Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 1 – What Burns in the Darkness and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Turning Point

USS Edinburgh
May 16, 2400
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USS Edinburgh – Holding Cells – 1900

“You said you wanted to talk?”  Harris sat in one of the chairs outside the holding cell, the forcefield shimmering in place.

The woman sat, picking at her fingers.  She didn’t look up but muttered, “I wanted to talk to Thasaz.”

The CO glanced back into the darkness and motioned the science chief forward to sit beside him.  “I ask again.  You said you wanted to talk?”

She glanced up and stared into the Romulan in the chair, “You gave me a lot to think about, Sub-Commander.”

Thasaz chuckled, “You at least know my former rank.  Those days are behind me, child.  My station is gone…my path follows a different heading.”

“I am called Saho.”  She bowed slightly from her seated position.  “They had their eyes and ears on you.”  She returned to picking at her hands.  “You did something to remove that capability two months ago.  They were very unhappy.”

Thasaz felt her blood chill as she thought back two months.  She gasped, “Well, that is fortuitous.  I fired Jetux for violating our processes on scientific experimentation and laboratory policy.”  She thought for a moment, “He was unusually interested in things that did not pertain to him.”  She leaned forward, “Is that why they attacked?  They feared what we were working on?”

Saho looked up, “They attacked because of what Jetux told them.  He told them you had figured them out. That you had identified them.”

A sigh from the older of the two, “He lied.”

“He was angry.  It doesn’t matter.  He’s dead.  They put him on a ship to attack these fools…they failed to destroy the Starfleet threat.  They were killed for their incompetence when they returned.”

It was the CO’s turn to feel his blood drop temperature, “All of them…the entire crew?”  Saho nodded, her hands still in her lap.  Harris leaned back, “Shit.  He turned to Thasaz, “Any idea who this might be?”

“There are too many players…high level, mid-level…to even begin to approximate who this is.  The brutality of this could be the work of any of them.”  She looked at Saho, “What do they call him?”

The young Romulan woman glanced at Thasaz, “I only know his nickname.  I…I only listened to the stories that were told by others.”  She jumped up and stood as close to the field as she dared, “They have people everywhere.  They have someone from the Tal-Shiar working with them.  I…”, she tried to find the right words, “I…know I must answer for my actions.  I must also ask for your protection if I…share this with you.”

Harris felt his science chief glance at him.  He narrowed his eyes, “What part did you have in Crewman Afya Ismael’s death?”

She flinched and took a half step back, “She’s…dead?”  A look of horror filled her face, “No…I…I only met her to get a sense of her and to model my modifications.  I…they said they would…”  Saho sighed and felt the last twenty years of life shatter in every corner of her soul.  “What have I become?”

Thasaz got up from her chair and stood at the barrier, “You became what you wanted to become Saho.”  She looked back at her CO who nodded, “I’ve lived my life believing anyone can change.  Sometimes I’ve been wrong.  Yet…those times where my gamble paid off…the hope of a restored soul can be a beacon in the darkness.”  She put her hand up to the force field, “You can choose to change.”

Saho’s eyes had filled with tears as she stepped forward to stand inches from her.  “I am…putting my trust in you, Thasaz.  They call him The Eagle Commodore.”

Thasaz bowed her head, “Thank you Saho.  I will leave you to rest.”  The younger woman nodded and wandered back to her bed in the corner and slumped onto the mattress.  She turned to Harris, her eyes sparking the urgency of her request, “Briefing room.  Everyone.”  He gave a nod.

USS Edinburgh – Briefing Room – 1945

The command team had filtered in and as they quieted Thasaz stood.  “Our guest has given us a name. Initially, I did not recognize it, but I remembered something a few months back.  A mention of an Eagle design on some flags that were being prepared.” She tapped the console on the table and a fuzzy image of a young Romulan in dress uniform.  “His name is Patra…and the last I had heard, he was a Commander in charge of a couple of colony operations. I warn you, my information is from a few years back and our various intelligence agencies weren’t particularly free with information.  Saho provided information on his brutality which you will see in your briefing packet on your PADD.  I would estimate he has several fleets of Warbirds – mostly the older D’deridex class but given Saho’s statements regarding the rumors he was expanding his fleets, there are probably a few of the new models in his service.  We know of one of his colony operations on Larakas.  At last report, it’s a massive planet-based operation with a large military presence  along with civilian workers in mines, manufacturing, and factories.”

Kondo asked, “How many planets would you estimate he’s got in his grip?”

“It’s impossible to know. Starfleet has little information on him or his operations.  My Romulan information is outdated by a year at best.  If he followed his pattern of growth and expansion, he could have up to seven planets or colonies under his direct control.”  She gestured at the screen, “That photo is from his time in the early Romulan Star Empire – it is at least thirty years old.  He’s rarely seen and there’s nobody on the inside – Romulan or otherwise that’s been able to get an idea of his operation.”

Harris leaned forward, “The obvious question is how do we get our remaining two officers out from whatever this is.”  He looked around the table, “I’m open to suggestions.”

Okada suggested, “His weapon of choice is still out here, somewhere.  What if…we managed to capture it?  We could point it at this colony and crash every system below.  Locate our people, maybe pick this guy up a bonus, and get out before everything turns back on again.”

The security and tactical chief turned to her, “You’re forgetting the massive fleets he controls.”

The chief engineer smiled slyly, “Not if we figured out how to adapt the cloak from their weapon to our ship…and slipped both through the walls of Warbirds.” Everyone turned to stare at Okada as she shrugged, “You can reverse engineer almost everything given enough time.  It’s a thought at least.”

It was Reid’s turn to lean forward, “What if we pulled the attention of the Warbirds somewhere else.  Got them far enough away that it gave us time to do what we needed to do…and if the Chief’s adapting project works…could be something.”

Harris let their conversation continue for a moment longer, “Whatever we do, we need to move quickly.  This Patra is no doubt keeping his eyes and ears on us – we are on his side of the fence.  Chief Thasaz and Mr. Kondo – get your teams working the sensors to find this weapon.  See if there’s a way to sort out the signature from the area we scanned before.”  He turned to his engineer, “Chief – start working on scenarios and simulations based on recent Romulan cloaking technology.  If we find this thing and it’s unguarded, we’re going to need to move fast.”  He noted, “Prepare several additional backup plans and ideas – be ready to present them at tomorrow’s staff meeting at 0800  We only get one shot at this.  Dismissed.”