“Fucking pirates!” It rang out across the bridge, hung in the air, then was rudely broken up by another crash and wail of sirens as the ship lurched from another hit.
“Shields at eighty per cent,” Orelia announced from Ops.
“Storm in three,” Trid announced as the dark blue angry maelstrom of the ion storm surrounding the gas giant Rosalie consume the entire view screen.
Whereas the shots that had ravaged the ship had a firm, solid feel to each hit, the storm was somehow softer yet more insistent at the same time. There was no feeling of a firm pressure applied somewhere on the ship forcing it to buck but a pressure against the whole ship instead.
First came a solid wall, the ship hitting the boundary between the safety of the inner magnetosphere and the boundary layer where both forces fought. Soon this gave way to a constant rumbling, the ship buffeting constantly as the magnetosphere gave way completely and the ship was at the mercy of the storm. A crackle of lighting, static of the storm’s charge interacting with the Rose, lashed at the ship’s shields.
Sidda took a moment to think while she held Revin tight in her lap. They weren’t being shot at, so that meant either no one was following or no one could see them. Shields wouldn’t last long in the storm, but longer than if they were getting shot at as well. They needed a plan and a safe harbour till the storm faded before they could make a break at warp and get out of the system. Or even get the cloak online to skulk away.
“Quarters,” she said, helping Revin to her feet now that the ship had calmed somewhat. Inertial dampers had taken their time learning the current rhythms of the storm, and likely would lose it, but best make use of it. “Now.”
“Love,” Revin started to protest.
“Now,” she cut the romulan woman off and pointed to the bridge door. No doubt she’d have to answer for her tone later, but she had more than Revin’s feelings to worry about. Nearly 300 other people’s lives to be precise. The prisoners didn’t factor into it, they were just profit right now.
Revin stared her down for a mere moment, something months ago she’d not have been able to do, then relented, leaving the bridge with haste and like anyone walking around at the moment, with a hand firmly on a wall or other solid object.
As the door to the bridge closed, she was on her feet and beside her helmswoman in quick order. “Trid, check the sensor readings from when we arrived, plus any stellar catalogues we have. I want to know where the planets in this system were and where they should be right now. Then pick the closest with a decent magnetic field and get us moving in that direction.”
The bajoran woman looked confused. “How am I supposed to navigate in this mess?”
“Math, dead reckoning and the inertial log.” She had heard about the device somewhere in her life but never studied navigation though. Some sort of device for recording the ship’s movement by inertial moments. It wouldn’t be as precise as navigating by sensors, but in a storm, it would tell you if the ship was hit by x force for y time so you had some idea of how a ship’s course was impacted.
“Prophets, easier said than done,” Trid complained, but Sidda watched her pull up records on her console and start figuring out where the other planets in the system were in comparison to Rosalie at any given time.
Hopefully, that would work.
“Orelia,” she spoke, softer now after she’d crossed the bridge and was speaking to someone she knew she could trust implicitly. “Evac the crew from all outer compartments, get them into the core of the ship. If shields fail, I want them as safe as possible. Heck, blast doors and decompress outer compartments slowly as well, that way a breach doesn’t blow anything in a compartment right out either.”
“We need to talk too,” Orelia whispered. “About this heist.”
“It can wait.”
“Yeah, but once we’re safe you and me. I’d take this to Gaeda if he was here and not off on some errand.” Orelia’s eyes told her that this was serious, but that she knew priorities.
“Work with Trid once done. Find us a port in a storm and we’ll talk.”
“Could turn around and blast ourselves a safe harbour,” Orelia offered as she turned her gaze back to her console and started to bring up the evacuation procedures, thankfully in a decent language and not in klingon.
“Fucking tempting, but not every pirate in the sector was there. I want them to spread out, then we’ll throw the kebrin amongst the voles and watch as every pirate in the sector goes to war with each other. Starfleet is going to have a fucking field day.”
Orelia’s unhappy utterance told her that was probably part of what she wanted to talk about. Was it her plans for the pirate society in general? Her working tangentially with Starfleet? The utter chaos that was the ensure? Guess she’d find out sooner or later.
She patted her cousin on the shoulder, taking a moment to admire her muscles, gym life and a couple of klingons agreeing with her, then made her way to Orin who was studying his scopes like a hawk. “Cousin dearest,” she spoke, grabbing onto his console as the ship jolted once more from the storm. “Anything in this storm isn’t our friend, understood?” She waited for his head nod, then a quick hand sign of ‘Shoot first’. “Ask questions later,” she finished, grinning. “When this is all over, I want to speak with you and your girlfriend. Got an offer to make to her.”
The look on his face as concentration was broken and he looked straight at her with wonder was adorable. “Don’t you dare tell her,” she scolded, as best she could at her favourite cousin. “No! I forbid you telling her.” He grinned, shook his head side to side as he thought about it, then nodded in agreement with her.
“Good, now, back to those monitors. Anything looks odd out there, full disruptors till it stops looking odd.”
It took a few hours and more than a few bumps and bruises from the entire crew before the Vondem Rose settled into a very low orbit of a terrestrial world further into the system. It had no atmosphere worth mentioning but an incredibly large and active iron-nickel core, giving it an especially active magnetosphere. Not enough to completely deter the ion storm, but enough to allow the Rose to settle, lower her shields to let strained emitters recharge and more importantly not upset the galley staff while Kevak cooked hot meals for the whole crew.
And of course, meant that Orelia was able to drag Sidda off the bridge for a one on one. The conference room was free and nearby and so far, still a damn site cosier than Sidda’s ready room. Renovation budgets only go so far and it’s not like she used it very often anyway.
She settled into her chair and just waved to all the others for Orelia to take her pick, who opted to sit at her left as close as possible. “What the fuck is going on?”
She just blinked a few times at her XO, then tilted her head sideways. “About what?”
“I get the plan was to kidnap LPK, steal his loot too, but then you let the one guy who can rally that pack of bastards live. Goddess Sid, you could have shot him, waltzed off that station and they’d all still be playing at the tables till the storm passed.” Orelia’s right hand came down, finger jamming into the table. “We’d have slipped away unharmed, chaos on the station would ensue and they’d all be slaughtering each other since they couldn’t run away, trying to climb to the top of a pile of bodies.”
“Or,” she started, then stopped, eyes glancing to the trophy wall for a moment. “Or, I wasn’t out to get just get that pack of idiots back there, I’m trying to upset the entire criminal establishment in the sector here. The storm will pass, they’ll all go back to their holds, talk to those who weren’t here.”
“Exactly, then everyone in the sector will be after us. Not just them.” Orelia’s agitation was clear in her voice.
“Then we head back to the Archanis sector for a while. But think about it, once news of LPK in Federation custody breaks, what do you think will happen?”
“They’ll turn on…fuck me.” Orelia stopped, eyes going to the windows looking outside for a moment. “They’ll turn on Royal Station, but not as a whole, each either vying for the job or forming little fleets to get one of their own on top. They’ll pick each other off too.”
“Yup, then Starfleet will notice and step in. They’ll even find Royal Station once we tell them where it is, hiding in a magnetic eddy. And all the while, too busy to come after us. And those that do, well, we have a legitimate warship.”
Orelia’s grin was all-encompassing, her head nodding as she realised the chaos that Sidda was hoping for. “This all assumes the plan works.”
“Fuck bitch, you sure you’re not Starfleet Intelligence, or Tal Shiar, with a plan like this? Going pirate hunting, letting those same pirates do all the hard work for you before letting someone swoop in and clean up?”
“Take that back,” Sidda growled, but only able to hold it for a brief moment. “Could you imagine me in a uniform?”
“Don’t have to remember?” Orelia turned to point at the trophy wall, the picture of the USS Vondem on the wall, the stolen communicator with it too. “Damn that was a mind fuck.”
“Yah…” she agreed, trailing off.
They sat in silence for a few moments before being interrupted by a klaxon, one of the truly annoying, attention-grabbing klingon alarms. “Defence condition one,” a surly klingon voice announced for the crew before the klaxon resumed blaring.
“Fucking pirates,” Sidda said with a sigh.
“No argument here,” Orelia voiced as they both raced for the bridge.