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Posted on Sun Jul 29th, 2018 @ 5:46am by Captain Charybdis MacGregor
Edited on on Sun Jul 29th, 2018 @ 5:50am

Mission: Present Tense
Location: USS Victory, Deck 1, Captain's Lab
Timeline: Pre-Launch 19 days, 00:14 hours local time
Tags: Liviana Charvanek

"This damn thing doesn't work!"

The statistics were solid... she had reproduced it faithfully from the blueprints that had been provided, and then she had set to analyzing it. Commander Scott had burned out a number of systems when he had jammed it into the Enterprise and forced it to work without understanding the underlying principles... leave it to Jim Kirk to succeed in stealing the damn thing, then use it to escape... only to burn it out, rendering it useless.

Of course, there was the other element of the incident report that she'd read which was distracting her... but Charybdis refused to be distracted. She was a starship captain. She was focused like a phaser.

Focused. Dammit.

The device itself she had fabricated, then she had physically disassembled it, reconstructed it, made considerable modifications to it, and then restored it back to the specifications, made modifications again... and it was consistently failing in every single simulation.

It had to be plugged into the deflector grid, obviously. And it would be an enormous drain on the power systems... no surprise there, cloaking something the size of a starship. Hopefully Chief Weaver's dual warp core would be of some assitance there... she would gladly trade speed for the ability to cloak and maintain shields simultaneously. But there were components that were missing (likely) or burnt out (possibly) or there were security measures in place to insure that it would only be activatable once if stolen, and thereafter would just be a reasonably unattractive light bulb afterward.

No wonder Rear Admiral Jones had been willing to let her have the schematics without any fight... 'Let the Romulan at it, let's see if she can figure it out, surely she's got the best odds in Starfleet'. Which was actually true... she understood the underlying principles better than most, and she was certainly motivated. She would be taking her vessel and crew into a region where they would be the only thing in space not hiding, and that would make them rather a huge target.

Damn Jim Kirk. Damn Montgomery Scott. Damn Spock. Damn the Enterprise.

She shook that off and ran another simulation, then another, then another, modulating the power flow regulators, modifying the deflector harmonics, tuning them to hundreds of differing frequencies as she worked into the night. She had to figure this out. She had to make it work, otherwise her crew would be sitting ducks out there, and the entire Enterprise Incident, the incursion into Romulan space eighteen years earlier, would have been for nothing but the ongoing glorification of Jim Kirk's career.

And the destruction of the career of one Romulan commander.

The determined scientist shook it off and continued running simulations, watching for any sort of encouragement, beginning seperate simulations for startup power modulations, deflector frequency harmonics and projected field strength, as well as tying it into the shields, pushing it into a pulse... there had to be an answer. She had to be able to do this... surely the perfect mind that the Tal Shiar had built for her could solve this problem. For the love of Judas, the damnable Klingons could make it work, and they were animals.

Why wouldn't it work?!?

Slamming her fists down on the workbench in frustration, she struck it nearly hard enough to shatter the liquid crystal display below the thin sheeting of transparent aluminum. Shutting her eyes and squinting in frustration, she felt her temper getting the better of her. It happened seldom... though the Vulcans would be more than happy to lecture her that she was a slave of her emotions, they had no idea just how much control over them she actually had. In truth, there was often a simmering cauldron of rage trying to work its way to the surface, but she was quite adept at redirecting it constructively. Romulans lied compulsively to control it. Charybdis chose to turn it into cheerful politeness- similar, but more socially acceptable and better suited to her nature.

But not tonight. Tonight she wanted to hit something, hurt something... tonight she had nothing but frustration, and nothing could soothe it. The cloaking device was useless, and she wasn't going to be able to make it work, plain and simple. She would run her simulations and she would push herself until she fell asleep on the table, but she wouldn't succeed- she already knew this as inevitable. There were parts missing, and she didn't have enough information to hypothesize what they were, what function they served nor how to synthesize them.

But she had to succeed, or it would all have been for nothing. That entire mission... the Federation's risk of war with the Star Empire and the destruction of the career of the Romulan commander of the Chal'toch et Alth'Indor, the Feathers of the Phoenix. The Federation did not even know the name of the ship they had crippled to achieve their victory... but Charybdis knew.

Tapping the display, she brought up the file and reread it once more. There were no clues to be gleaned from it, and she knew it all by heart already. But she reread it again, and studied the face of the Romulan commander who had been accidentally captured by Kirk in the Enterprise's escape from Romulan space. The face that she hadn't seen for twenty years of her own life, and now forty years of the commander's.

Commander Liviana Charvanek... the woman the Starfleet captain had called mother, long ago and far away.

Alone in the workshop, as the simulations continued reporting failures, Captain Charybdis wept in frustration... for the present that she could not change, and for the past that she could not redeem .


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