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Old November 20 2013, 06:11 PM   #54
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UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound (Chapter 5 cont'd)

Chapter Five

USS Europa

The gentle daylight crescent of the planet below was visible through the observation lounge’s forward facing viewports. Two officers sat at the briefing table while Wu stood looking out at Alanthal, her back to the others.

“He’s not going to wait forever,” Counselor Liu remarked. “Especially not after the show the captain reportedly put on down there.”

“I need a game plan first,” Wu countered, her attention still fixed on the glittering ring of debris that reflected shimmering sunlight in high orbit of the planet.

“If the doctor is correct about Gan’Louk’s parentage, I’d advise that you keep away from that topic, sir.” This from Pell Ojana, seated one place over from the counselor. “Many Klingons are still highly xenophobic when it comes to matters of ‘racial purity’. It’s very likely Gan’Louk has managed to keep his mixed species origins secret, or he’d never have attained so high a rank in the Defense Forces.”

Wu turned to look at her advisors. “How far might he be willing to go in order to protect that secret?”

Liu and Pell exchanged glances and the Bajoran answered, “No telling, sir. The fact that we’re still here in orbit is a good sign. The captain’s provocation, however inadvertent, would have been sufficient reason for a less patient Klingon commander to destroy us.”

“We’re still awaiting a reply from Galaxy Station,” Liu noted, “so we don’t know if Gan’Louk and his expeditionary force even have permission to be out here in this capacity.”

Wu smiled darkly. “Klingons don’t tend to ask for permission to do much of anything, Counselor.”

Liu held up his hands in a gesture of submission. “Perhaps so, Commander, but somehow I doubt even a Klingon general wants to get on Admiral T’Cirya’s bad side.”

“Okay,” Wu nodded to herself. “I’ll go down and apologize for the captain’s actions, and seek clarification as to the Klingons’ intentions.”

“I wouldn’t apologize, sir,” Liu offered. “They might perceive that as weakness, which would be worse than the original offense of insubordination.”

"Agreed," Pell threw in.

“Then what do I say to the brigadier?” Wu snapped out of frustration.

“Ask for orders,” Pell suggested. “That infers we recognize Gan’Louk’s authority, whether or not Starfleet Command has sanctioned his presence yet.”

“Fine… good, I’ll do that,” Wu remarked as she moved for the exit.

Pell stood to intercede before Wu reached the door. “I should go with you, sir.”

Wu shook her head. “With the captain out of commission, you’re the only experienced command officer aboard while I’m planetside. Someone has to mind the store.”

In response to Liu and Pell’s earnest expressions, Wu said, “I’ll take Dominic with me, but that’s all.”

* * *

Leone was waiting for Wu in the transporter room, and inclined her head towards the lieutenant as she entered. He was once again wearing a tactical vest and carrying a compact phaser rifle.

“Is there anything I should be on the lookout to prevent you from doing down there, sir?” he queried innocently, earning an icy look from the XO.

“Okay, I had that coming,” she replied grudgingly as she mounted the dais and took her place on a transporter pad. “I apologize for my earlier comment. After speaking with Liu and Pell, it’s clear that any further provocation would almost certainly have resulted in Starfleet casualties.”

“Nice of you to say, sir,” Leone said as he stepped atop his pad.

“If things go sideways down there, be prepared to fight our way out,” Wu instructed. “Energize.”

Leone’s response was lost in the hum of the transporter beam.

* * *
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