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Return (Again) to Razmena

Posted on 28 Apr 2024 @ 3:07pm by Story Teller & Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale

1,695 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: Razmena
Timeline: June 17, 2390 || 2100 hours

Back in the Kwando, Camila frantically searched her memory and training on how to send a message that would be hard to pick up, not hard to trace, wasn't known to Gamma Quadrant species, would leave a trail and not put her at risk with the pirates? After a few minutes, she removed the limiting EPS on the plasma manifold and with a bit of work, programmed a leak to happen right before she went to warp.

The message she encoded in Morse Code with the help of the Universal Translator was simple. Pirates aren't responsible. Following.

With that done, she loaded the coordinates the pirate female had given her and hoped for the best as she headed away from the stripped ship and her crewmates.

The Kwando followed the Rakhari vessel on the long fourteen-hour journey back to Razmena. This time, the modified runabout was granted permission to dock at a different berth, a massive cargo hold near the bottom of the station.

During the trip, Camila had made double sure of her pirate identity and went over her physical changes, including her now black hair, green eyes, larger nose - which she hated - and a few cosmetic scars, all of which she had prior to infiltrating the pirates, but wanted to be double sure everything was intact.

When they arrived at Razmena, she really hoped no one would recognize her as the Security Chief of the Black Hawk as she set the Kwando/Flotsam runabout down in the cargo bay and powered it into standby. She linked the computer to her combadge and issued a few protocols to keep it in her control even when she wasn't in it, then opened the hatch.

Outside the runabout, the cargo bay was abuzz with activity. At least a dozen species were present, each hauling and redistributing cargo amongst the different haulers. Even the Rakhari were pulling some of the probes out of their bay.

"So you're the new girl," spoke a gruff Glurone, approaching Camila with some sort of padd. I need to inventory your bay and let you know what's going where."

Camila repressed an urge to be called by her rank as she had none there and demanding such would get her killed even faster than it would happen if they knew who they were. "It's right here," she snarled as she thrust a PADD of her own forward with the inventory aboard that they had taken off the Gaittithe. She had made an encrypted copy of the information as well, but it was stored deep in the Kwando's files. "There's more in the transporter buffer I need to unload."

The Glurone gruffed and shook his head. He turned to his left and pointed to a vacant area. "Whatever's in your transporter buffer, beam it over there. We need to do a quality check and see what we need to do, if anything, before we send it all to the Rakhari colony."

"We only got the good stuff," Camila said as she tapped the PADD to have the stored probes beamed to where he indicated. "What else do you have for me?"

"Depends on how much you like cargo runs," the Glurone remarked, moving over to inspect the probes. "We've got a handful of colonies that need these probes. And we have a couple buyers for the class ones."

"Any chance of getting in on a first run hit like this one?" she asked casually., but sounded a bit greedy. "Especially if profits are involved."

"You mean you're not doing this for free out of the goodness of your human heart?" The Glurone sounded serious, but it should have been obvious that his tone was flooded with sarcasm. "New timers only get the base rate. You want to earn more, you keep running that cargo, especially if you can find shiny things for the higher ups."

"What about those that have other specialized skills?" Camila asked.

"Such as?" asked the Glurone, beginning to inspect the cargo.

"I'm very good at bypassing Starfleet security," Camila said with a smirk. "I helped the others get to the probes without having to cut a hole through the wall."

The Glurone raised an eyebrow, somewhat impressed. "That's handy anytime we come across a derelict Starfleet ship. How about Dominion, Romulan, Klingon, or even Ferengi? You any good at bypassing those?"

Camila gave a half shrug. "I can get by. Never handled any Dominion tech. The others, it's a case by case basis."

"Dominion's a priority," said the Glurone. "There's only so many Starfleet ships out here, but we're coming across Dominion derelicts here and there." He pointed towards the entrance. "That cargo hauler there just cleaned out a Jem'Hadar fighter we found yesterday."

"Then there's no time like the present to learn," Camila said. "I just need a direction and a name. How many derelicts do you still find out here?"

The Glurone finished his inspection and handed the device to Camila to review and sign. He would respond to her question, but business came first. "This confirms the receipt of your cargo. Four of these probes are going to be held for Kelinor's ring to be sold. The rest will go to the colony."

Camila looked it over and verified what she had transferred over. She thumbed it and gave a nod. "I'll take the four to him, then."

He chuckled with a deep belly laugh. When he calmed himself a second later, he said, "My girl, no one goes to Kelinor. He comes twice a month to pick up his new inventory, He's due anytime, but we don't expect him today."

The Glurone took back the padd just as an alert came on the screen. "Hmm. Our network's picked up another derelict. This time it's a Cardassian freighter five lightyears from the Rakhari colony. How about you take these probes to the colony, and drop by the Cardassian freighter after. Put those skills to the test. You do that, I'm sure we can find a place for you. Seems like our lives are getting busier and busier these days."

Try as she might, despite the probes being Federation property and the pirates being pirates, she found herself feeling for them. It wasn't pity. She shivered and accepted the PADD. She would have to get in touch with the Black Hawk soon and this would be a good way to do it. She wondered if this was how some Starfleet officers had become Maquis. "You got it," she said.

A couple of other Glurone came over to move four of the probes to the other side of the cargo bay. "Once they're clear, you're free to beam your cargo back aboard. It'll be best if you travel with the Rakhari back to the colony. They'll show you what to do with your transponder to not attract the wrong kind of attention. In the meantime, you're free to use the rest area over there."

"I'll follow them back," Camila said. "I know a few tricks to throw of transponders as well. I'm a Human living in the Gamma Quadrant after living on a Maquis world and being hunted by Cardassians. Tell them to contact me on frequency nine alpha nine charlie echo."

The Glurone only nodded, then left so he could inspect the Rakhari's cargo.

She headed back into the runabout and to the transporter, then beamed the probes she was taking back to the colony into the transporter buffer. Once they were secured, she headed up the cockpit and closed the hatch, and settled down to wait.

It would be thirty minutes before there was a knock at the hatch. Outside was Toma who was ready to give the human the information she needed next.

Camila checked the external viewer, then went to open the hatch. "We ready?" she asked.

"Just about," Toma said. He handed her a padd, saying, "These are instructions for modifying your transponder. Nothing major, just adding a small carrier wave that interacts with the rest of the crew. Kinda like a digital buddy system."

"Thanks," she said as she accepted the PADD. "Anything else I should know on the way there?" Great she thought.An eye over my shoulder pretending to be a friend.

"We'll stay at warp the whole time," Toma said, "and we'll drop out near high orbit. That padd also has the clearance codes for landing. We'll land, offload our cargo, then come back here." He paused for a second, then said, "By the way. I don't think I ever caught your name."

"Francisca Massara," she said without offering her hand as she provided the name of her cover, a real woman from Sicily on Earth born in the seventeenth century who was known as the first European woman to wear trousers and cause a scandal. She looked at the information on the padd and gave a nod. It would be tricky to get a message out, but she had done it once with the plasma leak. She might do that again.

"Toma," he introduced himself, "but you probably picked that up already. My sister's Ropal. On behalf of our people, we're thankful for your help. Pleased to meet you, Francisca Massara."

Camila wasn't sure how to take that; but she smiled. "Francisca, please, Toma," she said, wondering if this was how Starfleet officers became Maquis as thoughts swirled in her mind.

"Francisca, of course," Toma replied. "Well, we'll be taking off in three minutes. Stick together until we're clear of the perimeter, then follow at one hundred thousand kilometers. See you out there." With that, Toma left to return to his own vessel.

With that short distance between them, she knew it was likely they would intercept any messages she sent, so she decided to use the plasma trail again. Hopefully, the Black Hawk crew had picked up on it and interpreted it correctly or she would be on her own. "See you then," she said as she watched him go. Now came the harder parts.


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