THE CALLING: Part 3, Chapter 1
A Work Of Star Trek Fan Fiction By Richard Paolinelli
© 2021 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.
Ensign Ro tapped her foot on the carpet, impatiently waiting for the turbolift to arrive. When the doors finally parted, she quickly marched in without looking up.
“Bridge,” she barked, spinning around to face the closing doors.
“And good morning to you too, Ensign,” Ro nearly jumped out of her skin, she hadn’t registered another presence in the lift when she entered and, of course, it would have to be Riker catching her in a moment’s inattention.
“Good morning, Commander.”
“A bit pre-occupied this morning, Ensign?”
“A little, sir. You don’t happen to know what this meeting is about?”
“I’m afraid not, Ro,” Riker replied. “The Captain asked me to assemble the staff in the conference room. Come to think of it, he did make it a point that you were to be in attendance, although he didn’t say why.”
Ro absorbed the information without further comment. She already half-suspected that she’d done something to offend ship’s protocol, no doubt Riker was just itching to instruct her on “how we do things on board this ship, Ensign.” In fact, she was surprised she hadn’t received a lecture on greeting superior officers in turbolifts, so she kept quiet, not wanting to push her luck. The lift mercifully arrived at its destination, and Ro made a beeline for the conference room with Riker, sweeping the bridge with a quick glance to assure himself all as well with the ship, right behind her. They entered the room to find Counselor Troi, Geordie LaForge, Worf and Dr. Crusher already there. Before anyone could so much as utter a greeting, Picard strode in from the opposite side of the room with Data in tow.
“Ah, splendid,” Picard said, rubbing his hands together, “you’re all here.”
The Captain took his chair at the head of the table and the other officers quickly seated themselves.
“We’ve received a priority assignment from Starfleet Command,” Picard began. “Mr. Data, would you kindly brief us on this assignment.”
“Certainly, sir,” the android began, standing up to face his fellow officers. “The Federation recently began negotiations regarding a treaty, and possible Federation membership, with the government on Kyros VI.”
Data tapped a control on the table, and a three-dimensional representation of the planet and its three satellites sprang into view over the center of the table.
“Ambassador Loomis was dispatched to the planet to head the negotiations and all appeared to be going smoothly until two days ago, when Starfleet Command received this message.”
Data pressed another control and the image of the planet was replaced by the stern visage of a balding, middle-aged humanoid man with the pale yellow skin typical of the Kyrosian race.
“Federation Council,” he began, “your Ambassador has been charged with espionage. You have seven of your Earth days to send a representative to attend his trial.”
“Short and sweet,” remarked Riker as the message ended with the disembodied face fading to black. “I take it we’ve been handed the invitation to this party, Sir.”
“Quite right, Number One,” Picard replied, “and we’re taking along an additional guest. Our first priority is to resolve this matter diplomatically, if possible.”
“Starfleet is obviously thinking that your reputation as a diplomat and the presence of a ship of the line in orbit above should turn the trick,” Crusher interjected.
“Perhaps,” Picard admitted modestly. “However, the Federation does not look kindly on its ambassadors being held against their will on trumped up charges, which is where our guest comes in.
“We are scheduled to rendezvous with the USS United in twenty-six hours and take on a Starfleet Special Security officer,” Picard paused to let that information sink in.
Starfleet Special Security were usually sent in where Starship Captains feared tread. They had the authority to fold up the Prime Directive and put it in their back pocket when certain situations called for such extreme measures. In most cases, hotspots suddenly turned space-cold when a Special Security officer was only rumored to be on the way.
“Our orders are to find a way to resolve this through diplomatic channels, but if no such resolution is possible, we are to step aside and stand ready to assist this officer in any way.”
“Who are they sending?” Worf asked.
“One of their best officers, I’m told,” Picard replied. “His father is something of a Starfleet legend, served with Captain Kirk before entering Federation politics. When Commander Forelni comes aboard I’d…”
Ro nearly jumped out of her skin again at the mention of Forelni’s name. Troi immediately sensed the Ensign’s turmoil and was staring at her quizzically. Picard had stopped speaking, and the others couldn’t help but notice the color drain from her face.
“Ensign? Is something wrong?”
“I’m sorry Captain,” she stammered. “Did you say Commander Forelni? As in Paulo Forelni?”
“Yes, I believe that is his name. How do you know him?”
Ro took a deep breath to settle herself before dropping the bombshell on her crewmates, but her voice still quavered a little. “Paulo Forelni was Chief of Security on the Wellington at Garon II.”