Personal Log: Nathes T'Velal

98129.92

Nathes sat somewhat slouched in the large sofa within her quarters. She was donned in comfortable, loose fitting robes; and sipped idly from a glass of Kali-fal

In an effort to foster the "understanding of aliens" my superiors are expecting for this assignment, I have decided to abide to Starfleet's tradition of personal logs. This log will delve into many subjects, from personal relationships I develop with these aliens to various day-to-day activities (barring classified operations) I partake in on duty. Each month, I will submit these logs to RRF headquarters. It is my hope the insight I gain can be used to better advance and prioritizes the nation's objectives.

She fell silent, considering.

I suppose I can properly begin with my arrival to this facility. The Federation as a nation is vastly different than the one I knew many years ago at the end of the Dominion War. Though they are still committed to their somewhat dubious claims of "peaceful exploration", I cannot help but feel a certain level of cynicism from their various constituent species. It is not anything spoken, but, I can read it in their eyes. The past decades have been trying for these people, and I think it has put a damper on the wide-eyed idealism of past eras.

This is not to say this is a bad thing. I think it will make my adjustment with these aliens a bit easier.

What will take time to tolerate, I think, is the fundamental lack of understanding these aliens have towards Romulans. Past conflicts have made them develop erroneous assumptions about us. Chief among them, I think, is that we are all keen on the reunification platform espoused by the incumbent proconsul. While his speeches are sublime, I would sooner become a slave of the Klingon Empire than see the Romulan people rejoined with our so called Vulcan "cousins".

But I digress. It is reckless and cruel of me to demean the aliens which I will be working with closely. I knew many of their fathers and mothers in the Dominion War. They were worthy allies, and served with distinction. Many of them I said farewell to during that war. Too many, but...

She looked to her Kali-fal. The memories of the Dominion War were painful, and this was reflected in the grim expression on her face.

Perhaps their sons and daughters will prosper. It will be a privilege, I think, to see them prosper.
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98134.62

Nathes sat at her desk, sorting through an assortment of reports pertaining to the Federation 38th Fleet's region of space.

The past few days have been moderately productive. In my time here, I have met members of the somewhat forgotten Romulan diaspora. Though many in the Republic would deem these wayward persons as a lost cause, tainted by alien influences, I do not think so. The duty of our nation is to ensure that all Romulans across the galaxy have a path towards citizenship within the Romulan Republic. And while we might not succeed in convincing some of them from renouncing their alien philosophies, we might bring a few into our side.

She puts the slew of reports away, meandering towards the sofa within her quarters. She took a seat and sank into it heavily.

One of these wayward Romulans, a Captain Alistair Nimitz, had very little to say. I warrant this was due to past encounters with other RRF personnel wearing this uniform. I certainly cannot fault him for any underlying paranoia. Many are a bit... overzealous with their love of the state, too the point that they forget how to properly converse with outsiders. More importantly, it reflects poorly on the Nation. One unpleasant encounter, and wayward persons like Mister Nimitz spread unjust accusations of xenophobia.

That being said, this man has accomplished much. A Starfleet Captain is a high posting indeed for a Romulan in Starfleet, perhaps the first I have encountered. Unfortunately, I think this man would not dare consider moving to the Republic. I would not blame him. Tainted as his philosophies are by alien ideas, him renouncing his path would be a betrayal of his character. I do wonder what will happen to him when the Nation is at odds with the Federation again. That day shall one day arrive.

She stopped speaking when her munitions officer, a towering Reman, sauntered in. He handed Nathes a PADD, along with a bottle of Kali-fal. He saluted, then exited.

Then there is the other one I met. Lieutenant Ritul Telia. Unlike Mister Nimitz, I do not believe his ideals are finished taking shape. Though he was quite adamant in telling me what he believed in, there was a measure of uncertainty I picked up in his voice. I suppose that is due to his joint heritage: Between the Romulan Nation and our Vulcan "cousins". So unlike are our ideals that a measure of internal conflict should be expected. Then again, maybe I am wrong? Perhaps one can value both ways, as unsettling as that sounds.

I encouraged him to consider visiting Mol'Rihan, just as I encourage every Romulan who does not reside within the Republic's borders.

Beyond that, well, it is well time that we reconnect with our long lost brothers and sisters outside of the State's borders. In due time, I suspect many of them will return to where they belong. Aliens might try preaching their virtues of tolerance. But, well, there has long been animosity directed towards our people. The humans, I suspect, have never made it easy for people like Mister Nimitz and Mister Telia. To say nothing of the Vulcans.

But again, I should digress. My personal convictions might lead to me being at odds with these aliens. And I want to avoid that if possible. Perhaps I will have to live with the fact many Romulans might never wish to return to where they belong. And perhaps that is just fine?

Time will tell.
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Stardate 98875.12

Nathes was situated in a lounge chair within her personal quarters. Her gaze fixed towards her quarters, which afforded a prime view of the station.

The Remans have a saying: “In the Darkness, we see everything.”

I have pondered this expression since the founding of the Republic. Though I think after hearing a statement uttering, I think I understand it now.

The other day ago, I heard one of the aliens state something disturbing. Something I did not think them capable of stating. I cannot recall the specific words, but the implication was that artificial life was lacking a soul. My sentiments towards artificial life are complicated. Sentiments that I am still coming to terms with. But to hear such a statement from another. From one wearing a Starfleet uniform?

The members of the Ancient Regime used to state similar statements about Remans. The idea that they were not really like Romulans. That they were something else. Something FRIGHTENING. Something to be scorned and mocked. Regardless of the fact that they were part of the Sundering, when our forebears left Vulcan to forge a new life amidst the stars.

Perhaps the… methods of otherization are not so different for the aliens. Perhaps they, like us, do the same things we did. Irrational fear of the other. In this case, the Synthetic life-form. Painting a picture of something monstrous. Implying that because of their nature, they are devoid of a soul. I do not believe in souls. But other sentients do. And to imply an alien is devoid of one risks flirtation with vile mindsets. Ones I defected from. And ones I will strive to fight against.

The alien, I am sure, was not aware of what they were doing. But I am. And another was. I do not abide to such rhetoric. No self respecting sentient or Romulan, should abide to it. It is cruelty. Ignorance is not an excuse. Lack of understanding is not an excuse.

I am reminded, though, a melody I heard from a Terran during the Dominion War. He was a professor of history. And he sang of some figure in Human history, who organized an oppressed group against tyrants. But how did it go?

Nathes then looked upwards, pondering the tune. Then it came to her. Fully naturally. She uttered and sang the words perfectly…

He captured Harper’s Ferry with his nineteen men so true
He frightened old Virginia till she trembled through and through
They hung him for a traitor, they themselves the traitor crew
But his soul goes marching on

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
His soul goes marching on

She sang the rest of the verses. Perfectly recited from memory. The melody had stuck with her, despite long decades. It was a melody which ran counter to the sentiments of the Ancient Regime. More importantly, it was one she could identify with. Regardless of of its alien origins

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Stardate 98888.52

She returned to her quarters. Many years had passed since she shared an evening in the company of others. Moreover, years had passed since she had performed melodies on her instrument. The melodies performed probably came as a surprise towards the other officers. A banjo. Nothing romantic. But rather, something rustic. Its sound more raw than most other instruments of its kind.

Scarcely did I think I would play for others. I have not touched the instrument since I defected from the Star Empire. Though perhaps it was long overdue? Or perhaps I was, in some way, grieving? Who can say?

They seemed to enjoy it, at least. All of them had been, for a moment, caught in a spell. Music has that effect, I’ve found. Particularly when the chords are stirring.

At that, something came to mind: Another somewhat discarded item. A picture frame, one she had buried in a large metallic foot-locker. She carefully unlocked it, sorting through a mess of possessions from past years: Then she found it. A picture of several dozen Starfleet and Romulan officers. Members of the 11th Federation Fleet and 56th Imperial Star Navy Fleet. Nathes was situated in the front.

It came to mind when someone explained how she sees the universe. The galaxy. A great organism, to paraphrase. All interconnected. Regardless of border or barrier. Colonial or Homeworlder. The conditioning of the Ancient Regime still likes to flare its vile tendrils. Dark rooted words that tell me that such a worldview threatens the existence of Romulus and her people. Though when I ponder this view, those vile mindsets melt away.

She focused on the picture a bit more. Eyes trained on someone in particular. A Starfleet Tactical officer. A face among many in the picture. Though someone of plain significance.

I had forgotten some of the awful sentiments I held in those days. The Liberation of Betazed had shattered some of them. I had learned how similar aliens were. But it took someone in particular to expose reality.

But what was it he used to say? He had all sorts of sayings, the professor of history that he was. But what w…

“You should have bread, Nathes. But you should have roses too.”

I had mistaken it for romantic drivel. Though it was an expression which has stuck with me for my career. I thought about its meaning heavily after Hobus. When the Ancient Regime slowly started to collapse from its own weight. It came to mind as ideologue after ideologue promised us salvation. Food for our starving brothers and sisters. Restoration of what was great. But never any roses. What so many hearts yearned for: A life.

All of us had bread. But we were never allowed roses. Life for ourselves. Agency and determination for our own destiny. Friendship, fidelity, and love for those around us. The essential. The tyrants played these off as “selfish”. Or scoffed at them and called them weak. But life would have no meaning without those around us. This is not greedy or selfish.

She looked at the picture a final time. Most in it were now dead. In fact, only two present were still alive. A Reman way in the back, her future munitions officer. And herself. Nathes was not one to drown in grief. At once, she put the picture away, putting it back in the old foot-locker.

A better future is still possible.

She then reached for the instrument she had played for the other officers. She took a seat in her bunk, and began strumming away. The sound she produced was rustic. Colonial. Provincial. But hopeful. Rousing. Strong.

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Stardate 99471

Wary and paranoid, Nathes writes the following on pen and parchment.

“There are so many dangerous people in positions of power.”

Or at least, that is as close as I can recall to what a friend told me. She is right, though.

I am seeing it manifest during my time here. That missive that she forwarded me should have been a flashing warning sign. What person writes such a thing if they are not troubled? Yet at the time, I went into it providing counsel and a semblance of optimist. I do not regret what I wrote, but I do regret not heeding the unspoken warning I was offered.

There is a sickness at the core of all nations and peoples right now. At once, people are willing to acknowledge the evils around them. Yet at the same time, they are not willing to do anything about it. They simply offer false sympathies while maintaining a vile status quo. This is dangerous. Elements, this is worse than dangerous. This is terrifying. My friend tried to point this out. Maybe I was to late in realizing it. But I see it now.

I think, though, it was made apparent with who I spoke to. I have nothing against him, of course. He meant well. He approached and shared an honest word with me. Elements, I even liked the man. He was not unpleasant to look at. But… pleasure cannot supersede responsibility. I recall this piece from a poem:

Early every year the seeds are growing
Unseen, unheard they lie beneath the ground
Would you know until their leaves are showing
That with weeds all your garden will abound?

I remember a friend from the Dominion War singing this. The most haunting melody I ever knew. An indictment of inaction and those who would rather ignore what is festering in their garden.

I have to play the game again, though. I thought I was done playing it. I suppose after 2409, when the revolution was won, we all thought we could take a breather.

But then, that was a deception I fell for. And in some ways, I am no better than my counterparts who are ignoring what is around them. Vigilance never ends. The struggle never ends. Only through hard work and effort can something meaningful be achieved.

So I have to play the game. Thrice as hard for a Jacobin. I know who my friends are. But who are my enemies? I suppose I will learn soon. On the Galaxy spins indeed.

But a better world is still possible.

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Stardate 99513.65

What defines our people?

I suppose in the moment, I did not have an answer for her. And I still do not have an answer.

In the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Cardassian Union, we are defined for our secrets. And in some aspects, we are. Though I think they often assume secrets refer to clandestine operations: They have this notion that we all work for some large, overbearing agency handing out orders. Such a notion is as ridiculous as the awful holonovels they release on Earth every few months. I harbor nothing ill against those creators though. They are awful, but they are entertaining.

But I think. No, I know. Sovum wishes to learn about her people more. I suspect she will learn first hand in the coming weeks. Both the good and the ill. And it will pertain to what unfolds these next few months.

There is a lot of chatter going on at home. Old friends have reached out to me mentioning the fervent anger in Mol’Rihan’s cafes and pubs. Militia Intelligence seems to think we are still living in the days of the Ancient Regime: That they can run roughshod over us and do whatever they want. And worse, they think audits and intimidation can achieve what they want.

Many in their circle ignore just how universally loathed the old ways truly are. I remember what those bastards did to my father after the Dominion War. They called it preserving the interests of the state. And they said he was a traitor. And they tried tying me into his crimes. Our crime was not being born on the homeworld, though. And our crimes were not kowtowing to the line of the senate.

Those days are over. I plan on taking a few days and visiting Mol’Rihan. A few old acquaintances want to talk a few matters over. While I cannot get involved due to obligations to the Military, I can at least offer suggestions. Pamphlets, missives, and the like. Apparently more people read them than I initially thought.

The Revolution of 2409 was decades in the making. It took the loss of a homeworld, successive invasions, and all manner of woes for us to finally achieve what we long deserved. And now, little tyrants in fanciful boots would try taking that away from us.

I suspect these next few months, there will be many battles to fight. And I have no intentions of watching and waiting. I hope they are reading this.

A better world is only possible if people are willing to fight for it.

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Stardate 99443.3




“BREAKING POINT”

Hnaev.

HNAEV HNAEV HNAEV HNAEV!

The clattering of a bottle and a few glasses could be heard in the background.

Am I so in over my head? What amounted to diplomatic ventures is now turning into a quagmire. One that is so grand that I think my head will explode! I do not think even Kali-fal will be able to clear my sinuses after this.

Nathes looks at the blue drink inside with disillusion. She was not really keen on drinking herself to a stupor. But, maybe it would at least take the lingering edge off. She took a sip. She recoiled, immediately throwing the glass towards the wall. It shattered into countless pieces.

HNAEV!

I feel terrible about what happened to that Ensign. The report that came in… Elements. Having to explain to Starfleet that I got one of their people killed. I suppose in a way, I cannot blame them for not trusting my people. So many people in the RRF seem to gloat about their professionalism as soldiers. I would like to see them try to manage an operation with a foreign power. Thoughtless they would say. Rihannsu are all monsters!

She stared at the collection of glass on the ground.

Maybe I am over my head. Honesty to oneself is a good policy. That was, after all, one of the core tenants of our uprising against the Ancient Regime. Dignity to oneself. Dignity to others too.

I suppose I can appreciate my friend’s state and her consideration for resignation the other night ago. Granted, I am not quite at that point, I can appreciate the perspective she is in. It’s moments like this where I consider disappearing. Maybe finding a quiet little spot and being forgotten about. It’s not like half my peers would notice. Dirty colonial. Not a true Romulan.

She shook her head.

I wish father was still alive. But, I think he would probably just be smacking sense into me. Not literally, but, giving me that look.

When did I become so sentimental?

Or maybe I just never had the chance to process everything that happened. Dominion War, Hobus, Klingon Incursions, Revolution, and so forth. So many dead. Including people I knew. Maybe that’s why I am so afraid to get closer to people. Just… apprehension of losing it all again.

She focused on the broken glass for a moment. Then, with care, she began cleaning it up. This was well beneath her.

No, I can’t be like that. Dignity to others. Dignity to myself. That was the cornerstone of the Revolution. Maybe I just need to let it hurt too.

As she was about to sit down, her communicator chirped. It was from RRF Command.

Alright. One thing at a time. Duty first. Always. End Personal Recording.

She clasped her hands, took a breath, then headed for the door.

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“Resiliance”

Stardate 99456.8

“Computer, begin personal entry: Principal entry for Stardate 99456.8”

A journey is about facing what you are not comfortable with. And resiliance is being able to face those discomforts and still maintain yourself. I remember a Centurion from the War College drilling that into me. In more ways than one, it helped me prepare for the myriad of catastrophes that followed."

Nathes perpared for her duty-shift. Hair combed and in place. Uniform pressed. Then finally, she collected her data padd which listed the day’s affairs. She took a singular breath.

“I suppose I was naïve in thinking that struggles would end once the Revolution ran its course. Everything was motivated by a better future. The idea that if we seized the day and destroyed those who had taken so much, that we would not be back in square one.”

Nathes, after looking over the day’s misison, placed the PADD on her belt. She clasped her hands and existed her quarters. A pair of Reman Guard-Marines passed her by. They saluted her.

“Commander, Jolan’Tru.” said one of the Guard-Marines.

“And in some ways, we do have a better future. Things are not what they were. No longer do the shackles of fear and tyranny ensnare us. And further, we are able to enjoy things we never had before. The ability to express ourselves personally without fear of being interrogated a few short hours later. And the ability to find enjoyment in unexpected avenues.”

Nathes made her way through the narrow corridors of the Virin. She was not a large ship. Only 300 personnel. But she opted for the longer route. She desired to see the majority of the ship’s faces.

As she made her way through the corridors, her thoughts drifted back to the holoprogram. She was looking forward to the next chapter. Something to look forward to. For sure. But for now, duty. She passed through engineering. The personnel there stopped, affording their commander a salute. She returned the salute, then meandered on.

“It was funny. In that little program I partook in, the accompanying Captain displayed two simple things. The ability to listen, and… spontaneity. A boulder was chasing us, and he just jumped. I hesitated, but… there was no other recourse. No other path. Sometimes, you just have to take that plunge, even if what is below you is frightening. Even if you might get hurt along the way.”

"Two problems, therefore, I think. For me: First is being open. Because I fear others will not understand. Well maybe they do not, but they do know how to listen. I have not been fair to my peers for that. That changes. Starting with the next holodeck chapter. But more importantly, spontaneity. Our entire Revolution was built on it. Taking a chance. Doing something in the moment to address a problem. And being able to do it despite the pains the past inflicted.

Nathes passed through the mess-hall. At this hour, it was empty. On the far side was a tattered Romulan banner. A banner which had been carried during the early stages of revolt against the Star Empire. There were countless signatures on it. Many of them were no longer alive. But Nathes and others had held onto it. As memory.

“All the loss sticks with me. Rihannsu have long memories. And our tendency is to let the emotions of those moments stick with us. But resilience is acceptance of what occurred. This business on Tri’vokil brings this challenge to bear. Lots of bad memories. And the other night ago, all those bad memories were laid to bear. Shattered into countless pieces of little glass.”

Nathes then turned, making her way to the lifts. She turned about face. A short time later, she arrived on the bridge. It was alive with activity.

“All at attention!” proclaimed the first officer.

Nathes then gazed around the bridge, eyeing the senior staff as they saluted. A moment of hesitation crept up on her. But she dismissed it, instead returning the salute and taking a seat.

“And with that knowledge, comes the fear of others you might lose. More people to bury. And the guilt that comes with it. But our ancestors who departed Vulcan, Those Who Marches Beneath the Raptors’ Wings, surely had the same fears. The same hesitations. The same losses. But such is the price of striving forth. Of striving towards a future you believe in. It hurts. It wouldn’t be worth it if it didn’t hurt. Nor would it be worth it if there wasn’t fear. Leaps into the unknown. Leaps that might hurt. Resiliance.”

As Nathes took her seat, she nodded.

“Initiate decoupling sequences. Engineering, prepare to depart Starfleet’s Deep Space Thirteen local space. Set a course for the Tri’vokil system. Factor 8.2”

The bridge sprung to life. Clearance was requested, then granted. The lights dimmed and the engines began to spool up with life. The Virin then pivoted about from the station. A determined expression formed on Nathes face. The crew noted it, and found like determination. The Navigator then reared his head, looking over for the final word.

“I do not expect an easy battle ahead. Our allies in the Federation will be hard pressed too. Battles of words. And battles across the stars. But such was the foundation of the Revolution of 2409. Such must be faced. With willingness and courage. But consciousness too. Towards the future.”

“Hnahn [engage]!”

The stars then streaked across the screan as the Virin departed out of local Deep Space Thirteen space.

"With resiliance.

Computer, End Log."

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“Connections”

Stardate: 99467.9

“Computer, begin personal entry: Principal entry for Stardate: 99467.9”

“I must confide that Operation Clouded Judgement has plagued my mind. If I were younger, I would attribute it to “aliens” (a word I am disinclined to use due to its associations with the ancient regime) being unable to understand the nature of conflict. But that is, on its face, ridiculous.”

“And besides, Gul Nalima Rejal filled that role fine. I have well have well forgotten the excessive posturing and melodramatic drivel their military is known for. Even after long decades since the Dominion War, that quality has never died. We in the RRF and our Starfleet allies could have well done without ‘catastrophic failure’ as a description. But in her defense, there is a root point I will concede to her.”

“And maybe I should not be too hard on her. Cardassians, like Rihannsu, are a people which have been at odds with their neighbors for decades. And while my people went through a violent Revolution that forced us to reassess our positions in the universe, that never happened with the Cardassians. Not to the same extent.”

“The root of failure, though, pertains to… a lack of connections. These are skilled and decent personnel. But, I think many well live on islands. Its understandable. Commanding your own vessel affords a certain autonomy that inevitably isolates. And while free-thinking is essential, isolation is something far less desirable.”

“I am guilty of it too. I have my ego. I sometimes share a sentiment that other peoples do not understand what I, and others like myself, have gone through. But if that truly the case, then I would not be brokering strong connections. And I have been trying to make strides, per what I promised myself.”

“I’ve spent some time learning about my peers. Ambassador T’Vel, Captain Morton, and Captain Tungsten I would say I have made the most strides. I’ve found it rather easy to talk to those three. For different reasons. But, it’s rather… refreshing not to feel like a total outsider. Before, save for Valore, I… struggled. Not as much now. Speaking of her, I need to check in on her.”

“Ah, but what does this all mean. The Tri’vokil Free State. I am… dreading what follows our mission there. They have well accepted the assistance of the RRF and our Starfleet allies. And the Ancient Regime has blustered. Now… they will act. And they are going to murder my people. And the yare going to invent all manner of excuses.”

“Bastards.”

“But… well, what is happening there cannot be a repeat of Operation Clouded Judgement. No, we have to succeed there. But to achieve that… connections. All these people, I need to speak to them soon. Unified focus only comes from understanding your compatriots. And to that end, I still need to make strides there. For the sake of the Revolution’s legacy, the Republic, and of course my peers.”

“Connections. Resiliance.”

“End log.”

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“Understanding”

Stardate: 99484.6

“Computer, begin personal entry: Principal entry for Stardate 99484.6”

“Tri’Vokil is well the catalyst for renewed hostilities against the Ancient Regime. Myself and many in the RRF, I suspect, are bracing for what is sure to be an intense fight. Ensuring this Free State’s independence is, as I fear, going to come with great cost.”

“I am afraid. And I am angry. The fires of Revolution still run hot within the Rihannsu diaspora. I confided to Ambassador T’Vel these sentiments. Though initially I was fearful of Vulcan judgement, instead I received something I was not expecting from our cousins. A capacity to listen and appreciate. And further, a singular statement: We are not provincial. I liked that statement a lot. That woman is brilliant. Unequivocally.”

“And that -truth well carried to a discussion with Lieutenant Sovum. She is constantly caught in this mindset that, because she serves Starfleet, she is somehow not Rihannsu. And she is fearful of attitudes my diaspora might have towards her choice. She is caught in the trap of believing herself provincial. Yet she carries the torch of the Revolution without seeing it: Agency and Power. Her own choices. That is what we fought for in 2409. I hope she sees it.”

“I have been in the trap of provinciality too. My unwillingness to open myself up out of fear of judgement. Or the fear of what my peers say. I have made strides to change that. And it’s… opened some curious doors. Understanding of others. I suppose… that’s empathy?”

“The crew of Dragon, I suppose, I have made leaps. I warned Captain Tungsten that one of his officers might be in danger. And further, I shared a drink with him as we discussed options regarding Tri’Vokil. Good progress I deem. He, and indeed much of his crew, are sure of themselves. Very… proud. I do not mean that as an insult. I mean, they are simply proud. And I think for myself, it is… refreshing to see pride worn in such a way that is not totally blinding.”

“Captain Morton though… He did an exceptionally brave thing in an attempt to preserve life. It did not work, and it instead resulted in the losses on his crew. I did not inquire about specifics, but during a discussion post-operation, I could tell it was weighing. Things he did not say. Eyes and posture said it all. I knew this to be so because I do the exact same thing when I am troubled. Perhaps that is why I am personable with him. I should, of course, inquire. Perhaps during the next holodeck session. I am still not sure if I am going to wear that absurd hat again.”

“I still find myself afraid. The weeks ahead are not going to be easy. Pain, anguish, terror, suffering: All the things that occurred during our Revolution. I invoke music from it a lot because of how much it has affected me. I know too, my brothers and sisters, it affects them. That is why Rihannsu are characterized as being irritable.”

“But I am not just irritable. I am angry.”

“…perhaps well time for music. They want me to perform a few pieces after all.”

“Computer, End Log.”

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“Fire and Duty”

Stardate 99513.5

“Computer, begin personal entry: Principal entry for Stardate 99484.6”

“According to RRF Command, I work to hard. I am pretty sure that was Miral speaking. Though I have no way of proving that. And further, Command has ordered me to Risa. The missive stated that I am… stressing myself out. As if some overrated pleasure bristling with naked personnel is going to make me feel better. Maybe next time they can send me to Bajor. Better food.”

Nathes took a singular breath. She was still fuming about being ORDERED to partake in mandatory fun. She did NOT work too hard!

"I was perhaps a bit relieved to know that my friend Valore was just as unhappy about going to Risa as I was. Though I think she was probably more upset about Risa than I was. Then again, becoming the designated morale officer sounds about as pleasant as Klingon deep tissue massage. Though I was keen on reminding her that mandatory fun was better than getting shot at.

Though I do not think Risa is necessarily is what she is upset about. She is more impacted by what she deems to be unjust. Revolutionary fervor. Raw fire. And considering my experiences, once you have that fire in your heart, you cannot really put it out. You can temper it and contain it for the sake of duty; but it’s always there. Consciousness. Almost a sort of dementia.

I just wish she would give herself more credit. Fifty years from now, people like her will will do the peoples of the Federation much good. And hopefully their peoples do not have to suffer the turmoil mine did."

She makes her way to a replicator, where-in she ordered a cup of hot Deka tea. A favorite of her’s ever since setting foot on Bajor many years ago

“And I suppose that brings me to where I stand.”

“The Fire In Our Hearts That is Warming Us Still”

“An expression from a United Front that was unable to stop the wave of tyranny. I learned of it on Earth. It was disturbing to think that, even though a people were united in purpose, they still were crushed against a wave of tyranny. Sobering. What was hopeful is that not all was forgotten.”

“I think… that is something I am learning to understand myself. That once that fire is given birth, it never goes out. And I suppose that has accounted for the deep rooted anger I have felt.”

“It was funny too. What really helped was talking about it amongst some near total strangers. Veneela excluded of course. But the subject of recent operations that made me irate came up. One of the officers, I cannot recall her name, flatly stated that anger was driving my actions.”

“And she was absolutely right. It has driven my actions since the Revolution. But I guess… I have been able to realize that. It has stopped me several times from doing something that would be in betrayal of the dignity: The purpose of our revolution.”

“Raw, though. My experiences… they were soaked in blood. It is hard to forget that. And what is even more challenging is trying to prevent vengeance from being a driving force. Nothing brings me to anger more than individuals who believe their sense of duty earns them the right to take the life of others. That is why Tri’Vokil and that matter with the Azedi Dreadnought. These monsters barge in and just open fire without sense. I see them though. And I don’t forget. Rihannsu do not forget.”

“But… again, keeping that at bay. And further just talking about it. I shared enough with them there. The talk delved into Risa. Something… Karaoke. LaSalle brought it up. Some sort of musical competition. I believe that is what Valore referred to. The details were provided. And I am amenable to it. I do perform and sing. Duets were mentioned. And I had a mind to find a partner for this competition. LaSalle pressed on who it was, but, I absolutely going to tell that room who it was. Elements, these peoples can be nosey.”

Nathes took another sip of her tea

“I have been particularly open with… I do not know why. Maybe it is just the absurdity of the Rihannsu Jo’unns holo-novels. It has provided a certain outlet to where I feel comfortable talking about experiences. The absurdity of it all contrasted with the past few weeks. Or maybe it’s just because Morton, literally, does the thing I do: Keeps troubles to himself. I also like him. Hopefully our performance during this “Karaoke” amounts to something.”

“Mandatory fun, though. Ridiculous.”

She finished her tea, returning the empty cup to the replicator

“Just talking about it, though. I do not expect all these peoples to understand. But I cannot just keep it bottled up anymore. And besides, these peoples need to know where I stand. I do not hide anything. There’s no need for it.”

“Computer, end log.”

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“The Revolution Unfinished”

Stardate 99572

“Computer, begin personal entry: Principal entry for Stardate 99572”

Having returned to the Virin, Nathes had much to ponder. As she pondered, she carefully packed up her instrument. She had a mind to play. Something she had not done for a long time. Not since venturing to Risa. Something was rekindled. But what was it?

“I cannot say that I have returned viewing Risa any differently. To paraphrase Valore a bit, it is a place that facilitates slothfulness. I will settle for Bajor next time, I think. Her dancing waterfalls and rolling green fields induce something much greater. That the Elements’ for Diplomat T’Vel’s reading. That spared me from insanity. But…”

“There was much I enjoyed. I performed. The duet of course. But more than that, I performed. The first time in… how many years? Not since the Revolution. I…”

“That aside… Captain Morton is a talented vocalist. But his significant other, Ambassador Perim, is the musician. Piano, I heard her say. Her performance hinted at that. Practiced. I could tell. Captain Tungsten I well suspected to be a metalhead. The noise was perhaps a bit much. But I admired the storytelling. And really, is that not what it’s about?”

“But it was not so much the people. I am glad they were there. My…friends. Novel. But when I performed, on my own, I felt… maybe not comfortable. But I found peace. A few minutes. But peace. Loss still hurt, but… I felt like I could live with it. And I had focus too. Clarity.”

“A way leave those evil years behind.” said Nathes, singing a singular phrase.

“And I was even so willing to venture in a place of noise and absurdity. Camp Speed-Wraith with Captain Morton and Ambassador Perim. Elements, that was a delight. Just a stupid, absurd delight. I had no clue Scorpion Fighters could go that fast. Though the kilogram I gained as a consequence is something I will need to work out. Literally. Probably two workouts per day?”

With the Banjo now packed in its case, she hoisted it over her shoulder. But she held off on venturing forward.

“And then Warner. I… look forward to seeing him again soon.”

There were feelings there with that statement. Strong ones. Personal ones. Sentiments she was not ready to express in any entry, despite how warm they were. Not yet. But in due time. But there was something she felt willing to vocalize.

“The pain will never leave. Talking about it, as someone pointed out. That is key. And learning to trust that, even if others do not understand, they are willing to listen. We Rihannsu are defined by our secrets. It is our greatest strength. The ability to master information and use it against those would oppose us. But it is also our greatest weakness.”

“These hurts and pains cannot be bottled in. Secrets like that need to be talked about. I need to talk about them. The Dominion War, Hobus, The Klingon Invasion, the Revolution… all of it. The Brothers and Sisters I have lost would surely tell me if they could speak. And maybe, in a way, they are speaking to me now. Maybe all the pent up pain is there way of talking to me. Reminding of what the Revolution was about. And more importantly…”

“How it is a Revolution unfinished. I fought to ensure it happened. But what good is fighting if you do not embrace the torch lit in 2409? Now, finally, I see it. Tomorrow is bright so long as I fight for it. Suffering and pain is not a life. And I will not let the inflicted pain of fascists deprive me of that anymore. That is what they want. That is how they extend their insidious roots. But I am ready to face tyranny in whatever form it takes.”

“Fighting fascism is a full-time job. But don’t forget downtime activities. I believe that was what a wise Bajoran once said. I think I will take that to heart.”

At that, Nathes meandered out of her quarters. She was not dressed in uniform. For that reason, those she passed by did not recognize her. A faint smile found its way on her face. She then arrived in the ship’s mess. It was filled with various Romulan and Remans. Nathes carefully unpacked the banjo, the same instrument she had played on Risa. She found a perch beside a window. Behind her was the splendor of the cosmos. At once, those in the Mess realized who it was. They gawked, then fell silent as ther Commander began to play and sing.

Tomorrow is a Highway

Tomorrow is a highway broad and fair
And we are the many who'll travel there
Tomorrow is a highway broad and fair
And we are the workers who'll build it there;
And we will build it there

Come, let us build a way for [Rihankind.]
A way to leave this evil year behind
To travel onward to a better year
Where love is, and there will be no fear
Where love is and no fear

Now is the shadowed year when evil men
When men of evil thunder war again
Shall tyrants once again be free to tread
Above our most brave and honored dead?
Our brave and honored dead

O, comrades, come and travel on with me
We'll go to our new year of liberty
Come, walk upright, along the people's way
From darkness, unto the people's day
From dark, to sunlit day. Tomorrow is a highway broad and fair
And hate and greed shall never travel there
But only they who've learned the peaceful way
Of brotherhood, to greet the coming day
We hail the coming day!
~~Pete Seger

It still hurt. The pain. But she found the will to sing about it: With her brothers and sisters in the RRF. And finally, she was thinking about tomorrow again. Tomorrow: The Revolution Unfinished.

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