The story thus far: Stev, a Vulcan agent of the clandestine Federation organization known as October, has been given a mission to go to Romulus to determine whether a new informant is genuine or an effort by the Tal Shiar to sniff out the whereabouts of “The Hobgoblin”. His contact to get him through Romulan security is one his former professors. Stev and Phyllis are now en route to Romulus
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5
The pair of Federation agents had no further trouble on their trip to the Romulan capital. The conversation continued during the remainder of their journey.
“So you still hold to your interpretations of the teachings of Surak?” Phyllis finally asked.
Stev smiled, “Yes, though I have been unsuccessful in convincing other Vulcans of the validity of my beliefs.”
“Then your vrekasht, is still in effect?”
“Yes, and since I am officially dead I doubt that it will ever be lifted.”
Phyllis looked her former student in the eye, “Stev, you of all people should know the future is not set.” Her eyes twinkling again, “Nothing lasts forever.”
Stev’s features remained stoic. He calmed his exterior while below the surface his emotions rolled, “I know all too well that nothing lasts forever, Phyllis.”
The older woman studied his face for a moment, “Vulcans are always difficult to read, you even more so. Regardless of your beliefs, you are still Vulcan.”
Stev smiled briefly, “I know you are not prone to stating the obvious, professor. So your point is?”
“You left someone behind didn’t you?”
“It would be illogical to deny the truth. Yes, my wife believes I am dead. She is currently working for Starfleet.”
“Why would she think you are dead?”
“October staged a shuttle accident about four years ago and faked my death.”
“You chose this solitary existence over your wife,” Phyllis asked incredulously.
Stev exhaled slowly, “One of my last missions aboard the Intrepid originated within October. It was a suicide mission to be blunt. The fact that I survived and accomplished the mission caught the attention of Frankenstein. T’Aiya and I discussed it and we determined that my taking this assignment was the most logical course of action.”
The console in front Stev indicated an incoming transmission.
“If you say so,” Phyllis said just before Stev activated the subspace radio.
“Inbound craft, identify yourself,” the transmission ordered in Romulan.
“This is the Plaplak Jag’r carrying Phyllis Jenkins, merchant number 89-919699 and her shipment bound for the Krocton sector,” Stev replied flawlessly without any accent.
Seconds passed by slowly before the Romulan replied, “Plaplak Jag’r you are cleared for planetfall at the port of Si’rcH, berth 902.” An entry vector appeared on one of the bridge monitors.
“Acknowledged,” Stev replied. The Vulcan skillfully brought his small craft through the atmosphere. His course never deviated from the prescribed route. He grinned. He could feel the atmospheric turbulence buffet the small craft. He relished the feel. It was times like this that he was thankful for his interpretation of the teachings of Surak. Any other Vulcan would coldly calculate the variables. Stev was one with his ship, the monitors his eyes and the atmospheric flaps his extremities. He reveled in the feel and he took pride in the fact that he was damn good pilot.
Seeing the spaceport ahead Stev skillfully brought the ship into its assigned berth. He killed the inertial dampners just before the ship came to a complete stop. There was just the briefest sensation of forward movement before everything was still.
“Deep Space 3, this is Plaplak Jag’r, we are ready for departure clearance,” Stev spoke into the comm.
“Plaplak Jag’r, you are cleared for departure.”
Stev shut down the comm channel and piloted the tiny ship from its berth. When he had cleared the station he set a course for Romulan space. Once that was accomplished, he turned his attention towards the security systems panel.
“Computer, commence security scan.”
“Working,” Phread replied on screen as the computer voiced the same acknowledgement.
Stev waited until Phread had given him the all clear indicator before he turned to Professor Jenkins as he had known her so many years before.
“Atropos, the computer has given me the all clear. There are no detected bugs or indicators that we are being monitored, tracked, or followed,” Stev spoke in Rihannsu as he reactivated the audio masking protocol just to be safe.
Picking up on his verbal cues, Professor Jenkins replied also in Rihannsu, “That is good Teven, we don’t want some Federation border patrol to board us and seize this shipment.”
“I believe it is safe to talk, Professor,” Stev replied in standard.
“If it is safe to talk, why did we begin our conversation in Rihannsu?” she asked.
“I have an audio masking program installed on the comm system. If anyone does attempt to hijack my comm system, the computer puts up a brief struggle before mimicking a security breach. It then broadcasts a completely innocuous conversation in the language that was being spoken at the time of its activation,” he replied.
“So if anyone starts tapping into your comm system now they will hear a completely different conversation between the two of us in Rihannsu?”
“Those October scientists sure do come up with some elaborate security measures.”
“Actually, this protocol is my own design,” the Vulcan replied matter-of-factly.
“You always did have a gift for languages and computer programming,” she answered with a teacher’s pride in her voice.
“Thank you Professor,” he answered.
“Teven,” she began with an emphasis on his alias, “if you persist in calling me that, you will certainly blow our cover on Romulus. “Please call me Phyllis. It is my given name and the name that Romulan border patrol knows me by.”
“Very well, Phyllis,” Stev answered with a smile.
Twelve hours later, the two October agents had caught up on the non-classified portions of their lives. They had gone over the particulars of the mission and were conversing in Romulan as their ship sped toward Romulan space. Sticking to the unclassified portions of the past twenty-eight years, they talked as friends being reacquainted.
“So in all this time you’ve never sought companionship?” Phyllis asked.
“It has not been necessary,” Stev answered with a trace of melancholy in his voice.
“You mean physically, don’t you?”
Knowing that his old professor was referring to Ponn Far, Stev looked directly in her eyes, “Yes, it will not be necessary for some months.”
“But do you have anyone to talk to Stev?” she prodded.
Not wanting to compromise Phread or reveal the existence of his protégé, he simply answered, “I have people to talk to when the need arises.”
Phyllis smiled, “Well then, now that you know where I am you can add me to that list and stop by DS3 the next time you’re in the neighborhood.”
“Thank you professor, I shall.”
Before Phyllis could respond the comm system crackled to life, “Unidentified vessel, you have entered Romulan Space from the Neutral Zone,” a cold voice declared in Rihannsu. “You have 30 seconds to identify yourself or be reduced to a smoldering hulk.”
“Certainly,” Stev replied back in the same language, “this is Captain Teven of the Plaplak Jag’r. We are twelve hours out of Deep Space 3 with a shipment bound for Romulus. To whom am I speaking?”
“This is the R.S.E. Warbird, Stellar Sword. Plaplak Jag’r, you are not listed as an authorized Neutral Zone merchant ship.”
“I realize that, Stellar Sword. I have been commissioned by an authorized zone merchant to haul this shipment for her.”
The voice at the other end of the comm frequency turned icy, “And we are just supposed to believe you? Unidentified ships and Federation spies often disappear without a trace.”
“No, Stellar Sword, I do not expect you to take his word for it. I expect you to take mine,” Phyllis entered the conversation with a tone of malice in her voice.
“And you are?”
“Phyllis Jenkins, merchant number 89-919699, jol’khe to Ambassador Knileb.”
The prolonged silence indicated that her name dropping had the desired effect.
Minutes later the comm crackled back to life, but without the arrogance, “Plaplak Jag’r, you are cleared for a merchant run to Romulus. The Ambassador requests your presence along with your passenger for dinner at his residence.”
“Thank you Stellar Sword. Tell the Ambassador that I will be there,” Phyllis said as she closed the channel. Turning to Stev she continued in standard, “And that is how we get through Romulan security.”
Stev laughed as he piloted the disguised Ghost Rider on a course for the Empire’s seat of power.