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Old January 30 2013, 04:08 PM   #25
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)


Thanks so much for your comments. A long while ago I had toyed with using the Tal Diann, which I got off of Memory Beta. But I decided to create my own Tal Arcani. Since I got rid of them in "The Needs of the One", I decided to just go with the Tal Diann instead of resurrecting the Tal Arcani. I do like that you enjoy all the Romulan power plays. I do enjoy writing the Romulans and political stuff in general.

I would also like to thank new United Trek member Bry_Sinclair for the use of the Fenarians.

To CeJay and other readers,

Real world concerns might impede my ability to complete this story in a timely manner unfortunately. I do remain committed to it though because I'm curious to see how it will turn out. Thanks so much for your support so far.

************************************************** *************

USS Rushmore
Observation Lounge

“Our latest reports are that the Romulans will be here within twenty-four hours,” Captain Dylan North said, not holding back his annoyance.

“They sure are taking their sweet time getting here,” Chief Engineer Miranda Drake griped. Dylan shared her sentiment, but kept quiet. He didn’t want to darken the mood of his senior officers any more than he already had. “I don’t know if it’s the Romulan way of having a good time, floating in a graveyard, but it certainly isn’t mine.”

North winced at the woman’s bluntness as memories of the battle Rushmore had survived here flashed through his mind. It had been here, in this debris strewn patch of space where the Eleventh Fleet had made its last stand. And it had also been here where the Romulans began their successful push on to Benzar.

Unable to stop himself, the captain glanced out of the nearest port window. Large, artful tractor beams had captured the assembled wreckage and formed it into a large ball, the size of a planetoid. The debris, both Starfleet and Dominion, would hang there for perpetuity, a graceful monument to the horrors of war. Lessons, unfortunately, that were already being forgotten.

“It does seem a bit ostentatious,” Dr. Zammit said, flicking one of his long, pointed ears, one of his tics. “The Romulans really want to show who really is in charge of this system.” The Bzzit Khaht medic’s ears drooped in response to his own statement.

“Don’t give up the apparition yet Zam,” Commander Nandel entered the conversation. North smirked at his coffee brown Halanan first officer. The woman was always trying to put a positive spin on things, even if she did sometimes didn’t get Earth idioms exactly correct.

One of his few regrets was that once he had secured command of Rushmore, he fought to elevate her from the senior operations officer to the executive position. Her optimism had helped get him through the war, and it continued to help him now.

“The plebiscite could still turn out in the Federation’s favor,” Nandel pointed out.

“Not with the latest news out of Benzar,” groused Security Chief Torkill. The silver-eyed, scaly Fenarian flashed one row of his double set of sharp teeth. “The Romulans are making the most out of the diplomatic snafu, using that to turn the Benzites even further against the Federation.”

Dylan couldn’t help sighing. The fierce Fenarian was correct. From the Code 43 message that he had shared with his seniors, the Romulans were already angling to weave High Commissioner McCall’s rash, yet harmless, comment into a diplomatic nightmare. The captain didn’t think that much would come of the statement itself, yet the Romulans were going to wring all they could out of it, distracting the President and Federation Council, playing the aggrieved party, and demanding an apology.

And it would surely make the anti-Federation forces on Benzar even stronger in their opposition to a return to normalcy.

“President Santiago does have the right to declare martial law on Benzar,” Operations Officer Baran M’Brey pointed out. All eyes turned to the golden furred Alshain female. She took the increased attention with her customary aplomb. “If my reading of Federation law is correct, the President can declare martial law on a member state, a political subdivision of a member state, or in any political subdivision of the Federation. The president could just do that and be done with all this business.”

“That might be how they do things on Alshain Proper,” Science Officer Jonda teased, “but this is a democracy.” The lupine sniffed at the purple-haired Catullan and then rubbed at her muzzle as if she had picked up a bad scent. Jonda chuckled before finishing his thought. “If the president took such action it might boomerang against him. If anything it would show that we are not confident in our institutions and it would erode trust among the other member states.”

“Good points,” North nodded with approval.

“Yes, but I could’ve done without the history and law lessons,” Lt. Commander Drake said with a smile and a playful eye roll. “I almost dozed off, just like back at the Academy.” Everyone chuckled or lightened up, and the captain gave the raven-haired woman a warm glance. The levity was just what everyone needed.

“I was thinking that the Romulans’ late, and what appears to be grand arrival, could also have more to do than riling us,” Torkill surmised, as he tapped a blade-like fingernail against his chin. “This show of force could also be for the Dominion, to revel in their defeat.”

“And it would also remind the Benzites who ‘saved’ them, yet again,” Drake rolled her eyes, this time for real. The Fenarian nodded curtly, flashing a feral smile.

“You must be psionic,” Torkill said, “because I was about to say the same thing.”

“Or maybe you two are just starting to finish each other’s sentences,” Jonda said, a devilish twinkle in his eyes. North frowned. It was largely known across the ship that Torkill and Miranda were involved. However he didn’t need Jonda bringing that up such personal matters in a meeting. Unfazed, Drake laughed while Torkill hissed, a touch of red accenting his brown, grooved face.

The captain scowled at Jonda. The Catullan science officer gulped and then shrugged. “Sorry sir,” he sheepishly replied.

“I think it’s time to call the bell,” North replied, standing up with a loud grunt. He looked over his staff once more before dismissing them.
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