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Appraisals

Posted on Fri Dec 9th, 2016 @ 2:47am by Civilian Haqtaj Matlh & Civilian Michel Gerard

Mission: Moving in

It was not hard to spot Gerard in the crowd. He fairly floated with joy at the acceptance of his proposal. Haqtaj waited till he was in a busiest part of the Promenade before deliberately stepping where a collisons was almost inevitable.

Michel had his face buried into a PaDD as usual, making decisions and sending passive aggressive suggestions to his foreman. He assumed others would move out of his way as he walked, so it was a surprise to the Frenchman when a tall, Klingon woman stopped right in front of him. He looked up to her with barely hidden disdain.

"Vraiment," he murmured.

"Mr Gerard, I believe" Haqtaj said, pulling herself up to her full, impressive height. "Am I too assume that is how you treat all foreign dignitaries?"

"Oui, I am Mr. Gerard and I'm very busy, Madame, so if you please..." Michel replied, indicating that he wished to move past her.

"No, I do not please," Haqtaj growled back knocking the PADD from his hand. "I am not a Hor'Hom that you can dismiss. You call yourself a business man, yet you insult a third of your buyer base with carefree disdain."

The crowd were used to Haqtaj, but even so this was behaviour above her normal volume and was beginning to attract some interest. Bad publicity would not be beneficial before his project had even opened its doors.

Michel raised an eyebrow, barely holding onto the sarcasm that drifted onto his tone, "I wasn't aware the Klingons were interested in fine French delicacies and touring the Eiffel Tower, but I will certainly make a group booking for you when we open, if that is why you have stopped me, Madame. Though if you wanted my attention, perhaps you should [i]act[/i] like a Foreign Dignitary and [i]ask[/i] next time."

Haqtaj sneered, "I did ask nicely. Notice how you are not leaking?"

Michel was rather offended by the woman's tone and implications but was certainly not going to show it. He simply scooped up his PADD and made a mental note to refer this incident to Station Security. Perhaps his company would have to spring for some personal bodyguards if the Klingons on DS12 were so rampantly unrestrained.

He gave the Ambassador another glance, seeing she was obviously not going to move out of his path and sighed, "Is that all you wanted, Madame?"

"I had heard that Human business people were prone to be brusque and often downright rude. I had not realized until I met you exactly how true that is," Haqtaj mused aloud. "You only see people as a commodity to be exploited. If there is no money or power to be gained then they are of no account. So let me make it exactly clear who it is you are brushing off."

She waved her hand around the station, "Fully one third of the station residents are Klingon, affiliated, albeit loosely, to House Matlh. That means one third of any potential customers of your new shops are only here because of my efforts and my prestige. If I were to put the word out that your business practices were less than honourable you would not find a single Klingon willing to shop on that whole level."

"That may not bother you at first, but think about how the prospective merchants will feel. They could make half again as much money buy getting a property on the lower level than if they were to align themselves with your business. You would need to reduce your rent considerably to make the upper levels an attractive option."

"And word does spread. The name Gerard would be spoken of at the High council with disdain. This would not please your father who has such high hopes for you."

Haqtaj's eyes narrowed, "Oh, yes, I do my research."

Michel looked up from his PADD, eyes firmly rolled. He began to realize this was not some random Klingon episode of unrestrained ego, but this woman wanted something from him. Her aggressive attitude was just to gain his attention. A smile formed on his lips, "Please, do go on."

Haqtaj suddenly broke into a wide smile, "On the OTHER hand, if I were to encourage my people to shop at your stores, even set up my Embassy there, you could charge a premium for space, even open a bidding war between merchants if that was your desire. Imagine when word gets back to Daddy that House Gerard has won the favour of one of the greater houses of Qo'noS?"

"So now that you know exactly what you stand to gain and loose... are you in such a hurry to leave?"

Michel sighed, "As you have already detained me from my next meeting, I may as well waste further time explaining to you why I cannot be intimidated, blackmailed, or persuaded by your very empty threats."

He continued, "I have already factored in a lack of interest from the Klingon portion of this station, I never expected, nor desire your custom. We won't be serving blood wine and fresh carcasses at Rue Francais, so your threats are idle at best. Not to mention the scores of new customers the renovations will attract from the region, more than making up for any petulant Klingon protest you may hold. If you wish for all of your kind to be banned from an entire section of the station, it'll be no skin off my nose."

"Finally," He shrugged, "My plans have been completed and approved for months, from all layers of Federation, civilian, and station bureaucracy, in accordance with proper protocol. Even if I was willing to change them, which I am certainly not, it is entirely impossible now. The space has been allocated, the blueprints approved, works are already underway. So you're simply out of leverage, House of whatever. Au revoir, Madame."

"Threat?" Haqtaj suddenly laughed aloud. "That is what you call a threat?"

She shook her head in disbelief, "You are a minor member of a young house, still struggling to make yourself a name. I could kill you and make a reason up afterwards and walk away with my Diplomatic immunity intact. I don't need to threaten you."

"As for your shopping precinct, I already know it will falter. You have no passion for it; none of the hunger that business needs. You are an artist, and a designer of plans and dresses. Go back to your needles and blue prints, little man, where you feel secure. Those who hunger for the business you do reluctantly will swallow you and I will make my new Embassy in your old office."

She made to move off but stopped, "Oh, and that's not a threat. It's a market prediction."

"We wouldn't have anything in your size, anyway," Michel replied with a sarcasm as thick as the tension in the air.

"Good day to you," Haqtaj said softly. before moving off to enjoy her day.

He was satisfied with himself after that meeting. Clearly the Klingon was used to stamping her feet and getting her own way, but Michel hadn't budged an inch. He smiled to himself as he walked away, remembering an old saying about dogs and their barks.

 

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