Chapter One (cont.)
“Sir, the Warbird Nei’rrhael
has decloaked and is hailing us,” Chan reported from his station.
“On screen, Mister Shrak,” Matt replied.
The main viewer blanked and then presented the image of the stern looking Romulan commander, the Eagle of the Empire perched behind him on the bulkhead.
“Captain Dahlgren, your invitation to enter Federation territory was most . . . unexpected. And I given to understand that perhaps you having problems with your Klingon allies?” He smiled slightly. “Three K’Vort
-class ships ambushed you—and yet here you are and in one piece no less. Impressive.”
Matt stood and forced a smile upon his face. “Commander Borahn,” the Captain of Republic
said with a slight bow. “I owe you an apology and an explanation for my tall tales in the Corridor. So that your government does not take it as an insult to our erstwhile allies in the Dominion War, I have decided to host a dinner for you and your senior officers, here aboard my vessel.”
Borahn cocked one eyebrow. “A dinner invitation, Captain Dahlgren? You asked us here to Camulus, in Federation space, to extend to us a dinner invitation?”
“And an apology, Commander Borahn; one mustn’t forget that. Other than a handful of Romulan liaison officers attached to Star Fleet vessels during the Dominion War, virtually none of your own officer corps has had the privilege of receiving a tour of a Star Fleet vessel—I thought that this might, in some small way, make amends for my earlier bluff.”
“Your lies, you mean.”
Matt simply shrugged, as the Romulan gazed down upon him and then finally nodded slowly. “It will be . . . interesting to see the interior of such an antique that performs so capably, Captain. I accept your invitation.”
“Two hours then?”
“Two hours, Captain Dahlgren,” the Romulan answered and the screen blanked.
The doors to Matt’s ready room slid open and Matt walked into his office, trailed by the Romulan commander. “I thought perhaps you and I could speak in private, Commander; while Mister Shrak conducts the tour for your officers,” Matt said as he crossed over to a cupboard set on the wall and took out a bottle and two glasses. “Romulan Ale?”
“I thought that was illegal in the Federation, Captain Dahlgren?”
Matt shrugged. “It is an old law that needs to be changed, Commander Borahn; one dating back to when our peoples were enemies and not allies. I try to keep a bottle on hand for . . . special occasions. It is the genuine article, not replicated.”
“Perhaps just one glass, Captain Dahlgren—to whet one’s appetite for dinner.”
Matt handed one glass of the green liquid across and set a second down on his desk before he sat. He lifted the crystal tumbler and the Romulan did as well offering a nod as a salute and both men took a sip, the Romulan smacking his lips appreciatively.
“Now why do you really want to speak with me in private, Captain?”
“Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodies, Commander.”
The Romulan jerked as he heard the phrase, and then he slowly nodded. “But who will guard the guardians? I do hope that you are not planning on blowing my cover, Captain Dahlgren—it took Star Fleet Intelligence years to get me into position and much work on my part to reach my current rank and posting in the Star Empire!”
Matt smiled. “I hope not; you have sacrificed much for your service to the Federation, Commander Davis—reconstructive surgery, implantation of the real Borahn’s memory ingrams . . . the isolation amongst a race that is not your own. But I have a problem, and I need your help.”
“I need to get back to Earth as quickly as possible—and the shortest distance between here and Earth will take me through Romulan territory.”
Borahn/Davis winced and he took another sip before setting down the glass. “My cover won’t be blown, Captain, I will be shot!”
Matt smiled. “Perhaps not, Commander Borahn; I have a plan you see.”
“Oh, good. He has a plan.”
“It’s not perfect and I need your help, but I only have to buy one hundred hours to cross Romulan space to the Klingon Empire—from there I can make my way to Earth in friendly territory.”
“And how do you propose we do this, without either revealing me as a Federation spy or being shot for being incompetent and allowing a Federation ship to cruise through out territory?”
Matt smiled and he took another sip of the bitter strong Ale. “Now, Commander; that would be telling.”