The communicator next to the nightstand blared forcing the President to sit up in her bed and press the button activating the device. She stretched her muscles and yawned as the stupor began to fade "what is it?" Alazera asked wrapping her silk gown cover around her as she stood.
"Sorry to disturb you Madam President but I have some disturbing news from Romulus. Our Embassy was apparently attacked. Details are sketchy but we have been informed that Admiral Enor has been killed along with Ambassador Po. It seems the Romulan Praetor also died in the attack. The USS Warrior has sent down rescue teams but they have yet to locate Spock."
Alazera pressed a palm against her forehead and sat back down on the bed "get me Nanthrissa now. Call up the entire cabinet. There will be a meeting in three hours."
[Earth, San Francisco, Starfleet Command]
"You deliberately placed those Marines on that station!" General Parker stood up from his seat, out of breath, as he stared down the Romulan Captain. After a short pause to regain his composure he continued "and because of your actions several of them ended up dead. Are you saying you don't have any responsibility for that Captain?"
"They attempted to kill me and my children. What responsibility do I have to mutineers? Unfortunately because of our location we had no other recourse. It was either the Romulan station or maroon them on a planet." Shiarrael stared at the General "if faced with a similar circumstance I would make the same decision. It is regrettable that NeoDyne used them as..."
"Captain- Neodyne is not the subject of this inquiry. Please do not mention them again. Their involvement is being investigated separately." Kauri warned. The Caitian looked rather sober compared to Parker who readily seemed prepared to burst at the seams.
Shiarrael glared at Parker "though I find it very interesting General. I recall seeing your name on their orders. Did you not have them assigned to the Charon? They served under you from what I remember. How could you not recall their hostility towards Romulans? Or perhaps you did. Perhaps what happened aboard the Charon originated with you."
"How dare you!" Parker exploded and picked up the PADD on his desk throwing it down to the podium where the Captain stood.
"Enough!" Kauri slammed his paw into the table causing it to shake. Parker cleared his throat and sat down as the Caitian continued "Captain you are pushing yourself thin of my patience. This inquiry here is to determine whether or not you knowingly violated Starfleet regulation- however instead of defending yourself you are more interested in throwing accusations towards your superiors. I have heard enough and believe there is sufficient evidence to move forward with court martial proceedings." He looked at the security officers flanking her "please escort the Captain to the Brig."
"That won't be necessary." A voice echoed from the center row. Standing there was a tall Andorian Admiral. Her long while hair bounced as she made her way down the steps that passed between the small audience. "I am disbanding this inquiry."
Kauri and the others stood up "on whose authority Admiral Zhen?"
"Mine. The Federation Council just held an emergency session. I have been appointed Command in Chief. If you don't believe me you can glance at the Federation news nets." She looked at the security officers "now, please release the Captain, and..." She looked at Parker "General, we need to have a long discussion. Please contact my yeoman and schedule an appointment." As the security officers' stepped back Nanthrissa nodded at Shiarrael. "Please follow me Captain."
Shiarrael nodded her head a bit confused about the commotion but followed the Admiral as ordered. As soon as they were in the corridor the Admiral stopped and turned around "Captain- we need your help. There's been an incident on Romulus. The President wants to speak with you."
[Earth, Paris, President's Office]
"So this is the Romulan Captain?" Alazera studied the woman who entered her office along with Admiral Zhen "have you briefed her on what happened Nanthrissa?"
"Not yet Madam President." Nanthrissa said "I can do that now." The Admiral motioned to a set of chairs at the center of the President's office and Shiarrael took her seat in one of the plush things. The Admiral sat down adjacent to her while the President took the seat across. "As you may know we sent Admiral Jolias Enor and Ambassador Spock to Romulus as Federation representatives to present our formal complaint over the events at Vulcan. They were to spearhead the negotiations over a settlement to the crisis- however today there was an attack on the Federation embassy." The Andorian frowned deeply "unfortunately the Admiral lost his life. Ambassador Spock is currently missing."
"Quite unfortunate. However, I do not see how this involves me. Apparently I am considered a criminal." Shiarrael expression was ridged "I have given much to the Federation in the two years that I have served it- including the life of my parents. In return I have been branded a criminal. I have no more interest in serving it."
She stood up but the President reached across the table and grabbed her wrist. "Please sit down Captain." Shiarrael frowned but capitulated and sat back down "I heard about your parents. I am sorry but right now there is very little standing in the way between us and war. While we have many knowledgeable and capable vessel commanders- Captain you are truly unique. If anyone can find the truth about what happened on Romulus and prevent a war it is you. You know your people better than anyone else in the Federation. We need your help. I want the Charon to head to Romulus immediately to investigate what happened, to search for Ambassador Spock, and to continue the negations in their stead." Alazera looked into those angry violate eyes "and if you succeed I will pardon you of any crimes and have you granted Federation citizenship, if that is what you want."
"That is a heavy request." Shiarrael said. "I am no longer considered anything but a traitor to many within the Empire. If I go there it may start the war you hope to prevent."
"It is a risk we're willing to take Captain." Nanthrissa spoke up "we need Ambassador Spock. While he is missing there is still hope he is alive and that is the key here. You must find him. Everything else is secondary. That is why we feel you are the only one we can trust. You have an experience and knowledge of Romulus that no one else does. Will you do this Captain?"
Shiarrael nodded her head "Admiral Enor is someone I considered to be a friend. If nothing else then to find out who is responsible for his death. However, my crew is scattered, and the Charon is still undergoing repair."
"They have already been recalled. This is a priority. The Charon must depart Vulcan within three days Captain. I have assigned the USS Quantum Fury to take you back to Vulcan. Thank you." Nanthrissa pressed her commbadge "Quantum Fury this is Admiral Zhen. The Captain is ready to beam up." She took a step back as Shiarrael dematerialized with a somewhat surprised expression at the suddeness.
Alazera looked at the empty seat "do you think this is a wise idea Nanthrissa."
"It's not like we have a choice. She was right. She sacrificed a great deal in saving Vulcan. Enor trusted her- we should. In any case, no one else knows Romulus as well as she does- at least anyone we want to rely on."