His eyes widened immediately as his fingers crawled beneath the covers to the disruptor hidden neatly in the pillow's crevice. By the time his mind digested the shrieking noise emanating from the great hall Argelian had the weapon well in his grip, finger primed against trigger. A slow sigh calmed his anxious nerves and he released the tension in his finger. It wasn't an assassin... this time. Outside his door he could hear servants rushing about. Finally the expected knock came.
"My lord. You have received a priority message from Ch'Rihan." The soft voice of t'Yawara, his hru'hfe, barely filtered through the thick wood of the door- but even the softest whisper would have reached Argelian's ears in the dark silence "I have prepared your study for your arrival and a glass of tev'lyo."
Argelian stood up letting the sheets slide off his muscular frame exposing his flesh to the cold dampness of the Latasalaem night. He immediately reached over and grabbed his thrai-skin mantle wrapping the itchy thing over his back and chest. "You do me too well Hrenala. I will be there shortly." Behind him he could see the brightness of lights flood through the cracks of the window curtains and with it the sound of a low rumble cascading across the hillsides of the Verelan estate. A transport had been sent.
He tugged on the edges of the mantle tightening it around his chest before making his way out into the great hall where t'Yawara was waiting for him. As he ambled towards his study she followed "should I prepare refreshments for the guests?"
"No, I doubt they will be here for long." Or I for that matter, he added in afterthought. No, something is amiss. Disturbing him at such an hour for a trivial matter might end one's career and all knew it- but what has happened? He sighed briefly disguising it as a rushed breath. There were any number of things it could be in such a treacherous place. When he reached the doorway to the study he stopped and turned around to look at his hru'hfe "Please inform the servants to return to their beds."
t'Yawara appeared confused and started to speak but instantly raised a finger to her lip apparently deciding better of it. A slight bow of the head and a simple "yes my lord" was all she uttered before excusing herself into the dimness of the torch-lit hall.
Argelian entered his study and sealed the door behind him. The communications display was already alight and Shiarkek stared at him. Dark rings circled the young flag officer's brown eyes- a clue that he had worked yet another late night. He will work himself dead, Argelian thought as he paced around the desk and turned to face his subordinate. Shiarkek shifted uneasily as he noticed the disgruntled expression on the Galae'EnRiov's face "forgive me for interrupting your rest Galae'EnRiov- however we have received some...interesting news from within the Federation." Shiarkek said in prelude but paused a little too long.
"I should hope this news to be a bit more than merely interesting Shiarkek. A thrai awoken early from its slumber is more prone to biting." Argelian said as he reached across the desk picking up the glass of tev'lyo. The tea was a considerate gesture, enough stimulant to keep one aware, but not so strong as to prevent return to sleep. Sadly it would likely not be enough- the Galae'EnRiov had a feeling that the night would soon drag into day and that additional rest would be a distant dream.
"Of course." Shiarkek said, he rubbed his eyes lazily before poking at his desk "we have relieved reports that Vulcan has been attacked." Argelian's expression soured- but not due to the bitterness of the tea. He didn't much care for the Vulcans but what Shiarkek said next stunned him "the attacker appears to be Vaek'Riov tr'Sahen. He has attack Vulcan with a wing of ships from his fleet."
"That's not possible. " Argelian said, wondering if perhaps in his tiredness he had misheard Shiarkek. However, as the news was repeated in confirmation his grip on the glass of tey'lo weakened and the decorated thing slipped from his grasp breaking against the edge of his desk. A fountain of amber liquid poured from the shattered cup staining the vermillion carpeting next to his feet. A long silence followed before Argelian could speak, and when he did fire burned in his tired eyes "how is this possible? tr'Sahen is in I'Rak Prime- it would take months to reach Vulcan- and even so the Tal'Shiar should have long dispatched of him!"
"I know this news seems...implausible. However, the Tal'Diann have confirmed it's validity. Even now we are monitoring a feed from their news networks about the attack. Apparently the Charon and Rehu foiled the attack in its entirety but his forces still managed to reach Vulcan. From what the Tal'Diann has been able to gather- they used some type of wormhole technology." From his expression it seemed even Shiarkek found it difficult to believe some of the information he was relaying.
But that would explain the Tal'Shiar's great interest in Shiarkek and I'Rak Prime, the mere thought caused Argelian's consternation to grow "if this is true then we must prepare for possible retaliation. Increase our presence along the neutral zone tenfold." He knew the order might cause the lloann'mhrahel to believe that a full invasion was eminent but he had no choice- they could not the leave the neutral zone weakly defended at this juncture. "What of Sahen? And the agency, have they spoken on this matter?"
"It is believed that he has been dispatched." Shiarkek said, "however- the agency has remained usually silent on the matter."
Of course, damn the day they actually decide to be useful to anyone but themselves. Argelian walked over to the office window that overlooked the hills behind his estate and drew the curtains back allowing the brightness of a bomber's lights to flood in "you sent this?" He looked at Shiarkek whose picture was obscured by the brightness.
"You know me too well Shiarkek." Argelian noted with hinted humor, although in truth there was some weariness to that comment. "However, it is not so wise to be easily drawn to assumption. I will return to ch'Rihan shortly. Rouse the Praetor, she will undoubtedly wish to be informed of this...development."
[To Be Continued]
Galae'Enriov Argelian I'Ahaefvthe tr'Verelan
Supreme Commander of the Romulan Star Navy