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Idril Mar

[2003: SEP-OCT] In the Service of the Emperor

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I'm in a dark and depressed mood today, so I apologize if the story brings that with it. Good time to write about death, huh? ;) At any rate, I hope you enjoy the story. -- Jenn

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News came slowly in those days to our star system, you know. We heard rumors off the trade routes into the empire. There were rumors that the S’val were on the move again. Rumors that danger threatened the Empire. These rumors had come before, though, in other years, and nothing had come of them. The mighty T’Kon Empire still stood. Usually they could be traced to some old trader who had drunk too deep at the local station’s tavern or some Suttonnian whose fear of everything happened to be focused that night on the destruction and evil that were said to follow the S’Val in all their conquests. I still remember the rumors. But the rumors that winter were different. Yes, the rumors came, but at first we ignored them, thinking ourselves wise, we who sat comfortably at home at the edge of the Empire tending our gardens and our pantries. Soon, though, the rumors became news, news of the S’Val and their increasing strength and of their moves towards the T’Kon home-world.

I remember still the night that I first really believed that the war had come, the night that I left home. Liandra and I were there, sitting in front of the fire. She was stitching a wreath of flowers on a new towel and I was busily writing a letter to my uncle, speaking mainly of all the planting I still had to do and our plans to expand the house when the weather got nicer. My mind was filled with pleasant thoughts of home and family.

I didn’t think that anything was wrong even when there was a loud knock on my door. Often my brother or Liandra’s sister and her husband and their children would stop by to talk. They all knew that I had intended to fix that bell. Maybe later when the weather got…

I’m rambling. This isn’t what I started this story for and tales of quieter times at home hit too near the heart these days. You’ll want to know about the war and how we came to be here in this land of the dead.

It was my brother, Olmy, that night. He stood there, wheezing and panting out the words. I hear those words sometimes in the quiet of this cursed night that folds around me as my ship runs silent picket duty… waiting and watching for those cursed demons to come out of the interstellar depths to murder us.

“Its true, Farin. The S’Val have taken the home-world. The Emperor has fled towards the D’parin Nebula and is calling for aid. Some say that he’s dead already, but there’s many of us that don’t believe it. We’re going out, tonight, all of the system’s fleet. The Emperor needs us… he needs everyone against those demons. I came to get you…”

I stood before him, fear shaking my knees but with a swelling courage in my heart. I went quietly and quickly about my home, collecting some things. I didn’t look at Liandra. She’d heard Olmy, standing behind me there in the hall. I had turned to her but she was only looking at the towel, twisted and torn in her trembling hands. She was crying, silently.

When I had finished collecting my things and returned to Olmy in the hall, she had disappeared into the kitchen, where I could hear plates and jars clinking together and I knew she was fixing food for me. “She sees the need of it now,” I thought to myself, knowing that it was, at least in part, a lie. Olmy rattled on, his words racing with young enthusiasm. “We’ll all be heroes,” he said, and my heart half leapt to agree with him. Liandra returned to the hall, a basket stuffed with food under her arm. She gave it to me then kissed me on the cheek. “I’ll be home to see the flowers bloom,” I assured her as we set off down the path towards the spaceport. She didn’t speak, but a feeble smile lifted the corners of her mouth. She stood in the door and watched us go, the silence of leaving woven with the light of the candles in the hall and wrapped around her shoulders. I think she mourned for us even then.

We rendezvoused with the local fleet near the edge of the system. We turned our bows towards the central system and leapt to warp. It wasn’t hard, though, travelling along the well-known trade route. We came to other systems and picked up a few more ships and some supplies. Everywhere we were wished well and assured that we’d be victorious. The boasts and jests began to ring hollow in the mess halls as we began to see some of the devastation that the S’Val had wrecked on the inner reaches of the Empire.

We were undetected as we traveled carefully and silently towards the home-world. Maybe we were too small and fast for the S’Val to detect. Perhaps we were just traveling down a little-used route.

A couple days later, a S’Val patrol attacked us suddenly, without warning. Before we could raise shields and arm our weapons, nearly a third of our fleet had been destroyed. We, the rest of us, destroyed them… all of them, I think. We shot phaser-blast after phaser-blast into the wreckage even after they’d been destroyed. We drifted for a few minutes, stunned at the destruction. Finally, the calls of those with damage roused us. Only a few of the older, more experienced captains had thought to bring repair supplies. How confident, or naïve, we had been. We tended to repairs, had memorials for the dead, and moved on.

A few days later it was our turn. A much more wary fleet came upon a patrol and, moving much more stealthily, we were inside their lines before they knew we were there at all. We left a message buoy that day to show that we, the Gamorna, had come to the aid of our Emperor.

The next day, we were in the Oort cloud that surrounded the T’Kon home system. We dared not yet enter the system; we didn’t know if friends still held there. We feared the worst. Our scouts went in and only one returned – Olmy, and his ship was damaged. They had found, damaged and abandoned, an old scout ship and salvaged its records. The Emperor had fled core-wards, towards the old mining colonies in the D’parin Nebula. They had made it almost back to the fleet when they had encountered a S'Val patrol. Only Olmy’s ship had made it out of the ambush and back to us.

As soon as we had him and his crew aboard, we were on the move, this time core-wards. The systems were widely dispersed and barren of supplies. Our star charts were vague and inaccurate. More and more, we snuck between systems and then huddled down in asteroid fields. Our provisions gone, we foraged on the few worlds we came across. Some of our ships took damage and two were destroyed by a spatial anomaly. Others were lost in skirmishes with the enemy. They were looking for the Emperor, the same as we were. Occasionally we encountered natives, but we didn’t have any way of communicating with them.

We hope to find the Emperor soon. We come across mining colonies and we search them; otherwise we skulk about avoiding detection, our souls and hearts as cold as the space around us. There are few enemies; perhaps the barrenness of this sector keeps them away. We hide from everyone and from hiding, attack and kill. We’ve grown practiced in it these many days and weeks.

So cold… on days like this, I sit in my ready room and, wrapping myself in the cloak that my wife made so long ago, and think of her and home. Is my home the way I still remember it? Was it as glorious and peaceful as it seems now that I am far from it? Is the grass still green? The children, still happy and playful? The holidays still as good? I long for my pipe… but it was lost to a hull breach long ago in a skirmish – a delaying action, really. There isn’t any tabac in this place of death anyway. Ah, Gamorna… how I long to be home… but I fear for it too. Has the menace that we fight reached its happy cities? How long can the peaceful inhabitants be sheltered? Do the others there live there happy, unaware, even on the darkest night, of the evil that has enveloped the rest of the empire? I hope so. That thought would make it easier – this barrenness, this fight, this death that surrounds me. Doubts, however, will not be denied and I wonder. Are they safe? Do they suffer? Do they play? Laugh? Do they sit tear-faced and mourn us? Do they even know that we are gone? Do they remember us? Oh, Liandra, do you, this night, remember me?

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On an exploration mission near the edges of the shattered home system of the T’Kon Empire, the USS Independence came upon an ancient message buoy that still transmitted its lonely message:

“We, the defenders of Gamorna, have come to the aid of our Emperor.”

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Good post. Great story. When will you plan on doing more?

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Its finished as is. It really doesn't have anywhere else to go... its designed to really give the feeling of impending doom, rather than actual death, at the end of the story.

FYI, the T'Kon Empire existed, according to the Star Trek histories, about 600,000 years ago rimward from the modern UFoP along the border between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. It's mentioned in the early TNG episode "The Last Outpost," which is also the first episode where the Ferengi appear.

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If I remember my reading correctly, weren't they the ones who tried to build a huge transporter and replace their sun?

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I am not up on the history of this race.

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What are you rambling about now?

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This list only for comments on the story itself. All other discussion into "Post Parties & More", please.

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