Synopsis: A Story accounting for Nathes’ absence from the 38th Fleet
My Dearest Daughter: My Burning Star,
If you are reading this, it is because I have passed on. I doubt this news will come easily for you. I am well aware of the great responsibility you have to bear.
I opposed your decision to join the Military. I opposed it because I thought they would mold you into those butchers from yesteryears. And I worried when I saw you again, you would no longer be my daughter. Instead, you would be a mindless servant perpetuating a cycle of rampant curelty and Empire. But I was wrong, Nathes. I was so wrong.
The integrity you showed never left you. I think I should have shown my appreciation for it more. I was always very hard on you, especially during those precious times we were able to see you.
But there are two things I want you to remember, my bright burning star: The first is the trials you have ahead. This “Republic” is nearing a watershed moment. What people like you do will decide its course. Will we rekindle the old vices which destroyed our homeworld? Or will you help lead our people to a future worth living for. You always tried pulling me into this dream of a better future. You have to forge it, Nathes. You and others like you. It will not manifest on its own. You have to fight for it.
The second, and most important thing: Nathes. I love you. Your mother loved you too. We are both proud of you and your accomplishments. Even in anger, I still loved you. No, I think in anger most of all. I should have told you more often. Especially during the moments when you were down, I should have reminded you of this. I hope now that I am gone, you will forgive me for it.
Mourn for me. I know you will. But do not let it weigh you down too much. I die in peace knowing my daughter grew up to be a fine woman.
Jolan’tru: Towards Peace. We will meet again.
“The Assignment of Fire”
She looked over the letter, her eyes watery. It had arrived right on the cusp of her impending assignment. Not only did she have to stomach the presence of high ranking officers she scarcely knew, she had to bear the fact that one of the few people she truly values was gone. Isolation and fear seized her heart. And for a brief moment, she almost wanted to forgo this briefing.
But the final words of her father, of him talking about watersheds, that shifted her demeanor. Somehow, deep down, she knew this was such a moment for her. She had no proof or bearings, btu she knew it in her heart. With a breath, she put her Romulan data-pad away. Then she strode forth onto the transporter pad.
Romulan Republican Forces command was bustling. Despite having been here many times, Nathes was overwhelmed with the scale. All manner of people, from every corner of the Military, was there. She hated this place too. In her eyes, people usually came here to try to win favor with Admiral Kererek and the Senate. Lots of egos.
But of course, she was not here for that. The summons had been rather vague, save for the fact she was to meet with a high ranking member of Romulan Intelligence. A part of her wondered if this was a scheme to recruit her. Given what had happened to Wing-Commander Maiek in the Zenas Expanse many years ago, Romulan Intelligence had been struggling to restore its reputation. Its new leader, though, was an improvement. Though his reunificationist sentiments were dubious, he seemed to know what he was doing.
Eventually, Nathes arrived at the office she was asked to go to. She tapped the door chime. A gruff voice was heard inside.
As Nathes stepped inside, she was greeted by an older Romulan. His hair had long since turned turned to grey, though Nathes could tell it had once been jet black. He bore mant scar across across his face too. Nathes knew immediately he was a veteran of numerous engagements. He was certainly not a man of bluster.
“Ah, Commander Nathes. You will have to forgive me for a lack of complete introductions. Wing-Commander Tobik of Republic Intelligence. You probably do not remember, but we served together in the Dominion War. During the Invasion of Cardassia? You were always quite the speaker. I was old then, but it moved me. Anyways, please, sit. We have much to discuss.”
The old Romulan extended a hand to an empty chair across his desk. He then took a seat behind his desk. It was a simple thing made of metal. Not ostentatious. And further, there was nothing too personal about it. Nathes was faintly surprised. Already, she had a favorable opinion of this man. Though she swallowed hard when he mentioned there being much to discuss. A part of her suspected it was another interrogation. Intelligence loved their interrogations.
“Help yourself to some tea from the replicator. Then let’s begin, Nathes. I will keep it blunt. Romulan Intelligence and the Military are both dealing with a matter on the frontier. It pertains to two of our colonies. In name, they are part of the same political block. One Senator for both their worlds. But in reality, well, these worlds could not be more different. Past threats kept them but united. But now, in peace, old rivalries are surfacing.”
As Wing-Commander Tobik spoke, he activated a holoprojection of the two colonies. They were quite sizable, both boasting about five-hundred million (give or take) citizens each. But both of them were vastly different. The first, New Brel’kar, was highly industrialized. Its main population centers were concentrated in one specific area. The other, New Folloss, was more agrarian. Its population vastly spread out. Both worlds depended on each other. New Brel’kar provided materials. New Folloss provided food. But their respective cultures were very different. And those differences were becoming volatile.
“Wing-Commander. Sir. Shouldn’t the Romulan Senate Diplomatic Committee be involved in this? Or even Starfleet’s Diplomatic Corps, considering they are our allies and also an outside party. They are both agencies of diplomats. I am a officer in the Military first and foremost. My job is to kill any and all threats to our people.” said Nathes with slight irritation.
Wing Commander Tobik looked amused by Nathes response. In a way, it was exactly what he expected. Nathes was well known for not being romantic about what she did. Indeed, the military’s first role was conflict resolution. And that usually involved a few discharges of plasma cannons and plasma torpedoes. “Pacification”, as it was called in the War College textbooks.
"Commander, these two colonies have refused both Starfleet’s presence and the Senate’s presence too. They do not want mediators. Both have demanded the Military intervene on their behalf. A show of force to ward off ‘rebellious sister colonies’. New Brel’kar almost succeeded in that regard. A hot-heated Wing-Commander brought the 23rd Flotilla to bear on New Folloss. The only thing that stopped him was a threat from Admiral Kererek of summary execution if he made this decision.
You are not a hot head though, Nathes. Nor do you have delusions of grandeur. You have always served. And more-so, your leanings give you credit: You are a listener." said Tobik.
Nathes hated praise. She hated pomp and circumstance too. Vain glory as she called it. Selfishness to its core. But she went a bit wide-eyed when the Wing-Commander mentioned the part about the 23rd Flotilla. Such an action could ahve sparked internal conflict. Another civil war. Something the Romulan Republic could ill afford.
“Spare me praise, Wing-Commander. I am a servant of the Republic. And I am here to preserve the life of our people. I grasp what is at stake though. What is my assignment. Mediator I am assuming? Bring both sides to the table. On my ship?” retorted Nathes.
The Wing-Commander only looked amused. “Sharp. But yes, conflict mediator. We need to find out why these colonies are at their throats. A part of me suspects the 23rd Flotilla has a part in it. They’ll… bluntly, they will give you a hard time. But they have been informed that you will be leading the efforts. As for the colonies, both governors are aware that you are on your way.”
“Elements, I thought you people were supposed to keep the fucking house clean. If this turns into another situation like Wing-Commander Maiek…” Nathes rose out of her chair, almost losing her cool and temperament. She hated dealing with Intelligence. Of course, the fact this man, Tobik, was so even tempered stopped her from doing something rash.
“Our own house is already dirty because of people like him, Commander. I understand your anger, but, you are the only one who can resolve this. Don’t make me order you to do this. Because that is just going to foster bad sentiments from both of us. Do you hear me?” muttered Tobik quietly, trying to temper Nathes’ anger.
“I’m sorry sir. You’re right. I will make ready to depart at once. Just… if I need back up, can you all give it to me? I suspect I will need it for this… mediation assignment.” responded Nathes.
The old Romulan smiled.
“My support. And… I’m sorry about your father. You might not have known this, but, I lived on the farmstead over from him. We grew up together. He was a good friend. When last we spoke, he… never stopped talking about how proud he was of you. I can see why. But no matter.” The older Romulan soon rose out of his seat. He offered Nathes a salute.
“Good luck Commander Nathes. You will depart in forty-eight hours!”
Nathes choked up a bit, but quickly returned the salute. “Thank you sir. And, understood sir.”
As Nathes departed, the weight of the assignment suddenly kicked in. Two colonies at each others throat. And further, an entire Romulan Battle-group looking to take sides. What sort of mess was she walking into. A part of her wanted to drink. But, she remembered some keen counsel given to her by her friend Valore some years back.
She took a singular breath, then meandered through the Command center to the transporter room.
“Nathes to Virin… one to beam up. Call a meeting too. We have our orders.”