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Chapter Notes:

The captured crew of the U.S.S. Hunter are put out to pasture...

Star Trek Hunter

Episode 20: Survival

Scene 9: Roat Farm 1-A-179,792


Roat Farm 1-A-179,792

Justice Minerva Irons woke up in a hammock suspended between two trees. She tried to sit up, groaned in pain, then managed to swing her legs around and dangle them off the edge of the hammock, her feet barely touching the bluish green grass. This position allowed her to recline slightly in the hammock, taking the pressure off her cracked rib.

All around her, her crew were reclining on the ground. She could tell that they were breathing. Sleeping. A number of them were snoring. In addition to this somnolent symphony, unfamiliar insects were making various unfamiliar creaking noises that somehow sounded nightly. Light was slowly growing on what was evidently a meadow in the midst of vast farmland bounded by forest on all sides, beyond which snow-capped mountains could be seen in the distance. Unfamiliar birds made unfamiliar morning birdsong – yet it was somehow clearly the pre-dawn singing and rustling of small flying animals.

Large animals in the near distance, or perhaps housed in a nearby barn, made vaguely bovine morning noises. 

But the Hunter’s crew were not responding to this bucolic sunup serenade – they were sleeping a gorgeous sunrise away. Only two other people were up: Dr. Tali Shae was talking to a blonde woman wearing a shimmering, dark green gown. The blonde woman noticed that Irons was awake and walked toward her.

Irons had noticed her telepathic awareness had grown dramatically since her stroke; the power and confidence of this woman hit her like a wave of warm air. Even before she recognized the face, it was clear that this was the infamous half-romulan / half-human known as Sela – the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Romulan Star Navy and unquestioned ruler of the Romulan Star Empire. Irons did not need to look around – there were no other romulans present. Only Sela, alone and apparently unarmed, and completely relaxed among a field of enemies who were just now beginning to awaken.

“Supreme Commander,” Irons said. “Forgive me for not rising to greet you, but I am injured and I am very, very old.”

“I must say I am impressed, your honor,” Sela started. “No, please, remain seated… You took that baby shoe of a ship into battle against two romulan warbirds, convinced them to flee the field of battle, and your ship is nearly unscathed and you suffered the only injury of your entire crew. They are fine, by the way, just sedated. We thought it best if their captain were to wake first.”

“We?” asked Irons.

Tali Shae stepped a little closer. “Dr. Jazz and I developed the narcotics. It was either that or leave the crew to the tender mercy of romulan pharmaceuticals.”

“I will wait until your crew is awake,” said Sela. “Please marshal them and I will address them and explain your futures to you. Your ship, of course, is now mine."

“I do have one request regarding the U.S.S. Hunter,” Irons said.

Sela gazed at the judge, clearly in no mood to compromise.

“When you attempt to restart the warp core, please be sure the Hunter is at least 200 light years away from us. It is a tricky engine and very unfortunate things happen when it is mishandled. The last time that happened, the engine imploded, killing not only all of my crew, but everyone within a radius of 110 light years. Eight times.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Sela, clearly confused.

“We ended up in a paradox loop and were killed by implosion eight times before our previous director of engineering found a way out of the paradox,” Irons replied. “Imploding into oblivion is quite unpleasant. I recommend avoiding it, if you can.”

“I can tell when people are lying,” said Sela, looking at Irons suspiciously. “And you are not lying. But I will worry about that later. Your crew is awakening. I will return in a few minutes.” With that, Sela walked off toward the barns.

“Tali,” said Irons. “You are once again my first officer. Gather the medical department there…” she pointed to an area to her left, next to one of the trees her hammock was tied to. “But get me Lieutenant Boles first.”

Getting Boles involved a little bit of shoving as he seemed the groggiest of the crew. But once he was sufficiently conscious to understand the captain wanted him, he leapt to his feet, smoothed his uniform and tried not to run to report to Justice Irons.

“Lieutenant, for now you are my second officer. Marshal your departments in this area…” Irons vaguely gestured toward the area in front of her and to her right. The medical department was already assembling to her left. “Officers in front, crew lined up behind their supervisors.”

“Aye, Captain,” Boles responded and turned to find Lt. Moon, Lt. Gamor and Lt. T’Lon had been standing behind him. He looked down briefly, then back up. “All three of you are Star Fleet Academy graduates?”

“We are, sir,” Lt. Moon responded.

Boles pointed to his left. “Engineering…” he swept his hand center, then to his right. “Flight Operations, Ground Operations. Parade formation.” Lt. Moon and Lt. Gamor turned immediately to summon their people. Boles looked at the ground and muttered to himself, “Second officer? What do I do now?”

He was surprised when Lt. T’Lon put her hand on his chest. “You behave like the Star Fleet Academy graduate that you are and act as if you know what you are doing – even when you don’t.”

“Don’t you need to summon your people?” Boles asked, only to see the ground operations department already assembling.

“My department has several telepaths,” T’Lon answered. 

Lt. Boles made an amused noise, then asked quietly, “Why did Justice Irons choose me for this?”

“She didn’t,” T’Lon replied. “Kenny did.” She patted his chest, then stepped back to stand in front of her department just as the other departments were assembling.

Justice Minerva Irons addressed her crew: “You are about to be addressed by the Supreme Commander of not only the Romulan Star Navy, but the Romulan Star Empire. I expect you to behave as you would for any head of state - with the greatest of respect. Those of you who are telepathic, I do not want any attempt for you to read her mind or try to communicate with her. Discipline your minds to silence and remember every detail about what you are about to experience.”

Sela was walking up as Justice Irons completed her remarks. She cut an extremely elegant figure in the emerald green gown. A simple black belt gathered the garment around her waist, but she wore no other adornment and she was barefoot – clearly enjoying the feeling of the grass beneath her feet. 

“Welcome to Roat Farm 1-A-179,792. That is a deeply hidden bureaucratic code for an experiment. We have created very few of these environments against the need to keep people like you in ways that do not violate the Khitomer accords. Only now does the wisdom of such preparation appeal to me. This is your new home and you will live here and work these fields the rest of your lives. The only possibility of your return to the Federation is if there is a prisoner exchange. And we would never take such a risk.

“But you can have good lives here - very much unlike any of our other guests. You will live the way romulan farmers lived four thousand years ago. No electricity. But you will have running water. You will easily harvest enough roats and brukkas and milk and eggs to meet your quota and have plenty left to feed yourselves and increase your harvest for the next year. 

“There is a library in the main farmhouse that will teach you the romulan language, romulan history and then, most importantly for your purposes, romulan farming and animal husbandry. You have six anaixes in that barn. Unless you learn how to yoke them and harness them to the plough, you will starve before the year is out. But I understand you are an exceptionally smart and capable crew, so I am certain you will learn everything you need to know.

“Consider yourselves fortunate - this is a part of Romulus that you are standing on. This soil - the life in it. The life you will bring forth from it - all from Romulus. Treat it with reverence. You will not see my people very often - the occasional inspection and consultation. And when it is time to collect our share of your harvest. But remember - we will see and hear everything you do…” Sela walked into the ranks, looked up at Chief Tactical Specialist Rumi Grace, reached up and tapped her on the forehead: “And everything you think…”

Sela walked back to the front of the ranks and placed her hand on Lt. Gamor’s shoulder, looked around at the rest of the Hunter’s crew. “And please do not do the human thing - I know there is only one pure human among you, but so many of you, like me, have human ancestry… This is the most important thing I have to tell you… Don’t… Do Not fail to appreciate the wonders that await you. Don’t screw this up.”

Sela walked back to the hammock. Justice Minerva Irons slowly and painfully got to her feet.. 

“I know you may not expect this,” Irons said, “but on behalf of my crew, thank you, Supreme Commander. Whatever duty may require of us, please understand we are and will always be grateful for and deeply appreciative of this place.”

“Your words were very carefully phrased, your honor. I will consider them accordingly. Take care of your people,” Sela said, then, with flashing lights and a familiar whining sound, she was beamed away.


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