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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 2 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

DEHD 008 – Closing Night

USS Daedalus
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“Well, nobody’s sworn out a blood oath,”  Captain Helena Dread muttered as she stood at the dining room’s main doors. Captain Wren Walton stood beside her, watching the awkward and silent dinner between the parties.

Walton muttered, “The key word, Helena, is yet.”

“I have hope in my team.  We managed to get through the show without anything being thrown – verbally or physically.  I’ll take that victory as a sign of…something.”

Wren mused, “Defeat is just as easily able to grace us with her presence.”

Dread turned to her squadron commander, amused. “Defeat is a woman?”

“Same reason Death is a man.  They make a pretty good team.”

 

Tir stood behind the Cardassian group, hands behind his back.  Halsey stood behind the Bajorans in a similar stance.  The food had been carefully sourced, and each seat had been assigned specially to avoid issues that would have interrupted any chance of peace.  He glanced at the XO trainee beside him, “What did you think of the play, Commander?”

Natalya had been amazed by the hard work of the crew and the fact that they were able to make an event that did not cause immediate fighting was a testament between the two species that had always had a rocky relationship. She smiled and nodded at him “I think you did an excellent job.”

He accepted the compliment.  Taking pride in his work was something Tir had been working on him since they’d joined together.  He felt a warmth at her being vindicated once again.  “We did it together, but it’s nice to hear the recognition, Commander.”  He watched the groups speak in hushed conversation to each other for much of the meal.  They had been hard to read since the play had ended.  He watched as Hasara walked socially through the table groups, exchanging pleasantries.  The elder Cardassian remained a mystery to Tir.  Commander then Captain Harris’s friendship with the man had been unusual.  That it had carried over to Walton’s command was even more so.  He wondered if Hasara was still looking for a home to call home or if he had become a wanderer, content to walk through the stars.

A few moments later, Hasara walked up to them with a small smile, “Lieutenant Tir.”  He turned his attention to the new arrival, “Commander, I’m pleased that Starfleet believes in this squadron as I do – they are worthy to train and teach the future.  Hasara, at your service.  No longer a Gul…just Hasara.”

Natalya smiled at the Cardassian, which was one of the first she had ever met that seemed actually sincere in their intentions. “Hasara, it is a pleasure to meet you. I feel like we will be working together in the near future.”

The elder Cardassian smiled, “It is more than a feeling, Commander. If this summit becomes successful, we’ll have to work on both ends to close the deal. Lieutenant Tir is our Bajoran specialist, and I am the Cardassian expert. Your training as an Executive Officer will often put you on the front lines of the Federation’s diplomatic affairs.”

As he finished speaking, the Cardassian leader approached them. “We’ve agreed to halt our military operations in the interest of a dialogue. Your play was…unusual in its format and messaging.”  He paused, and Tir wondered how much guidance his delegation had given him or if they’d let him decide the next diplomatic steps. Cardassians were unpredictable in these situations, especially in the Demilitarized zone.  “As much as our values would demand a proportional and forceful response…we’ve begun to consider the possibility of allowing this union to continue.”  HE turned his attention to Hasara, “We are curious as to the presence of the former Gul.”

Tir felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Hasara’s involvement was minimal on stage, but his background work had been invaluable. Had something changed in the delegation, or had the home office made a call?  “Advisor Hasara is here for his background knowledge and understanding of Cardassian culture.  Nothing more.”

The leader side-eyed the former Gul.  Tir wondered about the true context of the question.  “Very well.  We’ll put together our team for the summit.”

As he returned to the tables, Tir spun on Hasara and whispered, “Tell me you don’t have a hidden agenda.”

The Cardassian raised his eyebrows, “There is history here, Lieutenant.  How I received my prior colonial assignment was…complicated.  They may be worried that I am making a play for leadership.”

Natalya had no idea what the conversation was about, but she knew that it was a fragile alliance with the Cardassians. “I am thinking this is going to be difficult especially for anyone who paints you in a bad light. I am the newest person to learn of these offenses, but you should show them they don’t need to worry.”

Hasara eyed her partially with amusement, “One of the many house rules of Cardassians is to worry, Commander.  You do make a point.  You are the newest person here – They won’t trust me, but you… they might believe in you.”  He turned to Tir.  “Lieutenant?”

The Trill didn’t try to hide his exasperation.  Hasara was complicated, and having him involved would always present a challenge.  He was also right, which Tir disliked when the Cardassian could stroke his ego with a win.  “He’s…right.  Putting you two together on the Cardassian front gives us the best chance of holding this unsteady warp core together.”

The Cardassian smiled, “I am delighted you agree.”

Tir’s face did not match the tone of his voice, “Delighted is not the word I would describe.  Commander, I’ll inform Captain Halsey.  We have just under an hour before the summit convenes.  The Cardassians are all yours.”  He gestured at Hasara, “I may not be Captain Walton, but imagine her saying this – handle your business and keep them on target.  Changing the shield modulations on the fly in this scenario is a bad idea.”  He stalked off to report to Halsey.

Hasara turned back to the commander, “Well, I’m excited.”

Natalya didn’t know what to do she had truly put her foot in it this time.