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Traian tr'Saeihraoi - A Heart Full of Skeletons

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((Saeihraoi Estate, Rator III)) 

::The grand estate was nestled into the thick, coniferous forest, a vast manor house surrounded by pristine gardens that changed with every season, all perched on the shores of a crystal lake. Centuries old, it had always been a stronghold of the ancient house-clan Saeihraoi. After the destruction of Romulus, it had become its beating heart, perfectly positioned for its scions to wield their considerable influence in the new capital of the Star Empire.

::As his subordinate completed his report, the patrician stepped away from the window, the long black and indigo fabric of his senatorial robes sweeping across the marbled floor. His dark brows were the only hair on his head, a clean-shaven scalp highlighting a strong jaw and pale green eyes. He carried himself with a predatory grace and military precision, a statesman who had served his time in the trenches, his ambitions and intellect now turned toward politics and power.::

Traian: Disappointing, Khaiell. No schematics, no Nei'rrh, and we have lost our asset aboard the Gorkon. Hardly your usual standard of work.

::The younger man bowed his head in respect, briefly pressing a closed fist to the centre of his chest. Disappointing was am extraordinarily gentle way of phrasing it; he had failed to achieve any of his goals, and what's more, he had cost his lord and house-clan in the process. Years of prior loyal and successful service were the only reason he was still permitted to draw breath.::

Khaiell: No, my Lord. My apologies. I was not prepared for, ::he grimaced, a distant echo of pain in his shoulder,:: how capable they were. 

::The apology was accepted with a nod, the explanation with a smile. A swell of pride and amusement blossomed in the older Romulan's chest, warming him through; of all the reasons for his agent to fail, that alone was the pleasing one. With a gesture, they began to walk through the vaulted corridors of the mansion, Traian's robes whispering across the polished floors, Khaiell's boots a soft, echoing thud.::

Traian: Perhaps we should take both instruction and pride in that. You are fully recovered?

Khaiell: I am.

::After some considerable efforts at the hands of the surgeons, no doubt. The daughter of Llaiira t'Sienelis hadn't just dislocated his shoulder, but completely incapacitated it, fracturing bone, tearing ligaments, and severing nerves in a single, vicious move. She might have left the Empire, but its lessons remained close to her heart. Inconvenient for Khaiell, but perhaps promising for the future.::  

Traian: Good. Then where do we stand?

Khaiell: The Gorkon has returned to Earth with the schematics for the ih'fvullhajun eiyyha. Admiral Reynolds was also successful in having the charges dismissed, and it is unlikely we will be able to pursue that avenue again.

Traian: That woman continues to both infuriate and delight. 

::He steepled his hands together, pointing down, jewelled rings gleaming on his fingers. Indeed, Starfleet would not be so readily duped a second time now that Reynolds had shone a light on the lie. But perhaps the attempt hadn't been a complete waste of time and resources. Seeds of doubt had been sown, a lesson driven home, a little Romulan stray reminded that she just didn't belong. 

::A knife driven into the flesh, to be twisted at just the right moment.::

Khaiell: It is rare to find a human with such... cunning.

Traian: Quite. It was not a trivial thing, installing someone aboard her starship. ::He arched an elegant, upswept eyebrow.:: The Marshall boy was an opportunity that won't easily come again. Replacing him will be much more challenging.

::He did not need to be more direct than that, the tenured retainer more than capable of hearing the order. Khaiell inclined his head in a nod, his able mind already running ahead.:: 

Khaiell: I will see it done.

::Just as soon as he figured out how, of course. There were indications that Reynolds had known of Marshall's dubious allegiances from the start, though at least his connection to the Empire had been obfuscated through the Syndicate. Finding another available agent who could be inserted aboard the Gorkon without raising any suspicions was a mountain to climb, to put it mildly.::

Traian: I have every confidence that you will not disappoint me again. ::He left that hanging in the air just long enough before dismissing the subject in favour of another.:: Now, tell me of this tedious business in the Typhon Sector.

Khaiell: It is unclear exactly how the Red Star came to be over a hundred light years away from its original route, :;that earned him a raised eyebrow,:: but it appears that Commander T'Kona is involved. We believe he engineered the theft in order to acquire the quantum slipstream drive, and he appears to have delivered the passengers to D'Lore.

::A man such as Traian had a stern constitution. He had seen war, seen the terrible things that sentient species were capable of inflicting upon one another. He had done some of them himself, and given such orders to many others. But he knew of D'Lore, and he didn't have to imagine what fate had befallen the passengers. Pointless, cruel experimentation. Bioweapons that had no purpose or place in warfare; not just ethically, but practically. 

::With the vast distances between the stars, plagues did not spread easily between worlds. One might be able to wipe out some backwater colony that no one really cared about, but the core worlds? The Federation would swarm with its hospital ships, evacuating the healthy and quarantining the sick, while any fool with a transporter and a spare half hour could update the biofilters.

::Unsubtle. Imprecise. A waste of resources. The weapon of choice for those who had not the foresight, talent or finesse for the fine art of war. No wonder T'Kona was drawn to it.::

Traian: Why would he— 

::A despairing sigh escaped the lungs of the patrician, and he shook his head while Khaiell offered a look of professional sympathy. The man actually thought that the Federation was installing the drive on its passenger liners before his own people had even mastered the technology. It couldn't be that no one would trust a brute like him with a slipstream ship, it had to be that the Empire had not yet mastered the technology. A tragic example of one man's short-sighted hubris.::

Traian: Perhaps T'Kona will oblige and get himself killed, and save me the trouble and expense of an assassination. How anyone that boorish managed to acquire a command, I will never know. Stealing passenger liners and murdering civilians, ::he shook his head.:: Unnecessary. Crude. Banal.

::His retainer nodded in agreement. Khaiell was the knife in the dark, the poison in the wine, a creature of specific and subtle death. Why destroy an entire population, when the removal of a single soul could so often achieve the same aim?::

Khaiell: That said, we may be able to turn it to our advantage. 

Traian: Go on.

Khaiell: While the Federation is distracted with the Red Star incident, it could give us the opportunity to take action on Væron. Tensions have been building within the colony and it is only a matter of time before Starfleet takes an interest. 

::The observation earned Khaiell a smile, the senator seeing where his mind was going. Væron was an unremarkable colony of no strategic importance. At least, it hadn't been, until it was realised that it was a source of benamite. Unfortunately, this realisation had occurred after it had seceded in the wake of Hobus and welcomed a significant Federation presence to its surface in a crafty manoeuvre to ward off a forcible Imperial repatriation.::

Traian: But before they do, it provides us with an opening to welcome our wayward Republic cousins back into the tender arms of the Star Empire. After all, we can protect them from the grasping predations of the Federation. ::He nodded, gesturing further down the corridor, to where his luxurious office awaited and scheming could be done in comfort.:: Come, Khaiell. Let me summon my son, and we shall talk more on this...  

fin  

--
Traian i-Ra'tleihfi e-Valai tr'Saeihraoi
Senator & Lord of the House-Clan Saeihraoi
Romulan Star Empire

&

Khaiell ir-Rator e-Terrh tr'Saeihraoi
Knife in the Dark
Romulan Star Empire

simmed by

Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds
Commanding Officer
USS Gorkon
T238401QR0
 
 
 
 
 
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I found this sim particularly evocative and creepy! I can well imagine the main bad guy in a film speaking to his chief henchman in such a way, plotting their next nefarious move.

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