Forged in Fire:
Book One: Mirrors
CAST (Name and STO game handle):
Fen Siriun Ixx (@fenixxx33, @Fenixxx32) as:
Crew of Moskhheri Okhala
Crew of Saint Josephe
Frances Ixx (@ishmael27)
Crew of the Parelton
Act One: Deep Space Nine, 2411Edit
Fen Thompson walks into Quarks wearing black civilian clothes, a distinct frown on his face as he turns to Woadie: “Strongest thing you got.”
Moonshine Ishmael leans on the counter, dressed in a simple, long black robe and sips her ale, not noticing the newcomer.
Fen grabs the drink from Woadie, before looking around and seeing a familiar face. “Moonshine?”
Moon glances up. “Fen? What are you doing here?”
Fen: “Working on slipping into an alcohol-induced stupor.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow and shrugs. “Saurian brandy works well. Though before you do, may I ask why?”
Fen looks down at his drink. “Is that what this stuff is?”
Moon glances at the brown liquid. “Yes.”
Fen frowns. “I've no reason not to. I have......nothing.”
Moon looks up and sees him frown. “I thought you'd just been offered a new post. Isn't it going well?”
Fen: “Starfleet command giveth, and starfleet command taketh away....” He downs a good deal of the brandy.
Moon laughs bitterly. “What did they take from you? A friend? Or something else?”
Fen: “My post. My ship. My home. Everything.”
Moon looks up and holds his gaze for a moment.
Fen’s eyes are filled with sorrow, covered in a thin layer of hatred.
Moon asks quietly: “Which Starfleet?”
Fen: “I'm sorry?”
Moon pauses: “There's stronger brandy aboard the Parelton. And plenty of space.” She adds bitterly. “ Why don't we talk there?”
Fen attempts a smile. “Sounds good.”
Moon nods and taps her commbadge. “Moonshine to Parelton. Two to beam up.”
Fen looks around the transporter room. “Hasn't changed much.”
As they step off the transporter pad, Fen notices the corridors are draped in black silk. Moon leads the way to the lounge.
Fen gestures at the silk: “What's with all the.. uhh..”
Moon looks through the bottles. “Fortified brandy or Romulan ale?” She smiles bitterly. “Starfleet took something from me.”
Fen: “That makes two of us.” He pauses. “Whichever gets me drunk faster.”
Moon glances at Fen. “I'd say the ale, but given your acquired tolerance, probably the brandy.” She silently pours two glasses and hands one to him.
Fen accepts and downs the drink. “So. Explain your question earlier?”
Moon watches him for a moment. “Fen isn't your real name, is it? And Cope isn't strictly speaking your niece.”
Fen: “No, it isn't. She isn't. How much do you know?”
Moon shrugs. “Not much to be honest. Your quantum signature matches that of the Mirror Universe. You have the same name as Cope's father. And you're a genetically altered Romulan. That's all.” She sips her brandy and pulls a face before pouring herself a glass of Vulcan port.
Fen: “Hmm. How much has Cope told you about her father?”
Moon: “Not much. Almost nothing actually.” She manages a half-smile. “Though she did say how she was "born".”
Fen: “I can't betray my own trust. However, I can tell you enough to tell you my story.”
Moon offers him a refill.
Fen: “Just not here.” He accepts the drink and downs it immediately.
Moon nods. “Then where?”
Fen: “Your quarters, perhaps? I'm.... uncomfortable discussing this in public.”
Moon glances round the almost empty lounge and smiles bitterly. “Of course. This way.” She turns to leave, then hands him the bottle of brandy. “Take it.”
Fen: “Thanks.” He grabs the bottle and follows her out of the lounge.
Moon leads him to her quarters, also draped in black, and offers him a seat as she settles into a chair.
Fen sits down. “Where should I begin?”
Moon smiles. “Why not tell me why Traklamek tr'Khasei became Fen Thompson?”
Fen: “Well. That would depend on which Traklamek. Me, or my "brother"?”
Moon laughs gently. “I'm not interested in your "brother's" story, just in yours. You're my friend, remember? Not him.”
Fen: “Well. Okay. Most of our past is very similar. We both married Tarl, and we both lost her. Then we both joined the Tal'Shiar. Except, for me, it all happened a good twenty years after him.”
Moon nods and listens quietly.
Fen: “And uh. The Tal'Shiar both ordered us to infiltrate our Starfleets. His Federation, my Empire. We both became Lieutenant Commander Fen Thompson, chief of security on the Avenger IV.” He looks at her for a moment.
Moon holds his gaze.
Fen: “In this universe, my brother was able to go home. In mine.... I never got the opportunity. The Cardassians attacked me, decimated my ship. Boarded, executed my crew... left me to the Borg.”
Moon sits quietly for a moment, unsure what to say.
Fen: “I don't know what my brother was doing there. But in the nick of time, just after my assimilation was started.... He saved me. Brought me here, and set me up in his old cover identity.”
Fen: “So, Starfleet became the only home I had.” He takes a long swig of brandy.
Moon murmurs gently: “Dead in one universe, living a lie in the other.”
Fen: “Exactly. I hate it. But I have nothing else.”
Moon: “And you were relieved of duty?”
Moon refills his glass. “Will you be returning to the Advent?”
Fen stands up, and looks at her. “What's there to return to? I'm emotionally unfit for duty. I've got to tell them who I am, though....”
Moon smiles bitterly. “Do you have to?”
Fen: “...I can't stand the lie anymore.”
Moon: “Letting Starfleet help with problems isn't always a good idea.”
Fen: “I'm not talking about starfleet. But I owe my... friends... the honesty.”
Moon nods. “True. Who do you have to tell?”
Moon: “Have you thought about how you will tell them?”
Fen: “Extensively. But.... I haven't reached any conclusions.”
Moon twists the left corner of her mouth into a half-smile. “Do you at least have some ideas which are less crazy than the others?”
Fen shifts uncomfortably. “I... don't want to talk about this.”
Moon nods. “Of course. What would you like to talk about?”
Fen: “What's.... what's your story?”
Moon smiles bitterly. “My story? A great deal shorter than yours, I'm afraid.”
Fen: “Still. I'd like to hear it.”
Moon sighs. “I was found drifting in space by a civilian freighter. Dropped off on a Federation colony, I decided to join the Academy since I didn't know of anything else.
Fen: “And you don't remember anything before that?”
Moon looks up. “No, no I don't remember. And nothing Starfleet has done has helped me to. I was sent to a research base for study. I spent four years between the Academy and the lab, for the results to be classified beyond my clearance.”
Fen: “Talk about timing. Had I known this a few days ago, I might have been able to access your file...”
Moon smiles bitterly. “Oh, I got the file. Eventually. I resigned from Starfleet after they refused to let me access my file. Then Franklin Drake caught up with me and offered to get me a copy if the results in return for... help on a mission. I was so angry at Starfleet I accepted.” She shrugs. “The file didn't have the answers I wanted.” She stands up. “But all that… that happened after…” She frozns at the memory. “I had just been posted aboard the USS Cristopher... My first assignment… then L'Vythyad died and left me the Parelton.” She runs her hand gently down the wall.
Fen: “Lv... who? And… what did it say?”
Moon smiles gently as she remembers him. “L'Vythyad was...” She starts
at the new question. “It contained what it was supposed to: the test results from the research base. But I was hoping they'd found clues as to where I came from. All it did was say what I was.”
Fen: “Hmm. Which is?”
Moon smiles bitterly and shrugs. “The result of illegal genetic engineering.”
Fen smiles comfortingly, placing a hand on her shoulder. “I don't think this face is legal, myself.”
Moon smiles wryly. “No. But at least you existed beforehand.”
Fen: “Can you be sure that you didn't?”
Moon: “No. I can't be sure of anything. It's like living a lie when you don't even know the truth.”
Fen: “Is that any worse than living a lie when you do know it?”
Moon smiles wryly. “I don't know. But at least your way has a... certainty mine lacks.”
Fen smiles softly: “One might say that it's not who you were, but who you are that really matters. Maybe we can figure out who we are... together, two friends in the same boat?”
Moon looks up and smiles. “Maybe we can.”
Fen wraps an arm around her shoulders. “So, what's with the black?”
Moon fingers the silk, a tear welling in the corner of her eye. “Serik died.”
Fen: “I'm.....sorry. Maybe that might explain some of my depression.... I touched his mind. I think I felt it.”
Moon: “Maybe. Orion pirates boarded yesterday and knife him in sickbay.” She gradually gets more agitated. “I've never seen Orions behave like that.”
Fen: “You think it was personal?”
Moon: “They're always too busy looting the hold to worry about killing invalids. And only Starfleet knew his condition.”
Fen: “How would they know that?”
Moon: “I don't know what to think. All I know is two True Way attacks, three Orion raiding parties and one Klingon warbird and he was fine. Starfleet sends us on a mission and he's killed.”
Fen: “Starfleet is.... calloused.”
Moon sighs. “I don't have enough contacts in the Orion syndicate to find out.”
Fen: “Maybe I can help.”
Moon leans her head against his chest. “How?”
Fen holds her close. “My brother has friends everywhere.”
Moon smiles. “So you have family in high places?”
Fen smiles back. “If you can call them family, sure.”
Moon: “You called him your brother.”
Fen: “What else should I call him? Traklamek is my name. Twin is.... not accurate, since we don't look alike at all. Counterpart is a mouthful.”
Moon smiles wryly: “I can't argue with that.”
Fen: “smiles back Could.... Could you use an XO?”
Moon looks up with a strained smile. “It's worse than that. I need one.”
Fen: “I.... have nowhere else to go.”
Moon: “Then welcome to the crew.” She grins mischievously. “If you think you're qualified.”
Fen: “I certainly hope I'm qualified.”
Moon: “Good. We're scheduled to make a delivery to the Rolor nebula the beginning of next week.” She lifts her head off his chest. “Can you double as something else? Serik often had to help in engineering, and with him gone, I need to rework the duty roster.”
Fen: “Security chief? I've done it twice before.... granted it hasn't ended well either time... third time's a charm?”
Moon smiles. “We can only hope. Phy will no doubt sulk again... any ideas where we can station him?”
Fen: “What's his qualifications?”
Moon: “He's a Starfleet Tactical Hologram. His qualifications are what he's programmed with. Assuming he doesn't reject the programming.”
Fen: “A hologram, huh? Hmm.... is he always active?”
Moon nods. “Unless he takes himself offline. Which he has been known to do.” She smiles. “But we're talking shop, and I doubt that's what you had in mind for this evening.”
Fen: “Well. He can work as my assistant chief, if he wants.” He reaches out and strokes her cheek. “My plans for this evening were to get drunk off my ass, have an emotional outburst, and get kicked out of Quarks. I'd say to hell with my plans at this point.”
Moon shudders as his skin touches hers and gently brushes his hand away. “Since you're part of my crew now, what do you do when you're off-duty? Besides get kicked out of Quarks.”
Fen frowns as his hand is brushed away. “I dunno. I never really spent a lot of time off duty.”
Moon sees him frown. “No, it's not that... it just takes me a while to get used to a new nervous system.”
Fen: “What do you mean?”
Moon smiles wanely. “You'll have to find out at some point. I might as well tell you now.” She carefully removes her fake fingertips, showing her gently pointed, nail-less fingers. “I don't have skin, just a modified exoskeleton. It feels the same, but I do breathe through it a little and it doesn't produce keratin. It also means I don't have fingerprints.”
Fen: “What's this gotta do with my nervous system?”
Moon smiles. “It's also very sensitive. I can feel blood flow, arteries, nerve clusters and electric currents or fields.” She laughs gently. “I try not to go down to engineering if I can help it. And since the nervous system is basically electric currents...”
Fen: “Geez. That's gotta suck.”
Moon shrugs. “I just avoid physical contact when possible. And I don't suppose it's any worse than a telepath having to block other people's thoughts.”
Fen smiles. “I don't envy you. I've.... always desired physical contact.... but....”
Moon smiles. “I'm beginning to realize how wonderful it can be. I'd just need to find the right person first. Intimately knowing someone else's nervous system would be...”
Moon blushes gently, her skin turning a darker shade of gray. “One way to put it.”
Fen smiles: “Moon. You're the only person who knows the truth. Because you're the only person who I think can understand it.”
Moon smiles, resting her head back against his chest. “Thank you.”
Fen wraps an arm back around her, squeezing her shoulder. “No, thank you.”
Moon waits in silence for a moment before looking up. “Do you have anything you need to collect from the Starbase?”
Fen: “No... I uh... don't really own anything.”
Moon smiles wryly. “Then you won't mind using Serik's quarters. They're a little... Spartan. And what do I put on the crew roster? Fen Thompson or Traklamek tr'Khasei?”
Fen: “Neither. I can't honestly say I'm either at this point... Fen.. Fen tr'Khasei.”
Moon smiles: “Fen tr'Khasei it shall be.”
Fen speaks softly, inches from her ear. “And what will you call me?”
Moon smiles as his breath warms her ear. “What would you like me to call you?”
Fen: “That's.... entirely up to you.” He nibbles her earlobe gently, encouraged by the lack of resistance.
Moon smiles and reaches up to stroke your cheek. “Then I'll call you Fen. For now at least.” She sees her fingers are un-tipped and starts, sitting down brusquely to recap them, shaking slightly.
Fen smiles softly. “What’s wrong?”
Moon looks up. :It's... well, they're very sharp. Last time...” She frowns slightly.
Fen indicates the scar across his eye. “I'm used to sharp.” He gently uncaps her fingers. “Just be you, okay?”
Moon smiles. “I'll try not to give you another.”
Fen interlaces his fingers with hersyours, and gently kisses her neck.
Moon laughs softly, disentangling herself gently. “Slow down.” She smiles. “I'd rather you got settled in first.”
Fen: “Slow? I don't much care for slow.” He grins. “How settled in must I be?”
Moon smiles wryly. “At least know your way round my ship. And you're not exactly sober.”
Fen: “True. But sober's no fun.” He frowns. “I'm not drunk yet, either.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “You'd better never be. Just because I allow copious amounts of alcohol aboard doesn't mean I don't expect my crew to be able to handle an emergency.” She frowns slightly. “Actually having some crew aboard would also help, but these last few days have been... difficult.”
Fen: “I'm quite capable of handling emergencies. And I understand.... should we go uh... announce the news?”
Moon smiles. “We might as well.” She glances at his clothes. “At least you're not in uniform.”
Fen: “Does the ship have a uniform I should be aware of?”
Moon shakes her head. “Not really. Starfleet just isn't particularly in favor at the moment.”
Fen glances down at his black (TOS mirror outfit): “Well. I hope this is fine.”
Moon nods. “You'll fit in fine. Sil'In will probably be in something similar.”
Moon smiles wryly. “Our Bajoran... handyman? He fills in anywhere help is needed. He also takes care of the ship's temple and crew memorial plaques. He'll insist on taking you round.”
Fen: “Well. I should be getting formally acquainted with them, right?”
Moon nods. “I'll call them to the bridge.” She straightens her robe and leads him to the turbo lift.
Fen straightens his own outfit and follows.
Moon enters the bridge and opens a ship wide comm from the captains chair. “All crew personnel are ordered to report to the bridge. Three of Eight will man the secondary bridge. All station specific holograms are to be activated. Captain out.” She closes the comm and glances up at Fen.
Fen stands stands behind and to your right, silent, hands folded behind his back
Moon nods as an Andorian reports all crew present and clears her throat, suddenly feeling very small next to Fen.
Fen smiles, and whispers. “Would you like me to move?”
Moon shakes her head. “No.” She glances over her mixed crew.
Fen follows her gaze.
Moon: “This is Fen tr'Khasei. He will be taking the post of First Officer.”
Fen nods at the Shelthreth group he'd met before.
Moon smiles slightly as Thiryl pulls a face. “Any comments to be addressed to me individually.” She glances at the Aenars. “And his mind is as off-limits as anyone else's.” She turns back to the rest of the crew. “Informal introductions will take place as soon as Lynah and Rin return.”
Fen, still whispering: “Not as if they'd be able to attack my mind without pissing off Cope . May I say something?”
Fen: “Excuse me, everyone.” He clears his throat, and waits for attention.
All present turn to watch him, not without a couple if glances at Moonshine beforehand.
Fen: “Now, I know how much everyone liked Serik . And despite how Vulcan he was, when I touched his mind before the ceremony awhile back, I noticed how strongly he felt towards all of you.
Now, I'm not Serik. And I'll never be Serik.I will however do whatever is necessary to gain your trust, and assimilate” -he cringes at his own use of the word- “into the crew. Rest assured, any ties to starfleet I once had, have been left behind me on the Advent.”
Fen looks back at Moon as he finishes his speech.
Moon watches the crews reaction; a few relax, but most remain coldly silent.
Moon nods. “None of us will ever forget Serik. And though Fen will be using his quarters, he is not here to replace him. It might take a while to adapt. But this crew is strong enough that one death cannot break us apart.”
Fen nods, and looks at the crew, judging reactions. Most appear to agree. Only Thiryl continues to scowl stubbornly.
Fen looks emotionlessly at Thiryl.
Moon: “We'll wait till Lynah and Rin return before hosting a welcome party. Anyone who gets any news of them is to report it to me immediately. Dismissed.”
Fen watches the crew leave, then looks down at Moon. “So, what's Thiryl's issue? And who are Lynah and Rin?”
Moon quirks an eyebrow and sighs. “Serik was Thiryl's best friend. He was closer to him than to his mate Tholin.” She laughs gently. “Serik was part of the reason Thiryl joined this crew. He's just afraid I'm trying to replace him.”
Fen: :I'll have to have a talk with him later. Lynah and Rin?:
Moon: “ Lynah is an Orion; she mans secondary tactical and serves as unofficial Second Officer.”
Moon: “Rin is... Ferengi. He is responsible for most if the contraband aboard this ship. And much of the income.”
Fen: “I see. Don't expect me to have any issues with contraband.”
Moon laughs gently. “You'd better not. If you want to eat at least.”
Fen: “Do we have to have a welcoming party?”
Moon shrugs. “There will be a party. Whether or not you attend is up to you. smiles I generally skip most of them. And very few will notice you're not there.”
Fen: “Hmm.... can I try something?” He gestures to a console. “Do you have a means of securely accessing the Federation mainframe?”
Moon nods. “Yes. There's a secure console in my ready room.”
Fen grins. “Can I use it?”
Moon smiles. “Of course. You now have full security clearance... as soon as I reset the codes.” She leads him to a federation console and leans in to watch.
Fen taps a few controls, bringing up a login screen. He types a system command into the user slot, and the password slot fills itself. After a moment, the screen shifts, showing a bunch of unintelligible Romulan script. “Good. It's still active.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “What is it?”
Fen: “That, my dear, is what's called admiral-level security clearance.”
Moon smiles and glances up mischievously. “I knew there was a good reason for bringing you here.”
Fen taps two controls, bringing up a live security feed from the Federation Council chambers. “And it wasn't just my good looks and charm?”
Moon grins. “Do you think I'm that fickle?”
Fen: “Nope.” He grins back, taps three controls, and the romulan text vanishes, replaced by the empty login screen. “So. What now?”
Moon: “When was the last time you ate?”
Fen: “This morning, when I left the Advent. So around 0200.”
Moon smiles. “Then we get you to the mess.”
Fen: “Sounds like a plan.”
Moon: “That early?”
Fen: “Yeah. They wanted me out pretty bad.”
Moon: “I see. You can tell me about it over... whatever we have available.”
Fen follows her to the turbolift. “No menu?”
Moon smiles. “Yes. But it's Virli's turn to prepare it, and I tend to avoid Rigelian week.”
Fen: “I'm sure you have a..... unique digestive system.”
Moon shrugs. “Not particularly. I just don't like it.” She leads him to the mess. “Take a seat. Is there anything you prefer?”
Fen: “As for myself, my Borg implants make it possible to eat almost anything.”
Moon smiles. “Good. That's one popularity point in your favor already.”
Fen: “Hmm... I have a craving for scrambled eggs. And orange juice.”
Moon smiles. “I'll see what I can do.” She disappears behind the counter.
Fen looks around awkwardly, then sits down.
Moon comes back after a few minutes carrying a large plate and a glass and sets them gently on the table. “I figured you would be very hungry.”
Fen grins. “Ravenous. I could eat a whole sehlat.” He pauses. “Uhh... don't tell Cope I said that.”
Moon: “Why not?”
Fen: “Because she has a pet sehlat. Teenage, his name is Jimmy.”
Moon smiles. “Serik has...” -she frowns slightly- “…had one too. I don't know its name though.”
Fen: “Hmm. Onboard?”
Moon nods. “He didn't have anything when he arrived. He got it afterwards.”
Fen: “I'll take care of it, if it likes me.”
Moon: “It's in the arboretum. I'll take you there after you've eaten.” She grins. “I can't have you eating it, now can I?”
Fen: “Why, I would never...” He grins. “You gonna eat too?” He picks up a fork and shovels some eggs into his mouth.
Moon shakes her head. “I ate before going to Quarks. So tell me, what did you do to get thrown off the Advent at 0200?”
Fen: “Well.... I made an advance on my former first officer.”
Moon smiles wryly. “Liyanna? I'm sure that didn't go well.”
Fen: “Apparently she finds men distasteful. The resulting argument had me escorted to the nearest runabout, and an armed guard had me escorted to DS9.”
Moon tries not to grin: “Does that happen often?”
Fen: “Nope. But then again, if it had happened before, I could have ordered the guards off.”
Moon watches him for a moment. “Then don't try anything with Lynah.”
Fen grins. “Not till I'm through trying with you.”
Moon smiles. “Good. I don't believe in open relationships.”
Moon frowns and looks up. Suddenly panels by the door begin to flash as the ship enters yellow alert.
Fen: “Oh, lovely. First day on the job....”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “Rin and Lynah are back. Apparently they brought company.” She grins. “This is your chance to prove your worth as XO.”
Fen follows Moon to the turbolift.
Fen: “Oh boy. I need to stop by my quarters. Meet you on the bridge?”
Moon nods. “The computer will show you where they are. Ask for Serik’s quarters. I haven't renamed them yet.”
Fen: “Hmm.... has my bag been sent there yet?”
Moon pauses. “Sil’In is on transporter duty. It should have been. If it’s not, check the nearest... actually, just come as you are in that case.”
Fen: “I don't go on duty without my sidearm. Meet you on the bridge!”
The turbolift stops, and he steps out.
Fen steps onto the bridge, hair neatly tied back, and a tactical belt around his waist, a rather nasty antiproton pistol on the belt. “Fen tr'Khasei reporting for duty.”
Moon glances up from the captain's chair. “Welcome to the bridge.” She turns to the female Aenar. “Jhymyl, lock on to their signals and beam them directly to the bridge.”
Fen automatically heads towards Tactical, then pauses. “Uh. Do I have a station?”
Two figures materialize in front of Moon; the surprisingly slim-built Ferengi looks up, slightly dazed. The tall Orion heads directly to Tactical, looking curiously at Fen
Fen walks over to the bridge's center, standing behind and to the right of Moon’s chair
Moon looks up at him then glances at Lynah. “Not really. We'll work that out later.” She turns to Rin as the Reman at the science station reports incoming vessels. “Explain yourselves now.”
Rin Teruggi -rubs his hands nervously: “A deal went sour. Jem'Hadar don't understand a bargain when they see it”
Fen: “Oh, lovely. You tried to deal with Jem'Hadar?”
Lorix (the Reman science officer): “Vessels identified. Three Jem'Hadar attack ships on an intercept course.”
Fen: “Evasive maneuvers, red—“ He cuts himself off and looks at Moon.
Rin glances derisively at Fen: “What is a hewmon doing here? And tactical? I'd have thought after Mic...”
Fen: “I'm Fen. Your new first officer. I'll explain when there aren't beetles up our asses.”
Moon scowls at the Ferengi. “Rin, secure your cargo.” She nods at Fen to continue as Phy appears next to Rin and escorts him to the turbolift.
Moon opens a ship wide comm. “Limmo'Ukan , report to the bridge.”
Fen: “All hands to battle stations. Lock on the lead ship's nacelle supports. Charge dis-- This isn't the Algeron... hell...” looks down at Moon. “Permission to take over at Tactical?”
Moon nods. “Lynah, take Ops. Jhymyl, report to engineering.” She smiles coldly as a Jem'Hadar enters the bridge. “Limmo'Ukan, take secondary tactical.”
Fen finishes the round of musical consoles with a grin, hands expertly finding the correct controls. “The jemmies are weapons-hot.”
Moon watches Fen. “Lorix, have holographic decoys on standby.”
Fen looks over at Moon. “Direct hit on quadrant a-9. Shields holding. Permission to return fire?”
Moon nods. “Fire at will.” She turns to Heang. “Ready evasive maneuvers.”
Fen presses some controls, as four violet beams arc across the viewscreen to connect at the right nacelle strut of the lead ship, breaking through the shields and severing the nacelle in a decent-sized explosion. “Direct hit. Lead ship disabled.”
Fen launches a spread of chroniton torpedoes at the second ship. Two torpedoes chase the ship in a spiraling pattern, while two more smack it across the face. At that moment, the ship shakes. “Fvadt! We've lost shields! Unauthorized transporter activity... they've boarded us!”
Moon stands up sharply. “Phy, emergency security holograms to all decks.”
Fen: “Two teams, converging on Sickbay.”
Moon rushes to Ops. “Evacuate and seal off decks 7-9. Limmo'Ukan, take Lynah and meet Tholin in Sickbay then head to engineering.”
Fen: “Captain, I’d much prefer to deal with the boarding party myself.” He stares down at Moon, grinning like a klingon.
Moon nods and turns to Limmo’Ukan. “Head to auxiliary control and secure those decks.” She glances wryly at Fen. “Have fun.”
Moon turns to Lorix. “Raise a dampening field round the bridge and have Phy send you reinforcements. I'll be in engineering.”
Fen crouches outside the door to engineering, staring at his tricorder.
Moon looks past the four Jem'Hadar flanking her and watches another trying to access the ships systems through a console to her left. Glancing at the security readout she sees a sixth patrolling by the door.
A burst of red light disintegrates the patroller, and two others fly at the two on Moon’s right. One hits, and one misses. Fen flies out from the shadows of the doorway and collides with the third.
Darting a hand towards the fourth’s neck, Moon slices through his spinal cord and dashes for the console, scratching the console touchscreen past repair with a deft move of her hand.
Fen shoots the Jemmie he missed at first, then spins and brings the gun across the third Jemmie's head.
Wiping her bloody hand on her robe, Moon activates a small device on her belt and a lirpa appears on her back. Swinging it round she knocks the last soldier to the ground before driving it through his chest.
The third jemmie raises his blade, and Fen grabs it, twists it around behind the Jem’Hadar and uses it to slash through its spine.
Fen grins, and looks at Moon. “That was fun.”
Moon smiles. “It was. Nice entrance.”
Fen tosses the Jemmy blade aside with a clank. “I've been told I have a flair for the dramatic.”
Moon: “Indeed.” She turns to the slashed console. “He was close to getting through... We'll have to increase security measures.” She wipes the rest of the blood off on her robe, replaces the lirpa on her back and phases it out again.
Fen:”Well, I'll have to get right on that.” He doesn't do anything with the blood on one side of his face or with the bangs of his long black hair, now loose from its bonds. “So, were you just sitting there waiting for me to drop in?”
Moon shrugs. “I wanted to see how the existing measures stood up. And whether or not Phy would send help.” She realizes she has blood on her scalp and pulls a face. ‘Though if you had taken any longer I would have had to do something.”
Fen: “Well. There's still a ship that needs saving.”
Moon nods, pulls up a security readout on a different console and laughs.
Moon: “They're in the arboretum again. This isn't quite how I'd planned in you seeing it, but well. Just try to lure them away from the plants.”
The doors open, and Fen sweeps the room with his pistol, firing two shots into the first two jemmies he sees.
Moon grabs a fallen katarkin and slips from behind Fen to a tall bush, slicing through a third soldier's spine.
Fen pulls two daggers from his belt, and stabs two jemmies in the throat, and then flies through the air at a third, slashing his face upon landing.
Crouching to avoid a blow Moon takes a second blade and parries, thrusting one blade into her attacker's chest.
Fen sees another coming behind her and throws a kartakin which embeds itself in the Jem'Hadar's back.
Fen disembowels a third, kicks a fourth in the chest, and then drives the dagger into a fifth. He withdraws the dagger and throws it, the blade whizzes by your head, and slams into a sixth jemmie's eye.
Moon slices through the wounded Jem'Hadar's throat and ducks as a blade drives into a tree trunk; spinning round she curls her lip in distaste and drives her fingertips into another's heart.
Fen fires a shot upward into a tree, causing a thick branch to fall on two jemmies who were attempting to sneak up behind you. He then drives his remaining dagger into yet another jemmie-throat.
Moon glances ruefully at the fallen branch and deftly avoids a stray shot, stooping to grasp another blade before disembowling her attacker.
Fen grins, and approaches a rather small vorta. “Boo.” The vorta jumps up and runs off, before getting shot in the back.
Moon glances round the arboretum, littered with Jem'Hadar corpses.
Fen: “Is that it?”
Carefully lifting the hem if her robe to keep it out of the spreading pools of blood, Moon sees a shadow and slices her fingertips through a hidden Jem'Hadar's spinal cord.
Fen grins. “Is THAT it?”
Moon looks up. “Now it is.” Her brow creases as she looks around. She manages a half-grin “Besides. You're the tactical officer here. You should know.”
Fen: “Hmm. Maybe.. what now?”
Moon taps her commbadge. “Limmo'Ukan, status report on auxiliary decks.”
Limmo'Ukan: Cleared and secure Captain.
Fen: “Lorix, what's the third ship's status?”
Lorix: “She's powering weapons. Our shields are still down. Phy has been draining resources...”
Moon cuts him short. “Activate decoy holograms. Divert power to engines and get us out if here.”
Fen: “Do we have weapons?”
Moon glances at Fen. “I'm not risking additional casualties. We can't power weapons before them, and with their sensors confused we have time to escape.”
Fen: “Good idea.”
The ship shakes as Heang changes course sharply and heads away from the Jem'Hadar ship
Fen holsters his sidearm and pulls the second dagger from the dead jemmie's eye, before putting them both away. “Bridge, then?”
Moon nods and carefully steps round a corpse.
Fen grins. “Cleanup on deck seventeen...”
Moon smiles wanely. “Indeed.” She wipes her hands on her robe whilst still holding the hem off the ground.
Fen: “So, we're out of the mess. Now what?”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “We ask Phy why he didn't send reinforcements to primary engineering, then we see what Rin stole which got us into this mess.”
Fen: “You know, I completely forgot the underlying issue beneath all the blood.”
Moon shakes her head wryly. “First rule of business. Never forget the underlying issue.”
Fen: “It would have emerged eventually.”
Moon steps onto the bridge. “Lorix, sensor report?”
Lorix: “The Jem'Hadar ship has been destroyed by the mines. All sensors clear, and clean up on affected decks is underway.”
Fen: “Good. That was quite a mess.”
Moon nods. “Fen, have a guard posted by the shuttlebay.”
Fen: “On it.” He heads to Tactical and keys in a command, sending guards to the shuttlebay.
Moon looks up. “Phy, report to the bridge.” She turns as the hologram in MACO armor appears behind her.
Moon: “Why did you not send reinforcements to primary engineering?”
Phy: “Those resources were required in secondary engineering. Besides, you seemed to be doing alright on your own.” He gives the impression of grinning snidely despite having no face.
Fen turns to face the hologram with a glare.
Moon watches Fen to see how he will handle it.
Fen: “So. You were willing to sacrifice main engineering and your two commanding officers for what, exactly?”
Phy turns to face Fen. “Who talked about sacrificing? I would have sent help if you had needed it. But you were doing quite adequately. And with the backup also overrun, I needed to prevent the Jem'Hadar fromcompromising ships systems from there.”
Fen: “You could have spared one team. the odds are very slim that two people, despite their skills, can overcome an assault force of Jem'hadar holding an entire section. What if we HADN'T come out?”
Phy folds his arms. “I was monitoring you very closely.” He seems to grin snidely again. “Besides, you're the Security Chief now. And you didn't ask me to send help.”
Fen: “You're ordered to shut down and perform a self-diagnostic. You may or may not be cleared for duty, pending the results of said diagnostic.”
Phy flickers in anger then disappears. His voice sounds over the intercom. “Fine.”
Fen looks to Moon.
Moon smiles. “Well done. Now let's see how you handle Ferengi.”
Fen: “Oh boy. Should I go memorize my Rules of Acquisition?”
Moon smiles wryly. “We'll give you a PADD. Though I wouldn't mention humans. He's a little touchy about being a quarter Terran. I'll meet you there.” She touches his arm and frowns as she leaves a blood stain. “As soon as I've had time to clean up a little.”
Fen: “I must look worse than you do.”
Moon glances up at Fen. “At least the blood stains stop at your forehead.”
Fen: “We should both clean up. Meet you in the shuttlebay?”
Moon nods, and the two head to the turbolifts.
Moon steps through the door, dressed in a different black robe; she glances round the shuttlebay, her gaze resting on the rather battered vessel Rin and Lynah had "borrowed".
Rin is standing uneasily between two security guards.
Fen steps forward, and waves at the guards, who take two steps backwards.
Rin eyes him cautiously.
Fen grins nastily at Rin, then smiles at Moon.
Moon watches Fen attentively.
Fen: “You gonna let me handle this whole thing, then?”
Moon smiles. “I'll step in if I must.”
Moon steps through the door, dressed in a different black robe; she glances round the shuttlebay, her gaze resting on the rather battered vessel Rin and Lynah had "borrowed".
Rin is standing uneasily between two security guards.
Fen steps forward, and waves at the guards, who take two steps backwards.
Rin eyes him cautiously.
Fen grins nastily at Rin, then smiles at Moon.
Moon watches Fen attentively.
Fen: “You gonna let me handle this whole thing, then?”
Moon smiles. “I'll step in if I must.”
Fen: “Alrighty.” He approaches the Ferengi. “Explain yourself.”
Rin glances at Moon then glares at Fen. “Why should I say anything to you, hewmon?”
Fen: “Because I am your superior officer, Small lobes.”
Rin cringes at the insult before spitting back. “Ha. Shows what you know. I don't have a rank, so you can't be my superior.”
Fen: “You serve on this ship. Thus, I am your superior officer. Tell me, what profit was made from this whole spectacle?”
Rin: “Pah. Only a fool thinks accidents never happen. The profit is learning not to arrive when you're on duty. A simple warp out was all that we needed.”
Fen: “So, you're saying that there was nothing gained from this? By Rule 18 then, you're not a Ferengi. What are you, then?”
Fen: “Answer the question.”
Rin: “Cheated out of an honest profit by your incompetence. You couldn't have mismanaged that fight worse if you had lowered our shields yourself!”
Fen stares at Rin pointedly. “A fight that YOUR incompetence got us into. And if you ever call me incompetent again, I'll shave your lobes. Rule 33 would really help you out, here.”
Rin scowls, muttering about rule 59.
Fen: “Who said my advice was free?”
Rin: “Yes... Sir.”
Fen: “Good. Much better. Now, what was it that was so important you wanted to have a Parelton and beetle sandwich for dinner?”
Rin turns to Moon, ignoring Fen. “Exclusive trading rights on Skrreean port”
Fen grabs Rin’s ear and pulls up sharply. “ I don't think the Captain was adressing you. I think I was.”
Rin screeches in pain. “Alright! Alright! They recently revived the activity and have just decided to expand into limited export.”
Fen, without releasing Rin’s ear: “And the Jem'Hadar got involved how, exactly?”
Rin: “I don't know! We loaded the sample crates into the shuttle craft, then suddenly Dominion ships appear from nowhere. I didn't do anything to them, I swear! Let go! Let go!”
Fen releases the Ferengi’s ear. “Bring me the crates.”
Rin rubs his lobe and scampers towards the shuttle before slowly dragging three small but apparently heavy crates out onto the shuttle bay floor.
Fen: “Now, let's see the inside.”
Rin scowls as he bends over to prise the lids off the crates; each contains a dozen squat, round bottles filled with a dark green liquid.
Fen: “What's this stuff?”
Rin looks up derisively. “Skrreean port.”
Fen looks over to Moon.
Moon looks up as if asking if he needs help.
Fen: “A moment, captain?”
Moon nods and steps away from the shuttle.
Fen follows, leaning in over her shoulder. “Skrreean port?”
Moon shrugs very slightly. “The Skrreeans are farmers and horticulters. I've heard of it, but its only ever been available to visitors to the planet.”
Fen: “What is it, exactly?”
Moon: “I'm not really sure. I think it's more similar to earth brandy than port, but a little sweeter. I've never tasted it though.”
Fen: “Hmm. And we're willing to risk the ship for an alcoholic drink?”
Moon shakes her head. “The exclusive trading rights. We'd become the only official exporter. A potential lucrative deal.” She smiles. “You need to remember; this isn't a Romulan or Starfleet vessel. When we're not working as mercenaries, we're glorified barterers.”
Fen: “Hmm. I see the benefits..... Maybe I'm paranoid, but I’d like to do a molecular analysis of the port. See if we can figure out why the Jemmies wanted it so bad.”
Moon nods. “That's not paranoid, just prudent. Have it sent to Virli down in medical. She'll have it analyzed for you.”
Fen: “Alrighty.” He nods to the guards, who grab two of the crates. “Rin, you get to carry the third.”
Rin grumbles indistinctly as he struggle to keep up with the guards.
Virli: “Captain, it's....a drink. Or most of it is.”
Fen: “What do you mean by most of it is?”
Virli: “One of these crates is off. I'm not sure if it's expired, or aged.... The molecular structure is a lot looser than the rest.”
Moon pauses. “Looser?” She taps her commbadge. “Fen, send a security detail down to Virli's lab.”
Fen: “On the way.”
Virli: “Something on your mind, captain?”
Moon turns back to the console. “Is it just the liquid, or the whole crate?”
Virli, after a pause: “The whole crate.”
Moon: “Stop scanning it and separate it from the others behind a containment field.”
Virli: “Yes Ma,am.” Moon hears the sound of a forcefield activating, followed by Fen's voice, as he enters the room with Phy. “Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Moon?”
Moon frowns. “I hope we're wrong. I don't want to think about the consequences...”
Fen: “You and me both.” He draws his sidearm, and points it at the containment field.
Moon listens carefully, murmuring. “At least don't let it be the female...”
Fen watches as the drink shifts into the shape of a brownish fluid, and begins pushing against the field. “Well. Lovely.”
Moon switches to visual surveillance.
The shape moves around until it assumes the shape of a small human.
Moon stands up. “Should I come down?”
Founder: “I demand that you release me.”
Fen, with an edge in his voice akin to a wink: “Well. I dunno, I think we should do what he says, Moon.”
Moon smiles wryly. “Whatever you think best, Fen.”
Fen taps a control, and sends a typed message to Transporter control. "Plot coordinates 400 meters off bow, lock phasers."
Founder: “I said release me!”
Transporter control types back: “Port or starboard?”
Fen notes the response, then types again. "Either." He turns back to the founder. “Well, my dear Founder. If you want out, I'll be more than happy to oblige. Tr'Khasei to transporter control. Beam our guest to an empty runabout.... you know the coordinates.”
Moon sees the messages and types an overriding reply. “Transporter and weapons coordinate 400 meters off the port bow.”
Fen watches the containment field's contents vanish in a transporter effect. “Confirm target destroyed?”
Lynah, over comm: “Confirmed. Target has been destroyed.”
Fen: “Well. That's one less shapeshifter the galaxy has to worry about.”
Virli smiles and returns to her office.
Moon sits down uneasily. “Noted.”
“Fun first day.”
Moon nods. “It has been eventful. I'm reticent about asking your opinion of the crew.”
Fen: “Any particular reason?”
Moon shrugs. “I don't know. I suppose I don't want you to disapprove of their... unmilitary attitudes, especially after seeing only the must unruly.”
Fen: “I don't judge based on the first day. Give me a week or so.”
Moon smiles. “Glad to hear it.”
Fen: “And... I'll work on being less... militaristic... if it helps.”
Moon taps her commbadge. “Rin, report to the bridge.”
Fen steps out of the turbolift with a grin. “Hey guys!”
Moon glances up with a smile. “Good morning Fen.” She taps combadge again. “Correction. Come to my ready room.”
Fen: “Sleep good, Moon?”
Moon: “Fine, thank you. And you?” She makes her way to her ready room and activates a console.
Fen follows. “Quite well. What's up?”
Moon pulls up the Federation file on Skrreean society. “We're going to close Rin's deal.”
Fen: “And the Jemmies?”
Moon frowns. “We'll have to deal with them if they turn up. However, Draylon II doesn't have much by way of security, so our assistance will encourage them to sign our terms.”
Fen: “Sounds like I'll be joining you.”
Moon glances through the file. “That's good.” She looks up. “For the Jem'Hadar? I'd appreciate it. You did very well yesterday.”
Fen grins. “When you've been a soldier for a hundred and twenty odd years, a few Jem"Hadar are simply a nuisance.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “A hundred and twenty?”
Fen: “Yeah. I'm 152 years old.”
Moon’s brow creases slightly. “I...see.”
Fen: “For a Romulan, I'm still young.” He notes her expression. “What's wrong?”
Moon: “I just... it feels strange to be giving you orders then.”
Fen: “You're the captain. Age doesn't have any place in a proper chain of command.”
Moon laughs uneasily. “I know. But with such a difference, my lack of experience will be even more apparent.”
Fen grins. “Hey. That's what XOs are for.”
Moon smiles. “Forgive me for being startled.” She turns back to the console. “It appears that as far as negotiations are concerned, we're not at too much of a disadvantage.”
Fen: “I hope I won't have to negotiate.... I don't think they'd appreciate my preferred method.”
Moon smiles. “You won’t. That's why it's to our advantage. It's a matriarchal society, so a male frontman won't be needed.”
Fen: “Good. I'll be coming along incase Fen-style negotiations are necessary, though.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “You'll also be coming to prove my status as matriarch.”
Fen, frowning: “Oh boy. Do I get to bow down and kiss your feet?”
Moon shakes her head. “No. However, it is customary for Skrreean females to have more than one spouse, so I need at least one.”
Fen grins: “Oh, so I'm your spouse? I can agree to that.”
Moon smiles. “Just enough to keep up appearances. But don't worry, we shouldn't be there long.”
Fen snickers: “Shame. Where's that damn Ferengi?”
Moon looks up as Rin comes in.
Fen: “Oh, speak of the huge-eared devil.”
Moon: “Rin, you'll be accompanying Fen and myself to Draylon II. He will be playing spouse, you'll be acting as business partner.”
Rin scowls at Fen before turning to Moon. “Did you have to choose him? Sil'In would have done fine.”
Fen: “Sil'in isn't likely to string you up by your ears if you get out of line.”
Rin mutters something about that being his point.
Moon: “Fen is the better fighter. He also needs the practice.”
Fen grins. “Practice on what?”
Moon smiles wryly. “Pandering to local custom. Apparently being 144 years my senior hasn't taught you much about negotiating.”
Fen: “Well, in the Empire...... In both the Empires.... Negotiating wasn't very necessary.”
Moon: “True. But here it is. And should we need to deal with a patriarchal society...”
Fen: “Ohhh boy.”
Moon looks up at Fen. “Do you have a problem with something?”
Fen: “Nope. I think the Ferengi does.”
Moon glances at Rin. “Do you?”
Rin: “I can't imagine this” -gestures disdainfully at Fen- “being anything like as convincing as Serik. And he wasn't great.”
Moon quietly gets up and walks behind Rin, leaning in towards his ear. “Two things. Firstly, Fen is this ship's First Officer and you will address him appropriately.”
Fen snarls, but lets Moon handle it.
Moon: “Secondly, you are never to bring Serik into this, and never, ever, to speak ill of him.”
Rin flinches away from Moon and scowls. “Fine. Just don't expect me to...” He sees her tense expression. “I'll start getting things ready.”
Moon moves back behind her desk and watches Rin leave.
Fen: “What the hell is with him?”
Moon shrugs. “Moral dilemma of sorts.”
Moon: “As a Ferengi, he only believes in profit, but his human side causes him to care about the ship and her crew.”
Fen: “What's that gotta do with me?”
Moon smiles wryly. “Your human appearance reminds him if his... inadequacy.”
Moon: “We should arrive at Draylon II within a couple of hours.” Moon looks up curiously. “What did you look like before you were genetically altered?”
Fen: “Well. Imagine me... greener... pointed ears... slanted eyebrows. Oh, and no scars.”
Moon: “Hmm.” She looks at him attentively for a moment. “I take it you bleed red?”
Fen draws a dagger, and cuts a finger. “Yep. Looks like it. You?”
Moon frowns slightly as he cuts himself. “Green.”
Fen: “Huh. Wanna switch?”
Moon smiles. “I'd rather not mess with my genetic profile. It's the only clue I have. Though if you need vulcanoid DNA, I'm the only source left on the ship.” She pauses. “Though it would need to be cleaned up a little beforehand.”
Fen grins. “I'll pass. There's already one Trak tr'Khasei out there. I like to think that I'm my own person. Although... if you really wanna know... can I use your terminal?”
Moon nods. “Of course.”
Fen brings back the login screen, typing a few commands he brings up a classified service record for "Khre'riov Traklamek Torkalir'faelirh tr'Khasei." Below the name and photo of a younger-looking Romulan is the following:
"Born to an outcast group of Romulans designating themselves "The tr'Khasei Clan", Traklamek Tr'Khasei joined the Galae S'Shiar at the ripe age of twenty two, when <unintelligible Romulan text> was given command of Imperial Romulan Warbird "Talon of Romulus" <unintelligible Romulan text> Post-mortem promotion to Khre'Riov (commodore) and awarded <unintelligible Romulan text>".
Fen gestures at the screen. “Most of it is either redacted, corrupted, or untranslatable. That's the file for my "brother".”
Moon nods. “How similar is yours?”
Fen: “Surprisingly almost identical. But I spent twenty years as a Tal'Shiar assassin before becoming Fen Thompson. Trak didn't.”
Moon’s mouth twitches at the mention of assassin; she smiles to conceal it. “You'll have to tell me about it sometime.”
Fen notes the twitch, but decides not to comment. “Not much to tell.”
Moon shrugs. “I'm sure we won't be pressed for things to discuss.” She turns to leave. “I'll be in my quarters if you need me.”
Moon steps onto the bridge and glances at Heang at the conn. “Lorix, open hailing frequencies and request a meeting with the settlement's governor.” She sees Fen in the captain’s chair and smiles. “How do you like the Xindi-Insectoid controls?”
Fen: “Never played with one. Archer exterminated them back home.”
Moon: “They're not easy to find here either. But I have trouble with federation touch controls.”
Fen steps out of her chair with a grin. “Ready to go, dearest?”
Moon grins. “Certainly darling. But not until you change into this.” She hands him a civilian outfit.
Fen: “You went shopping again, love? You shouldn't have... there's plenty of laundry to be done already. Although, I assume in a matriarchal society, I’d be doing laundry.... I can fly a runabout rather well.”
Moon smiles wryly. “Just put it on and meet me by the Zuna. And try not to fight with Rin on the way down.”
Fen drapes the outfit over an arm. “No promises.” He stifles his grin and heads for the 'lift.
Moon watches Fen climb into the shuttle and closes the door after him. “Let's see how good a pilot you are.”
Fen grins. “I love showing off. How do I look?”
Moon glances over his beige and brown outfit. “Meh. It's a little tight over the back, but you are broader than anyone else aboard.” She reaches up to straighten his jacket. “You'll do. And how do I look?”
Fen grins: “Making me wish you really were my spouse, Ma'am.”
Moon smiles. “Flattery. Shall we get started? Wouldn't want someone else getting there first.”
Fen: “You've got a point.” He slides past and sits at the helm. “Zuna to shuttle control. Permission to depart?”
“Shuttle control to Zuna, permission granted. You are cleared to leave.” Heang's voice sounds over the comm; she closes the channel a little too late to prevent them hearing her laugh.
Fen: “What was that?”
Moon represses a grin. “She seems to find your choice of words amusing. Maybe try a less formal approach next time.”
Fen: “Bad habit, looks like.” He taps a few controls as the shuttle lifts up and exits the hangar.
Moon watches him expertly maneuver the craft. “You won't need to say much. Just follow our lead.”
Fen turn the shuttle towards the planet. “I don't plan on saying much. I don't normally say much. I'm not talkative, am I?”
Moon smiles. “No. I meant that if we have to spin a tale or two, try not to contradict us.”
Fen rolls his eyes. “I was a Tal'Shiar operative for fifty years.”
Moon smiles softly. “I haven't forgotten.”
Fen: “So there's really no need to act as if I'm a novice. Besides. You don't mess with the man flying your shuttle”. He rolls it sharply for emphasis.
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “Then maybe I'm the one I'm worried about. It's an important deal and I'm working with a significant unknown quantity.”
Fen moves his sash aside, revealing the pistol. “If it goes south, we can always blast our way back northward.”
Moon sighs. “That's not quite what I meant. You don't have the same reflexes Serik did.”
Fen: “Sure bout that?” He grins. “Let's not start arguing. We've only been married for a few hours.... oh....” He points through the viewport. “Is that a D'kora?”
Moon glances out and frowns.”
Fen: “Great. More ferengi.”
Moon: “Rin, get Lorix to check the ships registration. I want to know who we're dealing with.” She turns back to Fen. “Can you get us there any faster?”
Fen: “Hmm.. I think I can. Hold on to your fingercaps.” The shuttle accelerates exponentially.
Moon watches grimly as the planet’s surface approaches at an alarming speed.
Fen smiles calmly as he brings the ship in, not bothering to slow down.
Moon glances at his calm expression and relaxes.
Rin turns round and sees the increase in speed; he starts to panic. “He's gonna get us killed!”
Fen's expression remains unchanged as the ground rushes forward at an alarming rate.
Moon calmly unphases her lirpa and holds it behind Fen as Rin rushes forward. “I wouldn't try to grab the controls. Not only are you no match for Fen, but we would then certainly crash.”
Rin pauses, then cowers in a corner after another glance at the viewscreen.
Moon replaces her weapon and phases it back out.
Fen grins and levels off at 100 meters, the shuttle finally stopping at two.
Fen: “Thank you for flying Fen Air. Kindly remain seated until the shuttle comes to a full and complete stop, if you value your lobes.”
Moon glances at Rin still cowering behind a chair and gently touches his shoulder. “We're still alive.”
Fen grins at the ferengi. “You couldn't have thought I was going to kill you, could you? “
Moon turns to the console and establishes a comm link with the Parelton. “Lorix, did you get anything on the d'Kora?”
Rin scowls and stumbles out if the shuttle.
Fen: “Hmm. Yes, the D'Kora.”
Lorix:”Yes. Belongs to a trader named Glul. He has a few other similar trading contracts on obscure exports. Not significantly more underhand than any other Ferengi, but keep an eye open for trouble.”
Fen: “How about two?”
Moon nods. “I…” She glances at Fen, “we will.” She closes comm link and straightens up, gesturing at the open door. “Shall we?”
Fen grins. “Ladies first, dear.”
Moon smiles. “Thank you dearest. We mustn't keep our clients waiting.”
Fenpulls his sash down over his sidearm, and follows Moon out of the shuttle.
Moon steps out into the bright sunlight and shivers. “Didn't expect it to be this cold.” She turns to Rin. “You'd better lead the way.”
Fen seems unaffected by the temperature. “And don't try anything that'd make me wanna de-lobe you.”
Rin scowls harder and starts off down the road.
Fen hides a grin from the scowl. “So, love. How long have we been married again?”
Moon looks up with a start and smiles. “Let me see... We'll make it recent; seven months. Standard honeymoon on Risa... Three weeks is long enough for that. Is there anything you think we should add?”
Fen: “Hmm... Not right now. Am I Fen Ishmael, or are you Moonshine tr'Khasei?”
Moon pauses. “Now that I hadn't considered.”
Fen smiles: “Sometimes going undercover with a real spy helps.”
Moon smiles wryly. “Indeed.” She refrains from mentioning Serik again. “Which do you think sounds better?”
Fen: “In a matriarchal society, I would say that Fen Ishmael would be more logical.... But we can't appear too much like them. Besides. I rather like tr'Khasei.”
Moon nods. “Then I'll be Moonshine tr'Khasei for a day.”
Fen grins: “Only a day? If this goes well, I was considering proposing.”
Moon grins: “Let's see how it works out then.” She glances at the disappearing Rin. “Come on dearest, we mustn't be late.”
Fen chuckles a bit. “After you, my love.”
Moon glances up at Fen and sets off after Rin.
An attendant ushers them into a large town hall; the rural capital is busy this early in the morning, and cargo lifts loaded with crates are parked near one of the exits.
Rin strides up to a small group at the other end of the hall; an elderly woman detaches herself from the group and comes to meet us.
Fen stands behind and to the right of Moon, as usual, hands folded behind his back.
The woman glances at Moon and Fen. “Welcome to Draylon II, captain...?”
Moon smiles and gestures at Fen and Rin in turn. “Moonshine tr'Khasei. This is my husband Fen. You've already met my associate.”
Fen nods and smiles at the Skrreean.
The woman nods. “I'm Haneek , governor of this town. Your associate has expressed interest in exclusive export rights on our port.”
Fen grins and mutters. “Export the port from port to port....”
Moon smiles and nods. “We can offer extensive distribution possibilities throughout Federation and neutral territories. Our partnerships with Klingon and Orion dealers will allow us to furnish you with opportunities in those territories as well as your production expands.”
Haneek nods, glancing across at Fen as she hears his comment. “An interesting offer. Shall we go somewhere a little more private to discuss the details?”
Moon nods. “Of course.” She follows as Haneek leads them towards a low building.
Fen remains silent and follows his new captain.
Haneek sits down behind a desk and offers them a chair. “Captain tr'Khasei. As you can understand there has been other interest. Can you provide me with more information on your distribution network?”
Moon nods to Rin. “My associate will take you through the details.”
Fen looks up sharply at the words "Captain tr'Khasei" and then smiles thinly.
Haneek glances at Fen and smiles dryly. “Your husband isn't a businessman, is he?”
Fen smiles a bit wider. “Not at all.”
Moon smiles and discreetly takes his hand. “No. He finds my occupation... How did you put it?” She glances innocently up at Fen.
Rin produces a PADD, rolling his eyes.
Fen grins: “Boring? Too much talking, in my opinion.”
Haneek smiles. “I see.” She turns to Moon. “I admit I'm a little confused. Your ship is registered to a captain Ishmael.”
Moon nods. “My maiden name. There are a few legal technicalities to sort through before I can have the ship reregistered.”
Haneek nods and looks Fen and Moon over. “You must be recently wed then.”
Fen smiles and nods. “Seven and a half months, Ma'am.”
Moon smiles and lets go of Fen’s hand. “I believe Rin is ready to discuss distribution possibilities.”
Haneek nods and turns to the Ferengi who starts spouting names and partnerships.
Moon turns to Fen, one eyebrow slightly raised, voice low. “Export the port from port to port?”
Fen: “I was....” His hand drops to his side as a voice is interrupts from the doorway. “Well. An odd, well-connected bunch. But your ship is a piece of crap. I bet you don't have much latinum.”
Moon glances coldly at the doorway.
Glul: “Haneek, I'm shocked that you'd start the party without me.”
Haneek looks up. “More Ferengi?” She turns to Moon. “Another associate of yours?”
Rin looks up and scowls.
Glul: “Aww, Haneek. You can't have forgotten me already. My offer's still open, if you change your mind about being one of my dabo girls...”
Haneek: “Oh. You. What do you want this time?”
Glul: “We had a deal! You can't be giving my trade rights to this.. hew-man.... and whatever that is.” He glances with a dismissive gesture at Moon.
Haneek: “There was no deal.” She brushes Rin to one side and stands up.
Fen jumps out of his seat with an animalistic scowl and soon has his pistol deep inside Glul's ear. “Shall I remove him?”
Glul: “AAAH! But, Haneek! Please! Don't let him kill me!”
Moon puts a hand on Fen’s chest and pushes him slightly away from Glul. “Don't waste the time. He's not worth the shot.”
Fen growls, and shoves the Ferengi away before holstering his pistol.
Moon turns to face Glul, arms crossed. “I don't know who you are, but you seem stupid even for a Ferengi.”
Rin scowls and sits down, tapping his PADD on his knee petulantly.
Glul, after scoffing arrogantly: “I am DaiMon Glul of the Ferengi Trader Rule Ten! Surely you've heard of me.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “Greed is eternal? Most deals are lost through greed...”
Glul: “Not all deals are worth it.”
Moon smiles wryly. “No deal is worth losing to greed.”
Glul: “I'm not here to debate the finer points of Ferengi society with you, Female.”
Haneek bristles in irritation.
Moon smiles coldly. “As I said, stupid even for a Ferengi.”
Fen: “Get out of here before I cut your ears off.”
Glul starts to squeak, and then grins rather nastily. “No. I don't think so... Kimma'ukan!” Three Jemmies unstealth in the doorway, then step inside.
Fen draws the sidearm and shoots the first Jemmie he sees in the head.
Rin jumps and cowers behind Haneek's desk.
Fen shoots the second then ends up in a fistfight with Kimma'ukan.
Moon: watches the fistfight, both males evenly matched. She pulls out one of Fen's knives and drives it into Kimma'ukan's neck.
Kim knocks Fen's gun out of his hand, and Fen punches Kim in the face. Kim grabs Fen's wrist and begins a downward twist. Fen turns his wrist and grabs Kim's and pulls down, bringing his knee into Kim's nose as the knife enters Kim's neck
Glul looks around, panicked: “But.....”
Fen grabs Glul by the ear as he tries to run. “Great handles there.”
Moon pulls the knife out of Kimma’Ukan’s neck and smiles grimly. “Ask him what they were doing here.”
Fen: “Hmm. Don't make me repeat the question, Glul.”
Glul winces: “They.... They were working with... With.....”
Haneek steps gingerly forward as Rin stays down behind the desk, clutching his PADD.
Fen: “With WHO?”
Glul: “Mee! They... were gonna kill you and take trade rights... I wasn't going to go along with it! It's just a... I....”
Moon sits down as the Ferengi stammers.
Fen drops the ferengi and lets him lie on the floor.
Moon turns to Haneek, carefully avoiding dripping blood on the floor.
Fen extends a hand and takes his knife, his hand lingering on hers for a moment.
Moon smiles slightly as his hand touches hers.
Fen matches the smile, then wipes the knife clean on his sash before sheathing it.
Moon: “I'm sorry for the mess governor. Feel free to read through the export agreement before making any decisions. My associate,” –she glances at Rin- “will be able to give you any technical details as soon as he realizes the fight is over.”
Fen crosses the room and retrieves his pistol, before holstering it and returning to his seat.
Haneek: “I will. Can I offer you a place to rest and some refreshments? As for the mess... don't worry about it.”
Fen: “Moon. A moment?”
Moon: “Of course, dear.” She turns to Haneek. “Please excuse us.”
Fen whispers as they step outside the door. “Can you be sure that Haneek didn't have anything to do with that?”
Moon frowns. “No. But I can't be sure she did. If we accept the invitation, could you set your admiral-level clearance to looking into it?”
Fen. “Absolutely. And ensure that the room is secure.”
Moon smiles. “Alright then. I'll send Rin back to the Parelton, out of harm's reach.”
Fen: “Good idea.”
Moon walks back over to Haneek. “We would be glad to accept your hospitality. Rin will go back to the Parelton.”
Rin scowls at Fen and nods before heading back towards the shuttle.
Fen smiles as Rin leaves. “I think he loves me, Moon.” He snickers and then outright laughs.
Moon smiles. “Of course he does. Who couldn't?”
Fen leans down and kisses her.
Moon stands on tiptoe and kisses him back before glancing at Haneek and blushing slightly.
Haneek smiles dryly and calls an attendant who leads the way to a small but comfortably furnished apartment.
Fen: “Well. It's nice.” He looks around the room, seeing the furniture aligned against the wall. “I might rearrange a bit, if you don't mind, Haneek.”
Haneek nods. “Of course. If you'll excuse me, I need to oversee the cleanup.”
Moon nods, and Haneek walks out.
Fen: “Now what?”
Moon: “You said you'd look into possible connections between Haneek, Dominion and Glul.”
Fen: “Right. I did. But I need a secure connection.”
Moon smiles and pulls a small PADD from between her belt and her robe. “Here. Encrypted connection to the console. As secure as you'll get down here.”
Fen: “That'll work.” He takes the padd, and after a moment brings up the login screen. He enters a system command and logs in before the romulan text scrolls across the screen again.
Moon glances through the window at the Skrreean civilians.
Fen looks up: “Oh shit.”
Moon: “What is it?” She frowns. “Can you be a little more specific?”
Fen: “Our good friend Haneek isn't who she appears to be.”
Moon closes the curtain and sits closer to him. “Then who is she?”
Fen shows her an image of a Romulan in the equivalent of a Human's twenties. “Recognize her?”
Moon looks carefully at the picture. “Fvadt.”
Moon: “Who is she?”
Fen looks at Moon sadly: “Dominion, Ferengi, and now Tal'Shiar. Moon, I'm sorry, this is my fault.”
Moon shrugs. “At least it's a change from the True Way and the Orion Syndicate. So what's the link?”
Fen: “The only reason I can think of Tal'Shiar coming after us is me.”
Moon frowns. “She must have been here for some time. Rin left for here days before you arrived.”
Fen: “Nobody tried to kill Rin.”
Moon: “And unfortunately, we provoked Glul, so it's all circumstantial. Still, Haneek being here solely to catch you seems far fetched. She couldn't infiltrate the town unless the whole population were replaced...”
Fen: “Either way, we need to get out.”
Moon nods: “Agreed. We could pretend we don't know and carry on negotiations till we can leave.”
Fen: “Agreed. Are you armed?”
Moon; “One out of phase lirpa and these,” -lifts up her hands- “Not much against a town of Tal Shiar.”
Fen: “I doubt it's the whole town. The Tal'shiar don't have the manpower.”
Moon shrugs: “Even if there are only a few operatives, the townspeople will try to defend their governor. You could handle that, but I couldn't. Did you can't find anything on Glul and the Dominion?”
Fen: “Nothing extensive.... Must be a recent development. Glul has sold stuff to the Dominion before, but.... Can you open an encrypted channel to the Parelton, and get them to identify the dead Vorta?”
Moon nods: “If I can have that padd...”
Fen hands it over.
Moon takes the padd and encrypts the combadge she pulls from her belt, “Moonshine to Parelton. Lorix, are you there?”
Lorix: “Here Captain. Rin is back on board. What’s wrong?”
Fen: “We're in some deep shit, Lorix.”
Moon: “Cycle this comm link through frequency set Ishmael-3.”
Moon glances up: “Something else?”
Fen pulls out a pocket scanner, and sweeps the common room, before holding up a finger. “Mmm... Honey, I'm exhausted. I think I'm going to retire.” He points at the bedroom.
Moon smiles: “Of course dearest.” She follows him through the door.
Fen presses a button on the device and places it in the exact center of the room. “Audio bug. The bedroom is secure. Jamming field.”
Moon nods and hands him the commbadge. “Here.”
Fen: “Here's the situation. We're the guests of a Tal'Shiar agent masquerading as Governor.
The operative has ties to the Dominion, possibly via Glul. They've already attacked us on the Parelton and here. However, most of their command structure is gone. The Founder and Vorta were killed aboard Parelton. Moon and I killed the First a few hours ago.”
Moon takes a handful of small devices from her belt.
Fen looks over at Moon, and then returns to speaking into the commbadge. “Either way. We've got at least a few and jemmies out there leaderless. Which isn't good.”
Lorix: “Running visual identification on the Vorta... Sending results to you... now.”
Fen looks at the padd. “Unknown?”
Moon frowns. “That can't be good.” She takes the commbadge back. “Lorix, I need two holographic skins; Skrreean; one male, one female.”
Fen: “Captain. I should go check that bug.”
Moon nods to Fen.
Lorix: “Skins sent. Do you need anything else?”
Fen heads back into the common room before returning with a small picture frame. “Hmm.”
Moon takes the padd. “I'll let you know.” She downloads one holographic pattern to each of the four devices and looks up. “What is it honey?”
Fen: “Good news, for a change.” He turns the picture around, showing a microphone hooked to a green oval device. “This model doesn't transmit in real time.”
Moon smiles. “That is good news. Can you tell what the delay is?”
Fen: “Hmm.” He detaches the bug from the back of the painting. “Can I use your padd?”
Moon nods and turns back to configuring the devices in her hand.
Fen takes the padd and disables all transmissions to and from the padd, before hooking the device into the padd. “Midnight, local time.”
Moon hands Fen one of the devices, attaching one of the others to her belt “Here. Clip this somewhere and don't mess with the settings. It's a holographic disguise. A little rudimentary, but should do.”
Fen clips it onto his belt next to his holster, and slides it down to the other side. “I gathered. I've set the bug to transmit a loop.... combination of walking in, retiring to the bedroom, and two hours of muffled intercourse sounds before four of silence.I’m quite sure that any Tal'Shiar listening will get tired after the first two minutes.” He unplugs the bug from the padd. “Besides. If we aren't back here in six hours, we're likely dead.”
Moon frowns and reconnects the other two emitters to the padd. “True. Let me just adjust these then... and there. They'll match your recording.” She activates the devices and two holographic versions of herself and Fen appear. “I'll activate the behavior subroutine when we leave.”
Fen: “It's an audio-only bug. Visuals shouldn't matter, unless someone's watching from outside. In which case, we're fucked, I think.”
Moon nods. “It's enough for a casual observer going past the window. I'm concerned about the civilians. As you say, if the Tal Shiar get suspicious, there's little we can do anyway.”
Fen: “Indeed. How're we gonna slip out, and who are we gonna be?”
Moon smiles. “Separately. And with the number of cargolifts, I'd suggest posing as the delivery guys.”
Fen grins: “Guy and gal. Are we gonna RV somewhere?”
Moon smiles wryly. “Why not? Did you notice anywhere favorable?”
Fen: “There's a restaurant about a block away. I vote we scout the next block over in each direction for surveillance. I'mma go east, you go west.”
Moon nods. “You leave first; I'll follow in a minute or so.”
Fen: “Alright.” He gestures at the bugged painting. “Put this up before you leave.”
Moon: “I will.”
Fen: “Alright. See you at dinner, love.” He smiles and walks out of the bedroom, the door shutting behind him.
Fen walks into the restaurant, and looks around before sitting down.
Moon turns the corner; a cursory glance over the tables and she smiles before sitting down opposite him. “Did the last delivery go well?”
Fen: “Very well. Did your route take any longer than expected?”
Moon shakes her head. “Not really. Pretty routine.”
Fen: “Good. I delivered the package across the street. The residents were quite rude.”
Moon: “Hmm.” She glances across the street at the cargolifts by the hall door. “There's one last delivery for out of town. Do you want to run it now or rest here a little first?”
Fen: “Might as well get it over with. Think this place has carry-out?”
Moon gets up and smiles. “You can always ask. I'll be checking the manifest.”
Fen: “Eh. We can eat back at the warehouse. Let's go.”
Moon walks across the street and picks up one of the padds laying on the crate.
Fen follows, making sure to keep a hand near his gun.
Moon puts down the padd and deactivates the cargolift's braking system. “It's all here. Let's get going.”
Fen: “Yes, let's.”
Moon starts down the street out of the town.
Fen follows, behind and to the right.
Moon: glances back at Fen; and letting him catch up she switches the manifests, sliding her uncapped fingertips across the back of his hand.
Fen feels the tips of Moon's fingers scratch against his hand and smiles warmly.
Moon, smiling: That should deal with the apparent inconsistency.
Fen: Yeah. Much better. He closes the warehouse door behind us and scans for a moment Can we beam up securely from here?
Moon taps her commbadge. “Lorix, are we clear for beam out?”
Lorix: We can't lock onto your signals. You'll need to locate and deactivate the interference.
Fen: Oh boy.... I'm reading jemmies outside. And.... five Romulans.
Moon: How many Jem'Hadar?
Fen: Twenty seven.
Moon shudders. “Thirty-two... Is there a chance they don't know we're here?”
Fen Can you think of another reason they'd be jamming transporters and surrounding the place?
Moon frowns. “No. Any ideas on how to survive?”
Fen: Lorix. Can you locate any nearby cargo transporters?
Lorix: Give me a moment... There's one in the next warehouse. It appears to be functional.
Fen: I'm not reading anyone between the two yet. We have fifty one seconds... let's go! He runs for the back door
Fen raises a shoulder and barrels through the door, sweeps his head side to side before barreling through the next, and holds it open for a moment
Moon runs through, glancing round the interior of the second warehouse
Fen closes the door and blocks it with a crate. “Alrighty Lorix. We have ten seconds before they notice the open door, and another forty two before they get through. Where's the transporter?”
Lorix: 25 meters to your left, behind a partition.
Moon hurries across, deactivating her disguise; sees the humanoid controls and glances ruefully at her hands. “You'll have to access it.”
Fen: storms over and pulls the partition aside and activates the transporter If we boost signal to maximum from both ends, we can break the interference... He taps controls, sets it for living biomatter Assuming they're using the common model....Moon, you're going first. draws pistol
Moon glances up at him “...fine. But don't get killed.” She steps into the transporter.
Fen makes eye contact for a brief moment. “I promise.
Fen: Lorix, are you ready?
A thud can be heard against the door, as a Jem’Hadar rams against it.
Lorix: Yes; there'll be a 2 second cool down. Hurry!
Fen: Energize in three... two... He taps a control as the door breaks open. The last thing Moon sees before being beamed out is the air filling with blue and green energy fire. Fen fires a few red ones in return.
Fen, over the sound of three types of weapons firing: Ready Lorix!? This is gonna be close.
Lorix: Ready. Energizing... now.
Fen jumps onto the padd while firing two shots as cover.
On the other side, Fen falls down onto Parelton's pad. Whew.
Moon rushes forward. “Are you alright?” She activates her commbadge. “Heang, take us out of here now!”
Fen rolls over, winces and grins. “I think I landed on the holo-thingy.” the device is shattered.
Moon smiles. That can be repaired. She glances at the device. Or not. But it is replaceable.
Fen sits up, looks at Moon for a moment, and then kisses her deeply, before catching himself and pulling back.
Moon stands still, startled.
Fen: I'm sorry. I uh... uh... He suddenly defaults to the soldier/spy, and stands up at attention, before marching out of the transporter room at a hurried pace.
Moon watches him leave in stunned silence.
Act 3: First Officer's Quarters, U.S.S. Parelton.Edit
Fen enters his quarters, paces twice, punches a wall before throwing himself on the bed.
Moon pauses before ringing at Fen's door.
Fen growls. "Come!"
From inside, a loud thunk can be heard.
Moon enters and glances around.
One of Fen’s daggers is sticking out of the far wall, as he looks up at Moon and then pauses. “Uh... Captain.”
Moon glances at the dagger then back at Fen “May I sit down?”
Fen: Um.. sure.... He sits up on the bed
Fen sits down on a chair opposite her, unsure what to say. After a moment, he looks up. “Captain, I'm sorry. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me.”
Moon smiles gently. “And you're still doing it.” She glances at the dagger and the dent in the wall.
Fen: Well. That's Romulans for you....
Moon stands up and walks to the dagger, pulling it out of the wall. I'd heard you were passionate, but to go as far as vandalizing my... our ship, you must have been very shaken.
Fen: Moon... I uh... Permission to speak freely, captain?
Moon, nodding: Granted.
Fen: Moon... I lost control there. I didn't expect us both to make it out. I was... relieved. And I...... He trails off.
Moon smiles reassuringly. I'm not here as captain. What were you about to say?
Fen: Moon. Are you aware of the reason I was relieved of command?
Moon shakes her head. “No.”
Fen: Doctor Robertson said "Chronic depression. Clearly affecting your work ethic and ability to Command this ship." Do you know why I was depressed?
Moon sits down on the arm of a chair. “Tell me.”
Fen: I hated myself. I hated Fen Thompson. I hated Trak Tr'Khasei. More importantly, I hated the duplicity. I hated never truly having friends, because nobody could truly know me. Moon... I uh.... I've longed for... companionship... for... since Tarl died. And maybe the fact that we had to play spouses had something to do with it... But I uh....He trails off again, and looks up at Moon.
Moon smiles softly and glances at her uncapped fingers. ”I know what you mean... about hating yourself.” She stands up again and hands Fen his dagger “I wasn't offended. Just surprised. Whatever it is, you can say it. If it makes you feel better.”
Fen: I.. think I.... have feelings for you.
Moon looks up, trying to hide her confusion. I... isn't...She pauses, and gingerly extends her fingers towards his face, gently stroking his cheek. But why?
Fen puts his own hand on hers, a tear forming in his eye. Because.... I.. don't.... know. I see... a kindred soul. When I look at you... I.. can't explain it...
Moon shivers as he touches her skin, her brow creased. I... sits down beside you I don't understand... there's... it's... looks up at him with her reflective eyes
Fen: I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up. the tear falls, and he turns away, clearly distressed.
Moon frowns and lifts a hand to catch the tear before smiling softly as it pearls in her palm I've just never... She leans against his arm. There's a first time for everything.
Fen wraps an arm around her, tears falling rather freely now. “What're you saying?”
Moon smiles gently, lifting a hand to turn his face towards hers, careful to keep her fingertips away from his skin. I believe I have feelings for you as well.
Fen: “You.... you.... you...” He stammers a bit. “you...do?”
Moon: pauses, gazing into his eyes, and nods.
Fen strokes her cheek. “Thank heaven I'm not in the military anymore....”. He smiles and kisses her again.
Moon wipes away his tears. “We survived. We're here... together.” She smiles bashfully. “Why are you still crying?”
Fen: “Because.... I'm... home.” He smiles widely and pulls her against his chest. “And... I don't think there's a better word for it.”
Moon closes her eyes and rests against his chest. “No, I don't believe there is.”
Fen kisses her forehead. “Moon. I... don't think I've ever been this happy.... Except for that stimulant overdose that one time....”
Moon shakes her head wryly. “That you can keep to yourself. Until your medical check-up is due, at least.”
Fen: Oh, I've noticed a distinct lack of said stimulants in this universe...
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “I would have said that's a good thing.”
Moon smiles “What other differences are there?”
Fen: There's no Cope, for one. And... well. The obvious differences known between the two Starfleets. And.... Romulus is still there.
Moon: What is Romulus like?
Fen sighs. “Paradise. The most beautiful planet in the galaxy..... Or.... half of it.”
Moon: “Half of it?”
Fen: “The Terran Empire razed half the planet. That's how my Tarl died.”
Moon murmurs: “I'm sorry.”
Fen: “Moon. That was fifty years and thirteen identities ago. All I care about is here. Now. You.” He strokes her cheek.
Moon smiles as she feels his fingers against her skin, frowning suddenly as she straightens up.
Fen notes the change. “My love... what's wrong?”
Moon shakes her head. “I just realized... nothing very important.” She smiles up at him. “Nothing's wrong. You're here...”
Fen kisses her passionately: “And I promise. I'm never going to leave.”
Moon blushes a darker shade of gray and laughs. “It's not as if you have anywhere else to go, with the Tal Shiar following your every move.: She disentangles herself from his embrace and stands up. “I'm supposed to be on the bridge...”
Fen: “I should be with you. This crisis has to be resolved.”
Moon nods. “We could use your clearance. I want to know what's going on.”
Fen: “Is my terminal secure?”
Moon: “Not as secure as mine... that can be remedied soon enough however.”
Fen: “Alright. Your quarters seem more.. homey anyway.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “They're draped in black silk. I fail to see...”
Fen; “I like black.” He smiles. “And blue.”
Moon smiles: “Let's see what you can find. Then we'll head to the bridge.”
Fen: “Alright.” He gestures at the door. “Ladies first. Uh, wait.”
Moon up quizzically.
Fen: “How much of uh... this…” He gestures from him to her and back. “Are we sharing with everyone else?”
Moon frowns. “How much do you want to share? They are my only family...”
Fen: “I... have no reservations. But going from military to military... I wanted to check with you first.”
Moon: “I don't quite understand what the military has to do with anything...”
Fen sighs. “It's practically engrained in me, that officers should not see each other. So normally if it happens, it's kept secret. But on a civilian ship... It's taking getting used to.”
Moon smiles. “Especially Captain and XO. But you'll get used to the differences.”
Fen takes her hand. “Family sounds good.”
Moon: “Then we'll tell them... as soon as we have an idea what the Tal Shiar want.”
Fen smiles. “Okay. After you, my love.”
Moon smiles and heads down the corridor to her own quarters, closing the door as he goes through. “It's in the same place as yours.”
Moon shakes her head. “The console. All quarters are designed the same.”
Fen: “Ohh. The console. Right.” He heads over and accesses it, typing frantically. “Interesting. Moon...”
Moon: “What have you found?”
Fen: “The Tal'shiar agent. Haneek. She died. Ten years ago. Which can only mean one thing. This isn't your Tal'Shiar. It's mine.”
Moon frowns: “What's the practical difference?”
Fen: “Far more ruthless.”
Moon: “What do you think they want?”
Fen: “I.... don't know. But I've endangered you by coming aboard.. I'm sorry...” He slumps into a chair.
Moon smiles and takes his hand. “You're here now.”
Fen: “Moon... for all I know, they're--- Wait. Can we take the Parelton to my universe?”
Moon frowns slightly. “There must be something that has happened recently to set them after you now...” She looks up. “As easily as any other ship I expect.”
Fen: “If we get there.... if my worm program is still active... I can find out.”
Moon: “And how do we get there?”
Fen: “The same way my brother did when he saved me.”
Moon smiles wryly. “You never told me how he did it.”
Fen; “And he never told me. And therein lies the problem.”
Moon frowns. “Do you know where he is?”
Fen; “No. We could contact him via official channels. But that would take too long. There is one other option.”
Fen: “Exactly.” He closes his eyes and concentrates for a few moments.
Moon watches curiously.
A telepathic presence fills the room. <Can't live without me, can you, Fen? Hey Moon! Long time no see!>
Moon smiles wryly. “Hello Cope.”
Cope: <Wow. You two have been busy.>
Fen: “No, you aren't.”
Cope: <No, I'm not. You two make an intersting couple.>
Moon quirks an eyebrow wryly. “I'm afraid this wasn't a social call.”
Cope: <Oh, I know. You need me to contact Dad and arrange a meeting. So I figured i'd get the social stuff outta the way early.>
Cope: <Yes, I know. Mol'Rihan, tomorrow at 10:00?>
Fen looks at Moon.
Moon taps her commbadge. “Heang, can we reach Mol'Rihan by tomorrow 10:00?”
Heang: “Not a chance. Unless we use the new transwarp hub. We'd need the access codes though.”
Moon glances at Fen. “Can you get them?”
Moon smiles. “Then we'll be there.”
Fen turns to the console and begins typing.
Cope: <So.... How'd you two end up uh.....?>
Moon grins. “Dominion, Ferengi and a dagger in a wall. Not to mention a few Tal Shiar operatives.”
Cope: <My god. Uncle Fen, Are you sure you're a Romulan, and not a Klingon?>
Fen rolls eyes. “Shall I schedule a spanking tomorrow at 10:45?”
Cope: <You're not my father!>
Fen: “Be glad I'm not.”
Moon looks away and frowns slightly, clearly involved in another telepathic conversation.
Cope: <Moon, we joke all the time. He'd make a great father. Just not mine. Can I go bug Thiryl?>
Moon looks up and grins. “Oh, I'm sure he would. And no. Apparently he's irritated enough as it is.”
Cope: <Aww. Hmmm.... See you guys tomorrow, then.> The telepathic presence retreats back to its own ship.
Fen: “Got it, Moon. Sending them to Ops now.”
Moon nods and taps her commbadge. “Heang, set course for Mol'Rihan. Let me know when we arrive.”
Parelton, orbiting New Romulus.Edit
Moon is sitting wrapped in a blanket, watching Fen sleep, when her commbadge chirps. “Moonshine here.”
Heang: “We've arrived at Mol'Rihan; you've got an hour before your meeting.”
Moon leans over and gently shakes Fen awake. “Fen... we're there.”
Fen rolls over and smiles, his eyes still closed. “No, we're here.”
Moon smiles and kisses his forehead. “You've got an hour. I'll be on the bridge.” She stands up and starts folding her blanket.
Fen: “Mmmm... don't leave. I'll fall back asleep.”
Moon sits back down on the bed next to him. “I'd push you out, but you're too heavy.”
Fen finally opens his eyes. “I might like that.”
Moon glances at the cover he’s wrapped in. “Of course, why push, when I can pull?” She takes hold of the cover and tugs hard, rolling him onto the floor.
Fen lands, laughing. “Hey! That was uncalled for. I was getting up!” He grins.
Moon heads to the bathroom. “Of course you were.”
Fen grins and grabs his pants off the floor before joining her, shirtless. “You wouldn't happen to have a hairbrush in here, wouldya?”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. Of course I don't. I have a sehlat brush somewhere... but it's covered in golden fur.”
Fen sighs, and replicates one before brushing his hair, pulling his shirt on, and tying it back in a ponytail. “So, see you on the bridge?”
Moon nods, reaching up to straighten his collar. “I'll be right up.”
Fen kisses her forehead. “See you in a moment.” He leaves the bathroom, grabbing his weapons belt before the door closes.
Moon steps onto the bridge dressed in a simple red robe, held in place by a wide belt.
Fen is wearing his usual simple black outfit, sitting in the command chair. “You look lovely, dear.”
Moon smiles. “And you're in my chair.” She glances at Lorix. “Anything to report?”
Fen smiles back, but makes no move to vacate it.
Lorix rattles off reports from various stations; everything is in order.
Moon walks up behind Fen. “Where exactly are we meeting them?”
Fen smiles, pivots the chair, and kisses her cheek. “Here. In fact, he should be asking to beam aboard right about.... now.” He grins as the comms console beeps.
Lorix: “Captain, a Traklamek tr'Khasei is requesting permission to beam aboard.”
Moon smiles. “Make it directly to my ready room.” She glances at the chrono as it hits 10:00. “Almost Tholian punctuality.”
Fen: “It's almost scary.”
Moon smiles at him as she heads to her ready room. “One thing you don't have in common.”
Fen follows her in, taking one of the chairs across from her as Trak beams in.
Moon smiles as he looks around.
Trak looks around calmly, while acutely scanning for threats.
Fen: “Trak. Good to see you.”
Trak: “What are you going by now?”
Fen: “Fen. Fen tr'Khasei.”
Moon glances between the two; Traklamek is slightly slimmer than Fen and lacks his distinctive facial scar, whereas Fen, despite identical facial features, lacks his “brother’s” Romulan ears and forehead ridges.
Fen: “And this is my captain and lover, Moonshine Ishmael.”
Moon smiles at Trak. “Pleased to meet you.”
Trak: “Pleasure's all mine, Captain. To... what do I owe this meeting? You know how Cope is with details.”
Moon glances at Fen. “I'll let you explain.”
Both men grin, and say simultaneously, “Which me?”
Moon laughs gently. “The one who belongs to me.”
Fen, after gripping Trak's shoulder and laughing: “Yeah, we planned that. Anyway, Trak. I need you to tell me how you got to my.... the mirror universe... when you rescued me.”
Trak: “Simple. Reality displacement drive.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow and taps her commbadge. “Theras, I'm going to need you in my ready room.”
Trak, raising an eyebrow: ‘Why? Even more importantly, who?”
Moon looks up. “My Chief Engineer. You'll need to explain the reality displacement drive to him.”
Trak: “Fraid I can't. Don't think it would even be possible with Federation technology.”
Moon: “Half the Parelton's systems aren't Federation technology.”
Trak: “Do you have a quantum singularity drive?”
Moon shakes her head. “No. They're impossible to salvage.”
Trak: “Then building one of your own is impossible.”
Moon nods. “Alright.” She pauses a second before looking up. “What do you suggest?”
Fen, having remained silent for the entire exchange: “Trak, can we use Moskhheri Okhala?”
Trak frowns: “Depends. What's the end objective?”
Fen looks at Moon.
Moon shrugs. “You know as well as I do.”
Traklamek and Fen hold a rather long conversation in Romulan.
Moon patiently waits for them to finish.
Trak: “I see. But is it possible…” He switches to a very obscure Romulan dialect.
Fen: “That's not fair. You know they can't translate.” He turns to Moon. “He's wondering if we're biologically compatible.”
Moon smiles. “It's a valid question. He could have asked directly.”
Trak: “Sorry. The tr'Khasei dialect flows a lot faster than federation standard.”
Moon looses her smile. “In theory... probably.” She laughs uneasily. “If his DNA were Romulan there'd be a better chance.”
Fen: “By now it is. Partially. I'd been taking a therapy weekly to keep it Human. But I haven't taken it in a month and a half.”
Trak: “Why didn't you ask me for more? I could have had it shipped—“
Fen, cutting him off: “Because I got tired of lying.”
Trak, glaring: “It's your job!”
Moon watches them argue.
Fen: “It WAS my job before you rescued me from it!”
Trak: “Don't make me punch myself.” A seemingly hostile silence follows, before they both laugh rather loudly and abruptly.
Moon looks at Trak. “Why are you so interested in our compatibility?”
Trak: “Hmm. Well....” He looks at Fen.
Moon sighs. “I am somewhat involved in the matter.”
Fen: “I didn't want to bring it up yet. I wanted to... solidify our relationship first.”
Trak: “I should not have said anything.”
Trak and Fen, in sync: “I'm sorry.”
Moon looks up. “If it's that important, I would rather know about it now. If you're not willing to talk about it, however...”
Fen: “Moon, honey...” He walks over and kneels beside her, grabbing her hand. “I just didn't want to come across as "Hey, I love you, let's fuck!" You know? It's just... I do love you, and I'll stay whether we have children or not. Okay?”
Moon looks at him and gently caresses his cheek, a tear welling in the corner of an eye. “But what does that have to do with Trak?”
Trak looks on with a somewhat pained smile. “It's something we discussed a long time ago. Before he even met you, I assume.”
Moon glances up at Trak with a wry smile. “Almost certainly. Now will one of you tell me exactly what you discussed?”
Fen: “In a nutshell. I explained the situation to him, he berated me for falling in love with my commander, I politely informed him that this is a civilian ship, and he told me that Moskhheri Okhala is at our disposal. And then he asked when we were getting married. I'm pretty sure you can see where it went from there.”
Moon smiles. “I do.” She turns back to face Fen with a mischievous grin. “So when are we getting married?”
Fen, matching the grin: “When do you wanna get married?”
Moon: “As soon as we find a captain to conduct the ceremony?”
Trak: “Woah. Well. Would that uh.. be something I can do?”
Moon glances at Trak then back to Fen. “Would you be happy with him doing it?”
Trak: “I'm not exactly a captain per se... Khre'riov translates to General more accurately.”
Fen: “If he wasn't doing it, he'd be my best man.”
Moon smiles. “You are a commanding officer, are you not? I believe that is all that is required.”
Trak: “Alright, I'll do it. Wanna begin arrangements, and have the ceremony before we ship out?”
Moon smiles at Fen. “I'd be happy with that.”
Fen, looking a little stunned: “This is really happening, isn't it?”
Moon laughs happily. “Yes, yes it is.”
Fen smiles, a tear in his eye. “I swear I'm dreaming.”
Moon kisses his cheek and murmurs. “Then don't wake up.”
Fen kisses back and stares into your eyes. “I never want to.”
Moon: “I suppose it'll be a Romulan wedding?”
Trak: “Doesn't have to be.”
Fen and Trak: “Tarl and—“ both pause, realizing the other is speaking.
Trak: “Tarl and I exchanged vows while dying in a cave and breathing a oxygen-thin atmosphere. It's gotta be better than that.”
Moon tears herself away from Fen’s gaze and looks up. “I don't have any preference. You two decide. Just let me know if I need a bridesmaid. And if there's a particular dress code.” She smiles. “Just don't make it Betazoid.”
Fen:” Are you really going to leave this to me? The only decoration in my quarters is a hole in the wall. Well... two holes.”
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “When did the dent become a hole? Or did you throw the other dagger as well?”
Trak: “You've got to be the most beautiful thing he's ever taken any interest in.”
Fen glares at his brother.
Trak: “Now you know I didn't mean....”
Fen: “Yeah... just... Don't.”
Trak: “I'm sorry.”
Moon’s gaze travels from one to the other again.
Both share an apologetic glance.
Trak: “I'm gonna head back to Mosk. Lemme know when you guys are ready. Tr'Khasei to Moskhheri Okhala…” He ends with a string of romulan words, before vanishing in a flash of green light.
Trak turns to face Moon again.
Moon smiles happily. “So do you have anything particular in mind?”
Fen: “Honestly? No. I'm not exactly human or Romulan, and you're a mix of quite a bit, if I understand correctly.”
Moon grins. “More than you know. And I have no idea what insectoid marriages are like.” She pauses. “Imagine it now; tell me how you see it.”
Fen: “Well.. uhh.... simple garb... I uh... Brief exchange of vows.... Maybe the signing of a document. I... honestly don't know.”
Moon smiles and kisses his cheek. “We'll go as we are then.” Her brow creases slightly. “Is there a Romulan equivalent of the human wedding band?”
Fen kisses back. “Sounds like a plan. Um... Not to my knowledge.”
Moon laughs gently. “What kind of Romulan are you?”
Trak: “One from a clan of Romulan outcasts in another universe. Who doesn't look romulan at all.... although. In a few weeks, my blood should be greenish again.”
Moon gently runs a finger round his ear. “And these?”
Fen smiles. “Everything else should stay the same, at least for awhile.”
Moon nods. “Why don't you contact Trak. There's no need to wait around.”
Fen: “You have a point.” He pulls out a device and activates it. “Trak, we're ready.”
Trak: “That was fast.”
Moon smiles quietly.
Fen: “Let's just do this! We'll use Mosk's ceremonial room.”
Trak: “Thanks. Now I gotta move that podium. Gather your crew, I'll gather mine. Meet over here in two hours?”
Briefing Room, Moskhheri OkhalaEdit
Two hours later, Fen walks into a small Romulan auditorium, one side lined with Mosk's crew, the other with Parelton's. He walks up the middle and stands next to Trak and T'Lyn at the front.
Moonshine looks over the two crews and smiles before walking up between them and standing opposite Fen.
Trak, quietly: “So, what are we doing?”
Moon looks at Fen, suddenly tongue-tied.
Fen: “We'll do a compressed version of a tr'Khasei union, then.” He smiles.
Trak: “Well, let's hope not much changed between our universes then.”
Trak, looking at Moon: “What's your father's name?”
Moon starts and hesitates for a split second. “...L'Vythyad Ishmael.”
Trak enters the name into a padd. “Thank you.”
Trak turns to Fen: “Fen Torkalir’faelirh tr’Khasei, culhas bontwe kaevra ih Moonshine L’Vythyad’faelirh Ishmael, ssiun aoi, vafann klaretaenanh’domaere hlmnae ih mosfvaih?”
Universal translator from Mosk's intercom: “Fen tr’Khasei, son of Torkalir, do you promise to give your heart to Moonshine Ishmael, daughter of L’Vythyad, for eternity, whatever opposing forces may try to separate?”
UT: “I so promise.”
Trak draws an ornate dagger from his waist and pokes Fen's palm enough to draw a faint trickle of deep green and red blood.
Fen tenses at the cut.
Trak, turning to Moon: “Moonshine L’Vythyad’faelirh Ishmael, culhas bontwe kaevra ih Fen Torkalir’faelirh tr’Khasei, ssiun aoi, vafann klaretaenanh’domaere hlmnae ih mosfvaih?”
Trak takes her hand, and makes an identical cut, and Moon bites her lip discreetly as the blade breaks the exoskeleton.
Fen looks at Moon, concerned.
Moon looks up and smiles reassuringly at Fen.
Fen smiles back.
T'Lyn, Trak's XO, steps forward: “Arhem, Riov T’Lyn Daenen’faelirh tr’Khasei, aehjae’uhtrae.”
UT: “I, Riov T’Lyn tr’Khasei, daughter of Daenen, bear witness.”
Trak places Fen and Moon's pierced hands together.
Fen squeezes Moon’s hand gently.
Moon looks up and holds his gaze, light bouncing off her reflective eyes as she gently squeezes back.
Trak: “Arhem, Khre’riov Traklamek Torkalir’faelirh tr’Khasei, mos’rih Fen u’ Moonshine mhiohs’fei anna’eri.”
UT: “I, Khre’riov Traklamek Torkalir’faelirh tr’Khasei, do now declare Fen and Moonshine’s lives successfully united.”
Trak, grinning: “You may now kiss the bride.”
Moon smiles up at fen.
Fen picks her up, holds her in his arms and kisses her passionately.
Moon wraps her arms around his neck and returns the kiss.
Cheers and applause from the crowd, a proud smile from Trak, and T'Lyn turns and walks away, holding a handkerchief to the thick scar across her blue eye.
Fen, after breaking the kiss to catch his breath: “Who else can say their honeymoon was a trip to the mirror universe with a bunch of Romulan anti-spies?”
Moon smiles happily. “I believe we're the only ones.”
Fen: “Anyway. You've shown me your family... let me show you mine.”
Fen sets her back down on the ground gently and gestures at the woman with long, messy hair, and one green eye, the other blue and scarred deeply. “Commander T'Lyn tr'Khasei. Trak's second in command, and his Tarl's old first officer. In my universe, she was Tarl's engineer. She's also Trak's sister. My sister too, legally.”
T'Lyn’s face remains emotionless as she extends a hand towards Moon. “I guess that makes you my sister in law.”
Moon smiles gently and takes T'Lyn’s hand. “I suppose it does.”
T'Lyn's face remains emotionless as she walks away.
Fen: “Wow. For her, she was practically jumping up and down.”
Moon smiles. “That's a good sign, right?”
Fen: “Very good.” He grins and gestures to a slim, smug-looking Romulan, who saunters over and extends a hand. “Centurion Rh'Vaurek The man who built most of this ship, including the reality displacement drive.”
Moon nods and shakes his hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
Vaurek: “Pleasure to meet you too, captain Moonshine.”
Vayrek: “Uh, I mean. Little sis.” He smiles back.
Moon quirks an eyebrow. “So you're Fen... Trak's brother?”
Vaurek: “Yes. He's legally adopted us as a family. Except for Tharmek and Tarmalok.”
Fen: “She's older than you, Vaurek.” He glances at his bride with a just-go-with-it smile.
Vaurek: “Waaaaait. Older? How much older?” He looks from Fen to Moon.
Fen: “She's a good one-seventy.”
Vaurek: “You're lying!”
Vaurek seems slightly deflated and walks off.
Moon leans towards Fen and whispers: “What was that about?”
Fen whispers back. “He's always complaining that since he's older than Trak, he should outrank him. Guy's got a massive ego. Bigger than mine.”
Moon grins. “Not possible.”
Fen grins back and turns to a thick Romulan man, a good half foot thicker and two feet shorter than Fen. “This is Tharmek, Iota One's medic.”
Tharmek smiles warmly and extends a beefy hand. “Welcome to the family, Moon.”
Moon smiles and shakes his hand, her hand lost in his.
Fen: “Apparently big guys run in the family. Tharmek's our only blood relative here.”
Fen: “He's Trak's cousin.”
Tharmek, releasing the hand: “And yours too.” The comment is clearly directed at both Fen and Moon
Moon smiles. “Delighted to meet you.”
Tharmek studies Moon for a moment. “What species are you?”
Fen: “She's a tr'Khasei. That's all that matters.”
Moon smiles uncomfortably and takes Fen’s arm.
Tharmek: “Indeed. But I would like to get you down to my sickbay, unless you'd be willing to transfer medical logs over.”
Moon glances up at Fen, an eyebrow raised.
Fen: “Thar. You're off duty. Stop kissing my brother's ass, and relax. Go drink. Be merry!”
Tharmek, with a warm smile: “Yes, sir!” Turning round he heads off to the bar.
Moon smiles as he leaves.
Fen looks down at you and smiles. “I promise. His questions were based on scientific curiosity and a genuine desire to be ready to pitch in should any harm come to you.”