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Part of USS Resolute: The masks we wear and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

7 – In the spotlight

Resolute
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She was in her own personal nightmare. Except she wasn’t naked and there were fewer spiders. 

Talia blinked for a second or two at the big captain, then panic welled up in a hot rush. 

“Lieutenant Armstrong?” the captain prompted again, and then he smiled. 

She knew his species wasn’t telepathic, but that small smile and the little nod of his head held support and approval all wrapped around an unspoken ‘you got this’. Regardless of that, a hot rush of anger surged through her veins. Why was he doing this to her? Putting her on the spot in front of the whole bridge crew, not to mention the guy on the other ship. 

Then sense returned. She was a starfleet officer, trained for this. She could do this. She could totally do this. 

Gathering herself, she stepped forward with a smile on her face. “Greetings sir, I’m Lieutenant Talia Armstrong. It’s a pleasure to meet you. May I ask your name?”

Redbeard’s face split into a broad grin, revealing sharpened teeth. She suppressed a shudder and concentrated on her training, her intuition and the mission brief. They were here to map areas of space for signs of blood dilithium and report back to command. Nothing more. Nothing less. Oh, and stay out of the way of the Devore Imperium. From what she knew though, Redbeard definitely didn’t fit for the Imperium. 

“Oh, were are me manners? I’m Vosteth B’chan, fourth of the name, of the Ison-B’chan clan. Captain of this ship, the Tanvas” He puffed up proudly and lifted a hand to smooth down the riotous red beard covering his face. “A pleasure tae meet’cha, Lieutenant Talia Armstrong. What can we be doing for ye?”

She clasped her hands in front of her, making sure her posture and tone were friendly rather than aggressive. She totally understood why the captain had taken a step back when Voseth had reacted badly to him. You caught more flies with honey than vinegar and out here they needed to play every advantage they had. 

“We’re mostly looking for information,” she said, hoping that, given he was a miner, he didn’t see the value in information for information’s sake. “We’re interested in the blood dilithium you’re minin–”

Voseth’s face hardened. “This field is ours. If ye’re looking for some, go find yer own field to mine. But…” he shrugged. “That piffling little ship needs some major upgrades if you wanna get down to it. The ferastnite ore in these rocks, it’s tough as fecking nails. We’ve burnt out several bits and had to do two leg rebuilds just in the short time we’ve been here.”

She shook her head, giving a small chuckle. “Oh no, I think we’ll leave the mining to the experts like yourself. We’re mostly interested in how it appears to be spreading across space. Is this the first deposit you’ve found.”

“No. But I ain’t telling you where the others are. You might be pretty, but Voseth ain’t stupid.” 

She put her hand on her heart. “Oh no, I didn’t think you were. Not at all.” They weren’t going to get locations out of him so she tried a different tactic. “Do you have any telepathic crew? If so, would you mind sharing how the new dilithium is affecting them?”

Voseth’s friendly expression disappeared. 

“Telepaths? No, we ha’ no telepathic crew. Why?” He leaned forward, his dark eye filling the camera as he glared suspiciously. “Are ye Imperium spies? Are ye accusing me of harbouring telepaths?” 

Oh hell, this was going to hell in a handbasket and no mistake. 

“No, no… not at all,” she reassured him. “We’re nothing to do with the Imperium and definitely not spies. We’re just interested in information, that’s all.”

“We’re done talkin’,” Voseth snapped. “We want naught to do with people who talk about telepaths. Stay the feck away from us and get out of our asteroid field!”

The viewscreen went blank, cutting back to a view of the Tanvas clinging to the rock in front of them. One, then another of the legs started to move, as the spiderlike ship began to pull itself free of the rock. She blinked in surprise, turning to look at the captain, but a deep voice sounded behind her. 

“Sir, they’re pulling up the drilling legs,” Allen advised. “Given the laser-equipment they’re loaded with, if they manage to latch on, they could do serious damage to our hull.”

“Could they–” She didn’t get time to finish her sentence as she turned back to the view screen. A scream ripped from her throat as the spider-ship launched itself from the asteroid. 

Directly at them…

 

Comments

  • I didn't mean it! I take it back! I don't want to see the spider ships crawling all over resolute after all. Bless her for trying, you can tell Talia isn't the most skilled, or experienced of diplomats. Perhaps Raan was wrong to dump the task on her in the first place? It made the situation worse, through no fault of her own. I wonder how our intrepid band of misfits are going to worm their way out of this one?? Can't wait to find out!

    November 13, 2022
  • You got me with that "fewer spiders" crack. Her nightmares have more than a few spiders, but this reality doesn't have NO spiders either. ha! I was rooting for Talia do work her diplomatic magic with Voseth, but he was as challenging as one would expect. Of course he would believe Starfleet was looking to rip him off, and it was clever how fear of the Devore would cause the reversal in him. Of course talk of telepaths was a step too far! I have no doubt the rest of the crew is more than prepared to step on a few spiders.

    November 17, 2022