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Second Sitting

Posted on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 @ 10:10am by Lieutenant Commander Nauket Kulvher & Tiransor Mufan'se & Jokiah Mhielson & Civilian Haqtaj Matlh & Legate Vadrek & Chief Warrant Officer Akina Jrez

Mission: Purgatory's Shadow. Season 2 Episode 7
Location: Ward Room

T'Rena entered the room proceeded by her Klingon counterpart, Ambassador Haqtaj. Both had moved directly for the talks once they had completed their own meeting in the Commanders Office. The room itself had been filled with the usual touches to make the room a more inviting situation for such charged diplomatic talks to take place and at the same time most of the other dignitaries had arrived also. From Romulans to Cardassians, Klingon and even a representative from the Xindi. It was an impressive lineup to say the least but the subject was of more concern than how each would get along.

T'Rena slipped down into her chair to allow the talks to start which had been left in the hands of the spokes person of the Cardassian Union. they were the ones wanting the station back so why not allow them to make the first move.
T'Rena caught the eye of both of her officers as they waited for the Cardassian official started his oration.

Jokiah had just received word that his wife's transport had hit an unexpected delay due to an ion storm. The ship was in no danger, or so he had been told, and she was expected to arrive shortly. He missed her tremendously and was relieved to know they would soon be together.

He had been able to get Jehu to watch the boys so he didn't have to worry about them.

What he did have to worry about this Cardassian dha'rudh and his attempts to seize control of the station. He sat back in his chair and steepled his fingers. Keeping his face impassive was difficult from both a personal perspective as well as a racial and cultural one, but he had. had plenty of practice over the years and he watched the Cardassian intently paying particular attention to his eyes and facial expressions.

Tiransor sat at his position at the table, his bulk sticking out almost to the wall behind him. Thankfully his anti-gravity system was working at the moment so he was floating above the deck at a height comfortable enough for everyone to see him though the front bubble. He was still twitching his fingers inside of their gauntlets, while not new to transporters he was still slightly uncomfortable around them. While waiting for the meeting to begin he studied the various representatives, trying to figure out clues about their mannerisms.

Leanne walked in carrying a few padds that she had collected to hopefully help her commander navigate the mine field that the negotiations were sure to be. She nodded to the diplomats in the room as she took a seat behind T'Rena so she could observe and offer assistance. She might be more useful as hostess instead of another cook in the kitchen.

Haqtaj was feeling unusually happy. She dropped heavily into her seat and poured herself a large glass of whatever was in the jug in front of her. She abhorred Politics, leaving those games for her brother, but understood it was a necessary part of her new role. Now she realised that there was a different kind of battle to be won. The Federation could use words like a warrior used a Bat'leth, but this new commander had shown she has strength of will and body as well. Let the Cardassians do their simpering and lying. She was ready!

She nearly chocked on her water when she saw the Xindi though.

The corridors were quiet as Legate Vadrek crossed to the Ward Room, having had to make an unexpected detour to his quarters to take an urgent communication. He looked around - seemingly casually but taking everything in. Starfleet had made some attempts to change the place but it was still distinctly Cardassian. Good. It won't take much to make it functional again once Roark Nor is back in our hands where it belongs.

He smiled affably at various crew members as they went about their duty. They responded politely to an unknown face then resumed what they were doing.

Outside the Ward Room a Klingon NCO was standing rigidly to attention. His presence was strange. He did not wear the uniform of Starfleet Security but obviously that was why he was there. Vardek wondered at that but decided it could wait until he had more time to devote to the conundrum.

As he passed the man, Vadrek sang the refrain from the latest hit aria from Klingon opera. There was a momentary flicker of recognition from the Klingon. Few would have seen it - indeed, the Klingon himself might not be aware of the lapse in concentration. Vardek prided himself on not missing little details like that.

If the meeting is as useful as this brief interlude, it might not be as tedious as I imagine it will be.

With that consoling thought, he pressed the control on the door to open it.

T'Rena caught sight of the of the Cardassian representative at the same moment as the other dignitaries in the room. He held himself with the same confidence and arrogant stature as with most Cardassian's, but this time it seemed more than that, as if the outcome was already assured.
"Ambassador. If I may introduce Ambassador Haqtaj from the Klingon Empire, Tiransor Mufan'se from the Xindi, Jokiah Mhielson from the Romulan Empire and my officers Commander Ulonova and Liaison officer Nauket Kulvher."

Haqtaj nodded at each in turn, then turned back to Vadrek, "I shall be direct, Legate. The Klingon people have invested a lot in the securing of this station and the containment of the Cardassian people. We are very keen to see the letter and spirit of the treaty between yourselves and the Federation respected. Can you tell me WHY it is so important to the Cardassian's cultural development to have sovereignty of this station?"

Vadrek smiled a sad smile. "There are those on Cardassia who consider that all Cardassian artifacts should be returned to Cardassian control. In this they include not only items of cultural significance but also the various Nor bases. They see these as important examples of Cardassian engineering. Bases like Roark Nor are, as you no doubt appreciate, a high point of our space fairing achievement. Set aside the fact of the use to which they were put and you can see that many would like to see them preserved and maintained by Cardassians.
"I, myself, do not agree with this point of view. However, I must admit that I can understand the appeal it has. I subscribe to the opinion that bases like this are best managed by those who can utilize them efficiently and productively. Unfortunately, right now, that is not Cardassia. If, in the future, we can pick ourselves up and take our place in the galactic community again then I will reappraise my position but, until then...."

Tiransor made a deep thrum, to catch the gathered delegates attention. "While I can understand you people's desire to obtain relics of their past, I find the level of their insistence interesting considering their treatment of Bajoran historical artifacts. From what I've read Cardassia has a rather poor record for treating history with respect."

"We treat with respect that which is worthy of treating with respect," Vadrek replied with barely a glance in Tiransor's direction. He smiled to those assembled in the room. "But this is a question for the whole of this convention, not just for myself or the Cardassian government. Come, let us begin."

He walked over to the conference table, poured himself a glass of water and took a sip. Almost delicately he lifted and pulled back a chair then sat on it. The smile did not slip all the while.

Jokiah's face was as impassive as almost ten years of negotiating and diplomacy could make it. He did however raise one brow minutely. He had heard of crocodile teas before. Could there also be a crocodile smile? He thought, at least with this Cardassian that, that was not only a possibility, it was a probability.

Now it was T'Rena who spoke up, still eying the Cardassian with a critical eye. "If you would care to explain your governments position Legate we can then better make logical decisions appropriate to the matter at hand".

Vadrek took another sip of water and delicately replaced the glass on the table. "Our position is quite simple. We want returned to us what is rightfully ours."

"And we are requesting you validate your arguments so we can understand your position Legate!"
Was he being purposefully difficult or was this the usual Cardassian games that would be played at the negotiating table.

"What 'right' do you refer to when you say it is yours?" Haqtaj asked. "Right of conquest? Moral right? Right of salvage? Finders keepers? It seems the only claim you have over this station is that you owned part of this station years ago. If you want to invoke that right then I think you will need to hand the station over to the Bajorans, since they once owned the materials from which it was built."

T'Rena couldn't help but cock an eyebrow at the Klingon who not to long ago was ready to separate the Vulcan's head from her shoulders. It was an argument worthy of a Cardassian and one that would, with a little luck, fluster the Cardassian now sitting across the table from them. In fact the klingon had made the very argument the Vulcan was aiming to attempt.

"Please excuse me, Captain," Vadrek replied smoothly, "but I fail to see what needs to be validated. Everyone here knows that Cardassians built this base and Cardassians operated it. It is, granted, an unfortunate side light of history that we had to relinquish control for a short period. We are now in a poition to resume control. In the interest of harmony and furthering diplomatic relations between the new Cardassia and the Federation - and to promote relations with the Klingon Empire...." he added with a nod towards Haqtaj, "....we are making a formal request to do so forthwith."

"But as Ambassador Haqtaj stated, Bajorans built this station under the brutality of their Cardassian oppressors. The raw materials came from Bajor and its surrounding systems. If you are claiming the right under who built it then surely this station is a Bajoran property".
Forcing her voice to remain level and calm, the hybrid Vulcan attempted to make the Cardassian see the validity behind the Klingon's argument.

"Captain, please, if we are going to cite history then we will get into muck raking which I'm sure we could all do well without. The Romulans used the Remans as forced labour; the Klingons used many species in a similar way and wiped more than one out doing so; Humans have a long and inglorious history of slavery. Some of the greatest monuments to our various civilisations were built by those who had no choice in the matter yet we still claim those achievements as our own. Let us put all that behind us and focus on now."

Jokiah looked over at Vadrek and said, "With all due respect Ambassador, but the mere fact that you built the station and at one time controlled it is in and of itself a very weak argument. As has been pointed out, there is some dispute as to which hands actually built it, yours or the Bajorans. Regardless of who once built it, however the mere 'fact' that you built it does not give you the right to now claim ownership.

You just pointed out that the history of all of our peoples is rife with abuse of other species and I won't deny that. However history is also rife with those how built something and then lost control over it. I am afraid that you will have to come up with something a lot stronger than we built it, therefore its ours, even if we assume that it is clear that you actually built it."

Leanne decided to chime in from behind her commander. "Ambassadors, if I could make a suggestion, it is obvious that the argument of we built it, it is ours and it is ours since we have it now isn't getting us anywhere. History does teach us about co-habitation and the friendly use of assets." Leanne grabbed a padd off of the stack. "I sight an example after Earth's World War Two in which General George S Patton of the allies utilized German assets to rebuild and defend against what was seen as a growing threat from my own homeland of the Soviet Union. Perhaps we could discuss how all of our people could benefit from this station?" Leanne had hoped that she hadn't opened up a can of Berellian worms with that but it didn't seem like anything was being accomplished.

Haqtaj matched the Cardassian sip for sip in an obvious attempt to mimic him, "If this station were under Ferengi control, you would need to buy it with Latinum. If it were under Klingon control, you would need to fight for it, to prove you were capable of defending it. If it were under Romulan control... well, I am sure there would be some deal the details of which you would not be aware of till generations later. The Federation, it seems, are able to trade on good will. The Cardassians are trying hard to establish some credit of goodwill. The question is, have your people generated enough good will to deserve so heavy an... investment."

"But let us look at the present, as you urge us," Haqtaj continued. "If the Federation agrees to the hand over, what of the 203 Klingons who now live and work on the station, a full quarter of the population, I believe, though I will need the Commander here to verify that figure. What will become of them and the valuable trade routes we have to and from this facility?"

"The treaty with the Federation," Vardek said, "contains many clauses. Among those are ones dealing with responsibilities; also among them are ones dealing with restrictions. As has already been pointed out, it is the responsibility of the Federation to defend Cardassia and Cardassians as Cardassia is restricted to having no military capability. This base is not a crucial part of the Federation's defence efforts so I must assume that the Klingon presence here is imposed on the Federation by the need to deploy troops elsewhere. Nonetheless, the presence of the KDF does not speak well of the Federation's ability to fulfil its requirements under the treaty. Transfer of the base would free up Federation resources by replacing non-military Federation personnel with Cardassians.

"As for the continued presence of the Klingons here.... We do not have a treaty with the Klingon Empire but I'm sure such an eminent person as Madame Haqtaj could undertake preliminary discussions once this matter is dealt with."

The circle was getting larger by leaps and bounds, but it was still a circle of a course that this conversation was following. As the Cardassian Ambassador had already said, it was a muck slinging session, even if it was a polite one.
"May I suggest that we take a hour's recess before we continue this exchange." T'Rena needed the time to process the arguments made by all parties, she also needed a moment to see Admiral Nechayev before the talks became to in depth. "It will give each a chance to consider the others' positions".


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