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The Art of Diplomacy

Posted on Wed Jan 13th, 2016 @ 8:36pm by Sub-Commander Valk'o

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Romulan Embassy
Timeline: Current

Meret had been observing the place from a safe distance. She wasn't about to just rush into a nest of Romulans, the Dominion War had soured her on them in general. Like many Cardassians she carried a massive grudge but grudges aside she had a duty to do. No time like the present of course and she did a final check to make sure she looked like a harmless little diplomat before approaching. Of course the guards would stop her before she got too far.

Valk'o followed behind two sentries who crossed the Atrium to intercept a non-chalant looking Cardassian.

"State your business." Demanded the first, rather old Guard. Valk'o smiled at his poignance.

"I am Meret, diplomatic envoy for the Cardassian people." Meret started, drawing herself upright to look intimidating. Well in theory anyway, "I wish to speak to the Ambassador to introduce myself, should the Ambassador be present. Failing that I will settle for anyone who is somewhat diplomatic." When they didn't immediately respond she snapped, "And be quick about it or I will visit in the night and leave hungry voles in your quarters."

Raising an eyebrow, Valk'o pushed through the Romulan pair. "You wish to speak with Her Serenity?" She asked arrogantly.

"Her... what?" Meret's jaw must have dropped a little, then again serene and Romulan were not words she normally put together. She shook herself mentally and said with exaggerated courtesy, "Yes I want to see Her Serenity."

"I will see what can be arranged. " The slender Romulan said, gesturing for Meret to follow her."In the future, I would direct you to use the proper Diplomatic procedures."

Valk'o turned abruptly, "I trust you are aware of the proper form of addressing the Ambassador? "

Hmmm....she almost said, I assume it is something like: oh joy, you are still breathing! Better not say that out loud, just think it. Meret forced a smile, "We Cardassians are known for our courtesy and meticulous attention to detail." Nice and vague - and she was trying to work out if it was a trick question. Fine, just to stay safe she gave a slight bow of the head, "However I trust you would like to inform me."

Sighing, Valk'o pushed on, " The Ambassador has recently been created 'Her Serene Excellency', in loving memory of her Mother." Stopping again, the Romulan said, "In thebeginning, 'Your Serene Excellency" is required, and thereafter 'You're Excellency ' or 'Your Serenity'. However, simply 'Ma'am' is acceptable." She resumed her pace once more.

"You must be -" Joking, she was about to say but caught herself. Ok Romulans are unlikely to joke....prickly, annoying people they were, "I mean, very well I shall be sure to address the Ambassador accordingly." And no humor. Nope, squash that idea and think only properly diplomatic thoughts.

"Any questions?" Valk'o asked, hoping not to have to answer any.

"Oh just one, if I may." Meret said and didn't wait for an answer before continuing, aware she was annoying, "How deeply should I bow to be polite? Or do you prefer a simple grovel in the floor?"

Valk'o eyed the Cardassian suspiciously, sensing that her attempts at humor were covering for a deeper purpose.

She offered a proper answer."Bowing your head only will suffice." A hint of annoyance entered her inflections.

Meret looked wounded but was anything but. Frankly while she kept the Romulan annoyed Valk'o was less likely to notice how much attention the Cardassian was paying to everything around her, "I merely wish to be polite and fully respectful...is that a problem?"

Looking up ever so slightly at the corridors hidden camera, knowing they captured every move the Cardassian made. "It would seem as though your wish will be fulfilled."

She gestured to an open door, ushering the Glin into the empty observation lounge."Wait here, and don't touch anything." Valk'o turned on her heel and left the Cardassian alone.

Hah...as if she would touch anything. Meret preferred to take in the lounge as she was left alone, studying her surroundings as casually as she could. The one thing she liked about Romulans was that they were as suspicious and paranoid as she was, as a rule...

S' Ranya adjusted the collar of her tailored charcoal suit. Taking a deep breath, she entered the room. A Diplomatic smile painted on her face despite her usual discomfort with Cardassians.

As the doors opened Meret turned, as if she had been utterly absorbed in studying the artwork...or what she assumed was art. She gave a very polite bow, never taking her eyes off the Romulan woman...she assumed this time it was the Ambassador, "Your Serene Excellency...how kind of you to see me..."

"So good of you to seek my audience." Said S' Ranya, "Miss...?"

Noting the body language which suggested a certain level of unease (perhaps) or dislike (more possible), Meret answered evasively, "Meret, and I am but a humble Cardassian diplomat. I simply wish to acquaint myself with those I must interact with..."

S'Ranya extended her ring hand to the Cardassian, eyeing her to see if she would observe the customs of Diplomacy.

Much as she disliked contact with non-Cardassians (be polite Meret, just be polite), she went to shake hands. Then stopped, was S'Ranya using the human custom to test her? Gah, she would probably get it wrong but then right now she could chalk it up to being new and inexperienced. She said, "I am not familiar with the custom...."

Smiling grimly, S'Ranya spoke. " My rings are symbolic. Your meant to bow and kiss them." Annoyance laced her voice.

"Really? It would not be the first time I have - uh -" Meret nearly said something about kissing someone's backside but caught herself, "Why certainly...." She forced herself to bow down (a little) and fake some degree of courtesy...

S' Ranya did her best to keep from cringing as the Cardassian lips touched her rings. She felt bile rise in her throat, but forced it down as Esrel rose from her delicate hand.

Stepping back slightly Meret smiled, "I am anticipating enjoying the legendary Romulan hospitality. Why we Cardassians believe in conducting business with the aid of food and wine, so I expect this will be a productive experience." She looked around as if expecting a servant to appear any moment, carrying refreshments - she honestly doubted she would get anything more than a withering glance.

S' Ranya forced a smile, and pressed a control on a nearby table. Almost immediately, a Gold clad waiter entered the room keeping her head down.

The Romulan waiter carried a medium size bottle of Kali-fal.

"Will this do?" The Ambassador asked as the girl set the bottle down on the table and stood back.

"Interesting." Meret had expected the nauseating reek of Romulan ale...this didn't smell as bad. "I am not familiar with...uh....the drink."

The Romulan Ambassador smirked."It's a family vintage." She snapped her fingers and the waiter unstoppered the bottle and poured two glasses before leaving the room.

"Please sit." S' Ranya said gesturing to a chair on one side of the low table.

"How gracious." Meret sat, carefully, expecting the chair to be booby-trapped or something. She was studying everything in the room and especially studying the ambassador, trying to get a feel. Every detail was potentially important information. She added, deadpan but very much tongue-in-cheek,"I must say I appreciate being welcomed so warmly."

"It is not my cutom to turn away a visitor." S' Ranya said with poise, sipping her poured drink. She noticed the Cardassian's eyes. So reptilian. They watched her intently.

Meret gave a slight bow of the head by way of thanks, but could not help saying, "I trust the drink is not poisoned....it would be a shame to end things so abruptly."

S'Ranya furrowed her brow at the Cardassian. S'Ranya had never been accused outright of anything.

Oh the Romulan seemed ruffled or offended perhaps? Not that she cared Meret spread her hands out, apologetically, "No offense intended my dear and most honorable ambassador, I was simply attempting humor, it is a Cardassian failing of course. One of our only failings that is." Oh shut up Meret, shut up quickly!

Nodding, S'Ranya adjusted herself in her seat. "I assume there was a reason for your visit?"

"A reason....yes...there was a reason. And a good one." Meret scrambled to remember her supposed purpose in coming, since she couldn't say 'to spy on you'. "Uh...well I thought I should come by in the spirit of friendship and co-operation. Since we will be working together in this place, it cannot hurt to be polite." She adopted her most winning smile, the one that usually scared voles.

"A friendship between us would completely unnerve the Officers aboard." , S'Ranya crossed her legs, 'and me.' She thought.

"I say friendship of course simply because the Federation seems to like everyone to get along and not try to assassinate each other. Personally I find a good assassination to be efficient at times and saves a lot of talking...but there you have it. The Federation would probably get the borg to sit down and hold hands if they could, rather than trying to eradicate them." Hmmmm she was digressing but then trying to make conversation with a pointy eared Romulan was a challenge and she would rather wrestle zabu. ''So if you prefer we could use the words 'mutual polite hostility'?"

"Interesting concept isn't it?" S'Ranya filled her empty glass, and sipped.

"It is not without precedent. There have been times when our peoples cooperated and managed to at least be civilized." Meret was becoming intrigued, she had come by to check them out and do some snooping but perhaps this could be profitable in other ways, "We could manage to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, do you think?"

" I'm sure we could." S'Ranya said, mirroring the Cardassians words, and sipping her drink."What exactly do you think would be a mutually beneficial arrangement?"

Meret considered that for a moment, finally giving a smile, "How about sharing something we both value....information. With respect to the Federation, they often miss opportunities by being too nice. A small amount of forceful persuasion has helped Cardassia to find out all sorts of useful things." Just keeping it vague, after all no point in giving away information without a deal in place.

"What sort of information do you think I would find useful Miss Meret?" S'Ranya crossed he legs, sipping her drink again.

"Would you be interested in an excellent recipe for zabu stew? Or sauteed vole bellies?" Meret said, dead pan as much to provoke a reaction as anything...honestly Romulans were almost as serious as Vulcans at times and totally lacking a good Cardassian sense of humor. "No? Then perhaps something your Tal Shiar might find interesting...of course you have no connection to them. But we Cardassians have our own ways of finding things out and if precious Romulan technology was finding its way into the hands of criminals, I assume you might be interested in learning more."

"I'm listening." The Romulan said, her face even.Although she doubted the Cardassian had anything worthwhile, she was nonetheless interested in what she had to say.

"Oh very good...your most excellent worshipfulness...let me see if I recall the details. I trust you are aware of some criminals who have been operating here, well we Cardassians have been paying some attention to them of course. And a rumor came to us that the reason they were so elusive was to do with cloaking technology." Meret paused for effect and knew she could use a moment to gauge the level of interest being shown by her audience. So far she was merely relaying what was probably common knowledge.

S'Ranya raised her eyebrow, "What are you getting at?" She threw as much disdain into the question as she could muster.

"I was just getting to the good part. Or the not so good part depending on who you talk to." Meret smiled, that was proving to be fun, "While it seems they are using Romulan technology it is somehow different, not the kind of cloaks that we are used to." Or rather, the kind of technology cardassians has acquired, "And rumor has it this is some sort of experimental design so who knows how they got their hands on it. But a lot of people would love to get their own hands on such things. Perhaps it is just a rumor of course but does that sort of information interest you enough to secure an arrangement?"

The Romulan forced a smile, "Thank you for the lovely rumor Miss Meret. I do enjoy a good gossip mill." She adjusted herself in the seat, "But I can tell you with a good deal of certainty, that these are nothing more than rumor, with no foundation in fact whatsoever."

"A pity, I do love a good rumor especially if it has a firm basis in truth. I suppose then any technology we might have found cannot be Romulan. Such a relief, my people would much rather be able to study such things and learn from them instead of handing them over to someone else who might lay claim." Meret smiled broadly, "Well this has been a productive meeting after all, and here I was hoping to simply make your acquaintance..." Yeah and snoop, spy, get an idea of what vipers were nested here.

S'Raya nodded. " I must agree. Productive indeed." The Romulan stood and moved around the room. " If you'll excuse me Miss Meret, I have a meeting to attend ." She watched the doors part, " Sub-Commander Valk'o will escort you out."

Meret bowed, ever so politely, "Until next we speak, your graciousness..."

S'Ranya rolled her eyes, as Meret left the room with Subcommander Valk'o. The very second the door hissed closed, leaving the Ambassador to herself, she slumped into a nearby armchair.'Cardassian's are exhausting.' She thought.

 

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