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Part of SS Vondem Rose: Killing Strangers

Killing Strangers – 20

Avalon System
April 2401
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It had taken another few days to iron out an agreement with this so-called Deputy Director. But she’d been accorded comfier accommodations, even freedom of movement. She’d reached out to Na’roq, Gaeda and Orelia, informing them of her immediate plans. Someone had to bring in Shreln and they all agreed she’d do a better job of it than Starfleet. Familiarity, if separated by a decade and a half, did go some way. And the Sidda Charm couldn’t hurt either.

Na’roq already had business continuity plans in place, deals that just needed signing to adjust Totally Legitimate Salvage Operations management structure. Everyone had been a little shocked when the Ferengi woman hadn’t suggested she take over running things, not that she wasn’t already realistically, but her reasoning had been sound enough. A Ferengi CEO might set some people off, but a Ferengi CFO was just par for the course. And it was always better to be the power behind the throne, than on it.

She’d told Orelia to ignore her grandmother, to chart her own life, free of that bullshit. She wasn’t Sidda’s protector anymore, but her own person. Only time would tell if that advice had been accepted.

To Gaeda she simply told him good luck. And to keep her ship in one piece. There were light-hearted arguments over whose ship it was these days until Na’roq weighed in with the actual ownership numbers. He promised no trips to the Delta Quadrant or deals with shady Ferengi mining consortiums. The Rose had built up a name as a legitimate merchant vessel delivering cargo to dangerous locations safely and he’d keep to it. And the occasional bit of side business to keep things interesting.

Putting Gaeda and Orelia in co-command of the Rose was going to make for an interesting dynamic and frankly, she was glad she wouldn’t be there. A call from Kevak, short and sweet, where he’d promised to keep an eye on the kids and only crack skulls when needed. Revin had then taken up the majority of the call, asking for clarification on several recipes she’d gotten from the old Klingon to which he was more than willing to indulge. Never, she learned, interrupt a Romulan and a Klingon discussing pastry recipes. It does not end well.

But then deals were agreed upon, signed, and efforts behind the scenes were started. Machinations played out, and paperwork was more than likely forged and entered into records. It took a couple of weeks for things to finally settle down and for Sudari-Kravchik to give her orders. No doubt Operations and Intelligence were playing a careful tango with each other, favours traded here and there. She wasn’t under any doubt she was going to end up owing this Fleet Captain Sudari-Kravchik for years to come, if not the rest of her life.

Was it worth it, just to get back into uniform?

Was it worth it to chase a childhood dream?

She didn’t know. And that actually scared her.

She’d not followed up on the fallout of T’Rev’s people leaking information about her past. Maybe they had bought the story she’d fed to Ardot, about how she’d killed Gavalore and Manfred, despite leaving the former a broken man in exile on a ball of dirt. The latter was at least true. Maybe they had kept their word, honour amongst thieves and all that. Or maybe it just hadn’t reached her just yet.

But her old life, just by being here, just by wearing the red-shouldered uniform she wore now, was over.

“The collar is too tight,” Sidda muttered, once more adjusting the turtleneck collar, pulling at it with a hooked finger.

“No, it isn’t,” Revin chided, standing beside her on the small shuttlecraft flight deck. Revin wore a similar enough uniform to Sidda but with no rank insignia anywhere and coloured in silver to her red. Special Services she’d answered when Sidda asked about it the first time, a deal she’d made with Sudari-Kravchik herself. “I measured three times before I entered it into the replicator.”

“Then the replicator got it wrong,” she continued, then stopped when Revin turned on her, glaring. “Fine, fine. I’ll stop worrying at it.”

“It’s just nerves boss,” Jenu Trid commented from her seat next to the pilot. “Sorry, Commander.”

“You can call me boss if you want. Would be nice to have some familiarity.”

Trid turned around in her seat to look at Sidda, then nodded her head and smiled. “Right you are boss.”

One of the conditions she’d argued for was Trid getting a clean slate, no marks or blemishes on her record. The woman was a good sort, she didn’t deserve to have a stalled career or be handled cautiously for the rest of her days by Operations concerned she might go rogue on them. What Sidda hadn’t been prepared for was to meet Trid on the concourse of Brahms Station, back in uniform and on assignment, to be informed that she’d be escorting Sidda, Commander Sadovu now, to her assignment.

The woman had practically radiated ‘I know something you don’t know’ the whole walk through that bustling, post-Frontier Day station. It had been the single most infuriating thing Trid had done to date and if not for Revin, Sidda felt she’d have likely throttled the woman. Or yelled at her at least to tell her what was going on.

Sudari-Kravchik had been adamant she wasn’t going to be getting command of a ship. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, pull on those levers of power. She would get the XO billeting on a ship though, with a captain that Fourth Fleet Intelligence had some faith in. A man with experience, who plays by the book she’d been told. But what ship, who was the captain – those details hadn’t been relayed just yet.

“Shuttlecraft Syria you are cleared to approach Slip Nineteen,” a voice suddenly came over the comms, cool and collected. The nice and reassuring voice of a flight control officer somewhere.

“Roger that,” the pilot said, equally reassuring as he brought the shuttle into a lazy curve around a construction slip that housed a ship either in the later stages of construction, rebuilding or refitting. It wasn’t clear, but unlike so many ships here currently, it had no obvious signs of battle damage.

And then they lined up on a starship in its own slipway, the rear shuttlebay opened for traffic. There were no buzzing small craft or besuited workers crawling over it. It stood out for just out un-busy it was in the busy shipyard.

“Commander Sadovu,” Trid said, as the shuttle slipped through the atmospheric forcefield and settled gently on the bay’s floor. “Welcome to the USS Republic.”

Comments

  • It has been a rollercoaster of an adventure from the very first story. Starting out with the 'Thorn' then the 'Rose' Sidda has guided or in some cases dragger her crew of misfit pirates through everything the universe has thrown at them. I have enjoyed reading every word from start to finish, and just wonder what else you have planned.

    August 27, 2023
  • Sidda as the XO of a frontier explorer? You’ve built her up through gripping stories, but they’ve hardly been Starfleet stories. It is going to be a treat to see how things turn out for our favorite green swashbuckler now that she’s got a collar with pips on it. And I’m ever curious to meet the man that’s going to be in the big chair next to her. Setting up for quite a dynamic aboard your new Connie.

    August 31, 2023