Corridor – Deck 5
“Sowing The Seeds of Stalemate”
Lamont briskly walked down the hallway toward his office. He had much paperwork to complete and submit to the diplomatic service after recent successes on Lyrillia. The treaty and declaration of friendship that had been signed between the Federation (or rather him as their acting representative and agent) and the Lyrillian people was the first true diplomatic success he could claim aboard this ship. It had inspired him, given him hope, and filled him with renewed purpose. Though it had been a long time in the making, Lamont finally felt as though he had contributed. Unlike an engineer or communications officer who’s daily work was required and instrumental to daily operations his role was of a more sporadic nature. His services were not always in demand, but when needed, they could mean the difference between success or failure of an objective and perhaps even life or death.
Lamont took pride in knowing he had performed his duty to exceptional standards. Even the captain herself had mentioned her satisfaction with his work if not his methods. That thought alone gave him a sense there was at least some hope for him on this ship. The captain could vehemently hate him, but she couldn’t ignore him. She needed him and sadly, Lamont was forced to admit he needed her as well. It was doubtful either of them would ever admit that fact to the other. Their pride would prevent such reconciliation; however it did not mean they couldn’t work together when absolutely required.
Ian pondered this and other thoughts as he headed toward his office three decks up. Stopping at a nearby turbolift he waited for the next car while several other gregarious crewmembers filled the area with irritating gab.
“Did you hear what happened in the gymnasium”, one said to the other.
“There was a fight. I heard it was between some Klingons and Romulans. Things really got out of hand. They had to call in security to break it up and when it was all over I heard there were bodies everywhere!”
“Bodies”, the second officer said in disbelief.
“Yeah, bodies. I don’t think anyone died, but it was an epic fight. Blood on the walls, broken furniture and equipment - I even heard the second officer was injured trying to break up the brawl.”
Lamont never dabbled in scuttlebutt. Such rumor and gossip was for the common man and their requisite need for scandal and innuendo. However, the conversation was not entirely lost on the ambassador’s ears.
“You don’t say? I’ve never heard of such a thing on a starship. Well not one I’ve served on anyway”, the crewman responded. “I bet the captain is furious!”
Lamont couldn’t help interjecting and indulging in the rife gossip if only this once.
“Of that you can be absolutely sure”, Lamont said. “I’m sure the captain is positively livid over such a horrific incident under her command. First the marines revolted against her, she’s had several attempts on her life by members of the crew, and now fights are breaking out all over the ship. She must be quite worried indeed she is losing control over the crew under her command. I would be after all. Unfortunately, her response will be quite predictable.”
The two crewman had turned and were hanging on Lamont’s every word. The unknown officer, a commander by rank, was speaking of this? Perhaps there was much more to the story that either of them had heard!
“How so sir? Do you think she will have them court martialed?”
Lamont smiled. This was so devilishly easy. “No. No. I doubt she would risk alienating more of the crew by holding very public court martial proceeding. Though I can assure you the parties involved will be treated far worse than a standard Starfleet prisoner in the stockade for their actions. I wouldn’t want to be them. However, I doubt the captain will stop there.”
“Why do you say that”, the two crewman asked almost in tandem.
“Shiarrael Rehu is most certainly terrified she is loosing her ‘control’ of the ship. She’s a Romulan after all. What she fails to appreciate is that her command authority is not in jeopardy, but she fears it is as she would aboard a Romulan ship in service to the Star Empire where duels between officers vying for command authority are not uncommon. I’ve heard her refer to us humans as wolves. I believe the Romulan word is ‘thrai’. She doesn’t trust us. That can only mean she will be harder on us all as her paranoia grows.”
“Of course! She will deal harshly with those involved in the fight you just described, but she will not stop there. She will make them an example to reinforce her complete iron fisted will. All of us will feel the burn of this incident I assure you. Her fury will not be limited to only those involved.”
The two officers looked at each other with worried expressions and swallowed.
Lamont chuckled. “Don’t worry. Do your jobs efficiently and you should be fine. However be wary. The captain’s mood is as fickle as the sea itself. Unless she softens her grip I fear more such incidents are bound to occur. Hopefully no one else any of us knows ends up hurt or worse killed as a result of the captain’s heavy handed command style.”
“You can’t tell these days. Who knows who else could be plotting against her even as we speak. If she would just relax a bit and act like a Starfleet captain instead of this tyrant person she seems to take pleasure in calling herself I for one think things would be much, much better aboard the ship for everyone. What gives her the right to treat the crew the way she does? Sure she’s the captain and deserves our respect and our loyalty, but have you heard her lately? Her words are most disconcerting. Most disconcerting indeed, however she is the captain. She has the right to be unreasonable I suppose.”
The lift finally arrived as Lamont stepped inside. “Coming”, he asked.
The two crewmen shook their heads. “No, we’ll catch the next one sir”, they politely replied.
Lamont nodded and stepped back. He couldn’t help but hear the last few words of the crewman as the doors slid closed.
“Did you HEAR that! A commander openly questioning the captain! We gotta tell Jenson about this!”
“He does have a point. Perhaps the captain is being too harsh with us all. Have you ever served with a captain who enjoys being called a tyrant?”
Lamont could only smile as the lift slowly carried him upwards to his destination. Planting seeds was such an easy task when dealing with the uninformed. Seeds would carry on the wind, sprout, and eventually take root if he planted enough of them. He no longer needed to confront the captain in person. His private campaign of quietly countering her harsh command style and openly aggressive and ruthless tactics to a political impasse and stalemate was only in its initial phases.
While it was true she was master of this ship and wielded the largest sword she couldn’t ignore the mood and pulse of the crew of which she relied upon. If their opinion shifted against her vanity it could only cause her to react with increasingly ruthless and tyrannical behavior thus turning more and more public opinion against her. At some point she would have to bow before the political pressure. To refuse would be to stoke the flames of mutiny and encourage it. Would she cede to crew distaste and disapproval or would she remain headstrong and vain to her ultimate detriment?
It would be an interesting chess game. Lamont laughed in the empty lift as it ascended. Shirrael Rehu could very well be the living embodiment of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Evil Queen of Hearts’ in his novel Alice in Wonderland, however she could not simply shout the order “off with their heads” every time someone displeased her. She would have to learn to live with a diverse crew whether she liked it or not. It was high time she learned this was a Starfleet vessel. Perhaps she would learn that in time. If she didn’t she’d have a crew at her throat for their entire two year mission. However if she enjoyed self punishment, then who was he to get in her way?
She could sow the seeds of fear and anxiety given the sharpness of her sword and the bluntness of her actions, however Lamont could also plant the seeds of information. Fear was as weak as a kitten when one accepted one’s fears and learned to face them. If the crew could overcome their fear of the captain, her hold over them would be shattered. She would then been forced to abandon her “soft tyranny “ and behave much more like a normal captain although she was anything from normal.
Lamont took great pleasure in his new hobby of silently countering the CO. He would soon find out how sharp her political skills really were despite her blustering which only made him smile that much more. He wondered if the captain had bothered to ever read the ancient earth book titled “The Prince”. Perhaps she could learn a thing or two from the human thrai famous for his astute political observations.
He felt so Machiavellian today.
~ FIN ~
Ambassador Ian Lamont
Diplomatic Advisor, USS Charon