“I don’t get it…this ship should be in the regular military of the Empire, out oppressing some subject species, invading some pre-warp civilization, that sort of thing,” Lewis said from the helm station.
The bridge of the ship Va’thu was roomier than the Thorn’s had been, laid out a bit differently as well. Instead of Helm and Operations being at the front but either side of the viewscreen, they sat between the command chair and the viewscreen, but separated enough to allow whoever sat there to close to the screen in quick order to center themselves in any conversations.
Gaeda was himself sitting in that aforementioned command chair, a klingon equivalent to a padd in hand. “You’re right. The battlelog is empty too. Built, declared in excess and shipped off to a storage yard. I think she was built just to keep a shipyard in business. Klingons probably have heaps of ships like this, just waiting for when they conscript warriors for war. Spread your officers thin, fill in the ranks with fresh meat and sail off to die in glorious combat.”
“Christ that’s grim,” Lewis responded. “Industrialisation of slaughter.”
“We can’t talk Lewis. Our ancestors marched themselves into three world wars before the Vulcans came along.”
“Yah, but we…I dunno…grew up as a species? Hell, humans founded the Federation.”
Gaeda smirked and looked up the helmsman. The viewscreen behind Lewis showed not stars, just a local sector map with the Va’thu in the middle and a red and blue line descending from the top. Statistics on a variety of factors where on the right of the screen, but he wasn’t interested. It showed the general progress of their trip and most importantly the nearing Federation border.
“Then what does that make us Gaeda? You and I both aren’t exactly model Federation members.”
“Hey, humanity evolved but monkeys still exist.”
“I…uh…did you just call me a monkey?”
“No Gaeda, I called you an unevolved human. Like me.”
Gaeda just stared at the younger man for a moment before he looked back down at the padd. “Fuck you and fly the ship,” he said, trying to stifle the slight laughter in his voice.
“Dinner first,” Lewis quipped as he returned to his duties. “Twelve hours till the border. No one in range on this side of the border for an intercept.”
“How is he handling things?”
Orelia spun around to face the voice that had just spoken, bringing a weapon to bare. This was too big, klingons were crafty folk when they wanted to be. Attackers could pounce at a moment. But instead, she was faced with the captain’s woman, Revin, standing not but a few meters from her, eyes just…looking into the distance. She didn’t get it, truly didn’t get Revin’s blindness. She relaxed as her brain questioned it once more, the not getting one of the many medical solutions on the market. Then the question asked registered and she answered as she turned back to watch her self-appointed ward R’tin.
“He’s exhausted. I was given a crash course on what he’s managed to put together in case something happens, but he threw up a hammock and crashed about an hour ago. I’ve got an intermittent power fault in the starboard number three disruptor that I cancel whenever the self-test sequence fires up so he can keep sleeping.”
“I meant in regards to his sister,” Riven stated.
“He worked until he couldn’t sleep, so you tell me.”
It was a solid minute before Revin spoke again, having taken a step closer just before she spoke. “I…need to warn you of something. Something I can’t trust to Telin.”
“Why not?” she asked, not turning away from R’tin.
“Because he is too hot headed and prone to rash actions. You on the other hand Orelia are far more…thoughtful in your actions.”
“Sweet words and compliments won’t do it for me Revin, save them for the Captain. What is it?”
“We have a Federation spy aboard ship.” Revin paused and that got Orelia’s attention as she turned to face the blind woman who was looking in the rough direction of R’tin. “Don’t know who her masters truly are, but it will be someone who answers to the Federation. Possibly Starfleet.”
“Her? So…Bones or Trid.” Orelia nodded to herself as she deduced that, her statement earning a smirk from Revin. “Bones hasn’t been in Starfleet for two decades, Trid is young and hot headed. So…monies on Trid. Bones has grievances, Trid has a story about flunking out of the Academy.”
“I see Sidda’s decision to hire you for your intellect was well founded. We need to watch our little spy, I think. Don’t act, but watch her, figure out her purpose and who she truly works for if we want to make the most of this.”
“What are you getting out of this Revin?”
“Continued freedom and a chance to embarrass the Federation. Sidda’s continued love and devotion as well.”
“Huh…awfully transactional of you.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to understand our arrangements. They are…unique. As all loves should be.” Revin took a step backwards, partially turning as she did so. “Keep an eye on R’tin, sweet Orelia, for we need him to get home. I’ll send Diedrick down shortly so you can get some sleep too.”
“Appreciate that,” she said to the retreating romulan.
Stepping through the doors onto the bridge, Sidda was looking a little worse for wear. Her arm was worse than Bones’ initial assessment, a cut nerve preventing her from using it fully for now, so she’d resorted to a sling for her left arm and decided to opt out of wearing her jacket.
They all had boarded this ship with just the clothing they wore and weapons in their hands, but thankfully the ship actually contained replicators. Not as varied in their selections, but replacement clothing was available. And at least the ship’s sonic showers worked, even if they left your ears ringing slightly afterwards.
Note to self, replace all the sonic showers with better ones.
“Moring Cap,” Trid said from next to the helm where Lewis was giving the bajoran some sort of lesson before she took over and he hit the rack.
“Morning Trid. Status?”
“Crossed the Federation border twenty minutes ago. We’re maintaining warp eight for now and heading for the rendezvous coordinates we have with Endeavour. We just finished checking our baffles for signs of a cloaked ship, but looks like we might have gotten away clean.”
Sidda nodded as she stepped towards the empty command chair and looked at it. It looked so, so uncomfortable. She missed her old chair, all broken in and comfortable, beaten into shape by years or decades of klingon commanders before she’d possessed the ship. This chair just looked…new.
No lumbar support.
Over her left arm she had a folded-up piece of purple cloth and with her right pulled it away and started the process of draping it over the back of the chair while Trid and Lewis finished up. It took her a few minutes with only one hand, but the piece of fabric was now draped over the chair, adding a splash of her favourite colour to the brown, grey and red décor of a klingon bridge. It was weighted in the corners to help prevent it from moving easily as people sat in the chair.
Not her favourite colour precisely, but again, the replicator was limited and this was the best she could make it do with short notice.
“Oh, Lewis, before you leave, how’s the transponder looking?” she asked of her helmsman just as he stood to leave.
“Oh, the XO finished hacking into it best he could. Ready to be reprogrammed at your leisure.”
“Best he could?” she asked as she sat herself down in the chair, immediately hating the height, the cushion stuffing, the feel of the targ leather on the arms, the brutality of the chair. She hated the chair.
“Well, it should broadcast whatever you want it too, but we might still be shouting Va’thu as well. Guess we’ll find out when we can ask someone.”
“Thank you, Lewis, I’ll look over my options and set something up shortly. Oh, and Gaeda’s on kitchen duty, so best get in there before he burns your dinner.”
“Will do skip.” With that the human male left, leaving the bridge to Sidda and Trid, the later settling into the helm station and studying it, the former sitting herself down and staring at Trid for a solid minute.
Finally brooding became unhelpful and Sidda spoke out loud. “Computer?” she asked, responded to by a harsh tone and male voice.
“Change ship’s transponder to read Vondem Rose.”
“Complying,” it responded to the order.
“Do you have other voice options computer?”
“Negative,” it announced loudly in its monotone way of talking.
“We’ll have to fix that. Least the Thorn had a nicer voice.”
“Restate inquiry,” the computer responded.
“That’s going to get old fast,” Trid said from the helm.
“Yup,” Sidda responded after waiting just long enough for the computer to give a chirp that it was no longer listening. “New voice and as stupid as sin. We’re definitely going to have to fix that. Feel like raiding a Feddie ship just for their computer voice software?”
“We could just ask the Endeavour when we get to them you know.”
“Ugh, boring. But…we’re in no fit state to fight now.”
“The Princess brings me dinner?” Kevak asked, adjusting the bed with a push of a button to bring himself up to a more sitting position. In his youth he would have like so many warriors escaped the infirmary as soon as he could, but now he was willing to comply with the warrior-doctor that was Bones.
“I am no Princess,” Revin said as she set the tray of food down on a trolley and wheeled it over to within reach of Kevak. He still had to reach out and bring it a bit closer, but she had brought it close enough. “I am a Senator’s daughter.”
“Close enough Princess,” he replied. “Bringing me food, I’m assuming unpoisoned, means you want something little princess.” He took a hold of the leg of meat on the platter and bit into it. There was some humming and haaing as the chef chewed, weighing the skills of which barbarian was in his kitchen.
“We have a spy onboard the ship.”
“Of course we do,” he bit some more meat off, talking around and it getting Revin to turn away, as if not to look at him while he eat so rudely. “But when are you going to tell Sidda why you’re here.”
That caused Revin to turn back on him, her cheeks flushing green. “I am not the spy!” she hissed. “She rescued me!”
He took a moment, processed the actual anger in Revin’s voice and then started laughing, truly laughing before stopping with a grunt of pain. Deep breaths to get over the sharp stabs of pain he had brought upon himself and then thoughtfully put the drumstick down.
“So, who is it? Orelia or Trid?”
“Trid. Wait, Orelia?”
“I think she’s working for Sidda’s father as well. Just…keeping eyes on his only daughter.”
“How…thoughtful of him,” she responded, genuinely interested in such a display of affection, if it was true. Spying on one’s offspring just to keep them safe. If her father had done that, she’d never have been kidnapped and then needing rescue.
“So, Trid…Federation likely. Starfleet probably, though their civilian spy agencies are almost as devious as you romulans. So Princess, what’s the plan?”
“I…just want to watch her for now. Learn what we can before I tell Sidda.”
“Can do. But only for a small price,” Kevak demanded politely.
“What might that be?”
“Sing while I eat please.”
“For you, old warrior, I shall acquiesce.”
D’Ghor Depot #5
D’Ghor ship Tukmeth
“What am I looking at?” Ju’leth asked as she rose from the command chair of the Tukmeth and strode the few steps closer to the viewscreen. There, upon the exploded remains of one of their repair yards and depots, years of quiet and careful build up, was a black circle the size of a starship with some sort of stylised triangle or dagger in the middle of it.
There was also some sort of script blasted into the remains of the asteroid but she didn’t understand it. That was what one of the other honourless dogs upon her ship was for.
“I’m detecting fragments consisting of the Kut’lach in the debris field, no survivors anywhere. The Va’thu is missing, no debris matching it anywhere.”
“I wasn’t asking about that you idiot! I was asking about that!” Ju’leth pointed at the viewscreen as she turned to her operations officer, a hand dropping down to her dagger, ready to pull it and throw if the damned idiot couldn’t do his job.
“It’s an emblem mistress. The script blasted next to it reads ‘The Vondem Thorn is now a Rose. What was yours is now mine.’ It’s in Orion ma’am.”
“Who the fuck is the Vondem Thorn?”
“Uh…I’ve heard of them,” her tactical officer spoke up. “Orion pirates. Well, some humans and even a couple of romulans I think.”
“A ship of fucking cowards destroyed the Kut’lach? They’ve done us a favour then! Send a message back to Kuskir, inform him the Kut’lach was destroyed and the Va’thu stolen. Tell him who’s claiming it and that we’re going pirate hunting.”
“Dropping out of warp now ma’am,” Trid announced as the streaks of stars gave way to a single pinpoint of light in the distance being slightly brighter than the others. A few other notable spots of light indicated the two gas giants over this side of the system at this time of the century as they spun around in the years long march dictated by gravity.
“Excellent, take us in full impulse. Gaeda, if you’d be so kind as to uncloak the ship, let’s not give all of these fine upstanding uniform stuffers palpitations and let them have a few hours of watching us toddle on in.”
“That really wise Sidda?” he asked.
“Better then decloaking once we’re in orbit.”
“Can’t argue with that. Decloaking now.”
With that the Vondem Rose, formerly the IKS Va’thu, decloaked on the edge of the Haydorien system as she accelerated up to full impulse and started her journey in system.