((USS Nahendra – Ready Room))
Taybrim: Of course there is more. And you won’t like it. The Cult of Molor has been around for over eight hundred years, always a crazy splinter sect that crops up, is quickly quelled and then fades away. So why do they now have several dozen old B’Rel class cruisers, multiple bases hidden in the Azure Nebula and a stockpile of weapons? They’re being bankrolled by our old friends… the Orion Syndicate.
There was more. There was always more. Things were never simple, and dealing with politics was one of the most convoluted and complicated things to ever get involved in. This was more than just politics, however, and Alora couldn’t imagine the damage the Cult could do if they weren’t stopped. The gorn allowed himself a gutteral groan and Alora glanced at him in sympathy.
DeVeau: Sounds like we’ve got some preparations to make.
Taybrim: That we do. About five months ago we fought a decisive battle against the Cult of Molor around Vankoth II, where a lot of secrets were uncovered, not the least of which was that General Krala of House Kravzo'ch was a traitor to the cult. This has caused massive ripples in the politics of the Empire that we need to address.
Tatash: Exposing Krala could easily be used to the Cults advantage. They have proven they can fit people in at the highest levels, which means by them being exposed there is likely to be distrust between others.
Tatash: What I’m about to say is going to sound genuinely terrifying. It’s meant to be. Intelligence want’s to make it very clear why they are taking a stance of ‘whatever the cost’ on this one.
Terrifying? Wasn’t everything that had been said already terrifying? Now it was Sal’s turn for one of Alora’s sidelong glances. Go on a shake down cruise, he said. Get her feet wet, he said. This felt more like she was getting dunked with little option to breathe.
Okay. Breathe. Breathe. She wanted to help Sal, she wanted to serve Starfleet. For some reason, he had tapped her to be his XO. He felt like she could do it. The least she could do was stand by him and hopefully do a halfway decent job. And this? This affected everyone. It was going to happen, whether she was first officer or not. Now that she was in the position, she just got a bit of a heads up before everything came crashing down.
It was Tatash’ turn to breathe deeply, and his gaze was stark, unwavering, and quite solemn. He held it a moment then continued with his report.
Tatash: There has been some speculation and simulation as to what would happen if this cold war turned hot, just to give you an idea of what’s at stake. The Klingons would be expected to deliver, in their traditional manner, a massive strike force throwing everything they have at the Gorn’s forward defences. Casualties of this opening sortie stand at roughly six hundred thousand. Intelligence expects that the Gorn defences would be quickly overwhelmed on the front line before falling back to a stronger, secondary line.
War. That thought had already crossed her mind. What hadn’t crossed her mind was the number that he had just tossed into the air. Six. Hundred. Thousand. Alora straightened, then leaned back against her seat.
Tatash: The Gorn however did not sign the second Khitomer accords, therefore it’s pretty reasonable to expect them to utilise subspace weapons in the counter attack in an effort to not only inflict massive devastation, but to make warp travel to and from Klingon space no longer possible to prevent the flow of reinforcements. This would force the Klingons to resort to using long range strategic weapons with high yield warheads, which are fully expected to be targeted at major centres of industry and other area’s that support the war effort with near-hit accuracy. Most of these centres would be near population centres. The casualty count, by this point, is projected to be three and a half billion lives.
Alora inhaled quickly, then let it out slowly, her mind reeling as more and more bad news was tossed out. He had not been incorrect when he had warned them about how harrowing the information he was about to pass along was. No. War was not an option. They had to stop it before it even started. If they failed, the consequences would be disastrous.
Tatash: The Gorn would retaliate by launching subspace weapons at Qo’noS as a major target, both industrially but also as a method of shattering morale. A world which relies heavily on external supplies of food due to it’s limited agriculture. The population, without supply by warp capable ships, would be…
Tatash didn’t finish the sentence. Instead, the PADD was tossed onto the table, clattering as a punctuation to the devastation such a war could...no, not could, would cause. Alora stared down at it for a moment as the Gorn officer continued.
Tatash: We can’t fail this Sal. We simply can’t. I was instructed specifically to give you this information because when I say this has a ‘whatever the cost’ clause attached to it, we’re fully expected to get our hands dirty if required. Just like we did on Tilanna, just like we did with Arrhimen, and just like we did with Chennel.
Those names meant nothing to her, empty syllables attached to nothing. Her brow furrowed and she felt like she was dunked into a tank full of water deeper than she was tall with no knowledge of how to swim. Shifting, her eyes lifted away from that discarded PADD to the men with her, shifting from one to the other.
DeVeau: I’m not familiar with those names.
Tatash: They were all people that stood against us Commander, terrorists and drug pushers on Tilanna. Traitors with Romulan technology in the case of Arrhimen, and murderous criminals that tortured our crew in Chennel. We lost lives, we lost ships but we beat all of them firmly and put them all in the ground to rot for their crimes and I know we won’t fail this either. If any group of do-gooders can get this done, we’re the right ones for the job.
Alora couldn’t help but smile. Do-gooders. Was that what they were? Yes. Yes they were. She didn’t mind that moniker one bit.
DeVeau: I see.
Another breath in, another breath out. So much had suddenly been piled on her, she felt like she was buried beneath a mountain of information, what ifs, and must prevent. But they were Starfleet. While Alora had joined the organisation for the opportunities to explore, to learn, to expand the understanding of the universe, she also had dedicated her life to protecting others, whatever the cost, as Major Tatash had said at least twice now. It bore repeating. A reminder. They were more than explorers.
DeVeau: Perhaps it is shortsighted of me to not be able to see the answer to this, Captain but...what of Janul?
DeVeau: Surely we won’t simply hand him over to the Klingon high council?
Alora mulled over that some, her teeth worrying her lower lip as she tried to shift through everything that had been told. They would do something about that Cult - or die trying.
DeVeau: He’s right. We can’t let this happen.