The loud, obnoxious buzz of the communications terminal filled the dark room, waking everyone with it's shrill alarm.
Or at least, it would have, had the sole occupant of said room been asleep.
Tomalak glared at it, wondering who would be trying to get in contact with him in the middle of the night. One month ago, such an occurence wouldn't be out of the ordinary. But that was when...that had been...
Quickly he banished those thoughts from his mind.
The buzz did not stop, no matter how much concentrated hate he sent in its direction, so he unfolded himself from his position on the bed and sat down in front of it, snapping it on with more force than was probably necessary.
"What?" he all but growled.
The man on the other end recoiled from the unexpected hostility. "Commander," he said cautiously, still using the old title even though Tomalak had not been a commander for several years now.
"Pontikanos?" he replied, wondering what his cousin could possibly want. They hadn't spoken in years, not since Tomalak had left the Fleet for the Proconsul's position.
"Listen to me," Pontikanos said, a level of urgency in his voice that Tomalak had never heard before. "This is important. The sun is unstable. It's going supernova."
"You're lying," Tomalak snarled. "That's impossible."
"No it isn't. You have to believe me. Administration wants it kept quiet so there's not a panic, but I can't just stand by. We're family, whether you like it or not."
He didn't respond to that last statement. "How long?" he asked at last.
"A day. Maybe more. Take only what you need, and go. Just go. Get as far away from here as you can."
"I...I understand," he said, even though he really didn't, not at all. "Thank...thank you."
"Just go," Pontikanos said, and ended the transmission.
For a few minutes, Tomalak just sat there, trying to process the information. Go. Just go. The sun will go supernova in less than a day. Everyone still on the planet will be killed.
AndsowhatifIdie? the thought flashed into his mind before he could stop it. Ihavenothinghere.Lifeanddeathisthesametomenow.
No. That was the coward's way out. He may be a Broken, but he wouldn't give up. Not just yet.
The decision made, he snapped on the terminal again, calling an estate nearly half a world away. After a few minutes, the black and silver Raptor disappeared, to be replaced by a very dishevelled looking Bochra.
"Commander!" the younger man said, trying at once to snap to attention despite his still half-asleep state.
"Listen to me," Tomalak said. "Gather only what you need. Wait for me at your house. I will explain when I get there. Do this quickly. I will be there within the hour."
Bochra blinked, clearly wondering if the commander had finally snapped. "I don't understand," he tried.
"Just do as I say. There isn't much time. If you aren't there...then you will not survive."
That got his attention. "Survive what?"
"I'll tell you when I get there. Just be ready."
Three quarters of an hour later, a black Talon-class flitter hummed to a stop outside the residence of Bochra tr'Raedan. The younger man was waiting, as his head of house had commanded, and quickly climbed in to the little vessel.
"Will you please tell me what is going on?" he said.
Tomalak ignored him, setting in the flightpath in the autopilot. The craft took off, heading for the outer atmosphere.
"The sun is going nova," he said bluntly. "And no, I'm not lying."
Bochra felt his face flush. "How many times have I told you not to read my mind?"
"Then don't think so loud."
Bochra had no answer to that. "How do you know this?" he asked.
"Pontikanos told me."
"He hates you."
"Yes, but his ship is a science vessel. If anyone would know what's going on, it would be him. And he's related to me, however distantly; he's honour bound to at least tell me."
"All right." Bochra wasn't going to argue with that. He may have been an honorary member of House Raedan, but the ways of born nobles were quite beyond his understanding. "So what's your plan?"
"We're going to get out of here. As fast as possible."
"In this little thing?"
"No, of course not. We wouldn't last three days." The flitter set down on the orbiting spaceport. "We're going to steal a ship."
"Oh, of course. Haveyougoneinsane?"
"No." Tomalak exited the flitter, pulling up the hood of his jacket. "Keep your head down. Don't look suspicious."
They walked in silence along the outer rim of the port, where the visiting ships were docked. Bochra watched as Tomalak hesitated before each airlock, telepathically 'listening' for any signs of life inside.
"This one," he said at last.
"And how are we supposed to get in?" Bochra asked, but almost before the question was out of his mouth, Tomalak had keyed in a number of commands to the controls next to the door. The airlock opened obediently.
"The office of Proconsul has its privileges," he answered Bochra's unasked question. "Is it really my fault if I just happened to remember the override codes?"
Stopreadingmymind, Bochra thought in annoyance. Tomalak just smirked. He took his place at the nav console, flicking several switches to turn on the main interface.
"It'll do," he said. "It's not in particularly good repair. Hopefully it will just get us to the nearest colony world."
They'd been flying for nearly eighteen hours when the shockwave hit. The little craft bounced around, the cabin lights dimming and the finally flickering out completely. By the time it was finally over, the life support fans were humming weakly and the nav console was barely lit.
The two Romulans looked at each other, neither saying a word. Neither needed to.
Thatwasourworld, the look said. Everythingwehaveeverknownisgone.
Tomalak was the first to break the silence as he turned his attention back to the nav board. He swore.
"Nav's out," he said grimly. "And that shockwave sent us way off course. I...I have no idea where we are."
Bochra cursed. Nowwhat?We'veescapedRomulusonlytoperishinthedepthsofspace.
"We aren't going to perish," Tomalak responded. "Someone will come. The comm's still working. I'll start the distress call."
"Stop reading my mind," Bochra mumbled.