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Salutations

Posted on Fri Mar 25th, 2016 @ 11:02am by Magnus Temple

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Promenade

Temple had been travelling through the station towards the Command offices when he decided to detour into the Promenade. Having spent months on a marine base and then a military ship, he was going to have to get used to this kind of lifestyle and bustling activity again.

As he was walking, he couldn't help but notice a Cardassian woman striding through the crowds of people. Temple hadn't completely researched all the personnel yet but knew she was familiar and important, so quickly opened up his PADD to look up her up.

With a broad smile, he decided to approach the Ambassador.

"Kiba'avzayn, Glin Meret," Magnus began, his Cardassian tinged with a Danish accent. "I am Chief Diplomat Temple, lorhoc ├žadav-ra edek."

Meret stopped in her tracks, momentarily startled by someone who knew her language. And finally bowed a little, returning the courtesy, "Please, just Meret. The title is a formality." She smiled a little, "I must say I am impressed by your Cardassian...far better than my Federation standard."

Magnus smiled again, "Thank you, Meret. I have had the honor to serve in this region for several years so I make it my duty to learn as much Cardassian as possible. I'm sorry if I interrupted you, I just wanted to say hello."

"You have not interrupted, Chief Diplomat, I was exploring out of an odd curiosity." Meret waved at the brightly colored facades and odd mixes of script and languages...that were completely baffling. No sense of good Cardassian order in this chaos. "These Federation places are unfamiliar to me and I need to determine where it is safe for a Cardassian to go. There are still some who would spit in my food as soon as serve me." She laughed a bit but it was not exactly a joke or an exaggeration.

"Please, call me Magnus." He added. "This is new to me, too. On my last posting the only form of nightlife was a Mess hall occupied by slovenly grunts. DS12 is like an exciting city in comparison."

Temple looked around and spotted what appeared to be a French cafe further down. It wasn't quite Copenhagen but a little European custom was as close as he could hope for out here, and a familiar place he was very grateful to have.

"Perhaps we could have a quick coffee over here?" Magnus asked, nodding to the Cafe Parisienne. "The French generally serve everyone with the same disdain so it won't be because you're Cardassian."

"Oh it sounds delightful...." Meret wasn't sure if she had come across their kind before but she seemed to recall they were rather like Bajorans, "Lead on then however I shall have to trust your judgement, human coffee is an acquired taste after all."

Magnus was pleased, glad that he'd potentially made acquaintances with the Cardassian representative. "Well they might do an oceanleaf tea for us."

"If I may ask," As they walked towards the cafe, Meret decided for once to risk some small talk (a delightful human expression) and waited for Magnus to indicate, "You have a slight accent...is that French? Or...hmmm actually I do not have much um, knowledge, of human cultures."

Magnus saw Meret was trying and smiled encouragingly, "Close actually. I come from Denmark, which is in the same region as France on Earth. We have very similar lifestyles and attitudes, but very different to the American humans you're probably more used to from the Federation."

Oh she could have pointed out her experience with humans was limited to observing them from a very safe distance....but Meret chose to stay quiet. No need to make him wonder after all.

They reached the Cafe and a slender older man in a collarless white shirt greeted them with a nonchalant shrug. "Oui?"

Temple leaned in, his French was weaker than his Cardassian but he hoped still knew how to ask for a table. "Une table pour deux merci."

The waiter looked the two up and down before grabbing two menus and sauntering over to a table, expecting them to follow. The Cafe was decorated with outdoor metal furniture and a painted blue sky on the ceiling. The table lamps were miniatures of the familiar black iron lightposts common around Paris, each adorned with a vine of green leaves wrapped around the base.

The waiter dropped the menus onto the table and waltzed off again. Magnus gave a bemused smile to Meret, "At least we got served?"

"Was that politeness?" Meret said, "I suppose it is no worse than dealing with the average gul...they are a prickly bunch at the best of times." She gingerly took the menu, studied it and was baffled by the unfamiliar human dishes.

"It was, essentially," Magnus laughed. "Seeing anything you like?"

Finally she sighed and just put it down, "I assume cafe au lait is safe enough - but if it is something strange please let me know." Realizing how weird that might sound Meret shrugged, "I know Cardassians have a reputation for eating unusual food but that is somewhat exaggerated - and frankly I could never quite stomach eating something that was not dead yet."

"It's basic coffee with milk," Temple answered, "But it appears they use a particularly rich tasting coffee bean, so it should be quite pleasant. And I agree with you on food. I like mine well cooked and not resembling anything living."

"Oh yes." Meret was only half looking at the menu, it was more entertaining to watch the waiter studiously ignoring them and wonder what Temple would have to do to get the man to come over.

After several attempts, Temple was able to flag down the waiter from his very involved conversation with the chef to take their order.

"A chocolat chaud pour moi," He spoke and looked to Meret so she could order too.

"Hmmm...cafe au lait, yes think that will be safe enough. Anything else you would recommend?" She said that as much to Temple as the waiter because she was honestly not expecting more than a haughty sniff from the tall Frenchman.

"Perhaps next time we can have a meal," Temple suggested, "Unfortunately I have to meet the Executive Officer soon. Have you found it hard to find food to eat here?"

"Cardassians are omnivores so we eat almost anything that runs around, flies or grows...." Meret said, "And I am supposed to be here to learn and try new things. So fine." She hoped her expression didn't show how much she disliked novelty and unfamiliar foods - people - places. Well anywhere that was not her beloved Cardassia ranked about as low as a voles nest.

Magnus nodded, "I went to a Ambassador's Dinner after the conclusion of the Dominion War, honouring some of the Cardassian fighters who had worked with the Federation. The meals were a mix of human and Cardassian dishes, so you can imagine it was an interesting experience for us all."

"Yes. Yes...I suppose it would have been." The War was still a touchy subject as far as Meret was concerned and she was glad to be interrupted by the aloof waiter.

Their drinks were placed silently onto the table and the waiter disappeared again. Apparently it was now his break time, as he loudly informed the kitchen before walking out.

"He's not getting a tip," Temple leaned in and joked. "So how long have you been onboard DS12?"

"Not long. Then again maybe too long if you ask some." Meret examined the drink which smelled very strongly of caffiene and milk. Oh well it was probably better than some things she had been forced to drink. "If you intend to visit the Romulans I would suggest caution - then again maybe the attitude is reserved for Cardassians."

Temple savoured the warm chocolate drink and closed his eyes briefly to appreciate the cocoa-goodness.

"I appreciate your candor," He finally answered. "I hope to speak with all of the Embassies in an official capacity after my briefing with the command staff. Though I'll reserve the cafe trips for friends, hey?"

He flashed a grin to the Cardassian before taking another sip. What the French lacked in customer service, he concluded, they more than made up for in a quality hot chocolate. Temple couldn't remember the last time he'd tasted such a sweet indulgence.

"Hmm this is good. How's yours?" He asked.

"Surprisingly tolerable...for something human." Meret said then stopped as she processed something, the use of the word friend, "Wait...are you proposing friendship?" The thought was baffling of course and close relationships were dangerous.

Magnus caught her unease and frowned a little. As always with diplomacy, negotiations can live or die by choice of words. One species' nonchalance can cause dire offense to another.

"I apologise if I have perturbed you with that word," He said.

"I do not have friends. Other Cardassians would report me to the government given half a chance and non-Cardassians have their own dangers. Never form relationships with someone you may have to eliminate later." Meret hadn't thought of the old expression for a while and it always made her a little melancholy. Cardassians were social by nature and did not much like being alone after all.

"A cordial, professional network, perhaps?" Magnus suggested. "I merely wish to indicate that should you require an amicable conversation between two colleagues, I am here."

Meret gave him a curious look, very curious, "You must be a brave human....most would be too scared to eat with me. I must be losing my touch." The last was said almost as a joke.

Temple gave a small laugh, "Or perhaps I'm just too foolish to be scared."

Meret sighed, "I was hoping to be seen as formidable and intimidating, it tends to make it easier when dealing with trading arrangements and negotiating with Ferengi after all. Nothing like fear to motivate a mutually...well not a mutually satisfying arrangement...lets just say a deal that benefits Cardassia and leaves the other party not quite so happy."

"Well I certainly don't wish to hamper your style," He replied, not wanting to offend the Ambassador, "And while I won't go into too much detail, giving our location and this being our first meeting, but as I briefly touched on before, I have had prior experience in working with Cardassians, due to the war. It's a story for another time but for now, let's just say it means we can negotiate without threats of violence."

"Of course...I am sure it will be a tale worth the telling." Meret sipped the coffee again, the thick milk or cream gave it a tolerable flavor.

Magnus' comm badge chirped loudly as a reminder from the computer he was due to meet the Lieutenant Colonel. He acknowledged the alert, took a final gulp from his cup and smiled to Meret.

"I'd love to discuss this further with you," He said. "Perhaps I can arrange an official visit to your Embassy later, whenever suits you?"

"I am a free agent much of the time," Meret smiled to herself at the accidental choice of the word agent, oh well, "The good diplomats tend to view me as a nuisance at best or suspicious at worst. My presence is tolerated but other than that -" She shrugged, it didn't need clarification, if he went to the embassy he would find out she was officially some sort of trade and diplomatic liason.

Temple smiled, "Well I always prefer to judge people for myself. If there's anything I can ever do for you, please let me know."

Magnus stood and gave a nod to the Cardassian Ambassador, very glad to have made the introduction. With that, he left the Cafe Parisienne and continued on to meet the XO.

 

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