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One try at an unlikely ally Part 1

Posted on Sat Dec 19th, 2015 @ 9:46pm by Lieutenant Colonel Wolfric Bannister

Mission: Moving in

This was by far the biggest law enforcement operation in Wolf's career and he was nearing the level of sleep deprivation to prove it. It was days like this he missed the simplicity of combat operations. He realized belatedly that he had a lot more to live for these days with Soraya, Anna, and Jill in his life to name a few things.

He was glad the Klingons were in. He'd have to get a barrel of good bloodwine for Haqtaj if it panned out.

The Romulans hadn't quite turned out the way he'd planned thus far but there was still 18 hours left in the 24 hours promised by the mystery person from the Romulan camp. He made a mental note to have MG reach out soon to try to salvage that situation soon.

In the meantime, there was one last ally he hoped to recruit for the posse. He had no experience with the Cardassian envoy but it was a chance he felt that he needed to take.

With a deep breath, Bannister tapped his combadge and said, "Lt. Colonel Bannister to Glin Meret......"

Somewhat surprised and a little caught off guard she answered, "Meret here...Lt. Colonel. How can I help you?" She paused, not sure if this would require her to come by his office...hmmm, she straightened up her black uniform just in case.

Wolf had gotten used to being called colonel when addressed as had been the tradition on Earth for years like Lt. Commanders were called commander in direct address but he allowed for interspecies differences in tradition and brushed it off.

He replied, "As you may have heard, there's been some extraordinary incidences of late in this and surrounding sectors. I wanted to talk to you about an interesting ... I guess opportunity would be as apt a word as any. Is there time in the near future you'd be able to meet with me? I'd think it would be a venture that might intrigue you at the least."

"Oh yes I have heard -" Meret grinned and almost added that information was her business after all, "- some scraps of gossip, I suppose. However you definitely have me intrigued now, in this talk of opportunities....I can make myself available should you wish to discuss this." Gah, she was talking too much, better control that before she said something she shouldn't.

"Well, I am wrapping up some requisitions right now in my office. Would here be acceptable or is there some place more convenient," the station's second in command asked.

"That would be acceptable, I am not accustomed to luxury." Hmmm should she have phrased it that way? Perhaps his office was luxurious? Meret shrugged, oh well she could always attribute any mistakes to unfamiliarity with the language. "I can be there as soon as you wish."

"Well, if you're not otherwise occupied would you be free to meet in say....15 standard minutes," Wolf asked.

"I would be free," Meret answered, deliberately echoing his words, "And look forward to meeting with you." There, it was nice and vague, giving nothing away of any importance. She felt oddly pleased with herself and began to prepare for the meeting: already working out what not to say.

"Very well. 15 minutes then. I look forward to meeting you," he said, nodding and smiling slightly by way of farewell before ending the communication.

The station XO smiled, never ceasing to be amazed by how much a Cardassian could say by not saying. Captain Ben Sisko lead the fleet to recapture the Bajoran sector, a mission where his company had the dubious pleasure of helping clean up the Gem'hadar. Garek seemed to be a natural point of interest, with his time in sector then and now in part, in addition to his interest in Sisko's career. He was exceptional enough to have garnered more interest in the Cardassians by the then Marine Captain Bannister.

Paperwork wrapped up and a quick bite to eat, and he was ready to meet the Glin who was due momentarily. It'd be interesting to see how this played out. He sure hoped it was at least as good as the Klingon's promise and a damned sight better than the apparently near disaster of the Romulans.

Meret had taken the time to change into something less like a uniform and more like the formal dress expected of someone more of a diplomat than a spy. She almost smiled at the thought, generally she preferred diplomacy that was short, direct and to the point, usually involving a weapon. It was more efficient but right now she was asked to play the part of a bureaucrat. She smoothed down the skirts a little as she reached the office and sounded the door chime.

"Come," Wolf said knowing quite well who it was.

Stepping inside Meret stopped and gave a formal bow by way of greeting, "Meret, you wished to see me so I have come. I trust I can be of help to you." Nice and vague, it was a skill after all.

Standing up, he returned the gesture, before gesturing toward a chair and asking, "Please....Have a seat if you care to."

"Certainly." Curious, Meret took the offered seat. She had not dealt much with the Federation or humans and wondered if he would dance around a bit before getting to the point. Folding her hands together she gave Wolf her most pleasant expression and said, "This is a novel experience...I have not been asked to meet with someone of your status before." She hoped it was the correct term, in Cardassian the terms such as rank and status tended to be one and the same.

"It may be a first, but hopefully not the last. One nice part of gaining my status as Executive officer is that it allots me more opportunities to meet people that I'd not have gotten the chance to merely as a Marshal under normal circumstances," Wolf started to say.

He lead opted to lead into the point by saying, "While I enjoy pleasantries to a large degree, I suppose I should explain why I asked you here. To start however, I must ask: Can I presume you're aware of the pirates and renegades that have been causing issues in this sector and in a few other more sparsely populated areas along our borders?"

Meret sat up a little straighter: was the question some sort of dig? Was he suggesting that Cardassians were somehow involved? Gah, that was paranoia talking, "I have heard a little of some scum...no offense. If there are Cardassians amongst them then they will not survive long should we get our hands on them - however right now the rumors are hard to chase as voles."

"Well, the major operator in this sector has made sure he isn't a secret. If you wish, I do have a general briefing I can offer you that covers a vast majority of what you might wish to know," the Station XO offered.

"That would be acceptable." Meret gave a slight nod by way of acknowledgement, for one thing they could compare it with their own intelligence, "I mean to say it would be very useful to us. Out of curiosity..." Hmmm keep it casual, "...are there reports of any Cardassian ships involved? I have reason to ask of course, since we do like to keep track of everything that involves our people."

"Let's do this: The prerecorded briefing and rundown takes about 7 standard minutes to cover the overviews, more specific details and then the wrap up. Once the prerecorded presentation is done, we can cover the questions that remain behind. Agreed," the human asked.

"Agreed." Meret settled back in the chair, "If I may, I will use my PADD for notes..." Yeah ask permission so the human doesn't overreact, but hey even an excellent Cardassian memory was not as good as she would have liked.

"Absolutely...You are welcome to do so. Much of this is information is going to be rather public soon. I'd be remiss if I didn't give you what humans call a 'heads up.' There will be more after however," the human said before gesturing toward the wall and tapping an order on his desk's screen.

What came next was a rough overview of what was known about the pirates in this sector. Their history, crimes, suspected crimes, and biographies of various depths on the major players (one of which was, in fact, Cardassian) wrapped up by one on "Commodore" Lax.

The screen faded after the Federation's flag appeared for a moment at the end of the presentation, and the human turned to his guest and asked, "May I ask your thoughts thus far?"

"It is....interesting." Meret chose the word carefully. She had not been aware of all the pirate activities, after all some information was harder to get hold of than others. The fact a Cardassian was involved was a concern especially when she suspected he was a member of one of the Scravvan families. The human seemed to be expecting more so she even more carefully added, "No good Cardassian would be involved in such things so I would assume he is part of the criminal underworld." Slightly evasive of course but then again she was trained to be frugal with information.

"Well, there are a lot of species represented in that group. No good representative of any species would do many things this group does. Their leader by all appearances is human. The Alpha and some of the Beta quadrants seem to be well represented here," the lawman said with scorn squarely directed toward the pirates by way of the now blank screen.

"Even Cardassia has an unfortunate element, a mix of Scravvan families -" She said the name with full contempt, "- who tend to associate with Orions and others of that kind. We try to stamp them out but they keep coming back and they have their connections, those who have sold out to them. It would be quite typical if they were involved with these pirates."

Wolf nodded and looked at the Cardassian woman with a deadpan poker face and asked, "And, hypothetically speaking of course, if Cardassia had the chance to have a hand in stopping this fraction of said element, would you and your government be interested?"

"Naturally I would have to consult with my superiors...." Meret left that as vague as possible, after all she didn't need to say exactly who she reported to, "But of course those who govern Cardassia would love to squash criminals and see them publicly executed. For the benefit of the masses of course."

He nodded, "Keeping in mind all parties will be tried and sentenced in the jurisdiction of the majority of their crimes with potential for extradition depending on severity....Would you think the position would change? I'd consider this profession speculation of course. Off the record and noncommittal of course."

Meret considered this for a moment, it was not a bad solution after all, "So long as they were dealt with and eradicated....or at least imprisoned then I believe noone would complain. However, off the record of course, I cannot guarantee they will survive that long. If, for example, one of these pirates has crossed the wrong people then they might vanish. I speak hypothetically of course..." As she said it, she glanced over her shoulder as if actually concerned the Obsidian Order might be listening to her.

Wolf studied the Cardassian woman for a moment, attempting to decide how much was bluster vs not. After a few heartbeats he said, "Makes for an interesting dilemma that does."

"A dilemma? Really?" Meret found herself amused, "You would be concerned if a few criminals were to vanish? Frankly I admire the efficiency, if nothing else the Obsidian Order is very good at eliminating vermin and maintaining a refreshing sense of order out of a chaotic galaxy." Hah, let him try to work out how much truth there was in her words.

"Honestly, I find it more satisfying to send them to a rehab colony. For a small percentage they actually become contributing members of society......For others it's amazing seeing the dregs of the sector stuck gardening or some other equally exciting activities," Wolf said deadpan.

After a moment, he broke into a smirk, "Actually it drives many practically mad with frustration. I find that it's a deliciously sweet irony honestly. It's surprisingly more satisfying than keelhauling."

"Keel-what?" Meret for once was lost for words. The universal translator might be effective at translation but meanings were often lost... "I am not familiar with that expression - is it a human custom?"

"Ancient form of capital punishments. Earth having a surface of approximately 2/3 water, Terran ships were originally limited to it's lakes, rivers and oceans. While largely rounded hulls, they came to a point the center of the forward hull and along the dorsal line to make the ships more streamlined for the waters. It was one of the methods ancient mariners would kill those guilty of what were considered worthy crimes. Essentially the criminal was dragged along that line.....It was one of the more creative forms of death back then," Wolf explained thoughtfully.

"How fascinating," Meret said with genuine admiration, "Why I did not think you humans had it in you....it is very inventive punishment. Perhaps you are more like Cardassians than you think." She smiled, "That is intended as a compliment - though you might not take it that way of course."

"Oh, it got more interesting though, a history lesson was not the purpose of our little meeting here. Frankly, some of the ones who used some of the more interesting methods were the same kind of low grade pond slime we're having to contend with now actually. Effective as the methods might have been, I prefer to not lower myself to their levels. I actually had more of an ironic twist in mind to be honest," the human said as his one opaline green left and ice blue right eyes turned to focus on the Cardassian woman's face.

That got Meret's attention, the use of the word "ironic", "Really? Now you have me intrigued...exactly what sort of ironic twist are you talking about?"

"One thing I've learned as a Federation Marshal: Piracy is the result of one of two things. Desperation or greed. Sometimes a combination of both, others the first leads to the second. The greed most often is to fulfill a lust for material goods and an uncontrolled desire to buck any sort of authority regardless if it is benevolent or malevolent......." the Federation marine explained.

(To be continued....)

 

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