“Before the Gates”
by Mike Tripp
Scene: First City, Qonos
The plain clothes Starfleet security officer’s eyes looked from face to face, studying each in turn. He searched for trouble.
The Vulcan might not be sweating, but there was a slight muscle tightening around the jawline.
“I am not sure of the logic of your being out here in the open, Admiral,” said T’rov.
“The war between the Klingons and Federation might be over, but many in these streets still wish you harm,” he continued.
The similarly dressed Trill half smiled.
“You worry too much, T’rov,” he said. “We’ll be fine … as long as you drop the title. It causes heads to turn.”
“Apologies, but is my job to be … worried … about your health,” almost repeating the flag officer’s title. “It would have been simpler for us to have located the person you seek and have had him brought to you.”
“No,” the Admiral returned. “If this is to work, I need to go to him.”
A few blocks later, the pair reached their destination.
“This does not look like a place you should be visiting,” the security officer observed.
They faced a Klingon drinking establishment. Words in Klingon when translated named the bar “Gates of Sto’Vo’Kor.”
The Trill ignored his escort’s previous warning and crossed the threshold.
He took in the atmosphere, his eyes scanned the faces at the various tables.
T’rov stood gauging the threat level, which was quickly on the rise.
“According to intelligence reports, he has a table he shares with his friends towards the back,” the Vulcan observed.
The pair slipped through the crowd, but the points of T’rov’s ears caught the attention of more than one.
“Romulans don’t frequent this establishment,” said one voice, backed by a small sea of grunts.
“Then it is fortuitous that I am not Romulan.” T’rov moved to push through the growing crowd.
Two Klingons closed ranks to keep him from leaving.
“If you’re Vulcan, that’s worse,” called one voice.
“Hey … the Trill!” called another. “That’s Starfleet Admiral Quinn. Jorel Quinn!”
The crowd quickly doubled. Sounds of blades being drawn were evident to the ears of the Vulcan … even if they were yet to be seen.
T’rov’s hand went to the phaser hidden beneath his cloak. The Trill’s hand stayed him.
“I’m looking for General Hauk!” Quinn shouted above the crowd. “He and I have business.”
The crowd closed ranks, completing a circle surrounding the pair.
“Hauk! … You better get out here,” a voice half drunk called out from the back of the crowd. “One of Starfleet’s top dogs wants you!”
“Yes, Hauk … You don’t want to miss the fight, do you?” another voice added, punctuating the statement with a belch.
Hauk emerged from the back where the restrooms were, grumbling under his breath.
The Sto’Vo’Kor warrior glanced briefly to his refilled mug with longing and an eventual sigh before pulling his communicator from his belt and issuing orders.
A figure circled the crowd, taking bets on the outcome when the drone of a Klingon transporter sounded.
Three flares consumed Hauk and both of the Starfleeters.
G’hargh sidled up to Korrath whispering, “Just like Hauk to skip out on the tab. Guess it’s your turn to pay.”
“And NO refunds on those bets!” he added a bit louder.
— Gen. Hauk
I.K.S. Qu’In ‘an bortaS
RP Taka. Mike Tripp