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Diplomatic Briefing

Posted on Fri Nov 1st, 2019 @ 4:49pm by Commander Temerant Bast & Devan Kilvin & Joran Maratet & Captain James McCullen & Lieutenant T'sa & Master Warrant Officer Kayden Ganador

Mission: Reaching Out in Hope
Location: Opaka Outpost
Timeline: MD9 - 0800 Hours

The briefing room was half-filled with the sector's diplomatic staff. As she walked in, Joran Maratet looked around the room, and made a note in her data PaDD to ask the Admiral if there was any way Station Operations could make the room bigger, perhaps by encroaching on the auditorium next door. This morning's briefing included only those on the diplomatic staff who had been even remotely assigned to the Stakoron case, which covered only about a quarter of the base's diplomatic staff. For briefings that required the entire staff, this room, the largest available on the base, was woefully inadequate.

Twelve members of the diplomatic staff were speaking in hushed tones, some sitting around the table, some hovering around the replicator getting coffee, chatting about life on Opaka Outpost or making small talk. She breathed a silent thanks to the Prophets that the Ambassador hadn't walked in first.

"Please take your seats," she called out in a loud enough voice to be heard by everyone. "I have scheduled forty minutes for this briefing, I'd like it to take no more than an hour."

Everyone fell silent, and turned their eyes to her.

"All right," she began. "The Stakoron situation. We have the USS Sentinel here, with their Diplomatic Officer Lt. T'Sa getting ready to open relations with Stakoron. Do we have --"

She stopped speaking when the door to the conference room opened. Ambassador Kilvin walked in, and took a seat at the head of the table. "Good morning everyone," he said.

"Good morning, Ambassador," said Mattie with a courteous smile. "As I was saying --"

"I want you all to know," interrupted the Ambassador, "that I was up half the night, learning all of your names," he said, with a proud smile.

Mattie looked at the Ambassador and blinked. "As I was saying," she resumed slowly, "the Stakoron situation. Do we have a full briefing ready for the Sentinel?"

A junior staffer about two-thirds of the way around the table spoke up. "They've been under Dominion rule for over two hundred years," said the aide.

"Your name is Ochra ch'Vorril," stated the Ambassador. "You have a Master's degree in Political Sciences from the University of ch'Ulaak."

"That's very good, Ambassador," said Mattie nervously, before turning back to Ochra. "Please continue."

Ochra looked from the Ambassador to Mattie and back again, his antennae bobbing up and down, before swallowing. "The Dominion had completely taken over the planet's government, leaving only menial tasks to Stakoron's elected officials. Last week, without warning, they completely abandoned the planet. The Stakorons are left in a power vacuum."

Another staffer spoke up from three seats to Ochra's left. "The Stakorons were major producers of tyllium, a mineral essential to the operation of Dominion weaponry."

"Kendra James," called out Kilvin. "Studied Social Sciences at the University of New Berlin. Worked closely with Ambassador Sampson on Kronos."

"I'm impressed," said Mattie, humoring the Ambassador.

"I was up half the night," repeated the Ambassador. He looked at the staffer on his right. "Is your name really Winston Churchill?"

"Yes," confirmed the young man.

"The Stakorons," Kayden spoke up from the front row, "were a fairly advanced race before the Dominion came in and took over. Unfortunately, most of what they had learned about governance, mining, diplomacy and the thousand other things a people need to know have been forgotten. However, I believe that with the right support, we can plant the seed of a useful Federation ally in the region. If we play our cards right, Stakoron could be an example to the other races of the Gamma Quadrant who fear, or have been brainwashed into believing that the Federation is much like the Dominion and is here to conquer. Not to mention we'd gain access to a valuable source of tyllium."

"Kayden Ganador," stated the Ambassador. "Born on New Berlin, twenty years of service as a Starfleet liaison to the Federation Diplomatic Corps."

The meeting was interrupted by the sound of the comm channel coming to life. "Lieutenant Watson to Ms. Joran. The Sentinel's diplomatic crew is ready to beam down."

Mattie stepped away from the table and toward the entrance to the conference room, where the Sentinel crew would materialize. "Beam them directly to Conference Room 302," she instructed.

A moment later, three shimmering lights appeared in the entrance of the meeting room and left in their place Captain McCullen, Commander Bast and Lieutenant T'sa. The Captain took the room in at a glance, various diplomats arrayed around the room, the ambassador serated at the head of the table, and a young lady standing before them, one starfleet officer, an older man who was already coming to his feet. The captain stepped forward and smiled, "good morning ladies and gentlemen, I'm Captain James McCullen and these are my officers, executive officer Commander Temerant Bast and Chief Diplomatic Officer Lieutenant T'sa."

"Welcome, Captain," said Mattie, extending a hand. "I'm Joran Maratet, Ambassador Kilvin's Chief of Staff. We were just starting our staff briefing on the Stakoron matter. I believe your ship will be assigned to that system, so it seems you've arrived just in time."

"Fortunate," T'sa commented, surveying the room briefly "it would have been regretful to miss the initial briefing" The room felt familiar. Not so much that she'd seen it before, but the aura of highly strategic thinkers was palpable.

"Indeed it would," spoke the Ambassador, stepping forward to greet them. He raised his hand in the Vulcan salute. "Lieutenant T'Sa, I do believe we've met, back at the Vulcan embassy on Andor. There was never a doubt in my mind that you would rise the ranks of diplomacy quickly. Captain McCain, it's a pleasure to meet you."

His eyes barely moved over to Commander Bast before he turned back to regain his seat at the table.

T'sa's eyes softened with recognition of the Ambassador. She nodded politely in acknowledgement.

McCullen opened his mouth to reply, but the Ambassador had moved off before he'd gotten the chance. The captain glanced sideways at Bast for a half-second, but he hadn't the time to worry about how his XO was feeling. There and then, he predicted that the Ambassador was going to be a particularly prickly pain in his ass. He had never actually attended a diplomatic briefing before, aside from in his early days where he'd stood as security and he was feeling a little like a fish out of water.

"Sirs, ma'am," Kayden Ganador stood from the table to face his fellow Starfleet officers, he couldn't help but feel more comfortable with fellow Starfleet personnel in the room, he felt less like a duck in a pond full of swans. "I'm Master Warrant Officer Kayden Ganador, I'll be coming with the Sentinel as a mission specialist."

T'sa regarded Kayden curiously. She recalled his name from the conversation she and Captain McCullen had prior. She was interested to see how he operated, and if it was in any way similar to how she did. The debate between the theoretical approach of charismatic vs. intellectual diplomacy, and which was more generally viable, always reminded her never to assume anyone would naturally agree with her methods simply because they shared a passion.

"Thank you Mr. Ganador," McCullen gave the man a nod, greatful for the Starfleet presence, "and Ms Joran, for the welcome." He aimed himself for a chair next to where Ganador had risen from, expecting that T'sa and Bast would follow suit, "please, continue."

Bast moved to stand behind his captain in the back row, leaving the empty seat for T'Sa. The Lt. swiftly took her seat, poised and ready to make note of every utterance.

"A few days ago," began Mattie, looking at the Sentinel officers, "we received a message from Stakoron II."

She tapped a button on her data PaDD, and the audio message started playing.

"For two hundred years, we have been under Dominion rule and now they are gone. The knowledge and skills necessary to fend for ourselves have been lost. We are in need of assistance and guidance. I, Menteri Rusan of the Stakoron people call on those who can help us for assistance. Please, hear our call and come to our aid."

Ambassador Kilvin took over the briefing. "From what we understand, the Dominion has started pulling out of this sector altogether, abandoning world they'd overseen for centuries and leaving them to their fate. This is creating a power vacuum, and the Federation needs to move in to help. The last thing we want is for another power to emerge and threaten the balance in the quadrant."

T'sa silently compiled a list of questions to ask at a later time, and made a mental note to attempt to acquire a Stakoron dictionary. The last thing she needed on her plate was miscommunications.

"Menteri Rusan," T'sa inquired curiously "do we know if they are a figurehead of the Stakoron people?"

The young man who had identified himself as Winston Churchill spoke up. "We don't have a lot of intelligence on the Stakoron, but what little we do have seems to indicate that the Menteri is a head of government. Either elected democratically, or chosen by a small group of people, we don't know. But he is selected to speak for his people."

"The bottom line," broke in the Ambassador, "is that we don't know much about them, but they are calling for help. Stakoron II is six days away at Warp 8. You need to leave orbit today. Any further information we can provide will be sent by subspace before you get there."

There go my dinner plans, McCullen thought to himself as he frowned, he had been planning on giving the crew, and himself, a day or two on New Bajor - but there was no denying the urgency of the situation and the ambassador was right in his urgency. "We'll depart as soon as physically possible, Ambassador. We'll need to take as many medical supplies, industrial replicators, and emergency equipment as the station has, as much as we can cram into our cargo bays, anyway." There lay the other problem - the Inrepid Class was a light explorer, she wasn't big enough or well equipped enough to handle a planetary-scale aid effort, if it came to that - but the captain didn't choose the grain he had to grind - they would do what they could.

"It would be... helpful if you could grease those gears a little." He added with a slight smile, "given the urgency, I don't need to run the gamut of requisitions if I don't have to."

Kilvin turned to look at Maratet, who tapped a note on her data PaDD. "We'll put in a request directly with Admiral Maxiel to have your ship equipped with an industrial replicator," she said. "That should give you the ability to replicate whatever you need on the way."

T'sa furrowed her brows slightly as she revisited everything she'd learned up until that point. This mission was shaping up to be something theoretically easy, but practically... iffy. Things for the Stakorons seemed like they were balancing at a tipping point, and if she'd learned anything about delicate situations in the last 30 years, it was that what can go wrong, will.

For that reason, she was glad they would be getting underway as soon as possible. She wanted to better verse herself in specifics that they didn't seem to have on hand yet.

"It will, however," McCullen spoke up, "take at least 36 hours to install an industrial replicator on the Sentinel." The captain raised his hand to forestall any counter-argument, "and I know time is critical, but there's no point in the Sentinel going there if we're not capable of helping in a meaningful way."

"Installation takes 36 hours," agreed the Ambassador. "But shipping it would take only about twelve hours. Once you have all the parts, you can depart, and your own engineers can complete the installation. I assume you do have competent engineers," he added, sparing a glance at Temerant - his son, who had graduated from Starfleet Academy as an engineer before being Joined.

"We do, Ambassador," replied the Sentinel's First Officer, careful to keep any sign of animosity from his voice.

McCullen frowned, he had faith in his engineering team, but he would have rather had the industrial replicator installed at the starbase, where engineering facilities were more expansive. Doing an ad-hoc installation of equipment that was never designed to be mounted in an Intrepid class vessel while traveling through space that was very recently Dominion controlled felt like going off half-cocked. On the other hand, time was critical and if the industrial replicator could be installed by his own engineers, and he had no doubt that Lieutenant Hunter could do the job, then why not get a twenty-four-hour head start?

"I'd rather the work be done at the starbase," Jim began, "which is not to say I don't have complete confidence in my crew and their abilities," He paused for a moment to turn his head and look at his XO, then returned his gaze to the ambassador. Small point made, he continued, "but the starbase has the facilities and specialist personnel in place for exactly this kind of work. However, given the situation it makes sense to depart as early as we can, so we'll install it on the way."

"Then it's settled," replied the Ambassador, giving Joran Maratet a final nod. His Chief of Staff looked at her data PaDD, and tapped a note which she then sent to Admiral Maxiel, detailing the need to equip the Sentinel with an industrial replicator with all due haste.

"Ambassador," McCullen asked, thought still forming in his head as he spoke, "what's the end-goal of our mission here? Is our purpose purely to provide aid and make a good impression of the Federation, or are we aiming for formal relations and actual diplomatic ties?"

"At the very least, let these people know they're not alone," said the Ambassador. "The Dominion abandoned them, but if they need us, we'll have their backs. Your job is to provide emergency assistance, let them know who we are, and get the ball rolling, open preliminary diplomatic negotiations. Get the ball rolling. If they want to take things further, we can send a full diplomatic team."

"We'll have little trouble appearing more favourable than the Ferengi, at the very least" T'sa commented idly, almost like it was to herself - certainly not to the room.

McCullen smiled, he had gotten what he had not expected to get from the ambassador - a clear and direct set of mission parameters to get started with. There was little doubt that the mission wouldn't be as simple as just showing up and lending a hand, but it was a good place to start from. "Understood," he nodded, "as soon as we're provisioned and all the relevant personnel are aboard, we'll get underway."

Kilvin stood with finality. "Then it's settled. We will make arrangements with the Admiral. Mister Ganador, please report aboard the Sentinel with all due haste, and complete Lieutenant T'Sa's briefing. The base staff will continue to try to fill in the blanks until you get there. Captain McDuff, I wish you Godspeed."

"Thank you, Ambassador Keevin." McCullen responded, a hair louder than his normal speaking voice. He half suspected the old Trill was mixing up names just to see how people would react. "Mr. Ganador, with me if you please."

"Aye, sir." Ganador replied to both the ambassador and the captain at once, managing to mask the grin that wanted to spread all over his face.

T'sa seemed to straighten out a little more at the prospect of giving her own briefing - she'd spent entirely too long gathering her intel to not be just a little proud.

"Well then," McCullen looked around for a second, and seeing nothing else that needed to be said, tapped his comm badge. "Mr. Ganador, I'd like you to brief Lieutenant T'sa on the Stakoron situation first thing, and then get what belongings you want to take with you aboard the Sentinel, you'll be assigned guest quarters."

"Aye captain," Kayden nodded at lieutenant T'sa, "I've got all the information we have gathered up and ready, though it's less than I'd like."

"It'll have to do," McCullen looked at Bast, "are we ready to get back to the ship, number one?"

"If you don't mind, Sir, I think I'll catch up," replied the First Officer.

"No problem, number one. I'll see you when you get back." McCullen replied, giving his XO a nod. he wanted to wish Bast luck, but airing the man's personal issues in front of two other officers was not the thing to do. "Mr. Ganador, to the nearest transporter room, please."

"Yes captain, follow me please." Ganador replied, setting off towards transporter room seven, which was only a short walk away.

"Lieutenant T'sa, after you." McCullen smiled, urging the Vulcan diplomatic officer to follow the enlisted man.


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