* Twenty - Eight *
"Admiral," Donald April said as his food arrived. "Are you planning on having a substitute robot drone stand in for, and replace Valakadria?" he asked as he watched Robert dig into his food.
"Yes Commander," Jackson answered. "It's that or do as I have previously suggested, but, either way, we're taking a calculated risk and the chances that we're going to be drawn into a galactic war is very high, our main enemy right now is the time wasted that we are quickly running out of."
"President Adriakar, Admiral Jackson," said Ambassador Tekka as she stood and pulled down the top of her sweater to unveil and to reveal a golden neckband. "This prevents deception of any and all kinds."
"Crap!" Robert Jackson uttered aloud, knowing deep down inside that the ball was safely back in Kalindra Vohaydren's court and may never have left it. "Your still connected."
"Yes." Tekka replied. "My birth collar prevents me from being anyone other than who I really am, therefore a robot drone or any galaxian is out of the question, and I can go nowhere in this galaxy that my own people will not be able to find me."
"I ah, have a question to ask of you, Ambassador Tekka," Donald April said as he stood back up. "That is, if I may ask first, Admiral?"
"Oh, by all means, yes, Commander---
"Yes, Commander April," Tekka replied while she recovered her neckband and retook her seat, also having interrupted Admiral Jackson.
"I hope that I'm not the only one at this table that has been given the revelation," the first officer of the Orion said as he gazed up and down the length of the officers table. "The queen bee of Zaleena knows that you never died like we thought that you had at first. She knows that you're right here with us, and has known all along since having left the planet Mars. She also knows our present position and before too much longer, will know our final destination."
"Am I right so far in the telling of these assumptions, Ambassador?" he questioned Dara Tekka as Commander David Jackson slowly got up and out of his seat, keeping his eyes locked on to the Zaleen ambassador and a hand on his side arm.
"Yes Commander April, you have assumed correctly." the ambassador answered as her eyes locked on to the chief of security.
"Vohaydren is in Consortium space demanding that we turn Commodora Tawn over to her, so that for whatever reasons, she can return to Zaleen space, and all will be well between the two parties mentioned, but ... what ... about ... you ... Dara ... Kamade ... Tekka?" April asked, pausing between each word that he said as he continued to question her. "Just how do you fit into the grand scheme of things at this moment in time?"
"I wish to congratulate you, Commander April," the ambassador said as she sat there in her chair while a single tear rolled down her cheek. "President Adriakar, Admiral Jackson, my last performance in the presence of everyone aboard this ship must be to make sure that the former princess of Zaleena, Valakadria Tawn, is returned to the planet Glammadren and deposited into the hands of the Queen Empress, Kalindra Vohaydren, or, my life functions will be terminated."
"As you have seen, I ... am not as free ... from my birth collar ... as is Valakadria Tawn," the ambassador answered, and when she had finished giving her answer, Commander Jackson, the chief of security, slowly sat back down in his chair.
"Aren't you going to place this Zaleen under arrest and throw her out the nearest air lock, Commander Jackson?" asked Davadra Adriakar as she sat there stupefied, along with the others, wondering why David hadn't of suggested it himself.
"No I'm not," David Jackson answered as he witnessed tear after yet another tear rolling down the face of Dara Tekka.
"And just why the hell not?" Commander April asked as he fell back down in his chair.
"Because, Dara has a heart," Commander Jackson answered. "And with that time bomb welded around her neck, she's being forced into this at the risk of her own bacon ... life."
"I wanted so much to tell you earlier, Admiral, when Valakadria first came aboard." Dara said as she wiped the stinging tears from her eyes.
"But we wouldn't let you." Admiral Jackson replied as he buried his head in his hands.
"Dara, we have to remove your neck band some---
"Not this time, Counselor Adriakar," Dara Tekka said, interrupting the former princess of the former kingdom of Lorea Lundae on the planet Delindria. "Any attempt made to release me of my birth collar not only terminates my life, but will destroy anything within the measurement of a planets radius."
"Oh what a tangled web we have weaved for ourselves," Commander April said as he shoved his plate away. "It just keeps getting bigger by the minute.'
'If that she spider doesn't have Commodora Tawn within a short span of time, then all she has to do is send a signal out to the Ambassadors neckband and, poof ... we ... are ... all ... history."
"Commander Scott," the admiral said as he stood. "You, Commander April, and Doctor Henderson may use all the resources available to you to put Ambassador Tekka's golden birth collar out of commission without endangering the ship or it's crew."
'If it or the ship takes a special shielding to jam incoming signals to her neckband, then make it happen, whatever it takes." Jackson told them.
"It'll be a challenge, because we have to remove the neckband from the Zaleen without removing the Zaleen from the neckband." Alexander Scott said as he stood up from the table. "But I do love a good challenge."
"As I said earlier, our number one enemy is time itself," Robert Jackson informed everyone at the table. "Do what you can for her ... for all of us."
"Does this mean that there may be a slight chance that we'll survive this ordeal?" Dara Tekka asked as she looked out across the table.
"Anything's possible, if we are able to make it happen." Valdara Adriakar Jackson said, having answered Dara's question from the next table over as she stood up, with a little help from Eric and Amber Jackson. "It's when we do nothing, that we can be assured that things will happen as they are meant to, without intervention."
"It is only when we intervene and change things so that they happen in a different way, that we can be assured that we made it possible." she ended in saying.
"In short, let's get to work and make it possible, if we are able, so that Dara Tekka and the rest of us can be free of her blasted neckband ," Commander April said as he pointed to the ambassadors neck.
"You could have left out the blasted part, Commander," Admiral Jackson said as his vid-com watch beeped.
"Bridge to Admiral Jackson," said an unknown voice over his wrist unit.
"Admiral Jackson here." he answered having raised his watch to his mouth.
"We are entering the Zanarian system, sir." the voice relayed.