“Two Devore warships are entering the system,” Ensign Anthony Talon reported from the tactical station. “Should I raise shields?”
Órlaith waved a dismissive hand, “We invited them remember ensign?”
“Aye captain,” Anthony replied.
The two warships navigated easily through the asteroid field and exited obscured by the massive silhouette of Gantz IV. Circling the gas giant they intercepted the Crazy Horse with their weapons armed and shields up. Órlaith could feel a lump of tension in the back of her throat. Something in the back of her mind told her that this was a bad idea, but at this point there was no turning back.
“We’re being hailed,” Lt. Commander Erin Hayden announced from the operations console.
The screen switched to the interior of the Devore ship with a man dressed in black. “Have you received our documents?” The Devore inspector asked with out any preamble.
“Yes,” Órlaith replied.
“Follow inspection protocols and this will be painless.” With that, the transmission was cut and the screen returned to the slowly rotating blue orb of Eden.
“Not very conversational,” Commander Torin joked.
Órlaith shrugged. “We did threaten them last time.”
“What’s this ‘we’?” Torin teased, “You have a gothsin mouse in your pocket? I certainly didn’t threaten anyone.”
“Ha ha ha,” Órlaith replied sarcastically. “You know exactly what I mean.”
“Captain, will you report to your ready room,” an unfamiliar voice came over the main speakers.
Órlaith gave Torin an expression mixed with annoyance and resigned indignation at being ordered to her own office. Standing she headed for the ready room with Torin at her side. “I really hope this isn’t a bad idea,” she repeated.
“It is, but we had a choice, and to be honest I don’t think any of those choices were particularly good.”
“No, they weren’t,” Órlaith said as she stepped through the threshold of her office.
The Devore inspector sat in Órlaith’s chair with is spit-polished black boots propped up on the desk. “Hello captain,” he greeted. “I am Inspector Orten. Before we get started I ask for a little honesty here. Are you harboring any telepaths on this ship?”
Órlaith steeped fully into the room and the door closed behind her and Torin. She looked at the Devore inspector with distaste but did not speak her mind. “No. We do have several assigned to the ship, but they are on temporary reassignment due to the deleterious effects of the red dilitihium we are calling ‘blood dilitihium’.”
The Devore smiled, “How cleaver of your people to call it that. You have no idea how correct you are. I want to make this inspection as painless as possible. You cooperate and follow the directions included in you packets this will not take long, and you can be on your way.”
“We are mining this moon,” Órlaith objected.
Orten spread his hands in fake contrition, “We Devore are nothing if not reasonable, but we cannot afford to allow you to take our resources without some compensation.”
Órlaith considered it for a moment, “The blood dilitihium is not usable to us. Perhaps we could refine it for you. We keep the regular dilitihium. You won’t need to refine it and can immediately put it to use.”
Orten considered the deal for a moment and then nodded, “Assuming you are not lying and not harboring fugitive telepaths I think I can trust you and we can probably come to a deal.”
Órlaith was not sure she wanted anything to do with this moon any more, but Starfleet had sent here to develop the resources here. Thus, it was her duty to follow through with those orders despite what her personal feelings were on the subject. Besides her tenure here in the Delta Quadrant was coming to a close. It would be someone else’s problem.
“You won’t. I am not lying about that. I sent you the ship’s logs that should have answered that.”
Orten smirked, “I have been doing this a long time captain, and I find that ship’s logs are often too easy to falsify. You’ll forgive my suspicion I hope.”
“I think I can accommodate that,” Órlaith responded dryly.
“Oh come now Captain!” He exclaimed sitting up. “If you are to mine this moon, you and I will be seeing a lot of each other. There is no sense in the hostility.”
“To be frank,” Órlaith said flatly, “I don’t like the Devore Imperium, and I don’t like you. You are butchers and murders.”
Orten sat back in the chair to take the Federation captain in. He did not respond at first and let the silence fall on the room. Leaning forward with his elbows on the desk and steepling his fingers. “I do what is necessary to protect my people from the scourge of telepaths. They cannot be trusted, and you are foolish to integrate them into your society. It is because of this your Federation is weaker than it would be otherwise.”
“Try us and we’ll show you how weak we are,” Torin spoke suddenly after being quiet this whole time.
Orten sighed, “I have no desire to quarrel. Let’s just leave it at that shall we.”
Orten’s communicator suddenly chirped. Activating it he spoke into it, “This is Inspector Orten.” Órlaith couldn’t quite make out the words being spoken by a male individual on the other end of the line. “Thank you Grantz. Good work,” Orten replied and closed the transmission. “Well captain, good news. I would appear that there are no telepaths on this ship. Just as you said there weren’t. I must say, this would have been much easier if you had submitted to an inspection the first time. Much less suspicion would have been cast on you.”
“I don’t like bullies,” Órlaith said with an edge to her voice, “but circumstances have changed.”
“Would that be the two Vidiians you are holding in your jail?”
Órlaith tried not to react to that information. But to be honest she knew that they would be discovered, it was just grating on her that she did not have any resemblance of an upper hand on Orten. Not even something so trivial as her two guests.
“Yes,” she said simply. “They murdered two of our crew, and since you claim this territory then it is your jurisdiction is it not?”
Orten smiled as he realized why Órlaith had relented to the searches and invited them to do so, “So, that’s why you relented isn’t it captain?”
“Yes,” she said simply.
“And what if the penalty for murder is death?”
“Then I ask that you spare their lives. I can’t condone what they have done, but I can sympathize.”
Orten considered her words for a moment, “There are indeed extenuating circumstances. I will take them off your hands and pass your wishes along to our judicial advocate.” Orten stood, bowed his head to Orlaith, “The office is yours. Until next time captain.” He pressed a button on the sleeve of his uniform and he vanished in a transporter beam leaving the Captain and XO to their devices.