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Part of USS Xenius: From Romulus with Love and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Rendezvous

Velorum Sector
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Captain’s Log: It’s been three weeks since the Leda entered the Velorum Sector. So far we’ve cataloged three new comets, a quasar and discovered microbial life similar to prokaryotes on an L class planet. It may be the beginning stages of animal life. We will continue to explore this sector for more spatial phenomena.

Captain Fawkes stared at the words on her computer, her official report to Starfleet. As a scientist, she enjoyed the challenge of new discoveries. She wished that was the Leda’s only goal in the sector.

Charlotte sipped at her tea, Darjeeling. Her favorite. She liked the delicate flavor. It helped her relax and concentrate. The door chimed.

“Enter.”

A Klingon entered the ready room. His expression was stoic, unreadable. He wore a baldric, a sash worn over the left shoulder, which noted his station in the great Klingon houses.

“Captain. We’ve intercepted an automated distress call from a Reman vessel. Starfleet regulations require that we investigate.”

Charlotte nodded.

“Thank you Commander Mas. I’ll be on the bridge directly.”

Tadan Mas did not move once Fawkes issued the order nor did her fidget, but his stance was one of unease.

“Is there something else?” Char asked.

“An automated signal is unusual.”

“You are correct, Commander, unless their systems are out or they are incapacitated in some other way.” Fawkes tapped on her console. “As you said, it’s regulations.”

“Sir, may I also point out that this could be a trap. With the recent upheaval in this sector, a Romulan warbird could have just as easily sent the distress message.”

“Correct again and it’s ma’am,” said Fawkes as she glanced up from her computer.

“My apologies, ma’am. I keep forgetting. Sir is regulation.”

“Well, some regulations we must obey. Others can get bent,” she said and flashed the Klingon a half smirk.

“Get … bent?” Mas asked, confused at the expression.

“It means fuck off.”

“Get … bent …” Mas repeated, a bemused smile on his lips.

Fawkes moved to the bridge. “Lt. Sun-sin set a course for the Reman ship’s location, warp factor eight. Lt. Commander Ayi, set the ship’s status to yellow alert.”

Both the helmsman and the security officer acknowledged their orders. Fawkes sat back and tapped her middle finger on her thigh. Mas noticed the tell, but said nothing.

***

Personal Log, LtJg Evelyn Sommers: Starbase Bravo has been on full alert for the past three solar days. Classes have been canceled as cadets make their way to various assignments. All available ships have been called to the Velorum Sector including the Xenius, which has been loaded with supplies, and I have the unenviable task of assuming command.  

“What?”

Rey stood in front of the warp core, her face partially washed in the glow. The replicated shielding on the power transfer conduit held perfectly, but the ship was still a junker. Her junker, until now. Ford scowled.

“But it’s my ship.”

Evelyn stiffened. The lcars console flickered on and off and the PTC warning was still on. She looked away from the flashing lights to focus on her task, one of the many tools she had gained during counseling sessions with Dr. Weld.

“I understand your concerns, Cadet Ford, but there are bigger issues at play. The Romulan Star Empire has collapsed and the Velorum Sector is in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis.”

“But it’s my ship.”

“That’s not the point, Rey,” Sommers exclaimed with a sigh. “Whether or not the ship is yours is irrelevant. Starfleet has commandeered the Xenius for this assignment.” Ev stepped close to the engineer, the flashing console be damned. “I understand that you are worried about your fiancée. I would be too, but Captain Fawkes is an exemplary commander and knows her duty. You need to trust her and understand your duty.”

The Cadet scoffed, but could prepare no rebuttal. Somers was right. The Xenius was Rey’s property, but her stubbornness had little to do with ownership of a Raven class ship. She was far more worried over her fiancée. The Cadet momentarily stared at the illuminations within the warp core. Matter and antimatter, opposing energies, mixed to traverse the vast distance of space. Rey empathized with the core. She, more than most, understood her own duality and knew it as a strength.

Ford threw up her hands. “Okay … okay, but when we rendezvous with the Leda, please let me contact Charlotte first.”

The door to engineering swished open.

“All supplies have been loaded, Lieutenant. Once we run our final diagnostic, we can get underway.”

“Thank you, Ensign. I’ll be on the bridge momentarily.”

The Romulan gave her commander a stiff nod and returned to her duties. Evelyn started for the door, but she had more bad news for Ford.

“We won’t rendezvous with the Leda. Our orders are to deliver these supplies to the Pasteur.”

Rey bolted toward the LT. Ev flinched, but stood her ground.

“I hate you!”

“I’m not here for you to like or dislike. Just do your damned jog, Cadet!”

Sommers regretted her words the second they slipped from her tongue, but there was no time to argue. The LT spun around and marched out the door. Rey balled her fists and punched the wall. Her mark left a small indentation.

***

When the USS Leda dropped out of warp, the ship’s sensors immediately detected the troubled Reman scout vessel. Still at yellow alert, Fawkes ordered the ship to stop just within range.

“Scan the ship for any damage or malfunction.”

“No signs of outer damage, but their shields are up.”

“Raise our shields now! Go to red alert.”

The interior of the bridge dimmed as the familiar red lights blared throughout the ship.

“Raising shields,” acknowledged Mas.

“Hail them. Tell them we are answering their distress call and are prepared to lend any assistance necessary, but I want a word with their Commander.”

“Aye, ma’am.” acknowledged the communications officer.

With Mas on her right side and her Security Officer Ayi on her left, Fawkes waited for a reply. None came.

Fawkes sat on the edge of her seat, studying the Reman vessel. She wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but something was off.

The communication’s officer swiveled around in his seat. “Captain, I’m getting a message from their bridge. Their Commander wishes to speak to you in private.”

“Send it to my ready room. Hold at red alert. Mas, you have the con.”

***

Evelyn was used to a creaky bulkhead on ship upon takeoff. During her tour on board the Valkyrie, each time the ship entered the atmosphere, the vessel would vibrate to the returning pressure. The Xenius was another matter. Even in the vacuum of space, the ship rattled. Loudly, in some areas. She never knew if a loud bang from below was misaligned equipment, Rey blowing off steam or the bulkhead being sheared off. For Lieutenant Junior Grade Sommers, the experience was unnerving. Standing off to the side of Ensign Mira, Sommers held on to the control console, her knuckles white and shaky.

“The ship may rattle at times, but Cadet Ford is an exceptional engineer and mechanic,” stated the Romulan.

“I’m — I’m fine, Ensign. Steady as she goes.”

“Aye Lieutenant.”

Once the ship departed the Mellstoxx system, the Xenius would face its ultimate test, warp speed.

“Lay in a heading for the Pasteur’s coordinates and head out at warp four.”

“Yes sir.”

Mira tapped in the coordinates, but the system refused to respond. Feeling it was a fault in the ship’s computer systems, the ensign tried again. Perplexed, Mira immediately ran a diagnostic on the Xenius’ main heading systems.

“Rey may have rerouted a few routines. Let me give her a call and –”

“It’s not a problem with the system, sir. The navigation and helm do not respond.” Mira ran her fingers over the console, the root cause of the problem. “Navigation and helm have been rerouted through engineering.”

“Rey …” grumbled the LT. “See what you can do to override systems. Bring us to a full stop if you have to, but get control back ASAP.”

“Understood. I will attempt to override the main computer.”

Sommers bolted for the turbolift. For a moment she hesitated and wondered if she was safe within the lift. The LT knew Rey as a student. The girl was rough around the edges and sometimes reckless, but she was typically more pragmatic than most other students. Most of all, Sommers didn’t want to believe Ford would put others in danger.

“Engineering”

The lift shook, but began to move to its destination with no hindrance. Ev stopped out cautiously. A hand hovered over her phaser.

“Rey? Please tell me there’s been a malfunction.”

“Sorry, LT. Just go back to the bridge and I promise no one will get hurt.”

Evelyn heard the voice from behind her. She instinctively went for her phaser, but suddenly felt a sharp jab in her kidney. The LT quickly pivoted to find Rey holding out her own phaser.

“I’m sorry, Sommers. I really am and I don’t want to hurt anyone, least of all you, but I’ve got to get to Charlotte.”

Rey’s bottom lip trembled, but otherwise, she was a rock. The phaser was set to stun.

For the moment, Sommers felt numb. She expected some anxiety on such an old ship and maybe a call to arms from a possible enemy. Mutiny, on the hand, was way down her list. Not since the destruction of the Valkyrie had she faced such a dire situation. Ev, her hands by her side, picked at her nails and moved forward.  

“Rey, put the phaser down and release control of the ship. Go back to your duties and I’ll forget about this. Please.”

“No!” Ford shouted. “I have to get to the Doc.” The Cadet moved forward. She began to tremble. “I like you, Sommers. I mean, you’ve got a stick up your ass and all, but you’re a good person. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“And I don’t want to hurt you either.” Evelyn took a step closer. “Rey, Captain Fawkes is an exemplary officer and the Leda is a Luna class ship. Even if she were to find trouble, what could we do to help?”

“I don’t know! I just know I need to be there … if only to –”

The turbolift opened again. Mira stepped out, phaser in hand. Rey turned for an instant. Evelyn kicked the phaser out of her hand. Rey scrambled at the weapon. Mira fired. Rey spasmed for a moment and fell to the ground.

“My apologies for my late arrival, Lieutenant.”

“It’s fine, Mira.” Ev picked up the phaser and knelt next to Rey. “Go see what you can do about restoring control.”

“Acknowledged.”

Ev turned Rey over. She was unconscious, but very much alive. “Dammit, Rey.” She shook her head, knowing the girl just tossed away her career and possibly more. Sommers drug Rey across the floor to prop her up against the bulkhead. “I hesitate to say this, but we’ll need to confine her to quarters. We may need restraints.”

“Lieutenant, there is a problem.”

Ev shot up. “What is it, Ensign?”

“Cadet Ford has rigged the subspace sensors in such a way that if we were to alter course, we would initiate a systems failure cascade. Such an event would certainly  disable the ship and possibly destroy it.”

“So, we’re stuck at this heading?”

“Until I can find a solution, yes. We are.”

Sommers knelt by Ford. The girl would be out for another couple of hours. “We have a decision to make, Ensign Mira. Either we continue on this heading or we force her to fix the navigation, something I do not relish in the least.”

“Nor do I, but if Rey will not change the course voluntarily, I see no logical alternative.”

Mira worked on navigation, but Ford’s engineering skills, while impeccable, were rarely regulation. “This will take some time, Lieutenant.”

***

Fawkes sat at her computer, awaiting a response from the Reman commander. Instead, the visage of a female Romulan appeared. Charlotte was taken aback. This was supposed to be a rendezvous.

“Captain Fawkes. Permit me to introduce myself. I am Commander Di’thea. You must forgive the deception, but I needed to make your acquaintance.”

“Where is the Reman Commander? Why do you want to talk to me, specifically?”

The Romulan snapped her fingers. A Reman, somewhat worse for wear was brought to the screen, but quickly whisked off again. “He’ll live, provided we can make an agreement.”

“And what’s that?”

“Your unconditional surrender. Lower your shields and beam abroad. We have much to talk about.”

Fawkes clenched her jaw. This was not how it was supposed to go down. Her coms charmed. It was Mas.

“Captain, three Romulan warbirds have decloaked, aft, port and starboard.”

“Acknowledged, Commander Mas.” She returned to her opponent on the computer screen. “I won’t lower the shields. Not on any condition.”

Di’thea was displeased at first and remained silent for several seconds.

“A shuttle then. You. Alone.”Fawkes comed Mas. “Commander. Prepare a shuttle for launch.

Comments

  • The characters are so beautifully natural in their environment. "Get bent? - It means fuck off." Loving these types of exchanges in the dialogue. It makes me feel close to the characters and really sucked me into the story as it begin to unfold. And then when Rey goes rogue and defies all orders to take her ship back!! I was not at all prepared for that bit and just as I'm recovering things goes south at the rendezvous and we end with them surrounded by Romulans. Can't wait to see how things unfold. Waiting here on the edge of my seat now.

    August 6, 2022