Chapter 3 - Deception in the old Delphic Expanse

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"Are you ready?" Carmen asked. She had a British accent, and it tended to become more pronounced when she was under stress. It was more pronounced.

"Just about. Don't worry; it'll be fine. We'll talk on implanted communicators, as always." He pointed to his left ear, in which there was a permanently implanted communicator.

"Right, yes. When we're in communications, if you suddenly cannot talk, ask some sort of a question that someone on the ship can answer, and I cannot."

"Such as?"

"Oh, I don't know – where do I sleep, or where are we going? Ask them what the bloody specials are in the cafeteria, for all I care."

"This era is all replicated food, I think."

"On the flagship of the fleet? Damned primitives! But in all honesty, there still might be a chef, or at least a schedule. Or you could get around it by saying you were coming from a starbase or the like that had such amenities. That's almost the truth."

"That's an idea. Mack – she's Mack in the original history, and won't like me calling her Dana unless we get to know each other a bit – she probably won't ask too many out-there questions."

"What about her inner circle?" Carmen asked.

"Crita won't say much. Majira is a practical doctor, but I probably won't see her much at all. Wes Crusher won't care unless the cloak fails and he can see just how advanced Audrey is."

"Let's make certain that doesn't happen. Now, the other one is a part-Orion and part-Betazoid woman. She'll distract you if you don't watch it."

"Moi?"

"Yes, you! Don't play coy with me, Mister. I am well aware of your propensity for trying to score with historical tail. Even Dana herself in the last few times we went through. Damn, I really don't want this temporal change to recur in a few days. I do not wish to return to the Mirror Lafa System unless it's in the proper timeline and all."

"I will stay focused," he vowed. "I want this thing fixed already, too. It's our fourteenth shot at this. I'd rather there wasn't a fifteenth."

"Let's go over what we're going to do, again."

"All right. We'll mask the ship to make it look like an independent merchant shuttle. Funny, how the technology we'll be doing that with is directly descended from their ionization diffuser technology."

"Yes; it's rather practical tech. So, to further what you're saying, we'll use the holodeck controls on the sleeping area and make me a closet to hide in. You'll emerge from behind, perhaps, a failed sphere in the Delphic Expanse."

"That'll work the best. It'll keep them from sensing Audrey until we're good and ready. They'll take the ship into one of their bays. I'll get out and I assume they'll try to help me," he made air quotes, "fix it."

"Right. I'll stay in the sleeping area unless I absolutely have to leave. I'll check on the cloak remotely, using my PADD. I'll try to let you know when I need to get up. I would appreciate it if you would tell me whenever people would be coming in for alleged repairs."

"Of course. Yi'imspi – our target – she understands the fundamentals of engineering. It'll be a problem if she gets too intimately associated with Audrey."

"So, occupy her time, Richard. And not necessarily that way! I swear; you have a mind with but one track."

=/\=

"I don't think I understand," Doctor Beverly Crusher said. She was sitting in the captain's Ready Room with Picard and Marty; it was less than an hour later. "Buy that team? Or that ship?"

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