THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 4
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.
“In orbit above the capital city of Kallita, Captain,” Sulu reported.
“Thank you, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk replied, swiveling the command chair toward communications. “Lieutenant Uhura, please raise the First Counsel.”
“Aye, Sir,” she replied, manipulating her board. “Hailing them now. The First Counsel is responding, Captain.”
“On screen,” Kirk ordered, nodding at the Ambassador standing beside the command chair. “The floor is yours, Ambassador.”
“Thank you, Captain,” Kleine stepped forward and gathered himself just as the Kallitan leader’s image flared to life on the main view screen. “Greetings, First Counsel. I am Federation Ambassador Dan Kleine here to negotiate the release of our diplomatic team, per your request.”
“Welcome to Kallita, Ambassador,” Judnac replied coolly. “We are prepared to receive you and your party at your convenience.”
“Of course, First Counsel. But may I request, as a sign of good faith, that our first meeting take place aboard the Enterprise?”
“Good faith, Ambassador? Is the mighty Federation afraid of one small planet?”
“There is the matter of the current status of our first diplomatic team, First Counsel. Starfleet is naturally concerned about sending a second party down under the present circumstances.”
“Our reasons for detaining your diplomats are quite legitimate, Ambassador. Whether or not we will release them back into your custody is a matter for discussion, down here on Kallita and nowhere else. We will lower our shield over the Capital City in precisely fifteen minutes. Your party will have thirty seconds to beam down before we raise it again. If you do not arrive at the appointed hour, the sentences against your diplomats will be carried out immediately.”
The screen went black as the First Counsel cut communications.
“I suppose that could have gone better,” Kleine remarked as he turned from the screen.
“A thirty-second window isn’t enough time for us to scan for and locate our diplomats,” Forelni added. “Much less beam them up.”
“Shouldn’t we at least try a diplomatic resolution first?”
“Of course, Ambassador,” Kirk agreed. “But given the apparent hostility from the First Counsel, we have to keep all options on the table.”
“Captain,” Spock interjected. “Given what we just witnessed are you quite certain you should be part of the first landing party?”
“Bucking for Chief of Security, Spock?”
“No, Captain. But it does seem likely that there will be some difficulty below.”
“Agreed, Spock. But they are expecting both the Ambassador and myself to beam down. Fortunately they did not object to the inclusion of Mr. Forelni and Dr. McCoy. I am certain Mr. Forelni’s expertise will be adequate should the Kallitans be up to something. And between you and Scotty up here on the ship you’ll be able to beam us back out in good order.”
Kirk caught the quick glance that passed between his Security Chief and his First Officer and resisted the urge to sigh. At least McCoy was still down in Sick Bay otherwise he’d be in jeopardy of being mother henned to death.
“Gentlemen, like it or not, we’ve got less than fifteen minutes to get to the transporter room and beam down to Kallita. I suggest we get started.”
* * * * *
Four figures coalesced into being in a small receiving hall outside of the First Counsel’s chambers. A dozen armed guards greeted them. One stepped forward and addressed Kirk.
“You will hand over all weapons now!”
“We came unarmed,” Kirk replied smoothly. “Just as your First Counsel requested.”
“You will hand over all weapons,” the guard repeated, pointing at Kirk’s communicator and McCoy’s medical tricorder.
“These are our communication devices and that his simply a medical device the Doctor needs…”
“You will hand over all weapons now,” the guard grumbled in a tone only one octave below a volcanic eruption.
“I see. Very well, gentlemen,” Kirk pulled the communicator from his belt and handed it over as the others followed suit. The guard nearly pulled McCoy off balance as he snatched the tricorder from the Doctor’s hands.
“Search them,” the guard commanded.
“Paranoid bunch,” McCoy muttered as he was roughly patted down.
“Bones,” Kirk warned as the search wrapped up. The guard waved for the door to be opened.
“Excuse me, sir,” Forelni chimed in suddenly. “But you missed something.”
Forelni slipped a thin, metallic strip from his left sleeve and extended it toward the guard.
“Careful,” Forelni warned as the guard gripped the object in his hand. “It’s quite sharp.”
A long, razor-sharp blade snicked out to form a lethal-looking blade. Startled, the guard dropped the blade to the floor.
“Sloppy security work,” Forelni chided sadly. “Have you considered an alternative career path in food service?”
The guard’s face turned a shade of red that matched Forelni’s tunic but held his tongue. He grabbed the fallen blade, spun on his heel and led the Federation party into the chambers. The Ambassador entered first while Forelni lingered back with Kirk and McCoy.
“He activated the tracer in the blade, Captain. Spock will hear everything that happens and within the hour he should have all Federation personnel located and ready to beam up as soon as the shield is lowered again.”
“Well done, Mr. Forelni,” Kirk replied as they entered the room.
“That was sneaky,” McCoy remarked. “I see why he likes Riley so much.”
The Ambassador stepped up to the indicated place and addressed the First Counsel.
“Greetings from the United Feder…” Kleine began before being interrupted.
“I do not need greetings from a prisoner,” Judanc’s tone was mockingly lazy.
“First Counsel we were guaranteed…”
“You were, now you are not. I will inform your Federation Council that you have been charged as accomplices and will be punished accordingly.”
Forelni shot a quick look at Kirk. Straight to worst-case scenario, Kirk thought, recalling their strategy session the night before. Kirk gave a brief nod to his Security Chief to proceed as they’d discussed.
“I claim the Right of Challenge,” Forelni announced as he stepped forward. The First Counsel actually looked amused.
“You are willing to battle my three champions?”
“In exchange for the freedom of all Federation and Starfleet personnel when I win..”
“If you win.”
“When I win,” Forelni re-emphasized. “In addition, you will begin good faith discussions regarding your claims, whatever they might be.”
“This might actually be amusing. You really think you can beat all three?”
Forelni shot a disparaging look at the guards before replying.
“I’ve seen better.”
“Oh, my three champions are not among my guards, Commander. These are my champions.”
A large view screen above the First Counsel’s head flared to life displaying a large practice area where the three champions were engaged in various training. All three were behemoths. Kirk imagined he could hear Spock’s eyebrows rocketing up his forehead from orbit above.
“Do you still wish to fight my champions now?”
Forelni favored the First Counsel with a bored look.
“Separately,” he asked, “or all three at the same time?”