Chapter Four (cont.)
Benjamin Maxwell, Commodore in Starfleet, cursed as he stubbed his toe against a piece of furniture in the darkness of his home as the door-bell rang yet again and some fool imbecile banged on the wood! He gritted his teeth and shook the sleep from his head as he made his way down the stairs and turned on the foyer and exterior lights. The knocking on the door came to a halt and Ben tightened his robe around his body. He paused at a table near the entrance and slid open one drawer, extracting a civilian model stun-only phaser from within, which he placed in one of the robes pockets, cradled in one hand. And then he opened the door.
And he took a quick step backwards in surprised shock upon seeing the four men who were officially many light-years distant.
“Sorry to wake you, Commodore,” Matt Dahlgren said, “but I need your help.”
Ben shook his head in disbelief. “I did not need to hear this, Matt,” he said as he stood up from his chair, still shaking his head. “Delena Mar—Ambassador Mar of Argellius
—the woman who is poised to become the next President of the Federation—is trying to kill you and your crew? You believe that she has already been behind the attack on Balao
? And she is working hand-in-glove with a Klingon renegade?”
He walked over to the sideboard and poured himself a stiff drink, downed half of it in a single swallow, and then refilled the glass.
Matt nodded. “She is a threat to all that the Federation stands for, Commodore. I know it—now I just have to prove it.”
“I would suggest, Matt, that you not use my rank if you want my help. Christ, my counselor will think I have lost my mind,” he continued. But then he nodded. “Josiah authorized this?”
“He did, Ben. But until I know that he has found the person who leaked Republic
’s command codes, I cannot make contact—if Security discovers I am on Earth, and Mar finds out . . . my family is in tremendous jeopardy.”
Benjamin Maxwell’s face fell. “Matt,” he said softly as he poured another glass and handed it to the Captain of Republic
. “Your family has already been attacked,” he finished, but held up one hand as Matt jerked in his chair. “They are missing . . . not dead, Matt, but missing. Along with the Klingon ambassador. Security is livid—and there are four dead men in your ex-wife’s home. They want answers.”
Matt took a deep pull of the whiskey, restoring some—but not all—of the color to his face. “Cha’shin has them somewhere safe,” I hope, he thought, but did not say. “Cass?” he asked.
“She was attacked on the same day in New York, Matt. She disabled one of her assailants and a Vulcan—tentatively identified as Ambassador Sepak came to her aid and stopped the second. They have both vanished as well.”
Matt looked up. “Sepak? I was not able to get in touch with him—the Vulcan Science Academy said that he has taken a sabbatical and he is out of contact.”
“Really?” Ben whispered. “Then how did he know your daughter was in danger?” He paused and licked his lips. “How certain are you that your treatment of the Ordan virus was successful, Matt?”
“He appeared in full control of himself—the Science Academy gave him a clean bill of health, Ben.”
The Commodore groaned as he sat back down in his chair. “Matt, how much of a background check did you run on Mar?”
had in the database. But there is a large of section of her records that are classified above my pay-grade.”
Ben nodded. “But not mine. Fifteen years ago, Mar was Lieutenant
Mar, a science officer in Starfleet, where she was assigned to USS Hera
as part of the crew that explored the Cauldron—and made First Contact with the Lorsham.”
“Oh shit,” Matt whispered.
“Exactly,” the commodore continued. “Her current staff all consists of former crewmen and officers from Hera
—her aide, Jas Cruikshank, was Hera
’s chief of security. All of their service records have been sealed—by an anonymous order from the Federation Council issued ten years, the same year that Mar became the Argellian Ambassador to the Council. But they didn’t manage to seal the records in Starfleet HQ . . . and I did some digging on my own after your court-martial and seeing what Mar was trying to do to you and Republic
then. Did you know that the Lorsham sent a delegation to Earth?”
“They were here for six months before Hera
returned them. Supposedly returned them,” Ben said with a sad smile. “They sent nine diplomats to Earth, but I can only confirm that eight were transported back to Hak’ta-thor.”
Matt slowly nodded. “Without the Ordan-artifacts, they cannot produce their bio-weapon, Ben. But this does explain why Mar seems to hate me so much.”
“Yes it does, Matt. But we have no proof—only a working hypothesis. So what do you need from me?”
“Clean IDs to get through Security and use the planetary transporters; phasers; communicators that cannot be traced. I’ll try and leave you as far away from the splatter as I can, Ben.”
“Too late for that, Matt. You know the old saying, in for a penny, in for a pound. Well, looks like I am in for a gold sovereign.”
“Don’t thank me yet, Matt,” Ben warned as he sat back. “We might not get anywhere with this, and if we do not find proof that she has been infected, she might wind up becoming President.”
“One way or the other, she will not, Ben,” Matt said coldly. “Even if it means I have to kill her myself—she will not become President.”
Ben Maxwell, a man who once took it upon himself to prove that the Cardassians were violating their treaty—a man who had killed to prove that to himself and others in Starfleet—just nodded.
“You have my word, Matt. If it comes to that, I will see to it that your family remains safe—once we recover them.”
Matt nodded and he took a sip of the whiskey. “Then shall we begin planning this forlorn hope?”