Captain Picard, Lieutenant Worf and Chief O’Brien escorted the three Klingons and a visibly-nervous Lieutenant Barclay to transporter room three. Although the trip to deck six was not long, it was awkwardly silent. Once they arrived, O’Brien slid behind the console while the Klingons and Barclay prepared to ascend the platform to the transport pads. Dresa turned to Captain B’rul and spoke quickly in Klingon. B’rul looked surprised, then nodded once. “My first officer would like to remain aboard your vessel, Captain,” said the Klingon captain, “to assist in your search for the Romulans. Is this acceptable?”
Captain Picard smiled. “I already have a first officer, Captain B’rul. But Commander Dresa’s assistance would be most welcome.”
“My loss is your gain,” B’rul said, stepping onto the transporter pad. “Q’pla!“
“I feel the same way, Captain,” said Picard. “Farewell. Mr. Barclay, we shall see you soon.”
“Don’t be so certain, Picard,” sneered Gr’val, gripping Barclay’s shoulder for emphasis. “You have a saboteur to find, first.”
Picard looked at O’Brien and nodded. The transporter hummed and a curtain of shimmering light appeared to envelop the the Klingons and Lieutenant Barclay. A moment later, they were gone.
Picard turned to Dresa. “I won’t belabor the point, Commander; but I fear it must be made. While aboard Enterprise, you will be subject to the chain of command. In addition to myself, you will follow the orders of my senior staff, including my Chief of Security, Lieutanant Worf; regardless of whatever personal feelings you may harbor. Is that clear?”
Dresa regarded Worf silently. He stared back. “Perfectly clear, Captain,” she said. “I’m here to advise; not to take over your ship.”
Picard straightened his uniform. “Good. We will rendezvous on the bridge in one hour. Mr. Worf will show you to your quarters.” The two Klingons were still staring at each other. Picard glanced at O’Brien, who returned a questioning look.
“Dismissed,” Picard said. That seemed to do the trick.
“Please follow me.” Worf turned on his heel and exited the transporter room. Dresa followed behind, her expression unreadable.
The pair walked in silence to the turbolift. “Deck eight,” Worf said. The doors closed and the lift began to move.
“Are the stories true?” Dresa said, speaking Klingon. “That you’re a traitor?”
Worf stiffened at the insult. He should be used to it by now, but it was still a raw subject. He waited until the turbolift stopped and the doors opened before replying. “I have accepted discommendation.”
“‘Accepted discommendation’,” Dresa echoed. “Interesting. Words chosen carefully. Gowron must owe you a great deal.“
“Gowron owes me nothing,” said Worf. He stalked down the corridor, his anger obvious. Starfleet personnel quickly made way for his passage.
“So it’s true, then. Your father was a traitor. Mogh betrayed the Empire to the Romulans at Khitomer.”
Worf knew he was being baited, but it didn’t make him any less angry. “These are your quarters.” He thumbed the access panel much harder than he needed to. The doors slid open.
“BaQa’!” Dresa cursed, ignoring him. “You aren’t a good liar, Worf. I’d sooner believe a Ferengi.”
Worf turned and glowered at her, his eyes blazing. “I do not care what you believe! You know nothing of my father, or of me.”
“I know you were K’Ehleyr’s mate. That is enough. And that you killed Duras. Thank you for that.”
Worf was speechless. Whatever he expected to hear, this was not it. Finally, he found his voice. “You…knew K’Ehleyr.” It was not a question.
“Knew her and admired her,” Dresa said. “It takes a great deal to earn my respect, Worf; even more to earn my friendship. K’Ehleyr had both. When she spoke of you, it was always with pride.”
Worf said nothing. He did not know what to say. Dresa suddenly stepped closer, her posture challenging, her gaze critical and appraising. Many men–many Klingon men– would have reflexively stepped back. Worf did not.
“I do not believe you are a traitor, Worf,” she said. “Why is it that you wish us all to believe so?”
“I have said all I will say on the matter,” Worf said.
Dresa nodded as if this confirmed a private suspicion. She entered her quarters, then turned back to face Worf. “K’Ehleyr did not speak highly of many,” she said. “See you in an hour.”
The door hissed shut between them.
The Klingon research station on Varuna three was every bit as inviting as Barclay imagined it would be. He was doing his level best to hold it together; but he was still trembling from a combination of the cold, his captivity and from having to beam down from a Klingon ship. Barclay hated transporters and felt he’d spent entirely too much time in one today. The other Klingons had found his disquiet amusing; but Gr’val seemed even more annoyed than usual. Meanwhile, the adjutant was barking orders to the three Klingons that had accompanied them here from the Vor’kag.
Captain B’rul had departed orbit almost as soon as they had transported down to the research station. The station was running on minimal power, which meant there was no heat and the air was stale. Gr’val had detached two of the Klingons to bring the main power back online while the third scouted the abandoned facility, looking for supplies and for an appropriate room to serve as a jail cell. He told Barclay to sit down and be quiet, so that’s exactly what he was doing.
Twenty minutes later, the air was no better and Barclay couldn’t feel his fingers. Gr’val was visibly angry; more angry than usual, anyway. The two Klingons still had not managed to get the power back online, and had removed several panels to access the interior of the command console. The third had found a storeroom and was clearing it for use as a cell.
Gr’val cursed and turned to Barclay. “Do you believe you can get the power online, engineer?” Barclay nodded. “Good,” the Klingon said. “Then do so, before we both freeze to death.”
Gr’val shouted at the two Klingons, who moved away from the open panels as Barclay took their place. Barclay quickly identified the problem and a few minutes later, power was restored. The lights brightened and the room soon grew noticeably warmer. The other Klingons made sounds of appreciation and wandered over to Gr’val, who casually drew his disruptor and shot them both.
Barclay almost jumped out of his skin. The disruptor shots brought the last Klingon running into the room, his own pistol drawn, instinctively pointing it towards the prisoner. Gr’val shot him before he could realize his mistake. Then he pointed the disruptor at Barclay.
“You killed them!” Barclay exclaimed.
“No, I didn’t,” said Gr’val with a smile. “YOU did, lieutenant, when you tried to escape. It’s a good thing I was here to stop you.”
Just then, the air shimmered as the forms of four Romulans materialized in the room, three men and one woman; a commander by her uniform. One of the men looked suspiciously like the Vulcan saboteur aboard the Mok’tagh. They quickly drew their own disruptors and scanned the room. Gr’val smiled broadly and holstered his weapon. “No need for those,” Gr’val said. “Everything is contained.”
“So I see,” said the woman, barely glancing at the bodies, but looking around the rest of the Klingon facility with undisguised disgust. She had uncharacteristically blond hair, for a Romulan. Had Reginald Barclay ever served with Lieutenant Tasha Yar, he would have been struck by the uncanny resemblance between the two women; but Yar was killed in action the year before Barclay transferred to Enterprise. He never knew her.
“When can I expect my payment?” asked Gr’val. “My house has suffered much since the Klingon succession.”
“The plan failed,” the woman said, “and now the Klingons and the Federation are united in their mission to find the saboteur.”
“And there he is,” said Gr’val, pointing at Barclay. “It was Lieutenant Barclay all along. He will be killed trying to escape, but for now there’s no reason you can’t interrogate him yourself.”
“When will the Vor’kag return?” the commander asked.
“Four days. Plenty of time to ask your questions and leave; then I’ll kill him and explain to my people what happened: he got hold of Klag’s disruptor and started shooting.” He kicked one of the Klingons at his feet. “Klag always was inattentive.”
“Four days…” the commander appeared to consider this. “We can work with that.” She looked over at Barclay, but the Starfleet engineer was nowhere to be seen. He must have taken the opportunity to flee.
She sighed. “The Romulan Star Empire thanks you for your service, Gr’val,” she said, nodding to her uhlans. The three men raised their disruptors and fired, vaporizing the Klingon before he could react.
“Find the engineer,” she said. “He can’t have gone far.”