Captain Hailey and his crew discover a wrecked Romulan ship on the other side of the Galaxy.
Why were the Romulans there? How did they get here? Did they arrive there the same way the Harrier did?
And how did the Romulans know French?
Remember, flames or blames go to Jay P. Hailey on his website or here: email@example.com
Episode 08: The Et-Tu
Jay P. Hailey
The Romulan ship drifted in front of us, silently. I was sweating and trying not to show it.
“Any changes?” I asked
“No, Captain.” Harksain Varupuchu said. I could tell he thought I was being impatient.
“How about inside the ship?” I asked.
Stephanie Anderson, my Chief of Security was monitoring tricorders that we had turned on and beamed into the derelict ship.
“Nothing, Captain. There are no life forms above fungus and algae level.”
What an old Romulan Warbird was doing out here at all was a mystery to begin with. She was empty her crew was gone. There were no bodies and no clues.
Spaat, our Vulcan Helmsman had translated her name, written on the hull. It was a complicated concept. She was named for the emotion you feel when you find that you have been betrayed and all your plans undone, by your best friend, who has been compelled by his honor. In Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, Caesar has this emotion when he turns to find even Brutus has stabbed him. So we called the Warbird Et-Tu.
The temperature and micro-meteorite pitting of her hull showed that the Et-Tu had been abandoned for about fifty years.
I had a decision to make. The reason that the Warbird had been here, and why she had been abandoned might be important. They might be vital to our survival. We weren’t finding these reasons by remote control.
“I have a result.” Flagg said. I had called him to the Bridge to share whatever knowledge he had about Romulan operations with us.
He was searching through the Harrier’s archive. The Harrier, like all Starfleet starships carried as complete archive of all records and knowledge of the Federation. This knowledge was often a useful tool. If nothing else, when you became too bored you could read classic literature or history from the dozens of worlds in the Federation. There was more than a person could read in a lifetime there.
I found it weird and amusing that the Harrier carried data that no one aboard was classified to see. Just in case an Admiral or Ambassador was required by an emergency to use the Harrier as his flagship, Starfleet wanted everything he needed to know available.
Flagg was digging through Intelligence files, trying to find if our intelligence operations had acquired data on the Et-Tu.
“The Et-Tu, a Theta class Warbird, listed as missing in 2307, on a routine science mission.” Flagg reported.
I wanted to know what had happened to the Romulans. It might just save our lives. Who would I send? Who might get killed trying to find out?
I didn’t like that train of thought. Many Captains had picked up the habit of leading away teams. Now I thought I understood why. If I sent anyone over there I should go, too. It was only fair. We should face it together. After all, wasn’t it my responsibility? I knew I was going to hate sitting on the bridge and not knowing.
“Commander.” I said to Li’ira “Please take an away team to the Romulan ship. Take Ensigns Spaat and Bruce. They will try to gain access to the Et-Tu’s computer. Take Colonel Flagg and try to find out what happened to the crew.”
Li’ira listened carefully, until I got to the part about Flagg. She said “Aye, Sir,” dubiously, looking at Flagg,
I turned to Flagg. “Commander Li’ira will be in command of the away team, Colonel. Will you have a problem with that?”
Flagg responded with a faint, inscrutable smile “Not at all, Sir.”
The air on board the Et-Tu was hot and tasted stale. As the away team materialized, and noticed this, Ensign Bruce made a whooshing noise and said “Those Romulan sure liked it hot, didn’t they?”
“The temperature approximates the surface temperature of the Romulan Homeworld. Approximately ninety-three point five Fahrenheit degrees.” Spaat pointed out.
The Harrier’s crewmen looked around. They were in a corridor, long and straight. It was dark, only a few light sources dimly shining.
Flagg consulted his tricorder. “The Bridge should be forward. This way.” and started in that direction. The away team walked up the corridor towards the leading edge of the ship.
Li’ira suppressed a momentary irritation with Flagg. One of his talents as a spy was a certain lack of content to his body language. It was hard to tell what he was thinking. He seemed to randomly and arbitrarily act. Li’ira thought that if she was patient, lenient and observant, she might be able to get the man sent to brig for mutiny. The thought brought a small smile to her lips.
Soon the team reached a set of armored doors leading to the bridge. Flagg tried a button. The doors didn’t move. “They’re locked.” He said.
Li’ira looked to Spaat, who read the control panel and confirmed. “He is correct. The access to the bridge has been locked.” He looked at Flagg “I was not aware that you read Romulan, Sir.”
“Correct, Ensign.” Flagg said.
Li’ira resisted the urge to strangle Flagg and said “Ensign Bruce, can you defeat the lock?” Li’ira thought she might be able to. She knew that Flagg almost certainly could. She wanted to test Bruce’s talents for breaking and entering.
Bruce said “Yes, Sir.” and got to work on the lock. With quick, methodical steps he detached the face plate of the lock and peered intently at the locking mechanism. After a few moments study he pulled a tool out of his tool kit and gently violated a component of the lock.
The door to the bridge slid open, and a small, irritated beep sounded.
Flagg grinned wider “The test circuit? Where did you learn that?”
Bruce turned to the Colonel “In high school, Sir. In Chicago.”
After carefully checking the bridge, Li’ira set the two Ensigns to work on the computer.
Flagg activated the communications console. “Et-Tu to Harrier. This is Flagg, do you read?”
“This is Harrier, we read you. Go ahead.” I said
“Away team status good. Ensigns Spaat and Bruce are beginning their work with the computer.”
“Colonel, do you have the ability to set up a datalink to the Harrier?” Li’ira asked him.
“Yes, Commander.” Flagg’s voice was smooth and professional.
“Please do that. Do you have the ability to link our comm-badges through the Et-Tu’s internal communications system?”
“Then let’s do that, too.”
On the Bridge of the Harrier I could see the datalink come to life on Tillean’s panel. My own access was fairly high, and so I had continued searching for old Romulan access codes. I had found a couple of administrative codes that seemed like they might work. I sent them to Spaat and Bruce along the datalink.
Spaat, at the Warbird’s science station entered the codes, and the Federation starship Harrier became a Romulan space station as far as the Et-Tu was concerned. Using a suggestion from Ensign Bruce, Spaat declared the crew of the Harrier administrative personnel. The irritating beep stopped, as the Et-Tu realized that the strangers on her bridge were actually maintenance crews from the space station.
Satisfied that work on the computers was going well, Li’ira turned to Flagg and said “Shall we?” With a gesture to the door way.
Flagg nodded jauntily and they left the bridge to explore the rest of the ship.
Read the rest here: The Et-Tu