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Cptn Swain

How Can this Possibly Get Worse?

Issaha ran his hands through his hair, wiping the sweat off his brow. Elements he muttered to himself. What have I gotten myself into this time. Glowering he looked back at the console and returned to work.


“You should rest,” Aleksandr Abronvonvich said putting a hand on his shoulder. “Besides, we don’t want to work too efficiently.”


The Romulan smirked despite himself. “I suppose not,” he said, pushing away from the console, wishing for a chair more than he realized. “But we do have to keep up appearances, least they decide we’re being ‘uncooperative.’”


“Again,” Aleksandr said, rubbing his bruised jaw. “I never thanked you, by the way.”




“Telling them you needed me to finish the weapon...”


Issaha lifted a brow, “You would do the same in my position.”


“Yes but...”


“But you’re not a Romulan?” Aleksandr blushed. He supposed that sounded less than couth. Sensing that, Issaha smiled again disarmingly -- an expression his elder brother often found vexing.


“Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s understandable. Our people have spent the majority the last -- what -- two hundred years convincing ourselves not to trust each other and my people have done little to discourage your preconceptions.”


“We’re not exactly blameless...”


“So what’s the plan. We can’t actually complete the weapon and we can’t rig it incorrectly.”


“We could...”


“They’d know....”


The Starfleet officer nodded. “Our first duty,” he said, careful of his voice. “Is to escape, but where would we even escape to?”


“My brother will come for us... but he needs to be able to locate us.”


“I had an idea about that.”






Starbase Camelot


“Admiral,” Corris Sprint’s voice belayed the unusual nervousness that had taken him since the communique had passed over his desk several hours before. “They should be entering the spatial phenomena now.”


Misha grunted his acknowledgement. He was clearly on edge too. “Good, put me through to Starfleet Command.”


Sprint nodded. “If I may sir,” he didn’t wait for the permission. “Is there a reason we waited until now to contact Starfleet Command?”


The burly Russian grinned, despite the dour mood. “I didn’t want to be able to call them back. You understand, I hope. I am sure that someone will report me for it...”


“Sir,” Corris interrupted. “I don’t think anyone could blame you. I will make sure the station’s logs reflect that we received the communication, after some delay.”


“You’re not so bad afterall, Mister Sprint.”


“Thank you. Is there anything else I can do?”


“Yes,” he said, “send for Varen, K’Vorlag, and Calypsos... and if you can, see about finding Captain Sorehl. I get the sneaking suspicion he might be of use.”


Sprint nodded and headed out of Abronvonvich’s office. Later, he’d decide if had made the right choice in taking the message directly to the Admiral before running it by his XO and CO or not, but for now he was focused on the moment. He also wondered, in the back of his mind, if Corizon had known that Sprint would follow his ‘instructions’ so carefully.



Lake Como, Italy, Earth.


Even in the summer, Lake Como had a pleasant climate that reminded Nan Bacco of her home on Cestus III, that had no doubt greatly contributed to why she favored it as a retreat location when she felt the need to escape Paris. Night had unfurled itself about the Villa d’Torini and Nan found herself perched on the balcony outside her bedroom, sipping at a nightcap. Below her, gentle waves broke against the docks and shore. The sky was clear and filled with stars. For a moment, she’d managed to forget all the things that kept her up at night Then, as always, she was dragged back down.


“Nan,” Kale Yarborough said from just behind her. “I hate to interrupt so late...”


“It’s okay,” she said turning to her old friend and chief of staff. “I know you wouldn’t be here unless it was important.”


He nodded and motioned for her to come inside. “I don’t want to alarm you, but I think it would be best if we didn’t talk here. J’Lerk is getting your transport ready and they’ll be waiting for you in the situation room in San Francisco.”


Nan went pale and she gripped her cup tightly. “San Francisco,” she repeated. “That bad, huh?”


Kale nodded as he headed to the wardrobe and returned with clothing. Under other circumstances, she might have chided him for being presumptuous, but instead she thanked him and slipped behind a folding screen to change. “Tell Horoshi to cancel everything tomorrow -- I am sure she’ll think of something...”


“Already ahead of you,” Kale said. “She’s got a release ready and is at the shuttlepad waiting for you.”


“God’s bless all of you,” Nan emerged from behind the screen, dressed and pulling her hair back into a ponytail. “Are you at least going to give me a heads up before I walk into a room full of Admirals and bad news?”


Kale frowned as they left her room and headed down the marble stairs towards the shuttlepad, “not till we’re on the shuttle.” Nan felt her stomach tighten again. It was unusual for Kale to be so tight-lipped, and even more unusual that she was being whisked off to the situation room at Starfleet Command, instead of vid-conferencing on a secure line. Mentally, she made yet another note for her memoirs about how silly the decision to have the UFP government in one place, and the headquarters for Starfleet in another had been.


Once they board the shuttle and had safely entered the upper atmosphere, Kale finally spoke. “Roughly an hour ago, we received a communication from Vice-Admiral Abronvonvich in the Gamma Quadrant.”


If her stomach could get tighter, she wasn’t aware of how. “Oh for godsake,” she was exasperated. Everytime she turned around, there was somehow more trouble. “Have they been attacked?”


“No,” Kale said, much to her relief. “But I am afraid that is where any semblance of good news, ends.


“Five weeks ago, he was approached by the Romulan military liaison officer, requesting assistance in recovering a Romulan science team that had gone missing.”


“But the Romulans have their own ship...”

Kale held up a hand. “It’s a little more complicated than that.” She frowned, sensing it was a lot more complicated, and nodded for him to continue.


“For a change, Abronvonvich actually bothered running this by Command -- so we do know more than we’d normally know about the situation or at least than we have about past situations with regards to Camelot.


“Anyway, apparently there were complications that made it untenable for a Romulan vessel to be involved in the recovery. After being given permission, Abronvonvich assigned a ship under the command of Captain Ah-Windu Corizon to assi...”


“What.” It wasn’t a question.


The Chief-of-Staff exhaled, deeply. “Corizon had been reactivated as part of the deal with the Scorpiads for us to...


“Yes,” she said sharply. “I remember being briefed about that detail. I also remember being assured, by no less than three different people, that as soon as that mission was over, that he’d be back in retirement.”


“Well, given the nature of the situation in the quadrant and at the request of the Vice-Admiral...”


Nan took a very, very deep breath and looked away. “We’ll talk about that later. Go on.”


Thankful that Nan knew when to pick her battles, Kale nodded and continued to give her the basics of the situation, including Excalibur’s mission to recover a Starfleet team working with the Hundred to create clones capable of reproducing naturally. He also brought her current on their status, running through the details Corizon had given Abronvonvich about the attack on the base and the capture of a Romulan and Starfleet officer.


Rubbing at the bridge of her nose, the President leaned back into her chair. “So, that’s all lovely, terrible news that I’m sure I was going to be told about eventually, but why all of this,” she motioned to the shuttle, which was now beginning it’s descent. “What happened?”


“As it turns out,” Kale timidly eked out. “The Romulan ‘science’ team was working with the Hundred to modify a subspace weapon that...”


Nan barked an obscenity before regaining her composure. “Now you tell me that? Why not just lead off it!”


Grimacing, “it gets worse.”


“How! How can it possibly get worse than a bunch of rogue Jem’Hadar having captured a subspace weapon that one of our quote unquote allies has been working on in secret? Please tell me how it gets worse than that!”


“Because the weapon’s origin is Starfleet, and it’s not just any subspace weapon. Do you remember being brief about Project: Merlin?”

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