The doors to the bridge opened and Fleet Admiral Richter stepped out of the turbolift. As T'Paal turned, she was surprised. Although it had only been six minutes since she alerted the Admiral and awakened him from sleep, he looked alert and ready for a dress parade. Surreptitiously, she scanned him and found no evidence of stimulants in his system. That caused he to reveal her Vulcan heritage by allowing her right eyebrow to arch as she was surprised again. "The Iconians are awaiting your signal to meet with you, Admiral."
"Roger that." Richter strode across the deck to the comms station and signaled the Iconians. Almost immediately, a portal opened and L'Miren floated out onto the bridge of the D'Kora. "Although it is unexpected, The Other is always welcome in our space." Richter gave a respectful nod of his head and returned a warm welcome. "Thank you L'Miren, it is most pleasant to meet you in friendship," smiling as he finished his greeting. "To what do we owe this pleasure?" The Admiral paused briefly before answering, "I came in need of your aid." L'Mirren demeanor was still warm, but her discomfort was apparent. "We have already told you we will not assist you with T'Ket, not even to save you."
"That isn't why I am here," the Admiral said. "There have been deaths involving key members of the Federation. These deaths when taken as a whole point to targeted assassinations of Starfleet personnel. The attacks are not targeting those in charge now, but those who will likely succeed key personnel. I followed a lead inside the Federation to Drozana Station where there was an attempt made on my life and that of my companion. The assassins broke their standard protocol and attacked members of my staff in order to try and draw me back out into the open as I had escaped their first attempt, and they are continuing their attempts to force me out into the open by targeting my family.
"Disturbing, may I examine the data that you have collected thus far?" "Indeed, the information is located on our main computer there," and Richter pointed to the console to L'Mirren's left. She floated over to the console as T'Paal whispered to Richter, "are you certain that this is a good idea?" "I am," Richter whispered back. "The Iconians are the only people that I know that have significant resources in sub space. If there is anyone that can help us, it's L'Miren's people." Reading T'Paal's expression, Richter continued with a smile and a wink, "trust me."
Richter and T'Paal turned toward L'Miren as she completed her examination of the records. "You are correct in your assessment. Federation personnel are being discreetly targeted. The pattern is very subtle, but evident when you are looking for it and considering likely future career developments. The data concerning subspace transmissions is also very interesting and one that we can analyze with great efficiency. However, how do you know that T'Ket is not involved in these assassinations?" "To be perfectly honest, I don't. But this doesn't feel like her style. To me, she feels like she would prefer to be more visceral in her pursuits, if that makes any sense."
"Agreed, but that does not mean that she does not have a hand in this. But we will analyze the signal and fix an origin for the signal. Once that has been completed, we will offer no further aid. Remain here and we will contact you when we have something to communicate. Be well." And with that, L'Miren opened a portal and disappeared. Now that L'Miren was gone, Richter could show his fatigue. He no longer appeared ready for a dress parade and he seemed as tired as he most surely was.
"Come on," T'Paal prodded, "time to get some real rest while you wait." If Richter noticed her hand on his shoulder guiding him, he didn't mention it. They boarded the turbolift and traveled to the crew quarters. "When was the last time that you got some real rest?" Richter shrugged his shoulders, "not sure. I think it was when Drake contacted me and brought the assassinations to my attention." "You need to take better care of yourself, Admiral. There are a lot of people depending on you and you can't do what you need to do when you are worn out." As the doors opened and they stepped out onto the crew deck, Richter turned to her, "It's alright, T'Paal. I'll be fine."
"No sir, you won't. You are being pursued by professional killers who need to kill you so that their main objective can be met. An objective that has been pursued for at least the past two years and possibly longer. They are now pursuing your family and friends in an attempt to get you to break cover so that they can finish the job that they began on Drozana, and they aren't even concerned with it looking like an accident or routine death anymore. They also know that if they keep the pressure on you, you will grow tired and they know that tired operators make mistakes. Mistakes that they can take advantage of and use to kill you." T'Paal's eyes were locked with Richter's when she finished.
Richter sighed, "Alright Mom, point taken. I'll go and get eight hours sleep. Hold any message save for the galaxy ending ones." As they drew up to Richter's quarters T'Paal responded, "Your mother wouldn't have the thoughts about you that have been swirling around in my mind. Get some rest and I'll wake you in eight hours." With that, T'Paal turned on her heel and headed for the turbolift leaving the Admiral confused. As he walked to the waiting bed, he left a path of clothes on the floor and climbed in. And for the first time since he had met her, he had an appreciation for her figure. As his eyes closed, he slipped into the blissful unconsciousness of sleep.
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