Office of the President of the United Federation of Planets
A soft chime and a pulsing light heralded the arrival of two very important people. “Important,” thought President Aennik Okeg. “Important and… vocal. Very, very vocal.” After a calming intake of air, the Saurian diplomat pressed the receiver node of his in-desk comm unit.
The prim voice of his personal assistant filled the air of his office. “Your two o’clock appointments are here, Mr. President. Shall I send them in?” Okeg briefly entertained the notion of postponing this encounter, but smiled as he remembered the counsel of an honored mentor – “The longer you make ‘em wait, the louder they’re gonna shout. Best to get straight to it before they roar so loud you wind up deaf.”
“By all means, please do.” Okeg put on a calming smile as the doors to his office softly whooshed open, revealing his two formidable guests as they waited in the adjacent reception area.
First to enter was a legend in the Federation Diplomatic Corps. Some of her esteemed titles included daughter of the Fifth House, holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed… and Ambassador. Clad in robes of fine Risian linens and wearing a golden headdress trimmed in latinum, Lwaxana Troi gave Okeg a beaming smile as he stood to greet her.
“My dear Mister President! So lovely to see you once again,” Lwaxana said warmly as she shook Okeg’s hand. “I do appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today in person – and really, I’ll take any opportunity to visit Paris I can get! You simply can’t get decent macarons from a replicator, you know.”
“All too true, Madam Ambassador,” Okeg replied. “Thank you for making the trip; Paris is brighter today with your presence.”
“Flatterer! I’ll take that compliment, and a glass of red wine if you have some handy,” Lwaxana made her way to a chair near Okeg’s desk with a chuckle. “You can’t get decent versions of that from a replicator either, tragically. Honestly, whoever thought synthehol was a good idea needed medical attention!”
Okeg smiled and chuckled in response as he moved to greet his other guest, a tall, polished human male of middle-age.
“I didn’t come as far as Ambassador Troi, Mr. President… beamed in an hour ago from Boston, myself. I thank you for seeing us today nonetheless.”
Like Troi, Councilman Mercer Ferris smiled as he shook the President’s hand, but the tone of his voice wasn’t anything Okeg could define as “warm.” It reminded him of the low, even growl of a particularly patient and lethal Saurian predator he tangled with in his youth… a growl that preceded a crippling blow.
Okeg took a seat, faced his guests and steepled his fingers. “I’d like to remind you both that this meeting is an informal one… ‘off the record,’ if you will,” he said, evenly, studying their reactions as he spoke. “The upcoming vote on the Na’kuhl emergency support measures is significant to me, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.”
“I think Ambassador Troi’s position on the Na’kuhl Crisis is well-documented, Mr. President… and, frankly, reckless.” Ferris paused briefly, ignoring a steely gaze from the Ambassador sitting next to him. “Sir, we need to be more vigilant when dealing with a potential security threat, especially considering what we’ve learned took place in the 29th century.”
Okeg frowned slightly at that. “He’s making the most of his recent appointment to the Starfleet Intelligence Committee,” he thought. “One more weapon in his arsenal.”
“I’ve read that report too, Councilman,” Troi said with disdain. “I’ll remind you that the Krenim were involved in that attack as well. I don’t see their names on your threat list.”
“The Krenim are currently our allies, Ambassador… the Na’kuhl are not. I’d say that calls for a different level of response, wouldn’t you?”
As Troi glared at her opponent, Okeg took the opportunity to interject… while it was still possible.
“Councilman, recall that both the Klingons and Romulans were once our bitter enemies,” the President said calmly. “Through diplomacy, they are now trusted partners in the Alliance. In time, the same could be said for the Na’kuhl.”
“Or do you want to close our borders to them, too?” Lwaxana said contemptuously. “I’m sure J’mpok would just love an opportunity to rattle his bat’leth and test your nerve.”
Ferris regarded the Ambassador dismissively, his brow furrowed. “Don’t be ridiculous. In the case of the Na’kuhl – and, for that matter, the Krenim – we will need to watch them closely and restrict their access to many parts of Federation space until we have a better understanding of their intentions. Just as we monitor, and in some cases restrict, our ‘allies’ the Klingons and the Romulans… or am I to believe that Starfleet and Section 31 have placed them above suspicion?”
“Section 31 hasn’t placed their own mothers above suspicion,” replied Troi archly, “let alone the Klingons and the Romulans. That has nothing to do with giving relief and aid to people in dire need!”
Okeg cleared his throat, bringing a momentary cease-fire to the field of diplomatic battle. “I believe it is important to consider that the attacks mentioned by the Councilman took place centuries in the future. Judging the Na’kuhl – or the Krenim – today on the tragic events of a potential tomorrow seems… ill-advised.”
“I completely agree, Mr. President, “Lwaxana replied, still glaring at Ferris. “Turning our backs on the Na’kuhl today could very well create the troubles you’re all wound up about tomorrow… and then some.“
“And allowing potential hostiles from a rogue state into the Federation without oversight could create all of those troubles and more today. They have access to time travel – who’s to say they haven’t sent back operatives to strike us when we’re weakest? “
Ferris met Troi’s glare with a grim, measured stare. “That’s not a risk I’m comfortable taking, Ambassador… and I’m not alone.”
“Yes, you’ve got yourself quite a voting bloc, Councilman.” Troi’s voice had a hint of menace in it now, one that gave even Okeg pause. “A bloc built on fear, on a kind of vulgar xenophobia that went out of fashion on this world over three hundred years ago, and one that has no place in the Federation today! None whatsoever!”
“As I said, Mr. President, the Ambassador’s position on this matter is eminently clear. As is mine.” Ferris stood and gave each of the others a slight nod. “I think we’ve said all we need to say here. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be heading back home now. Thank you for your time… be seeing you on the Council floor.” As he walked toward the exit, Okeg stood from behind his desk. “One last chance,” he thought quickly. “One last chance to appeal to whatever conscience he might have.”
“Councilman,” Okeg said calmly. “I implore you – consider all sides of this issue with great caution. Consider the effects your proposals will bring to the Federation if enacted. The repercussions could be quite… severe.”
“I have done so, sir… and I am resolved to protect a Federation that has withstood the onslaught of many a hostile force, time and time again. I hope you will do the same. Good day.”
As Ferris left the office, Lwaxana shared a look of concern with the President. “I’ll say this for him, he doesn’t back down. Runs in the family, all the way back to his grandfather. Man had the nerve to tell Jim Kirk what to do on the bridge of his own ship! Voted against the Khitomer Accords too, if memory serves.”
Okeg nodded silently as he took a seat behind his desk. “It’s going to be a close vote, Madam Ambassador. I truly hope that reason and compassion rule the day when the time comes.”
“I hope you’re right, my friend… though I don’t think for a minute we’ve heard the last from Ferris about this - or his voting bloc.” Lwaxana looked weary as she looked out of the President’s window onto the City of Light beyond. “Old habits die hard – and I should know. When you’ve been around for over a century like I have, you’ll realize that too.”
The office doors whooshed open softly as Genevieve entered with a bottle and several glasses in hand. “Pardon the interruption… but would anyone care for some wine?”
“Thought you’d never ask, dear.” Ambassador Troi gave the President a wink and a smile as Genevieve began to pour. “Now then… let’s talk about more pleasant things, shall we? Macarons, for example.”
Star Trek Online