“So how bad is it?” R’tin asked his sister as he came over on her request. The Engineering space aboard the Vondem Thorn wasn’t very spacious, or comfortable, or suitable for much work to be done honestly. But it was ‘functional’ in the brutalist fashion of the ship’s original builders.
“Secondary emitters are showing wear. We’ve got a discrepancy in the refresh rate now, within the limits mind you, but if it grows the cloak’s useless.” T’Ael was busy looking over the specifications for the ship’s cloaking device, which was kept in a room adjacent to main engineering, in order to protect it, but also any engineers when the device was running.
She bemoaned that fact, but understood it. Klingon cloaking technology wasn’t as sophisticated or refined as that used by romulans. Or shielded even. When active, the device spat out enough radiation in the room it was in to be a true hazard. It was alas a product of it’s time and she’d been reassured that newer klingon cloaks didn’t try to cook the crew around them, but that was a statement best verified and not simply trusted.
“So, we’re going to need some parts to fix it. Talk to the Captain and we’ll go get them. Probably knows some klingon scrap merchant that can help us out.” R’tin was satisfied with his quick solution to the problem, but he could see his sister wasn’t.
“Not going to work. The parts are NUSPI.”
“NUSPI?” he asked her, not recognising the acronym at all.
“Yah, something Gaeda mentioned to me the other day. No User Serviceable Parts Inside. A machine that’s not meant for servicing once sealed up. In this case, it’s because of material used in sealing the device up. We don’t have parts and the klingons keep them rather tightly controlled. It’s how they regulate their cloaking technology, as much as they do. They’ll sell you one, but you can’t fix it, so when it breaks you have to go buy another one.”
“Ah…NUSPI. You know, kinda like that. Fits a singularity drive pretty well I think as well. So,” he said as he turned to face his sister and not her rather dire diagnostic screens, “what are you planning then?”
“Well…we’re hunting these D’Ghor animals right? And they have cloaking devices…why don’t we just take one from them?”
“Wait wait wait,” Gaeda said as he sat opposite the romulan siblings in the mess hall. “I think my UT is broken,” he said, pulling the pin off his jacket collar and slapping it down on the table rather hard to pop the back panel off.
“Its…not…broken.” T’Ael said in rather broken Federation Standard. “Steal a cloak.”
“Your Standard is worse then my Romulan,” Gaeda responded. He struggled with popping the panel back on, gave up and slid it over to R’tin who deftly fitted it all back together in a few seconds and handed it back. “You want to steal a cloaking device from a ship trying to shoot at us?”
“Who else is going to be so nice as to bring us a cloaking device?” R’tin answered, smiling like the devil’s own advocate. “They’ve got to drop their shields to cloak right? So, we nab it just then with the transporter. Chance of damage to the device is minimal, they won’t be able to cloak and we can slink away while they have to run like crazy for friendly space before some Feddie shows up to ruin their day.”
“Anyone ever told you two that you’re insane?” Gaeda asked, answered with knowing nods in the affirmative from both of them. “Christ…”
“We’re also thinking…” R’tin started, but his sister waved him off so she could speak.
“We’re also certain,” her opening more confident, “we’re likely to find a bird of prey or such probably near a Federation starship. So, if we shadow one for a while, we might get what we’re looking for.”
Gaeda shook his head in disbelief before telling the twin’s he’d take their idea to the Captain. Personally, he’d give his opinion against such a foolhardy move, but an hour later he popped his head into Engineering and in passable romulan said, “The line between cunning and foolish is getting caught. Let’s not get caught.”
Then he found his way to the bridge and sat himself down in the command chair, turning it to look towards the helm and Trid who was there, guiding the Thorn along in her lazy, medium warp prowl along a moderately busy shipping lane where the Thorn had taken up a position shadowing a convoy of six freighters being escorted by a single Federation patrol vessel. Enough fire power to convince the Thorn or ships of her size to stay away, but bigger hunters wouldn’t be stopped.
It was a token effort, but at least the Federation was trying, and where they were right now was safe enough anyway, just far enough outside the latest hunting grounds of the D’Ghor.
“Trid, what Federation cruisers are out here closer to the Klingon border? Something juicy to shadow that’ll likely attract some attention.”
“Got an old Ambassador class heading at warp six for Tippane, a Minotaur that looks like it stopped recently, about a day away if we push it, but the cloak will leak if we get to close to anyone. Everything else is further away than those two ships.”
“A Minotaur just sitting around? Those things tend to be zipping around like dogs chasing rabbits. If one is sitting still, must be something interesting. Change course for an intercept and bring us to the maximum warp. Let’s go be nosy.”
“You got it boss,” Trid said as she turn back to her console and entered in commands to turn the mass of the ship around and increased it’s warp factor, leaving convoy A-025A in their wake.
Sidda was the one propped up on her elbow on her side this time, twirling a finger around in circles on the bare skin of the woman laying on her back beside her. She herself had only just crawled into bed after dealing with some communications, a few bits of paperwork and finances and receiving what was the closest thing she’d get to a counselling session on this ship from her cook.
It had been brutal, honest and quick. But it did come with a hearty soup that was the only thing she was allowed to eat at the hour she went looking for food. “You want proper food, you eat with everyone else,” Kevak had told her. “Otherwise soup and bread.”
The counselling had been good advice she’d needed to hear from someone other than herself really. Glory and honourable deaths were only awarded to those worthy of them. D’Ghor butchers didn’t deserve any chances and it was an act of killing like putting down particular fearsome vole as far as Kevak was concerned. He told her that she shouldn’t concern herself with any guilt for dispatching any D’Ghor fighter.
“Hmm,” came a murmur from Revin, who stirred just enough to roll away from Sidda to stop whatever had been irritating her in her sleep.
Goddesses and gods she’s beautiful. And dangerous as sin to have aboard.
Taking the opportunity, she shucked off her jacket, then boots and pants before laying back down and curling up behind Revin, draping an arm over her possessively as she did so. “Sleep well my galan stelri, for things are going to get a lot more interesting.”
“As long as you stay safe hathos, I will,” Revin said sleepily, clearly not properly asleep. She then wrapped her own arm around Sidda’s and pulled slightly on it, keeping Sidda close and tight to her as she drifted back to sleep with her orion protector.