The door chime to her quarters sounded to announce a visitor and she barked, “Enter,” without ever taking her eyes off the padd she had been studying diligently.
Rekar stepped into Commander Toreth’s spartan quarters and walked up to her desk. “You wished to see me,” the Tal Shiar operative said, keeping the tone of his voice haughty as if coming here was a great imposition to him.
Toreth responded by holding up a finger towards him and without affording him a single glance as she kept her eyes on the padd. It was a gesture likely to rankle the man on purpose.
She left him stewing for nearly half a minute. Toreth had never much cared for the Tal Shiar, considering their methods of fear and intimidation counter-productive and their agents even more arrogant than most Romulan officials. Secretly she had hoped that after their decimation at the hand of the Dominion things would change within the empire. Instead what was left of the intelligence apparatus had tightened its grip on Romulan society even further, perhaps in fear that otherwise it might slip out of their grasp for good.
She finished reading the document and then, without warning, slung the padd at the man’s chest who struggled catching the device for a moment as it nearly slipped through fingers. “What is the meaning of this,” he seethed.
Toreth fixed the man with a glare of her own. “That’s what I want you to tell me, Sub-commander.”
Rekar visibly suppressed the urge to further demonstrate this inappropriate behavior, fully understanding that no matter his own sense of importance, on the Khazara
, Toreth was the ultimate authority. He glanced at the padd and after reading just a few lines, his eyes widened and he shot her a disbelieving glance. “How did you obtain this?”
Toreth stood. “Do not concern yourself with how I acquire my information, what matter is that I did. Now I want to know, is it true?”
The man needed a moment to compose himself. “You have not been authorized to –“
“Is it true, Sub-commander?” she barked.
Rekar took a small breath and returned the padd back onto her desk before returning her accusatory stare in kind. “Do you really think we would be here if what the Xenarth had to offer was not immensely valuable to the Empire?”
“You call that valuable,” she said and snatched the padd up again, quickly scrolling down the many pages it contained. “According to this the entire Psi Velorum star system was made impassable by our own scientists’ failed experiments with this molecule,” she said and kept scrolling. “Three hundred civilians and soldiers were killed in a separate incident in the Borderlands. According to statements by every respected molecular scientist within the Empire, the inherent risks of trying to synthesize this particle far outweigh the possible benefits.”
“I’m certain those are the same warnings leveled against the first people trying to utilize fire,” he responded smugly.
“You and Tomalak are willing to start a war over a substance which we may never be able to even control? Are you insane?”
Rekar expression darkened significantly. “Commander, I’m willing to extend to you the respect that you deserve as the commander of this vessel and I will put up with your eccentrics up to a point. But you are dangerously close to crossing that line,” he said, his voice cold as ice. “You cross that line and you may never be able to step back into your place.”
“You are my first officer,” she said dismissively.
“I am a Tal Shiar agent,” he shot back. “And you can be assured I will use all the resources and privileges my organization affords me to see this mission fulfilled.”
“Does the Senate know what we are doing here? How about the Praetor?” she said.
“You are a solider, Commander. You mustn’t concern yourself with politics. All that is required of you it to follow the orders given to you by your superior officers. And those order are to secure the particle at any cost before it can fall into enemy hands.”
She waved the padd at him. “We both know that the Federation already knows about this and that they are not here to secure it for themselves. Captain Donners didn’t come out an say it but it was obvious that their mission is to find a way to destroy it.”
“We cannot allow this to happen.”
“Even if it that means war with the Federation?”
Rekar smirked. “If it comes to war, it will be because of their doing. It will be Starfleet firing the first shot.”
She considered those words for a moment. “You seem quite certain of this.”
He nodded. “Why wouldn’t I be? Don’t forget, we are in the right here. The Xenarth have voluntarily asked for our protection and they have no intention of surrendering their most powerful weapon to the Federation. If Agamemnon
doesn’t back down, we are entirely within our rights to defend the good people of New Xenarth from foreign aggression.”
She frowned. “And then what? We take the particle for ourselves and trust that our scientists won’t blow up another star system by mistake?”
The Tal Shiar operative headed for the doors but stopped short to turn and face her once more. “Your problem, Commander, is that you worry too much about matters entirely outside your control. Follow your orders, protect the Xenarth and ensure the particle is safe. Leave all other considerations to the people better equipped to make those decisions,” he said and then promptly stepped out.
“I haven’t dismissed you, you bastard,” she mumbled after the doors had closed behind him.
She glanced towards the single, forward facing viewport in her quarters. Somewhere out there a seemingly unavoidable confrontation was heading towards her and her vessel. Toreth had served with the Imperial Navy long enough as not to let an encounter with the enemy scare her anymore. She was confident in the superiority of the Khazara
and the skills and abilities of the men and women who crewed her. If it came to a fight, she knew she could win.
But for the first time in her long career she wondered if victory was in the bet interest of the Empire. The galaxy even.