THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 7
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.
Forelni floated in a sea of fuzzy white, following a faint murmur of voices. He couldn’t make out the exact words but clung to them like a lifeline.
“You’re hard man to kill, Commander,” McCoy’s voice came through loud and clear, snapping Forelni out of the hazy fog. He was looking up at the ceiling of sickbay and the lone soft light shining down on his bed. He became aware of a hand holding his left hand and turned his head. Bryna was standing there, smiling.
“She hasn’t left your side since we beamed up three days ago,” McCoy said. “If it hadn’t been for her getting to you and stopping the bleeding as quickly as she did we might have lost you.”
“Thank you,” Forelni added a light squeeze of her hand before looking back at the doctor. “How long did you say?”
“It’s been three days since the fight,” McCoy repeated. “Between the battle and the bullet you took quite a beating. But you’re going to be fine. You can sit up if you want and if you behave I might let you walk around a little. But don’t even think of trying to go back on full duty or whatever that is you call exercise down in Rec for awhile.”
“Aye, Sir,” Forelni cracked. “So what happened after the fight, which I recall winning.”
“You won,” McCoy confirmed, “and delivered quite a speech before you keeled over. The First Counsel has been on and off the ship in talks with the Captain and the Ambassador every day since. I’m told an agreement on planet-wide reforms is nearly done.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“I have hope for my people for the first time,” Bryna cut in. “We have you to thank for that. But that also means you will be leaving Kallita soon and that saddens me.”
“I’m sure we will have reason to return,” Bari assured, as he slowly sat up, surprised to discover how deeply he shared her sentiment. “We’ll see if my jailer will allow a tour of the ship before you go home.”
“Seeing as how you didn’t collapse after sitting up, we might see about cutting you loose tomorrow, for a tour and light duty only, understood?”
Forelni sketched a salute and got a patented McCoy grumble in response. The doors to sickbay parted, allowing entry to Kirk and the Ambassador before sliding shut.
“Mr. Forelni,” Kirk smiled. “Good to see you’re awake. How are you feeling?”
“Battered and bruised, Sir, but ready to get back to work.”
“After he gets some more rest,” McCoy added sternly, ignoring the knowing look that passed between Kirk and Forelni.
“We bring good news, Bari,” Kleine said. “We’ve reached an accord with the Kallitan government on wide-ranging reforms. The practice of slavery will be abolished. You made quite the impression down there, I must say. In fact, the First Counsel is waiting outside. He’d like a word with you if you are up to it?”
Forelni eased himself off the bed and stood up, waving off McCoy’s protestations.
“I’ll be damned if I receive that man while looking up at him, Doctor.”
Kirk walked back to the doors, silently noting that Forelni had positioned himself between the young Kallitan woman and the entrance.
“First Counsel,” he invited after the doors had parted. The Kallitan leader walked in and surveyed the room before addressing Forelni.
“Commander, my congratulations on your victory and your recovery.”
“Thank you, First Counsel,” Forelni replied, his tone matching the First Counsel’s lack of sincerity. “Most gracious of you.”
“It is the least I can do. Now that you have recovered, and our negotiations have concluded, I must ask that all Kallitan citizens on board this ship return to the planet with me at this time. We have much work to do down below.”
“And if the young woman wishes to remain as our guest for awhile longer?” Kirk’s own tone was less than cordial.
“I’m afraid, as a Kallitan citizen, she does not have a choice in the matter.”
Forelni turned and activated the panel next to his bed.
“Bridge, communications please.”
“Communications,” Lt. Uhura answered.
“Lieutenant, please send the following message to the Royal Court on Etalya, to the attention of the Court Chamberlain: Honorable Sir, effective this stardate in recognition of her actions, Bryna of Kallita, is granted full Etalyian citizenship and is hereby appointed as Etalyian Ambassador to Kallita. Signed His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Bari Forelni. Please send it as top priority.”
“Message transmitted, Commander.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant, Forelni out,” he snapped off the link and turned back to face his adversary.
“What does that mean?” Bryna asked.
“It means you may remain on the ship if you like,” Forelni explained. “You may even request transport to live on Etalya if you so desire. It also means, if you choose to return to Kallita, you will do so as my world’s official representative, with all of the protections that position entails.”
“And if we choose not to recognize her new status?” the First Counsel all but growled.
“It would not go well for you if you choose that path, First Counsel.”
“I will return home,” Bryna cut in.
“Are you certain?” Forelni turned to her, ignoring his foe as he took her hands in his.
“Yes, there is much I can do for my people now. Thank you for that and for all you have done.”
She favored him with a chaste kiss and walked toward the First Counsel.
“Let me be the first to welcome you, Ambassador,” Kleine stepped in, “and allow me the honor of escorting you to the Transporter Room. We can set up an office for you in the Federation Consulate when our diplomats return to the surface until something more permanent for you can be arranged.”
Kleine led her out of the room with the First Counsel following a few steps behind. Forelni waited until he was at the threshold.
“Not a scratch, First Counsel.”
The Kallitan hesitated for a split second before continuing out of the room without saying a word. Forelni stared at the closed doors.
“She’ll be fine,” Kirk said. “Making her an Ambassador will protect her. He wouldn’t dare do anything now.”
“I hope you are right, Captain,” Forelni sounded unconvinced as he glanced at the wall chrono. “My regular watch is scheduled to begin in three hours. Permission to go back on duty, Sir?”
“Now wait just a second,” McCoy barged in. “Granted you’ve managed to remain standing for more than five minutes without falling flat on your face, but you’re a far cry from being cleared for duty, Commander.”
“I can rest in a chair on the bridge just as easily as I can in my quarters, Doctor.”
“Perhaps light duty only, Bones,” Kirk offered. “He can stand a watch on the bridge and call me if anything happens?”
“Provided the Commander gets something to eat first and engages in nothing more strenuous than sitting,” McCoy allowed with a grumble. “I swear you’re a worse patient than Spock and the Captain combined.”
“Commander, I suggest we make our retreat before he changes his mind,” Kirk quipped. “I will see you on the bridge in three hours.”
Forelni wasted no time in taking his Captain’s suggestion and departed. He had to admit, three hours later as he made his way onto the bridge, a sonic shower and some food had done wonders. He was still sore in several places, and he doubted he was up to any kind of a fight, but he was feeling much better.
“Commander, it’s good to see you back in uniform,” Kleine greeted him, being the first one to spot his arrival.
“Thank you, Ambassador. It’s good to be back in it. Checking up on me already, Doctor?”
McCoy just harrumphed his reply as the evening watch crew arrived to relive their counterparts. After all were settled in, Forelni looked at Kirk.
“I believe your watch just ended, Sir.”
“Indeed it has, Commander, the bridge is…”
“Incoming transmission from Kallita, Captain,” Ensign Karina Fabian, Uhura’s relief at Communications, interrupted. “It’s the First Counsel, Sir.”
“On screen,” Kirk ordered.
The screen switched from the orbital view of the planet to the interior of the First Counsel’s chamber. The man was seated, flanked by the other members of the Kallitan government. He was holding a length of chain in one hand and wearing an ominous smile on his face.
“First Counsel,” Kirk greeted warily. “What can we do for you?”
“Ah, Captain Kirk, and I see Ambassador Kleine and Commander Forelni are present as well, good,” he began. “I am calling to inform you that the Kallitan government is formally withdrawing from the Federation.”
“Captain,” Spock called out, having returned to his station. “The force shield is back in place above the city.”
“Yes it is,” the First Counsel confirmed. “As there are no Federation citizens on Kallita, and none of our people are aboard your ship, this should be of no concern.”
“There is the matter of the Etalyian Ambassador, First Counsel,” Kirk said, beating Forelni to the punch by a whisker.
“Oh, yes, about that,” the man’s smile grew. “We have decided not to recognize her claim of Etalyian citizenship, nor do we accept her as your Ambassador, Prince Forelni.”
He snapped hard on the chain and Bryna, the other end of the chain hooked to a collar around her neck, tumbled to the floor I view of the pickup. She’d been badly beaten and her clothes were shredded rags. Then the viewscreen cut back to the orbital view of the planet.
“Communications ended, Sir,” Fabian reported in the shocked silence that had fallen onto the bridge.
Kirk placed a hand on Forelni’s shoulder.
“Commander,” he said softly, and then repeated it a little louder the next time to finally get his officer to turn away from the screen.
“I should have killed that man when I had the chance,” Forelni said in a tone devoid of emotion.
The vision of the badly-beaten woman still fresh in his mind, Kirk couldn’t honestly say that he disagreed.
* * * * *
Read Part 1 and all of the previous chapters of Part 2, right here.