Even a casual observer could tell that there was a lot of empty, seemingly wasted space in the design of a D’Deridex-class warbird, but it was essential to their core functionality: to demonstrate the might of the Romulan state. For many Romulans, these battleships were a source of pride or even nationalistic fervor, but the presence of the Romulan Star Navy rarely generated hope for the average citizen. Twice as large as the mighty Federation Galaxy-class explorers that they once faced off again, the D’Deridex had been a symbol of Romulan strength—and hubris and folly—for over fifty years. The IRW Ditaria was one of the earliest members of the class and was now only a shadow of its former self; extensive sections of the large wing-like sections that encircled the centerline of the ship had been stripped away for scrap, leaving her looking skeletal with living areas and critical systems now without the armor they once carried.
Oban watched the Ditaria hanging in space opposite the small Federation vessel that had asked them—very politely—to wait at the border for clearance to proceed. His forehead was pressed up against the viewport he’d found in the former Chief Officer’s stateroom aboard the passenger liner Morav. Like the Ditaria and a half-dozen other ships of various sizes and in various conditions, it was packed with refugees fleeing the likely final collapse of their homeland. He knew very little about starships, but even he could see that the freighters leaking green warp plasma and their one warship missing half of its hull plating were in dire straits.
There was a brief but brilliant flash of light as another ship emerged from warp. Dwarfing the Federation vessel already there and surpassing even the Ditaria, it gleamed in silver and blue, hull alight from its hundreds of viewports. Oban allowed him to feel the barest and most fleeting sense of hope, hope that their salvation was at hands on the back of the largest ship he had ever seen. He knew that feeling was likely pouring through the rest of the flotilla, too, as the Federation stood for everything that the Star Empire never had. Unlike many, though, Oban was not fleeing the old regime but the new one.
The young Romulan moved away from the viewport to the desk. The data encoding device there had just finished translating thousands of intelligence files and historical records into amino acid sequences. He inserted the vial into a very pointy-looking hypospray and then applied it to his own carotid, wincing slightly at the high-pressure injection. The data he had now concealed within himself would increase his worth five-fold if the Humans and their multi-species lackeys were intelligent.
Unholstering a tiny disruptor pistol concealed in the leg of his boot, Odan vaporized the device and the hypospray, along with the many data cards it had finished processing. Satisfied that there was no evidence left, he slipped the disruptor under the mattress of his bed, now happy to be found by his Federation rescuers before his fellow passengers learned who he really was.