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I tried to write an Earth-Romulan War short story, set at the turning point of the war, shortly before the other three races assist humans, but I did not come up with anything readable. The main character telling a lot of past events does not work.
So instead of pursuing the vain endeavour of writing short prose of something more suited for a novel, I try to sum up some of my ideas and thoughts about the Earth-Romulan War (I have not read fan-fic like Michael Martins trilogy yet) and would be delighted by any feedback and criticism from people who endure this long read. Perhaps we could also get a general discussion about the Earth-Romulan War going.
Why is it called Earth-Romulan War? Shouldn't it be called Coalition of Planets - Romulan War? If Earth fights alone against the Romulans, why is the Federation founded after the war? So perhaps it is primarily a conflict between Romulans and Humans and the other three races only assist humans.
Romulans rarely attacked first, so my next idea was that they tricked Starfleet into attacking them, or that they did attack first but eradicated evidence of the attack and thus made it look to third parties that the human retalitation is the first attack.
So that's why humans are on their own, they look like the aggressor to their Tellarite, Andorian and Vulcan friends.
Battle of Cheron, something about that sounded familiar. Charon was the ferryman who shipped the dead into the underworld. I also stumbled over the name Acheron, a branch of Styx on which Charon operated. This sounds quite similar to (Treaty of) Algeron.
Since whoever came up with these two names, Battle of Cheron and Treaty of Algeron, was obviously inspired by Greek mythology, why not work a bit on the theme of death inherent to these names?
So let's pick Alpha Centauri as a crucial system and let a human settlement on an L class planet in that system be destroyed by the first Romulan attack. Radiation of the two / three stars makes scanning the system from the distant difficult, so no one notices the Romulan invaders. After contact with the settlement breaks up, the two NX class starships investigate, find only ruins left, pursue the slow and weak Romulan ships, fire upon them after they don't respond and involuntarily destroy them.
Romulans thus make it look like they were attacked first, declare war, strike back with their real forces and occupy the L class planet in the Alpha Centauri system, which is henceforth called Cheron by humans to remember the thousands or millions of people who died in that sneak attack.
The Romulan ploy works out as planned, the Coalition of Planets breaks up, Tellarites and Andorians don’t even trade anymore with Humans because they believe that they attacked first and only Vulcans maintain contact with Humans. They provide them with the little information they have about Romulans, allow them to use Vulcan as base for their ships and provide them with antimatter which becomes a rare commodity during the war. The reason for the unexpected Vulcan assistance is their shame about their own recent history; in the last years and months they discovered the Romulan infiltration of their government.
Romulans build up their headquarters on Cheron and launch continuous attacks on the Sol system. Humans quickly sacrifice the half-built NX-03 and all other warp-capable ships like the Intrepid-class besides the two remaining NXs, Enterprise and Columbia. A war economy is quickly built on Earth to produce sublight ships, powered by fusion reactors and mainly equipped with H bombs and perhaps some plasma weapons Romulans basically use similar ships, yet also some more primitive ones who are only equipped with fission reactors and bombs (Cheron has little water).
The NXs are mainly used to gather intelligence and in the beginning of the war launch strikes upon some small fleets. Of course the Romulans quickly switch to larger fleets who can overpower the only remaining human warpships.
The war takes a heavy toll on human lives and resources. Antimatter is only produced in small quantities because of the energy loss in the antimatter synthesization; H bombs are simply the more energy-efficient weapons. Discontent about the badly going war and leads to the election of a different party in 2158 which promises to act decisively and end the war as quickly as possible. Mandatory service in deuterium refineries, shipyards or in the suicide flights against the Romulans is introduced to prevent the thinning out of manpower and antimatter production is stopped entirely.
Hernandez and Archer don’t like that development, fear that Earth sacrifices its principles and believe that the only way to win the war is not with brute force but with assistance from their former allies. They go into exile on Vulcan with the rest of remains of Starfleet officers, (embodied by Forest) as well as the few last Vulcans on Earth (embodied by Soval).
The Vulcans still fear entering the war and openly assisting Humans, but T’Pol and Soval can convince High Command to send a small fleet alongside the two NXs who are in bad shape on a mission to capture a Romulan warbird on the supply line between Romulus and Cheron. The Romulans don’t expect an attack upon their supply line, so the mission succeeds. Although the commander of the warbird self-destructs the ship, parts of the computer can be salvaged, including data about strategical scenarios after the conquest of Earth: first Andoria, then Vulcan and finally Tellar are the next targets.
With this new evidence, the heavily crippled Enterprise heads for the closer Andoria, with Shran and Archer aboard while the Columbia heads to the more distant Tellar Prime. The Vulcan fleet, commanded by T’Pol and Soval tries to buy the two messengers some time and prevent the fast warbirds from catching up on them before they reach their destinations.
After the Vulcan fleet is destroyed, the Romulans pursue the two Earth ships. Tellarites and Andorians are not only mainly convinced by the Romulan data conveyed by Archer and Hernandez but rather by the Romulan warbirds heading directly for their systems.
The three powers mobilize a fleet which clears the Alpha Centauri System, bombards the facilities on Cheron and drives the Romulans back into their territory, where the Romulan commanders steer their ships into a star. Baffled by the Romulan habit of commiting suicide after they failed in their duties, the fleet stands by and is contacted by the Romulan government which proposes peace talks.
Unwilling to let the current Earth government participate in the negotiations, Archer speaks for Earth and following his example, Shran and a Tellarite are picked as representatives by their forces.
After a few days, a quick peace agreement is achieved.
Sato who is well versed in ancient Earth languages and mythology labels the aggressive, secretive aliens who never show themselves after an ancient Earth civilisation whose soldiers also preferred to killed themselves over being captured, Romans. She labels the graveyard star Algeron, to remind future generations not merely of the unnecessary human deaths on Cheron but also of the unnecessary Romulan deaths in this place.
The fleet heads home and gathers on Earth where the current government has stepped back from its duties in the meantime and been substitutes by a provisional Vulcan delegation who brought the news to Earth. In the light of recent events, the need for more cooperation between the four races becomes evident and talks about a stronger alliance begin, including the joint creation of the Warp Six Yards on Andoria in order to build fast vessels which transport materials to build outposts to the border of the demilitarized zone as well as the Warp Seven Complex on Earth where multi-purpose vessels are built in the near future to patrol the new border but also explore the unknown, former Romulan space along that border.
Fearful of a second Romulan war and still fascinated by Algeron, the fiery grave of the enemy without a face, Sato names the respective ship classes Icarus and Daedalus, thus reminding all future officers who embark on missions deep into the Beta Quadrant to be humble and not underestimate the enemy who lurks in the unknown.
Still ashamed of the Romulan influence upon their society, Vulcans will never reveal that Romulans are "those who marched beneath the raptors wings", long lost distant relatives, until over hundred years later the enemy reappears and finally shows his face.
What would be interesting character-wise about this?
Vulcans are basically motivated by one emotion, shame, throughout the entire story and their shame culminates in the sacrifice to delay the Romulan pursuit. T’Pol and Soval, the two Vulcans who became closest to humans in the 2150s, die.
Shran starts to work as advisor to Archer shortly after he lost the Kumari and becomes an outcast when he remains on board the Enterprise after the war starts and the Coalition breaks up. He redeems himself in the eyes of his people when he reveals the Romulan plot to them.
Humans slowly regress during this Romulan war of attrition, during this neverending fight against a faceless enemy: they first have to give up luxuries and their lives and after some time they also give up their ideals and hope which culminates in the ’58 government that forces people to work and die. In this atmosphere, Hernandez and Archer play it like Kirk or Picard and become renegades.
To mention my sources, I was obviously mainly inspired by Balance of Terror and ENT and took a quick look at Mandel’s Star Charts to get a rough idea about a possible space "geography. I also read up on Charon in a guide about Greek mythology and googled Charon and Acheron to check whether they are written differently in English than in German.