“You pretend to be this benevolent entity, yet you come into our sovereign space, claim land for your Federation, and shoot down our vessels. You still expect us to believe you?!” The Kalvade representative his face was getting a darker shade, jaws clenched and a piercing stare across the screen onto the Isoroku bridge where Kinsho stood in the command well, arms behind his back. There was a lull in his rant, the Kalvade representative’s eyes widened slightly, expecting some sort of response.
The Bajoran commanding officer allowed the moment of silence to stretch out. He was no stranger to authoritarian leaders losing their cool, the trick was to be unwavering in the face of them. Like his people had been. Like he and his friends had been.
The Kalvade leader leaned in to the screen, “Wha-”
“You shot first.” Kinsho interrupted. His voice was calm and collected and the statement clearly a matter of fact. It helped of course that it was a verifiably true statement, the Captain’s lips curled up into a bit of a grin.
It took the leader for a bit of a spin, “you’re invading our space! You bring y-”
“We were invited by the leadership of Kaldial, they requested our protection,” Kinsho continued to rebut in his calm and unwavering tone, “it seems that this request was not unfounded as not an hour after arriving a military force was launched in the direction of their planet.”
“We do not recognise Kaldial as a sovereign entity, nor do we recognise their leadership,” A vein was clearly showing in the forehead of the leader, the darkness in his flushed face persisted.
Kinsho wanted to make a comment about addressing the leadership if Kaldial wasn’t even recognised, but decided against it. He still had the hope he could talk the leader down and invite them to a summit on the natural satellite. “We would be happy to provide assistance for the members of your expeditionary force,” ignoring the man seemed to be the best policy at this time, “With their engines damaged as they are, we calculate it would take about three weeks to get back to the safety of your planet, I’m sure they didn’t really pack for that long of a journey, and it goes without saying that we will not allow them to continue on their original trajectory.”
“Sir, we have an incoming hail from Kalmose,” the officer at the Conn spoke up to notify the Captain of the communication. They had been instructed to speak out loud without muting the channel.
“I must apologise,” Kinsho gave a slight bow at the Kalvade leader, “the Kalmose leadership is reaching out, if you require any assistance please don’t hesitate to let us know.” With that he indicated to the conn officer to cut the connection. For the second in between conversations he took a deep breath, consciously straightened his back and, “put Kalmose on screen.”
The screen switched to a room that had seven people around a table that was semi-circular, “Captain Kinsho of the Federation,” The leading figure motioned around the table, “we, the council, speak on behalf of the united people of Kalmose.”
“I’m honoured to meet you all, councilmembers,” Kinsho acknowledged them, “how can I help you today?”
One of the women near the leading council member spoke up, “it seems that our Kalvade brethren have strayed from the path, were any of your people injured? Do you require aid?” The other members of the council looked back at her, several of them starting to mutter among themselves.
Kinsho gave a polite nod, “we do not require aid, but appreciate the offer, Kalmose.”
A small smile appeared on the woman’s features, clearly pleased with herself for this little exchange.
“While Kaldial has not announced itself as a sovereign entity in our star system before today, we are to meet with its representatives and representatives of your Federation, Captain.” The leader of the council steered the conversation back to the matter at hand, “you will find us a lot more accommodating than our Kalvade counterparts.”
A slight smile appeared on Kinsho’s features, and his shoulders relaxed a bit, “we would be happy to arrange for transportation of up to three representatives and a security detail of up to five members.” he gave a slight shrug, “there’s limited capacity at the Kaldial facility.”
The sound from the council chamber cut out and the representatives seemed to discuss something amongst themselves. Two of the representatives that were seated off to the right of the screen simply sat there, arms crossed, facial expressions dark. The others were quite animated in their discussion. This went on for quite a few minutes as Kinsho just stood there, looking at the spectacle unfolding before them. Suddenly one of the sullen ones spoke up and the entire chamber looked at them. Then the leader made a large sweeping motion with his hand. Following this five out of the seven members held up a hand with the pinky finger raised.
The sound came back on, “We propose sending four representatives and a security detail of four. That way the council can be assured of a majority in case decisions need to be made.”
It was good to see a democratic process taking place on the other side of the screen and Kinsho nodded, “that will be acceptable. Please prepare your delegates for transport, we will be sending over shuttlecraft to pick them up, it will be at a location of your choice in,” he looked over his shoulder towards his operations officer, who held up a hand with three fingers held out, “three hours.”
“We will send you the coordinates,” There was a moment of hesitation that followed that simple agreement on a time and place. The woman that initially spoke up looked at the leader expectantly, who in turn looked over at the two quiet members of the council.
“Is there anything else we can do for you at this time?” Kinsho asked, picking up on the awkwardness between the council members, “I can imagine that decades of interplanetary war has put a strain on your local resources. We might be able to provide some relief.”
The woman of the duo on the right turned to face the camera, “before you arrived the Kalvade military renewed their war efforts, it has come at a toll to our infrastructure and available medical supplies. As your advanced vessel might have already been able to ascertain. Any aid you can spare would be greatly appreciated, Captain.” Nobody in the room spoke up, it was clear that the woman spoke with authority even though she wasn’t in the central seat.
“When you share the landing coordinates, be sure to share your most pressing needs with us, I can’t promise we’ll be able to cover them all but we can see what we can do to alleviate some of the high priority ones,” Kinsho gave a slight bow, “thank you for your time, council members. Looking forward to speaking with you at the conference on Kaldial.”
[Meanwhile, main hangar bay, USS Isoroku]
The lone Valkyrie class fighter that landed belonged to the flight commander. After the short lived altercation between the squadron and the Kalvade forces Liliah had regained her composure but she had gotten the order to return to the vessel for debriefing. The engineers back in the bay had found nothing wrong with the ship and she remembered the words that Shairo spoke to her after she had inspected the fighter. There was no denying it now, she was the defective component.
After climbing out of the cockpit she rushed past all the crew that had come there, a medical officer had stood at the ready but she brushed him off immediately, “leave me alone.”
“I’m under orders, ma’am,” The young officer followed her with the medical tricorder held out.
Liliah only paused her strides for a moment to face the medical officer, “I’m giving you new ones, I order you to leave me alone,” she turned on her heel and continued her path out of the hangar bay.
“Your heart rate and adrenaline levels are indicative of a raised emotional state, Commander,” The doctor insisted as he continued to follow her closely, “if you could please stand still, I could get a good reading and we could make an assessment of your wellbeing.”
The doors to the hangar bay opened at her proximity, and Liliah immediately took a turn to head for the turbolift, “I’m physically fine, I’ve been cleared for duty on three separate occasions during rehabilitation.”
The medical officer insisted on staying close and completing the scan, “you realise my report on your physical and emotional state may ground you, right?” He immediately winced at himself for pulling that card on her, but it was all he had.
“I don’t care,” Liliah slammed the button next to the turbolift to call it there. It was there before she could cool down, and before the doctor could finish his scan, “you’re not getting on this lift.” She stepped inside and ordered it to the deck of her quarters. She kept eye contact with the young doctor with an unblinking stare, almost daring him to defy her. When the doors closed between them she stumbled backwards into the lift and let out a huge sigh as she leaned against the back wall.