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SD242007.05 - Plot Log - "Making Deals"

Posted on Sun Jul 5th, 2020 @ 4:35pm by Brigadier General Jonathan Grey

2,143 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Location: Versailles
Timeline: Current

=^= Dock 2 =^=

For the second time in as many days, the General was standing in front of the "nice" port in Dock 2, expecting company.

Glancing to either side, it was easy to see why this was the "nice" port. Dock 2 itself was a long, curved hall with multiple external ports, each with its own security checkpoint, waiting area, boarding lounge, and so forth. Plush chairs, rope stanchions, that sort of thing.

The riots had reduced all of these to rubble which, in the finest tradition of teenagers everywhere, had been crammed into side rooms. Some maintenance crew had set a pair of small automated bots to clean up the little rocks, along with the burn marks from people shooting at each other.

The bots whirred away as they trundled across the floor, changing pitch as they climbed the walls, slowly purging the traces of battle in an ever-widening "nice zone" that gleamed, and smelled faintly of lemon disinfectant.

The sound of his yeoman coughing pointedly brought the General's attention back to the crewman managing the port's controls. As a dark green shape moved to cover the stars beyond the window, Grey drew his shoulders back and squared his jaw.

After a moment, there was a slight tremor through the floor, and a light above the port turned green.

"General, the Romulan vessel has docked and requests entry." said the crewman.

"Granted. Let's get this show on the road." said Grey.

With a grind and a squeal, and a brief prayer to the God of Stuck Doors, the thick port door ground open. In tandem, the green door on the other side opened as well, revealing a pair of Romulans. One was thick-built, her eyes darting everywhere as she stepped into the dock. The other was smaller, yet more assured, with regal bearing.

"Admiral Harok, welcome aboard Versailles." said the General, stepping forward. The motion caused the Romulan bodyguard to drop her hand to her sidearm, only for her smaller superior to smack the back of her hand against the bodyguard's chest in a wordless rebuke.

"General Grey, I must apologise for my colleague." said the Admiral, smiling thinly, like a lizard. "We accept your gracious welcome, and look forward to the coming negotiations. I understand time is a factor....?"

"It is. However, since the Klingons have also been asked to participate in the proposed action, I have decided to invite them to this meeting as well. That way you can both see that neither side is given unfair advantage."

The smile on the Admiral's face grew even thinner, but she inclined her head fractionally in assent. Grey smiled in response, and made a mental note to keep this meeting brief.

As the dark green ship moved away from the dock, another green ship cruised into position. The gap between the two vessels seemed so small as to be nonexistant, as if the second was trying to push the first out of the way.

Her smile now thin enough to have a cutting edge, the Romulan Admiral stepped off to one side with her bodyguard, and waited patiently.

She didn't have to wait long, as the port opened again after only a few seconds, revealing General Bok with his own escort. The Klingon General stomped out of the port and stared at the Romulan Admiral in surprise. After a moment, he walked over to the Admiral and grinned, staring directly into her eyes.

"Qaleghqa'mo' jIQuch." said Bok, showing every single serrated tooth the Klingon had.

With a darting motion, Bok grabbed the hilt of the dagger at his belt, only for Grey to grab his arm firmly. Both bodyguards reacted quickly, grappling at each other and holding firm, each straining in a contest of muscle. The Romulan bodyguard had moved like a serpent, pressing hard on excruciating pressure points in her counterpart, while the larger and stronger Klingon bodyguard gritted his teeth in an attempt to ignore the pain, and tried to force the Romulan back by force of strength alone.

As Harok looked on in condescending amusement, Bok turned his fury upon General Grey, only to be confronted by equal fury from the human.

"You do not pull that crap on MY STATION!" Grey shouted in the Klingon's face, squeezing hard on the Klingon's wrist.

"Release me." hissed the Klingon.

"No stabbing my guests."

"She is-"

"My guest." Grey repeated, their foreheads almost connecting now. "You kill each other *outside*. In here, it's my ground."

"Your *ground* is a doomed wreck." spat the Klingon.

"That *is* the point of this meeting. Oh Klingons. First to fight, last to think." sighed Harok, waving lazily at his bodyguard.

Growling, Bok and Grey shoved each other apart as the bodyguards did the same. Only now did Bok notice that the General's yeoman had slipped round to his side and drawn his weapon. Grey gave the ponytailed Lieutenant a nod, and the weapon was put away, the yeoman returning to his master's side.

"Hrr." grunted Bok, his rage momentarily forgotten. "Humans don't move that fast." he observed.

"This one does. I like that about him." said Grey, who hadn't noticed the yeoman move either.

"So," Grey continued, capitalizing on the break on hostilities, "I understand you've spoken to your governments regarding my request, and have returned with their replies."

"Indeed." said Harok, her bodyguard still breathing heavily. "My colleagues have considered the situation. Their concern is that, were we to help pull this station out of harm's way, we would be no better off than before. Starfleet have been of assistance keeping the peace along our border, this is true. However, there are some who believe Starfleet's intentions are not as benevolent as they would have others believe, and this station itself is powerful enough to give us...pause."

"Our friends have nothing to fear from us." assured the General, earning a little smile from Harok, who knew the value of such promises as only a Romulan could.

"I am pleased to hear this. Of course, we would feel...comforted if you would agree to the presence of a Romulan representative aboard the station. Someone who would have a say in the station's operation, and space enough for one or two...friends."

"One or two?" inquired General Grey, who had expected something like this.

"A small garrison. Nothing elaborate. Perhaps a few dozen. Enough to assuage our fears, and ensure our word is listened to. There would be no threat to you, of course. As you say, our friends have nothing to fear."

"I see." said Grey, not liking the sound of 'garrison', but disliking the black hole out the window even more. "And in return?"

"Three clusters of tow-drones."

Behind him, Grey could hear his yeoman tapping some numbers into a padd. For his part, the General could only wait patiently until the Lieutenant frowned at his padd, and then raised an eyebrow at the General. Grey took this to mean "These numbers could be better."

"Will three clusters prove enough to match the Klingon's offer?" asked Grey, provoking a flicker of a frown from the Romulan Admiral. "I remind you that we would not be in this situation if those Romulan Mimic agents had not sabotaged our power systems-"

"I object! There is no proof that those agents were affiliated with the current Romulan administration!" she burst out, offended.

"Are you saying that the current administration has no control over its own forces?" Grey asked, continuing to press.

"They were never part of our forces!"

"Oh really?" asked Grey, skeptical. "So if I go to my doctors right now and ask them to transmit DNA samples from the dead agents-"

"Taking samples from Romulan citizens would be against the agreements signed by our governments!"

"How can they still be citizens if they are engaged in hostilities against us without your knowledge? Are they under your umbrella or not?"

"I...that is besides the point!"

"I agree. Perhaps you'd like to discuss sending additional ships to us, instead?"

"I, well, perhaps we could offer an additional cluster of drones. With a carrier as well, as a gesture of good faith." said Harok, quickly.

Grey watched the Romulan Admiral fold quickly under the pressure, and wondered just how far in advance she'd been told to hold some of the offer back until he'd pushed that button.


Looking over to his yeoman again, this time he received a nod.

"Ok, good. We agree, in principle. I'll have my diplomats hammer out the precise wording with your people."

"Very well." said Harok, withdrawing into her usual expression; that of a gentle smile topped by eyes that gave little away.

"And yourself, General Bok?"

"Several of my ships required repair following the black hole incident. We demand that the Tristan and Isolde shipyards be instructed to repair our vessels now, and in the future. We also demand equal footing to the Romulans, including a representative on the station, and space for a garrison."

Grey raised an eyebrow at this list.

"That's asking a lot."

"We have already given much!" barked General Bok, glaring at Grey. "We gave our technology and expertise to help you discover the Romulan treachery! We saved your station's children from the black hole! My fleet is damaged, and my people were at risk, all to guard yours!"

"You only helped us to gain access to our power systems, planting your own bombs." Grey pointed out.

"If Versailles had been compromised, a Plan B was needed." said the Klingon, unashamed.

"A tactical point I'd appreciate more if your Plan B hadn't involved the cold-blooded murder of all those children you just took credit for saving."

"Hrr." growled the General, lacking a comeback, to the amusement of the Romulan Admiral.

"So, you've made your demands. How many ships do you offer?"

"Three. The rest are required by the Empire."

"Three capital ships?" Grey clarified. "Negh'Var class?"

"...No. B'rel. Bird of Prey."

"Hmm." said Grey, staring at his Klingon counterpart. "Well, three ships are better than none, but I will not accept those terms."

"Once my fleet has been repaired, we can offer more ships in the future." offered an embarrassed Bok, glaring at the amused Romulan Admiral.

"More ships in the future won't help us now, General." sighed Grey. "The brief loan of three ships won't be enough for what you ask. Not without some changes to the deal." he added, thinking.

"What do you propose?" asked General Bok, suspicious.

"I propose that the Klingons commit some of your 'future' ships to the Tristan and Isolde shipyards as protection, along with a shipment of resources. Tristan and Isolde will use these to construct additional berths and facilities to enable them to repair your forces as well as our own. Your ships will be permitted to continue using these facilities for maintenance so long as the minimum level of ongoing protection is provided."

"...Very well, General Grey. We have a deal." begrudged General Bok, giving a slow nod.

"Are you sure?" asked Admiral Harok, suddenly interjecting. "The Klingons are the biggest force within striking distance. If they decide to attack-"

"Then it's best they see the shipyard as an asset to be preserved, rather than something to be destroyed."

"You believe the Klingons are that rational?"

"I believe that if the empire were that determined to destroy the shipyards, we'd have bigger problems."


"Enough." Grey stated, firmly. "The negotiations are now complete, and while you are welcome to stay and enjoy our many amenities..."

"I believe I have seen enough of your station, General. Signal the ship." commanded Harok, motioning to her bodyguard, who pushed a button on a comms device.

Moments later, the Romulan ship was docked once more, the door rumbling open to admit the unhappy Admiral.

"General." said the Admiral, giving a short nod to Grey. He nodded back, and that was that. She turned briskly and, with her bodyguard in tow, ignored the Klingons completely as she walked off the station.

With the port closed again, and the Romulan vessel moving away, Grey and Bok looked at each other, but declined to comment. The meeting had not gone well, and each had made promises beyond their station, so silence was the best option.

When the Klingon ship docked in turn, General Bok grunted the Klingon version of goodbye, and quickly left aboard his ship.

Now alone, Grey motioned to his yeoman, Lt Rogers.

"So, how bad is it?" Grey asked, suspecting the answer.

"Bad, sir." Rogers confirmed. "If the Klingons had offered the same as the Romulans, then we might be in with a chance, but..."

"So you're saying I need to find more ships."

"Yes sir."

"I'm going to need to beg the civilians and the Admirals, aren't I?"

"Yes sir."


=^= End of Log =^=

Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Commanding Officer
Starbase Versailles


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