Making Peace

Posted on Mon Oct 30th, 2017 @ 8:18pm by Ambassador Telhas thu'S'Terion Duke of Cheleb-Khor & Captain Nelson Harrison

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Romulan Embassy
Timeline: One day after "Pouring Oil on Troubled Water"

As promised, Telhas had collected as much information he could get about the situation on DS14. He even had talked to some contacts he had in SF Intelligence from his time as exchange officer. Now it was time to talk with Sonara T'Daran again. He established an encrypted connection to the Tal Shiar chairperson.

"General T'Daran, do you have time?" Telhas inquired first, just to be sure they could talk as productively as the day before.

“Ambassador, you know what life is like in the Tal Shiar” T’Daran said, “especially at the top. I never have enough time. What do you want?” She saw a frown crease S’Terion’s face and immediately regretted the curt tone. “My apologies,” she said quickly. “There is a lot needs attending to and, as always, there is not enough time to give each matter the attention it deserves. How can I be of assistance?”

Telhas nodded. Of course he knew that Sonara had a tough job. "Let us start with the more private issue. Has Nevala's father approved her marriage to me?"

“He has. He believes it will help forge useful links between our Houses.”

Telhas smiled. "This is good news. The ISW Ket-Cheleb will pick me up latest tomorrow and I will attend the next Senate meeting. As I think it is best to play the game a little transparently, I will have the wedding a day before the meeting." Of course, it was more than a desire for transparency. It was also a test for the new relation between Houses S'Terion and T'Daran. And a test of its effect on the other relations and alliances of House S'Terion.

“That could prove awkward. It is not a matter of getting Nevala to Rator; that is easily arranged. It is more a matter of protocol. Marriages of this sort need to be announced well in advance so that any objections can be aired and resolved.” Unless, she added to herself, all such objections have already been dealt with. That would not surprise me in the least.

"This will be no problem. One final request before we talk about Ch'Arreinye," Telhas replied, "Please prepare a list of guests you would like to attend my wedding with Nevala. I want all invitations to be sent within the next two days. Of course, all Patrician Houses are on the list already."

So, such matters have already been dealt with. “There is no-one I wish to invite. I will not be able to attend. Unfortunately, my time is not, as I said, my own. I will have Nevala’s father draw up a list for your inspection.”

"Excellent," Telhas said, "And now to the other business. What I could find out so far was that obviously there has been a formal inquiry of our Diplomatic Corps concerning an incident where a Klingon ship had fired on one of our warbirds. The Klingon ship had headed to Deep Space 14 and it seems that the station's commanding officer did not arrest and surrender the captain and crew of the Klingon vessel, although he had them within his jurisdiction."

“I see.”

"Legally, the station's commander did nothing wrong," Telhas explained, "Although from a diplomatic point of view it was rather stupid." If I would have been in his position, he thought, I would have sent the FHew much deeper into Federation territory and explained that it was out of my jurisdiction.

"Now," he continued, "This led to a formal protest of our diplomats, which then led to a Federation investigation. As far as I know we sent General M'ret to observe this and to ensure that the outcome is satisfactory for us. Personally, I value him for his military skills, but I am not sure about his capability in diplomacy. Nonetheless, I am sure he will be successful."

“That depends on how you define ‘success’.” T’Daran lifted a PADD up and looked at it. “I have a report here which suggests the Klingon was in Romulan space at Starfleet’s direction. It was collecting flowers on a Romulan planet. The flowers were to be used to concoct a remedy for….” she consulted the PADD “….some plague affecting Xantian refugees. Now I have no time for Xantians. As far as I’m concerned, they can all die and I don’t particularly care how. But Starfleet could make it sound like the Klingon was on a mission of mercy. You know how moralistic the Federation can be. This report also suggests that the D’deridex was in Federation space when it was fired on. Such an incursion is in clear violation of our treaty with the Federation. Again, I’m none too concerned about such things but there are those in the Senate who are squeamish about protocols, as I said.”

You have an easy case, simple enough for even an inexperienced diplomat to win, Telhas thought, and within a second it turns into a diplomatic nightmare. "Has General M'ret access to the information you just presented me?" he inquired.

“Not as far as I’m aware. This report is for my eyes only.” She grimaced. “That is not to say that he has not seen it. I am revealing no state secrets if I remind you that...what is that human saying ‘it leaks like a sieve’. The proverbial sieve would hold more water than Romulan Intelligence. If someone wants M’ret to know, they’ll find a way of ensuring that he does. Anyway, I’m sure Starfleet will ensure he does, sooner rather than later.

“On the other hand….” Again she consulted her PADD. “….the Starfleet officer in charge of the investigation is Commodore Solomon. My information suggests he has no great love for Captain Sharpe, the commander of Ch'Areinnye. If manipulated correctly, he could be made to ensure that information supporting Sharpe is withheld from proceedings.”

Very interesting, Telhas thought, so you leave it to M'ret's contacts to get him the information he needs to be successful. And what if the Senate wants him to get defeated on a diplomatic mission? He is ambitious, a highly decorated officer and a possible candidate for a position in the Senate. But he is also no man for compromise, proud, and lacks support of the Founding Houses.

"And what do you think, is Commodore Solomon willing to forfeit Ch'Arreinye to destroy Sharpe's career?" He looked askingly.

“Yes,” she said simply. Then she thought she should elaborate. “He is the sort of man who can only build himself up by dragging others down. He does not suffer fools lightly but then, I gather he thinks everyone else in Starfleet is a fool. I don’t know whether he has any particular enmity towards Captain Sharpe; if he does I have no information on what the basis for it is. I think Sharpe just comes under the general heading of ‘fool’. As for Ch'Areinnye, he sees no strategic value in it. To him, it’s a waste of Starfleet resources. I gather that’s why he was appointed to this task, because he can give Starfleet an excuse to shut the station down.” She laughed mockingly. “Either that or Starfleet see him as a waste of resources and are happy to get him out of the way for a while.”

Telhas considered all options for a moment before he said "It is a bad idea to have General M'Ret responsible for this mission then. Simply because he is too inexperienced for this task. One needs a diplomat who is able to set up a trap for Solomon. If, and only if, such a diplomat would do an extremely good job, we could get Ch'Areinnye and its entire star system back." Now it was his part to explain. "The trap would be necessary to have Solomon admit that the Federation had lost control of that area, at least to an extent to allow rogues to act freely. And, at the same time, we need a statement that Captain Sharpe is one of their best officers. This is the difficult part. If we have both, one could conclude that if not even one of their best officers is able to maintain order there, the vital interests of our Star Empire are no longer protected. Then it would be logical to cede control back to us, so that we can establish order again. One may negotiate a joint control under our lead, or any kind of open border agreement, plus some guarantees for the safety of the inhabitants, but we should be in charge. The argument could be that we have officers who know how to keep order in that region of space. And here is the next difficulty: One would have to make sure that there will be no mention of our use of biological weapons there. Quite a challenge, I would say. Definitely too much of a challenge for me, and even more for General M'Ret."

“There is an Earth expression which relates to that last matter: ‘the cat is already out of the bag’. Or is it ‘the horse has already bolted’,” T’Daran mused. “They have such strange expressions…. Anyway, you forget that there are Xanthian refugees on board Ch'Areinnye. They have no doubt already told the Federation all about what we did to their planet. I say that with complete confidence because the Federation has sent a team in to clean the planet up. Descriptions of their equipment which have come to me indicate they know full well what they’re facing. So the Federation will be loathe to hand Ch'Areinnye back to us without assurances that we will not use biological weapons again. Do you see the Senate agreeing to that? Other than that, I agree with you. You make a logical argument. I had thought it better to disgrace Sharpe then tell the Federation that if they can’t put someone responsible in charge of the station then it would be better to hand it back to us. Your way is much cleaner and neater.”

"Probably because I have more first-hand knowledge of Federation cultures," Telhas said, "Nonetheless, we have the dilemma that it is too late now to interfere. This is M'Ret's mission, and he can prove himself now. We will see what he achieves. Yet I thank you for the discussion we had on the topic." He bowed his head slightly and smiled. "If you want to hear my opinion, regardless of the topic, you are welcome to contact me any time."

“Thank you,” T’Daran replied. “I’ll keep that in mind.”