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Part of USS Jaxartes: Journey To Vashran

Part 4: Meeting

High Chancellors Villa – Vashran
7th March 2401 15:00
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When the three crew of the Jaxartes beamed down the planet’s surface along with Commander Gleway; the sight that met them was to put it mildly, breath-taking and at the same time menacing.  Only the Romulan’s could have designed and constructed such an imposing building as the Villa that stood a few metres before them and set it in the middle of a four kilometre square walled garden.  In every direction large expanses of grass, flowering plants, shrubs and towering trees; most of which weren’t even native to the planet.  Then along the wall; the guard towers; each one mounted with a sophisticated tracking and weapons system capable of dealing with a much stronger force than the native population could ever hope to have mustered.

But the Romulan’s where all gone now, apparently abandoning this outpost of the Empire more or less overnight. They’d left a lot of their equipment behind, which seemed rather odd.  This had been a thriving mining operation up until just under a year ago, involving roughly a quarter of the population, and it had been going on for generations.  So why give it all up?  That was the question still plaguing the Federation; and the people of Vashran; especially its officials, seemed rather vague on the details.

By the patio door, which were essentially the back entrance to the property a lone security office from the Johannesburg stood alongside two Vashran security guards; their uniforms bore the hallmark of a Romulan outfit that had been partly altered to remove any old rank or insignia, but it was clear neither uniform had been designed for these particular wearers.  The Vashran as a species were reptilian in origin; descended from something much like a tortoise, though their shells had long since disappeared through the long evolution process.

The Starfleet officer came to attention, whilst one of the Vashran guards ran a small handheld scanning device of the new arrives. “Joint security; helps keep all parties happy.” Gleway announced. “Carry on Brent.” The Commander acknowledged the other man.

As they passed through the glass doors Devron could see a half dozen Starfleet officers and a slightly larger number of Vashran; one of which dressed in a long flowing black robe with silver trim approached them, the moment he noticed them. “Ah you must be Mr Devron and his crew.  I am Chancellor Krevis.” He announced holding out a hand.

“Shan rashran  reev lushran sal.” Replied Jason, which translated as ‘May the light of life shine upon you.’ Cho had spent a couple of hours teaching him this native greeting hoping it would convey respect to their hosts.  For a moment the Chancellor was taken a back.  The language of his people had been band during the Romulan occupation, taught in secret and only recently spoken once more in public.  So to hear someone else use it and not simply rely on the translator was something special indeed.

“I see you are one missing.” Krevis looked past then just to confirm his assumption was correct.

“Doctor Andrianakis will be joining us shortly after this meeting is conclued.” Jason answered.

At that moment Ensign Stuart noted the hurried movement of the Johannesburg’s captain heading in their direction. She gave Cho a gentle nudge. “Shields up!”

It was the first time any of them had actually laid eyes on the man who given his general appearance may have been in his late fifties.  Captain Theodor Vance, was a short man of Caribbean decent, his once jet black close cropped hair was showing signs of grey above the ears and a small patch directly above his right eye, an eye just like its companion which had deep crow’s feet on what was an otherwise smooth well rounded face.  “Chancellor Krevis, I believe it’s time we got this meeting underway.”

“Yes captain, you’re perfectly right.” The Chancellor apologised before taking his leave and heading towards the door through to where the meeting was to be held in the next room.

Vance grabbed Devron’s arm just above the elbow gently yet firmly. “You may be here by special request mister Devron, but as far as I’m concerned you an extra piece of furniture.  So unless you’re asked any direct questions, I suggest you leave all the talking to those with experience and diplomatic training. Do we understand each other?”

Jason merely nodded and waited for the captain to let go of his arm.

_____

What followed was a reasonably civil and calm meeting that lasted a little shy of two and a half hours.  Krevis who although technically the head of the government having stepped into the roll upon the death of his predecessor Kreen; had chosen not to take the title of High Chancellor until a vote was taken in the near future.  But for now, whilst meeting with the Federation it had been agreed he would take charge of matters.

Part way through the meeting both Devron and Stuart where asked questions regarding what they saw on V’Teck V, and much to the annoyance of the Johannesburg’s captain their thoughts and options of how to deal with this mysterious threat.  They both gave honest answers to any questions, which seemed to please the Chancellor and his advisors.  Cho sat at the back of the room just listening and watching.

In the end it was agreed that the Federation would help supply the Vashran with much needed supplies and equipment; which would include heavy machinery to replace the works and keep the mines running.  The Vashran would then be in a position to sell or exchange the rare metals and minerals within them.

As Devron and Stuart stood up to leave the meeting room, Commander Gleway placed a hand on each of their shoulders. “Thank you.”

“But we hardly did anything” Lyanna replies honestly.

“Just answered their questions.” Jason added.

“The Vashran prefer to look people in the eye and speak directly.” Commented Gleway. “They did not fully trust us because we were not part of events.  They could see you spoke the truth, so now they trust us a little more.”

“Your captain doesn’t seem too happy.” Jason noted.

“Don’t worry captain Vance can be a stickler for rules and regulation.  But he’s a brilliant man and you have made his job just that bit easier.” Replied the Commander.

They were half way to the door when Vance stepped in front of them, offering his hand.  “It seems I owe you and apology mister Devron. I should never have allowed my own frustrations get the better of me” Jason took the other man’s hand at that point and they shook. “Your being here was rather important to these people and the negotiation, I should have realised that.  And thank you for trying to recover the bodies of my two officers.  I’ve never lost anyone before.”

“I know how you feel, captain.” Jason said solemnly.

“A lot was sacrificed by the crew of your ship. But judging by the way you handled yourself in that meeting, they have a fine leader to hold things together.”

_____

In the other room Andrianakis was waiting for them; she and the crew had been offered the chance to tour the local area tomorrow morning.  It was Krevis’s way of saying thank you for the effort they’d made in attempting a rescue of his predecessor.  A ground car would be waiting for them at the front of the Villa with a chauffeur and guide. But right now; they along with most of those at the meeting were heading to another part of the vast villa for a banquet.