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Should You Choose to Accept

Posted on Saturday September 25th, 2021 @ 8:47pm by Wraet tr'Melanth & Niyahra Riohn & Tiandith 'Tia' Tobru & Adam Rayner & Emily Reagan

Mission: Out on Bad Behaviour
Location: USS Loki, Hangar Bay
Timeline: MD01, immediately after 'A Star to Steer Her By'
2620 words - 5.2 OF Standard Post Measure

The cargo shuttle was just making its approach to the hangar bay door when Wraet and Niyahra stepped off the turbolift. Wraet nodded to Tia whom they'd comm'd on the way to handle the security protocols, and to Rayner representing the Latinum Guard, since the supplies were, at least officially, being delivered for them. But Elements willing there would be a lot more than latinum bars, rations and additional armaments on the shuttle (not that those would not be welcome). As they headed toward the landing pad, Wraet glanced at Riyahra, pitching his voice for her ears alone. "I intend to introduce you as 'Captain'," he said in a tone that indicated this was a heads up but no open for debate. "I will take the role of ...I believe the Starfleet term for it was 'quartermaster'."

Taking the role of the muscle, Rayner tailed Wraet and Niyahra at a respectable distance. He was far enough to let the adults talk with some privacy while close enough to step in if needed. He stifled a grin his task was not much more than his usual work at times. He wore his usual tactical gear with Latinum Guard markings and left his weapons holstered. It was not his preferred sidearm, but this disruptor had a more intimidating look that came in handy in situations like these.

Tia walked alongside Rayner, admiring his tactical gear as it very much reminded her of something she used to wear in the resistance. She too wore a side arm, her own phaser that she'd had since before the fall of the Federation and it had always served well in any circumstances that required it use. This would not be one of those times however, she hoped.

She hung back, her old security background coming in to play as they usually hung back. "Think they will have any chocolate?" she asked him making light conversation. "I used to live on that stuff..."

"Chocolate," Adam replied as though it were something like Risa. "I hope they do, I've never had any," the man admitted. He had spent much of his early life on the run or in places where chocolate was not a menu item. He had heard people talk about it as though it were latinum, but it was always a distant idea. His eyes went between Tia and the resting shuttle as he both thought about chocolate and tried to decide if things were about to go south.

"Oh I'll definitely need to find you some." Tia mused as she too kept her eyes on the shuttle. Multitasking is a skill she was quite good at, not only from 200 years of experience but women just seemed to be better at it. "Earth chocolate was amazing but it's been a while since I've had any. Bet you they bring Romulan Ale instead..."

"As long as it isn't Viinerine," Adam joked. If you spent any time on a Romulan ship or among Romulan military, it was something that you would have no doubt had for at least two meals of the day. Spending his formative years in the Romulan society had taught Adam to multitask or miss the assassin under your nose.

"Oh Gods no..." she shivered. "I would take tequila over that..." she joked. Too many times had she been on the receiving end of many nights where too many shots passed her lips.

As they spoke the shuttle settled onto the deck, engines powering down. The wait before the hatch opened was somewhat longer than might normally be expected, at least by anyone but Wraet and possibly Adam, as those within ran through multiple checks and verifications of what precisely waited without. Once it did open a tall Romulan wearing Commander rank insignia stepped out, flanked by several Uhlans, disruptor rifles held ready across their chests.

Wraet smiled. He knew the man, but of course there was no call to acknowledge that or even to use anything but titles. "Jolan'tru, Erie'Riov, welcome aboard the Loki. This is the Captain, our Security Chief, and Lieutenant Rayner, who leads our Latinum Guard," he said, inclining his head a precise degree toward each in turn, naming Adam only because his Latinum Guard would be part of the 'official' record.

An eyebrow slanted ever so slightly upward as the Commander considered those before him. But it was a rebel crew, some barely freed from prison if his intel was correct, so what did one expect? "Jolan'tru. We are prepared to deliver the requisition." He held a PaDD out, looking from the Captain to the Latinum Guard. "Who will receive it?"

Tia looked at Wraet and Niyahra to see which one would accept the PaDD. It was not her place to do so no longer being in command of a ship unless she was asked to do so. Behind within the vessel she did see some other people present, and not all of them appeared to be fully Romulan, or Romulan at all.

As the Latinum Guard representative aboard the Loki, it was Adam's responsibility to check over the delivery list. Stepping forward, the man received the list. Taking a step back out of the Romulan's personal space, Adam took a look at the list. As he looked over the itemized breakdown, he could not help but notice torpedoes and especially the cloaking device. He tried not to show any reaction, but it was a highly unusual order that caught him off guard.

Nodding to acknowledge the Romulan commander and to say all was well, he turned slightly toward the Captain and handed over the PaDD. Adam returned to his place near Tia. Keeping his eyes on the Captain for any reaction to the list of such supplies, he whispered, "No chocolate."

Tia sighed. "Knew it. Guess it would have been too much to ask for." She said keeping her face quite straight as to not 'spook' the Romulans.

Niyahra was still not comfortable being put in the position of 'Captain' by Wraet but she appreciated the fact that the Romulans needed a bit of plausible deniability to keep the non-aggression pact intact, however fragile it seemed, "Jolan'tru Commander, and thank you for these resources. Rest assured they will be put to good use." She looked over at Wraet and then back at the Commander, "am I to understand correctly that you have details about a potential opportunity for us?"

The Commander's eyes also darted to Wraet, but returned to focus on the person identified as the CO. He supposed that if this venture were to work, treating them as capable equals was a necessary first step, no matter how dubious the assumption seemed. "Yes. A contract for your Latinum Guard. The details are here," he said producing a small datapad and handing it to her.

Turning his eyes to Wraet, almost as if in afterthought, the Commander withdrew a small PaDD from his uniform jacket. "I was also entrusted with some personal correspondence," he said handing it to Wraet. "From your family."

Wraet took the PaDD, inclining his head, saying only, "Khnai'ra" in simple thanks.

Tia stepped forward and nodded respectfully to the Romulan leader in front of them. "Jolan'tru Commander, I understand you have some personnel that may help us in our contract." she said simply and confidently. She remembered Romulans did see confidence as respectful, and they had long memories... if you showed weakness they'd sure as Hells remember it.

"Ah. Yes," the Romulan said as if remembering a last detail. "There have volunteers among those who had sought asylum in the Empire but now wish to return to the fight." He waved a signal to a guard who stepped aside, allowing a small group to move toward the hatch. "And also a specialist to assist with the cloak." As he spoke an Uhlan stepped up beside him, chin raising in a gesture that tossed back a mane of hair - a literal mane. "Uhlan Raha Chakur."

Wraet felt an eyebrow rise as he assessed the hybrid, felinoid, probably Cait, and Romulan. Unusual, and quite striking. He wondered if she had the retractable claws from her felinoid side. It would be useful to have that sort of thing built in. "Jolan'tru, Uhlan. We are honored to have you."

Raha struck a fist to her chest in Galae salute. "It is my honor to serve."

Hybrid but thoroughly Romulan in demeanor. Wraet aimed a fractional brow lift at the Commander. There was a story here, but not one he expected to hear in public. "Our chief engineer will be most pleased to work with you. Inform us if there is anything you require beyond what you have brought with you."

"Ssuaj-ha, rekkhai. [Understood, sir]," Raha replied with a precise incline of her head, and turned on a heel to begin directing those porting her equipment from the shuttle.

Wraet nodded, watching her take charge. "All business. I approve."

"There is also another we have brought with us." The Romulan Commander spoke as a redheaded female appeared from the shuttle's rear doors. "We picked this young Human female up aboard an old damaged Federation craft. Registry confirmed it to be from a larger USS Lexington which was destroyed over 20 years ago. Her ship has been sighted many times as being that of The Runner, a smuggler of sorts and courier. She has been alone for some time but we believe her to useful, she has shown some degree of skill as a navigator for us in recent weeks."

Emily walked down the ramp from the shuttle and looked at the group in front of her. "Place could do with some colour." she said.

Wraet nearly laughed, only habit from having spent several months playing a Vulcan prevented it. That was quite the attitude for a stray who was little more than pup, but then if she'd been raised as part of some remnant of the Lexiington perhaps it was justified. He hoped so. "Starfleet was once fond of beige interiors, and we took this vessel - how do humans say it? - 'as is'. However, I assure you the crew are more than colorful enough to make up for it."

Emily sucked some air through her teeth. "Lexie was colourful... mostly broken, some nice burn patterns, little blood on the carpet... now she's gone. My parents had me on that ship." she said with a hint of remorse but still remaining strong. "They died on that ship, and I made it mine over the past 10 years. Rommie here..."

"I have told you to stop calling me that." the Romulan replied.

Emily rolled her eyes and continued. "Yeah, and I have listened to you... doesn't mean I'm going to do it. This is why I think they want rid of me. Orphaned teenager with a chip on her shoulder for sale... but you don't actually get to buy me." she said as they all seemed to just look at her. "Sorry, I've not talked to a lot of people. I usually just say what I want out loud." she shrugged.

It was clear why the Commander had decided to hand her over to them: just saying what one wanted out loud made a person a poor fit for most of Romulan society and while the Qowat Milet might have taken a troubled human teen as an act of charity, he doubted she would be much more amenable to the path of absolute candor. "We will work on that." Wraet's tone was light, but brooked no contradiction. "Otherwise you will never be of any use outside the ship."

"Sounds good to me dude." Emily said. "I've been alone since I was 7 and not much for outside company, but if you want to take me to school and teach me manners over navigational charts..." she drifted for a moment realising she may have sounded somewhat like a teenage bitch from hell. "I can work with beige." she smiled a little.

"Most know me as Sargon," Wraet replied near Vulcan deadpan. "However I am willing to consider 'dude' as a potential alternate alias ter'ak khiilal [little wildcat]. With some training, I believe you may find beige to be useful, especially if you can learn to blend into it."

"Dude suits you." She said warming up to the man, he seemed to show her respect and she did appreciate that. "That and I have watched way too much old styled entertainment vids from Earths history so..." she said as she heard him call her some strange sounding name, sadly she did not speak that language quite as fully as she'd like. She rubbed her arms slightly as the coldness of the ship began to set in, Romulan ships were warmer and she had a light top on with no arms on it.

Which apparently resulted in the manners of feral cat. But humans were different, Wraet reminded himself, and this one was very young and her background put her not far from feral. It could be advantage; she ought at least have skills in survival. The rest could be worked on. For now, he recognized a chill when he saw it - the ship felt cold to him as well though he'd long ago learned to ignore such things. "We have no uniforms, but there are maintenance coveralls if you require a change of clothing."

"Thanks, but I'll be fine." she said not wanting to appear weak in front of new company. The portrayal of strength had gotten her far in the last 10 years by herself, that and some nice holographic technology. Sometimes being able to project a different appearance was very helpful, but not so much right now as she it wasn't needed.

Ah, so she had picked up some concept of hiding weakness, though he imagined it had more to do with spending her life as fugitive than her short exposure to his culture. It was a start though, and so he extended her the courtesy he would to any young Romulan. "Nevertheless, as I assume you have some knowledge of repairing old Starfleet systems, we will be putting you to work. For that it would be best that you had coveralls to protect exposed skin."

"Okay." Emily sighed, "But I'm choosing the blue one. Looks not as sad as the others..." she said folding her arms as she then waited for the meeting to conclude.

With a short nod, Wraet turned back to his Romulan counterpart. Despite the carefully neutral mask of an experienced Commander, Wraet could practically read a sarcastic 'have fun' in the man's expression. He trusted his own people enough to have little concern that all of those being off loaded to the Loki had been properly vetted, but had no doubt those brought to join this crew where ...somewhat different... than the well-disciplined troops to which he'd been accustomed in his Galae days. However, he would assess them later - he had worked this side of the Neutral Zone long enough to take whatever D'era saw fit to provide and find a way to use it.

"Khnai'ra, your assistance is appreciated," he said formally, clasping the other's fore arm briefly.

"We exist to serve," the Commander replied formally, then released his grasp. "We will wait your return, should the Elements will it." With that he turned and re-entered his shuttle.

Wraet watched as it prepared to depart, the PaDD of 'personal information' a weight against his chest. Ready or not there was a mission, and if they were to accomplish what they worked so long to set in motion, it was one they could not but accept.


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