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Negotiations

Posted on 20 Jun 2017 @ 7:43pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant David Moreau Jr & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D. & Lieutenant JG Dean Winchester & Ensign Shay Mitchell

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Deep Space 15
Timeline: MD 5 || 1300 hours

Before leaving the Security Complex, Winchester walked to the arms locker. Keying his authorization code, the door released and he pulled it open. Figuring this was going to be a diplomatic detail rather than a combat mission, he moment to consider what to take . After a second, he chose a Type-II hand phaser and a web belt that contained 2 stun grenades, a extra power cell for his phaser, hand restraints, a microfilament rope, and a tricorder. Closing the locker, he latched the belt around his waist, sliding the phaser and tricorder into their holsters as he walked out of Security and to the nearest lift. As he walked into the lift he said, "Flight Deck", the door slid shut quietly, the lift started moving quickly to his destination.

Arriving on the Flight Deck a few moments later, Winchester walked off the lift and took a look around. Unsure as to what craft they where using, he walked over to a nearby terminal, and after punching in his his codes said, "Computer, what craft has been assigned for the upcoming away mission to the station?" Almost immediately the computer replied, "Runabout USS Mississippi". Turning, he looked to his left and saw her with her aft hatch open. Walking over and entering, he took a seat in the back of the cabin and waited for the others to arrive.

After a stop at the Armory to get his utility belt with two stun grenades, a Type II phaser, two power cells, fifty feet of monomolecular rope, and a tricorder, David made his way to the flight deck where he saw Remington getting in the Danube runabout. He walked around it and checked it out with his tricorder and saw that it had recently been overhauled and passed out checks. Satisfied, he went back around to the hatch and waited for the others to show.

Entering the flight deck, a phaser discreetly on her hip, Avery couldn't help but feel a bit strange. Of course, she had been trained to use a variety of purposes in basic self-defense courses taught at the Academy, as well as hand to hand combat, but that didn't mean she was comfortable with it in her capacity as a counselor. She knew this mission was diplomatic in nature, but she also had plenty of experience to know that she needed to be prepared for anything. Her tricorder and basic medical tricorder were also readily reach.

"Hello," Avery graded, nodding to the two men politely.

Shortly after Avery entered the flight deck, so did Shay. Unlike some of her Security brethren, the Ensign looked a little different. Of course, she was in full uniform, but was without the belt around her waist. Side these negotiations were supposed to be peaceful, the young woman felt a blatant display of force would ensure the exact opposite. Despite that, though, she was still armed.

Across the bay, the turbolift doors parted, depositing Captain Geisler on the Flight Deck. Like the rest of the team, he was armed, but only with a Type-I hand phaser tucked away in a concealed placed on his hip. Though he'd calmly dealt with the blockade, Harvey didn't know what to expect next. He was leading a team of five to Deep Space 15, such a small group with which to handle negotiations.

Next to Harvey stood Commander Krasa, the station's rightful commander. He was unarmed, and insisted to be unarmed. Hopefully his decision would pay off. After all, he had much more to lose than Captain Geisler.

Harvey led Krasa out of the turbolift, only to spot his transport ready for departure. He hadn't known what ship they'd be taking, as he left those details to the Chief Flight Control Officer. Somehow, Mister Langston knew exactly what Harvey needed in this challenge, the familiar USS Mississippi. Harvey had come to know the runabout very well during his last command, and he had to fight back a tear seeing the legacy of the former Black Hawk live on.

He then spotted the rest of the Away Team had already gathered. "Mister Moreau," the Captain said as they approached. "We ready to go?"

"We are, Sir," David responded to the Captain. "As I'm runabout certified, would you like me to fly us in, Captain?"

The Captain nodded his acknowledgement. Not having to pilot the runabout would give Harvey the time to think about how best to approach these negotiations. "All aboard, everyone."

Moreau entered and went to the pilot's seat to begin a rapid pre-flight check before he powered the runabout up and waited for everyone to get aboard. "Ready when you are, Captain," he said.

Rather than sit in a chair, Harvey elected to stand almost directly behind the pilot's seat. "Take us out, Mister Moreau."

With his eyes going from the sensors to the view of all the ships in front of him and gave a nod. He raised the runabout off of the deck and through the forcefield that acted like a membrane keeping atmosphere in while allowing runabouts and shuttles to go in and out. "I'm receiving a flight path, Sir," he said as he checked an incoming signal. "Should I follow it or do you prefer a different route?"

"We should follow the flight plan," said Krasa. "Both the Rakhari and Selubassari are legalistically minded. Following the established plan will go a long way during the negotiations."

"Agreed," Harvey stated. For this to work, everyone was going to have to make a compromise of sorts. Establishing good relations now would work to their favor during this next stage.

"I'm on it," David said as he accepted the flight plan and maneuvered along the route that had been given to them. He kept one eye on the sensors and didn't like that the ships around them still had weapons hot while he transported the Captain in only a runabout.

It wasn't long before the Mississippi entered the designated shuttlebay. Various Starfleet and alien craft rested in their bays just waiting to be used again. Outside the runabout, a delegation of Selubassari stood ready to welcome Captain Geisler and his crew aboard. They too were armed.

"Everyone," Harvey said. "Our goal is to first mediate the dispute between the Rakhari and the Selubassari. In doing so, we will be able to secure the Vasco da Gama and the crews. We will not fire unless fired upon, and even then only for defense. If things go south, we will retreat to the runabout. Questions?"

"No, Captain," Ensign Mitchell replied from her seat. His words were the very reason she chose to make this journey on the lighter side.

David stepped out behind Mitchell and looked in every direction in a slow scan of the area and personnel of Selubassari, but he resisted the urge to lower his hand to where it was closer to his phaser. "Understood."

Not having any questions himself,Winchester climbed out behind everyone else. His eyes swept the entire bay for threats, while his hands hung loose at his sides, in a posture that was not threatening, but would allow him to get to his weapon quickly if need be.

Avery simply shook her head. She didn't have any questions, but that didn't mean her mind wasn't filled with racing thoughts and what if's. This mission wasn't going.to be easy, but then again, the Black Hawk's missions never were. She wondered if they would even know what to do if they ever experienced a simple milk run. She exited the shadow behind the rest of the team knowing the Captain would bring up the rear.

Harvey was the last to leave the runabout. While he was surprised how quickly security departed the runabout, Harvey chalked it up to the urgency and delicacy of the situation. One wrong move at any point would sour this all too quickly. To the Selubassari, Harvey greeted, "I am Captain Geisler of the Black Hawk. This is Commander Krasa."

These Selubassari were not fully clothed, though only their arms were exposed. The skin shone a pale yellow, indicating their caution about the situation overall. "This way, Captain," the leader of the welcome party said, before escorting them out of the shuttlebay.

Ensign Mitchell didn't wait to be given the go ahead as she moved to stand just off the Captain's left side. Outwardly, the young woman came off as cool, calm and collected... when in fact... she was anything but. This could go a number of ways, but she hoped it would go smoothly. No matter, her duty was to keep the Captain protected, and that was exactly what she was going to do.

The Selubassari led Captain Geisler and his team into the labyrinth of the station. Thankfully, this labyrinth was quickly traversed by turbolifts. Along the way, Harvey couldn't help but be dismayed by the condition of the Starbase. The corridors showed signs of looting and disrepair, as well as other damage in places where there shouldn't have been any. He couldn't help but wonder if this was what Captain Sisko felt walking onto Deep Space Nine for the first time.

At last, they arrived in the Ward Room where Yarden, the Rakhari commander and Courc, the Selubassari who claimed ownership of Deep Space Fifteen awaited them. Both Yarden and Courc were accompanied by armed guards. Already, Harvey could feel the tension in the room. Nodding to Lieutenant Moreau to place his troops, Harvey approached the table.

"Commander Yarden, Commander Courc. May I introduce Lieutenant Stuart, Ship's Counselor and Lieutenant Moreau, my Chief of Security. And this is Commander Krasa."

After the Selubassari turned to lead the Captain into the station, David activated his tricorder to do a passive scan of their surrounding and gave a nod to the Rakhari and other Selubassari. He looked at the other armed guards, taking note of their positions, weapons, readiness and posture before he motioned for Mitchell to cover the left flank while he covered the right closest to the Captain.

Winchester, as tall as he was, was drawing looks from the Rakhari and the Selubassari, but he took no notice of it. He pulled his tricorder out and did a quick scan. The results confirmed what he had already surmised, that there were numerous armed individuals in the vicinity. He closed his tricorder quietly and slid it back into its holster on his belt. Walking with the group, he took a position directly behind the Captain, his hands hanging loose at his side, but close enough to draw his phaser quickly if need be

Mitchell acknowledged the new Chief with a nod and remained where she was. Her eyes drifted to the armed guards, and the young woman found herself grateful she went without her belt. A show of force was definitely not needed in what could become a fairly tense situation.

Unlike his security guards, Couric was fully clothed, concealing his bioluminescent skin. By his doing so, there was no way for the aliens in the room to see his skin change color to betray his emotions. His head was capped, like the rest of his species, with an egg-like chamber that sat above two eyes. There were no ears or mouth to speak of, and whatever words they spoke resonated from the chamber atop the skull. "Who is this Bolian?" demanded Couric.

In regard to the four armed Selubassari guards, their chests were protected by padded armor and their arms exposed. Their skin shone yellow, a sign that they were apprehensive to the new arrivals, especially the extremely tall Lieutenant who dared scan the room with a tricorder.

"Commander Krasa," Harvey said simply as he sat down at the round table, "is my associate." Harvey had chosen his words carefully as to not anger the Selubassari. Introducing him as the rightful commander of the station would only force their talks into a downward spiral. Harvey did hope to address this particular issue, but not until after talks were resolved.

Yarden studied the blue-skinned man. His experience with Federation species was somewhat limited, largely having only interacted with Humans. He'd heard of 'Bolians' but this was the first time he'd seen one in person. He was uncertain what his pigmentation meant, but he distrusted the strange man instantly. "Captain," the Rakhari commander began, "let us not parse words, nor waste time on pleasantries. You are here to remove us from this system. In that, you are no different than other interlopers."

Harvey raised an eyebrow. He'd expected the worst when he entered the room, and if anything, at least he knew what work he'd have to do with the Rakhari. "On the contrary, Commander Yarden. Until a few months ago, you were all able exist together in some form of economic harmony. It is my hope to restore that relationship."

"The Selubassari need no interference from outsiders," declared Couric. "That includes Rakhari, Humans and Bolians."

At hearing this, Winchester raised his eyebrow a little, and slowly took a look at each person in the room. Not being very experienced in diplomacy, his muscles tensed slightly, but otherwise he was still, wondering what was going to happen next. Whatever happened, he hoped that it did not devolve into violence, because fighting in the tight space would be a nightmare, not to mention it would only serve to make the current diplomatic position far more difficult, if not flat out out impossible to resolve, at least in his mind.

"Your people have an expression," Yarden directed at the Human Captain, "'you can't unring the bell.' The Rakhari will not cede our holdings as the Federation did."

"We did not cede anything," Harvey stated, trying to keep his tone from being agitated. To Yarden, Harvey continued, "Nor do I plan to ask you too. I am here to both honor the treaty the Federation has with Finnea Prime, and to help settle the dispute between the Rakhari and Selubassari."

"There is no dispute," interjected Couric. "The Selubassari have entered a new agreement with the Finneans. We supplied new manufacturing technology and means to increase their exports. The Finneans did not deliver, and we are collecting on our debt. All exports from the planet, including those that the Rakhari have claim to, are property of the Selubassari until such time the debt is paid."

David noticed Winchester looking around and hoped the boy would keep it together and not make one of the Selubassari or Rakhari guards twitchy. He checked Mitchell and saw that she was firm in her place, then let his eyes travel over the guards from one to the other and back over to the Captain and Counselor. So far, so good he thought but didn't lower his state of combat readiness for a second.

Shay remained to the Captain's left, keeping her eyes and ears opened to what was going on around her. The young woman had hopes this wouldn't go south, but if it did, she'd be ready for it.

"Perhaps it would be helpful if all of us could better understand just how much this debt is, so we can focus our energies on creating a plan that would see such debt satisfied sooner rather than later," Avery suggested.

Couric snorted, if you could call it that. "The Finneans must act collectively when it comes to assuming debt," he answered. "Given their history of disagreements, it was surprising how quickly they all agreed to enter this arrangement with us, even though my people only have trade agreements with two of the Steadings. But, a debt is a debt. Under the terms, the Finneans agreed to assure Selubassari interests first until the debt was repaid. The Rakhari, just like the Dosi and Ferengi, will have to wait until we are satisfied."

"What kind of debt are we talking about?" Harvey asked, leaning forward slightly in his chair.

"The Finneans never held on to their capital," Krasa added, showing his more prepared study of the planet. Couric eyed him curiously as the Bolian spoke. "Their focus was in trade and making tourists and visitors happy. It was either squandered or invested into the planet, which is understandable given its history."

"That yields the question though," Harvey said, taking control of the conversation again. "What is the measure of their debt exactly? And what will it take for the Selubassari to be satisfied, especially since the Rakhari, and the incoming Ferengi and Dosi cruisers, are essential to the Finnean economy."

Couric was silent for a moment. "I have already answered your question, Captain. The measure of the debt is insignificant. What matters is that the Finneans agreed to settle with the Selubassari before honoring their other agreements."

Glancing over to Yarden, Harvey asked, "And how long was this debt in place?"

"Two months and six days," the Selubassari replied.

"Two months?" Krasa asked in surprise. "What sort of debt would require such a drastic measure, and how can the Finneans possibly make good on that?"

Couric sighed. “As I said before, the means to expand their manufacturing. Replicators, tools, machinery. It seems humans listen less than Selubassari.” It was an apt point seeing how Selubassari could only talk or listen, not both.

Harvey sighed in return. “Agreement or not, the Rakhari, Dosi and Ferengi also have claims and arrangements with the Finneans. And, per the treaty signed by the Federation and the Finneans, the Federation must be present at all trade agreement meetings, which is why this stations exists.”

“The Federation abandoned that right months ago,” Couric reminded.

“Under Consortium orders, which we do not recognize as valid orders,” Krasa interjected.

“Commander Krasa is correct,” Harvey confirmed. “For you to demand that we accept the invalid order is akin to you accepting that our presence here is not justified. You of all species should recognize the conundrum.”

Couric sat in silence for a few moments. The Selubassari saw only the written letter of the law, manipulating it only when it allowed them to gain. He could sense Captain Geisler’s urgency for order, after all, Couric knew why the man was really here. Couric had an interest in the probe, and where it came from. He’d come no further in the last two weeks than he had already. Perhaps it was time to get some help, and he couldn’t just ask for it.

“Very well, Captain. But our debt is binding to the Finneans. How do you propose we proceed?”

“A compromise,” Harvey said. “The Federation will recognize your debt. In exchange, the Federation will reassert its authority over Deep Space Fifteen. We will also ask the Rakhari to lift its blockade, and allow them, the Ferengi, and Dosi to resume their trading, but in a lesser capacity.”

Couric, without responding, looked to Yarden to see the Rakhari’s position on this deal.

"No," Yarden said quietly, but firmly. "Your Federation removed itself from this station. One cannot simply walk in and erase your prior actions. We Rakhari will not allow the former Dominion pets nor the untrustworthy Ferengi to further corrupt the Finneans." He looked Geisler in the eyes. "The blockade stands."

Harvey's eyes narrowed, wondering if Yarden had been listening at all. "Better the Ferengi and the Dosi than solely the Selubassari, Commander. Should the blockade stand, all you manage to accomplish is to allow the Selubassari to collect on their debt. I don't think I need to remind you of their... effectiveness and methods regarding getting what they want."

"And," Krasa added, "the Finneans are a proud people. They'll only be able to take these methods for so much longer. There are millions of Finneans on the planet below, but only a few thousand Selubassari. I'm sure you can do the math, Commander Yarden."

If the tension in the room in the room was any indication, then it could have been cut by the proverbial butter knife. The Selubassari, angered by Starfleet's words and knowledge of how the situation truly was, slowly moved their hands towards their weapons. They would not allow such words to be thrown at them for too much longer.

The big bald Security Chief looked over at the Selubassari guards and shook his head when he noticed their movement. "You don't want to do that," he said quietly but made no move with his own hand towards his phaser. "Nice and calm and let the bosses talk. We're just here to make sure everything stays nice and blood free."

Winchester stepped forward, his hand slightly brushing his Phaser. Looking the Selubassari dead in the eyes, he shook his head and said, "Now we don't need this, lets all just talk and get along, being hostile will get us nowhere".

"Stand down, Winchester," Moreau said when he heard the Lieutenant JG speak. "I got this. You look pretty."

"Aye sir", Winchester said stepping back, all 7 foot of him standing erect as a statute watching for anything hostile or out of the ordinary.

Shay kept her eyes on the guards, but didn't physically react. Any kind of display of violence wasn't necessary until the Selubassari guards gave them definite reason to be. Still, she held her position next to the Captain, prepared to move in front of him if she had to. For now, staying calm and keeping her wits about her was the name of the game.

Harvey fought the urge to turn around and snap at the outspoken officer. The tension was thick in the room, and all it took was a wrong move at this point to completely undo what was happening. He had to appear as in control of his crew, and he was forced to trust his security chief, whom he still didn't know all that well, to keep everyone's weapons in their holsters.

Couric, though he had glanced up at the tall Starfleet lieutenant, managed to keep his focus on the talks. His feelings were quite mixed in this room, but he had to keep his attention on what mattered. While he did not enjoy the apt descriptions by the Federation officers, he still had other things to gain. Finding a resolution here would help them accomplish their goals.

"My mathmatical skills are sufficient," the Rakhari commander answered. "A solution that doesn't reintroduce the the Dosi and Ferengi to Finnea. They aren't even here to plead their case." He looked at Couric. "We can find a solution that benefits us both, while allowing the Finneans to maintain their dignity. Does that work for you, Commander?"

Couric nodded. "What exactly do you have in mind, Commander?"

"As I have stated, the Rakhari have no interest in letting other claimants continue to subjegate the Finneans. Your people included. However," Yarden continued, "you have a valid debt you are owed by the Finneans. We can honor that. We would ask for shared control of this station in exchange."

Couric considered the proposal. He valued information above all, and information could often be used to suit the needs of the Selubassari to bend others to their will. To have a Rakhari so close... this could be beneficial. "The Selubassari are willing," Couric said, "As long as we are equals, and the Federation possesses the largest piece of control."

Though he had little desire to return the Federation to the system, Yarden saw that as the eventual reality. "Even shares," the Rakhari offered, purposely avoiding directing his words to Geisler. "Three ways," he followed, motioning to each of the negotiators, though he still focused his attention on Couric.

The Selubassari sat there for a few seconds, weighing his options. His eyes studied Yarden before moving over to the Bolian and the Human. From what he knew of Starfleet Captains, they would rarely take their Executive Officer on assignments like this, especially when Starfleet was already inspecting the Vasco da Gama and the crew held in custody. Perhaps this Bolian was meant to be Starfleet's new representative. Couric liked Bolians, especially since they liked to talk and were easily manipulated. "That would be agreeable," he said at last. "Captain?"

Harvey fought a sigh. He didn't like these arrangements, but it was a starting point. They could work on this as they went along. "I will agree, as long as all Starfleet assets, including every person aboard this station and the Vasco da Gama are immediately returned."

"That I can arrange," Couric said. He would deal with that particular fallout later on.

"Commander Yarden?" Harvey asked, looking back over to the Rakhari. "Is that satisfactory?"

The Rakhari answered with a nod. "Shall we face the interlopers together?" Yarden asked. "The Dosi and the Ferengi would be foolish to face off against our combined power."

Harvey shook his head. "The Dosi and the Ferengi may have claims and contracts to fulfill as well. But, the Federation is willing to deal with them for now. Besides, we are here to keep a fight from happening, not start one."

"That is unfortunate, Captain. The Rakhari will not allow the untrustworthy Ferengi or a former 'client-state' of the Dominion interfering with the Finneans."

"While you may not allow it," Harvey pointed out, "Dosi and Ferengi contracts comprise thirty percent of the Finnean exports. Denying their claims will cause long-term damage to the Finneans. If you are so inclined to eliminate the Ferengi and the Dosi's involvement, you'll have to take the long road to slowly buy them out. Until then, their claims are as valid as yours. Not to mention their claims are in Steadings that the Rakhari are without representation in."

The Human had a valid point, no matter how much Yarden hated to admit it. "They are not allowed on this station," he said firmly. There was no reason for either the Dosi or Ferengi to set foot on the base. "If they have dealings with the Finneans, they can conduct their business on the surface." He quickly added, "Within their respective Steadings."

Harvey nodded, and looked to Couric, who verbalized his agreement. "We are in agreement then," he stated. "If there are no objections, the Federation will resume our position aboard the station." He shot a reassuring look to Commander Yarden. "In our part of the station that is."

"That," Yarden started slowly, "will have to be acceptable." He glared at Geisler. "The Rakhari will enforce our boundaries. With force, if necessary."

Under other circumstances, Avery might have been pleased they had come to an agreement without bloodshed, but as it was, she still felt uneasy. Catching the eyes of the others in the room from their team, Stuart could tell she wasn't the only one who believed things could blow up in their faces at any moment. It was a start, however, and given the losses they'd experienced still not far from their minds, any interaction that didn't result in spilled blood could be considered a win… If only for today.

With things looking as though they were going to be concluding soon, Ensign Mitchell waited for Captain Geisler to give them the go ahead to move. Once they'd vacated, she was sure there would be more work to do with those from the da Gama, but those orders would be made available to her and the rest of Security presently. For now, though, her main focus was keeping the Captain safe and getting him back the to their ship in one piece.

Winchester, even though not experienced in diplomacy, thought that this deal was total crap and would more than likely blow up in their faces, remained silent. Instead he moved slightly up to a position behind the Captain, getting ready for when they would be leaving which the way these talks were going would be soon.

"Then we have a deal," Harvey told the parties in the room. "As such, Commander Couric, I shall expect every member of Starfleet held in custody aboard this station to be released, as well as the Vasco da Gama and other assets you may have."

Couric only nodded in agreement. His plan to satisfy the Captain for now had been accomplished. Couric knew Geisler would be back, and it would only be a matter of time. "Of course, Captain."

"Commander Krasa," Harvey indicated, "will be the Federation's representative on the Starbase effective immediately. Thank you all." With that, Harvey stood, nodded at the representatives, and left the room. He knew that this was only a first step, and that the mystery before them was greater than ever before. All he could do now was hope that Commander Teixeira, Commander Djinx and Lieutenant Corwin had found something to go off of next.

 

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