Location: Subspace Communication
Timeline: Day 2 - 0900
The secure channel link was established on his computer screen moments before the image of Colonel Loval appeared. Logan frowned faintly as he said, "Colonel, it appears as though the Orion will be delayed from our arrival at the Romulan border due to a mechanical issue. Rest assured we will have it fixed and return to course as soon as possible."
Loval leaned back in his chair and eyed the Captain wearily. "This would not be some sort of Federation trick to get the upper hand in our negotiations. Because I will tell you Barrett it will not work." Loval took a breath before he continued in a softer tone. "In the interest of diplomacy if you wish I can have my vessel there to assist you in a matter of hours. All you would have to do is say the word."
Logan held up his hand to pause the Romulan from continuing on that path. "No, I assure you that won't be necessary, colonel. We have everything under control. I realize that you might be suspicious of a timeline deviation but as I said, we will have the issue addressed and get back to our original course before long." He wanted to make sure to repeat himself so that Loval didn't follow the distrustful path typical of most Romulan thought patterns.
There was only one thing that kept Loval from hanging up the comm channel on Barrett and that was the word why. If the Starfleet Captain was at the start of some sort of plot the question Why? came to mind. Loval could not answer that question, at least not yet and it was for that reason that he needed to keep Barrett talking. "I feel I do not have to remind you that the fate of Romulan/Federation relations hangs on you arriving at the predetermined coordinates in a timely fashion. We would not want to throw any of that off, now would we?"
"Most definitely not, colonel. The Federation values peace above all else. My entire mission is dedicated to that goal with your people. I don't intend to let a minor delay throw out the goodwill we have developed so far." He frowned as he spoke, making his intentions clear toward that end.
"Excellent, as I stated if you need my ship stands ready to assist you and the Orion in any way possible. But I urge you to be as quick as possible. I am not sure exactly how long I can keep the Senate waiting." Loval leaned forward in his chair as he spoke. Romulans were very astute at reading people, and body language. The frown is what triggered his wariness. "Is something the matter Captain, something not related to our meeting?"
Barrett knew that when dealing with Romulans, the best approach was to show confidence and eschew weakness. He replied calmly, "Your concern is noted, colonel. I'll inform you as soon as we are underway. Barrett out."
He leaned back in his chair and let out a small sigh. He was feeling a little tired even though he had slept decently the night before. This snafu was more irritating than worrisome though things can change on a dime, as experience had taught him.
The screen went blank as the message cut off. Well it seems that I may have struck a nerve. Loval thought. There was something there, something that Loval could not put his finger on. Barrett was hiding something and the Tal Shiar would find out what. He turned his command chair toward his Ops officer. "Get me listening post Akhiy Seha on a coded Tal Shiar channel immediately."
Commander Logan Barrett
Commanding Officer, USS Orion
Director Tal Shiar, Romulan Star Empire