“Does someone want to tell me what the fuck is going on down there?” Orelia demanded as she marched onto the bridge of the Vondem Rose with the speed, energy and determination of a loose torpedo.
“It looks like a thermonuclear detonation took place at the spaceport, which compromised the shuttle’s antimatter containment,” Tavol said with emotionless dispatch that instantly drew her ire. Vulcans however seemed to have a pathological inability to register any fear in the face of someone as pissed off as she was.
“Get me the captain. Now!” she demanded.
“Comms are being jammed,” Deidrick Osterman said. “Imperial propaganda on most frequencies, then a warning for us to stay away from the planet on the channel they’ve used to speak with us before.” He turned to face her. “No response to hails or requests for more information.”
She stewed there for a moment, thinking, then took two deep breaths and let the anger settle. Who knew that K’tah would be a good influence in her life, teaching her Klingon meditation to focus her anger, to make a weapon of it and use it when needed.
“Shields up, bring weapons to combat readiness.” Her words were quiet but echoed on the bridge, then washed out by the sounds of klaxons.
“Defense Condition One,” the computer announced and thankfully no longer in the Klingon voice that barked it for all to hear, but something more familiar to the many crew who were former Starfleet, or at least had lived in the Federation most of their lives. “All hands to combat stations.”
“Break orbit and begin closing on the planet. Target the nearest defence platform and make it damned obvious.”
“That is not a logical course of action,” Tavol said. “Perhaps there are other…” he continued before being cut off by Deidrick.
“Incoming hail from the governor’s office,” Deidrick announced, a pleasant surprise to his voice, as if he too hadn’t expected the tactic to work, or at least this quickly. A moment later the viewscreen was filled with the face of some Romulan officer who was wearing a sneer on their face that Orelia assumed was the standard navy issue.
“This is your final warning orion; stay away from Ta’shen or be fired upon.” The woman’s voice even sounded like how her face looked.
“I want to speak with my captain. Now.”
It was a clear clash of wills, but only one could win.
“She’s dead, just like everyone else at the spaceport. Your faulty shuttle exploded, killing a senator, their family and countless other Romulan lives.” The woman smiled like she was the master of a puppet, about ready to pull harshly on the strings for her own pleasure. “Surrender now and when the navy arrives, I’ll make sure your crew aren’t executed immediately. Labourers are always needed after all.”
They both continued their staring contest across the vacuum via the medium of their respective screens before Orelia ordered the screen off with a hand signal. “She’s lying. They have no idea where the captain is and I’d bet not a single important person in their mind was killed in the explosion.”
“However, there does appear to be signs of combat across the city,” Tavol spoke, bringing up scans of Ta’shen on the viewscreen. The resolution wasn’t great from this distance, but pillars of smoke and burning fires across the city of T’ma’ru could be seen, as well as a shimmer around the perimeter of the governor’s residence betraying the presence of a shield.
“Hmm…range to the defence platforms?” she asked.
“Thirty seconds,” Deidrick answered just as Orin stepped onto the bridge, taking over at Tactical.
“Fire when ready,” she ordered and stepped up behind the centre seat, hands resting on the headrest as she leaned forward to watch out of the now cleared viewscreen.
As they neared, alerts started to sound from the helm and tactical both as weapons were locked onto the ship, both sides exchanging fire at the same time when optimal ranges were met. Disruptors alike ripped across space, a handful of torpedoes as well surging forth. For nearly twenty seconds it continued unabated, status updates shouted across the bridge as fire was poured into a defence platform that seemed stubbornly unaffected. The Vondem Rose for her part rocked and bucked with each hit, but so far was weathering the storm of assault from a single platform well enough.
“Shields at twenty percent,” Deidrick announced after a particularly hard impact as torpedoes from the platform found their target. “Two more platforms have locked on to us.”
“Engineering to the bridge,” came T’Ael’s voice over the comms, “We’ve got power fluctuations down here and it’s not looking pretty. I’m going to have to cut main power if this keeps up.”
“Fuck,” she muttered to herself. “Break off, take us back to the moon.”
Only fifteen minutes later she was surrounded by the remaining senior staff aboard ship, save for T’Ael who was busy in engineering doing, in her own exact words, ‘bloody miracles’. At least she’d confirmed the problem wasn’t combat damage but more likely a design flaw they’d never run into before since that had been the first time they’d brought all of their weapons to bear.
“We need a plan.”
The obvious statement echoed around the conference room and off those assembled. Orin, quiet as always, but a grimace on his face that hinted at a truly unhappy disposition; Deidrick, the ship’s head of security, separate from Orin’s tactical now; Tavol, their resident vulcan that Sidda had brought back from the Martian Thorn – all of them without a single idea.
“Bad plan is better than no plan,” she said after a few seconds. “Anything?”
“Load the other shuttle up with as many people as we can, drop planet side, go dark before we hit the defence platforms, float past them, hit the city hard, find the captain, then burn out of there like we stole something.” Deidrick’s plan had simplicity at least going for it.
Orin’s fingers however were very slow and very deliberate in his denial, but no follow up was offered.
“Might I suggest,” Tavol spoke up, standing as he did so and approaching the windows looking out, “a few hours of observation? There may be a flaw in the defence platforms that we could exploit, but I would need to observe the system in detail.”
“How much detail?” she asked.
“The longer the better.” He turned, pacing back. “I would also need numerous probes, ideally fitted with emissions packages to spoof signatures for the Vondem Rose. I wish to provoke the platforms and the defenders planetside to see what their responses look like.”
She mulled it over, glancing at both Orin and Deidrick. The human looked uninterested, but her fellow orion offered a single nod, then held his hand up with all four fingers raised. “Looks like you got four probes Tavol. Make them count.”
“I shall endeavour to do my best.”
“Good, in the meantime, I’m going to see if I can scrounge up some assistance for you Tavol.”
Five minutes later and Orelia was in the brig, which they had made more comfortable than the original klingon holding cells, and a fair bit more compartmentalised. It wouldn’t have done for their previous ‘guests’ to have started to kill each other in job lots after all. But those days were gone now, all of the slavers and murderers shipped off to the Republic of Empire, even the Federation, for sizable bounties. All of them except for one.
T’Rev, the Last Pirate King, had become Sidda’s personal guest. Something about only wanting to hand him over to the right person, along with that Betazoid jewel they’d taken from him. No doubt some stunt was in mind. But what it meant was that right now there were in fact two Vulcans aboard the ship and one of them was after all a pirate and raider of worlds in another day and age.
“I was wondering,” T’Rev said, kneeling in meditation in the middle of his cell, forced to abandon nice robes for a bright green jumpsuit, again another of Sidda’s ideas, “when you would come to see me Captain Sadovu.”
“Not her,” Orelia announced, which earned an open eye, a tilting of the head, and then he proceeded to get to his feet.
“Interesting. A new interrogator? Mistress Orelia, yes?” he asked, stepping towards the forcefield.
“I want to know how you’d go about raiding a world defended by a collection of defence platforms.”
“I would require more information to make an initial plan. May I suggest studying your target first?”
She glared at him, which didn’t seem to do anything. “When I have more data, will you help?”
“Do I have a choice?” he asked back.
He nodded in understanding, then returned to his spot, kneeling once more. “Then as it is only logical to make all efforts to continue living, I shall assist.”