Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 47201.7
Captain Matsumoto Sulu
The Romulans: devious, cunning, not to be trusted. How can a species be so closely connected to the Vulcans, and yet be so far from them in enlightenment and reason? The Romulans pretend they are a better breed, but they are more like the Klingons of old: arrogant and aggressive; fatally bound to an out-dated concept of honour; certain of their entitlement to power and pre-eminence; sure of what they see as their manifest destiny.
The cold war between the Romulans and the Federation is only a hairs-breadth from bursting into flame, and Romulan incursions across the neutral zone are frequent and brash. They are testing us, measuring our resolve. We must not give an inch to these fascists, and I don’t intend to.
Their one saving grace is they are not the Borg. One day we might be able to make peace with the Romulans, despite their unremitting suspicion and hostility. But there will be no accommodation with the Borg: with them it’s resist or be assimilated; kill or be killed.
We are now deeper into the Shackleton Expanse than any Federation ship, with the possible exception of the Nova-class USS Aurora. Commanded by Evangeline Harper Aurora was lost nearly a year ago. Starfleet has assumed that she suffered the same warp drive malfunction that has beleaguered the Nova class, and led to the destruction of the USS Borealis, Equinox and Zodiac, and that she was lost in deep space with all hands. Of course, we are to keep an open mind and search for Aurora wherever we go, but it is with little hope or expectation of success. At the very least it would be good to find out what happened, and let the families know the fate of their loved ones. I didn’t know Harper, but Pok had served with her: by all accounts she was a fine officer and a great loss to the Federation.
So, we drove deeper into the unknown, heading for a cluster of uncharted systems. Before we got there we intercepted a signal, most of which was impossible to decipher. However, my XO, Rekan, with the help of Chief Medical Officer Ketsu (who is not only a dedicated physician but also a talented scientist) was able to decode a part of the alien message, which seemed to be inviting us to follow the signal. Was it a message? Was it a distress signal? Was it a warning? We had no way to tell. So we set course and followed the signal.
At Warp 8 it didn’t take long to chase the source down, and we found an artificial sphere deep in inter-stellar space. It was made of some super advanced metallic material, and was shielded, although there seemed to be narrow channels through the shield to its surface. We have a great command crew, and my weird and wacky suggestion led Rekan to an expert calibration of our sensors that allowed Excelsior to scan the interior, showing a basic structure with a central chamber, and a breathable atmosphere.
The shield prevented beaming, so I led an away team in Shuttle 1. We took some damage as we negotiated the narrow gaps in the shield, and Torgh injured his wrist, but we got inside. We eventually accessed the central chamber, and found an orb, glowing a bright white colour, that was the source of the message.
It was then that the Romulans appeared, a Warbird de-cloaking off Excelsior’s bow.
The Romulan captain Nurama, of the Imperial ship Devian, claimed the sphere and the space for the Romulan empire. As my official report explained, this was unacceptable and we told the Romulans this in no uncertain terms. When they persisted with this fiction I ordered Red Alert on Excelsior, and weapons to be locked on the Devian. I had no intention to fire – certainly not fire first – but I wanted the Romulan captain to know he was facing a man who was ready to fight for his principles. And I was, I am. If the Warbird had started hostilities I had every confidence that I, Excelsior, and her crew were more than a match for this play-ground bully.
I was right to be belligerent: Captain Nurama crumbled under the pressure and stepped back from his aggressive stance.
With this stand-off I approached the enigma that was the globe in the centre of the sphere. I chose to address it, explaining Starfleet’s mission, and our peaceful and scientific intentions in coming to this place. In response the globe vanished, and we found another signal, drawing us deeper into the Shackleton Expanse.
That’s our job. So we boldly go.
The Romulans detected it too and were able to leave before us. A pity. I’d wanted to propose that we go about this exploration together, to avoid us competing and fighting one another along the way (although that didn’t stop Engineer Del Gato taking a sample of the metallurgy of the sphere before we left).
But the power of Excelsior’s warp of 9.6 (calibrated to the new warp designations, meaning 9.6 is equivalent to the warp 12 of grandfather Hikaru’s day) means we out-strip the Romulans for pace, and will easily arrive at our destination first.
I hope we can find a way to work together with Captain Nurama. But if we can’t I know Excelsior has the firepower to hold her own, and defeat the enemy should we need to fight them for real.