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Part of USS Endeavour: All the Devils Are Here and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

I Spy…

Bridge, USS Endeavour
November 2400
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“One hour.”

Rourke gave Lieutenant Thawn a tired look before he slumped back on the command chair. “Thank you, Lieutenant.” Silence sank back on the bridge, the crew ready for their plunge to the Delta Quadrant, but listless in this final moment. Anticipation blended with boredom as minutes ticked by to a once-in-a-lifetime experience, where all they could do for now was wait.

Arys shifted at the helm. “Anyone know any good ways to pass the time?”

Lindgren’s lips curled. “I spy… with my little eye…”

“I swear, Lieutenant, if you end that with ‘s’ I’ll have you scrubbing corridors for a week,” came Valance’s surprisingly venomous interjection.

Rourke scoffed. “Sounds like someone didn’t enjoy family trips as a child.”

Thawn tilted her head at her console. “Hm.” At the curious looks, she winced. “I, uh. Nothing of note, sir. Or, rather, I don’t know if you’ll think it’s of note.”

Rourke glanced at the small display by his chair as she fired a sensor reading over, and his eyebrows hit his hairline. “You’ve got a good memory, Lieutenant.”

“It looks like they’re registered as much as anyone else for the trip, but I didn’t know if it was of concern…”

“Not,” mused Rourke, leaning back again, “in the way you think.” He looked to his left. “Lieutenant Lindgren, could you hail the Vondem Rose for me?” Next to him, Valance stiffened.

Lindgren also cocked her head. “Patching you through now, Captain,” she said, and the viewscreen shifted as the connection went through.

He stood at the sight of the other ship’s bridge. “Captain Sadovu, it’s been a while. Glad to see your ship’s serving you well.” His voice was light, the hint of a smile on his lips.

“It is!” Sidda said back with a big smile as she stood from her own command chair, only for it to be occupied by Revin who languidly draped herself in it. “Honestly, these Klingon ships, you turn the lights on,” she waved a hand at the far better lit bridge, which had been repainted in some places to break up the beige and brown, “and they aren’t as bad as people think.”

She took just a moment to admire her own bridge, before turning back to the viewscreen. “And your new ship? Comfortable? It’s a bit…ridiculous in size don’t you think?”

Rourke scoffed as he sat back down. “You’re not the only one who can treat themselves to a bit of an upgrade.” Next to him, Valance leaned in, face like stone, as if she was going to say something, but he lifted a hand to forestall any comment, eyes still on Sidda. “I’ve no authority to demand you answer to me; this is, believe it or not, a social call.” Valance’s expression suggested not all his crew shared this convivial spirit. “But what’s bringing you to the Delta Quadrant? I really can’t recommend it this time of year.”

“You know my travel agent said the same thing, but then I reminded him I do command an armed merchantman.” That polite little lie on paper not fooling anyone who could read a sensor readout. “And he reminded me some people actually engage in piracy would you believe it?” She feigned shock for a moment before letting it drop. “The Martian Thorn took on a special cargo contract and is overdue. Gaeda Ruiz, formerly Lieutenant Commander Ruiz, was commanding, so I’m off to rescue him and the rest of my people from whatever little hell the Delta Quadrant has decided to inflict on them.”

“The Martian Thorn.” Rourke scratched his beard as he thoughtfully echoed the name. “Can’t say the name’s shown up in any report I’ve read, but we’re all on a lag here. I’m sure you know the Gradin Belt’s in a hell of a state right now. I expect I can’t convince you to report the trouble to us and sit this one out?” He did not sound remotely like he anticipated this would work.

“Personal loyalties mean a lot to me Captain,” Sidda said with a shrug. She too went to sit herself back down but stopped with a polite clearing of throat behind her and a tossed look to Revin who merely smiled and waved at her. A glare and she turned back to the screen with a smile once more. “Besides, the way I hear it, you’ll have enough trouble on your hands that looking for a dozen people and an old bird-of-prey is likely a tall order. Besides, this old girl is pretty sneaky unlike the rest of the parade boats out there.”

“I don’t disagree with that,” Rourke sighed. “But reports say it’s chaotic over there. The balance of power disrupted, and dangerous pockets of space turned even more turbulent. I do urge you, Captain, to not get distracted from your rescue mission – even on the way back – from what looks like opportunity. It’ll likely be trouble you’d best stay out of.”

“With all the trouble out in the Delta Quadrant, I promise I’ll stay as much out of trouble as possible,” Sidda said with a playful smirk. “Even promise not to start any wars if I can help it. Or topple local governments and start slave revolts as well.” She took a step closer to the viewscreen. “But hey, if you need a hand or anything just give a shout will you? You’ve got a bit of the Rose aboard after all.” And with that a hand tapped at her hip where she’d have worn a sword if she’d thought to have it on the bridge.

“Yeah, thanks for that, it makes a great conversation piece when people come to my ready room,” he drawled, leaning back. “‘Where’d you get that, Rourke? Oh, just a gift from my very legitimate friends.’ But the same to you, Captain, and we’ll keep an eye out for the Thorn. After all. You’re carting some of the spirit of Endeavour yourself.” If Rourke noticed Valance looking even more like she’d sucked on a lemon, his smirk gave no sign of it.

“Alas the old Endeavour,” she remarked, holding a hand to her heart and offering a moment’s silence for the old Endeavour and Vondem Thorn. “You ever get some of that new ship of your’s blown off, let me know. My chief engineer thinks of herself as an artisan now and is collecting all sorts of scrap. We’ll end up looking like old Orion pirates and explorers before the year is out I fear.”

“I couldn’t possibly hand over even defunct Starfleet equipment; regulations would never allow it.” Rourke gave an overly-dramatic sigh. “But if there just happens to be something lost, not worth recovering, and you come across it on a salvage operation, well, then.” He gestured vaguely. “You’ve got the operating license. Though let’s not make this one a quid pro quo. I don’t think there’s enough meat on the Rose for you to lose too much of it, and my engineer would need a lot of bribing to decorate like that.”

“Oh and Rourke, when all this is over and we’re both back here sipping at spirits older then sin,” Sidda paused long enough to give Revin a signal to get out of her seat, pausing long enough to give the shorter woman a kiss on the forehead as she vacated the seat and Sidda sat herself down, crossing her legs and looking very much in command in her stolen seat, “I’ve got some cargo I’d like to unload and offer to Starfleet. One piece to soothe tensions between some minor Betazoid houses, the other to resolve the mystery of a missing Starfleet officer and the identity of a pirate king.”

Revin had worked around to the side of the chair and sat herself down on the arm of it, a hand on Sidda’s shoulder careful to display the ring there. “She won’t say it,” Revin finally spoke, earning a slight twitch from Sidda that was quickly suppressed, “but she also wants to extend an invitation.”

“You’ve piqued my interest with the cargo enough to lure me into a few traps,” Rourke drawled, leaning forward. “What did you have in mind by “invitation,” Sadovu? You better have a good chef over there.”

“A Klingon chef who considers each meal a battle and will only settle for culinary excellence,” Sidda said and earned a few muttered confirmations from her bridge crew, including a chef’s kiss from her helmsman. “And his two assistants who I wouldn’t critique without Kevak in the room first to stop them from knifing you.”

Then there was the squeeze on her shoulder and she looked up at Revin. “As for the invitation…an engagement party.” An Orion blushing was typically a little hard to spot, especially with Sidda’s darker complexion, but was just visible thanks to the better lighting on the bridge. But then she smirked, turned to the view screen and the blush was gone, the smile taking over her whole face. “What do you say, Rourke? You, me, Revin, whoever you want to bring into this mess? Make even Denobulan relationships look normal?”

“What about her?” Revin asked as she pointed to Valance on the viewscreen. “Or him?” she pointed at another officer on Rourke’s bridge. “Or maybe just us, yes?”

“Might have a point there love,” Sidda said. “Maybe we’ll keep it sensible. Sorry Rourke. Another lifetime perhaps?”

Rourke’s grin remained, though Valance’s expression had faded, perhaps into hitherto undiscovered vistas of irritation. “I reckon if we found another lifetime, you’d be the one in uniform and I’d be the one living the free life. But who knows? Stranger things have happened in the Delta Quadrant.” He sighed and shook his head. “We’re running out of time here, so I’ll leave it saying fair winds to you, Rose. Get into the exact right amount of trouble.”

“And you go about rescuing people from trouble. Once I’ve rescued my people I’ll come and rescue yours. Fair winds Endeavour,” Sidda said with a rolling wave of her hand before the channel was closed off.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Rourke mused as the viewscreen died. Sensing the tension to his right, he turned with a too-innocent smile. “What?”

Valance ground her teeth together. “They’re thieves, sir.”

He considered pressing the point. Even if he called them legitimate, there still existed what they’d stripped off his old command. To him it was a point of quiet pride that she could still be useful, a reminder of the size of the galaxy, but he understood why Valance found it an insult. This was not the place to engage in that debate or provoke her for his own amusement.

“I don’t know what you mean, Commander,” he said at last, settling back. “I cherish that gift.”

“You don’t know how to use a sword.” She looked like she’d realised he was going to tease, and had, after nearly two years together, learned how to pivot away.

Rourke waved a dismissive hand. “I’m sure when the time comes I’ll figure it out. Where were we for the last hour, people? Elsa, what letter do you spy…?”

Comments

  • Guys, that was delicious! Rourke trying to be 'cool' and hip with the local smugglers was very entertaining. As always Valance is the stable one that keeps Rourke grounded...most of the time! I'm keen to see where this new setting for Sides will take her and if the harshness of the Delta Quadrant will change her...

    November 2, 2022
  • It's the crossover of the new century we've been waiting for!! There wasn't quite as much shooting or stealing as I would have expected, but the verbal repartee was just as riveting -- and well-matched too. Even the pleasantries were more than pleasant. I was tickled by Siddha's assessment that Klingon ships are only so ugly because they're not lit properly, and similarly amused by Revin's INVITATION. And Rourke's restrained “I really can’t recommend it this time of year," was only topped by "Get into the exact right amount of trouble." Ha! Valance questioning his swordsmanship was the cherry on top.

    November 3, 2022
  • This was sooo delicious to read like MJ said. I loved the whole conversation between the two Captains. Talking a bit about misfits and history what had happened. To the point to get invited over and even a potential discussion that makes a Denobulan relationship go shy. Brilliant post!

    November 15, 2022