“Santa Maria,” Gaeda muttered to himself as he stood with the collected crew of the Vondem Rose on the bridge, the viewscreen being used to show the results of the Battle of Haydorian. Losses on both sides of the fight populated the screen on either side, with the center having been given to a system map, pinpricks of light smattered around it highlighting debris fields and more importantly potentially valuable salvage.
Sidda looked to her executive officer and smiled. His sentiment echoed her own. This was an absolute mess. One that the Rose hadn’t walked away from unscathed. They’d come to the rescue of the Federation minelayer, only to then lure two ships into said minefield. That ship’s captain, a Lieutenant whose name escaped her, had called to thank her personally.
They’d then responded to a distress call from one of the outlying outposts in the system and Sidda wished she’d been able to see the look on the raider captain’s face when a ship four times his size decloaked right behind him and just started firing until his pathetic little ship had evaporated.
But the Rose had suffered some minor damages in the fight.
Damages which were beyond the ability of a crew so small as this to repair, but not beyond abilities enhanced with a handful of Starfleet and Andorian engineers when they had arrived. The dark silver-grey hull panels of a Klingon K’t’inga were now marred with much whiter-grey panels you’d find on a Federation starship, but Sidda had plans to fix that, as soon as they could afford some yard time somewhere and enough paint to render the ship in proper colours.
“There is way, way too much here for all of us to salvage Boss,” Trid said as she surveyed the totals. Her own heart was saddened by the Starfleet losses, but the numbers were far better then she’d imagined. A lot she had to admit came from some clever plans, devious tactics and in the case of one Starfleet collier, unexpected cloaked battleships lying around.
“Not wrong there Trid. I think we’ve got all the salvage we can really handle for now,” T’Ael said. “We’ve got enough parts from wrecked ships boss that I think we can make that bird of prey those Fleeters left for us operational. Heck, there’s enough near modern salvage in our holds we can probably bring it up to modern specs. But I’m going to need some more hands and more time to do that.”
“Safe and out of the way, but not to far we can’t do some recruiting,” Sidda said, thinking out loud.
“Love,” Revin said as she slid up alongside Sidda, wrapping an arm around Sidda’s left arm. “We also have the intelligence that Starfleet captain granted us that we could pursue.”
There was a single bark of laughter from the rear of the bridge and all eyes turned to Kevak. The large klingon man, wearing fresh, unstained clothes, laughed again. “The burdens of command. Everyone wants to do something, but not enough time or people in the universe.”
“Speak up old man,” Sidda said, absently patting Revin’s hand as it settled in the crook of her elbow.
“You need more people. You need people who can repair an old klingon warbird. You can either deal with the Syndicate, or deal with the Empire.”
The indrawn breaths would have been inaudible if not for the near totality of the crew doing the same gesture at the same time. A few glances were cast around, people trying to judge each other in light of such a proposition.
“I think I’ll go with neither. Lewis and Trid, plot a course for Kyban. It’s not far, we’ll toe the Hornet and we’ll get the civilian yard there on it. R’tin and T’Ael, make her ready for towing. We’ll all pitch in to do repairs in flight, but let’s leave the heavy lifting to the yardies.” Sidda waited as those four all gave nods. It was going to be a combined effort between them to get the Hornet and Vondem Rose to cooperate for a towing all the way to Kyban.
It wasn’t far, but far enough to take a couple of weeks since they’d be dragging a broken ship behind them. Time enough for some repairs, or breaking down what was in the holds to try and get a working cloaking device for their second ship.
“Gaeda, you and Orelia I want taking one of the shuttles to Ayer’s Rock. Go pick up Orin and tell him he’s going to be needed. If he wants to bring along his girlfriend, he’s welcome to, now that we’ve got enough space for him and her.” That got a few chuckles from the crew. “And if any of the locals want to joy our merry crew, they’re welcome to.”
“Diedrick and Telin, I want a full inventory of all our weapons we’ve recovered and I want them working as well. Sidearms and bat’leths make good easily sellable salvage. Enough collectors on Kyban as well we can sell them individually and make some nice scratch. Once we hit Kyban we’ll all start looking around and recruiting as well. The Rose is going to need a bigger crew, trained engineers just to start with and the Thorn II will need some as well, don’t you think Captain Ruiz?”
Gaeda stopped and just stared at his commander for a moment, processing the honorific before a smile took over his face. “Certainly will!” he said with mirth on his lips.
“Well if it isn’t my favourite people in the universe!” Ardot exclaimed as, weeks after departing the Haydorian system, Sidda Sadovu and her companion Revin walked into his café in the middle of a warm summer’s day. The sun was shining, a gentle warm northly wind was blowing down from the not to distant equator and the entire city was alive, including all of its cafés, each taking advantage of the weather.
“Gin darling, find a table for the lovely couple will you!” Ardot demanded of one of his staff as he ducked into the kitchen of his café for whatever reason.
“I didn’t realise he was so big,” Revin said as she leaned close to Sidda, whispering in the taller woman’s ear. She closed her eyes though and seemingly relaxed, ‘seeing’ the world as she had grown up knowing it. “Better. Smells like Ardot’s now.”
The young Andorian woman working the counter of the café found a table for Sidda and Revin, took their orders and let them be, delivering drinks and food well in advance of Ardot himself finally breaking away to come and visit. The portly bolian sat himself down with a smile on his face, a combination of happiness and relief to be off his feet for a bit.
“CEO of your own company now I hear,” Ardot started in after a short exchange of pleasantries. “And with a bigger and better ship. Such hard work those big ships though you know, especially for such small crews.”
Sidda rolled her eyes and leaned in. “What’s the job opportunity Ardot?”
“Oh, no job, not yet anyway. More of a…financial opportunity. I have some equity outside of the Federation I would like to invest in your little operation. Gives you liquidity to hire, make repairs to your other ship, paint the Rose the right colour. I’ll line up some jobs and present them to you soon.”
“We’ll consider your offer,” Revin said as she placed a hand on Sidda’s shoulder, just the touch calming the orion woman visibly. “But we’re looking at making an expedition into Romulan territory as soon as we can. A family reunion.” She smiled at that and made sure to look into the middle distance beside Ardot so she could see his expression without letting him know she could actually see.
“Family reunion you say?” the man asked, stroking his chin in thought. “You’re going to get spotted almost straight away.”
“Counting on it. Starfleet gave us some good intel on who’s been putting out the missing persons reports. It’s not Revin’s family, but a client family. Keep the senatorial reputations clean and all that,” Sidda replied.
“Well, if you’re going to be crossing the border, I’ve got some stuff I’d love to go over, and someone for you to bring back. We’ll call my financial investment even when you get back.”
Sidda stared at the bolian, eyes squinting just slightly. “That’s awfully generous.” She raised a hand to stifle his response. “No, I’m not going to ask for more information than we need Ardot. We’ll get it done.”
“Good!” he said with a clap. “I’ll get the information and credits to you later today; in the mean time I have a café to run!”
Walking onto the bridge of the former KDF warship, now legally declared ‘armed merchant cruiser’, Revin swept past a couple of the new faces that had come to populate the ship. So many new faces, new scents in the air, new sounds to catalogue. She still wondered the ship from time to time with her eyes closed, navigating through it has she had her life for so many, many years.
A few sets of eyes followed her as she walked around the bridge and its stations, observing the people there as they observed her in her passing. Ardot had delivered, the crew had recruited and now both ships had crews aplenty. They’d hired disaffected humans, bored with frontier utopia, or seeking the thrill of ‘pirate’ life. They recruited romulans seeking something, anything to do. A couple of klingons who voiced their discontent with the warrior ethos of the empire, but still wanted to seek glory and honour in other venues – and to which Kevak had informed them a well-cooked meal was a battle all its own.
She’d heard the war songs from the galley, the threats to declare war on misbehaving cooking implements and songs of triumph from the cooks and crew with each meal the last few days. Meal time was certainly becoming a team-building exercise aboard the Rose.
Their crew as diverse and multiracial, perhaps more so than the Federation starships her farther had always warned her about in her youth. Or any that she had encountered since running away.
She walked past Na’roq, a Ferengi that Sidda had hired specifically to serve as ship’s quartermaster. She says she has the lobes for business and her portfolio backs it up. Ferengi women are scary when they do business, Sidda had said in response to Revin’s questioning the move. The Ferengi gave a small nod as Revin went past, having worked out Revin could see by virtue of her excellent hearing.
She passed tactical and the recently returned Orin. She lingered a moment and gently popped up on her toes to plant a chaste little kiss on his cheek, happy to see the large orion back with their crew. He’d brought along his fiancé who turned out was a decent medic and serving as a nurse under Bones.
Orin signed to Revin a simple thanks before he went back his duties, a grin on his face.
Finally, she made her way over to the Captain’s chair and the ensconced Captain Sidda Sadovu. She’d rather firmly rejected her old crew’s attempt to promote her to Commodore in light of having two ships, but a rather large hat was mounted on the corner of the command chair, a gift from now Captain Gaeda Ruiz who had bought himself a much smaller version of the same hat.
As Sidda reached out for her, Revin let herself be taken and dragged onto Sidda’s lap, smiling as she wrapped an arm around Sidda’s shoulders, bringing her other hand up to exam the ring she now wore on her left hand. She marvelled at the simple band of platinum and sapphire, then turned to Sidda and gave her a gentle kiss.
“Shall we go see if my dear father is pleased with my engagement?” Revin asked as she rested her forehead on Sidda’s.