“I apologize for all this,” said Belnki to Arsha. They were in his office the next morning.
“Those protestors were riled about something in the Monastery,” mused Arsha. “It’s an annoyance, I will admit. However, from the protests I’ve witnessed during a few of Daddy’s public events, they usually start out of some legitimate concern. I think we need to investigate this.”
“Will Realmfleet allow it?” asked Belnki.
“Considering that a majority of its medical science comes from the Monastery,” replied Arsha, “I don’t think I need to try very hard to convince Realmfleet to allow us to investigate.”
“Very well,” sighed Belnki. “I’ll try to assure the protestors that I have seen no evidence of any wrongdoing in the monastery and that Realmfleet is doing what it can to investigate these matters.”
“And I’ll inform my crew and Realmfleet what’s going on,” supplied Arsha. “See you later, Uncle Belnki.” She left the office and was escorted to the Vorkath Palace Gates. She then headed over to the Endeavor to see Dalengor and Oak at the ramp. They had a look on their face. “Something I should know about?” asked Arsha.
“A Goblin family is requesting passage from us,” reported Oak.
“A DESTITUTE Goblin family,” helped Dalengor.
“Destitute?” asked Arsha. “What happened?”
“Apparently, the daughter’s decision to join Realmfleet,” recalled Dalengor, “wasn’t well received with the Goblin Imperium. They liquidated the family’s assets and made them social pariahs.”
“Where are they?” asked Arsha.
“Deck 27 Aft,” answered Oak.
“Empty Deck Spot 2,” recalled Arsha. “On my way.” The reason it was called Empty Deck Spot 2 was because it was one of three areas that never found a use. Right now, its only occupants were a Goblin family consisting of a mother, a father, and a daughter, all in rags. The daughter looked up.
“Cadet Bashoon Barmek reporting,” she introduced. “Such as it is.”
“A cadet?” quizzed Arsha. “I didn’t know you were that far into your training. Why aren’t you in your uniform?”
“The Imperium took that along with our clothes,” answered the mother.
“That’s Realmfleet property!” protested Arsha.
“And there’s another thing too,” continued the father. “The story of what happened with Borome’s infiltration of the Diamond Consortium, despite your best efforts, spread like wildfire. We know what happened.”
“…So you were stripped of your assets because you supported Garsheek’s cause?” asked Arsha.
“No, we were stripped of our assets because we dared say the Under-king acted correctly in revoking her Chancellorship,” corrected the mother.
“What?!” yelped Arsha. “But Borome…!”
“Has been hailed as a hero by half the Goblin population!” interrupted the father. “The half that’s in power. The other half have had enough, so we’ve fallen into infighting. Right now, no one’s gonna take us back. We had to flee the Under-realm!”
“So you need asylum,” guessed Arsha.
“And capital,” answered Bashoon. “But, I can’t support my family until I become a full Ensign.”
“How far do you have in your training?” asked Arsha.
“Too far, for my tastes,” sighed Bashoon. “I may need to resign my commission.”
“But you would be the first Goblin in Realmfleet!” cried Arsha.
“Family comes first,” muttered Bashoon.
“…I can, at least, give you passage to our next destination,” declared Arsha.
“Thank you,” mumbled the mother.
“No problem at all,” assured Arsha. “Excuse me for a minute. Oak, see to it that they have accommodations here.”
“Aye, Captain,” confirmed Oak. As she moved off, Arsha had a bit to think about. True, she had a nasty experience with Goblins during the Varsek murder incident, but she couldn’t turn a blind eye to suffering. These were individuals, not the entire Goblin race.
After his speech, Belnki returned to his office. He was making himself busy with his paperwork. There was a bit of a drought going on in one of the fields supplying his people’s food. He had read the necessary arrangements to get water to that field and approved it with his signature when his intercom buzzed. “Go ahead,” he answered.
“Your Majesty,” called his secretary, “your wife is here.”
“Balma! Send her in!” cheered Belnki, his mood changing. Balma came in. She had a slug’s foot for locomotion, a tiger’s tail, crab arms under her human arms, and a pair of wispy antennae on her head. Despite the slowness that a slug is associated with, she moved as fast as a human.
“Am I interrupting?” she asked.
“Not at all,” assured Belnki as he rose from his desk, arms out ready to embrace her. They soon hugged each other for a while, then Balma broke off the embrace.
“How’s work going?” she asked.
“Not so good, My Queen,” sighed Belnki. “The protestors are ramping up the pressure.”
“Oh dear,” muttered Balma. “Novice Norvorok’s not doing well either.”
“Poor child,” mumbled Belnki. “He’s always had an uneasy feeling about the Monastery.” He sat back down and fiddled with something on his desk.
“What are you doing?” asked Balma.
“Your father had a keypad installed on his desk for a four digit numeric lock,” explained Belnki. “I’ve been idly typing in random combinations, but only got a buzz so far.”
“Have you tried 1138?” chuckled Balma. Belnki chuckled as well.
“No, I didn’t think a reference like that would be the key,” he replied. “But, who knows? It might.” He typed 1138 into the keypad, then got a ding and a secret drawer opened.
“Okay, I was joking!” yelped Balma. They examined the contents of the drawer to reveal a diary. The entries detailed an investigation into the Monastery’s catacombs. He didn’t get far, according to the last entry, as a Realmfleet officer had a gag order placed on them. An entry’s word surprised them.
“Mutiny?!” gulped Belnki.
“In Realmfleet?!” quizzed Balma. “That’s unheard of!”
“What caused that mutiny?!” asked Belnki. “Arsha needs to be informed of this!”
Arsha was in her Ready Room when Belnki gave her the diary. As she reviewed the contents, she made a decision. “Get me Admiral Rokalla,” she told Shalvey. “I need to see what the Intelligence Committee had to say on this matter.” Rokalla was called and appeared on Arsha’s screen.
“Planning another battle?” he snarked.
“Trying to resolve a case, actually,” corrected Arsha. “Sir, what do you know about the Vorkath Monastery Incident 2,000 years ago?”
“…Incident?” Rokalla asked. “What do you mean?”
“My wife’s father,” explained Belnki, “the King before me, left a diary behind detailing an investigation of a mutiny. The Realmfleet Officer involved was ordered not to speak of this. Now, I want to know what your take on this.”
“A mutiny? 2,000 years ago? And a Realmfleet Officer was ordered to stay silent?” quizzed Rokalla. “Realmfleet hasn’t heard of any mutiny in 5,000 years, much 2,000.”
“This happened a few days after you took over as head of the Intelligence Committee,” answered Arsha.
“Let me see this diary!” ordered Rokalla. Arsha transmitted the contents to Rokalla and he started reading them. “This was never brought to the Committee’s notice!” yelped Rokalla. “I need to investigate this. I have a distinct feeling someone’s going to call in some favors.”
“There IS another matter, something that may be resolved easily,” interjected Arsha. “Cadet Bashoon Barmek and her family have been reduced to destitution and are requiring passage to another destination. Bashoon’s considering resigning her commission.”
“At so young an age?!” called Rokalla. “I can’t let that happen! I know her! She was an excellent student! Arsha, she’s good with noticing minute details. If she helps us out on this case, I can easily grant her the rank of Ensign. Your security team will benefit greatly with her there.”
“What about her parents?” asked Arsha.
“Is there an empty deck spot on your ship?” quizzed Rokalla.
“Yes, they’re occupying one right now,” confirmed Arsha.
“They’re excellent in the restaurant business,” supplied Rokalla. “Have them open one in that spot and your ship will benefit greatly from them. That will help them get their capital back and continue Bashoon’s training if this somehow DOESN’T give her the rank of Ensign.”
“Understood, sir,” answered Arsha. “Good luck on your end.”
“And you,” bid Rokalla. The call ended and Arsha started thinking.
“I need to return to the castle,” remarked Belnki. “I have a speech to draft on this matter. The people need to be informed.”
“You do that,” replied Arsha. “In the meantime, there IS the necessary equipment on board for a restaurant. Dad shut one down when he was in command, but the equipment was never moved off the ship. I think I can convince the Barmeks that they can charge me a storage fee on that and they may use it for their own purposes.”