A/N: Meet Siket, my Federation Allied Romulan character, and see his recollection of how he got captured by the Tal Shiar and forced to fight to the death in their arena.
Subadmiral II’s Log Stardate 95840.09
This is Siket, subadmiral of the R.R.W. MHORAZZ of the Romulan Republic, allied with the Federation. I just received a communication from Obisek, informing me that Starfleet has rejected his request for military assistance. Obisek expressed his disappointment but he understood why the Federation wouldn’t want to engage such as formidable opponent. Obisek said that he contacted me in the hopes of appealing to me, not as an ally, but as a fellow survivor of the persecution of the Tal Shiar. Then he explained to me that one of their ships was carrying a load of thalaron weapons through the Nopada system and disappeared. What was even more peculiar was that the ship and its cargo vanished with no sign of a battle. Then asked me what would happen if the thalaron weapons fell into Hakeev’s hands, a thought I do not find comforting. He provided me with the last coordinates of the vessel and begged me to help, telling me that I can do what I see fit with the weapons as long as I find his people.
After ending the communication, I set a course for the Nopada system. Satra told me that she wasn’t reading any active vessels on her scanners, but she did sense a debris field nearby. She explained that it’s clustered around a satellite in orbit of the planet, and the composition of the debris corresponds with ships that have gone missing in this region. Satra said that she’ll keep scanning, but we’ll need to take a closer look before she can determine if there are thalaron weapons on one of the hulks. Therefore, I brought the MHORAZZ closer to the Derelict Hulk. Satra scanned it and said that she’s not detecting the vessel that Obisek sent us to find. However, she did discover that all of the ships in the debris field show signs of being affected by the same thing, a high-frequency energy beam that overloaded all of their systems. Satra speculates that, if that beam hit the Remans’ ship, it might have crashed into the planet’s surface or gone adrift somewhere else in the system. She also detected energy readings from the satellite and speculated that, if the Reman crew detected them as well, they could have tried to use it to record a distress signal. Satra told me that we’ll need to be closer before she can attempt an uplink with the satellite’s communications array.
However, there was no time to take Satra’s suggestion as an energy beam from the nearby satellite zapped my ship. I scanned the satellite to see if I could do anything about it.
Satra told me that the beam is holding us like a fly in a spider’s web. All that’s active is our life support and environmental controls. Satra didn’t detect any life signs on the satellite, but she did discover a compartment with life support. I took the one transport we could operate with a small away team to set our ship free.
As soon as we beamed aboard the satellite, Trononeg called from the MHORAZZ to inform me that the consoles here are controlling the beam that’s draining power from my ship, but there’s a security lock preventing access. He told me to find a useable console. Unfortunately, this task is more difficult than he anticipated. I finally found a working console they haven’t locked out.
Veril said that she could access a back door through the satellite’s programs from here. Then she pointed out the problem. Apparently, the Romulan consoles are causing a lockout by forcing the satellite’s primary processers to run through a series of equations and removing key bits of information from the answers, which cause the processors to lock up. Veril said that, if we can solve these equations and input the information directly into the consoles, the security lock on the satellite’s controls should be released. Veril downloaded the corrupted equations onto the console for me. Therefore, either I solve these complicated equations, or I accept capture for my crew and me. Fortunately, I would never even consider the latter an option.
I managed to solve the equations and get the proper access codes for each station. Satra told me that we need to plug those correct values into the console controlling the security lock, and then we should be able to access all of the satellite’s major operations. First thing I did was use one of the codes to override the Operations Console. Satra explained that this console controlled the satellite’s general operations. Then she suggested that perhaps we could turn off all of the functions that are affecting the ship. Unfortunately, a system error told me otherwise. Therefore, I went to unlock the Targeting controls and set the firing control to manual.
Then I went to the Satellite’s Power Generator Console and successfully overrode it. Veril told me that this console controls the satellite’s power supply and suggested that we could decrease the power to the satellite’s weapons and disable it that way. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option at the time. Therefore, I went to the Satellite Targeting Console, which Tovan informed me controls the satellite’s targeting functions.
He said he wasn’t sure if there was a way to disable whatever it is that is disabling systems on our ship but, if we can get this satellite to target something else, we may have a chance of prying our ship free. Trononeg contacted me and told me that the satellite ensnared a piece of debris near our ship. He told me that its stranglehold on the MHORAZZ is weaker, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Critical systems are stable, but we still don’t have weapons or communications. I went to the Satellite’s Power Generator Console to try my luck once again.
Veril told me that, since we weren’t able to free our ship by targeting something else, perhaps we can decrease the power to the satellite’s weapon. Then the MHORAZZ might be able to break free. Not quite the way I wanted to go about this, but I favor anything that can free my ship and crew from capture. I set the weapon on economical mode and then restored it to the factory default settings.
Trononeg contacted me and told me that, if the MHORAZZ does not attempt to move or fire at the satellite, it will engage a lower-power version of the beam affecting us. It’s almost like an energy saving mode. He said that we can use that to our advantage. Then assured me that he and the rest of my crew will hold the ship stable and keep working on boosting power to critical systems while I try to disrupt the satellite’s function and free them. Finally, I went to the Satellite Operations Console.
Satra told me that we’ve managed to minimize the power outlet of the satellite. She told me that, if we keep at it, we can switch the satellite’s controls over to a sleep mode that will shut down everything but life support and power. I turned off the satellite’s operational state and received a message from Trononeg on the MHORAZZ. He told me that systems are coming back online all over the ship. We have weapons, shields… even the replicators are working again. He told me that he’ll beam me over as soon as I was ready, which was now.
Unfortunately, that didn’t go quite as planned. Instead of beaming back to my ship, I beamed into a cage.
I escape one trap only to end up in another. If only my parents could see me now. I didn’t have time to sulk about it as the doors opened and the prisoner next to me told me that we have to fight or die. He told me to pick a melee weapon from the rack because all of my gear is deactivated and he won’t be able to protect me in there. I chose a Vulcan Lirpa, it served me well during training and I’m betting that it will do me well in this prison. My new companion told me to remember to equip my weapon, something I did as soon as I took it off the weapons rack.
I headed for the huge sandlot and heard a mysterious voice say that they were commencing test one with Nopada Desert Acari. After that, I had to murder a pack of wild Warriguls and then a Mugatu. I hated having to kill these animals but I didn’t really have a choice. As soon as I defeated the Mugatu with my new companion, energy beams immobilized him.
I found out his code name was Prisoner 1478 and he had to remain for interrogation while I had to go back to my cell. I didn’t want to go back while he was still in danger, but he told me that I can’t save him and I need to leave. I went back to my cell, remembering a thriller I read when I was a child about a decorated officer abducted by an unseen force. He found himself subjected to cruel experiments with no hope of escape, not even allowed to self-terminate. Now here I am as an adult, living that very story that gave me nightmares for the second time in my life. At least, this time, I still have my wits about me.
The Prisoner returned to the cell next to me and I chose to start a conversation with him. I asked him what his story was and he told me quite bitterly that he’s stuck in this prison, just like me. I clarified by asking him what led him here? He told me that he was Slamek; the one Obisek was looking for. About a week ago, he was part of a crew ferrying weapons from one base to another. When they passed through this system, a satellite disabled their ship. Just like what happened to my ship. Unlike my ship, Slamek’s ship drifted into this planet’s atmosphere. He activated the emergency transporter and a few of them were able to transport to safety before their ship crashed in the desert. They were looking for shelter and a way to contact their people when a group of soldiers found them. These soldiers took Slamek and his crew and kept throwing them into the arena. Now he’s the only one left. I asked him how he could just let himself be captured like this and he refused to talk to me. I apologized to him, realizing my own hypocrisy, and asked him what happened to the weapons. Slamek explained that they were transporting a shipment of thalaron weapons that he knows my people will never use. He admitted that his people don’t want to use them either, but their fight was getting desperate. They needed something, anything, to shift the tides of war. Slamek jettisoned the cargo as they entered the planet’s atmosphere and they were completely destroyed. Slamek claimed that he’s seen what thalaron weapons can do first hand and he won’t allow them to contaminate a world not involved in his people’s fight. I asked Slamek if he had any idea who brought him in. He told me that he doesn’t know who’s responsible, just like in that story. According to Slamek, the trainers and guards all appear to be mercenaries without any clue about what’s going on. They’re paid to keep us in cages and look the other way. Slamek was interrogated the night he was brought in with bright lights in his eyes and a synthetic voice asking him questions. He said that whoever it was took great care to conceal his identity. I asked Slamek why they want to know these things and he told me that he has no idea what they want with us or why they make us fight. Then said that this all seems like some sort of giant game, but there’s no one in the stands to be entertained. After that, I asked Slamek if there are other prisoners being forced to fight. He told me that he thinks there are because he hears other fights. Then told me that, if there are other prisoners, he’s never been able to contact them. Everyone’s kept separate and in a cage unless we’re fighting. Apparently, Slamek’s been in too many fights to count. I finally asked Slamek if he knows a way past their defenses. Apparently, the trainers carry key cards, which is the only way Slamek knows how to get through their defenses. I asked him if we can get one of those cards and he, in return, asked if he could trust me. I told him yes, I want to get out of this prison as badly as he does. He was happy to see that we think the same way and told me that he once worked as a bodyguard for a Ferengi merchant who had quite a talent for acquiring latinum and Slamek learned quite a few things from him. Slamek said that he was able to lift a key card from one of the trainers during his interrogation. If I help him, we can overpower the guards and escape through the main door in the arena. Naturally, I agreed to escape with him.
After that, it was time for us to return to the arena and complete test scenario number four, Aehalh worms. Slamek agreed to free the other prisoners while I fight the worms.
After defeating the first, a giant worm showed up in the center.
Slamek told me to use the consoles on the side to fight the worm, which activated a defense turret from above that weakened the giant worm enough to make it retreat.
Unfortunately, more of its minions showed up and I had to handle them while Slamek continued freeing the other prisoners. After destroying them, the big worm came back and I had to activate another console with another turret over it to make the worm retreat. More small worms arrived just as Slamek told me that he released the prisoners from the other cellblock and told me to go to our cellblock doors and release the rest of them. They turned out to be quite the assistance in dealing with the worms. Unfortunately, they injured Slamek during the attack. I managed to activate the remaining turrets and destroy that worm once and for all. The worm managed to destroy the gate, which Slamek and I took advantage of to finally escape from this arena.
Slamek and I found an underground base, one that was Romulan in origin.
Slamek asked what they wanted with us and pointed to the strange gateway device, wondering what that was. I accessed the main controls to see that the gateway was for the Iconians.
I also found a recent communication and guess who it was for, Hakeev. Apparently, he’s been gathering data about different species for his disgusting little project. My only consolation is that he hasn’t had much success. Unfortunately, judging from the transport logs, that hasn’t stopped him from trying. I tried to access the Gateway, but it shut down in five seconds due to me not having the right biometric signature. I went to the only other console I could activate and discovered that I was their most recent subject.
They gave me a very high threat level, which I suppose is rather flattering, and used their failed attempt to brainwash me as an example. All that did was remind me how much I despise the Tal Shiar and, to think, I once wanted to join them. Reading about how they gathered different animals and humanoids for their disgusting experiments only made me hate them more. Slamek had his own file about interrogations, all of his combat tests and a recommendation that he’s a suitable subject for team testing or alternative study. The data will be forwarded to Colonel Hakeev, so I can see why Slamek is so determined to escape. Finally, I read a personal log by Hakeev himself about how they plan to destroy the Remans. According to Hakeev, the Remans are mindless slaves who need to learn to respect their betters. It talked about admiring Taris for being able to control them; until Starfleet captured her and the surviving Remans developed… delusions about their own self-worth. Those were Hakeev’s words, not mine. Sadly, at one point, those would’ve been my words. Then Hakeev derided Obisek for inspiring the Remans to fight for their freedom while also revealing their own fantasies about taking his broken corpse to the Iconians in tribute. Hakeev talked about the second part of their plan, which is capturing different species and performing different experiments on them. That sadist talked in glee about how he was going to make the different species of the Alpha Quadrant break and use this planet as the testing ground. At that point, Slamek told me to hurry up and I got out of the consoles. He also said that, now that we have some real weapons and he’s disabled his shock collar, we need to get out of here. Slamek pointed to a waste pipe and said that it had to lead out of this place.
We went through said pipe and found ourselves in the outside desert wastelands in the middle of the night.
Unfortunately, Slamek and I couldn’t waste time celebrating. He warned me that there are Romulan Scorpion fighters overhead and that they’re looking for us. We needed to move quickly and smartly to avoid detection. Slamek recommended the mountain to the east. He said that his ship crashed on the other side, so it might have something we can use to signal my vessel. Then Slamek told me that the search for us would only get more intense the longer we stay here. We needed to get away from the Arena as quickly as possible. So, I headed for the nearby mountain until a scorpion flew over us. Fortunately, we managed to take cover in a nearby rock formation. It wasn’t long until the scorpion left and Slamek and I could continue on our journey. However, Slamek limped on his leg the entire journey, so we needed to find a place to rest. Thankfully, we found another rock formation nearby.
He sat down and apologized, which I told him that he didn’t need to do. Then Slamek told me about how the worm’s venom affected him, because the pain is excruciating, his vision is blurred and his blood burns in his veins. Slamek said that, before they were captured, his science officer told him that the local plants have medicinal qualities. He told me that he needed something to disinfect his wound, something to treat his fever and anything that will ease his pain. It took awhile, but I managed to collect enough of a herbaceous plant to work as a disinfectant, a leafless woody shrub to alleviate Slamek’s fever and some large egg-like seed pods to work as a functioning painkiller. If the circumstances were different, I’d be ecstatic about all of my findings. I gave everything I collected to Slamek and he thanked me for it, saying that he’s feeling better now and we can continue.
We went through the canyon having to fight off the local wildlife and, this time, I had a better weapon than a lirpa. Slamek said that the weather’s not going to hold out for much longer and suggested that we should look for a place to spend the night. He also suggested scavenging provisions to create a camp. He wanted me to find a gourd, hollow one out and use it as a container to collect water from a nearby spring. I agreed to do so, remembering one of the first rules of survival I learned, water should always be your number one priority. During our journey to find shelter, I saw some gourds and tried to hollow the first two out, only for spores to pour out and to find myself attacked by Desert Akari.
It wasn’t until my third try when I could successfully hollow out a gourd. Then I had to find a nearby spring, which took awhile before I could succeed. I filled it up with water and took it back to Slamek. He said that this should last us through the night and suggested that we should get into the nearby cave before the temperature drops anymore. We set up camp for the night and I pointed out that temperature’s dropping rapidly now. Slamek said that this cave should protect us from the elements. He told me that he’s done some exploring and it looks like this cave continues through to the other side of the mountain. He said that, when the sun rises, we could save time and energy by traveling through the cave rather than trying to find a way over.
The next morning, we emerged from the cave and I pointed out that the passage saved us hours of walking.
I told Slamek that this could actually be a good day and that we’ll find his ship. Slamek said that his ship isn’t far from here. He told me that he could make out smoke from the wreckage on the horizon. We came across the wreckage as soon as we emerged from the hills and found ourselves in the valley. Slamek pointed his ship out, saying that she wasn’t much to look at… but she was theirs and, when they were flying through space, they were free. He seems optimistic that his ship could help us one last time. We went through the valley and straight to Slamek’s crashed ship. He suggested that we check to see if the emergency beacon survived the crash. Then says that, it the more likely event it didn’t, we might be able to piece some components together and create a makeshift emergency beacon. I went through the cave at the base of the wreckage and examined what remained of Slamek’s vessel. It was clear that his ship would never fly again. If the emergency beacon wasn’t vaporized in the crash, then it’s buried under thirty meters of rock and sand like almost everything else on this ship. Thankfully, I found a backup generator with only a miniscule amount of energy left but it will have to do.
All I need to do is construct a makeshift subspace beacon and I can contact the MHORAZZ, if I can find the right components. I won’t be able to do more than transmit a few pulses to let my crew know where I am, but it’s my only option. After getting the backup generator, I went searching through the wreckage to find a Communications Array, a Navigation Beacon and a Subspace Distortion Inverter, taking the parts I needed from each wrecked piece of equipment. Then I went back into the cave and rigged up my makeshift emergency beacon.
I went outside to see Romulan officers beaming over with Hakeev himself as their leader. He gloated about how there is no place where he can’t find me, because his spies are everywhere. He introduced me to one of them, who turned out to be Slamek as he took his place at Hakeev’s side. Hakeev condescendingly congratulated him by saying that he’s happy to see one Reman who knows their place. I asked him how many “interrogation sessions” it took for that to happen. Hakeev ignored me, no doubt wanting to continue his pathetic gloating. He told me that the loss of the listening post is only a minor setback. Then that the Remans’ refuge in the Dera system has been destroyed and dozens of subjects have been tested in his arena of horrors. He didn’t actually call it that, but that’s how I see it. After that, he talked about how, when the Iconians return, they will find he’s done all they ask for… and more. I pointed out that I’m sure his masters will be pleased. Hakeev didn’t like my remark, but it didn’t matter because, when that day happens, I won’t be there. He mourned about how I could’ve been a fascinating test subject. Hakeev was about to shoot me, but my ship beamed me up before he could pull the trigger. It’s a real shame that I couldn’t see the look on Hakeev’s face after I beamed out.
I contacted Obisek and told him everything that happened. He apologized for Slamek’s actions, but I told him that Slamek was a prisoner of the Tal Shiar for a long while. Then I said to Obisek that they have ways of… making you do their bidding. Obisek noticed my tone and told me that my trip to the Nopada system was not in vain. He said that Hakeev is a pawn of a greater power and the demons of air and darkness are real. Obisek suggested that I report to my superiors about my discovery. After I finished talking to Obisek, I contacted Admiral T’nae and told her about the Iconians. She said that we already know the Iconians survived the destruction of their homeworld. Now we know that they’re active in Romulan space and using gladiatorial combats as a way to test the species of the Alpha Quadrant. She told me that Starfleet Intelligence will analyze the data I recovered from Hakeev’s command center. Then she said that she needs to confer with Admiral Quinn and Starfleet Command. She said that conflict with the Romulans (I corrected her by saying the Tal Shiar) and the Iconians may be unavoidable.
A/N: So, what did you think of Siket and his forced stint in an arena? Feel free to request a Captain’s Log or team up with one of my characters. You can also Role-Play in the comments with a Star Trek character, if you wish.