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Talking to Romulans

Posted on Thu May 14th, 2015 @ 5:56am by Civilian Haqtaj Matlh

Mission: Moving in
Location: Promenade

Haqtaj had positioned herself at a little cafe along Victoria's patrol route. As the Officer came along the promenade she raised her cup and called to her.

"Lieutenant? A moment of your time, if you please."

Tori looked over when she heard her rank being called. She frowned slightly at the Klingon, wondering exactly what the Ambassador wanted. "Can I help you, Madame Ambassador?" She asked cooly, but cordially.

Haqtaj gestured to the empty chair opposite her. Seeing the reluctance she smiled.

"Come now, Lieutenant. This won't take you from your duties for long. I am hardly going to begin an incident with so many witnesses around, am I?"

"Stranger things have been known to happen." Tori muttered under her breath as she walked over and took the seat stiffly, ready for anything.

Haqtaj called for the waiter and gave Tori the option to order. Haqtaj however remained with her cup of steaming beverage on the table, half drunk and now untouched. She made small talk till the order arrived and then began.

Tori ordered a cup of coffee, hot and black.

"I hear you had a visit with our new Romulan Delegate?" She smiled. "I suspect it was most frustrating for you."

The Lieutenant smiled a little, but it didn't reach her eyes. "Actually, it was most enlightening. The Ambassador and I had a pleasant conversation about culture. Very informative."

"Qu'vatlh!" Haqtaj smiled, "It was nothing of the sort. I have known this particular Romulan and her family a long time and you got nothing out of her except a feeling that she was looking down on you. Don't be defensive, I am not here to criticize you but to help."

At that comment, Tori actually laughed and relaxed a little. "Ambassador, I may not be the most book learned or educated officer in Starfleet, but believe me when I say I am quite able to tell when someone is giving me the run around."

Haqtaj pretended to be hurt, "Your lack of trust wounds me, Lieutenant. I am here to help the Federation. Let me give you a tip for talking to the Romulans. You can use it or ignore it as you see fit."

Tori cocked her head confused for a moment, then it clicked. "I don't trust anyone, Ambassador. Only people who will tell you the truth without an agenda of their own are children, lunatics and people who are very very pissed off. But I was talking about the other Ambassador giving me the runaround." She paused and sipped her coffee. "I've been doing this my entire adult life. I'm no super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, but I have learned how to glean information for silence and bull."

Now it was Haqtaj's turn to look confused, "Silence and... Your colloquialisms are always confusing. Like the one about defecating building materials. But I think you may be on to what I am suggesting."

"S'ranya Mirok is a talented diplomat. She leaves everyone feeling that she is stupid and arrogant, because she knows how people view Romulans, and she panders to that. She is, in fact, neither. I have seen her waist deep in mud dragging people from rubble during an attack on... well, the point is, don't take her show for granted."

"By the same token, she assumes everyone who comes to see her has a second or third agenda. If you are honest with her she will be more suspicious. She will assume you are hiding the truth and will become more closed since she cannot uncover it. When my Uncle spoke to her Father, he made a habit of pretending to hide the reason for his talk and letting the Ambassador discern it for himself. That being done it could be spoken about easily. Half truths and subtle references work best, and learning to hear them."

"Of course," Haqtaj leant back in her chair which creaked in protest, "That is just my opinion, and everyone knows Klingons are stupid, blunt and lack any real diplomatic skill."

Tori took a sip of the coffee that had been placed while Haqtaj was talking. She didn't trust the Klingon further than she could throw her, which was probably about two feet if she was really lucky. At the same time, it made sense what she was saying. "Well, that might be a problem because I am blunt and lack diplomatic skills." She said after a minute, putting her cup down. Her ear rang a little, and she rubbed it. "I don't take people for granted, but at the same time, I am hard-pressed to be...sneaky. Of course, I just wanted information about the Romulan culture, which definitely put her on her guard. I think she thought I was there to actually spy on her."

Haqtaj grinned, showing teeth, "Oh, she was certain of that. She just didn't know, of all the information you could be hunting for, what it was you were after. I bet she made a number of veiled inferences about how subservient you were and how superior she was? I love it when she does that. Watches people get all insulted and make mistakes just to 'put her in her place'."

"So, she is assuming you are there to spy on her, then oblige. Tell her you are going to find out about her nefarious plans to ship stolen artifacts, or banned Romulan beverages. She will feel much more comfortable and you may even be able to get other information that you actually want."

Tori nodded, setting her coffee down. "And what do you get out of helping me deal with the Romulans, Ambassador?"

Haqtaj's eyes glinted, "Let us just say I have my own vested interest in promoting Federation/Romulan interactions. Right now I am promoting the interests of both parties, as well as my own. After all a Happy CSecO is a complacent CSecO. I can hardly forward my plans for galactic domination with you watching me all the time."

Tori's face pulled in a slight cross between a snarl and a smile. Despite her general dislike for the Ambassador, her quips weren't half bad.

Haqtaj stood, "Now if you will excuse me I have a mountain of paper work I have been trying to avoid."

She left her drink untouched where she had sat.

Toro waited until the Klingon was gone, then curiosity and paranoia being the better part of her grabbed the other woman's drink and smelled it for any poisons.

 

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