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Nouveau Plans

Posted on Tue Apr 19th, 2016 @ 6:58am by Civilian Michel Gerard

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Captain's Ready Room

Michel disliked long shuttle journeys, due to the excess creases it caused in his suit jacket. "What is the point," he had complained loudly in his thick French accent to those traveling with him, "of wearing a crushed silk steel blue suit jacket with matching tailored pants, if they are only going to become a crumpled mess by the time you arrive at your destination?"

The silence from the others was deafening.

Now he was busily patting down those very creases as he pushed the door chime on the station's Commanding Officer's Ready Room door. He'd have to let his annoyance go for now if he hoped to make a good impression on the Captain. His career was at stake, after all.

"Bonjour!" He beamed as brightly as he could upon entering the room. He was a veritable ray of sunlight to this man. "So pleased to meet you, sir."

Bon matin,” Harrison replied, guessing from the accent that the use of French was no mere affectation. “Please, have a seat. How can I help you?”

Michel sat down, unbuttoning his suit jacket and crossing his legs nonchalantly.

"My name is Michel Gerard, part of the Gerard family," He began, assuming the Star Fleet officer would know the importance of this, "We have recently been charged with filling and managing your Promenade's second level. So I have arrived to oversee the project."

“Gerard....” Harrison replied. “I knew a Peter Gerard in the Academy and there was an Antoinette I had a brief acquaintance with in Rouen.” His eyes lost focus for a moment as he remembered her. “I do not suppose they are related?”

He drew a quick breath to recompose himself. “I have heard that renovations are proposed,” he continued, “but have seen nothing specific as yet. Please, Monsieur Gerard, enlighten me.”

"It's going to be fantastique!" Michel exclaimed, "A charming little Parisian street, full of new businesses and entertainment facilities."

“You have, I assume, submitted detailed plans to Ops for approval,” Harrison said.

Michel sighed, wondering why the officer was being so fastidious about plans. Wasn't his word enough? On Earth it would be. But he plastered a smile on his face anyway, knowing all too well that he needed this project to succeed.

"But of course!" He smiled, handing over a PADD with his blueprints and plans. "You'll see all the schematics and artist impressions of the level."

Harrison looked them over although they meant little to him. “As I said,” he said, handing the PADD back to Gerard, “you need to submit them to Ops. They will need to assess them.”

"You don't need to worry about the project at all," Michel shrugged casually. "I can assure you it will be a success."

“Monsieur Gerard,” Harrison said slowly, “that is not what I mean at all. Currently, some parts of the upper Promenade level are empty but Ops will have to ensure your designs fit into the available space. Then there is the question of whether the plans meet normal Federation standards for load bearing, ability to accommodate expected capacity and a multiplicity of other factors.”

Michel's smile wavered a little at the Captain's officiousness. He thought this was a done deal, he was ready to start building and promoting. He didn't think the Station would have so many hoops in which to hurdle, or whatever that saying is. Finally, he panicked.

"Magnus Temple!" He blurted out. He caught himself and laughed, hoping the Captain didn't think him crazy. "Uh yes, Magnus Temple the Federation Ambassador is actually my co-partner and financial backer. He can give you all the assurances you need."

Michel grinned nervously, watching the CO with interest.

“My, my....” Harrison replied. “Our new ambassador is quite the entrepreneur. However, if you are seeking to blind me with name dropping then you are in for a rude shock, Monsieur. Your plans will be subject to the usual scrutiny: they will not be dealt with any more leniently just because you happen to know someone in a position of some importance; nor, I assure you, will they be dealt with any more stringently just because you thought to get them pushed through because you seem to consider yourself someone of some importance.”

Michel felt a deep regret in his stomach. Perhaps he'd played this wrong. He realized his big idea, his one chance to impress his family and to create a successful business, may be slipping away.

“You mentioned that the venture is assured of being a success. That is yet to be determined. However, it begs an important question.... We already have a French restaurant on the Promenade; the Café Parisienne. You will be in direct competition with it. I must advise that I am not personally inclined to see it suffer. It has been on the Promenade since we took over control of this station from the Cardassians. It has earnt some good will from me but virtue of that alone.”

Michel thought for a minute, taken off guard. But the mention of Cafe Parisienne woke him up again.

"Ah, oui," He smiled, "I have the ownership papers for the Parisienne too, it's going to be a central part of the renovations. The Cafe will be the doorway to the second level, our stairway to our Paris world. I would never dream of hurting the Cafe."

Harrison smiled slightly but made a mental note to look into the purchase of Café Parisienne. He assumed it was all above board but... something in the man’s manner struck him as wrong. He wanted to make sure.

"Please, Captain, forgive me if I have misspoken," He replied, leaning back, "I am very passionate about this idea and bringing the highest quality attractions with the best entertainment venues in the galaxy to your station. I want the very best for your crew and guests here. I can assure you I have done all the financial analysis, building permits, and Star Fleet approvals. I am happy to comply with any review process you wish."

Michel smiled again, hoping the change in tone would alleviate the Captain's concerns. He'd made a mistake thinking this would be like their usual business deals on Earth. This wasn't just a handshake approval, he was going to have to work for it.

Harrison rose. “As I said, the plans will have to go through Ops for review. Although the final decision is mine to make, I will base it on their recommendations. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a station to run and we are extremely busy at the moment.”

Michel stood as well, fighting the urge to plead incessantly on the man's floor.

"Oui, monsieur, I will do that right away," He smiled. "Thank you so much for seeing me."

The Frenchman composed himself and strode back out to the corridor. With that meeting down, he was about to have a more awkward conversation with Magnus....

 

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