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Part of Challenger: Hell Hath No Fury

PROLOGUE

Laikan, Andoria
Secondmoon, Fesoan Lor’veln Year 463 Sunday, April 20th, 2155
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“At almost a quarter to mid-day the people of Docana have voted in favour for the Progressive Unionist Caucus, thus ending the Parliamentary election. The Progressive Unionists have won. Chamagerit zh’Thachker, their leader, is the new Chancellor of the Andorian Empire.”

Those words still buzzed in between Margerit’s antennas; even after almost fifty days since taking office she remembered the moment of sudden realisation that she had become the leader of her people. No longer was she just an elected member of the Parliament Andoria, an Ambassador or a retired/honouree member of the Imperial Guard. She was the new head of government. She was the Andorian leader.

When she heard those words, she had been sitting beside her bondmate Kravdemies ch’Thachker. He had been hospitalised after having triple-bypass surgery on his heart. She and her bondgroup had decided on election night that it was important for them to just spend it with Demies and observe the election results from the various feeds coming through the Andorian news channels. When Sethilayis th’Rasfoth, the senior political news editor of the Andorian Broadcasting Company, had announced the news that the Docana colony had finally submitted its results to the Electoral Commission and the majority of votes had gone to her party she had just stared at the screen for some time. She had frozen in astonishment. She hadn’t expected to win. Margerit had thought that her recent time away from the Empire had negatively affected her campaign. Her supporters had heralded her time away with their allies as an example of her proving to her critics just how well she can represent the Empire.

Presently she sat staring at herself in the mirror before her. She was about to join Sethilayis th’Rasfoth in an interview on his televised news show: The Rasfoth Approach. It was a weekly political commentary programme that many Andorians watched.  After being in office for fifty days, Rasfoth had done a documentary on the new chancellor and her interview would be the culmination of his work that would be aired across the entire Empire. It would be an excellent piece, publicising the life of the new Andorian leader, the great work her administration was doing as well as give the Andorian population an insight into her personal life with her family. Rasfoth was well-renowned in the Empire as one of its leading and credible political commentators; anyone who was interviewed by him was seen as someone of influence and importance. He was known to be picky on those he chose to make documentaries about. He was a voice that many listened to and agreed with. Having this positive publicity like this would only strengthen her image across the Empire. Margerit herself had been interviewed by him several times prior to her taking office. As a result, she was not completely nervous in meeting him compared to the first interview she did with him many years ago. Her chief of staff had promised Rosfoth an exclusive interview with Margerit on the fiftieth day of her chancellorship; in return he didn’t engage with any of her political opponents during that time. It was a disgusting bribe in Margerit’s eyes but as Demies had said to her (from his hospital bed on the election night) that it would be worth to have one of the most reliable voices of Andorian journalism on her side during her inaugural period. She knew that her upcoming interview would be filled with many questions on the numerous decisions she had made since coming to power. She had memorised everything the night before on what she was going to say about the reforms she had passed through Parliament. The reforms were based around the Empire’s social welfare, education and health care systems. She also knew she would be questioned on her decision to increase military spending. Thankfully her Defence and Finance Ministers over the past fortnight had been submitting to a number of interviews themselves to explain the administration’s decision to increase the Imperial Guard’s ship building efforts and recruitment process. A number of these things had increased her popularity among the Andorian people. Then only yesterday she announced her plans to solidify the relations between the Andorians and their new Coalition partners, in particular with Earth. Once again it had been received warmly by a majority of the general public, a public who were eager for the Andorian Empire to be a key player on the intergalactic stage. In her view Earth was the key to the success of the Coalition. Humanity was a neutral party between everyone else in the Coalition. They had never taken a side in the conflicts that the Andorians had been involved with against the Vulcans or Tellarites.  She needed to make those ties strong for Andoria’s future; it appeared a number of people agreed the same way too.

“You look perfect.” Spoke a low gravelly voice from her left side.

Margerit turned to look to her side to see Demies standing there with a proud smile spread across his face. Over a month and a half ago he was a sickly man, lying on death’s doorstep. Now after the miracle of Andorian medical intervention he was standing before her, ready to support her and the rest of their bondgroup in all that they did.

“Thank you my beloved.” She responded. She looked at herself one more time in the mirror. She had gone for a simple dark green skirt suit that she had purchased while on Earth months ago. Since bringing it back to Andoria she had one of the leading designers in Andorian fashion make some alterations and re-design it so the lapel was extended and precious emerald silk was attached to it as a second layer. She tugged on the ends of the jacket to smooth it as she stood. Once again, she played with the crystal and silver brooch that was fastened into the lapel. Again, it was a simple design with eight curves intertwined with each other with crystals encrusted along the inner edges. It had been a recent birthday present from her bondgroup. She stopped fussing after pushing her permed grey-white hair up a bit more. Looking at Demies she let out a breath.

“Why am I so nervous?” She asked him as he slowly approached her and took her hands into his.

“Because you’re about to appear before all of our people and they will know you are going to be the greatest leader that Andoria has not seen since Empress Thalisar herself.” He told her, referring to the last Head of State that the Andorian Empire ever had and the woman who changed the Andorian political scene over two hundred years ago.

They were interrupted by the arrival of one of her aides carrying a data tablet which contained a message for her. As she read it a smile crept across her face.

“What does it say, Margerit?” Demies asked curiously, wanting to know what had made his wife smile so much.

She looked up at him. “My invitation request I sent to Prime Minister Samuels has been agreed.”

He hadn’t been aware of what that meant. What had she originally communicated to the Human leader? “Oh, so what does that mean?” He asked her.

“It means my dear that some new friends I made recently will be joining us for dinner.” She said with joy as she passed the tablet to him and made her way past him to finally take on her interview with Rasfoth.

Demies, confused at her words, looked down at the tablet. Being a member of the Chancellor’s bondgroup gave him clearance to view certain government documents but in return he was forced to keep it all a secret for the rest of his life. He peered at the note on the tablet and read it. “Challenger?” He asked himself quietly after reading it. What was this Challenger and why would they be visiting Andoria?