Maranga System: Federation/Klingon Border
"She did what?" Annabeth said in shock as she rose up from her chair and stared at the bridge's viewscreen.
"The Federation envoy on Nimbus III isn't exactly the most reliable of individuals," Wainwright said, "but his report was pretty clear. Lieutenant Tigranian walked into the only bar on the planet, killed ten people, and then beamed out with a Ferengi expat named Childar. Apparently, he's pretty well known in criminal circles as someone who can crack complex computer networks. Starfleet Intelligence is concerned she might try to breach either the Federation or Klingon border defense networks in order to cross undetected."
Annabeth collapsed back into her chair. She noticed Soloth was glancing in her direction with a raised eyebrow. She didn't appreciate it.
"The situation has become even more dire, Captain," Wainwright continued. "It is all the more imperative you find Tigranian Laria and bring her justice. She's shown she's willing to kill people to meet her aims and is far more dangerous than we anticipated."
"With all due respect, Sir," Annabeth said turning back toward the Admiral's image. "I know Laria. She wouldn't have killed anyone unless her safety or the safety of other individuals was at risk."
"Quite frankly, Captain, after speaking with Captain Grigsby, I'm not sure I share your assessment. In any case, your orders are crystal clear. Find her now and eliminate the threat she poses. Am I understood?"
The screen faded back to starscape.
"Captain…" Soloth began speaking.
"Not here, Commander," Annabeth interjected. "Ms. Rutaan, you have the bridge."
"Aye, Ma'am," the lieutenant said pushing back from the helm.
"Mr. Soloth, in my ready room," Annabeth said standing up and crossing to her office doors. Soloth obediently followed. It was increasingly obvious to Annabeth that obeying orders was all he knew how to do.
Once the doors closed behind them, Annabeth walked straight towards the replicator.
"Tea, Irish Breakfast, hot, one slice of lemon," she said shaking her head. Her beverage materialized and she picked up the cup before taking a seat at her desk.
"Captain, as I was saying on the bridge," Soloth continued, "I believe our greatest chance of intercepting Lieutenant Tigranian is to anticipate her motives. Then, we can ascertain her objective and find her."
"That's easy, Soloth," Annabeth said mindlessly stirring her tea over and over again. "Her objective is Daniel Tigranian." Her first officer's eyebrow rose again.
"That is not logical, Ma'am," he said shaking his head. "Captain Tigranian is dead."
"That's your problem, Number One," Annabeth mused as she placed her cup and saucer on her desk. "This isn't about logic. This is about love."
"I do not understand, Captain."
Annabeth rubbed her eyes in frustration.
"I wouldn't expect you to, Commander."
Soloth pursed his lips and briefly looked down at the carpet.
"Permission to speak freely, Ma'am?" he said plainly. Annabeth was intrigued.
"Go right ahead," she said waving a hand in his direction.
"I believe you are letting your personal feelings about Lieutenant Tigranian cloud your judgement in this matter. Our mission is very clear. We are to detain her and bring her in for court martial. To be a captain of a starship, one must put their relationships aside and remember their duty to Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets above all else. Tigranian Laria is now wanted for murder and is a threat to galactic peace. Her arrest will possibly safeguard dozens, if not hundreds of lives. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one."
Annabeth laughed out loud. Soloth stared at her confused.
"You remind me a lot of myself when I first came aboard the Pershing, Soloth." Annabeth said leaning back in her chair. "However, my captain taught me that sometimes the right thing isn't as clear cut. Sometimes, you have to put the needs of the one in front of the many."
Annabeth silenced him with a hand again.
"I absolutely intend to find Laria before anyone else does. However, it's not just to detain her. Something very strange is going on, and I intend on finding out exactly what it is." Annabeth stood up and turned to the window behind her desk and stared at the stars streaking past faster than the speed of light
"Laria seems to think that her husband is still alive and the Romulans have something to do with it. That's clear from every report she filed with Starfleet before Captain Grigsby cut off her ability to communicate. We won't find her in the Klingon Empire."
"Ma'am?" Soloth said cocking his head to one side.
"Set a course for the Romulan Neutral Zone, Warp 9."