Starbase 72 - Minos Korva System
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Negotiations (Part 3 of 5)

Posted on Wed Mar 13th, 2019 @ 12:03am by Admiral Zachary O'Connell

Mission: Alrakis Updates
Location: USS St. John Talbot, Conference Room
Timeline: May 30, 2389

While the Conference Room was large, the table at which the negotiations would be held was rather small. Four chairs rested on each side. The Alrakis representatives would sit on one side with their escorts either standing or sitting not too far behind them. The other side would be populated by the four representatives from the President of the United Federation of Planets.

Admiral O’Connell, from his stool placed several feet away from the conference table on the Federation’s side. He did his best to not look like a perched vulture. It was difficult for him to not be involved in these talks. This wasn’t a matter just for Task Force 72, but for the Federation as a whole. So much stood to be lost today, and the slightest error could sabotage the whole thing.

His slow gait had been called many things: amble, meander, ramble, saunter. At this moment, however, Amster-Urzon felt that roam was the most applicable term. Not all Grazerites ambulated at such a pace, but it wasn’t uncommon; especially when there wasn’t a reason to hurry. He approached a chair, one of the two in the middle, and stood behind it, waiting for everyone else to select their positions.

Admiral King took his position behind his seat and waited until the senior parties sat down before he took his own seat.

With all of the guests moving into their various seats and positions around the room LT Kowal motioned to her Masters-at-Arms to secure the room. She moved quietly over to where the Admiral’s stool was and nodded at him as she stood alongside the bulkhead near him. Herself, MA2 Jackson, and MA3 Capatosta would be remaining in the room for the conference with two security teams nearby if needed.

Thot Senn sat at the table, looking his Federation opposition through the digital viewfinder of his helmet. Grazerite. Human. Human. Caitian. The human majority only supported Senn’s feelings about the Federation. The human species was a menace, their urge for conquest fueling the Federation’s drive for expansion. And what had it brought the galaxy? The Borg. The Dominion.

A garbled tone emitted from his helmet and was translated by the box placed on the center of the table by his aide. “What does the Federation desire?”

Magnus cleared his throat and stood from his chair, holding his hands together in front of his body as a gesture of comfort but also formality. He had practiced his speeches for days, as he didn’t wish to be seen holding a PADD or simply reciting lines. This was far too important.

With a smile, he began, “My name is Magnus Temple, Secretary of the Exterior for the United Federation of Planets. To our gathered guests, it is our deep honour to represent the Federation on this significant day as we formally recognise the inter-planetary coalition known as the Alrakis Pact. The Federation congratulates you on the formation of your partnership, along with the potential peace and prosperity this will bring to the Inconnu Expanse. We recognise your sovereign claim to the Inconnu Region and wish to join with you in ensuring the sector remains stable, viable, and strong. It is our hope that this meeting, on this day, will be written in the history books as the first day in a long-history of mutual respect and cooperation between the Federation and the Alrakis Pact.”

“We have sought your council in order to quickly resolve any confusion between our great governments, and look to the future as we seek a path forward into a safe and unified Alpha Quadrant.” Magnus continued, nodding his head every now and then, “War has far too often destroyed our livelihoods, homes, and people. Innocent lives are lost when great minds succumb to pointless warfare. We don’t want to go backwards on the progress we have made in recent years. We do not want any Breen, Talarian, Tzenkethi, Wi-u-Kai, or Federation lives lost when there is an opportunity for partnership and respect before us. The Federation is open to all possibilities of diplomatic relations with the Alrakis Pact, and we thank you for gathering today to start that process.”

With a firm smile, Magnus took his seat again, reaching for the cup of water in front of him and drinking a satisfied gulp.

Hadad was the first to speak up. “Our position is quite simple, Secretary Temple: Get out. Doing so would be the first step in guaranteeing peace between the Federation and the Alrakis Pact.”

“We are already complying with your preference, Ambassador,” Magnus replied, keeping his tone cool, “Unfortunately we had a large number of ships and operations in effect at the time of your announcement, and the logistics of removing all those assets from the Inconno Region has been quite significant. But as I said, we are already doing as you have asked.” He shifted in his chair a little. “One of those ship currently returning is the USS Pandora. A little under one year ago, the USS Pandora came across a Talarian ship inside the Carnwennan Corridor which had been attacked by other forces. The Pandora risked their lives to rescue your people and safely return them to Talarian space. May I put it to you, that had the Federation not been present in the Inconnu Expanse at this time, you would have seen total loss of lives from that ship. While we are complying with your request, we remain open to discussing the benefits to our continued presence in the region, under any agreeable terms determined by the Expanse’s sovereign leadership, of course.”

“The Talarian Republic has seen many changes since Ambassador Sevros and his folly,” Hadad said with a sniff of contempt. “As you can see, we now have plenty of allies; what benefit does the Federation offer aside from that to justify your future incursions?”

“We may not be your formal allies, Ambassador, but we are also not your enemies.” Magnus replied firmly. “We have no intention of initiating any hostile action against any planet or species in the Inconnu Expanse. The ships that were in the region? The Ark Royal is an Ambassador class diplomatic vessel. The Magellan is a Galaxy-class exploration vessel. The Pandora is a Luna-class science vessel. Our intention with visiting the Inconnu Expanse has always been to explore the region, meet the vast array of different people who live there and wish to make friendly contact, and investigate the scientific phenomena that has so intrigued us all for decades.” He paused, ensuring to look around at all of the Alrakis members. “But the Federation is more than Starfleet. Our combined resources can help deliver trade and economic benefits to the Expanse, tourism and other civilian programs, and access to one hundred and fifty four member states who make up the Federation. If you close the borders of the Expanse without any room for reciprocal relations, you are closing yourselves off to the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. We’ve all seen how detrimental isolation has been for others in the past.”

The Grazerite kept a poker face throughout, even as he thought about how well Secretary Temple was presenting the Federation’s case. He was a bit hesitant to join the conversation at this point, seeing that his role in the administration was security and his vocal involvement could be viewed as having ulterior motives. It was, however, something he was willing to chance to lend support to Temple’s statements.

“As Secretary Temple has said, there is a lot more to the Federation. The Archaeology Council, Science Bureau, Department of Cartography, Planetary Development Council...all agencies in the Federation dedicated to peaceful activities. And that’s in addition to the economic advantages of fostering a positive relationship between the Federation and the Alrakis Pact.” He paused, allowing an opportunity for a quick read of the room. “The Federation is a large market that the Alrakis Pact could tap into. Buying and selling goods to the Federation and/or their members could generate significant gains for you all. Likewise, the Federation and its members have resources and products that could be useful to Pact members.”

Though he would never admit it, trade and economic negotiations were not Hadad’s area of expertise. He looked to the other members of the Alrakis delegation for input.

Ruvan Vik Tov-AA took the opportunity to speak up. “You have nothing we desire. Your Federation is a chaotic entity, your goods worthless to us. You talk of trade. Let us trade. You and your tumultuous allies stay out of the Inconnu Expanse, and we will not take any ships that venture into our space.”

The Breen representative remained silent. In the last fifteen years, the Breen had seen two major engagements with the Federation, first with the Dominion War, then second with the Crisis at the Valoris Nebula. In both cases, the Federation prevailed. The mere fact that the Federation was at the negotiating table and not present firing their mediocre phasers and torpedoes told him that the non-slavers were not willing to fight for what they wanted. To the Breen, this meant they had the advantage.

“Yes, Secretary Temple, let us talk of trade,” the speaker at the center of the table translated. “What is the Expanse worth to you? Your new propulsion drive is a marvelous invention.”

Magnus demurred a smile, “I am but a diplomat, Thot Senn. I wouldn’t know about propulsion drives. But the Federation is a vast organisation of inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs. All of which remain open to the Expanse, still, at this time.” He shrugged, “When you take ownership of an entire region, you also take responsibility for every individual planet and system within it. Including their constant need for resources, aid, business, and economic stability or… they fail. The Federation wants the Inconnu Expanse to continue prospering under your leadership, and we want to help you with the burden of supporting all of your planets and systems, many of whom are already exchanging trade and diplomatic relations with us. Let us discuss the possibility of an Inconnu Expanse that remains open to the Federation, and we can find a path forward that sees the Expanse thrive under the Alrakis Pact.”

Hadad’s face reddened. “You dare insult us! You come to us offering peace, and then suggest we are too weak to protect our own people?!” He pounded the table with his fist. “Would you accept your own offer, Secretary Temple? Would you allow our ships to carouse your worlds in the name of ‘humanitarian aid’?” The words fell off his tongue in disgust. “I should think not!”

“I merely speak from our own experiences.” Magnus replied quickly, trying hard not to flinch despite the affronts to their furniture. “The Federation has been managing a large number of planetary resources for two hundred and thirty years. We have hundreds of planets under our care across the entire Federation territory and we understand the practicalities required. I have no doubt you can protect your own people, Ambassador, and certainly wouldn’t dream of suggesting otherwise.” The Secretary looked to the room, hoping to find more reasonable minds. “My role here is only to offer an opportunity to maintain the relations the Federation has already established in the Expanse and to ask you on what terms can you see the Federation maintaining access to the Expanse under your sovereignty.”

Thot Senn, having been seated at the far end of the Alrakis’ side, a vantage point selected by himself in order to survey all involved without having to look back and forth, studied his compatriots and the Secretary’s seemingly steel nerves. The Pact’s resolve was quite firm going into this meeting, and so far it had seemed to only agitate their own selves. Today, the Pact had everything to gain, and the Federation everything to lose. An adjustment in strategy was needed, and quickly. Resorting to the previously agreed non-verbal cues, Thot Senn brushed his left index finger, which had been fitted by a parsteel tip, twice lightly over the table top, signalling to his colleagues that a time for a brief recess had approached.

“Have you provided any refreshments?” Hadad abruptly asked the Federation delegation. “I would like a beverage and privacy with which to indulge it.”

“I would also enjoy the opportunity to indulge in a beverage.” jata’Uwe Ekzi added. For the Erganite, used to his homeworld, this room was very dry.

Magnus immediately stood, indicating his willingness to give the Alrakis members the break they requested. “Of course. If you would all like to follow this officer,” he turned and indicated to Lieutenant Kowal, “to the lounge across the hall. We have attempted to replicate dishes to suit each of your preferences.”

At the signal from the secretary LT Kowal immediately gave the signal to her Masters-at-Arms. They began to open the appropriate doors and to secure the passageway they’d cross.

With a fist raised to his followers, Hadad rose from his seat and followed the designated security officer from the room.

Thot Senn rose from the table. He waited for a member of his entourage to walk in front of him before he started to exit with his other guard behind him.

~To Be Continued In Part 4 of 5~


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