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Be Kind, Be Useful, Be Fearless

Posted on Jan 16, 2017 @ 12:03pm by Marie-Claire Martine & Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jan 16, 2017 @ 1:52pm

Mission: Aftermath

“Be Kind, Be Useful, Be Fearless”


=/\=

Location: VULCAN

Scene: Hussein Karimi’s Office -> Xana Bonviva’s Office

Stardate: [2.17] 0115.2255

“You need to develop a portfolio,” Xana began. This was the Senior Staff meeting with Karimi, where she stood before his desk with Marie-Claire Martine (senior advisor), with Leitas Sh'zhilil (legislative aide and polling advisor) and their newest hire, Gideon Bosley (press secretary).

Hussein Karimi was standing behind his desk, reading whatever was on his screen, and half listening. “Portfolio?”

Xana gave a look to the others. M-C picked up the lead. “It will help your profile with the delegates,” Marie-Claire explained. “Right now the delegates are only taking our meetings out of courtesy but there’s not been much interest in beyond that.”

Leitas pulled up her own stats and transferred that to the others including Karimi’s terminal. “Research shows that there’s a number of areas where you could take the lead. It would should that *you* are out in front, this is why the Earth cannot be relegated to the Assembly only but should be in the Council.”

The three women looked at the newest member of the Senior Staff, a volunteer who had been hired this week that had done great work during the first campaign. A wide smile that was framed by a neat, dark beard but with dark spiraling hair tumbling from his mocha skin, Gideon Bosley was very noticeable as their press secretary and that was before he opened his mouth. “Sir, I can *definitely* do something with a portfolio,” he promised with great charm, the implication clear that he wasn’t able to do much with the meet and greets that Karimi had been doing up to date.

Hussein Karimi continued his perusal of the comm, never glancing at his staff.

Xana looked at the staff and decided that it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission. “We have three opportunities: 1) Restoring the Voice of all those in the Federation, 2) Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All, or 3) Principled Leadership.”

Then Andorian lead for polling and legislative affairs pulled up her notes. “Xana presented those in order of how they polled within the Assembly. However, the margin of error is slim enough that you would have your pick. There is not a clear lead on these issues, not from a main world.”

Silence reigned in the room. Whatever was on Karimi’s console -- the news, the scores from last night’s game, a good novel, porn -- was keeping him occupied. So Martine decided to sweeten the pot. “You do it in the manner that you’ve done everything else and this isn’t just a platform for now but a platform for future campaigns.”

Bosley leaned into the desk as he swept his hand out in an imaginary arc showcasing Karimi. “Think of it. Instead of having to chase the press like we did last campaign, they would be *begging* us. You would be the lead in all four quadrants, paving the way on an issue. I will not be able to keep up with the requests for you.” Karimi did glance up at that which caused Bosley to give a reassuring smile, “I will, Sir, don’t worry.”

“What about Starfleet support or supporting Veterans Rights?” Karimi asked.

Xana and Martine tried to look at the floor or the ceiling or the door, anywhere but at each other, they had feared this could be Hussein’s reaction and yet as the the only two people in the room with Starfleet experience they didn't feel free to answer the way they wanted to. There were two realities here: the first being that after the neo-Essentialist conflict this was not the time for someone from Earth to be advocating for Starfleet (or even Veterans Affairs); second, with no military experience even without the neo-Essentialist conflict it was going to be difficult for Karimi to develop that as his portfolio.

“The areas we outlined have no identified leaders,” Leitas finally pointed out, sidestepping the Starfleet issue.

“Hmm,” Karimi grunted. “Well if that’s all you have, we’ll keep to the schedule for today. Staff dismissed.”

The four Senior Staff turned and left Karimi’s office and went into Xana’s office which was next door.

Closing the door, Xana watched held up her hand indicating the staff shouldn’t get comfortable. “Ok, it’s clear to those of us in here that our current strategy isn’t working. And you know what that isn’t working for me. If we’re going to go down, I want to go down fighting.”

Marie-Claire gave her a look but it was Bosley who spoke up first. “What do you mean?”

“You can start by leaking to the press that the Earth Assembly is putting forward an aggressive legislative agenda as crafted by Leitas for…” Xana said as she reviewed Leitas’ notes, “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All. That right, Earth is going to advocate for rights to all people, not just Federation members.”

Looking at the shocked faces before her she said, “We may lose battles, we may lose the Council seat. But to move anywhere we need to talk. But what in the name of 99 hells is talking good for if we’re not going to raise the level of public discourse in the Federation? No we are going to raise important issues that others ignore. Let this be our legacy.”

Leaning back on the edge of the desk she surveyed her desk. “That sound good to you, Marie-Claire?”

The French woman nodded. “I serve at the pleasure of the Assembly from Earth.”

Xana held back a smile. “Leitas?”

“I serve the Assembly Member from Earth,” the Andorian legislative and polling aide nodded.

Bosley held up his hands before Xana could ask. “I serve at the pleasure of Earth.”

“Good,” Xana nodded. “Then let’s get off our asses and in the game.”

As the others filed out, Xana bounced off her desk and saw her door had opened during her little pep talk with the Senior Staff Karimi had been standing in his office, just across the way listening. So Xana stood there staring back at him, waiting to see what he would do.

After a few moments of staring at each other, Karimi turned around and went back to his desk, leaving Xana to wonder if he approved of her plan or if he was just riding it out. Or perhaps he was just watching, waiting for her to flame out and fail.

=/\=

Scene: Martine’s Office

Marie-Claire entered the small room that served as her office. She quickly removed the jacket of her crisp navy pantsuit and practically threw it over a side chair. For a moment she wondered if they had lit an actual fire under Karimi’s seat if it would have prompted any response whatsoever. This was going to be more difficult than she and Xana had originally thought. Not that either of them backed down from a challenge.

“Computer, open file Karimi two.” The system chirped and the console flickered with the information she had requested. She straightened her ivory blouse and sat down. It was a dossier on the candidate’s biography. She’d read it several times, but it was time to dive deeper, and possibly find a clue to his cause célèbre. His refusal to invest in any of their ideas was troubling, but not unexpected. That way, if the election wasn’t successful, he could throw Xana and the rest of the team under the bus and come out of it unscathed.

In her opinion, it was foolish to agree to represent the Federation without assuming a certain amount of risk. Not a mindless, careless sort of risk, but a calculated, intelligent risk. Even in her life of quiet service and solitude, there had been decisions and results. Not all favorable. But she had risen each time like the phoenix from the ashes. It had given her the strength to keep making those choices, and accepting those consequences with grace.

Karimi didn’t seem to understand what consequences were, much less decide to accept those consequences as a part of the challenges of office. Just because they were trying to be conservative didn’t mean they didn’t want to affect real, positive change. But if Hussein Karimi didn’t give them his buy-in, the only change might end up being the lack of EARTH having a full Council seat.

Martine looked up and noticed Gideon Bosley standing across from her. He had rolled his sleeves up and was in the process of making his rounds. He made it a point to visit each department at least once a day, but his habitual nature wasn’t stuffy at all. He was relaxed, but ready to work.

“Good morning,” she said warmly.

“Bon matin.” The words stirred up a fondness between them. Even though she was Canadian, and he was originally from Monaco, the French language was something they shared.

“They say it’s impossible to serve two masters,” the press secretary said as he offered her some coffee. He’d also placed an assortment of food on the tray, and she decided on an egg sandwich.

“Are you always in the habit of dispensing wisdom with your breakfast?”

“Not always,” he admitted. “But it’s more efficient if I can.”

She sipped her coffee. “Which two masters are you referring to?”

“Karimi the man, and Karimi the candidate.”

M-C huffed. “Is it that noticeable?”

“Not at first,” Bosley admitted. “But a few briefings with the man have made it pretty clear. He’s got all the charisma of a piece of plastisteel.”

“He’s played it neutral his whole government career and all of a sudden we’re looking for that spark of creativity to take us into a new era. Peut-être, we are the ones being foolish.”

“Having hope isn’t foolish. What are you looking at?”

“I’m looking for something in his history that we can use to inspire him. To motivate him.”

“May I?” Martine nodded, and Gideon walked around and stood behind her, viewing the same documents that she was.

“I’ve wanted to ask: What brings a young man to Vulcan to join such an *exciting* campaign?”

He laughed a little. “You’re being sarcastic.”

“Yes, but the question is genuine.”

“I sort of felt like Earth got a raw deal. Yes, we’ve had our share of villains. There’s a hole where a beautiful city used to be. There’s a lot of disillusionment on both sides of the equation. There are several power players who think we should take a step back to atone for our sins. But I believe a stronger stance is to step up and demonstrate, now more than ever, that we can support the totality of the Federation despite those among our own people who wouldn’t and didn’t.”

M-C rubbed her forehead. “When we first started this, I was sure the majority would agree with us. Now, I don’t know. I’m beginning to think idealism is wasted on youth.”

Gideon rested his hands on her shoulders, then moved them in a circular, massaging motion. “Idealism is never a waste. As Stewart once said, ‘You can use your idealism to further your aims, if you realize that nothing is Nirvana, nothing is perfect.’ Besides, I’m not as young as you think I am, Marie-Claire.”


=/\=

Scene: Corridor-> Council Of Bolarus IX

Leitas walked down the corridor with Xana. “Do you want to know the over-under?”

“On us getting this through? There’s an over-under on that already?” Xana asked as they made their way through the labyrinth maze of the government buildings. On EARTH, the buildings took their cue from the cities they were in. Paris’ buildings were cool and sophisticated with gleaming marble floors and elegant gilded windows that had peered out onto gardens of history. San Francisco had sharp modern buildings, jutting up from the soil to frame the bay, all of sharp chrome angles and windows to let in sun bouncing off the Pacific Ocean.

VULCAN then had it’s own feel...buildings that felt as if they rose from the desert or were extensions of the mountains organically, with narrow windows that were high along the walls. Natural stone floors muted the footsteps of the many government officials that walked to and fro as they ferried themselves from office to office, currying favors, sneaking clandestine messages; pushing or pulling back progress (depending upon your point of view), or making backroom deals.

The rooms were different; the locale was new; but the work of government was always the same.

“No one is concerned about that,” Leitas said with a sharp, dismissive hand gesture, referring to Karimi’s staff.

As they turned the corner to walk towards the permanent Council Member offices, Xana frowned slightly. “Do I want to know this over-under?”

“Usually you like being in on these things,” Leitas pointed out. When there was silence she shrugged. “It’s about you know who doing eventually--”

Xana held up a hand, “--don’t want to know who is sleeping with who.”

“Really?”

Xana paused for a sec; ok so she *did* want to know. But she *shouldn’t* want to know. Being Chief of Staff was seriously killing her ability to know some really good gossip. “Oh look we’re here,” she announced a little too brightly when they got to the door of the Bolarus Council door.

Leitas’ antennae did a small twirl but otherwise there was no other reaction from the Andorian woman.

The two women walked into the Bolian offices and gave their names for their appointments. After several minutes, Leitas was led away to meet with her Bolian counterpart and Xana was led into an office to meet with hers, a man she had known around politics for several years -- Qafe Renin.

“Xana! It’s so good to see you again,” Qafe grinned. After waving her into his office and offering the Bolian customary food/drinks, they both sat on comfortable chairs on the side of the office. “I must admit I’m surprised to see you again so soon after the meeting the other day.”

Xana shifted in her chair, careful to smooth out her violet and gray pantsuit. Yes, Hussein Karimi and Delegate Drass did meet two days ago and it was awkward to say the least; not bad, not good. Just like a really awkward first date that no one was in a rush to call anyone from. “Well, you may have noticed I’m here by myself.”

“You brought an aide,” Qafe pointed out.

“I’m a politician, that’s practically alone,” she joked.

Qafe laughed at that, making his bifurcated ridge appear more prominent. “Too true, too true. So what can I do for you?”

“Well I’m here for two reasons. One is work,” she explained, “and the other is more...personal.” Leaning in she asked quietly, “May I ask, before I go on, that I have your complete discretion?”

If he had hair, Qafe would have raised an eyebrow. As it was, she could tell she had his attention. “Of course.” Leaning in as well he said, “And I have to tell you, if this is what I think it is, I’m thrilled. And it’s about time.”

Years in Starfleet, then followed by Diplomacy and politics, taught her to prepare for various scenarios. Unfortunately it also taught the azure woman that she had to live to throw those plans out at a moment’s notice. “Time?” she asked.

Throwing out his hands in a wide gesture, Qafe grinned, “Yes! Xana this is the perfect time! Oh I was just saying the other day -- well we all were after that terrible visit -- we couldn’t understand why you had left BOLARUS IX to go work for Karimi’s campaign. But now I get it! You built up a reputation on BOLARUS IX, left for a little bit to leave them floundering, get back your name recognition in the Federation government, and *now* you have the time to go back for the Bolian election!”

Xana looked around for a drink, grabbed the first glass she saw, swallowed it without thinking and desperately tried to figure a way out of this. And Qafe kept going. “You have the name recognition. Now I know you’re going to say you want planetary governor, but you’re not ready and it’s Yalar Xall’s time for it and he doesn’t have much time left. He won’t be in the position for but a year or two. You’ll get Lt. Governor then after that year or two you’ll be in perfect position for Governor of BOLARUS IX. After that, you have any position you want in the Federation.”

Meanwhile Xana was rooted to her chair but had her eyes’ scanning around the office for a stronger drink. This was a Bolian politician’s office, there had to be firewater somewhere. Wait, no, there was no firewater. Fantastic, no firewater, and now she had to talk down Qafe from thinking she was running for Bolian office.

“It’s flattering,” Xana smiled. As Qafe bobbled his head, she continued on, “But...that’s not why I’m here.”

“You want Governor?”

“I’m not running.”

There was a long silence that stretched out in the office for an uncomfortable amount of time. Finally Xana, who had never been comfortable with silence, filled the gap. “I really am flattered. Perhaps if I was in another place in my life, it would be different,” she said softly. “But I’m not. This is where I am.”

It was a kind of truth, and a kind of lie. Mostly truth, she decided. Her children would have a fit if they had to move to BOLARUS IX (except for Ben, if she promised enough ice cream and all the stoop ball he wanted). But that’s not to say that Jake would let Dahlia and Ben come...and now that she had to share parenting...these were things she had to think of.

Tempting, yes. But in the end, she had to be realistic. Besides even if she did run, the campaign would be a disaster, she realized, and reality would quickly smack her upside the head. No need to put anyone through that.

Qafe sat back then. “What’s so personal that brought you here?”

“The Save Bolarus fund,” Xana said.

Qafe shrugged his shoulders. “The bill was passed and signed, resources allocated. What’s the big deal?”

Xana gave him a look. “I may not be on BOLARUS IX anymore but I still hear from them,” she said. “The resources are *not* going to where they need to.”

“Everyone fights over resources,” Qafe said with a dismissive hand-gesture.

The azure woman gave a hard look, “They fight over resources that have been drained. The resources are *gone*.”

Qafe got up and went to his desk, “Any and all complaints from BOLARUS should flow through *this* office. Not EARTH,” he said with a look. “Anything else?”

Xana stretched out her legs. “My legislative aide is meeting with yours.”

“I know this,” Qafe replied sounding extremely bored.

Bonviva gave a look over at the Bolian man. “We’re about to introduce a Assembly Bill AB2577: Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All.” When Qafe snapped his head up Xana pretended to inspect her manicure. “Just giving you a heads’ up.”

“EARTH is going to do that?” he asked.

Xana slowly stood up and walked over to Qafe’s desk. When she was sure she had his attention she slapped her hands down on his desk and leaned in. “Yes, we’re introducing that. As a way of making up for the atrocities that have happened from one of our own. And we were going to ask BOLARUS IX if they wanted to co-sponsor with us given their long history of recognizing inalienable rights. But given that you were so unimpressed by EARTH’s representative the other day, I think we’ll be taking our bill elsewhere.”

As Xana turned around to walk away, Qafe called out. “Xana, I’m saying this as your friend. It’s never going to pass.”

Xana gave a glance over her shoulder at her friend. “By Nine...since when do we *ever* stop to think of letting that stop us to help a fellow person who needs aid? Bolarus used to be first, let me know when you remember that.”

With that the azure woman, flipped her her white hair and walked out of the office. Qafe sat back and exhaled. Getting up, he walked through his own inner door that led into Drass’ office. Much like other Delegate’s offices, Drass as the representative from BOLARUS IX, has a well-appointed office that represented the best of his world. However, Qafe wasn’t here to admire the picture of the Cliffs of Bole or the glass with the sands of Bolika. Instead, he stood at the edge of Drass’ desk until he was recognized.

“Ah, Renin,” Drass said softly. His voice never rose beyond a few octaves; an early childhood illness had injured his vocal chords that left him with a voice that was difficult to hear. “How did your meeting with Ms. Bonviva?”

“It’s true,” Qafe said quietly. “She’s heard about the Fund to Save Bolarus. That’s why she was here.”

Dress seemed unconcerned. “You took care of it, right?”

“She didn’t take the bait,” Qafe sighed. He began to pace the floor. “Everything said she would jump at the chance to run, but she flatly refused. She first refused Lt. Governor, then when I dangled Governor she bypassed that.”

Drass put down his PADD and sat back, resting his hands on his protruding stomach, gathered over the lifetime of many meals. “It was the best she was going to get.” Noticing the frown on Qafe’s face he said, “Worried for your friend? Well that’s her problem, not yours. We made her a generous offer to stop, she’s going to find out others are not so generous.”

With that Qafe, recognizing he was dismissed, slinked away to his office. Drass, rubbing his temple, opened up a secure comm and waited until the beeps died down. “Hello. Yes, well I wouldn’t be contacting you unless there was a problem. Someone is digging into the fund and it’s only a matter of time before they link it to *you* and your precious shiny materials…”

=/\=
NRPG: I thought I'd turn up the heat on the political intrigue ;-)

As always thanks to Susan for letting me bounce ideas off her!
=/\=

Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Xana Bonviva

and

Susan Ledbetter
~writing for~
Marie-Claire Martine


=/\=

Be Kind, Be Useful, Be Fearless

-- President Barack Obama

 

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