by E. L. Zimmerman
Seated behind his dark wooden desk, Packell sighed disgustedly, scrolling through the endless drivel of propaganda accompanying today’s updates on his info-LINK. The LINKs, hand-held computer units, were the ‘requisite’ property of all senators. Daily, the senators received – and were required to read – the current status reports on the Quorum, the Borg Army, and the happenings and duty assignments within Lemm Society. The One ordered all members of his Quorum to keep the LINKs in their respective possession at all times. Failure to do so could result in censure but, more often, led to an unforgiving death.
Over the past six jlarra, Packell learned how far the One’s patience could be stretched.
"Such nonsense," Packell muttered, shuffling past Senator Karjiss’s patronizing ‘unequivocal declaration of support’ for ‘His Elegance, the One.’
"Are all of these senators truly full of wind?"
As he was finishing another turbulent, heartfelt essay on the blessings of service to the Foundation, the palace comm system buzzed, startling Packell. Hastily, he faced the speaker mounted to the overhead ceiling.
"Greetings, senators to the Quorum of the One," announced Cytal of the Iajohh, his voice hissing of reptilian origin. As the chosen orator, he wasn’t a very good one, but Packell and several of the others had quickly realized that the Iajohhn senator did have … limited usefulness. Despite his unfailing adulation of the One, Cytal was nonetheless easily swayed in open sessions, as he liked to talk.
While his vacillations generally supported the One’s wishes, Cytal unintentionally kept the debates lively.
"I am pleased to inform you that his Highness, the One, wishes your undivided attention this grand morning. He has important news that deliciously affects us all."
Leaning back in his chair, Packell set the LINK down on the desk. He yawned openly, stretching his arms skyward.
‘Here it comes,’ he thought.
"Senators," the baritone voice suddenly crooned through the speaker, its tone hypnotic enough to reach the seated Trakill and make him cringe with fear. "Today, I speak of the future. Another race will soon be joining our Foundation."
Surprised, Packell glanced up.
"I have received confirmation from Commander Cole of our Bezza Fleet. He has successfully engaged this new race in dialogue," he continued.
Lies. All lies. There was no dialogue. There was only direction.
"To my delight, the invitation to join us on Besaria was well received."
Lies. All of it, and Packell realized how much he loathed the propaganda. Sniffing, he knew full well that no Bezza Craft was staffed with ambassadors. There were no Besarian ‘ships of peace’ dispatched to the stars. No ambassador offered membership to the Besarian Foundation. Packell trusted that the Borg had attacked and overcome the unfortunate transport. Its crew was now captured, yet another bounty for His Highness.
‘The ego,’ Packell huffed.
"In fact," the One continued, "it is time for us to prepare for their addition to our fold. To that end, I require all senators to gather at once in the Grand Hall, except for our newest member … Packell of the Trakill."
Shocked to hear his name, the senator stood up.
"Senator Packell, you are to leave at once for the Besarian Spaceport," the One explained to his flock. "There, you will meet with Commander Grayson of the Borg Army. As the newest inductee to the Quorum of the One, I am assigning you the task of greeting the newest ambassador to the Quorum once the ship docks at Besaria City."
Quickly, Packell grabbed a warm, fresh robe from his clothestand. He threw his arms into the sleeves, tugging the fabric tight around his body.
"Throughout the indoctrination period," he listened to the dictator babbling on, "Packell will serve as the new ambassador’s sponsor. He will be held responsible for the ambassador’s trainings, as well as punished for her actions … should punishment become inevitable. Until further notice, Senator Packell will serve as her mentor, providing guidance and support until such time as she grows weary of him."
Taking a moment to himself, ignoring the obvious taunts over the Palace’s comm system, the Trakill squinted as he glanced out the balcony port to his royal quarters.
"There is much work needing to be complete before their arrival," the One announced. "Lemm, to your stations. Senators, to the Grand Hall. Together, let us all make certain that our new guests feel welcome."
Smiling, Packell couldn’t take his eyes off the sparkling rainfall.
"The all shall serve the One," His Highness concluded, and the channel deactivated.
‘I knew it, I knew it, I knew it,’ Packell told himself repeatedly. ‘This is my chance to make a difference, and I won’t fail. History is about to change.’
He watched a bolt of lightning strike the protection rods of the distant Spaceport rooftop, and he smiled.
‘It has to.’