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Meeting of Minds, pt.2

Posted on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 @ 2:04pm by Cassandra Leblanc-Reed & Lieutenant Neenyo Tadez

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: Diplomatic Offices
Timeline: MD3, shortly after 1400


Cassie had a feeling that the Head of Diplomacy was talking down to her, as if she wasn't aware of the manner in which the Federation, in whose offices she had worked at for a number of years, conducted trade. As if she didn't know how aggressive the Ferengi were when they negotiated trade agreements.

She wanted to say something, but held her tongue. First impressions were everything, and she didn't want to ruin it by acting like a child. Instead, she kept to the topic at hand.

"Let me disagree with you that empires are built on monetary gain alone. Historically..." she started, but caught herself; Tadez was her superior, after all. That meant no ruffling feathers, for now. "But that's a debate for another time, if you wish," she finally said after some thought.

"What do you see at the base of an empire that allows it to function?" Tadez simply asked. "Let us establish a base line understanding of one another?"

Cassie ran her hand through her hair, if only to give herself time to get her ideas in order. After clearing her throat, she calmly stated, "It really all depends on the type of empire you're referring to: a territorial or hegemonic empire. Territorial empires are gained through military conquest," she responded, bringing one palm up, then the other. "Hegemonic empires, on the other hand, are created by either exerting influence over other territories or through coercion: indirect conquest, if you will. The goals are similar in both cases: gaining power, territory, resources. Traditionally, that is the basis of an empire. And many have functioned as such for centuries, if not millennia, even to this day." On the top of her head, she could think of at least ten, past and present.

She took the last sip of her raktajino. "There's no doubt that money comes into the equation. But it is nothing but a tool, a means to an end. Money has been used to gain economic leverage, and therefore control over entire civilizations. However, when it comes to imperialism, money usually only benefits the party who controls it."

"But a means of exchange — money, if you will — is what this dispute is linked to; conflict over trade routes is what the initial request is for. Helping with trade will always lead to an exchange medium. The party that asked for help are trade based. Since they asked for the help would it not be logical to go at that angle? Start with those asking for help?"

"Of course," Cassie agreed. "Like I've said earlier, currency does have the advantage of facilitating economic exchanges. There's nothing stopping us from advising the Crustillians to adopt a currency-based trade economy, since it's the strategy you seem to prefer."

She tapped her lips with her index finger, pausing to think. "As for the conflict over trade routes, I believe that a written official agreement outlining, amongst other things, current trade routes, and the power controlling each, would be a good solution to help minimize the type of conflict the empire is currently in, and avoid future ones of a similar nature," she explained.

"At the same time, we, as mediators, need to stay as neutral as possible towards the situation," she said, all the while bringing her hands in a vertical position, pointing her fingers towards each other. She then 'hopped' her hands towards her, to make her point. "While we can weigh the pros and cons of each option that we decide to bring forward with them, the negotiating parties need to be able to come to their own conclusions. Don't you agree?" she asked, looking intently at Tadez.

"What we are doing now is all theory and bouncing of ideas as until we speak to them it is all just speculation." Tadez remarked. "We are not setting any angle in stone; just trying to get an idea of how we both see things." He pointed out. "Two vantage points does allow us to prepare for more angles to use, so nothing is wasted. Yet we are still only thinking of how we might approach this. Until we sit across from someone, we can plan all we like and it could change instantly when the first words are exchanged."

"Absolutely, it happens all the time. Improvisation and thinking on the fly are part of the job. Even the best laid plans are subject to refinement, adjustment, or even outright rejection as we go along, right up until the very end."

Cassie paused to take a breath. "Right now, we can afford to be creative. We can paint broad strokes," she said as she swept her forearm in an upward motion, "and bounce a million ideas around. As we gather data and intel, even during the meeting, we can, and should, narrow down the number of propositions, or we could come up with an even better one. It's part of the process. But what we need to ask ourselves first, is what could be the best possible outcomes, and how can we get there, given the information we currently have. The answers to those questions inevitably evolve."

It suddenly dawned on Cassie that Tadez had only mentioned consulting with the Crustilians. "It would probably be a good idea to contact the other two negotiating parties as well, get their side of the story. It may give us more insight and a better chance to find possible solutions that would benefit everyone involved, no?."

"I know they are the ones in conflict. The Crustillians want help, and until we can really chat with the other sides, I am focusing on who we know wants to be helped. The others we can communicate with when close and personal visits might be the best venue, as a lot is lost when subspace is used, get that gut reaction to body language and hear the inflections of their communications." Tadez mentioned. " I really think that face to face with those in conflict is the best way to handle it."

Cassie took a deep breath to her belly and slowly let it out. "As you wish. I only wanted to ensure we're not perceived to be taking sides in the matter by communicating with only one representative in advance," she said calmly.

"I said I had only talked with the Crustillians thus far as they are the ones that asked for help." Tasez reiterated. "And the rest of the information is in the Diplomatic Packet, and that I have not had time to contact them as yet." He relayed. "It is not a bad idea once we are closer we take time to visit them before we have a formal meeting of all three together."

Cassie narrowed an eye in confusion. The man sitting before her had just made two contradictory statements, which made her wonder which one was true. She shifted in her seat. "I'm now confused. First you've said you'd rather focus on the Crustillians for the time being, and you'd rather not speak with the other two representatives until you meet in person. Now you're saying you haven't had the time to speak with them yet. Which one is it?" she asked.

"The other two major races. As I said, I have only spoken with the Crustillians." Tadez fought the urge to roll his eyes. "I think we should visit the other two before putting all three into a place to have a formal meeting. Get the lay of the land with the two other races then all three in a formal meeting to work with."

The discussion was now going in circles, and it was starting to be a waste of time, both Cassie's and the lieutenant's. Not only was she now confused, since the man before her didn't seem to have a clear direction, but she was now also annoyed since most of her questions hadn't been answered. And the feeling seemed to be mutual, for an unknown reason.

She offered a thin smile. "Fine. I'll read the diplomatic pack in more detail, and if you'll allow, I'll set up appointments before the formal meeting," she offered. Someone had to take the initiative. "And we can reconvene sometime tomorrow or the next day?"

"Thank you for the help. I am trying to catch up to speed here, and while Jennifer is efficient and a great assistant in the paperwork, it really takes a Diplomatic type to understand how volatile things can get."

He grinned. "I am sure you will be much better, being savvy enough to get us an appointment with each of the two humanoid delegates. I have a meeting with the Crsutillians arranged." He glanced at his padd. "Jennifer can give you the schedule so not to have conflict with your arrangements."

Casse rose from her chair. "In that case, have a good day, Lieutenant."

Tadez rose, as a gentleman being given the departure notice from a lady does. "It was a pleasure meeting you and bouncing some ideas. I do not get support often." He watched her get up and depart his office.

Yes, things were just now taking a new turn, which might be to Tadez's advantage in these negotiations. It seemed the woman liked to be in charge; that might be good for this round, as Tadez knew a woman among humanoid male delegates does open some latitude for him to do his job.

Lieutenant Neenyo Tadez
Chief Diplomatic Officer

Cassandra Leblanc-Reed
Diplomatic Officer


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