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Part of USS Republic: Die a Hero…

Die a Hero… – 6

USS Republic, Pynx officer's lounge
August 2401
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Dinner was long gone at this stage and dessert was rapidly becoming a memory as well, empty plates set across the table telling of a meal well had. But conversation and good drinks had replaced such mundane sustenance for the pair of couples nestled into the booth at the far end of the Pynx from the main door. While on one side Mac and Blake sat next to each other shoulder to shoulder, the other looked a lot more relaxed and comfortable.

Sidda had turned her back to the back wall and Revin had half-collapsed against her, pulling both of the larger woman’s arms around her and then pinned against herself with one of her own, her free hand wrapped around a gently steaming mug sitting on the table. Who was holding who in place might have been a question raised by the casual observer, but not for anyone who had known the two for any period of time.

“A shuttlecraft losing antimatter containment?” Mac asked. “Don’t believe it.”

“Ask Trid, she’ll confirm it. Wonderfully little despotic Romulan hellhole called Ta’shen. Someone decided to blow up the spaceport as the signal rocket for starting a slave revolt, bring down the old guard and install something, anything different.” Sidda shrugged as best she could. “And that was just the start of the day.”

“You don’t do boring well, do you?” Blake teased. “I mean geez, I bet your holidays involve sword fights, rope swings, pirate ships and overthrowing some sort of dictator.”

“How did you know about how Sidda got my wedding ring?” Revin asked.

“Okay, what?” Blake stammered.

“Heard of The Last Pirate King?” Revin continued.

“T’Rev of P’Jem yeah? Was in the news. Starfleet Security finally caught up with him, died in prison not too long ago.” Mac’s recollection of the media portrayal was succinct. “No. No, I don’t…dammit.”

“Don’t what?” Blake asked.

“Starfleet Security didn’t track him down,” Mac said as he turned to Blake. “He was handed over to them. By someone at this table.” His face contorted in incredulity.

“Revin!” Blake announced, eyes wide, smiling as she decided to pick the obviously wrong answer. “Nicely done!”

“It was a team effort,” Revin answered, putting on airs of superiority. “I let my minions, especially this one,” she indicated Sidda with a backwards motion of her head, “do a majority of the work though. They needed the limelight. And between you and me, Sidda gets cranky if she’s not overthrowing static power structures.”

“Excuse me?” came the response.

“Love you dear,” Revin answered.

“You’re lucky you’re gorgeous,” Sidda grumbled before planting a kiss on Revin’s cheek, then whispered something that caused the Romulan woman’s cheeks to flush green.

“You know, I really shouldn’t be surprised,” Mac said after a moment and another sip of his after-dessert coffee. “First I get assigned a captain whose career was leaps and bounds ahead of my own. Then I finally get my own ship and get an XO whose exploits are half-classified and the other half sound like an adventure story I’d find half the crew playing through on the holodeck.”

“Oh shit, that would be a good idea!” Sidda said with a grin. “Remind me to talk to Na’roq about holonovel rights,” she said to Revin.

“I did that before we left Kyban,” Revin answered. “We’ll save them for retirement, yes?”

“Aww, come on,” Blake half-whined. “Give the people what they want.” When Sidda shook her head, she continued. “Okay, fine, Chuck sweetie, your turn. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done?”

“Get stuck in a time-loop for a month and the quickest way to get everyone to trust the few who knew it was a loop was to give them a code phrase I came up with for such a situation.” Mac shrugged as Revin and Sidda both looked at him. The former in surprise, the latter in disbelief.

“You came up with code phrases for a time-loop? What, so someone could use them to gain your trust immediately?” Sidda asked. “I mean damn, how bored did you have to be to do that? But also, having read so many reports about time-loops, how is that not standard practice by now? Oh goddesses, I’m going to need some now aren’t I?”

“Yeah,” Mac drawled. “Would have come in real handy last week with that time loop we got stuck in.” The deadpan delivery was spot on as everyone stared at him, brows furrowing for a moment.

It was Revin who called him out first. “I like him,” she said upwards to Sidda.

Banter and asking questions from Blake continued for a while before some sort of unseen communication took place between Mac and Blake, the latter making an excuse in short order to drag Revin away from the table for a moment. Hunting for macaroons was the settled upon course of action, leaving just Sidda and Mac in the booth.

“She’s smitten with you, isn’t she?” Mac asked of Sidda after their other halves had gotten out of earshot.

“I’d hope so. She married me after all.” Sidda took a moment to reorientate herself and leaned forward, bringing the air of conspiracy to the table. “And what of you and Ms Pisani, hmm?”

“It’s a not-a-thing thing,” he answered. “And besides the point. This New Maquis development and Shreln has got me worried. And her threat against one of my crew isn’t helping.” His gaze went towards the bar where Blake had sat Revin on a stool and taken Revin’s usual place behind the counter, busy engaging in the time-honoured alchemy of far too many frontier doctors – cocktails.

Sidda went to say something, anything, stopped, glanced at Revin, and tried again.

Nothing came out.

Then a breath in before she tried a third time.

“I get it,” Mac cut her off. “You want to say something like ‘it’s one person versus the fate of potentially millions’ but it’s not for you.” He leaned forward to match Sidda’s posture. “And everything I’ve read about you and you’ve told me, you’d go harrowing off at warp speed, damn the torpedoes and set fire to the whole DMZ to put this one matter to rest if you could.”

“Causing a whole mess of problems in my wake,” Sidda confessed.

“And if everything I’ve been briefed on about this Manfred,” he stopped when Sidda looked up at him, one eyebrow raised. “Oh yes, I speak to the Commodore myself sometimes too. Or, more, spoken too.” She chuckled at that. “Manfred is a legitimate threat. Shreln’s threat we have to take as legitimate.”

“They’ll be expecting Starfleet playbooks. And my breed of…”

“Unorthodoxy?” Mac ventured.

“Yeah.”

“So tell me, what would your normal response be?” he asked.

“Give chase, run them down, vaporise Manfred after stealing his hat again.” She waved off his unspoken question. “Basically I’d be right on their heels and not stopping.”

“And Starfleet’s approach would be caution and reason. Investigate, follow leads, be a nuisance to all in the neighbourhood until we find what we’re looking for.” He smiled at her nod. He’d only chosen to explain a detailed and thorough investigation as such because he was talking to Sidda. “So let’s change it right up.”

“How?”

“We follow into the Badlands, we do our best to take down the Eponine and when the trail inevitably runs cold, we back off. Let them think they’ve gotten away with it.”

Sidda didn’t like that idea, the dislike evident instantly on her face.

“I’m not saying we give up Commander. I’m saying we let them wonder just what we’re doing. They’ll either get cautious, thinking we’re doing something super sneaky, or they’ll get comfortable.”

“They hide and worry, or they get cocky and mess up.” She smirked now. “Psychological warfare.”

“And if it buys us a few weeks, we can really toss a cat amongst the pigeons.”

“Why would you throw a cat amongst the pigeons?” Sidda asked, the idiom running into a Human/Orion cultural conflict.

“Let me rephrase. We throw an Atlantis amongst the Badlands.”

Atlantis? Wouldn’t that run into the whole standard playbook problem that Manfred and Shreln, as you pointed out, would be expecting?” she countered.

“Oh, sure. Tikva, Captain Theodoras, lives by the regs. But uh, she too has a flair for the dramatic that I think would make her rather apt for helping us flush out Dr Shreln. After all, she put on a whole song and dance at Deneb while we rode in system instead of just getting stuck into the Dominion’s backside.” It was his turn to shrug while he sat back against the booth’s seat. “Though honestly, totally worth it. Historical docos are going to have a field day with it.”

Sidda nodded, processing what Mac had said. “I don’t like it, but I hate it less than the other options present.”

“And you know what the best part is about getting command of my own ship?” he asked,

“You can, when you want, tell your XO ‘wasn’t really asking, we’re doing my plan anyway’?” She laughed at her own answer, which started Mac’s own.

And back over at the bar, Revin and Blake looked over to the laughing pair. “Fucking finally,” Blake exclaimed. “It’s not a real ship until the CO and XO are laughing with each other.”

“Or their partners are conspiring together?” Revin asked.

“Oh sweetie, who do you think really runs this ship?” Blake answered as she tapped her cocktail glass against Revin’s own.

Comments

  • Ahhh amazing! Amazing! Amaziiiinngg! That was pure power couple goals. I am so enjoying this dynamic between Mac and Sidda. She is truly bringing out his wicked side, which we all knew he had, and he is bringing out the best in her in a Starfleet way. And, of course, there are the powers behind the thrones. Blake and Revin together will be a nightmare for our favourite CO and XO!

    April 14, 2024