The air itself felt tense, but the comfort of the duvet held it at bay. A warbling sound in the distance demanded attention, but the pillow served as a decent cushion against its incessant demands. Morning’s cool breath spoke of responsibilities, but the warm embrace of the bed promised another ten minutes, again and again until one was well and truly ready to face the morning.
She reached out blindly, searching, searching some more, nothing finding the comforting presence she expected. Searching the other side of the bed confirmed there was nowhere to hide there. Sleepy comfort soon gave way to sleepy wondering, as with a yawn wide enough to swallow the world, Sidda finally opened an eye to look around the room.
Bright light, morning sun streaming through windows straight onto the opposite wall, seared her eyes and she slammed them shut, a formerly searching hand coming up to shield her eyes from the light in furtherance to her eyelids.
“Revin?” she croaked out; throat dry from lack of water. “Revin?” she repeated.
The response forthcoming came in the form of a mass being dropped on the bed near her feet. Not a person sitting on the bed, but a collection of items being thrown down. The oppressive weight over her feet, that neverending warbling, some muffled utterance her way, a shake of the bed – all combined to finally shake the wool of sleep from her mind.
“Get up, somethings happening,” Revin demanded. Actually demanded. When that registered in her mind, the was a breath of fresh air, snapping her awake. Revin only made demands when it was important, or she wanted…
The sound of an explosion in the distance derailed her thoughts and she sat up, clutching the sheet to her body at least. Cool air bit at her back, but the sun dancing across her shoulders hinted it would warm up soon enough. Without further words between them, she was scrambling for her clothes, launching herself from the bed in an awkward dance to don underwear and attire.
Clearly, Revin hadn’t been as deeply asleep as she had, had obviously tried to rose her multiple times to no luck. If that siren had been closer, or louder, she’d have snapped awake, but it was just far enough to let her subconscious make it someone else’s problem. Bless Revin and her hearing though, and bless her for the kiss on the cheek she herself finished getting ready.
Stepping out they ran straight into Trid and R’tin, both waiting in the hallway outside, pressed against the wall to let people pass. Raised voices could be heard downstairs, the door to Serti’s office was open but seemingly vacant. Silently they all agreed to follow the flow downstairs to the makeshift war room.
“Oh good, you’re here,” Serti said upon Sidda saddling up beside her around the large physical map of the city. No massive display panels or holograms here, just a map, coloured tokens spread around it, a red circle with its centre based on the palace and flags with string between them to denote the ‘borders’ of territory known or suspected.
Serti had opted for a nice blue for her zone of control, an angry yellow for the Reman zones and a green for where she thought the Romulan zones were, but again, a lack of information there meant it was all a guess. Her hand shot out to point at a cluster of tokens, blue and yellow, along the eastern edges of her territory, verging on the parts of the city that would have been the resorts and accommodation for more affluent visitors. “Reman scouts have been pushing and engaging my people all morning. The siren your hearing now indicates a full-on attack, but no idea on exact numbers.”
“Could be a diversion,” R’tin spoke up. “Push somewhere, get you to send a bunch of your folks to deal with it, secondary push elsewhere.”
“Likely even,” Trid added as she looked at the map. “I see two good spots to make attacks once they think you’ve committed enough to stop this.” She walked around and pointed at two spots, about two blocks from each other, but where Serti’s token map indicated weaker numbers. “Here and here.”
“Your people are quick to offer their advice Captain,” Serti said somewhat annoyed, then waved off any protest. “But they’re right. I’m expecting to hear of attacks elsewhere soon enough. The Reman leader, a man named Yurik, sent a courier last night demanding I turn over every Romulan under my protection. Some gibberish about purging their kind from Ta’shen in line with the dictates of the revolution.” She waved a hand at a piece of paper on the table, the message written in a mix of Reman and Romulan script.
Sidda stared at it for a moment, attempting to force an answer out of it by sheer willpower alone, before shrugging and opting to let Revin or R’tin take a crack at it. “How can we help?” she finally asked.
“Get me those weapons you promised and some decent communications gear?” Serti asked hopefully. “I don’t want to have to put Yurik down, but he’s got some delusional ideas about Resak’s revolution. My people think we managed to secure more weapons than the Remans did, but more of them were fighters or workers in physical labour tasks. If this comes down to hand to hand, it’s going to get bloody.”
She mulled the situation over, thinking for a moment. “Get us back our weapons and we’ll head to those weak spots. We’ll hang back and jump where we’re needed.”
“And lose my only connection to a ship in orbit?” Serti challenged.
“I know Orelia. I know T’Ael,” she looked to R’tin and saw him nod at the mention of his sister. “My ship isn’t in orbit anymore. I don’t know precisely what they’re doing, but trust me, help is on the way. And no matter what happens, Orelia isn’t going renege on my deal.”
“I would appreciate it,” one Tracy Bourne said through near-clenched teeth, “if you would back off.”
“Excuse me?” Orelia challenged, but she did take a half-step back from the man, no longer looming over his shoulder.
“This isn’t as easy as it looks,” he said. “And I don’t need a backseat driver.”
Tavol’s plan for slipping beneath the orbital platforms had worked better than even he had expected. They’d not even needed to blow a hole in the network, the probes spoofing the Rose’s emissions drawing all the attention and allowing them to simply glide right past them all under cloak. All but three of the probes had been eliminated and those were now on pre-programmed flight paths to keep approaching and moving away all to keep the controllers on their toes.
But now they were flying a cloaked K’t’tinga-class battlecruiser through an atmosphere, under cloak, in order to sneak up on a city. And from how Bourne kept snapping at people or making demands of T’Ael, she figured it wasn’t easy, but his updating her on progress had dropped off in the last few hours and she was starting to get nervous.
“Time to T’ma’ru?” she asked, purposefully trying to keep her tone neutral and not distract Bourne any more than needed from his task.
“More than an hour, less than a day,” he snapped back. “I’m trying to navigate around storms so as not to trip the weather control network.”
She sighed, then stalked over to the Engineering console where T’Ael was seated, doing her part of this two-part dance, though her’s seemed easier than Bourne’s. “How’s it looking?”
“We’re doing,” T’Ael checked a display gauge, “three times the speed of sound. We might be invisible on most sensors, but trust me, people will hear us go overhead.”
“Anything we can do about that?” she asked.
“Not a thing,” T’Ael replied. “Physics is physics. Bourne’s been keeping to Tavol’s flightpath best he can to avoid private resorts, mines, farms – basically, anyone who can give us away. But that and weather keeps adding time.”
“And what about when we get there? How do we hold station?” She’d listened to the plan for flying through the air, knowing it was a delicate balance of speed and angle of attack, whatever that meant, but she’d missed the discussion on how to make a ship this big hover in place. There wasn’t enough anti-grav generators aboard the ship for that.
“Klingons already thought of that,” T’Ael replied, bringing up a display. “All those repulsor beam emitters on the lower hull apparently had a purpose.” With a tap, a demonstration animation came to life. Emitters came to life, pushing down on the ground and balancing the ship on the beams. Since the ground could only give so much, the ship would hover on the beams like a tripod. “Tavol already picked spots we can aim the beams at – bombed-out buildings, a refuse site, the remains of the spaceport.”
“Huh…well then, guess we wait till we arrive?” Orelia asked.
“Basically.” T’Ael pulled up a map. “Two hours, maybe three.”
“Good.” And with that she made her way over to Orin, giving the large man a nod before signing her question to him. ‘Are you ready?’
‘Torpedoes and disruptors have been dialled back for bombardment. Deidrick is ready to beam down with multiple assault teams,’ he responded. ‘I will keep this limited you understand.’
‘You and T’Ael,’ though the name was difficult in Orion Sign to get out, forcing her to spell it, ‘made it perfectly clear.’
‘Good. Then, we just have to wait until Bourne delivers us to our target.’