Prologue

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas


Outside the castle window the autumn leaves were falling. The tepid summer air was changing to the cool breeze that would eventually become the winter chill. Tristan tip-toed into his parents' room. It wasn't forbidden for him to be there; but at the same time, he had not obtained permission and therefore had no business. He was there because he was curious.

There was a chest underneath the bed. Inside, he knew, was his father's uniform from when he served as a commander in the Romulan Star Navy. His father had let him see it only once, and Tristan wanted to see it again. It had been gnawing at him for months. But each time he asked, his father would respond with "Not today, my son." The inquisitiveness mounted, until at last he succumbed to the temptation.

Like many ten-year-olds, he idolized his father, and wanted to grow up to be just like him. Nearly every evening, he eagerly hung on his every word when he told him stories of his old warbird, the Greenclaw. His father was a decorated hero who had fought in the Dominion War, before Tristan was born. Aside from battle stories, he also liked to tell his son the story of how he fell in love with his mother.

Tristan was the son of two worlds. His mother was the former regent of his home, Nua Breizh. The Bretons, as his mother's people called themselves, were a throwback to humans several hundred years before the founding of the Federation. Before the War, it had been explained to him that neither of his parents' worlds had had much contact with the Federation. In fact, his father's people had outright sought to conquer it.

Already, Tristan was stronger than any of the other boys he knew. Even so, it took all of his strength to pull the heavy wooden chest out from under the bed. It scraped loudly across the floor. He paused for several grueling seconds to see if the sound had been heard. After a while, he breathed a sigh of relief.

There was no lock, as the contents had never been meant to be hidden from him. The silver of the fabric flickered in the waning light shining through the windows. In awe, he ran his fingers over the Imperial emblem: a raptor clutching two orbs in its talons. Romulus and Remus, he remembered his father telling him.

The bird's mouth was open in an eternal shriek. He read the inscription at the top of the insignia: Beware the fury of the Rihannsu! The boy felt a strange stirring in his soul. It was as though the eagle was calling him, urging him to join his father's people. He and his father were the only Romulans who resided permanently on Nua Breizh. Though they were accepted without reservation, there still were times when it was hard to be different.

Tristan slipped the tunic over his head. The material was coarse and rough; it was the garment of a warrior. At the bottom of the box was a dagger. On its hilt was the same bird-of-prey. He examined himself in his mother's floor-length mirror. The uniform was naturally much too large for the lad. But he would grow into it someday. Yes, the time would come when his shoulders would be as wide and strong as his father's.

He gritted his teeth. His green eyes flashed. "Beware the fury of the Rihannsu!" he growled at his reflection. And then the door in the mirror slowly opened. He started.

"Tristan," the man gently chided, "You didn't ask to take out my things."

The child swallowed. "Forgive me, father. It's just that…well I wanted to see it again."

"Wanting to do something is not a justification for disobedience," he reminded his son firmly.

Tristan bit his lip. "Yes, sir. I will do better," he promised.

"See that you do. Now put it away," he commanded.

"Yes, sir."

The Romulan sat on the bed while his son reverently folded the clothing. "So," he said, "you wish to join the Star Navy, do you?"

"Oh, yes, father!" he exclaimed eagerly.

For the first time, his father smiled. "You aren't old enough yet, so you have plenty of time to make that decision."

"But I already have," Tristan insisted, "I want to be a war hero, just like you."

Bochra considered his son's words. "Not all glory is found on the battlefield, Tristan. Do not wish for war. It appears exciting and glorious when it begins. But by the time it is over, no one remembers what it was all about anymore."

Tristan had never heard his father speak in this manner before, and as a result he was puzzled. "But you and mother went to war," he pointed out, careful to keep his tone respectful.

"Yes," he answered patiently, "But that was because we had to. And there are things we both regret about it. Nua Breizh was nearly destroyed during that war. When you are older, you will better understand."

But why can't I understand now? he wanted to whine. He knew his father would remind him about his self-control again, however.

"Father? Will to take me to Romulus some day?" he asked as he closed the lid.

The man blinked. "You yearn to go there?" Tristan nodded. "Of course you would," Bochra mused, half to himself. "It is in your blood, as it is in mine. Yes, Tristan, I will take you there as soon as I can."

The child threw himself into his father's arms. "I love you, mon père."

He laughed and held on to the boy tightly. "I love you, too, mon fils." He helped him push the chest back under the bed. "Come," he said, "We have a guest."

Tristan followed his father to the grand hall. His mother was already there, speaking to a man with dark skin. He was wearing a Starfleet uniform.

The man turned and smiled when Tristan and his father walked through the door. "Hey, Bochra," he greeted his father, "Good to see you again!"

Bochra shook his hand. "Likewise, Geordi," he returned. "This is Mr. LaForge," he introduced the man. "Geordi, this is my son, Tristan."

Mr. LaForge was grinning from ear to ear. "He looks just like you, Bochra," he chuckled. To Tristan, he said, "Nice to meet you." He shook his hand, just as though he were a grown man.

Tristan smiled proudly. "My father has told me much about you, Mr. LaForge," he said.

"Oh," LaForge winced, "Hope it was all good…"

The boy tilted his head in confusion. "What else is there?" he asked.

The human laughed. "Just a joke, kid."

"I see," Tristan laughed with him.

"Go play with your cousins while Mr. LaForge and I talk," said Bochra.

"Oui, mon père," the boy responded as he ran off.

Before he left the room, he heard LaForge ask his father, "He speaks French?"

"And Romulan," Bochra added proudly.

But Tristan was out the door before he heard them say anything else. Outside in the twilight, his cousins were playing in the leaves. Someday, he thought as he jumped into a huge pile, I'm going to be just like my father…