Going Native Part 54
Woo! Part 54 of Going Native! A rather more cheerful tale than some on BSG :) It's a BSG/STNG crossover, focused on sweet Mr. Gaeta.
It was just a matter of time, Picard thought as he looked at the Romulan war bird that had decloaked in front of the Enterprise. They had originally been patrolling close to the Neutral Zone because of reports of unusual activity by the Romulans. Now it was obvious that the Romulans had been tracking the massive fleets that had been tickling around the edges of their territory. Felix Gaeta had threaded the needle very carefully with his navigation coordinates, but the Romulans were always watching their borders. Picard also doubted that the Cylons tracking the human fleet had been as careful with their ship movements as Gaeta had been. They didn’t know that there was a threat, and they had similar scanning capabilities as the colonials which meant they never would have noticed cloaked Romulans trailing them.
The problem now was what to do. The Romulans were violating the terms of their treaty, but only just, and would make a reasonable argument about being curious. It wasn’t one of their larger ships, he had no doubt that in a fight, the Enterprise would easily win. The problem would be the collateral damage to the colonial fleet. The Romulans already knew that the ships were essentially defenseless and no doubt suspected some sort of different technology. Which they would no doubt love to get their hands on. The safest thing to do would be to move the colonial fleet deeper into Federation territory.
“I’ve advised both the colonial fleet and the Cylon base star to not launch their fighter ships,” Data said as Picard looked over the sensor readings. “Admiral Adama has advised that the civilian ships are preparing their FTL jump sequences. The acting commander of the Cylon basestar, a Six, advised that they will not attack and that they should have function restored with their drive within an hour.”
“Good. Advise them to stand by. Then contact Captain Gaeta and tell her to get back to her ship as soon as possible.” Data nodded without looking up from his work with just a quiet ‘aye captain‘ as acknowledgement. The situation didn’t need elaboration. The colonial fleet could easily move deeper into Federation territory, and he would send the Tom Dooley with the fleet. The Tom Dooley would warp ahead and the colonial fleet would meet it in seconds. There were some other relief vessels on their way, and the Romulans weren’t foolish enough to give chase.
The problem was the Galactica and to a lesser extent the Cylon base star. The Romulans were currently just interested in the ships, he suspected, and possibly thinking that the colonial ships had been spying on behalf of the Federation. Once they saw the civilian ships jump, they would become more than curious, they would start considering the risks in taking over the remaining ships. It would technically be an act of war but that was unlikely to stop the Romulans if they thought it would get them something valuable. They could also argue that they were justified. The colonial fleet may not have crossed the border into the Neutral Zone but the Cylons might have, and the Cylons weren‘t distinguishable enough from humans for it to matter to the Romulans. There was also the fact that there was no treaty with either the colonials or the Cylons, they were just in talks about it. So an argument could be made that the Romulans were merely dealing with an incursion on their border. It wouldn’t hold up in a court, but the Romulans would argue it for as long as they could and meanwhile would be developing the FTL drive into a formidable weapon. He had seen the possibilities himself. It wouldn’t compete with warp drive for long range work but he had already considered how smaller vehicles like a runabout could simply jump between shields. The Romulans would find that interesting and no doubt useful as well. And by the time the Federation held the Romulans legally accountable, the new weapon systems would be developed.
That was certainly the last thing they needed. “Hail the Romulan ship, Mr. Data.” he said. The view screen almost immediately came up with the image of a male Romulan captain. They had been waiting for the hail then. “ I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. You are violating the terms of your treaty and will remove your vessel at once.”
The Romulan captain shrugged. “Oh come now. I thought humans were more…. Romantic about borders and lines in the sand. Why just watching these quaint ships sinking their toes in and out of our territory for the last month or so… I can’t help but be shocked by how annoyed you are.” The Romulan smirked. “ I am Captain Dar Skivar of the Thrai. And I think the Federation has some explaining to do. As I understand the treaty, spying is wrong. And there’s fifty or so of these ships that have spent a great deal of time observing our territory.”
“These people are refugees from a previously unknown series of human colonies in the Beta Quadrant. We believe they are the remnants of a Preserver seeded society. They are not spies and they have not violated your territory and you most certainly have violated ours.” Of course the Romulans weren’t so deep in Federation territory that they couldn’t later argue that a mistake was made while tracking the colonial fleet. “They’ll be moving away from the Neutral Zone as soon as some engine difficulty is resolved.”
That would explain why the entire fleet had been moving at sublight for the last ten days.
“Perhaps.” Skivar smiled slightly. “Perhaps I’m having engine difficulty as well. Surely you’ll allow me a small amount of time to deal with it?”
Which wasn’t an unreasonable request so close to the border, one that Federation and Romulan granted as long as the situation wasn’t suspicious. He was certain that Skivar was lying, he was certain that in a clash that the Enterprise would win, but the Romulan ship could take out a lot of the colonial fleet with very little effort. “Of course. Do you require any assistance?”
“No, although your courtesy is most appreciated.” Skivar ended the communication.
Time to get things moving, Picard thought. “Mr. Data, advise Cmdr. Gaeta to meet me in my briefing room.”
He knew it was coming. He had been dreading returning to the Galactica. There were so many lies that he had to apologize for… Admiral Adama had been so angry. He had seen Adama’s hand clench into a fist when he had said that he was a Starfleet officer and it was only Laura Roslin’s quick thinking in grabbing the older man’s arm that had stopped Adama from pounding him bloody. The Admiral was a good man, but notorious for that moment where he snapped in rage.
Going back to the Galactica was necessary though. It completed the task. Once the Galactica could jump, then it could move to safety and the journey could truly end. So he would have to grit his teeth and deal with it, and hope that most of the people he knew hadn’t decided that he was some sort of religious figure. It didn’t help that releasing the Galactica’s FTL computers was going to look a lot like an old time laying on of hands. Fortunately most of it would be in the core and not the CIC.
As it was, it was truly amusing just how accurate the Scroll of Apollo had really been. He assumed Serena would get a nice paper in the journals out of that at least. He was just waiting for the rocks to metaphorically fall. Something was going to happen. Something bad, most likely. For the most part, the Scroll of Apollo didn’t end well.
And he wasn’t exactly the luckiest man in the world.
He stepped into the briefing room, surprised to see that it was just Picard. No, he told himself, you shouldn’t be surprised. Jean Luc Picard had been trying very hard to help him, so much so that he was convinced that the Arrow of Apollo was going to come from a colonial source, and not Starfleet.
“You requested to see me, sir.” He stood at attention. It was obvious why. Romulans were dangerous and the entire fleet was in danger. They needed to jump and soon.
“Cmdr. Gaeta, I am sending you to the Galactica. The FTL system is still unrepaired and your assistant Lt. Alghee apparently isn’t capable of fixing it.” His eyes seemed to bore holes into him. “I won’t ask what may be wrong with the colonial FTL drive because asking any details would be a violation of the trust that the people of the Twelve Colonies have given the Federation.”
He knew, Felix thought tiredly, and he wanted to avoid knowing officially. He had heard of such things happening. “I understand, sir.”
“Good, because without telling me what may be wrong, I want your best estimate and your worst as to how long it will take you to fix the Galactica.” Picard gestured to the ship’s window, where the Romulan ship was visible. “Urgency is an issue.”
“Without interruption, maybe an hour.” He knew there would be interruption. “More like two, if I have to look at the core computers. And if the system is… difficult, the worst case scenario is three hours.” The system was likely to balk at his commands, that had always been the problem. The Galactica liked to please, but like a old dog, once it learned a trick, it didn’t want to do anything but that trick. “Faster is better, I know.”
“No. Get it done, but make sure there’s no chance of failure.” Picard said it easily. “You’ve brought these people almost all the way, this isn’t the time to break concentration. Now, you’ll be transporting over to the Galactica with Major Adama. I’m concerned that the communications system is too primitive to stand against the Romulans so he’ll be briefing the Admiral on the plan. The Tom Dooley is going to depart to a position closer to the nearest Federation outpost and the colonial fleet will jump to those coordinates. I want to hold off exposing the Romulans to the FTL drive for as long as possible.”
“They’ll see the value instantly,” Gaeta said.
“Which is why the sooner the Galactica is able to leave, the better.” Picard said. Then, “One thing, before you go to Transporter Three. The FTL computers… You won’t be required to access the science lab on the Galactica to accomplish this task, correct?”
“Good. You are not to enter the science lab.” Picard eyed him carefully. “That is an order, Mr. Gaeta.”
“Understood, sir.” But for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out where Picard was going with it. There was nothing in the science lab but research that would be considered antiquated by Federation standards.
Not that it mattered anyway. He was ready to finish it.