UES Endeavour, NC-06
- Commanding Officer (CO): Charles Tucker, III - Captain (CPT)
- Executive Officer (XO): T'Pol - also Senior Science/Sensor Officer (SCI) - Commander (CDR)
- Chief Tactical Officer (TAC): Heinrich ("Rick") Eisler, 3IC - Commander (CDR)
- Chief of Engineering (ENG or ChEng): Anna Hess , 4IC - Commander (CDR)
- Senior Communications/Linguistics Officer (COM): Hoshi Sato-Reed, 5IC, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)
- Senior Helmsman/Navigator (NAV): Selina ("Lina") Mayweather, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)
- Chief Medical Officer (CMO): Phlox, equivalent rank of LCDR
- Acting Chief of the Boat (COB): Lee Luckabaugh, Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO), senior enlisted man.
- Vice Chief of Naval Operations (V-CNO): Jonathan ("Jon") Archer – Rear Admiral (RADM)
The sharp, acrid stench of burning flesh greeted him as he stepped off the shuttle.
Face concealed behind the mirrored visor of his powered battlesuit’s helmet, D’deridex i-Mheissan tr’Irrhaimehn frowned darkly and narrowed his eyes. Behind him, his two Reman bodyguards tensed, adjusting their grips on the weapons they carried, but made no other offensive action and instead waited patiently for his signal. The last survivors of the Honor Pack that had once protected Admiral Valdore for much of his adult life, they had pledged their loyalties to D’deridex when he intervened and kept them from suffering the same self-inflicted fates as their brothers. He had been too late to save more than this pair, but these two had already proven their worth a dozen times over.
Smoke curled up from the ruined buildings that squatted underneath a sullen-looking star, climbing into the discolored sky in thin ribbons and blanketing the entire spaceport with a murky haze. Over a dozen grounded spacecraft were in view, most bearing angry carbon-scoring from recent void combat, but D’deridex barely glanced at them as he instead studied the structures still standing. All were damaged in some fashion – at least two looked to be on the verge of collapse – but the destruction seemed … random, almost as if taking shots at the buildings had been an afterthought by the raiders rather than being the actual intent. D’deridex shook his head in mild disgust: these aliens had no idea how to wage a war. Honestly, it was no wonder that the humans had defeated them with only a single starship.
“Master,” one of the Remans rumbled abruptly, sliding forward quickly to place his body between D’deridex and an approaching trio of Xin’di now picking their way through the wreckage littered around the spaceport.
“Stand easy, Mne,” D’deridex ordered softly. He decided against meeting the reptiles halfway – doing so would allow them to subconsciously identify him as an equal rather than a superior – and instead clasped his fingers together at the small of his back so he could project an appearance of military poise. The other Reman – Rhi – shifted anxiously as the three reptiles approached, but it was such a subtle motion that D’deridex doubted they even noticed.
The lead Xin’di was wearing gold ringlets upon its ridiculous-looking uniform as opposed to the bronze that the other two wore, but D’deridex paid the absurd decorations little mind, instead focusing on the alien’s features and posture. Almost immediately, he realized that this was to be yet another senseless waste of time. Once again, he was to hear excuses for why the Weapon was not ready, no doubt combined with further pleas for military assistance in the reptilian’s war of conquest against their insectoid brethren.
D’deridex bit back the overwhelming urge to draw his disruptor and simply shoot the fool before it could even open its mouth. This would mark the tenth delay in as many weeks, and if Central Command was not distracted by the senseless infighting amongst the fleet admirals to determine who was to take Valdore’s place, he suspected the ongoing failure would permanently mar his record. For the first time, D’deridex was thankful for Chulak’s rank stupidity and the general corruption of the chain-of-command.
“There have been unfortunate delays in production,” the Xin’di began without bothering to introduce itself or even acknowledge his rank. Mne took a quarter step forward, visibly bristling at the breach of protocol, and D’deridex did not bother calling the Reman to task for it. Instead, he slowly and deliberately crossed his arms over his chest.
It appeared that a message needed to be sent after all.
“Again,” he said flatly. The modulator in his helmet further distorted his voice, even as it translated the words into the Xin’di’s barbaric language. “I begin to question our decision to support you in this,” he added darkly. “Perhaps the insectoids would be better equipped to facilitate completion.”
“And perhaps you could provide actual support,” the Xin’di retorted with a growling hiss. It gestured sharply in the direction of the damaged starport. “The insectoids raid this facility weekly,” it continued, “and you do nothing but watch!” Rhi hissed softly, drawing the attention of the other two Xin’di, but D’deridex ignored all three.
And instead made a discreet hand gesture to Mne.
The Reman’s reaction was instantaneous. Moving more quickly than a creature of its bulk should be capable of, Mne lunged forward, drawing the hyperdense dagger it kept sheathed at the small of its back and striking in a single, blurring motion. The lead Xin’di staggered back, its hand automatically coming up to ward off the attack even though Mne was once more assuming his ready stance, the blade vanishing so quickly that it almost seemed that it had never existed in the first place. With a loud clatter, the Xin’di’s gold ringlets fell to the ferrocrete, bouncing and spinning away.
And a moment later, the Xin’di toppled as well, dark blood gushing from its ruined neck.
“Our patience is not infinite,” D’deridex said into the shocked moment of silence. He stepped forward, noting with dark pleasure that the two Xin’di backed away from him automatically. “We want the Weapon,” he said darkly, “and we tire of these delays.”
“Three stellar months,” the leftmost reptilian said. Its eyes were riveted on the corpse at its feet. “We need three stellar months to complete construction.”
“And you shall have them,” D’deridex answered. You must be without mercy, Valdore’s voice whispered to him from months earlier, and he frowned though the Xin’di could not see his face. “Continue to delay, however,” he added ominously, “and we shall be forced to seek … alternate allies.” Without another word, he spun away, his thoughts racing.
Three months until the Weapon was functional. Three months until he would be able to shift the fortunes of the Rihannsu Empire once more. Three months until no one would dare to stand against him, not fools like Chulak, not the deihu of the senate, not even the fvillha himself. Finally, he would be able to set right the errors and mistakes of those who had come before him and restore the Empire to the glory it deserved.
D’deridex smiled. He had much work to do.