Table of Contents
Romulan fingers and hands raced over controls with little success. "Sorry, sir, no response!" Panic showed in the young Romulans face as he continued, "No shields and no screens!"
"Same here, no weapons," added another bridge officer.
Leaping from his seat in disbelief, Ralnek tried the controls on several consoles for himself. His frustration manifested itself in a blind rage. "What is going on?"
The sudden appearance of Rojan surprised the Romulans so much, that there was a moment of inaction. However, before any of them could react, all were rendered motionless by the Kelvin neural field device.
Activating a standard issue Star Fleet communicator, Rojan spoke confidently and proudly. "The Romulan ship is yours, Captain."
"Thank you, Rojan." Kirk's sounded relieved, "Status?"
Rojan surveyed his surroundings. "Bridge crew is incapacitated. We control engineering, life support, weapons, communications and the shields are now down."
Kirk's smile could be heard over the communicator. "Well done. I have my security teams on the way; inform your people. By the way, if you don't mind, would you please check the Romulan computers for operational orders? I'd like to see if they have any other ships in the area."
"Absolutely, Captain. You'll have an answer in a matter of minutes." Rojan closed the communicator and began working a nearby console.
Back on the Enterprise, the entire bridge crew, minus Spock, was all smiles. "Take a team and see if you can find anything of interest, Spock. And... take your time. I don't think the Romulans are going anywhere." Kirk finished with a smug grin then turned to Uhura. "Lieutenant, stand down to yellow alert until Rojan determines if there are any more Romulans in the neighborhood."
"Aye, sir, and nicely done. It's not every day you capture a Romulan ship without firing a shot." Uhura smiled to herself as she reset the ship's condition to yellow alert.
Kirk turned to see Spock enter the turbolift with Sulu and Chekov in tow. Undoubtedly, he would also take Scotty, DeSalle, Riley and Kyle as well. Between them, the Romulans and the Klingons would have very few secrets, if any.
Once more, Farrell took Chekov's post while Matson covered for Sulu.
Turning to address Uhura, he admonished her a bit. "Lieutenant, I didn't do it alone, right? It may have been my plan but with Kelvin assistance and their technology."
When Star Fleet reinforcements finally arrived, they found a Romulan ship in tow behind the Enterprise on the way to the Neutral Zone. Reluctantly, Kirk turned the battlecruiser over to the fleet commander. The Romulans were all in custody in their own ship, revived and madder than a nest of angry hornets. Once it had been established that no other Romulan ships were in the sector, many teams boarded the captured ship. Together, they had downloaded every secret available. Scotty, Kyle and DeSalle inspected the engines and power systems. Spock and Chekov had gone over the ship's computers with a fine tooth comb. But Kirk's personal favorite discovery was made by Sulu and Riley. They located the newest generation of cloaking technology. After 'dissecting' the ship's shields, they finally decided to take the cloaking device as a souvenir. All in all, it had been a remarkable operation.
Kirk forwarded all the findings to Star Fleet then called for a meeting with Rojan. When his door chime sounded, Kirk stood and walked to greet the Kelvin.
Opening the door, Kirk greeted the alien with a big smile. "Rojan, I wanted to give you a personal briefing. Will you join me?" He indicated a seat and led the way.
"Certainly, Captain Kirk," Rojan followed and took a seat quickly.
"And it's James, okay? I must say this has been a monumental day. I am authorized to tell you that Star Fleet and the Federation is most grateful. To prove it, they have sent the Corps of Engineers to the world you plan to settle on, Iridis III, also known as Chimera. The engineers will construct homes and other buildings that you may need. By the time we get there, temporary housing should already be in place. Your trip to Starbase 22 won't be necessary after all.
Visibly moved, Rojan replied, "It is most generous."
"Not at all, the information we gathered will help preserve the status quo and therefore, peace with the Romulans."
The Kelvin shook his head in amazement. "I would have destroyed the Romulan ship and its crew. Then I would have carried out raids on the Romulan outposts as a means of retribution and to discourage further attacks. Instead, you have accomplished much the same without any deaths on either side; amazing."
"We were rather fortunate in that regard," Kirk explained. "There were many injuries on the S.S. Suez, some serious. I think Captain Kiltz is going to lodge a complaint with Star Fleet and may have a point. But the low body count is mostly due to your help and technology, Rojan." Kirk became a bit uncomfortable, "Speaking of which... any chance you could share your neural field system with us?"
"We Kelvin are not known for sharing our technology for fear it could be used against us. However, I know that would never happen with you or the Federation. You have proved your worth and integrity. I have already explored that possibility with Mr. Spock, but I'm afraid it won't work. The device is tied into the Kelvin neurological system. The human and Vulcan systems are not compatible. In fact, we can find no known similar system in Federation records."
Kirk was visibly disappointed. "Most unfortunate, but I appreciate your effort. In any case, the Romulans will think twice before trying anything like that again. They'll be trying to figure out how we pulled it off. That should keep them in their own territory for some time."
A curious Rojan asked Kirk, "Why were they in Federation space? Don't the Romulans have dilithium?"
Kirk leaned back in his chair and related, "It seems they haven't developed their resources as well as the Federation. Their older ships used a different power source, but since they began using Klingon ships, they were forced to rely on dilithium. It was a case of too many ships and other engineering systems using dilithium. The Romulans had to find more, and quickly. It was much easier to take it from a known source rather than try to develop new deposits and mines," Kirk took a breath then continued. "They only attacked unarmed cargo ships, and before destroying them, took their dilithium. It's why they initially left the Suez intact. By concentrating on cargo ships, they wouldn't damage the mining colonies that were producing the ore. Also, many of the colonies have defensive systems to fight pirates and could have severely damaged the Romulan ship. This far in Federation space, they could have been in big trouble."
"You mean more than we gave them?" Rojan smiled at his own words.
"I suppose not." Kirk smiled too.
Rojan shifted in his seat and nodded towards an unusual item in Kirk's office, "A Romulan device?"
Nodding in acknowledgement, Kirk explained, "It's the reason we had so many problems with communications. Those units simulate the radiation output of a star. What we attributed to natural radiation was actually an artificial source. It's better than signal jamming because it wasn't obvious or traceable. We found a reference to them in the Romulan computer records. Once we knew what to look for, they were easy to find. Star Fleet has a ship collecting them. The reason the Suez could transmit in the asteroid field was that the Romulans never put any transmitters in there."
"They didn't believe anyone would be foolish enough to go in there, right?"
"Desperate people do desperate things, Rojan." Kirk studied the Kelvan man who was in thought.
"You must admit though, the Romulans are quite clever and those devices were inventive."
"The Romulans are that, for sure. Spock insists it's their Vulcan lineage." He finished the observation with a smile, then added, "Right now, though, it's time to tell your people the good news about your new home, shall we?"
Again, the Kelvan smiled, "I would be delighted... James."
The following day, Kirk made his way to the ship's chapel. In just a few minutes, he was standing at the entry along with Dr. McCoy, Uhura, Chapel, Sulu, and Scotty. They entered the modest sized compartment and stood near the front as Sulu and Scott made a few preparations. Kirk studied the small room noting the chapel decor. It was denominational neutral as it represented many beliefs. However his main object of attention was a brass plaque located on the starboard bulkhead. On it was the name of every crewperson lost while serving on board the Enterprise.
Kirk studied the names as Sulu and Scott worked quickly. A number of the names were unfamiliar to him as they were placed before he took command of the ship.
"Ready, sir," Scott announced quietly.
Kirk turned his attention to Sulu and Scott, "Very well, company, attention to honors."
The group stood at attention while the engineer removed a small brass nameplate from a plain box and moved towards the 'Wall of Remembrance' as it was called. Kirk looked at the name plate as it was attached by Scott.
Once Scotty was done mounting the plate, he stood up and stepped back with the others, at attention.
Sulu then stepped to one side and picked up a ceremonial hammer lying next to the small bell on the altar. Sulu struck the bell easily then spoke quietly, "Yeoman Second Class Leslie Thompson." Again, he tapped the bell and read again, "Doctor Elizabeth Dehner." He continued the process until he had read all eighteen names of those who had died on the Enterprise in the last three years.
After he finished, Sulu replaced the hammer and stood next to his friends for a moment of silence. Kirk then announced, quietly, "Dismissed."
They remained for a few moments speaking quietly to each other. Scott moved to face Kirk, "A bonnie lassie, to be sure."
McCoy was next, "A genuinely sweet young lady, Jim. She'll be missed by all of us."
"I can't believe she's gone, Captain." Uhura couldn't hold back the tears and Nurse Chapel held her close as the two left.
Sulu stood by the Captain, looking to speak, but distracted by something outside the chapel.
Noticing Sulu's reaction, Kirk turned to see Rojan and Kelinda waiting. As the others left, Kirk remained and the two Kelvins entered hesitantly and quietly.
Rojan explained, "We weren't sure if it was... appropriate for us to be present but we listened outside."
Kirk nodded in understanding, "Your desire to be part of the ceremony was... commendable."
"We thought it could be part of our formal apology for the death of Yeoman Thompson," Kelinda added. She turned to look at the Wall of Remembrance and stared for a few moments, lost in thought.
It was then Kirk realized she was becoming emotional. Surprised he moved closer, "What is it, Kelinda?"
"I saw the communication you sent to Thompson's parents and the funeral. Now this... memorial to your dead; this is most... impressive. We Kelvin have nothing like it." She then turned away, emotional.
Rojan watched her for a moment then added, "It's true. Over the centuries we've lost so many friends that the Kelvin have become so accustomed to the losses that we accept them without thought. I don't like losing crewpersons any more than you, but we Kelvin simply... move on. It's our way of life."
Kelinda recovered enough to make an observation, "You really do cherish life, don't you."
"We honor and remember those who have died but especially our friends who serve in Star Fleet."
Looking at the Wall of Remembrance, Rojan asked, "These people died while aboard your ship?"
"Actually, just the last eighteen people, the others served under other Captains." Kirk responded quietly then added, "But the list keeps growing."
Curiosity got the best of Rojan, "How many years have you been Captain?"
"Just about three years on the Enterprise."
"And only eighteen losses? Most commendable, I envy your record."
Kirk looked dismayed, "I don't. If I had my way, the wall would be blank."
Rojan countered, just a bit stiffly, "Not very realistic, given the fact you deal with so many unknowns and the unforeseen every day. Quite often there is little you can do to prevent death. However, you have shown that whenever possible you do your best to minimize loss of life, even when dealing with invaders from another galaxy." He finished with a slight smile then took Kelinda's hand.
"I suppose it is a consolation, no matter how small." Kirk studied Rojan for a moment, then added, "You're becoming quite the philosopher Rojan. If you continue to associate with us humans, you may actually turn into one, body and soul." Kirk finished his statement with a half-smile then indicated the door.
Kelinda and Rojan followed Kirk out of the chapel and into the corridor; the three pausing for a moment.
Finally, Kirk softened his look and smiled warmly, "Care to join me and my senior officers for dinner?"
The Kelvins both nodded in agreement.
"By the way, Dr. McCoy wants to talk to you Kelinda; I think he has an interest in you, professionally speaking. He's always asking about you."
The three then continued down the corridor absorbed in a quiet conversation of friendship.