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Shadows and Symbols

Posted on Mon Jun 7th, 2021 @ 3:45am by Rear Admiral Greg Coulson & Lieutenant Ilbis IlkunĀ  MD & Admiral Sakkath & Admiral Xeri Tei & T'Han & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Lieutenant Dylan Blake & Lieutenant Cyrus Marner

Mission: Cheese
Location: Ni'Var
Timeline: 2430-08-31, 19:00

"This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy," Rear Admiral Gregory Coulson repeated to himself over and over as he stood in the shadows of the alleyway. It had only been a short while since he launched his mission to Ni'Var to rescue his friend, but it had felt like he'd been here for an eternity. It didn't hurt that eternity was going to be what he had to pay for all of this either. He had disabled a Federation Colony world, put the entire planet and its rich dilithium resources at risk, and essentially declared war on the Romulans through his actions. Eternity was a small price to pay for his friend.

Dressed in a traditional Vulcan robe, Greg studied the surroundings. The Praetor liked to address her subjects each day and today was no different. They were already setting up position on the Grand Stage outside of the Romulan Senate Chamber. As much as he didn't want to get out in the open he knew that this was his best possibility of connecting with Sakkath. The problem was that it opened him up for a lot of risk if he were recognized as not being a Vulcan. For all his years of training and experience the reality was that he had never made for a good Vulcan. He had been a Romulan a time or two and done very well, but the robe gave him a bit more concealment.

Walking along the path he started to approach the stand. He was impressed by how open this all had been as it was not the Romulan way to be so out in the open. There was probably some sort of protection in place, most likely a defensive grid that placed a forcefield between the legislators and the people. An invisible divide that so many thought was not there.

Looking at the gathering he could see a group of people still inside the building. He wished he could pull out a scanner or his binoculars to take a look at what was going on, but that would be tantamount to suicide. Instead he just watched hoping that he would be able to take his shot to help a friend.

"How dare you?" Praetor Xeri Tei seethed.

"Administration of Ni'Var still falls under my purview as the leader of the Confederacy of Vulcan, Madame Praetor," Administrator Sakkath answered without faltering in his words.

The Praetor sighed, "Indeed it does, for now at least. You are Proconsul of the Romulan Star Empire which means your loyalties lie with me as your Praetor. You will follow our protocols and you will maintain your place at my side. Now, tell me Proconsul, do you support the Romulan Senate and our goals?"

"I would not be here if I did not, Praetor," Sakkath answered in his common tone. He looked at the datapad that he was carrying, "I have uncovered the location of the Federation Officers. They were taken captive by members of the Unification Movement."

"The Unification Movement?" She laughed. "Why is there a movement when unification has already been achieved? I fail to see the logic," she emphasized the last word.

Sakkath nodded, "Their logic is misguided. They are under the belief that Vulcan is under martial law and that we have no say in our administration, our freedoms. They see our Romulan cousins as oppressors and not our equal."

The Praetor looked at him hawkishly, "Do you share their sentiments?"

"I do not," he answered without pause.

She smirked, "You're lying."

"Vulcans do not lie," Sakkath countered.

"I know better than that," Tei answered. "Do not and cannot are two entirely different things, Administrator. Do not implies that you can while cannot that you are unable to do so. Rest assured that we will do what is best for Vulcan, even if you do not."

"Ni'Var," Sakkath replied.

The Praetor looked at him as she turned from the exit to the stage, "I beg your pardon?"

"Ni'Var," he replied again, "you called it Vulcan. If we are to be unified, Praetor, perhaps we should call it by its current title and not one of yesterday?"

The smirk returned, "Indeed."

Rear Admiral Coulson had moved to a better vantage to see the entirety of the Praetor's Speech to the crowd. There were hundreds of people gathering upon the stage, getting as close as they could but not so close as to touch their leader. It was a damned show - designed to make the people feel that they were part of the community and not victims. At any point he expected to see a forcefield erupt between them, but he was more surprised to see no such evidence emerge. Instead the people and their leaders were open to one another.

Praetor Tei was dressed in her traditional Romulan military fatigues. Instead of the Crest of the Senate she had the new logo of the Romulan Star Empire central in her chest. The great bird of the galaxy emerging from the Vulcan IDIC. It was all for show and not unity as it was so depicted. The suns reflected off of it gently, shimmering light embracing the crowd.

Standing at the podium she lifted her hand in the Vulcan salute. Seeing the Romulan Praetor make the gesture made his skin crawl, what came next made him have to hold back the bile. "Jolan Tru citizens!" The Romulans among the crowd erupted into cheers while the Vulcans remained quiet. It was impressive to hear such triumphant exuberance on the Vulcan homeworld, it was enough to make someone feel that the world was about to end.

He turned to walk away, having seen enough to know that this was not going to go as he planned. He looked up in time to see a faint reflection of light in one of the windows. Before he could move, before he could react, he watched as the world around them began to stop. An orb of golden light erupted from the darkness of the window faster than the eye could see. Greg tried to track it, but it moved too quickly. He was able to see the fallout though as the orb slammed into the very emblem that Greg had been admiring moments earlier.

The crowd erupted into screams as the Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire disintegrated before their very eyes.

Entering into the courtyard from the catacombs, the Starfleet Away Team and the V'Shar agents were greeted with pure pandemonium. Romulan military personnel, Vulcan V'Shar agents, and dozens others were swarming the podium where the Praetor had just been standing. The crowds were being searched, the soldiers looking for the source of the shot that killed the Praetor before their very eyes.

"We must hurry," T'Han announced to the group. "They will investigate everyone in this square without regard."

The sense of fear emitted from the stage was toxic, pulling his robes tighter round himself Blake followed the others: "Where are we going?" he asked feeling overwhelmed by the sense of violence they'd witnessed from afar.

Marner thought things looked rather eerily nightmarish, but he turned his attention towards Blake and especially Chire. He truly hoped that she would keep as calm as possible. They didn't need to cause any attention to them at this time. He also looked towards Ilkun to see how he was faring. He murmured quietly, to T'Han: "Which direction do we need to go." Of course Marner was also hoping that none of the people got separated from each other.

T'Han studied the surroundings carefully, her piercing gaze surveying the crowds looking for the means of their salvation. The public transporter booths were not far from them. While they were designed to transport persons from point to point on the surface, with some quick modifications they would be able to send them to an orbiting vessel. That was, of course, if the system wasn't shut down following the onslaught surrounding them.

She pointed to the nearby platform when she observed the moment that had concerned her. The platform, the means to save their guests, went dark. Tal'Shiar agents would be flooding the concourse soon. She sighed - something atypical for a Vulcan.

"We must return to the catacombs."

"But..." Dylan glanced back over his shoulder toward the crypt fearfully. The initial trip through them had been unsettling enough, the prospect of returning to hiding their made his skin crawl. Then again, recalling how T'Han's agents described what would happen of the Tal'Shiar could do to them was worse.

Feeling trapped between a rock and hard place Hawkins too surveyed their surroundings and how quickly the escape window was shutting. The assignation and consequently fall out had forced them into retreat, any movement forward to escape would be seen as a means of guilt fleeing from a scene. Retreating however, could also be interpreted at the same, right now however it was the best course of action until they could return to the ship. "Are you sure there isn't another way? Won't they be searched as part of the investigation?" he asked.

"Our options are extremely limited," the Vulcan replied matter-of-factly. "There are multiple tunnels stretching out for kilometers under the surface. We should be able to escape without problem."

"By all means lets make haste." Marner replied. "and I am certain that there maybe other ways to get out of the catacombs much like the once in France." directing the last part towards Dylan.

Admiral Gregory Coulson struggled through the crowd as the gathered tried to escape from the cacophony. Romulans, Vulcans, a gathered assortment of others tried to escape before the Tal'Shiar could take them. Hundreds of Romulan soldiers, mixed with some other races including Vulcans, materialized within the Courtyard. Disruptors were drawn and pointed at the citizens as mass arrests began all around. Rushing forward the renegade Admiral tried to escape down an alleyway, only to run into a massive hulk.

The turtlelike Chelon looked down at the man who had just bumped into him. The alien doctor knelt down to help, extending a clawed hand, only to recoil it in horror. "Admiral Coulson?" He said bewildered.

"Uh oh," the Admiral answered as he looked up at the towering alien.

Surprised that either or fate or dumb luck had bought the rogue Admiral right into their grasp Hawkins quickly shrugged it off and stepped forward offering Coulson his hand: "Unless you want them to catch you I think you'd better come with us."

They'd able to able to ask questions later, for now leaving courtyard and avoiding the growing number of enforcement officers were paramount.

"I have a better idea," the disgraced Admiral flicked his wrist and started typing on the interface of the wristband tricorder that he wore. In seconds the away team were engulfed by a transporter beam.


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