“Diplomatic Warfare – Part 1”
Lamont tugged at his regal suit jacket smoothing out several stray wrinkles that were threatening to form along its edges. He had clothed himself in the highest caliber of ambassadorial regalia in preparation to meet with a Romulan diplomatic envoy. He had been given only a tepid reception upon his arrival by his Romulan counterparts. It had taken two days of negotiations to obtain an audience with a Proconsul Lai I’Sarian and two Romulan senators. The deihuih or Romulan Senate was an immense bureaucracy steeped in centuries of tradition and politics. Lamont despised its horrid inefficiency and draconian procedures. It had did manage to somehow govern and had withstood the test of time as a viable institution however flawed. He was apt to give it some credit – not much, but some. He had little time to evaluate the pros and cons of Romulan government. His focus lay elsewhere on more pressing matters.
Ian paced the transporter room like a new father waiting for news on the birth of a child. He was impatient. The Romulans had delayed his meeting three times in the last four hours. He couldn’t be sure if they were stalling to achieve some minor psychological advantage or if they had yet to craft an official response to recent events. One could never quite tell what Romulan minds were thinking.
Time had certainly moved quickly. That much was known fact. Only a few weeks prior, a Romulan task force had appeared over the planet Vulcan with the sole goal of destroying all life on the planet. The commander of the doomed expedition was reported as insane and mentally unbalanced and the Romulan government had quickly distanced themselves from the action. Now, Lamont found himself mediating the largest public relations disaster in modern memory between the Federation and the Romulan Empire.
Tensions on both sides were exceedingly high. Admirals at Starfleet were practically tripping over themselves in line to decry the recent provocation and use it as a provocation for military action or in extreme talk, even war. Politicians were squabbling how best to use the attack to further their own agendas. There was talk of renegotiating the boundaries of the Romulan Neutral Zone, sanctions against the Empire, restrictions in trade and commerce, and other punitive measure which only added to smoldering tensions and years of mistrust on both sides. And here, all alone, Lamont had been given the sole task of keeping the peace at any and all costs. It had been made quite plain to him – his career hung on a single outcome. If he could preserve the peace and negotiate some sort of truce agreement then his position as a member of the Federation’s diplomatic elite would be forever secure. If he failed to maintain the fragile peace and talks devolved into military action or war his career as a diplomat would likely come to an abrupt end.
The tension was palpable and only a few knew just how high the stakes were in this dangerous game. There was a part of him that both relished an opportunity such as this to prove himself to the universe as well as to himself while another part of him trembled with paralyzing fear of the highest order. He carefully juggled the tension, expectations, emotions, and stress working to focus on the task at hand. He had a job to do. Failure at these negotiations could impact millions possibly billions of lives for the worst. It was not a legacy he could even comprehend. Failure was not an option.
Ian turned to the transporter chief stopping mid stride hitting the engineer with a cold, icy stare. “Any word from the Romulan delegation?”
“No sir. Nothing yet. Same as when you asked me ten minutes ago. We’ve been politely asked to wait.” Lamont muttered something unintelligible and returned to his pacing of the room. Physical exertion for the moment aided him in focusing his thoughts.
Speaking with several senators and a proconsul was a start. He hoped that he could eventually obtain an audience with the Praetor, the chief executive, of the Romulan Empire. There was a path out of this crisis – he just had to find it and quickly. The seas of opinion were especially turbulent given recent events and a dark storm roared on the horizon. Circumventing the storm was still possible, but every hour lost slowly closed that window of opportunity and should the storm arrive – it was anyone’s guess who or what would survive its immense wrath and deadly fury.
The doors to the transporter room parted as a lone lieutenant entered carrying with her several padds. Lamont stopped abruptly at the far end of the room upon hearing the familiar hiss of the doors. He recognized the crewman, but was puzzled at her appearance. He did not have the time or patience to deal with distractions.
“Lieutenant Lumindale? Do you have business here?”
Lt. Alexia Lumindale nodded with her usual bold confidence. “Yes sir. I have come to assist on what will no doubt be a difficult and challenging assignment.”
Lamont nearly cracked a smile, but the gravity of current events prevented any sign of emotional response. He couldn’t afford such trivial gestures and the Romulans were not known for being jovial in diplomatic settings.
“Lieutenant your dedication to duty is admirable, however now is not the time or place. I would ask…”
“Excuse me sir”, she interrupted. “I believe you are about to beam down where few Federation diplomats have ever tread, without security escort, and without assistance of any form during the coming talks. You need my assistance on this mission. The stakes are too high for a single person to complete such a task alone. I say this with all due respect to your rank and experience sir.”
Lamont would have been deeply offended had he not been acquainted with the lieutenant’s records. Alexia Lumendale was a gifted student and talented officer. Her degrees in communications and political science made her an ideal candidate for a future posting within the Diplomatic Corps assuming that was where her career goals were focused. The two had spent many hours together debating various topics and issues and Lamont had come to appreciate her views and opinions as informed and well supported by facts. He did not agree with her on many things, but she was one of the few individuals aboard he could actually speak to without boring or forcing into a comatose, vegetative state, during a conversations on diplomatic issues.
“Lieutenant”, Lamont stated coolly. “I cannot even begin to relate the gravity of the situation. Furthermore, you are out of line by requesting permission to accompany me to the surface. This is not a field trip nor learning exercise. I cannot and will not introduce an unknown element into negotiations. It has taken me nearly 48 hours alone to convince the Romulans to allow me to beam down for negotiations. They are on the defensive, are struggling to deal with current events, and are dangerous and unpredictable as a result. Your request is summarily denied.”
“Ambassador, please. You cannot go down there alone! I can act as your adjunct. Should a need arise for information pertaining to the current talks I can provide it. I have in my hands all relevant documentation related to recent events. I’ve cross referenced the material in chronological order to ensure it can be retrieved at a moment’s notice. Additionally, I have gathered the Charon’s communications and sensor logs of the event as well as records from the Vulcan ships involved in addition to all planetary observations. You need me sir! I can help.”
Lamont was impressed, but his answer was still the same.
“How did you obtain that information lieutenant”, he sternly replied. “Much of that data has been classified.”
“I have my sources and had to call in a few favors, but it was all worth it. Don’t you see? This is an opportunity of a lifetime!”
“It may be a tragedy, calamity, and outright disaster lieutenant. Did you stop to consider that possibility when pilfering classified information?”
“Sir, this could be a historic event. How can I stay away? How could I look myself in the mirror without doing everything possible to witness history firsthand – whatever the outcome? I recognize the importance of the mission sir. That is why you need me. I swear on my rank and name to remain utterly silent and invisible. You and the Romulans will hardly know I am even present. Please sir! I’ll do anything for this experience. How else can I excel in my field if I am denied access to the very substance in which I have studied?”
Lamont rubbed the bridge of his nose. He felt a headache coming on however the lieutenant had made a valid point. Having someone there in the proceedings could indeed be useful if for no other purpose than to provide silent moral support. He would need every advantage to ensure success. He knew she was skilled, talented, and sharp. Her appearance and willingness to risk challenging a superior officer were signs of a strong will and deep convictions. Still – she was something of an unknown and another variable Lamont would have to factor into already complex social and political calculations.
He said nothing for several moments while he evaluated her proposal.
“You are willing to assume the risks?”
“The Romulan Commander’s name involved in the incident, what was it again?”
“Admiral Itsak tr'Sahen. He has been listed as a rogue officer by the Romulan government which has disavowed any knowledge of his plot or activities. He was killed during recent events. Furthermore he was a relative of the captain, although I’m unsure if that is common knowledge sir. I shall omit that fact if requested.”
“And his intentions?”
“That is yet unclear, however his goal was the destruction of the Vulcan people by means of a specially engineered retrovirus which was to have been dispersed into the Vulcan atmosphere.”
Lamont nearly smiled. She was indeed well informed for a junior officer – dangerously so. He would have to question her at great length about her ‘sources’ given the sensitive information involved. He was unwilling to mentally explore the possible lengths she may have gone to in order to obtain her information, nonetheless, she appeared fully versed on the situation.
“Ambassador Lamont. The Romulan delegation has just signaled sir. They await your arrival.”
Lamont looked up at the transporter chief. “Finally.”
“Ambassador”, the lieutenant exclaimed having not received and answer to her initial question.
“Lieutenant, this goes against my better judgment however you appear to have gone to great lengths and appear well prepared. You may join me however I have pre-conditions. Say nothing. Express nothing. I don’t want to see you move or catch the sound of your breath. You must be a statue showing nothing by stanch stoicism whatever transpires. No complaints, no speaking, no movement – no anything. The talks could last for hours meaning both of us could be without food, drink, or rest for long periods of time. I shouldn’t have to say more, I believe you understand what is at stake.”
“Then you agree to my terms?”
“Make your way to the transporter pad lieutenant. Let us not keep the Romulans waiting.”
The lieutenant moved to the transporter pad without any hint of emotion or adulation. Lamont however could sense her excitement. It danced in her eyes a telltale marker of the excitement that was likely flowing within her. Indeed this was a rare opportunity – with all the fun and excitement one could have dancing about a ticking time bomb.
Lamont stepped onto the transporter pad next to his newly appointed adjunct. The talks had yet to begin and he already craved a tall glass of Romulan Ale. In a fleeting thought he wondered if that pilot Athalla had set aside any of the bottles he had given away.
“Sir, are you certain you do not want a security escort”, the transporter chief asked.
“Absolutely not”, Lamont shouted back. “Not only would the Romulans object, but they would only serve to create additional mistrust and tension. I’ll…we will be fine. Energize.”
Ian felt the tingle of the transporter as the room disappeared before him.
To Be Continued…
Ambassador Ian Lamont
Lieutenant Alexia Lumendale (NPC)