Thursday, July 31, 2014

[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241407.22 | Joint Log - "War Drums" Part 2 | EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu & President Hutchins

[In orbit of Earth]


Space rippled just above the vast blue of Earth's pacific ocean which was partially obscured by an ivory swirl of gossamer clouds.  The large D'Dherex dreadnaught slowly formed out of the distortion of space followed closely by two Romulan cruisers acting as escorts.  As a planetary transport passed by people could be seen crowding the portside windows to a catch a glimpse of the unusual sight.


Inside the metallic beast Shiarrael was studying the visage with an onerous sense of nostalgia.  How long had it been now?  Six or seven years?  She turned to the ship's commander "prepare a bomber for me."


Riov t'Vraeh looked puzzled "you will not be beaming down EnRiov?"


"No, when so close to our enemies I prefer my atoms not be dissembled."  She smirked.  Though there was another reason.  Something was wrong on earth.  Though the Tal'Diann didn't know what exactly was occurring on the planet there had been whispers.  Those whispers were loud enough to give Shiarrael concern that things on Earth may no longer be the same as when she had left so long ago "please inform Senator t'Charvanek to be ready to depart shortly."


t'Vreah bowed her head "very well EnRiov."


[Romulan Bomber]


As they descended through the clouds and across the Eurasian continent Shiarrael finally could see firsthand the damage caused by the Cardassian attack on Earth.  The once beautiful city of Paris was now just a stretch of black scarring on the landscape.  Millions dead.  The thought caused her to shiver.  Twenty years ago she may not have been so sympathetic- but now it was different.  This was the home world of her children's' father- an equal part of them as Romulus will ever be.  To see it in such a state made her melancholy.


The bomber jerked slightly when it ran into a headwind as they lowered their approached.  Outside the cockpit window she could several federation fighters pull up from the surface and surround them.  They were sent to 'escort' them to the landing pad near the new presidential palace in Sandringham.  Though Shiarrael knew better- humans didn't trust Romulans, at least 'not as far as they could throw them' as she had once been told.  Not that she could blame them.  The distrust was built on centuries of hostilities between the two peoples and sadly she didn't fully trust them either.  The jostling sound of the landing struts shook the bomber slightly as they made their final approach.  The fighters broke away and flew off into the horizon past the high-rises of the London skyline as the bomber began its descent towards the more rural Sandringham.




Once they set down Shiarrael helped the frail Senate Speaker to her feet as the door began to lower.  A group of Gai'Shian guards exited first and stood on either side of the doorway as Shiarrael headed out with t'Charvanek and their entourage of half a dozen Romulan dignitaries.


A phalanx of UFP Security personnel, not Starfleet security or marines, formed an honour guard for the distinguished visitors. At the head of this column of black uniforms was President Hutchins, with his closest advisors. As the entourage from the Romulan ship made their way to the top of the parade, Hutchins had to suppress the disgust he felt at dealing with Romulans. Any non-terrans were bad enough, but from a non-Federation planet? The thought was enough to disgust him. Malone had allowed the Romulans to fight for Starfleet in the Battle for Sol, so it must be permitted. He put on his best face and stepped forward one step, extending a hand. "Welcome to Earth." He said, unsure exactly who he was addressing.


The hand wasn't taken.  Shiarrael simply nodded her head at the man feeling a certain tension arising from his slight gestures and eye movement.  A smile appeared on her face but it was forced "Greetings President Hutchins- I am EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu of the Imperial Romulan Navy" she turned and faced the much older woman who seemed to glower at the human before her "and this is Senator Liviana t'Charvanek, speaker of the Imperial Senate."  A title which effectively made her the third most powerful Romulan in the universe.


"An honor to meet you mister President."  t'Charvanek spoke with a gravelly voice as her obsidian robes fluttered in the slight breeze "I believe our government has informed you of the reason for our visit?"


"Yes they have." Hutchins replied, as he indicated that they should move the conversation inside, rather than out in the gardens of Sandringham. "We can discuss those reasons once we've gone inside and had refreshments."


t'Charvanek nodded her head and led the Romulan group inside as they followed their hosts.  For her part Shiarrael studied the surroundings.  There was certainly something amiss and it was beginning to irk her greatly.  Starfleet was nowhere to be seen and the President and his escorts consisted entirely of humans.


They arrived inside the great reception hall at Sandringham House, where tea and other beverages were being served. Once the pleasantries were dispensed with, they were led into a reception room where a very large, ornate table had been placed with chairs all around it. The President and his team sat on one side of the table, with their backs to a large hearth, with the Romulan delegation with their backs to the large floor-to-ceiling classic windows.


"As I am sure you are aware Romulus was recently attacked by forces of the triad.  The Praetor has answered the demands of the Romulan public for retribution against our enemies for this brazen assault."  Several of the Romulan delegates slid PADDs in front of her "the Romulan Empire has no shared border with the Tholians.  In past times we have been on good terms with the Assembly but with the formation of the Commonwealth that has obviously changed.  Previously the Empress didn't feel that it was necessary to commit forces to a war so far from our borders even to suppress the Commonwealth.  However- with the attack and the departure of the Empress the Empire's stance has changed.  We are in the process of reconstituting the the Imperial Navy's assets to form a large war fleet."


t'Charvanek threaded her fingers on the tabletop after Shiarrael finished and looked the President in the eye "we require access to space facilities along your shared border with the Tholians."     


Hutchins looked at the Romulan flag officer intently over the table. "As I'm sure you're aware, we're in the midst's of… some internal difficulties." He said, evasively. "We could not guarantee the safety of Romulan vessels in Federation space, nor can we guarantee the co-operation of our bases along that border. For the moment, they appear to be loyal to the government, but we've seen these rebels do all kinds of things." He paused to take a sip of water. "Perhaps we could come to some arrangement?"     


t'Charvanek winced momentarily.  "Please elaborate."


"We will permit you to use our facilities, thereby ending the Triad war, providing your military forces assist my military with suppressing our little… rebellion." Hutchins said, with a sinister smirk.


"I see."  t'Charvanek answered.  A chorus of whispers began from the Romulan delegates but t'Charvanek tapped her cane on the old flooring silencing them "I will be honest with you President Hutchins.  The Empire has little interest in suppressing your rebellion- you must understand from our point of view a fractured Federation is very beneficial to the Empire.  Our vengeance against the triad is our priority for the moment- but the Senate may be willing to assist you with intelligence and weaponry."  The old Senator sipped the water that had been provided "and as you have clearly outlined yourself President Hutchins you cannot guarantee that the forces along your border will remain loyal to you.  This forces me to wonder if you are the right person to meet with- as you seem quite impotent at the moment."


"Well, without my approval, you won't have access to our starbases along the Tholian border, rendering your war effort somewhat mute." Hutchins countered. "And I'm only asking for support so as to guarantee your security. A fractured Federation might suit your aims in the short-term, but in the long-term, it will be quite disruptive to the Empire, without Starfleet to enforce the peace."


"I am not convinced that our security is intertwined but the Praetor has given me authority in these discussions."  t'Charvanek glanced at Shiarrael, noted her panged expression, and then looked back at the President directing a malicious smirk his way "we will aid you in repressing the Starfleet rebellion but not until we have dealt with the triad."  Her irises twitched to the corner of her eyes as Shiarrael moved to speak but was silenced by the butt of the Senate speaker's cane hitting her in the gut "keep your peace Shiarrael- we will talk later."  t'Charvanek turned that wicked expression back on Hutchins "if this is not to your liking then perhaps we should talk to your rebellious Admiral.  Offer to take those Starbases from you in return for his approval.  I hear the Klingons are quite fond of him so at least we won't have to worry about those barbarians on our border if we aided him.   You have laid your weaknesses out quite too clearly President Hutchins."  One of the Romulan delegates slid a PADD to her which she pressed her thumb into before sliding it towards Hutchins "do we have an accord?" 


Hutchins growled to himself, having allowed these inferior beings to outmaneuver him. What hurt worst was they were right, he was in a position of weakness, and he DID need them – far more than he'd ever admit. "We do." He said, coldly, and pressed his thumb on the PADD.


t'Charvanek stood up followed by Shiarrael and the Romulan delegation "then it seems we are done."  She dipped her head "Bedah lloann'mhrahel praetelh."  Turned and then walked out.  The delegates followed her out except for Shiarrael who stood at the table staring at Hutchins.  After a long tense moment she turned and left.


Hutchins waited a moment, then threw his pen down in disgust. "Bloody Romulans." He growled.


[To be continued....]

President Hutchins (apb Frankie)


EnRiov Shiarrael t'Rehu

Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241407.22 | "War Drums" Part 1 | Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu

[I'Ramnau, Romulus, Senate Complex]


The once beautiful gardens of the Imperial Senate were now nothing more than charred stems and stumps- the beautiful green leaves and assorted rainbow of petals were all gone.  The sweet perfume that once permeated the beautifully crafted garden was now replaced by the acrid smell of wet charcoal.  Sitting on a marble bench blackened by the recent firestorm was Senator Argelian i-Latasalaem tr'Verelan the new Secretary of the War Plans Council.  His obsidian senatorial robes fluttered lightly in the breeze as he quietly surveyed the damage.  His focus on the carnage was interrupted by loud echoing boot steps.  Turning his head he caught sight of the newly minted EnRiov.  "EnRiov t'Rehu" he called out.


Shiarrael hadn't really taken time to actually survey the damage from the recent attack and as she walked through the remains of the Senate Gardens she felt a sense of pang and personal guilt.  It was one thing to hear about it but another thing entirely to see the once lush gardens reduced to little more than ash.  Arriving next to the bench she bowed respectfully before the Senator "Deihu* tr'Verelan, you asked for me?"


"Sit down Shiarrael and drop the formality."  Argelian motioned to the empty spot next to him "it's hard to look at this and remember what it used to be like.  So much destruction."  He tossed a knowing glance towards Shiarrael "you did well with tr'Relek- I hope my information was of use to you?"


Sitting down Shiarrael shared his sense of loss for the destruction wrought recently but likely for different reasons.  At his words she nodded her head slowly "your information proved useful Argelian."  That was an understatement but Shiarrael couldn't safely say more without knowing who might be listening.  It was the then Galae EnRiov tr'Verelan who five years ago provided her with the evidence of tr'Relek's involvement with her parents' murder.  One of Relek's schemes to increase his influence by attempting to wrest control of S'Rehu* from her family and give it to her cousin Ro'Wena.  Now both Ro'Wena and tr'Relek were dead.


"Good."  Argelian said "there is a favor I require of you Shiarrael."


"A favor?"  She asked studying the Senator.  Shiarrael had known Argelian for decades now.  They had served together several times over the course of the their careers from the first Dominion War till her temporary exile from Romulus eight years ago "this is unlike you.  I have never heard of you asking for favors before."  She smiled softly "but if it is within my power then I will see to it."


"My oldest recently graduated from the war college.  He is bright and filled with ideas of glory."  Argelian eyes seemed to reflect the carnage as he kept staring at the bareness of the Senate's gardens "the regular capriciousness of our youth.  Did you ever have a chance to speak to tr'AAnikh much?"


Shiarrael shook her head "unfortunately no." 


"He lost all of three of his sons in our wars.  This was his greatest regret and why he strived to find a balance with peace and understanding.  There are many commanders within the Galae* who have little care for their crews.  I do not intend to share his regret.  One thing I have admired about you Shiarrael is that while some Commanders see their crews as tools or objects you have always seen yours as family.  You would never waste their life on frivolity."  Argelian stood up and turned to face her "that is why I would like for Maec to serve under you.  If you ordered him to his death I wouldn't feel as distraught as I would if one of these fools simply wasted his life."


Shiarrael stood up and chuckled to diffuse the tension "you are quite morbid Argelian.  Of course I will have him assigned to the Hhveir Ri'hwathech  but she will be in dry-dock for at least another week undergoing repairs.  The Cardassians did a number on her."  She still felt some bitterness at the thought of her ship and it's smashed command throne "but I will make sure the transfer papers go through swiftly to ease your thoughts."


Argelian nodded "thank you Shiarrael.  When your children are older you will understand my apprehension."   


I already do, she thought, I already do.


[Praetorate Complex, Ki'Baratan, Romulus]


The waning light of Eisn* had almost drifted below the horizon when Shiarrael was summoned before the Praetorate.  When she arrived she found herself among a congregation of people.  Most were middle-tier officers in the Galae but a few were Senators and the most senior among them was t'Charvanek- the Senate speaker.   Once everyone seemed to be gathered silence was ordered and the new Chief Praetor addressed the group.


"Good, it seems everyone is here.  The reason why I have asked for you all to come is because I have arranged for a delegation to head to Earth and conduct negotiations."  Arrenhe's focused on  t'Charvanek "Senate Speaker t'Charvanek will lead the negotiations followed by EnRiov t'Rehu who will provide the military perspective.  As you all know to be able to effectively carry out our war against the Tholians we require the use of Federation facilities along their shared border with the Tholians.  This issue is complicated by recent upheaval within the Federation though our intelligence unfortunately has not been able to gleam a great many details due to our own recent security situation. Once on Earth you will meet directly with the new Federation President- Hutchins..."


[To be continued] 

Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241407.20 | "Alea iacta est" Epilogue | Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu

[Ch'Rihan, Ihhliae, Relek Estate]


Dark plumes of smoke poured out of the old style mansion as an army of the estate's servants were lined up by the Gai'Shian.  In the middle of the fray a disheveled Romulan woman held tightly an infant boy pressed against her soot caked face.  Dirty tears ran down her cheeks onto the child as several soldiers surrounded her.  They hurled curses and kicked at her while the servants watched helpless to intervene.


"Please!  Please not the child!"  She wailed at the soldiers who seemed disinterested in her pleas.


"Silence!"  One Gai'Shian angrily yelled at her and sent his boot into her ribs "you know what happens to traitors!  Stop whining!"


Above them the deafening roar of a descending flitter silenced them as they looked up incensed that the craft was interrupting their play.  As it landed the tallest of them approached the flitter and slammed his palm into the opening door "what the hell are you doing!  No one is authorized to be here!"


"No one?"  Shiarrael eyed the tall Gai'Shian from her seat inside as several naval security officers from the Hhveir Ri'hwathech exited the flitter and shoved the overzealous Gai'Shian back in line with the others.  The troupe of Romulan marines reached for their weapons but wisely thought better of it as Shiarrael exited the craft and took a moment to survey the scene.  "Disgusting" she whispered into the wind and slowly approached the woman holding the child "Ihhae tr'Relek?"  She asked.


The wad of spit that hit her shoe gave her the only answer she needed "I will take the child."  Shiarrael said and held out her hands which caused the woman to study her nervously.  Shiarrael kneeled and whispered into her ear and Ihhae's eyes widened.  With a brief nod she lifted the child and set him into Shiarrael's arms.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as she turned away and buried her eyes into her palms.  Standing back up Shiarrael turned and handed the infant to one of the naval officers with her.


"What are you doing?"  A brazen Gai'Shian soldier stepped forward "we cannot permit this.  We have absolute orders from the Galae'EnRiov that the entire Relek house is to be executed for treason."  He lifted his weapon "return the child now."


"And you will kill this child?"  She gestured to the crying babe in the arms of the Hhveir Ri'hwathech's security officer "can the Gai'Shian easily butcher an infant like a savage klivam?"


"We have our orders!  Now return him!"


"Orders."  With her finger Shiarrael traced the cold metal of her silver EnRiov pip in the shape of a wingspread mogai "and if I ordered you to kill your entire family will you do it as easily as you would slaughter this child?"  She stared at him, her expression nonchalant "should I?"


"Should you what?"  He asked, his voice now quavering with apprehension.


"I will return this child to you."  She said and glanced momentarily at the crying infant "but you will then have to slaughter your entire house."  Shiarrael took a slow step forward "every man woman and child.  Does this meet with your approval?  I will order it if it does."


The Gai'Shian took a step back and lowered his weapon without saying a word- his horrified expression speaking for him.  Shiarrael simply turned away and headed back to her flitter followed by the naval security officers.  As the door closed she could be heard uttering the Rihannsu word "paeros."


[5 Hours Later - Valley of Chula, Romulus]


Flickers of thunder in the distance highlighted the thousands of tall rocky spires that jutted into the night sky.  Alone now Shiarrael manually piloted the flitter at a higher altitude then she would normally as they skirted between the rock towers of the ancient valley.  Every now and then the flitter would be jostled by a heavy headwind emanating from the approaching storm front.  At every shake Shiarrael would glance next to her at the Relek infant who remained asleep in a child-seat blissfully unaware that both his parents were now dead.


The chirp of the pilot console informed her that they were now near their destination: the Romulan village of Satyana.  Shiarrael slowly started to bring the flitter into a descent towards the massive pillar of ancient stone that was dotted by lights from thousands of structures which spiraled around it's frame towards the ancient fort at its wide peak.  Carefully she set the craft down on the manicured lawn of a modest two story home halfway up the spiral.  She could see lights in the building illuminate as she opened the doors of the flitter while carefully picking up the sleeping infant.


At the main entrance the door burst open and a dark silhouette called out from in front of the wall of light that emanated from the home's interior "who calls on us this late?"


"t'Rehu"  Shiarrael replied as she started making her way up the steps towards the door.


"Rehu?"  The silhouette retreated for a moment but was soon replaced by a figure more recognizable to Shiarrael as the door opened and a tall lanky Romulan woman wearing sleeping robes stepped out into the humid night.  She smiled but that expression was quickly replaced by confusion as she noticed the bundled infant in the EnRiov's arm "Shiarrael it has been a long time- what do I owe the honor?"   


  "I'm sorry to barge in on you my old friend."  Shiarrael smiled but the expression was a painful one born from the exhaustion of the last few days "I have come to ask you for a favor Mira..."


The woman nodded and placed an arm behind Shiarrael helping to brace the EnRiov as she walked up the final step.  "Come inside, please."  She pulled opened the door with her free hand and led Shiarrael in.  Inside the greeting hall one of the servants was standing nearby and Mira sent her off to fetch a hot kettle of herb-draft "let's go to my sitting room.  I've been keeping up with the recent news reports from the Capital.  Is it as bad as they say?"


"It depends on what they are saying."  Shiarrael said while shaking her head as she followed her old healer from the time she was commander of the Ishhae-Thrai "I haven't had a chance to watch the news but things have not been well."


"They say the death toll is now almost twenty thousand."  Mira also shook her head in apparent disbelief as they entered the sitting room.  She gestured to a large couch which Shiarrael took and then sat across from her in one of the loungers "I also heard about your recent appointment and wonder if I should congratulate you or pray to the elements."  Her eyes then focused on the infant as Shiarrael set him down while gently running a hand across the thin patch of raven hair on his head "and who is that?"


"He is an o-"  She paused as the servant entered and set the kettle of herb-draft down on the table in front of them along with two ceramic tea glasses before dismissing herself.  The spicy-sweet aroma of the drink filled the room as Mira filled both glasses with the steaming liquid.  "He is an orphan of the recent events."  Shiarrael finished saying before picking up her glass and taking a small sip of the drink.  It's warmth seemed to wash over her as she swallowed bringing her a sense of comfort "I do not how to word this Mira so I will simply say it.  This child is now an orphan- he needs a home.  That is why I have brought him here.  I know of no one else who I would rather have rear this child."


"That is no simple request Shiarrael."  Mira frowned and studied the bundle next to the EnRiov.  Standing up she motioned at the infant and then gently picked him up after receiving an approving nod from Shiarrael.  Returning to her chair she set the sleeping infant across her lap "there was a time when I dreamt of being a mother.  Long ago when Delon was still alive I promised him a heap of children.  He loved children.  Do you still remember when we went to Tarva Colony?  He caused a riot of toddlers when he started handing out sweet cakes to them."  A chuckle escaped her lips as she smiled from the nostalgia and studied the infant in her lap "I don't know Shiarrael... ever since he passed I have often wondered if it was the elements message to me that I'm not meant for family."


"This infant comes from hot blood.  Blood that has scorched his family.  He need someone who can teach him compassion, patience, and give him love."  Shiarrael looked at Mira and smiled "I do remember how much Delon doted on you.  He wouldn't want you to be alone.  There is no one else I can trust this infant to.  Please, help  him."


Mira slowly nodded her head "what is his name?"


Thrice written, thrice burned.  The words of the Senate echoed in Shiarrael's mind as she watched them.  "He has none."  She answered.


"No, name?"  Mira looked at Shiarrael and then nodded her head knowing that this was not a question she should ask.  "Very well.  I will call him Aev."  She lifted the infant into the air "Aev i-Satyana tr'Dhiraj..."


[Rehu Estate, Nn'Verih, Romulus]


A rainstorm was in full force by the time Shiarrael reached her home.  She had let the autopilot take over long ago as the rain pelted against the flitter's windows with a rhythmic tapping sound that had lulled her into a light sleep only to be awakened by the jostle and beeping of her arrival.  As the doors parted several servants rushed out to her with umbrellas and did their best to shield her from the driving rain.  Exiting the flitter she followed in pace with her escorts to the pillars in front of her home's entrance only to find an entourage of  Gai'Shian and Galae officers waiting for her.


"Shiarrael."  tr'Thrai stood in front of the group wearing his water soaked fleet issued trench coat "you took the Relek infant?"  It wasn't so much a question but an acknowledgement of what she had done.  "We knew this would happen since the beginning- why prod the embers and draw the Senate's ire?"


"Mnhei'sahe demanded it."  She answered.  Rain was now beginning to soak into her uniform breeches and could feel the sogginess begging to set into her socks.  "It was the right of S'Rehu to take the child."


tr'Thrai nodded his head and then walked past her followed by his entourage disappearing into the driving rain.  A minute later the bright beams of a flitter's headlights could be seen lofting towards the clouds before finally disappearing into the wet night.


Shiarrael took the umbrella from one her servants "I need to be alone."  She said and walked back into the rain.  They shouted after her but she ignored their please to come inside.  Instead she walked around the cobblestone pathway that led towards the back of the house and to her grandfather's old garden.  There she took shelter beneath the old bower- above her the rain pelted at the wooden structure as droplets came in through cracks in the ceiling.  Shiarrael smiled faintly as she recalled taking shelter there with her grandfather many years ago from the beating heat of Eisn as he tended the gardens.  As the memory began to fade she sighed and looked up into the dark emptiness.  Every now and then a momentary flash of lightning would illuminate the  garden flowers as the leaves danced to the rain's fury.  Shiarrael let the display soothe her as she thought about what she had done.


2 Weeks Ago...


The holographic image was fuzzy and subject to fits of intermittent disruption but Shiarrael did her best to convey what she needed.  Standing in front of her was erie'Riov Ihijae tr'Lahan "we did receive the data burst from Romulus- it calls for an attack on the homeworld."  He looked nervous as his image fizzled in and out.  Outside of her window clouds of energized magenta floated past.  For the last few weeks her small task group had used the nebula as cover for its small attacks on the commonwealth and triad vessels within the Draken system "what do you need me to do Khre'Riov?"


"Make sure Gul Duran receives the message but do not make it easily available to him.  He needs to trust it enough so that he will come prey upon Romulus."  The words left Shiarrael's mouth like burning acid "all final preparations are being made.  This is the last one- can you do it?"


"It shouldn't be difficult.  With the information we have received about the your attacks and the success we have had in repelling them he already trusts the source.  In fact they have researched it thoroughly and believe that Taev tr'Relek is the source of their information.  He wan-" the audio cut to static for a moment before returning "yet I wonder if is this right Khre'Riov?"


"We are on the brink of a civil war that will only end after great bloodshed.  The Empire is divided and the Zorek are amassing their allies within the navy to strike at the Empress who they see as weak.  If that happens it will throw us into a cycle of bloodletting that will not stop for years and weaken us incredibly.  No, we have to unite our people.  This is the only way- a common enemy.  I trust you Ihijae."


"Ie Rekkhai.  I will make sure Gul Duran is sufficiently convinced to attack Romulus..."


As the rain continued fall around her Shiarrael had to agree with tr'Relek's last words.  She was a monster- a butcher of her people.



Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241407.20 | "Alea iacta est" Part 7 | Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu

Consecutusque cohortis ad Rubiconem flumen, qui provinciae eius finis erat, paulum constitit, ac reputans quantum moliretur, conversus ad proximos: "Etiam nunc," inquit, "regredi possumus;  quod si ponticulum transierimus, omnia armis agenda erunt." - Suetonius.

[Romulan Senate]


Every seat was filled in the massive chamber of the lower senate as the large ancient doors parted allowing the bright light of Eisn [Romulan Sun] to filter into the dimly lit room.  From that brightness emerged three figures.  The lead figure was the new Praetor Arrenhe i-Latasalaem t'Ahaefvthe and leader of the powerful S'AAnikh clan.  Behind her was Takaram I-Mhessan tr'Thrai who many expected would shortly be named Galae'EnRiov.  The last person was Shiarrael I-Nn'Verih t'Rehu who was credited as the hero of Ch'Rihan for pushing back the recent attack.  The three walked slowly down the stairway towards the speaking floor.  Arrenhe wore her deep viridian robes along with the silver necklace of a massive mogai* holding the two worlds within its clutched talons while tr'Thrai and t'Rehu wore their Galae dress uniforms.  Upon reaching the floor Arrenhe took her place at the primary speaking platform while the others moved behind her next to the ancient Senate speaker t'Charvanek.


Silence permeated the entire chamber.  Outside of the Senate building, in every city on Ch'Rihan, and every planet of the Star Empire all viewers were now focused on the new Chief Praetor.


"What have we become?"  Arrenhe looked over the wide body of the entire Senate before her  "two thousand years ago the greatest of us slipped away from the chains of despair and thrust themselves into the heavens in search of something better.  It was not an easy journey.  No, it was long and hard- it was an arduous odyssey.  Many would die and many more would fall into disconsolation.  They could have turned around- left the fear of the unknown and returned to the misery of the familiar.  Yet, they continued.  They continued because they knew that after a long night the sun will still rise.  Darkness is not eternal- it is ephemeral.  The light will return.  Our enemies have attacked our heart- but they have not defeated it.  Right now we may be lost in the twilight of despair but make no mistake- it will not last."  She paused for moment to rest her voice before continuing "but our foundation has been weakened by cracks of disunity.  We have lost our way.  Spite and scorn has poisoned the Rihannsu spirit.  So many fight one another like petulant children allowing our enemies to take our weaknesses and exploit them against us.  Now our beautiful world smolders smote by the discord of her children.  Yet, all is not lost.  There is still time for us to amend our failings.  Time for us to temper our spirit and remember what our ancestors taught us.  Remember Mnhei'sahe and what it means to be Rihannsu." 


"Only together can we dispel the darkness which has overtaken us.  So let us unite.  Let us fight for our Empire.  Let us fight for a better Empire.  Let us fight together so that our ENEMIES WILL KNOW THE STRENGTH OF THE RIHANNSU UNITED!"


The entire Senate floor erupted in raucous applause.  Arrenhe let them have their moment and took the break to allow her vocal cords to rest a bit more.  t'Charvanek slammed her cane against the floor and called for order slowly bringing the large chamber back to silence.


"Before I came here I spoke with the Empress.  It was never her intention to cause chaos.  She only wanted to help our people but knows her weaknesses were too great for this task.  One person cannot affect change.  The power of this Empire does not lie with one person.  Not with me or the Empress.  The power lies with every Rihannsu.  Acknowledging her weakness the Empress has decided to return to her throne world.  I have agreed with her and as I speak to you the Rei'Krannsu are escorting her away."


"We must now look forward.  We have been attacked.  For the first time in our long history our beautiful world has been scarred.  Realizing that we cannot let this matter go unchallenged I have requested that the Senate issue an official declaration of war against the Tholian Assembly for it is the Tholians which have allowed the traitorous Commonwealth haven.  By a unanimous vote the Senate has approved this measure.  We are now at war with the Tholian Assembly.  However, if those within the Commonwealth realize the mistake of their treachery I have been given permission to grant those who return to us full amnesty.  This will be your last and only opportunity to return to your home.  There will not be a third chance to repent for your crimes."


"I have also requested the right to restructure the Galae after the recent failings to protect Ch'Rihan.  The Senate has given me full authority to do so.  Therefore I am announcing the appointment of Takaram tr'Thrai as Galae EnRiov.  I have also decided to reallocate fleet resources to create a great war fleet to pursue the enemies of the Empire.  This fleet will consist of three thousand of our greatest vessels and over two million of our finest soldiers." An audible gasp could be heard echoing throughout the chamber which caused Arrenhe to smirk "to lead this fleet I have promoted Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu, the defender of Ch'Rihan, to the rank of EnRiov as commander of this great war fleet.  We will get our vengeance even if it means we have to follow our enemies deep into the dark pits of hell."


"Finally.  As my last act this day I am issuing a formal decree restoring the Tal'Shiar.  Long has the Tal'Shiar kept Ch'Rihan safe from the swords of outsiders.  In our foolishness we let our guard down and the enemy reached our home world.  Never again."  Arrenhe stepped back from the speaking stand and then bowed her head "elements be with you all."


The raucous clapping resumed and this time t'Charvanek remained still allowing it to continue.  A large column of Senators was beginning to form at the edge of the speaking stage as the politicians vied for the attention of the new Chief Praetor.  If there was any doubt prior to the speech there was none now: the reign of the Empress Teelis was at an end and S'AAnikh had returned to the seat of power it had held for the majority of the past decade.


[Senate Committee Chamber (4 Hours Later)]


A blanket of blackness covered the committee chamber as the noise of shuffling boot steps permeated the room.  A loud clank preceded the harsh brightness of the white spotlight that illuminated in a bright circle around a single chair.  Around that chair several shadows lingered- walking and whispering around the accused.  tr'Relek defiantly stared into the light and pulled against his shackles "do you know all I have done for the Empire?!  All I have done for the Senate?!  I have been framed!"


"Silence."  A deep baritone radiated out from the darkness "you have been charged with treason EnRiov Taev tr'Relek.  Will you accept your guilt?"


"I refuse."  tr'Relek sneered "I can recognize that voice a mile away.  Did you think by hiding under the cover of darkness that I wouldn't be able to recognize you Acala?  Are you going to let me be dragged to my death after everything I have done for you?  You were nothing!  I gave you money, I gave you power, and without me you will go back to nothing!"


"The accused will be silent!"  Another voice rapped from the veil of darkness "the Tal'Diann has provided us evidence of your crimes tr'Relek.  Yet, you dare to insult a member of this committee?  You will either address your charges or we will shall announce our conclusion."


"And you t'Raghav?"  tr'Relek pulled at his chains violently "I have never been anything but a loyal patriot to the Empire!  I am being framed for this madness by traitors that you have taken in with open arms.  You must see that!  You must see it!"


"What I see is a traitor who is about to die."  From the depths of the shadow a figure stepped forward- her violet eyes locking directly onto tr'Relek as the dim edges of the illumination washed over her Galae* uniform "you aided the commonwealth.  We have taken the evidence from your computers.  We have taken evidence from the enemy ships we destroyed.  We have taken evidence from the prisoners we captured.  We also have evidence that it is you who were responsible for the accident that claimed the life of Senator Vaebn tr'Ehhelih.  So, how dare you insult members of this committee with your treasonous tongue?"


"t'REHU!"  tr'Relek's eyes widened with unbridled fury as he strained against his bindings and chains towards Shiarrael "you are the traitor!  You are the monster- a butcher of our people!  How dare you accuse me of treason!  How dare you..."  his voice weakened as the futility of the situation seemed to finally enter his consciousness and his body went limp in the chair "you will pay for this one day Shiarrael...mark my words..."


I know, Shiarrael pulled out her honor blade and laid it out across the palms of her hand "do you know what this is?"  She asked.  tr'Relek studied the long curved weapon that glimmered in the brightness of the spotlight.  "It is a S'harien.  Brought by my ancestors with them during the long journey to ch'Rihan*- this blade was forged by the great thhaei* weapon master over a millennia ago.  Few have ever been honored enough to lay their eyes upon such a masterpiece- and fewer the opportunity to end their lives honorably with one."  She looked into the depths of the shadows at the soldiers she knew were standing by "unbind him."  They hesitated but then walked into the light and began undoing tr'Relek's bindings.  "Acknowledge your crimes tr'Relek- this is the only way you can save your wife and son."  She set the blade in his lap and took a step backward.


He lifted the sword in his own palms- even a man such as tr'Relek had to admire the mastery of the weapon now in his possession.  He stood up and slowly ran his fingers across the cold flat surface as he started to twist the weapon in his grip.  He inhaled deeply and then lifted the blade into the air before suddenly twisting around.  "DIE!"  He screamed and swung the S'harien towards Shiarrael.


Emerald light flared brightening the room while momentarily illuminating the shocked faces of everyone present including the senators from their tall perch above the others.  Shiarrael remained still as the emerald fire consumed tr'Relek's flesh and bones.  She only briefly turned away as a vapor of organic dust washed over her to loud echoing clank of metal hitting the floor.  Silence lingered for a moment as everyone mentally digested what had occurred. 


Finally, one of the senator's broke the stillness "it seems this meeting has met its conclusion.  Let it be known that the traitor Taev tr'Relek was executed for treason against the Empire.  His name shall be thrice written, thrice burned, and all record of him shall be removed.  For his crimes his family will also be put to death.  This is the ruling of the Senate and it shall be law."


The sound of shuffling echoed through the room as the spotlight dimmed.  Shiarrael let out a sigh.  Selfish until the end.  She shook her head and gently brushed the organic dust off her uniform.  It was a shame that he refused her offer which meant now his family would be killed.  Kneeling down she picked up her family's honor blade.  Even in the dimness it glinted like a web of stars.  Her fight to avenge her parents was over- but the fight to save her home was just beginning.



Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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[USS Charon] [Romulan Empire] SD241407.20 | "Alea iacta est" Part 6 | Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu

Consecutusque cohortis ad Rubiconem flumen, qui provinciae eius finis erat, paulum constitit, ac reputans quantum moliretur, conversus ad proximos: "Etiam nunc," inquit, "regredi possumus;  quod si ponticulum transierimus, omnia armis agenda erunt." - Suetonius.

[Ra'tleihfi, Imperial Palace]


If there was one thing that the people were adept at sensing it would be trouble.  The raucous protest against the Empress quelled quickly once they noticed the ground vibrations from the beating engines of over a hundred heavily armored flitters and tanks.  It was that sense of trouble that caused the crowd to quickly begin dispersing.  Even the Rei'Krannsu guards seemed uneasy upon seeing the large force arriving before the gates of the Palace.  The lead flitter touched down a few feet away from the large wrought iron bars of the primary gate.  As the doors folded out Arrenhe exited the flitter.  Her viridian robes fluttered against the smoke-swept breeze as two columns of six heavily armed Gai'Shian flanked her on either side.  She approached the gate where the Rei'Krannsu lifted their weapons forming an X in front of the entrance blocking her way.


"You may not enter.  We have been ordered not to allow anyone to pass."  One of the guards spoke as several more Rei'Krannsu exited from the palace and began moving towards the gate.


The Gai'Shian lifted their weapons offended by the Rei'Krannsu's actions but Arrenhe quickly grabbed the nozzle of the nearest Gai'Shian's disruptor and pulled the weapon out of his hands before tossing it to the ground "calm yourselves."  She ordered with a hint of irritation as she turned her attention back to the Rei'Krannsu.  "It would be wise for you to check with your superiors  Farein."  The Gai'Shian were too impulsive and lacked effective discipline.  Arrenhe knew if a firefight erupted the Rei'Krannsu could probably make short work of her current guards- even being outnumbered ten to one.


There was a lull in the tension as the Rei'Krannsu Farein appeared to contact his superiors.  He shielded his face with his free hand so it was difficult to make out the muddled conversation he was having.  After a few minutes passed he finally dropped his hand and nodded to Arrenhe "forgive me EnArrain- you may pass.  However, the Gai'Shian may not follow."


Again the Gai'Shian openly displayed their outrage but were smart enough not to raise their weapons.  Arrenhe stepped forward as the Rei'Krannsu lowered their weapons allowing her to pass.  The Gai'Shian remained at the gate as Arrenhe was escorted into the palace by two other Rei'Krannsu.


One of the Palace servants met her as soon as she stepped into the grand hall.  The young woman bowed her head deeply and then motioned for Arrenhe to follow her.  She led the Praetor down the long hallway past dozens of ancient statues and paintings.  All of them depicted of old heroes and battles that had once dominated the surface of Ch'Rihan after the landing.  If one could bottle up the two world histories this walk would be it- a march through history.  It was bit ironic to Arrenhe that she was marching through history to create history.  The young woman stopped at the base of a tall staircase and then slowly made her way up followed by Arrenhe and the Rei'Krannsu escorts.  When they reached the top of the staircase Arrenhe was motioned into a room.  Once she stepped inside the door was closed behind her.


Inside Arrenhe found the Empress standing in front of one of the large windows- half of her figure covered by the large charcoal colored drapes.  From her hiding place she spoke and gestured "please sit down Praetor." 


Arrenhe made her way to the large settee and took her seat.  As she sat the door opened and the same servant that had escorted her entered with a large oval serving plate which held a teakettle along with glasses and some wafers.  She set it down on the table in front of the settee, bowed her head, and then exited the way she came.  "Empress if I-"  Arrenhe started to speak but paused when the Empress began speaking again. 


"It's ironic isn't it?"  Teelis asked.  "The servants in their devotion put up these massive curtains last night so I could sleep without the constant firelight keeping me up.  Instead I find that I have been drawn here- watching this scene unable to sleep or do anything but gawk helplessly.  The suffering of my people because of my failures..."  Her voice trailed off as she finally stepped away from the window allowing the drapes to slide off her and obscure the view.  Making her way to the chair across from Arrenhe the Empress picked up her tea glass and took a shallow sip.  "When I heard the Praetorate appointed a new Chief Praetor without consulting me I was surprised.  I never felt they had much of a backbone."  She paused, looked up at Arrenhe, and smiled letting out a light tittering laugh "present company excluded of course."


Arrenhe nodded her head slowly "the Praetorate only has the best interests of the Empire in mind."  She waited for a moment to gauge the Empress' expression before continuing "empress you must understand that the current situation on Ch'Rihan is unstable.  It's no longer safe for you to remain here.  If our enemies can strike at our heart they can strike at you.  It would be better if you returned to the throne world and waited for the situat-"


"No.  I will not."  The Empress interrupted Arrenhe and set her tea glass down forcefully "I realize I have made some mistakes but I have only ever had the best intentions of the people in mind."  Teelis looked at Arrenhe "you see that is what separates us Praetor.  While the Praetorate keeps its mind on the Empire my mind has always been on the people.  I cannot leave them.  No- instead you will help me.  You can show me my weaknesses and with your help I can correct my mistakes.  We can build something gr-"  The Empress paused and looked a bit confused as she started to massage her forehead.  Her eyes blinked rapidly as her posture started to droop.  Her eyes then focused on Arrenhe "wha...t  ha... yo...  me..." she tried to speak but her mouth trembled with great difficulty.


Arrenhe pulled out a tear shaped vial from the cover of her robes' sleeve.  Twisting the vial in her hands she sloshed around the remaining harlequin colored liquid "nasty stuff this is.  It comes from one of the far eastern colonies.  When our people originally settled that world the colonists would come down with a strange condition- a random paralysis during the growing season.  It was so odd that many of the colonist began to believe that the planet was cursed.  It wasn't until much later that it was discovered that the pollen of one of the planet's native flora contained a compound which while harmless to many of the native species acted as a block of sorts within the motor cortex of Vulcanoids."  She shook her head at the Empress like a parent would to an unruly child and stood "I'm sorry Empress.  I can't allow you to remain here."


Teelis was now struggling mightily to even keep herself upright as the toxin did it's work.  She was still able to move her lips though and Arrenhe could barely make out what she was saying "t...r...a...i...t...o...r." 


"Traitor?  Empress spare me.  You have done enough damage now have-" the sound of crashing dishes caught Arrenhe off guard and she turned to find the young servant standing at the doorway wearing a shocked expression.  Realizing she had been too focused on the Empress to notice the door open Arrenhe acted quickly.  She walked over to the woman and grabbed her by the throat.  The servant clawed at Arrenhe's arm as she was dragged towards the window.  Pushing the drape away Arrenhe undid the latch and lifted the woman over the sill and released her grip.  There was a momentary shrill scream which was muffled when Arrenhe closed the window.  Turning her attention back to the Empress Arrenhe straighten her hair and robes "as I was saying.  You have done enough damage don't you think?  Don't worry the toxin isn't fatal.  Normally.  It shouldn't take more than a few decades for all of the effects to fully heal.  Forgive me Empress but this is in your best interest- the best interest of the Empire."  She turned towards the door "you can come in now."


The two Rei'Krannsu entered followed by a third which had just arrived.  He wore the rank of EnRiov*, the highest ranking official within the Rei'Krannsu, and bowed his head at Arrenhe.  "We will take care of everything from here Praetor."


"I told you to make sure that your people knew not to let anyone enter."  Arrenhe scowled "no matter.  Report that the Empress killed the woman in a fit of rage before collapsing from exhaustion.  Please have her off of Ch'Rihan by the time I begin my speech."  She looked at the Empress again and dipped her head one final time before leaving "Bedah [farewell] Empress."


[Senate, Underground Prison]


tr'Relek slammed his palms into the table repeatedly making quite a racket in the old dungeon.  His Gai'Shian guards stared at him with vexed expressions but remained steady at their positions next to the heavy iron doorway.  He only stopped when the grind of the old heavy door opening caught his attention.  t'Knei walked in followed by Shiarrael.  t'Knei waved her hand which caused both guards to leave the room.  Once they left tr'Relek sprung to his feet and charged the Tal'Diann commander grabbing a handful of t'Knei's collar forcing her back into the stone wall "what are you trying to do to me Gwiu!?"


t'Knei moved quickly and slid her hands between tr'Relek's arms in a prayer posture and split them breaking his grip on her.  With a second move she pressed her palm into his chest sending him stumbling backwards.  "What I have done to you?"  t'Knei laughed at him, a short laugh of pity "you are still oblivious?  This is what you have done to yourself.  Ones sins will eventually catch up to oneself.  Even someone as powerful as you Taev." 


tr'Relek was enraged and if a person's expression could kill his would have vaporized Gwiu and Shiarrael where they stood.  "Who are you to speak of sins?  My allies will not sit still while you hold me here on false charges.  When I am out you will be the first head that I take to my mantle Gwiu."


Shiarrael pulled a small device out of her pocket and set it down on the table.  She pressed it and watched as a dim light illuminated on its base.  The small thing was an interference device- made to create 'noise' so that they couldn't be listened on.  "Leave us for the moment t'Knei."  She turned to her attention to tr'Relek as the heavy door grinded open and then slammed shut leaving her alone with him "when I was working with the humans there was a word I once heard that intrigued me.  This word is called 'Karma'.  There is no equivalent translation in our language.  I never quite understood it, at least not until this moment.  You see this word means the effect that the sum of our actions has on our future.  How it carves itself like a knife into our destiny based on how we live."  She pulled an ISD out of her pocket and tossed it onto the table in front of him "and how you have lived tr'Relek- well, things do not appear as if they will end well for you."


"What is this?"  tr'Relek asked as he picked up the ISD and studied the text on it.  Realization at its finest.  Where fury had been absolute desolation appeared- but it was only a momentary blip in his expression.  Soon fury returned, stronger, and now focused entirely on Shiarrael "so this is your doing t'Rehu?  I should have known!"  He grit his teeth and slammed his fist on the metal table "but this will not be enough.  You may wound me but my allies will protect me.  I have worked hard to make sure I have enough support.  You will regret this deeply Shiarrael.  You will regret this deeply!"


"I don't understand how you can be so blind?"  Shiarrael pointed at the device "it's all there.  How you conspired with the Commonwealth and their allies to destroy the Senate!  We pulled the evidence from their destroyed vessels.  We found where you had created a false sensor signature so that you could deploy our forces away from home world allowing enemy forces unrestricted access to murder the Senate and Empress!"


"Lies!"  tr'Relek threw the ISD which hurtled past Shiarrael and shattered against the wall behind her "these are all fabrications!  You have fabricated everything to destroy me!"


"Our people have two words for the term fact.  Truth and truth told.  This is the truth that will be told to the Senate."  Shiarrael smiled wickedly "oh, it wasn't easy to do.  I assure you it required a lot of work but this evidence while not entirely fool proof is more than enough to convict you of treason."


"My allies-"


"You don't have ALLIES!  You have people who feared you but I have taken away their fear.  Without that fear how do you think they will rule?"  Shiarrael kicked one of the ISD shards at him "really, are you going to remain so arrogantly oblivious until the end?  I had expected at least a little pleasure from this but at the moment all I feel is disgust."


"All I wanted was to make the Empire strong again!  All these weak minded fools were ahead of me.  Something had to be done about them."  tr'Relek's eyes were wide and seemed to be pulsating with madness "we needed strength.  It didn't matter who.  tr'AAnikh had made the Empire weak and the Empress followed him and did the same.  How could I sit still and allow these people to continue to weaken the Empire with their ideas?  I did what needed to be done to put myself in a position to stop them!"


"Is that why you had my parents killed?"  Shiarrael asked her own fury barely restrained "it wasn't enough that you killed them but you insisted on sending me their heads.  Remember?"


"Your parents?"  tr'Relek's expression softened as he seemed lost in thought.  After a second inspiration hit him and the madness returned " were a traitor Shiarrael!  You aided Vulcan!  You saved their world.  You know what happens to traitors.  They must pay for their crimes!  Just like you have paid for yours with the blood of your parents."  He smiled and laughed "is this why you have went through all this trouble?  For something so petty?"


"Petty?"  The world rolled off Shiarrael's tongue like a feral snarl.  But instead of slamming his head repeatedly into the wall as her heart desired she grabbed the small device off the table and turned away.  "As you have said.  Traitors must pay for their crimes."  She opened the door "you have been apprised of your charges.  The Senate's investigative committee will meet after the Praetor's speech to decide your fate.  I will see you there tr'Relek."  She heard his screams echoing behind her as she left. 


[To be continued...]

Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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[USS Charon] SD241407.20 | "Alea iacta est" Part 5 | Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu

Consecutusque cohortis ad Rubiconem flumen, qui provinciae eius finis erat, paulum constitit, ac reputans quantum moliretur, conversus ad proximos: "Etiam nunc," inquit, "regredi possumus;  quod si ponticulum transierimus, omnia armis agenda erunt." - Suetonius.



"A million fought as one.  Smoke covered the sky.  Blood drenched the land."  Shiarrael whispered the verse of an old Romulan poem as she leaned against the railing of the Galae Command Center's third floor balcony which overlooked the Senate and much of the city.  A giant haze of smoke covered the dark turquoise sky as dozens of black pillars poured into it from the smoldering fires that dotted the cityscape.  The air had the unnatural bitter and crisp acrid smell of ash which made it difficult to breathe at times.  How many have died tonight?  She wondered.


In the plaza below one of the large public viewing screens was still working even though it sported a large visible crack through its center.  On the display a young Romulan woman was addressing the public.  "During an emergency session the Praetorate has named Arrenhe i-Latasalaem t'Ahaefvthe Shiar'Fvillha.  As her first act Shiar'Fvillha t'Ahaefvthe issued a declaration of martial law on Ch'Rihan.  All citizens are required to remain in their homes until planetary security can be assessed and assured.  We have also been informed that she will address the Senate later this morning..."


"Excuse me Shiarrael.  I thought you would want to be informed.  The Gai'Shian have been sent to apprehend Taev tr'Relek.  He will be charged with high treason."


Shiarrael turned around and nodded at t'Knei "good.  Keep me informed of your progress."  Soon tr'Relek will finally be dealt with but for the moment she needed to be patient.  As t'Knei dipped her head and turned around to leave Shiarrael moved her gaze back to the public view screen.  What she saw gave her pause.  Thousands of people had apparently gathered in front of the old imperial palace in a furious protest.  The Empress' Rei'Krannsu guards were shoving the angry crowd back as they screamed inaudibly but were clearly overwhelmed.


"We have just received a report that a large protest outside of the Empress' palace has been steadily growing.  They appear to be blaming the Empress for the current situation-"  


"EnRiov wait, please."  Shiarrael motioned for t'Knei to come over and then pointed out the situation on the screen being reported on "do you know anything about this?"


t'Knei shook her head wearing a slightly confused expression "No, but I assumed this was your doing?"


"No."  Shiarrael replied wearily.  She knew it could be problematic if the situation spiraled out of control.  The last thing they needed was the Rei'Krannsu slaughtering dozens of citizens trying to protect the Empress and elements forbid if something were to happen to her.  The Empress' allies would rally around her quickly and such a situation might even trigger the civil war they had hoped to avoid.  "I will speak with you later.  For now I will go meet with the Praetor."


[Ihhliae, Relek Estate]


A gradient of amethyst and goldenrod pulled at the dark turquoise of the night sky from the horizon as the sun began to rise towards it's skyward perch.  A quiet morning on the outskirts of Ihhliae usually filled with the sound of animal calls was broken by the intense droning of flitter engines.  Dozens of Romulans left their homes to stand outside and watch the convoy of heavily armored vehicles descend on the old Relek estate.  Gai'Shian shock troops dressed in their obsidian armor filed through the surrounding fields carrying large disruptor rifles.  It was an incredible scene occurring in the old aristocratic neighborhood and residents could only gawk.


For his part tr'Relek stood at the entrance to his estate flanked by servants and guards who all seemed perplexed by the activity around them.  Dressed in his gaudy uniform the EnRiov expressed unrestrained fury as the first group of Gai'Shian finally surrounded him "how dare you.  Do you know who I am?!"  Relek kicked one of the decorated ceramic plant pots at the group causing it to shatter and send a blanket of dirt onto them.


The lead Gai'Shian stepped forward and bowed his head as courtesy required.  If he had been bothered by the fit of pique the EnRiov just exhibited he didn't show it.  "Greetings EnRiov tr'Relek.  I have been sent by EnRiov Gwiu t'Knei to escort you back to I'Ramnau."


"For what reason?"  tr'Relek pointed a finger at the young soldier "this is a mistake.  How dare the EnRiov send troops to my home without any reason!  I demand you leave now before I lose all patience with you.  Rest assured I will have your head if you continue this insanity."


"Forgive me."  The Gai'Shian bowed again and then raised his weapon priming it.  The other Gai'Shian did the same.  "I have been given explicit orders to escort you to i'Ramnau and if you resist you are to be killed.  You are being accused of high treason for your actions preceding the attack.  I will ask you to once more to surrender yourself."


Relek stared silently at the group.  A vein that thrusted out from the edge of his temple indicated his rage but his physical expression remained still.  Finally he waved his guards and servants off and stepped forward "fine, I will play this game.  But rest assured when my name is cleared- and it shall be.  I will be certain that all of you regret this greatly."


[Ki'Baratan, Praetorate]


"Word of the attack has spread throughout the Empire.  The Senate is mad with grief and fury at this brazen act of infamy.  They are calling for a great war of retribution against our enemies and the traitors."  Senator tr'Delon spoke from the middle of the Preatorate's primary meeting chamber as tawny rays of the early morning sun slipped in through cracks along the edges of the curtaining.  These rays seemed to instinctively highlight Eisn on the old mural of the neutral zone that was etched into the center of the chamber's marble flooring.  "We have already made preparations for your speech and have also received your recommendations about restructuring the Galae after the recent failure.  Although some within the Senate are hesitant to make the changes and are also wondering how the Empress will react."


"The Empress will be returning to the throne world shortly."  Arrenhe spoke casually causing the Senator to raise his brows in surprise.  He started to ask about it but she raised her hand silencing him "I will explain in detail during my speech to the Senate.  Thank you for your update Deihu tr'Delon."  Across the room near the entrance Arrenhe noticed Shiarrael standing against one of the archway pillars.  "We will break for now"  she announced causing the collection of Praetors to rise from their seats "I will see you again at the Senate complex."  The group slowly filed out followed by tr'Delon.  When the chamber was finally empty Shiarrael walked inside.


"Congratulations Shiar'Fvillha."  Shiarrael dipped her head in a bow and then studied the room.  It was virtually unchanged from the last time she had stood within its confines.  She always found it ironic how obsessed her people had once been with the Federation.  The mural dominating the center of the floor was such a vain display.  Absent mindedly she kicked at the neutral zone marker.


"Congratulations?"  Arrenhe laughed and shook her head.  "Such a mess, yet not unexpected.  Still I find my mind a bit weary from everything but at least the Senate is finally unified in its purpose.  Now instead of plotting to kill each other they are plotting how to take advantage of the recent tragedy proudly counting the number of dead from each of their districts like victories in a battle."  A slight sigh escaped her lips as she stood up "so absurd.  This bunch of fools that dominates the Senate."  She paused and shook her head again "but to the point, what can I do for you Khre'Riov t'Rehu?" 


"Has it ever been different?"  Shiarrael wondered out loud not being able to remember a time when a majority Empire's political elite weren't disgusting or petulant.  "I wanted to inform you that EnRiov Taev tr'Relek has been taken into custody.  t'Knei will be having me oversee the investigation into the matter."  She lifted an ISD from her pocket and held it out for the Praetor to take "I have made a list of those who should head the Senate's investigation committee.  I'm sure you will find most of the names familiar.  Please recommend them to t'Charvanek."   


Taking the device Arrenhe glanced down and perused the list of names provided.  When she finished she looked up wearing a tense smile "t'Relek is the primary patron for most of these officials.  Do you think it is wise to have them sit in on his hearing?"


"Relek is a fool and a coercer.  They do not respect him but they fear him.  Indeed he has helped many with Zorek funding but he has also kept them clearly beneath his boot.  I have looked into it and he constantly makes outlandish requests and berates many of them.  With this opportunity I am more than certain they will see to it that this burdensome blight is removed."  Shiarrael grinned "and many within the Zorek do not support Relek- they also fear him and will be glad to see him gone.  He has killed many to reach his current pedestal."


"Very well."  Arrenhe nodded her head "I will take this request to t'Charvanek- but Shiarrael there is something that has been bothering me.  I only recently informed you that I felt tr'Relek needed to be dealt with.  I am very impressed with what you have done- but I am not a fool.  All this would have required meticulous preparation and work.  Incredibly doubtful that you were able to plan and coordinate this over the course of a mere few weeks.  Be honest here-"  She studied the Khre'Riov "how long have you been planning this?  Since the beginning?  Is that why you suggested bringing him into our inner circle?  So you could trap him?"


Shiarrael drew in her breath and then nodded her head slowly "it is as you have said.  I have been planning this for quite some time.  Years even- not quite what we have done here.  The opportunity simply presented itself to me and I took the advantage.  tr'Relek is a demon, a cancer on our people, I could not allow him to continue on."


Arrenhe accepted answer for what it was "I will not pry but I will return your honesty.  This makes me uneasy- in the future I expect you to be forthright with me or your head will be joining tr'Relek's on a pike in front of the Senate.  Do you understand me?"  Shiarrael simply nodded her head in a quiet answer to Arrenhe and the Praetor smiled in return "good.  Now is there anything else?"


"The only thing is the matter of the Empress.  I heard the words you spoke to Deihu tr'Delon but I was wondering if you were aware of the situation currently occurring outside the Imperial Palace?  It seems there is a riot of sorts.  From what I have heard from the Gai'Shian sent to help control them the people are demanding the return of the Tal'Shiar."  It was definitely strange.  For so long the Tal'Shiar had kept people in line using terror to enforce their will.  There was also no love lost between the agency and the other military branches.  That people were demanding their return was odd- and from Shiarrael's perspective likely staged.


"Yes, I am aware of what has been happening.  Bunch of fools but they will get what they want."  Arrenhe grimaced "I have decided that I will deal with the Empress' matter on my own.  Continue what you are doing in regards to tr'Relek.  I also expect you to be at the Senate complex for my speech later this morning."


What they want?  Shiarrael wondered if that meant the Praetor had decided to reinstate the agency.  She frowned and bowed her head again "I will be there.  That was all I had Praetor.  With your permission I will return to my duties."


"Yes go, I will speak with you later."  Arrenhe replied and once Shiarrael disappeared through the archway the Praetor took the free moment to massage her temples.  As much as she hated the idea  Arrenhe knew she would have to get rid of the Empress to ensure a smooth transition.  Much like her famed poet ancestor once wrote... Ale burns, fire burns, and politics burn- but cold were life without them.


[To Be Continued...] 

Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu
Commanding Officer
USS Charon

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