Disclaimer: Yep, Paramount owns 'em. They don't own the creative content of this story. Neener, neener.
Author's note: This is the first in the Intermission series. The Intermission series is excerpts from a TOS episode, from the POV of one or more of the main characters. Harmless, really. I swear. Thanks to my betas PernFancy and Islaofhope, and thanks also to Diane Duane for her magnificent work with the Rihannsu of The Romulan Way
Rating: PG, TOS
Summary: The scene from "Balance of Terror" when the Romulan Commander is first seen. Told from Spock's POV
Intermission 1: My Father's Reflection
The Romulan's face wore my father's reflection.
I have heard, from one or another of my human crewmates, of the legend of the doppelganger, the exact, ghostly reflection of a living man. I had previously believed it to be another example of human illogic. If I believed it then, I no longer believe it now. Marked by lines of care and hardship which were never there on my father's face, the Romulan's face is still my father's.
The bridge crew stares at me, perhaps a distant relative of an enemy. Their emotions crash over and through me, and I know the fear and the mistrust. I was always an alien among them, but now I am that much closer to being the enemy. Styles, for one, believes that I am by association a spy. I meet his eyes and stare him down. I have earned my place here; if I am no longer my father's son, I am also not his reflection's spy.
Only Uhura and the captain act with anything like their usual professionalism. Her hand brushes mine as she hands me the tape of the Romulan transmission. I can tell she is uncertain, nervous with questions that she will not ask. Questions for which I do, and do not have, the answer.
How should I tell them of the Sundering? The Sundered were a legend of my childhood, a people who left us rather than stop the ceaseless fighting and brutality that was Vulcan before Surak. My father help to negotiate the peace treaty that ended the Romulan War; I cannot believe he did not have his suspicions as to their identity. The Lost, we called them, preferring not to find them. But they have been found, and now they hunt this ship.
I watch the captain even as he watches me, and the viewscreen. His questions I will answer, for now we stand poised on the brink of war again. I know from the glint in his eyes that there will be a reckoning, that he will have his answers.
The briefing has ended. We attack, to prevent a war. It was my counsel which argued for it, and the shame of that, a Vulcan arguing the necessity of violence, hits me at some deep level. But I am a Starfleet officer as well, and I know that if we show weakness, it will be the death of us. The Sundered will fight with the fierce skill in battle that is a part of our shared heritage, and they will never stop.
Styles alleged that I was withholding information, and this is partially true. I have not mentioned the Sundered, but I have admitted the kinship between us. The captain stops me as everyone else leaves for their battlestations. "What was that about, on the bridge?" he asks.
I feel shame again, that my emotional response was so obvious. But perhaps it was not; the captain is most perceptive for a human. "The Rihannsu commander closely resembled a relative of mine." Unthinking, I have used the name they called themselves when the Sundered still lived among us. Rihannsu, the Declared.
"Rihannsu, not Romulan?" he asks, a commander searching for every bit of tactical information.
I raise an eyebrow. "They were never Romulans, Captain."
He nods briefly. "What else do you know?"
And so I tell him what I could not say in the briefing. I tell him of the Sundered, of our own warrior ways long kept in check. I could not say all this in the briefing, for even to say as much as I have violates several of our most closely held traditions. But this man, this captain, understands the relevance of what I say. He folds his arms. "Thank you for your trust, Mr. Spock. Rest assured that I value it."
It is over. The Rihannsu commander destroyed himself and his ship rather than be captured. For now, the risk of war has lessened. We are back on patrol, and the debriefing on this incident is scheduled for tomorrow.
I am haunted, illogically, by the waste I saw in that cramped little bridge. The Rihannsu commander did not want the war he was assigned to start; I know it as clearly as if he had spoken. And now the Lost are found once again, but at what cost?
While he spoke to the captain through the smoke and the haze, the viewscreen was open both ways. For an instant, his eyes met mine, and I could see the shock there. He was my father's reflection; did I resemble his son?