|rap541 (rap541) wrote,|
@ 2008-07-02 16:18:00
Fic - "Going Native part 58"
Here's part 58! We're getting there! I promise I won't make you wait until 2009! BSG/STNG Crossover! WOO!
Skivar looked at the floating ships and then at the sensor readings. There was something going on with the raggedy fleet of humans, he was certain of that. He had known something was going on when the reports from the edge of the Neutral Zone began to look suspicious. He had known something was out there but every time he had gotten close, he was hindered by the border. He had known there were ships but how they were escaping the attention of the Romulan Empire, he didn’t know. Something was going on though. As much as the ratty primitive ships were chattering nonsense about finding Earth, and their lengthy journey being at an end, he didn’t buy it. There was too much interest being shown to the hulking giant ship, with shuttles landing and taking off every few minutes, particularly when it was clear from the scanners that the ships were nothing but primitive subspace haulers and carriers. Only the two large ships had any weapons at all, rail guns and nuclear devices. It was almost adorably quaint, and it smelled like a trick. A big trick since the Federation must have spent a lot of time hauling the old ships so far out.
At the same time, he couldn’t figure out why they would bother. Oh, of course the Federation was always interested in the Romulan Empire, but sending an entire fleet of pathetic subspace ships was bizarre. Even more bizarre was that the scans indicated that the ships were crammed to the brim with humans. Over forty thousand of them, and while he didn’t put it past the Federation to do something clever and unique, the Federation was notoriously squeamish. It wasn’t like them to use human lives as pawns.
That didn’t mean it was impossible though. Unusual yes, but not impossible. He looked at his helmsmen. “Is there any new activity?”
One helmsman nodded. “The smaller Starfleet vessel has just warped away. It appears to be heading deeper into Federation territory. The various shuttles moving between the ships have all landed and the Enterprise’s shuttles have returned. The inane chatter between the ships has become very…. Professional. And quiet.”
“They are up to something,” Shivar said. He looked at the view screen. The ships were there, and then suddenly they began to flicker and disappear. In a matter of seconds, all of the ships had disappeared, leaving only the Enterprise and one of the large armed ships, the one the transmissions called the Galactica. “What just happened?” he snarled at the helmsmen.
They looked at their sensor arrays. “We… don’t know, sir. There were some *minor* power fluctuations…”
Shivar waved them silent. In an instant all of the situation became clear. Picard, in his way, had been telling the truth. The fleet *was* from some previously unknown colony of humans and that in itself would need the attention of the Empire, but the sudden flit away…. That had value. Military value. Picard knew that. The Federation knew that, and that was why they were already embracing the primitives despite their supposed morals and directives. “The large ship remaining, is it showing the same fluctuations?”
“No,” the second helmsman said. “However the ship does appear to have a similar engine design as the others. The Starfleet captain did say they were having engine difficulties….”
And the large ship was still in the nebulous area where a ‘misunderstanding’ could take place without too much fuss or effort. The monitored transmissions talked about a treaty with the Federation that was not yet in effect. There was time still to enter the game and take the prize, without starting the war that the Empire wanted, but wasn’t yet ready for. He didn’t have the manpower to board and overtake a ship with over two thousand humans in it, but he did have enough men to transport in and download their technology into waiting Romulan computer banks.
And if it worked, he would vaulted to higher command. “Prepare the centurions to board the ship. We must have this technology.”
Picard watched as the colonial civilian fleet and the Cylon basestar jumped. It was a relief to know that at least the bulk of the people were safe. The Romulan ship was quiet, but he wasn’t surprised about that. They were planning something. He looked at the ensign at the helm. “Hail the Galactica.”
One thing he did plan to suggest to Adama once the current situation had passed was that an upgrade in the Galactica’s com system. It was a foregone conclusion that Shivar was listening to their conversation. There just wasn’t anyway around it, with the Galactica relying on a primitive radio system. “Admiral Adama, how are the repairs moving along?”
“As well as can be expected,” Adama said easily. Despite the lack of a view screen, Picard nodded to that. Knowing that they were being listened to, he had given Major Adama some code phrases for the repair time frames. ‘As well as can be expected’ meant that it take an hour. Perhaps less. A good thing.
“Please keep us advised,” he said easily.
“Admiral Adama is it?” chimed a new voice. It was Shivar and immediately the bridge crew increased their alertness.
“And you are?” Adama asked. Picard smiled. Bill Adama managed to sound bored and amused, nonchalant even. A good tactic with Romulans, who tended to be hyper suspicious.
“I am Dar Shivar of the Thrai. Your vessel is in a disputed territory. Frankly, it’s quite clear that you’ve likely been spying on us. However, I must say, your ship design is intriguing. Perhaps you would grant me a tour?” Shivar’s tone was oily and slick.
“We’re busy,” Adama said curtly, “and I think you’d find the self guided tour to be a little dangerous.”
“Perhaps,” Shivar said easily. “But as I understand it, you and your ship are not affiliated with the Federation. You are not covered by any treaty. I could blow up your ship and deep down, the Federation wouldn’t care.”
“Let’s not overstate,” Picard said easily. “This is Federation space and these people are engaged in treaty talks.”
“Perhaps this is Federation space. Perhaps not. Admiral Adama, your ship is intriguing. It’s a shame you’re against anyone having a look.” Shivar’s voice held more than a hint of threat.
“You wouldn’t like it here.” Adama said coldly. “Don’t make me show you why.”
Picard waited just a moment before he continued. “You realize Shivar is monitoring our transmissions.”
“Good.” Adama said. “I’m not frakking around.”
One of the crew handed Picard the latest readings. He sighed. “Be aware, Admiral, that there are some unusual readings coming from your ship. It may be transport signatures… the Romulans are much better at masking.” It wasn’t unexpected but it was concerning. Shivar clearly understood just how hard he could push without crossing the line. A direct attack would not be tolerated, but a quick bit of technological theft from a ship that wasn’t yet allied… No doubt Shivar already saw the FTL drive as a potential threat to the Empire.
It was, of course, which only made his actions more understandable.
There was silence on the comm line. Finally, “If he wants to dance,” Adama said, his voice a low growl, “he’s welcome to join the party. But I doubt he’ll like our steps.” The comm line crackled as the transmission ended.
Picard smiled wryly. He suspected Shivar had no idea what sort of hell pit he’d just beamed his men into.
The sound tickled his memory but he pushed it aside. The ship was almost ready and he could feel the stress in the metallic structure releasing. “Just a little bit more,” he whispered as he touched the primitive computers. Not for the first time, he wondered what touching, feeling, a Cylon basestar would be like, but he forced that thought away as well. He needed to concentrate and the Galactica, in its way, was jealous of other ships. Part of her stubbornness was because he had been taken to the new, fancier ship that seemed to impress everyone.
It’s not that nice, he soothed. You’re bigger than her and she doesn’t jump. She’s very jealous of the jump. You’ll leave her behind. And the new ship is bad. It wants to hurt people and you want to help the people. Jumping is help.
He just wished he wasn’t so tired. That made the Galactica nervous, as nervous as a giant, essentially brain dead hunk of metal could get, and that made the whole process take longer. Which made him more tired, and the real problems for him started once the Galactica jumped and it was difficult to ignore. Gaeta put his hands on the flickering computer bank and tried again. Please jump, he thought as he envisioned the coordinates and how they were entered and acted on. Everyone wants you to jump. You want to jump.
He bit back a curse. Venner was religious, which was irritating, and worse, Venner seemed to think he was doing something magical. That wasn’t going to help, particularly if there was a court martial.
“Sir!” Suddenly Venner was grabbing him and shoving him into a hatchway. Venner’s eyes were wide. Not frightened, but surprised. “Sir, those aliens… didn’t you hear it?”
And suddenly Gaeta realized he had heard it. A transporter, but not a Federation model. He peaked out of the hatchway and wasn’t surprised to see three Romulans holding weapons and their version of a tricorder. One of them went to the computer banks Gaeta had just been working with and began to speak. His Romulan was very rusty, but he was certain of what they were doing, or at least trying. They were there to steal. He looked at Venner. “They’re Romulans… They’re dangerous.”
Venner’s eyes seemed to light up with fire. “They can’t be allowed to interfere with the test.”
“Test? Venner, listen to me, they’re trying to steal the FTL drive.” Which was impossible from where they were, but it would take them some time and likely some colonial lives. But even as he spoke, Venner was moving. The man jumped into the walkway and opened fire, spraying the corridor with explosive rounds. For a moment, Gaeta thought it had worked, and then he saw the disruptor blast slam into Venner’s armor. Venner dropped his rifle and collapsed and Gaeta grabbed it without even thinking and looked down the corridor. Only one of the Romulans was still standing and there was green blood splattered on his uniform. He spotted Gaeta and began to raise his disruptor.
No, Gaeta decided suddenly, I am not getting killed after all of this by a damn Romulan. He fired. Venner had the weapon on automatic and the Romulan went down. Gaeta dropped the rifle and went to Venner’s side. He was amazed to see the young marine was still alive. Romulans rarely set their weapons to stun, and Venner’s armor was melted. He knelt down to the man’s side. “You’re going to be all right….”
“The test…” Venner grabbed him by his uniform and pulled him close. “Athena’s child will test you. It’s coming…I’m sorry…”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” Gaeta said. He was no doctor, but it looked bad and there was no way he could haul Venner to medical care. Then he had an idea. He took off his combadge and put it on Venner. “Listen to me. There’s nothing to be sorry about and in a minute, you’re going to be transported to the Enterprise and you’ll be all right.”
“No,” Venner said. “I brought you here to be tested. It’s my role…To bring Apollo’s child to the test.”
“I’m not Apollo’s child…”Gaeta said tiredly. He started to take off the wrist monitor. “When I set this on you, it’s going to take you to the Enterprise. You need to tell them that the Romulans have boarded.” Because there had to be more than one boarding party.
“I will…” Venner took the wrist monitor. “The Arrow is coming for you, sir…..” He suddenly disappeared in a Federation transport wave.
“Great,” Gaeta said as he stood up. Venner was never going to see him as anything but the physical fulfillment of a prophecy. That was wonderful. But not the most important issue and without Venner there, he didn’t have to worry how it looked. He went back to the computer panel, careful to step over the bodies and put his hands down on the metal. Then he closed his eyes. It was easier to see the connections, to walk the ship through it, if he closed his eyes.
“Are you praying, Gaeta? Praying to the gods? Or just praying I don‘t kill you?”
He jumped and opened his eyes. Kara Thrace was standing in the corridor, her sidearm in her hand. Of course, he thought tiredly. Venner was a believer, and the prophecy said there would be a test.
And Kara was the Arrow of Apollo.