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Cptn Swain


Nearly six hours had passed since Excalibur had detected the tell-tell gravimetric disturbances that heralded the arrival of a Scorpiad vessel. They had yet to be informed of the arrival of what, they could only assume, was the Scorpiad representative for the peace talks. Asher Swain wrinkled his nose; Ah-Windu Corizon paced luridly behind him, pausing only briefly to look out the conference room windows to the icy planet below.


The gravimetric disturbance had caught both captain’s off guard, albeit for different reasons. Swain because he was unaware of the aforementioned tell of a Scorpiad ship arriving in such a manner, and Corizon because he did. Corizon had explained to Swain (and the rest of bridge crew) that the Scorpiads utilized a technique that allowed them to “phase” into subspace as opposed to “jumping” into the ubiquitous aether realm and that their emergence from it coincided with minor gravimetric anomalies.


It was -- for everyone -- a reminder that the Scorpiads were a powerful, technologically advanced species. For Swain, it was also a reminder of how much Starfleet Intelligence was keeping from the general populace and subconsciously a reminder of how dangerous the mission part of his crew were undertaking aboard the Vauban.


“I don’t like these delays,” Corizon growled. “They’re usually punctual -- to a fault. Almost as punctual as the Tholians.”


Swain nodded and joined Corizon near the windows. “What do you think is causing the delay?”


The Dameon shook his head and continued pacing. “If I had my guess? Some sort of political farcas on homeworld. These talks can’t be popular with the hardliners.”


“Are they ever?”


“No,” he said. “But given the situation, the Empress believes this is the best chance to end the conflict with the fewest amount of resources spent. My assumption is the hardliners are having to be convinced that they can accept the peace for now and then simply rebuild, rearm and reemerge in another hundred years or so and wipe the Eratians and Al-Ucard out properly.”


“Once they start talking,” Swain said, changing the subject. “What do you think the major contentions are going to be?”


“Honestly? I have no idea. The Scorpiads seem to only be still involved with this out of a sense of pride, not any tactical concern. Neither the Eratians or the Al-Ucard pose them any real threat and having them as de facto satellite state between the clickies and the rest of the quadrant seems to have worked out rather nicely. But then ---”


Corizon stopped pacing.


“But then what?” Asher said, curling his nose.


“But then, the Scorpiads are a dying race.” He said matter of factly. “I am assuming that’s not some sort of revelation for you, but tell me if it is.”


Asher shook his head. “The Admiral was kind enough to fill me in on that detail at least.”


“Oh good,” Corizon said. “Then you can understand why they’re being so silly about this whole situation.”


“So you think it’s ego?”


“Oh,” Corizon said, resuming his methodical pacing, “I can’t think of anything else. All the Al-Ucard and Eratians are asking for is the autonomy they’ve had for the last several hundred years or so before the Scorpiads decided to muck everything up.


“I spoke with one of their representatives after we beat them at the wormhole and they were forced into a peace treaty with the Dominion. He was a Lepterus -- they’re the most sensible of the whole damned species, too bad we’re getting some Emeri bastard for this show -- he described the entire war as an attempt a ‘lasting legacy to the glory of his race.’


“They wanted to go out with a bang -- having subdued the only race to ever show any real resistance to them.”


“Instead,” Swain interjected, “they suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of that same enemy and their allies from the Alpha Quadrant. I am sure that played well at home.”


Corizon nodded. “Tkcka thought that in another time it might have been enough of a humiliation for the royal family to be threatened for the first time in centuries -- but well...”


“So why are they dying?”


The question side-tracked Corizon and he stopped pacing again. “They don’t even know -- if they’re being honest. They have some ideas -- as do our high IQ boys -- but nothing really concrete. Starfleet has offered our assistance in the matter, but the Scorpiads have politely refused our help. Not that I blame them.”


“Being saved by an inferior species would be a little much for them, I take it.”


“I think they’d rather die.”


Swain nodded as his brain began puzzling the mystery of the Scorpiad demise -- he was, ultimately, a scientist, and such a mystery intrigued him. Communicator chimes, however, interupted his train of thought.


“Captains,” came the voice of the on-duty communications officer. “Incoming transmission from the surface. The Scorpiad ambassador has arrived and they are ready for our delegation to beam down at our leisure.”


Corizon and Swain looked to each other for a moment before Swain responded. “Excellent. Tell them Captain Corizon will be heading down soon.”

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