|Darwyn Carson as|
"The Romulan Tal'Shiar Operative"
Subcommander T'Sanne faced off with Commander N'Hara, her red-lipped superior who casually lounged behind her desk in an office far too big and opulent for a Romulan operative. N'Hara barely seemed to acknowledge that fact that the typically calm and neutral T'Sanne was wild-eyed and fuming. By now she was probably used to furious Subcommanders storming into her office, demanding someone's head.
"I nearly died!"
"You're a soldier and an operative," N'Hara dismissively reminded her. "We're all expected to die for the Empire."
"For the Empire, N'Hara, for glory and honor and the fucking Empire - not for that lying bitch of a Senator!"
"True, but you agreed to the mission. You should've known there'd be strings."
"Strings? More like tentacles," T'Sanne rasped. "T'Kora wanted me to investigate the assassination of Vreenak."
N'Hara finally looked up from her computer. "But that case was closed."
"Not to her. She wanted to know what he was doing in Bajoran space before he died."
"And did you find out what that was?"
"No, but I had a theory why. I said as much to the Senator."
"Oh, T'Sanne," N'Hara shook her head, sighing. "You know better than to volunteer theoretical observations."
"Theory isn't knowledge, Commander; I shouldn't be getting blown up because of a damn theory!"
"What is your theory anyway?"
"Now? My theory now is that it was T'Kora who had Vreenak assassinated. You know how these politicians are. They kill their rivals all the time and never stop to think about the consequences. Meanwhile, we're left cleaning up the mess!"
N'Hara sounded grave. "If you what you say is true, then our Empire is about to get millions of citizens killed over nothing."
"It's not entirely nothing," T'Sanne sighed. "The Dominion is a threat to us and we all knew it. We always knew this day would come. Vreenak let his anti-Federation sentiment get the best of him and his allies supported him simply to piss off those who opposed. In the meantime, the Tal'Shiar should've listened to our own damn instincts and counseled the Praetor to prepare our forces for war. So if T'Kora is the really is the reason why Vreenak died, she sure as hell picked a perfect time. No one will criticize her decision to silence his pro-Dominion voice once and for all. If this were made public, history would probably brand that bitch a hero."
"Nevertheless, the Tal'Shiar are neither pawns nor playthings of the Senate. We must discourage T'Kora's fellow politicians from making this some sort of trend." N'Hara paused. "She's vacationing in Ahlak, isn't she?"
T'Sanne nodded. "The Senate is in recess for the week."
"The Tal'Shiar cannot declare war on a Senator, not openly anyway."
"It'll look like an accident," T'Sanne assured her immediately. "No one will ever even know I was there."
"She is an old woman," N'Hara shrugged. "I'll have her most recent medical profile made available to you. You have 52 hours to see it done."
"Thank you, Commander."
"Of course, the Tal'Shiar will not be compensating you for this mission. This is strictly off the books, so to speak."
"Don't worry," T'Sanne replied as she headed out of the officer, "commandeering her precious shuttlecraft will be payment enough."
After all, it was only logical that to the victor went the spoils.
Ahlak Valley was always beautiful this time of year. All the trees and flowers were in full bloom, and the sun burned high in the sky, illuminating everything in its generous warmth. It reminded T'Sanne of her home village of Ashul, near the mountains and waterfalls of her childhood. Her father was a professor there, and her mother grew organic Romulan jasmine all across their three acres of garden.
Wealthier Romulans, like T'Kora, never vacationed out in the provinces. It was beneath them, and besides, life was different there. Romulan villagers tried to avoid regular use of overly advanced technology. T'Sanne had turned twelve before she tasted replicated food for the first time. She rode in her first shuttle at fifteen, and used a transporter for the first time at seventeen. And she didn't see her first holo-chamber until she joined the military at the age of nineteen.
For older Romulans who preferred to vacation at home, Ahlak was the place to go. The villas were small but pricey; each house was equipped with its own replicator, transporter pad, and holo-chamber, and each home was surrounded by vast, primly manicured lawns.
T'Sanne could hear children in the back of the house; she couldn't see them or tell what game they were playing, but they clearly sounded like they were having fun. She took her time looking over the Senator's personal things, the portraits of four generations' worth of family, each member decked in fine clothing. In addition to her exquisite furniture, T'Kora had collected priceless art spanning many eras in Romulan history. T'Sanne was drawn in particular to a statuette of an ancient queen; she picked up the heavy stone object for closer examination.
"What are you doing here?"
The Senator's exclamation didn't shake her; T'Sanne figured that the old woman would be the first to come inside. Her medical profile showed her age was definitely gaining up on her. T'Kora didn't do so well in the heat anymore.
"Reporting as ordered, Senator," T'Sanne answered calmly, smoothly putting the statuette back down and turning to the older woman.
There was the silence; T'Sanne already knew what the the older woman was thinking. She was wondering whether or not to go along with the weak charade, or become indignant. Either way, the dark flicker in the Senator's eyes indicated she was concerned about her safety.
"Forgive me if I'm early," T'Sanne casually continued. "I overrode your order to travel through the Jen'ai System; it took at least a day off our journey. Gave us time to run battle drills and search the ship for sabotage." She gave an empty laugh. "Can't be too careful in wartime."
"Subcommander...please...my great-grandchildren are visiting me."
"Good," T'Sanne nodded. "They can be the ones to find the body."
"T'Sanne, try to be rea--"
"Don't you dare to speak to me of reason!" T'Sanne suddenly growled. "Do you know who I am? I am Tal'Shiar, not some lowly centurion you ship out on a suicide mission whenever it suits you."
The growing desperation made the Senator hoarse. "What will it take? Name it, anything."
"I only want one thing," T'Sanne replied bitterly. "I only ever wanted one thing."
T'Kora coughed; it caught her by surprise and she gripped her chest, as though experiencing a sharp pain. She managed to compose herself briefly before she was seized by another more violent one, so violent she doubled over and spat up blood.
"Timing is everything when you're Tal'Shiar," T'Sanne said quietly. "At 0700 hours this morning I rewired your replicator produce food with small traces of colirium. You've been dosing yourself all morning."
T'Kora dropped to her knees, garbling a response. "They'll find out--"
"Not really," T'Sanne shrugged. "Unbeknownst to your average citizen, colirium poisoning is actually growing common in older Romulans. People get a certain age, they neglect to care for the wiring. Replicators start to break down, start to contaminate the food. Typically it takes a few months of poisoning for someone to die, but in your case, I felt it was prudent to expedite the process."
She leaned over to make sure the Senator could hear her very clearly.
"I'm going to ruin your family, T'Kora. I'm going to make it my personal, private mission to slowly eradicate your influence from this Empire. I'm going to spread all your secrets across this world, and set an example once and for all to every self-serving politician who would even think to abuse the Tal'Shiar."
The old woman finally collapsed. T'Sanne tilted her head to the side, watching the Senator die, fascinated by the dark green blood pooling around her head.
T'Sanne suddenly straightened up, and tapped the combadge on her left breast.
"T'Sanne, here," she called. "One to transport."
~ FIN ~
A/N ~ If you liked T'Sanne, let me know and she'll be back.