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Of Potted Plants

A joint Jeralla / Semil log on Camelot Station.


Jeralla folded her hands neatly in her lap, smoothing the vestigal scales along her wrist as the image of Camelot Station swelled in front of the runabout. It was night on the planet Avalon, some 30,000 kilometers below, and she could see the signs of growing civilization in the scattered jewels of light. Although it was comfortable in the aft section, she never missed a chance to watch an approach from space.


In front of her, Specialist Alee moved his blue-hued hands over the controls. The Bolian petty officer had been assigned to relay his diplomatic cargo safely back to the starbase. In an effort to keep Excalibur's mission a secret, he had used a meandering route that had added a couple days to the trip. Jeralla understood the need. Paranoia was practically a virtue among Cardassians.


"You must have a lot to tell Admiral Day," Alee remarked excitedly, lifting one hand toward the station, "and the ambassadors!" Like many Bolians, Jeralla observed, her pilot had been quite a chatterbox. He gasped with a slight startle at his own statement. "Do the Klingons and the Romulans even know about our mission to find the Founders?"


Jeralla's smile carefully concealed some calculation in her thoughts. During the lulls in flight, the young pilot had given her an expansive account of his family life, Bolian cuisine, and his duties aboard Excalibur. He also asked a lot of questions. He was particularly fascinated that she had spent so much time in conference with the Vorta. He had also offered his own surprisingly insightful perspectives on the fractured alliances in the quadrant. True to her species' virtues and her training under Ambassador T'Salik, Jeralla had known better than to answer the sensitive comments.


"It will be good to be back aboard," she said, once again diplomatically evasive. "Of course, Mr. Alee," she added, still smiling sweetly, "you know you shouldn't discuss the particulars about Excalibur with anyone on the station except the command staff." Secrecy was still precarious. Even the runabout had a falsified transponder, identifying it as attached to the starship Enforcer.


The Bolian pursed his lips. "Oh, no, no," he assured her, waggled his hands. "I've been on classified missions before," he explained, then close his mouth suddenly. "But you won't hear about them from me." He turned toward the console as the comm system chimed.


"This is Camelot Operations," came a recognizable voice over the channel. The voice of Lieutenant Commander Corris Sprint had been a fixture in her life for ten years: first, on Aegis, then Empok Nor, then Camelot. "You're cleared for touchdown in shuttlebay four."


The Bolian confirmed the order cheerfully, then aimed the craft toward the central hub below C-Ring. The bright blue sparkle outlined the runabout as it glided through the protective shield and set down gently. Through the cockpit window, Jeralla could see an Efrosian in civilian garb standing expectantly.


Alee swiveled his chair around. "Thanks for flying with us, Ambassador," he beamed.


Jeralla nodded deferrentially, deciding it would deflate his enthusiasm to correct him. She was merely a sub-consular attache to the Dominion, not a full ambassador. As was typical, Starfleet tended to lump the whole of the diplomatic service under the one title. Still, Alee didn't use it like an insult.


As she got to her feet and stepped toward the hatch, Alee added, "I'll be here on the station when you're ready to head back."


Jeralla paused, wondering if this next information was sensitive. She pressed on, determining it was at least need-to-know. "That… hasn't been determined yet," she admitted. "We may not be heading back."


Alee looked surprised at first, then pressed his lips together. "Well, that would explain why they didn't give me a rendezvous point," he thought aloud. "I wondered how we were going to find them without a flight plan." He paused a beat. "Secret mission and all." He raised a finger to the bifurcated ridge above his lip.


Jeralla nodded, then stepped out into the pleasantly warm shuttlebay. It was a hotbed of activity, with sparks and repair crews working on fighters similar to those in Kallah's flight wing. She hadn't realized the station had taken them on. Her adoptive father would have loved it here.


As the Efrosian approached, she saw he wasn't alone. With a mild shock, she saw a familiar Vorta beside him. She hadn't seen Semil since their encounter at the planet Excalibur had dubbed Citrus IV, after which he had threatened to reveal not only the loss of the Founders, but the Federation's role in seeking to find them. Suddenly, all the sense of secrecy seemed to evaporate.


Had he made good on his threats?


"Welcome back to Camelot," the Vorta greeted, his voice dripping with sweetness. The Efrosian, a functionary from the onboard Federation embassy, looked apologetic. Clearly, the Vorta had not been invited to this reception. "I'm sure it was a long journey," Semil added, looking back toward the runabout, "from wherever you were."


Jeralla offered her thinest of smiles. The Vorta knew full well where she'd come from, which meant he hadn't shared his news with the Quadrant. His being here was to emphasize the power it gave him. She'd always known he was shrewd, but her admiration of his diplomatic skill had increased. Without a threat, what he hadn't spoken had offered volumes.


"I'm afraid I can't offer you a formal audience at this time," she declared, taking the tones of her mentor. "I have business with Admiral Day."


"Of course," he replied. Whether his graciousness was real or feigned was unclear. He stood in place as Jeralla and her escort moved away.


A few paces away, the Efrosian leaned in, "I'm sorry. I don't know how he…"


"It's alright," Jeralla assured him, "the Hundred seem to be at least as resourceful as the Dominion when it comes to knowing things."


Semil watched the two diplomats walking away. He wished he paid more attention to the girl as a youth, in those days before the war had broken out. The loss of her dissident father during the Klingon invasion had eased her into a life among the Federation. If only the Founders had chosen to deal with the more rational Cardassians like her…


His thoughts were jostled as a Bolian pilot brushed past him.


Glancing back toward the runabout and the busy repair crews, Semil found himself rushing after the enlisted man, who was leaving the shuttlebay. No doubt it would look like he was attempting to ply the Bolian for information.


There was no such need.


"She's really very lovely," Alee stated over his shoulder, as they reached the corridor. "A credit to her race. She actually thinks the solids can learn to forgive the sins of the past. It was unwise for my wayward brethren to try and wipe them out." By now, the blue skin was wavering, changing in color.


Semil walked quickly, but kept a step behind. "What were you able to learn?"


The orange-hue washed over the former Bolian as he morphed. They stepped on a turbolift. "From her? Nothing." He let the lift close, but didn't speak to it.




"After weeks posing on their ship, I hardly expected to learn more from bantering with one of their guarded diplomats." Eloi, a governing member of the Hundred, now stood before him. "They're quite open in the perceived privacy of their offices. I was worried when that cross-dimensional incident had them screening for Founders – but I do a good potted plant."


"Of course," Semil agreed quickly. Eloi had an unnerving sense of humor, which challenged his reverence.


"To which, I should probably put on something less obvious," he said, looking down at himself. "Embassy Row, Hundred entrance," he finally spoke to the lift. Moments later, an ordinary-looking Jem'Hadar soldier stood there beside Semil. "It appears I'll be aboard Camelot Station for awhile."

Edited by Jeralla

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"After weeks posing on their ship, I hardly expected to learn more from bantering with one of their guarded diplomats... They're quite open in the perceived privacy of their offices... I do a good potted plant."


This would seem to explain how Semil managed to know the what and where of Excalibur's mission, would it not?


On the last item, I recall a potted plant at several Excalibur functions. So it wasn't just for aesthetics?

Edited by Sorehl

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Memo Directive from the XO:


All potted plants residing on the Excalibur will be taken into custody immediately. ;-)

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Looks like you need a firm Klingon hand to set things in order and root out these gelatin taskmasters.


I look forward to obliging.

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Spy?? Where??!??

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Well of course he liked the potted plant, practically everyone in Engineering liked it, cause it'd always try to trip up Kent and choke him. :P

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