Stardate 75722.0; September 21, 2398
Edited by Peter Bossley
Written by Chris Adamek
Ambassador Shar ch’Thane
Ambassador Taylus Drayge
Admiral William Grayson
Cadet Patrick McCormick
Lieutenant Flora Sanders
Captain Keri Sezala
Lieutenant Jamie Waltman
“Your father’s blasphemy ran deep.” Xi’Yor stood patiently beside Cerebrate Ra’thenn, his vivid orange eyes peering through the large windows of the spaceport in the Hazor Cluster. Looming just outside, in the spidery clamps of the massive docking facility, was the Inkhezi, the first Elorg destroyer of the new regime. Three months ago, however, this immaculate behemoth was little more than a pile of scrap metal.
Ra’thenn chuckled faintly. “My father was a fool,” he mused, the disdain in his voice apparent. “We are fortunate he was unable to completely dismantle the facilities here.”
“Zalsar rarely saw things to completion,” said Xi’Yor, his voice matching Ra’thenn’s disgusted tone. Before his trip to the Zukara Segment late last year, Xi’Yor had given Ra’thenn’s father a rather specific list of things to do: eliminate the Cardassian threat and restore the Elorg military. But now the Cardassians have invaded Sathratar VII, and the Elorg have no military to speak of. “It is fortunate we terminated your father when we did…”
“Indeed,” said Ra’thenn agreeably. Just then, the numerous rows of lights along the Inkhezi’s dark hull flickered into existence. “We expect to have fifteen additional destroyers by the end of next month.”
A devious grin crossed Xi’Yor’s pallid face. “Excellent,” he whispered, clenching his excited fists. “You have given us much, Cerebrate—and I assure you, when the holy month of Zraa’tul is upon us, I shall honor your generosity appropriately.”
Ra’thenn paused for a moment. Apparently he had forgotten that, as the divine leader of the Bloc, all Elorg would honor him with gifts during the holy month. “I suppose I should rescind my tithe,” he mused. “There is no need for me to honor myself. Such vanity would be unbecoming of the Cerebrate, would it not?”
“Perhaps…” As he recounted his numerous interactions with the Cerebrate Z’danorax, Xi’Yor did not recall seeing her partake in very many indulgences—but then again, her wardrobe, which consisted primarily of tight, leathery uniforms, was certainly indulgence enough—but his thoughts lingered only the Cerebrate for only a moment longer. She was not worthy of his mental musings.
Instead, Xi’Yor turned his gaze back to the dark, graceful curves of the Inkhezi. It was a magnificent sight—one he could gaze upon for many cycles—but with fifteen new vessels to be commissioned in the near future, he knew there was much work to be done. He turned back to Ra’thenn. “Begin searching through the Conclave. Locate the most competent Overseers and assign them to these new vessels.”
Ra’thenn’s eyes widened. “You forget your place, Xi’Yor. I am the Cerebrate… such menial tasks are generally relegated to the High Overseer.”
Xi’Yor’s ashen lips immediately parted, but the words he intended to speak died in his throat at the sound of footsteps echoing throughout the corridor. Within moments, a gray-skinned Underling appeared at Ra’thenn’s side. He was of average height and build, and wore a simple black tunic—but his deep crimson eyes glimmered with incredible brilliance. Xi’Yor was immediately intrigued.
“Cerebrate.” The Underling knew the routine. After addressing the Cerebrate, he immediately proffered a padd and waited for acknowledgement.
Ra’thenn regarded the padd for only a moment before plucking it from the Underling’s hand. “Thank you, Tassadar.” He immediately perused the padd’s contents before nodding his firm approval. “Tell Overseer Fel’duin this data will be most helpful.”
Though the padd’s contents were not visible to him, Xi’Yor nonetheless knew what data resided therein. He himself had assigned Fel’duin the task of observing the Breen overseers recently absorbed into the Conclave. As far as Xi’Yor was concerned, they were not to be trusted—and he suspected Fel’duin’s report would justify those concerns. Still, such matters could not be discussed in the presence of the curious underling.
Xi’Yor slowly turned his eyes upon Tassadar, whose glittering crimson gaze remained fixed upon Ra’thenn. “I do not believe we have met,” said Xi’Yor to the underling.
Tassadar politely acknowledged Xi’Yor with a nod. “We have not.”
“I am High Overseer Brii’el.” Xi’Yor had long ago decided his true identity should remain concealed. Though many within the Conclave of Overseers favored him, Xi’Yor still had countless nemeses… nemeses that believed him adrift somewhere in the Zukara Segment—and as long as that belief was maintained, Xi’Yor could do his work without bother.
“I am honored,” said Tassadar evenly. He was clearly preparing to leave when, suddenly, for the briefest of moments, his crimson eyes locked with Xi’Yor’s—and in that one, singular moment, Xi’Yor noted the faintest glimmer of recognition in the underling’s crimson eyes.
Xi’Yor immediately turned his back to the underling, instead focusing his attention on the Inkhezi. “I should commence a search of the Conclave,” he said sternly. “We need to locate the most competent Overseers, and assign them to the new fleet.”
“A wise decision,” said Ra’thenn, obviously pleased by Xi’Yor’s sudden change of heart.
Xi’Yor only grunted. The change, of course, had more to do with Tassadar than anything else, but Ra’thenn obviously cared not. Within a few moments, the Underling Tassadar was dismissed, and the conversation gradually regained its original focus. “How did Fel’duin judge the Breen?”
Ra’thenn glanced briefly at his padd before joining Xi’Yor in his reverie of the new Inkhezi. “The Breen are very receptive to our cause. They are eager to reclaim the empire forged by Na’zar—but they cannot be trusted. The eons have poisoned their minds; their blood may be Elorg, but their souls are entirely Breen…”
Much as Xi’Yor had expected. “Then we shall exclude the Breen from our plans—keep them at arm’s length until they can be trusted.”
A faint smile crept across Ra’thenn’s otherwise stoic face. “You have just made your task easier, Xi’Yor. In one decisive action, you have eliminated more than thirty candidates from the Conclave of Overseers. However, you must still act with haste. The Inkhezi will be completed in three cycles—and it will need a capable Overseer to command it.”
Xi’Yor had already considered countless Overseers for the job. None of them showed very much potential, but it mattered not—he already knew who would be in command during the Inkhezi’s maiden voyage. “I know just the man for the job…”