Part of USS Denver: Eye of the Storm and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

The Commodore

TBD
February 11, 2400 20:30
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Ethan made a theatrical show of walking to his seat and sitting down without saying a word.  He crossed his legs, sat back in his seat, and steepled his fingers.  “Commander Ethan Talon of the Federation Starship Zebulon Pike. Your organization is unfamiliar to me, and I doubt it’s recognized by intergalactic treaty or the Romulan Republic for that matter.  Judging by your uniform am I correct and assuming you are an offshoot of the Tal Shiar?”

Sukitha’s emotionless facial features remained as blank as ever, “I do not recognize this Federation that you speak of,” she stated as she continued to look at Ethan. “Nor do I recognize this Tal Shiar that you think that I am a part of.”

Ethan crossed his arms and stared at her suspiciously.  Was this a plot or arouse? Romulans were known for their subterfuge but decided until he knew more he would play along. “Commodore,  I am a member of Starfleet which is the military and scientific exploration arm of the United Federation of Planets, and intergalactic governing body made up of over 180 planets and founded by Vulcan, Terran, Andorians, and Tellarites.”

He then sat up with both feet flat on the deck and typed out a message to Audren.  They were supposed to be cloaked, yet this Commodore had located them.

A moment later a text returned on his armrest, Cloak is fully operational.   The reason for detection is unknown.

Ethan frowned at that. He resisted the urge to decloak and ready weapons out of fear that that would provoke the Romulan. “We are on a peaceful exploration of the rifts that are occurring in this area.  We do not want trouble,” he added.

Jolie tapped the mute icon on her console and the comms muted. “Ethan, this is what I meant by something is off,” she stated as she brought up her findings and flicked them over to Ethan’s armrest. “Some of the stars are in the wrong position and some are in the correct position,  while some cease to exist.”

He considered the information for a moment.   Nothing really made any sense, but all the clues were pointing in a certain direction.  “Is it possible we’re somehow in an alternate universe?”

“Well if it doesn’t make sense and we have exhausted all logical options then whatever is left must be the truth. I have scanned several times for any Federation ships, beacons, and buoys. Hell I went as far as reaching out for Klingon signatures and I have found nothing,” she stated as she continued to look at Ethan, “I could only speculate that we were pulled into the rift, Ethan.”

“Mr. Holms couldn’t have said it better,” he said with a smirk, “Or Surak.”

“Commander. The weapons and shield systems on that ship are beyond anything I have seen before. That added to the fact that they basically ignored our cloak. I recommend we stand down and fall in line with whatever they want for now.”

“Diplomacy it is,” Ethan replied as he unmuted the channel. “Can we be of assistance in any way Commodore?”

Jolie then realized that the Commodore couldn’t actually see their ship, but rather its signature, which with all of the modifications to the Pike made the ship seem larger than it really was. Having gleaned this bit of information from her sensor scans she sent a text to Ethan’s armchair, ‘Ethan I do not think that this Romulan can actually see our ship. I think the pike’s signature is throwing her off and is trying to actually get us to give ourselves away.’ She stated in the text.

Sukitha, looked at Ethan for a moment from her viewpoint on the main viewscreen. “Tell me, Commander Ethan. How many do you command?”

Ethan gave Jolie a raised eyebrow as if to ask if she was certain,  but there was really no way of knowing for certain. That said, the Narlin cloak operated differently from the Romulan/Klingon style cloaks that were common in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.   That’s why he negotiated to get one on the Pike. “Commodore this is a Dreadnought-class starship.  I have a crew of 1,200 and another 5,000 Marines.  We are a peaceful people,  but we are not going to enter into a potentially hostile environment without being able to defend ourselves,” he bluffed.

“In 2160 a task force of Vulcan, Human, Andorian,  and Tellarites left for the Romulan homeworld to end the war.  They were pulled into a wormhole near the Denorios belt.  Stranded in the Gamma Quadrant in old warp five ships they opted to settle down and form the Federation.   We have since grown to an interstellar power created on the back of conflict with the shapeshifters of the Dominion.  Now we have sufficient technology to return to the planet of our origins and to see how our cousins on Earth have fared.” Ethan sat back in his chair feeling proud of himself for weaving such a tale, and one he hoped would be believable.

With her mask of pure emotional control, Sukitha, continued to look at Ethan. She understood then that they were far from home but she still wanted more information.

“I see. Tell me, Commander Ethan, how is it that a single vessel like yourself is so far from home? I can only imagine what the crew morale is,” she stated as she looked over the bridge crew.

“Crew morale is just fine,” Ethan replied flatly.  “You see, what our ancestors didn’t know at the time was that wormhole was stable.  They assumed like most other wormholes that it was unstable,  and the Dominion soon chased them away so studying it wasn’t an option for a very long time.”

“I see,” Sukitha said as she remained continuously in control of her emotions, “so all you want to do is get back to your home planet,” she stated as she continued on, “Then answer me this, how did you end up in our territory when everyone knows that the Denorios belt is nowhere near here?”

Damn, he thought.  She caught that.  He wanted to keep his story based in facts as much as possible, and he had no idea how much was known in this reality.  “Commodore Sukitha, we have not been in this Quadrant of space in nearly two-and-a-half centuries.   We are surveying the political landscape to get an understanding of what and who controls these regions.”

Adam sends a message to Ethan “I have been scanning the Romulan ship’s warp engines. I think we are faster than it should we need to run.” Ethan nodded to Adam.  He was thankful for that information.   It made a difficult scenario even more manageable. 

Sukitha looked at Ethan with intense eyes. “Is it really your intention to just find out who owns what area, Commander?” she asked as her eyes bore into Ethan’s.

This caught Jolie’s attention and she played along with Ethan, “Commodore, is it policy to continuously repeat yourself when you come across another ship, even one that is cloaked?” she asked as her own eyes bore into Sukitha’s emotionless Romulan eyes.

Ethan made a quelling gesture to Jolie. “Commodore we are only exploring.  We shall make a direct course for Earth, and then we will return to the Gamma Quadrant.  Helm, set course for Earth maximum warp.”

“Maximum warp, aye.” The helm officer repeated. 

Sukitha now turned her attention toward Jolie and for a nanosecond the look of curiosity and frustration registered in the Romulan’s eyes. The viewscreen suddenly shifted and the Romulan ship appeared in view before cloaking.

“Enguage.”