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A Request

Posted on Mon Nov 28th, 2016 @ 3:50pm by Lieutenant JG Kevran & Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 8; 16:00

Claudia was trying to work out how to shave some time off their trip to Starbase Unity. As it stood they weren't going to get there in time - but there was another way there - across Dominion space. Normally she wouldn't even consider it but with a Vorta being aboard the Vindex it was entirely possible Kevran might be able to help negotiate passage across Dominion space for Force C and cut up to two days off their journey time.

=/\="Ainscow to Kevran. Could you come and meet me in the Observation Lounge please?"=/\=

The Vorta stood near-motionless, hands behind his back, staring off into the abyss on Ten-Forward. Off-duty hours were rarely 'recreational,' as experiences deemed such were not truly known in his culture.
As the captain's voice chimed, Kevran's brow furrowed. He tapped his communicator. "As you wish, Captain."

There was an element of relief in being summoned to duty. He did not relish his free time as so many others on this vessel seemed to. He did not do many things that others on the Vindex enjoyed. Kevran mused on this difference as he took the turbolift to the captain. Before long, he was standing outside the Observation Lounge. Confidently, he tapped the door chime to announce his presence.

Pleased with the Vorta's prompt arrival Claudia stood up and went over to the replicator ready to make a drink and see if Kevran wanted one as well. She appreciated this was a tough thing to ask of anybody - but it could be the Vindex's only chance of arriving at Starbase Unity on time.

"Come in" Claudia called.

Kevran entered through the doorway before standing stoically at attention. "Captain." He bowed his head slightly, breaking eye contact. "How may I serve you?" He spoke with that measured humility and politeness that those whom have conversed with the Vorta knew well.

Looking at the Vorta Claudia smiled and admired his dedication and loyalty to those who he served with. They were both traits that Claudia valued and Kevran certainly had both of those in abundance.

"Thank you for coming. Before we get started can I get you a drink or anything?" Claudia replied.

"No, thank-" Kevran stopped short. "Yes, as a matter of fact. Coffee, please." The Vorta has never tried it. He understood what it was, it's importance as a social beverage, but had decided previously that he would finally taste it. If for no other reason than to put others at ease. He found they felt more relaxed if he engaged in their rituals with them. "If it's not an inconvenience."

Claudia nodded and replicated two cups of coffee and took them over to the table - placing one down at each of the two nearest seats. Claudia sat down and then paused for a moment before speaking.

"Kevran...I appreciate that this might be a difficult assignment for you and if you don't want to do it I totally understand - but we're facing a crisis and there's only one way I can think of that we're going to be able to help avoid one. It's 41 light years from Altor to Starbase Unity and that's going to mean we get there 30 hours after the enemy attack fleet - but...if we can cut across Dominion space we can get there 18 hours before they do. I know it might be difficult but I'd like you to try and negotiate safe passage for us to get to Starbase Unity in time" Claudia said.

The Vorta listened intently to the captain's request, and as he sat, he picked up his coffee. He inspected it, flared his nostrils, and took a sip. His expression remained unchanged. As the captain finished, he shifted his violet eyes to greet hers.

"Intriguing." He said, before saying nothing at all for another minute at least. "It may please you to know, Captain," Kevran spoke suddenly, bringing his fingertips together. "That what you ask for is not impossible. As it pleases the Founders and yourself, I will approach my government." His tone suggested that this was not the pleasure it seemed to be. "The Dominion would likely be willing to grant you this favor. However...You would be indebted to their graciousness. The Founders, in their wisdom, concede nothing willingly." The Vorta's change in tone was clearly perceptible. "They will ask for a favor in return. Non-negotiable. It may even be outside your ability to grant their request, but with time being the factor that it is, it will matter little." Kevran spoke with the certainty his species granted him.

"I can grant your request, Captain, but I shall need absolute autonomy. And the Federation, as unpalatable as it is, may be bound to whatever terms are settled upon." He let his last words hang in the air. "I understand this is a difficult decision to make, but if it is any consolation, I assure you that I will act in a mutual best interest." He reached for his cup, and took a sip.

Claudia nodded. "That's fine. As long as the terms in your view are reasonable and don't compromise our objective then I am happy to give you the autonomy that's necessary. This has to stay between us until things are finalised - I will grant you any authorisation necessary to enforce that. Do you think you could have it arranged so we can cross the border in four days' time? It will take us that long to get from Altor to nearest point of the Dominion border"

"I will act with the utmost expediency, Captain." Kevran stood from his seat. "...And discretion." He bowed his head sincerely to Ainscow.

Claudia was pleased to that things had gone well. It was a gamble and one that could still fail - but the worst that they could be told is "no" and Claudia would need to think of another plan. She took a sip of her coffee before replying.

"I appreciate it Kevran. Normally I wouldn't ask for someone to carry out such a massive assignment under a shroud of secrecy - but with sleeper agents on this ship we must make sure they think we're going to fail. If you need anything from me to help you all you have to do is call and I'll help you as best as I can" Claudia replied.

"I'll see it done." There was a fire of resolve kindling in his eyes.

Claudia smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. I'll have an encrypted file with the specifics delivered to you in person by my Yeoman - I'll send the password for the file to your console in your quarters. Once you've read the file make sure the PADD is wiped clean so nobody can try and find out the contents. With the way things are at the moment we can't be too sure about who's watching what's being sent to who internally or externally"

She took another sip of her coffee before continuing.

"If I just send you a random password then how is anyone reading peoples' files going to know what it's supposed to mean?" Claudia finished.

"It may be unsurprising, but in matters of delicacy such as this, I have...experience." Kevran responded, choosing not to disclose more about the insinuation.

Claudia nodded. "I guess that can only come in helpful in this particular situation. Take your time and just to repeat - if you need any help from me then I'll be available whenever you need me. After all this is a mission of critical importance...and I'm potentially going to receive a slap on the wrist for disobeying orders - but nevermind"

"I shall attempt to minimize any discipline you may receive, Captain." Once more he bowed his head respectfully. "If the captain wishes, I shall begin my duties at once."

Claudia had another sip of her coffee before placing it back down on the table and responding. Kevran's willingness to carry out the task without any bias - especially considering his circumstances - was something Claudia admired.

"Start whenever you feel ready Mr Kevran - although the more time we have for negotations the better - I don't want to sit on the border waiting for an answer as it would waste valuable time. Take your coffee with you whenever you're ready to go" Claudia replied.

Kevran took his coffee cup obediently and bowed to Claudia as he left. "Captain." With a great haste, he disappeared through the threshold to conduct a most delicate operation.

Claudia smiled and watched Kevran leave before taking another sip of her coffee. At least if the negotiations worked out and the detour to Altor proved fruitless at least there would be a way to make up any lost time.


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