Disclaimer : You know the drill...I own nothing, only my sinister view of the world :) and some caracters, and the story, and the idea behind it...The rest, I borrowed it :) and hope they don‘t sue me...
Background : Well, this really is the continuation of another novel, so it would be advisable to read that one first. For those of you stubborn enough not to do so, here‘s a lil‘ summary :
DS9 is still under occupation. The minefield is down, but the Prophets ridded the Federation of the Dominion reinforcements. Oh, yeah, perhaps the most important thing is that Voyager has returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Paris, Tuvok, Data and Crusher are on some sort of special mission for the Federation.
Voyager and Enterprise-E have fought in the battle with the Defiant. When things were running badly indeed for the Feds, some ‚old friends‘ appeared.
And now the Continuation...
Author‘s Note : Again, I have to apologize to all the P/Tlers out there. This one, I‘m afraid, is not really a P/T story either. Perhaps towards the End, but I dunno. But I think there will be plenty of feelings in this one, in other words, perhaps it will get a bit sappy. Or perhaps not. Well, last time we left Picard, hanging out with Sela (I hope you remember her), and Paris being hung out by some Cardassian lunatic. Well, lets see what I got for you this time. :)
Feedback will be appreciated, enshrined, and carefully read! Feel free to write. You liked it? You hated it? You survived it? Tell me about it :) Everything, from praise to scorn, goes to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dedicated to Gene Roddenberry, for having invented Star Trek and making us believe in a better future, as always, and to William H. Keith jr. and Micheal A. Stackpole, some of my favourite authors. Oh, yeah, and to Terry Pratchett, my actual (!) favourite author. Also I would like to thank William Shakespeare, who helped me greatly in my last effort, even if he doesn‘t know it...and to the many poets who will appear in this one...As well I would like to apologize to all those who can‘t stand poems and whom I will bother with lots of them...this time and forever and ever .
The Price of Admirality
« Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway‘d, Or wak‘d to ecstasy the living lyre.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow‘r And all that beauty, all that wealth e‘er gave Awaits alike th‘inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. »
Thomas Gray, Elegy
Part 3 - The Illusion of truth
Holding the PADD in both of her hands, Colonel Sela leaned back against a chair, onboard Enterprise‘s Ten-Forward, reading, and from time to time nipping at the glass of blue Romulan Ale, standing on the low table in front of her. Opposing her, Picard sat, his look wandering, one time watching the stars, and sometimes resting on Sela. The female Romulan intrigued him, and, being Tasha Yar‘s daughter, this was understandable. Sela had the face, the hair of Tasha Yar, and her figure. Even if in the past they had been enemies - and so far, nothing told him that this situation had changed yet - and rightly so, he could not help but feel a certain liking for her. Because, in some way or other, he was apparently responsible for Tasha‘s death, he somehow felt Sela was his responsibility. Yet, he always felt a bit uneasy, whenever the Romulan was around, her resemblqnce to his former Security Chief being as it was. When Sela had finished reading, she dropped the PADD to the table and looked at him. After a brief pause, she said ‚You are serious about this. I can tell by your eyes.‘
Jean-Luc remained silent.
‚I can‘t,‘ she said.
‚Why not? Because he was a traitor!‘
‚Alidar Yarok was not a traitor. He-‚
‚He stole one of our scout ships and fled into Federation Space where he rendered you classified information.‘
‚Fake information. Your government tested his loyalty by giving him access to plans for an offensive against the Federation. He came aboard the Enterprise-D, and warned us about him. We penetrated the Neutral Zone, searching for a Romulan Outpost on Narendra III. The outpost, of course, didn‘t exist, and we were ambushed by two of your Warbirds. 2 days after, Admiral Yarok committed suicide. He left us this message, and asked us if we could send it to his daughter. At the time, of course, this was not possible. But since it now seems as though both of ours races would reconcile you should be able to contact his family. He sacrificed everything, to hinder your leaders in their effort in an alleged war, that would have in his opinion destroyed the Empire. He died for his home. And his last will was that his family would get this.‘ He gestured towards the PADD.
‚I am able to contact his family, yes.‘
‚But you won‘t.‘
Impatiently, Sela stood up, grabbed the PADD, and placed herself in front of one of the big windows, holding the PADD in front of her. She rested her chin on her let hand, and re-read the message, then lowered it, and looked out at the stars. She folded her arms in front of her and rested her chin on her left hand, nervously playing with her lips. When 2 minutes passed without her responding or even moving, Picard could no longer control himself. ‚Sela?‘ As if awakened out of a dream, Sela flinched. She spun around like a madwoman, but managed somehow to control herself quickly. She took two quick steps towards him, dropped the PADD in his hands and gave him one, final, ‚No‘. Then she turned again, and moved towards the door as quickly as she could, nearly bumping into Commander Riker, who had just entered the room. Will turned and looked at her, but Sela appeared not to have even noticed him, and after the doors had closed behind her, Will let out a surprised sigh and walked over to Picard‘s table. He greeted his captain, then sat down on the other side.
‚What‘s gotten into her?‘
Silently, Picard handed the PADD to his 1st officer. Will took and activated it, and after reading it, put it down on the table.
‚Oh‘ he said.
‚She refuses to transmit the message.‘
‚What did you expect?‘
‚I don‘t know.‘ Picard sighed heavily. ‚I guess, I should have known. I don‘t understand that woman.‘
‚I don‘t understand her mother.‘
Picard looked at him strangely, then a heavy silence set in.
After a while, Riker had the moral courage to deliver what he knew.
‚Sir, I‘m afraid I have other bad news.‘
Picard looked at him questioningly. ‚What news?‘
‚I have just received word from Admiral Haze. Our away team for Corvus II is missing.‘
Picard, now fully attent, looked up, concern showing in his eyes.
‚Missing? What do you mean ‚missing‘?‘
‚Apparently,‘ Will said ‚the team‘s shuttle was shot down before they could reach their target and exploded on impact. The Ketarra noticed the explosion, and the Dominion too can‘t have missed it.‘
‚My god,‘ Picard breathed.
‚We do not know what has happened to the crew, but it is...highly probable that they are already dead.‘
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Evening News are brought to you by the Federal News Agency. - Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this evening‘s news broadcast. My name is Juliet Clark, and you are watching the Federal News Agency channel. Today, is a black day for the whole of out Armed Forces. A special detachment from Starfleet has, some days ago, conducted a daring raid, on one of the enemy‘s more vital planets. We have the tragic duty to inform you that the team has unfortunately been shot down, before it could reach its target. The chance that the crew-members are still alive is minimal. Even so, in the case any of the officers survived the crash, he would by now be at the mercy of a team of professional Cardassian torturers. [pause] To the families of those brave men and women, we can but express our most sincere sorrow and sympathy for their suffering. [pause] On the rest of the front line, equally disastrous encounters with Dominion forces have so far cost the lives of more than 50,000 of our StarFleet officers, and an, until now, unknown number off innocent by-standers and citizens. Today however, a spokesman of the StarFleet HighCommand staff in San Fransisco, Earth, has informed us that our troops have engaged a mighty enemy fleet, and have been relatively victorious. Details of the engagement have not bee released so far, but in one of our future broadcasts, we will undoubtedly have the opportunity... [fade out] - Ladies and Gentlemen, that was today‘s Evening News. And now, stay tuned for our newest holo-novel, In the Beginning, starring: Bruce Boxleitner, as Captain John Sheridan Mira Furlan, as Delenn, Claudia Christian, as...