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Hobus System: Devron Sector, Romulan Star Empire

Valaa materialized on the bottom deck of the thalaron rig. She crouched down low with her disruptor pistol in one hand and a bandolier of anti-matter charges across her chest. She looked around to get her bearings. The space was nearly pitch black and filled with wires, hoses, and conduits.

"Lovely…" she muttered. "Dark, hot, and smells like shit: just like the inside of a fat man's ass-crack."

Slowly she made her way through a small opening between two bulkheads. She choked on the hot, humid air that stagnated inside the compartment. Eventually, she was forced to put her pistol back onto her hip and crawl on her elbows and knees to reach the main corridor.

"Valaa, blow up the giant space station doomsday drill thing," she again muttered to herself, "Valaa, you can do it by yourself, right? No problem, Boss. Thanks a lot."

Finally she reached an opening. Her scans from back on the shuttle indicated that she should be less than a hundred meters from a critical junction in the power network. That's where she had to set the explosives. Hopefully, it would be an easy job. Hopefully, she would be able to get out of here as soon as possible. Hopefully, she would quickly beam over to the Reman ship to help Rellas and then escape. Hopefully…

Valaa popped her head up through a hole in the grated deck plating.

"Oh…fuck me," she said out loud before she could stop herself. The bay was large enough to park a full size starship in with room to spare. As far as she could see in both directions, massive spherical holding tanks the size of small apartment buildings were packed in tight rows. The amount of heat coming off their chromed surfaces let her know they were completely full of 5000 degree kelvin solar plasma.

"Forget a fat man's ass-crack. This is the devil's colon…"

However, she couldn't see the conduit network that connected them.

"Where are you, you stupid little junction?" she thought. "C'mon, it's supposed to be right here," she said checking a handheld scanner she brought with her. The signal told her that the plasma was flowing right where she was…Y plus 150 meters. "Oh shit," she said slowly looking up.

The plasma lines were routed through a series of support braces in the ceiling almost five hundred feet over her head. The solar plasma was being sucked from the top of the tanks before runing through blazing hot lines almost two meters in diameter. Then, it was all routed to a tall reactor tower in the center of the rig. About twenty Remans technicians were completely engrossed on four banks of computer consoles surrounding the black, five-story tall column of black metal and pipe. Another ten Reman soldiers with disruptor rifles lazily stood guard around them. Valaa figured they were there to protect this critical junction from people like her, and she realized there was no way to get past them.

She quickly checked her scanner to see if there was alternate location to plant the demolitions, but her worst fears were quickly confirmed. She had to hit that junction column or else she didn't have any hope of setting off a chain reaction powerful enough to destroy the entire station.

"If I can't get past them," she thought as beads of sweat formed on her brow from the sweltering heat, "Then, I'll have to get over them…"

She looked behind her to see a ladder of metal rungs welded to the bulkhead that led straight up to the very top of the bay.

"Damn you, Rellas."

Valaa ran over to the ladder and started to climb.

****

Shinzon sat in his command chair on the bridge of the Scimitar looking anxious and annoyed. Krokal and a few of his engineers were standing at a control console five meters away furiously entering commands. Vkruk leaned on his knurled wooden walking stick monitoring their thoughts. The old viceroy was very glad that Shinzon didn't possess Reman telepathy. The general was agitated enough and the doubts coming from his underlings wouldn't do much to allay his displeasure.

"Are you ready yet?" Shinzon shouted rubbing one of his bald temples with his fingers.

"Just a few more minutes, My Lord," Krokal replied. "My engineers on the collection rig are aligning the refining tower with our holding tanks. If we're off by just a few centimeters, it is possible thalaron particles could leak from the transfer beam and penetrate the Scimitar's shielding."

"Should I be concerned about that?" Shinzon asked flippantly.

"I would say so," Krokal said with an equal level of seriousness, "if you enjoy your flesh not being scorched off your bones, Sir."

The response actually managed to get a grin out of Shinzon.

"My Lord," Vkruk stated. "Perhaps you should view the procedure from the observation deck? You will be able to make a far better assessment from there. I will monitor the procedure from the bridge and let you know if there any issues. I am your viceroy after all. Let me lead in your stead."

"You're trying to get me out of hair, Old Friend?" Shinzon chuckled.

"I don't understand, My Lord," Vkruk said furrowing his brow.

"Just a human expression I've learned," Shinzon replied. "Very well, I can tell when I'm not wanted," he said bolting up from his chair. Vkruk could tell that Shinzon was at least excited to get his superweapon. It would instantly make him a player in the game for galactic power.

"Call me if you there are any problems," Shinzon said turning and walking towards the doors, "Oh, and Vkruk?" he said suddenly turning back around.

"Yes, My Lord?" Vkruk asked.

"Don't let there be any problems."

"Yes, My Lord…" the viceroy answered.

Shinzon exited the bridge and walked onto the observation deck. The new polarization shields over the large circular window were doing a remarkable job muting Hobus' bright glare into a dull glow. He could see the huge outline of the thalaron rig hanging directly over them less than kilometer away. The leader of the Reman Revolution was about to gloat over his imminent triumph when he realized that he wasn't alone.

He spun around to see a two-meter tall Gralluscan holding a disruptor pistol. The weapon was aimed right at his head.

"You must be General Shinzon," the blue-skinned man said calmly. "My name is Rellas. I've been waiting a long time to meet you face to face."


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