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Part of USS Cantabras: Family Reunion

Tea With the Enemy

Shining Hope Base, Sitera
2401
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“You look just like your mother,” Alex said flatly.

“Please, you didn’t come all this way to tell me that,” April fired back. The men that flanked her started to advance on the team, but April’s raised hand stopped them. “Wait. Commander Benson is a trained diplomat. So let’s work this out diplomatically. I think they’d be surprised to hear the truth. Hell, they might even join us.”

“Not likely,” Tani said.

“Let’s hear what she has to say,” Alex replied. “We’re at a disadvantage here. She wants to talk, let’s talk.”

“Smart move,” April said plainly. Follow me,” She turned on her heel and walked away, her guards keeping step. The team members followed behind. The group made their way through the base, with April waving off any potential attacks from guards. They finally arrived at an antechamber. Inside was a series of chairs with a serving cart nearby.

April picked up a cup and poured liquid from a steel carafe. She took a seat and breathed in the drink’s steam. “Please sit and have a drink. I do love some P’lavia tea. It’s made from berries in the south-” Noting their hesitation, she took a loud sip from the cup, “It’s not poisoned. If I wanted to kill you, I would have.” She sat it on a nearby table. “Give me more credit than that.”

Alex and Priam poured their cups. Tani sat in a chair, carefully studying April. The men sat next to Tani.

“Not one for tea?” April asked.

“I’m not one for breaking bread with terrorists,” Tani shot back.

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s liberator.” She turned to Alex, “And look at you, in a Starfleet uniform. I figured after your release, you would’ve burned that bridge and watched it drift in the river. But you always have to be the hero. You need to save the galaxy and all that.”

“Hero!?” Alex exclaimed. “I did this for you.” He pointed to the door, “I’m the only reason Starfleet isn’t marching through that door right now.”

April leaned back in her seat. “Like I said: hero. If you’re done lying to me, you should stop lying to yourself.”

“As fun as this family reunion is,” Tani cut in, “but our mission is to stop Shining Hope from destroying Sitera.”

“Stop us? Do you know what they’re doing in the felmite mines?”

“Your uncle and I have been there. The one that Shining-”

“I mean the real ones,” April cut her off. “The ones where the subjugate slaves, children Commander. Shining Hope has liberated them from the mines. Some join our cause, but most create lives elsewhere. And that’s nothing to speak of the damage they’re doing to the ecosystem.” A guard handed April a PADD, which she handed to Tani. “You’re a scientist, I don’t need to explain what those numbers mean.”

Tani studied the information. “She’s right Alex. The process they use to strip the felmite dehydrates the land. At this rate, most of Sitera will be a desert.” She paused, “Wait, how do we know this isn’t fabricated?”

“Look at the document data, it’s official. Sub General Tinal help smuggle the information out.”

“What do you intend to do here?” Alex finally spoke up.

“Wipe it all off the map, ensure they can’t continue like this.”

“There has to be another way,” Alex pleaded.

“Always the diplomat,” April smiled. “We’ve run through the scenarios, the Shining Hope-” April’s words were cut off by a shaking of the room. A brief pause and an alarm klaxon blared.

Two men rushed into the room, “They’ve found us! We have to evacuate the base!” One of the men said.

“The cannon, use the cannon!” April exclaimed and rose to her feet. Alex’s team instinctively did as well.

“Lifaeal’s bombers have taken it out,” the man said between heavy breaths.

April cursed, “Evacuate the base, we need to get out of here.”

“Just wait a minute,” Tani took a step towards April. Her guards aimed their rifles at Tani.

“I know you want to be the big Starfleet good guys. But unless you want to be buried under this mountain, we need to get out of here.”

A moment, and several shakes later, the tense standoff ended. The group left the room the way they came. A few turns later, they were in the open area with the metal gangway.

“Exit’s that way,” April said, pointing to the entrance.

“You’re coming with us!” Tani shouted over the rocking of the room.

“Perhaps another time,” April said, and her guards shot at the gangway, causing it to collapse.

“We have to get out of here Commanders,” Priam said urgently.

Tani growled in frustration and the team made their way to the exit. Outside was utter chaos; craft from both the Siterian government and Shining Hope fighting for the upper hand. While some shuttles were heading off the planet.

Cantabras to Benson, tell me you’re reading me,” Logan’s voice came over Alex’s commbadge.

Alex slapped it, “Go ahead, Carter.”

“You said to keep radio silence, but stuff is blowing up around here and-”

“It’s not any better down here,” Alex interrupted. “Get transport lock and beam us out of here.”

As the team arrived back on the Cantabras, the Red Alert warning was going off.

“So glad you could join me,” Logan chuckled wryly. “Sitera launched a major offense on the Shining Hope base. They followed us here, which isn’t entirely fair.”

“Everyone to stations,” Alex ordered.

“Carter, find which evacuating ship April is on,” Tani said.

“Scanning,” Logan said, looking at his console. “I found it Commander.”

“Target her engines and fire.”

“Belay that order Ensign,” Alex said.

Logan turned around and looked between Alex and Tani.

“April’s ship is going to warp,” Priam reported.

A tense moment between Alex, Tani, and Logan. Finally, Tani slammed her hands on her console, “Logan, take the damn shot!

“You take that shot and I’ll personally throw you out of the airlock,” Alex said lethally. “And that goes for anyone else.” He said, scanning the Bridge.

The four of them watched the viewscreen as the warp nacelles on April’s ship powered up, and it disappeared. 

“April’s ship has gone to warp,” Priam reported.

“Thanks, Pri, we got it,” Logan said.

“Stand down from Red Alert. Contact Governor Lifaeal and inform him that April Seidman escaped,” Alex said to Logan.

“Because we let her,” Tani said with disgust.

“Trust me, he won’t care,” Alex said and left the Bridge.

Comments

  • OKAY of course April has a good reason for what she's doing, she's Benson's family after all. And any official who burbles as much as Lifael was surely hiding something. The joy of having a small, focused crew like this is that you can have moments like the XO directly contradicting the CO right in his face and let it play out personally, instead of having to worry about the broader consequences right away. I'm glad Veva and Benson met in the middle at the start of the mission, but I'm also glad it's shaken up again and not coming too easily!

    May 28, 2023