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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 8: The Art of Restrained Power and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

The Art of Restrained Power – 9

Daloon IV
May 2400
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“Major, the Commander is hailing us.” 

Marik raised a hand to let the young man know he’d heard him. The Citizen’s Guard building was, at three stories, the tallest in the township of Grelk, though calling Grelk a township was a stretch that even he could acknowledge. It was more of an outlying suburb of Tama Flats, which is where his attention was right now. His office wasn’t as expansive or luxurious as those fools in office in the city, but it served him well enough.

There were no chairs for visitors unless he had them brought in. The walls were bare of anything save for military trophies from his career in the Navy, stunted as it was by their incompetence at recognising greatness. His own desk and chair were functional, not soft excesses of power that the weak assumed meant status. His only concession to colour and decoration was a single rug bearing the seal of the Star Empire on it that dominated the space in front of his desk – to remind those who came to see him who they should be loyal to.

After a moment he turned from the window and returned to his desk, a tap of a button darkening the windows to the outside world instantly, another bringing the monitor on his desk to life, bringing the visage of Commander Koteb into his office from his distant starship and office by the looks of the decor. “Commander Koteb. I had hoped we would be having this conversation in person by now,” he said, fully aware of the touch of annoyance in his voice.

“Careful Uhlan,” Koteb spoke, “least I am forced to remind you who you speak to.”

His own eyes squinted at the man at the use of his official rank before he relaxed. “I meant no disrespect, just that I was under the impression Commander that you were to have arrived by now and forced Starfleet to quit the system, leaving us to bring about the new order as arranged here on Daloon.”

“There has been a complication,” Koteb said with an idle roll of his hand. “Galae Command has suffered setbacks on the military intelligence front and our assumptions about assets that would be deployed to Daloon have been proven to be…less than ideal.”

Marik kept the impassive expression on his face as he studied this man before him who seemed utterly unphased about military intelligence not knowing at least what forces would be arrayed against them. “I can confirm the captain they sent reports she is in command of the starship Atlantis. All records indicate it is a light cruiser yes? You expect me to believe your warbird was unable to overcome a Starfleet light cruiser?”

Koteb rolled his eyes, looking up at his ceiling momentarily. “Apparently Intelligence couldn’t even get that right. Atlantis is in fact a Starfleet Sovereign-class battlecruiser. Either military intelligence is dangerously incompetent or Starfleet’s counter-intelligence forces managed deceive us rather convincingly.” A hand idly tapped at a screen, Koteb’s attention there for a moment. “Likely the latter as the ship was recently deployed to the Delta Quadrant, making verification of facts difficult.”

Marik however was more inclined to believe the former. The best military intelligence was found by engaging the enemy, not trusting sneaks and spies to deliver the enemy’s secrets to you. A good recon in force would tell you much more than years of some idiot sitting in a port watching ships come and go.

“You are gathering more ships than to oust Starfleet from the system?” he asked.

“I am awaiting reinforcements. Another D’deridex and a Valdore should be joining me within the next three days. We will then undertake a day of drills before making our way to Daloon to relieve Starfleet of one of their premier vessels and secure Daloon for the Star Empire once more.” Koteb’s smile was predatory, like a man waiting for a fight he knew he’d win.

He couldn’t help but smile as well, though perhaps not as enthusiastically as Koteb. It would be nice to be done with the civilian government, to take over as garrison commander of Daloon once Koteb established himself as military governor. Then he could finally bring about some proper order and greatness. “That may even be fortuitous timing Commander.”

“Oh?” Koteb sat forward slightly.

“Starfleet are, as a sign of good faith to the people of Daloon, making repairs and modifications to the planetary defence system. My demands for inspections have been granted and I can confirm that so far no remote control systems have been in place.” Of course, those inspectors had to abide by so many rules to do their jobs and from the reports he’d read and even listened to stated the arrogance of Starfleet officers knew no bounds as they treated his people like idiots, refusing to answer even the simplest of questions in a sensible manner.

“How does this help me? I don’t relish the idea of fighting a Starfleet battlecruiser with a planetary defence grid at its back.”

“You won’t.” Now it was he who was smiling. “I have people within the garrison and I’ve slipped a few loyalists into the repair crews working alongside Starfleet. We can be in a position to seize control of the control center when the time is right and bring the system to your side when you arrive.”

That seemed to get Koteb’s attention, the man leaning back with a wicked grin, then actually letting out a laugh. “Oh, now that is magnificent! They’ll have no choice but to surrender or die!” He laughed again. “They’ll have no choice! Either way, a prize to bring back to Rator!”

Marik shook his head as Koteb was already celebrating his victory. It wasn’t done yet but was near enough. His people were inside the building, they had weapons enough to take the facility, and there was no Starfleet security to stop them – it was as good as complete. Koteb’s three ship’s would be the hammer upon the anvil he would steal from Frent. He couldn’t help it – he let out a single chuckle, then clamped down on it.

“I need at least an hour’s notice before you arrive to ensure my people are in place,” he said, bringing Koteb back to reality.

“Yes yes, an hour. The signal to strike will be my ship’s decloaking. Surely your retirees and veterans can work with that, yes?”

“We shall.”

“Good. Then I shall call you once more in four days, Major Kavos,” Koteb emphasised his rank this time, giving him the respect he deserved. With a nod of the head from both of them, the channel closed.

Perhaps, just perhaps, he’d be able to convince Kavos to be a hands-off military governor and let him run things. Of course, once a proper order had been installed, he could arrange for the idiotic moron to suffer an accident. Galae Command would be foolish to not make him the local ruler in that instance, yes?

———-

“How’s it looking?” came Maxwell’s voice over the speakers in Velan’s helmet as the shuttlecraft neared the orbital platform.

“Not too bad actually,” he replied, then looked up from the access panel to spot the shuttle as it slowed down, just making out Maxwell at the controls. He’d been here for about four hours with two other engineers working on this one while Maxwell had been flitting between the rest, acting as a mobile troubleshooter and when needed bringing a shuttle’s sensors and power supply to bear.

“Well I’ll be,” Maxwell replied and he could make out the man smiling from here. “You called it with the control centre being totally doable by Rrr’s folks, now you’ve called it with these platforms. Any guesses on the Ferenginar Lottery?”

“Yah, the Nagus always wins. But we’ve still got a long way to go with some of these platforms actually.” He looked over to the two still working and waved a flashlight in their direction to get their direction. “Finish up and then back to our shuttle. We’ll head back to the ship and get those relays refurbished.” They both took the hint and went back to work with renewed speed – the quicker they made everything safe to leave for a while, the quicker they could be out of the EV suits.

“I’m heading back as well. Jamieson just arrived in the field with the Corfu so everyone’s still got support.” Maxwell offered a wave, then closed the comms and flew off, his shuttle quickly becoming a small spec of light as it headed for a very bright light very far off in the distance. As big as Atlantis was distances in space were bigger still.

“Hey Chief,” one of the newbies said as they both approached with toolkits in hand. “We’re done here.”

“Right then, all board,” he said pointing to the Kea, sitting a few meters away with its single door open and waiting for them.

“Another question Chief, how much longer do you think this is going to take?”

“Oh, three, four days at most,” he guessed. “Of course, I’m going to tell the captain we’ll need at least two weeks.” The knowing chuckles he got told him these two would fit right in with his engineering department.

———-

Ritihe Faler was a man whose fortunes had undergone some radical reformations in the last few weeks. He’d been an ostracised member of society, for the most part, not many people wanted to speak with him because of his political views. He abhorred the dogged determination of the Old Guard to hang on to the failing institutions or the complacency of the populace who let them claim they just wanted normality and safety to return. He championed reforms to the government and radical changes in how things Romulans traditionally governed themselves.

Decades ago he’d have been shot a dozen times over or made an example of by those in power. But he was lucky to live on Daloon. While he wanted nothing more than to see the Magistrate stripped of power and removed from office, the actual man himself he held no ill will too, for his own continued existence he recognised was because of him. He had always fought to govern his world, to manage Daloon’s affairs.

Yes, Ritihe had been visited by the Tal Shiar in his youth, or by other secretive factions seeking to silence him, but none of them ever acted because of the Magistrate’s position. This is why he advocated for a bloodless coup – to give the man as fair a deal as he’d inadvertently given him. But the rules and institutions had to go!

And so someone had done so on Rator and suddenly folks on Daloon started talking about the planet going its own way, forming its own path. Suddenly people wanted to listen to him and his ideas and concepts of a government of and for and by the people. Ideas that seemed so radical here on Daloon but which he knew and heard weren’t just a mere handful of lightyears away in the Republic. He could have fled, moved there and lived those ideals, but that would mean surrendering his fellow Daloonites to archaic institutions.

He wasn’t one of the people in the Assembly soon to deliberate with a Federation representative moderating, but he was now highly influential to them, sought after for his views and ideas. Apparently, people had been listening to him, just afraid to speak up unlike him. But with the threat of the Senate and a coherent reply gone, with the entire Velorum Sector up in revolution distracting from quiet little Daloon, people were speaking their minds.

And so he’d gone from outcast to movement leader, or at least ideological font. He’d entertained multiple representatives at a time in his home, deliberating with them, discussing ways of government with them, just as he had done tonight, the last of them having just departed and leaving an exhausted Ritihe and one other alone in his house.

“I would say,” the other figure said, stepping out of the darkened doorway that led deeper into the house, “that went well tonight.”

“I really think Representative Cretel is starting to get the idea, Del,” he said, turning to his husband with an exhausted smile on his face. “See how she had that moment of revelation when we discussed the concept of an independent judiciary and public order force?”

“I was pouring her a cup of tea at the time Rith, I kinda noticed.” Del stepped forward and gave Ritihe a hug, holding him tight for a moment, then letting him go. “Should we clean up before bed or do it all in the morning?”

He sighed, rolling his head back in exhaustion before drawing in a breath and the energy he’d need. “Do it now, then it’s done.”

“Sensible man,” Del replied, then kissed him on the cheek before moving past and into the lounge to start cleaning, which he joined in on.

It didn’t take long to sort everything out. Dishes went into the cleaner, food into a composter, cushions were fluffed back into shape and reset, furniture put back where it should be from the large circle they’d made for the gathering. They’d just about finished when he saw the glint of the padd between some cushions.

“Huh, didn’t think anyone brought a padd with them tonight,” Del said as he caught him pulling the padd out.

“Neither,” he replied. Turning it over to check the screen, hoping for a clue as to who to call to let them know he had their missing padd, he froze. The screen was active, green text bold against a black background.

Your death serves a greater cause than your life would comrade.

He had just enough time to look to Del, but not enough time to speak, before the lounge of their modest little house was consumed in fire and fury.

Comments

  • So many parts to this story, from the plans of both Koteb and Marik who have plans to get rid of Starfleet from Daloon by force. That will be interesting to see if they will be successful or not, there plan to sneak people in with the repair teams on the orbital platforms to turn them against Starfleet. Which they seemed to be currently working on, now the last part took me by surprise, and can't wait to see what kind of implications and who had done the bombing and killing of Riithe and his partner. Things are starting to heat up for the Atlantis and can't wait to see what happens next.

    June 26, 2022