Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005


    She slowly looked around, before smiling cautiously. Samson Glover thought the gesture was mostly genuine. He reached out and clasped her hand, giving it a firm, loving squeeze. “I’m proud of you,” he said.

    She looked askance. “Why?” She scoffed.

    “For coming here, among other things,” the man answered.

    His wife sighed, a swirl of emotions contorting her attractive dark features. “You’ve been on me about this for a while, so I thought it was about time I finally went acceded.”

    Samson nodded. He knew that acceding was not something Deitra Khumalo did well. “I just thought it would be good, to come to Santora Prime, to make peace with the past.” He felt himself explaining, defensiveness creeping in.

    Even though his wife had decided to spend her shore leave here, on this planet of Romulan expatriates, Samson still had doubts that his suggestion had been the right one. In a larger sense, he thought it would be good for his wife to see Romulans not solely as the monsters she had encountered for much of her formative years, though at the same time, he feared undoing the great work Deitra had done to heal and the strides she had made to live again, and to love him, and their son Terrence.

    Samson didn’t think he possessed that kind of strength, and he didn’t really want to find out. They walked through the middle of a town square, both in civilian garb, though their lack of pointed ears, made them stand out. The Romulans didn’t seem to mind though.

    Children scampered about while merchants and customers haggled. The scenes of life playing out before them were no different than many such towns on Earth or on the many planets either Samson or his wife had journeyed to as Starfleet officers. And it was no different than many of the starbases Samson had served on.

    Though he preferred the sterile, controlled environment of starbases than the unpredictable weather and smells planetside. He had put his discomfort to the side however, more concerned about how his wife was faring.

    Deitra tried hard not to stride down the street. Despite their nondescript clothing, her gait screamed Starfleet. Samson noticed a few other Romulans that carried themselves similarly, which the admiral suspected exposed them being Imperial veterans. Some of them reminded him of their mutual friend, Ousanas Dar, one of the more infamous expatriates from the Star Empire, and something of a legend on Santora Prime. As Samson walked past those men and women, he hoped how they became Federation citizens was not as tragic as it was for Ousanas.

    As if reading his thoughts, Deitra asked, “I thought Ousanas would be here by now.” A Starfleet Intelligence agent, Ousanas was supposed to meet them at Santora Prime to pick up Deitra and return with her to the Starship Adelphi. She was first officer on the Adelphi, and she had high hopes that once Captain Darson retired that the man would support her taking the reins. Deitra had a burning desire for the captain’s chair. More than Samson ever had, and he was both heartened and a bit saddened to see similar fires raging in their son.

    Both Deitra and Terrence could be too driven at times, too focused on where they were going, to enjoy the journey. In fact, they hadn’t been together as a family, including his brother Sheldon for years now, since that contretemps with the Alshain, the nightmare of all family vacations.

    Despite his interest more in the journey, and his academic pursuits, Samson’s star was steadily rising, and one reason he was happy to be sans uniform is he sensed that Deitra resented that he had already made it to admiral.

    They had had their rows about it. Samson felt that his wife’s demanding perfectionism stifled her career, whereas Deitra was convinced that her being one of the few survivors of the Norkan genetic experimenters had put an immovable block on her progress.

    Glover knew the matter wouldn’t be resolved, until Deitra sat in the captain’s chair. From what she had told him about Adelphi’s future first contact mission with the Ghorusdans, it could the kind of thing that earned her the praise and acceptance she had long sought.

    But that was the future. Samson just wanted to concentrate on the now. Deitra strode over to one of the hawkers. She pointed at a bag of oblong green fruit. “How much?” She said, her tone imperious.

    The seller’s ears twitched at that, and a toothy grin sprouted through his thick, patchy graying bread. Though many of Santora Prime denizens had lived decades in the Federation, many of the males still preferred to go clean shaven, and both genders preferred short or bowl cuts not that dissimilar to their Vulcan cousins. Though this merchant not only wore a beard, but thick, unruly hair, also graying, hung past his shoulders. “You know something of our ways, eh? You know how we wish to be addressed?”

    “I know…a lot…about your kind,” Deitra said frostily. Samson shuddered at all the terrible things that pause contained. “How much?” She asked again.

    The man looked at Deitra and then Samson. “For you, gentlelady, seven Federation credits.”

    “Seven?” Deitra scoffed. “Four.”

    The man looked aghast. “Six.”

    “Four.” She repeated.

    “Five and a half,” he offered.

    “Four.” She said again.

    “Wh-what are you attempting to do?” He decried. “I have a spouse, children!”

    “Four,” Deitra replied, “And if you protest once more, I’ll make it three or take our business elsewhere.”

    The man glanced at Samson, as if seeking the admiral’s understanding or compassion. He merely shrugged.

    “It’s tough trying to make your way in the universe you know?” The hawker snorted. “Fine,” he said. He waggled his fingers, his palm open. Deitra pointed again to the bag. With feigned reluctance he took it off the shelf and gave it to her. She dropped four credits into his hand. “Pleasure doing…”

    But Deitra had turned from him. She opened the bag and inhaled its scent. A play of emotions worked themselves across her face. There was nostalgic joy and terrible sadness.

    She plucked one of the pieces of fruit and gave it Samson. He turned it around in his hand. “Never seen a lehe’jhme before?”

    “No,” Samson admitted. Though he prided himself on his knowledge about Romulan history and culture, there was still so much he had yet to learn. The Romulans keeping to themselves after Tomed certainly hadn’t helped matters.

    Deitra bit into one of the lehe’jhme and closed her eyes as she savored the taste. Samson did likewise, and instantly enjoyed the sweet, yet strong flavor. Once Deitra had swallowed, she explained, “Lehe’jhme are used for Romulan wine.”

    “I’ve only had Romulan ale,” Samson said, after swallowing another bite of a second piece. “And it’s ingredients certainly weren’t this sweet.”

    “Many among the elite drank the wine and ate lehe’jhme,” Deitra said, her voice softening, and her expression darkening. She held up the bag and looked at it, disgust etching her face. She threw the bag to the ground. Not finished, Samson did the same. Sometimes the best way to leave the past was to confront it, but also to throw it behind you.

    Deitra’s smile was larger this time, and Samson felt its heat. “You’ve always been there for me, since the first time we met. I-I don’t always tell you, but I do love you.”

    “You don’t have to tell me, you show me,” the admiral said, nodding, “Every day.”

    “I’m tired of walking through these dusty streets,” his wife said. “There’s nothing else here that interests me. I would rather explore our room more, before Ousanas gets here.”

    Samson smiled. “You’ll get no objection from me.”

    She wrapped her hand around his and gave it a hard squeeze. “Lead the way, Admiral,” she growled softly, sending a familiar thrill through him.

    “Admiral Glover,” a voice from on high cracked the sky like lightning. His wife was oblivious, intent on what awaited them in their hotel room. Samson wished he could do the same, and though he knew better, he still paused. “Admiral Glover,” the voice called again, the tone now insistent. “Admiral Glover to the bridge.”

    He sighed. “What’s wrong?” Deitra asked, a scowl marring her features.

    Samson sighed. “End program,” he said with reluctance while desperately focusing on his wife’s face, her eyes still lit with expectation, love, and desire as vibrant almost as he remembered them. And just like a flame, his wife and Santora Prime flickered away and he was in the austere, black room, crisscrossed by a yellow hologrid.

    “Admiral Glover?”

    The admiral sighed and sank to the floor. On his hands and knees, he told himself, “You can do this Samson, you got this.” Pushing back the dark waves slamming into him, he slowly got to his feet. Remembering the lesson his wife had taught him on Santora Prime far too long ago now, and ostensibly the reason he utilized this holoprogram, he had to put the past behind him.

    Though he knew, as he took one long look into the cavernous room, its emptiness making him shudder, that he could never really let go, as much he would try.

    He tapped the combadge on his chest. “Glover to the bridge. On my way.”

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005

    USS Herrington

    Main Bridge

    Samson stepped out of the turbolift as if he were testing the temperature of a swimming pool. He winced as his presence was announced and several bridge officers came to attention. “As you were,” he said quickly, doing his best to hide his annoyance. He had never been much for ceremony. The captain seemed oblivious to his entrance. The Andorian woman was perched on the edge of her chair, her focus on the main viewer. The helm and operations officers were similarly preoccupied.

    The ship’s first officer swiveled around and jumped out of his seat to greet Glover as he strode down into the command well.

    “Commander,” Samson was terse. The man nodded in acknowledgement and understanding. As the red-haired, bearded man began to speak, Glover’s attention was drawn to the stars streaking by on the viewscreen. Though he had ridden more desks than starships, the thrumming beneath his boots felt different. The ship’s captain had ordered Herrington to maximum warp.

    “Admiral,” the first officer’s expression was grim. “It’s Romulans sir.”

    Samson did his best to bite back a sharp retort. Of course, it was the Romulans, he wanted to bark at the man. That’s who they were going to meet. The unprecedented meeting between the Enterprise-D and a Romulan warbird last year had led to the first real opportunity for a lasting peace in decades.

    The Romulans had asked for him, specifically, much to the chagrin of the Federation Diplomatic Corps, to meet with the Romulan Ambassador Pilok in the Cimber system inside the Neutral Zone.

    The entreaty had been the only thing to draw him out of his isolation. Not even Terrence had gotten him to leave his sabbatical. Samson had told his son, his brother Sheldon, Starfleet Command, and any of his friends who would listen, that he was taking the time to finish his long simmering book on the Romulan-Klingon alliance mid-23rd century.

    While Samson had been working on the book, he knew that was mostly an excuse just so he didn’t have to face the world while he was still grieving for Deitra. It had been almost three years since the Tombaugh had gone missing. In that time, he had refused to declare his wife dead. He defied moving on, to do so would be to bury their life together.

    “Admiral?” Samson blinked. The first officer looked concerned.

    “What?” He asked, his voice cracking. “You were saying?”

    “Admiral Glover,” the captain said. The woman had half-turned in her seat. Her blue face was wreathed with concern. “Are you…alright?”

    “Of, of course,” Samson cleared his throat. “Of course, I am Noona.” The Andorian had been one his students at the Academy, and since then, their teacher-student relationship had become a friendship of equals. “Your first officer was just….”

    “The status report, sir,” the man replied.

    “Ah, yes,” Glover said. “Please, go on.”

    “I’ll take it from here Commander,” Noona cut in. She eased out of the chair. “Cass, take the conn.”

    “Aye captain,” the man said, obviously relieved he didn’t have to deal with a doddering geezer like Samson.

    “Admiral, if you’ll follow me to the ready room.”

    Glover took another look at the viewscreen and then the tense expressions of some of the bridge crew. What was going on? He wondered. His gaze shifted to the waiting Andorian. He was certain he was about to find out.

    “Lead the way Captain.”

    USS Herrington

    Ready Room

    The doors had barely swished shut before Noona pivoted to face him. “Samson,” she said, breaking rank, which he allowed when they were alone. “Are you alright?”

    Before he could answer, the woman did for him. “I knew this was a mistake. Admiral Shanthi insisted. I certainly didn’t agree with the Diplomatic Corps’ view that you were not emotionally ready to conduct diplomacy with the Star Empire, but I knew how much this would mean to you, what it could do to bring you back, as did Admiral Shanthi.”

    The admiral gave a humorless smile. “I heard that Ambassador T’Pel was one of the major proponents of that argument.” He shook his head. He had met the woman a few times in passing, and she always came off as frosty even for a cthia-practicing Vulcan. Samson couldn’t blame the saltiness this time though, because Shanthi had told him that the diplomat had wanted to go in his stead. “Care to answer a question for me, now that you, like T’Pel, got me all figured out?”

    Noona smirked, “What can I do you for?”

    “What’s going on out there?” He gestured toward the room’s port window. “Where are we galloping at maximum warp?”

    The Andorian stopped smiling. “There was a distress call,” she said, her expression somber. “A Romulan ore ship. Under assault.”

    Samson tensed. “Did they say who was accosting them?”

    “No,” Noona shook her head. Her antennae writhed above her head like snakes.

    “Could it be the same mysterious marauders who plundered both Federation and Romulan worlds last year?” Samson pondered aloud. The Romulans had reintroduced themselves back to the galaxy while investigating the destruction of several outstations in the Neutral Zone, a tragedy that had befallen several Federation outstations as well and had led to a similar investigation by the Enterprise.

    Both Picard and the Romulan commander, Tebok, had blamed the other for the tragedies, but once reasoned prevailed they worked together, and the Federation Council and Starfleet Command were intent on building on what the two men had started.

    Much to the president’s and the commander in chief’s surprise, the Romulans hadn’t rejected the entreaties outright. And Shanthi had thought Glover, considered by some the foremost Starfleet expert on the Romulan Empire, should be a part of forging a new peace.

    Despite his own sorrows, Samson couldn’t deny that he was intensely curious to see how genuine the Romulans were, or if this were another one of their elaborate schemes. There was a brief period, before the Khitomer conspiracy where the Federation and the Star Empire were both more concerned about the threat posed by the Klingons.

    But after the Federation and Klingons put aside their past enmity at Khitomer, and definitely after the calamitous Tomed Incident, even Samson, who had at times been mocked and treated with suspicion over his fascination with the Romulan people and his belief in how cultural understanding could turn, even the bitterest of enemies, into allies, if not friends, doubted that either the Federation or definitely the Romulans could let go of the tortured past.

    Before Khitomer though, whoever could’ve imagined that the Federation and the Klingon Empire could become allies? Though the Organians could stop both sides from warring they couldn’t make peace. It took sacrifices on both sides, a willingness to trust, best symbolized by Chancellor Azetbur and Captain Kirk to start the turn the page on that bloody chapter of history, and even then, it was still decades more before Captain Garrett and the crew of the Enterprise-C gave all to secure a lasting peace.

    If it could be done with the Klingons, Samson had to believe that the same could happen with the Romulans. He just hoped it wouldn’t take a Praxis-level catastrophe to get the Romulans to turn their honor blades into plowshares. Though these mysterious attacks were tragic enough to get them to awaken from their hibernation.

    His faith was foolish in a way, and he knew it, and Deitra had never missed a chance to remind him of that fact, as had Thuosana, and several of his other colleagues. He weathered their criticisms, with only his wife’s making an indelible impression. She knew the Romulans better than any of them, and her revulsion and fear were justified, even if he found it regrettable. He had held the woman shaking and screaming, emerging from a horrid dream, but never the nightmare of being a survivor of Romulan captivity. He did despise the individual Romulans who hurt his wife and slaughtered her family and the other denizens from the Norkan colony. But Samson always reminded himself that not all Romulans had committed those atrocities and he hoped there was a sliver who would’ve been appalled by such behavior. The Romulans who had emigrated to the Federation were just such people. Deitra choosing to face her hatred and walk among the Romulan expatriates on Santora Prime had been one of his favorite days.

    “The distress call cut off before they could say,” Noona walked quickly to her desk. It was empty except for a small desktop computer and a Bolian crystal steel sculpture that vaguely resembled a starship with four nacelles, which had to be an artistic interpretation of a Cheyenne-class vessel like the Herrington, perhaps the ship itself.

    Noona turned on the small desktop computer. She replayed the message. Even through the static, Samson heard the dread in the man’s voice.

    “I should’ve consulted you first sir, before I altered course,” the captain said. “But when I heard that plea, the fear…I’ve heard that mournful sound too much during my time in the Fleet.”

    “You did the right thing Noona,” Samson said, grimacing at the thought that that unfortunate crew had been waylaid.

    “We’ve sent out a message to Cimber VII, informing them of the course change and that it will result in our being late, but thus far we have received no response,” the captain added.

    Samson nodded. He smiled. “You think of everything Noona, like you always have. It made being your instructor quite easy.”

    The woman’s tense expression eased a little. “Thank you, Samson,” she said before scowling again, “But do you think this could be a real distress call, and not some kind of trap?”

    The admiral frowned. He tugged at his short burgundy and black tunic while pondering her question. Even though these snug uniforms had been the standard for over a decade now, they still rode up on him. He could’ve gone with an older-style double-breasted jacket, preferred by some of the portlier members of the Admiralty, but Glover still prided himself on being able to fit into whatever torturous apparel Starfleet designers came up with. “The Romulans have been known to use fake distress calls to lure our ships into the Neutral Zone before.”

    “That’s right,” Noona said, her antenna moving so much now, Samson expected them to start hissing any moment now. “We don’t know if all of the Imperial Navy is onboard with reaching out to us. What if there are some hardliners who are attempting to instigate a war? A Federation starship inside the Neutral Zone, in a part of it where it’s not supposed to be, could very well be the spark.”

    Samson scratched one edge of his graying mustache. “You could be right.”

    “It was more my first and tactical officers than me who suggested it,” Noona admitted, “but I agree with them.”

    “Well, they could be right,” the admiral said. “But what other choice do we have? We don’t ignore distress calls. Especially now.”

    “I think now is the one time to ignore it sir,” Noona rejoined. She had dropped the informality. Samson straightened up. This had gone beyond a discussion between friends, but one of Starfleet officers. “The Kobayashi Maru comes to mind.”

    Samson glowered. The woman had him there. “I have considered resuming course back to Cimber VII,” the captain added. “If we reverse course now, we can make it there on time, and our Romulan friends will be none the wiser. If they inquired about our first message, Chief Wilkins could come up with some problem with the engines. There’s always problems with the engines.”

    “You’ll do nothing of the sort,” Samson replied.

    “But sir,” Noona started.

    “I won’t hear of it,” Glover said. “Your instinct to help was the right thing. If we are going to have a shot at peace, we’ve got to start trusting, we’ve got to have compassion, and you did that first, without thinking of the implications. We’ve got to show the Romulans that we can be trusted; that we have no ulterior motives and that helping one of their vessels in a time of need is a great opportunity to do so, plus it will save lives.”

    “Admiral,” Noona shook her head.

    “Think of the fallout if that ship is destroyed and the Romulans find out we did nothing?” Samson countered.

    She sighed, shook her head, and admitted, “Got me there.” Glover squelched a grin at having the advantageous argument for once today. “We’ll stick to our present course, and if this is a trap…” He paused. Noona’s brow wrinkled. “I trust you and your crew to fight our way out of it.”

    “I am Andorian,” Noona shrugged. “Fighting’s in my blood, but that’s one tall order.”

    “I have faith in you,” Samson nodded with assurance.

    “I wish I could say the same,” the woman groused.

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  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    USS Herrington

    Main Shuttle Bay

    Samson hoped no one else heard his pounding heart. He bent down as he stepped into the back of the squat shuttle. He barely made eye contact as he strode to the front. He took the empty seat next to Commander Cassidy, who would be piloted the vessel. The first officer gave him a terse nod of acknowledgement while he brought the shuttlecraft’s systems online.

    Glover thought, or imagined, he caught a glimmer of hardness in the man’s eyes before he had turned back to his duties. Cassidy had been opposed to Samson joining the away team. Noona had also expressed concern, but owing that Samson outranked them both, and that he wasn’t as bound to regulations regarding away missions as much as a ship’s captain.

    To her credit, as much as Noona wanted to be onboard the Roman Nose, it would be unacceptable to leave the conn while in the Neutral Zone, potentially surrounded by Romulans and whoever had attacked the ore ship.

    So, Samson would be the superior officer on this jaunt, though he had promised Noona he would allow Cassidy to be in charge, unless circumstances demanded otherwise.

    “Anything I can do?” Samson said, after looking around at his controls.

    “No sir,” Cassidy was brisk. “I’ve got this.” He looked up, nodded again, and then turned halfway in his seat. “Everyone onboard?”

    The lanky Kelpien security officer was just settling in. He replied, “All here sir.” Like the rest of the away team Samson was in a standard, though still tight-fitting jumpsuit. The phaser felt strange against his hip.

    Cassidy nodded again at the reply, this time smiling. “Let’s get this show on the road.” As the shuttle lifted off, Samson squelched a sigh. He forced himself not to dig into his armrests for purchase as the shuttle jerked around and inched toward the opening shuttle bay doors which resembled a widening mouth.

    It had been a long time since he had been in space, much less since he had headed into potential physical danger, but if there were people in need, he would do what he could to help them. And if they were Romulans, he figured he could tamp down any potential trust issues faster than the Herrington’s crew did. Cassidy hadn’t agreed, but his captain had seen the wisdom of Samson’s suggestion.

    After the shuttle broke free of the Herrington’s shields, and then saw the flaming wreck before them, Glover started to doubt his own wisdom.


    Shuttlecraft Roman Nose

    One of the ensigns took control of the shuttle while Samson and the others rushed toward the airlock. They hadn’t been able to beam the survivors aboard Herrington because some of the minerals in the ore ship’s holds interfered with safe transport.

    Ergo, that had forced Noona to send a shuttle to dock with the ship’s intact, and thankfully, working airlock. From what Herrington’s sensors had gathered, there were 12 souls still alive board the ship, all Romulan life signs, and the Starfleet crew wanted to save every one of them.

    That noble impulse was tempered by both Cassidy and the security officer brandishing hand-held phasers. Glover didn’t think he would ever get over how something so small could be so deadly. The admiral had resolved to not take his out of the holster unless necessary.

    Joining them were a human engineer, a young, compact female Megazoid security guard, and the older, lithe Zelonite chief medic. The man’s brow was so furrowed with concern he could’ve been mistaken for a Klingon. He clutched his medkit close to his person.

    Cassidy gave everyone a once over. “Do I need to repeat anything?” After hearing a chorus of ‘no’, the first officer sighed, exposing just a little of the strain he had been hiding so well. He moved to the airlock door and tapped in a command. When it sighed open, he looked back once more, “Let’s go.”

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  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Always great to see Samson Glover back in action again. Diplomacy with the Romulans is always a chess game, and it would be just like them (or one of their factions) to stir up trouble to derail a peace mission. Fingers crossed that the admiral isn't walking into an ambush.
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  5. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    It's awesome and great to see a new Dark Territory story here. This story is getting exciting and I'm happy to see Samson Glover in space again.
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  6. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Very somber opening - the lead character commiserating in a holo-enhanced memory. The open and the unfold are an interesting muse on aging and how humans view it both from the inside and the outside.

    Thanks!! rbs
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  7. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    What an unexpected treat to get a brand-new DT tale. Really quite excited for this one.

    Firstly, kudos on the holo-open. Not sure if that's a thing, but if not, it should be. It's such a great Trek trope. And it totally caught me by surprise here. I expected this story to be about Samson and his wife, a character I don't believe you've written about much.

    Still loving the fact it's a Samson tale and set during early TNG.

    Since this is DT, I'm bracing myself for things to go spectacularly wrong for everyone involved. Can't wait.
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  8. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 27, 2007
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    Hey! So, cool! Dark Territory is back, with Admiral Glover no less. I was wondering where you'd gotten off to!

    I'm strapping myself in for a great cloak and dagger action/tragedy here. And very excited to see the Romulans at this party. They've rarely been handled well on film, but in the hands of a talented author they can be a fascinating species to explore.

    Keep it coming.
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  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    Romulan Ore Ship

    The away team moved as quick as they could, being careful to step over debris, including the occasional dead body. Samson thought he would’ve been downed by the smoke if not for the timely hypo from the Herrington chief medic. While it helped his lungs, the medicine did nothing for his eyes. Glover was slowed by the smoke tearing at his eyes, and the flames reaching out, attempting to touch him.

    “Good that all the survivors are on the bridge,” the security officer said, through clenched teeth.

    “One thing to make it easier,” Cassidy nodded. “But it means nothing if those fires reach all the explosives and the plasma drill onboard before we can get to them and get out of here.”

    “Not to mention if the warp core breaches,” the engineer chimed in.

    “That’s what I want you to prevent Shaniqua,” the first officer said.

    The dark-skinned woman nodded. “I’ll do my best Cass.”

    He nodded, “I know.” He pointed to the Megazoid. “Ensign, go with the chief, just in case our Romulan friends left any surprises for the attackers.”

    “Or us,” the security chief replied ominously. Samson didn’t like the prejudgment, but he kept it to himself. Things were nerve wracking enough as it were.

    After the engineer and the security guard left, the other four did their best to hurry to the bridge. Around them the ship rumbled. Glover had been on enough vessels to know that death rattle. He had every confidence in the Herrington chief engineer, but he knew there was only a matter of time before the ship would tear itself apart.

    If the smoke and heat wouldn’t gobble up the air and sear his lungs in the process, Samson would’ve given a big sigh when they reached the door to the bridge.

    “It’s locked,” Cassidy frowned. He knocked against the metal. “Open up,” he demanded.

    “Commander,” Glover placed a gentle hand on the man’s shoulder. He tensed. “Let me,” he stepped forward before the first officer could protest. “Honey is always preferred to vinegar.” The chief medic laughed at that while Cassidy grunted.

    Glover knocked. The door was hot to the touch. He leaned as close to the door as he was willing to put his flesh close to the heating metal. “Can anyone hear me?” he shouted. He wasn’t sure if they could hear him through the door, Samson could barely hear himself through the crackling flames, but he persisted. “I’m Admiral Samson Glover, of the Federation Starship Herrington. We are answering your distress call. Please, open the door so we can transport you back to our vessel and take care of any medical needs.”

    There was no reply. Glover frowned.

    “Guess we weren’t the help they were looking for,” the security officer quipped. His scowl deepening, Samson looked at the chief medic.

    “Doctor, would you scan for life signs again?”

    “Yes sir,” the man said promptly. He leaned close to the door and waved his medical tricorder over the door. “Ten life signs,” he said. “Three are faint.”

    “That’s not good.” Samson said. He chanced scorching his knuckles again. The Romulans still wouldn’t answer him.

    “We’re running out of time,” Cassidy said. He turned to the security chief, “See if you can override the door’s locking mechanism.”

    “Aye sir,” the man quickly went to work. The Kelpien was still working at it when the rumbled again, this time with enough force that it made them all stumble, even the sure-hooved Kelpien.

    Cassidy slapped his combadge. “Shaniqua,” he said. “Come in!”

    There was a bout of static, and then clutches of the woman’s reply. “Breach…” Samson heard, “can’t….”

    “Damn it,” the first officer snarled. “Chief, get back to the shuttle!” She didn’t answer. “Chief?” The first officer’s voice was raw. “Shaniqua?!”

    The ship shook again. Cassidy produced his own tricorder. He swung it around. “This deathtrap is falling apart at the struts. We’ve got it get out of here.”

    “No,” Samson said.

    “Excuse me sir,” Cassidy replied.

    “We’ve still got a duty to perform,” the admiral said. “We’ve got lives to save.”

    “My main concern is saving the lives of my crew,” the first officer countered. “And right now, the fate of two are in doubt, and all our lives might hang in the balance.”

    “It’s a small price for peace Mr. Cassidy,” Glover intoned.

    “We didn’t cause this tragedy,” the security chief opined while still working the door.

    “How far along are you on that door Blenny?” Cassidy asked.

    The Kelpien snorted. “Nowhere sir,” he answered.

    “We don’t have time for this,” the first officer replied.

    “What about cutting through the door with our weapons?” Samson proposed.

    “That alloy will prove a problem timewise,” Cassidy answered, “and we might also shoot one or more of the survivors in the process.”

    “Damn,” Glover cursed softly. “I would rather risk that than leaving them all here to die.”

    “It’s a tough call,” Cassidy admitted, “But it’s yours to make sir.” The man’s jaw shifted uncomfortably, clearly not comfortable having to concede to Glover’s superior rank.

    “It is my call,” the admiral nodded. “I want you to get your crew back to Roman Nose. I’ll continue working on the door. Be on standby to get me and the Romulans out of here.”

    “Sir,” Cassidy shook his head. “I can’t allow you to do that.”

    “This is no time to make a sacrifice Admiral,” the Zelonite added, not knowing how much he sounded like Noona right now.

    As if reading his mind, Cassidy chimed in, “The captain would feed me to the Great Bird of the Galaxy if I left you here to die sir.”

    Samson grinned. “I don’t intend on dying so don’t trouble yourself.”

    “But sir,” the first officer started again. Samson stopped smiling.

    “You heard me Commander,” he barked. “I won’t have your deaths on my conscience. I am ready to give my life for peace, but I won’t sacrifice yours.”

    “There’s going to be no convincing you is there?” Cassidy was glum.

    “Time’s wasting Commander,” Glover said.

    The other man sighed. “Alright, Blenny, hand him your tool kit. Tell him what he needs to do.” The Kelpien stood to his full imposing height and brought the spanner and his smaller case over to the admiral.

    Samson plucked the spanner from Blenny’s outstretched hand and smiled again, “Lieutenant, I got this. It’s not the first lock I’ve picked before.” Looking down at him, the man’s deep blue eyes crinkled, and his smile was mischievous.

    “I would love to hear that story sir,” he replied.

    “I’ll make sure to share it with you when we’re all back on Herrington.” Unbidden, the Kelpien clasped his forearm.

    “Make sure you do,” Blenny replied. With no more words needing to be said, the rest of the away team left Samson to go about his work. The admiral just hoped there was enough time. For all of them.

    Romulan Ore Ship

    “You’re being foolish Samson,” his wife’s voice got his attention, but it didn’t slow his hand. He used the spanner to slice into the mass of wires at the door, hoping the next slice would be the one to open the door. “They have locked themselves inside. They have accepted death. You shouldn’t.”

    “I haven’t,” he found himself saying aloud. “I’m trying to do all I can, to stop more people from dying.”

    “This hero complex,” Deitra replied. “One of the most endearing yet frustrating things about you.”

    “I’ve got to try,” Samson pleaded.

    “You’ve got to live,” Deitra riposted. “I don’t want Terrence to be an orphan, to be alone.”

    “Neither do I!” He barked, and then quickly apologized. He knew he was losing it, but it felt like this was the time to have this struggle, the mental hell of his grief melding with the physical hell of the burning spaceship around him.

    “Could’ve fooled me,” she was relentless, as always. “Hiding away in the Caribbean, spending over a year on a book you could’ve finished in months. You’re afraid. A coward!” She blazed, hotter than the flames around them. Cowardice was the worst thing you could be in Deitra’s eyes, and the charge wounded Glover so badly that he paused.

    He looked around him, for a few seconds glimpsing his wife among the roaring flames. The medicine was starting to fail, and he began coughing. His eyes filled with so many tears that he could barely see.

    Was Deitra, or more so the Deitra of his mind, right? Was this attempt to save the Romulans just a noble way for him to die? Did he want to keep living? Without her?

    He had pondered these questions for a long time, during the darkest hours of night. At time Samson had convinced himself that Terrence didn’t need him. Things hadn’t worked out with Tryla Scott and his career had hit a speed bump, but Samson had no doubt his son would achieve his dream of being captain. He would achieve what his mother hadn’t been allotted the time to do, and he would add to the legacy of the Glover family in ways Samson would not.

    Terrence really didn’t need him anymore. He had good friends, like Ben Sisko, Cal Hudson, and Pedro Rojas, he had a career, he had determination; and there was little more that Samson could do for him.

    The idea of spending the next several decades without Deitra was unbearable. He lowered his head, his body quaking, as the truth hammered home. It had been a mistake to come here, he wasn’t ready to live again, because he been preparing for death. And now the universe had obliged him.

    Tears splashed against the warming deck. Glover looked up again, at the mass of wires. He then looked at the door. He stood up and then took a few steps back. He tried his phaser on the door, maximum setting. No effect.

    “Please!” Glover shouted. “Don’t do this! Let us help you! You’ve got to trust us!” There was no response.

    The ship juddered and bulkheads began to crumble. Samson looked around, watching with a dark fascination as the walls came around him. Before the flaming metal touched him, he felt a familiar tingle.

    “No!” He reached out toward the door again before he disappeared.

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  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    USS Herrington

    Sick Bay

    Samson sat up on the biobed, ignoring the pain. Several of the Herrington crew did likewise as Captain Noona strode into the room. Besides the customary show of respect, the guests at the Andorian’s heels drew the admiral’s and everyone else’s attention and apprehension.

    Two Romulan officers: a man and a woman, were resplendent in their silver-gray shoulder padded uniforms. A harness adorned each uniform, meeting at the chest, and ending at a belt emblazoned with the imperial crest. Quietly Samson noted that the design was slightly different than the uniform worn by the Romulans who had greeted Picard.

    The broad-shouldered, balding Romulan man came to an abrupt stop in front of Samson’s bed, stomping his polished boots on the deck with enough force to rattle the medical tray beside the bed. Herrington’s chief medic glowered but held his tongue.

    Noona ignored the gesture. “Admiral Glover, may I present Commander Blatto and Major Hedera of the Imperial Warbird Occisor.” Blatto nodded, while Hedera, a woman seemingly too young for the shock of short white hair she sported. With the Romulans being so long lived, Samson reminded himself that Hedera could’ve been older than she appeared and that the white hair had been earned. The admiral noted that the seemingly younger woman was taking everything in with small appreciative nods and smiles, as if this were her first time visiting an infirmary. Samson supposed in a way it was, at least a Starfleet sick bay. That made him wonder how different such dispensaries were on Romulan vessels.

    “Thank you, Captain Noona,” Blatto said tightly. This man was too full of his own importance to care much about the environs of a Starfleet infirmary. He dipped his head slightly in Samson’s direction. His bald pate really made his forehead ridges stand out.

    “Ambassador Pilok wished that she was here in person to extend her thanks on behalf of the Romulan people to you Admiral Glover.”

    “I’m sorry,” he shook his head while blinking, “Excuse me?”

    Blatto gave a cross look to his junior officer and then Noona. “I said…”

    “If I may interject,” Hedera said smoothly. Blatto planted his boots and Samson was certain a dressing down was about to spew out of the man, but he bit back whatever lava was burning his tongue.

    “Certainly.” Samson’s eyes widened as the man even took a step back and Hedera filled his view.

    She smiled at him, but Samson felt a chill. Whoever could put a man like Blatto in check was someone to fear.

    “Our apologizes for intruding on your convalescence Admiral Glover,” the woman said. “But Commander Blatto had been insistent that we share the ambassador’s well-wishes with you immediately.” She nodded in his direction and then totally ignored him. “How are you faring?”

    “Well, I, hmm,” Samson wasn’t sure. He looked at the captain who called for the medic. The Zelonite gave a quick rundown of Glover’s ailments. He was surprised that Hedera expressed concern, wincing even once or twice. She shook her head, thanked the medic, and after Noona let him go, turned back to Glover.

    “We owe you a debt of gratitude Admiral,” she paused and looked at Noona, “and the gallant crew of the Herrington for what you did to save our people.” The words stunned Glover. He had been in and out of wakefulness since he had been beamed off the ore ship. And the medics had ignored his questions about what happened to the ship, more concerned with addressing his injuries.

    “There were survivors?” Samson looked hopefully at Noona, but the Andorian’s expression was sad. “I don’t understand what there is to be grateful for,” he refused to stow his bitterness. “We didn’t save one soul on that ore ship.”

    “The Rom’laas crew were acting as loyal citizens,” Blatto intoned. “They chose death over capture.” There was a glimmer of pride in his voice. Samson felt sick to his stomach.

    “We weren’t looking for prisoners,” Noona declared, her face darkening. Samson knew the woman well enough to know she was battling a wave of sickness as well. “We were trying to save lives.”

    “How could they know the difference?” The Occisor commander shrugged. “They did what they had been taught to do.”

    “And that is why we must learn new lessons,” Hedera rounded on Blatto, and the man stopped talking. But his gaze was murderous. “The Rom’laas crew couldn’t let go of their fear and mistrust enough to save themselves. It is my hope that we don’t do the same.”

    Samson found it hard to believe that a Romulan, wearing the uniform of the Imperial Navy, was saying such words, but he allowed himself just a tiny spark of hope, that she was being sincere. “There was an evac shuttle that escaped before Herrington arrived. Five survived. They were rescued by the Warbird Volucris.”

    “Thank God,” Samson breathed and smiled at a similarly relieved Noona. Blatto looked like he smelled something rotten. Even Hedera’s smile dipped, and her eyes narrowed, as if she couldn’t believe that Starfleet officers cared about Romulan lives. To her credit, that suspicion receded or was hidden behind a sympathetic smile.

    “Did the survivors identify the culprits?” The captain asked. Blatto hesitated, but Hedera replied.

    “Husnock,” she answered. “They said it was a Husnock raiding party. That is consistent with our investigation of the debris.”

    “The Volucris hunted the perpetrators down and disposed of them,” Blatto said with obvious relish. Glover’s stomach turned.

    Samson shook his head. “Did they learn the reason why the Husnock attacked?”

    Blatto sniffed. “It’s obvious,” he retorted. “The Husnocks are brutes who would rather steal from others than work for their bounty.”

    “That’s rich,” Noona couldn’t help herself.

    “Captain,” Glover admonished, but it was too late. Blatto smirked as he seized upon Noona’s words.

    “What was that captain? Care to repeat it?” The Occisor commander taunted.

    “I said,” the Andorian replied.

    “Captain,” Samson was more forceful this time, and Noona’s face noticeably darkened as she muzzled herself. Blatto chuckled.

    “My apologies for Commander Blatto,” Hedera said, no longer smiling, though her ire wasn’t aimed at Samson or Noona. “Just like the lost on the Rom’laas, some old ways die hard.”

    “You forget your place, major,” Blatto puffed up. “I am the master of the Occisor.”

    The woman moved quickly, getting in the man’s face, and poked his chest while looking up at him. “And you forget your place, need I inform Ambassador Pilok, among others, about this uncouth behavior unbecoming of one of your rank?” His smugness crumpled.

    “Of course, of course not,” Blatto stammered. “I-I am merely fulfilling our duties here.”

    “No, you are undermining the Senate’s wishes,” Hedera said. “And if you keep defying them, my superiors will hear of it. Do you want that?” The man wanted to argue, but then he completely crumbled.

    Not meeting Hedera’s eyes, he muttered, “No, I do not.”

    The woman nodded with satisfaction. Samson was both fascinated and frightened. In a way, the resolute woman reminded him of Deitra. The thought gave him a strange comfort.

    “I apologize again,” the major shook her head. “We know that you, and your intrepid crew, risked their lives to save Romulan citizens, and this will not be forgotten.” She smiled, “perhaps there is something to your propaganda that the Federation values all life.”

    “It’s more than propaganda,” Noona rejoined. “We value all life; can you say the same?”

    Samson glowered at her; but held his piece. He wanted to see what the Romulans would say to that. Surprisingly, but not surprisingly, Blatto smirked. He didn’t respond, leaving it to his colleague.

    Hedera pondered the captain’s words, and the challenge within them. The Klingons and Romulans had been bitter enemies for decades now. Even Glover was skeptical that ocean of blood between them could be peacefully traversed.

    “In time,” the woman said quietly, “Perhaps. In time.”

    Noona’s eyes widened at that, and Samson’s heart lifted. He couldn’t imagine ever hearing such a thing from a Romulan officer’s lips. Even Blatto seemed stunned. Glover almost offered the woman asylum on the spot afraid for what awaited her back on the Occisor. But he held his peace again.

    Perhaps this was Hedera’s way to reach out, to sacrifice, as he had just done on the ore ship. And to offer her that out would’ve dishonored the risk she was taking.

    He smiled again. He thought of his wife, and that day they had spent on Santora Prime, among the Romulans, a people who had caused her such pain, had taken so much from her, and that she had grown to despise, yet she was willing to reach out despite that history, that hatred. She would never forget what had happened, she would never fully trust them, and Samson hadn’t blamed her for that, but she was willing to start anew if they were willing to do the same.

    This time, he did reach out, both physically and symbolically. Hedera took his hand. Her grip was strong, certain, more assured than Glover could’ve ever hoped for. And it brought him back to life as surely as Deitra’s memory had on the ore ship.

    He had a reason to go on again. He would dedicate his life to making this bond a lasting one. “The same could be said of us, Major Hedera, here, right now,” Glover said, not stopping the tear running down his cheek. “The past can be reckoned with and overcome…in time.”


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  11. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Nice ending scene. I particularly liked the Major's answer: "In time...", which Glover echoes. Reminiscent of the unnamed Romulan captain in STNG S6 E20 "The Chase."

    Thanks!! rbs
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  12. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Short but sweet. Really enjoyed the focus on Samson, who appears to have reached a seminal moment here.

    Still clearly suffering from the grief of having lost his wife, he makes the fateful decision that he cannot go on without her, only to be rescued in the nick of time and to see his desperate efforts bear fruit.

    These events may have changed him more than he realizes.

    Terrific effort.
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  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Samson, seeking death, finds new reason to live and to have hope. The story is all the more poignant knowing what fate will ultimately befall the Romulan people.

    Excellent story.
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  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    Robert, CeJay, and Gibraltar,

    Thank you all for reading and commenting. While still figuring out what to do to get all the way out of 2376 and carrying on Terrence Glover's adventures, I thought it would be good to visit/revisit other DT characters. Samson has played an important role in DT but I hadn't written that many stories about him so I am glad you all liked this outing.
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  15. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 27, 2007
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    This is a great piece of work.

    I always had thought of Glover as a bit of a hard ass but actually he’s a passionate fellow. I really felt his angst over not being able to save the Romulans.

    I hope this means we’re entering a period of renewed DT output.
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