United or Untied: A serialized Stev story Part 1
USS Ghost Rider, Stardate: 2316.07.09
4 years before Stev was rescued by the USS Thunderchild
Decrypt protocol Scarecrow Gamma:
Retinal scan confirmed:
Scarecrow, your mission is to contact a possible source of information within the underground unification movement on Romulus. The Hobgoblin is requesting our assistance in this matter in case it is a smoke screen from the Tal Shi’ar.
Neither the Hobgoblin nor his contacts on Romulus are convinced this new recruit can be sufficiently trusted. The Hobgoblin does not want to prematurely reveal his presence on Romulus. Neither do his contacts want to reveal their presence within the unification movement.
Again, contact this new recruit; confirm through any means necessary his or her veracity. If authentic, contact the Hobgoblin and pass along the recruit. If it is a Tal Shi’ar trap, you are authorized to liquidate with extreme prejudice. Mission data has been downloaded to your crow. As usual, these orders will decompile after playback.
End of File
Stev sat in the pilot’s chair of the Ghost Rider. His fingertips were pressed together with the index fingers resting on his lower lip. He looked over at his pet tribble, codenamed crow, and blew a breath out between his teeth.
“Phread, do we have any Romulan ships in the camouflage database?” he asked the little ball of fur.
“Yes an independent trader vessel, as well a military scout,” the tribble’s reply scrolled by on Stev’s monitor.
“Well I don’t think we need to ask for trouble by impersonating the Romulan military do we?”
“Agreed. So we’ll need a Romulan trader cover that’ll pass muster with the Tal Shi’ar?”
“Maybe, check the mission data packet; we might be able to bluff our way in with the Teven ID.”
The legless mammal meandered across the console as it broadcast it’s reply, “As usual you and Frankenstein are thinking along the same lines. There’s a shipment of Terran Bourbon waiting for us at Deep Space 3. The regular courier is an October agent; she’ll be coming along to get us through the Romulan border patrols.”
Stev let his little friend wander up his arm to the crook of his elbow and began scratching one spot on its back, “Great, set course for Deep Space 3.”
Stev exhaled deeply, stood and walked back to the living quarters compartment of his tiny craft. It was not a long walk from the command center past the data hub and then through the transporter bay/engine room. Stev hated this next part but if he was going to get through Romulan security his genome was going to have to register as Romulan and not Vulcan.
One of the augmentation surgeries that the October doctors had performed on him was a “cloaking field” for his genome. Working from the theory that the Vulcan genome and the Romulan genome were similar, the doctors had devised a way for any Vulcan, but Stev in particular to mask his genome for a period of no more than seven standard days, the time it took the body to completely “cleanse” the system. Injecting himself with the “Jekyll compound” (Stev didn’t like the name but it was what it was called), caused his genome base pairs to transpose from Romulan to Vulcan. The pain was incredible, especially when the Romulan brow ridge began to form.
The Vulcan put the tribble down on the counter. Picking up a hypospray containing the “Jekyll compound” he placed it against his neck. Mentally calling on his kolinarh training, Stev pressed the activator button. He could feel the formula burn its way into his system. Every cell in his body seemed to implode and then just as suddenly explode. His arms shook as he grabbed the sides of the water basin but he made no sound. He paced his breathing as the cartilage began collecting at his forehead.
Finally, the procedure was done. Stev looked up from the water unit and into the mirror. His Romulan counterpart looked back at him. He scowled back at the reflection and grunted in a Romulan manner.
Satisfied with the results, he looked down at the tribble, “Phread?”
“Yes, Stev?” its reply scrolled across the monitor on the wall.
“Are we still on course for Deep Space 3?”
“Even if I had turned off the auto-pilot, I’m not that bad of a pilot that your screams of pain would throw us off course,” it teased.
“Okay little buddy. I’m going to lie down. Wake me when Deep Space 3 is in scanner range.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier if October made it a less painful procedure?”
“Yes. I really hate this stuff but if it keeps me alive, it’s worth it.”
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