A Work Of Star Trek Fan Fiction By Richard Paolinelli
© 2020 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. This is a work of fan fiction based in the universe of Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is not intended to be sold, to be used to aid in any sale and is not to be copied or used in any other way by any other party.
“That is some impressive architecture,” Archer remarked, looking at a massive building next to the landing pad.
“That,” Forelni replied, “is the Grand Palazzo. It is the official home of the King and Queen as well as the Consiglio of Dodici. When our ancestors landed here, they insisted on making Genoa their King and the Forelni’s the Royal Family in gratitude for leading them to this new world. Genoa was wary of setting up a true monarchy after fleeing so many despots back on Earth.
“So he acquiesced on one condition,” Forelni continued. “He established a ruling council made up of a dozen members to be elected by the people. This council would pass laws and make day-to-day decisions regarding the running of government. In the event of a tie, the King would cast the deciding vote. In certain circumstances, the King could overrule the decision of the Consiglio, but it has happened only very rarely. And the King has the final authority on declaring war. It does not sound like any monarchy you may have heard of, Captain, but it has worked here for four centuries now.”
“From what I have seen so far I can’t argue with that.”
“Well, there is still much more for you to see and I hope your opinion of us will not change once we have shown you more. Unfortunately, I am required to present myself to their Majesties so I must ask Paulo to escort you to my dimora. It is not as spacious as the Grand Palazzo, but he can arrange quarters for you there and then take you on a tour of the capital city until I can rejoin you.”
“Of course,” Paulo said, stepping forward as Forelni turned toward the Grand Palazzo’s entrance. “Captain, if you and your party will follow me. We could take a flitter, but it is not that far to walk and it would allow me to show you one or two things of interest…”
“I think we could use a stretch of the legs in fresh air,” Archer agreed. “Lead on.”
Forelni paused at the entrance to watch the Earth party walk away then, returning the guards’ salutes, passed through the open entrance and into the great foyer. He stopped suddenly, seeing his brother, Francesco, beckoning to him from the passage that led to the King’s private office. Forelni turned away from where the Royal chamber lay, where the King and Queen normally conducted official business, and clasped arms with his brother.
“I’m supposed to report to our parents first, brother,” Forelni said, asking without asking why he was being detoured.
“Father wants to see you in here instead,” Francesco replied. “Only you could go out hunting Klingons and come back with an Earth ship.”
“These particular Klingons were dumb, making them easy prey. As for the Earth ship, they are our guests, not our prize, Francesco.”
“Of course,” the younger prince opened the door and allowed his brother to enter the King’s office first. “You can tell father all about it.”
“But not mother?” Forelni stepped in waited for the King to rise from his chair and approach.
“Our mother and sister are away on an inspection tour of New Sicily.”
“With Klingon ships known to be in our space?” Forelni thundered in shock. “They decide to travel to visit a moon of Acquatico, nearly as far away from Etalya as you can get in our system? When did this happen?”
“They departed the day before yesterday. There have been no reports of any trouble.”
“How many ships are escorting them?” Forelni asked, doing the inventory in his head of available ships that could have served as suitable escort and not liking the numbers.
“None,” Francesco was too calm to suit his brother’s temperament. “They are traveling on the Crociera la Vista.”
“Are you insane? A civilian cruise ship?”
“I see my sons are arguing once more,” the King interrupted with a sigh.
“That, father, is because your youngest son has taken leave of his senses. Would it be too much to ask that you at least put our ships on alert to be ready to respond to a call for aid from the Crociera la Vista, brother? And send the Littorio out in that general direction.”
“That seems like an excessive response,” Francesco balked. “As Comandante of Etalya planetary defense forces…”
“You are subject to my orders as Comandante of Etalyian space defense,” Forelni cut his brother off.
“It does seem prudent, Francesco,” the King agreed softly. “Given the recent incursion in our space.”
“Very well, Father,” Francesco acceded with a bow to his father and an angry glance at his brother before pivoting sharply and storming out of the room.
“Come, my son, let us walk awhile and cool our tongues,” the King paused as the walked outside into the Grand Palazzo’s main garden. “You are far too hard on your brother, Bari. He is only thirty-five years of age.”
“Old enough to know better,” Forelni replied, still angered by his brother’s actions.
“Perhaps, but consider how hard it is for him to always be in your shadow,” the King held up a hand to stave off a protest. “You underestimate your popularity with the people, my son. You’re the only member of the royal family to be voted onto the Consiglio in our entire history. I daresay many if not all of them would follow you anywhere on nothing more than your asking of it. Most would die for you without hesitation.”
“I think you are overstating this.”
“Oh? Consider why this would be so. Some three decades back, when that young girl fell into the Pazza Fiume. No one dove into those raging waters after her, save one man. You. The entire planet saw the vids. Did you even think about the danger to your own person in the half-second it took for you to see her and dive in after her?”
“She was in jeopardy, I simply went in and pulled her out of the rapids.”
“Oh, yes, simply that,” the King replied with a chuckle. “So simple that no one else, even your own guards did not think to do it. Even Paulo did not act until after you were swimming back to the bank.”
“I simply caught them by surprise by reacting faster,” Forelni dismissed.
“Deny it all you like, my son, but your people know what they saw. I know what I see. I see a man who will sit on the throne and possibly be the greatest King we have ever known. Francesco sees that too. He is merely trying to find his own path. So stop making so difficult on him.”
“As my King commands,” Forelni said, with a slightly mocking bow.
“Insolent child,” the King quipped. “So, tell me about these visitors you have brought home. You seem at ease with letting a ship and its crew from Earth roam about freely.”
“The Earth Genoa left behind has changed,” Forelni said. “We know that from the communications we have intercepted. It is time for us to reconnect with our cousins. There is much we can learn from them, and much they can learn from us in return.”
“You seem taken by them, as always,” the King beckoned to an aide. “Inform the Crown Prince’s attaché to escort the crew of the Earth ship to the Grand Palazzo. I will receive them in the Royal Chamber.”
The King took his son by the arm and led him toward the passage to the official reception area. The sound of someone running at full speed carried down from the opposite end of the passageway. Both men pulled up and waited. A young officer in the fleet exited, skidding to a stop as he became aware of the two Royals.
“Sire,” the young man gasped, gulping in air.
“What it is, boy?’ the King demanded.
“Terrible news, sire.” He spoke between gasps. “Four Klingon ships ambushed the Crociera la Vista. Her Majesty the Queen and Princess Gianna have been taken hostage.”