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Part of Bravo Fleet Command: Task Force 72

Diplomatic Overtures

USS K’Ehleyr; Mauo System, on the edge of the Romulan Border
Stardate 77611.6
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On the edge of Federation space, just lightyears from the now-defunct Romulan Neutral Zone, the neutral Mauo system had become a hotbed of activity since the collapse of the Star Empire. The subsequent in fighting and factional disputes, not to mention the worlds either seceding from the Empire completely or seeking to ‘renegotiate’ their terms of membership, left the system on edge. 

The Federation sensor net detected several freighters and personnel transports on course for the system over a week ago, giving plenty of time for the USS K’Ehleyr, flagship of Task Force 72, to meet them in orbit of Mauo III to ascertain their purpose. It wasn’t a difficult mystery to solve: the convoy’s leader, a Reman by the name of Tomask, had quickly requested refugee status for his people.

Refugees. These poor people were fleeing for their lives. Some were fleeing the wrath of ruthless overlords or remnants of the Star Navy, while others were fleeing their friends and neighbors who had sold them out in the hopes of currying favor with the regime. Others were fleeing Romulan space to find a better life in the Federation because of the taste of freedom they had been shown whilst working with Starfleet personnel following the coup on Rator. Now, it was up to ships like the K’Ehleyr to help find homes for them in Federation space. Often, that meant dealing with some of the non-aligned worlds closest to the border.

For the USS K’Ehleyr’s commander, Captain Karrik, such negotiations were his bread and butter. Obtaining permission to settle refugees within Federation space should have been a simple task for such an experienced commanding officer. How wrong he had been to think that. But, after several days of tense negotiations, the Vulcan finally had something to report to Task Force 72 Command. Sat in front of the computer terminal in his ready room, the Vulcan waited, as stoic as ever, for a representative from the task force staff to ‘show up’.

He didn’t have long to wait as a short while later, the face of a Trill woman with long, flowing brunette hair appeared on the screen. 

“Captain Italia Ruas”—he cocked his head at the screen slightly—“it is agreeable to make your acquaintance.”

Smiling from across the lightyears, Captain Ruas nodded to the Vulcan. 

“Captain Karrik. Nice to meet you too,” she said. “I’ve been brought up to speed on your mission out there. Have you anything to report?” she enquired, leaning forward ever so slightly.

“I am able to report that negotiations between the refugee representatives and the officials from Mauo have concluded satisfactorily. Resettlement operations are due to commence later today at a site suitable to the conditions required for Reman physiology,” Karrik revealed, much to the Trill’s surprise, judging by her raised eyebrows.

“Incredible progress in such a short amount of time,” she said with a slow nod. “I’m intrigued, though. How did you get past the labor issue you indicated in earlier reports?”

Ah, yes. The stumbling block that had led to nearly three days of stalemate. In order to be allowed into Mauo society, which was crucial as the convoy lacked the life support capabilities or resources to reach any other worlds, the refugees would be required to carry out the jobs no one else in society wanted. In essence, they would be seen as a lower class, with restrictions on what they could do to earn a living. Thankfully, the Vulcan and his entourage had been able to convince the government representatives of the value of having these skilled labourers throughout Mauo society, not just in the fields and the factories. Construction, development, some even had a proclivity for the sciences or medicine. The representatives agreed, but only after six months of the original offer, if the Remans could prove to them they would be contributing members of society, and not a drain on already limited resources.

Captain Ruas nodded along as the Vulcan continued his report.

 “Although not what they originally desired, it is a stark improvement on living conditions aboard their transports, and allows the refugees to make a life for themselves,” he said, “and the government on Mauo have agreed to re-evaluate the relationship six months from now, with a view to further developments and allowing the Remans wider access to society.”

Ruas slowly let out a deep breath and a whistle with a tonal incline. It was a solution, the Trill felt, and whilst it was not a solution anyone had hoped for, it was a solution that allowed the Reman refugees off of their transports and to plant some roots in an environment suitable for their predisposition to light.

“In acceptance of the deal, I have agreed to recommend that a review of the planet’s membership petition take place at the Council’s earliest convenience,” the Vulcan added, “which I believe to have been a powerful motivator for breaking the deadlock.”

“Superb, Captain. Please commend your crew for a job well done. These initial negotiations were always going to be difficult, but you have acquitted yourselves well and the Remans now have a safe place to call home,” she nodded.

There was a pause as Ruas processed the situation on Mauo.

“With that out of the way, we have more pressing matters to attend to. Task Force 72 has been charged with making diplomatic overtures to the many independent factions that have emerged since the coup on Rator. We’re sending the K’Ehleyr, Horizon, Ulysses and several other assets, across the border and into the independent territories with such diplomatic missions in mind,” Ruas said. 

With that, she waved a PADD toward the screen to send additional information through the transmission.

“As always, K’Ehleyr stands ready,” the Vulcan confirmed with a tilt of his head. “Upon the completion of our role in the resettlement operations, you will receive my report. Once the rest of the task force arrives, K’Ehleyr will lead the way,” he added in his trademark monotone.

“I look forward to receiving your report, Captain,” Ruas smiled, nodding in acknowledgement. “I’ll be in touch with any further developments. Ruas out.”

Replacing the smiling face of the new task force executive officer, a static Starfleet logo and the words ‘Transmission Ended’ filled the Vulcan’s computer screen. Karrik had a lot to consider and research, not least about the independent factions that had already started to emerge from the aftermath of the Star Empire’s collapse.

Using his hands to push himself out of the chair, the captain tapped his commbadge. The hour was late, but conversation was required. 

“Karrik to Commander Romaes,” he spoke clearly, rounding his desk and preparing to depart the ready room. “Meet me on the bridge at your earliest convenience. Karrik out.”

It was time for Task Force 72 to put their diplomatic credentials to the test and lay the foundations for new relations with the peoples in these newly-independent territories. For the diplomats of TF72, such an endeavour was in their mandate, and like Karrik would fly the flag of peace from aboard the K’Ehleyr.

Task Force 72 Priority Mission Brief – Q3, 2400

The Romulan Star Empire has collapsed, fallen to nothing more than Rator and a smattering of worlds around it, with the region now referred to as the ‘Independent Romulan Factions’. These range from small collectives to the homes of warlords, some eking out their own existence, some vying for domination. Many are on or near the border with the Federation or their friends in the Romulan Republic.

Starships of TF72 have been charged with establishing diplomatic contact with these disparate border factions. Through tentative first communications, cautious negotiation on neutral ground, or welcome visits to these new governments, Starfleet seeks understanding and to build local relationships. A firm peace with the Romulan factions is ideal, but non-aggression is essential, and very little is known about any of these disparate new minor powers.