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They're planning what?

Posted on Mon Jan 8th, 2024 @ 12:35am by Commander Marissa Hunter & Captain Alec Hunter

2,255 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: Welcome Home Stanger
Location: USS Ares Ready room

(Continuation from the prologue)

Mari turned almost ghostly white. "There's families with children on this ship and on the station and innocent merchants on the station promenade. We've got to get them to safety somehow without attracting attention." As for the Romulans, the station is not going to be as easy of a target as they think. Defenses have been beefed up both here on the ship and on the station."

"I'm aware of that Mari and so are the Romulans. They are using that fact in hopes it will effectively hinder the stations' ability to defend itself." Alec replied calmly. "Moving civilians and merchants won't be easy. The Rummies have eyes on the traffic coming in and out of the station. If we're to move them, we have to be sneaky in it."

"And this station is the perfect place for Romulan spies to hide in plain sight. Out here where we play nicey nice with them and have extended the proverbial olive leaf because we feel so sorry they lost their home world. We have Romulan merchant vessels come in and out of here a couple of times every week."

"Your station is a hotbed for Romulan agents Mari." Alec replied not unkindly. "The key is moving the civilians with families out without the Romulans taking notice. It has to appear natural. What if you 'schedule' maintenance for the station which in effect has to have the civilians leave." Alec asked her.

Mari thought for a moment..."It could work. It's plausible that we would close down the entire promenade at once. Making them also leave the station is a little less plausible. I'll catch hell from the merchant association. Then again, they lease their space from the Federation, not the other way around. The families of the ship and station crew and officers are going to suspect more for sure. There's not much that can be done about that I'm afraid,"

Alec nodded, "Let's concentrate on getting the civilians off the station first. It's your station Mari but I would close the promenade as well. If the merchants want to stay and do upkeep on their shops, Fine. I'll leave the details to how you want to announce this maintenance to you." He paused for a moment. "Let's continue with my debriefing." He replied and then continued. "The Romulans are looking to blow past the station, completely overwhelm it which will leave this whole sector ripe for their picking. " Alec paused again. "Questions Mari?"

Marissa stood up and pulled a map of the sector and adjoining sector up on the view screen. "Before you go on you might be getting into information that is over my security level. I can tell you that if they think they are going to catch the Federation with their pants down, they're wrong. The Federation has become more and more suspicious of Romulan intent as time has gone by. I'm not sure how much of this is has been leaked to the Romulans. I'm guessing they know about the upgrades to the station weaponry. A change since you've been here, we now have a dozen very well armed attack fighters docked here at the station. Also the Ares is now one armed with some of the most sophisticated weapons we have. Also this...."

She pushed a button. "The USS Archer....the Saratoga....the Washington...the Cochrane and the Exeter. They're all standing by in the adjacent sectors. Each has 3 more attack fighters on them."

Alec smiled like the cat that ate the canary. "Mari, why do you think you have all these reinforcements so close by? You are correct they know of the station's weapon's upgrades but not your attack fighters. They also know of the Ares being assigned here. However, with typical Romulan arrogance, they are supremely confident in their ability to overwhelm the station. If you want me to hold off on the debriefing I will, and I'll save it for Wilkenson. However you need to be aware that when the Romulans come, they will be coming en masse. Nothing halfway about the assault they plan for the station and sector." Alec replied his tone serious.

Mari shut off the recording. "I'll send this information to Wilkenson via a secured channel I'm sure she'll want everything you have on what's coming at us. If they get past us they could reach the Alpha Centari System. As you know there are several planets with dilithiam mines there. But more importantly, if they get into Alpha Centari, they're a hop skip and a jump from both the Terran and Vulcan systems."

She looked out the window. "We've docked. We've got new crew arriving in the next day or so for both the station and the ship. Hopefully we have that much time. Are you hungry? S'anra has recently expanded her bar and has a much larger food menu. Plus it seems to attract a lot of Romulan merchants and freighter pilots. The other merchants listen to her, if we can convince her that there will be little or no business when we go into maintenance mode, she might be convinced to tell the other merchants its time for a vacation."

Alec nodded. "Send off what you have to Wilkenson. We'll wait for her reply. As to be hungry. I certainly am though I don't know if I'm in the mood for Romulan food. Had a steady does of it for three years. Though, their jumbo mollusks aren't bad." He paused and looked at Mari. "Did you S'anra?" He inquired calmly not wishing to put Mari on guard."I'll look at the transfers to the ship. I may want to make some changes. But nothing definite yet." He quickly added not to incur Mari's wrath.

"Oh geez... I wasn't even thinking. You've had over two years of Romulan food. If you prefer we can go to my...our quarters and I'll fix you a nice Steak. I'm still part owner of that Ranch in Texas...I might just have a stock of real beef on the station.

As for staff I'll help you with recommendations. "Of course you can't actually reassign anyone to the ship unless you take command."

Alec smiled at Mari's offer, "No it is alright Mari. We'll go to S'anra's bar. One more Romulan meal isn't going to hurt me." He paused then continued. "I appreciate any help you can give Mari. As for actual changes er reassignments. I'll take command shortly and then there will be no complainants." He chuckled at that, "Well, there will be but not on the legality of the transfers." He clarified.

"Let's go get some food. Then you can get settled in. Our quarters on the station are larger, but maybe you would prefer to stay on the's up to you. As for the transfers...I do have one recommendation. I think this particular officer will jump at the opportunity, but we might catch hell from his wife."

"Agreed. Let's get some food. I want to spend the night in our quarters Mari. I'll be on the ship enough as it is." Alec answered. He tilted his head as she said she had a recommendation. "Okay, spill it. You have me curious. What's your recommendation? And why would we catch hell from his wife?"

They head off the bridge and down into the station as they talk. "Well, assuming you approve I recommend we assign Mandy as the ship CMO, she's been doing double duty, but we have a new doctor that meets the qualifications for the station arriving soon. Having said that, Frank is one of the best security an tactical officers in the fleet and of course I want to leave him on the ship to fill in as needed in that position. However, with what is to come I think he has other skills that make me think another position would be better. He is also one of the best pilots in the fleet. I'd like to recommend that we promote him to Lt. Commander and give him the Chief Flight Officer position on the Ares. We currently only have one fighter on the Ares. We can make the space for 5 more. He would be lead pilot and also in command of the other pilots as well as oversee maintenance on all of the fighters and fighter bay. The thing is, your sister might not be too pleased with him being out on the front lines in one of our newly upgraded attack fighters. Those things are armed to the tee and have incredible maneuverability but the typical pilot seems to have a deathwish and I'm not sure Mandy will appreciate us reawakening Frank's.

Alec is quiet as Mari speaks and makes her points. She knows these people. Worked with them. Seen them at their best and worst Other than her and Mandy they are just names on a PaDD to him. "Promote him." He said without hesitation. If he has good as you say, we need him where he can do the most good, Mandy is already mad with me, so this will just give her more ammo to come at me with. Do what has to be done to get the other five fighters on the ship." Alec sighed, "I hope he doesn't have a death wish as I don't want his death on my hands or Mandy coming for my head."

They stepped out on to the Promenade, which was lined with bars, restaurants and shops selling anything one could think of. "Oh I know she won't like it, because I know I would not have. I didn't know you until we were on the Arlington together, so I missed your fighter pilot days. But I know the type, it's still in you and it's in Frank too." She sighed. "I'm going to regret this. but after you left I had the Reaper brought here. It kind of gave me hope that you would return someday. It's in hanger 12 here on the station. But dammit don't you dare think for a moment I'm going to let you take your ass out of the Captain's chair and take the Reaper out to get in the fight...assuming there is one."

Alec stopped walking and took Mari by the elbow and moved out of the traffic flow. He stated at her intently. "The Reaper is here?" He asked. "Hanger 12 you say." He could feel the old familiar juices stirring inside him. The urge to get back into his old fighter and be out among the stars. He smiled at her and tilted his head at her. "Oh, of course not Mari. I know you would never allow me to do that.... if you know about it." He said with a sly grin. "Besides, I'm a starship captain now." He grinned. "I have other
responsibilities to take care of."

"Just you remember that mister. Your sailing holoprogram is also available both here on the station in the holosuites and on the Ares. At least I know you can't take the sailboat out to fight the Romulans."

She stopped. "Oh look, here's S'anras."

Alec nodded, "Message received loud and clear Mari. Don't worry." He assured her Though he knew she didn't believe him because he didn't believe himself. He looked at the restaurant/bar. "Let's go in. I doubt they will serve us out here." He joked.

As they enter, a dark haired Romulan woman behind the bar makes kind of an odd face and whispers to one of the waitresses. She picks up a menu PaDD and approaches them.

"Commander, good evening! I see you have a guest with you." She said.

"Mari nodded. "S'anra, this is my husband, Captain Alec Hunter. He's back from his extended mission and is taking over command of the Ares. Alec this is S'anra."

Alec looks at her. He knows S'anra or at least her name and the information she has sent to the Romulan High Command. He doubts, she knows him. He nods and replies, "S'anra, a pleasure."

"The pleasure is all mine Captain." S'anra replied. "Here is our menu. We have traditional Romulan fair....but recently we have expanded and offer a variety of other options such as Vulcan, Ferengi, Klingon...even human food. May I get you something to drink to start?"

"That would nice." Alec replied, "I think I'd like some Vulcan green tea. Mari, what would you like to drink?"

"Chamomile for me S'anra. It's been a long day. I need to relax." S'anra nodded. "Of course." Then she walked back to the bar.

"Strange, she usually comes around to say hello, but I've never seen her do waitress duty." Mari remarked.

Alec nodded as S'anra took their drink order and walked away. "How well do you know her Mari?' He asked.

"Well oddly enough I'd consider her a friend. I mean I don't generally have a lot of free time but we've run a few holoprograms together and she's been teaching me Kormerek. She said her father is I high ranking officer in the Romulan Fleet and that he is disappointed that she didn't follow in his footsteps, but she's not interested in the military. She enjoys cooking and is quite the wine and liquor aficionado."

Uh huh." Alec grunts in reply. "When we're done here. We need to talk about your friend." He says cryptically. "I think I can tell you some things you will find most interesting."


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