Part of Challenger: All For One & One For All

TWENTY TWO

D.F.C. T’Shear, entering the 40 Eridani system (Vulcan system)
Middle of the month of T’lakht, YS 8764, Wednesday, October 17th, 2155
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Commander T’Plau meditated while sitting in the shared quarters she shared with her husband while on his ship. A lot larger than the quarters she had come used to on Challenger, being a D’kyr-class cruiser gave the crew of the T’Shear a lot more space. She knew from her own experience on the Sakra, that these classes of ships gave their officers their own private quarters. Only two barracks existed on this class of ship when they were transporting troops. Right now T’Plau knew that her husband’s ship had used those barracks and its cargo bays to rescue the settlers from the Earth colony of Gault. After dropping those that they had rescued with their Earth allies, the entire Vulcan task group that Muroc now commanded was heading back to Vulcan at top speeds. 

Even with the Romulans attacking Merak, First Minister T’Plau had used her powers as the Administrator of the Vulcan High Command (the counterpart role of Earth’s President being the Commander-in-Chief of all of its forces) to redeploy a number of assets. T’Plau, earlier on in the year, had enacted an alternative strategy that brought a bulk of the Vulcan fleet away from the frontlines. This redeployment of Vulcan’s offworld strategic assets had forced the United Earth Commonwealth to pick up the slack and deal with the Romulan brutality on their borders. T’Plau had later understood why the Vulcan leader had made such a move, especially after she had discussed the matter further with an unlikely and new friend, Commander Anthi. The Andorian skipper had explained to her and her husband that she had been told that the use of the Romulan’s weapon (the telecapture system) was more effective on Vulcan technology than Earth’s technology. Anthi had also added that due to them copying each other’s technology over the past decades, the Andorians were also easily susceptible to the weapon. The Tellarites did not have the fleet to easily defend their own borders along with other borders from members of the Coalition.  Earth had been left alone. Anthi said that engineers from across the Coalition of Planets had speculated that Earth’s lesser advanced technology somehow made it more difficult for the Romulans to use their new weapon on Earth vessels. Compared to Vulcan, Andorian and Tellarite computers that all relied on touch screen displays, interconnected systems and voice recognition software, Earth technology was designed differently. Earth computer systems (known as monotronics) required touch type controls and networks that had sub-networks that slowed access from one system to another. Already Vulcan, Andorian and Tellarite engineers were looking at how they could adapt similar approaches in their technology on board their ships. It would take time though. 

On some level the injustice of this war had disturbed T’Plau. None of them knew why the Romulans were so focussed on annihilating them all. That was partly why she was so determined to be part of the cause that stopped them. She had wanted to return to Vulcan, to assume command of the Jarok, and to carry on the work she had started in building strong relations with those in the coalition. She now assumed that this type of thing would no longer happen since, what their Earth allies were calling, the Vulcan withdrawal may prevent stronger relations.  

The candles in the quarters were slightly disturbed, as well as the darkness, when the doors opened and her husband walked in. 

“Do not be alarmed T’Plau,” the familiar voice of her husband said. Muroc, dressed in his formal captain’s uniform, stepped through the threshold from the corridor and into the darker room. “We are approaching Vulcan and I wondered if you had come to a decision yet?” 

T’Plau nodded, as she rose from her seated position on the floor. She had been on a cushion during her time of reflection. “I have.” She went towards their shared bed chambers and started to retrieve her belongings in the several holdings they were now packed in.

“And will you still assume command of the Jarok?” He questioned as he watched her sort out her baggage. 

“I will.” She answered. 

Bowing his head in acknowledgement of her decision, “I am intrigued what you plan to do in regard to your work with the coalition. You have not spoken about it since your long conversations with Commander Anthi.”

“I have given it much thought, especially since we departed from the Avenkerev, and I believe I can make a difference from my new posting.” She said as she finished sorting her possessions out. “After speaking to Commander Anthi, who is a strong supporter of the Coalition too, we both plan for our ships to become part of the officer-exchange programme.”

Muroc raised his left eyebrow, “I am aware that a commanding officer, or one of their superiors, can make that decision without consent of their government, but is the programme still in effect?”

She nodded, “Nothing has changed with it, so we plan to undertake the task at hand together.”

“Together?” Muroc repeated, captivated by his wife’s decision. 

She nodded once, “Yes, I will have Lieutenant Thom join me on the Jarok as my first officer and communication officer. While I have already discussed with Commander Anthi that I will return the gesture with my own communication’s officer joining her ship.”

“I was not informed you had a communication’s officer picked?” Muroc probed. 

“I made the request two days ago and it was agreed by their superior,” T’Plau replied, “The officer was more than pleased with their newest assignment.”

“Do I know this individual?” Muroc asked, curious as to why his wife appeared so satisfied with this revelation.

“Yes, I believe he was the one who told you where I was back on Earth,” she replied shaking her head, “Ensign Erik Larsen was the second communication officer, I served with him on Challenger and he is a talented young individual who would do well with this experience. Commander Anthi and I have agreed to trial this approach for three months exactly, both men are in agreement with it too.”

“The Challenger’s deputy linguist? Why not offer the position to the senior most officer?” Muroc speculated. 

“Logically speaking I cannot ask that from Captain Burton. He has already lost his executive officer who is also the ship’s chief science officer and with my departure too he is in need of replacing two members of his senior staff. I did not believe a third would be just.” T’Plau said as she started to make her way towards the door. “Will you be joining me on the Jarok before it launches?”

Muroc shook his head. “The T’Shear is being sent to provide relief aid and further troops at Merak, once we have achieved orbit and received our supplies and additional soldiers we will be departing expediently.”

“Then there is no logical reason for us not to say goodbye to one another now so you can return to your duties on the bridge.” T’Plau said and extended her two fingers towards her husband, “Goodbye husband”

Placing his index and middle finger together and slowly caressing hers, Muroc said his goodbye too. He then raised the same hand and parted his fingers into the typical Vulcan V-shaped gesture. “Live long and prosper Commander T’Plau, my wife.”

She copied his act and bowed her head before leaving his presence. She would take a shuttle across to the shipyard where her new ship, her new assignment awaited her. Determined to make a difference, T’Plau would not allow her time with Challenger to go to waste. Even if her own government appeared less supportive of their allies, it did not mean she would treat them the same. The loss of life from the Earth cargo ships, the Polaris and Raven (the second ship that was destroyed by the Romulans) remained green in her memory. She had checked in with Captain Burton and he had confirmed that Polaris had been Commander Levesque’s aunt ship along with that, she had recalled the Raven being the cargo ship that had assisted when she had joined Challenger earlier on in the year near to the former colony on Archer Four. Knowing how many civilians had died and who they were had fuelled her intentions to follow in the same manner that Captain Burton had worked. She would stand for justice and for what is right, deep down she even knew that sometimes to do that her decisions could not always be logical and that was where having Lieutenant Thom, the first Andorian to serve on a Vulcan ship, would come. She knew she may receive complaints for that decision, but it felt right to her to try it. Not knowing what her superiors thought about it did not intimidate her either. They were all too preoccupied in dealing with the Merak attack, it would give her some room before they decided to address her decision. In some way she had made her mind up based on considering the idea: what would Captain Burton do? She felt he would have made the same choice too. That was enough for her and it was a sentiment that she was fascinated to explore in this new chapter in her life.