[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