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Taken Under Wing

An abducted Starfleet officer and dark past secrets threaten to unravel a delicately woven web of lies as things escalate in the Velorum Sector.

Captain Always Has A Bigger Stick

Vulcan
2400.05.23

Vulcan, Residence of Thevius, 2400 

Thevius sat at his desk, absolutely absorbed in a novel he was reading. A shadow crossed the corner of his vision, making him jump and whip around with a glare. He stared coldly at the Andorian in a Starfleet uniform beside him.

Thevius looked rather cross, folding his arms over his chest, “How did you get in my personal home?” Ashihl smirked and shrugged, “I beamed in, sir.” He offers a PADD to Thevius, “You may wish to read this.”

Thevius snatches the PADD from Ashihl, “You are lucky I did not blast you with a phaser… Not on stun.” He rose from his desk and paced away from the Andorian, holding one hand behind his back as he read from the PADD.

Ashihl watched his commanding officer’s face go from cross to concern rather quickly. Thevius stops beside a large window overlooking the planet Vulcan. It wasn’t his homeworld. His homeworld was destroyed. He claimed through and through that he was nothing but Vulcan, though anyone with a medical tricorder or access to his records would know better. 

Thevius turned, the setting sun casting an orange glow around his silhouette. He harshly demanded as he waved the device around, “Is this true, Ashihl? All of it?!”

Ashihl sighed, shifting his position slightly, tensing, “Yes, sir. It is. Those records and orders are accurate.”

Thevius snarled and hurled the PADD at the Andorian, yelling, “DAMMIT!” Ashihl deftly caught the PADD, far too used to his commanding officer’s bouts of violent rage and emotion. He tucked the device under his arm, clasping his hands behind his back once more as he waited for Thevius to calm down.

The half Vulcan paced aggressively around his personal office, “This puts me in a horrible position, do you know this?! On one side are the people who raised me, whose blood runs in my veins, as much as I deny it. I am a damn Romulan!” He yelled and swore, “And on the other side are the ones I am serving and work for– and the other half of my damn lineage!”

Ashihl nodded slowly, “I am well aware, sir.”

Thevius barked, “Shut up!”

The Andorian pursed his lips, his antennae leaning backwards.

Thevius spun around and kicked his desk over with a rather unhinged scream. Ashihl raised his brows, remaining silent and staying still as papers flung around the office and glass smashed on the stone floor. Ashihl had to admit, he had never seen a fit like this before.

Thevius stood there, fists clenched, chest heaving. After a few minutes, he calmed down and adjusted his robes, moving to sit back in his chair and acting as if he didn’t just destroy his office. He said slyly, “I have an idea. It isn’t ethical. It may not work. It may be plain old suicide. But it is the kind of thing that will get our names and stories taught at the Academy. If word of this plan gets out, we would get decommissioned. Do you understand me, Lieutenant?”

Ashihl tilted his head, his antennae perking forward, “I fully understand sir, and you have my utmost attention. Andorians aren’t the most by the book species.” Thevius smiled, “Neither are Romulans. And if we want an upperhand in this. We need to think like Romulans. Play them at their own game.” 

Thevius leaned back in his chair, trusting the tight security of his estate here on Vulcan. Romulans expect deception. Thevius is no different and cracked down on personal security where other Vulcans viewed it as illogical. “I went right from Romulus to Starfleet. My childhood friend, however, has served over 80 years in the Tal Shiar. He achieved a good rank, his parents were Senators, he married a well decorated Star Navy captain. He only recently achieved the rank of Ensign due to how heavily Starfleet is cracking security on him due to him defecting after 80 or so years. He had power and he walked out on it just after the supernova. They have reason to be suspicious.”

Thevius went to reach for his tea, only to realise he flung it across the room. Heaving a sigh, he stood up and walked to the replicator to get a new one. He spoke as he waited for his tea, “Look up the name Ensign Lihran. Serial number KB-472-461.”

Ashihil whipped out the PADD from under his arm, typing in the number and name, “He is stationed as a power systems engineer at Starbase Four in the Mellstoxx system.”

Thevius sipped his tea and walked closer to Ashihl, “He won’t come willingly. I can tell you that much. He wants nothing to do with the old Romulan government, or the new for that matter. We will have to convince him. Get our ship and crew ready and plot a course for Starbase Four.”

Ashihl saluted smartly, “Yes, sir!” He turned to let himself out of Thevius’s office before beaming up. Thevius had every intention to finish his tea and think of how to convince Lihran to his cause before beaming up.

Thevius turned to stare out the window overlooking the planet he settled on. This really wasn’t his home, or his people. He was not a true Vulcan, no matter how much he lied to convince himself. 

Romulus, 2275 

“It’s my turn to play Captain, Thevius! Come on!” Lihran ran after his friend, jabbing him with a stick he had picked up, “It’s my turn! You promised!”

Thevius grinned, poking Lihran back with his own stick he claimed, teasing him, “I don’t remember that!”

Lihran growled and stamped his foot, “You promised!” Thevius rolls his eyes at the younger child, “Alright, fine. How about…” The boy looked around, thinking of a contest he could win ‘fairly’ to be Captain this time again. Thevius grins, “Oh, I got it! First one to the War Memorial is Captain!”

Lihran tightens his grip on the stick. He whined,  “You’re taller than me! That’s no fair!”

Thevius smirks, “I’ll give you a head start! 1… 2…” Lihran’s eyes widened, turning to take off at a sprint as fast as he can. Thevius fake yawned, waiting till Lihran got a head start before sprinting off madly after the other boy. He leapt around and dodged other Romulans, laughing maniacally. His laughter was cut off abruptly as he ran face first into the backside of an adult and landed heavily on the ground with a cry.

Thevius looked up in abject horror as he realised he ran into the back of a Senator standing in a group of other Senators at a Memorial. The Senator looked rather furious, demanding, “Whose whelp is this!?”

Thevius looked about ready to cry in fear till a female knelt down beside him, pulling the boy into her arms, “This is my son, Senator. I apologise for his antics. The children are our future. He is still very young.” 

Two other Senator’s happened to be Lihran’s parents and they had already wrangled their son. Lihran stood between his parents, gulping nervously. Lihran boldly stepped forward, “Excuse me, Senator, sir?” Lihran’s mother gasped and his father tensed, ready to snatch their child up.

The angry Senator looked over and tersely spoke, “Yes child? Speak.” Lihran swallowed nervously, yet boldly said, “It was my fault, Senator. He let me get a head start in a race and I ran too fast. If I hadn’t ran so fast, he would have ran slower and would have seen you.”

The Senator heaved a sigh, “How old are you, child?”

Lihran replied, “I am six, Senator.” The Senator looked at Thevius silently. Thevius stammered, “Thirteen, Senator.” The Senator closed his eyes for a moment, not wanting to argue with a child’s logic in front of the Senate. He opened his eyes and spoke to Lihran, “You are forgiven. Be more careful.” He looked at Thevius, “You are old enough to know better.”

Thevius scrambled to his feet, stammering,  “Yes, Senator. Sorry Senator!” The Senator waved his hand, “Now go!” The two children scrambled off quickly as both their parents profusely apologised.

Lihran and Thevius rounded a corner and kept running till they got to a park. Thevius flung down onto the grass, gasping for breath, “You’re captain this time. I get Captain next time! I promise! I promise!”

Back to the present… 

Thevius shook his head, coming out of his mind, sipping his now cold tea. He grimaced and turned to recycle what was left and the cup. He murmured to himself, “Looks like I get to be Captain this time, Lihran. I promised. And I got the bigger stick.”

 

Ch: 2- Debriefing

Starbase Bravo, Conference Room
May 2400

Thevius was running behind for his own meeting for his crew, PADD clutched to his chest with one hand, gripping a cup of coffee in the other. He strode briskly through the halls of the Starbase till he arrived at the conference room he booked for his ragtag crew.

Thevius pushed into the room and walked to the head of the conference tables, setting his mug of coffee down sharply, jolting the Al-Leyan engineer awake. Egil rubbed his eyes and groaned, “You know I hate daytime briefings sir– Coffee for me?” Thevius slid his coffee farther from the engineer and pointed silently at the replicator. Egil rolled his eyes and stood up, moving towards the replicator, “Triple espresso, hot.”

Thevius silently took stock of his small crew. He had the engineer, Egil Renot, an incredibly talented man. Nivox was a Cardassian scientist, and brought along his husband, a Bajoran medical officer named Ivin. Thevius knew the two were inseparable and he needed them both anyways. They had their surly tactical officer, K’Vibo, a Klingon. And their Andorian Intelligence officer, Ashihl, finished off this widely varied bunch.

Thevius sighed, turning on his PADD and starting to send files to those present, “Alright, let’s get to business. I am sending you all the important files regarding this.. Mess.” He grabs his mug and takes a sip of coffee, the steam warming his face. “That is the best way to describe what this is. I won’t explain the convoluted mess that is Romulan politics. It’s in the document.”

K’Vibo frowns, “What do we have to do with those dishonourable Romulans?” Thevius pursed his lips, “More than I would like. Please let me explain, K’Vibo.” The klingon resigned and grumbled, leaning back and folding his arms.

Thevius nods, “As I was saying… The Fourth Fleet has answered a call for aid. I cannot bring our ship and main crew onto the front lines. The rest of us have been temporarily reassigned to other ships and the base here to help with humanitarian or front lines issues. I do believe we will be of more use going the intelligence route.”

K’Vibo interrupts again, “I do not approve of skulking in the shadows, Captain! It has no honour! We should be-”

Thevius tersely cuts him off, “Lieutenant K’Vibo. Let me speak. I will open for discussion soon. The more you interrupt me, the longer this takes.” Egil hides a chuckle with a cough, earning him a glare from both Thevius and K’Vibo.

Thevius sighed, “Anyways. There is a method to my madness. With Romulans, a straight up firefight can be tiring and they will try to fight dirty. So the easiest thing to do is play them at their own game and out-dirty them first. We need to think like they do. We are dealing with the Star Navy and potentially Tal Shiar.”

Ashihl mutters, “We need a Romulan to think like a Romulan.” Thevius nodded slowly in agreement, “We will have two, in fact. A good friend of mine, whom I trust, is working on this station. We are picking him up and taking him with us on this mission. He has roots in the Senate, Tal Shiar, and Star Navy. He had lots of power before he defected. He has security codes and knows those ships better than he knows Starfleet ships. He is a valuable asset.”

Thevius pauses to drink his coffee, continuing, “Now, my plan is.. And I beg of you, not a single word of this is to be spoken. This would never be approved by command. I have hand selected you all because we do not have families who would be severely impacted by our losses. What I have planned is severely risky. Absolutely mad and highly dangerous. It is suicide if we fail, but if we succeed…” He glanced at K’Vibo, “It will be glorious.”

K’Vibo nods slowly in approval at that.

Thevius leans back, “My plan is, with our operative, we sneak in with the little Aerie class and go behind the Star Navy or Tal Shiar lines… Whoever is there and is a threat. We sneak back, and with Lihran’s help, we can modify our transporters to beam him across onto their ships. He has security codes, uniform, rank pips and all that. He can pass as one of their crew or officers with no problem. He can leech data, gather intelligence, sabotage their supplies and ship. And then we beam him out of there. I can vouch for him, that he is utterly loyal to the Federation.”

Ivin nods, “I like this idea, sir. I pose one question. You mentioned two Romulans, who is the second?”

Thevius hesitated, his crew did not know of his mixed heritage. He takes a breath, staring down at his PADD for a moment before looking up, “Me. I am the second Romulan.”

Silence hung heavily in the conference room as they all processed this. For the longest time, everyone thought he was a poorly disciplined Vulcan.

K’Vibo broke the silence first, “That explains a lot. No offence, sir. You are the least Vulcan-y Vulcan.” Thevius nods at that slowly, “I… am aware. No offence taken. I am half Romulan, half Vulcan. My mother was murdered during the coup at the Senate, which is my motivation to undermine them and feed them their own poison.”

Thevius gave a faint smile, “I believe in this ragtag, odd crew of misfits. I picked the best, and I very much believe it.” 

He moved to stand up, gathering his PADD, “We leave in five hours with a ship giving us a lift to Starbase 23 where our little vessel awaits us. Ashihl, wait a moment. I want a word.”

The crew all stood up and filed out, except Ashihl who stood behind with Thevius.

Thevius sat on the table facing Ashihl, “Now, I need Lihran. You’ve seen his file and what he looks like. I simply do not have the time to authorise a transfer of him to my command. We have five hours- less than, to get him on that ship and out. I want you to do this. I do not care how you do it, just grab him and get out. Alright?”

Ashihl’s brows shot up, his antennae twitching furiously, “You.. are authorising me to kidnap a Starfleet officer? If I get caught, I am just following your orders?”

Thevius nods, “Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. I will take the blame for it. Alright?” Ashihl nods, “Alright, sir. I will do it. I will get you your Romulan.” Thevius smirks, “I knew I could count on you.”

 

Ch: 3- Out of the Arena, Into the Lion’s Jaws

May 2400

Starbase Bravo, Holodeck 2- 1300 

Lihran plugged his program into the holodeck and strode in, “Computer, begin holodeck program Gladiator02.”

The orange and yellow grid shimmered before vanishing. He was instantly greeted by the dull roar of a crowd screaming, cheering, clapping, whistling and stamping their feet. He stood in a dark room, looking out into an Ancient Roman colosseum from behind a metal bar door. His uniform was replaced with a typical gladiator’s kit. He had little to no armour, save for some cloth wrapped crudely around his pelvis, held in place with a large belt. His right arm was bound in padded cloth and metal armour strapped over it, a shield on his left. His legs were bare save for some rough sandals and brass plates strapped to his shins. He held a shortsword in his right hand, lifting it to admire his reflection. 

The door suddenly opened and Lihran strode out into the arena, sun beating down on his exposed skin. The sand was warm on his feet and he could already feel sweat on his skin. The crowd erupted to a deafening magnitude as Lihran entered the arena. He relished in it, lifting his sword above his head, further spurring the crowd. He stood in the centre and looked up at the raised platform where this so called emperor sat, a stone faced older human male. The emperor rose up and raised his hand, the crowd coming to near silence, hushed with anticipation.

Lihran never particularly cared for the ancient history of other planets, but when Heriah mentioned Ancient Rome, and how similar it was to Romulans, he couldn’t resist, and he loved it. 

The emperor spoke, “Let him face my champion. If he wins, he shall go free. If he loses..” The emperor pauses, grinning, “He dies.” Lihran knew he was safe and would not die, but it still got his adrenaline coursing through his veins. The crowd erupted once more at the emperor’s words. He lifted his hand and stepped back. Lihran heard the rattle of another metal door behind him and turned around, a more heavily armoured gladiator entered the arena, armed with a weighted net and a trident.

Lihran faced him fully, licking his lips. This would prove to be interesting. His opponent roared and charged rather recklessly at Lihran. The Romulan lifted his shield, letting his opponent fall upon it. Metal crashed against metal loudly, and he felt the shock reverberate through his arm and body. Lihran swung his sword low, ducking a bit from the net. His sword glanced off the man’s leg armour, but it made him back off.

Lihran didn’t give his foe time to recover, leading with his shield and swinging down with the pommel of his sword at the man’s helmet. It bounced off with a resounding clang, making him stagger a moment, lashing back at Lihran blindly. Lihran nimbly darts out of the way and behind him, slashing down his back with his sword. The man’s cries got drowned out by the crowd roaring in delight. LIhran barely heard the rattling chains and groaning mechanisms behind him, putting him on high alert. He knew what that was.A snarl of a hungry lion was heard by Lihran and he quickly moved out of range of the beast, knowing exactly where the chain’s limit was, trying to manoeuvre his foe between himself and the lion. The other gladiator tossed his weighted net onto the lion, pinning it down, drawing forth angry cries and booing from the crowd. Displeased, the emperor gestured for more lions to be brought out.

Two more were brought out, announced by their rattling chains and snarls. Lihran took note of where they were. The two opponents locked weapons with each other. Lihran brought his leg and kicked the man in the stomach, forcing him to stumble back. The crowd lost their minds as Lihran slammed the edge of his shield into his foe’s jaw.

The two continued their partial dance for some time, dodging the swipes of hungry lions and each other’s weapons. Lihran forced his adversary to his knees, the man signalling defeat. The raucous cacophony of the crowd was deafening. The emperor stood up once more, listening to the crowd chant out, calling for the gladiator’s death. 

Lihran kept his sword pointed at his downed foe, looking up at the emperor for the signal, panting in exhilaration. The emperor lifted his fist straight up in front of him. He listened to the crowd for a few moments before turning his thumb down- the signal for death. Lihran reached to pull off the man’s helmet, letting it fall to the sand at their feet with a heavy thud. He raised his sword to deliver the finishing blow. The crowd’s change from frenzied excitement, to exclamations of surprise and horror made Lihran pause.

Lihran looked up and glanced over his shoulder in time to see his own shield come down over his head, wielded by an Andorian in a Starfleet uniform. Lihran’s knees gave out and he crumpled to the ground. Ashihl called out, “Computer, end program.” The program ended, jarring the holodeck back to the 25th century and silence. Ashihl gathered up the Romulan in his arms, tapping his combadge, “LIeutenant Ashihl to Captain Thevius. Ready to beam aboard, sir. Gladiator acquired.” Thevius’s voice came through, “Gladiat- Never mind, I’ll ask later.” Ashihl readjusts his grip on Lihran, realising he was dripping green blood on the holodeck floor just as the transporter beam picked them up.

Unnamed Civilian Transport ship, Thevius’s quarters- 1415 

“I asked you to grab him, Lieutenant, not grievously injure him! What did you hit him with?!” Thevius glared at Ashihl. The Andorian shrugged, “A human shield from ancient times. Bronze I think. He was in a holodeck program in some sort of arena. At least he is properly clothed now. He was barely clothed when I found him.”

They had been transported right into Thevius’s quarters on their transport ship to Starbase 23. Thevius had Lihran laid out on his bed, pressing a cloth to the gash on the unconscious Romulan’s forehead. He taps his combadge, “Captain Thevius, to Lieutenant Zumagi. I need you in my quarters now. Medical emergency. Be discreet.” Ivin responded, “Aye, sir. Coming.”

Thevius looks at Ashihl, “I do not trust you to go get his personal belongings. Hold this cloth here, I’ll be back.” Ashihl looked rather grumpy, he was just following his commanding officer’s orders. He stepped up and took over, applying pressure to Lihran’s wound. Thevius beamed down to rush to Lihran’s quarters before the transport departed.

Ivin let himself into the quarters, stepping over to Lihran and shoos Ashihl away. Ivin kneels beside the bed, treating Lihran with a hypospray and grabbing a dermal regen, starting to treat his wound. Ivin echoes the same question, “What did you hit him with?!” Ashihl throws up his hands with an exasperated sigh, “A bronze ancient human shield! I didn’t think I hit him that hard.” The Bajoran doctor lifts a brow, “Ah, hm… Have you considered that… a phaser on the stun setting would have been better?”Ashihl froze, antennae leaning back, “I didn’t even consider that. I was uh.. A bit wrapped up in the holoprogram and the setting.” Ivin bluntly states, “You are an idiot. A bit cute, but an idiot.” Ashihl made a face, “Gross, save that for your husband.” 

Ivin smirks, giving Lihran another hypo, one to bring him back to consciousness. Lihran woke up with a start, instinctively wrapping his hands around Ivin’s neck in defence. Ivin froze, “I would unhand me. My husband is a very angry Cardassian if he finds out you hurt me.” Lihran mutters incoherently before letting go of the Bajoran, groaning, “My head…” Thevius beams back in with a duffle bag of Lihran’s belongings, a few Romulan uniforms flung over one arm. 

Lihran looks over, frowning, “What are you doing with my stuff? Where am I? What is this about?” Thevius sets the stuff down, “You are temporarily reassigned to my crew for a mission. An intelligence mission.” Lihran swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up with a wince, “I heard of no such thing. Reassigned illegally?” Thevius lifts his brows, “Minor detail. I hope you will forgive me, old friend.” Lihran sighs and thinks, “I know whatever you are planning ought to be good. Get me a good, rare vintage of Romulan ale after this, and I’ll forgive the whole… kidnapping thing. I can’t promise Command will.” Thevius smirks, “Knew I could count on you. Yes. I have a plan.” He sits down in a chair, “I got your uniform and belongings.”

Lihran sits down on the edge of the bed, glancing at his old uniform in a crumpled heap on top of his duffle bag, “I see that. Dealing with Romulans?” Thevius nods, “The civil war, so to speak. I know this will be difficult, I know we both know people on either side. Considering we are both Romulans and a Reman called for humanitarian aid, I do not think it is a good idea for us to supply such. It would arouse much suspicion against the Federation if Romulans in their uniforms responded to help. I opted to go with a barebones crew, a small vessel and to work undercover with intelligence.  You, Lihran, will be our main operative. You have, or had, power. It will be a powerful tool here.

Thevius leans back, crossing one leg over the other, letting Lihran digest his words for a moment, “I know it is very high risk. None of our little crew have families. You and I have no home. Our parents are… murdered in this coup. Personally, my feelings are wanting vengeance. In a taste they know so well.”

Lihran frowns, resting his elbows on his knees and staring at his hands clasped in front of him, thinking in silence, “My only family is now dead, thanks to the Star Navy.” He paused, adding, “And if my ex is involved…” Thevius nodded, “I figured as such. We got your uniform. You remember your security codes and all their ship routines and systems?”

Lihran chuckled, “I certainly do. One thing, however… How will I get into their ships or bases?” Thevius smiled, “I figured you would ask. If you recall all our- their systems, we can rig the Thyanis to bypass their cloaking devices and shields. You have a few days yet to plan how that would work.”

Lihran nodded once more, “I think I can manage that.” He paused and looked up as the captain of the transport announced they were leaving the Starbase. Thevius looked up at the announcement then over at Lihran, “This is your last chance to leave if you want. Grab your stuff and beam back or stay here with us.”

Lihran considers his options. Wanting to make the crew a bit anxious, he stood up and walked towards his stuff, suddenly deviating to the replicator at the last minute, grabbing himself a cup of coffee before moving to sit back down with a smirk. He lounged back and sipped his coffee rather languidly as the ship slid out of docking and started off towards Starbase 23, “I’ll stay.”

Thevius rolled his eyes, “Should likely try on the uniform before we go into action. Can make alterations to it.” Lihran paused, “That is a good idea.” He straightened up and set his coffee aside, stepping over to grab his uniform. He starts pulling off his Starfleet uniform and changing right there without any shame. No one except Thevius was expecting this. AShihl can’t help but watch the Romulan with wide eyes of shock. Ivin quickly averts his eyes. Thevius is indifferent, as he usually is. 

Lihran stood in his old Romulan uniform, “Still fits after nearly fifteen years.” He bore a rather striking and commanding figure in the uniform as opposed to his rather average appearance in his Starfleet uniform. Thevius stood up and walked around Lihran, inspecting him over, “It looks good. We will kit you with a disruptor to complete the look.” Tehvius paused and reached up to detach one of Lihran’s rank pips. He walks towards the replicator, first scanning the pip and then fiddling around with the replicator. He replicates another pip for Lihran and walks over, affixing it to his collar, “I think after about fifteen years, you’d get a promotion. Less suspicious than if you reappeared still at the same rank. Likely off working in some remote base or mine overseeing.” Lihran nodded, “I imagine we’ll figure it out. Got some time still.”

Thevius nodded and stepped back, clasping his hands behind his back, “That we do, Centurion. I appreciate you going along with this mad little plan.” Lihran smirked slightly and shrugged, “I will be honest. There is likely no one better in Starfleet better than me to handle stealth intelligence in this particular situation.”

Ch: 4 – Fabricating Cloaks

Starbase 23
May 2400

Lihran had a wide variety of tools and materials around him, hunched over a device he was constructing seemingly from scratch. Egil was watching with a cup of coffee in hand, leaning against a crate of what one could only guess to be supplies of some sort. Egil finally inquires, “What exactly are you making?”

Lihran grunts, not looking up, “Cloaking device, in the Romulan style. They are stupidly simple. I do not understand the Federation's aversion to this technology.” He pauses, grabbing his hyperspanner, “Alright, I do to an extent. It has many faults. Like the inability to fire weapons or use shields properly when the cloak’s are up. It’s a horribly energy inefficient system. I’m already doing a lot to make this more efficient for us.”

Upon their arrival at Starbase 23, Thevius requested the use of the largest shuttle-bay for some ‘ship repairs’.

Lihran drops to his knees, leaning under the device and adjusting some fastenings and joinings.

Egil nodded slowly, “Great for intelligence vessels. Lihran snorted, “That’s about it really, if you ask my professional opinion.” He mutters and curses at whatever he was doing before pushing himself up, “Alright, grab the other side of this and help me carry it onto the ship. The Bird is way too small for me to construct this onboard.” 

Egil drained half his coffee and set it down on the crate. He straightened up and strode over to help him carry it aboard. The two engineers managed to lift the cloaking device up the ramp and onto the Thyanis with lots of grunting and swearing. Lihran took a moment to grab his water bottle and re-hydrate. He set it back down and grabbed his sonic driver and spanner, starting to pull up floor panels to access the wiring and skeleton of the craft. Egil stayed back, watching the master work. Lihran crouched on support struts, rewiring part of the craft and creating new wiring connections, muttering, “Not as simple as plugging it in.” He worked with expert precision; snipping and stripping wires, spot welding some together, successfully wiring the cloaking device into the ship. He pushed himself up and nimbly stepped across the beams to the nearby console, powering on the ship, “Go outside, and use your combadge to tell me what you see.”

Egil nodded and darted out of the ship, tapping his combadge, “Renot to Lihran, I’m out.” Lihran types some code into the console and activates the cloaking device. The loud whoops coming through the combadge made him chuckle, “Success I take it?”

Egil exclaims, “I can’t see the damn thing! That’s amazing!” Lihran smirks, sitting in the nearby chair as he fiddles with the code some more, “Trust a Romulan to jury-rig a makeshift cloaking device from Fed tech.” He de-cloaks the ship, powering the device down. Egil runs back in, “Never seen one work up close like this!”

Lihran nodded, the console illuminating his face with pale light, “It isn’t a foolproof plan, but it should keep us undetected enough from the Romulans to beam me aboard and off. We are a little fly to the warbirds. I doubt they would pay us much mind.”

Egil pulls up a chair and watches Lihran in mild amazement.

Lihran’s fingers fly over the screen, “Now, I have an idea to disguise our ship signature. I can alter our systems to hide our life signs and make us look like space debris on sensors. As long as no one looks at us through a viewer. We gotta watch our own electromagnetic and radiative emissions, though. That’s the downfall of these devices.” Lihran pivoted slightly in the chair, numbers rapidly scrolling across the screen as he worked out code and equations as if it was in his very nature, “81 years in the Tal Shiar really does teach you some things." He nods towards Egil, “Call Thevius, we are ready to depart here soon.”

Egil nodded and tapped his combadge, “Lieutenant Renot to Captain Thevius. We're ready to get out of here. Lihran finished his little project.” Thevius's voice replies, “Gathering our crew. We will be there shortly and depart soon after.” Lihran pushed himself up, starting to replace the floor panels and wiring before they rest of the crew got there.

Ch: 5 – Of Occupations and Loss

Velorum Sector
June 2400

The Thyanis cruised quietly through space, no one paying the tiny vessel any mind. Lihran walked onto the bridge, sipping a latte in a mug he just got from a replicator. Egil was down in Engineering at the moment keeping an eye on things. It was just Thevius, Lihran and Ivin on the bridge. The Bajoran had his arms folded over his chest, staring at the viewscreen, his mind off in distant space.

Lihran turned and walked up towards him, sitting down, making Ivin jump and instinctively reach for a phaser on his waist. He relaxes, seeing it was their ‘acquired’ engineer. Ivin sighed loudly and leaned back, refolding his arms. He muttered, “Startled me.”

Lihran doesn’t flinch when he reaches for his phaser, knowing the man had a military background of sorts as well, understanding him. Lihran nodded, “Apologies about that, Lieutenant. What’s got your mind so occupied?”

Ivin frowned, shaking his head, “I just… Feel for the Remans and any Romulan citizens affected by this… Occupation of the Star Navy. I know a bit too much about occupations.” Ivin turned his head to study the Romulan, “How much do you know about the Bajoran Occupation.” 

Lihran shook his head, leaning back with his coffee cradled in his hands, “Not a whole lot. I was in the Tal Shiar at the time. Romulans never gave a crap about news unless it involved them.” Ivin nods slowly, “The Federation looked away. They didn’t want to get involved. I hate them so much for it. All the Bajorans that were killed… Enslaved… And then to be told that the occupation of our planet by violent means was our problem… Yet here I am wearing the uniform of a Federation that couldn’t give a damn about the enslavement of my people.” 

Lihran listened, nodding slowly, “And didn’t care about the death of millions of mine in a supernova because ‘Rommie lives’ are insignificant.” He got more heated in tone, “We are people! We have lives, we love, we laugh, we care! We have families and children. But hey! The lives of innocent citizens matches the government that occupies them, of course. That’s why we all deserved to die.” 

Ivin nodded in agreement and understanding, letting Lihran get this off his chest. It was clear to the Bajoran that Lihran had this bottling up. Lihran set his coffee down so he didn’t spill it as he got more impassioned, “I hear what people mutter about me as I walk by, accusing me of being a spy. I am met with glares and distrust. All I want is to fall in love, maybe start a family. I want to make an honest living with myself, I want to just.. I want to LIVE. This entire situation could have been avoided if the Federation felt like Romulan and Remen lives were actually worth something!” 

Ivin nodded, the two men venting their traumas to each other,  “In the same way that if they thought Bajoran lives were worth something. We pleaded for help. We were called a ‘subject race’… Seriously. Damn that Prime Directive crap. If it wasn’t for that, my wife and children would still be alive!”

Lihran took a moment’s pause, “Wife and children?” Ivin sighs and leans back, closing his eyes, “I was married previously. Tracya was her name. I had two daughters; Ida and Neja.” He sighed, swallowing, “I was forced into slave labour in a mine. My wife was made into a ‘comfort woman’ for the Cardassians. My daughters I… I don’t know. I only pray the Prophets granted them mercy enough that they died before they suffered at the hands of the Cardassians. It was discovered I was a part of the resistance and my wife was killed in front of me as punishment.”

Lihran asked a question that he was sure others had, “Are you not married to a Cardassian?” Ivin nodded slowly, “I am indeed. It is.. Complicated. After I was discovered as a Resistance fighter, I was handed over to Nivox’s ‘care’ for tighter security. He.. offered me comfort and security, and I took it. He made a show of treating me like a proper slave for his superiors, but showed me who he truly was behind closed doors.”

Lihran lifted a brow, rather concerned for the Bajoran, “You.. Don’t think he manipulated you into this?” Ivin hesitated, his eyes showing he was unsure, “I do wonder that sometimes. How much of this is actually Stockholm syndrome. How much of it is gaslighting. But no, I feel that what is between me and Nivox is genuine. I see sides of him no one else sees. I doubt he would have followed me willingly into Starfleet if it was truly manipulation. Someone would have noticed.”

Lihran nodded, satisfied with that answer as he picked up his coffee, “As long as you are aware and know that your feelings are genuine.” Ivin smiled a bit, “I appreciate your concern, thank you.” Lihran looks at the viewer, suddenly standing and heading towards a console, activating the bootleg cloaking device.

Thevius looked up sharply, “Lihran?” Lihran points at the viewscreen, “Look at the distortion right there. That’s a cloaked ship” Thevius walked over and observed where Lihran was pointing, “That… certainly is. We nearly kissed it.”

Lihran looked over, “Well, it is time to do this I suppose. Time for us to actually do this.” His nerves were off the charts.

Ivin pushed himself up, walking over to the console and tapping away, “Need you to find the wavelength of their cloak, Lihran, so I can bypass it to scan for lifesigns so we can beam you to an empty ship.” Thevius briskly walks over and stops their little vessel right underneath the cloaked Romulan warbird. Lihran moves to another console, fingers furiously flying over the screen. He sends the correct information to Ivin. 

Ivin taps his combadge, “All hands on bridge. Rommie vessel spotted…” 

Lihran straightens up, taking a deep breath. He heads over to his Romulan uniform piled into a corner and gets changed right there. He straightens out his uniform and checks the disruptor attached to his hip, “Alright, I think I am ready. Let’s do this.”

Ch: 6 – Estranged Hearts

Velorum Sector
June 2400

Lihran made his way towards the transporter of the Thyanis. Nivox nodded towards Lihran, the Cardassian stood at the console, “We are already locked onto a place with no life signs. Step on the pad when you’re ready.” Lihran adjusted his disruptor pistol once more before stepping onto the transporter pad, “Ready when you are.” Thevius nodded towards Lihran, “Good luck out there. Remember, your new rank pip is a panic button.” Lihran nodded, “I will remember, thank you.” 

Thievius hesitated, “Please be careful, Lihran.” Genuine concern was on his face and in his voice. Lihran smirked, “I got this, don’t you worry, cap.” He winked and gave a cocky salute, “Beam me up, Nivox.” Nivox returned the salute with two fingers, beaming the Romulan out.

The S.S. Ridaere

 

Lihran had to take a moment to let his eyes adjust, going from a brightly lit Federation vessel to a rather dark Romulan cargo bay. He scrubs his eyes with his hands, blinking rapidly. He realised his slicked back hair was not uniform standard, taking a long moment to readjust his hair and comb it down over his forehead, closer to the typical Romulan style. He grumbled as he did this, absolutely hating the style. He thought it looked quite stupid.

Acrid green lights shone down from the ceiling, illuminating crates and canisters of supplies. He stepped out from behind the massive crate he was beamed in behind, pausing to snatch a Romulan PADD from what he assumed to be the quartermaster’s desk as he passed. He paused in the junction where the cargo bay met a corridor. He activated the device and entered in his old credentials. 

He lifted his brows in a mild expression of surprise as he gained access. His security codes still worked, he was for some reason still in the system after all these years. This was a little too easy, and it worried him. He opened the crew roster, using his security overrides to manually and discreetly add himself, paying no mind to anyone else. After he was down, he turned off the screen and started off.

He made his way towards where engineering was located, with a sense of purpose carrying him. If he wanted to pass, he needed to act like he belonged. He passed by many Romulans and no one thought he was out of place. The crew of a warbird was quite substantial and large, giving him lots of freedom to slip by unnoticed. 

He strode into Engineering and right up to one of the consoles, starting to discreetly check over the systems and data. A young, rather fresh faced Romulan came up behind him, “Reporting for duty, sir.”

Lihran tensed and straightened up. That was something he should have expected, but did not. He turned around sharply, a frown playing on his lips, “You are supposed to report with your name and rank, sublieutenant.” The younger Romulan quickly corrected himself, “Sublieutenant Sekal reporting for duty, sir.” Lihran nodded once in approval, “Good, now go about the routine nullifier checks. I haven’t seen if the previous shift did them or not yet.” Sekal nods and salutes, “Yes sir!” Lihran watches him walk off and turns back towards the console. Lihran saw the name of the ship. The S.S. Ridaere. ‘It has to be another ship with the same name, the chance that it is the same ship… No, it can’t be!’ Lihran’s thoughts raced. He gave his head a shake and focused on the task at hand, wanting to get off of here quickly.

Lihran discreetly pulled a data stick from his sleeve and plugged it into the console. He typed in his security codes, letting out a faint but audible sigh of relief as his codes got accepted. He starts hurriedly transferring and copying data over, not even bothering to sort it right now. He looked up and looked around. Engineers milled around, paying literally no attention to Lihran.

Lihran smiled to himself, then frowned. This was far too easy. He glanced over at the screen, the files finished transferring from this console. He disconnected the data stick and straightened up. A vaguely familiar voice came over the ship’s systems, “All Officers, Centurion and above, report to the debriefing room.”

Lihran’s eyes widened, muttering, “Crap.”  He slid his data stick into his jacket as he hurried out of engineering. He was glad the layout of the ships has not changed in decades. He stepped up beside a few other officers, walking with them silently towards the debriefing room. 

He noted that there were quite a few officers present, hopefully he would not need to check in. He entered the room and found a spot to stand more in the back and out of sight from the captain’s seat. As long as who he thought was the captain wasn’t the captain anymore, this meeting would be an amazing source of information. He fiddled with his PADD, activating it to record audio.

The captain entered and Lihran’s heart leapt into his throat. It was Covel, his ex husband. Covel did not seem to recognise Lihran yet. It had been well over fifteen years since the two saw each other and Lihran had significantly bulked up and changed his appearance since then.

Covel stood at the head of the table, “Our sources have informed us that the Federation has decided to step in. They would offer humanitarian aid and some would oppose… us. We have now received orders to impede them. I prefer not to be a sitting beacon. We will remain cloaked and swoop in on any of their convoy transports. If we take the convoys out, they will desperately turn to us for that aid.” Covel looked around at his officers, his eyes pausing on Lihran, his head tilting.

Lihran bit down a wave of panic, staring calmly ahead of him. The Lihran Covel knew was snarky and insanely rude and would make some smart-ass quips about anything Covel said. Lihran kept his mouth shut and pretended to be a rigid, no-nonsense officer.

Covel looked away, starting to pace slowly around the room, looking at each officer, “The Senate is ours, we need to keep these workers and outer worlds in line. We need to keep our borders. Make the workers rely on us, and deter them from crying to the damn Federation for help. We fire on sight, we shoot to kill. No mercy. We took the Senate, we can take a few damn Federation vessels.” Covel drew closer towards Lihran, each footstep piercing Lihran’s ears, feeling like it deafened him.

Covel stopped behind Lihran for a moment, Lihran keeping a stony calm and collected expression. Covel stepped past after he paused, continuing to speak, “I want a roll call of who is present here.” Covel grabbed his PADD off the head of the table and turned it onto the crew roster. Starting at Covel, each officer listed their name and rank.

‘DAMMIT!’ Lihran thought, ‘Dammit! I won’t make it out here alive. You were in the Tal Shiar, your parents were Senators, you can handle this!’

It was Lihran’s turn. He straightened up marginally, “Centurion Lihran, sir.” A few officers exchanged glances, realising this was their old comrade from many years ago, that somehow no one noticed.

Covel lifted a brow, “I thought it was you. We have some catching up to do. How come I was unaware you were transferred to my ship?” Lihran nodded his head once, “That we do, sir. I was transferred over from New Romulus. I was pulled out from being a mine overseer. My skills are more useful here. I did not think you would remember me, sir. I did not make myself known.”

Covel smirks, “Of course I remember my estranged husband.” He shuts off his PADD and sets it down, “You all have your orders. You are dismissed. Centurion Lihran, stay here.”

The other officers filed out and Lihran stood where he was, at attention still. Covel approached Lihran, reaching a hand up to caress his cheek, “You can relax now.” Lihran closed his eyes, gathering his resolve. He opens them back up and turns to face Covel, keeping a stoic facade. Covel lifted a brow, “You’ve certainly changed. If I had known you were on my ship, I would have had your quarters moved to mine.”

Lihran murmurs, “Nearly fifteen years is a long time. Of course I changed. There is no need for that, I am content in my quarters.” Covel shook his head, “Nonsense, Lihran.” He leaned in to kiss Lihran in a surprisingly tender and gentle manner.

Lihran tensed before he kissed his former husband back. He missed the man Covel once was, before the power got to his head and he lusted for nothing but power and control over Lihran and everything else.

Covel pulled Lihran into his arms and before Lihran could stop himself, he wrapped his arms around him and embraced him back, leaning against the other. Lihran blurted out, “I missed you.”

‘No I certainly do NOT! I miss the idea of him, not him! The sick bastard!’ 

Lihran inwardly cringed at his words. Covel chuckled, “Just as much as I missed you I am sure. We will make up for lost time. I do love you.”

Anger coursed through Lihran’s veins, wondering where this version of Covel, the old Covel, was fifteen years ago when their marriage was falling apart. He was becoming fond of some faces around Bravo fleet, those who were far nicer than even old Covel. Lihran felt weak, angry at himself for giving into Covel like such. The words fell from his lips before he could stop himself, “I love you too.”

Lihran swallowed, “I should get back to engineering. I feel nervous leaving junior officers unattended.” That was an incredibly valid excuse no matter your faction, and one Lihran has used for decades now.

Covel chuckled at that, “That is fair enough. We will catch up later.” Covel kissed Lihran once more. Lihran stepped out of his arms and grabbed his PADD, forcing down the urge to throw up and cry as he hurried out of the debriefing room.

Ch: 7- Clipped Wings

SS Ridaere
June 2400

SS Ridaere

Lihran lowered himself into the chair at the engineering console, setting aside a particular type of Romulan tea he was rather fond of. He may as well indulge in all his favourites while he had access to them. Maybe he could steal the programming for replicators while he was here. He pulls up a diagnostics menu on the console display that was in front of his face, the screen illuminating his face with pale green light. He set the PADD device in his lap to discreetly hook it up to the console.

He pulls up the coding menu, fingers flying over the keyboard. He hooked his PADD up to the console and started discreetly sneaking his way through the security systems. The way he had it set up, the coding he was doing was appearing on the PADD in his lap and the heads up display made it look like he was working on some diagnostics to anyone who passed.

It was too risky to try and send a voice or video transmission, or a large text message. He broke his message up into bits, forcing it up into gaps he created in the Ridaere’s security system, sending it to the Thyanis.

My ex runs this ship. He knows I am here. It is too risky to beam me back. He will instantly destroy us. We have orders to destroy Fed convoys. Pass the info on. I will stay here and cause problems internally. Enclosed is an encrypted key to access my personal device here. It’s protected and encrypted against the Rom system.

He leaned back after sending his message and picked up his tea, taking a slow sip and pondering what to do now. If he stayed too long here, he would be actively arming the Federation and likely be tried for being a war criminal or spy. It was hard enough for him to get citizenship in the Federation in the first place. The last thing he wanted to do was screw up his life beyond that. However, if he didn’t follow Covel’s orders, he’d be tossed in the brig and likely killed, whether by execution or by Starfleet blowing up the vessel. 

If he beamed out now, it’d reveal where they were cloaked and there was no way a Raven class could out run or fight off a full Warbird. He sipped his tea slowly, trying to find the most ‘Tal Shiar way’ out of his situation. He could start spreading lies and conspiracies. He was positive that within a crew of a thousand Romulans, not everyone was loyal to the Star Navy or their captain. If he could provoke them into a mutiny, then it would cause enough chaos the Thyanis could slip away or at least get a head start to hide behind a larger Federation vessel.

The younger Romulan, Sublieutenant Sekal crossed his sight going about his duties. Feeling like he was being watched, Sekal looked over and made eye contact with Lihran, tentatively asking, “Sir?” Impulsively Lihran winked at the other male. Sekal blinked rapidly and hurried off, a green flush crossing his cheeks. Lihran paused and tilted his head, thinking, ‘That is an incredibly easy way to sow discord and chaos, and anger Covel’. Lihran chuckled softly into his tea.

———-USS Thyanis

Thevius paced the transporter room, “He’s been gone for a long time, with no word. Are you sure you have his pin connected?” Nivox sighed sharply, “Yes! It is connected, Cap, now stop, you will wear a hull through the floor.” Thevius stopped abruptly, lifting his hand holding the PADD as if about to throw it. Nivox narrowed his eyes, almost daring Thevius to throw it at him, a small growl forming in the Cardassian’s throat. Just then, the PADD lit up with a message.

Thevius glared, lowering his hand and staring at the message, “It’s from Lihran! I… Dammit. He’s stuck there. Apparently his ex husband is the captain. He is doing what he can, but we will be as good as dead if he beams back now.” Thevius sank heavily into the chair behind the console, staring blankly ahead. 

Nivox looked worried, “That’s not good.” Thevius shook his head, “I genuinely have no idea what to do. If we request help from a bigger vessel, we will get in crap for him even being on there in the first place.” Thevius set the PADD down with a clatter, aggressively rubbing his face with his hands, “I… I have no idea what to do.” He leaned over to speak over the comm system, “This is Captain Thevius. Emergency meeting in the Transporter room. Now.”

———-

Thevius remained slumped over in the chair, looking at the assembled faces, “Lihran is stuck there. Beaming him back would reveal us and we’d be dead. We have a Cardassian, a Klingon, a Bajoran resistance fighter, a Vulcan with anger issues, an Andorian and an Al-Leyan with some spite himself… Worst case scenario we can.. Ivin, are you able to alter our genetic code or something to be Romulans?” Ivin thinks, “You, me, and Egil will be the easiest. Nivox and K’Vibo, and Ashihl may take some more work.” 

Thevius nodded, “Worst case scenario, we will beam aboard ourselves and rescue him. That is the absolute worst case. And if we disguise ourselves, we have the element of surprise and potential causing an uprising on the ship. I have an avenue of communication with Lihran. I will work out a plan and keep us all posted.”K’Vibo shifted his weight as he growled, “I hate sitting on our hands. He could be dead and we’d have no idea!” Thevius nodded, not even mad at the outburst, “I know, I hate it too. But, what else can we do, really?”———-

SS Ridaere

Lihran let himself into Covel’s quarters without an invitation. It was time to start his scheme. He wanted to start with planting false seeds of trust in Covel. The captain was sprawled out on his bed, one arm draped over his eyes, relaxing. He bolted upright as he heard someone enter his quarters, relaxing as he saw it was Lihran.

Lihran chuckles softly, letting the doors close quietly behind him, “It’s just me, Covel, my dear.” He felt sick calling him that, but he needed to be convincing. He stepped up and sat on the edge of the bed, reaching to take one of Covel’s hands with his own, “Like I said earlier, I missed you.” Covel smiled, laying back as Lihran took his hand, squeezing it slightly, “I have missed you too. Managed to step away long enough to see me?”’

Lihran grimaced, “Like I said, some of the younger engineers make me nervous. They haven’t worked with the ships as long as I have.” Covel nodded, “I can believe that. What I have a hard time believing though, is it is really you here with me again. I had always hoped you would come back. I know I wasn’t the best to you.” He lifted a hand to gently touch Lihran’s cheek.

That feeling of wanting to vomit came over Lihran again. He forced himself to respond positively to the cheek touch, turning his head towards Covel’s hand and resting his free hand over it, “It is really me. I had hoped I’d get reassigned to your ship, but I wouldn’t know if you’d recognize me, let alone want to be with me, so I kept it secret.” He hated acting this way, but kept his feelings and emotions in check, not knowing if Covel was disciplined enough to be telepathic. He reminded himself that he was suffering this for revenge for what Covel had put him through for the nearly 60 years they were married.

Covel nodded slowly, glancing away for a moment, “I can understand that. And I can understand you not wanting to deal with me. I do not know what possessed me to raise a hand and stroke you like I did.”

Lihran lifted a brow, ‘Of course he makes it sound like it was just once and not just over half a century.’ Lihran thought carefully about his words, looking away, “We… We all make mistakes. I suppose we never realise what we had till it’s gone.” Covel nodded in agreement, shifting to pull Lihran into his arms. Lihran tensed before forcing himself to relax into his arms, laying his head on Covel’s shoulder.

Covel spoke softly, “You are tense and wary, I don’t blame you, Lihran. After all I did to you. I wondered if you would have stayed if things played out differently.”  Covel pressed a kiss to the top of Lihran’s head.

Lihran’s brow furrowed. He likely would have, if Covel had remained the kind, tender lover he was when they were first together, if power hadn’t gotten to his head and corrupted him, if Covel hadn’t turned out to be an abuser. Lihran might have stayed. He would have had a higher rank. Then Lihran would have also partaken in the Coup that murdered so many senators and he’d be the villain himself, enslaving so many others to work, sitting on a throne of bones and blood. His mind flicked towards all the faces he was finding himself far too fond of at Starbase Bravo, remembering his true motive for his actions. He was doing this for them. He was, after all, just a Romulan. He would likely get forgotten in a few days, but if he could ensure their safety, he could live with that. Romulan lives were never significant to the Federation.

Covel broke the silence, “Care to spend the night with me?” Lihran hated himself for it, but he agreed. He had to convince himself that this was part of the act and he needed to do this to gain his trust just to betray him later. He loathed himself for getting close to Covel again, even out of necessity. He could only imagine how much everyone else would hate him as well.

Ch: 8- Longing for Home

SS Ridaere
June 2400

Lihran quietly snuck towards his bunk, not wanting to wake the other Romulans sleeping around him. He did not want to spend the night fully with Covel, sneaking away just to rile the man up. He shrugged out of his uniform and hung it up neatly, leaving his boots at the base of the bed and crawling in, left in his trousers and undershirt.

He wrapped the blanket tightly around himself, wedging his back against the wall. Lihran felt his eyes droop shut, too tired to try and evade sleep, despite his racing mind.

He found himself recalling some memories of Starbase Bravo, wondering if he'd ever see these faces again.

-----

Lihran watched Cynndle walk over towards him with a cinnamon bun and coffee  seeming to be inspired by his own choice in snacks. Cynndle took a bite of his dessert and spoke, "So, that was a lot to take in back there. Do you think that there could be a Romulan connection?" 

Lihran got distracted by a bit of icing caught on the other man's upper lip, having the urge to lean over and wipe it off. He was thankful for his 80 years in the Tal Shiar for his ability to keep a straight face and fight off impulses no matter what his thoughts desired. He masked his distraction by taking a sip of coffee before replying, a slight flush to his cheeks. He found the man strikingly handsome and charming when they first met due to some tampered wire problems. He really needed friends here, and he wasn't about to ruin that by making an ill placed advancement. Besides, they were meeting to discuss the assault on Doctor Longfellow, purely a business meeting. Nothing else.

-----

Lihran paused and let out an agitated grunt. They still hadn't fixed the problem. Maybe he can patch a message through to Cynndle about his abduction. He'd notice hopefully if Lihran didn't answer calls about more sensor issues. He could hope at least. He let his mind wander off once more.

-----

Lihran sat in Heriah's quarters, listening attentively as she went on and on about a place on earth called Rome. She had suggested it to him as a possible new home. Hearing her talk about Ancient Rome and its similarities to Romulus absolutely fascinated him.

His mind wandered away from the conversation, studying the Trill woman. She was quite pretty, even Lihran had to admit that. This struck up a confusing conflict in Lihran. He only ever found himself attracted to men in his rather long life so far. The fact that he found a woman attractive confused and scared the Romulan. Angered him even. He was too old to doubt himself by now. His discomfort at his confusion displayed itself in a grimacing smile, Heriah's words snapping him back to the room. 

“As you may have deduced,” Heriah said with a smile, “I like to learn the ancient histories of places I visit.” Lihran nodded, giving his head a mental shake. He needed to stay professional.

-----

If he never made it back, a slot would open for another patient for her, at least. A Romulan seeing a counselor, how pathetic.

He was jolted out of his thoughts and snapped awake by a hand clamping down over his mouth. Lihran's hands reached up in the darkness to wrap around a surprisingly thin throat. He bolted upright, coming face to face with the young officer from earlier, Sekal. The young man looked terrified, clearly not expecting Lihran to try and strangle him.

Lihran dropped his hands to grab fistfuls of the younger Romulan's undershirt, leaning in to whisper, "You better have a damn good reason for doing that. I will not hesitate to beat your arse up for that."

Sekal's eyes widened even further, if possible, whispering back, "Your Federation friends sent you a message."

Lihran's heart dropped. He hauled out of his bunk, dragging Sekal mercilessly with him.

The cold, harsh metal floor of the warbird bit into Lihran's bare feet. He winced and pressed on, heading towards the remote cargo bay he beamed into earlier. Luckily, no one paid any mind to two barely dressed men running off with purpose. It was the Star Navy, after all. Some questions you just don't ask.

Lihran hauled the younger Romulan behind a massive crate and slammed him against a bulkhead, snarling, "How much did you read?"

Sekal gulped, "A-All of it, sir. I hid the PADD in this bay, I-"

Lihran hissed, shaking Sekal, "What were you doing in here?! Why were you snooping? Covel sent you, didn't he?" Lihran's jaw dropped as Sekal began to cry. Lihran looked the young man over closely, realising he was barely an adult even. Was the Star Navy really that desperate to conscript so young?!

Lihran felt bad, gently placing Sekal down, awkwardly patting his shoulder. Sekal slumped against the bulkhead and slid down to the floor, pulling his knees up and wrapping his arms around them as he sobbed.

Lihran truly felt bad now, kneeling down beside him and  to pull him into an embrace. Sekal was receptive to the hug, crying into Lihran's shoulder, clinging to the older Romulan. Lihran grimaced, never really being one to offer comfort, awkwardly patting his back. Sekal's sobs reduced to a few hiccups and sniffles. The younger Romulan pulled back, mumbling an apology. He pulled up his shirt to wipe his face, glancing at Lihran, "I'm… I'm sorry, I don't know what overcame me." 

Sekal took a breath, "I read it all, yes. And I hid the PADD so it didn't get discovered. I don't want to be here. I hate this. I hate what we've become. We are the bad guys, aren't we? I don't want to be evil."

Lihran sighed softly, "I had the same realization during the supernova when the Federation protested against helping us flee death. No one wants to help the supposed villains. They don't care about the lives lost. They were Romulan lives and should not be saved. I was the bad guy. That's why I left. I am part of Starfleet… I…"

He paused, a frown on his face. He didn't want this kid to die when the Federation ultimately blasted the Ridaere to pieces, "If I can get out of here alive, I'll take you with me. I can use your help anyways."

Sekal straightened up, the prospect of a fresh start tantalized the young mind, "Absolutely. I'll do anything! I want to be a hero, to be a good guy! What's your plan?"

Lihran couldn't help but smile at his enthusiasm, "We will start a mutiny. In that chaos, we will leave. Now, where did you hide my PADD? I need to send some messages."

Ch: 9- Seeds of Mutiny

SS Ridaere
June 2400

Lihran cracked his eyes open about twenty minutes before the wakeup call with an agitated grunt. 15 years later and his body still wakes up at the correct time. Looking down the hall, he spied Covel’s boots coming at a swift pace. Lihran quickly closed his eyes again and pretended to be asleep. He heard Covel stop right beside his bunk, tapping his foot impatiently on the floor. Covel hissed, “Little shit,” and stormed off. Lihran waited five more minutes before opening his eyes.

He rolled out of his bunk, rubbing his face with his hands. He sat there for a moment, staring at his hands in his lap, doom settling in the pit of his stomach. He was jerked rather rudely out of his thoughts by the Romulan in the bunk above him swinging his legs down and kicking Lihran in the head by accident. Lihran snarled and elbowed him sharply in the shins, spitting out an insult, “Fehill'curak!” The other Romulan kicked Lihran again, on purpose this time, calling him an even ruder name. Lihran bit back his temper and stood up, starting to pull on his uniform, now in a rather cross mood and glaring at his bunk mate.

Lihran shrugged into his tunic, fastening it up and making sure it was laying properly before slipping the belt around his waist and over his shoulder. He was tired and hungry. And incredibly grumpy. He bent down to pull on his shined boots, tucking his pants into the tops. He straightened up and grabbed his PADD, tucking it under his arm. He found it oddly comforting to use his native language without the aid of Universal Translators or stumbling through Standard. Of course he did pick up Standard in the 15 or so years he has been involved in the Federation, but with the use of Translators, it wasn’t as good as a native speaker would be. His Standard was broken and heavily accented without the help of UT.

As he made his way towards the mess hall, the wake up call blared throughout the crew quarters. Lihran headed right towards the source of food and coffee. He found a far away table to sit himself down at with his meal. He elected to have a rice like grain with cooked eggs and a spiced poultry meat, some various vegetables mixed in. He had a cup of Romulan coffee as well. He paid no mind to anyone else in the mess hall, catching up on the Empire news on his PADD, or… what was left of the Empire. It wasn’t even news at this point, just propaganda of a dying Empire.

Illustrious lies and gilded stories to try and motivate the average Romulan grunt to join the Star Navy. No one in their right mind would accept or believe it anymore. It was time their people entered a new era and left the Empire behind.

Lihran looked up as someone joined him, his brows shooting up in surprise at a familiar face. The new arrival smiled, "I thought it was a rumour that you were back to serving, sir! I just had to see if my old mentor was here."

Lihran chuckled, "Very much the same, Thajeet. Still the same rank I see?" Thajeet nodded and sipped his tea he brought with him, "Not much has changed, Lihran." Lihran shook his head, showing him the propaganda on his PADD, "No, a lot has changed, to be honest. Whats your thoughts on it all?"

Thajeet looked around cautiously, leaning forward to lower his voice, "I hate it. I have a child on Rator I should be raising. My wife died in the supernova. I do not want to be here."

Lihran nodded, "Not to mention we have orders to destroy and attack Federation convoys. Coup, acts of war, military strikes… I don't want to do this. I'm sure there's enough of us that we could take over the ship and go home. Or… maybe go to another planet."

Thajeet paused to consider. There it was, the first seed of mutiny planted. Thajeet replied softly, "My daughter… She has no one else. If I die here, shamefully at the hands of the Federation for defying treaties, she will not forgive me. I’d rather die trying to do the right thing.”

Lihran smiled at that, "Yeah, we want to avoid that, my friend." He looked over and saw Covel enter the room. Lihran acted impulsively and rather foolishly, leaning forward and closing the distance between himself and Thajeet, planting his lips on the other's. 

Thajeet stiffened and half lifted his hands, as if ready to shove Lihran off, yet he actually kissed him back. Covel caught sight of this and swept angrily across the mess hall. He grabbed a handful of Lihran's hair and viciously yanked him away from Thajeet. Lihran cried out in pain and lurched to his feet, wrestling Covel's hand off of his hair and straightening up, anger burning in his eyes.

Covel took a half step back, subdued fear in his eyes. Lihran was a lot larger and stronger than when they were together previously. Now Lihran could easily overpower him and Covel knew it.

The mess hall lapsed into utter silence, everyone watching the tension with baited breath. Lihran lowered his voice, his tone cold, "Do not lay hands on me like that again. I've changed." Covel retorted tersely, "I'm the captain here. I've got the bigger stick, I can do what I want."

Lihran did not reply, just giving him a daring look, arms folded over his chest. Covel got called to the bridge, saying to Lihran, "You are lucky I have things to do and am feeling benevolent. Think about the errors of your ways." Romulans were ROmulans, but even they had rules against laying hands on another in the Star Navy to keep the ship operating as one smooth unit, and now a good portion of the crew witnessed Covel lay his hands violently on Lihran.

Covel abruptly turned, stalking out of the mess hall. Lihran sighed, relaxing when Covel left.

He turned, apologising to Thajeet, “I’m really sorry about that. I wanted  him to react violently. The more people that see his corruption and violence, the better.” Thajeet lifts a brow, “You are aiming to make him jealous and make him react?” Lihran sat back down as he nodded, “Amongst other things. I will work on speaking with other officers, see where everyone’s loyalties are.” Thajeet eats his breakfast in silence for a few minutes, contemplating, “Alright. I’ll help you with this. The more of us that flirt with you with the Commander around… The angrier he will be. I have nothing to lose, save getting home to my daughter. Let’s do this.” 

Lihran looked over as Sekal sat beside him. He murmurs to the junior engineer, “Good. I need your help. Lets finish eating and head towards engineering.” Sekal wordlessly lifted a brow, nodding. 

Ch: 10- Dance of the Birds

SS Ridaere
June 2400

Lihran grabbed another cup of coffee and took it with him as he headed over to engineering. He slowly settled down in the chair, letting out a small sigh. Lifting the mug of coffee to his face, he drew a slow, long sip, savouring the taste of the rather acrid, bitter drink he grew to love and slightly missed. He set the mug aside and reorganised his workspace for a moment, making it more to his liking.

He grabbed a cord and plugged his PADD into the console, making a far more discreet and secure connection to the console, despite it being a bit old fashioned. He sets the device in his lap and once more starts to breach the Rideare’s security system while running a diagnostics check on the console to hide what he was doing. He worked on patching a message through to Thevius first:

---

Cap, I'm stuck on the ship, working that Navy life. Trying to cause a mutiny so I can beam back in the chaos. Got a few friends on my side. Taking them with me. No questions. If I die, I have a contact on SBB I worked with, Lt. Cynndle.

-Lihran

---

Lihran paused for a moment, then leaned over to type on the console, trying to boost his signal to use other Federation ships to fling his next message towards Starbase Bravo and specifically to Cynndle. He had no idea if this would even work, but he had to try:

---

Cyn, I've been kidnapped and held against my will on a Romulan ship. Don't send anyone. I'd be forced to fight with a disruptor to my head. I'm working on a plan to get back. Captain Thevius on the USS Thyanis is closest to me, either me or him will update from there if I get out or die.

-Lihran

---

The ship's klaxons suddenly blared, startling Lihran. He unplugged his device and jumped to his feet, dropping the diagnostics menu and pulling up the power systems, shields and weapons menus. 

Covel's voice echoed around the ship, "Klingon warship spotted in the vicinity with powered weapons. All personnel to battle stations. Standby for attempted communications."

The colour drained from Lihran's face. He hoped Thevius was smart enough at least to get out of the impending battle zone. He frantically grabbed his mug and drained it as he stood up. He set the mug down just as the entire ship jostled and shook, sending the mug shattering to the ground. Covel sounded more urgent, “Battle stations! Red alert!”

Ceramic shards crunched under Lihran’s boots as he darted around the console, quickly falling back into old battle routines, barking out orders to the other engineers, “Sekal, monitor the shields powers! Thajeet, you on weapons. You there! Monitor life supports! You two! Monitor the core!” He hurried over and took the chief engineers spot, though it was not his designated role. He pulled up what the bridge saw on their viewscreen on the display in front of him. Lihran murmurs, “One-- oh, no. Two, three? Three. For the love of… Three.”

He sighed sharply and opened the communications directly to the bridge, “Engineering to bridge. Things are stable and good down here. What did you do to piss off these Klivam, Covel?!”

Covel sharply snapped, “I did absolutely nothing! They flew too close and fired at us unprovoked!” Lihran replied rather coldly, “And… why was the ship…NOT MOVED!?” Thajeet looked up and over from his console at Lihran’s raised brow, looking slightly amused. Covel yelled in reply, “That is NONE of your business! Know your place, engineer!” Lihran chuckled, shaking his head, chirruping, “Keep your head in the battle ‘captain’...” Covel angrily cussed him out for a few more minutes.

Lihran leaned back and shook his head, “If I didn’t need to keep the comm line open, I’d have cut him off by now.” He explains to Thajeet, knowing Covel can hear him. Thajeet snorted and shook his head.

Lihran shifted, watching the Klingon ships dart around and harry them. The much larger D’Deridex gave off a few warning shots, missing the Klingons to try and deter them from engaging foolishly with them. The Klingon ships weren’t so kind in turn, pelting them with beams that got dissipated by their shields.

Lihran winced and held onto the edge of the console as the ship lurched violently into action. Lihran muttered, "Damned helmsman must be drunk!" Engineers run around frantically, keeping power rerouted to where the bridge demanded it at that moment and making sure the systems are kept stable. Lihran frowned as he saw the power to the shields drop slowly as the Klingons hacked away at them. 

Lihran leaned over, communicating to the bridge, "Why haven't you destroyed the Klivam?" Covel snarled in reply, "They are too fast!" Lihran groaned, "Missiles! Tracking missiles."

Covel barked out orders to his bridge officers, "Use the tracking missiles!" Lihran looked over and watched a missile hit home on one of their attackers, causing the ship to explode on impact. Lihran purred, "I told you…" Covel hissed, "I hate you!"

Lihran starts to laugh, his laughter gets cut off as the ship shudders, sparks raining down from above. He frantically checks the systems, relaying to Covel, "Port shields down. Took a direct hit to our left wing. We need to take care of--” Lihran freezes, cold steel pressing against his throat.

Covel barks through the comms, “Bridge to engineering! Status report, now! I said bridge to-” Lihran snaps, cutting Covel off, “We are boarded, Captain.” Covel fell silent. The Klingon that held the bat'leth to Lihran’s throat snarled, “Get up and fight me with honour.”

Lihran scanned his surroundings quickly. Romulans weren’t exactly known for bladed weapons on warships. He leaned to grab a hyperspanner and stood up slowly, “Unless you have a spare one, this will be my weapon.” He straightened up to his full height and rolled his shoulders back, trying to appear as large and intimidating as he could, thankful he was larger than the average Romulan. Evidently, the Klingon was not expecting the sheer size of Lihran and hesitated for a half moment. He recovered quickly and raised his weapon with a yell.

Lihran sidestepped quickly, whirling around with the spanner and hitting the Klingon in the back rather hard.

The Klingon let out a howl of pain and staggered forward, more of his comrades rushing towards the scene to watch. The Klingon aggressively swung at the Romulan. Lihran blocked the attempt with the spanner, holding it firmly with both hands. Lihran leans forward, scathingly taunting him, “I’ve seen Ferengi fight better than you.” Lihran brought his leg up, kicking the Klingon away from him. The Klingon stumbled back, enraged by the taunt, spitting and yelling curses at Lihran, swinging his bat’leth wildly at him and forcing the Romulan to step back to avoid getting slashed.

Lihran bumped into a console, hissing in pain as the blade sliced through his uniform slightly and into his chest. Lihran lunged forward with the spanner, placing it directly on the Klingon’s chest and switched it on to full capacity, electrocuting him. The Klingon drops the bat’leth with a clatter, falling to the floor himself. His companions that were watching with amusement now leapt forward with yells. Lihran dropped the spanner and quickly picked up the bat’leth to better his odds. He truly had no idea how to use one properly, but it was either adapt or die at this point.

Lihran blocked an overhead swing, suddenly throwing his weight back and using his feet to push off from the Klingon, rolling back over the console and landing deftly on his feet on the other side to put the console between him and his opponents. He ignored the throbbing pain across his chest and the overwhelming smell and taste of copper blood.

Klingons rushed around the console, coming at Lihran from both sides. Lihran locked weapons with one of them. Just as the other was about to deliver a lethal blow to Lihran’s back, the Klingon dropped to the floor with a green flash of a disruptor. Sekal had a disruptor pistol gripped tightly in a trembling hand. Judging by his paleness and trembling, Lihran guessed he had never shot at or killed anyone before.

Lihran did not have time to console him or dwell on this. The Klingon sliced up at him once more, aiming to kill. Lihran leapt back, calling in Rihansu towards Sekal, “Throw me that pistol!” Sekal throws the disruptor towards Lihran without thinking. Lihran deftly caught it and turned on his attacker, blasting him in the chest. Bat’leth in one hand, disruptor in the other, Lihran stood for a moment, panting heavily. He called out, “Engineering to Bridge. I’ve secured the area. I don’t know for how long.”

Covel replied bitterly, “Bridge to Engineering… We’ve taken out the other two ships. Securing the rest of the ship. Injuries or fatalities to report?” Lihran winced, “I am the only injured party.” Covel paused, “How bad?” Lihran laughed shakily, “Bad. I’ll report to medical. The ones that attacked me are either subdued or dead.” Covel could be heard sighing, “Meet you there…” Lihran retained his death grip on his two acquired weapons as he made his way towards the medical bay. The farther he walked, the more blood he lost. His vision began to swim, unable to see the lingering Klingon attacker that snuck up behind him and knocked him unconscious. The Klingon's victory was short-lived.

Covel rounded the corner just in time to catch this, killing the Klingon with one well placed shot. Covel holstered his pistol with a frown, stooping to pick up Lihran. He called to a passing crewman, “Grab his feet, we will carry him.”

---

Thevius paced the bridge of the Thyanis nervously, hands clasped behind him. Ashihl looked up sharply, "Three Kligon ships detected sir, they have power to their weapons." Thevius stopped, jerking his head up, "We need to get out of here. Now! Keep the cloak up and let's move it!" He paused, glancing at a message from Lihran on his PADD, muttering, "Shit. We will come up with a plan when away from the firezone."

The officers exchanged looks. Thevius has never really cussed in front of them. The situation has to be severely bad.

Ch: 11- Infiltrating the Nest

June 2400

Thevius stared at the viewscreen with a blank expression, dread settling in the pit of his stomach.  He slumped back in his chair and pressed his palms over his eyes, letting out a shuddering breath.He raised his hand and taps his combadge, “I need all personnel to the bridge. Now.”

Thevius waited till all of his crew were assembled, not even bothering to straighten up from his slumped over position, “We have a dire situation. I’ve lost contact with Lihran. He sent a message to his friend on Starbase Four. I have come to a decision.”

He pushed himself up to his feet, a determined and shockingly fierce look in the Vulcan’s eyes, “Ivin and Nivox, I need some genetic alterations. All I need is Romulan brow ridges. Since I am already half Romulan, I imagine all you need to do is just… coax that trait out of hiding. I need to replicate a Star Navy uniform. We need to locate that ship once more and beam me aboard. I will find him and bring him back.”

K’Vibo stepped forward, “Sir, it is unsafe for you to do this, we cannot allow you to do such.” Thevius snapped a little in reply, “You don’t think I thought about the risk?! I know. I damn well know. I haven’t even stepped foot on a ship constructed by my own kind before! I don’t even know my own military culture! One thing I am good at is faking it. I had everyone fooled that I was a genuine Vulcan for many years. I can do this, out of all of us, I am the least likely to get caught.”

The Klingon hesitated, taking a step back, “Very well, sir, as long as you know the risks.” Thevius slowly sat back down, “After this meeting, I will record a message. Worst case scenario, if I get killed, escape while cloaked and give it to Fleet Command. If I come back alive, we’ll make up some excuses and pretend this never happened. K’Vibo, you are in command till I get back or if I die.”

K’Vibo nodded, wincing, “Yes, sir. I understand. I will keep the crew safe and fulfil your requests. I hope it does not come to that.” 

Thevius gave his crew one last look over, turning to head towards the med bay, “Ivin, Nivox, let us do this.” He pushed himself up to stand, exiting the bridge, the two named officers following behind him.

Ivin stepped towards the biobed where Thevius was laying down, “Are you ready to commence the alterations, sir?” Thevius nodded slightly, “Yes, let’s get it over.”

The Bajoran loaded and readied a hypospray, “Luckily this should be relatively easy to alter your appearance.at least. Right! Time to turn you into an Andorian! I mean Romulan.” Thevius gave him an unamused glare at his attempt of humour.

Nivox lets out a small snort of amusement, standing back out of the way. Ivin rolled his eyes and shook his head, pressing the hypospray to Thevius’s neck and stood back quickly. If it caused him pain, he did not want to be within grabbing distance. In fact, Ivin edged over to step behind his husband.

Thevius lifted a brow, nothing happened at first. All of a sudden, he let out a shriek of pain and his hands flew up to clutch at his forehead, rolling and thrashing on the biobed for a minute. Ivin clutched the empty hypospray nervously to his chest as they watched their captain. Thevius calmed down after a few agonising minutes. His chest heaved as he panted heavily. His hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat. He rolled over to sit up, clutching his head, “Dammit, that hurt… Is the uniform replicated?”

Nivox nodded, “Yes sir, it’s right here.” He stepped forward, holding out a small stack of folded articles.  Thevius took a moment, running his fingers over the new brow ridges that graced his features. He took the offered uniform with an unintelligible grunt. He pushed himself up to his feet slowly and stepped into a restroom to get changed.

Thevius emerged a few moments later wearing the Romulan uniform. Ivin held onto Nivox’s arm as he said, “You look… You look incredibly scary. More authoritative than you normally are.” Thevius clasped his hands behind his back, “Alright. I am ready. Let us get me aboard before I change my mind.” He turned sharply and brisky made his way towards the transporter room, clicking the combadge he held in his hand, “Captain Thevius to Lieutenant Renot. Meet me in the transporter room. It’s time.” Egil replied quickly, “On my way!”

Thevius stepped into the transporter room and up behind Egil, making the Al-Leyan jump and instinctively reach for his phaser, “Damn, sir!” He shook his head, “Frighteningly real…”

Thevius lifted a brow, “I… would hope so, Egil. I am Romulan and sneaking on board a ship full of them. Are the transporters ready?” Egil nodded and stepped towards the console, “Yes they are, sir. Got a combadge or something on you.” Thevius nodded, “I do, yes. I will call if I need help or have Lihran, whichever comes first.”

Thevius stepped onto the transporter pad and turned around, casting a last glance at his crew. He gave a solemn nod, “Beam me over.” The shimmering filled his vision and vanished, plunging him into the dark cargo bay, right where Lihran beamed in. He staggered a moment and stopped to lean against a crate, rubbing his eyes to try and get his eyes to quickly adjust.

After a few minutes, Thevius straightened up and strode over to the quartermaster’s desk, luckily it was not manned at this hour. He snatched up the PADD device and started to work to unlock it. It took him far longer than Lihran, but he managed it. He started to plug himself into the roster. Satisfied, he pulled up a deck plan of the ship and started on his way.

Thevius was never allowed aboard a Star Navy ship. He had no connections to the Romulan military. This was an all new experience for him. He would have normally enjoyed it, if it wasn’t literally a life or death situation. He hurried down the halls, brushing past other Romulans who paid him literally no mind. He fell in behind an injured Romulan making his way towards the medbay. He figured if Lihran was hurt, that’s where he would be. He stepped in behind the one he was following, seeing Lihran unconscious on a bed. And Covel at his side. Thevius’s stomach dropped, as the Starfleet Captain had attended their wedding and would surely be recognised. He approached slowly, “Is Centurion Lihran alright? I heard he ah… I see, got quite wounded.”  

Covel looked up sharply, narrowing his eyes at Thevius. He seemed familiar and perhaps slightly out of place, and he was trying to figure out why. Covel says, “Name, rank and position.” Thevius quickly replies, “Lieutenant Thevius, medical officer.” Thevius pursed his lips together, thinking, ‘Medical?! Seriously Thevius! You are an ASTROPHYSICIST!’ 

Thevius hesitated, “Pardon me sir…” He turned to grab a tricorder, mentally screaming at himself. He had seen enough medical exams he thought he could fake his way through this. He stepped up to Lihran and started to scan him, checking all his vitals, or at least making it look like he was. 

Covel stood up slowly, “I see that my husband is in good hands. Be sure to report to me on his condition, Lieutenant. I have things to do.” Covel let go of Lihran’s hand and stepped back, letting Thevius ‘work’. Thevius nodded and looked at Covel, “I will do so, sir.”

Covel nodded and turned sharply and left.

Thevius let out an agitated grunt after the ship’s commander left. Lihran cracked his eyes open, mumbling, “Is he gone? Wait-” Lihran bolted upright and regretted it moments after, letting out a groan and clasping his head in his hands. Thevius reached out to steady Lihran, murmuring, “Easy now. I’m here to get you out.” 

Lihran moved slowly, swinging his legs down, “We need to bring two people with us; Sekal and Thajeet. Two friends. Trust me. I trust them. I have an idea to get us out of here unnoticed, transporting four will be noticed. Grab me a hypo, my head is killing me.” Thevius strode over to where the supplies are kept, rummaging through it till he found a hypo and returned to Lihran with it. He grasps Lihran’s chin with one hand and tilted the larger Romulan’s head to the side as he pressed it to his neck, “Better?” Lihran nodded, his form relaxing as the medicine took effect. He pushed himself up to his feet and straightened out his uniform, “Several ideas, follow me, it’s late anyways…”

Thevius followed Lihran, thankful to have a guide to help him around the ship this time. Lihran led him towards the bunks, passing by many sleeping Romulans. He stopped beside his bunk and glanced at Thevius as he pulled off his uniform jacket, whispering, “Explain in a moment. Trust me and roll with it.” Lihran hung up his jacket and stepped up to Thevius, sliding an arm around his waist and resting his head on his shoulder, tilting his head to whisper in his ear, “No one will overhear us if we pretend to sleep together. We can plan accordingly. Take off your jacket and boots and crawl in beside me.”

Thevius tensed, about to shove Lihran away from him when he heard his words. He hesitated before placing a hand on Lihran’s lower back, whispering back, “Alright, I trust you.” He stepped away from Lihran and shrugged off his jacket, hanging it up over Lihran’s and bent to pull off his boots. He set them aside and straightened up, crawling into the bunk with Lihran. It wasn’t overly small, but neither Thevius nor Lihran were particularly small. 

There was awkward shuffling and muttered curses as the men tried to sort out whose limbs go where. They finally settled with the larger one, Lihran, settled with his arms around Thevius, facing each other so they could talk. Thevius threatened, “Your hands wander anywhere, I will throw you in the brig.” Lihran snorted softly in amusement, smirking, “I promise Captain.” Thevius glowered, “I am serious.” He emitted a sigh, “Alright, what is this plan?”

Lihran nodded, “A revolt. I’ve been seeding thoughts of mutiny into some of the crew, and those friends of mine have been in on it as well. I am thinking in the morning while the crew is still somewhat sleepy and would be disorientated.” Thevius paused to think, “Yes, good time. How will we do it?” He could see Lihran’s smirk as he said, “Leave that to me. I’ve got a plan. Just roll along with it. I’ll start a brawl against Covel and his followers.”

Thevius nodded, stifling a yawn, “As long as you have a plan. I did not formulate one to get us off of here. Just to get on and find you.”  Lihran nodded again and closed his eyes, “Get some sleep, Thevius. We will need it. I’ll watch your back.” To emphasise his words, he pressed the palm of his hand to the other’s back. Thevius tensed briefly, giving a small warning of a non verbal growl. Lihran opened his eyes just to roll them, “Oh for… My hands are staying above the blanket, we have to be a little convincing. We had sleepovers as children together. This isn’t any different.” Thevius muttered incoherantly under his breath. Lihran lifted a hand to try and make Thevius rest his head on his chest, ruffling his hair, “There’s a good little captain, sleepy time now.” Thevius snarked, “I hate you.” He rolled over, turning his back to Lihran to try and get some sleep.

Lihran settled down, shutting his eyes once more. He heaved a sigh, preparing to sleep. After several minutes of laying in silence, he jerked out of his half asleep state, which startled Thevius as well. Thevius whirled around, accidentally elbowing Lihran in the gut. There was whispered swearing at each other. Lihran gasped quietly, “I forgot, Covel has that tracking device that was in my rank pip. We… We will deal with that after some sleep. He knows I am a spy.” 

Thevius muttered, “Dammit, Lihran!”

Ch: 12- Homeward Bound

SS Ridaere
June 2400

Thevius woke up with a rather undignified snort, his face plastered to Lihran’s chest. The two Romulan’s limbs were all tangled up. Lihran was still out cold, snoring gently. Thevius quietly watched him sleep, admiring how peaceful he seemed. He reached blindly for the closest PADD to check the time. Cracking his eyes against the glaring light, he sees it is still quite early and shuts it off with a grunt. Thevius sighed softly before using Lihran’s chest as a pillow again. He closed his eyes and let himself relax for a little more at least, finding that Lihran’s slow, steady breathing was lulling him back to sleep, thinking to himself, ‘I think all Vulcans are touch deprived. This is… Nice.’ 

Thevius held still and listened as he heard footsteps approaching and stopping near where he and Lihran were sleeping. He heard Covel’s voice murmur in an agitated manner, “Seriously?! I’m convinced this unfaithful bastard slept with the entire crew.” Covel let out an annoyed growl and stormed off. Thevius lifted his head, meeting Lihran’s now opened eyes. Thevius murmurs, “That is your plan? To piss him off?”

Lihran shrugged, "Kind of. He gets violent if I make him mad, him being violent to his crew will make them more willing to revolt. Which is exactly what we are going to do. I'll goad him enough that he will raise a hand to me, you stand up and lead an impassioned speech to rile up the rest of the crew. You are a leader, Thevius, I know you can do this." Doubt flickered in Thevius's eyes, "I can try at least. Worst case scenario we get killed."

Lihran nodded, "Exactly. Sekal and Thajeet will incite a riot and meet us in the cargo bay we came in on." Thevius nodded, "Alright, let's do this." The two lay in awkward silence staring at each other before Lihran spoke, "I need you to get off my leg so I can get up." Thevius tensed and awkwardly bolted up, tumbling backwards off the bed by accident and taking the covers with him. Lihran snorted in laughter and sat up, "Not supposed to do that." Muttered cursing came from the tangled pile of Thevius and blanket as Lihran stood and pulled on his uniform.

Thevius finally untangled himself, looking very dishevelled and went about pulling on his own uniform and fixing his appearance. Lihran stepped up to kiss the other's cheek, whispering, "Act all lovey dovey for a bit to get Covel angry. You can kick my ass after, I promise."

Thevius turned his head, 'accidentally' catching Lihran's lips with his own. Thevius stepped back and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, "Gross!" Lihran furrowed a brow, not believing that was an accident, "Yeah, like that. Minus the gross part."

Thevius stepped away with a scowl, adjusting his uniform and snatching the PADD he acquired last night and tucking it under his arm, “Shall we?” Lihran looked faintly amused as he led the way to the mess.

The pair sat down at a table with their breakfast; Lihran with his strong coffee and Thevius with some black tea. They sat at a table with Thajeet and Sekal. Lihran leaned forward to the other two and whispered, “Thevius is my Starfleet contact. He is our ticket out of here.” Thajeet nodded quietly, “Sounds good. If you trust him, I trust him.” Lihran nodded and leaned back, draping an arm around Thevius.

Thevius tensed momentarily as he drank his tea. A confusing swirl of emotions dwelled inside him as he sipped at his tea. Abandoning his Romulan side, he had repressed such emotions for many years. He couldn’t even recall what emotion he was feeling, but it confused him. He felt Lihran gently grasp his chin and he looked up at him. Lihran closed the distance between them and kissed Thevius gently on the lips. Thevius set his tea down and kissed him back, savouring the intimate moment, as fleeting as it was.

The kiss ended just as quickly as it was initiated, Covel being heard yelling across the room, “Lihran!” Thevius leaned slightly away and picked up his tea again, blushing furiously. Lihran looked over and raised a brow at Covel as he stormed over, “Yes?” Covel approached Lihran from behind, “Who were you just kissing?” Lihran blinked, feigning ignorance, “Oh, Lieutenant Thevius. He and I have been together hm… about ten years now.” Thevius nodded in agreement, “I apologise, I thought this was common knowledge Lihran had multiple partners.” Covel sputtered, “Multiple!?”

Lihran smirked slightly towards Thevius, then nodded to Covel, “Yes, Thajeet, Sekal as well. And you know what? I got some others in Starfleet from my excursions. Quite a few mind you.” Thevius nearly laughed at Covel’s outraged expression, hiding it with a sip of tea. Covel’s voice started to raise in volume, “No! I forbid it! You are MY husband!” Lihran seemed to think about this before shaking his head, “No, I can do what I wish with my relations. I am not just yours, you need to learn to share.” He knew quite well that is not how a proper dynamic worked, but he knew it would push his buttons.

And push his buttons it did. Covel raised his hand to backhand Lihran. Thevius leapt up to his feet, raising his voice, “Lay another hand on him, I dare you! Not just my lover, but one of your crew?!” Thevius banged his fist on the table, his words becoming impassioned and zealous, “Who is to say any of us will be next!? How many of us has he already raised his hands to!?” A slow murmur started to fill the mess hall. Lihran would praise his acting later when they get out of this alive.

Thevius threw his hands in the air, stepping towards Covel, pointing an accusing finger at him, “What next!? How many of us will he betray and deceive! How much more of his abuse will we tolerate?! Enough is enough!” The initial plan had been for Thajeet and Sekal to start throwing fists first, but in the heat of the moment, Thevius aimed a sharp uppercut towards Covel’s jaw. 

Covel reeled back onto the table behind him, knocking into some of the other crew. Thevius was just as alarmed as everyone else was. Thevius reacted quicker, shouting, “Now! Now is the time! Let's take this ship and get out of here! We have family and children! Loved ones! This is NOT our war, we will lose! Rise up and we can see our children prosper!” That seemed to strike some chords in the crew. Several of them rose up and started fighting amongst themselves. The argument quickly escalated into a violent brawl

Thajeet practically dragged Sekal out of there. Lihran made sure Covel was distracted before grabbing Thevius and dragging him out of there as well

Lihran sprinted as hard and fast as he could towards that cargo bay, Thevius hot on his heels, not looking back. Lihran stopped and doubled over, catching his breath, chest heaving, “I am… I am not a sprinter. Sekal, Thakeet, Thevius… And… Me. We are all here.” He groaned and straightened up, wiping sweat from his brow, “Let's get out of here, please!” Thevius slumped heavily against a crate, panting and just grunting in reply. Thajeet breathlessly nodded, finally letting go of Sekal. Thevius straightened up and grabbed his combadge, “Captain Tehvius to the Thyanis. Four to beam aboard. Get us OUT!” 

Thevius’s words were nearly cut off as the shimmer enveloped them all. The visuals faded and they found themselves aboard the Thyanis. Lihran staggered off the transporter pad, his knees buckling as he sank to the ground, completely laying on the floor, cheek pressed down. Ivin rushed forth to check on him. Lihran mumbled, “Oh sweet Raven, beloved Federation… I am fine.”

Thajeet sputters, “That was NOT the plan! Nope! Not at all!” Thevius sank into the chair behind the console, “No! I know it wasn’t. It… it got us here.” He sighed and tapped his combadge, “Thevius to K’Vibo. We are home. Take us out of here. Pilot a course to Starbase Bravo.” 

K’Vibo replied, “Captain! Yes, Captain! Right away, sir!” Thevius slumped back again, closing his eyes, “Ivin, get rid of these damn brow ridges please!”