The IRC Demitus orbits the glossy tidal-locked planet while the crew goes about the grievously difficult task of relaxing, arguing over who gets what quarters, and scrubbing hundreds of square metres worth of bulkhead and deck plating, occasionally pausing to argue about where the crew should take their new prize in their journey through the stars. Discussions ensue over who should be responsible for which tasks. Taban states while spinning around on a rotating chair, “I hereby claim control of the helm and first officer’s position. Emony is the chief engineer.” Varreth gruffly seizes the big chair, daring anyone to take it from him, “I’ll be captain. I’ll also push the big red button that says fire.”
“The mystic is obviously going to be the mystic, and the councillor.”
“I shall steal all the necessary resources from anyone I come across, and if I can’t then I will intimidate them,” Hogue declares, “Arjin is the ship’s doctor, although I doubt he should keep that position.”
After some time of this banter, Ion Stormwake recommends the party figure out where they are, and Emony manages to isolate their position on the star charts. With the knowledge that, technically, the party are Federation criminals, Varreth recommends traversal to Romulan space as he is a Romulan soldier and should still hold sway there. Taban notes, “I know a few people who owe me favours, but we’d probably have to tread lightly. Let’s definitely stay away from any Orions though. Long story short, they’re not happy with me, and we can leave it at that.” “Maybe let’s not go to Romulan space, as I did try to steal one of their most advanced technologies,” comes from Hogue as he shamelessly tries to look innocent. Dolvak the Vulcan is insistent, “We should go to pirate-controlled space,” while Varreth mutters, “How very illogical.”
Emony has a thought, “Hey guys, my oddly discomforting sixth sense says we should go and get the subspace beacon we left on the planet.” “I’m not going down there,” a staunch Taban says, “We should just blast the planet to prevent anyone else from getting trapped there.” Emony rolls her eyes, “We could just beam it up.” Taban muses even as he beams up the beacon and turns it off, “We can do that? Impressive.”
The ship breaks orbit, with course set for Romulan space at a speed of warp 5, and after 24 days arrives in orbit around the Romulan planet Forge. A cold sweat breaks over Taban, “We have three Romulan vessels incoming.” Varreth opens hailing channels, and is immediately told to identify himself. After several tense moments, he manages to convince the Romulan officer to allow the ship to dock, although the officer notes that because the ship is not technically assigned to Varreth’s command that it will not be his decision if it shall remain his. Meanwhile, Hogue combats the strong urge to find a place to hide.
As the Demitus moves into spacedock, Varreth whistles at the number of vessels berthed, noting there appears to be a heavy military presence on station. It does not take long for Hogue to complain, “Great! So we have come to a war planet!” Varreth informs the annoying Cardassian that he should be silent, and is subsequently hailed and told to prepare for boarding. The nervous crew of assorted non-Romulans stands at attention in a corridor awaiting their arrival. Hogue momentarily asks, “Is any of the crew addicted to drugs?” Varreth narrows his eyes, “Are you addicted to drugs?” “Nope.”
Romulan soldiers and officers board the ship, searching the ship and inspecting Varreth’s rag-tag crew. The ship is torn apart, as soldiers lift deck plates and remove bulkhead covers, scanning as they go, all the while the crew is interrogated. The Romulan officers withdraw to converse, then return to Varreth, “Your story checks out, and you are not carrying contraband. This ship however contains several specialized technologies belonging to the Romulan Empire, which we are not keen to see in the hands of others. At this present time however, we are pressed for ships and crews, and hence will not confiscate this vessel. We have assigned the IRC Demitus to your command, and you are hereby instructed to report to Special Officer Oran for orders else you shall be prosecuted for crimes against the Empire. You are dismissed.” Varreth nods his affirmative, and the officer turns back, “And find another crew,” he sneers, “This lot are pathetic.”
Varreth departs the Demitus and makes his way to the office of Officer Oran while the crew is left to their own devices and twiddles their thumbs. As he walks, Varreth notes substantial activity on the Romulan station, with all in full uniform and undergoing what appear to be war preparations. As Varreth prepares to enter the office, he nods as he realizes Oran is a Primus, high in the chain of command. Oran’s secretary ushers Varreth into the officer’s presence. The officer is an elderly Romulan, highly decorated, and he turns to face Varreth.
“Centurion Koran. I must say I am disappointed you are still alive. You were ordered to carry out a relatively simple interception, at which point you dropped out of contact. The next we hear, we have Federation diplomats contacting us concerning Romulans being held in their custody and we are left wondering if there is going to be an escalation.” Oran’s visage darkens, “So allow me to thank you for bringing the Empire to the brink of war. Your ship is destroyed, your crew dead, and now you come grovelling back with a ship presumed lost and a crew of criminals. What do you say in your defense?” The officer crosses his arms and leans forward in a deadly smirk as he waits for the errant Romulan’s response…