Tricia, Steven Gregholt, Klara and the 'Pendragon' had been on Valaria nearly two weeks and now their assignment was coming to an end. All the equipment that they had brought to the planet had been unloaded, unpacked and assembled in a specially built complex next to the main medical center.
There had been problems with the installation. The Valaria power systems had been found to be unable to power the holographic systems and so the 'Pendragon' was currently being used as the power source, until Gregholt and the Valaria engineers could remedy the problems.
Now they had succeeded. Everything was now in place to activate the systems and prepare to leave. The long-term medical hologram had been activated two days earlier and had started making progress in finding both a cure and the cause of the outbreak of Klingon Flu. The most puzzling part of the outbreak was the fact that there had never been a case of Klingon Flu reported in any other race.
However, the Valarian council had requested that there be an official opening ceremony and as the monarch had been 'off-world' this had had to wait.
Whilst on the planet, Tricia had spent her time split between assisting Steven with the installation and exploring with Klara the capital city of Valaria. They had never seen Gregholt when he was not working. He seemed to have had his own objective. Everywhere Klara and Tricia went, they had been viewed as a curiosity. Most Valarians had never seen 'off-worlders' before, and with the outbreak and a quarantine in force, off-worlders' were not greeted with open arms.
"Are you ready ?" Gregholt asked as he came down from the cockpit of the 'Pendragon'.
"Just about." Tricia replied "Have you seen Klara ?"
"I think she went on ahead," Steven stated.
"Then I guess we should go and find her," Tricia said, opening the port hatch.
The two Starfleet officers were dressed in ceremonial white uniforms and stood out a mile as they walked the short distance to the new complex. Engineers were removing the power couplings, which had been used to pass power from the 'Pendragon' to the complex.
As they reached the main doors, they saw Klara standing outside waiting for them. Unlike the two officers, Klara was dressed in a traditional Valarian ceremonial robe.
"So that's where you've been sneaking off to," Tricia remarked, admiring the beautiful dress and how well it looked on Klara.
"You certainly look the part," Gregholt chipped in, his eyes scanning Klara from top to bottom.
Gregholt gave his feelings away quite easily, but Klara knew better than to embarrass the Lieutenant. Instead she just smiled and said "Thank you, Steven."
"I'd better get inside," Gregholt stated.
"OK, We'll await the King and his guards, then we'll escort them into the complex," Tricia replied.
"Would it be OK if I waited with you?" Klara asked.
"I don't see why not," Tricia replied.
The two of them were waiting nearly fifteen minutes before the 'royal coach' arrived at the complex. The coach was little more than a large passenger hovercraft, using anti-gravity technology to glide across the surface. This type of transport was the most common in Valaria and served everyone well.
Unlike the other hovercraft that they had seen during their time on Valaria, this one was heavily decorated and had foot-plates attached to the bodywork, one on each corner. Standing on each of these was a single soldier, in full ceremonial dress.
There were no handholds for the soldiers to hang onto whilst the hovercraft was in motion and both Klara and Tricia wondered how they remained upright.
The craft slowly approached the complex and came to a stop in exactly the right position. The anti-grav units started to power down and the hovercraft came to rest on the road surface. The two soldiers, who had been standing on the far side of the hovercraft dismounted from their positions, walked around the hovercraft and took up positions either side of the nearside door.
When they were in position, the two soldiers on the nearside did the same thing, standing beside the first two soldiers.
Once all four were in position, the hatch door hissed and started to open. Once the door had risen fully open, a ramp extended from underneath and came to rest on the deep blue carpet.
More guards disembarked from the hovercraft and took up positions beside their four companions. Finally the Valarian first minister and the King himself appeared at the hatchway door.
Tricia stepped forward and made a steep bow, the traditional greeting when greeting the monarch. Tricia had been studying Valarian customs and had discovered this early on. She also realized that as a female, it would be the wrong move. The curtsy would have been the correct motion to make. However, after consulting with the royal courtiers she had decided that since a) She was an off-worlder and b) That her dress uniform was made up of trousers and a three-quarters length jacket, the bow would be more acceptable and far easier to perform.
Klara had no problems making her curtsy as she was introduced to the monarch and first minister.
Tricia and Klara waited for the monarch and first minister to pass and started to follow them a pace behind as they entered the medical complex. The guards then walked along the edge of the carpet towards the door.
Once inside, the complex opened out into a two-tiered courtyard. Above them a crowd of on-lookers, especially invited were cheering and waving. Over towards the other end of the courtyard stood Steven waiting for the royal entourage to arrive.
As they neared the center of the courtyard, Klara began to sense that something was wrong. "Tricia !" she whispered as they walked along. "What is it, Klara?" Tricia enquired.
"Someone is planning to kill," Klara replied is a soft voice.
"What do you mean?" Tricia asked.
"I don't know, but I know that someone here is thinking about killing the king," Klara repeated.
"Who?" Tricia asked. "Where are they?"
Klara started to look around, scanning the balcony. Then suddenly she looked around in the direction that they had come from. "There on the roof," Klara said pointing skyward.
Tricia now saw the figure, half hidden on the roof, aiming some kind of weapon.
"Sir, get down," Tricia shouted as she moved forward, using her body as a shield. "Steven, on the roof, there's an assassin."
Steven quickly pulled out his phaser and fired at the figure on the roof. But he was too late, the assassin was already out of sight. Steven quickly realized that the assassin had made one mistake, there was only one way off the roof safely and Steven headed for the stairwell.
"I'll go after him," Steven shouted.
"Quickly, Klara, take them to the medical complex. You should be safe there," Tricia stated, before dashing off after Gregholt.
So Klara, the king and first minister all dashed across the courtyard and into the complex.
"Not the opening that I had hoped for," The monarch announced as they closed the doors. "Thank you, young lady, it would appear that you just saved my life."
"It was nothing," Klara replied.
"But how did you know?" The first minister asked.
"Just a feeling," Klara replied again. "Are either of you injured ?"
"No, but it might be prudent to let the monarch sit for a while," The first minister said.
"Let's put him on the bio-bed over there," Klara suggested.
Meanwhile Gregholt was searching for the assassin on the roof.
Suddenly he heard a noise in a dark corner and moved his phaser to point in the direction of the noise. However it was too late, Steven felt a stabbing pain in his chest and fell to the floor.
The assassin started to leave his
hiding place, but before he could get very far, he too was hit by a phaser blast.
Tricia had just reached the roof herself and had seen her friend fall to the
floor. She hit her
"McMillan to Pendragon. I need a site to site transport, three to beam directly to the new medical complex," Tricia announced.
Almost immediately Tricia and the two unconscious bodies disappeared from the roof space.