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Ghost Protocol

Posted on Jun 13, 2017 @ 11:35pm by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Edited on on Jun 13, 2017 @ 11:36pm

Mission: The Romulan Way

“Ghost Protocol”
(Continued from “First Contact”)


“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.”
-Sir David Frost


SD: [2.17]0611.2350
Scene: Cns’ Office

The triumvirate that formed the Counselling department staff had taken over Eve’s office, each holding an identical PADD. In an incredibly short span of time they had gone from being parked in the Neutral Zone to hosting a banquet of sorts for the unknown quantity that was the Romulan contingent. Everyone had a role to play and it was important to be prepared. “What’s next, synchronizing our chronometers?” Xander joked.

Eve smiled. “Nice try. You know the computer does that automatically.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this… wound up before,” Owen mused, while Captain Smooshy rested his upper body on the Trill’s knee, his back half lolling on the comfy chair, seemingly content with the occasional pat on the head.

“The fact is…” Eve paused. She was a little on edge but didn’t want to admit it. “Truthfully, we don’t have an Ambassador, a Liaison, nothing. Just because we’re working without a net does not mean I want this to turn into ‘Cowboy diplomacy’ or even anything close to it. And I know Captain Kane and Admiral Stiles would agree to a fault.”

“The *Romulans*, hello?” Kass’ nephew chimed in, taking a bite of turkey sandwich.

“I don’t care if they’re all Tal Shiar. Starfleet bears the burden here. We’re in their court, in their territory. We cannot give them any reason to label us the ones that don’t want the peace accord. The way Humanity hasn’t measured up lately, the last thing we need is any of that tarnish to rub off on the Federation.”

Lieutenant JG Arion looked thoughtful. “They could be bluffing. We could be walking right into a trap.”

Eve picked at her grilled chicken salad. “And if I had a bar of latinum for each time I’ve heard that theory in the last eight hours I’d be rich enough to go live on an island somewhere and wait it all out.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Lysander Elgin asked.

“Who’s kidding,” Eve said with a twinkle in her eye, “Owen or me?”

“Either of you. Both of you.”

Eve leaned back into the sofa cushion. “I’m not going anywhere, intergalactic incident or not. But Owen’s right. It’s a calculated risk the PHOENIX is being sent to take.”

“What’s Starfleet going to do if it backfires?” Lysander’s question was an honest one, but not one with a clear answer.

Eve let her ponytail fall over her left shoulder. “If you want, I could play risk management with you all afternoon, but the answer to that question isn’t up to any of us. Our goal is to make it through tonight with decorum and professionalism.” With that, she stood up. “Speaking of professionalism, I’m going to visit the Vulgar Tribble, see how things are going with Iphie.”

“What do you want us to do?”

Eve walked towards the exit. “Continue to compile a list of any staff that might have a bone to pick or may harbor ill will with the Romulans. Communicate any security concerns regarding these people to Lieutenant Yu and her staff. I’ll be available by comm if you need anything.”

Elgin looked down at the remaining workload, which was minor. “We should be able to wrap this up soon enough, Eve. I’m not about to miss my shot at providing the evening’s entertainment.”

She stood in the doorway. “I wanted to thank you for that.”

“My pleasure. I just hope my date approves.”

“Date?” Eve asked, and the two men exchanged a look.

“I have been sworn to secrecy,” Owen said much too seriously.

“Okay, okay, I’ll find out later. If I don’t see you until later, just remember ‘Music hath charms that soothe the savages’.”

The copper-haired man laughed. “That’s not how the quote goes.”

Eve shrugged. “Call it poetic license.”


Scene: The Vulgar Tribble

Lieutenant Dalziel wasn’t sure what she’d find as she entered the social hub of the ship, with mere hours to go until the Romulan contingent’s arrival. But, actually, things were starting to look festive, and better yet, not panicked. Large runners of smooth fabric hung from the ceiling, showcasing both the Starfleet logo as well as that of the Romulan Star Empire. It was almost opulent.

She scanned the room, looking for the younger Bonviva sister, and found her behind the bar, near the entrance to the kitchen. She was talking to the Chief of Operations, not surprising considering this was all about each department working in tandem.

“What do you call it when a Betazoid and a Cardassian walk into a bar?”

Iphie turned to look at the woman she called Woo Woo, and naturally the man’s dark eyes followed. “I give up. What?”

“Us,” Eve said with a smile. Iphie giggled.

“I was here first,” Von pointed out.

“Yes, you were.” She extended her hand in welcome. “Eve Dalziel, Counsellor. Sorry for not having made the rounds since you’ve been aboard.”

“Cantor Von,” he offered. “You’re Cardassian?” He’d made it a point to review everyone’s file, and though it was not private information, her behavior wasn’t stereotypical.

“Born, but not raised. That’s why there’s no Jedi mind tricks up here trying to block you,” Eve said pointing to her forehead, gesturing to her brain. “I was never taught.” She then focused her attention on Iphie. “How are things going?”

Von felt an undercurrent of stress but it seemed to lessen in the woman in the teal-trimmed uniform as she spoke with the eccentric cook.

The chef was practically bubbly. “As I was just telling Vonny here, I’m so excited!” Her hair was styled in a series of twisted pieces, remnants of lavender and yellow showing in the shiny blonde strands. “I mean the Romulans, what an honor.”

Eve gently interrupted. “I get ‘Woo Woo’ and he gets ‘Vonny’? I really don’t think that’s a fair nickname distribution.”

“Nicknames happen. They just *happen*. Would you have rather met me while I was serving you a covered pot of French press coffee and have me call you ‘Covfefe’ or something equally ridiculous?”

Von tried to suppress a laugh and did not quite succeed. “Sounds like you’re stuck with Woo Woo.”

“I know, *Vonny*,” Eve answered wryly, checking in once more with Iphie. “What is the theme you settled on for this evening?”

Iphie pouted a little. “I wanted ‘Enchanted Luau Tiki Bar’ but Cap’n Homie looked at me like I would have to supply him bacon sandwiches and English fry-ups for the next decade. So, instead, we went with ‘Unity’.”

Eve smiled. “A sound second choice. And you’ve got the food and place settings sorted as well?”

Iphie’s mouth made interesting shapes as she mentally worked through her plan, then spoke. “I would have preferred something a touch more *cheerful*, but in order to keep things neutral, the plates are too; white for Romulan specialties, black for Federation standard cuisine, and gray for hybrid dishes I have designed to honor both cultures.” Iphie was downright gleeful in her methodical organization. The Binars were a few feet away, chattering amongst themselves, like usual, but they seemed to be keeping the conflict to a minimum.

“You are certainly managing to put joy into a state dinner,” Eve said with relief. Perhaps this wouldn’t be a complete snooze fest or protocol meltdown.

“Come on, Woo Woo, what’s not to like about the Rommies?” Iphie asked with enthusiasm.

“They attacked the Bolian homeworld and left its infrastructure in ruins?” Von found himself throwing out the query in a straightforward way, despite the fact she’d directed her comment to Eve.

Iphigenia Bonviva had the grace to look crestfallen for a few seconds. But she’d been a journeyman chef for so long that ‘home’ was where she hung her toque. She didn’t bleed Bolian blue like her sister did. “There was manipulation involved.”

Eve mentally shrugged, willing to suspend disbelief. “So let’s say they were completely coerced, then, for the sake of your opinion. What do you find so fantastic about the Romulans?”

Iphie jutted her chin out in defiance, the sparkle coming back into her expression. “For one, they appreciate their ale, of which I have three varieties. Next, they rejected the teachings of Surak as part of their foundation and schism from the Vulcans, and what doesn’t demonstrate they have a wild, spontaneous side more than objecting to arguably the most logical man in the universe? And finally-” she leaned in so only the two of them would hear her, “They are *excellent* tippers.”

Eve’s face had a look somewhere between surprise and doubt as she absorbed the words. This wasn’t a bar mitzvah or retirement party; it was an official military dinner. She was going to set Iphie straight but as she opened her mouth something held her back. Dalziel looked out of the corner of her eye to see Mister Von, a little less transparent than she, but still incredulous. “I... see. It sounds like things are well in hand then. I’ll leave you and Lieutenant Von to finish up. Thank you both for letting me interrupt.”

“See you later,” Iphie called after her.

Eve shook her head with a twinge of guilt as she grinned. She just couldn’t bring herself to burst Iphie’s bubble. Maybe Vonny would, but she didn’t want to hang around in case he did.

NRPG: Yes it’s a bit of a backpost. Please don’t sue me. Hope I was adequate with the little bit of characterization I tried.

Susan Ledbetter

Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


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