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Ambassador TSalik

Things Left Behind

Ambassador T'Salik, the now-former Federation Envoy-General to the Scorpiad Empire, settled into the spartan cabin provided aboard their evac transport to the wormhole. Officially, for her it was not an evacuation. The euphemistic description was a "recall" to signify closure of her diplomatic mission in the Gamma Quadrant. The fact that it aligned with the directed withdraw of all citizens of the Avalon colony was deemed coincidental. The reality was: she'd been ordered to abandon the home she and her husband Sorehl had built on the surface, the place where their youngest two children had been born, and after ten years, her longest place of diplomatic service -- longer than Earth, Aegis, Empok Nor, or Cardassia Prime. Such observations drifted near nostalgia, she chided herself. Attachment to objects, she recited mentally, was emotional and illogical. Things were transitory, often with expected and limited temporal duration.

What drew her attention in this moment of solitude was the conversation she'd had in parting from Starbase Camelot. Tandaris Admiran, an engineering officer from the starship Excalibur, had asked her to contact Sorehl. After confirming she held the necessary clearance, Admiran expressed interest in technical assistance for countermeasures against Project Merlin. T'Salik recalled her husband being an advisor during its development. Her diplomatic role made her aware that he had opposed its original construction and argued against its deployment. It was a subject he might be reluctant to consult on.

However, it was not this reticence that prompted evasion in her response. "I will relay your message," she offered. "I will have him contact you, although I cannot promise when." The Starfleet officer had accepted her answer at face value.

What she opted to omit was that she had no idea where her husband was at the moment. More than six weeks earlier, Sorehl had taken a transport to the Alpha Quadrant to accompany their second oldest to Vulcan after her acceptance at the Golshi'Vahr Institute of Arts and Science. On the return trip, he was scheduled to stop on Earth to see their oldest daughter, now entering her fourth year at Starfleet Academy. After that, there were planned stopovers to visit with Commander Blair and Ambassador Drankum, but beyond that he had kept his itinerary from her, specifically so she could not be constrained -- by duty or coercion -- to reveal his other activities.

In the six years since stepping down from command of Starbase Camelot, her husband had transitioned to political activism in civilian life. In opposing Allied policy in the Gamma Quadrant, Sorehl had limited his efforts as a private citizen to correspondence and contact with policy-makers. But as it became clear the Federation stance was to allow Dominion and Scorpiad forces to crush their internal rebellions, he found himself unwilling to remain passively on Avalon. Genocide, he had remarked, did not sit well on the Vulcan brow, especially under a thin guise of maintaining status quo.

Starfleet itself was bound by political non-interference directives as dictated by the Assembly, but as an ordinary citizen, Sorehl was unencumbered by military regulation. Still, there were bounds to how much he could help the beleaguered peoples of the Gamma Quadrant. It was illegal to provide weapons or tactical advice, nor would he consider doing so, but with prompting from the Al-Ucard Victria and the Vorta Semil (see Arguments of Passion and Foes and Confidants), he had developed contacts willing to alert him and publicize the ongoing insurgencies and rebellions throughout the quadrant. Admiral Abronvonvich had once threatened to charge her husband with treason over such activities (see Leaks and Treason), but Sorehl had assured the flag officer that he would never compromise Starfleet operational security. He had been firm, however, if rebuffing any question of his loyalties or attempt to silence his dissent. If anything, Sorehl had walked away from the confrontation determined to renew his efforts.

His knowledge of classified information, tactics, and aeronautical engineering initially made it problematic to travel in unaligned space -- competing powers might try to detain and wrest such secrets from him -- but he had ultimately devised precautions involving Vulcan disciplines and internal biometric protection to safeguard such information. And so he had begun slipping off-world unannounced, to locations unspecified, to offer new values, stimulate pockets of independence, and encourage peaceful resistance.

She strongly suspected Sorehl had planned similar waypoints on his return. She didn't even know which side of the wormhole he was on by now, which had made her unable to advise him of their evacuation from Avalon. The bulk of their belongings, minus the few personal effects she could carry, had been left behind on the abandoned colony in their vacant home. She began composing her promised message, hoped the communication path would ultimately reach him -- she would not want Sorehl to be among the things the Federations was leaving behind.

Edited by Ambassador TSalik

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