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Elarion, Pt 3


It had been a little over a month since the Elarion had been suddenly redirected to the Neutral Zone in what had obviously been a show-the-flag move by command, and then even more suddenly withdrawn from the Neutral Zone. Destorie had anticipated being sent back on patrol of the border worlds near what the Federation called the Pampiont sector. 

“Enarrain,” Tyras’ voice had chimed over the comms in his chambers. “Incoming priority message from Galae Command. Routing to your station.”

Destorie had come to greatly appreciate Tyras’ efficiency, and he activated the viewer. He had expected Admiral Lakel’e Hvaern and his icy glower to replace the spinning t’Liss, but was instead greeted by an unfamiliar face -- a Vice-Admiral Jaeln Krelav. He was young, maybe even close to Destorie’s age. 

“Good afternoon,” he said before Destorie could assess him further.  “You will be receiving new orders via secure comms by the time we finish our conversation. The Elarion is to leave the Neutral Zone and head for the Parisn sector at best possible speed. You’ll receive additional instructions once you arrive.”

Destorie’s brows shot up. He tried and failed to recall anything of note about that particular sector of Romulan space before Krelav continued. This is a priority mission. I expect you to get underway immediately. Your orders should be arriving now. Krelav out.”

The abruptness had left Destorie stunned. As the Elarion sped towards Parisn, he was still taken aback. Tyras and Lhaelev had been diving through the archives to find anything about the sector with very little success. 

“It’s a backwater nowhere,” Tryas said over coffee the next morning. “A few scattered settlements and mining operations. The Galae barely has a presence there -- just a few older cruisers and one aging outpost on Golan IV.”

“Anything recently?” Destorie asked. 

“No, not on record anyway.” 

But they had barely arrived in the Parisn sector when they were once again called back to the Neutral Zone. Destorie could barely contain his annoyance when Krelav delivered the news.  

“What now?” He let a hint of discontent through. 

Oblivious, Krelav continued without giving any rise. “A Federation science team has gone missing in the Outmarches. While they have yet to ask for our assistance, we want you to head to the sector anyway.”

“A science team?”

Krelav nodded. Destorie had done some digging after their first encounter and was shocked to learn that Krelav was indeed close to his own age and even less time as a  commanding officer, but so far as Destorie could tell no obvious patron or nepotistic tie to explain his rapid ascent. That made the Elarions’ commanding officer even more suspicious. 

“It was originally supposed to be a joint team of Romulan and Federation scientists, but the Romulan side of the expedition was canceled. We did, however, grant permission for the Federation to continue. I am sending you a full brief over secure channel now.”

Destorie frowned again. “I see. I thought the Parsin mission was priority?”

“It was. Now it’s not.”

A slightly younger Destorie would have almost certainly responded with an expletive, but time--and experience--had tempered him just enough to suppress the urge. 

“Ahh -- so what exactly are our orders then?”

“You are to proceed to the Outmarches and the coordinates indicated in the enclosed secure file, undercloak and observe. If, at such time as the Federation requests our assistance, you will be given orders to do so”

Having finished the briefing, Destorie contemplated hurling something against his wall, but a chime at the door interrupted. 


It was Khaena. “Enarrain,” she said crisply. “I was told you wished to speak to me?”

Her formality was slightly alarming, and on the heels of his conversation with Krelav he had to force himself to remain calm. “I just wanted to check in on you. Tyras told me you missed the staff briefing this morning. That isn’t like you.”

“I sent an aide. As far as I knew, that was acceptable. Unless something has changed? I was very busy this morning with a patient -- Erein Nakeln has an acute case of Gemarintitis.”

“Of course, that’s perfectly fine. But you’ve also been avoiding me. I just --”

Khaena crossed her arms cooly.  “Have I?”

He nodded. “You missed the reception, and you haven’t came to nag me about brooding over our new orders. I just -- is everything okay?”

“Well, as I said, I’ve been busy seeing to my duties. I am not your mother.”

The words were delivered with such sting that Destorie couldn’t help be be taken back. “Khaena -- what -- I ---”

“As I said, I am very busy. If all you needed was a status update, next time I suggest simply asking me directly instead of calling me to your office,” she said, still standing just inside the door way. “If there’s nothing else, I do have a department to run.”

“What in Elements name has gotten into you Khaena.”

Khaena’s demeanor darkened and she felt her heart jump into her throat. She’d been trying to put this confrontation off, but she should have known Destorie would press the issue. 

“Permission to speak freely, Enarrain.”

The edge to her voice cut through the air and Destorie blinked in stunned silence before shaking his head. “You’ve never asked for permission before speaking your mind to me before, why now?”

She sighed. “Two weeks ago I received a coded transmission from an associate of Gaen’s. I guess all of my poking around for you into whatever scheme the  Tal’Shiar are upto caught his attention.

Destorie tipped his head but let her continue. 

“I suppose it’s obvious why you wouldn’t have told me about how intimately your family was involved with the operation Gaen was investigating when he dis-- was murdered. And no I am not angry about that. You are not your sister or even your father. You’re many things, but you’re not them and I don’t hold you responsible for their actions--”

She shook her head. “Don’t apologize, either. I suppose I wanted to believe that you -- you know it doesn’t matter what I wanted to believe that.  I  wanted -- never mind.”

Standing straighter she took a deep breath. “He confirmed some of what you’ve been fearing. The shipments are illicit and they’re connected to what Gaen was investigating.”

It was, Destorie understood, confirmation that Gaen really was dead, and that in all likelyhood, his sister had been the instrument of his demise. He let the moment and Khaena breath before clearing his throat. 

“Finally some good news, but I am afraid we won’t be able to act on it. We’re headed back to the Outmarches.”

Khaena frowned. “Again?”

Destorie related their new orders, as well as his thoughts on the Vice-Admiral. When he’d finished, Khaena, who by now was sitting across from him and seemed much more at ease, scrunched her nose. She really should have retired when she had the chance, she thought to herself, but after a moment, she sighed. 

“I’ll send you the information,” she said, “but if you don’t mind, I’d like to focus on my duties aboard the ship.”

He understood of course and said it wasn’t a problem. Standing, Khaena headed for the door. “Should I send Tyras in with a warning?”

“Please do.”

She nodded, pausing once more before leaving. “Enar--Destorie,” she said. “Thank you for everything. I suppose none of this has been easy for you either.”


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