Chapter Eight

Romulan Reason

"I can have a cot or something set up in my quarters for you temporarily. I'm sure it would only be for a few days. We will probably move one of the junior officers out of their quarters. Then you'll have a place of your own for as long as you want." said Tucker as he walked through the corridors with Selarev.

"That won't be necessary. I won't be aboard for more than a day, I'm sure." said Selarev.

"Where are you going?" asked Trip as they stopped at the door to his quarters.

"Back to my ship and my commander."

"But ... I don't understand, Selarev. Weren't they shooting at you?"

"Yes, and I should not have fled. I should have ..."

"What? Not let us go? Not helped us?"

"No, I am certain that releasing you was the moral and correct thing to do, but I should have been willing to pay the price for my convictions." answered Selarev.

"The price will be your life, Selarev." objected Commander Tucker.

"I know it well."

"But you could stay here. Or we could take you down to that planet. Or somewhere else even."

"I would still be running away, Tucker, and I cannot do that."

Trip ran his fingers through his hair and sighed before asking him, "What do you want to do then?"

"Allow me to contact Commander Tomarek. I am certain that he would be more thing willing to dock with your vessel in order to take me back aboard."

"You don't have to do this."

"Yes, Tucker, I am afraid that I do." said Selarev.

Commander Tucker wanted to say more. He wanted to argue the point. He even wanted get Captain Archer to back him up, and he knew that the captain would. Archer would never send someone knowingly to their death like that. But he knew it would be in vain. Selarev had made up his mind. Tucker hated it. In the short time he had known the Romulan centurion, he had come to consider him both a friend and ally, and he knew he was a good person and a good officer. It was an incredible shame.

"If you say so, Selarev, but are you sure you don't want to sleep on it?" asked Trip. "It's a big decision." he added.

"It will take much of the night for Tomarek to prepare the charges against me. I suppose it will do no harm." he relented.

Tucker made sure that Selarev had everything he needed and then went to find Captain Archer. He knew that Archer would want to know what was going to become of his guest.

"I've given Sub-commander T'Pol a hypo of Anaprovalin to counteract the tranquilizers that are still in her blood stream." Dr. Phlox informed the captain as he examined his burned shoulder. "She is going to require at least one day off duty." he added.

Captain Archer glanced at the Vulcan on the next biobed. She had raised an eyebrow at the doctor's suggestion, but she said nothing.

"Of course." Archer agreed.

"Now, as for your shoulder, captain, you are very lucky. The burns are only second degree. I am recommending a treatment of Pyrithian bat bile for the next six days to be applied to the burned areas." said Phlox.

Archer made every attempt not to make a face at the suggested treatment.

"Whatever you say, doc."

They all turned as the doors to sickbay opened with sudden hiss. It was Commander Tucker, and he seemed somehow distressed or frustrated, which was very unlike Trip in either case.

"Selarev wants to go back to his ship, Jon." Trip blurted out when he reached the biobed where Archer was seated.

"That would not be logical. His commander would almost certainly have him executed for treason." stated T'Pol.

"Maybe it isn't logical, but it's what says he's going to do." Tucker told her.

"We can't hold him here, Trip, even if it would ..." began Archer.

"Save his life!" Tucker finished for him. "I don't think anything would change his mind. In fact I'm pretty sure nothing would, but couldn't we fabricate a story to feed Tomarek to make Selarev seem less guilty?" he questioned.

"Impossible. His fellow officers saw him helping us. He fired upon them." said T'Pol.

"She's right, Trip." agreed Captain Archer.

Tucker sighed and ran his hands through his hair.

"Commander, let's say you were in this Selarev's position. You are aboard an alien vessel, having just betrayed your crew mates, for a good cause, but they are betrayed nonetheless. Where would you go? What would you do? Commander, wouldn't you face the consequences of your actions?" questioned Dr. Phlox, who had been listening with some interest.

Commander Tucker looked at him blankly for a moment. Then he took a deep breath and slowly nodded.

"You have a point. I don't think I would want to run either. It's just that ... you don't meet many people like Selarev, people with integrity and principles. And I just know he has to be a rarity among his own people." said Tucker.

"When does he want to return?" questioned Archer.

"I persuaded him to wait until tomorrow."

"I want to talk to Selarev before he leaves. Send him to my ready room when the morning shift begins." said the captain.

Commander Tucker, despite his need for rest and the eventfulness of the previous few days, tossed and turned much of the night while the Romulan slept restfully on his cot across the room. It was ironic. Selarev was going to his death the next day, and it was Trip who could not sleep. When morning came according to the ship's clock and Trip's alarm clock went off, they both sat up and yawned.

"You want to get some chow before I take you to see Captain Archer?" inquired Tucker, glancing at the universal translator he had setting on the bedside table.

"Yes, perhaps I could freshen up and then we would have a meal together." agreed Selarev. "Will the Vulcan be there? I have something I wish to tell her."

Trip frowned and said, "T'Pol doesn't always eat breakfast with the rest of the crew, but I can ask her."

"That would be very nice." nodded Selarev.

Sub-commander T'Pol was waiting for them when they arrived in mess hall. She had two bowls of flavorless broth on the table where she sat, reading a data pad. The previous day Tucker had not realized just how run-down and disheveled she had seemed until he saw her looking absolutely pristine that morning. She looked very much like herself again. Tucker could not help but to heave a small sigh as they joined her.

"Commander, Centurion." she acknowledged.

"Good morning." Selarev hesitated.

"I took the liberty of having a second bowl of Plomeek broth prepared for you. I thought you might prefer it to the human cuisine." she told him.

"I guess that means I'll be fending for myself." commented Trip.

"Indeed." said T'Pol.

"I'll only be a minute. You two can start without me." he told them, rolling his eyes at her response.

"He expected you to bring his food?" questioned Selarev after Tucker had walked away.

"No, I think he was joking."

"I see."

"You wanted to speak with me before returning to your vessel." she reminded him.

"I want to pass along a message to your people."

T'Pol raised an eyebrow and questioned, "A message? That is unprecedented."

"I cannot speak for all Romulans, but some of us remember our Vulcan heritage. We meditate as we can. We remember the basics of the old language. I just wanted you to know that it was so." he told her.

"That explains much, centurion." she commented.

"I thought it might." chuckled Selarev.

"But you do not suppress your emotions?"

"We try, but the skill is a difficult one to master. Some are more successful than others."

T'Pol considered what he said for a moment and said, "I will remember your words. It is ... pleasing to know that we still hold some things in common, even if only with some of you."

"Thank you. I am quite gratified that you find it so." said Selarev.

By the time Commander Tucker returned, both were silently stirring their broth, appearing to be deep in thought. They did not break that silence until the meal was done.

"It was most satisfactory to share the morning meal with you." T'Pol told him.

"Likewise, sub-commander." he said, rising and bowing slightly to her. "Shall we go, Tucker?" inquired of his other breakfast companion.

"Of course." Trip agreed, feeling urge to raise an eyebrow himself.

As they exited the mess hall, he turned to Selarev and asked him, "Didn't you have something to talk to her about?"

"Yes, and I have done so." replied Selarev.

Captain Archer was waiting in his ready room when they arrived. He had been sitting there for some time, writing a report concerning his time aboard the White Hawk and on Romulans in general. His shoulder continued to ache ever-so-slightly, but he scarcely thought of it. He was mostly thinking about the young Romulan officer, whom his chief engineer had befriended. When they arrived, Captain Archer immediately dismissed Trip and gestured for Selarev to be seated.

"When I extended my welcome to you last night, I meant it. Commander Tucker explained to me that you wish to return to your ship. They have hailed us more than once in the past three hours, requesting that we extradite you on charges of treason, but I have no intention of doing so unless you insist upon going back to face the charges." Captain Archer told him.

"Tucker has a good heart. I appreciate what he has tried to do, but I would not be a Romulan if I did not return to the White Hawk. I must pay the price for my actions." said Selarev firmly.

Captain Archer nodded slowly and said, "I thought as much, but I felt that I should at least make the offer."

"I understand."

"I also wanted to thank you for helping us. I know that Trip, Hoshi, and T'Pol feel the same way. We are very grateful. Is there anything that we can do for you before you go?"

Selarev smiled, and it was a smile without contempt or arrogance, and said, "No, captain. Just arrange for me to return to my ship."

"Would they be willing to dock with us? I don't feel like it would be wise to risk another shuttlepod." said Captain Archer.

"I imagine that Tomarek would be willing to move Romulus and Remus to apprehend me."

"I will contact him then."

"Audio only." said the ensign at the communications station. Captain Archer had given Hoshi the day off because she really deserved it.

"Of course." said Archer.

"This is Commander Tomarek of the White Hawk, as you no doubt know. Do you have the prisoner ready for transport?" inquired the irate Romulan commander.

Archer glanced over his shoulder at Selarev, who was admiring the vista of the planet from the view screen, before saying, "Centurion Selarev is ready, but I do not intend to transport him. You certainly must understand why." He took a deep breath and said, "But you may dock at the Enterprise at your leisure."

"Very well, captain. We will dock with the Enterprise in one hour."

"Will you be coming aboard? I am sure we could arrange for a brunch or something." suggested Archer with a smile.

"I think not. I will send two guards to pick up the prisoner."

"Of course, commander."

"And no tricks. The White Hawk is very capable of defending itself." Tomarek warned.

Archer glanced at Malcolm at tactical. The Englishman smirked and shook his head. The Enterprise was certainly a match for the privateering vessel.

"As is the Enterprise, of course, but only you force the issue." replied Archer.

"I am so glad that we understand one another." said Tomarek, closing the channel.

A small contingent of Enterprise officers were wearing their dress uniforms as Selarev walked between them toward the docking area where two Romulan Centurions stood, waiting to take him into custody. It was a simple statement, but it was not lost on the young Romulan officer. At the point in the airlock where the two ships met Selarev turned to say a word in parting.

"Farewell, my friends. I am glad to have known you." he said, looking at Tucker and T'Pol. "Do not worry about me."

"Good-bye." said Tucker.

"Jolan'tru" managed T'Pol.

Selarev smiled softly and turned to go with the guards. No one moved until the airlock sealed behind him, and the Romulans prepared to leave.

"What's the quote? From Dickens? 'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.'" said Trip he heard the sound of the Romulan docking mechanism disengaging.

Captain Archer patted his shoulder and said, "Yeah, I think that's the case for Selarev."

"As do I." agreed Sub-commander T'Pol.

"Dismissed." said Captain Archer quietly.

Malcolm walked down the corridor toward the lift, knowing the captain was mostly speaking to his security officers and to him. Tucker and T'Pol lingered silently with the captain while the rest of the crew members walked away.

"The both of you can the rest of the day off if you want." Archer offered.

"Yes, sir." they answered almost in unison.

"What do you think they'll do to him?" questioned Commander Tucker.

"It would be best if you did not consider it, commander." T'Pol told him evenly.

"Yeah, I guess it would be." agreed Trip.

The comm system beeped, jolting them from their melancholy thoughts. Captain Archer answered it.

"Yes?" he said in a tone more sharp than he realized.

"Sir, I don't know quite how to tell you this." said Malcolm with a short sigh. He had just reached the bridge and returned to his station.

"Spit it out, Malcolm."

"We just detected an object outside the ship and not too far from our docking area. And, captain, it's organic. I'm sorry, sir." said Lieutenant Reed.

"Selarev." said Tucker, deliberately keeping his back to the nearest view port.

"That is consistent with some forms of Romulan execution." commented T'Pol, clasping her hands behind her back.

"I'm sorry, sir." repeated Malcolm.

"We all are." said Archer, switching the comm system off and walking away.

Tucker sighed loudly and looked T'Pol.

"Do Vulcans grieve, sub-commander?" he asked her.

"Not as humans grieve. That would require emotions." T'Pol told him evenly. Tucker nodded that he understood. "Would you care to join me in the mess hall, commander? You knew Selarev better than I did. Perhaps it would ... help you to grieve better by telling me about him." she suggested.

"I would like that." he said, managing a slight smile.

The End


Author's Notes: I tried to write convincing Romulans. I may or may not have succeeded. I also attempted to be 'historically'
accurate. How did first contact with the Romulans go? I don't know, but the FC with the Klingons was supposed to be a
disaster. Hmmmm .... was it? The Ferengi? Yeah, I know. Now, please review. Please?
I also must give a nod to Charles Dickens' classic "A Tale of Two Cities" for the quote.