela continued, with a sneer of contempt. “Except when it is inconvenient for them. There is a borg whistle on that swaeshaeul and somebody blew it loud and hard. When the Hunter was captured, the borg, whether they knew it or not, came to save that crew. And how did our oh-so-just-and-moral semi-human friends re-pay their liberators? By slaughtering them in the millions! They destroyed an entire borg cube to cover their own escape. And we now know that same swaeshaeul destroyed an entire planet – a dying world, but one that still had life on it. And they killed well over a thousand romulans in that incident.”
“Then we should attack!” said another of the commanders in the room.
“And destroy our advantage?” asked Sela. “We would be the aggressors if we were to attack. The Federation has shown time and again how effective it can be even against the most powerful of aggressors. But they are uniquely vulnerable to victims. Especially to their own victims. That is what gives us leverage and I intend to use that leverage not to take Federation worlds, but to take the Federation apart. Piece by piece.”
Centurion Cireeka looked down at her pad, then up. “Supreme Commander… We just received a fourth beacon signal. We cannot provide exact location, but it is clearly not from the same location we investigated earlier.”
Sela looked directly at the new commander of the Pistris. “Commander Thutuk – now is your time. That beacon attracts the swaeshaeul – your ghost. Now you are to be the wraith. Follow, observe, probe. Attempt to upload the programming that Hundeeth has provided you. But do not let them know you are there!”
A few hours after the meeting had adjourned, Sela, Hundeeth and Ekot were in a corner of the Supreme Commander’s office on the Bestia. Centurion Cireeka found herself surprised to have been included in this very tight inner circle. A bottle containing a pale blue fluid sat on a table between the four romulan officers.
“The ferengi have valued this,” Sela leaned forward, lightly tapped the top of the bottle, “so highly that one bottle of romulan ale is the equivalent of a fully armed ship. And this is not the original. This is the next generation of romulan ale, cultivated at our own roat farms, right here on the Bestia. If our mixed up friends from the Federation truly valued life, they could have stayed on their museum roat farm and learned how to grow, reap, mash and ferment one of the most valuable commodities in the Alpha Quadrant.”
Sela opened the bottle and the aroma of a new generation of romulan ale wafted through this corner of her office. She picked up a small box and removed a match – lit the match and held it so that the fire became brighter, stronger – then dropped it into the bottle. The match continued to burn as it dropped through the liquid, causing the ale to bubble slightly before the match burned itself out in the bottom of the bottle.
“Humans value romulan ale very highly, but they do not know how to properly enjoy it. They never take the time to learn things thoroughly. They think they appreciate other cultures. They don’t even know enough to appreciate their own.”
Sela poured a glass of ale, then handed the filled glass and the bottle to Cireeka.
“Thank you, Supreme Commander,” said Cireeka. She set the filled glass in front of her, then poured a glass and handed the newly filled glass and the bottle to Admiral Ekot, who was sitting next to her.
Ekot, in turn, accepted the glass Cireeka had filled for him and filled a glass for Hundeeth, who, in turn filled a glass for Sela.
“Sometimes,” said Sela, lifting her glass, “I fear we are tempted to become too much like them.” She raised her glass first to Cireeka, then to Ekot, then to Hundeeth. “From the stars to our blood: wisdom, strength, life.” She held her glass of ale under her nose, inhaled appreciatively, three times. The others followed suit. Then, in unison, they each took a long drink.
“This ship, this battlegod, is a life force,” Sela mused. “The lynchpin in our conservation efforts. It carries the soil of more than a dozen worlds. More than a hundred farms. Twenty forests and a dozen other wildlife preserves. All that remains of two biologically unique oceans from two different worlds. And the humans have only just begun to include small parks and greenways in their largest ships. But look what they have built the most of – those little black ships. Reports are they had planned to build a hundred of them. They’re still building about 40 or so. And they are a death force. Just one of those little black ships destroyed a borg cube… tore a hole in the I.R.W. Fero… destroyed a living planet. To be fair, it was a dying planet, but we had not yet mined all the life off of it.”
Sela took another long drink, leaned back in her chair. Hundeeth, Cireeka and Ekot were simply listening.
“They frighten me deeply, these humans. For all their protestations about loving life, they have brought so much death to our home. They expand their territory like the borg, but in slow motion. Soft borg. Pretty borg. Friendly borg. Assimilating everything and everyone in their path. Gradually homogenizing as they go. And they protect each territorial gain with the ferocity of a wounded anaixes protecting her cubs. They are so ready to destroy anything that isn’t them.”
“Perhaps we should drink to New Romulus on Vulcan,” suggested Admiral Ekot.
“Yes,” said Sela. “A drink for New Romulus on Vulcan.” She drained her glass and set it down. “Their latest victim.”