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“And the Praetor has given his blessing?” S’Tonn asked N’Vel from beside her at construction station’s the massive view port.

“He sent word through emissaries. He hasn’t come out of his safe room in the palace since Tal Shiar headquarters was destroyed.”

“We may never see him again,” S’Tonn mused.

“No great blow to the empire as long he stays frightened of the right threat.”

“That will require some managing. His attention tends to wander.”

“Then manage it I shall,” she gave S’Tonn a sidelong look. “I learned a good bit from my sparring with K’prek.”

“No doubt,” S’Tonn said. They took a moment to silently take in the sight beyond the transparent aluminum, nearly a full kilometer away, but still visible to the naked eye: the skeleton of a great starship gestating within a construction scaffolding. Even still unformed, N’Vel’s imagination filled in the rest of the shape until it became whole in her mind. A graceful, arcing primary hull, longer than Stargliders’, shaped like a flattened teardrop. And unfurling from its mass, two muscular, backward-swept wings each clutching a stubby warp nacelle. It was both sturdier and more streamlined than her flagship.

“And did he agree to the signage?” S’Tonn asked.

“Of course. He can’t resist a sop to our myths and legends. You are looking at the Gallant Wing.”

“A bit awkward to say,” S’Tonn scowled.

“We're still keeping the formal nomenclature of V-Six.”

“Better. Also, Research Base Seventeen estimates ten to sixteen months to develop a ship-mounted version of the plasma cannon.”

N’Vel pursed her lips. “Longer than I’d like, but I have a better use for the weapon for right now.”

S’Tonn turned to face her. “You wish to capture a Klingon battleship?”

“Yes.”

“So you believe the human Captain’s tales of Klingon invisibility fields?”

The human captain…the words elicited a involuntary response from her body. She put it out of her mind until later when she had privacy. “He was being exceptionally honest when we met,” she said. “Besides, the Tal’Shiar researched something similar years ago, when they were still a branch of military intelligence. Perhaps the Klingons conquered someone who could make it work.”

“Such a technology…” S’Tonn trailed off.

“It would irrevocably change the balance of power,” N’Vel completed the thought. They were silent again, watching the great ship being built, watching the beginning of a new phase in the Romulan Empire. But even as they did, N’Vel’s thoughts went back to one her last exchanges with the human captain, after he had told her about the Klingon’s secret technology. She had asked him if he wasn't concerned that that eventually the Romulan Empire would use it against his people. His reply confused her still.

“These aren’t my people,”  he had said.

--end--



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