Short story title


“Initiate engines,” Commander Tur’rok ordered, preparing to bank his Warbird down upon Mu’ron, the uninhabited planet of the sixth star in the Kypo sector. He felt the throb of power in the deck as the impulse engines kicked on and the ship began its turn.

The Ru’Tok was a powerful machine – a D’deridex class Warbird – the finest ship ever built, in Tur’rok’s opinion. What it lacked in speed, it made up in sheer dominant firepower and endurance.

As the ship maneuvered into position, he thought he could feel their sister-ship, the Ro’Ruk shadowing them – cloaked. A faint plasma surge from the nebula to starboard revealed the faint contours of the hidden ship as it followed lead.

This operational tactic was Tur’rok’s favorite. Dubbed “The Magician’s Girl,” by Federation intelligence, it required the main warship remain uncloaked and visible – a distraction to any enemies while a cloaked wingman was the “slight of hand” that would play a disappearing act upon any attacking enemy, materializing out of thin air to unleash plasma hell.

“Full impulse!” Tur’rok ordered. The Ru’Tok roared awake and thundered down upon Mu’ron – unaware of the approaching danger. The planet grew large on the viewer. It harbored an insignificant biosphere – mostly vegetation and insectoid life, save for six humanoid life-signs – the recently outed dissidents apprehended on Romulus itself. Their execution would be swift and complete with no trace of their resting place – an example to any who might follow their precedent. The Romulan Underground Movement would bleed again today.

“Full surface destruction!” Tur’rok barked. A powerful steam of plasma weapons, beam energy, and photon torpedoes rained down on the unfortunate planet, punching through the atmosphere like extinction-event comets.

Beside it, the Ro’Ruk materialized, taking part in the annihilation of all life on the surface below. The atmosphere clouded as vaporized matter diffused into the stratosphere. Only once the atmosphere was completely homogenized, did Tur’rok raise his hand.

“Cease-fire!” he commanded, turning in his chair to his science officer, Ty’pel. “Life signs?” he asked. She shook her head.

“Negative Commander,” she answered, “all life has been removed from the planet.” Tur’rok nodded.

“Hail Vice-Chairman Vreenak,” he ordered. Instantly, the screen was filled with the imposing figure of the Tal-Shiar commander. He sat at his desk, idly staring into stacks of data pads.

“Yes?” he asked disinterestedly.

“We have successfully executed the dissidents,” Tur’rok announced. In the silence that followed, Vreenak nodded weakly as he busied himself with signing screens – possibly execution orders or clandestine operations.

“Anything less would be unacceptable, Commander,” he said slowly. “Vreenak out.” The screen went blank. Tur’rok sighed, but didn’t dare criticize the chairman in the presence of the crew – one never knew who was a Tal-Shiar operative onboard and who was not.

“Notify the Science team that the planet is now available for terraforming experiments,” he said gruffly, rising from his seat and heading into his office.

Had the slight of hand worked? he wondered. The cloaked Klingon Bird of Prey was supposed to be in orbit on the dark side of Mu’ron. And it was supposed to have initiated beaming at the moment the first of the plasma weaponry entered the atmosphere, causing interference with the Warbirds’ sensors. With any luck it had all worked out and the dissidents were now in the hands of Starfleet’s Section 31.

Tur’rok sighed again, telling himself it was for his love of Romulus that he had joined the Romulan Underground Movement. He stiffened. It was. He found the courage he needed in the reminder of happier days – in the memories of growing up next door to a human woman named Tasha on Romulus.

He had played in the same garden where she would walk during her pregnancy. He remembered how she had played with him and taught him to value all life, personal responsibility, liberty, and above all else, self-sacrifice for the good of others.

Yes, that was the spark of hope! Tur’rok was doing this for his children’s children and all the children of future generations. His transient happiness meant little in the face of such a cause. He steadied himself on Tasha’s memory – the sandcastles they’d made on the Ver’nak Beach, the game of “hide-and-seek” that she had taught him and her daughter Sela, and the fateful day she disappeared – like so many “dissidents” had before and after. Tur’rok strode back out onto the Bridge.

“Prepare to disengage orbit,” he ordered the helm. “Set a course to the Neutral Zone and log our patrol.” Outside the massive Ro’Ruk cloaked and followed the Ru’Tok, banking away from the Kypo Sector and leaping to warp, glimmering like a shooting star for a moment and then they were gone, seeding hope for a better future.

About the Artist

As a kid Nathan Warner always wondered how a Galaxy Class Saucer landed.  How exactly does a Borg Cube “excavate” an entire colony?  What would a new golden age of Starfleet exploration look like after the Dominion War?  As an amateur artist, I woke up one day realizing I had the ability to finally share these daydreams with other Trekkers and Sci-fi enthusiasts.  I make no claims of being an artist or of perfection, just sharing the dream!”

Nathan Warner was educated in the Planetary sciences with degrees in Geology and Geophysics.  Since then, he’s worked in engineering support and church ministry.  He’s a 3d-animator, graphic artist and designer, and an amateur artist with a love of God’s amazing creation.  In 2016, he sought a creative outlet to get “off-world”, and his childhood love of Star Trek, with its optimism, sense of duty and responsibility, exploration, and discovery was a natural allure.  He began by composing audio tracks to compete with city sounds; then, he turned to digital composite paintings that “beamed” him up for a little healthy escapism, as he hopes they do for you too.

To see more of Nathan Warner’s art, visit his website at:
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