Chapter One (cont.)
“Captain Dahlgren, we are receiving a transmission,” Chan reported with a quiver of his antennae.
“From Commander Borahn?”
“No, sir. From Proconsul Saloen.”
“One screen,” answered Matt.
The main viewer blanked and the image of a regal Romulan appeared. “Captain Dahlgren, I am Saloen, Proconsul of the Mahayadien Province of the Star Empire.”
“Proconsul,” Matt replied after he stood and bowed.
“I regret to inform you that I cannot allow your ship to cross Romulan space. However, I have a solution to your problem.”
Matt’s stomach lurched, but he forced the smile to remain on his face. “And that is?”
“You have a small vessel, what you refer to as a ‘gig’ assigned to Republic
, do you not?”
“I will allow you to transfer your patient and his physician, a pilot, an engineer, and two other personnel to ensure your own safety—after all a Vulcan in pon farr
is very dangerous, Captain—aboard your gig and our Warbird will tow you to the Klingon border. I have already contacted Chancellor Martok and he is expecting your request for a ship to convey you and your crewman to Vulcan.”
“I see,” answered Matt. “Proconsul, I assure you that Republic
s sensors—except for navigational sensors—will remain off-line if you allow us to trans-. . .”
“No, Captain Dahlgren. I have stated what I will allow. It is up to you if your crewman lives or dies. The Star Empire has done all that it can do on your behalf. Commander Borahn is standing by to take your gig in tow or return to his duty assignment, depending on your choice.”
The transmission died.
“So much for cutting a few days travel time off, Captain Dahlgren,” whispered Chan. “Shall I have Miss Biddle plot a course back to Earth?”
Matt frowned. “Yes, Mister Shrak. And have the gig prepped for launch. Dr. Talbot, Lieutenant Turovik, and three crewmen are to meet me onboard. You will command Republic
back to Earth.”
“Sir . . .” Chan began to growl, but Matt waved him off. He walked up close to the Andorian. “This can work to our advantage. If Mar thinks I am still aboard Republic
, that gives me a chance to get to Earth and my family before she acts. Make the preparations, Commander, and open a channel to the Klingon homeworld. I need to ask Martok a favor.”