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Posted on Mon May 9th, 2016 @ 4:40am by Magnus Temple & Civilian Michel Gerard & Stella Moon & Cassius Lincoln & Deng Tan

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Promenade
Timeline: Morning

The Promenade was quiet this early morning, as Michel Gerard had hoped when be booked a meeting with the DS12 business owners. He was pacing nervously in front of the general seating area, fussing over the display screen he'd set up to show his incoming guests his grand plans.

Mangus Temple sauntered up, hugging his coffee for comfort.

"Really Michel, we had to meet first thing?" The diplomat complained.

"Do try to be supportive, Magnus," Michel shot back, "I need at least a majority of the business owners to support my plans and to show Captain Harrison that I am fully compliant with his orders."

Magnus took a seat on the side, sliding down, "I have my pom-poms ready to go. Metaphorical pom-poms, of course."

Michel was about to respond when the first guests arrived.

Deng Tan suspiciously eyed the proceedings before walking in. He had read the flyer and the announcement and immediately felt like this was going to be a losing proposition to his noodle shop. He knew the racket, competing with some newly renovated business was going to cut into his bottom line. Still he wanted to hear the plans, maybe the food would be foul and he'd get more foot traffic. The old man walked in and saw the two gentleman already in the room and sat down towards the front.

Normally one to enjoy and make a splash at a big shindig, Cass Lincoln currently of the Starfire Bar and Grill was a bit more circumspect than he might have been otherwise but with the upcoming relief mission he had a little more on his mind than usual. He came in and started indulging in one of his favorite things in the universe.....People watching.

Harrison stood at the far end of the Promenade, watching while the business owners assembled for Gerard’s meeting. When he was satisfied that all who might be attending were present, he entered at a brisk pace. He was in no mood for niceties. Before Gerard could say anything, certainly before he could get in any small talk or pleasantries, Harrison began. He waved the flyer he had been given in the Frenchman’s face.

“Explain yourself, Monsieur,” he said in a voice pitched for all to hear.

Michel looked to Magnus, but Magnus just shrugged.

"Sir, is this not what you asked of me?" Michel replied, and he was equal parts confused and angered by the deliberate interruption.

“I advised you that your proposal would have to be submitted to Ops for approval yet here you are advertising the opening of an attraction that has not yet been given the go ahead.”

"But of course I have done that," Michel argued, "I submitted my proposal in writing last night and today is the visual presentation. I have just asked my fellow business neighbours along to view the proposal as well."

Michel gave a staged smile to the assembled audience, "Because I seek and respect all of their feedback. I want them to be part of the process as much as possible."

“I was given this by a young child while I was on the Promenade,” he said, brandishing the flyer again. “It outlines – in detail – the attractions you propose to install on the Promenade. It even invites people to enquire about....” He paused to refresh his memory on the words used. “....‘franchise opportunities’.”

Magnus stifled a laugh. Of course Michel had gone ahead and started promoting, it was in the Gerard nature.

Michel gave a nonchalant shrug, "Oh a bit of marketing. I am just trying not to scare anyone with this project, and to ensure there's no misinformation I am here personally to explain the renovations and answer any questions."

Harrison turned towards the business owners. “Everyone here went through the required procedures. What makes you think you should be treated any differently? And do not start name dropping with the Ambassador again; that will not curry any favour.”

Magnus interjected with a wry grin, "Yeah I need to talk to you about that."
Michel shot him a displeased look.

Tan stood and looked at Harrison with fiery eyes. "You have room to talk, while a plague ravaged the old station you and your crew left us out on the promenade to die!" Tan pointed a finger at the Captain. "We still barely get any considerations from the Federation or Starfleet. I'm lucky to get my ingredients through customs before they spoil. Paper work after signature, after regulation. Hell." Tan wiped the sweat from his brow. "Maybe he shouldn't be treated any differently, but if he is going to be treated as poorly as the rest of us around here, let him." Tan could feel his blood pressure rising.

"Futhermore." He took a deep breath. "You want to bring refugees from Gaspar here and you are worried if some two bit side show attraction has the correct plumbing permits? Your security let two assassins on board this station and they almost got away with their jobs. Maybe you should go back to worrying about the big things instead of if someone has dotted the lower case j's on their plans." Tan stood staring at the Captain, sizing up the man before him. He'd had enough.

Magnus saw the man was quite upset, so he quickly grabbed a glass of water from the refreshment table and held it out for him.

"Perhaps we could just take a moment to catch our breaths and calm down?" Magnus suggested with a warm smile. "Nothing will be accomplished if we continue to speak to each other this way."

Michel gave a grateful smile to Magnus. "Yes, perhaps if we all just took a seat and listened to my proposal, it would alleviate your concerns? And afterwards, I have arranged a full complimentary breakfast at Cafe Parisienne for you all."

The noodle slinger took the glass of water and nodded. He still eyed the captain as he sat back down.

Harrison belatedly realised he had blundered in far too brusquely. “I realise that there have been problems. I have tried to keep in view all interests on this station and the last. However, I can appreciate that it might seem like Starfleet takes preference. At times, that will be the case; especially when humanitarian work is needed. I am here now to try and see that you all are considered. Monsieur Gerard has announced his project like some fait accompli. It is far from that. Nor is it merely a matter of plumbing fixtures needing to be properly secured. Your own livelihoods are at stake here. What impact will this proposal have on your businesses?” He turned to the man who had been berating him. “You, Mister Tan, you run a noodle shop. What will happen if all your customers decide they want to go to the French restaurant in future?”

Michel scoffed, "People are still going to want noodles, Captain. I'm not opening a competing noodle shop."

"You had better not," Tan huffed and sat down, still seething from the captain's input.

“You, Ms Moon, what happens if all your customers decide they prefer the wares in the souvenir shops to your new age trinkets?”

"Well," replied Stella, "I certainly would not put myself in the same class as a souvenir shop: far from it. I sell authentic and original goods and not mere trinkets. None of them are replicated, I can assure you. My customers are happy and the turnover is better than I thought."

"That is the point, Captain, of making it a themed space," Michel had regained his composure now, "By making it a uniquely French destination, it only adds to the mix of businesses on the Promenade, instead of competing directly with them."

He flicked over the vidscreen to a graph, "Projections show themed spaces increase visitation to a station by twenty to thirty percent in the first six months alone, also increasing foot traffic and patronage at surrounding businesses equally. None of the proposed businesses will compete with any of the existing ones on the Promenade. I have specifically avoided anything that will upset the current businesses."

"Furthermore," He continued, "I have also proposed we hold a special Market Day on the boulevard, so all your businesses may have a special pop up stall on the street. There is no charge or commission taken, it is yours to use, if you wish, to ensure Rue Francais visitors get a taste of all dining and shopping opportunities on board. So not only will patronage increase, but you will all increase your commercial space as well!"

Harrison knew better than to pursue the matter. He had made his point and given the other operators food for thought. He decided to leave it at that...for now.

Michel blinked in nervousness as he waited for more responses, or perhaps another verbal confrontation. Deciding to take the silence as a sign to move on, he plastered that big ole smile on his face again.

"Well then!" He beamed, "If there's nothing further, then you can all join me in Cafe Parisienne for your complimentary breakfast."

Michel ushered everyone across the Promenade to the cafe. He wasn't sure what to think of the meeting, whether it had been a success or not. But he was damn well going to keep trying to win them over.



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