Seated in his chair and after calling everyone to red alert, McCallister was not expecting what was now showing on the main bridge viewscreen. A single D’dreridex class warbird was flanked by two Valdore classes, all three ships were bearing down on the Odyssey now.
“Any sign of them returning our hails?” McCallister asked his operations officer that sat in front of him.
The joined Trill just shook his head. “I’m afraid not sir. We can outrun them sir.”
“I know we can, but the idea of three heavily armed Romulan ships this far in Federation space and being left to their own devices doesn’t fit with me.” McCallister stated. “Lukiz, send a message to Deep Space Five, informing them that we are dealing with a possible hostile force of Romulan ships and we require back-up.”
Jen got on with his orders while McCallister ordered his first officer to go and prepare for starship separation. She would take command of the stardrive section. The captain then ordered his wife to head down and begin procedures to launch the Aquarius, their attached escort. Both women didn’t hesitate in questioning their orders and made their way towards the turbolift. As the doors opened, Counsellor Duncan stepped out with Hunsen in tow. Allowing them to leave the cart, both women stepped aside before taking it for themselves.
McCallister turned to see his next two most senior officers enter the bridge. “Gentlemen, I think we could be finding ourselves in a tricky spot any moment now.” McCallister informed them both. “
Duncan, being the Odyssey’s third officer took over from Cambil’s duties by taking her seat to the right of the captain’s while Hunsen headed over to his engineering station.
“Their weapons are powering up.” Lenjir announced from tactical.
Without taking another second to think about it, McCallister looked down at his pilot. “T’Rani drop us out of warp and bring us about to a gradual halt.”
The Vulcan pilot complied and dropped the ship to sub-light speeds. “Reading all stop.” She announced seconds later.
Copying the Federation ship, all three Romulan ships dropped out of warp and took up flanking positions around it.
“We’re being hailed sir.” Jen declared.
Remaining seated in his chair, McCallister ordered for a channel to be open. “I am Captian James Preston McCallister of the U-S-S Odyssey. You have committed acts of aggression against the United Federation of Planets by trespassing in our territory without proper authorisation and refusing to answer our original hails. Explain your actions at once.”
The holographic viewscreen flickered to show the face of his foe. A Romulan woman wearing the uniform of an admiral in the Romulan Star Navy, except she wore the emblem belonging to the Romulan Republic. “I am Admiral T’Lauran of the warbird Veldern. I believe captain you are in possession of a ship that belongs to the Romulan Republic. Please hand this over to us.”
Keeping his poker face on, McCallister answered the older woman. Her mighty regal tone and expression made her appear more sovereign like compared to an admiral of the Romulan fleet. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Admiral T’Lauran, however you will need to be a bit more specific with your remarks. What ship do you refer to?”
“The civilian ship you acquired some days ago and are on your way to deliver to Deep Space Five.” She answered quite bluntly. “Hand it over…now.”
Realising the Troy now had some importance, the captain proceeded in delaying them as long as possible so the ship was ready to separate in a moment’s notice. He was also hoping that his message to Deep Space Five got through. They might be able to take on one of the ships, maybe two but no way could the keep up against three heavily armed warbirds. “Admiral, you seem like a reasonable woman. Someone who I assume has experienced a lot in their career. However as I said you will need to be more precise in what you want. We have several civilian ships docked inside our craft. Which one are specifically wanting back?”
Frustrated at his apparent stupidity, T’Lauran rolled her eyes. “Captain, I am a reasonable woman and true believer in the alliance between my government and the Federation. That said I will not be tested. Please handover the Kaplan F-Seventeen Speed Freighter.”
“And why would I handover a Federation ship to a Romulan ship? Even one that is meant to be my ally.” McCallister questioned. “It seems bizarre that three Romulan ships would cross over to recover such a small vessel and risk a war with the Federation.”
Before the admiral could give any more answers or clues linked to her intentions Lenjir announced the arrival of eight smaller ships. “All of them are Fenris Ranger ships sir.” The Tiburon stated. “They’re locking their weapons on the Romulan ships.”
Looking back at his adversary, McCallister stood up. “It seems Admiral T’Lauran we either open fire against one another or go our separate ways. What do you say?”
“This is not over captain!” She said frustrated and instantly closed the channel.
“The Romulans are heading off back to their space.” Duncan stated after looking at the sensors. “What in god’s name do they want with the Troy?”
“A good question Max.” McCallister said as he crossed his arms. “Let’s see if the Fenris Rangers have anything to say to us.” He ordered for another channel to be open and this time he got an answer.
A man, similar in age to him but looking more tired, appeared on the screen. “I am Arthur Duvell of the Fenris Ranger ship Silhouette. The ship you found belongs to us and unlike the Romulans we are capable of taking it back.”
Impressed with the ballsy attitude of the man talking in front of him now, McCallister kept his cool. “Mister Duvell, I do not believe we’ve met before. I would be interested to understand the claim the Fenris Rangers have on the ship. There’s no need for any threats, especially this deep in Federation space.”
“Captain I do not have time, hand over the Spectre to us or we will take it ourselves.” Duvell said.
Sitting back down, McCallister got himself comfortable. “No offence but your rag-tag fleet of older ships is no match for the Odyssey. Let us be reasonable here and find a solution that helps us all.”
Duvell ignored McCallister’s overtures and closed the channel instantly.
“Rotate the shield frequencies and increase power to them from the main deflector,” McCallister ordered. “If they can take the Troy or the Spectre or whatever it’s called I bet they will do it by accessing its automatic computer systems. If we can disrupt it enough then they may give up.”
Smirking at how well McCallister was right with his prediction, Jen stated the Fenris Ranger ships were all transmitting into subspace. “Our shields are blocking their calls for now.”
“Then let’s exercise the better part of valour. Get us out of here T’Rani, maximum slipstream velocity!” McCallister ordered. He then tapped his combadge, “All hands starship separation is suspended.”
Odyssey then moved away at high impulse from the Fenris Ranger task group before entering slipstream.
“We’re far away sir. We will be at Deep Space Five in less than hour at our current speed.” T’Rani declared.
“So the mystery of the Troy gets darker.” Duncan remarked as he took his normally chair once red alert was cancelled.
“Indeed counsellor.” McCallister remarked. Would they ever get to the bottom of it though?