“Clash of the Titans – Part 2”
[ Commodore’s Ready Room – Bridge, USS Charon ]
[ Continued from Part 1]
He was her diplomatic advisor and he would advise her as an independent voice, not has her personal lapdog or servant saying only the things she wanted to hear. His duty and mission was to provide her with diplomatic advice and objective opinion. It was all so clear now. She neither wanted nor desired such things. What good was such advice to a warrior and a soldier whose pride and experience were capable of handling any given situation? He was merely an annoying staff member she was forced to tolerate as a result of Starfleet’s rules. She had no use for him nor would she in the future. In fact, he felt she might even regard him as a threat, albeit slight, to her command given Lamont’s independence and autonomy over certain aspects of diplomatic interactions.
Inwardly, Lamont smiled. If he was an inconvenient thorn in her side so much the better. Someone had to stand up to the commodore and dilute her iron fisted command of everything and everyone aboard the ship. He had nothing against her race, or perhaps even Rehu herself – his objection was with her actions aboard a Starfleet vessel and her perhaps unconscious desire to run the ship as if it were in the service of the Romulan Star Navy.
“Commodore”, Lamont began shrewdly, “I seem to be having difficulty recalling the exact dictionary term for your offer of bail. In fact I’m quite certain I misunderstood you as I seem to be quite confused having mistaken your offer of bail for another earth term referred to us humans as extortion. Curious how one could such draw a line between two vastly different words and meanings. I am sure I simply misunderstood you. Would you be so kind as to repeat your offer? Indeed it was an offer was it not? Or perhaps was there something else you intended to say madam? As you yourself have stated, slick tongues can indeed be dangerous things and not to be taken lightly.”
“Extortion?” Shiarrael balked at the charge “my how fast the wind can turn. I have no personal need for Ale. It is a peasant’s drink and I am no peasant.” She found Lamont’s response amusing but expected. The old saying that it was difficult to tame a wild thrai was certainly true. “If that is how you wish to be.” She frowned and moved behind her desk. Sliding open one of the drawers she pulled out a fresh PADD and placed it on her desk. She tapped the keys violently for several minutes and when she finished she slid it across her desk to Lamont “as you are well aware Ambassador, Romulan Ale is not permitted aboard Federation starships.” She gestured at the PADD “I am ordering security to seize the illegal contraband and to dispose of it. All of it.”
Shiarrael stood up and allowed her expression to harden “there is something you still don’t seem to understand ambassador. My authority on this ship needs to be impermeable. I can forgive but I cannot overlook what you did. By leaving your confinement you trampled my authority and weakened it. That is something that cannot be permitted under any circumstance. Do not mistake me. I am generally pleased by your performance on the planet. Your diplomatic skills are to be commended but your behavior as my subordinate leaves much to be desired. Slick tongues are dangerous Ambassador but sharp tongues are deadly. I keep mine quite sharp. You may complain as you will but I assume you most of all will understand that my logic in this regard is absolute. You cannot stop me from enforcing regulation. I will give you a minute to reconsider your position.” She turned her back to him and studied the view of the planet below. If gazes were daggers she would already be dead from the holes she knew Lamont’s eyes were slicing through her back.
Lamont needed neither a minute nor a second to consider his position. There was but only one choice to be made yet he was not the one who would be afforded the decision.
“Commodore, indeed your command must remain intact for this ship and crew to function and of that there is little to debate, however.” Lamont paused for the slightest of moments. “My objections are not with you, your heritage, race, or background – I do however find some measure of fault with your methods. This is a Starfleet ship of the line ma’m not a warbird in the service of the Star Navy. The tactics, command and style needed to command and perhaps remain alive within the Romulan Empire and its military structure do not apply here and in my opinion cannot be applied here with much success. My duty to this ship, its crew, and to you commodore it to provide advice and to advise. You may choose to accept what I have to say or ignore it, that is your right as commanding officer however perhaps you will listen to my words when I say the more your attempt to tighten your grip the more grains of sand will slip through your fingers. Have you already forgotten the marines who so violently opposed you and your authority? Crushing people under a boot does little to inspire those you must command sir. While tolerated, perhaps even necessary aboard a Romulan vessel, such actions have the opposite effect on the opposite side of the border. While fear can be used to maintain a strict chain of command it will undoubtedly bring you nothing but misery here. Us humans are not rebellious by nature, but we reject totalitarianism in favor of freedom, and have spilled much blood in our past to protect that concept.
Be that as it may, my advice as a subordinate, not merely as a diplomat, but as a person is that you consider the possibility that this assignment may become more tolerable and far less stressful if you can find it within you not only to forgive, but to relax your grip albeit ever so slightly. No one aboard would think less of you and indeed you stand the chance to perhaps making allies, strong allies, out of enemies and perhaps one or two friends along the way.”
Lamont took a deep breath. He was certain the walls of the brig would be again in his future or perhaps the vacuum of space, but there were things that needed to be said and brought into the open. If the commodore was to damn him at least she would do so knowing exactly what he thought and felt.
“As for my supply of ale commodore and your offer of bail, you’ve left me with two choices in which the end result is the same. I can surrender my ale willingly in exchange for freedom or have it forcibly confiscated and destroyed. Since there is no possibility of me keeping the ale whatever decision I make then the choice is not mine to make, but yours sir. You are this ship’s commander, and you have the authority to do as you see fit. Confiscate the ale if you wish, destroy it if you must. As this ship’s CO the right and authority rests with you. If you must make an example then do so. I am merely an officer subject to your commands however my advice remains; the more examples you make and the tighter the fist you employ, the more vexing your position will inevitably become sir. I say this not out of rebelliousness or malice, but simply as a student of psychology and one who is intimately versed in interpersonal actions and reactions. Pragmatism, while difficult, can often yield success both in diplomacy and elsewhere.”
Lamont stiffened to attention. He would show her the respect due to her rank. He had spoken his mind and indeed offered his genuine appraisal of certain matters. There was little left for him to say. “I am at your command sir whatever duty or fate you indeed deem necessary or required. My duty is to serve and advise. If I am incapable of those things in your eyes sir, then take the actions you deem required. I have aired my concerns sir, as it is my duty to do so. The decision is now yours to decide how best to proceed sir. I stand ready to obey whatever orders you deem necessary.”
“I will run this ship as I please Commander.” Shiarrael turned around- using his rank specifically instead of his title “very well. I will compromise with you.” She reached over and took the PADD from his hands and dropped it onto the desk. “But you may like this even less. Every day for the remainder of this mission you will report to Engineering and spend two hours conducting whatever menial tasks the Chief of Engineering sees fit to assign to you. Should you even miss a minute of those two hours you will be confined to quarters for that day. This is not negotiable Commander. Now get out of my office before I change my mind and have security chuck your precious liquor into space and use it to align the phaser array.”
Lamont nodded, but not before placing a box on the commodore’s desk. “It is from Proctor Ohoni sir. A bottle of their liquor and a rare gemstone which I was told was considered highly prized and of extreme value on Lyrillia. It’s coloring is quite brilliant. A parting thank you gift from a thankful Proctor and a grateful people.”
Lamont briefly saluted, his duty fulfilled, and turned leaving the commodore before he did anymore to endanger his career if not perhaps his life yet again.
- Fin -
Commodore Shiarrael Rehu
Commanding Officer, USS Charon
Ambassador Ian Lamont
USS Charon (apb Tav)