“Defend the landing bay!” came the barking voice over the loudspeakers, urging the assembled men and women there further in tasks they were well aware of already. “Don’t let them into the base! Klingon filth!”
“Really wish the Old Lady would shut up,” Grell muttered just loud enough for those around him to hear as they all settled into defensive positions. Crates, a couple of shuttles, loading equipment all served as defensive cover in the inevitable assault that was about to begin. “Or get down here to fucking help herself.”
“I hear that,” someone down the line responded and a few chuckles went around as final checks on weapons were done.
Checking his own, Grell noted the power pack at half charge. More than enough for a prolonged firefight. Probably hadn’t been charged after the raid on that human freighter the other day and he had only grabbed it from the rack anyway. A quick check of his sidearm showed a full charge on the plasma pistol, his own personal weapon and fallback should this decades old romulan disruptor he had failed.
Now it was just a waiting game until the klingon attackers came through the landing bay’s atmospheric field and started their attack. The Old Lady, the matriarch of this little operation, had installed transport inhibitors years ago to ward against just this day. No point letting someone just beam out all their loot, or beam in everywhere and kill them all. Oh no, best to force them into the killzone that was this bay.
The whole station rocked again, clearing the klingon warship out there taking another couple of potshots. Dust and small debris rained down from the rock-carved ceiling and everyone raised a hand over their heads just in case, though nothing significant fell. “Any minute now,” came a loud voice from elsewhere in the bay. Good to hear someone else a little anxious as he was.
Then he saw it, the hulking mass of a klingon warship, rising from below, side on to the asteroid base. It rose slowly, gently, purposefully as if someone over there wanted to convey menace and Grell had to admit to himself, it was working. It took a few seconds to even register the ship wasn’t the traditional green of klingon ships, or the grey of older ones, but a lighter shade of purple.
“Shuttles!” a shout rang out and a few hands were pointing to the two shuttles departing the warship, heading in their direction. At least they were the right colour, if that mattered.
“Hey, Lif, ever heard of purple klingon ships?” he asked the woman at his side as she readjusted her own disruptor. In preparation for the assault.
“Not a big one, but heard rumours once of a purple bird of prey. Must be some crazy klingon captain or something, going for something unique,” she responded. “Doesn’t matter, there’s twenty of us in here now. Every advantage as we fall back. We’ll give them their stupid glorious death.”
Grell snorted to himself. The bluster and self-confidence of Lif was helpful. They were all going to need it shortly anyway. They knew the klingons had to come through this landing bay, they had the home ground advantage, but it was klingons after all. Brutal warriors who would press the attack despite their losses in order to avoid shame. It was going to be a grind.
And the twenty of them in the landing bay were just the first line. Engage the enemy, fall back when pressed and lure them into cross fires and traps inside the base. Wear them down until they left or everyone here was dead, there was no other option now that retreat the raiders was off the books.
“Ready yourselves!” that voice bellowed over the loudspeakers again, the Old Lady clearly watching via some security camera somewhere.
The shuttles neared the bay and then slowly pushed through the atmospheric shield, but instead of turning to present their loading doors, they kept their noses in and Grell could make out a figure in one of the shuttles pointing at him, or near him. No, past him, to the main door into the base. Then pointing at all the cover everyone had built or was hiding behind.
This wasn’t some straight up klingon assault, this attacker was thinking. “Oh…shit…DOWN!” he shouted as the assault shuttles opened fire, their phasers ripping into the assembled containers and other bulwarks.
“Fall back!” someone shouted and he could make out people dashing for the door, a door which was now gone, a smouldering ruin left in its place. He looked around and saw Lif running and didn’t even think about it, just got to his feet and sprinted for the door, the whine of disruptor fire filling the landing bay, followed by explosions and screams of terror as others weren’t so lucky to make it out of there.
The first fall back point was a decent barricade and the look of those defending it seeing the bay defenders falling back so quickly wasn’t much of a surprise. It wasn’t supposed to be this fast and klingons were supposed to be right on their tail, but nothing was going to plan.
“You cowards!” came the Old Lady’s voice again. “Get back in there and make them pay!”
“Fuck that,” someone said nearby.
“I was expecting them to eagerly rush us.”
“Doesn’t seem honourable to me.”
“We’re screwed, so screwed,” another started to chant, this chanting halted by slap to the face from Lif.
They could hear sounds in the bay, shuttles taking their time to land, doors dropping open in quick order, but no sounds of running bootfalls. Barely any noise at all. A few disruptor whines, likely killing off cameras, or injured fellow raiders.
“Was that a romulan disruptor I heard?” asked Lif as she came up beside Grell.
“No, it sounded like a Feddy phaser to me.”
“Who the fuck are these people?” she asked.
Everything went quiet as everyone waited, watching for the first attacker to gun down and a shot whined off down the hall when a stick with a piece of cloth was waved in the doorway.
“Okay, we’re going to have to work on our manners,” a feminine voice came back, clearly not Klingon, from the landing bay. The makeshift flag was waved again and Grell could make out the hole in the piece of blue cloth. “This is your only chance to surrender before my boys and girls come in there and we take what we want. Any takers?”
“Kill the bitch!” came the Old Lady’s demands for all to hear.
“How about we all ignore the voices we all hear and think for ourselves, yes?” the response from the landing bay came.
Grell looked to his colleagues, looked to his friend Lif and saw her expression harden before she fired off her disruptor, hitting the stick dead on and dropping the flag to the ground. “You’ll never break us!”
Everything went quiet for a moment, everyone watching, waiting, then chaos. Figures poured through the door, firing weapons as they went. Everyone on Grell’s side, even himself, returned fire. But these attackers were practised and disciplined, unlike the raiders. The large orion in the front stepped through and fired off a disruptor rifle, each shot hitting someone. He took two shots before he went down, but from how he was moving, not out.
Another, a klingon now covered the fallen orion as a human, or something similar at least, dragged the orion back. More poured in and dove for what little cover there was, firing at the defenders. Their cover started to collapse under the barrage, pieces collapsing and forcing people to fall back, giving the attackers a chance to push forward.
“The line isn’t going to last long here,” Lif said as she scrambled to a new piece of cover as he gave covering fire, narrowly ducking to avoid a phaser beam.
“No shit genius,” he growled, firing a few more shots and then dropping down to avoid counter-fire.
The hallway was getting smokey now from the fires in the landing bays and smouldering cover in the hallway, the air warming with the amount of energy being discharged as well. He could see the closest attackers clearly enough, shapes of others past that and make out the door to the landing back barely. One figure strode forward though all of that, wielding what looked like just a pair of disruptor pistols and as she neared, he could make out her face.
“Oh shit…” he muttered, drawing Lif’s attention.
“You have got to be kidding me,” she replied, then stood with her weapon at the ready. “Die b…”
The single disruptor bolt took Lif right above the left hip and punched right through into the final line of barricades behind them. The blast, the shock of it, the pain stopped the woman and Grell caught her as she dropped like a leaf.
“Fall back!” he bellowed, carrying his friend out of that dreaded hallway. “It’s The Bitch!”
“Seriously, The Bitch?” Sidda asked as she watched the defenders fall back, diving out of the way of a near-miss and shaking her head. “It’s Queen Bitch!” she shouted back as she shook the disruptor in her left hand, banged it against a wall and then checked the charge indicators on it. “My fiancée says so!”
“Orin told you to stop firing them like that,” Orelia said as she checked her own weapon and stayed out of firing lanes as injured people either fell back or were pulled back and fresh troops moved up to join them.
“Yah, well, he got shot, I didn’t,” she snapped back and then holstered the spent disruptor. “Besides, it should have vaporised that woman, not shot through her.”
“You can’t vaporise everyone,” Orelia continued, then pulled her disruptor and handed it over. “You’ll wreck your weapons.”
“Watch me!” she snapped back and was about to move when Orelia grabbed her by the back of her jacket and pulled her back just in time to let someone fire a barrage of disruptor bolts down range.
The large klingon, one of the new cooks, came walking forward with one of the heavier weapons in the Vondem Rose’s armoury, a toothy grin on his face as he walked forward. To his left, a klingon woman wearing similar colours kept pace with a rifle, firing controlled shots instead. Wracking her brain Sidda recalled they were a husband and wife, apparently of such a low standing that they didn’t even try to claim some tenuous connection to any noble klingon house, no matter how low down.
“Goddesses that’s hot,” Orelia commented as she looked past Sidda to the slowly advancing couple, then gave Sidda a wink and moved to follow. “Coming Captain?”
Krent was, for all his faults, not oblivious to the assault underway currently, but it just failed to warrant much attention from him. He wasn’t liked here, a slave in all but name to the commander of the raider Sharptooth, though from what he’d been heard, likely now to the Lady Trelliah instead. So all in all a general downturn of events.
Either Trelliah would shoot him after all this, blaming him for the assault, or the attackers would shoot him. All he could really hope for was that they’d be swift about it as he knew Trelliah certainly wouldn’t. She’d take her time and frankly he didn’t relish that idea. Or taking his own life. He was a coward through and through.
And so that was why he was just going to keep working until someone killed him. He could at least take joy in discovering something before anyone else, right?
His work however got interrupted when five of Trelliah’s goons barged into the lab, really a storage room to which he was the only one who called it a lab. It was also incidentally one of the more secure rooms on the base, buried deep into the asteroid, near its heart. For anyone to have pushed through this far they would have either been solely dedicated to the effort, or had run of the entire facility already.
“Secure the do…” the order was cut short and changed into a cry of pain as a blast hit the man in the back, sending him sprawling to the floor.
Krent himself didn’t need much telling, scrambling to the floor and under a table in quick order, curling up upon himself and covering his head. Yes, he could hope the attackers would shoot him versus Trelliah, but that didn’t mean he was going to go seeking it after all. Cowardice had kept him alive so far, as well as having an intellect that others found ‘useful’.
Eyes squeezed shut, ears covered, he could make out the whine of disruptors and phasers, of cries of pain and silenced gasps before everything went quiet. The fight was over, one way or another. Peering out from under his table he could make out the unstaring eyes of one of the goons looking at him from where he lay on the floor and before he could even react he threw up.
He was on his hands and knees, hurling his breakfast all over the floor and didn’t see the two figures before they grabbed him and pulled him to his feet, or well, off of them, before setting him back down, but their hands remained on his arms, stopping him from moving. Before him stood an orion woman, one who’s face he was certain he’d seen before, but couldn’t recall. He could see the burn mark in her jacket on her left shoulder, what looked like bandages through the hole, stained slightly from blood and her left arm hanging somewhat limply at her side.
“No weapons, hiding under a desk…let me guess, Trelliah’s keeping slaves again?” the woman asked him, pulling out a handkerchief and handing it to him, the guards on either side of him, klingons, letting his arms go.
Dabbing at his mouth and using the handkerchief to cover his mouth while he considered throwing up once more, he finally composed himself enough to speak. “Krent m’lady…” he said meekly so as not to offend. “I’m…Lady Trelliah’s appraiser.”
“Oh, this is rich!” the woman said with a smile. “Alright Krent, I’m Sidda, I’m here for some Tkon relics. Know where I might find them?”
That name rang a bell. A few of them even. Trelliah had a deep, fantastical loathing of the woman before him. Some job gone bad, or opportunity lost because of this woman. Something that fuelled the spite in her heart. But the others told fantastical stories as well. A cold blooded murderer, a pirate who sold out to Starfleet, or the Klingons, or the Romulans if that could be believed. Someone who tortured her competition, elaborate revenge plots that typically included killing family members.
All of which Krent dismissed for one reason – he was smart enough to realise any such figure would have been hunted down and taken out by starfleet years ago.
But this woman did match the description of Sidda, save for perhaps being a little bit shorter than expected and if the bandages were a sign of things, not as invulnerable as the tales go.
“Uh…yah, those crates over there,” he said, pointing at a series of romulan containers. Too many for this collection of people to carry out of here easily. “But…uh…”
“But what?” Sidda asked of him while she waved for one of her crew to close and secure the containers.
“Don’t you want what’s in the vault?”
“What’s in the vault?”
“All of Trelliah’s prizes, her truth worth really.”
Sidda’s grin grew and she looked to the others in the room who all nodded, some more enthusiastically than others. “Well, we’re not going to be able to carry much out of here Mr Krent and we’ve still got to fight our way out of here.”
“Uh, well…I can help with that. I know where the transport inhibitors are kept.”
Suddenly all eyes in the room were on him and he felt like being sick again. “Why are you being so helpful?” Sidda asked him.
“Well, I, uh…I want off this rock and safe passage to a Federation world or starbase. I’ll pay you with knowledge of the transport inhibitors and all the loot in Trelliah’s vault.” This was perhaps the bravest thing he’d ever done in years and it wasn’t settling very well with him.
“Mr Krent, you have yourself a deal. Telin, tag those cases, hell, stack everything in the middle of the room and tag the pile. We’ll take everything.”
The command center had become a desperate bunker, the screens not showing much outside save for where the attackers had left her defenders, or those parts of the station behind her defenders and still hers. Fully a third of the station was out of sight now, Sidda’s people gunning down cameras and sensors as they went. They couldn’t have been that many of them, but reports said the shuttles had left and returned two more times now. They could easily have outnumbered them by now.
“Got her!” one of the younger women said and Trelliah strode over to look at the screen. Without prompting the relevant feed was blown up and Trelliah could see Sidda walking down the corridor, leading her people down an undefended corridor. One they shouldn’t have been able to get into at all, the door at the other end having been secured from the start.
She watched as Sidda strolled down, her people behind her by some distance, looked straight at the camera, raised her disruptor and blinded the command center to their going ons once more.
“Dammit, where was that?”
“Blue five. Uh, that’s near the vault m’lady.”
“Fuck the vault, that’s near the transport inhibitors. She takes those out, we’re as good as dead. You three,” Trelliah said as she pointed to her personal guard, “with me. Let’s go kill that bitch.”
“Krent! There any other way in there?” Sidda shouted as a barrage of fire pinned everyone down, unable to proceed any further.
“That’s the only entrance to the room! That’s why she put them there!” Trent half screamed back, somewhat further down the corridor and frankly not at all in danger right now, but clearly freighted by the weapons fire going on.
With a heavy sigh, she pulled out Orelia’s disruptor and started playing with some of the controls on it, earning her a filthy look from the other woman, returned the look, then tossed the whining weapon around the corner blindly. The massive green explosion was followed by Orelia and Sidda both rounding the corner and firing their weapons haphazardly into the clearling corridor.
There wasn’t any opposition until they entered the room itself and Sidda found a scrambling Trelliah bringing a weapon to bear. A swift kick sent the weapon across the room and Sidda leveled her own weapon at Trelliah. “How the fuck are you still alive?”
“Bitch!” was all the response she got, aside from Trelliah’s half-hearted attempt at a spit.
“Seriously? All this anger because I stole a bounty off of you? It was business, as is this.”
“I’ll gut you child! You, your crew, that precious little prize of yours”
Sidda looked at the older woman in absolute confusion. She just couldn’t figure out where Trelliah’s anger was coming from. Sure, she’d spent a few years harassing the raider boss and her ships, then stole the single greatest prize in the universe from her, and of course this, but she didn’t really know she’d be facing the woman this time.
“You know Trelliah, if you’d only threatened me, maybe even just my crew, I’d have let it slide. But you just threatened Revin.” The disruptor was fired once, straight into the older woman’s shoulder. She cried out in anguish, but the seething hatred was still there. “Never, ever threaten Revin.” She fired again, same shoulder. “Now, I’m intending on robbing you of everything you’re worth, then I’m leaving. No doubt your employees will have complaints to lodge with you shortly. This way one of them gets to claim to be the one that killed one of the last great pirate queens.”
“That’s Queen Bitch,” Sidda said and with a nod from Krent they all disappeared in a shimmer of red lights.
The sound of transporter beams snatching equipment and supplies from around the base echoed throughout as Sidda’s crew were recovered, supplies were lifted, the vault and lab emptied and in the last steps the transport inhibitors that Trelliah had spent so much treasure on in ages past were stolen from her.
“That everyone?” Sidda asked as she watched the last batch of her people return to the ship, all of them looking as equally surprised as the last six batches at being beamed out.
“That’s all of them ma’am,” the human at the controls of the transporter answered.
“Good work Sami,” she offered as praise before leaving the compartment and following the trail of people making their way to sickbay for at least a check up, or because they were helping a friend, or going to check on a friend.
Having a large crew was still taking some getting used to and arriving in sickbay to find not just Bones but a number of people taking orders from her running around was a vast improvement over the Thorn days, or even the same day they’d stolen this very ship.
The door had barely closed behind her when it opened again and curious, she turned to see who it was. Curiosity was met by Revin who glared at her shoulder, the ruined jacket hurt Sidda more than the disruptor blast, though that was still considerable and she’d only just started regaining feeling in her arm. Before much longer it would hurt more than the jacket. Before she could say a word though Revin cupped her face and kissed her, right there in front of the entire sickbay which, being a ship of rogues and scoundrels, was rewarded with a variety of encouragements.
Her own hands found Revin’s waist and when her lover broke the kiss, ignoring everyone there, Revin rested her forehead on her own. “I heard you got shot.”
“Only a little bit,” Sidda whispered back. “Ruined my jacket.”
“I’ll buy you another.”
“I should be seen by Bones.”
“Yes, but then by me.”
“Bones, bridge, check on the loot, then you.”
“Lewis has the bridge, Na’roq is checking the loot, so Bones then me.”
There was a clearing of the throat behind them and Sidda turned to see Bones standing there with a medical tricorder in one hand, a dermal regenerator in another. “Bed 3, now.” This was a woman used to being obeyed in her domain.
“Okay, geez, I know when I’m outnumbered.” She turned once more to Revin and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Tell Lewis to set course for the nearest Starfleet base of ship he can spot on sensors and get us underway, best speed possible.”
She turned to face her people, those in sickbay at least. “We have some loot to sell to the Feddies after all people, best get paid quickly.”