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Chapter Notes:

Justice Minerva Irons reveals her primary goal in the negotiations...

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 17: Terms of Surrender

Scene 9: The Pitch


The Pitch

The romulan and federation envoys met in a newly established conference center aboard the U.S.S. Milky Way. By agreement, five of the Praetorian Guard’s warbirds (the R.R.W. Praesidio, R.R.W. Heros, R.R.W. Vir, R.R.W. Nobilis and R.R.W. Equis) had the enormous new Star Fleet vessel surrounded in blank space between the Vulcan and A Boo star systems.

The U.S.S. Hunter, which had guided the Romulan Senate’s warbirds from Vulcan to the treaty location, was present as well, along with 30 of Star Fleet’s long range interceptors. Neither the romulans nor the klingons bothered much with this class of small attack craft, preferring to rely on cloaked scout ships instead. This had less to do with technology and more to do with command and control. Fleets of small, two-seat, warp-capable fighter craft would provide too many opportunities for undisciplined adventurers among the klingons and far too many opportunities for defectors and spies among the romulans.

By consensus among several powerful individuals, the federation negotiation team was headed by At-Large Appellate Justice Minerva Irons. Her romulan counterpart was Senate Proconsul Vruncleel, the 4th highest ranking Proconsul of the Romulan Senate and one of the youngest assigned to the negotiating team. Their role was to review everything negotiated by the various topic oriented negotiation committees and fit whatever each committee managed to agree on into a larger agreement. They also had the responsibility of reviewing each portion of this larger agreement in light of what the Romulan Senate and the Federation Council would be willing to approve.

The rooms they were meeting in had been created in the port side of the Milky Way among a large block of empty rooms. Appropriate tables, chairs, clearboards and other tools as well as décor were manufactured to furnish these rooms. A large auditorium was created on another deck just below these rooms for occasional meetings of the negotiating group in whole.

The rooms were lavishly decorated with rich tapestries along the walls, designed to emulate well-known, historic romulan and vulcan tapestries. The floors were clad in marble mosaics with similar combinations of historic romulan and vulcan mythology. The furnishing of these rooms represented the height of romulan and vulcan culture. All of these high quality materials and historically accurate artwork were made possible by exceptionally high quality replicators onboard the Milky Way, operated by expert artisans who reproduced and installed these furnishings with meticulous detail. 

Justice Irons and Proconsul Vruncleel were meeting in the enormous and for the moment otherwise empty auditorium. They sat next to each other in arm chairs on a raised dais at the front of the room. Each was allowed two security officers in the room with them to serve as witnesses, provide for their needs and provide protection. In addition to the two romulan uhlans, Tactical Specialist Veri Geki and Chief Tactical Specialist Rumi Grace stood watch at a respectful distance.

“So Premiere Saoron refuses to return to Vulcan and surrender to the Senate?” asked Senate Proconsul Vruncleel.

The young romulan politician was unusually handsome. His thick, curly, black hair was close cropped instead of worn in the traditional bowl haircut preferred by romulan military services. His clothing was deceptively simple in design but made from opulent, extremely high quality fabrics – a maroon unitard with battle scenes embroidered in gold around the neckline, the cuffs of the sleeves which stopped just above his elbows and the hem that stopped just above his knees, revealing muscular arms and legs. Over this simple garment, he wore a toga made from a subtle interweaving of tan and topaz fabrics that wrapped over his right shoulder, fastened with a golden broach in the shape of some kind of bird and wrapped around his waist, stopping just short of the hem of the unitard underneath – gathered by an equally subtle woven rope about his waist. Bright steel bracelets with gold overlay were matched by similar bracers at the top of soft, brown boots. 

Most of the romulan negotiators were clad similarly, choosing various combinations of reds with browns – the only common difference between male and female fashions was that the women gathered their togas over the left shoulder and tended to wear lighter colors under darker colors. Interacting with these fashionable, relaxed and generally young and athletic romulans was a new experience for federation negotiators, who were used to dealing with stoic romulan Imperial military officers in their drab, dark gray brocaded armor.

Even the Praetorian Guard officers were different – their armor was similar in style to that of the Romulan Star Navy, but a light, sand color instead of iron gray. While disciplined, the guardsmen seemed much more relaxed than Imperial forces. Federation negotiators were mostly vulcan or vulcan/human hybrids and wore a broad variety of fashions based on their homeworld or, in the case of the many from Earth, regional fashions.

Justice Minerva Irons had chosen a simple pant suit of unrelieved black silk with an equally simple black blouse – no embroidery or patterns of any sort. She had forgone the robe of her office. This light outfit emphasized her slender figure.

“He would surrender himself, but he has been arrested and is being held for trial on Andoria.” Irons replied.

“Under what charges?” Vruncleel asked.

“Treaty violation,” Irons answered. “The Treaty of Paan Mokar requires each of the signatories to protect their territories from all intruders as surety to the integrity of the other’s territory. By surrendering Vulcan without firing a shot, the High Command, in the person of Premiere Saoron, was clearly in violation.”

“But surely the Federation Council can require his extradition?” Vruncleel asked.

“The Treaty of Paan Mokar predates the Federation Charter," Irons observed. "Emperor Sin IV has made it clear that in his opinion, Paan Mokar takes precedence.”

“How inconvenient.”

“That would be an understatement as the Andorian Emperor has also made it clear this will be a capital trial.”

“Ah,” Vruncleel mused. He looked down for a few moments, then looked up, introducing a new topic. “I am unconvinced that the Imperial Star Navy should be treated as a third entity in these negotiations.”

“Which is why they are not represented here at the negotiations,” Irons replied. “This agreement will be between the Federation Council and the Romulan Senate. One democratic republic to another.”

“But you are setting as a basic requirement that the Senate must disavow its authority over the Romulan Star Navy,” Vruncleel objected.

“That is untrue and you know it,” retorted Irons. “We are not asking the Romulan Senate to disavow such authority. We are asking the Senate to admit that it can no longer pretend to have any such authority. Such an admission greatly improves your position in these negotiations and the long term stability of your current venture. You know you cannot control what the Romulan Star Navy does. By admitting to that in this treaty, you relieve the Senate of the consequences of treaty abrogation over actions by the Navy. The Navy simply is not party to this treaty and its actions are ungoverned by it, just as they are ultimately ungovernable by the Senate. It is always better to be truthful, Proconsul, even when the truth is uncomfortable.”

“That would be an admission that the entire Romulan Star Navy constitutes an illegal government unto itself!” Vruncleel exclaimed.

“We both know that already to be the truth," Irons said, levelly. "But that is a separate problem from your current need to feed two billion romulan refugees along with an already extant population on Vulcan of close to three billion. Vulcan cannot sustain that many people without imports. And all the off-world colonies Vulcan previously relied on for such supplies have declared independence and either entered the UFP as members of the United Earth Governments or, in a few cases, as independent planetary governments. You are well aware that you cannot rely on supplies from the old empire – that is why you took Vulcan and relocated the refugees there in the first place. You can only survive with the assistance of the United Federation of Planets. You don’t want that survival to be threatened by an independent military that has been beyond your control for more than a decade.”

“If we were to cut off relations with the Navy, then we would be targeted for attack!” Proconsul Vruncleel stood up and started pacing.

“Then you have two realistic choices: Negotiate a formal relationship with the Navy, and develop a treaty acknowledging that neither has authority over the other…”

Vruncleel continued pacing for a few moments, then turned to Irons expectantly as she had fallen silent. 

For a long moment they looked at each other. Finally, the young romulan broke the silence.

“You said we have two choices. What is the other one?”

Irons met his gaze, deliberately kept her voice even, cool, rational:

“Join the Federation.”

“Preposterous!” Vruncleel exclaimed. “The Senate would never even take that idea up. To give up our way of life…”

“Your way of life died with Romulus,” Irons observed. “Your people have spent the last ten years as refugees inside what you once thought was your own empire. Your people are on Vulcan now. And when on Vulcan, you should at least consider doing as the vulcans do. Consider the possibilities. Do you prefer your people to be the rump outpost of a dying empire? Or a strong and vital partner within the only rising power in the Alpha Quadrant? Do you prefer to be beset by enemies on all sides – or surrounded by allies?”

“The federation can hardly be considered a rising power. Not with the Andorian Empire engulfed in civil war,” Vruncleel said.

“Walk that pathetic rebellion in your mind through the next five years,” suggested Irons. “Not that it will last that long. And project what the Andorian Empire will look like after it ends. Emperor Sin IV has already used a declaration of emergency to assimilate the three great house fleets, Shav, zh'Ithrith and th'Ravonette, into the Andorian Imperial Guard. Do you think he will give them back?”

Proconsul Vruncleel paused from his pacing, looked up suddenly, catching Justice Irons’ gaze once again. His eyes widened.

Irons had just the faintest smile. “Play the long game, Proconsul. Your people are more like us than you realize. More like us than you are like those you left behind.”


Chapter End Notes:

Character:                       Senate Proconsul Vruncleel
Human Ethnicity:             N/A
Additional Species:         Romulan
Hometown/Homeworld:  R.R.W. Heros
Introduced: Episode        17.9
Age when introduced:      40
Role:                                 Chief Negotiator, Imperial Romulan Senate

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