The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 1: Her Highness, the Captain)

3 Realms 1-16

The investigation was taking a while, so Arsha decided to surprise the Barmek family in the meantime. She and a crowd of people entered their temporary quarters. “What’s going on here?” asked Mrs. Barmek.

“We’re trying to see if anyone can find a use for all this equipment,” replied Arsha. “I heard about your restaurateur skills and figured you may need it.”

“My what?” quizzed Mrs. Barmek as she and her husband looked at the equipment. They were, indeed, restaurant tools. Stoves, tables, barstools, cookware, silverware, and storage containers for food, it was all there.

“Captain, where do you want me to put all this?” asked an exasperated Dalengor.

“We have three levels, Lieutenant,” answered Arsha. “Use them all.”

“Understood,” sighed Dalengor.

“Captain, you can’t do this!” protested Mr. Barmek.

“You’re right, I forgot to ask about the storage fee,” realized Arsha.

“What storage fee?” asked Bashoon.

“Oh, and all this equipment is free for you to use at your leisure,” answered Arsha.

“All of it?!” asked Mrs. Barmek.

“I get it!” realized Bashoon. Her parents turned to her. “It’s all restaurant equipment! They want a restaurant on this ship!”

“……About that storage fee,” answered Mrs. Barmek as the wheels turned. “It’s a minimum storage fee, practically nothing.”

“Send me the bill when you’ve finalized it,” replied Arsha.

“Well, don’t just stand there, everyone!” urged Mrs. Barmek. “Let’s make Barmek’s Bar and Grill look nice!” She helped direct where each piece of furniture went while Mr. Barmek helped install the stoves. Bashoon turned to Arsha.

“A plan to get back our assets?” she asked.

“And a plan to keep you from resigning your commission,” confirmed Arsha. “I need your help in investigating something. I heard from Rokalla that your skills in investigating are top notch.”

“Well, I don’t want to brag, but yes,” chuckled Bashoon.

“There’s a mystery surrounding the Vorkath Monastery,” briefed Arsha. “I need your help in finding out what’s going on.”

“What do I need to do?” asked Bashoon.

“There’s a rumor that something is rotten in the Monastery’s catacombs,” replied Arsha. “I need you to enter them and see if that rumor is true.”

“Isn’t that breaking and entering?” muttered Bashoon.

“Only without a warrant,” answered Arsha. “The mission doesn’t start until Rokalla gives us the warrant.”

“All right, when can I expect the warrant?” asked Bashoon. The comms rang.

“Shalvey to Arsha,” called Shalvey’s voice.

“Go ahead,” replied Arsha.

“Admirals Rokalla and Rooshee are waiting to talk to you and Bashoon in your Ready Room,” reported Shalvey.

“On our way,” confirmed Arsha. “Rooshee?”

“What’s she got to do with this?” asked Bashoon.

“We’re about to find out,” replied Arsha. They made their way to Arsha’s Ready Room and Arsha switched the call on. “What can I do for you?” asked Arsha.

“I just discovered an interesting report,” answered Rokalla. He then read the report aloud. “‘Judge Advocate General’s report, Date: Marma 25, 4,006,298,078, TAU (Third Age of Unity). Subject: Inquiry into mutiny aboard CRS-1309, Windscar. Based on testimony from Captain Calmii and other surviving officers, the Judge Advocate believes there is sufficient evidence to conclude that certain members of the crew did mutiny against the Captain just prior to the departure of the Windscar from the Vorkath Monastic Hospital.’”

“Admiral Rooshee, you served on that ship, correct?” asked Arsha.

“…Yes,” muttered Rooshee.

“Mutiny?” muttered Bashoon. “On a Realmfleet ship? 2,000 years ago? That’s just…shocking, it’s unthinkable!”

“And yet, you’ve never mentioned it,” said Arsha to Rooshee.

“No,” confirmed Rooshee.

“You know,” interjected Rokalla, “it wasn’t easy to get this report. I had to pull in quite a few favors at Realmfleet just to get a look at it. It seems that it was classified by Sector 4.”

“Sector 4?” quizzed Arsha. “The spooks above the Intelligence Committee?”

“The same,” confirmed Rokalla. “So, not only was the Windscar without a captain after it self-destructed, not only was there a mysterious explosion at the site of the Monastery’s old chapel, but it seems that there was a mutiny among the officers. Now, Rooshee, I’ve read the official report of the inquiry on that mutiny, but I think everyone here wants to know your version of what happened.”

“…I was at the old chapel,” recalled Rooshee. “We were helping the Monastery run some tests on new equipment. Something went wrong. There was an explosion near us, heavy casualties. In the midst of the crisis, the First Officer, the Chief Engineer, and most of the bridge crew with us mutinied against Captain Calmii.”

“Why?” asked Bashoon.

“They thought he was jeopardizing us,” reported Rooshee.

“And you?” asked Rokalla.

“I was only a year out of the academy,” testified Rooshee, “my head still ringing with words like ‘duty’ and ‘honor’. When they turned on him, I thought they were a bunch of self-serving, disloyal officers, so I grabbed a wand and I defended my Captain. Two or three others had joined us, but it was clear that the mutineers had most of the crew behind them. They were going to transmit sensitive information on an open channel, so we felt a need to destroy the ship. There was a running firefight all the way to the bridge. After we set the self-destruct for 30 seconds, we left immediately via beam-out. The mutineers tried to undo it, but it was too late. The Windscar was destroyed. We had to wait for a few months for rescue. Captain Calmii died of extreme gill-intake deficiency shortly after. There was no body of water suitable for an extended stay for him.” Rokalla pulled up the report again.

“‘The Judge Advocate also believes,” he read, “‘that the surviving officers are deliberately withholding vital information from this inquiry. Further investigation is recommended. The Intelligence Committee must be informed.’ Rooshee, I had just taken over as head of the Intelligence Committee in that timeframe and this whole thing was never brought to my attention! There WAS no further investigation! This report was classified and then it was quietly buried. Why?”

“Admiral Rokalla,” muttered Rooshee, “may I suggest you take this up with someone else?”

“You’re the only one alive who was there,” observed Bashoon.

“…May I suggest,” repeated Rooshee, “that you take this up with someone else?”

“We’re taking this up with you, Rooshee!” snapped Rokalla. “End of discussion on that! The Judge Advocate thought that you were participating in a conspiracy to cover up the truth! Now, what in the After-realm is going on here, Rooshee? Why did that mutiny happen? Why are you so determined not to say anything? Why did we find out from a diary that Balma’s father kept about this incident?”

“I’ve said all I can,” growled Rooshee. “I’m under direct orders from Admiral Saverk not to discuss this.”

“…All right,” declared Rokalla, “if you wish to play hardball, then we’ll play hardball. I have obtained a warrant from the Judicial Committee to investigate the monastery as that’s been believed to be the source of the mutiny. Arsha and Bashoon will be conducting the investigation and reporting directly to me.”

“You had no right to do that!” roared Rooshee. “Arsha, so help me, if you investigate this, you’ll be the first royal in millennia to lose her Captaincy!”

“She’s protected by that warrant from ANY retaliation, and you know it!” snarled Rokalla.

“Arsha, don’t you dare!” boomed Rooshee.

“I’m sorry,” affirmed Arsha, “but I have a duty to Realmfleet to find the truth of the matter. End transmission.” The call ended and Arsha turned to Bashoon. “Meet with Novice Norvorok. He can get you into the Monastery.”

“Aye, Captain,” confirmed Bashoon. She set off to carry out her orders.

“Arsha, be careful,” warned Rokalla. “Rooshee seems bent on trying to keep this quiet.”

“I’ll be as careful as I can, Sir,” promised Arsha.

“That’s all I ask,” replied Rokalla. “Admiral Rokalla out.” The call ended. Arsha sat down and considered her next move.

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