Part of SS Vondem Rose: Old friends, old scores, old debts and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

Our sovereign is not in a joking mood tonight

Royal Station
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“This,” Rogers said over the short-range comms, “has got to be the stupidest plan I’ve ever been involved in.”

For his part, Deidrick rolled his eyes, thankfully with the rest of his team at his back. All of them had thanks to T’Ael’s earlier workings been able to make their way to an airlock, abscond with EV suits intended for servicing the outside of the station and then made their way outside.

Hacking biometrics, granting them all authorisation to be a majority of the station, was good, but not good enough. There were still the good old fashion security personnel wandering the halls that could ruin the plan and for that, a sojourn outside was called for.

“Rogers, you’re new. You didn’t see what we got up to in Romulan space,” one of the others spoke up. “We, I fucking kid you not, smuggled maple syrup.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Stow it you two,” Deidrick finally said. “Speak only when needed.”

No affirmatives were given, which was what he wanted. No unnecessary comms, no tripping over the external sensor arrays, no peeking through windows. They were supposed to just be ghosts right now, out of sight, out of mind, but definitely not out of trouble.

Royal Station’s sensors were designed to watch for space-suited people after all, since The Last Pirate King was the paranoid sort who ran transporter inhibitors constantly. The flaw however was you had to do service work on the hull from time to time and you didn’t want to irradiate your works, at least not terribly often, so most of those same said sensors weren’t actually watching the hull itself. Yes they’d see you approaching, but once down you’re invisible, until you open an airlock, or blow a window.

It took nearly an hour of careful progress to walk the length of the station down to the engineering module. Another ten to find an airlock, five more to cycle everyone through. They all knew they’d gone for the walk to avoid security, now they just had to work quietly to take out whatever staff were down here, pretend to be them and then wait for the signal.

“Rogers, Bernstein, T’shon, go starboard. Grell, Sh’lok, with me to port. Remember, keep it quiet. Better to let people walk away than fuck it up.” A series of head nods and the group split up to sweep engineering. They’d practised, they’d worked with the best plans they had, they could do this.

And to their credit Deidrick was impressed. Within five minutes they had found the three engineers they had expected and knocked them out.

Now they were Royal Station Engineering. Oh, this was going to get interesting.

****

“We’ve lost track of Captain Sadovu’s team of six. The men that all came in together.” Jamil admitted as he stood once more in his boss’s office.

His employer was once more standing, hands behind his back, watching the main casino floor out a window. “Mr al-Jabar, I grow weary of Captain Sadovu’s machinations, or her inability to control her personnel. Summon her to my office. No one may accompany her. Anyone tries, have them shot and thrown overboard.”

“Sir, would it not just be easier to have her escorted off the station?”

“She has a warship Mr al-Jabar. I would prefer to keep her as a guest until the storm passes and I can call in some favours to neutralise that particular threat. Returning her to her ship would encourage her to try something far more rash.” He turned around and walked to his desk, sitting carefully in his chair. “Bring me the good captain.”

“Yes sir.”

****

The whole time that her crew had been undertaking their pieces of the plan, Sidda had taken it upon herself to weather the trials and tribulations of running into her fellow societal misfits. Fellow pre-emptive salvage merchants, free-market protection cooperatives and fee-based astrogation assistant services all populated the casino, restaurants and bars of Royal Station. At least the slavers who dared to make their presence known knew enough to keep their distance. Her last visit here had after all been cut short when she’d shot three of them.

Some say cold blood, others say self-defence, but in the end, she walked away and the universe had three fewer scumbags using up valuable oxygen. Yes she’d been banned from the station for a year, but the rumour mill clearly kept working and those slavers she saw kept their distance, despite death glares. The sort that suggests if they ran into her in a dark alley, it wouldn’t end well.

Old acquaintances, erstwhile friends and rivals alike, had come over to talk, to inquire about her ship, where she’d gotten it from, in case they were in the market after all. Few actually believed the truth about stealing it out from under the D’Ghor Hunters, insisting she must have raided it from a klingon depot yard, or traded some sort of favour with a border house. Some even had less than savoury theories that didn’t come to her directly, but via the rumour mill.

“Is it true with Kevlor is saying, that you sold a Romulan senator into slavery for the ship?”

“I happened to hear captain that congratulations are in order. You and Lord Grelk will make a lovely couple.”

“So the klingons just let you flush the whole crew off their own ship?”

She entertained them, tried to over the truth, then just started bullshitting more and more grandiose stories, which seemingly a number of them wanted to hear. The taller the tale, the more they could repeat it themselves, how they met Captain Sidda, pillager of klingon warships!

Eventually, with Revin at her side, she found her way back to the casino floor and a couple of dice games where she’d been holding court with those who wanted to hear more, all the while watching their piles of chits disappear and her own pile grow, with the interspersed loss when she forgot to give her good luck charm a kiss or have her blow on the dice.

And it was here that she was eventually interrupted by a human man, middle-aged, nice enough suit, with two large walking slabs of muscle at his back. “Our sovereign, the Last Pirate King, summons you Captain Sidda,” the man said.

“Did he summon Captain Sidda, or Captain Sadovu?” she asked cheekily, presenting the dice once more to Revin before throwing the dice on the table.

“Your presence is required Captain Sidda Sadovu,” the man insisted.

She sighed as the table manager called the result of her dice roll, a loss for her, a win for a gangly tellerite, if such a thing could truly exist. “Come along love,” she said pushing back from the table.

“Just you,” the man said firmly. “I would suggest you don’t insist ma’am, our sovereign is not in a joking mood tonight.”

That had a chilling effect on the crowd around them, people making a bit more space in case something went down.

They stared at each other for a few moments before she turned to give Revin a kiss on the cheek and whisper quietly in her ear, then turned back to her escort. “Lead the way.”

****

“You’ll proceed over the hull to engineering where you’ll take control of the station. Well, power and life support, not the whole station. But it’ll be enough.”

“We turning off the lights when you want boss?” Deidrick asked.

“Nope, only one single system. Transporter inhibitors large enough to cover the station and five thousand kilometers around it draw a lot of power. Right T’Ael?” Sidda asked.

“Uh…yah. They’d have to be powered by the main reactor. No way you could power it with backup generators. A system like what we think he’s got would also take twenty, thirty minutes to reconfigure to a smaller field and bring online with another, smaller, generator.”

“So, we’re turning off the transporter inhibitor? But the vault is transport shielded physically as well. Won’t do us any good but to get to the front door.”

“Not doing that either,” Sidda replied with a grin. “You’ll love this next part.”