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.
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