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Part of SS Vondem Rose: Jailhouse Rock and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Jailhouse Rock – 1

SS Vondem Rose
November 2400
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Boss, if you’re hearing this message, it’s because I’ve failed to stop it sending. You’ve given me a lot of leeway with the Martian Thorn and it’s probably gotten me into a lot of trouble this time. Cargo and destination will be attached, it’s all on the company books as well. Anyway, something’s happened and I haven’t gotten back in time to stop this message. So, uh, Boss, want to come and bail my ass out of the fire? Trid, Telin, Matt and the rest of the crew would kinda appreciate it.


“Well, would you look at all of that,” Lewis Chin said from the helm as the Vondem Rose dropped out of warp right on the edge of Starbase 38’s traffic control bubble. Just like a good, well-behaved and proper merchant ship would.

“Uh, did we miss a memo?” Sidda asked as she swung her feet from over the command chair’s arm and onto the floor proper, leaning forward slightly with both hands gripping the arms in quick order. “Five…ten…fifteen…great bird, is the Federation invading the Delta Quadrant?”

On the main viewscreen of the Klingon bridge the great mass of Starbase 38, Guardian Station, was barely visible as a sliver of grey running down one side. The rest of it was filled with a myriad of starships from freighters, mining ships, ore processors, and auxiliary ships and sitting right near the space designated for the Barzan Wormhole, sitting in formation with all of their running lights and pageantry, was the better part of a Federation Starfleet task force looking ready to lead the next transit.

That was what had everyone’s attention.

With a few keystrokes into the small armrest console of her recently acquired command chair, Sidda brought up the magnification on the Federation starships until they occupied the entire viewscreen. “Command ships, recon vessels, rapid response, patrol and escort ships. Are we walking into a war?”

“I’d have hoped we’d have heard something about such before today,” Orelia muttered from Operations. “Figure it’s probably to do with all those civvy prospectors out there,” she continued. “Ferengi, Federation, a few Klingon ships. A couple of Cardassian ships as well. Good old fashion dilithium rush.”

“Doesn’t the Federation recrystallise dilithium?” Revin asked as she worked her way unchallenged across the bridge to stand beside Sidda, resting a hand on her lover’s shoulder, then across to the back of Sidda’s neck. “It was an important technology to helping them broker peace with the Klingons by not pressing claims over a hundred years ago, yes?”

“It was an important technological breakthrough at the time, but merely a part of many other factors,” Tavol said from the recently expanded science station. The Vondem Rose wasn’t some Starfleet ship, it wasn’t interested in solving space mysteries for the sake of solving them, but sometimes you had to and so Sidda had finally conceded the point, using their last bit of R&R to have work crews expand the paltry science station into a less-paltry science station for her resident Vulcan. “While the Federation does recrystallise as much dilithium as possible, it is not a perfect process. There is also the requirement of new dilithium for new starships as well and while the Federation does have vast reserves, the news from the Delta Quadrant is of easily accessible and abundant dilithium sites. Likely this rush will precede a construction boom in coming years.”

“So many ships, semi-hostile space, be a shame if some of them had some hard times and needed to be rescued, for suitable fees of course,” Sidda said with a smirk as she sat back, rolling her head back into Revin’s hand and looking up at her. “When did you get off duty?”

“When I finished all my tasks in the galley,” the Romulan woman said. “Chelok stew with fresh gremmit bread rolls for end of shift and what I was told is a farmer’s breakfast for delta shift.”

“Hmm,” Sidda intoned, then pulled on Revin’s arm, guiding the smaller woman to sit in her lap, her legs draped over the arm that Sidda’s had been not too long ago as she’d been lounging on her own bridge. “No Republic ships I see.”

“Likely busy still trying to figure out which asteroid or comet the Empire’s holdouts are hiding behind,” Orelia tossed out. “Then again, those fancy singularity drives don’t need dilithium right?”

“Don’t look at me,” Revin said as Sidda tossed her a quick look. “Ask the twins.”

“Hey Boss,” Lewis chipped in before much more could be said. “Look what I found.”

The ship that Lewis brought up on the viewscreen wasn’t much to look at, especially in that cluster and gaggle of ships ready for transit. It had the typical Starfleet white-grey hull, with darker and lighter patches as some mad designer insisted no doubt. It had the bright running lights drawing attention to the ensign and cheatline running along the drive-hull and to other parts of importance around the ship as well. Windows were lit here and there in a haphazard fashion.

“It looks like an Excelsior- and a Sovereign-class had a love child,” Sidda said after a short moment. “So, why is this so important?”

“Because of this,” Lewis said with some flourish, waggling a finger before bringing it down hard on a single red key on his console and bringing the visual zoom in once more on a specific patch of the ship’s hull somewhere along the starboard nacelle.

Endeavour NCC-91502

“Well he’s not getting the chair back,” Sidda quipped. “I just got the height sorted,” she turned the chair around to face Ops and gave Orelia a mock glare.

“Not my fault you short people have the seat so low.”

She turned up the intensity of her glare a notch for a moment, before giving her cousin a smile and turning back to the viewscreen. “So that’s what the Obena-class looks like. I gotta say, it’s kinda big.”

“It’s not the size,” Revin whispered in her ear which earned her a slight squeeze from Sidda.

“Kinda ugly,” Orelia chipped in. “But in a solid sorta way. If it’s some sort of Excelsior-class knockoff, they hit the mark.”

“Mr Chin,” Sidda finally said after a silent moment of contemplation. “Bring us into formation with that cluster of merchantmen at zero-one-six mark zero-two-one. But put us on the side closest to the Starfleet ships. Let everyone get a good look at us. Orelia, run up all the running lights as well. Paid for that purple paint, might as well show it off.”

“And T’Ael’s artwork as well?” Orelia asked.

“Of course. Now, who wants to place bets on when someone from Starfleet calls us? And traffic control doesn’t count.”

“It’s going to take a while for the reports to be filed, lost, refiled, found, lost again and then finally delivered to the command crew,” Lewis said. “So, twenty, thirty minutes?”

“Less than ten,” Revin added.

There was a solid series of knocks from Tactical and Sidda turned to see Orin signing. ‘Five minutes.’

“Well for my money,” Sidda said, “I’m going to say give them an hour. Long enough for everyone to settle in for the,” she checked the chronometer above the viewscreen, “twelve more hours before the wormhole opens, get bored and then start calling everyone they haven’t spoken to or seen in a while.” 

“If that’s the case,” Revin whispered in Sidda’s ear for none to hear, “I want to steal you away.”

“And invoke the goddesses of bad timing?” Sidda asked quietly, then gently pushed Revin off her lap so she could get to her feet. “Orelia, you have the conn. Call me if anyone calls yes?”

“I just send the calls straight through to your quarters cousin,” Orelia replied.

“Eh, works for me, nothing to hide.”

It was only after Sidda and Revin had left that Lewis turned to face those behind him. “You wouldn’t really put any calls straight through would you?” Then he looked to Orin. “Would she?”

‘Sidda has nothing to hide,’ Orin signed in response. ‘But if calls were ever sent through to my quarters directly, I would break fingers.’

“I have to much respect for your Jessica to ever do that Orin. Sidda on the other hand I can tease.”

“After all,” Lewis said, “what’s family for?”

“Emotional trauma, neglect, professional pressure that drives you to a life of crime?” Orelia asked.

“Well of course all that,” Lewis said flippantly.

“Then teasing and having your back in a firefight I guess,” Orelia answered.

“As always,” Tavol spoke, not looking away from his own console, “stunning intellectual conversations. My paper on civilian crew interactions continues to have more material.”

“You have to let us read it one day,” Orelia said.

“I intended to,” Tavol replied. “I intend to.”

Comments

  • "Are we walking into a war?" Ha! That really made me chuckle. I enjoyed reading the Vondem Rose in such a different context, queuing up in front of the wormhole amid a literal star fleet. Not only that, sidling up to the Endeavour of all ships! For all the novelty, this new mission feels like a well-worn sweater. The rapport of the crew is warm and welcoming, even with the occasional thorns (even if one very important thorn is missing!). As you kick-off into the Blood Dilithium campaign, I was especially entranced by your economic analysis of dilithium in the Federation. You raised some excellent points I hadn't really considered. I can't wait for some starships to fall into some hard times, with Sidda a-waiting, on the other side of the wormhole.

    November 2, 2022
  • Been looking forward to this! Fast-paced and snappy as ever, it's brilliant to see the crew of the Vondem Rose about to get stuck into the Delta Quadrant insanity. Like Brendan, I really enjoyed Tavol's insight on how the Federation makes use of dilithium. It definitely adds a richness to the entire campaign, justifying events from an economic perspective. The tip of the hat to the Endeavour chair-stealing mischief was a nice touch too! For me, your writing seamlessly weaves into the wider tapestry of fleet events. In referencing familiar ships and missions-gone-by, we get a real sense of vibrancy breathing life into the BF universe! Top notch read.

    November 2, 2022
  • RIGHT let's COMMENT instead of just skimming. I love this plot, this setup, this premise - it's the perfect excuse to drag these miscreants to the Delta Quadrant. I love the idea of the Rose showing up to SB38 and being all, "Oh NO it's a Starfleet party. We misjudged." Sidda's immediate response to Endeavour of refusing to give the chair back is a perfect comedic beat. And the quick banter on the bridge after Sidda and Revin leave is nice; it's a comfortable reminder of these characters and the way they behave in quiet moments. Good stuff!

    November 3, 2022
  • Great start! I love the intro of the Vondem Rose arriving in the middle of a last scale fleet movement that way. Just from the first lines you get a sense of mischief and irreverence. Especially the ‘Just like a good, well-behaved and proper merchant ship would’, indicating that they’re anything but! I like the mention that Sidda has had her science station upgraded to a ‘less paltry’ one for her vulcan in attempt to pass off something nice as a necessity. I also liked the comment about the Endeavour’s chair. Having not read previous missions I’m assuming that it was… acquired and it’s already making me smile. The chatter and banter of the bridge crew is wonderful and amusing, highlighting the fact that this is not a starfleet crew and that they are also family. Lovely! Looking forward to reading more!

    November 10, 2022
  • What a great start, the arrival of a civilian ship into a mass Starfleet operation without notice is so well portrayed here "Are they invading DQ?" haha. I love the interaction between the crew and the comment about the Endeavor, it does make me wonder if they really stole that chair. I look forward reading more on the Rose story!

    November 12, 2022
  • FINALLY! I have gotten to the Rose, well the first post of their new adventure and it didn't disappoint. I especially enjoyed the message at the start as it sets the tone of what might happen and possibly happen. The other comments have hit on so many of the great parts of this post but I will try to add what I can! I got a kick out of it from the get-go with, "Just like a good, well-behaved and proper merchant ship would." It really just shows that they are not a proper merchant in any way. I cannot wait to see what trouble they get into in the delta quadrant!

    November 14, 2022