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Keeping up with a Cardassian

Posted on 18 Mar 2024 @ 4:35am by Commander John Reynolds & Story Teller

1,277 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: USS Gaititithe || Maintenance Hangar
Timeline: June 17, 2390 || 0715 hours

The ship's machine shops, expanded to account for the ship's function as a fast and armed cargo runner, were located on the level above the Flight Deck. These, thankfully, needed only an elevator to reach rather than take a turbolift up above. The room was fairly clean, likely in thanks to the hull breath that a forcefield effortlessly had sealed. Across the room, the doors to the corridor had been opened, with a forcefield attempting to keep the room inaccessible. Judging by its flicker, it would be a matter of time before it failed entirely.

John entered the machine shops and looked around. He wasn't familiar with this particular of the Akira class yet, so it wasn't a stretch to look somewhat bewildered. He did, however, know what an industrial replicator looked like. "So, boss-lady wants a large replicator," he said to the nearest person. "You started on one yet or are we ripping it out from the beginning?"

The person John had spoken to was a Cardassian, one who'd likely come into the Gamma Quadrant for a chance at a new life. And, if that was the case, what a failure that was. "The primary power feeds have been severed already, but this is fairly coupled into the floor. We're going to want to take the pattern buffers and matter-energy conversion matrix. They've got the waveguide for this thing in another appliance over there," the Cardassian pointed across the room where a Bajoran and a Dosi were hard at work. "Neither one of them can lift more than a kilogram, so it's just me trying to decouple thing."

"Not anymore," said John. He grabbed a tool similar to the one the Cardassian was using. "Damn thing's a beast, that's for sure."

Black Cardassian eyes scanned the human for a moment. He followed a moment later with a resigned exhale, "I suppose so." He pointed at the two of the eight connections that he'd already undone. "Each one is magnetically sealed with a nanopolymer paste as a secondary connection. Starfleet really doesn't want these things to move."

"Heh, Starfleet doesn't want a lot of things to move," said John. "Except their asses back to the Alpha Quadrant." He maneuvered around one of the couplers. "Makes our job easier, though. Collecting stuff like this."

The Cardassian grunted as a clunk resonated in the room. As the sound dissipated, the Cardassian moved the coupler out of the way. Now only five remained. "Easier you say?" he asked the human. "Starfleet not wanting things to move is why we're here in the first place. Too many of us out here need help, and no one's giving it."

John finished the coupler he was working on and moved to the next one. "Life out here isn't easier, no. The scavenging is without Starfleet around, but definitely not life. The ones that took out this ship seem to be helping though. At least they're giving us a chance to get what we need."

"What's the human expression?" the Cardassian mused, "Never look a Trojan horse in the mouth? Helping, yes. It would be better if they took care of the full job, instead of leaving us to risk our lives in front of the Dominion and Federation."

"Something like that, I think," said John. "Well are they at least sharing defensive stuff with you guys? You know, for your ships. A little trade-off so you don't get captured or killed?" He was almost finished with that coupler when he paused and looked up at his fellow mechanic.

"I'm afraid not," confirmed the Cardassian. "Polaron technology is Dominon use only, or at least according to the Treaty of Bajor. Getting caught with Polaron tech... well, that's not something one can just walk away from in any Alpha Quadrant court."

Why would pirates be concerned with breaking a Federation Treaty, John thought to himself. Polaron tech was also useful information. "Yeah, I guess you're right about that. But I haven't seen much Alpha Quadrant law and order out here since they started leaving. You think they'd actually send a couple ships back out here track us down and haul us all the way back there for trials?" He'd gone back to work removing that coupler.

The Cardassian released another coupler and let it fall to the ground with a loud metallic clang. "No, no. We're just fodder really. Starfleet will come for the hulk of this ship, take what they want, and destroy the rest. If any of us are still here, we'll be put in one of their prisons since they won't respect maritime law. What's that phrase you humans have? Those who find it, keep it?"

"Finders keepers," said John. "Close enough." Then he chuckled. "Not sure they respect too much that's outside of their Federation." His coupler fell to the floor. "How many more of these are left again?"

The slimey skinned companion looked up and around. "Looks like two of them. Next up is the material buffers and tanks. They keep a cache by the entrance. We take a few of those, we can load whatever material we want into those."

John looked around and moved over to one of the last two. "That's not a bad idea, material buffers and tanks. We could clear out all sorts of useful things from this ship and save space on our ships." He went to work loosening the coupler. "Bossman is gonna be real happy with this salvage operation."

The Cardassian moved to the other of the last two. "I think I can get both of these removed. If you can get those buffer tanks, we can stack them on the replicator and take it all down in one load."

"I can do that," said John. But when he moved the buffer tanks, he found a makeshift cage behind them. And in the cage, a sedated or unconscious chimpanzee barely over a meter long. It caught him completely off guard. "What the hell?" It was wearing a child's command red uniform top and laying on the floor of the cage. Getting quickly back into character... "Heh, looks like Starfleet will take anything nowadays. That or this is proof that they're not as evolved as they think they are." He made a mental note to check the ship's database to see if the chimp belonged to anyone. Poor thing looked like it'd been sorely mistreated. "You know, I can take this off your hands since it doesn't fit with anything we're looking for. I might know a guy who knows a guy." John had to get the chimp out of there.

"Animals aren't our responsibility," said the Cardassian, having finished decoupling the replicator. "You take it, you're responsible for it."

"No problems there," said John. He finished his task of moving the buffer tanks into position and wiped the sweat from his brow. Then he moved the makeshift cage with the sedated chimp onto an antigrav cart. "I'll manage this so you all won't have to. My responsibility."

"Good," the Cardassian replied simply. "Help me lift this replicator onto the frieght elevator here. We'll take this to the lower level, load the ship and get out of here. Don't forget those storage tanks."

John helped out where he was asked and then added the storage tanks. Getting that ship loaded was priority for Pirate John, but securing the chimp in a safe zone was needed as well. And for now, that was with him. He grabbed the antigrav cart with one hand and steadied the load with the other. This was going to be a hell of a report to write.


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