On board, the Kestrel runabout that flew at high warp was Commander Saren and his team. This team consisted of Subcommander Herrana Orex, the co-leader of the team; Centurion Taval N’Vek, the engineer; Centurion Hakona Parau, the doctor; Sublieutenant Rhiana Isha, the strategist; Sublieutenant Vuzhan, the Reman Commando; and finally, Uhlan Thisbe Prar, the exchange officer who will be assisting N’Vek. A seven-personnel team wasn’t necessarily small but it also wasn’t too big either. Hopefully, Saren thought, it was enough to get the job done.
“We are dropping out of war, commander.” Said Isha.
Saren stood there in the center of the cockpit with his arms folded across his chest. “Bring us to a full stop,” Saren ordered and watched as a Malem-class bird of prey decloaked in view. “That must be the scout ship.”
“It is, commander and they are hailing,” Isha reported.
“Accept the hail.” Once Saren heard the acknowledged beep from the computer, he spoke up. “This is Commander Saren. I presume that you were briefed about my arrival?”
The small monitor in the center between the pilot and co-pilot stations blinked to reveal a male Romulan. “I am Commander J’Tel, we welcome you to the Republic border. I was briefed by command and I think you are taking a big risk.”
Saren nodded his head in agreement. “Probably am, but it’s better to risk seven officers than send a whole ship like yours to investigate. Minimum losses that way, don’t you agree?”
“I would prefer no loss but we live in a dangerous time.” Said J’Tel.
“That we do. Have you detected any more activity with the warbird or in the surrounding area?” Saren asked.
J’Tel shook his head. “Negative. It has been strangely quiet over there. I know that the Imperial Naval is in shambles but to leave a warbird such as that one without salvaging or retrieving it is rather odd. A waste that, back then, would have not been tolerated.”
“I agree,” Saren replied. “What about the emissions from the ship? Have they changed at all?”
J’Tel shook his head once more. “Negative. They have remained stable since I sent the data to command.”
Saren took in a deep breath. “All right. Then I guess we will be underway.”
“Unfortunately we will not be remaining to support you. We just received orders that we are needed to patrol the border with the Klingons. Something about a possible raid from one of their houses.” Said J’Tel.
Saren frowned. “That is unfortunate. Then on behalf of my team, we wish you luck.”
J’Tel smirked. “We don’t need luck. But the gesture is appreciated and I return that gesture. Jolan-tru.” His face blinked out and the screen returned to its normal operation.
Saren sighed with a slight shake of his head. “Sublieutenant, take us to the warbird.”
“Yes, commander,” Isha replied.
Saren then turned around to take a look at everyone before he took this opportunity to refresh them. “I know that I have already briefed everyone on the mission parameters but let’s just go over them once more. That warbird there is the property of the Imperial Navy, what’s left of it. Being adrift right now brings questions and concerns. Is it a trap? We certainly do not know. Is the singularity core intact? After being adrift in space for a week…two weeks up until now, I am surprised that it hasn’t begun to destabilize. As I’m sure everyone here knows, any reactor needs to be monitored and maintained. Now, has the ship lost functionality due to no crew or damage to the computer core? No idea until we get on board.”
Saren turned to look at the warbird as it grew closer in the viewer. He licked his lips. “Our objective is to restore functionality to this warbird and claim it for the Republic. This ship will become our home if we can retrieve it. If we cannot restore functionality, then we are to scuttle it. One less ship for the Imperial Navy, the better. So once we get on board, we will split up and conduct our investigation, figure out what is broken, and hope it can be fixed.”
Saren then turned to Parau. “We should be close enough for more intensive scans. Are you able to detect any life signs on board?”
Looking at the scans that were coming in Hakona shrugged and looks a bit disappointed back at Saren “No initial detection of life at these readings. But it can be that something is interfering with the scans. I got to be on board to know for sure”
Saren sighed once again. “Then that settles it. Subcommander Orex and I will head for the bridge. Centurion N’Vek and Uhlan Prar will head for main engineering. Sublieutenant Isha and Vuzhan will go to the computer core. And doctor,” Saren looked at Parau again. “You will head for medical, see if you can access the ship’s chief medical officer logs.” He looked at everyone else. “On your way to your destinations, if you find any bodies, investigate. Conduct your scans, and figure out what happened to them. A rendezvous location will be chosen in time. Questions?”
Hearing she is going to solo this one “I will check the medical bay, maybe I learn something from the logs” Hakona nodded.
“You’re sending the doc in alone?” Vuzhan asked as he ran through checks on his plasma rifle. “I don’t know if I’d want any of the crew out there on their own if I were you, Sir,” he said to the Commander.
Herrana listened intently as she began slipping into her environmental suit, and was surprised to find herself agreeing with Vuzhan. Perhaps I managed to choose correctly, she thought, pleased with herself for finding a Reman with more developed tactical skills than many of his species.
Saren looked at Vuzhan and pondered over the opinion of the Reman. Years ago, they were just mining slaves of Remus or wherever the empire placed them. Now, they’re free, with the same rights as any other Romulan in the Republic. He never thought he’d hear a concerning comment from a Reman about a Romulan until now. “Fine. The computer core will be N’Vek and Prar’s job if they find nothing in disrepair in main engineering. Isha and Vuzhan will escort the doctor to the medical bay. Better?” Saren asked everyone.
“I am a big girl you know, but sure if you want to tag along be my guest” She winks at Vuzhan as Hakona gets ready herself.
“Wasn’t meant as an insult, ma’am,” Vuzhan said as he sat down his rifle and began assembling his EV suit. “I’d say the same about anybody going solo.”
“Well said, Reman,” Herrana said as she fidgeted with the fasteners of her suit. Vuzhan shot her a distrusting glance, then went back to getting ready.
Not noticing Vuzhan’s irritation with her, Herrana continued trying to put her suit on, only to let out a dejected sigh as she realized that she wasn’t going to make it fit. Wearing an expression between agitation and mild embarrassment, the Subcommander slipped back out of her suit and went to the shuttle’s aft to grab one a size up.
At this, Vuzhan couldn’t help but smirk. While he appreciated Herrana “trusting” him enough to recruit him for this mission, she’d been subtly but pointedly condescending to him every time they’d interacted. Seeing her brought down a peg by her EV suit was well-deserved, in his professional opinion.
Seeing the whole ordeal between them as she clicks her rifle into the correct setting and without looking at the Subcommander “Do you require some lotion to get into that suit? The design is rather …..slim” Hakona tried to keep her grin to herself. Vuzhan, meanwhile, stifled a chuckle. Taval concealed a snort with a cough.
“Oh, ha ha,” Herrana said with a heavy-lidded stare, walking back to the crew as she worked to get on the larger suit, this one managing to zip up over her stomach. During her Empire days, she’d have reprimanded a crewman for speaking about their superior in such a way… but for all she knew, this was readily accepted in the Republic. “Bring on the weight jokes if you must, Doctor. I enjoy the rare occasion of hearing new ones.”
Hakona was biting her lower lip trying to remain respectful and ….then she heard Herrana say she enjoyed it in a fashionable sarcastic way “Well the doctor advised, less snacking and more working. Then you don’t need lotion to fit that EV suit, Commander” Now Hakona knew she had to stop or the line would be crossed.
“Ah, but I have a bigger suit now, don’t I?” Herrana said with a smile and a wink, then picked up her rifle again and approached the front consoles.
“How long until we arrive, Commander?” she asked Saren. “I’d prefer we figure out if this is a suicide mission sooner rather than later.”
Taval lifted his brows before his stoic facade dropped for a half moment for him to snort and cough, hiding a laugh. He checked over his EV suit, seeing it sealed and fastened to his satisfaction. He checked over his rifle and other equipment as he cast a silent look toward Uhlan Prar. N’Vek declared, “I am ready when we arrive.”
“I am also ready, sir.” Said Uhlan Prar.
Saren smirked at the conversation as he slipped into and sealed his EV suit. “Isha, put the runabout in station keeping with the warbird. Everyone, prepare to be transported. You have your assignments, let’s get this done.”