“What do you propose?” al-Jabir asked as he sat the bottle of romulan ale down on his boss’s desk, then carefully sat himself down in his customary seat.
Sidda smiled, reached over to grab the bottle, tossed the stopper back to al-Jabir and took a swig straight from the bottle. “All the goddesses in heaven how old is this?” she wheezed out after the ship, inspected the label with a whistle and set the bottle down like it was the most fragile thing in the universe.
Oh, she was going to be keeping that. And any other bottles lying around.
“Simple enough Mr al-Jabir. Give me the Star of Galur, a ring that I know is in the vault because it’s very public knowledge that T’rev bought it at auction, ten per cent of the hard cash reserves, every slaving asshole on the station and I’ll give you the keys to the kingdom.”
She watched the man for any sign of emotion, his mask regained after his earlier display and saw none. He was a blank slate as he stared at her for a full twenty seconds. “And our Sovereign, what will become of him?”
“Oh, he’s mine. Figure I’ll drop him off with Starfleet, they can send him to whatever penal colony senile old Vulcans go off to. Of course, he pisses me off he gets to go for a long walk outside.” She watched again for any emotion, any tells whatsoever and saw none. “That going to be a problem?”
“I’d prefer the latter option. It’s easier to sell the story of him going into seclusion after your brazen sacking of his station.” His tone was well-modulated. Clearly working for a vulcan had rubbed off on him.
“Mr al-Jabir, how duplicitous of you. Pretend to be the Last Pirate King, is it?” She rose to her feet and walked over to the window, the same spot that T’rev had been in before being whisked off to one of her brigs. “I can’t promise that, but if he happens to get to Starfleet, I’ll ask them to keep it quiet.”
“I can work with that. And what of the slavers?”
“Most I’ll deliver to Starfleet, a handful to the KDF and the Free State. Need to build some goodwill with respective parties. Two of them I regret will succumb to injuries, likely complications from previous injuries escaping jails before.” She spun around to face al-Jabir, still in his seat. “So sad.”
“Indeed.” Again, he stared at her for nearly ten seconds, clearly studying her as well. “And if I refuse this offer?”
“I beam out, my people too, and then I indiscriminately start firing. Shame your primary power generator will explode shortly after my saboteurs depart.” She grinned confidently, then sauntered forward to sit on the edge of the desk. “But that won’t happen because you’re a practical man. You’ll go fetch me my prizes and then take the throne.”
He nodded, then slowly stood. “Would you like your closer acquaintances seen here m’lady while I fetch your fee for services rendered?”
“Sounds lovely. Oh, and if there are more bottles of this fine vintage in the vault, I’d love a couple more.”
“For you m’lady, I shall make all the romulan ale available.” With that al-Jabir bowed respectfully and then departed the room.
As soon he left she was around to the computer console and bringing up station comms, hailing the Rose. “My gun, now, please. And how’s our guest?”
Naroq was the one to answer her call. At least she hadn’t taken to sitting in her chair. With a wave of her hand, someone was calling down to the transporter room. “His Pointy Earedness is meditating. Hasn’t said a word outside of ‘indeed’.”
Her disruptor, not the one sitting in the cloakroom, but her actual favoured weapon materialised on the desk and was quickly back where it belonged at her side. “Keep a lock on everyone. I still expect a double-cross.”
“Wouldn’t be profitable to lose you, captain.” Which was the closest thing a ferengi could say to ‘you’re irreplaceable’ Sidda thought to herself.
Not five minutes later her team, save those six down in engineering, were shown through to the office. The casino floor looked no different, clearly, the news wasn’t spreading outside of these walls. A testament to T’rev’s people not asking questions and al-Jabir’s seeming willingness to take a promotion being offered to him from outside.
Revin approached, glared at the weapon on Sidda’s side and closed for a kiss. “I was worried.”
“I know love. But hey, it’s all working out better than I could hope.”
“Beware the flawless plan, for you’ve fallen into someone’s trap.” Revin hugged her tight, another kiss on the cheek, then stepped behind Sidda to place someone between her and the door.
“You know, Romulan idioms always seem sinister,” Orelia quipped as she started to inspect the office. “Don’t you have any cheerful ones?”
“Fear not the confident man, for he has a plan and can be predicted. Fear the fool, because how can you predict what he’ll do when he doesn’t know himself,” Revin offered with a shrug. “I’m sure our engineers know some, but alas, my father insisted on the philosophy of statecraft.”
They whiled another ten minutes before the office door opened and in came Mr al-Jabir with a small cart. One large crate occupied the cart, with two small beautiful wooden boxes on top. One was larger than Sidda’s hand, made of a fine dark redwood and emblazoned with the crest of a betazoid noble family on it. The other was small, easily able to hit in her hand, a cube in shape and its pitch-black wood was marred only by the dark grey veins through it, the separation line across the middle and the crest of one of the finest jewellers of Old Romulus across the top.
“Ten per cent of the physical latnium reserves, one Star of Galur, authentication papers,” he indicated the box while handing an actual envelope over to Orelia as she approached, “and one Ring of Chula, as requested. Sadly, no authentication papers to support that this is the legitimate Ring of Chula m’lady.”
“Oh, we’ll make do Mr al-Jabir, don’t you worry about that.” She stepped forward and took the ring box, popped it open briefly to ensure contents, then walked over to Revin. “Hold this and don’t open love. It’s important.”
Her response was Revin grabbing the front of her dress and pulling her in for a kiss before turning her loose to try and regain her bearings. “A yes would have done,” she whispered.
“That was more fun.” She couldn’t argue with Revin’s answer.
A blink, then a wink to her lover and she turned back to then inspect the other case. Best to make sure the goods were there before leaving. The cash they could count later and she had to trust al-Jabir to give them something but to try and swindle them whatever he could.
The case was beautiful but plain, not a piece of art, merely the vessel of such. Inside, sitting on a black velvet mat was an absolutely stunning necklace, its platinum links studded with their own gorgeous gemstones, all paled however by a blue diamond nearly three centimetres across as its centrepiece, cut in the single most perfect ball cut that Sidda had ever seen in her life.
She couldn’t help but whistle, then show it off to her crew briefly before snapping the case shut and setting it back down. “And the romulan ale?” After all, the gem was going elsewhere, the ale was for her. Priorities had to be maintained.
“In the case with the latnium. Four bottles, none less than eighty years old, none aged for less than thirty years.” al-Jabir’s tone was flat like a waiter just reading off the wine selection at a restaurant. “I trust then Captain that this concludes our arrangement?”
“The slavers,” she reminded him.
“Oh yes.” He produced an isolinear chip. “All their biometrics. You should be able to isolate them upon returning to your ship and remove them from the premises.”
“This doesn’t contain some sort of computer virus that will disable my ship and leave me defenceless, would it?”
“I find their sort equally distasteful m’lady and would prefer not to hinder your removing them.”
That didn’t answer the question directly, she mused to herself before holding it up. “T’ael, mind checking this for me on that computer over there?”
“Aye ma’am,” the romulan woman replied. Less than a minute later she pulled the chip out. “All good. We’re good to go.”
“In that case, it has been good doing business with you Mr al-Jabir, may the crown rest firmly on your head. We’ll need a few minutes to help with your slaver problem before we depart.”
All she got was a head nod from the man before she communicated back to her own ship to begin transport. First the loot, then Revin and a handful of others, then her and those left. She stepped off the padd just in time for Deidrick’s team to reappear. “Start transporting the prisoners to the brig,” she ordered to the transporter chief before leaving, marching with most of her team to the bridge.
Just a few meters short of the bridge door an all-ship’s whistle got her attention. “All prisoner’s accounted for captain,” her chief announced for the entire crew to hear.
Before she could get a word in however the entire ship was rocked, everyone stumbling to stay on their feet. “That was weapons fire,” Orelia announced and broke into a sprint, doors parting for her with Sidda and the others in her wake.
“…Rose has stolen from our liege and kidnapped your fellows,” came al-Jabir’s voice from speakers around the bridge, obviously an open-comms coming from the station. The ship rocked again. “Our liege has levelled a bounty of one thousand bricks of latnium for the destruction of the Vondem Rose for this insult on his personage.” The comms then went dead.
“Helm, zero nine zero mark zero, full impulse. Get us into that storm,” she shouted as she bounced across the bridge as more weapons fire rocked the sturdy klingon ship. “Shields to maximum!”
“Aye ma’am!” repeated acknowledges echoed as people took over stations from juniors as Vondem Rose spun and moved away, leaving the safety of the gas giant’s magnetosphere and into the raging ion storm outside.
“He betrayed us,” Revin whispered as she came up alongside Sidda.
“Bound to happen.” More fire rocked the ship and she reached out to steady Revin, then pulled her into her lap. “Fucking pirates!”