“Particle anomaly detected!” shouted the Klingon voice once again, on queue. And once again Captain Gaeda Ruiz of SS Martian Thorn entered in his own command codes, which failed to do anything about stopping the alert.
“Getting a call in from the Rose,” Trid said at Helm, before bring it up onscreen.
Gaeda rolled his eyes, not looking forward to having to talk to once more about waiting for his orders. She never just jumped ahead whenever she was on the Rose, but on his ship she kept doing things like that. Almost like she wanted him to recommend she stay on the Rose.
“Gaeda, you getting the same orders on your screens as I am?” Sidda asked him. Looking up he could she was standing next to Deidrick in a dressing gown at the Rose’s tactical station.
“No, I’ve just got some klingon screaming at me that I can’t turn off,” he sighed, abandoning the tactical station back to Matt Horner, one of the new recruits they had brought into the organisation.
“Let me see what I can do from here,” Sidda said and then finally a bunch of new screens started popping up around the cramped bridge of the Martian Thorn. “Though it’s odd your codes aren’t working. I’ll send R’tin over shortly to see what’s going on.”
It took him a mere moment to read it before looking back to his boss. “So, what’s the plan? Because I don’t think we want to call Klingon High Command.”
“You’re right about that,” Sidda said, nods of agreement from both ship bridges visible for all to see. “We’re seeing Starfleet vessels changing course, moving around, doing all sorts of weird stuff on sensors.”
“And setting up exclusion zones, or transit lanes, quarantine areas. You didn’t have to harass that captain the way you did,” Gaeda said with a smirk that said ‘but I would have too if roles were reversed’.
“He’d have been a bit more…directly hostile if he’d seen us both decloaked.” Sidda had sat herself down in her command chair and Gaeda took the opportunity to mirror her. “I want to just run across the border, deliver this maple syrup and get the information we’ve been wanting, but I can’t just ignore this opportunity to make some new friends.”
“So Robin Hood it is then?”
“Not quiet. I don’t feel like loosing this fancy legal status just yet. We’ve got two starships, warp drives and replicators. Surely Starfleet left something unfinished around here for us to go do. No one ever remembers who did all the ground work, just who was around for the ribbon cutting.”
“Now that’s just devious. I like it.”
“And I keep telling you sis, I think we can push these Klingon engines harder. Warp eight is so…pedestrian.”
“I wouldn’t if I was you,” came a thickly accented Andorian voice. The man easily out massed R’tin but was in fact shorter than the Romulan average, which left R’tin wondering just how dense the man truly was. “Klingons might build sturdy ships, capable in their own right, but they don’t take well to tinkering. Mess something up and you’ll regret it.”
“Going to have to agree with Shev,” T’Ael said as she pondered a warp core read out. “These engines aren’t the fastest, or the best in the galaxy, but I’d wager poor maintenance would keep them running for years. Heck, we could all probably go on holiday and no one would know until a sonic shower gave out.”
“I’d know,” came a fourth voice into the conversation as R’tin turned his attention to his barely dressed commanding officer. “Because I wouldn’t have you two around chattering away all the time. Shev, I’d have hoped you’d teach them to be proper engineers by now.”
R’tin couldn’t help but gulp at the sight, before he straightened himself out. Not exactly common sight seeing his boss walking around in just a dressing gown, but he had to admit, she was good looking. Not like anything would ever happen though, but a man could dream right?
“You don’t pay me enough for that. Besides, nothing I can teach them about this barge,” the Andorian said before giving a respectful little nod of his head and excusing himself.
“Mistress Sidda,” T’Ael spoke, “to what do we owe the pleasure of your appearance so early in the morning?”
“Martian is going to decloak in about ten minutes so R’tin can beam over and look into their computers. Gaeda’s command codes couldn’t clear an error message and I’d like that fixed please.”
“Oh, sorry,” R’Tin answered as he looked back up to his boss. “I kinda didn’t give Gaeda the highest-level access on the Martian. I thought you’d want to keep those for yourself just in case.”
The look on her face as she closed her eyes, bringing a hand to rub at the bridge of her nose, told him he’d made a mistake. “This isn’t a Romulan enterprise R’tin, I don’t need to maintain absolute control. Besides, I trust Gaeda with our escort ship. So please, get over there and fix his computers for him.” With that she spun and left, leaving R’tin to feel like he was about half his height.
“Well, could have been worse,” T’Ael said as she walked over and punched her brother in the arm. “Could have fucked up the Rose’s computers too, then you’d likely be dead.”
“Which is why I didn’t.”
It had taken a good few hours to sort out some likely targets, though that probably wasn’t the right phrase, another few to decide which would give the best results and then a day to arrive at their first market opportunity. Na’roq was lucky enough to be born in an era where a decent Grand Nagus had taken over the Tower of Commerce and actually recognised that hey, if the economy does alright with fully a half of the potential work force not working, what would it do with everyone capable of working.
So here she was, amongst the stars, proving that women had just as good, if not better lobes for business. And fashion sense. And morals.
It was that last bit she had to admit her entire species was still working on, but every once and awhile trying to this ‘moral’ thing also came along with a brilliant business opportunity and she had to admit, those tended to feel…better. Maybe that was the way to grade moral options? Now, how to write the self-help guide and make some money off this discovery?
Shaking her head to clear the errant thought, though banking it for a later payday, Na’roq stepped up beside her Captain and delivered the padd with her assessment of the colony’s needs and requirements, her intelligence about what they could provide and even better yet, who she could instead extract favours from for later use.
The return on investment of favours, assuming the debtor didn’t up and die, was much, much higher than a straight up financial reward. Sure, those had their places, but sometimes you wanted something done, or information, down the path of the Great Material Continuum and then those favours start looking mighty fine indeed.
“Seriously? This colony looks like Starfleet just abandoned them yesterday. How many others are there like this along the border?” Sidda said as she reviewed the intelligence she’d just been handed.
“By my estimates and projections, six more. Depending on how long Starfleet is dragged out of position dictates how many we can set right and make friendly with the locals. I’ve outlined best targets for Rose and Thorn each to maximise potential in as little a time frame as possible.”
She watched the orion woman study the padd, nodding along to the points, tapping at a few for a more detailed breakdown before turning the padd off. “Knew hiring you was going to be a payday. Go ahead and send this along to Gaeda, tell him to get going, my orders. Telin, raise Administrator…” Sidda trailed off.
Na’roq smiled and spoke up. “Lirin. Administrator Lirin. He can be reached via the largest settlement on the southern continent.”
Sidda smiled, then looked to Telin. “What Na’roq said. Let’s see if we can’t make a deal with these folks to help them finish of their water treatment facility.”
Colony Administrator’s Office
“You’re not serious, are you?” asked the older Romulan man seated in one of the four seats opposite Lirin. All of them were occupied by men that frankly could all have been the same person. Old guard, stuck in their ways, grey haired and with the same skin tone and pompous look on their faces.
The only reason they weren’t running things was because Lirin had proven to be a bit more devious, a bit more cunning and lot more likeable than this lot of has-beens. They’d have been lucky to have sat on a local council back in the ‘good old days’ and here they formed the Executive Council of this little colony, really a refugee camp with pretentions of glory, which to be fair they were making good on in recent years.
“Starfleet,” one of the other spoke up, “promised they’d return as soon as possible to finish the work. I find it hard to believe I’m saying this, but we should give them the opportunity to return and finish their work.”
Lirin silenced the next doddering old fool with a raised hand and waited to let them all settle before he spoke. “And when would that be?” He raised his hand a touch more to indicate he wasn’t finished. “This orion woman has a ship in orbit right now. She had the parts we need, right now. She even has engineers, right now. Do you really want to tell the people of this town, this world even, that we denied assistance because you’d rather wait to let Starfleet come and finish what they started?” No protests as he lowered his hand. “Good. This way we get the treatment facility finished and we don’t have to have Starfleet back here when whatever self-inflicted disaster finishes. We’ll be another step closer to self-sufficiency.”
The old men all nodded an affirmative after some grumbling. Their main concern wasn’t about Starfleet, or who finished what, but who was in the Administrator’s seat when things were finished. They wanted to drag things out, potentially make power plays or the such to seize leadership and glory. But instead, they’d have to settle for standing behind Lirin in all the photos shortly to come.
“Now if you’ll excuse me gentlemen, I think I have a business arrangement with an orion pirate to settle.”