Part of SS Vondem Rose: In a Mirror, Lightly

In a Mirror, Lightly – 4

USS Vondem, adrift in the Velorum Nebula
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“Seriously, the brig still works?” Sidda asked out loud as she paced the cell she’d been put in all by herself. “Seriously?” she asked again, stopping to look at the one guard left to watch the brig from behind a control console.

Their one guard was pointedly ignoring his collection of prisoners, hands clasped behind his back, a stance ready to respond to any attempt to break free, or someone else entering the brig complex when they shouldn’t.

Orin had been placed in a single cell himself and the large Orion had opted to sit on the provided bench at the back, eyes closed and hands just sitting on his knees. Her dear cousin just bidding time, saving energy. Heck, he could be napping for all she could tell.

Samuel and Vlasov, as she’d finally remembered, were both in a cell together and doing much like Orin – waiting as they lounged about. Vlasov had laid claim to the bench, lying down on it, forcing Samuel to sit on the floor. Though only a few years younger than herself, both men didn’t seem perturbed to be in a cell at all, which wasn’t surprising for those under her employ.

And last were K’tah and Lern, in a cell together as well. K’tah was handling it much better than her mate Lern, who looked like he was ready to start tearing the cell apart one panel at a time. He stopped, slammed a fist into the forcefield, and then snarled at the guard before walking away from the field, sitting down next to K’tah, who whispered something to him before standing.

“Federation starships,” K’tah spoke, her words deep and rich, “tend to have many redundancies that make little sense. I guess the brig however does make some sense.” She glared at the guard, a man maybe a little older than Sidda herself, tall by almost anyone’s standard and a match in build for K’tah or Lern. “After all, wouldn’t want their prisoners getting free.”

“Yeah, save this a fucked situation,” Samuel said from his cell. “That was Orelia wasn’t it, Boss?” He too stood, hands in his jacket pockets. “Save I don’t think I’d ever even thought of the idea of Orelia in a Starfleet uniform. And she called you captain too.”

“That was weird,” Sidda said, still pacing, still thinking. She reached absentmindedly for her disruptor, just to reassure herself it was there, but the absence of it stopped her in her tracks. They’d been disarmed after the Not-Orelia had ordered her people to do so once she had concluded that the Sidda before her wasn’t her captain after all. And despite having Orin, K’tah and Lern, she’d ordered them all to comply. It was that or be stunned and dragged here by their ankles.

They’d even cracked out tricorders, removing every knife hidden on K’tah and both of Sidda’s boot knives. It was roundly unfair how proper and thorough they’d been at it while Not-Orelia had just stood and watched, then ordered them to the brig while she went to do something else.

“Fuck,” she muttered, then faced the guard once more. “You there, uniform boy, what’s your name.”

The man just stood there, looking somewhere in the middle distance, ignoring her.

“Fine, be like that. What ship is this then? Because I’ve never heard of a USS Vondem and trust me, I’ve been constantly checking.”

Still, she got no response from the man, which earned him a truly devastating glare, then a huff, then more pacing.

“So, when are you going to take this matter to the captain?”

Lieutenant Jenu Trid had pulled herself away from damage control at the request of the ship’s Executive Officer, much to the relief of the team she’d been working with, and just finished being briefed on the new arrivals aboard ship. That the Vondem had even been found by another ship was news to her, let alone boarders masquerading as their own crew had attempted to make their way to Engineering.

The repurposed lab made that Orelia was using made for a decent command centre. It was central to the majority of the ship, near enough to a major turbolift shaft that was being used to yell information up and down decks currently and had the benefit of being a few sections over from the brig where their ‘guests’ were being held currently.

Spread out on the table before the two women were a veritable collection of instruments designed for fine to gross bodily harm, from a simple straight-bladed knife to some twisted and jagged blade out of a Klingon horror story. A collection of phasers and disruptors were also set to the side, all with their power packs removed.

“Soon,” Orelia said, as she lifted one of the disruptors, which looked like it might have started life as a Klingon Defence Force weapon, but then lived a harsh existence with nary any maintenance, the normal care and attention one would expect of a Klingon weapon nowhere to be found on this weapon. “Look at this,” Orelia said, handing over the weapon in such a way to show the power selector off.

Trid, who’d been watching the camera feed from the brig, turned to look over the weapon, gently taking it to examine in the dim light of the lab, cursing the power restrictions that were plaguing the ship. “Solve all immediate problems?” she asked, turning the incredibly fine writing on the side of the weapon, in Orion mind you, into a question. That writing wasn’t original to the weapon at all, for no Klingon would ever disgrace a weapon in such a way. At least not with something so bland as ‘solve all immediate problems’ and not something like a short poem about problem-solving. “Vaporise? Klingon disruptors have a vaporise setting?”

“This one seems to,” Orelia answered. “In fact, all of these weapons do, including the phasers.” She pointed to the two phasers on the table, both of which looked like Starfleet issue from sometime in the last decade or so. “There hasn’t been a phaser with a vaporise setting since…the Cardassian Wars?”

“Sounds about right,” Trid said, setting the disruptor down carefully on the table. “Who’s was this anyway?” she asked, pointing at the weapon.

“Her’s,” Orelia said, pointing at the screen that was showing the Sidda imposter pacing in her cell.

“No, can’t be,” Trid said with disbelief, then approached the screen once more, sparing a quick glance to the others showing the other prisoners in the brig. “Apart from the clothing and the long hair, and the dyed strip that’s definitely not regulation, she looks just like the captain. Same height, same swagger, same confident look in her eyes.”

“Tricorder scan however can tell the difference.” Orelia pulled up a scan they’d taken while relieving everyone of their weapons. “Scars, evidence of broken bones, a few medical procedures Captain Sadovu hasn’t gone through – that isn’t our captain. I haven’t had Doctor Ward go do a full work-up yet, but I suspect we’ll get the full extent of the ruse then. It’s some clever surgical work I’ll grant.”

“But who would attempt to impersonate a Starfleet officer in such a hilariously bad way? Where’s the uniform after all? And why on the actual ship that the officer you’re impersonating is actually in command of?”

“And why now?” Orelia added.

“We could just try asking them,” Trid said. “Sometimes when you ask people questions they answer them you know,” Trid turned and offered Orelia a smile. “How about I go and ask them, Commander, and you can sit here and watch them?”

Stepping into the brig, Trid nodded once to Lieutenant Okpara, who afforded her the same in response as she stepped towards the cell containing the one prisoner she was interested in. Of course, her arrival had garnered the interest of everyone, but they weren’t her focus.

“Oh shit, is that Trid?” one of the humans whispered.

“Can’t be,” the other answered. “Trid wouldn’t be caught dead in a uniform.”

She stopped an arm’s length from the forcefield, the emitters arguably the brightest light source in the brig at the moment. The woman on the other side had stopped her pacing and was standing there, hands firmly in her jacket’s pockets, the leather given a slight sheen by the light but by meticulous care she guessed.

“Trid,” the Orion woman spoke finally after a few seconds of staring her down. “Gotta say, don’t love the uniform.”

“I was going to comment that your current fashion choice is ill befitting a Starfleet captain,” she replied. “I was hoping that perhaps we could cut to the heart of the matter instead of exchanging pleasantries perhaps?”

“Suits me,” the Sidda imposter replied.

“Excellent.” She smiled, glanced over the other prisoners once more, taking note of a couple of familiar faces and more than a few unfamiliar ones. “Perhaps we could start with names and why you’ve decided to board the USS Vondem?”

“Captain Sidda, SS Vondem Rose,” the Orion answered without hesitation, “here to answer a distress call and given frankly the weirdest Starfleet welcome I’ve ever been the victim of. You steal my ship’s name, you’ve got people running around with my crew’s faces, yourself included and to top it all off you throw me into the brig of a ship with limited power.”

“There was a chuckle from the two human prisoners, one of them turning away to sit back on the bench in the cell. “Tuesday,” was all he said.

“I thought Changeling imposters was a Wednesday thing?” the other said quietly.

She looked briefly at the two men, then back to the Orion. “So you’re claiming to be the captain of the SS Vondem Rose?”

Before the Orion could speak the door to the brig opened once more and a silhouetted figure in the door, supported with a walking stick and another imposing figure directly behind them, spoke up with a very familiar voice. “Captain Sidda,” the woman who just arrived said as she stepped forward, “perhaps we should speak in a more comfortable setting?” There was a pause as all the prisoners took in the woman before them, save for the Orion woman, who looked over Captain Sadovu, cocked her head to the side and smirked.

“Actually, the uniform doesn’t look half bad.”