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Knight To Queen's Rook

Posted on Jul 21, 2017 @ 12:24am by Lieutenant Tomas Vukovic

Mission: The Romulan Way

=/\=

"Knight to Queen's Rook"
(follows Jerome's "Queen's Pawn")
Location: the halls of power
Stardate: [2.17]0720.1351

=/\=

"Well," Tomas' muttered, "THAT was swell."

"What was 'swell'?" Tribune Jemasun Tor walking at his side, asked. "What IS 'swell.'?" she continued.

"Excuse me, Tribune," Tomas' mentally chastised himself for muttering audibly. Romulan auditory capacity was as good as Vulcans'. {Never whisper in a room with a Vulcan present.} he reminded himself. "Loss of focus on my part. 'Swell' is an archaic Terran term which has changed meaning a couple of times since it's inception. In this instance, I was using it to comment on our recent Senatorial appearance, and I was being sarcastic."

"Ah," the woman nodded. "I would probably have used a stronger term myself," she offered.

Tomas' gave her a second look.

"You are not at all what I expected, Tribune," he admitted.

"Excellent," she nearly smiled.

They had just come from the showdown in the Romulan Senate, and admittedly, when approached, Kane had seemed somewhat distracted by any number of things happening all at once. Tomas' had explained the Tribune's invitation to accompany her out to the Catalin Reach.

"How far?" he'd asked immediately, eyes narrowed.

"By Wyrm, it's barely enough time for you to miss him," Tor assured him.

"Wyrm?" Kane had asked.

"Children's word for our rail system. Like an earthworm, it dives into the ground and comes out somewhere else. Of course, actual Wyrms breathed methane which they could ignite, and they could dig through solid rock with their claws. But our children are hardy in that way."

"On TERRA we call those Dragons," Tomas' added. "And they talked."

"Ours were never so impolite," Tor replied, and Tomas' was unsure whether she meant that as a joke or not.

"Lieutenant," Kane had turned to him, "you are released to accompany the Tribune and see what she has to show you. Remain in contact. I want an update every six hours. You know the protocol for Away Missions."

"Aye, Captain." Which meant that under duress, if he was forced to make contact and assure his captain that all was well, he was to use certain words in his message that would indicate his status without being blatant about it.

"Don't irritate your host overmuch, Lieutenant," Kane added, then turned away.

As the two of them walked off into the halls, Tor had glanced at him.

"What did he mean by that?" she asked

"About not irritating you?"

She nodded.

"Haven't a clue. The Captain's got a sense of humor on him."

=/\=

Location: Wyrm transit

The terminal was utilitarian as much of Romulan infrastructure was. There was art to be had everywhere, but the Romulans, much like their Vulcan cousins, built more for function than appearance. The spur that ran toward the Catalin Reach consisted of hyper-lev lines at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock of a large unadorned cylindrical hole in the side of a granite face. Tor explained that the 3 and 9 lines were for incoming and outgoing civilian traffic. The 6 for freight. But the 12 o'clock line was for priority traffic, such as herself. They walked up a sweeping stair case to the upper level and it's waiting transparent cylinder.

An attendant slid the access open, and Tomas' followed Tor inside an elegant, but spare travel pod occupied only with couches and a few cabinets. Much of it was starkly empty. For the view, Tor had explained cryptically. She'd offered him a tall flute of water, which he accepted. His internal sensors read the contents easily, including the glass. He was careful to leave no fingerprints or DNA behind as he sipped. She slipped out of her Tribune's cloak, hung it carefully on a hook protruding from the wall. And offered to do the same for his uniform jacket, which he was still wearing.

"Thank you, but no, Tribune. Though I will relax the throat clasps if you don't mind."

He didn't want to tell her that the uniform carried a number of small devices woven into it ... just in case. He'd been in the Section too long to walk anywhere without tech support. He didn't need weapons. He was one. But he didn't want to advertise the fact.

"I don't want anyone to think of the 'Fleet as slovenly."

"That was not my first impression ... Tomas' wasn't it?"

He nodded.

"You don't mind the familiar?"

"Not at all," he admitted. "I like my name. How would you like me to address you?" he offered in kind.

"My friends call me, Jemmy."

Tomas' smiled, what he hoped was his most charming smile.

"But only in private," he agreed.

She nodded in return. "Only in private."

The cylinder swayed once as it dropped softly into the flow of the hyper-lev energy field and accelerated smoothly to a dizzying speed ... straight down a dark, dark tunnel lit only by the internal light of the travel pod they rode in. They talked quietly, politely for a few moments. From time to time Tomas' noted other travel pods on the other liines passing below them at varying speeds. And then suddenly, they broke out of the cliff face into sunlight, and Tomas' gasped.

The Catalin Reach spur of the Wyrm Transport had popped out of the rock and run along the cliff face high above a forested and sheltered harbor, buildings worked artfully into the surroundings far, far below. Vessels plied the waters. From their perch they could see some distance out onto the Apnex Sea. It was no backwater cove. It was an active, industrious center, with none of the detritus Tomas' had seen on some worlds. The water was clear and clean. The trees straight and tall. Farmland at some remove from the harbor led off to the horizon in one direction. Mountains blocked the other direction.

"I never tire of coming home," she breathed, suddenly very close at his side.

He stood very still and took it all in. And then he did what he was good at. Inside, where no one could see, he stepped back and looked at everything.

{I'm being manipulated,} he concluded.

He allowed his face to remain open and supposedly awed by it all.

"I don't doubt it," he whispered, knowing she would hear it clearly, knowing that she knew much more about him than he knew about her.

=/\=

NRPG:

Jerome, for you, and all your hard work on the Site. May you live long and prosper. As for Tomas', this is deep politics, on almost a biological level. Jemasun Tor is not just a Tribune of a rural precinct. She knows how things work. And she thinks she knows how Tomas' works. Tomas' knows he's being led about, on a masterful level, but he is also a master at the game of espionage, of observation and investigation. I have no idea how this will turn out. Fun, huh?

=/\=

Kenneth Field
writing for

Lieutenant Tomas' Alexei Vukovic
FCO of the USS PHOENIX
and covert operative for
SECTION 31

 

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