Starbase 72 - Minos Korva System
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A meeting

Posted on Mon Apr 8th, 2019 @ 2:56am by Admiral Zachary O'Connell

Mission: Task Force Operations
Location: Undisclosed

The room was cold, almost cold enough to make a Breen feel welcome. That was his intent even though he sat there with only light clothing on. He would not, he told himself, shiver. To do so would be to display weakness and now was not a time for weakness.

Not that Gul Keshac thought any time a time for weakness. The Cardassian government was weak. Once it had been a force in the galaxy: one of the mighty powers. Now it was but a shadow of itself: a weak, snivelling shadow beholden to Federation hand-outs. He – Gul Keshac – would rectify that.

First, though, there was business to attend to and that meant treating with this Vulcan. The thought of doing so left a sour taste in his mouth but he knew he had little choice. The Order of 12 had fractured, splinter groups spinning off on all sides. It needed a firm hand to build it back up again and Gul Keshac knew he was just the man. Unfortunately, others did not agree. To show them he was right he had to fight from a position of strength. That meant recruiting new cadre but he had to have something to offer them. That meant weapons. He knew just where to get them, just which dealers to treat with. That meant money and there lay the rub. The Order was bankrupt and Gul Keshac was not about to put his own finances into it, not without assurance of what such an investment would procure.

Therefore, he was forced to deal with the guest who was expected shortly. The woman was a Vulcan who had worked for unification with Romulus but had become disenchanted with the softly, softly methods adopted by Ambassador Spock. Logic told her that a warlike race like the Romulans would only respond to warlike approaches. It had lead her to establish contacts with dissident Romulan groups. There were many to choose from in the wake of the Hobus disaster.

Gul Keshac judged that the best way to discommode a Vulcan was to make conditions as different to what she was used to as bearable. Then he had lowered the temperature a further five degrees.

He heard footsteps in the hall outside and an aide opened the door. “Your visitor has arrived, sir,” he said.

“Good. Show her in.”

“Will you be wanting refreshments, sir.”

Gul Keshac almost grimaced. Refreshments? he thought caustically. What does he think…. We’re on a Federation starship? But he held such thoughts in check. “That will be all,” he said instead. “Show her in.”

As the aide stepped aside, a cloaked Vulcan entered the room. Her habits and travels had only proven how much she should value detracting attention, especially when she was the only in a crowd with pointed ears and lacking pronounced forehead. Now, as she was among Cardassians, the lack of attention was even more paramount.

She stood inside the doorway, waiting to be beckoned to step forward. Her small form stood tall under a lone light, highlighting the dark hood over her head and brow, and the ends of two sleeves that had merged into one, concealing her hands where each finger touched its opposite in typical Vulcan fashion.

“Enter,” Keshac said, adopting a derisive tone.

The Vulcan stepped forward with a pace that was neither confident or uncertain. Her hood shifted slightly as she scanned the areas to her right and left in order to gain a full awareness of her surroundings.

“I gather we have some interests in common,” he said.

T'romu did not respond as she found no value in confirming what the Gul already knew. If the Cardassian intended to conduct this meeting on platitudes alone, then this would prove to be anything less than fruitful.

“I have some contacts with the Romulans but I’m not sure you’d find them...suitable. They tend not to be very logical. They do tend to get things done though.”

"If that were true," T'romu observed, "then the Federation would not have had to intervene in the Gavarian Corridor. Instead, war would continue to rage with a sixty-one percent chance it would end in a Romulan victory since Cardassia committed a majority of its forces to annexing Breen territory."

“Yes, well...we can debate the wisdom of that decision another time. Your point about the Gavarian Corridor is well made though, I think...inaccurate. I think you place the chance of a Romulan victory way too high. They’re too busy fighting amongst themselves, trying to grab what meagre spoils they can, while they can. They need to look at the bigger picture. If they stopped squabbling like childish brats they might actually achieve something.”

Under the guise of her clock, she performed a typical Vulcan reaction, lifting her left eyebrow in surprise of the Cardassian's logic, or lack thereof. Cardassians, much like humans, were prideful, arrogant creatures. Perhaps if they exercised logic as much as their shadow play, they might have conquered the Alpha Quadrant along with the Dominion. "You do not give the Romulans enough credit, Gul, though your critiques of Romulan tactics are both insightful and intriguing."

“It is why I called you here. While we fight each other, we can’t fight our own governments – such as they are – let alone fight the Federation. We’re wasting precious resources – weapons, munitions, money...especially money – on a fight that will get us nowhere. We need to stop.”

T'moru did not respond. She had made quite a business in her arms and intelligence dealing along the Romulan border and throughout the Gavarian Corridor. There were many small civilian outposts that had been supplied with weapons and bounties on both Cardassian and Romulan heads, enough to help her shape the outcome of this conflict in spite of the peace agreement the Union and Empire had signed with the Federation. She waited for him to continue.

“I’m not suggesting some grand coalition. All I’m suggesting is we call a truce. We all control sufficient territory to bring in the resources we need. Grabbing bits piecemeal won’t improve that situation. Let’s call a truce along the borders we already control and turn our attention to the real enemy.”

"And who do you identify as the real enemy, Gul, if it is not each other, or our governments? You can not begin to assume that we could apply significant pressure to the Federation itself. Such an argument defiles logic."

“Did I say our own governments are not our enemies?” Keshac asked sarcastically. “I thought I said that while we fight each other we can’t fight our own governments. My aim is to bring down the wretched fools who think that peace, love and understanding will make Cardassia great again. I can’t do that while I spend all my time looking over my shoulder.”

"You allow your charisma to shroud your intentions," the Vulcan coldly replied. "Your... what humans call turn of phrase... implied something quite larger was afoot."

“Let me put it another way then, one which might gel with your precious Vulcan logic. It might seem like fomenting trouble among the various groups means more sales of arms and more bounties to collect. No, don’t raise an eyebrow in that annoying Vulcan way, I know that’s how you make your money. But if we turned our attention to the bigger picture, your arms dealings would increase proportionately. And I can offer much bigger bounties than the meagre heads around here. You might have to hire some mercenaries to cater to the larger trade but, I assure you, it would be worth it.”

The annoying Vulcan way persisted as her left eyebrow arched. "Using Romulans to destabilize your Central Command and advance your Order of 12 favors only you and your order. While my superiors would gain financial superiority, it will not be enough to satisfy them, especially when you stand to gain the most."

“You mistake me. I don’t want Romulans to fight my battles for me, though they’re welcome to join the fun if they like. I just want to make sure Romulans aren’t shooting me in the back while I’m attacking the sorry excuse for a Cardassian government.”

"And when your, as you say, sorry excuse for a government has been quelled?" T'moru pressed, finally able to follow what the Cardassians attempted to call logic.

“Then, my dear Vulcan, Cardassia will resume her proper place in the galaxy. And to show enemies like the Federation just what that means, we will start by putting the Breen back in their place. We will retake the territories stolen from us and we will do it properly. None of these half-hearted efforts I’m currently forced to watch.”

The Vulcan sat quietly, as if her mind were calculating several dozen kal toh moves. Such a move by the Order of 12, she predicted would cause a cascade effect, leading to a full scale war with the newly formed Alrakis Pact. This pleased her, knowing that her efforts in the Gavarian Corridor could be focused on and uncontested. "Very well, Gul Keshac, you may have your truce."


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