trekwriter151: (Reed)
[personal profile] trekwriter151
Notes: Yup, two chapters in one day. I really had fun writing this one and I wanted to finish this before the night was out. Hoshi gets to help defend the ship and Malcolm appoints himself chief of the “merry band of pirates”.
And the Ch’Havran mention is from Diane Duane’s books “My Enemy, My Ally” and “The Romulan Way”.
Spoilers: A really slight one for ENT "Shockwave, Pt. II"
Rating: T


I will never go into another crawlspace again in my lifetime, Hoshi Sato vowed to herself. The last time she was in one, she’d lost her shirt and embarrassed herself in front of a superior officer--- Malcolm Reed, of all people. She recalled his dumbstruck expression, his own dismay at seeing her topless, his bewilderment at her curt order, “Just get me a shirt.”

Actually, he’d been rather cute, if she hadn’t had other things on her mind at the time.

Now it was completely different. She wished that all she was doing was crawling her way to Malcolm’s quarters. Malcolm wasn’t even on board the ship. Hoshi closed her eyes and controlled her breathing.Luck of the stars that I wasn’t on board the Bridge, she thought, but it was a close call. If Ensign Valentine hadn’t suffered that burn and the captain hadn’t ordered me to take her to Sickbay, I’d be stuck up there.

Three minutes, three minutes between the time the lift doors closed and the gas spread over the Bridge. Then the lift had jerked to a stop. She and Valentine had managed to get out of the lift and squeeze into a wall conduit. They mutually agreed to head towards Engineering, but were separated in the chaos that rocked the ship. So Hoshi found herself alone.

She missed Valentine. She missed Malcolm. Travis. Bernhard. Liz. Mike Rostov. Anna Hess. Even that gallantly annoying Major Hayes. Her mouth quirked upward. For a man whom the Starfleet contingent dubbed “Horrible Hayes”, the major really wasn’t too bad. Self-effacing, polite, handsome...

...and arrogant, inflexible and a martinet to boot. Hoshi sighed. And you’d thought Malcolm was the same way. Why am I comparing the two? They’re cut from the same cloth, as Trip said. Hoshi gave herself a mental smack on the forehead. Trip. Engineering. Right.

The conduits didn’t look any prettier on this second trip through. She peered through a gap in the wall to see two tall Nausicaans dragging a third person between them. T’Pol. The Vulcan hung limply, as if she was hurt or unconscious. Anger rose in Hoshi’s throat and she crawled forward.

Soon, they paused in front of a door. Not T’Pol’s quarters, but Hoshi figured it was a storage room of some sort. She froze as one of the men spoke. “The chief doesn’t want to harm any of them,” he spat in disgust. “Slaves are worth more if they’re in one piece.”

Slaves? Hoshi swallowed hard and continued listening.

“He has a point,” the second Nausicaan pointed out, “but he didn’t say we couldn’t discipline them if they don’t follow orders. There’s more of ‘em hiding; we’ve got to round ‘em up before the rendezvous.”

“Yes, we can’t afford to miss that. The boss wants to make sure he collects the Klingon bounty for Archer. It’ll be enough for all of us to buy our own ships!” The communicator on his belt screeched; he gripped T’Pol with one beefy hand and snatched it with his other hand. “Qarluy. What?”

“Dakmak needs help on F Deck. He needs more explosives to get through the bulkhead covering the entrance to their weapons room,” growled a voice. Hoshi couldn’t tell if it was female or male, Nausicaan or otherwise. “There are five, six Humans in there that are beginning to get on my nerves.”

Quarluy snorted and replied, “Dakmak’s incompetent. He’s more likely to blow himself up and the weapons room as well, then your monopoly on the black arms market has gone up as well.” The first Nausicaan snickered quietly in agreement; Quarluy only waggled his eyebrows and continued, “If you’d listened to me in the first place, we’d have them all confined by now!”

The unseen voice sputtered incoherently for a few moments, then it said, “Make sure the Vulcan is secured, then go help Dakmak. We need those weapons under our control. Out.”

Hoshi stifled a smile; at least the intruders hadn’t gotten to Malcolm’s Armory. So, the Nausicaans hadn’t taken complete control of the ship yet. There had to be pockets of Starfleet and MACOs resisting them, like Malcolm’s Armory people. She felt an irrational surge of pride for her crew.

Quarluy growled again, this time in frustration. “Put her in, Shiktos. Then—“ he paused and looked around, finally settling on the panel in the ceiling above—the same panel Hoshi was lying on. “So, what do we have here? I believe we have another surprise, right here—“

T’Pol exploded into action. She twisted out of the Nausicaans’ grip and slammed her boot into Shiktos’s midsection. Hoshi took a deep breath and launched herself out of the conduit port in the wall, landing directly upon Quarluy’s shoulders. The Nausicaan roared and tried to dislodge her from her perch, but she balled up both fists and soundly boxed the man’s ears. He staggered, off balance, and she smoothly leaped to the floor, rolled and was back on her feet.

“Impertinent female!” Quarlay roared and threw a blind punch. She sidestepped it, allowed his own momentum to carry him past her, then she took hold of his arm and redirected him into the wall. Quarlay ran into it with a definite smack, then sank down to the floor.

“Are you all right?” Hoshi asked as she saw T’Pol rise from where she’d nerve-pinched Shiktos.

“I am well,” T’Pol answered. “Help me put them in this room."

It took some creative judgment of space, but Hoshi and T'Pol managed to stuff both Nausicaans into the storage room and lock the door.
The Vulcan nodded in satisfaction. "I suggest we make haste to Engineering. The Nausicaans are sweeping through the ship at a rapid pace.”

“Lead on,” Hoshi said, and both women hurried down the hall.

A search of the Nausicaans’ ship revealed some details about the pirates. Both Malcolm and Hayes were startled at the sheer volume of goods that were in the ship’s not-so-small cargo holds. Silks in all colors, costumes in all styles, exotic foodstuffs and rare jewelry. Deadly bladed weapons, whips and gauntlets were in proud display in crew quarters.

“My God, this whole ship’s a treasure chest,” muttered Hayes. “I wonder how many cargo ships they plundered to get all this stuff.”

“Travis is looking through their manifests and logs right now,” Malcolm said, his voice in grim agreement. “His family’s tangled with Nausicaan pirates before. There aren’t any love lost between them and Travis.”

“Understandable.” The major whistled as he held up a glass bottle to the light. The label was written in some unknown language. “Some kind of ale. It’s not Andorian.”

“How would you know that, Major?” Malcolm asked, with a touch of humor.

Hayes shrugged. “Trust me on this one.” He read the one word that was legible, “Ch’Havran. Wonder if that’s where it comes from.”

“Or maybe it’s the name of their distiller.”

“Maybe.”

He scowled and shook his head. “This whole ship is a floating evidence locker.”

Hayes raised an eyebrow. “Thinking like an investigator.”

“Of course.” Malcolm gave the cargo hold another glance. “If I owned any of this, I’d want it back.”

“Yeah, me too. I’ll make sure to tell my people to leave everything where it should be.”

“Thank you, Major.” He didn’t think the MACOs would pilfer any of the stolen cargo; Hayes trained his people better than that. It was a comfort, small as it was.

Malcolm’s communicator beeped and he flipped it open. “Reed.”

“Lieutenant, we’ve got Enterprise on our sensors. The Nausicaans are hailing us,” answered Travis.

Malcolm and Hayes exchanged looks. “We’re on our way up.”

By the time they reached the Bridge, two things were obvious: the Nausicaans knew that their ship had been appropriated by someone else and they were demanding to know who now controlled their cruiser.

“They want their stuff back,” Travis said, matter-of-factly, though there was no humor in his voice.

Malcolm thought for a moment, then an evil smirk bloomed onto his face. Travis saw it; he and Philippe Trieste looked at each other, then at Rostov at the engineering station and Danna Welsh at the weapons console. They all had the same thought.

“Oh, crap,” Mike Rostov said aloud.

“What?” asked Corporal Chang, with a quizzical look on his face. He glanced at Hayes, but the major seemed just as confused. Hayes took one step away from Malcolm and his expression went from confused to guarded.

“Lieutenant. You’re scaring me.”

Malcolm lightly went down the stairs to the empty command chair and sat down in it like a king settling on his throne. He waved a lazy hand at Bernhard Mueller at communications. “Accept the transmission, Bernhard, but audio only. No video.”

Jawohl, Herr Kapitaen,” Bernhard replied crisply. The Bavarian swung around in his chair and pushed a few buttons. “Link established.”

“—the moska are you? I demand to know what you’ve done with my crew—“

Malcolm gave a theatrical sigh and interrupted the Nausicaan’s rant. “They’re all tucked away in the various airlocks, sir. I assume you want them back? Good help is hard to find nowadays.”

The Nausicaan leader sputtered like a dying gas engine. Rostov choked down a giggle as Hawkins and Hayes stared at each other. Travis clapped both hands over his mouth. Danna coughed under her hand.

“Who are you?” It sounded as if every word was forced out, like pulling a diseased tooth.

“A businessman, like yourself. It sounds like you need help securing this pretty prize, eh?” Malcolm’s accent was heavier than his usual; they all could imagine him as one of Blackbeard’s men. Travis and Bernhard realized they had the same hilarious thought and nearly lost it right there. Malcolm resolutely ignored both of them.

“We had first claim on it, fair and share.”

“Indeed?” Malcolm turned towards Danna Welsh and mouthed an order. “Perhaps, but can you defend yourself against...this? Fire.”

Lasers jumped from the Nausicaan ship and passed within a thousand meters of Enterprise’s port nacelle. Malcolm nodded again, and this time, another beam came close to the starboard nacelle.

Travis nearly leaped out of the helm chair and Rostov looked panicked at how close Danna’s shots were to blowing Enterprise to hell. Danna looked at her superior officer with a cool expression and raised her right hand, with her index and thumb only inches apart.

The Nausicaan sounded as panicked as Rostov looked. “All right, all right! We might need a little assistance.”

“Good man,” Malcolm said, his voice a low purr. “Now, according to our scans, you have less than twenty-five men on board. Poor planning. I offer my services and I can reassure you, my men are good at what they do. All we ask is a share of the profit.”

There was a pause, then the Nausicaan said, “Very well, come aboard and we’ll talk.”

“Jolly good. Let me warn you,” and Malcolm lowered his voice even further into a menacing growl, “if you attack us, we will not hesitate to seek repayment. My weapons officer has an itchy trigger finger and it would be a pity to destroy such a valuable prize with you on board.”

“You have my word, Friend.”

“We’ll see how trustworthy it is...Friend. See you in a few moments. Out.” Malcolm made a gesture and Bernhard closed the channel.

Silence. Then Travis burst out in a howl of laughter and that set everyone else off. Malcolm glanced at Hawkins and Chang, who were both nearly helpless with mirth. Even Hayes’ mouth twitched and the major was trying his damnedest to keep a straight face. And he was still failing.

“Do they teach Acting 101 during Starfleet training?” Hayes asked.

“No, they do it during the six-week Security orientation,” Malcolm replied, deadpan. He raised his eyebrows. “Gunny will be so disappointed. It appears that we will have to dress up as pirates after all.”

“We got people resistin’ on all decks,” Trip reported. “A group in the Armory, the bunch here in Engineering, and I hear Chef and Cunningham pelted the Nausicaans there with last night’s chicken soup. Reheated and studded with chopped chiles, if I heard Cunningham right.”

“Yeech,” Hoshi said with a wince. “That had to hurt.”

T’Pol nodded, impressed with human ingenuity in the face of overwhelming odds. “Any word from either Lieutenant Reed’s or Major Hayes’s team?”

“None. As far as we know, they’re still racin’ each other. When they get back, they’re gonna have one hell of a surprise. We gotta retake the ship ‘fore they get back, or the Nausicaans might blow ‘em out of the sky.”

T’Pol glanced at the warp core and asked, “You took the warp drive off-line?”

“An’ blocked helm access to impulse. We ain’t goin’ anywhere. Hoshi, is there a way to let Malcolm or Hayes know what’s happened to Enterprise?”

“Not without knowing exactly where they are,” Hoshi replied with a rueful shake of her head. “Malcolm’s beacon was in an asteroid; if they’re inside it, it’ll be impossible to hail them.”

Crewman Masaro called from the upper deck, “Sub-commander, Commander, Ensign, you might want to hear this.”

They climbed the ladder to Masaro’s side. He sat at one of the consoles and continued, “I tried patching in those cross-circuits like you suggested, Ensign Sato. I think we’re going to have company.”

“The Nausicaans called their friends?” Trip asked with a sinking feeling in his gut.

“Um...sort of.”

The speakers roared, then settled into a conversation. “...welcome here. We are having some trouble with resistance from Archer’s crew; they’re quite annoying.”

“Well, you just have to know how to drag them out of hiding,” came an irritated voice. Trip started and glanced at T’Pol, whose eyebrow climbed to her hairline and stayed there.

“Is that...Malcolm?” Trip asked in a hushed whisper.

Hoshi nodded, thunderstruck. “That sounds like him.”

“Quiet,” T’Pol ordered.

“...my team has experience in such things. We can take care of them in one fell swoop.” There was a pause. “Take care of it, will you?”

A new voice broke in. “We’re gonna do it without any guarantee this sorry excuse for a pirate won’t double cross us? I want some compensation.”

“Holy—“ Trip whispered. The tone was wholly unlike the one he was used to from this particular person. “Hayes??”

Hoshi clapped her hands over her mouth and tried to stifle her giggles. “I’ve never heard the major whine like that before. He sounds like a petulant five-year-old.”

T’Pol looked like she was going to make a comment, but chose not to share it. Her mouth twitched once, but she sternly brought it under control. That one gesture was more than enough for Trip and Hoshi to know what the Vulcan was thinking.

“He’s right. Can we stun the Nausicaans? Just for fun?” came a woman’s voice.

“That’s Sascha. Corporal Money,” Hoshi clarified.

Malcolm paused, then said, “Only if they interfere. All right, any booty or valuables you pick up, you’re welcome to it.”

Then Travis’s voice piped up, “That includes women?”

Someone tittered, then Hawkins, of all people, snapped, “God, are you that desperate?”

Hoshi lost it; the vision of a quiet one like Hawkins saying such a thing was too much. She laughed so hard she had to wrap her arms around herself to keep her ribs from flying off. Trip only shook his head in complete and utter astonishment. Masaro looked like he wanted off this ship of loonies. And most of the Engineering crew had crowded the deck and the ladder to overhear the conversation.
And everyone hung on to every word that was being said, as if it was one of those ancient radio programs like “The Shadow” or “Superman.”

“Is this being aired to the rest of the ship?” Trip asked.

Masaro glanced at Hoshi, who looked at the readings on the console. She nodded.

“Oh God,” someone muttered.

“You lookin’ for someone in particular?” sniggered a gravelly voice. Gunny Sergeant McGruyver. “Someone exotic?”

Hayes broke in. “I prefer brunette beauties myself. Small, slight and feisty. If I find her, I’ll make sure she’s worth our while.”

Hoshi coughed, causing everyone in the room to stare at her. “I doubt the major referred to you specifically, Ensign,” T’Pol said blandly.

Trip muttered something that T’Pol didn’t catch, but Hoshi did, and Hoshi glared at him.

Then Malcolm’s voice returned, “If you find her, bring her to me. If you hurt any of the females, I will personally snap your neck.” And judging from the icy tone, Malcolm would, too. “Take your team and round up the defenders. Tell them we mean business and if they don’t cooperate, they will regret it.”

There was a pause, then Hayes replied, “Go to hell. No one orders me around.”

Engineering was so quiet; Trip figured he could drop his spanner and no one would notice. “Don’t you think they’re overdoing it a bit?” he whispered.

“I believe that if the Nausicaans think the lieutenant’s group is fractured, then the Nausicaans will overplay their hand,” T’Pol commented.

“I dunno. They sound pretty genuinely pissed at each other. And they damn near killed each other in the gym—“

“Sssssh!” everyone hushed him. It reminded Trip of Movie Nights in the Mess Hall. No one appreciated his whispered commentaries there, either.

There was the sound of scuffling, some yelling, then an abrupt silence. Then someone—Bernhard Mueller?—commented, “Ach, meine Gute. Ouch.”

The Nausicaan came back on and asked, “I’ve seen that move before. Klingon?”

Malcolm’s voice was smug as he replied, “He was helpless against it the first time, too.”

There was a small cheer among the Engineering group; this time it was Trip who shushed them.

“You surprised me with it then, too,” Hayes grumbled, but he sounded a lot more cordial. “Just you wait until I find a counter to it.”

“Think about it...while you round up the crew,” Malcolm said. “Tell them what we’re here for. If you find any of the senior officers that are missing, bring them to me. No exceptions, and if I hear you’ve damaged any of the merchandise, I’ll kill you.”

Hayes snorted, then there was the sound of boots on the deck, presumably of Hayes’s team splitting off to follow orders. Then Malcolm’s voice faded as he said to the Nausicaan, “I assume you have Archer? Perhaps we can make a deal with...”

T’Pol glanced at Hoshi and Masaro. “Can we track Lieutenant Reed?”

Hoshi shook her head and replied, “Not unless he goes by another open line, or he flips open his communicator where I can trace him...and that’ll give him away, if he’s playing pirate.”

“What about the major?”

“Same thing, Sub-Commander.”

“I got an idea,” Trip spoke up. “Didn’t Malcolm say that he’s lookin’ for any of the senior officers who’s ‘escaped’? What if one of us sets ourselves up to be ‘captured’ by one of their teams? We can find out just what they’re planning, an’ maybe help ‘em with the Nausicaans.”

T’Pol’s eyebrow shot up again. “Assuming that is an option...which one of us shall be the bait?”

Trip and Hoshi looked at each other in silent communication. The silence stretched on for a few moments, then Hoshi sighed and rolled her eyes to the ceiling.

“I’ll do it,” she said, “but if Hayes or Malcolm tries anything, I’m gonna kill ‘em.”

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trekwriter151

May 2012

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