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Old August 23 2012, 10:32 PM   #34
Re: Star Trek: Republic (Book II: Ties of Blood)

Chapter Three (cont.)

“This is all supposition, you realize, Commander,” Hansen said with a frown after Chan finished briefing him fully. “True or not, you have zero concrete evidence of Mar’s involvement.”

“Yes, sir,” Chan said with a quick nod. “Gaining that evidence is one of the reasons that Captain Dahlgren went ahead to Earth—he should arrive tomorrow, in fact. And once he does so, then we can have her brought to justice.”

Hansen shook his head and he swore softly. “This is so far above my pay-grade,” he whispered. “You are claiming that the Argellian Ambassador to the Federation Council is murdering people left and right! In an alliance with a rogue Klingon House . . . so that she can gain the Presidency?”

“Sounds like bad fiction, does it not, Admiral?” Chan answered lightly, but then a serious look came over his face. “That does not stop the matter from being quite real, however. How else can we explain that the Klingons had Republic’s command codes? The ambush that killed Sam Carmichael and the Balao? As they were carrying messages back to Admiral Parker at Starfleet Command? That our own communications with Earth and Starfleet Command are being blocked from the sub-space network?”

Hansen sighed and he sat back in his chair. “We haven’t been able to raise Command either—not since Parker commed me with orders to come to your aid. And before you ask, Commander, I have already changed the command codes aboard Blackhawk.” He shook his head. “This will tear the Federation apart if it becomes public knowledge—especially after the infiltration of our government by the Founders during the War.”

“That rather depends on how it is spun—and whether or not we can find evidence that will stick to Mar. And whether or not Matt simply kills her for threatening his family,” the Andorian finished quietly.

Hansen looked up and he just stared at Chan for several moments. “Will he go that far, Commander Shrak? You know the man far better than I.”

“Yes. If she has tried to make good on her threat, he will kill her, damn the consequences. He will not try, he will find a way and she will die.”

Both men were silent for a moment, and then the admiral nodded once again. “Well, that is a matter that we will have to deal with when we arrive at Earth. What is the condition of Republic?”

“Lieutenant Grissom has warp power restored—we can be underway in fifteen minutes,” and Chan shrugged. “We have damage throughout the ship, however. Shields are capable of only fifty-percent strength, the ablative armor is in tatters, a third of our phaser emitters are damaged and off-line, the forward tractor is a write-off, and we have lost all long-range sensors. We also have thirty-two dead and a large number of wounded—and our torpedo magazines are below half.”

He shook his head. “On the good side, neither impulse engine has been damaged. The starboard nacelle took a direct hit yesterday from a decloaking K’tinga, but the secondary systems are on-line and holding. In short, we are half-blind, and lost a lot of our punch, but we aren’t lame—not yet.”

“Admiral Parker said that other ships were en route to provide you with assistance, Commander. When and where they will appear, I have no clue—but I do know that word from the Klingon Empire is that Mak’vegh is charging after you with half of his House Fleet. So how about we get back in warp on a heading for Earth before he charges up our backside with more firepower than either of us can deal with?”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the Andorian answered as he stood.
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