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Chapter 4: Play Our Parts for King and Country

Sitting behind the desk in his ready room, Captain Esteban looked at Dr. Puri. Whenever Esteban had a serious matter on his mind, he often found it helpful to share his thoughts with Puri. In the time honored tradition of ship doctors in Starfleet, Ahsan Puri capably served in the dual role of both physician and bartender. At the moment they were sharing a drink of Altairian brandy.

Puri swirled the royal blue liquid in his glass. “Have you heard back from Headquarters yet, J.T.?”

Esteban nodded. There was a troubled expression on his face. “Yes. It seems that this battle that the Klingons reported is news to the admiralty as well as to us. The brass couldn’t confirm any of it.”

“Do you suppose the Klingons are just playing with us?”

“You mean falsifying reports about fighting in a sector of space so close to their borders?” Esteban shook his head. “No, I don’t think that they’re playing with us, Ahsan, at least not in that respect. I am sure that the Mutara battle happened, though I find it hard to believe that only Starfleet ships were involved in it. That much at least has to be a deception on the part of our Klingon friends. Fleet Admiral Morrow himself told me that Ambassador Kamarag walked away from the negotiating table in a rage this afternoon.”

Esteban grunted quietly; it seemed that Kamarag was always walking away from the negotiating table in a rage for one reason or another. Fury appeared to be Kamarag’s normal modus operandi.

Puri frowned slightly out of concern. As a medical practitioner he was forced to be a student of alien cultures; he’d been following developments in the peace negotiations closely out of that personal interest. The talks had been tense from the beginning, but both sides had continued to work through the troubled debates up until now. “Do you think this might be indicative of a prelude to invasion?”

“I don’t know, Ahsan.” Esteban sighed tiredly. “I can’t think of too many other reasons why Kamarag would storm out of the conference.”

The door chime to the ready room sounded. Esteban took a sip of his brandy before directing his gaze to the doors. “Yes, come.”

A weary but satisfied looking Sarek entered the space. “Captain…Doctor.” Sarek inclined his head to both men.

Puri half rose from his seat upon seeing Sarek: the ambassador’s forehead was shiny with droplets of perspiration. In all of his long years of service, he had never before seen a Vulcan sweating. “Ambassador, are you feeling alright?”

Sarek directed his gaze towards Puri. “I assure you that I am in perfect health.”

Puri nodded, satisfied with Sarek’s answer. As a species Vulcans found it illogical to deny any symptoms or conditions that were indicative of ill-health. If the ambassador said that he was well, that was the truth of the matter.

Sarek turned his attention to Esteban. “Captain, I would like for you to extend an invitation to Councilor Gorkon for dinner this evening aboard the Grissom.”

Esteban’s eyebrows nearly disappeared into his hairline out of shock. “Ambassador, you can’t be serious. You know that it’s against protocols to allow Klingons onto Federation starships without the express permission of the general command staff. What you're proposing would be a security violation.”

“I am aware of the regulation, Captain. Normally I would be in support of upholding the security directive, but I feel we must be flexible in this situation.”

Esteban glanced at Puri. He was sure that he’d seen everything in the galaxy now, now that he’d seen a Vulcan ambassador asking for flexibility in the guidelines of society.

“Councilor Gorkon extended hospitality towards myself on the planet,” Sarek continued calmly. “Moreover, he has demonstrated a willingness to consider the Federation’s proposal despite his cultural inclinations. I wish to return the favor of hospitality to him, in order to demonstrate the Federation’s good faith and our dedication to making this project succeed. It is logical to do this.”

Esteban’s eyebrows knit together over the bridge of his nose. Sarek’s proposal was, in a word, disturbing. “What sort of man do you judge him to be, Ambassador?” If he was going to allow a member of the Klingon High Council onto his ship, he wanted to be sure of the man’s character.

Sarek clasped his hands together at the level of his chest. “You have an interest in ancient Roman history, do you not, Captain?”

Esteban inclined his head. “I do.”

“Then I shall say that I find Councilor Gorkon to be very much like the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: a true leader for his people, capable of leading them in both times of war and times of peace. He embodies the virtues of his culture and acts within those boundaries, but he seems desirous to understand all perspectives in any given situation. He is a philosopher and a man of reason, one with whom I believe agreements beneficial to both sides can be reached. We could do far worse than allowing him onto this ship and listening to what he has to say.”

Puri smiled slightly as he took a sip of his brandy. “It sounds like he made quite an impression on you, Ambassador.”

“Indeed.” Sarek tilted his head slightly to one side, recalling the long conversation that had taken place between himself and Gorkon on the planet’s surface. “He is a man of many facets. And he seems to have a fondness for Shakespeare, which I find most unexpected and quite fascinating.”

Esteban scratched at the side of his head, a bemused sort of look coming to his face. He could hardly believe that he was going to allow this. No Klingon had ever been permitted to step on board a starship before. Admiral Morrow had told him that they might make history with this mission, but Esteban hadn’t anticipated that he’d be making history in this particular fashion. “Well, Ahsan, I guess you’d better tell Chef to break out the fine china and uncork a vintage of the good French wine from my personal stores, because we’re having a Klingon over for dinner.”


Gorkon sat down behind his computer terminal in his spartan personal quarters on Kronos One. He tapped a finger on the touch screen, opening the waiting communication channel from Qo’noS. He bowed his head deferentially as the screen came to life. “Chancellor Lorak. I am honored to speak with you.”

“I am not so honored to speak with you, Gorkon,” Lorak answered disapprovingly. “Why in the name of Kahless have you interrupted your inspection tour? I wanted a full report of the Empire’s resources by the end of the month.”

“And you shall have it, Chancellor, I can assure you. An unusual situation brought me back to Nimbus III.”

“Nimbus III?” Lorak scoffed in disbelief. “Why do you waste your time with that place?”

“The Federation has brought a new proposal for the planet’s development to my attention. I believe that we have a unique opportunity before us, one which we should seriously consider acting upon in the best interests of the Empire.”

Lorak shook his head slowly. “You know I value your council, my old friend. Upon your advice and against my better judgment I allowed for the negotiating of a peace treaty with the Federation. But now you would do well to find a different cause on which to advocate if you desire to remain alive and a member of the Council.”

“Chancellor?” Gorkon asked quietly, with a slight tone of uncertainty. Up until now Lorak had seemed to be in his camp, pushing for cooperation with worlds outside the Empire. The tenor of this conversation seemed to suggest that Lorak’s opinions were rapidly shifting, however.

“Have you had the opportunity to examine the report from our border post?”

“I had only begun to glance over it when your transmission came in.”

“Then I must tell you that we may shortly need all of our resources for something much more important than playing colony with the Federation and the Romulans,” Lorak said flatly. “Two Federation vessels engaged in a battle near our borders -- not with simulated tactics, but with actual weapons. After a fierce exchange of fire both ships withdrew from the area. General Chang informs me that Intelligence has matched the engine signature of one of the vessels to that of the Enterprise.”

A slight frown came to Gorkon’s face. “That’s Admiral Kirk’s ship, isn’t it?”

“It is indeed.” A frown that matched Gorkon’s came to Lorak’s face. “An engagement involving Starfleet’s finest warrior along our borders must be taken as a sign of coming Federation aggression.”

Gorkon passed a hand along the crest of his forehead in a worried manner. “Chancellor, I strongly urge caution in this matter. Do not let General Chang guide you to a course of rash hostility as he is prone to do. The repercussions may prove to be severe, with unexpected and unfortunate consequences for the Empire. If my inspection has convinced me of anything, it is that we do not have the resources to sustain a prolonged conflict at this time. Renewed warfare with the Federation could easily stretch us beyond our means.”

“The storm clouds are already gathering, my old friend,” Lorak said with quiet sadness. “It is time for you to stop shouting into the wind. Have some sense and heed the lesson that Kahless tried to teach us about the fool of Quin’lat. Your voice is needed, Gorkon, but this is not the time or the place for it.”

Gorkon nodded once in resignation. “I have been invited to dine with Ambassador Sarek this evening. I shall do my duty as you have laid it out for me in this matter. Is there any particular message that you wish for me to convey, either to the Ambassador or the ship’s captain?”

“Indeed, my old friend, I have a very particular message that must be relayed, and I depend upon you to deliver it in an extremely precise manner…”


After removing his ceremonial garb and changing into a set of light weight white robes, Sarek rolled his shoulders as he sought to ease the tension of sore muscles. He was just about to begin the process of putting away his laundered ambassadorial robes when Amanda walked into the bedroom area under a full head of steam.

“I’ll do that.” Amanda shoved a large glass of water into his hand. “You sit down and have a rest.”

Sarek knew this was one of those times when it was best not to argue with his wife. There was no point to it, when she was in one of her illogical moods of distemper. He sat down in a chair and drank of the welcomingly refreshing liquid that she had given him.

Amanda began to hang the various pieces of his robes onto hangers with amazing ferocity, practically beating the other clothes aside in the closet to make room for the heavy black and russet layers of material.

“What upsets you, my wife?” Sarek asked calmly.

“You do, for one! Wearing those robes of yours down on the surface -- when any logical being knows that you should have forgone them...I never...” Amanda threw her hands up in the air in angry frustration. “I don’t care what you say about Vulcan stamina -- you’re lucky that you didn’t collapse.”

“Earlier today I reminded you that my attire is dictated by the traditions of my people. Must I remind you again now?” Sarek looked upon his wife with a degree of impatience. “I cannot ignore the culture of my world in the name of expediency. To do so would betray the public trust of every member of my society. I will not bring that kind of dishonor to my family or my clan.”

“No, you’ve never been able to ignore what your precious Vulcan culture tells you to do, have you, Sarek?” Amanda spat the words scathingly at him. “Not now, not fifteen years ago, not forty years ago, not fifty or sixty! Not with T’Rea, not with me, not with Sybok, and not with Spock! Always your family loses out to culture and tradition.”

“Whether you believe me or not, I act in the manner I do for the benefit my family, not for its detriment -- because I believe that the tenets of my culture are based upon sound principles that have been developed over many millennia. Because I believe in the righteousness of that heritage,” Sarek responded with typical Vulcan aplomb, before actually frowning at Amanda. “All these years we have been married, yet you still do not seem to understand what it is to be Vulcan.”

Amanda flicked an irate hand through the air. “You know, Spock said the exact same thing to me once almost twenty years ago. I didn’t want to know then, and I still don’t want to know now, if knowing means that I can’t love my husband and my son and show them that I care more for them than I do about some ancient philosophy.”

Sarek regarded his wife with puzzlement. Even for her this seemed to be an overly dramatic display of human emotions. “My wife, what troubles you so deeply that you speak in such a hard way?”

Amanda turned away from her husband, her voice becoming softer. “Did you hear that there was some kind of battle yesterday involving Starfleet ships near the border?”

“I did,” Sarek answered stoically.

Amanda sank down in a chair, close to tears. “How can you say that so casually? What if Spock and Jim were somehow involved with it? They could be dead right now, and you sit there as if there was nothing troubling about this at all.”

“It is unlikely that our son or his sa-telsu had any part in a battle. If you will recall from Spock’s letter, the Enterprise is on a training mission. Besides my wife, you know that I would know at once if things were to go ill with our son. You forget about k’war’ma’khon: the vibration felt by all Vulcans between family members. I can assure you that I have experienced no resonance indicating injury, which means that our son remains safe and well.”

Setting aside his now empty glass, Sarek rose from his chair. He held out the fingers of his right hand towards Amanda, passing them down the length of her hand. “There is no reason for you to fear, my dear k’diwa,” he reassured her gently.

Amanda swallowed against the tightness of her throat, her fingers brushing against those of her husband’s. “Forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive.” Sarek pulled Amanda up from her chair. He wrapped his arms snugly around her middle as he placed a soft kiss on her lips. “Let us set this matter aside. We must prepare for an important meal. There is duty to be done.”

A small smile came to Amanda’s face. “Yes, my love.”


Chapter End Notes: A/N1: From the Vulcan language dictionary:

(1) sa-telsu: (n) husband, male spouse

(2) k'diwa: (n) beloved, half of a person's heart and soul; shortened form of the word k'hat'n'dlawa

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