“Report,” Koteb languidly stated as he stepped onto the bridge of the IRW Implacable. He’d worn this best-tailored uniform for the day’s festivities, seeing as how by all rights he’d be setting foot on his homeworld as its liberating hero, freeing it from a traitorous regime and returning it to the glory of the Empire.
“Rator’s Pride and Admiral Ketterac have both signalled they are ready to commence operations,” his operations officer stated. The man was barely competent in Koteb’s opinion, but one had to make do where one had to. The man had insisted on low power signals or waiting for optimal moments to signal the other cloaked ships, versus simply signalling when he was told to.
As if Starfleet could pick them up, or their communications under cloak! It was laughable!
All three ships sat under cloak behind the largest moon of the next planet out from Daloon, its orbital positioning currently putting them in favourable strike range of the planet by a mere matter of coincidence. Like his own Implacable, Rator’s Pride was an older but still serviceable D’deridex-class warbird, both having seen major refits just after the Dominion War. Admiral Ketterac however was one of the newer Valdore-class, which he wasn’t a fan of, but had to admit served their purposes. They lacked the double hull, the imposing mass, the gravitas that his own ship possessed, but their speed and manoeuvrability complemented the stalwart juggernauts that were the D’deridex-class.
“And have we heard back from Uhlan Kavos?” he asked as he sat himself down in his command chair, the seat having never been occupied by anyone but himself since he assumed command of the ship. Why would he let his executive officer sit where the commander of the ship rightfully sat? The young woman had only made that mistake once.
His continued use of the Marik Kavos’ official rank when not talking with the man directly was petty, he knew, but proper as well. Kavos self-promoted himself to Major, and might even get that promotion once Koteb was installed as governor of Daloon, but until then he was just an uhlan, nothing more or less. Particularly useful yes, but beneath his worst-performing centurion.
“Personnel are standing by to seize the PDS control centre as well as a few transport hubs. He reports troops standing by to beam into the area surrounding the People’s Assembly and make a push on it and Government House to begin making arrests.” His ops officer then stepped forward to present a display pad to him with the original message content.
He mulled the report over, even read Kavo’s response, then waved the man away. “Very well. Signal the others, we’re moving in. Helm, take us to high Daloon orbit, just outside of the Starfleet battlecruiser’s optimal weapons range, one quarter impulse power.”
“I didn’t think Frent would have been the one to get the democrats to actually show,” Tikva said to Pam with a whisper. They both stood before the Speaker’s chair in the Assembly Hall watching the procession of representatives filing in for the first day of debates.
She’d met with the leader of the Senate Traditionalist, an older statesman whose conservative streak was as wide as could be expected, but more because he saw the might and majesty of the Romulan Star Empire through rose-tinted glasses. If the Romulan people had been so successful for so long, it had been because of a firm and stable government they should return to. He had arrived with the first lot, said nice things to her before the cameras, then taken his rather prominent seat in the first rank, clearly intending to speak.
Then a rather nervous-looking Representative Cretal arrived with her people. They spread themselves around the room, eyes glancing everywhere, checking everything. They were spooked, she could feel it, but couldn’t fault them. Security had done what they could do here, sweeping the building twice, limiting what people could and couldn’t bring with them. Cretal had confided with Frent that it had to be one of her people who had brought the bomb, but so far no one fit the bill and investigations were ongoing. Cretal wanted to avoid a witch hunt, everyone did in fact, but without much evidence to go on, it might become inevitable to find the bomber.
Noticeably absent however were Representative Kavos and his people, citing a lack of trust in the proceedings and security to warrant his appearance. That had sent alarm bells off from Public Order, to the Daloon Garrison, the Assembly’s own guards and even her own people, but there had been nothing for it but to proceed. Perhaps an uninterrupted day would force Kavos to the debate, or perhaps he’d just marginalise his position with obstinate behaviour and become politically irrelevant.
“Frent can be persuasive when she wants to be,” Pam said. “And my tailor still does a fine job I see.”
Tikva couldn’t help but smile at that, looking down at her own body, holding her arms out to admire the Romulan-style robes she wore. Pamisa’s tailor had provided her with no less than four sets of robes, two traditional style and two which she could wear over her uniform with barely her collar presenting itself. It was her preferred style she was wearing one today, the dark purple and greens wouldn’t have been her preferred colours, but the man had made them work. They were also more muted than the dark reds of the other robes. The only blemish to the magnificent sartorial work was her communicator that she’d moved to the outside to make it painfully obvious who she was really working for her.
“And which camp are you going to sit with today?” she asked Pam.
“I was thinking of taking that chair there,” the smaller woman said, a crooked finger rising to point at the seat which she knew would have been Kavos’ had he been present today. “Teach that uppity little child how little I think of him.”
“I’m starting to see why your people asked for an outside mediator,” she said, earning a slight chuckle from Pam. “Your honesty is appreciated, as has been your guidance these last few days.”
“You’re no politician, not even a staffer in my experience,” Pam said. “But you’re a quick study. And an outside source of fresh air that this body needs in these times.” She patted Tikva on the lower arm. “I look forward to the debates and how you keep us all in line.”
“Did you know there’s a seldom-used clause in the People’s Charter that allows the Speaker, during special debates, to suspend the normal parliamentary rules and impose another set of rules?” she asked Pam, seeing the woman’s confident mask crack slightly. Like a master who was being confronted with a student who had found a workaround and desperately trying to think of a way to restore the proper order of the universe. “I wonder how many here are familiar with Tellarite debating rules?”
Ch’tkk’va stood in the main foyer of the People’s Assembly with the Assembly’s guard captain, a Sub-Commander Cah, looking out past the large pillars to the street beyond. Across that wide avenue sat Government House, just visible past a line of trees and the House’s gardens. Both of them hadn’t said a thing since the debate started, but Cah had at least accepted that Ch’tkk’va and their one other Starfleet security were going to be present in the foyer while the captain was in session.
“Transporter inhibitor is online,” an uhlan reported after approaching and a wonderfully executed hell pop and salute.
“Return to your post,” Cah had responded, not even looking at his inferior.
“To prevent someone beaming in while the Assembly is in session?” Ch’tkk’va asked.
“And to prevent bombers from departing. No cowards today,” Cah answered. “We detected nothing, but that doesn’t mean something didn’t slip past us.”
“A reasonable precaution then.” Ch’tkk’va turned to the yeoman at their left side, the man’s red shoulders giving him away as not security, or so the hope was at least. “Inform the captain that the building is secure Lieutenant. And discretely please.”
“Aye sir,” Fightmaster responded then marched off.
“I do hope this is a failure of either of our universal translators but is that man’s family name really Combatleader?” Cah asked, the first time Ch’tkk’va had known him to not be solely about his job.
“Fight and master,” they provided in response, breaking the name up to help either translator to achieve the correct translation. “I looked it up and it apparently is a human sub-hive name. It originates with a particular hive grouping known as Germans…” And with that, they commenced explaining the name to Cah. Something had to fill in the time after all.
“Two, no three Romulan warbirds have just decloaked in high orbit.”
“Thank the Raptor those Starfleet folks got the PDS online. Signal Atlantis and let them know we got their backs. Bring the PDS online and begin getting targeting solutions on all enemy ships.”
The control centre for the Daloon PDS was a term interchangeable between the entire building responsible for coordinating a planetary defence grid as well as the actual room responsible for calling the shots. The building above ground was a hardened bunker designed to take a beating and keep functioning but mainly served as office and storage space. The true facility sat underground, even further protected. Subspace communication equipment didn’t care about the density of a planet, it just needed protection. The computers and control centre could have been anywhere as well, as long as they could talk to the platforms in orbit, but they sat beneath the bunker and above the antennas built into the ground below.
“And someone get me Commander Frent as well,” the PDS commander said as he looked up to the large display across one wall, taking in the scene before him. “And Sub-Commander Cah at the Assembly.”
“I’m afraid,” a voice said behind as a disruptor barrel was pushed between his shoulder blades, “that won’t be happening.”
Across the control room two other people had stood up with a weapon in hand. They were outnumbered nearly five to one, but a weapon was a good equaliser after all.
“No one is going to make any further moves unless we say so, understand?” One of the others in amongst the operators asked, a few heads nodding in understanding.
“Give us command of the system if you value your life,” the man behind the PDS commander said.
“Computer,” he said aloud, feeling the disruptor pressed against him some more to dissuade him from any foolish action. “Command transfer protocol,” he waited for a chirp from the computer as it processed his request.
“Command transfer protocol not identified. Please dictate which protocol,” the computer calmly said.
“Frent One,” the man said, then spun with the intent of slamming his fist into his attacker. He saw others in the room respond to his choice of words and charge the others. It was the last thing he saw of them as the blast from behind took him before he was even a quarter of the way through his turn.
He lost all feeling, knew he was dying, dead even, as he slumped over his console. But then he saw the computer monitors in the room start to wink out, screens going blank, smoke rising from a handful of computer banks. Green flashes of disruptor fire cut down his fellows, good men and women all, but in their deaths, they denied whoever these people were the Daloon PDS.
“Commander, three Romulan ships just decloaked off our port aft,” Adelinde said from behind him and Mac turned to look up and over his shoulder at her. Her face was deadly serious and it was all he needed to see to know this wasn’t some joke. Though when on duty he was pretty confident Adeline was allergic to jokes.
“Red alert,” he said calmly and immediately the lighting on the bridge changed, klaxons started to blare and Atlantis made ready for combat. His own mental image of people running through the ship, securing compartments, and making their way to damage control stations or triage stations was completely the opposite of the cool, calm nature of the bridge.
“Daloon PDS started scanning the enemy ships but it’s just gone down,” Samantha Michaels said from Ops. “The entire PDS has just stopped working.”
“What?” he asked for clarification.
“Incoming hail,” Adelinde stated before a response could come from Michaels. “It’s from the Implacable.”
He was immediately greeted with a scene repeating from a few days ago, this time though Koteb seemed far more confident, far more relaxed. Likely because he had friends this time with him. Bullies always seemed happier with backup. “Intruding Starfleet vessel,” Koteb said, with a slight wave of his hand as if to convey ‘you lot’ like some lazy noble of old, “you are hereby ordered to lower your shields and surrender your vessel to the might of the Romulan Star Empire, or face your imminent destruction. And I do so hope you choose the latter.”