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Shavi - PG Rated
The chronometer on the wall read 75625.4. It didn’t mean much in space, but where she had grown up, it would have barely been morning during the harvest festival. 

             Here on Alhena Station, it had been weeks since she had seen anything outside of those harsh fluorescents that covered the lower deck in sickly green and yellow hue.  The smell of smoke and burning filth brought her back to her senses as the thrum of the foundries refined more and more dilithium from nearby asteroids to fuel their ship designs, Shavi rose to her feet wiping caked-on blood from her young lips gingerly avoiding a bruise just starting to heal where many others had been before. She stood defiantly against the petty officer in charge of her designation.

            “You don’t give up do ye’?” The portly naval officer glowered down at the sixteen-year-old girl refusing his advances yet again. “If, you jus loosened up a bit…” He continued as he approached her again while he could see her balling her small fists in refusal. “I really am a pretty nice guy…”
He was on her again in a moment, she struggled and wrestled away from his grasp yet again tearing her threadbare skirt in her attempt and scratching the inside of her left thigh, orange blood thick with copper oozed to the surface spilling out over her skin as she growled like a feral animal in pain and fury, trying to keep her pursuer at bay.  Shavi scrambled through the filth and dust of the storage bay she was trapped in and eventually felt a pipe almost too large for her fingers to get around but more than sturdy enough to use if she needed to as her bright green eyes and orange blood gave more than enough contrast in the dim light to reveal her position to the federation engineer.

           He chuckled lightly enjoying the pursuit as part of his lust for her, he rushed to her position and shouted “I got y-“ Thunk!  He would never finish his statement. Thunk, Thud, Squish, Squish, clang! came from the dark, as part of his naval boot was still visible from the shadows, twitching with every echoed sound over the storage bay.  The mewling sound of fear and panic mixed with the exhilaration of her own rescue and tears over the gravity of her actions gave a mixed sense of not being sure whether saving herself was allowed or not.

           The engineer was dead, his head diffused over the deck plate, thick red blood tracing contours in the baseplate below, Shavi backed out into the light and revealed herself covered with the evidence of a crime as she dropped the pipe with the mixed shock still in her eyes.   She could hear the commotion outside the storage bay as though someone heard her unconventional concert.  She scrambled her way towards the vents she had used many times to escape her pursuers in the past but she left behind much of the ruined skirt and her bright green-orange blood, they would certainly know it was her that killed the engineer, and Orions were already considered criminals long before anyone bothered to attach evidence to what they thought was going on.   

            She stole his personal effects and biometric data card allowing her access to the entire underside of the station and made her way instinctively to the large air access panels that marked the atmosphere monitors.
She closed the vent after her and made her way to the water reclamation sector of the station, witnessing a veritable sea of repurposed water ready to be used again in the state-of-the-art military research station.  Without thinking about the context or the consequences, she dove into the deep cold expanse of water cleaning her thigh wound as well as much of the blood gathered from her escape. 
           Down in the lower decks of the station, weird things happened and so quite a bit was ignored, it was that ignorance that would give her enough time to stow away on a merchant or cargo ship bound for anywhere but here.  

           After only a few moments she rose out of the water, a fine shapely form clinging to her every curve, and rose to scamper down the hall before someone started looking for her.  She used his biometric card to access one of the industrial replicators fabricating a suitable outfit that would hide her injury at the very least and a reliable pair of boots and made her way to the cargo bay eager to find anything off of the station.
          The light was always low in the shuttle bay, officially the federation wasn’t supposed to be doing anything but research into existing weapons and conventional applications for the new parliament class ships soon to come off the line, but in reality, the station was an excuse for any mad scientist to make themselves rich and important in the sector making new weapons and selling to the highest bidder.

          Klingons and The Federation may not see eye to eye on most subjects, but energy credits spent the same regardless of your home planet.   Prostitution and trafficking were perhaps the unofficial points of this backwater although curiously well-funded stations gave to “merchants” and “customers” alike.  Shavi thought if she could just get on a cargo transport to any planet she could take her chances with making it on her own, at least she wouldn’t be hunted and labeled a criminal before anyone got her side of the story.

         She chose a large raw materials vendor ship a massive Gorn ship an Ahgamas class combat vessel named ‘Jetyl’ retrofitted to house cargo instead of military equipment, the cargo skate used to move the massive containers from the ship to the station was large enough to house hundreds of shuttle sized cargo pods, she assumed she could easily hide between them and get off the station.  She moved as silently as she could onto the skate and slid into one of the containers easily ignored by the busy security personnel, even if they had to be looking for her by now.

         She had a pack containing 2700 energy credits stolen from the engineer, she wasn’t completely destitute but 2700 credits would keep her fed, but she could hardly start life on that.  Two years as a serf in the underbelly of Alhena she had learned how to fix just about anything, she didn’t appear to be the most capable with tools but her razor wit and keen observation kept her well ahead of anyone without a commission, she may not have the title but she could surely fake the skill.
        She slept on the exterior hull of a salvaged shuttle inside one of the crates and stole food and fabric from the cargo bay and crew’s quarters to keep herself warm at night while her eventual disembarkment was entirely unknown to her.

        What she assumed were weeks passed by she almost felt like one of the crew now, she knew the ship better than most and she had even managed to fix some of the components inside the shuttle to have some heat and even sporadic use of a replicator, but she didn’t know how long, or where she would have to find someplace else to hide from the federation.
        She managed to jury rig a wrist controller from old datapads and components that weren’t working anymore, it wasn’t the most dignified device an engineer might have carried but it allowed her to control everything in her little slice of civility on the cargo ship.   

       Military Warp and Civilian Warp drives were drastically different in scope, a civilian cargo freighter like this might take months to travel from Deep Space  Nine to Betazed, or from Risa, to Orion, wherever they were going they wouldn’t get there quickly so she had some time to learn a bit more about the people she was secretly traveling with.

       Shavi started with occasional nods at the cafeteria during meal times, if people regularly saw her working on something, or in social areas, she wouldn’t be seen as a stowaway as quickly, eventually, she might be bold enough to override the computers into giving her a room on board but she wasn’t going to press her luck just yet.

      Everyone on the ship was a great deal older than she was, and from amazingly different worlds as well.  Gorn towered over most at nearly 2.5 meters tall, while the odd Ferengi came in at just under 1.7m.  after a few days, she could identify Bajorans by their noses and their earrings and Cardassians by their necks, there were even some Orion men on the crew, but they seemed consumed by their schemes to ever notice her.  

     Humans and the occasional Romulan also seemed to hold the command posts and he could see why both of them thought very highly of themselves and neither were considered minor races to larger organizations.  

     Shavi was beginning to see that the Romulans and humans may be responsible for most if not all of the stress she had been forced to endure most of her life, they always fought over meaningless space and titles that meant nothing outside of their homes, everyone else was just reacting to their bullying.   

      The most important thing she had to remember was, she couldn’t be anywhere near them, they were the kind of people that would ask for proof she was actually hired on the ship, she didn’t exactly have anywhere else to go and returning to Alhena Station was a death sentence.   There was a girl about her own age she looked human, so Shavi quickly made herself scarce when she was nearby but eventually, she realized the girl had spots on her neck and sides, something no Human or Romulan had, so maybe she was like Bajorans, and not quite so judgmental.   Over time and through other people that had come to rely on Shavi’s quick thinking and clever talent she learned the girl’s name was Jada, and her Uncle was the captain of the ship. 
“Who are you?” a pretty voice came from behind her as Shavi was repairing part of a plasma conduit.

      She turned to face the girl, completely unsure how to react and the tight quarters of the access port gave her literally nowhere else to go.  It was Jada a pretty girl with blue and white hair expertly touched up through her scalp, she had pale skin with dark spots on either side of her neck as though it were some kind of camouflage to make it appear she was smaller than she appeared. Her arms were crossed over her chest and she seemed like she already knew Shavi didn’t belong here.

      “Electrician’s mate third class, miss?” Shavi guessed was the right answer.  She tried to go back to her assumed work.
      “I mean, what’s your name crewman, you certainly didn’t join up at any of the last six ports we hired on.” Jada’s smooth face crinkled as she seemed far less impressed with Shavi as the conversation continued.

      “S’carna” Shavi blurted out a name. “I switched with one of the Orion machinists at Drozana.” Shavi was again grasping at straws but no crew as large as this one could possibly be memorized by a 16-year-old girl.  Shavi could do it, but she was remarkable, or so she thought.
“S’carna huh? I could just have your records pulled, there’s no point in lying kid, aren’t you a little young to be entirely out on your own?” Jada asked.

      Shavi slipped out of the access panel and knew Orions were on average taller than Humans but realized they were the same exact height as soon as her feet touched the floor, all of her potential to intimidate or seduce had gone out the window.

      “Yeah, you do that, I got nothing to hide” Shavi replied as she tried to leave as quickly as possible.

      Jada barred her path and stared her down.  “I’m sure you aren’t supposed to be here, we don’t put up with castaways and this isn’t some kind of personal pleasure ship, this is my uncle’s entire life!” she was vehement and took her family’s legacy very seriously.

      Shavi looked at her and seemed clearly concerned, she was cornered, and she knew the truth. “I’m not expecting a free lunch here, I been doing just as much work as anyone you did hire, it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t have time for an interview when I was being chased by federation slavers.” She spat but quickly froze realizing she said too much.
“Wait, you’re a slave and you hid here?” Jada’s toned instantly softened.  “Where did you come from?” she replied more interested in the response.
      “A refugee technically, my mother and father died in a failed pirate raid on a fed colony and when the feds came seeking retribution they didn’t find anyone worth fighting so they basically kidnapped all of us and made us work as slaves in their refinery under Alhena station, I’ve been ” Tears began welling up in Shavi’s eyes.

      Jada looked over the impressive repair work and glanced towards Shavi again.  “I think it’s time you met my uncle, if I bring you to him, he’s likely to listen to reason, not throw you out into space, no one should have to be afraid in their own home.” Jada offered.
      Jada and a very nervous Shavi walked to the bridge and into the captain’s office, his quarters were built ensuite and was decked out in a rather unusual décor.  Instead of the hard-rusted bulkhead of a Klingon ship or the pure utilitarian presence of a Gorn, it looked like a rather well-used library of sorts.  Hundreds of volumes of books and archives Shari had never seen and paper and datapads everywhere as though he were obsessed with learning to truth about something.
      Maru Natl, an old man, easily into his 90th year turned his chair to face the girls a physical body that had appeared to have lived a good life, His smile was young and his mind was sharp even if the rest of him had given up many years ago.  He stared at Jada, and then to Shavi.

      “Jada, how many times have we told you not to pick up strays?” He smiled and motioned for them to come closer. “Who is your friend my girl?”
“Uncle, she… well she…” Jada stammered.

      “She hasn’t told you yet because she doesn’t want to go back to whatever hellhole she ran from.” The old man responded knowing the look many times over his life.

“Yes, Uncle,” Jada replied nudging Shavi

       “This reminds me of Berin, a friend of your father’s Jada:  He used to go into the darkest of holes and always came out with a kid on each arm, he always called it a mission to save the universe one doe-eyed kid at a time…” the old man laughed, coughing in the middle as his lungs were beginning to fail.  “Something tells me you joined us just after Alhena Station, we’ve been picking up active power sources in the cargo bay, so that tells me two things.” He continued.   “One you didn’t have a choice in leaving, and two, you have skill in fixing broken things.” He chuckled warmly.   “Something I wish I could instill in my niece here, but she’s got some spirit as I’m sure you do too.” He tapped a com on his cluttered desk.  “Huzo, report to my quarters.”

       Huzo a full two and a half meter Gorn walked into the room, his sheer size prevented a casual observer from recognizing a door was behind him. “Sir, “He replied.

       “We have a new diagnostics engineer; my friend please make sure she is added to the manifest.  We wouldn’t want the precious federation thinking they had something to hold us on at Drozana next week.” He looked at Shari with a smile. “Electrician mate, third class I believe? Miss…” his voiced trailed off so she could respond.

“Uh… Shavi… Shavi Nodama, thank you… sir…” she squeaked stunned and overwhelmed.

        Huzo nodded and grumbled as he left the captain’s quarters saying something about the captain and his strays. 
4000 light years later

        Jada was in the cargo bay tinkering with the shuttle Shari happened upon all those years ago.
        It had been four years since that meeting and there wasn’t a lot, they didn’t know about each other at this point. Shari had shared her experiences in chains, reliving the lives she wishes she could forget.  Jada let slip her own experience with slavery and how her uncle had rescued her just before she turned 8 years old.  They had more in common than words, thoughts or actions, they lived the same lives, from different perspectives in the universe and it brought them to this point.

        There were times, and they were often when one or the other bit off more than they could chew or drank more than the other could talk their way out of.  Moments where the same boy caught their eye at the same time, and they hated one another until they didn’t.  A life between equals doesn’t easily shatter when faced with reality.

        Shari became an adept drone pilot and defense specialist.  Jada became a phenomenal pilot and brawler, both left nothing to chance when the job needed more than what was available, and they always found a way.

        Jada and Shari worked on the shuttle together taking pieces from each other’s specialty and building the former shuttle into an agile and formidable interceptor, everything was ready, all they had to do now was test it.

        Maru Natl’s health was failing, and he had explained that Natl the symbiote desired to pass to a new host and he had arranged a team to join him on the cargo vessel to implant Natl into a prepared host, the Jetyl was scheduled to dock with the medical ship: the KCS le’SuvwI’ (warrior’s rest) to complete the procedure in the T’Ong Nebula a popular neutral space well within Klingon space.
         At 0430 Jada was at the helm getting us to the nebula at maximum warp 5 when she detected an interdictor field on sensors, it would force us to drop out of warp but there was no definitive reason why a mass of this size would exist outside of star charts.  As she came to a stop more than 70 light-years from the nebula sensors picked up a relatively small ship barring their way, with a huge power source and an unusual gravity well generator active.

         A voice crackled over the comm on the bridge: “This is the marauder ship ‘Molor’s Ghost’, you will lower your shields and prepare to be boarded.” Jada announced the ship was of an unknown design but exceeded that of even Negh’var battlecruisers.

          Maru looked at Huzo and nodded as Huzo quickly moved to an internal com system announcing we were about to be boarded.  Maru then activated his comm panel from his room and replied.

          “This is the cargo vessel Jetyl, we will comply with your request, please allow us to contain a radiation leak in our docking bay before you come aboard.”  

          “You have one hour to finish your repairs Jetyl, one moment longer and we will begin salvaging what we wish from your ship in pieces.” The voice responded.

          “Understood” Maru continued as he tapped the comm link off and activated the PA system.

“Uncle!” Jada cried as she ran into the room. “You can’t just let these pirates walk away with your life’s work!” Jada seems more protective of her uncle’s livelihood than the respective lives of her crew if it came to a firefight.

           Maru smiled at his niece and touched her face gently as he rose from his chair. “Little one, I have no intention of letting them take so much as a credit’s worth of cargo from our hold but we can’t openly challenge them and expect to win.” He softened his tone as she could see courageous eyes with a plan shining back at her. “Your old man has been at war with people stronger than him on the surface but I have something none of them have ever had:  confidence in a crew that has run with me since my military days, and more than a century of experience in strategic smuggling that makes it hard to know what I have up my sleeve.” He winked and moved slowly towards a computer panel on the other side of his office, he put his hand down on an interface and unlocked it biometrically as three other screens pulled forward from what appeared only moments before to be blank walls.  Maru’s office was a battle bridge!

            Military-grade command and control computers analyzed the ship that was waiting off their port side looking for a weakness and specifically what needed to be hit before they could make a run for the nebula, additionally, Maru launched a cloaked probe from the rear of the ship sending out a coded distress signal to his friends in the Klingon high command.   In mere moments he had already received a response stating that four cruisers and a heavy escort were on route ETA 40 minutes.

            Jada and Shavi watched in amazement as this passive looking cargo vessel still retain most of the armaments it possessed while it was in military service, even if none of those advantages would show up on a sensor sweep of the vessel.

            After twenty minutes Maru responded to the marauder ship: “This is the cargo vessel Jetyl, the spill has been contained and you are free to board at your convenience.” Maru gave a silent nod to Huzo again as he readied counter-boarding teams at the docking bay, the deflectors were tuned to prevent site to site transport by design Maru wasn’t always following the letter of the law when it came to transporting cargo from port to port.

            As Maru dropped the shields the Marauder drew closer. They must have just realized that their transporters didn’t work nor their sensors, because it took nearly five minutes until six shuttles launched from the marauder and headed for the docking bay.  Maru tapped an internal comm to Huzo: “Activate defensive holosuite program Maru 7”

            The docking bay went from a fully defended battleground on one side of the holography to an empty hull of a hold from the other.  As each shuttle landed, they detected no signs of resistance, the moment the sixth shuttle was in the bay, Maru rose shields again and the defensive teams opened fire.

            The invading force of 24 pirates were no match for a military trained response team Maru had specifically chosen for just this kind of eventuality. The holographic fields gave his defensive team cover and concealment as they could take easy shots on the pirates that couldn’t see or respond to incoming disruptor fire.  Within seconds the firefight was over, and the tougher fight was beginning.

            The marauder's vessel was firing at a strategic point in the shields of the Jetyl, heavy power plants and secondary capacitors could keep the shields up until reinforcements arrived but his defenses were designed to stop traditional escorts and conventional cruisers, this marauder was different in many ways.  Most importantly, while its main weapon arrays were traditional in nature it had a series of three cannons attached to the top and sides of the exterior hull and each cannon by itself could eclipse the power of its traditional payload.

             The Jetyl needed to survive only 12 more minutes until the ships were in sensor range and the marauder would have likely run off. One lucky shot of the starboard cannon shutdown the deflectors and shields for a moment before the capacitors could get them back only and a strike team of 8 beamed directly to the bridge.  Huzo, and Thraak, another large Gorn responded immediately by throwing cargo containers the size of adult Tzenkethi at the invading force crushing three immediately.  The firefight then spread out over the bridge. Jada and Shari took defensive positions and proved their worth, Jada was using a phase rifle designed to disintegrate armor and expertly caught two more of the strike team in exposed flanks downing them in a heap.  Shavi activated her army of drones making the strike team go entirely on the defensive until there was only a single invader left.  He put his hands up as Maru looked on from his office down at the invader.

             “You will contact your friends and inform them there is a strike force of my own due to arrive in seven minutes, your life as pirates is over.” Maru responded as he stood up from the photonic barrier that shielded him from the firefight.

             “I am the captain of the Malor, we have two other ships in reserve on their way as we speak and I think you wouldn’t stand much longer at all if I commanded my ship to rip you apart, we could still do more than enough damage to make your recovery impossible in the next seven minutes” he warned.
             Jada and Shavi both looked at each other from their defensive positions and made their way closer behind cover toward the captain
            Maru stood tall and proud looking at the invader his trill appearance while old and feeble held wisdom and courage. “We are as you have noticed by no means defenseless, and I have tricks that might keep you guessing until help arrives.”

              Jada was in a position from where the captain was pontificating, Shavi rose up and fired a microdrone at the captain distracting him as Jada activated a stud on her arm like a second skin of armor formed over her body.  Within a moment she was in a full Red Angel suite a devastatingly powerful illegal suit meant for heavy firefights and close combat, Jada flew at the captain from behind knocking him to the ground wrestling with him as she finally fired two plasma bolts from her palms into each side of the captain killing him instantly.  Jada and Shavi shouted in victory as their combat training and personal ingenuity was the deciding factor in keeping them safe.
             Maru smiled at them from his office and then nodded turning back towards his room, it was only at that moment Maru’s body gave out and he collapsed revealing two phaser burns along his shoulder and sternum, at his advanced age they would have both certainly been mortal wounds.

             The next few minutes were a blur as those reinforcements arrive as planned on both sides and the marauders were taken into custody, including their ships a firefight without their captain wasn’t something they thought they could win so they surrendered before another shot was fired. Jada and Shavi heard none of it since they were both instantly at the side of Maru trying to keep him alive.
              Medical teams from the cruisers and the cargo team were good and, in many cases, could have done much to help but his age and health was compromised as it was, his death was assured, but his symbiote was not.  Huzo was the new captain of the Jetyl new and he wanted to take the escort and make it to the nebula to get his replacement back to the body as soon as possible, but the trip would likely take at least seven hours even with military warp speed. The symbiote Natl wouldn’t last that long, and everyone knew it.

              Huzo knelt next to Jada as her tears made her vision and speech almost absent, and he whispered into her ear with his gruff deep voice “Maru would have wanted to live on through you.  You are a viable candidate for implantation.”

              Natl was injured as well, probably by the stress of the death of his host, but he wouldn’t survive more than an hour or so inside of a dead body.  Jada instantly agreed to the procedure to be his temporary host until someone else could take him permanently and the surgery was simple enough.

              Shavi spent the next seven hours anxious but driven, while Jada was preparing for surgery and Natl was being extracted Shavi was communicating with the Klingon strike group and convinced a particular general to give her command of one of the marauder's vessels, that she would be able to determine it’s capabilities as a trusted friend of Maru, it required her aptitudes of combat, seduction, and more than a little background information on the Klingon general but she was given command when her own crew and an official commission in the Klingon High Command.

               Jada woke nearly a day after the surgery was complete, it took some serious patience to acclimate a symbiote with a new trill, and the first few days were key to the bonding.  When she did come too Jada woke with tears in her eyes embracing her friend and reliving experiences the three of them had shared from new perspectives.

               It has been two years since the joining, Jada went by Jada Natl now as the proper host of the symbiote, and Shavi is becoming quite well known for her mastery of device control and machine interface expertise.  

               Jada is still there every step of the way but in her own ship called the Helena still the same shuttle/interceptor they worked on so long ago it seemed, with a few thousand new improvements and upgrades.  

               Shavi started this journey as a victim searching for answers in an uncaring federation, Jada was driven by similar beginnings, but together they’ve prompted a new force to contend with, one few have ever even slowed down much less against.   The Jetyl is still in service but now under the military transport of goods and under the same protections, Shavi named her new ship the Maru as an homage to the man who was always a step ahead, but now in the body of her best friend.

               What adventures come next wasn’t as important as the family they shared it with.  It is true that for those that come from nothing, add ambition, and that rarely stays the case.

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