Ambassador Ian Lamont materialized upon the transporter pad of the USS Charon lacking his usual ostentatious uniform in exchange for simpler, Vulcan attire. He had misplaced his uniform some days ago and given his immersion in Vulcan culture as of late he could say he really did not miss it. Stepping off the pad he bowed slightly at the transporter chief and his assistant thanking them before quietly leaving the transporter room.
“Was that who I thought it was”, the assistant muttered to the chief. “Yeah, that was Ambassador Lamont or well that’s what his transporter trace indicates. Hell I’m still not sure I believe it. He actually thanked me!”
“What do you suppose the Vulcans did to him?”
“I don’t know and don’t care. If they were able to mellow that temper and ego of his then who am I to argue.”
== Personal Quarters ==
Lamont entered his quarters for the first time in over a week. Activating the lights he set down a few items he had brought with him from Vulcan. The air around him was stale and smelt mechanically ionized and filtered. It lacked the subtle smell of life and earth that had enveloped him during his shore leave. It was also dry and slightly cold. He had never noticed such details before. It truly was amazing how much one could notice when their mind was clear and devoid of distraction. It was quite the shame he had been recalled to the ship. He still had three days of leave remaining and longed for the chance to spend it below. However duty called and he was obligated to answer.
Lamont moved back to his desk and began to unpack when his computer suddenly lit up, beeping furiously with the tone of an incoming message. Intrigued by the identity of the caller, Lamont spun his terminal around and activated the screen. He could not have prepared himself for whom he saw staring back at him on the screen.
“Ian. It has been sometime”, a cool voice stated over the channel. “I see you have taken a shine to Vulcan culture and customs?”
Ambassador Lennox? Walter Lennox was calling him? Lamont flashed a nervous smile. “Oh this”, he said tugging on his white robes. “My Vulcan tongue was somewhat rusty and I always enjoy immersing myself in local culture when given the opportunity sir.”
He couldn’t believe he was speaking to Lennox. He had done everything to get his attention at parties, gatherings, and diplomatic functions in the past trying to gain the favor of one of the Federation’s top diplomats. Taking a quick seat at his desk Lamont turned the terminal to face him. “What do I owe the pleasure sir?”
“Is this a secure channel Lamont?”
Ian glanced at his terminal. “It is now sir.”
“Very well. I am sorry to say this isn’t a social call Lamont. Have you been following recent news and diplomatic channels?”
“I apologize sir. I have been on Vulcan, isolated, and without news from the outside for several days. Has something happened?”
“Indeed. I have sent all relevant files and summaries to you. Before I get to the purpose of the call let me start my saying that your recent performance was exceptional given the circumstances. You’ve managed to impress a great many people in the diplomatic corps.”
“I have”, Lamont said his expression lighting up. “Thank you sir.”
“Don’t thank me Lamont. It’s a fact not a compliment. Just keep that ego of yours on a leash. As I was saying, the situation is dire. Let me break matters down for you succinctly. The Federation is on the brink of full scale war with the Romulan Empire. War seems inevitable unless a way can be found to sooth growing tensions. The rhetoric and sword rattling is becoming more pronounced with each passing day on both sides.
There are several high ranking officers in Starfleet who strongly desire to use recent events as a provocation to go to war with the Romulans. These narrow minded…individuals seek to settle old scores or obtain some measure of glory for themselves. Some simply want to end what they see as an age old Romulan threat or simply demonstrate the strength of the Starfleet. In any event, they are using their influence to push ahead with their agendas. The diplomatic corps has become something of a pariah in recent days. The military branches are actively working against us. It is unlike anything I have seen in my years as a diplomat.
Beyond the political intrigue here on Earth, the corps has only just learned of an abduction or possible assassination of a Starfleet Admiral on Romulus. We don’t have all the details. Starfleet Intelligence is being even more difficult than usual and given the current climate every branch of the military is playing their own games for their own gain. As the peacemakers, we’ve been frozen out from viable intelligence and information. Too many it seems want a war and will do everything they can to bring one to fruition.
This abduction or assassination has only further exacerbated and inflamed an already poor situation. We are recalling most Federation ambassadors to help deal with the crisis. We cannot afford another war and especially not one with the Romulans. The results of such an outcome are too horrific to contemplate.”
“Am I being recalled sir”, Lamont asked.
“Negative. I’ll get to your orders in a moment. There is another matter.”
“Ambassador Spock has gone missing. He was also on Romulus on special assignment and we lost contact sometime around the same time this Admiral went missing or was attacked. I’m sorry, but we have incomplete information. We do not yet have all the facts and some of what we do have is suspect. We are working as quickly as possible to obtain more reliable information.”
“I see sir. What are my orders?”
“You are to proceed with the Charon to Romulus and assist with locating Ambassador Spock. Further orders will be forthcoming as the situation develops. Additionally, you are being tasked with maintaining the peace Lamont. You must use all of your skills to prevent the outbreak of war.”
“Excuse me sir”, Lamont interrupted. “I..I greatly appreciate the faith and trust you are placing with me, but wouldn’t a more seasoned ambassador be better suited for such a delicate mission when the stakes are this high?”
“Under normal circumstances yes, we would not entrust such a mission to you Ian. Do not take that the wrong way. However, you are familiar with Captain Shiarrael T’Rehu. You have history together. If we replace you now, it would only serve to worsen an already tenuous situation. She is distrustful and wary, but she appears to at the very least tolerate you. Your recent actions may have even impressed her. Who can say?”
Lamont stifled the urge to laugh as Lennox continued.
“Another ambassador would only complicate matters. We are aware of your delicate working relationship however it cannot be helped. We need you to ensure that she does not start a war either intentionally or inadvertently. You know her. Know how she thinks, acts, and reacts. A new diplomat would not be aware of such subtle nuances. Rehu isn’t the most tactful captain in the fleet and there are many in the corps who are quite concerned with her being chosen for this assignment. We have expressed our misgivings to the Federation president, but have been overruled.”
Lamont nodded saying nothing.
There is more Ian. What I am about to tell you only serves to complicate matters however you should know of this to aid in your decisions. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest the captain’s family was recently murdered by unknown assailants. She may intend to seek revenge during her mission which may further damage Romulan relations.”
“Surely this cannot be true”, Lamont stated overwhelmed and shocked by the news.
“Our best information indicates that it is potentially credible though completely unsubstantiated. I had to call in all of my favors with several friends in Starfleet Intelligence. Their contacts on Romulus only just reported the information keeping careful eyes on the news and other sources.
“What are you saying?”
“Your primary mission is to preserve the peace at all costs. Your secondary mission is to locate Ambassador Spock. Third, you are to assist as needed in the affair regarding this Starfleet admiral. Maintaining the peace however must come first! Do I make myself clear?”
“Sir, am I being given operational control of this mission given the diplomatic stakes?”
“No. I’m sorry Lamont. We pressed for such authority, but were overruled by Starfleet brass. They feel this is a military mission requiring the captain’s unique skills. The Federation President has also agreed with their assessment.”
“Then I don’t understand sir. If I have no operational authority then how am I to do as you ask?”
“Use your relationships, wits, and skills Lamont. You will undoubtedly be tested. The outcome of this mission will rely on your ability to keep the peace not only between the Romulans and the Federation, but between you and Captain Rehu.”
“But sir, I…”
“We are not often afforded the opportunities to choose our battles in life Lamont. They are thrust upon us and we must either fight or concede. If you concede the results could be disastrous for millions possibly billions of lives. This is a mission and burden I would not wish upon even our most seasoned and experienced ambassadors however the job has fallen to you. Ian, you have the capability to do this. Do not let personal emotions or ego get in the way of logic. Do not allow your captain’s emotions to condemn billions of lives to the reality of war just to satiate her selfish desire for revenge. The road ahead will be difficult, but you will find a way. We have confidence in you. As we obtain additional information we will relay it. Godspeed Lamont and good luck. Lennox out.”
The screen before him went dark leaving Lamont alone. The responsibility of billions had just been dropped into his lap without warning. He could do nothing more than stare at his blank screen utterly shocked, stunned, and overwhelmed by the tasks given to him by the highest of diplomatic authority. The balance between war and peace potentially rested with him and his actions or inactions. Worse still was the news regarding Captain Rehu. He couldn’t begin to know what she felt. She was a confusing whirlwind of chaotic energy which he felt few could ever understand. How did he deal with this news? Did he approach her? Any attempts at sympathy would be rejected. She didn’t want or need his pity. He wasn’t sure he had much to offer given their rocky relationship and yet he had to find some way to reach her without incurring her fiery wrath.
Like a cobra she was even more dangerous now that someone had been foolish enough to wound her in the most sensitive of places. Even he would not be so stupid. He knew his limits, and feared hers. Rehu would find her parent’s killers. If there was anyone who deserved his pity it was those who had moved against her if the information was true. They were not long for this universe. He was quite sure nothing could stop her and yet he had been tasked with doing just that. If their positions were reversed would he seek to avenge his family? He couldn’t be sure. He sympathized with her situation and yet he had a duty to ensure her vendetta did not bring about a full-scale war.
He stood nervously balancing himself against his desk. Moving to his cabinet, Lamont quickly produced a glass and a bottle of fine scotch. He poured himself a substantial serving and brought the amber liquid to his lips before stopping. He set the glass down on his desk. Alcohol was only a temporary panacea to the crushing weight that had been placed upon him. It would not solve his new found problems.
Returning to the items he had brought from the Vulcan surface, Lamont produced a hand woven mediation mat and several small candles. He lowered the light in his quarters while lighting the candles and spreading out the mat. Taking a seat he closed his eyes and exhaled. The Vulcan monks had given him much instruction in the ancient art of meditation and reflection. It had helped him clear his mind of personal matters in recent days. Meditation had become a refuge from the troubles of both the outside world and from those on the inside. Relaxed with his mind at ease he could think unencumbered by internal or outside stimuli. Perhaps he could find a solution to so many new problems without the many distractions his own mind and emotions lay in his path. He was instantly thankful for the Vulcan elders and their wise words, teachings, and instruction. Lamont couldn’t help but wonder if fate had been at play guiding him to the Vulcans both to soothe his own issues, but to prepare him for the challenges ahead as well. Perhaps only time could answer that question.
Releasing a nervous breath, the ambassador sat alone with folded legs quietly contemplating the implications of his current situation. Deep within he knew logic and reflection would only go so far. He would need the help of others to succeed in this mission. There must be a successful path through the quagmire he had suddenly stumbled into – he just had to find it before it was too late.
[ End Log ]
Ambassador Ian Lamont
Diplomatic Advisor, USS Charon