Directed by: Doug Zeitlin
Prologue Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
Entire story in one text file

Admiral Walters, requested entrance to Ambassador Dovenka Atylori's VIP quarters at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. She admitted him and he explained the situation on Mars. He looked grave, "You have to understand this looks quite bad and could threaten our current peace. We appreciate your candor in this matter, but we also request that you help us further in this investigation."

This had all more or less been said in the Ambassador's doorway. She regarded him silently for a moment, before saying, simply,

"Won't you come in, Admiral? Perhaps sit down for a while?"

Admiral Walters was, for only a moment, at a loss of what to say. True, Ambassador Atylori had a reputation for never allowing anyone or anything to get in the way of decent manners. However, the sneaking suspicion that, in doing so, the shrewd Cardassian was actually amusing herself with such gentility always came to mind, as it did now.

"Would you care for some tea, Admiral?"

Admiral Walters made only one concession to etiquette, and that was to sit on one of the greyish-blue-upholstered chairs. "Ambassador," he said. "You do understand the gravity of this situation, don't you?"

If such a question rankled his host at all, no one but a Betazoid telepath would have been able to notice it. "Of course, Admiral," Ambassador Atylori responded, seating herself on the couch opposite the chair the Admiral occupied. "The highest security Starfleet has to offer has been breached by a renegade former member of the Obsidian Order. Thus, you come to a representative of the Cardassian government for aid in an investigation into his motives."

There was a pause as the Admiral waited.

"Officially, the Obsidian Order has been completely dissolved, its secrets lost forever. Officially. My government can neither help, nor hinder in any investigation into the Order's former members. It cannot become involved in any trial a former member may be taken to."

"Officially?" the Admiral prompted.

She smiled. "A government is comprised of individuals, Admiral. And an individual citizen is under no such restrictions whatsoever. The information you seek can be found for you, though I cannot tell you by whom."

"I ... thank you, Ambassador," Admiral Walters replied. It had been a string of typical Cardassian double-talk, but he reckoned he'd gotten the gist of it, at least.

The Ambassador nodded. "The information can be taken to the Cochrane itself, as it so happens that I'll be boarding there today. Fortuitous, don't you think?"

Of course.

Admiral Walters stood. "Again, you have my thanks, Ambassador," he said, heading for the door.

"Not at all, Admiral," the Ambassador replied, her smile now looking downright inscrutable. "Not at all."

"Good afternoon, then, Ambassador."

"Good afternoon."

The Admiral left the VIP quarters, then, satisfied that he'd managed to get his request granted, a little pleased with himself that he'd managed to get something resembling a straight answer out of a particularly obfuscate specimen of Cardassian, and more than a little worried as to just what such a deal might entail....

Prologue Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
Entire story in one text file