Monday, August 15, 2011

[USS Charon] SD241108.14 || "Playing in the Game" - Marquis Edward Zalanis (NPC)

“Playing in the Game”
________________________________

“News travels so quickly these days.”  A fine silver tea cup touched his lips as he sipped an exquisite black tea procured by his ever resourceful personal assistant.  “I assume the information is…reliable?”

 

“Reliable yes.  Outdated perhaps.  The information is several hours old.  Events do indeed move quickly sir.  Obtaining timely information on Romulan activities has and continues to be something of a challenge.”

 

Thunder rumbling in the distance foretold a coming storm.  Weather modification networks did not extend to the remote locale of the Zelanis estate.  There would be no protection from the coming storm’s fury, but then again, the master of the family preferred it this way.

 

Gazing out the large windows that comprised the wall of the dining hall he watched the clouds growing in size as darkness reached out across his domain.  “I expect there are few things beyond your grasp August.”

 

“You flatter me sir.  Mine is only to serve the Zelanis family when and wherever possible.”

 

“Indeed.  Do we know more?”

 

“Not at this time.  Our contacts on this matter are only in the position to observe and report.  Details are sometimes difficult to obtain.”

 

“Hmm.  I do not like it.”

 

“The storm?  Would the master prefer the curtains drawn for the evening?”

 

“No.  Leave them open.  The scenery is appropriate given current matters.  The coming storm outside may foreshadow dark events which have yet to reveal themselves.  This news is unsettling.  Recent events feel contrived and unnatural.  I sense puppeteers manipulating events and people with various strings at their disposal.”

 

“Whatever do you mean sir?”

 

“I cannot say.  It is merely a feeling at present.  Yet I cannot dismiss it.  Why would the Romulans wish to escalate tensions?  Why flirt with the possibility of open hostilities between the Empire and the Federation?  Neither has anything to gain.  Taking a Federation diplomat hostage gives them a pawn – but to what end?  They cannot hope for anything other than stalemate or worse against the Federation even as corrupt and soft as it has become since the last war.”

 

Another sip of tea revealed its bitter notes hidden behind its otherwise enjoyable flavor.

“Do we know the name of the Ambassador involved in these matters?  There are so many of them these days.”

 

“The contact does not have a name, but we did receive an image.  Quality is poor given the transmission method, but I believe the computer may be able to enhance and identify.”

 

Zelanis continued to sip his tea and turned in his chair to face the wood paneled wall of the dining hall that bore his family’s coat of arms.  August produced a pad and with several deft wrist motions the expensive, highly polished wood slid away to reveal a large screen displaying a grainy image of what appeared to be a male and female.

 

“Who is the woman?”

 

“Unknown at this time.  I’ve instructed the computer to enhance the image.”

 

The screen flickered as the computer rapidly worked to reconstruct the image.  A clatter reverberated throughout the massive dining hall as a silver tea cup hit the marble floor dropped from its owner’s hand.

 

“Sir!  Are you…”

 

Zelanis stared at the image with a momentary expression of disbelief.  “Fate is an unpredictable force that never ceases to amaze me.  And so the puzzle begins to take shape.  Ian Lamont.  How did you of all people become a piece in this particular puzzle?”

 

Zelanis stood tossing his linen napkin onto the long rectangular table which filled the length of the room with its antique spendor.  “Twenty years have passed and once again the Lamont family returns to some measure of prominence in galactic events.  How interesting.  I believe my feelings were justified.  If we know of this then we can assume others do as well.  If that is the case old rivals and enemies will soon rise like the undead from old graves; hungry for the blood of the last of the noble and distinguished Lamont family line.

 

Ian.  What have you gone and gotten yourself into?  I wonder?”

 

“Can we send a message to our contacts on Romulus?”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“Good.  We need more information however certain actions may need to be taken.  Inform our people to standby for further instructions.”

 

“At once sir.  I will see to it personally.”

 

“August?”

“Yes sir”, the servant replied with his usual calm.

 

“The tea this evening was most excellent.  Have the kitchen procure an additional supply.”

 

The man nodded and left the master alone in the hall.

 

Zelanis stared at the image of the Ambassador on the wall as a thin grin formed on his lips.

 

“It would appear you have found your way back into the game Lamont.  Let us hope you can play it with far more mastery than did your father.  This should be quite amusing.  Quite amusing indeed.”

 

A flash of lightning brightly illuminated the room as the storm outside finally reached the Zelanis estate.  The following clap of thunder only partially obscured the laughing competing with its sounds in the dining hall.

 

To Be Continued…

 

_______________________________________

Marquis Edward Zelanis, Earth

August Sarentine, Zelanis Family Servant

Monday, August 8, 2011

[USS Charon] [USS CORSAIR] - SD241108.07 || "New Orders" - Cpt. Taverain Ramius

U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
 “Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)

“New Orders”
________________________________

Personal Log…

 

I have had no solid leads on NeoDyne activity in over two months.  It is if the organization’s criminal activities have simply ceased to exist.  Reliable informants have seen or heard nothing.  Even a shakedown of a minor underworld figure produced no new leads.  I do not understand how so many trails cold or otherwise have simply vanished into aether.  And yet, the company’s legitimate businesses continue to operate in plain, public view.  Who knows what darkness they shelter?  I can only imagine and that pales in comparison to what I have seen with my own eyes.  My own mind and heart cannot fathom the utter blackness and evil that infests the core of the NeoDyne Corporation and its vile chief executives.  I sometimes wonder if those capable of such atrocities are mortal men.  Perhaps they are demons masquerading as such in the world of the living.  Man, beast, or otherwise – I care little.  My body and mind are committed to one solitary goal – the destruction of NeoDyne and its leader.  Only then can I rest.  Only then can the universe be spared from the horrific goals they continue to silently work upon.  Only then can justice be served and perhaps even revenge realized for what they have done to my brother, me, and hundreds and if not thousands of other poor souls who have found themselves caught in their inescapable web.

 

Yet, the veil of darkness that has descended appears impenetrable.  Without leads I am powerless to investigate.  My special status within Starfleet Intelligence becomes more fragile by the day.  They demand progress on monitoring and eventually exposing any illegal NeoDyne activities.  They have a vested interest in keeping tabs on one of the galaxy’s largest corporations.  Without carrots to dangle before hungry admirals I have nothing to keep them interested.  If I were to lose their support I fear my goal of seeing NeoDyne’s evil purged from threatening the living would die like the final embers of a fading fire.  Their schemes would eventually reach fruition and then it would be too late to stop them.  It may be too late already…I must find some new information.  If they have become so dedicated to covering their tracks then I must find a soft spot, a weakness, exploit it, and force them to let slip a few more secrets to keep me in the game.  If that is the only option left to me then the question changes to where one should one attempt to strike a snake without being bitten by its venomous fangs.  Where indeed.”

 

Ramius sighed.  With recent trouble between the Federation, Vulcan, and the Romulan Empire – things in intelligence were anything but quiet.  He had been forced to run errands for Intelligence trying to find evidence and clues about the recent attack on the Vulcan homeworld the Romulans were blaming on a single, insane Romulan admiral.  His so called Momento Mori was designed to completely destroy the Vulcan people.  Intelligence had him chasing ghosts across two quadrants searching for anything that could give them additional leverage in the current crisis.  That left little time for him to investigate NeoDyne leads, but such was their fragile agreement.  He was their pawn in all matters of the underworld.  His soul seemed to swim within its dark waters forever linked with the criminal underground of the galaxy.  Ramius was their dark, shadowy ambassador where no other Starfleet officer could tread.  Like a fallen angel, the darkness of the underworld was his exclusive domain.  He was given the means and the power to navigate its treacherous and turbulent waters and in exchange for providing certain services outside of official channels he was given freedom to track, observe, and pursue his enemies as he saw fit so long as he passed along what he uncovered in the process.  It was a difficult alliance fraught with danger, but one that had proved beneficial and valuable to the few who knew of its existence.

 

“Captain to the bridge.”  Ramius looked up from his musings at the sudden communication from his first officer.  “Computer, pause and save log entry.”  Ramius stood from his chair and straightened his uniform.  Perhaps fate would assist him in his time of need.  Even a blind individual in a darkened room could find its exit with enough determination, patience, and effort.

 

“You owe me one fate”, Ramius said out loud as a tiny smile formed on his lips.  “Let us see what you have up your sleeve for me this day.”

 

Ramius left his ready room and emerged onto the bridge.  His first officer, Alanis Novada, rose at his appearance and vacated the command chair standing at firm attention as the captain took his seat.

 

“Status number one?”

 

“We have received new orders from Starfleet Intelligence.  We are to postpone our current mission and proceed beyond the Neutral Zone to the Romulan home planet – Romulus.”

 

Ramius’s eyebrow twitched slightly upwards but his expression remained unchanged.  “Continue.”

 

“Intelligence wants us to monitor the situation.  The Federation has dispatched the USS Charon to Romulus to investigate the recent death of a Starfleet Admiral additionally its diplomatic staff will be engaging the Romulan government to discuss recent events.  We should consider them something of a special envoy acting on behalf of the Federation President.”

 

“The Charon?  Why does that ship’s path seem to cross ours on a regular basis?  Her captain is Romulan.  Perhaps someone is gambling her past will be of some specific use?  How interesting.”

 

Novada continued.  “We are authorized to use our cloaking device for the duration of our mission.  Under no circumstances are we to be detected or observed.  They made it quite clear we would be disavowed should something occur.”

 

“Anything else, commander?”

 

“We are ordered only to observe the situation and gather as much passive intelligence as possible.  We are to be a silent witness to whatever transpires and are ordered to take no actions beyond surveillance.”

 

“Hmm.  They send us on errands across the quadrant and now this?  I wonder.  If they are willing to risk our presence then perhaps this situation is far graver than I was aware.  Conflict with the Star Empire would not be in our best interest.  It would only provide additional cover and shelter for those I hunt.”

 

Ramius tapped controls on his armrest.  “Captain to engineering.  How soon can you have the Corsair’s little wonder operational?  We’ll need use of it for an extended period so it needs to be functioning perfectly as we cannot risk detection.”

 

“Well, I might need to wipe the dust off, but she’s ready sir.  Give me an hour to run some checks and I’ll have our wonder purring sir.”

 

“Understood.  Keep me posted.”

 

“Commander, please work with engineer Kusinagi and coordinate any outstanding engineering preparations.  If we are going to be in Romulan territory I don’t want any surprises.  We also need to identify Romulan communication relays along our path as we will need to piggy back our communications upon their signals to avoid detection.”

 

“Consider it done sir.”

 

“Ops, run a level 1 diagnostic on all ship’s emissions.  Report any anomalies to engineering.  We’ll need to rig ourselves for silent running and I don’t want a leaky plasma vent giving away our presence not that the Romulans will be expecting us, but let’s not so easily tip our hand.

 

Helm, estimated time to the Romulan Neutral Zone from our present location?”

 

“Plotting course.  ETA is five hours at warp six.  Set course and engage at warp eight.”

 

Ramius pressed the fingers of his hands together as the crew executed their orders and made preparations for their upcoming mission.  This mission took him away from investigating NeoDyne, but it had certain facets that could be of some use in the future.  It was also a dangerous mission which is why it had been given to him and the Corsair.  It was a task suited to them and them alone given their unique talents and abilities.

 

In any event, the mission was likely to prove interesting.  Surveillance or not, he had a feeling they were being moved onto the chess board for reasons other than taking mere pictures.  Would they be used as knights he wondered?  The Corsair was too valuable to risk only as a mere pawn.  Something was going on.  He only needed to discover what that was with the breadcrumbs he had been fed.  He enjoyed a challenge.

 

A diversion from chasing cold NeoDyne leads suddenly seemed welcome.  Where would it lead him, the Corsair, and his small crew of pirates?  They would soon find out.

 

________________________________

Captain Taverain Ramius

Commanding Officer, USS Corsair

 

Commander Alanis Novada

Executive Officer

 

Commander Sai Kusinagi

Chief Engineer

 

Friday, August 5, 2011

[USS Charon] SD241108.05 || Duty Log || "Diplomatic Warfare - Part 3" - Ambassador Ian Lamont

“Diplomatic Warfare – Part 3”
________________________________

“Ambassador, do you believe the Romulans have forgotten about us?”

 

“Absolutely not”, Lamont barked.  They were playing games again.  It had been nearly two hours since they had adjourned from talks.  Again the Romulans were stalling, but for what purpose?  What did they hope to gain?  Did they believe frustration and impatience could somehow play to their advantage?  No.  Of course not.  They knew he was not a first year cadet and yet they persisted with behavior that rivaled the Klingon’s treatment of diplomatic officials.

 

He drummed his fingers on the table.  Perhaps a test of will?  Fine.  If they wished to play such a childish game he would beat them at it.

 

[ Two hours later… ]

 

“Do you know much of the Romulan homeworld”, Lt. Lumendale asked as Lamont gazed out of the room’s large windows at the Romulan sunset.

 

“Affirmative lieutenant.  Much of my early studies were on Romulan custom, language, and society.  This is an ancient place steeped or rather mired, depending on your view, in long standing traditions.”

 

“Mired?  That is an interesting choice of words sir.”

 

“A personal observation only lieutenant.  The Romulans are a fascinating people in many ways, however their society is shackled to a past born from conflict, blood, and rivalry.  Power, honor, and prestige are everything.  Romulan honor, or what is referred to as Mnhei’Sahe, is a sacred personal code of sorts.  It is difficult to explain let alone understand for one who is not of this world.  I am not sure that I fully comprehend the deep, personal meaning that Mnhei’Sahe has for many Romulans and the society at large.  It is an intriguing, if not elusive concept.  Defining it is akin to describing this sunset with all of its colors, its warmth, the way it makes you feel and act, to a computer whose view of the world is purely cold and logical.”

 

Lamont looked at Alexia and offered the lieutenant a smile.  “I believe I have strayed from your original question.  My apologies.”

 

“Oh no, sir, please continue.”

 

Lamont’s smile faded at the lieutenant’s words.  “Indeed I would enjoy that however now is not the time.  We were sent here to talk to the Romulans however they have made it clear they are in no mood to reciprocate.  I believe we have waited above and beyond the threshold of diplomatic courtesy.  I was hoping to avoid this, but expected it nonetheless.  It appears it has come time to take off the gloves, put aside the niceties and courtesy, and play diplomatic hardball.”

 

“Hardball sir?”

 

“Old old Earth metaphor lieutenant.  Shall we attempt to locate our Romulan hosts and ask them if they would care to join us for dinner?  While I’m not sure I would ever tire of this view, a change of venue aboard the Charon would give me the home court advantage for what it is worth.”

 

“Should I contact the Charon and have them make preparations?”

 

“Not just yet.  Let us first see if my esteemed counterparts will entertain the idea before we expend any additional efforts.  Come along lieutenant.  I don’t fancy wandering Romulan government buildings alone.”

 

Lamont and Lumandale left the conference room, but to their surprise there was no attendant to be found.

 

“Wasn’t there supposed to be someone here to attend to our every need?”

 

“So we were told.  I wonder.  This way lieutenant.  There must be someone nearby we can speak with.”

 

The pair made their way farther into the massive Romulan building however there was not a soul to be found.  Offices, rooms, and hallways Lamont assumed would be crowded with people were vacant.  Something was amiss.

 

“Is it me Ambassador or do you also feel uncomfortable?”

 

“Uncomfortable is hardly the correct word lieutenant, but it will do for now.  I grow tired of playing schoolyard games.  I believe we are done here.”

 

“Lamont to Charon.  Two for transport.”

 

No response was forthcoming.

 

“Lamont to Charon?  Transporter room, come in over?”

“Lieutenant, try your communicator?”

 

Lumendale signaled and was met by silence.  “Perhaps the building is blocking the signal?”

 

“Doubtful.  We beamed in just fine.  I do not see why it would be so much harder to leave unless of course someone wants us to remain.”

 

“You don’t mean…”

 

“I have no facts lieutenant and only a few hastily derived theories to explain our current circumstances.  We should avoid premature assumptions.  However I do have growing concerns on the matter of our immediate safety.  Let us return to the conference room for now.”

 

Lamont firmly took the lieutenant’s hand as they retreated back down the hallway from which they had ventured.  The pair reached an intersection in the hallway that was devoid of markings or identifiable objects.

 

“Was it right or left sir?”

 

Lamont inwardly cursed at himself for not being more careful.  The plain, undecorated hallway offered few clues as to their prior route and he was finding himself in doubt over which direction was correct.

 

“It was left.  This way lieutenant.”  Lumendale followed and after several moments the pair found themselves emerging into a grand, palatial hall filled with banners, majestic brooding statues, and fine art.  At the center of the hall, a giant, eagle like bird of prey spread its orange wings across the dark stone beneath their feet.  It was truly impressive and was also decidedly not the correct route back to the conference room.  Lamont couldn’t help but marvel at the impressive architecture.

 

“I think we should have gone right Ambassador.”

 

“I hate to admit it, but I believe you may be…”, Lamont was unable to complete his sentence as dozens of security personnel seemingly appeared from thin air pouring from places unknown until the Ambassador and lieutenant were completely surrounded.

 

“Who are you!  What are you doing here”, an officer gruffly shouted in a Romulan dialect Lamont did not immediately recognize.  The man’s questions were however quite clear.

 

Lamont couldn’t help but smirk.  It was so obvious to him now.  Had he been na├»ve to believe the Romulans would play the game by the rules of engagement?  Perhaps.  In any event, debating his decisions would not change matters now.

 

“Why we’re on the tour”, Lamont replied with a smile.  “Such a lovely building you have here!  Not nearly enough restrooms however.  Might I inquire as to their location?  My companion here would like to freshen up before our interrogation, incarceration, and trial.”

 

The soldier was taken aback by the Ambassador’s wit.

 

“Don’t stand there and look surprised Centurion”, Lamont barked.  “You are here to arrest us are you not?  Wait!  Let me guess the charges – espionage, subterfuge, trespassing?  Am I getting warm?”

 

“Silence human”, the Centurion shouted.  “You are trespassing on sovereign Romulan property.  Your intent is quite clear Ambassador.  Your sole goal was to gather intelligence on key Romulan political figures.  Who is your target?  The Praetor himself perhaps?  You mentioned that name many times today.  Perhaps you were here for more than mere theft.  Perhaps it was assassination?”

 

“Assassination!?  We are Federation diplomatic officers here at the request of the Romulan Senate!  We are not…”

 

Lamont gripped the lieutenant with a firm hand indicating his strong desire for her to remain silent.  Alexia instantly fell silent despite the growing sense of dread expanding in the pit of her stomach.

 

“No small talk, no chit chat?  That is the trouble with Romulans these days – they no longer take the time to talk.  Or smile even?  Where is that classic Romulan insincerity?  No subterfuge, no games?  I mean are we really going to go straight to an arrest?”

 

Lamont’s wit ended as the butt of a disruptor rifle caught him square on the back knocking him to his knees.  Wincing in pain and struggling to regain his breath the ambassador looked upwards at the Centurion.

 

“Your wit, Ambassador, is sharp, however its edge is lost upon the ears of a soldier.  Perhaps it will serve you better with those in the Tal’Shiar.  I am sure they will find two Federation spies quite amusing.”

 

Lamont coughed once before returning to his feet to look the Centurion in the eyes.

 

“Well at least now we are getting somewhere.  I take it our conversation with the Proconsul is at an end?”

 

“Follow me Ambassador.  If you attempt to escape you will regret the decision.”

 

“Well the tour was short.  I can’t say it was worth the admission price, but the facility does have its finer points.  Wouldn’t you agree lieutenant?”

 

“Ambassador…I..”

 

“We shouldn’t keep our hosts waiting my dear.  I expect they have a great deal to discuss now that they are finally interesting in talking to us.”

 

Lamont again took the lieutenant’s hand which had lost its warmth having become cold and clammy.  He gave it a squeeze to offer the lieutenant silent reassurance.  She was terrified…so was he, but neither of them could display any weakness given the rapid turn of events.  Lamont would continue with wit, now his only weapon, in a game that had just become far more dangerous than even he had anticipated.

 

“Quite the army Centurion”, Lamont remarked as they were led down a hallway toward an unknown destination.  “I believe I am honored that so many soldiers were needed to apprehend such a dangerous threat as myself and the lieutenant.  Do you often arrest foreign dignitaries?”

 

The Centurion stiffened and turned to face the Ambassador.  “You are playing a dangerous game human.  For your sake and that of the human woman’s, I suggest you keep your tongue on a leash.  Take it as a bit of diplomatic advice.”

 

Lamont cracked a wry grin as the two men stared at one another; intensity dancing within their eyes.  “I’ll take it under advisement”, Lamont answered coolly.  “I appreciate the tip.”

 

The Centurion turned and ordered them to follow.  Lamont looked over his shoulder at the half dozen armed soldiers escorting them.  What a perfect mess.  Arrested.  Soon to be interrogated and jailed.  Would Captain Rehu even miss him in a few hours?  Would she bother with a rescue attempt?  Would she bother at all?

 

It mattered not.  The Romulans had him.  The arrest of a Federation diplomat, the Federation’s special envoy no less, on bogus charges of espionage would greatly complicate matters.  He had gone from a knight to nothing more than a hapless pawn in a game he no longer controlled.  However, all was not completely lost.  The playing field was slowly coming into view and its chess pieces were slowly beginning to show themselves.  Pawns could force checkmate the same as knights – it was only that much harder to achieve.  For now all he could do was wait and watch for opportunities to move.  He may have lost his control of the game, but he was still a player in it and as long as that held true the opportunity to seize the advantage once again still remained.

 

[ To Be Continued… ]

 

________________________________

Ambassador Ian Lamont

Lt. Alexia Lumendale

 

[USS Charon] SD241108.05 || Duty Log || "Diplomatic Warfare - Part 2" - Ambassador Ian Lamont

“Diplomatic Warfare – Part 2”
________________________________

Two large and ornate doors parted as a stately Ambassador Lamont and determined aide, Lt. Alexia Lumendale made their way through the grand entrance and into a conference room.  The room was adorned with various Romulan motifs and artwork.  A long rectangular table with many chairs was a match for the large, rectangular room which at its end had several large windows overlooking the capital city.  Several shuttles or what the Romulans referred to as flitters silently whisked past the windows to destinations unknown.

 

Lamont slowed his stride and came to a stop as the lieutenant nearly stepped past him.  Ian subtly extended a few fingers which were enough to stop the attentive lieutenant.  The doors to the hall closed behind them as three figures at the far end of the table abruptly halted their conversation and stood to receive their visitors.  Ian had managed to catch a few words of the men’s conversation before being noticed.  It was only a few words, but their tone told him something about the men and their demeanor.  Information, however sparse or seemingly trivial, was useful to those properly attuned.  An assistant, or armed guard, if Lamont had to ascribe a description, stepped past the Federation delegates to address his superiors.

 

“Proconsul I’Sarian, Senators - Ambassador Ian Lamont to see you as instructed.”

 

“Ah yes…Ambassador Lamont.  Welcome to Romulus.  I sincerely apologize for the delays.  Recent events have made the Senate a…lively place these past few weeks.  Please..won’t you join us?”  Lamont respectful bowed and approached.  “I was informed you would be alone Ambassador.  Might I ask the name and function of your guest?”

 

Lamont smiled.  It was insincere, but then the Romulans knew this.  The game had begun in earnest and the first move had been made.  “This is Lieutenant Alexia Lumendale.  She is a trusted and gifted associate.  Please do not let her presence concern you.  asked her here as a resource for us all and to help ensure our conversations are as productive as possible.”

 

Lumendale bowed slightly, but said nothing.  As she should.  Good, Lamont mused.  She was hopefully one less variable he would need to account for.

 

I’Sarian nodded.  “Lieutenant, Ambassador.  As I was saying.  Welcome.  Please have a seat.  We have much to discuss.”

 

 

[ THREE HOURS LATER ]

 

 

“What would you have us do Ambassador?  Surrender the Empire to the Federation?  Should we lay down at your feet and welcome Federation starships across our borders with open arms?  I stipulate the incident was unfortunate and tragic, but Admiral tr'Sahen acted on his own accord.  His actions were not known or sanctioned by anyone within the Romulan government.”

 

“Are all Admirals given such wide operational latitudes?  Assembling a task force of warships to attack the Vulcan homeworld was and is no small feat Proconsul.  No one questioned the Admiral’s activities and orders?  No suspicions were voiced?  Was he truly so masterful at manipulating people, equipment, and obtaining weapons of mass destruction?  These are the questions my superiors are asking in addition to incessant demands for answers.  If Tr’Sahen could so easily obtain such power what is to say another does not have similar plans for Vulcan or perhaps even Earth?”

 

“The matter is being looked into Ambassador, but our investigation will require time.  Your questions, while predictable, are unfounded.  The Romulan government grants its assurance this was an isolated and unfortunate incident.  Romulan flag officers do not make policy; that duty is reserved by the Senate and the Praetor.  We are conducting an internal review of the incident and will share our findings in due course.  Such unprecedented openness between our governments should be enough to calm the anxiety of your people which must fear us a great deal to react so strongly to such an isolated event.”

 

“Those I represent have not expressed any fear of the Empire sir.  They have, however, expressed deep anger and resentment at Romulus’s tepid attention to a serious breach of intergalactic trust and peace.  Anger if not addressed can spread and intensify.  Unchecked anger can lead to sparks and sparks can bring forth fire.  Neither of us wishes to fight such a fire – the costs would be disastrous to all engulfed in its flames.”

 

“Anger is irrelevant.  The infection has been cured and we are taking steps to ensure there are no future outbreaks.  The patient has been killed and his disease rendered dead.  What else can you ask of us?”

 

Lamont fought a grimace and opted to silently grind his back teeth together in frustration instead.  The Romulans were not admitting to any wrongdoing and were unwilling to address the incident as anything other than a tragic accident performed by a single, unsanctioned officer.  Even an apology appeared out of reach for the moment given the senators and Proconsul’s intransience.  With the Romulan Admiral dead and his fleet destroyed justice had been served.  The Vulcan matter was now resolved – in the Romulan’s view.

 

Ian had lost nothing in these talks so far, but he had not gained anything.  The Romulan position was not conciliatory.  There were no concessions on the table – only vague promises of investigative reports that would likely never materialize.  The Romulans were willing, at least for the moment, to flirt with the spectre of war.  It was political brinksmanship of the highest caliber as both sides waited and watched to see who would blink first.

 

“In light of what has transpired the Romulan government’s words while respected do not provide a satisfactory resolution to the crisis.  Were our roles and positions reversed and had it been Romulus that had been attacked by a rogue Starfleet Admiral – what would the Empire demand?  Would there not be cries for justice on behalf of Romulan citizens?  Would there not be those within the Empire who would seek to avenge such a serious transgression of territorial sovereignty?  Would your own fleet officers be clamoring for a military solution, perhaps even war itself?

 

Your distant cousins, the Vulcans, have logically and dispassionately reviewed the situation and it is their wisdom that prevented open hostilities.  They have grave concerns about the so called “Memento Mori”, the biogenic weapon that was engineered to destroy their race presumably by Romulan hands.  The Federation requires absolute, unequivocal, proof the Memento Mori and its legacy has indeed been destroyed.  Such weapons cannot be allowed to be reborn to again plague the living. 

 

Proconsul, cooperation and transparency are the tools we must both use to avert calamity.  I trust that your word and the word of your government is genuine and reliable, however both words and actions are required to resolve this situation.  Words alone cannot solve our mutual problems.  They are however the first step on a path to peace.  Affirmative action must be taken to prove to the Vulcans, the Federation, and the universal community that this tragic event was indeed the work of a talented madman.  All parties involved in this affair must be exposed despite the political ramifications.  The alternatives will be…catastrophic for both our peoples if we cannot find mutual ground in which to resolve this crisis.”

 

“Ambassador.  Your words are eloquent and well crafted.  You represent your constituents well, however the Romulan government will not admit to crimes it did not commit!  We will not be bludgeoned into accepting a resolution on Federation terms nor will we be frightened by posturing or military threats.  If war comes, it will be the Federation who brings it about.  And Ambassador, unlike the other races in the galaxy who bend and sway to Federation edict, the Romulan Empire will defend itself if attacked and will not be held accountable for the outcome of any such conflicts that may arise.  You would do well to remind your Starfleet to keep its distance for the foreseeable future to avoid any additional incidents.”

 

Lamont flashed a glance at Lt. Lumendale who had remained a virtual statue since the discussion had started over three hours prior.  “Proconsul, perhaps a brief recess is in order?  Might I suggest a few minutes would be beneficial for all parties to digest what has been said before continuing the discussion?  We also have the issue of my meeting with the Praetor to discuss.  The Federation Council has formally requested an audience with the Praetor via myself as their representative in the hopes that this matter can be resolved.”

 

“A recess is acceptable Ambassador.  We will adjourn for one of your hours.  As for the Praetor, we will need to discuss such a meeting, its goals and substance, in greater detail.  Please, you may remain here for the hour.  If you require anything, food, drink – the attendant outside will see to any of your needs.”

 

Lamont bowed slightly as he stood.  “Thank you Proconsul.  Your generosity is appreciated.”

 

“We will take our leave and shall return in one hour.  Ambassador.”

 

“Proconsul.  Senators.”

 

The senators and Proconsul exchanged brief pleasantries with Lamont and exited the room.  As the doors closed, Lamont wore a pensive expression on his face.  There was something odd about these discussions.  He couldn’t put his finger on it.  He expected the Romulans to be difficult, even hostile, but their overt stubbornness was almost Klingon-esque.  Who were they protecting?  Themselves?  The Praetor?  Were they truly willing to risk war?  Romulans were expert tacticians and master manipulators and had attempted to invade Vulcan once before in the recent past.  That attempt had been thwarted by Captain Picard of the Enterprise and Ambassador Spock some years ago.  Had they tried again and failed?  Was this the reason for their inflexibility?  Or perhaps they did not know of Tr’Sahen’s plans and had been taken by surprise.  Such a blow would be devastating politically as well as for scores of those within the military ranks who should have known.  Perhaps the posturing was to protect themselves from internal upheaval, civil unrest, or perhaps even civil war.  Lamont couldn’t be certain of anything.  His most recent briefings suggested nothing to indicate severe internal strife with Romulan government or society, however intelligence reports were not always accurate.  Ian refused to base his actions solely upon potentially flawed intelligence estimates.

 

“What game are you playing”, Lamont muttered under his breath leaning against the long, elegant table that filled the room.

 

“Excuse me sir?”

 

Ian looked up.  He had almost forgotten Lt. Lumendale was present.

 

“Lieutenant, you are holding up your end of our agreement admirably.  Still want to be here?”

 

“Affirmative sir.  I can think of no other place in the universe I would rather be.”

 

“I can think of a few”, Lamont quipped adding an injection of levity which he himself needed to hear after a grueling three hours of talks.

 

“Sir, if I may ask, The Romulans appear to be…”

 

“Lieutenant”, Lamont quickly and loudly stated much to the lieutenant’s surprise.  “Now is not the time for idle chatter.”  Alexia nodded despite the surprise that still showed upon her face.

 

Lamont approached and leaned in careful to keep his voice only at a whisper.  “It is highly likely the Romulans have this room under surveillance and are actively monitoring our conversations.  We should guard against giving them anything of value.”

 

Alexia looked at the ambassador with an inquisitive gaze.  She indeed had much to learn.

 

 

“What do we do now”, she responded her youthful gaze momentarily grabbed by a passing Romulan shuttlecraft that buzzed the conference room windows.

 

“We have an hour to rest and reflect.  I suggest you take advantage of the respite as I expect our next engagement with our Romulan hosts will be quite interesting.”

 

________________________________

Ambassador Ian Lamont

 

Lt. Alexia Lumendale

 

Friday, July 29, 2011

[USS Charon] SD241107.29 || "Diplomatic Warfare - Part 1" - Ambassador Ian Lamont

USS Charon

“Diplomatic Warfare – Part 1”
________________________________

Lamont tugged at his regal suit jacket smoothing out several stray wrinkles that were threatening to form along its edges.  He had clothed himself in the highest caliber of ambassadorial regalia in preparation to meet with a Romulan diplomatic envoy.  He had been given only a tepid reception upon his arrival by his Romulan counterparts.  It had taken two days of negotiations to obtain an audience with a Proconsul Lai I’Sarian and two Romulan senators.  The deihuih or Romulan Senate was an immense bureaucracy steeped in centuries of tradition and politics.  Lamont despised its horrid inefficiency and draconian procedures.  It had did manage to somehow govern and had withstood the test of time as a viable institution however flawed.  He was apt to give it some credit – not much, but some.  He had little time to evaluate the pros and cons of Romulan government.  His focus lay elsewhere on more pressing matters.

 

Ian paced the transporter room like a new father waiting for news on the birth of a child.  He was impatient.  The Romulans had delayed his meeting three times in the last four hours.  He couldn’t be sure if they were stalling to achieve some minor psychological advantage or if they had yet to craft an official response to recent events.  One could never quite tell what Romulan minds were thinking. 

 

Time had certainly moved quickly.  That much was known fact.  Only a few weeks prior, a Romulan task force had appeared over the planet Vulcan with the sole goal of destroying all life on the planet.  The commander of the doomed expedition was reported as insane and mentally unbalanced and the Romulan government had quickly distanced themselves from the action.  Now, Lamont found himself mediating the largest public relations disaster in modern memory between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. 

 

Tensions on both sides were exceedingly high.  Admirals at Starfleet were practically tripping over themselves in line to decry the recent provocation and use it as a provocation for military action or in extreme talk, even war.  Politicians were squabbling how best to use the attack to further their own agendas.  There was talk of renegotiating the boundaries of the Romulan Neutral Zone, sanctions against the Empire, restrictions in trade and commerce, and other punitive measure which only added to smoldering tensions and years of mistrust on both sides.  And here, all alone, Lamont had been given the sole task of keeping the peace at any and all costs.  It had been made quite plain to him – his career hung on a single outcome.  If he could preserve the peace and negotiate some sort of truce agreement then his position as a member of the Federation’s diplomatic elite would be forever secure.  If he failed to maintain the fragile peace and talks devolved into military action or war his career as a diplomat would likely come to an abrupt end.

 

The tension was palpable and only a few knew just how high the stakes were in this dangerous game.  There was a part of him that both relished an opportunity such as this to prove himself to the universe as well as to himself while another part of him trembled with paralyzing fear of the highest order.  He carefully juggled the tension, expectations, emotions, and stress working to focus on the task at hand.  He had a job to do.  Failure at these negotiations could impact millions possibly billions of lives for the worst.  It was not a legacy he could even comprehend.  Failure was not an option.

 

Ian turned to the transporter chief stopping mid stride hitting the engineer with a cold, icy stare.  “Any word from the Romulan delegation?”

 

“No sir.  Nothing yet.  Same as when you asked me ten minutes ago.  We’ve been politely asked to wait.”  Lamont muttered something unintelligible and returned to his pacing of the room.  Physical exertion for the moment aided him in focusing his thoughts.

 

Speaking with several senators and a proconsul was a start.  He hoped that he could eventually obtain an audience with the Praetor, the chief executive, of the Romulan Empire.  There was a path out of this crisis – he just had to find it and quickly.  The seas of opinion were especially turbulent given recent events and a dark storm roared on the horizon.  Circumventing the storm was still possible, but every hour lost slowly closed that window of opportunity and should the storm arrive – it was anyone’s guess who or what would survive its immense wrath and deadly fury.

 

The doors to the transporter room parted as a lone lieutenant entered carrying with her several padds.  Lamont stopped abruptly at the far end of the room upon hearing the familiar hiss of the doors.  He recognized the crewman, but was puzzled at her appearance.  He did not have the time or patience to deal with distractions.

 

“Lieutenant Lumindale?  Do you have business here?”

 

Lt. Alexia Lumindale nodded with her usual bold confidence.  “Yes sir.  I have come to assist on what will no doubt be a difficult and challenging assignment.”

 

Lamont nearly cracked a smile, but the gravity of current events prevented any sign of emotional response.  He couldn’t afford such trivial gestures and the Romulans were not known for being jovial in diplomatic settings.

 

“Lieutenant your dedication to duty is admirable, however now is not the time or place.  I would ask…”

 

“Excuse me sir”, she interrupted.  “I believe you are about to beam down where few Federation diplomats have ever tread, without security escort, and without assistance of any form during the coming talks.  You need my assistance on this mission.  The stakes are too high for a single person to complete such a task alone.  I say this with all due respect to your rank and experience sir.”

 

Lamont would have been deeply offended had he not been acquainted with the lieutenant’s records.  Alexia Lumendale was a gifted student and talented officer.  Her degrees in communications and political science made her an ideal candidate for a future posting within the Diplomatic Corps assuming that was where her career goals were focused.  The two had spent many hours together debating various topics and issues and Lamont had come to appreciate her views and opinions as informed and well supported by facts.  He did not agree with her on many things, but she was one of the few individuals aboard he could actually speak to without boring or forcing into a comatose, vegetative state, during a conversations on diplomatic issues.

 

“Lieutenant”, Lamont stated coolly.  “I cannot even begin to relate the gravity of the situation.  Furthermore, you are out of line by requesting permission to accompany me to the surface.  This is not a field trip nor learning exercise.  I cannot and will not introduce an unknown element into negotiations.  It has taken me nearly 48 hours alone to convince the Romulans to allow me to beam down for negotiations.  They are on the defensive, are struggling to deal with current events, and are dangerous and unpredictable as a result.  Your request is summarily denied.”

 

“Ambassador, please.  You cannot go down there alone!  I can act as your adjunct.  Should a need arise for information pertaining to the current talks I can provide it.  I have in my hands all relevant documentation related to recent events.  I’ve cross referenced the material in chronological order to ensure it can be retrieved at a moment’s notice.  Additionally, I have gathered the Charon’s communications and sensor logs of the event as well as records from the Vulcan ships involved in addition to all planetary observations.  You need me sir!  I can help.”

 

Lamont was impressed, but his answer was still the same.

 

“How did you obtain that information lieutenant”, he sternly replied.  “Much of that data has been classified.”

 

“I have my sources and had to call in a few favors, but it was all worth it.  Don’t you see?  This is an opportunity of a lifetime!”

 

“It may be a tragedy, calamity, and outright disaster lieutenant.  Did you stop to consider that possibility when pilfering classified information?”

 

“Sir, this could be a historic event.  How can I stay away?  How could I look myself in the mirror without doing everything possible to witness history firsthand – whatever the outcome?  I recognize the importance of the mission sir.  That is why you need me.  I swear on my rank and name to remain utterly silent and invisible.  You and the Romulans will hardly know I am even present.  Please sir!  I’ll do anything for this experience.  How else can I excel in my field if I am denied access to the very substance in which I have studied?”

 

Lamont rubbed the bridge of his nose.  He felt a headache coming on however the lieutenant had made a valid point.  Having someone there in the proceedings could indeed be useful if for no other purpose than to provide silent moral support.  He would need every advantage to ensure success.  He knew she was skilled, talented, and sharp.  Her appearance and willingness to risk challenging a superior officer were signs of a strong will and deep convictions.  Still – she was something of an unknown and another variable Lamont would have to factor into already complex social and political calculations.

 

He said nothing for several moments while he evaluated her proposal.

 

“You are willing to assume the risks?”

 

“Affirmative.”

 

“The Romulan Commander’s name involved in the incident, what was it again?”

 

“Admiral Itsak tr'Sahen.  He has been listed as a rogue officer by the Romulan government which has disavowed any knowledge of his plot or activities.  He was killed during recent events.  Furthermore he was a relative of the captain, although I’m unsure if that is common knowledge sir.  I shall omit that fact if requested.”

 

“And his intentions?”

 

“That is yet unclear, however his goal was the destruction of the Vulcan people by means of a specially engineered retrovirus which was to have been dispersed into the Vulcan atmosphere.”

 

Lamont nearly smiled.  She was indeed well informed for a junior officer – dangerously so.  He would have to question her at great length about her ‘sources’ given the sensitive information involved.  He was unwilling to mentally explore the possible lengths she may have gone to in order to obtain her information, nonetheless, she appeared fully versed on the situation.

 

“Ambassador Lamont.  The Romulan delegation has just signaled sir.  They await your arrival.”

 

Lamont looked up at the transporter chief.  “Finally.”

 

“Ambassador”, the lieutenant exclaimed having not received and answer to her initial question.

 

“Lieutenant, this goes against my better judgment however you appear to have gone to great lengths and appear well prepared.  You may join me however I have pre-conditions.  Say nothing.  Express nothing.  I don’t want to see you move or catch the sound of your breath.  You must be a statue showing nothing by stanch stoicism whatever transpires.  No complaints, no speaking, no movement – no anything.  The talks could last for hours meaning both of us could be without food, drink, or rest for long periods of time.  I shouldn’t have to say more, I believe you understand what is at stake.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“Then you agree to my terms?”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“Make your way to the transporter pad lieutenant.  Let us not keep the Romulans waiting.”

 

The lieutenant moved to the transporter pad without any hint of emotion or adulation.  Lamont however could sense her excitement.  It danced in her eyes a telltale marker of the excitement that was likely flowing within her.  Indeed this was a rare opportunity – with all the fun and excitement one could have dancing about a ticking time bomb.

 

Lamont stepped onto the transporter pad next to his newly appointed adjunct.  The talks had yet to begin and he already craved a tall glass of Romulan Ale.  In a fleeting thought he wondered if that pilot Athalla had set aside any of the bottles he had given away.

 

“Sir, are you certain you do not want a security escort”, the transporter chief asked.

 

“Absolutely not”, Lamont shouted back.  “Not only would the Romulans object, but they would only serve to create additional mistrust and tension.  I’ll…we will be fine.  Energize.”

 

Ian felt the tingle of the transporter as the room disappeared before him.

 

 

To Be Continued…

________________________________

Ambassador Ian Lamont

Diplomatic Advisor

 

Lieutenant Alexia Lumendale (NPC)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

[USS Charon] SD241107.26 || "Buried Treasure - Part 2" - Amb. Ian Lamont & Lt. Leon Athalla

U.S.S. Charon

“Buried Treasure – Part II”
________________________________

Ignoring the inquisitive stares of passing crewman, Lt. Leon Athalla, pressed on down the corridor pushing an antigrav sled ahead of him with minimal effort.  The sled contained a recently discovered crate bearing the regal crest of the Federation Diplomatic Corps.  There was only one person aboard the Charon who could be the chest’s owner and Athalla felt compelled to return the property to its rightful owner.  Walking down the near empty hallway, Athalla had seldom been on Deck 2.  The entire deck housed most of the ship’s senior officers and given Leon’s unique issues with authority being around the Charon’s top brass was hardly an ideal situation.  And yet, here he was on deck 2 – and finally at his destination.

 

Leon looked down both ends of the corridor before adjusting his wrinkled flight jacket and tunic.  His hair was a tangled, sticky mess of blond from hauling cargo crates the past few hours – punishment for one of many unique issues he had with authority.  Reaching out he pressed the door chime at the entrance to Ambassador Ian Lamont’s personal quarters and waited.

 

[ Moments Earlier…]

 

Lamont closed the channel as the image of a past associate faded to the mirror finish of his computer terminal.  He had called in a few favors in recent hours.  His decaying networks of contacts and pawns had been of some marginal usefulness despite his inattention and lack of maintenance.  Those favors had uncovered deeply troubling news.  It indeed appeared that old family rivals were quietly plotting against him from the shadows like stealthy assassins patiently waiting for an opportune moment to strike.  Old enemies thought to be dead or gone had quietly resurfaced from their slumber and were now directing their tireless gaze upon the last heir of the Lamont family line.  They felt threatened and yet Lamont was at a loss as to why.  He was a junior diplomat on a starship lightyears away from the Federation’s heart and utterly removed from most political intrigue.  He lacked any real political power or direct influence.  They knew that and yet still old rivals had begun to again conspire against him and his family name.  What did they fear and why?  Ian had no answers – only questions and vague inferences from a few trusted contacts.  He needed more information.  Most of all he needed to remain vigilant.  His enemies were numerous and they had set their sights upon him. 

 

He was but a child the last time they had moved against his family.  His father was their target and they succeeded in ruining his political career and ambitions as well as tarnishing the flawless reputation of Lamont family name.  They destroyed his father and the resulting fallout had cost both of them nearly everything generations of Lamonts had toiled to obtain.  Ian slammed a fist onto his desk.  “Not again”, he shouted between clenched teeth.  His father had attempted to fight them spending most of the family’s fortune and wealth in the process.  The attempts had been abysmal failures.  However, Ian’s father had attempted to reclaim that which had been lost – honor, prestige, and political clout.  Ian had been a child and had been spared most of the personal humiliation – he had much less to lose and that was a key difference.  If past enemies wanted a fight he would only be too happy to give them one, but this time, the fight would be on his terms, by his rules, on the playing field of his choice.  Being on the Charon, dozens of light years from anywhere, they could not reach him – at least not for the moment.  That gave him time to prepare.  He had no intentions of underestimating his opponents – he only hoped they would grant him the courtesy of vastly underestimating him, his resolve, and his tenacity.

 

An unexpected ring at his door snapped the Ambassador from his passionate thoughts.  Looking up he wondered briefly who aboard had any reason to interrupt him.  Suddenly, Ian was gripped with paranoia.  Could they possibly have someone aboard?  A spy?  An assassin?  “Just a moment”, Lamont shouted as he fumbled through a desk drawer.  He finally located a type-I phaser whose capacity to function was in question given its age and lack of use, but the ambassador retrieved it nonetheless.  Moving to the door he stood just outside the doors, phaser at the ready.

 

“Come in.  Its open”, he called out masking the tension he felt from his voice.

 

The doors slid open and an unfamiliar face appeared.  Lamont reacted to the intruder grabbing the man’s collar and dragging him to the wall pressing his phaser to the man’s head.

 

“What the hell”, the man called out resisting the urge to react with a weapon at his head.  “Have you lost your mind!”

 

Lamont swallowed taking several deep breaths.  Recomposing himself the ambassador recognized the man.  He was one of the pilots aboard.  Name was Athalla if he correctly recalled.  The two of them had shared a few shuttle rides and exchanged in conversation on occasion.  He removed the weapon and apologized.

 

“Forgive me Mr. Athalla.  That is your name if I recall?”

 

Leon turned his face contorted in an angry scowl.  “Is that how your greet all of your guests Ambassador?  No wonder everyone hates politicians and diplomats!  Are you sure peace is really your profession?”

 

Lamont quickly shoved the phaser into his pocket.  “My sincere apologies lieutenant.  I…I have something of a minor security problem as of late.  I apologize for my behavior.”

 

“Well you won’t get many peace treaties with tactics like those”, the pilot quipped dusting himself off.

 

“I’ll keep that in mind”, Lamont replied.  “Is there something I can do for you Mr. Athalla.  I am afraid I have a great deal of work to attend to at the moment.”

 

“I stumbled upon something you might find to be of some value”, Leon replied moving back into the hallway to retrieve the antigrav sled.  Pushing the container into the Ambassador’s quarters, Leon lowered the antigrav to the deck and kicked open the crate revealing the crest of the Federation Diplomatic Corps.

 

“I take it you might have lost this sir?”

 

Lamont blinked instantly recognizing the container.  Moving to his knees, Lamont carefully entered several codes into a lock which released the container’s seal.  To his dismay the lock flashed indicating it had been tampered with.

 

“I assume you have seen the contents”, Lamont asked as the cover hissed open revealing the crate’s refrigerated contents.

 

“Of course”, Leon answered.  “Why else would I have brought it straight here.  I don’t know of many others aboard who transport materials under diplomatic seal.  Besides, if I let a few Romulan locks stop me, what sort of pilot would I be?”

 

Lamont looked up at the seemingly multi-talented pilot.  “Indeed.”

 

Gingerly lifting a bottle, Lamont carefully examined an 80 year old bottle of Romulan Rhennish.  The bottle was as expensive as it was difficult to obtain.  He was certain this crate had been destroyed in recent action aboard the Charon with the rest of his extensive alcoholic collection.  It appeared some small fraction had indeed survived and the lieutenant had been thoughtful enough to return it.

 

“So lieutenant – what do I owe you for your generosity?  I assume you expect some form of compensation for your troubles?”

 

Leon chuckled.  “The thought had crossed my mind Ambassador.  It isn’t everyday one happens across a chest full of rare and expensive alcohol.  I must admit the temptation to retain it for myself was quite strong.”

 

“Yes I am sure your intentions are pure and noble.”

 

Lamont carefully returned the bottle to the crate closing and securing its lid.  “Hmm…what would constitute a suitable reward?”  Ian considered the situation for several moments as a radical idea began to form within his churning mind.  He gazed intently at the pilot.

 

“Uh, is there something wrong sir”, the lieutenant said keenly aware of the Ambassador’s intense and unusual scrutiny.

 

“How good are your combat skills lieutenant?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Your combat rating?  Hand to hand, marksmanship, - piloting even?  How good?”

 

“Good?!  I’m the best!  There isn’t a pilot aboard who can out fly yours truly.  As for combat skills, I’m no jarhead marine, but I can hold my own in a firefight.  Why do you ask?”

 

“And your fellow pilots?  Are they equally as cocky and full of themselves?”

 

Leon might have been offended if he wasn’t aware the Ambassador was toying with him.

“Indeed they are.”  Leon had no idea what the Ambassador was on about but he would humor the man.

 

“Very well.  You may have the crate and all of its contents.  Feel free to share with your fellow pilots with my compliments though I recommend that you not drink everything in one sitting.  Many of those bottles are worth your weight in latinum pilot and it would be a crime to recklessly consume them in a single all-night binge.”

 

Leon was dumbfounded.  “You…you..you are giving me the crate?  Everything?”

 

“Yes”, Lamont answered.  “I have little need for such things at this time.  I had assumed they were lost for some time now.  Please.  Accept that treasure chest as a token of my thanks.”

 

“Ambassador!  I cannot accept this.  I can’t even begin to calculate the value of the spirits in that chest.  I could buy a used fighter for what some of those bottles are worth on the black market.”

 

“Indeed you could – but would you trade so fine and exquisite spirits for mere credits or latinum?  That would be a high crime.  I can assure you that those bottles contain nothing short of ambrosia.”

 

“Sir…I”

 

“Stop babbling lieutenant and accept the gift graciously and with dignity.  I do not offer such gifts often nor do I give them lightly.  In return I require something more of you.”

 

Leon laughed.  “So there IS a catch!  I knew it!”

 

Ian turned to face the pilot his expression serious and somber.  “Lieutenant, I have a personal problem of unknown severity which may very well involve my immediate safety.  It is not a matter for ship’s security and certainly not something I wish to be publically known.  It is a private matter.  I require some assistance in personal defense.  I am not a soldier – you however are.  You friends are as well.  Should the time and need arise might I rely upon you in certain matters of personal defense, possibly even training?”

 

“Well that would depend on the situation, but I would say that your extreme generosity should easily procure you a few semi-sober pilots if and when you should require our unique brand of services.”

 

Ian nodded.  “Thank you lieutenant.  I appreciate your candor and honesty.  I am confident I can trust you.”

 

“Well let’s not put the cart before the horse Ambassador, but given certain factors I’d say you just hired yourself a pilot.  An expensive fee to be sure, but hey it was your decision.”

 

“I am confident my trust and faith are not misplaced.  Enjoy yourself lieutenant.  However, would you do me an additional favor?”

 

“And what is that Ambassador Lamont?”

 

“Save a bottle or two of the Romulan Ale.  I much prefer drinking in the presence of friends than alone.”

 

Leon smiled.  “Very well sir.  I look forward to a few drinks in the future where I can perhaps toast my benefactor.”

 

Lamont nodded.

 

Astounded by his remarkable fortune, Leon activated the antigrav sled and bid the Ambassador good day before leaving his quarters.  He was still somewhat shocked the Ambassador would part with such valuable merchandise so easily – either that or the good Ambassador was in far more trouble than he had let on.  Somehow, despite the immense value of the alcoholic gems he pushed before him, Leon had a nagging suspicion he had somehow received the raw end of the deal.  Only time would tell he supposed.  For now he had a several bottles of vintage Romulan Ale to become deeply acquainted with. 

 

________________________________

Ambassador Ian Lamont

Diplomatic Advisor

 

Lt. Leon Athalla

Pilot

 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

[USS Charon] Stardate 241107.27, Duty Log. CSci CMDR Arcos Darye

ON:
 
Commander Arcos looked up from a control panel, wondering if the latest scans had been received by the geology team.   It was a standard routine for bridge personnel to take the scans necessary to conduct the research required for the entire science department.  From the bridge science controls, astrophysics would receive object trajectory and gravitational effect, as well as star data; Geology would receive data on object composition and stability, biology would receive data on any life forms and ecosystems selected from additional scans to assist the operations team, and of course star charts would be added or updated with every scan taken within the voyage.

"Commander…" came the voice of his administrative assistant.  Arcos leaped up at the console to see the geology transmission bleeping.

"Ah Mr. Vorn…" He grinned.  "…Just in time to take in the report from geology,"  Arcos pushed a few buttons on the console and put a note in the log that the geology had received the latest scans of the planetoid in queue for  next analysis.

"Ah, yes.   But actually what I was referring too…" Vorn started to trail off as Arcos continued to work on the sub-routines on the auxiliary science station beside the main station taking scans of the planetoid.

"Alright, just a sec, Mr. Vorn."  Arcos tapped a few buttons beginning the self diagnostic ending the maintenance to the science station.  He had taken it upon himself to perform the routine rather then let engineering do it.  Not that he didn't trust engineers… its just that his station was his station, if an engineer wanted to service her… fine, but if he had the time he'd rather do it himself.

"I fail to see why engineering wasn't called sir." Mr. Vorn commented.

"Mr. Vorn… theres somethings in life that you look forward to as a science officer…"  Arcos started then grinned, realizing that he was starting to lecture.  "Servicing your departments station ought to be one of them."  He paused, then started again.  "Is that what you've come asking about?  Surely there is a lab report to send my way after your personal revision?"

"There is, but some things ought to wait until the department head has completed what he's assigned himself to top priority… "

"Now you're catching on. " he laughed.  "so what do you have for me."

"Just a couple personnel reports for you to review before you submit to the XO."  Vorn continued… "We've got a few crewman ready to move on to technician status… and a couple technicians readyto move on to specialist… that is if you think their service merits."

"Alright, but why not just place them on my desk with the other reports."  Arcos asked.  Why would his administrative assistant come all the way to the bridge.


"There is one other personnel request…" Vorn continued.

"Oh?"  Arcos asked a bit curious.

"Yes it's the request for the science department head teams performance reviews."

"Oh I see, Mr. Vorn.  Are you a tad bit excited?" Arcos grinned, realizing the ensign probably was hoping for a promotion it seemed.  Arcos would have to meet with either the XO or the 2XO once his report was ready to file.  The promotions of officers would be up to the ship command team of course, but Arcos knew the enthusiasm of a young officer all to well.  He had the same spontaneous spunk when he was Vorn's rank… probably why eventually he did get that promotion.  "well Mr. Vorn, looks like you have the science station." 
 
OFF
 
CMDR Arcos Darye
Chief Science Officer
USS Charon
 
And
 
Ens Vorn (NPC)
Science Admin Asst
USS Charon

[USS Charon] SD241107.26 - Arrival Log - Captain Khiy Kanryth

[Shuttle Maranon]

The emerald orb in all its luster twisted below the tiny shuttle.  Thin sheets of cloud stretched windblown across the horizon as amber dots of city lights speckled on the dark continents.  Ch'Rihan- Romulus as his compatriots called it was a far cry from Vulcan.  How fortunate his ancestors must have felt when they stepped foot on such a bountiful planet after having lived on that hot and desolate rusty world.  Khiy stared at it for a moment as his fingers tapped away on the pilot's console.  The actual pilot sat in the auxiliary chair showing apparent dissatisfaction at having been relieved- but Khiy was oblivious to it.  He pulled the shuttle into higher orbit and lined up with the Charon's docking bay.

"There are so many warbirds..." the demoted copilot casually chatted as his face pressed against one of the side windows.  Eyes focused on the seemingly endless stream of massive winged ships that passed both above and below them. 

"This is Romulus."  Khiy stated plainly "I would be more concerned if there were no warbirds."  The shuttle jolted- but it was expected.  A thin blue stream of ambient light wrapped itself around the small shuttle.  Like a hand the tractor beamed gently guided the vessel into the Charon's hangar bay and released it just above an empty landing alcove.  Khiy released the shuttle's landing struts and set down.

[USS Charon]

As Khiy made his way down the small gangway he recognized a few faces among the many engineers and technicians filling the flight deck but none of them were senior staff.  He had ordered the ship's Executive Officer to meet him in the observation lounge along with a few of the other senior personnel.  Meeting him on the flight deck would have been a waste of time...

"Captain!"  A caustically sharp and shrill voice echoed loudly through the flight deck towards him as a young woman approached "sorry to keep you waiting.  I am Ensign Simone Akufe.  I was sent by Commander Tyrax to guide you to the observation lounge.  I hope your trip was well sir?"

"This will be unnecessary."  Khiy stated plainly waiving the excited woman off as he walked past her towards the turbo lift.

"I'm sorry sir but I was ordered too..."

"Then I dismiss you from your orders."  Khiy's tone was unintentionally caustic.  He was tired- his eyes showed a hint of it but he kept most of it hidden.  Although it was difficult to be pleasant in such a state.  He waved his hand a second time as he stepped into the turbolift.  The woman was wise not to follow.  When the doors closed he sighed.  The Charon was not where he wanted to be- but it didn't matter whether he wanted to be on the Charon or not- he didn't have much choice in the matter.  Apparently Starfleet needed him.

He just didn't understand why.

[To be continued.]



--
Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon
www.usscharon.com