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: email@example.com
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 :)
Dedication: In 1991, in what we call the 2nd Gulf War, the SAS, a British Special Forces unit, became actively involved in the conflict. An eight men-strong combat patrol of the 22nd SAS was send out to observe the Iraqui Main Supply Road, and, if possible, to locate and destroy Iraqui SCUD launchers. Their outpost‘s security was compromised on the second day, and the unit forced to withdraw. The patrol, Bravo Two Zero, fought its way out of immediate danger, losing one man, and then got separated. The missing three men, of whom two were wounded, headed to the Syrian border. One of them swam across the frozen Euphrat and was rescued. The other two didn‘t. The remaining four of the patrol were captured and submitted to brutal and barbarian torture, before being released. In total, the eight men of Bravo Two Zero left over 200 dead or wounded Iraquis behind. This is for the three who didn‘t come back.
Note: The newly (or rather, soon-to-be) introduced character of Captain Chris Ryan is not named after me, but after Corporal Chris Ryan, SAS, the single soldier of Bravo Two Zero to make it over the Syrian border, after a 300 km march through the Iraqui desert, with only 2 packets of biscuits to eat and practically nothing to drink.
The Price of Admirality
« Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close semblance to the oldest. »
Attributed to General Alexandr Kerensky
« Politics is of great use to such men as myself. It helps determine who should be at the dangerous end of a phaser. »
StarFleet Captain Ben Maxwell
Part 7 - Congress of treachery
SandhurstWhen the door opened, the light shining from corridor invaded the room, plunging the still-sleeping figure lying in its bed in white light. The male human who had been sleeping in it until then turned around sleepily, and slowly opened his eyes. He winced when the light assaulted his eyes, and he had to blink several times, before his pupils had narrowed enough to admit - up to a certain point - a clear view of his quarters. ‚What the the hell?‘ he moaned. ‚This better be good, because if not, I‘ll damn well ki...Ian? That you?‘
The shadow standing in the doorframe nodded. ‚Yessir. Sorry to wake you Chris, but your "presence is needed in CnC, ASAP", quotation end.‘ Captain Christopher Ryan let himself fall back onto the bed noisily.
‚Why can‘t I be needed at a civilized time? Just once?‘ he asked.
‚Beats me. But I suggest you get up, dressed, and ready, now.‘
Sitting on the edge of his bed, Chris looked at his friend tiredly.
‚Yes, sir‘ he said, with a mock salute.
‚I‘ll be waiting outside,‘ Ian Malenkov said. ‚Yes, yes, I‘m sure I‘ll be fine,‘ Chris said, waving his friend out of the room tiredly.
When the door had closed behind him again, Chris stood up and went over to his bathroom. He was a tall, perhaps skinny man, with sand-blonde hair, that fell over his dark brown eyes. When he looked in his mirror, he saw that he truly looked like somebody who had been woken out of a pleasant dream, in the middle of the night. He looked at the chronometre over the mirror.
Letting out a grunt, he then proceeded to wash and shave himself, and went over to his dresser.
Five minutes later, he stepped out of his quarters, clad in the best thing he could find in the hurry: black leather combat boots, black trousers and shirt. He hadn‘t found the time to search for his belt, so he wore his shirt loosely over the trousers. A breach of protocol; exactly what I need now, he mused, smirking. On the left shoulder of the shirt, his unit‘s crest showed itself, the image of a black fox‘ head, dripping with foamed saliva, against a blood-red background.
On the right shoulder, another crest was visibly attached. The insignia of A Squadron, a golden, winged dagger, a paper scroll in front of it, with his unit‘s motto inscribed, Who Dares Wins, the whole of it in front of a black background, as dark as the rest of his unifrom. Apart from the insignias, and the equally black beret he wore, nothing showed his rank or identity.
His choice of clothes was confirmed when he noticed that Ian, his deputy, was dressed roughly the same as he was, except that the winged dagger was replaced by a black heart on a white background, and a white hour-glass, in the center of the heart.
Ian Malenkov was a relatively tall, handsome young man of twenty-four years. His hair was cut short, and dark. His green slit-eyes flickerd attentively across the space in front of him, absorbing every detail of the path they walked, as they walked. His eyes indicated Asian origin, but as he knew, only his grand-mother‘s side of the family was Asian. His perhaps lanky, but muscular body was a result of his unit‘s training.
Together they made their way to the next turbolift, which transported them to the building‘s basement. As soon as they stepped outside the front door, Chris could feel the cold wind, that was so typical for this part of Earth, tugging at his shirt.
Walking with a quick pace, they made their way over the narrow path across the garden complex surrounding the unit‘s so-called barracks, in fact a luxurious building complex which harboured the active personal of his team.
Through the not-so-dense forest on his right, Chris could see the sun, glowing orangely, slowly rising. Knowing the danger of walking in the dark, eyes focused on something else than the path, he shook off a sudden feeling of melancholy and continued his walk. They were walking across the soft, grassy hills of an age-old town, the place where he had been born, Sandhurst, on a relatively small island near the main European Continent, a beautiful island, called England. For centuries, Sandhurst had been the location of a military college. On the founding of the Federation, the place had been shut down, the official reason being that there would be no more need for such an institution, in the bright future of mankind, that lay ahead of them.
But when the Federation had made contact with a new enemy, more lethal than any it had previously encountered, the Borg, a special program had been called to life.
A young, ambitious officer had been given the task of preparing the Federation for the war that now seemed inevitably.
Among other things, Commander Ariana Shelby, now Captain Shelby, had
re-instated the old Sandhurst college, as training and command
facility for a new section of StarFleet she intended to create. Hand-picked among the most promising members of the Federation‘s armed might, and equiped with the most sophisticated technology, that unit‘s speciality would be infiltration and commando missions behind enemy lines. The Regiment‘s recruits had to endure an ardous training programm, being pushed to their limits and beyond, to assess whether they were made of the ‚right stuff‘ for the unit. One could not apply directly for the unit, so all members allready had experience in StarFleet.
Christopher Ryan had always been more of a loner than anything else. On Starships, he could never feel quite at ease, and apparently he had been Shelby‘s first choice - God knew why - as commander. The official unit name, by whom the few high-ranking Admirals and the President knew it, was 14 Intelligence Company, or 14 Int, a reference to a unit of similar name who had existed, almost four centuries ago. As commander of this new unit, the only authority Christopher Ryan had to report to was Shelby, still the overall commander of the whole program. He had met Ian Malenkov quite early in his life, when he still was a kid, and somehow they had become friends. Some of Ian‘s joviality and outgoing character had ‚infected‘ Chris, but he still preferred to keep his thoughts and emotions for himself.
After about ten minutes of walking in the early morning, the two men reached CnC, the Command and Control centre of the unit. Two heavily armed Guards stood at each side of the front entrance. When they saw the unit crest on Ryan‘s left shoulder, they snapped into attention simultaneously.
Chris nodded in their direction. One of the guards stepped aside and revealed a hip-high, narrow console. Ryan stepped closer, and tapped his personal code into the numeric pad on top of it. A small diode on the console changed from red to green, and a small cover slit aside, revealing a small slot. Ryan pulled out a rectangular white card, equal in size to the slot, and let it slide in.
The door opened.
Ryan pocketed the card again, and entered the building, followed by Ian. At the end of the corridor they stepped into a turbolift. The doors closed behind them, and Ryan said, ‚Level four, CnC‘. Apart from the low hum of the lift, nothing indicated that the small cabin hat set itself in motion. After only some brief seconds, Ken turned to his friend.
‚So, what do you think they want from us?‘ he asked.
‚I have no idea, Ian,‘ Ryan muttered.
Ian knew his commander and friend. Trying to start a conversation when he was in this state was futile and would lead to nothing. The rest of the trip was silent.
The computer voice announced ‚Level Four - CnC‘, and the doors slid open. They revealed a large room, a big, rectangular table standing in its center. The table was made of wood, a rare sight in the 24th century. Monitors, consoles and touch-sensitive, illuminated keyboards were integrated in the old, oak table. Two of the walls were fitted with man-high MultiFunction Displays, the other wall was made of glass, and offered a splendid view of the surrounding lush vegetation and the sky. The remaining, far, side of the room barred every technology, except for a large, duranium-built, door.
Not even nodding to the few people allready present, Chris strode across the room.
The doors barely had time to open in front of the impatient commander, and in the very motion of entering the door, Ryan held up his right hand and said, ‚Ian, you‘ll wait here‘ and disappeared behind the four inch-thick doors.
Standing before the now-closed door, Ian Malenkov started uttering a ‚Typical, absolutely typical‘, but stopped himself. No, he thought. Critisizing a superior officer in front of others wouldn‘t do any good.
Instead, he walked over to a young Lieutenant, who bent over a monitor embedded in the oak table, and stood beside her. He put his right hand over the young woman‘s shoulder and looked at the monitor she was studying.
‚So, how‘s it going?‘ he said.
The room he entered was dark. The only light came from another man-high monitor, on the opposite end of the room.
Ryan stopped dead, and saluted.
‚Captain Ryan reporting for duty, sir,‘ he snapped.
‚At ease, Christopher,‘ a female voice answered. In a moment, the monitor was switched off, and the lights on. The room was plunged in a soft, yellow light. Behind a large, old-fashioned, wooden desk, a woman in her late twenties, with blonde hair and clad in the newly issued StarFleet uniform, looked up at him. The rank pips indicated a Captain, but Chris didn‘t need to look at them. He knew Captain Shelby when he saw her.
Ariana Shelby motioned to a comfortable-looking leather chair, in front of her desk.
Selby folded her hands in front of her.
‚First,‘ she said, ‚I‘m sorry to wake you at this time of night, but the matter for which I need you is important.‘ ‚Always on duty Captain,‘ he replied. ‚Isn‘t that your motto?‘
‚Please, why so formal? When we‘re alone, call me Ria, like all my friends.‘
‚What makes you think I‘m your friend?‘ Ryan teased.
A smile appeared on Shelby‘s face.
‚We may have grown up together Chris,‘ she warned, smirking. ‚but don‘t push it.‘
‚Now, more serious buiseness awaits us.‘
She tapped a hidden button on the underside of her desk, and the display on the wall was reactivated. It showed the face of a young woman, a Romulan, the typical short hair and hair-do, but, unusually green eyes.
‚Do you know this woman?‘ Shelby asked.
Ryan smiled grimly.
‚Of course. Colonel Janika, the leader of DEST.‘
DEST was the Federation call-sign for Draconis Elite Strike Team. The name Draconis was derived from the unit‘s insignia, a black stylized Dragon, against a red background. The Federation had learned about the DEST teams, when an Human ensign, who had deserted to the Romulans years before, had once again changed sides and surrendered himself and a fairly big amount of data on the Romulan Empire to the Federation. The data he carried was detailed and of vital importance, and when StarFleet Security had learned about DEST, the Federation Council had concluded that an own Commando unit was indispensable, which was fortunate, because Commander Shelby had already set up such a unit, though that fact was known only to the fewest of people. And so, the Rabid Fox teams were re-created, of which Ryan and Malenkov were members.
‚Exactly. Now; I know Rabid Fox is often forgotten when it comes to the latest news,‘ she said, referring to his unit‘s unofficial name. ‚And I apologize. Fact is, Romulus and the Federation are currently engaged in negotiations concerning an alliance. You do not look very surprised, do you?‘
‚I allready knew about it.‘
‚What?‘ she asked, genuinely surprised, but re-gained control of herself quickly. ‚How?‘
‚One of my men is stationed on StarBase 89. The Warbirds were not easily to be overseen. The rest...‘ he shrugged. ‚A lucky guess.‘ ‚I see,‘ she said flatly, her eyes narrowing to small slots. ‚Anyway, the leader of the Romulan delegation, Colonel Sela, has brought Janika with her.‘
Ryan nodded, but remained silent.
Apparently a bit unnerved, Shelby stood up and walked over to the monitor, until she was barely inches away from the Romulan face. ‚The Fox‘ squadron is in orbit around Earth. Chinook and ChickenHawk - two Defiants - are ready and waiting. This time you‘ll be travelling on the ChickenHawk - the Chinook had been re-assigned to a front-line fleet. Your mission is, for the moment, to observe the Romulan delegation, in particular Colonel Janika. Take A Squadron with you. Combat gears are already waiting for you in the Defiants‘ cargo bays.‘ Ryan nodded, again.
‚Understood,‘ he said. ‚When are we going?‘
‚As soon as possible. If you‘re allright with it, this morning.‘
Ryan stood up.
‚Allright,‘ he said.
Shelby seemed to be thinking something over, so Ryan waited patiently for her to speak.
‚Wait. The Romulans might still try something. Perhaps you should take the Watch with you.‘
The Watch, or Blackhearts, as they were called because of their recognition sign, consisted of, in total, five men, and was a special sub-division of 14 Int, specialised in Anti-Terror tactics and so-called Black operations, or BlackOps. They did get their nick-name Blackhearts, because they traditionally left a card with an imprinted black heart on the cold bodies of their victims. The cynical motto of the unit was In hoc signo vinces - Beneath this sign you shall win. According to an age-old legend, the Emperor of the East-Roman Empire, Constantin, was given this message by the Lord in a vision, before going into a - victorious - battle.
‚Do you really think that‘s necessary?‘ Ryan asked.
‚Right. If you think.‘
Ryan stood up and headed towards the door.
Shelby‘s voice made him stop, before he could reach it.
With a last nod, and a ‚see you‘, Ryan was gone.
When the door opened with the typical hiss, Ian Malenkov turned. His CO, Christopher Ryan, quickly walked out of the room he had been in for the past 15 minutes.
‚C‘mon, Ian. We gotta get going. For a change you and your blokes are with the rest of A Squad,‘ he said, as he walked past. Grabbing his beret from the big table, Ian had to run to keep up with his friend.
‚Wohwoh, hang on a second. What did the Iron Lady want?‘ he asked. And after a moment‘s hesitation, he added, ‚And where exactly are we going?‘
Ryan‘s answer made Ian stop dead in his tracks.
‚This is absolutely ridiculous!‘ Benjamin Sisko exclaimed. ‚There is a war going on out there, and we sit here arguing about observers and politics!‘
Colonel Sela remained calm. ‚Did not on of your own philosophers say
that military actions are the ultimate extension of politics? So, how
can we divorce them? We-‚
Unusual for a Vulcan, Spock interrupted her. ‚Von Clausewitz made that observation about Napoleonic politics and warfare, but his book was published at a time when both, he and the phenomenom he commented upon had vanished. If you look at the history of warfare fought while his doctrine held sway, you‘d see that the empirical data fails to prove his conclusion. War is far too complex a phenomenom to fit into so simple a paradigm, especially when the forces unleashed in it are capable of sterilizing whole planets.‘
Sela glared at him, but remained silent.‚What exactly are we arguing about?‘
For a while.
‚Observers,‘ Sisko commented bitterly.
His face even, Spock turned to the captain. ‚Captain Sisko, may I remind you that you are only here because Admiral Haze,‘ he pointed towards Haze and Paris, sitting next to him, ‚insisted on it. Captain Picard, a complete diplomat, has been dismissed to his duties, and if you don‘t wont the same happen to you, I would suggest you would reduce your talking to constructive comments, and equally reduce your...cowboy diplomacy.‘
Taken aback, Sisko could do nothing but sit and send a glare towards the old Vulcan ambassador.
Everybody in the room watched Sela, when the tall woman who had been with Sela all the time, bent over, and talked to her. No one could understand her, as she spoke Romulan, but apparently Sela agreed. When the woman had seated herself again properly, the Colonel folded her hands on the desk, in front of her.
‚Listen, gentlemen. The decision stands: no permanent observers on our ship. However, we are prepared to agree to an exchange program; one, only one of your men will come aboard my flag ship, and one of mine aboard Enterprise, your flagship.
Face it, you need this alliance. So, there should be no arguing about observers and such-like.‘
‚I have to agree with the Colonel,‘ a new voice said.
As everybody turned to look at the newcomer, Captain Christopher Ryan entered the room. He still wore the same clothes he had put on that night, when Captain Shelby had called him to his office. He had only put on a shirt without the unit‘s insignias, and had issued his men to do the same. And as a "sign of good faith", he had decided against arming himself.
Making his way to where Admiral Haze was seated, Ryan took an old-fashioned paper enveloppe out of a side-pocket in his trousers. The reason for using paper for Regimental affairs concerning Rabid Fox was obvious: easy to destroy, without chance of recovery. He handed Admiral Haze the blank enveloppe, who unfolded and read it. He, in turn, handed it to Admiral Paris, who equally read it, then turned it back to Ryan.
The Romulan woman beside Sela had locked her eyes on Ryan since he had entered the room through a rear door. She bent over again to Sela and whispered something in her ear. The blonde Colonel nodded in agreement.
Haze turned to the delegations.
‚Ladies and gentlemen,‘ he said, ‚this is Captain Christopher Ryan, of the...StarFleet Security branch,‘ he added after a short hesitation. Ryan gave everyone the friendliest nod he could possibly afford.
‚Captain Ryan,‘ Sela said. ‚I have heard about you.‘
‚I believe you have, sir. And you, Colonel Janika.‘
The StarFleet personal stared at him open-mouthed.
The Romulan delegation too, looked slightly shocked.
But Sela soon recovered from the initial shock.
‚Touché,‘ she said, smirking. There was no humor in her smile. ‚I should have seen it coming, Captain. Gentlemen,‘ she said, turning to the StarFleet side of the table, ‚may I introduce: Colonel Janika, head of the nekekami. And now we will get on with things, or we won‘t, either way, I said all I intend to, about the Colonel,‘ she added darkly.
Nekekami, Ryan mused. Spirit Cat. Interesting choice of name. As part of his training, all 14 Int members had to be able to speak, and think, in Romulan, Klingon and Cardassian, the natives languages of the places where they were most likely to be deployed. This education was vital, because the few seconds one normally needs to mentally translate from one language to another, could not be afforded on covert operations, where one was forced to behave casually and normally. In addition, when the mission required it, each member could visit a special course, to learn another alien language in the shortest time possible. Thus Ryan had learned to speak and think Bajoran once - although by now his skills at that language had diminished somewhat - when he was once sent on a covert mission on Bajor.
Smiling slightly, Sela turned to look at Ryan, who had by now seated himself beside Spock.
‚And what, Captain Ryan, is your mission here?‘ she asked sweetly.
‚Observing,‘ was his laconic answer.
A bar is the best place to forget.
In StarBase 89‘s bar, B‘Elanna Torres, Neelix, Harry Kim, Julian Bashir and Deanna Troi were sitting at a table. Empty glasses, previously filled with synthehol, RakhT‘Haginos, hot chocolate or in Julian‘s case, a bottle of Saurian Brandy, were standing in front of them.
Their ships, after countless battles and skirmishes had been docked, to repair damages, and their crews had been granted shore-leave. Harry and Neelix had decided that B‘Elanna needed a bit of distraction, and had half-dragged her to the bar. Deanna Troi had met Julian Bashir on Defiant, and the doctor had invited her to a drink. The five of them, had ended up sharing a common table.
‚To our comrades in arms,‘ Julian shouted, earning some strange looks from the other guests.
‚You‘re drunk Julian,‘ Troi commented.
‚I‘m not. Well...maybe I am. But just a little,‘ he stuttered.
‚Good thinking that man,‘ Neelix commented enthusiastically, himself already a bit...jolly. ‚Being drunk is a very good idea...I think... What exactly is in that...Saurian Brandy of yours, anyway?‘
‚You don‘t want to know,‘ the doctor said, ‚You really don‘t want to know...‘
B‘Elanna and Harry shook their heads simultaneously, a small smile crossing their faces, nevertheless.
Troi stood up. ‚I think,‘ she said, ‚I will now endeavour in the quest for a cup of mousse chocolat.‘
And she left, heading to the bar. When she crossed the room, she saw a man entering it, clad entirely in black. He arrived at the bar first, and she could hear him ordering mousse chocolat. When she reached the bar, the waiter was still waiting for her.
‚I‘ll have the same, please,‘ she said.
The man looked at her.
‚You like chocolate?‘ he asked innocently.
Troi smiled. ‚I wouldn‘t want to live without it,‘ she admitted.
‚Me too,‘ the man said, now smiling at her. ‚But most people think you‘re out of your mind when you order chocolates...as an adult, I mean.‘
Troi giggled happily. ‚Oh, I know exactly what you mean.‘
Probably they would have talked like this for a while, but the waiter interrupted her, giving her her mousse. When she turned, Ian already had disappeared.
Men, go figure!
Out of the corner of his eye, Ian had seen another woman enter the room. If he had believed in the ‚love at first sight‘ phenomenom, which he didn‘t, that would have been, as they say, it. The young woman that had entered the bar was tall and slender. Dense, black hair reached to her lower neck, but he could see the pointed ears beneath her silky sheening hair. The ears were only slightly pointed, noticably less than those of a full-blooded Vulcan. Ian had fairly good eyes, and so he could actually see those of the newcomer. They were, for a Vulcan, very...unusual. Vulcans normally had dark eyes. Due to the extreme climatic conditions on Vulcan, the inhabitants had developped a darker iris than Humans. It was a protection from hazardous emissions from the sun, like their second eyelid. But this Vulcan, had...other eyes. Bright and green, with a touch of steel-grey.
She was dressed in a black cat-suit with high collar, and in what reminded Ian of a combat vest, dark green. But the clothes hardly mattered to him.
The eyes, the dark hair, the ears, the aristocratic snub-nose and the fine, elegant mouth; everyting added to her elvish appearance. She was the most beautiful thing, ever to be aboard this StarBase.
Or so, Ian thought.
The woman walked over to the bar, stood next to him, nodded friendly, in his direction, and ordered a Romulan Ale.
She turned to Ian, eyed him.
‚You are staring at me,‘ she remarked.
Ian blushed slightly, a thing he hadn‘t done since his old schooldays. ‚I‘m sorry,‘ he apologized, and was totally perplexed, when she actually smiled at him.
‚I could not help but noticing you,‘ he added after a while.
The Vulcan continued to look at him.
Ian held out his hand. ‚Ian Malenkov,‘ he declared.
The woman studied his face for a second, then his hand.
‚Talina, pleasure to meet you, Mister Malenkov,‘ she said, taking his hand.
Ian took it, then bent over, and kissed her knuckles.
‚The pleasure is all mine.‘
And for a while, they indulged in friendly small-talk, until...until Ian came to speak on Vulcan.
‚I have been to your homeworld once. I kinda liked it,‘ he said.
‚I seriously doubt that.‘
‚No really, Vulcan is not that bad a place...just a bit hot, and...‘ Seeing her sly grin, Ian stopped. And then the sheds fell from his eyes, and he recognized his mistake.
‚You‘re Romulan,‘ he stated.
For a while there was silence.
‚I know,‘ the Romulan said then, ‚that we are probably not allowed to talk to each other, so if you have to go now, I‘d understand it.‘
Much to his surprise, she sounded almost...sad.
‚You sound almost...sad,‘ he said. It really was all he could manage at that time.
‚I almost am,‘ she remarked slyly. ‚You‘re good company.‘
Ian was surprised. Genuinely surprised.
‚You know, I have never met a friendly and amiable Romulan...until today.‘
She bowed her head in gratitude, but her voice was serious again when she spoke.
‚Contrary to what your propaganda says, Romulans aren‘t cold-blooded, blood-thristy, emotional copies of Vulcans. And contrary to what our propaganda says, not all of us hate Humans.
‚It is true, we are a...passionate people, but passion can be something very positive.‘
‚So it would seem.‘
‚Romulans too have feelings.‘
‚I never doubted that.‘
Talina smiled. Ian found he increasingly liked her smile. And her.
She raised her glass, and held it in front of both their faces.
‚To the Romulans,‘ she toasted.
Their glasses met in the air with a slight tinkle.
‚To the Romulans,‘ he repeated. ‚Sastarovje.‘
‚Ambassador Spock, what are you saying?‘ Sela‘s voice began to show symptoms of the hour-long debate in which she was involved.
‚I was sent here, by the Federation High Council, to assess the possibility of an alliance with the Romuan Star Empire. This I have done. It seems to me, that we have enough in common - including an enemy - to be of mutual help in this war.‘
‚So, your superiors have come to a decision have they?‘
Spock nodded his agreement.
‚And what decision would that be?‘
Spock reached for a PADD, and handed it to Sela.
‚This,‘ he said, ‚is a copy of the treaty my government proposes. It includes all the compromises and agreements we have reached here, such as the transport of StarFleet personal on Romulan ships and vice versa, the mutual defense clause, the possibility of exchanging technology, and the annulation of the Treaty of Algeron.‘
Sela took the PADD, handed it to Janika and nodded. ‚You understand of course,‘ she said, addressing all officers in general, ‚that we will have to go through the document for ourselves.‘
‚But, I think that there will be no more problems. So I suppose we can...call it a deal?‘
‚Done and done,‘ Ryan said.
As they walked, hand in hand, through Enterprise‘s corridors, earning curious, incredulous and amused looks and smiles from what crew they encountered, Talina and Ian Malenkov discussed the evening they had just spent together. When the StarBase‘s bar had become too crowded, they had changed locations and continued their talk in Ten Forward, where nearly no one had been, apart from Guinan and two, three other crewmen.
Somehow, the innocent small-talk they had held at the beginning, had changed into what certain people would maybe call a date. Or maybe not. Most of the time however, they had just been talking, each one telling "his" story, or little anecdotes. Really, they had simply enjoyed each other.
But before long, the evening was over, and now they were standing in front of Talina‘s Quarters, facing each other, holding hands. Ian had been surprised to say the least learn that her quarters were onboard Enterprise, but she had explained it to him. Exchange officer. In that case, probably Tal Shiar.
Ian was merely a few centimeters taller than her, but Talina still had arched her head back slightly, to look in his eyes. ‚So,‘ she said. ‚Will I ever see you again?‘ And, after a brief pause, she added, ‚God, that sounded like one of your cheap holo-novels.‘ Ian giggled happily.
‚Yes it did. But I happen to like cheap, sappy holo-novels,‘ he said in a low voice. ‚I still have two weeks worth of shore leave left. I think I‘ll have them now.‘
‚I hope that has something to do with me,‘ she whispered.
Talina slapped his chest playfully.
And just at that moment, two more crewmen walked past, eyeing the Romulan/Human couple strangely.
Ian watched their backs, until they disappeared behind a corner, then he snorted slightly.
‚They will be wondering what such a beautiful Romulan wmoan in combat dress is doing here, with somebody like me, whom they have never seen before, and worst of all, holding hands. It will be all over the ship by tomorrow afternoon. Probably before.‘
‚Humans,‘ Talina snorted, amused. Slightly amused. ‚A Romulan Crew wouldn‘t care about such a thing. They wouldn‘t stand around outside their quarters for anyone to see, if it comes to that. But you humans, you have to talk about everything.‘
‚Let them talk.‘
Ian looked into her eyes, but before long his sense of duty won over his private desires. After all, he thought. She still is Romulan. And Secret Service.
‚I have to go,‘ he said hurriedly. ‚I have some early briefings to attend to tomorrow.‘
Already turning to leave, he was stopped by a Romulan hand, grabbing his shoulder. As he looked at her questioningly, she stood on the tip of her toes and kissed him lightly on the lips. ‚Thank you,‘ she whispered in his ear. ‚For new insights in the Human race. And for this special evening.‘
‚Bye,‘ Ian said, squeezing her hand a last time, before she disppeared in her quarters.
Ian Malenkov grinned. For the rest of his journey back to his quarters on-board Chickenhawk, he could not help it but whistle a jolly tune, that had suddenly come into his mind.
Shelby‘d go spare, was the thought that kept him amused until he collapsed in his bed, to sleep. Finally sleep.
Three days later
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. We have the pleasure of informing you that today, StarFleet HighCommand has announced a new alliance, between our people, and the Romulan Star Empire. The Non-Aggression and Mutual Defense treaty was signed yesterday evening, on StarBase89. Now, with this new powerful ally, the Dominion will soon stop posing a serious threat to our loyal citizens.
Some of you might wonder what had happened to our other ally, the Klingon Empire. A spokesman of StarFleet announced yesterday that the Klingon High Chancellor Gowron has decided to retire from the active conflict.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that was today‘s Evening News. And now, stay tuned for another episode of our Brasilian soap-opera "Olé"!