Richard Paolinelli

The Calling: Interlude

THE CALLING 

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.

 

INTERLUDE

April 2, 2145. A Time Between Sagas…

 

Bari Forelni, Prince of Etalya, former Ambassador to Earth and current Etalyian Ambassador to The United Federation of Planets, stood in space dock and gazed at the gleaming new ship outside.

Enterprise. NCC-1701.

She looked nothing like the ship that bore the same name that carried him from Etalya to Earth nearly nine decades ago. As much as it would have pained his old friend Archer to hear, this new incarnation made her predecessor look like something found in a trash heap. She looked almost angelic, all white with a splash of light here and there save for the deflector dish and at the front of each nacelle.

She was a promise of a great future but now it invoked in him memories of his past here on Earth. He’d spent most of those eighty-eight years here, with occasional returns to Etalya. But he never spent more than a few months at a time there. There was always something going on here on Earth that required his attention. The formation of the United Federation of Planets in 2061 and his heading up the first few years of Section 31 while retaining his position as the Etalyian Ambassador to the UFP. It was a needed service for the newly formed UFP, to discover any threats to its existence that could be nipped in the bud before the threat materialized. He’d stepped down as Director of Section 31 ten years later to return home for nearly a year and was certain that he was leaving the organization in good hands.

“It has been fifteen years since you’ve walked the land of your homeworld, my son,” his father’s recorded message intoned. “It is far past time for you to see your family and your people again.”

Initially, he had balked at the idea. Despite the passage of 15 years, the memory of that terrible day was still fresh in his mind. But he acceded to his father’s request and headed home. The people greeted him with such fervor that he felt shame that he’d delayed his return for as long as he had. All of the major families received him inside the Great Hall. Only the Antonius’ were absent. A few said it was out of respect. Everyone else knew it was out of fear. No one knew if a decade and a half was enough time for a Forelni’s temper to cool.

“Paulo!” he exclaimed when he’d spotted his old friend. The two embraced warmly. “I see they’ve not run you out of office yet!”

“I haven’t managed to get into as much mischief as you,” Paulo replied smiling. “They simply don’t know how to handle that.”

He presented himself to the King and Queen. She spared him with a cool nod. The Laudano’s were known to be quick to anger and slow to forgiveness. But at least she wasn’t yelling “Off with his head!” so he took it as a good sign. His father hauled himself off his throne and stepped down to warmly embrace his son.

“Welcome home, my son, it has been far too long.”

His father had been right and he enjoyed his time back. But he was still the sitting Ambassador and he was needed back on Earth before a year passed. His relationship with his mother was mending, Francesco had been her ‘baby’, but he was still her son too. There was still work to do but it looked promising that the rift would heal.

When the Federation ship arrived to return him to Earth, he took his leave.

“Do not let it be so long before you come home again, my son. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather I appoint a new Ambassador in your stead?”

“I am sure, father. There is much work for me to do there yet. I am needed there.”

“You are needed here too.”

“As long as you are on the throne Etalya is in good hands. I am not concerned.”

“And you have found your calling it seems.”

Bari gave his father a quizzical look.

“Each of us has a calling within. As much as it saddens me that yours is not here, I have a father’s pride in a son that has answered his. Be well my son and come home soon and often.”

He’d done just that for the next sixty years but it always seemed he spent years on Earth and only months on Etalya. There was always some new diplomatic crisis or issue of great concern to the UFP and Bari Forelni’s name was almost always among the first to be called upon to solve them.

Another dust-up between the Tellarites and the Andorians had recalled Bari from a visit home some fifteen years before. As it turned out, the matter had been overblown and easily settled. A dinner was thrown for the diplomats to celebrate.

“Ambassador Forelni,” the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek greeted him.

“Ambassador Sarek,” he replied in Vulcan, raising his hand in the Vulcan salute. “May you live long and prosper.”

“Peace and long life,” Sarek replied, returning the salute. “Your Vulcan has improved, Ambassador. I detect no trace of an accent.”

“You are too kind.”

“May I present my wife, Amanda,” Sarek indicated the lovely woman at his side, holding a young baby that appeared no more than a year old.

“An honor, Lady Amanda,” Bari replied, switching back to standard.

“And our son, Spock.”

“Greetings, Young Spock,” Bari offered. The child looked like he was contemplating forming a tiny Vulcan salute. “My compliments on your family, Ambassador.”

“And your family, Ambassador,” Amanda asked.

“I have not yet married. I still have some time before I need worry about beginning a family.”

“Perhaps you’ve not met the right woman?”

“There is that too,” he admitted. “It seems all of the worthy ladies have already been claimed by my fellow Ambassadors. Again, my compliments, sir.”

“How very gallant,” Amanda accepted the compliment as intended. “I’m certain the right woman will be no match for your charms.”

“Perhaps, my wife, the Ambassador’s affairs are his to be concerned with?”

“Quite logical,” Amanda agreed, and Bari caught the slight wink she sent in his direction as she teased her husband. He kept most of his return smile hidden from Sarek’s gaze and took his leave. He barely made it three steps before he ran into Robert April.

“Ambassador Forelni.”

“Robert! A pleasant surprise. What brings you to this mixer?”

“You do.”

“Well, this should liven things up around here. What is on your mind?”

It was then that he’d been first introduced to Robert April’s “Starships”. The concept of a vessel of peaceful exploration to go out on long-term missions, to seek out new life and civilizations beyond those of known space had captured his imagination.

He’d thrown his full support behind the concept and here he was 15 years later seeing the culmination of April’s dreams.

“Ambassador!” April’s voice boomed out, breaking Bari out of his reverie.

“Robert,” he shook hands with his old friend. “She looks even better in orbit that she did in those animations you used during the presentations.”

“She does doesn’t she,” April agreed. “Have you met my first officer? George Kirk, Ambassador Bari Forelni.”

The copper-headed officer next to April extended his hand.

“Met, no,” Bari replied as he shook hands with Kirk. “But I’ve heard of your exploits, especially the unofficial ones involving that ship out there.”

“I thought those were top secret,” Kirk mumbled a little sheepishly.

“I have my connections, Commander,” Bari shrugged. “I understand your son, James, was along for the ride last time.”

“Yes, I thought the experience would scare him right out of space for good. But he’s enrolled in the Academy now.”

“He’s found his calling then,” Bari said, thinking back to his long-ago conversation with his father.

“Yeah, I guess he has.”

Bari turned back to look at the waiting ship.

“Are you sure you don’t want to tag along?” April asked.

“Tempting offer, Robert, but I must pass.”

“Careful, Mr. Ambassador, Robert has a way of sweet-talking you into doing whatever he wants you to do.”

“So I’ve heard, Commander,” Bari quipped. “But when it comes to the honey-sweet words of Robert April I am immune.”

“How so?”

“I’m allergic to honey.”

The three men shared a laugh and parted company, April and Kirk boarding the waiting ship while Bari waited until she had separated from Space Dock and sailed out of sight. There was something about that ship, something that called to something long ago buried within him.

His destiny, his calling, had led him from his home and out into space. But was Earth his final destination? Something within stirred and answered, No. There was somewhere else he that he would go and he had the strangest feeling that the ship he’d just watched sail away would be very much involved in getting him there.

   *     *     *     *

NEXT WEEK: The next saga, Star Trek: The Original Series time frame, of The Calling begins.

Click the link to read the complete 16-chapter Star Trek: Enterprise saga.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: