Topic: Star Trek: the Edge of Duty
Subject: talk, talk, talk
Gamera Spaceport, Auditorium A - 14:12
Silas sat at the center of three tables arranged in an open "U" shape on a raised dias; the Kuldar delegation was seated to his left, with the Rytain to his right. Rows of seats in curved aisles faced the dais, with each row farther back slightly elevated above the row on front so as to give clear sight lines to the central stage area. Tochi Zai was in the chair immediately to his right; Bethany Farr sat to his left, her face anxious. All but two of the security personnel from the Peregrine stood watch around the auditorium or in the corridors outside. The full compliments of the diplomatic teams from the two opposing sides were present - along with a few governmental officials and the like - though several empty chairs at the Rytain table were telling.
So far, it had been bedlam. Each side accused the other of all sorts of crimes; insults and threats flew through the air unabated. Among the most vociforous was ambassador Threel, who gleefully levied every accusation under the sun. Drake found himself wishing that he had let the battle take place, and instead flown his ship in literally any other direction - perhaps even into the center of the Gamera star. He had expected grandstanding and posturing, but this was entirely intolerable.
The PADD on the table in front of Drake flashed with an update, and the Captain turned his attention to it, eager for any distraction. After a few moments, however, his visage turned dark and he rose to his feet.
"Excuse me, esteemed dignitaries..." he began, but the debate had devolved to shouting, and he was ignored. Silas loudly cleared his throat.
"Pardon me, but I would like..." he tried again, to no better effect.
His jaw set, Silas straightened his back, drew in a breath, and bellowed from his diaphragm. "SIT DOWN AND SHUT YOUR MOUTHS!"
Gasps rose from around the room, but a hush fell over the auditorium and almost everyone on the dais complied.
"What is the meaning of this, Commander Drake?" sneered Ambassador Threel in response. "We are no longer aboard your vessel, you lack the authority to..."
"BELAY THAT!" Drake roared in interruption. "Ambassador Threel, you will be silent and remove yourself from these proceedings! I have had enough of your obstructionism. These talks will continue with another member of you government taking your place."
The Rytain official blanched for a moment, before chuckling. "You have no standing here, you cannot..."
"I said, BE QUIET!" Silas roared. The Peregrine's CO held up his PADD, keyed it, and the contents were simulcast to the holographic displays. "You will all note the report here by Lieutenant Reid. We did, in fact, recover five survivors from the Stormspike. Four committed suicide, but the fifth is sedated in our sickbay. All five - as well as another eleven dead aboard the Stormspike - are Rytainian citizens." Drake paused as titters echoed through the chamber. "You will further note the transmission logs recovered from the Stormspike, with coded messages sent back and forth to Ambassador Threel aboard my ship. You, sir," the Captain continued with a finger pointed at the Rytainian, "have aided and abetted terrorists to kill your own people for the purpose of subverting these peace talks."
Silas took a deep breath as a deep hush fell over the auditorium. "Petty officer," he ordered one of the secuirty personnel, "remove the Ambassador from these proceedings and hold him until his own government takes charge of him."
Threel protested the validity of the charges, as well as the right to arrest him in such a situation. "You are but a Commander!" he shouted. "You have no authority over the ranking diplomat of a foreign power in such a negotiation! You cannot touch me, I..."
"You are incorrect," Silas interrupted flatly. "As the commanding officer of this battle group, I am in charge of all Federation interests in this system. As we are absent a diplomat, according to Starfleet regulations, I have complete plenipotentiary powers when it comes to contact with foreign governments. Make no mistake, Ambassador - my word here is, in fact, Federation law. You have acted against Federation interests, colluded to damage a Federation starship, and endangered the lives of Federation personnel. As a threat to operational security, you have no diplomatic immunity, and I hereby place you under arrest."
Petty Officer Brady stepped to remove Threel, and bedlam erupted again. There was shouting, and gesturing, and general chaos befitting a mob more than a displomatic assembly. The Kuldar were well into the process of storming out, accusing the Rytain government of bad faith. The Rytain acted is if they might resist the arrest. Silas took another deep breath.
"BE SILENT, THE LOT OF YOU!" he bellowed. "We came here to negotiate a peace, and that is what we will do!"
"Surely, you cannot expect us to speak when they have betrayed the peace so?" Demanded a Kuldarian attache. "And beyond that, you cannot force us to actually negotiate..."
"I can, and I will!" Drake asserted. "The Rytainian government is not behind this - we have listed to their transmissions. They believed this to be an attack by the Kuldar. This is a hate group here that wishes to see peace fail. If you walk away from these talks now, they succeed."
For a brief moment, Silas saw the smallest flicker. "Why do your two peoples fight?" he continued. "Can any of you even remember? I have studied your texts - I see no root cause for this war. I see two neighbors who fight because they have always fought, over some petty squabble no one can recall! How many more of your children will grow up as orphans - or not grow up at all - merely because the two of you cannot move beyond how it has always been between you?"
It was an opening. Not a large one, but it was in fact there - and Drake took it. He hammered ahead, threatening, cajoling, prodding both sides.
Somehow, some way... it was enough. The details took hours. It was a lengthy, torturous process... but at long last, an accord was ratified by all three parties.
All hostilities between the Kuldar and Rytain were ceased. A framework for peace that both sides could live with - if not necessarily celebrate - was hammered out. The Federation gained access to the dilithium - at the price of some extensive promises for advanced replicator and medical technology from the Federation. Silas was fairly sure those concessions would earn him a reprimand at the very least, but in the face of his looming court martial, he could not seem to summon forth the energy to care.
The various representatives posed for the holovids, made a show of signing their names to the various documents, and peace was officially established - even if that peace had come under varying degrees of threats of violence.
When it was over, Silas found himself numbly wandering the corridor back towards his ship. The thought occured to him that this would be his legacy; a peace treaty between two backwater worlds.
But even as he did his best to mnimize the accomplishment, he could see Michelle's face, almost feel her disapproving stare. She would have pointed out that it didn't matter how big the empires were - the fact was that his efforts, and the efforts of his crew, had spared lives from the potential battle today, and from preventing potential battles in the future.
If his legacy was that even one person - let alone hundreds, perhaps thousands - would have the chance to live a full life that might not have otherwise had that chance... wasn't today worth it?
At that moment, he came across a viewport with an almost perfectly unobstructed view of the Peregrine, and the Captain was grabbed by a bitter melancholy as it hit him that he would never again lay eyes again on his ship that he could call his own. Jacobs wouldn't even have to make an effort to see to that - the computer logs of his actions this day would be far more than enough.
Ah, well. Perhaps he would get a penal colony cell with a nice view.
Posted on 2018-08-09 at 16:49:50.
Edited on 2018-08-09 at 17:01:22 by t_catt11