Ryker brought the runabout up to the other one, to where both he and Sivol can see that the other runabout was drifting without power. Even with a sensor sweep, they could tell the craft had suffered significant damage. But luckily for them, they detected four life signs, all appeared normal, maybe slightly elevated but nevertheless, fine. So Sivol and Ryker began to beam the away team over two at a time and as Ryker went to activate the tractor beam to cease the dead runabout’s momentum, Gatia hurried to his side after she took her helmet off.
“We need to get back to the Sovereign and warn the captain!” Said Gatia.
Bazial came up to Gatia’s side with her helmet off. “That mining vessel crew compliment was suppose to be fifteen. It has two extra bodies.”
Ryker frowned and sat down immediately in the pilot seat to swing the runabout around and crank the engines to max. “The captain’s parents happen to be on that station and had came aboard to warn him that there is likely a saboteur on board. But from what you just told me, we now have two saboteurs.”
Ruby had wiggled out of his suit and left it on the deck in a bit of a mess to join Ryker by taking the Co-Pilot seat. “I just hope we get there in time.”
Ryker shook his head. “Not sure if we will. The captain and his parents went back to the station to try and locate the saboteur. But they have no idea that there are two. Which means-”
“Which means if they expose the one saboteur, the other will act.” Said Sivol.
Ryker looked over his shoulder at her. “Exactly. And we have no idea what else they may have sabotaged or rigged or anything for that matter.”
Slowly everyone had walked in and found their place that Tekarex assistant, Remar, had called. Vakai, Detom, Votreel, Tekarex and Remar stood on the catwalk just about ten feet above. Something that the guards from the Romulan Star Empire had used to keep an eye on their workers. Once they were certain that everyone had settled and were ready to listen, Vakai stepped closer to the rail and placed his hands on it.
“My name is Vakai. I am a Romulan much like most of you here. I had the fortunate fate of being taken to a Federation world when I was an infant. Thus, here I am, a Starfleet Captain of the USS Sovereign. With my freedom, I was able to build a better life for myself. But from how governments like the Free States and the now collapsed Star Empire treat their people, you did not have that chance. Until now. With the Star Empire gone, the leader of this provisional government in this sector, has given every single one of you a chance to build a better future and a better life for yourselves. The provisional government had multiple options to choose from to call for help. They had the Free States and the Republic. Or the Klingons. But the leader of the provisional government chose to contact the Federation and as such, Starfleet has sent help.” While he spoke, he and his parents scanned the room with their eyes in hopes to spot the saboteur.
Vakai licked his lips. “I know some of you still hold a grudge against Starfleet. I know some of you are still upset with Starfleet. It was the same on our side. The attack on Mars. Well, let’s just say that neither of us were in a good state of mind over the loss both our people had suffered. But we are here to make it right. Your administrator has explained the malfunctions that you are all experiencing. My teams of engineers should have already beamed over and began to work on fixing your machines and equipment. If they cannot be fixed, we have industrial replicators on board to replace what needs to be replaced. We are here to help you bring this station back to full power and full production. And to further prove that we are here only to help,” He gestured with his arm outstretched towards a group of his engineers. “Those food replicators should be coming online very soon. Your administrator was kind enough to give us a menu of all kinds of food that every single one of you has expressed to your administrator. You no longer will have to eat the slop that the Star Empire had once fed you. You can now eat whatever you desire.” Then Vakai’s eyes locked onto one Romulan. The look in their eyes and the glare that they gave to Vakai was a clear indication. And he was not the only one who noticed.
Votreel had stepped close and whispered to him. “That’s him. I’m certain of it. I even recognize his face.”
Detom was next. “Be careful. He was a student under Soldar.” He whispered.
The moment the Romulan realized he had been spotted, he began to run for the exit.
Vakai grabbed the lower rail and slipped right in between to drop down to the deck. Once he had landed, he took off chasing after the Romulan, other’s having expressed their concern loudly about the sudden situation. But all Vakai cared about at that moment was catching the saboteur. Plus he knew his parents or the Administrator will be able to calm them and answer their questions.
The Romulan made a quick turn at an intersection until the corridor opened up to a catwalk to a large room full of carts and mining tools. The Romulan got half way before he leaned back and dropped down just so he could grab the one of the railing posts and slip right in between the grates and the lowest rail. There were some stacked crates just below him that he landed on top of and continued to drop down one by one until he was on the carved floor. He ran into a cavern, likely carved by a driller to reach the rich minerals. The Romulan took one look over his shoulder to see that the Romulan Starfleet Captain was still hot on his tail. He needed to to lose him.
The Romulan came up to fork in his path and took the left path towards an open chamber full of machinery with pipes snacked around all over the room. It required some navigation but for one who was in a hurry, he picked what openings there were to leap through. First he went head first with his arms stretched out over his head. They were used more to roll forward back onto his feet than to absorb the impact into the carved floor of the asteroid. Then he grabbed a lone pipe to swing towards another opening, this time feet first as he slipped through after he let go of that pipe. He landed on his feet and did one more leap head first through another opening, just to repeat the same recovery he did the first time. Moment he was back on his feet, he used the momentum to get back to his running pace.
That is until he entered a corridor with two directions from the room he was in, left or right. Unfortunately for him, he wouldn’t have the chance to decide as Vakai came out from the left of the corridor and tackled the Romulan to the ground. While the Romulan was still in shock from the surprise of Vakai’s appearance, Vakai rolled the man over onto his stomach and grabbed both his arms just to pin them against his back. Vakai then scooted up and sat on those hands to keep them pinned against his back as he tapped his badge. “Vakai to Maya.” He said between breathes.
“Track my location…and bring the cuffs.” Vakai then patted the man’s back. “Whew. That was fun.”
The Romulan groaned in pain and growled into the floor. “You think you have won, traitor?! You have only signed everyone’s fate! And I will die proudly for I have served my purpose an fulfilled my duty!”
“Vakai!” Votreel’s voice echoed around him. “A Romulan shuttle just decloaked. It’s heading straight for the sun!”
Vakai tapped his badge. “Vakai to Sovereign. Can you catch it?”
Ward from the bridge answered, “Negative, captain! I don’t know what that shuttle did but as soon as it decloaked, it hit us with some sort of energy pulse. It has knocked out our weapons, tractor beams and our engines. Something else, captain. Sensors detected trilithium, tekasite and protomatter in the shuttle. Sir, they’re going to force the sun to go supernova!”
“Contact Ryker’s runabout! Tell him to intercept and stop that shuttle!” Vakai ordered.
Ryker watched as the asteroids from the asteroid belt grew as they got closer. His sensors even began to pick up the Sovereign and the mining station. He looked at everyone, all those who were in an EV suit had slipped out of them and now sat at stations. “All right. Lane, get me the Sovereign.”
“Aye, sir.” Said Lane as he worked the comms station where he selected the Sovereign, inputted a few more commands and made a connection. “Away team to Sovereign, do you read?” All they heard was static at the end of it so Lane repeated once more until he was cut off.
“Sovereign to…-ay team. Rom-…-tlecraft headi-…-sun. It has a-…….-nova!” Came Ward’s voice.
Ryker immediately changed course and now everyone could see that he was heading for the sun. “Everyone hang on! We’re going to warp!” He pressed a button and the seat straps automatically wrapped around everyone in a seat and secured them in.
“You understood that message?” Lane asked.
“Sun. Nova. That’s all we need to know. Right, Commander?” Ruby asked.
“Damn right. Here we go!” He pushed the warp dial up to two and pressed the engage button that propelled them to warp velocities. “Get that tractor beam ready!”
“Powered and primed!” Said Ruby as he stared at the sensors, ready to look for that craft.
Ryker then disengaged the warp drive and the runabout dropped back to normal space, only to have the sun rush towards them at incredible speeds. “Shields!” Ryker ordered, to which Ruby complied. Ryker adjusted the controls, brought the nose of the runabout up as they plunged closer and closer to the sun’s corona. Once he was confident with the angle he has, he punched the impulse to maximum just in the nick of time to bring them out, avoiding that deadly crash.
“There it is!” Gatia pointed.
“Get it!” Ryker nearly shouted.
“Not in range!” Ruby replied and then a warning started to blare on their panels. “Shit! He deployed it!”
“Forget the craft, tractor the bomb!” Ryker told him.
“Wouldn’t that destabilize it and cause it to explode immediately?” Ruby asked.
“Set the tractor beam to repel and hit it!” Ryker told him.
Bazial was already on it with the tractor beam settings before Ryker told Ruby. “Set. Fire, Ensign, one second burst!”
Ruby targeted and hit the bomb with the tractor beam, which with the settings it was in now, launched the bomb away from the sun. “Do I shoot it?”
“Not yet! If it is the type of bomb I’m thinking, it needs distance.” Ryker told him as he watched the distance meter tracking the bomb climb. “Come on, come on.”
“The Romulan shuttle! It’s going for the bomb!” Gatia pointed.
“Fire warning shots, make them think we will detonate it if they get any closer!” Ryker told him.
With the phasers powered up, Ruby fired a couple shots just a hairs breath away from the bomb.
“Jesus, you almost hit it!” Lane complained.
“Yeah but it scared the Romulan off! Look, they’re turning around!” Ruby pointed.
Ryker now was tracking the Romulan craft’s distance to the bomb. Once the numbers hit the mark he wanted, he looked to Ruby. “Fire! Quick before the sun’s gravity pulls that bomb back in!”
Ruby targeted the bomb and pressed the fire button, which send a phaser beam towards the bomb and connected. In an instant the bomb exploded and the shock wave was enough to rattle the deck beneath them but not enough to cause any harm to the sun. At least, to Ryker, he didn’t want to take any chances.
Ryker now had changed their course to intercept the Romulan craft and they gained on them real quick. In a small moment, a few phaser volleys and the Romulan craft was disabled. This allowed Ryker to bring the runabout up alongside it, with two officers, staggered so they were not in the line of fire of each other, aimed their sidearms at the transporter as they beamed the one single life sign over. Who they arrested though, was a surprise.
Vakai put the Romulan saboteur into the chair and patted his head. “Good boy.” He smirked before he looked at the administrator. “Well, Tekarex. You have your saboteur.”
“What about our sun? Did your people stop the Romulan shuttlecraft in time?” Tekarex asked.
Vakai looked at the Romulan saboteur and chuckled. “I believe we have. You see, the bomb they planned to use would have had that sun go supernova in seconds. No one would of survived. There wouldn’t even be enough time for my ship to escape the asteroid belt and go to warp to escape.” Vakai then looked at Tekarex. “And the fact that our Romulan prisoner here is not talking, pretty much tells me that his buddy failed to complete the mission.”
“Ryker to Vakai.” Came Ryker’s voice from his commbadge.
Vakai smiled. “Ah. There’s my first officer now.” Vakai tapped his badge. “Go ahead, Ryker.”
“We stopped the bomb from reaching the sun. And we have the other saboteur. I think he might be someone’s friend.” Said Ryker and in a split moment, three columns of light appeared as three individuals beamed in. The two at each side of their prisoner was Lieutenant Gatia and Ensign Ruby. Their prisoner…was Remar, Reman friend of Tekarex.
Tekarex slowly approached Remar. “Why?”
Vakai raised his hand to stop Tekarex and then extended his hand over to Gatia for her tricorder. When she gave it to him, he opened it up and began to modify some settings before he ran a scan on Remar. Once the results came in, he showed it to Tekarex. “I’m afraid he is not your friend.”
Tekarex took the tricorder and looked at the readings closer. Only then did he realize why his friend would betray his people. “You’re a Romulan?”
“Surgically altered. Very good too.” Vakai took the tricorder back and showed it to the Remar imposter. “I know some methods. The Tal’Shiar are good, very good, but they cannot cover it up completely. Even down to the genetic code, you’re still Romulan. No matter how much they change you.”
Remar imposter lunged out at Vakai but Gatia and Ruby held him back by his arms. “You know nothing! You know nothing, captain! And soon, our supreme commander Soldar will have his revenge!” The Reman imposter then moved his tongue to the fake tooth to push it out and bite into it but he then realized it was not there. His eyes widened as he looked at Vakai even harder.
Vakai chuckled. “Yeah. I took his too.” He gestured at the Romulan saboteur with his thumb. “You both are going straight to Starfleet Intelligence and going to have a lot of fun there.” Vakai made a gesture and both Romulan prisoners were taken away.
“Their acts happened here. In my system. A system owned by the provisional government. They should be questioned there.” Tekarex argued.
Vakai raised his hand. “I know. It’s only fair that Starfleet gets some information as well. Fact that we found them and captured them for you. And stopped them from destroying your station and then stopped them from destroying the whole system. But yes, they will be turned over to your government.”
Tekarex nodded his head. “Fine.” He paused for a moment then extended out his hand to Vakai. “I owe you an apology.”
Vakai smiled and took Tekarex’s hand in a firm hand shake. “No apology necessary. So how about that dinner?”
Tekarex took his hand back with a smile. “Now that you mention it. I am rather hungry.”
Vakai smile grew and he tapped his badge. “Vakai to Ward. I hope those reservations are in order.”
“I thought we be leaving, sir?” Ward asked.
“It was your idea, commander. Remember?” Vakai asked with his brows raised.
“Of course, captain. Just finishing the last touches.” Ward corrected.
“Don’t be too long. Our guests are getting a little peckish. Vakai out.” Vakai then chuckled. “So. About your leader of the provisional government. How much do you know about him?”
“Well…” Tekarex began.
With the toolkit in hand, Mizu approached the maintenance hatch and began to enter the sequence that she was given by lead engineer on duty. As soon as she heard the latch release, she grabbed the hand and began to pull the hatch open when she heard her name from a familiar voice. Ruby. Mizu sighed and turned to look at him as he came to a stop in front of her. “I’m busy, Ruby.”
“I know, just hear me out.” Ruby waited until she gestured him to go on. “Only reason I was upset was because I was concerned about our friendship. We’ve always discussed about what we wanted and when we were going to do things. It’s what got us through the academy together. So I was just worried that I had done something that offended you and you didn’t tell me that you wanted to start advancing because…well…because you no longer wanted to be my friend.”
Mizu sighed and then rubbed the bridge of her nose as she processed what he said before she took her hand from her nose and placed it on his shoulder. “It’s not you. I just…one day…woke up and wanted to move on. So I went straight to my shift lead and expressed my interest. I’ve been putting in so many hours, I was just tired and exhausted and I had no time nor the capacity to deal with your emotions that day. But it’s quite alright, okay?”
“So we’re still friends?” Ruby asked.
She smiled at him. “Of course.”
Ruby smiled. “Alright! I’ll then just go and see about asking for more work too! I can’t let you get too much of a lead on me!” He told her with a grin and then took off.
Mizu shook her head before she pulled that hatch open and began to crawl through. Over the course of her time, she would be crawling through the jefferies, reaching the junctions she was assigned to to run diagnostics and make the necessary adjustments. Or fixes if needed, which she needed approval for. Luckily all she had was just minor adjustments to make and thus moved on to the next junction and the next. She would be in there for several hours and then she would reach a junction here she would began access the display screen and run some diagnostics. But at the same time, she pulled out a device from her tool kit, brought it up behind the display and attached it to the command processor for that junction. For a split second, Romulan letters skimmed over the screen before it returned to normal. Once the diagnostics were complete, it showed that nothing was out of the ordinary and thus, Mizu pressed on….