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Shell Game

Posted on Sep 02, 2017 @ 2:31am by Lieutenant Tomas' Vukovic

Mission: The Romulan Way


"Shell Game"
(follows Shawn's "Castling")


Stardate: [2.17]0901.1254
Scene: Bridge


It was the worst possible outcome he could envision under the circumstances.

Section 31 operatives who got surrounded by the enemy, didn't generally live to tell about it. The question here was: Who's the enemy?

Tomas' Vukovic couldn't tell any more.

They'd come to this situation at the behest of a peace initiative, which like everything else about Romulans, seemed not to be what this was about at all. He manned his station, the helm of the great ship PHOENIX, and wondered how he was going to get out of this. Belatedly, he also wondered how "they" were going to get out of this, but operatives were not big team players, and it was pushing the paradigm a tad to be stuck where he was in the first place. Where he was was surrounded by about a dozen Romulan Warbirds. Singly the PHOENIX could surely defend itself, but however long the upcoming battle would be ... the end result would be ... disappointing.

And Jemasun Tor was just as disappointing. He thought he'd detected a fellow traveler during their brief time together. A person of intelligence, dedication to cause and to her Empire, but one not willing to blindly jump anywhere she was told to go. But she'd blurted out a fascist sort of response to one of the other senators, and now he couldn't be sure of anything else he might have thought about her. Crisis did that to people. Even smart people. Take away the creature comforts of even pleasant people, and you got some real scary stuff at times.

But Jake Crichton wasn't going to sit on his hands. And neither was he. He'd been running tactical maneuvers through his console looking for anything that might work against this small armada, without a lot of success. They weren't going to get out of this unscathed, unless ... it was a complete and total surprise.

"Mr. Vukovic. Let's take her out for a drive," Jake ordered.

"Aye, sir!" Tomas' responded. [Hang on!] he whispered to himself.

Space is, of course multi-dimensional, but planetary species had an alarming propensity to "forget" that during tactical maneuvers. One tried to orient one's ship when meeting other ships. Right side up seemed like a good idea, even though it was pointless in reality. And the dozen or so ships surrounding them had left a little wider spacing "beneath" the PHOENIX than anywhere else. And they'd forgotten that all their weapons trained on PHOENIX could not be fired without risking hitting each other. PHOENIX had no such difficulties.

Tomas' did not ask permission. He inserted himself into the ship, bonding, becoming the ship. And the ship dropped out of the dark sky while the Romulans shouted at them over the comm nets. Tomas' also directed them to skim very close to the largest vessel of their "escort," hoping that they would be reluctant to fire with one of their own in close proximity. He was almost right about that.

PHOENIX rocked by a glancing blow, but the lights didn't even dim. He knew without asking that the blast wasn't meant as a kill shot. It was a strong warning, certainly, but since he wasn't planning to come back this way any time soon, he paid them no mind. He wrenched PHOENIX into a crazed series of twists and turns, evading incoming fire that surprisingly didn't come close. And then from the Romulans' point of view, PHOENIX disappeared in an arc of fire across the sky of AZRI DRAKARA II.


Location: Romulan Space Station
Scene: Control Room


Nevar stiffened suddenly in mid-sentence of his conversation with the Praetor.

"Praetor! PHOENIX is gone!"

"What?! What do you mean "gone"?"

Kane's face became a mask of stone.

"It ... it bolted!" Nevar exclaimed. "Tried to escape the fleet. It burned up in the atmosphere just moments ago!"

Kane didn't smile.

But he wanted to.


NRPG: Better to ask forgiveness than permission, I guess. I wasn't sure whether the intention was for the ship to appear to have "blown up" or not. Surely, scans will indicate the lack of debris. But scans will take time. Time the rest of us can use to our advantage. Hope that's okay. Your move.


Kenneth Field
writing for

Lieutenant Tomas' Vukovic


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