The small shuttle raced away from Deep Space Nine and back toward Romulus. Inside, Senator Vreenak paced and pondered the best way to inform the Empire about Captain Sisko's plot to embroil them in the Dominion War. As he stopped and glanced toward the lock box that contained the forged data rod, he wondered whether Sisko was acting indepently as he claimed, or if Starfleet had ordered him to take the fall. Either way, Sisko had played a major role and would pay dearly for his actions.
Meanwhile, in a separate part of the shuttle, the engineer and his assistant were making routine checks when they heard a strange sort of fizzling sound and smelled smoke. At the source of the smoke, they discovered an ominous device and immediately notified security. Fearing it was a bomb, security hailed the nearest Romulan vessel, a patrolling Warbird. When the Warbird arrived everyone was beamed aboard. Another Warbird was then ordered to retrieve the shuttle and tow it back to Romulus for examination.
As soon as Vreenak set foot on his homeworld, he marched straight into the Senate Chambers and sternly disclosed everything he knew and suspected. Naturally the Romulans were outraged, and they voted to cut all ties with the Federation.
The Federation promptly denied involvement in the plot, and Captain Sisko tried to assume all responsibility. The Romulans remained unconvinced, but demanded that Sisko be punished nonetheless. As a gesture of restoring good faith, the Federation offered to let the Romulans conduct their own investigation into the matter, and at the same time began the proceedings for Captain Sisko's court martial.
Meanwhile, it was determined that the strange device found on Vreenak's shuttle was a bomb, as they had suspected. It failed to properly detonate, and appeared to be of Dominion or Cardassian origin. The bomb could only have been picked up in one of two places: Soukara or Deep Space Nine. Not wanting to have open hostility with the Dominion yet, the Romulans decided to keep this discovery a secret. While overtly maintaining their non-aggression stance, they would fortify themselves, develop contingency plans and step up intelligence on both the Dominion and Starfleet.
After the attempt on his life, Senator Vreenak became very concerned for Miss Miller's safety. He had selfishly gotten her involved in this situation, and felt that he must ensure her protection. He contacted his Federation plants and discovered that she and her friends had left the station. This was good, but of course she was still in Federation territory. He thought about contacting her to warn her, but that wouldn't do much good. He really wished he could bring her to Romulus where she would be safe.
Yes, Aura must come here, he decided. Once she understood the gravity of the situation she would surely agree that this was the best and safest course of action. She would undoubtedly enjoy her stay here, he thought. Romulus was such a beautifully refined world. He would dispatch his nearest agents to escort her immediately.
Two days after Vreenak left, Aura and her friends also left Deep Space Nine. She was going straight home to earth, but the others were going to make a stop on the Trill homeworld so Catherine could meet her fiancee's family. The transport vessel zoomed along as the various occupants settled into their quarters. A few hours later, Aura and Catherine decided to head for the lounge and get a snack. When they were done, Aura told Catherine about her secret encounter with Vreenak.
"Wow, I can't believe he was there! And he proposed to you, too!" Catherine whispered with a smile.
"Not exactly," she replied with much less enthusiasm. "He asked if he could be my 'suitor,' but I said no, then he offered me my own home on Romulus so I could get to know him better."
"No wonder you were acting so strangely. How romantic!"
"Humph. I'm not so sure about that. Anyway, I figured I could tell you now. Any day now it should be all over the news."
"So, what did you tell him? Are you going to go?" asked Catherine slyly.
Aura couldn't believe her ears. "What? No! Of course not!" Several curious glances from other passengers reminded her to keep her voice down. "Why would I do that?"
"Because you always wanted to go to Romulus."
"Yes, but Vreenak's creepy as heck! And an arrogant jerk!"
"And he's head over heels for you, obviously. Really, I think you should go. It'll be a great experience, even if you decide to go your separate ways."
"Catherine, are you crazy? What if it's some kind of trap and he won't let me leave? I am NOT going to Romulus. I already composed my reply, and as soon as possible I'm going to send it."