THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 3
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.
“Starbase 11 reports they are ready to beam Ambassador Kleine aboard, Captain,” Forelni reported as Kirk, Spock and McCoy entered the Transporter room.
“Very good. Bring him up Mr. Kyle,” Kirk nodded at the man working the console. “Do you know the Ambassador, Mr. Forelni?”
“Yes. I worked with Dan Kleine on one or two negotiations before joining Starfleet. He’s a good, capable man.”
“I’m surprised Starfleet didn’t just ask you to serve as a negotiator when we get to Kallita,” McCoy remarked.
“I imagine my reputation for rescuing hostages and then shooting the hostage takers disqualified me, Doctor,” Forelni quipped. “It seems the Federation wants to continue dealing with the current leader of Kallita instead of being involved in a regime change.”
“I trust Ambassador Kleine has no such rescue now and shoot later policy?” Kirk asked only half-jokingly.
“Dan prefers the live and let live policy, Sir,” Forelni replied, that wicked little gleam in his eye shone brightly. “Most naïve for a man of his age if you ask me.”
The whine of the transporter cutoff any reply as the humanoid form of Ambassador Kleine took shape on the pad. He was a tall man, closer to McCoy’s age, with an almost wiry frame. Wisps of grey wove their way through his jet black hair.
“Ambassador Kleine,” Kirk stepped forward. “Welcome aboard the Enterprise.”
“Thank you, Captain Kirk,” Kleine stepped down from the pad.
“May I introduce my First Officer, Spock, and my Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Leonard McCoy?”
“A pleasure gentlemen, although I wish the circumstances of our meeting were otherwise.”
“And I believe you already know my Chief of Security…”
“Bari Forelni,” Kleine exclaimed. “How long has it been? Seven? No, eight years! Did I every pay off that bet?”
“As a matter of fact, no, you never did,” Forelni shook hands with the Ambassador. “If I were to charge you interest I could bathe in Romulan Ale for a year and still have plenty left over to drink.”
“Serves me right for playing chess with you,” Kleine chuckled. “What do you say double or nothing that you don’t make the finals of the big tournament?”
“I’ll settle for the single bottle you owe me. Besides, I think we have a more pressing issue to resolve right now.”
“Of course,” Kleine sobered a little. “I have already been in touch with the Kallitan government. Upon arrival they will allow a small party to beam down to the planet to begin negotiations to release the hostages and resolve the original dispute.”
Kirk stepped into the conversation to ward off the impending, and likely loud, objection sure to come from his security chief.
“Ambassador, are you quite certain that is a wise thing to do? After all, they have already taken on diplomatic party hostage. It would seem you are giving them an opportunity to add more hostages.”
“Aye,” Forelni muttered in agreement.
“Captain, I have received assurances from their First Counsel Judanc that I and a party no larger than five will have safe passage to and from the ship. It seems the diplomatic party may have overstepped and violated some local law. I fully expect to have the whole matter resolved in a few hours.”
“That sounds overly optimistic, Ambassador Kleine.”
“Not at all, Mr. Spock, not at all. The First Counsel is a reasonable man. Surely he does not think he can stand up against the entire Federation. He is simply posturing. We’ll reach an equitable resolution to the matter.”
“Mr. Forelni will show you to your quarters,” Kirk broke in. “We’ll be underway for Kallita within a few minutes and we should arrive there in two days.”
Kleine headed for the doors and Forelni lingered behind for just a second.
“And after the Ambassador is settled,” Kirk continued in a lower tone, “I will be waiting for you and Mr. Spock, who is going to the bridge and get us on our way, in my quarters.”
“Yes, Sir,” Kirk’s First Officer and Security Chief replied in unison and followed the Ambassador out into the hall. Judging by the look on Forelni’s face, it was going to be an interesting meeting.
* * * * *
“I’ll assume you will enter a formal protest into the log regarding my beaming down to Kallita?” Kirk asked when Forelni arrived.
“Your predecessor would have.”
“Since Ambassador Kleine is insisting on beaming down then you have to accompany him for protocol’s sake. But, I can enter a formal request that I go down with the landing party to provide adequate security coverage. I would, informally, add that the First Officer remain on the ship and that only one other crewman, from Medical, be included.”
“We’re already giving them another Ambassador and a Starship Captain as potential hostages, no need to sweeten the pot any further. And, as First Officer, Spock has the authority to take immediate action when they do decide to add the landing party to their haul.”
“When, not if, Commander?” Spock asked.
“When, Sir. You all read the same briefing material I did. The First Counsel has been in power for a decade now and he is taking his people ‘back to the good old ways’ and that makes Caligula look like a benevolent ruler by comparison.
“He’s brought back gladiator-type games,” Forelni continued. “Stripped certain citizens of rights for any number of dubious reasons. Yes, Mr. Spock, whatever his plan is, we are only adding to the pieces he intends to use to his advantage when we beam down there.”
“Given what we’ve seen so far, Captain, the Commander’s misgivings do seem justified.”
“Very well, Commander, draw up an action plan and be ready to present it to me…,” Kirk trailed off as Forelni produced a data cube. “Are you telling me you drew up a complete plan in the short time it took you to go from the Ambassador’s quarters to mine?”
“No, Sir,” and damned if that gleam wasn’t back in his eye. “I drew this up ten minutes after the initial briefing when we were ordered to Starbase 11 and I read the last report on the state of Kallita’s politics.”
“You are a suspicious man, Mr. Forelni.”
“Aye, Captain. I intend to live my full three centuries and then some and I’ll not have some want-to-be despot in the middle of nowhere be the reason why you don’t live to see a good portion of your second.”
“We’ll try to see to it that I do then,” Kirk replied with a chuckle. “Very well, Commander, what have you got?”