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Captain 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.
Bright tawny light filtered in through the array of stained windows that lined the edges of the ceiling illuminating the large crescent shaped conference table at the room's heart an ambient gold. All but one of the twelve seats that lined the table's outer curve were filled. It was quite an eclectic gathering of military personnel and politicians who were at present arguing amongst themselves. At the table's open center sat Arrenhe in the glistening viridian of her Praetorial robes acting oblivious to the heated discussion and fist slamming that echoed through the room like thunder. It was such an unrefined display that it would have been hard for Arrenhe's ears not to be offended but she knew the discharge of energy would be useful to her later and let them carry on.
"An accident? Do you honestly expect us believe that?!" Senator Nvaed tr'Delon slammed his fist onto the table again. Apparently he didn't understand that this wasn't one of the lower senate's floor debates and that causing such a commotion was unnecessary to be heard. But he did have a point. No one in the room believed that lie and least of all Arrenhe.
"I agree." The much calmer voice of EnRiov Lyna t'Hnea rose up through the commotion. "But the problem remains... who? It is no secret that Vaebn tr'Ehhelih was one of the Empress' closest allies in the Senate. If he has been killed it would have been by one of her enemies." Lyna paused for two breaths as she gently tugged a wrinkle out of the magenta sash that held the golden hatham crested sigil of the second fleet "enemies that currently fill this room."
"Are you suggesting that one of us is the murderer?" tr'Delon glared at Lyna "how do we know it's not you?"
"Your tongue is quite loose to make such a serious accusation Senator." From the opposite end of the table Khre'Riov tr'Kaija's voice dripped with scarcely veiled contempt as he addressed tr'Delon "how do we know that you are not the one responsible for tr'Ehhelih's death? For all we know this whole thing is some silly charade to deflect suspicion off of your own person."
Nvaed tr'Delon raised his fist in preparation to slam it down for the fourth time but the sound of metal hitting the table stopped him and caused a hush to fall over the room. Takaram tr'Thrai pushed the glimmering edge of polished silver forward enough for everyone to see. Silence lingered as all eyes rested on the EnRiov and the honor blade he had set in front of him. The challenge didn't need be spoken as he commanded the room's attention easily "enough of this meaningless banter." He looked at Arrenhe "Praetor what do you know of this? Who is responsible?"
Who? That was a good question and while Arrenhe didn't have proof she had enough suspicion in her mind that her eyes betrayed her thoughts and focused on Taev tr'Relek. The smirking EnRiov followed her gaze towards him and raised a brow while looking away sheepishly. Oh what a clever little creature he was. That expression on his face was foolish and deflecting but she knew better. As Ambassador to Earth Arrenhe once had the opportunity to visit the London Zoo where she had encountered this creature called a Hyena. It was a doltish beast that preened and laughed this ridiculous shrill noise- but behind that veneer it was a vicious predator with a deadly bite. That is how she viewed tr'Relek. Death seemed to follow him so casually- first his commanding officer leading to his promotion as commander of the IRW Rhea's Helm and then later the former Eisn system security chief who seemingly died of 'indigestion.' It was little secret that he had supported several current Senators financially and in return they had influence the appointment to his current position. Behind that smirk there were daggers and it was likely that one of them had embedded itself in tr'Ehhelih.
" Praetor, it seems your eyes are focusing on me?" tr'Relek let out a half hearted chuckle as several gazes had followed Arrenhe's onto him "at this point does it truly matter who killed tr'Ehhelih? He was aiding the Empress in the Senate by attempting to enforce that absurd declaration to integrate our forces with the Federation. He was an enemy to our people, a traitor, and his death should be the least of our concerns."
"So it was you." EnRiov Gwiu t'Knei, Commander of the Tal'Diann, sneered at tr'Relek who was seated beside her "how dare you act outside this committee. You have put us all in dange-"
"How dare I act outside this committee? What has it done while the Empress walks over every essence of our being? While she throws our forces to the Federation's defense and allows this rag of a commonwealth to disgrace what it means to be Romulan? Yes I had tr'Ehhelih killed. That insufferable fool was a disgrace and I was not going to sit still and allow him to continue the Empress' bidding in the Senate. The Zorek only agreed to join this committee because we expected something would be done about her but yet here we sit arguing over nonsense."
"Nonsense? Nonsense?" t'Hnea shook her head at him her tone disbelieving "how dare you lecture us when you have put us all in danger? If the Empress didn't know she had enemies before she will certainly know now. She will strengthen her grip and slowly root us out. I don't understand how you can be so blind to the stupidity of what you have done? Every preparation we have made to rid of her are now imperiled. Months of planning possibly wasted because of you."
"Perhaps I was a bit premature-"
"Yes, I'm sure your wife would likely agree." The cutting insult caused a brief chorus of chuckles to echo through the room. Every head turned towards the last empty seat at the far right of the table where a flickering hologram now hovered behind it. "Lyna you are wasting your time trying to talk sense to such that abominable creature. So let's not waste time and get to the heart of the matter." The svelte figure placed two hands on the back of the chair and focused her piercing violet eyes on Arrenhe. "Am I right Praetor?"
"Khre'Riov t'Rehu. I assume preparations are done?" Arrenhe let a smirk slip as she watched the Khre'Riov's flickering image slowly take its place in the chair. Plenty of those gathered had debated the merits of giving Shiarrael t'Rehu such a responsibility. After all she was considered by many to be a traitor- but Arrenhe knew the Khre'Riov's strategic prowess were almost unmatched. The fact that Takaram spoke highly of her only solidified Arrenhe's opinion and she hoped the Khre'Riov would prove the old EnRiov's words true.
t'Rehu's hands seemed to play with an invisible device as her eyes scanned the table top while reading. Finally she looked up and turned to face most of the group "As well as can be. We have had to rush the final preparations due to unforeseen circumstances." Her gaze twisted towards tr'Relek as she spoke "but they are done. Everyone knows their role I assume?" She paused and waited for anyone to disagree and when no one did she continued "we have advanced the timetable by a week. This will increase the possibility of failure by ten percent." Her image flickered again "but there is no turning back."
"Failure will mean death." tr'Delon spoke up "if your plan fails Khre'Riov we will be dead in short order. I hope the Praetor's faith in you was not misplaced."
"Well, you will just have to see now won't you?" t'Rehu grinned and stood up "failure is always a possibility. If you were not prepared to die you should have never agreed to this plan. I believe our chances are good and that we will succeed but by no means am I graced with perfection." She looked at Arrenhe again "with everyone's permission I will give the order to begin."
Arrenhe nodded feeling a swell of anticipation. "Begin. Everyone is dismissed. We will speak again after all is said and done." She looked at Shiarrael as figures began to disappear from around the table "please wait a second Khre'Riov." Arrenhe watched the last hologram fizzle away before she spoke again "tr'Relek is a problem."
t'Rehu nodded "indeed but I would not concern myself too much with him Praetor. That matter will be dealt with."
"Will it?" Arrenhe stood up "very well. I have high expectations."
"As do I." t'Rehu replied as her image also fizzled out.
"So this is where we are?" Arrenhe looked at the empty sun drenched table. "Empress I am sorry for what we are about to do to you but the Empire will be stronger for it."
Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu