1,293 words; about a 6 minute read
Location: Conference room | Deck 1 | USS Artemis
Governor Miquel sat with Captain Chambers and a few of the senior staff. They were making light conversation while waiting for the First Officer to arrive with the representatives from the pirate organization that seemed to be giving the Vindarins so much hell.
“Hopefully this goes well” the Governor said with a smile.
“Let’s hope” Carmelita returned the smile and stood from her chair when Commander Sledge and her Chief of Security entered the room with their guests.
"Captain," Moriarty nodded to her as he made his way in and then stood aside, motioning to the others to take a seat. He remained standing as they filtered in though. Just in case.
Carmelita gave Moriarty a nod and spoke as the last of them took their seats. “I want to welcome you both Vinstril and Aetius” she offered a smile on the two men she was sure Jesse was keeping his eye on. “And thank you for agreeing to meet with Governor Miquel. Hopefully we can reach a compromise between your people.”
Governor Miquel was on the opposite side of the table from Vinstril and Aetius. He made eye contact and offered a slight smile “yes I agree with the Captain. A peaceful solution would be better then continuing the way we have been.”
Vinstril listened but said nothing, he only looked over at his partner and raised an eyebrow.
Aetius looked at her for a moment, before he smiled gently. "I have brought with me someone who can...help translate. She will be beaming over shortly," he said, before his features hardened as he met Miquel's eyes. "Because I won't stand for my people getting shafted anymore. Not by your people, Governor...and not by the Federation, your newest allies."
“Shafted” replied the Governor followed by a chuckle.
Aetius looked at him, standing and leaning over the table a little, to be closer. "Exploited," he said, firmly. "We are only taking what we have bled for, what you refuse to pay fairly for. And you now have the Federation dancing from your lips. I will not stop until we are treated fairly as a people, paid for our labours, without the threat of a loss of water, food and air should we attempt to negotiate."
“The Federation hasn’t made anything official” Captain Chambers reminded everyone in the room. “I can assure you we will not accept people not receiving their fair pay and being denied basic necessities like water and food.”
Aetius looked over at the Governor, a sly smile coming to him. "Hear that?" he tsked before he shook his head. "Sounds like you haven't been all honest-like."
The doors opened and a security officer escorted in the female representative that Aetius had mentioned. Eva Grey moved in, dressed in a dark jumpsuit she'd gotten on Aetius' ship. "Apologies for making you wait. Eve Aragorn, I'm a...partner of Aetius and Vinstril," she hoped that by giving the name of her legend rather than her own, it would be clear to the others that she wanted to remain undercover for just a little while longer. "And there's a lot to discuss..." she sent a dark gaze towards the Vindarian representatives.
“Well why don’t you start the discussion” Captain Chambers said to the woman she had to pretend she didn’t know.
Eva nodded, making her way to the seat, inwardly relieved at the Captain keeping her cover for the time being at least. She waited until everyone was settled before setting her clasped hands on the table. "It seems there's a more...complicated story going on here than first meets the eye. These...'pirates' come from a mining world. They are descendants of prisoners sent there to work as punishment. Generations on, and the Vindarians took advantage of these people in need. They took control of their food and supply runs...but only handed it over in exchange for the resources that they were mining. Of course, that meant the Vindarians had complete control over the exchange, and it turned to exploitation. Leaving them as little more than trapped slaves. Until the slaves had enough of the boot on their back and decided to revolt..." she looked the Governor dead in the eye. "How am I doing?"
The Governor had a nervous look on his face. He glanced over at the Captain and then back at Eva and remained silent.
“Is this true, Governor Miquel” Captain Chambers asked turning her attention to one of her guests.
“I” Miquel paused “I must admit it happened in the past, before I was Governor” he looked at the Captain and then at others in the room hoping for sympathy.
Captain Chambers looked to her other guests to see what they might have to add or possibly Eva.
"They rose up against you, and stole your ships in a bid for freedom," Eva continued, tilting her head as she fixed her her gaze on the Governor. "And then you had the audacity to run to Starfleet for help, claiming you didn't know why these 'pirates' would possibly want to attack you," Eva sat back, spreading her hands to either side in something close to a shrug. "But...now we're all on the same page...there is good news. Now we know what they want...we have a clear place to start the negotiation."
“I agree” Carmelita smiled “what is it your people are wanting, Aetius?”
"We want fair payment for labour," Aetius said as he watched them. "We want free access to the resources we need to survive. Air. Water. Food we can make, we have successful Aereg farms in orbit, it's seen many cycles of people kept alive. We want to be recognised, as a people, rather than a band of outlaws." He let out a breath and held his palms up. "If those conditions are met, I will ensure the factions do not attack anyone. We aren't after war. We just want to live."
Carmelita remained silent but turned her full attention to the governor.
“I” Miquel paused and it was a long pause. The look on his face made it clear he was weighing all his options and finally he spoke “we can agree.”
“Very well we will help you with the terms and transition” Captain Chambers offered.
Miquel smiled “thank you Captain” he said looking over at the leader of the opposing side.
Eva sat back as she crossed her legs, looking across to Aetius with an arched eyebrow. The decision was in his hands, and she hoped for everyone's sakes that he chose to step towards peace.
Aetius took a slow, deep breath, and it was clear he was considering it all. He had won. The verbal battle had been won, but was it enough? Would it be enough for the other Captains? He could take revenge now. He could demand more, could sully his enemy's reputation. He could draw a weapon and kill the man before him. Starfleet were about diplomacy. They would perhaps not see the blade before it was too late. All these thoughts went through his head and he watched Miquel, nostrils flaring for a moment, anger bubbling under the surface. The silence was tense for a long moment before he finally nodded. "Then I will do what I can with my people," he finally said. "For peace."
“For peace” the Governor said with a smile.
The diplomatic negotiations lasted another hour or so and the respective parties left the Artemis and returned home. With in 24 hours the ship and crew were on their way to the nearest starbase for some crew transfers. The Chief Medical Officer and the Captains Second Officer would be transferring to continue a research project.