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Part of SS Vondem Rose: Archanis Campaign – Vondem Thorn and Bravo Fleet: The Archanis Campaign

“Geez Telin, I think you can stop firing”

Vondem Thorn
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Vondem Thorn
Bridge

“What am I looking at?” Sidda said as she stood up from her chair and stepped closer to the main viewscreen.

“Universe gone mad,” Lewis said from his seat. “I mean, Telin got it right.”

“Not now Lewis.”

“Roger that ma’am, shutting up.”

Sidda turned around and looked at Telin and Gaeda at their stations at the back of the bridge. “Well?”

“One old Duras outpost as expected. Telin’s reasoning was on the dot,” Gaeda said, giving an approving look and nod to the orion brute. Maybe positive reinforcement would work to change his attitude, though it had seemed every since Orin left the ship that he’d mellowed out.

“One kellicam along the major axis, 400 cams roughly on both other axis. A facility built into the rock, no way to know how deep with passive sensors. Two slips for repair work it looks like,” Telin said as the Thorn slinked around the base purely on thrusters. As they moved, the Kut’lach neared the one empty slip and was tractored in, a series of umbilicals starting the process of latching onto the broken ship’s form and extending much needed support to it.

“Defences?”

“No shield emitters, no surface mounted weapons. I guess base defence was supposed to be outsourced or it relied on not being seen. Heck, this star system is a dead end, nothing of interest here. It’s a bolthole,” Gaeda said looking over his console. “You have to bring in everything, so strategically its stupid. Which makes it strategically brilliant – no one would ever look here because then they’d have to check every single red dwarf system in the galaxy for you.”

“And what’s that?” Sidda said as the second slip came into view and wasn’t as empty as one might expect. A K’t’inga class warship was sitting there with only a few visible lights on it’s hull blinking in the dark and a few slip lights even illuminating it in the shadow of the asteroid.

K’t’inga class starship. Must be completely powered down as I’m not getting energy readings I’d expect from an active warp core. Her transponder is down too, but then again the Kut’lach isn’t running with one either. Her nacelles are cold too.”

Sidda stopped and looked the at the image before her for half a minute. “I don’t like this. Not one bit.”

“It’s nothing,” Telin announced. “A dead ship in soon to be a dead slip.”

Sidda’s eyes flicked to Telin and she glared at him, but instead of his usual backing down, he held firm. Confidence in his statement showing through. “Get me a firing solution on the Kut’lach’s torpedoes and anything else on that base that looks vulnerable Telin. Lewis, get us into whatever position Telin gives you. You have thirty minutes.”

With that she stalked out of the bridge, indicating for her XO to follow her as she departed.

****

The hallway just outside the bridge was as good as any other part of the ship to talk once the doors closed. “There wasn’t supposed to be another fucking ship here Gaeda,” Sidda said, her voice above a whisper.

“No, but neither were we supposed to blow this place apart. Your deal with the Feddies was to find it, note it on a map and tell them where it was. That’s always an option you know.”

She turned on him and stared straight at him, having to look slightly upwards due to his height. “Fuck that. I’m not letting them claim to have done something they should have fucking been preemptive over.”

“They were supposed to strike at the D’Ghor first?”

“No!” she snarled. “They were supposed to fucking protect those that can’t do it for themselves! They were supposed to be watching their people, not toiling around in shiny ships that seem to get bigger and bigger, less and less numerous.”

He chuckled, which earned him a withering glare. “Not the enemy Sid, not the enemy. Just…you know what you remind me of?”

“What?”

“Maquis commanders. Seriously, dig up the historical data, read the interviews with them from when they got captured or after the Dominion War. Men and women of principle who couldn’t stand that Starfleet and the Federation wasn’t doing enough, or felt had betrayed them.”

“Fuck you.”

“Sid,” he said, grabbing her by the shoulders in a rare move, the two having a respect of each other’s personal space. “I know you. You’re not in Starfleet like your mother because of instead of asking to do the right thing, you just do it. You’re no pirate queen. You’re a Robin Hood.”

“What?” she asked, confused but still pissed off.

“A figure,” a third voice spoke, rounding the corner lazily, “from Earth’s mythology,” Revin said with a smirk. “Stole from the rich, gave to the poor. Led a rebellion to overthrow an unjust princeling. Romulans have a figure like that too. Stabbed in the back by her confidant who founded a great kingdom. I prefer the Earth version. It’s more…hopeful.”

The whole hallway went silent for a moment as Sidda stared at Revin before looking back to Gaeda and shrugging his hands off. “We’re still hitting this base. We’ll deal with that other ship too.”

“Sounds good boss. I’ll get Orelia and the others ready for boarding after the initial torpedoes. We’ll want to see if we can’t steal any computer data before anyone shows up right? Something to get the Feddies?”

“Yah, yah.” Sidda reached out and found Revin’s hand without looking. Then pulled the woman a step closer. “Then check on Telin. I’m going to get something to eat before we decloak.” She turned away and walked off down the corridor with Revin in tow, leaving Gaeda to think a moment before he followed down the corridor to handle his own work.

****

“Eat,” Kevak said, dropping a bowl of some sort of stew in front of Sidda, then a carefully prepared plate in front of Revin.

While one was a bowl of what Kevak described as Torbef stew, which was down right delicious, it wasn’t the most appealing visually. The plate however was a visual art piece, slices of a roast meat, something that looked like a cheese of some description, a variety of carefully prepared vegetables, all prepared with a focus and dedication that the torbef stew wasn’t.

“Excuse me?” Sidda asked, eyebrow raising at the mismatch and then back to Kevak. “Why am I getting stew and Revin is getting a fucking platter?”

“Because Revin is a princess and you’re a captain going into battle. Eat.”

“Now hold the fuck on, I command…” Sidda started, pushing her chair back to get to her feet. She wasn’t planning on having a true fight with Kevak, just push until she got something more than just stew out of her cook.

But her words died in her throat as the large klingon spun around from his journey back to the galley, a paring knife in hand. “Eat.” A single word, no force behind it, just a word. “Roast meat is for victors. Win, kill some honourless pigs, then you can have meat.”

Before she could get a response in, Revin tugged on her sleeve and forced her to sit back down. “It’s textures,” Revin said after Sidda sat down, picking at the pieces on her plate carefully, daintily even, before fetching a piece of meat and offering it to Revin. “And I’ll give you a better deal than Kevak.”

Chewing on the piece of proffered meat for a moment, enjoying the perfection it was, having been done by an expert chef, Sidda finally picked up her spoon and dipped it into the stew. “And what,” she scooped some out and decided perhaps looking at it wasn’t the right idea, though it did smell amazing, “would that be?”

“Win and I’ll give you two secrets. One on this ship, one about me.”

****

Barely ten kilometres above the surface of the asteroid, 5 kellicams by the sensors that were about to observe all goings on, space was empty. There was nothing there, save for hydrogen and dust blowing away on the stellar wind produced by the angry red dwarf at the heart of this system.

That however wasn’t the truth. Lurking behind a cloaking screen hung the predatory shape of the Vondem Thorn. She had lined herself up perfectly for a killing blow that would give no one on that base time to respond. No time to fight. No time to take lives in response for the loss of their own. No honour or glorious death fighting. And for this to be a success and not place the Thorn in danger, it had to be quick deaths as well, which was more than they deserved.

The purple silhouette of the ship rippled back into observation before the front of the ship was washed out in a bright red light as the first torpedo fired. Then a second and finally a third as the rapid-fire launcher fired it’s torpedoes, mechanisms working to restock the launcher from the magazines.

The first crossed the distance in no time, slamming into the part of the depot base visible from space, blowing a massive hole in the facility for the second torpedo to bury itself into, detonating with a multi-kiloton explosion inside.

Torpedo three was the true killer however, aimed to slip through the pylons of the dock and straight into the exposed magazines of the Kut’lach. A forcefield flickered barely perceptibly in the face of such a violent kinetic strike of a torpedo at full speed but failed, barely halting the explosive before it let go inside the stricken battlecruiser’s hull. One explosion turned into a calamitous conflagration as it induced the other warheads to detonate, critically wounding the ship. A second later reality finally registered what was happening as the Kut’lach died in a ball of plasma as her drive systems finally failed from the fury of internal explosions.

Matter and anti-matter combined in ruinous rage and the ship, as well as a decent chunk of the asteroid, were simply vaporised, the explosion washing over the Vondem Thorn’s shields as she sat there, another volley of torpedoes launching into the base.

****

The bridge was quiet as the sixth torpedo launched.

“Geez Telin, I think you can stop firing,” Lewis finally said. “I think you got ‘em.”

The big orion grinned as he stood at his console, enjoying the explosions taking place deep inside the asteroid base, the out pouring of burning atmosphere, plasma expanding and cooling. It a was a scene of brutally efficient carnage. “Torpedoes can be luxurious,” the said. “And I recorded each shot, so Starfleet can damn well repay us.”

“That they…” Sidda started but stopped as a siren started blaring.

A harsh klingon voice came over the ship’s internal speakers, its voice clearly computerised. “Boarders detected! Boarders detected!”

“The fuck?” Sidda finished as she got to her feet, disruptor out of its holster and in her hand as she spun to face the only door to the bridge.

“Six klingons just beamed into the mess hall. Don’t ask how,” Gaeda reported looking over his console. “I’m cycling the shields now.”

“Revin…” Sidda whispered before she threw herself around her own command chair, breaking for the door with no thought to ordering anyone to either come with her or stay behind.