Episodes - Dark Days Lay Ahead

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Episode Synopsis

Featuring: Eniara Pol
Location: Palais De La Concorde
On: Day 1 at 0000

After completing a stunning victory in the 2393 Presidential Election, rank outsider Iden Morr has been sworn in as the first Bajoran president in the history of the Federation. As January 1st 2394 approaches, so too does the 100 days milestone of her fledgling presidency. With a new cabinet finding its feet and a Council that is eager to make progress on a number of agenda items, its all go at the Palais de la Concorde.

Reassignment

Location: Betazed
On: Day 1 at 0005

[Prior to Inauguration Day]

The election to Betazoid representative to the Federation Council was quite a shock to the Betazoid people as Izzy had found out as he was ordered to appear in front of the Matrons and the Ruling House. He wished he had brought Jozan with him, he was scared of the matriarchs. Especially the one leading the house he belonged to, the Seventh House of the Courage virtue, he found it ironic that he found courage was hard to find when he dealt with the leadership.

The vehicle door opened and many mixed exclamations came his way, some cheers and others damnations. Izzy failed to care, the public couldn’t see the bigger picture like the matriarchs could, so made his way quickly inside.

“Welcome Idris of the Seventh House, Kizak family,” a powerful woman’s voice announced as Izzy entered the Matrons Chamber. He gulped and gave a bow.

“Honoured Matriarchs, you summoned me.” Izzy said holding his bowed position.

“Rise Idris, as you have heard,” the Matron of the Ruling House spoke, Izzy did as instructed and assumed a relaxed at-attention stance he had used when in the Admiralty with his hands behind his back. He kept his focus on the Head of State’s nose, he found it was easier than direct eye contact. “We have elected you to represent our people and world to the Federation Council.” The Matron said with a smirk. “We believe you will help our people and world recover and prepare for any future hostilities, we will support our fellow members in the same but Betazed comes first.”

“Understood Matriarch,” Izzy said, he didn’t really have any questions or anything to say, though one thing came to mind. “I leave immediately for Earth?”

“Yes, travel has been arranged and your predecessor has been preparing for your arrival.”

“My family already has a home on Earth,” Izzy smiled, it will be good to be in that house again. He knew Jozan and the boys would be excited about it too. They had moved around a lot but this seemed to be the longest they have been in one place for being on the Federation Council will be a very long-term job. He prayed he would do his matrons, and his people, proud.

“Excellent, there will be living arrangements available to you and your family should they be needed in any case. I have given further instructions and policy transcripts by the Matrons to your new secretary on Earth, she will brief you when you arrive.”

Izzy bowed again as it seemed that to be a good point to get the hell out of there. “Understood Matriarch.”

“You do not have any further questions?”

Great, now she asks. Izzy thought behind a mental block. “No, I am eager to carry out your will,” he knew that would peaze the Matrons into releasing him.

“Very well, you are dismissed Idris Kizak.”

Finally, Izzy thought again behind a mental block, he backed out while still facing the Matriarchs, "As you will, be well Matriarchs." He said and once in the corridor made for the vehicle. By then most of the crowd had gone onto more interesting pursuits, good, Izzy got into the vehicle and returned home to inform his family of the new position and move.

Politics of the Law

Location: La Push, Washington & Paris, France
On: Day 1 at 0645



[La Push, Washington - Robinson Household - 0645 am]


Charles stood, dressed only in his lounge pants, looking through the large whole wall window out over the flower beds, the lawn, and on to the sea itself just past the white picket fence he'd built last fall. He had a cup of coffee in his hand, the steam drifting lazily up, as the scent of the rich dark liquid filled the air. He felt the cool air brush against his bare torso as the air recyclers kicked on, and then heard Lidia walking up behind him.

"Good morning," she said, her voice still drowsy, as her arms wrapped around him and clasped across his muscular belly, her head coming to rest against his broad back.

Reaching up with his free hand he placed it on top of hers, squeezing gently, "Good morning."

"When do you leave?" she asked, and he could feel the warm breath of her words on his skin.

"I will be transporting out in about two hours. I have a meeting at 0930 with a Romulan security officer to discuss extradition," He replied, his deep, rich voice low and resonant.

"You want breakfast first?" Lidia asked, pulling away and starting for the kitchen a few feet away.

"What did you have in mind?" he asked, turning to follow her.

"How about eggs, and bacon, maybe a couple of buttery croissants?" she asked.

"That sounds wonderful," Charles said, coming up behind her and folding her in his arms, kissing her tenderly on the cheek. "Have it ready when I get out of the shower?" he asked.

She nodded, and he could see her smile out of the corner of his eye. She was still just as beautiful as she had been the day they'd married almost forty years ago. He doubted that would ever change for him.



[Federation Marshall's Service Building - 0900]


"Morning, Sir!" came the ever-cheerful voice of Charles' administrative assistant, Brad Talbot, his strong British accent still not having faded despite the fact that he'd gone from that part of the world for nearly two decades.

"Brad. Having a good morning so far?" Charles asked with a brief nod.

"Er, no, not really, sir..." Brad replied, and something in the way he said it made Charles turn around and look at him.

"How long?" He asked, a sudden sinking feeling in his gut.

"He arrived at just half-past eight," Brad admitted. "He's waiting in your office, and I'm fairly certain he's annoyed..."

Heaving a deep sigh Charles nodded, "Thank you, Brad, that will be all."

Entering his office, his suit buttoned smartly, and a warm smile on his face, Charles approached the desk, hand extended, "I am so sorry to keep you waiting, the scheduling must have gotten mixed up, I'm Charles Robinson, Director of the Federation Marshall's Service," he said.

The Romulan on the other side of the desk looked at his hand disdainfully and failed to move. "I expected this would be a simple matter, I didn't realize you were not even going to be in the office until almost time for our meeting. We run things quite differently than you do here, apparently," he said, sneering. It wasn't lost on Charles that the man hadn't even bothered to introduce himself.

"Yes, well, let's get to business then, shall we?" Charles asked, hoping to deflect the man before he could get any further into his tirade.

"Yes, let's," the Romulan said from the other side of the desk as Charles sank into his seat.

Charles pulled up the case information on his terminal. "So, it looks like the Romulan government is requesting full extradition of a Reman ex-pat, but it doesn't say why. They are also requesting that your agents be given full jurisdiction to track him down, inside the Federation, including privileges normally reserved for Federation law enforcement personnel. Is that correct?"

"Yes, it is correct," the Romulan on the other side of the desk replied.

Charles nodded, and then turned his body to fully face his guest, his arms resting on the tabletop as he leaned forward, clasping his hands before him. "I am sorry, but that's just not possible. We cannot grant such privileges to agents outside of our direct supervision. The risk of abuse is simply too great. If it were a joint operation that might be different, but what you are asking for would be too great a chance, the Federation Council would never approve it, and I, frankly, wouldn't even request it," he said.

The Romulan on the other side of the desk never even changed his facial expression, "Do you have a solution you would be willing to give, Director?"

"Yes, in fact, I do. Let us catch him. Give us all the relevant information and let our agents apprehend him. It's that simple. But we will not do that unless we know what he's guilty of," Charles replied.

The Romulan smiled, "Don't be a fool. He is wanted on charges by the Romulan government for crimes against the Romulan people. That is as much as you need to know. Our treaties with the Federation make that quite clear."

"The treaties do, yes, And the council will back you up on that, I admit. But I will not hunt down a member of a race I know for a fact is still demonized in your society, especially after the failed rebellion under Shinzon. If you want my help you will give full transparency, or you can go to the council yourself, over my objections. You might get what you want, you might not. But I can guarantee you if he's truly guilty, and he knows you've come to us, he's going to be trying to get as far from the Federation as he can get, as quickly as he can get there. You waste too much time and you won't need my help to find him, you'll need a miracle," Charles said, his voice carrying a certain ring of authority, and finality.

The Romulan stood, his fists clenched, his face a mask of barely concealed fury. "I will discuss this with my government. Expect an answer within the hour," he said, and then stalked out of the office.

When Brad entered the room, his face puzzled, and a little fearful, Charles laughed, involuntarily. "You know, I think if he could have, he'd have hit me..." He mused and then shook his head, still chuckling as Brad looked on in horror at the thought.

New Job, New Stress

Featuring: Elizabeth Carter
Location: Paris
On: Day 1 at 0700

Elizabeth had been to the Palais de la Concorde a lot but today was different she was not going to work with a Council member or visit to see the cogs of democracy in the Federation work. No today she was going to work for the most influential person in the entire federation. As she was thinking she heard a small voice speaking to her and as she listened it became louder and louder until she realised it was her daughter saying, Mom. She snapped back to reality to see the omelette she was making was burning in front of her.

She swore under her breath, “Ok I guess I’ll have to remake that.” She said laughing slightly at her kids. Trisha smiled at her mother and put her hand on her forearm, “You will do great mom stop worrying, they wouldn’t have given you the job unless they thought you were good enough.” Liz smiled, she found her daughters words comforting, after all, there was truth in them. She started making another omelette putting it on her daughter's plate, “bon appétit” she watched as her daughter started eating and made another one for her younger daughter who had not appeared, As she finished making the omelette her daughter appeared sitting beside her sister. She handed to Liz a small box and smiled to her mother, “For luck on your first day.” Liz’s heart nearly exploded with love, her daughters might sometimes try her patience but when it came to it they always did the right thing. She opened the box to find a framed picture of the family, Mina, Liz, Trisha and Alexa, she held it close to her heart and smiled, “Ok eat up you don’t have long to get to school.” As they finished and went out the door she saw Mina exit her office and kiss their children off.

Liz took a deep breath as she did Mina closed the distance taking both her hand in hers and looked in her eyes, “You will be great, I know this because I know you. Just be yourself and you will blow them out the sky as you did with me.” Liz smiled she had been very lucky to manage to find Mina and make her, her wife. Liz kissed her wife before going to change into her suit, it was a simple black skirt suit, it didn’t draw attention but it made no illusions she was anything other than a worker. She departed after a kiss on the cheek from her wife who would be heading off to work soon too.

Liz’s house was not far from her place of work the walk was 2 minutes but it seemed like a lifetime in her mind. She approached security, the scanners scanning her as she came in, her bag was scanned and she was scanned more intensively as she walked through the checkpoint. She smiled at the staff who knew her from her previous role. She heard one of them say she was going up in the world she raised her hand dismissively as if to say she was the same person she was yesterday. The turbo lift seemed to move in slow motion even if it only took seconds. She stepped out the lift and was greeted by the security team who checked her over to make sure she was who she was. It was not uncommon for a new hire as they were not familiar with what she looked like, sounded like or acted like so it was their way of creating a baseline. She was shown to her office by one of the junior members of staff, she noted her name and made sure to note to get her a small gift for her kindness.

Liz sat at the desk in her plain office and shook her head, “Well this place needs to change.” She smiled as someone passed her door thinking she was speaking to them. Liz waved as if to reassure them she was not talking to them. She put her photo on her desk, the rock by which she would not get lost in space. The object that would always bring her back to reality. She looked at her desk and noticed a few things missing that she would need to keep up with current information. She grabbed one of the staff and asked whom she would need to speak to, to get the items she needed to be installed, the presidents chief of staff, not exactly a surprise but she knew some places ran different so it was good to check. She made a note of the things she needed, nothing that was difficult to get or anything but she wanted to have everything she needed to keep on top of things to be in her office and not have to go looking for it.

Liz went out into the main area and started to walk about a bit, partly to stretch her legs a little, partly to see how people acted and if they would acknowledge her. The answer was everyone greeted her with the decorum she would have expected in this office but everyone was pretty busy. She found a replicator and ordered oceanleaf tea, it was something she had developed a habit for while undercover in Cardassia and had never really kicked it. It was not addictive but when you drink several cups a day of something for several years it just becomes part of your way of life. She took a few sips of her tea and headed back to her office, she knew the first day would not involve doing an awful lot, she had meetings with the chief of staff, then the president and then a staff meeting with the whole staff but she was an hour early so she could get settled a little and get some information so she could contribute to the last meeting even if just a little.

Dawning of a New Era

Location: Paris Guest House, Earth
On: Day 1 at 0750

Iden stood alone on the balcony. She had been there since the early morning hours, long before the sun had risen, clearing her mind and collecting her thoughts. Much had gone into preparing for the day ahead. Many saw it as the culmination of months, even years of hard work and dedication. Yet, Iden knew it was more than that. This was a day that marked the beginning of something new. It the start of a new season, one that would undoubtedly change lives forever.

The cup of tea in Iden’s hands had gone cold, but she hardly seemed to notice. Her attention was lost in the middle-distance somewhere as she took in the sounds of city life around her.

Somewhere behind, the faint sound of doors parting and closing again could be made out, followed by footsteps. Footsteps that approached with an almost skip in their step. “Good morning, Madam President,” the owner of the steps called out rather jovially as she approached the balcony area. “How are you this morning, ma’am?” the voice asked as a woman emerged onto the balcony behind Iden. A Bajoran, with long auburn locks and a beautiful blue dress.

“Well, and you?”

“It’s the start of a beautiful new dawn, and excited for an opportunity to shape the future of the galaxy,” the younger Bajoran grinned as she stepped forward to the rail of the balcony and lent on it with her elbows. “So, I guess you could say I’m pretty good!” she smirked, but her smile softened when she noticed the expression on the older woman's face. “What’s wrong?” she queried, standing upright again.

“Nothing,” Iden said, turning to smile at the younger woman, “Just being mindful of the moment.”

Nodding slowly, Eniara glanced across the city and, in the distance, could make out the outline of a particular building through the morning haze. “All the preparations for the ceremony are complete and the Palais staff will be on hand to welcome you shortly after the swearing in,” she told, using a hand to push herself away from the railing and back into the apartment.Once inside, she took a seat on one of the sofas.

Iden poured the remains of her tea over the flower box on the balcony, then followed Eniara inside. She crossed over to the kitchen sink and began washing out the mug. “I’m impressed they manage to change everything over so quickly,” she said as she worked, “When we got to the Palais after President Bacco’s ceremony, the entire presidential suite looked as if she’d been in office for a year already. Of course, as cabinet ministers, we were left to fend for ourselves...”

“I never said the place would be tidy,” Eniara grinned as she picked up the data PADD she had brought in with her. “Speaking of cabinet ministers, Secretary Darin has decided to reject your offer to stay on at Intergalactic Affairs. He’ll stay in post until the Council ratifies a replacement,” she frowned as she started to go down the list of items on her brief agenda, “and we’re still chasing nominees for three other Cabinet posts.”

The news of Darin’s planned departure was disappointing. Iden had first met him while he was serving as undersecretary with the Bacco administration and been impressed with his dedication. His support for the Cardassian reconstruction efforts had proven invaluable, making him a real ally in their work together. As much as she’d hoped he would have stuck around to continue that partnership, however, she understood the need to move on.

“Very well,” she said, wiping the mug dry and setting it aside, “We’ll have to revisit that one again, I guess. Make sure you let him know how much we appreciate his willingness to cover the interim.”

“Having served on the Council prior to his work with the Bacco administration, it might be a good idea for us to throw a function for him,” the President-elect’s chief advisor suggested as she watched her boss very closely. “On the one hand, it would show how much his work has been appreciated, and on the other, it shows no hard feelings and keeps the door open for a potential return to service.”

“Agreed.”

“I’ll get things put in motion once we’re all settled in our new offices,” Eniara nodded, making a note on her data PADD.

At that moment, another door opened and a young man emerged. He was wearing the dress uniform of a Starfleet cadet, which he appeared to be struggling with as he made his way slowly into the main area of the room. “This stupid collar’s giving me trouble gain, grandma,” he complained, tugging at the offending bit of fabric, “I knew I should’ve gone back for mine.”

“Well don’t you make a dashing young Cadet,” the Chief of Staff grinned cheekily as she rose to her feet and took a step towards the pair. “I hope you realise you won't be able to come to grandma to dress you properly when she is President,” Eniara wagged her finger at him playfully.

Iden clucked her tongue. “That’s enough, you two,” she said, “Tabyr, come here.”

The young man continued to pull at his collar as he crossed over to where his grandmother stood waiting near the kitchen island. She swatted lightly at his hands, pushing them aside so that she could grasp the collar herself. With a sharp tug, she pulled the two sides together, causing the younger Iden to wince a little. Yet, she managed to fasten the clasp. “There,” she said, brushing a few wrinkles out of his jacket, “That should do it.”

“Ma’am, we really should go over the day's festivities,” Eniara shuffled anxiously from foot to foot while watching the grandmother with her grandson. It was lovely to see the family together, but today was no ordinary day, and this was no ordinary grandmother anymore.

She was to become the most powerful being in the entire United Federation of Planets.

The Long Road Ahead

Location: USS Ticonderoga, Earth Orbit
On: Day 1 at 0750

The view afforded to Kurt from the observation lounge of the Ticonderoga was certainly inspiring, but it was also giving him plenty to think about for the immediate future, as well as beyond. He could see the ships being completed at the San Francisco Fleet Yards, knew them by their outlines even as some were not yet near what their completed shapes would become. His right hand came up, first to straighten his tie once more, and then to brush the tips of his fingers over the Starfleet arrowhead pin on the lapel of his jacket.

He had accepted the offer presented to him to serve the upcoming Presidency of Iden Morr because the two of them found very quickly that her long term plans happened to coincide with his own. Hers for the Federation, his for Starfleet. For Kurt, Starfleet had changed radically in his lifetime, and not all of it for the better. Yes, innovations continued to be created and discoveries continued to be found. But it was now all with a sense of trepidation, a sense that every step forward had to be done cautiously out of fear that the wrong step would find yet another Dominion or another Borg Collective. This was not the Starfleet that a young Ensign Kurt Bergen had joined, it was not the spirit that resonated when that bright eyed helm officer beamed aboard the USS Montreal nearly 50 years ago. Frankly, it wasn't even the same Starfleet that a much more experienced Captain Kurt Bergen knew when he first took the center chair of the USS Polaris, and that command had been shot out from under him by the Cardassians.

It had once been said that the greatest enemy of Starfleet was not any one enemy, it was to do what had to be done without destroying or undoing the dream of the Federation. That had been once a mantra to rally against fear, but now, it was a cautionary tale in an era of skepticism and paranoia. And it was a tale that fell onto too many deaf ears. Starfleet was becoming militant, believing that somewhere was an enemy that would strike and would somehow have some new advantage to cripple them at some point in time and they needed to be ready to counter this threat. But how do you counter a fear that your imagination conjures up? How can you defend against an enemy that only seems to be more powerful because your own doubts make it bigger?

Iden Morr seemed to understand what Kurt had been trying to make Starfleet understand for over a decade and a half.

"Pop?"

Kurt turned around, snapped out of his thoughts as his son, Logan, spoke. Logan was the Captain of the Ticonderoga, a bright man who had a bright future still to come. Kurt straightened his jacket and approached his son.

"Lost in thought for a moment there." Kurt replied with a smile before embracing his son. In a family of Starfleet officers, rank was not something they concerned themselves with in private.

"Looked like more than a moment, Pop." Logan replied, heading over to the replicator. "Iced coffee, mocha cream and sugar. And coffee, hot, black."

The two glasses materialized into being, with the former placed for Kurt, who sat down next to the head of the table, and then Logan sat down at the head.

"Big day today." Logan said as he took his first sip. Kurt nodded as he also took a sip.

"Quite. Your mother and I will be there, but I suspect we will have little to do but sit back and listen to speeches." Kurt replied, "Cabinet members don't really get to make many speeches until the Administration is well underway."

"Are you still planning to give the commencement speech at Starfleet Academy this year?" Logan asked.

"I have a few speeches in mind, that being one of them. But it depends on both if the President is comfortable with that and if Admiral Clancy does not have other plans at the last minute." Kurt said with another sip.

"A lot of people still argue over the topic. A lot of people say you and Picard are fools, that people like you are why Starfleet was unprepared at Wolf 359 and the Dominion War." Logan replied, "Just as many say that stuff like the Ascension and Excalibur were proof positive that Starfleet has become paranoid and militaristic."

"Both of your siblings said the same thing, Logan." Kurt replied, "And I was told as much eight years ago. Though like I said to them, I don't deserve to be in the same sentence as Picard. I kept my silence when I should have spoken out for him. A regret that I still cannot even find it within myself to apologize to him for, much less speak to him."

"I don't agree with you there, but I won't argue." Logan said, taking a sip before continuing, "Pop, we can't go on like this. Those of us who served during the Dominion War remember the hardship yet we seem to want to relive it, and the kids who are joining up now, they think that's the only way they'll get anywhere. They didn't grow up with stories of Jim Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard exploring the unknown, they grew up with Ben Sisko and William Ross storming the gates of the Dominion, blasting away everything in their path. Even Janeway's story has become diluted from the amazing things they found in the Delta Quadrant to how she all but singlehandedly put down the Borg and half a dozen other threats."

"I know. We now focus on how Kirk defeated the Klingons, how Picard beat the Romulans and the Borg. Even Archer's story is more focused on his conflicts with the Xindi and the Romulans. The number of specials that the FNN runs now are more aimed at stories of heroism in battle over how much we've learned and discovered." Kurt shook his head, "I bet even the Klingon embassy is sick of seeing it all."

Before Logan could continue, a chime came in from the desk console.

=A="Captain. We have received a message from Starfleet Command. The cargo ship <i>Kilimanjaro</i> is requesting an escort into Ferengi space, and the area they are passing through is a hotbed for pirate activity. We're to escort them to the Ferengi border."=A= The First Officer said.

"Acknowledged. Please inform Starfleet Command that we have a VIP that we need to disembark first and then we'll set out shortly. Bergen out." Logan replied. The two stood up.

"Good luck out there." Kurt said.

"Good luck here. I think you need it more than I." Logan said. Father and son embraced one more time.

"Bergen to Transporter Room. Please beam Secretary-elect Bergen back down to Paris." Logan ordered.

With an acknowledgement, Kurt was on his way back to Paris. And back down the long road ahead of him...

First Day Jitters

Location: Colter-Littlewood Residence, Paris
On: Day 1 at 1100

Checking his suit jacket for wrinkles a third time he glanced over at his laughing husband, "Laugh it up." He said with a smile. The two of them were in the master bedroom of their house getting ready for their day. He knew of course that today was an important day and that of course it was unlikely to be an easy day. Inauguration never was easy, someone would want his time, someone would want to make his life difficult. Most likely in the latter's case it would be the first family or the president herself who would make his head pound. He'd had conversations with the woman's staff, he'd read the materials on the woman that were available and he felt that he was as ready as he was ever likely to be for the first day on the job in his new role. Jack walked to his bedside table retrieving some antique cufflinks which he fiddled with for a few moments while he attached them. They had been handed down in the family from father to son though his father and brother had never needed to wear them, so as the youngest boy in the family he got them as it was thought he would need them.

"How do I look?" Jack asked as he turned to his husband.

"I am beginning to worry about wandering eyes, you look as handsome as the day I met you Jack." Brandon stated as he walked around the bed until he was standing in front of his husband clasping his arms at the elbow. "You've been doing this for a long time, keep the ship straight and steady, you will be fine." Brandon smiled as he leaned in for a peck on the lips. He didn't need to hear those words but when he heard his husband tell him that he was proud of him it brought the biggest of smiles to his lips.

Their kitchen was full of life as he entered the room, Max had some how managed to coax Sam into eating cereal rather than throwing it at the wall. That was a nice change, he checked the time on the clock above the door. Old fashioned clock not a chronometer like most houses. He liked modern technology but he also loved antiques and just good old fashioned pieces of art in the house. Modern mixed in with the old as he ordered his first coffee of the day and helped himself to toast. He was dressed now and really did not feel the need to change by having something messier.

"How did you manage to get your brother to eat his food rather than throw it?" Jack asked.

"You have to bribe and compromise with him Pops." Max said to him Jack's right eye brow arched up and looked at his husband who simply nodded his confirmation of this. "Will I see you tonight?" Max asked.

"Lets assume not." Jack said with an air of a defeated man. "The president is going to need me today you know that." He pointed out.

"First day on the job, you want to make a good impression you mean." Max grouched. As the boy had gotten older, it was harder to hide the effects of his job and the sacrifices his husband and children made for him and the time he lost with them because of it. Not being there for Max's prom had lead to a massive argument between the two of them, Max had been right of course. What he did and who he looked after, would always come before his children and husband. It pained him that his fifteen year old kid had worked that out at about the same age he had come to a similar conclusion about his own father and the life of a Starfleet officer. He had given up the uniform but he had not given up the life or the sense of duty that came with it. He wouldn't be cliché enough to say you will understand when you are older, like his father had when he had formed a similar opinion. It hurt no less to see the look of sadness cross Max's face that day, like he was sure it had hurt his own father when they'd had the argument twenty or so years before hand.

"You know the first months are going to be hard, so if you want me time with me kid you need to make an appointment now for next Christmas." Jack said as he covered the distance he bent slightly to place a kiss in the nest of hair on top of Max's head. "I love you kid don't ever think anything different." Jack whispered in his son's ear before rising back up to his full height. Max surprised him by turning in his chair and hugging him. Jack kissed Sam in much the same way then headed for the door so he could make his way to the communal transporter padd down the street. Brandon followed him as far as the front gate.

"Good luck today, Max..." Brandon said.

"I was his age when I made the same conclusion he did Brandon. He knows my duty comes before pretty much everything else in our lives. I hated my father for always making me feel like I was second best to the uniform and his second family behind his own bloody crew. I don't want that for our children, I don't want to look back ten, twenty years from now and realise that I have the same relationship with Max and Sam as I do with my own father." Jack ground out. Brandon sighed, he'd known that Max's words had stung Jack far more than he would ever let the teenager know. That he thought was part of the problem, Jack compartmentalised everything in his life. Duty and family were kept separate from each other, so that when he walked through the door at home he went from being one and became the other and likewise the other way around. Years of training in the service and years of service in the fleet had done its job and its damage. Even if it was not something they had discussed.

"You will be late if you don't get moving, I hear the new boss..." Brandon started Jack burst out laughing kissed his husband goodbye and without a second look back headed for the transporter.



[Security Office, Palais De La Concorde. 2 ¾ Hours Later.]


Arrival at his office meant an influx of messages, he still had an hour before he needed to be ready to assume control. Currently the man he was replacing was doing his final hour of service. Jack looked out of his office as he finished setting up his desk, not that he expected to be at it very often but it still needed to feel like home. He checked his watch again out of habit.

"They say that time moves slower when you are watching the clock!" He heard from the doorway.

"Sal, you old dog what are you doing here?" He asked of the Starfleet officer and one of his eldest friends. "I would have thought that you'd be walking the route by now." Jack said to him.

"New job Jack and I see you are bouncing off the walls." Sal replied the commander handed him a padd. "That's the last of the reports you asked for three days ago." Sal said to him. Jack nodded placing it on his desk. Adding to the small pile of heavy reading he would be doing when he got home at the end of this treacherously long day. "How are the kids? Max must be fifteen, sixteen now!" Sal asked him.

"Figuring out that their father has more important duties to attend to. The argument I had with Max after the promotion came through shook the neighbours home across the road." Jack said to him. "How about your three and Mary?" He asked.

"The girls are fine, last I heard about Mary however she was engaged to a Betazoid." Sal replied.

"Divorced due to your marriage to the uniform." Jack said to him. He wasn't the first and he wouldn't be the last of course, Jack sometimes wondered what kept Brandon from walking out the door with the kids. It wasn't an easy life or a life that wasn't without its dangers but still Brandon stayed by his side loyally, celebrating his successes with him and commiserating with him after a long day with a good bottle of wine and a kind ear willing to listen to him let of steam. In return he would listen to the days of his kids and husband, listen to terrible jokes and watch terrible movies or listen to music and play games with his family. All in all it was not a hard life, just not a particularly easy one either. "I should get going, I don't want to be late that's the presidents job. Thank you Sal pass my thanks on to who ever put this together." Jack said to his friend who held out his hand which he shook. Jack was out the door a few minutes later carrying ID and his standard armaments for the event. He doubted very much he would need either but it was standard procedure.

"You have half an hour Jack." Someone called.

"I want to check everything personally, I have my personal communications device if anything comes up I want to know." Jack said to the woman who inclined her head his way.


[Candlestick Auditorium. 10 Minutes Later.]


Jack's arrival at the auditorium was inauspicious to say the least, he took note of the quickly filling auditorium and inclined his head at the agents nearby who took notice of his arrival. Jack stepped of the secure transporter padd, announcing his arrival on the comm channel and asking for an update. Jack walked to the edge of the stage, making sure that he was out of site of the dignitaries who were awaiting the ceremony and the arrival of the woman herself.

”Director, glad you could make it.” Someone said behind him. Turning around and stepping away from the stage to greet the man who had just spoken to him with a smile.

“Captain Malix what an unexpected surprise.” Jack said to the man he assumed was running the Starfleet security protocols today. They could he thought to himself have at least given him someone he liked and got on with. Malix was a stickler for the rule book and his teams had likely been in place since the crack of dawn. Here he was twenty minutes or so from the main event of the day taking place just arriving on site. He had among the least amount of jobs to do up until the ceremony was complete. “You got any issues I need to know about Malix?” Jack asked politely.

“Beyond the Klingon blood wine situation, I assume you know about nothing as yet.” Malix informed him. Gritting his teeth no doubt because Jack had not used the mans rank when addressing him.

“I am going to need access to your comm chatter Captain do you have what I need.” Jack asked.

“Control has the feed as requested, they'll inform you of anything that comes up.” Malix said to him.

“Captain if you make my day harder just to be clear, you won't get near another event of this importance.” Jack said to him. He didn't add at least while I am in charge of the president's safety. It was unnecessary as threats went. This was a big day for them both, he didn't want the heat from the press if it got out that he was clashing with Starfleet security personnel on day 1. Malix seemed to agree with the sentiment and offered him his hand.

“Lets make this work Director.” Malix said.

=/\=Director, Poet has arrived along with secretary Bergen.=/\= He heard in his ear.

“Show time, excuse me captain, the chief of staff is on site.” Jack said then turned and after being told where Eniara Pol was in the building.

Inauguration Day

Betazoid Councilor Idris Kizak stood with his husband, Jozan, in the Auditorium's entrance hall. Since nothing had started yet, everyone Izzy assumed would be congregating in the hall before heading inside to find seats. "So still angry about being selected to represent Betazed on the Federation Council Imzadi?" Jozan asked, his pressed business suit with a purple colour scheme was crisp and semi shiny.

"Yes, and no." Izzy replied, this conversation had happened many time since they had moved back to Earth for the, well both had lost count of how many times their family had moved residency around the quadrant. "Mind you I only just started so I have much to learn but I will be careful Imzadi." Izzy himself wore a full length robe that was cut on either side so as he walked his dress trousers could be seen. The colour scheme was a mix of white and dark purple.

"Good." Jozan said with a nod. They both had glasses of orange juice, they could drink alcohol as they had to meet their sons for dinner after this ceremony.

"Perhaps you can write a proposal to become the President's catering service for official functions?" Izzy asked with a smirk.

Jozan snapped his eyes to Izzy's and they widened in utter surprise. "You're right! Why didn't I think of that?" Jozan said rhetorically and pulled out his display communicator to call his second.

Izzy laughed as his husband went off excited about the idea, the Betazoid wondering what a monster he just created and hoped the President didn't say no.

In the background, and feeling rushed off her feet already as kick off time approached, Eniara Pol was in deep conversation with two of the President's security detail when she noticed the presence of the Councillor for Betazed. Taking her leave, the Chief of Staff approached the Councilmember. "Councillor Kizak, a pleasure to meet you at last," she gave her most charming smile as she spoke, "Eniara Pol, President Iden's Chief of Staff."

As this was going on, Kurt entered the room with his wife, Andrea. Both wore civilian attire, Kurt in a nice suit and tie and Andrea a dress and jacket combination. Both wore small Starfleet arrowhead pins on their jacket lapels, as they were both retired Starfleet. Andrea had enough of the job after she hit Captain, retiring after the Dominion War ended.

"I swore to myself I'd never see another political or diplomatic function after I left." Andrea said quietly.

"I made that promise to myself so many times I don't pay it much heed." Kurt replied with a chuckle, "At least this time you can choose your attire. You never did like the new uniform style."

"I never liked my uniform. The replicator never got the neck measurement right. Felt like I was being slowly strangled the whole time I had to wear the formal version. At least the ones before then were a bit looser in the neck." Andrea commented.

"Except for always having to tug the top back down any time you stood up." Kurt replied. "But we can go on about the good old times later. Let's go meet the others." He said, and the two made their way to the growing group of politicians.

Izzy gave a little bow towards the Chief of Staff. "Greetings Chief Eniara. It is a pleasure to meet you as well." He replied though he wasn't sure what to make of the 'at last' part. His assistant didn't tell him he had any pending meetings with the Administration. "It has been rather chaotic hasn't it?" Izzy joked.

Eniara, looking beautiful in her dress and her hair styled for the occasion found the Councillor a little... odd. No one called her Chief - it was a position not a rank or title, but she shrugged it off. "It's been a busy time, yes. I wanted to take a moment and let you know that we'll be bringing several cabinet appointments before the Council when a few sessions have been scheduled."

Jack walked with a purpose across the room, with a couple of agents behind him. With the help of his comm he was able to find the woman a lot more quickly, than if he had just been using his eyes to visually locate her. He smiled as he approached the group, allowing the tension to rush out of his body. Things were going well, he thought to himself. "Good afternoon Ma'am, Councillor, Mr. Secretary." Jack spoke clearly and respectfully. He smiled at them each in unison but offered no hand to any of them. He turned taking up a position near to Eniara. "The President's detail is in bound." He spoke to Eniara mainly loud enough for the others to hear.

Eniara silently nodded in acknowledgement of the Director's remark, offering him the briefest of smiles before returning her attention to the Councillor.

"Greetings," Izzy smiled at the group of agents, he assumed, and the newcomers. Who the agent mentioned was a Secretary, Izzy gave a short bow to Kurt as well before turning to Eniara. "Thank you for the 'heads-up', ma'am," having grown up in a matriarchal society, he was taught to respect the women he encountered and one way was using anything that could be a title, rank if they had one and ma'am was a wild card that covered most of the rest.

By that point Jozan had returned and smiled at Eniara. "Hello Miss Eniara, I'm Jozan Tau. May I book a meeting with the President about function catering?" He asked, the Trill trying to contain his excitement at the idea.

"Be careful Imzadi," Izzy said after he leaned over, "don't set your hope up too high, no matter how excellent the food and beverages are."

Jozan gave Izzy a sideways glare for a moment before returning to face Eniara

"Feel free to reach out to my office and I'll see when I can fit you in," the presumptive Presidential Chief of Staff nodded respectfully, very careful about what to say or think in the presence of the delegate and his partner.

Kurt nodded to the man who spoke to them, as did his wife. For the moment, they were willing to watch the Betazoid couple talk with the President's Chief of Staff. There wasn't a whole lot to jump in with right now, but the former Starfleet officer couple were experienced in diplomatic events to know that it was perfectly fine to just smile and look important than get drug into a conversation they didn't want to be in.

"Secretary Bergen; Captain," the Chief of Staff nodded in welcome to the two guests, "it is a pleasure to see you both, but alas, the President-Elects arrival is imminent. Excuse me, please," she nodded again before bidding fair well, gesturing for Director Colter to accompany her.

Jozan called after the Chief of Staff. "I'll be waiting Miss Eniara, thank you."

Izzy sort of shook his head slowly side to side while he sipped his orange juice watching Jozan be a nosy businessman making a fool of himself.

"What?" Jozan asked before sipping his juice.

"You do know how busy the President is right?" Izzy asked.

"Very, but once she has enlisted Supremacy Inc for catering at all official functions, she'll never have to worry again." Jozan said with a smirk.

"Let's hope so, and don't think of using Betazed to get to the President. I have enough problems and you are capable of much." Izzy said before another sip.

Jozan sipped his and smiled. "Oh Imzadi you are the best, let's go and meet more." The two approached Bergen. "Hello, Mister Secretary was it, of what if I may ask?" Jozan asked offering a hand.

Izzy had his hand out as well to the Secretary's partner. "I'm Councilor Idris Kizak of Betazed, and you are?"

"I'd hoped to take the job of Secretary of Being Retired, but it would appear that my job changed." Kurt smiled, before taking the offered and, "Secretary of Defensive Operations."

"Councilor." Andrea took the hand offered to her, "Andrea Bergen. Unlike my husband, I had sense enough to retire from Starfleet when offered those Admiral pips. Now I just do consulting for Starfleet Academy and write."

"Now now, no sense in boring the Councilor and his partner." Kurt replied, "So, what is it that you do, sir?" He directed his question to the man he just shook hands with.

"Secretary of Being Retired, now that is genus." Jozan said with a chuckle. "I'm going to have to write that down. I am Jozan Tau, CEO of Supremacy Inc. We are a major hospitality company across the Federation and beyond."

Izzy smiled at Andrea and brought her hand up to plant a kiss on the back of it before releasing her. "It is no bother Mister Secretary," he turned back to Andrea. "Yes ma'am it does seem a good time to retire once an Admiral. I didn't however, I was lucky that I had a starship to command for most of my Admiralty career before retiring to the political game." He grinned. "What do you write?"

"I confess that's not a line of work I was expected." Kurt replied to Jozan, "I usually just relied on stewards, galley crews, and replicators for the diplomatic missions I hosted here and there. But I can expect that is an interesting line of work."

"I retired before Admiral, he didn't." Andrea cracked a grin, "I was in command of the Cairo, he was in command of the O'Neil. We both got offered Admiral, I refused and stepped down from command after the Dominion War. They conned him into it."

"Well, I thought it would be temporary, but I imagine James Kirk said the same thing when he stepped down from command of the Enterprise. I suspect, Councilor, you will likely hear my name cursed a fair bit by some." Kurt said, "But, I'm used to it."

Jozan grinned. "Supremacy Inc is leading in most hospitality fields, well that's what my board of directors has been telling me, we also participated in most of the Federation relief efforts after the Dominion War with transport and production of supplies. I was proud my company helped Mister Secretary."

"And you don't want to be in the Cabinet any longer?" Izzy asked, he couldn't quite imagine a reason why, though peace and quiet home life does sound lovely along with spending it with a loved one.

"I feel I have certain...responsibilities. Better that I try to fulfill them then step aside and allow myself to become a part of history." Kurt replied, "But that doesn't mean I expect to be popular, Councilor. Nor do I wish to be. Let my name be cursed, so long as the actions steer us onto the path we often forget about."

"...okay, no more spouting philosophical without the excuse of at least being a few glasses in." Andrea said, "It was lovely to meet you both."

"Indeed. Gentlemen, I think it is time we go take our place for the day's events. Until next time." Kurt said. The Defense Secretary and his wife started towards the gathering proper.

Once they were safely away, the Chief of Staff leaned in towards Director Colter and gave him a playful jab in the chest with her right index finger. "Councillor Kizak's partner wants to talk to the President about function catering," she told him quietly, "have some of your people run interference and make sure he gets nowhere near the President," she sighed. "Last thing Iden need's today is a chat about canapés and hors d'oeuvres..." she shook her head slowly as she looked around the gathering crowd.

Elizabeth made her way through the crowd towards the Chief of Staff, she had arrived early and had been watching people as they came in, it was an old habit that would never die. She spent a long time in her career being a people watcher, her purple dress swaying slightly as she made her way through the people. Smiling as she passed people and nodding her head slightly. She moved through the crowd protecting her oceanleaf tea, she knew it was strange to have a hot drink at these events but if she was going to have to rub elbows with people she had little interest in she would have her comfort drink in her hand. She made it to the Chief of staff and the head of the protection unit, "Ma'am, Director Colter." She smiled broadly, "I got caught up in my people watching but I thought I'd come over and let you both know that I am here." She took a sip of her tea and let out a little sigh.

He took a breath before looking at his own team shaking his head, "We'll take care of it." He said to Eniara. The councillor he was sure would be dogged in their determination. "The most frequent answer I am likely to give today is no, some people are going to have to get used to hearing that word." Jack said seriously though the small smile on his lips certainly suggested he was looking forward to the challenges of the next few hours. Turning his attention to Elizabeth he inclined his head, "Call me Jack." He said to Elizabeth. "It is quite something out there right now, though we've had to confiscate the Klingon's Bloodwine, apparently they wanted to get the party started a few hours early. We have a couple of officers of their's in lock up just to be sure." He explained to Eniara. "If you get some irate Klingon delegates, Captain Malix at Starfleet security would just love if you send them his way." Jack said with a chuckle.

"I'll leave that to you, Jack," Eniara grinned as she signaled for a glass of water from a nearby waiter. "Your job is to make sure this goes off without a hitch. My job is to make sure the President is where she needs to be and is there on time," the Bajoran nodded in thanks as she took the glass, "...whilst Elizabeth here just gets to swan around watching people hard at work," she laughed before taking a sip of water.

Elizabeth smiled taking another sip of her tea, "My instructor at academy always taught me to work smart not hard. Plus when one swans through a crowd you might be surprised what someone my size can hear when they think no one's listening. Plus it is also a good idea to have people wander threw the crowd looking out for trouble makers." She smiled at Jack, "That doesn't scream security about them. Do we know the president's ETA? If the Klingons are getting agitated already it would be a good idea to get things moving, they are after all not known for their patience or tolerance." Taking another sip from her tea as if she was having a chat at a cafe. Always seem relaxed, it meant people overlooked her which in a large crowd like this at an event where risk is increased it was even more important.

Jack looked at the chief of staff with surprise, "I will endeavour to do everything I can to keep the Klingons as sober as possible for as long as possible. And away from the Romulan delegation." Jack said with a smile. Cardassians or not the Klingons and Romulans were going to be his biggest headache today, he could feel it in his gut. "What you can see probably amounts to a third of all the security measures in place today. The service is running things on the inside, we have Starfleet security running the crowds outside and that's just the physical security." Jack explained. Tuning out the two ladies for a moment he listened in the on the comm chatter and smiled. "Two minutes out," Jack said in response to the question.

Charles stepped through the doors of the large hall outside the auditorium, dressed in an immaculately tailored, somewhat shimmery navy blue suit, with a matching tie. His powerful figure was apparent, and the jacket was perfectly fitted to keep his holstered service weapon concealed until he had need of it. Lidia, dressed in a powder pink gown that made her light caramel skin seem to glow, and her dark brown eyes sparkling in her beautiful face, walked beside him, her arm hooked through his own, and a perfectly poised smile on her lips, the perfect, feminine, jovial counterpoint to his stoic figure.

"Would you care for a drink?" Charles asked, looking down into his wife's face with a faint trace of a smile. She was ravishing, and she knew it, and the thought of it made him love her even more.

"I'd love one," she replied, returning his smile with her own.

Charles nodded, "Will you be okay here alone? I know you don't know any of these people..."

"I'll be fine, dear. Stop worrying," Lidia answered with a tinkling laugh.

A few minutes later Charles returned, two long-stemmed glasses in hand, both filled with a sparkling pink liquid. "Rosé champagne," he said, handing it to her, knowing it was her favorite. "Let's mingle, shall we?" he added, and with her affirmative nod they set out to do just that.

Elizabeth wandered through the crowd till she saw a face she recognised, she made her way towards Charles, "Director Robinson, you made it in alright. How are you doing?" Liz took a sip of her tea, "It seems to be filling up but we won't have to wait much longer till things start." She smiled and extended her hand to Lidia, " You must be Mrs Robinson, I am Elizabeth, one of the Presidents new advisors. We will probably be seeing a lot of each other as I guess we will all be coming to these things regularly. There is always a ball or a function going on." She smiled giving a little laugh at the end

Lidia smiled warmly, "Yes, please call me Lidia," she said, taking the extended hand. "It's lovely to meet you, Elizabeth, and I feel you will prove to be correct, we will likely see quite a lot of each other."

Charles smiled, glad to see Lidia already introducing herself to people. He wasn't sure why he'd ever been worried. Of the two of them, she was far more outgoing and friendly. He was the one he needed to be worried about.

Liz smiled, "It is the side effect of working in the world we do. Due to the things we know and see not only is our world view tainted but we have information we can't speak to others so it forces a sort of self-dependant social dynamic." Shaking her head slightly she turned to Charles, "How did you manage to convince your lovely wife to accompany you. My better half made a case that they had to stay at home to look after the children, almost like there was not a boy sitter in the universe." She smiled and took a deep breath and a sip of her tea, "I guess if we didn't have to be here maybe we wouldn't either. Have you both been enjoying your evening? It should be a good night as long as the Klingons don't go wild."

Charles nodded, "Trust me, if I didn't have to be here I wouldn't," he said, agreeing with her sentiment. "But, since I do have to be, it didn't take any convincing at all to get Lidia to come along. She likes social gatherings, and she wanted to be here to help keep me sane," he added with a deep chuckle.

"Plus I reminded her how good she looked in this dress, and that she rarely gets an excuse to wear it," he said, glancing down at his wife and winking as he smiled and placed his hand on the small of her back.

Lidia looked up at him and smirked, "You think you're such a charmer," she said, and then burst out laughing. Turning back to Elizabeth she put her hand on the other woman's forearm as if she was going to impart a secret. "He is, actually, but I try not to let him know that. It tends to go to his head," she said as a very obviously audible aside, making Charles chuckle again.

Liz smiled slightly at the woman, "Well have a lovely evening but I have to go schmooze some more, hopefully, I will see you both later." Parting from the pair she moved through the crowd since again looking for any faces she recognised. Sliding through the crowd protecting the tea in her hand from getting knocked and disappeared into the bodies.

Izzy hadn't had a chance to reply to the Secretary of Defense before he and his wife left their company, so he offered his arm to Jozan and the Joined Trill accepted it. "Shall we?"

"Yes." Jozan said as the couple approached the rest of the gathered VIPs.

"Greetings to one and all." Izzy announced to Charlie, Lidia, Elizabeth and Jack. "Pleasure to meet you all. I am Councilor Idris Kizak, Seventh House of Betazed, Guardian of the Sacred Dagger." He liked dropping that little secret. Since the Seventh House was of the Courage virtue a dagger was one of the house's sacred treasures from ancient times, but it was not held to the same level of reverence that the Fifth House's Holy Rings and Sacred Chalice held to this date.

Sacred chalice, pfft, Izzy thought, it doesn't do anything but look pretty. He smiled before taking a sip of his juice.

Suddenly, the conversations around the gathering space started dying off. Heads turned as everyone's attention was drawn to the latest arrival, President-elect Iden Morr. She moved with purpose, her traditional Bajoran robe flowing smoothly as she walked. A small group of individuals that included her grandson and members of her security detail accompanied her. They followed closely as she made her way over toward where her chief of staff was waiting.

"Good morning."

Iden's gaze swept over the familiar faces. She took in the members of her soon-to-be administration, many of whom she'd had an opportunity to start getting to know already during the transition period, and was pleased to see some had chosen to bring family. She also made note of the various dignitaries and other guests who waited with them. "Councilor Kizak," she said, addressing the representative from Betazed, "so glad you and your partner could join us today. I trust you're both settling in well?"

"Thank you and yes ma'am." Izzy said and immediately put an arm in front of his husband as he even didn't need to be able to sense thoughts or emotions from his partner, even though the whole Imzadi thing allowed for that, that Jozan was about to ask the President about catering. "Not now Imzadi, I promise I will help you at a more appropriate time with your catering official Federation functions proposal." He said though Izzy was sure that Morr heard the exchange before she moved on.

Jozan made an angry sound but backed off and put his hands around Izzy's blocking arm and smiled at him.

"I promise." Izzy repeated.

"Good, good." Iden understood quite well the stress and logistics involved in relocating one's family to another world. Not only had it been part of this transition in preparation for her presidency, but it had also been one of many challenges she faced transitioning out of her time as Secretary of Interplanetary Affairs several years prior. The fact that both Kizak and Tau appeared to be in good spirits was a positive sign.

"...and Kurt," she said, turning her attention to the incoming secretary of defense, "I hear you've already started working."

"I don't believe I ever stopped, if I'm honest." Kurt replied with a slight bow of his head and a smile, "But, that's why I'm here, isn't it?"

"Don't let him fool you, Madam President. He's just been pestering people at the Academy and at Starfleet Command right now." Andrea replied.

"Yes, but that's just the preliminary work." Kurt chuckled, a glance to his wife, "I dare say the real work has yet to begin."

Iden laughed. "I don't doubt it," she said, giving Andrea a knowing look, "but I suppose we shouldn't keep him waiting too long then, should we?"

"Madam President," Eniara smiled as she intervened in the quietest way she possibly could, "it's time. We should let our guests get to their seats while you get to the main stage," she advised, a nod towards Director Colter for him and his team to lead the way.

Jack stepped up to the President elect with a smile. "Madam President Elect shall we?" He asked Given a nod to the detail they fell into step. "=/\=The president elect is on the move.=/\= He said into his comms. Pleasantries could wait, function came first today he thought.

Celebrations Turned Sour

Location: Roth Dining Suite, Floor 12
On: Day 1 at 1925

Making her way up to the podium that had been set up near the aft wall of the world famous Roth Dining Suite, Chief of Staff Eniara Pol looked far more relaxed than she had earlier. In the safety and sanctuary of the Palais de la Concorde, the Bajoran was surrounded by colleagues, friends and family of the new President of the United Federation of Planets. The inauguration had gone off without a hitch, the transition of power going even smoother and now, the President's supporters were waiting for their first glimpse of the President in this slightly less formal occasion. A chance to wine and dine, get to know each other and bask in the glory of their successful campaign, the Chief of Staff was now tasked with her first official duty as the President's Chief of Staff.

At the podium, the young Bajoran tapped a spoon against her crystal glass to get the attention of everyone in the room. As the Roth suite fell silent, the Bajoran grinned. "Without further ado, may I present to you Iden Morr... the NEW President of the United Federation of Planets!"

Turning her attention to the door, the Chief of Staff led the applause as the crowd began to rise to their feet.

At what would soon be the President's table, the outgoing Secretary of Intergalactic Affairs, the Benzite named Darin was dressed in his finest attire and rose to his feet, clapping for the President. Beside him, the President's running mate and now Vice President of the Federation, Lukiz Raikan, rose to his feet, clapping excitedly as his friend and colleague began to enter the room.

Both Kurt and Andrea stood up and applauded as well.

Izzy and Jozan stood, they too joined in the clapping. Well after all that Bajor had been through and the 7 years it took to get them into the Federation, now a Bajoran is President. It is going to be interesting from now on, Izzy thought with a smile.

Elizabeth stood and joined in the round of applause, it was a groundbreaking day, a Bajoran President of the federation. It was certainly not something she thought would happen in her life time when she was serving in Cardassia during the Dominion war. This changed a lot of things, she was not one of the established races which might give hope to other races that they too can become president of the federation and that could only be a good thing going forward. However she bore a great weight being the first, she would leave behind a legacy, Liz was going to do everything she could to make sure it was a good and long one.

Jack took a deep breath before looking at the president and giving a slight nod of his head, pushing the key that would open the doors. "Ma'am." He said politely. He fell into step just behind the president while one of the others took the same position on the other side of the president. It was the ladies moment and they were just the willing spectators to it.

Following the lead of the Director of the Administration Protection Detail, the newly elected President of the United Federation of Planets walked up to the podium. It was a massive step for the newly elected Bajoran - the first of her kind to ascend to the Presidency. Exchanging pleasantries with her Chief of Staff for the briefest moment, Iden took over the podium. It was truly a momentous occasion, but it was one that wouldn't last. For out there, among the crowd of supporters who had been welcomed for dinner, a lone assassin had evaded all scrutiny and made their way into the Roth Dining Suite. On the evening of her inauguration, President Iden Morr would take her last breath and the Federation government would be thrown into disarray. For now, all they had to do was wait for the proverbial fireworks.

Waving her hands above the podium, the President gestured for her guests to take their seats. Once the hubbub had died down, Iden gave her speech to the crowd. It was a speech full of hope, full of promise. Full of lies, in the eyes of her would-be assassin. They continued to watch from afar as the speech ended and they reached the climax of the event - the opening of gifts.

The crowd watched as the President accepted a number of gifts on behalf of different worlds around the Federation. First, a bottle of Andorian whisky, followed by a Vulcan musical instrument that resembled a flute of sorts. The assassin's frustration grew as the President's hand hovered above the instrument of her death briefly, only to move to a new object - some sort of figurine from the people of Benzar.

Then, at last! She reached for the small wooden box that had been strategically placed upon the table. Opening the lid, the President recoiled in fright as a liquid sprayed her square in the face and she collapsed to the floor behind the podium.

As predicted, pandemonium ensued.

Jack had watched eagle eyed as the President was opening the gifts, this being said he was not prepared for the shock of the president's collapse. They had not been expecting this, no credible threats nothing of this magnitude at this event. They'd prepared for everything meticulously since the night of the election win. Taking a breath before he rushed for the president. =/\= Code black, lock the site down and secure the vice president. Move the VP to defence location alpha, I repeat defence location alpha.=/\= This was something that they prepared for, something that they had trained for all of their careers.

For Betazed's gift Idris had elected to give it to the new President himself, he had been standing off to the side of the table, though he had been looking at the wrapped gift wondering if it was appropriate but then as he glanced up at the Bajoran woman, she had just about to collapse.

Izzy couldn't get to her quick enough to soften her fall but was at her side moment later. He yelled out. "Medic!" He had basic medical training but not the knowledge to treat more than the lowest form of physical injuries. He noticed that her face was now discoloured from normal, she was sprayed with something. Jozan was directly behind his husband as he didn't want to get in the way but laid a hand on Izzy's back.

"Step back Imzadi," Jozan said.

Izzy then was about to try CPR but at the last moment after a small whiff of the spray on Iden's face immediately stepped back. Back in his intelligence days he had come across various poisonous scents and that was one of them on their new President.

"Sir step back." Jack's snarl could be heard across the room. "I need emergency site to site transport to Starfleet medical, inform them that the president is incoming." Jack growled into his comm set. Dead or not breathing the procedure remained the same, she wasn't dead until someone declared her so. Looking at his second in command. "Lock it down, no one leaves the site and get hold of Starfleet Security, I want to know every ship that has left the system in the last couple of days with or without a flight plan." Jack said to her. "Go." He snapped.

Vice President Raikan watched in horror as the scene unfolded in slow motion until two figures in dark suits appeared at his sides and pretty much scooped him up and dragged him out of the function room at great speed. He watched, as best he could, as Starfleet security officers and medical officers alike began to beam into the suite and started to lock it down, stopping guests from fleeing whilst rendering aide to his fallen comrade. A last look back and he saw his friend laying motionless on the floor as people surrounded her.

Time had slowed for Elizabeth as the spray hit the president and she hit the floor. There was not a clear plan for what she should do in these situations but having been an intelligence asset for years, then a diplomat, she knew one thing - this room was not safe for anyone. She scanned the room seeing the team scooping the Vice President up. She was not as important as he was but he was going to need support and perhaps a calm voice at this moment. She moved and caught up with the team, "It is alright Sir, this is just a precaution to keep you safe." She said smiling as she moved at pace with the security officers, "Everything will be ok."

Remaining behind, among the sea of crying, distressed souls, the Benzite Secretary of State for Intergalactic Affairs (and fourth in line to the presidency), stood a few steps back from the podium, staring at the medical officers working on the President. Just a few days earlier, she had approached him about staying on at Intergalactic Affairs, and he'd rejected her. Now, he almost wished he hadn't. Perhaps things would have been different?

The din in the room was soon pierced by the drone of the transporter beam that engulfed the President and her medical attendees. With the crowd still in pieces, Secretary Darin made contact with Fleet Admiral Clancy, who had been at one of the other tables and was coordinating the Starfleet response.

Their first priority? Ensuring news of the attack wasn't leaked to the press, but with over a hundred people present, that was going to prove easier said than done.

Spirited Away

Location: Archer Command Suite
On: Day 1 at 1950

Patience was not the strong suit of the recently elected Vice President of the United Federation of Planets. He knew it, his family knew it, and everyone in his office knew it, so waiting around for news was like hell on Earth for the Trill as he paced the floor of the Archer Command Suite. Located on Floor C, below the planet's surface, the suite was a secure facility with communications access to the entire Federation. Most importantly though, it was used in the event of major incidents that required a more secretive approach to dealings. Given that the entire Palais was on lockdown, and Starfleet Security had begun a lockdown of streets nearby, this probably counted as a need for secrecy at this point.

With the room deep beneath the surface, the only light came from the illumination in the ceiling, or the various holographic consoles that adorned the walls and desks around the rooms periphery. It was not a place the Vice President liked, or desired to be holed up in for a significant amount of time, so he hoped for news and fast.

"How much longer?" He queried as he paced, looking up at the two protection officers that were with him.

"I'm sure we'll hear something soon, sir," the lead officer tried his best to reassure the President.

Councilor Idris Kizak had paced a few times, he'd watch his husband Jozan resting, seated at one of the vacant stations, Izzy had been standing by. Sometimes it calmed him down, though creepy. His Starfleet training and inability to relax in times of great chaos continued to war inside him as he approached Raikan. "Mister Vice President, please calm yourself, I understand the need to know but you will be the first to be informed of anything." He contemplated should he tell the Vice President that he smelt poison on Iden or leave it to the investigators to tell. "What should we do next?" He asked hopeful that the question could help the Vice President focus on helping getting the Federation government working again.

Stopping in his tracks, the Vice President glared at the Councilor from Betazed. How could he possibly think of such things at a time like this? They had just seen their President apparently incapacitated by some sort of weapon, and he wanted to think about getting the government working again? Then it hit him. It didn't hit him like a drop of rain at the start of a storm, but like a damn meteorite falling from the heavens. If Iden was, in fact, incapacitated to such an extent that she could not carry out her duties, then she had just completed the shortest Presidency in history and now, the responsibility would fall on him.

Huddled in the far corner, slumped on the floor, Eniara Pol had been in her own little world since being swept up in the drama following the attack. She, as the President's senior advisor, had been dragged away at the same time as the Vice President, so that she could offer the advice and support he might need in their time of crisis. But right now, offering advice was the last thing she felt like doing. Tear stained cheeks were the only physical sign of her reliving the trauma she had just witnessed. She had played the scene over and over again in her mind, only stopping when she heard the Councilor's question.

Watching as the Vice President slumped into his chair, the Chief of Staff to President Iden pushed herself to her feet, rubbed down her now dirtied frock and wiped her eyes. "Mister Vice President," she began as she took a step or two towards Lukiz, "we must ascertain the status of the President. If she is unable to carry out the duties of her office, then we must invoke Article 3 of the 25th Amendment."

"There hasn't been a recorded use of the 25th Amendment in centuries," the Vice President responded quietly as he looked across at the Chief of Staff. "Are you sure it still stands?"

"It stands," Eniara responded in a matter of fact tone, "and if we are going to invoke it, we need to get the Attorney General in here."

Raikan glared at Eniara for a for a few moments as he silently contemplated her words before standing up slowly. He adjusted his tie, buttoned up his suit jacket and gave the young Bajoran a nod. "See to it," he agreed, and then glanced across at Kizak. "Without an appointed Chairperson for the Council, I'm going to need you to get in contact with the Chamber officials and arrange a special session. I want to address them before word gets out."

"As you wish," Izzy replied and stepped away to do as the new new President, by all probabilities, asked of him. He pulled out his Council-level authorised communicator, activated it and spoke into it. =/\=This is Councilor Kizak to all Council members and officials, I am with the Vice President and he has requested an emergency council session immediately. I strongly suggest you all make your way to the chamber, time is of the essence at this point. I will be there shortly.=/\= He knew that the council communications room would have picked that up and relayed it to all councilors and other officials that were supposed to be present at council sessions.

After the longest day of his career Jack found himself at the doors to the Archer suite, his Director having taken the best part of his time going over what had happened, what he had ordered, who he had ordered where and when. Jack was tired, he was emotional and more to the point not for the first time in his career he was angry and heartbroken. He'd lost one other under his protection and like this time he'd been powerless to do anything about it. As he stood at the entrance to the Archer Suite his Directors words rang in his ears. 'You did everything you could.' Hollow words made to make him feel better but not having the desired effect for either of the people who had been present when they were spoken.

"Jack." He heard being prompted from behind him. Taking a deep breath he pressed his access code into the PADD beside the door. Whatever stress he was feeling or distress for that matter, as he entered the room his face was the picture of calm and sincerity. Years of training had indoctrinated into his mind the need not to allow people to read him. "Mr. Vice President, Eniara, Ms Carter." Jack said. There were others in the room including his own men and women. The minutest shake of his head to his deputy expressed what he wouldn't say until he spoke to the VP himself and out of respect to Eniara and Ms Carter. Protocol meant a lot but he had kept the chatter of the comms for a reason. He could expect professionalism from his team but he could not expect them to keep this quiet.

Elizabeth looked up from the console she had been using to gather information on the legislation on the ease of the vice president transitioning into power even if it was just temporary and also communicating with her contacts to see if there were any vibrations in the web of contacts to tell her who had wanted to do this. It was troubling that someone was able to get something this close to the president and harm them without anyone noticing prior, it did smell of being an inside job which made it even more uncomfortable in the room for her.

"Director Colter," the Vice President took a few steps towards the head of the Administration's protection units. They had worked together a few times, but never under such circumstances. "Have you got any news?" Lukiz asked of the Terran.

"I'm sorry Mr. Vice President, the president was pronounced dead a little while ago. We have yet to ascertain with any certainty what killed the President at this point. Besides a fast acting poison, the priority at this stage is to ascertain what that poison is and also to find out who put it there." Jack said quietly. He may have spoken calmly but that was the last thing that he was. He'd lost the president, he was angry but there were rules and procedures in place now and the moment the woman was declared dead his focus switched. As callous as it sounded until someone fired him for this mess, he had to ensure the safety of the living president. "We've already started to interview the delegates and are reviewing the surveillance footage leading up to and during the event for anything out of the ordinary. As is procedure, we are doubling your security, once that is in place and we are certain that the threat level is acceptable we can move you back to the Palais." He knew that every body would be listening to him but when he finished he addressed the others. "Ladies and Gentleman, I'm going to need you all to meet with starfleet security and my own team to discuss your movements and take DNA to remove you from the list of suspects. I don't expect this to be anything more than routine but it is necessary at this point." Jack finished.

"Dead?" Raikan collapsed back into his chair amid the gasps from others, especially from Eniara who had to hold on to a nearby console to stop herself from falling to the ground in shock. The rest of the Director's words were muffled noise as the reality of the situation sunk in. Considering invoking Article 3 had been bad enough, but now the situation was significantly worse. "I... uh... we, ummm, we need to get Phillipa in here..." he stuttered, trying desperately to calm himself.

Izzy approached the Vice President, "With your permission I must go to the council chamber to prepare it for your arrival sir?" He asked though spared a glance at Jack. "I suggest you do all council members and officials before anyone else, we have a lot of work to do." He turned back to Raikan as Jozan came up behind Izzy but didn't speak just waited.

"Sir in these circumstances and in the middle of the lock down, its not the Vice President who will be able to let you leave. Sir the Attorney General has been notified and is being brought here. I hope to be able to allow you all to leave in short order, Starfleet security is currently running sweeps of the council chambers and off the banquet hall and the Palais. It simply isn't safe enough to allow any of you out of this building just yet." Jack said to them then he turned away from the group speaking into his communications device. =/\=Start talking to me people.=/\= The protectees weren't the only ones in the room feeling the locked in syndrome. He felt like he wasn't fully in control of his situation they were in. That was not a sensation he was used to or one he liked.

Elizabeth stood up and moved to the man she had not known long and knew he must be feeling it, she had lost informants when she was in intelligence but this must be worst as it was possibly one of the most important people in the universe. She moved to the man and put her hand on his shoulder, "Can I get you anything?" She offered knowing he would most likely reject the request but she needed to let him know that she saw him.

"What did we miss Elizabeth? What did we not see?" Jack asked her. "There was no chatter, no warning no imminent threats." His frustration showing. He was angry, no he was upset. A good woman had died today on his watch, his job was to protect her and he had spectacularly failed on that front. Oh there was many people working under him but the blame game stopped at him did it not, it was his meticulous plans, his orders and his teams.

Keeping her hand on his shoulder reassuringly Elizabeth said, "Sometimes there are no signs if it was done by a small team or a team that new our protocols they wouldn't make waves. Sometimes events are not foreseeable from where we are looking. Trust me I know." For a moment her expression went blank as she flashed back to her time in prison where the Dominion and Cardassians tried to break her. Her hand reflexively gripped his shoulder before quickly relaxing, "Right now Jack we don't have time for guilt. We need you to stow that away, right here and now we need you to think clearly because we need to make sure the Vice President gets ascended safe and sound. Then we can move to find out who came into our house, we need to ensure the government doesn't break down here. So deep breaths Jack we have jobs to do, later when this is done we can drink our sorrows but right now we don't have the privilege."

She knew her words were harsh but she served in wartime and people might not see this as a war but they were under attack but had a clear mission goal, ensure the VP safety, get them into the big chair, stow them safely then investigations can run at full speed. That was her thinking at least, she knew she was being harsh but she knew in situations like this blunt and direct tended to snap people out of things. It was also for her benefit too, the calmer and more in control others were the better she felt and the better she was able to perform her job. She knew if things got out of control her mental health might plummet back to those dark times after the dominion war and she did not want that to happen again, she was not sure she could climb out again.

Idris agreed with Elizabeth, they had to ensure there was a stable government. Though he knew until Security cleared him he couldn't go, there wasn't much he could actually do. He turned and pulled Jozan to his side. "I guess we wait for due process." He said to his husband.

"Indeed, we must always keep order," Jozan said repeating things Idris has said to him time and again over their relationship.

Izzy smirked. "Well aren't you wise." He said and the two hugged, then he led Jozan back to the where they had been before.

For now, all the group could do was wait...

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

Silence had engulfed the Archer Command Suite since the shock announcement of President Iden's death, the occupants of the room in deep contemplation and feeling great sorrow for their friend and leader. There were dozens of other emotions flying around the room too, and Vice President Raikan was certain that the Betazoid's there present would have noted them by now, especially his. In the moments ahead, the Vice President would be sworn in as President of the United Federation of Planets, a job he had never had any desire for, even when Iden had approached him to be her running mate. As the age old Klingon proverb said, however, great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them. Whilst he was not a great man, he would do what he had to in order to ensure the Federation would survive.

Pulling away from the rest of the group in the Bunker, Jack listened in to the comm network for updates without the distraction of other voices near him. Acknowledging the news he stepped back to the others, "Mr. Vice President the Attorney General is in the bunker and on her way here." Jack said to the man who would be president. He looked at the others briefly before giving the okay to bring the woman straight in.

Mere moments passed before the door to the Archer Command Suite parted and a number of officials entered the secure facility, surrounded by members of Director Colter's security teams. The first was the highest ranking member of Starfleet, the organisations Commander in Chief, Fleet Admiral Kirsten Clancy. The grey haired woman had a face like thunder as she approached the Vice President and shook his hand briefly.

Following the Fleet Admiral, and shuffling along at his own pace, was Secretary Darin, the outgoing Secretary of Intergalactic Affairs and, as it stood, second in line to the Presidency. The Benzite, like his Trill companion, had never had any desires on the top job, but fate played cruel tricks in politics. The two friends shared an exchange of sad glances before the arrival of the final woman drew the Vice President's attention.

"Mister Vice President," Phillipa Louvois, the former Starfleet JAG and the incumbent Attorney General for several administrations now, approached the Trill male and gave him a gentle embrace. The two had known each other for a long time, but even that failed to make the situation any easier.

Elizabeth gave a short nod to the Admirals she was not going to say anything as she didn't have anything to add to the situation that would improve it. Her training as a Diplomatic officer in Starfleet she had learned when to speak and not. She just stood near the vice president in case he needed a ground point in what was going to quickly become a whirlwind of activity. He was being thrust into a job he would not have been expecting to be taking during this term.

When the 'pleasantries' were over, the Vice President sat back down in his chair, the gathered officials waited for the update.

"I wish we were here under better circumstances," the Trill Vice President looked around the command centre with sorrow filled eyes, "but we aren't. As you have been briefed already, a short while ago, President Iden was pronounced dead by medical officers attending her. I've been advised that investigations are already underway and now, we must turn our attention to the line of succession," Lukiz advised as his eyes fell on Phillipa who sat just a few chairs away.

"In this situation, the Constitution is clear," Louvois told as she looked around the room, "Article one of the 25th amendment clearly states that in the event of a sitting President's death, the Vice President assumes the Presidency for the duration of the term," she told as she displayed the text of the 25th amendment on the screen for all to see. "Granted," she added, "no Vice President has ever assumed the Presidency on inauguration day, or had to serve out an entire term as un-elected President."

"And I am right in thinking that, since the Attorney General is no longer in the line of succession, that you are free to conduct the swearing in, Phillipa?" Secretary Darin questioned from his seat further around the table, the Benzite breathing into his special apparatus far more often than he would usually given the tense situation they found themselves in.

"Correct," Phillipa confirmed with a nod. "We have enough witnesses present, and given the need for stable government to bring us out of this crisis, I recommend we do not wait any longer than necessary. The only problem I can foresee is the absence of a Chairperson from the Council..." she trailed off, glancing at the only representative from the Federation Council who happened to be in the room. "Councilor Kizak, do you speak for the Council?"

Leaving Jozan by the desk they were at, Izzy walked over to the Attorney General and gave a nod. "I can, if protocol allows." He replied.

"In the circumstances, protocol will allow it," Phillipa nodded to the Betazoid before looking back at the Vice President. "Once you are sworn in sir, we'll go through all the formalities such as the command briefings, intelligence reviews and the like, but I imagine you'll want to get before the Council as quickly as possible?" she queried expectantly. A nod from the older Trill confirmed her belief. Very well then," she took a deep breath as she rose to her feet and took a few steps towards the Vice President.

Secretary Darin rose to his feet and looked towards the pair as the historic moment approached.

Izzy was a little concerned that if whoever was responsible for Iden's death will try again, a good way to disable the Federation was to kill the executive branch. He would watch the swearing in before he would voice a course of action.

Elizabeth lent down to the Vice President ear, "Sir I am here if you need me. I would however if it is not too forward highly recommend securing the Councils confidence as soon as possible as it will be hard enough to get things done at the best of times. Now we will be required to move quickly and make swift and decisive action which will require the confidence of the council. I am not a political Advisor sir but for the Security of the Federation going forward we need to act as one here." Elizabeth stood behind the man, she did not take a seat for a few reasons one being this was very much a political meeting, she was not a politician but an advisor and second, it allowed her a free view of the comings and goings in the room. She was on high alert and knew if she needed to put herself in danger she was willing and able.

"Thank you Elizabeth," the Vice President nodded in appreciation at the woman's offer of counsel. Although he knew her, it wasn't the sort of relationship she probably had with Iden - for that matter, he didn't know many of the President's staff half as well as he should have, and that would have to change now they would be his people - at least for a while. He rose to his feet, buttoned up his suit jacket and looked to the Attorney General with a wry smile.

Taking a deep breath, Phillipa tried to reassure the man as much as possible, offering the best smile she could. It was obvious that the situation was horrible, but he was about to take office as the most powerful person in the Federation, and that was a massive achievement worthy of pride, even under the circumstances. "Sir, if you would raise your right hand and repeat after me," she asked.

Lukiz rose to his feet and did as instructed, a quick glance around the witnesses before focusing on the Attorney General. He listened as the woman spoke and he began to repeat the words back to her. "I, Lukiz Raikan of Trill," he answered, "do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United Federation of Planets. I will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federation."

With a smile, and a handshake, it was done. "Congratulations, Mister President."

"Mister President, I suggest you appear in front of the Council in holographic form. The podium is equipped with a projector for imagery displays for session discussions. Once I return to the Chambers I will discreetly program it for you. Until protection and security agencies find out who is responsible I highly recommend you remain isolated." Idris Kizak of Betazed offered, "or perhaps disguise yourself as a part of my delegation for the journey to the Council chamber, I already summoned a detail to escort me and my husband, one of my escorts can become your decoy?"

"No," the new President rejected the idea flat out. "I will not hide or cower in the face of such adversity. To do so lets them win. I will go to the Council in person and I will break the news of Iden's death," he was pretty firm in his assertion, the perceived power of being President already making him feel a tad more authoritative. "Mister Colter," he spoke as he looked towards the head of his protection unit, "make it happen."

Izzy faced Jack as well. "Director," he turned back to Lukiz. "As you wish sir, forgive me for attempting to keep you safe." Idris said plainly, he walked over to rejoin Jozan waiting for Federation Security to allow them to leave.

"It can happen and shortly but I want security inside the room and covering all the exits. I don't know who or what attacked President Iden yet and until we have that answer your security and that of your chief of staff will be doubled as per regulations. Until you fire me or ask me to resign we do this my way." Jack said calmly though he thought maybe it wasn't the best idea in the world to use those words for him at this precise moment. Jack's gaze turned glacial as he looked at Izzy, "With all due respect councillor, I couldn't careless what you are trying to do. But if you have some suggestions for safety, we can discuss them at a later date." His tone was cold and the inflection he put on respect was just the right side of acceptable tone. However whether by choice or mispeak the Councillor was not easing Jack's unhappiness. =/\=Colter to all teams, move to condition yellow and have every body from the council informed they are needed in the chambers immediately.=/\= He said into his comm listening to the reply for a moment he added.

"Mr. President, we'll be ready to move when you are." Jack said to the man finally looking back at the would be king who had been forced to take the throne just a wee bit earlier than expected.

Duvet Days

Location: Belfast, Ireland, Earth
On: Day 1 at 2100

[Hastings’ Residence, Belfast, Ireland]


As Deputy Director of the Federation Security Agency’s Internal Affairs Divison, he had just returned from an anti-corruption investigation on Luna. Winston Hasting’s literally flopped, in an overexaggerated comedic fashion, aiming to get a much-needed nap. In the background, he could hear his wife Elizabeth Hastings pottering about in the rooms downstairs and the birds tweeting outside.

The room was completely dark. The joys of modern technology. With a simple voice command the glass windows in the Hastings’ master bedroom would become completely opaque. This benefitted Winston. No matter where in the world, or infact galaxy, he had been working, he could always come back to his own house in Ireland, and immediately fall asleep – regardless of the time of day.

4 Hours Later….

The four hours of sleep Hasting’s had had, were abruptly interrupted by his wife barging into the room, running over to his bedside and shaking him.

“Winnie, wake up! Wake up, Winnie! Something has happened in Paris.” She ejaculated loudly. The air of panic in her voice, immediately jolted the former Starfleet Commander from his sleep. He sat bolt upright, taking his wife’s forearms in attempt to stop the shaking.

“What’s going on Beth?” he murmured, “Computer, Federation News Service on holo-display.”

As he straightened himself up in the bed, propping his back with a pillow, Beth teetered on the edge of the mattress. The holo-display glowed into life, flooding the room with the blue, reds and greens of the news stream. Processing the information as fast as it appeared, Hasting’s unconsciously placed his arm around his wife’s waist in a protective manner.

For the next 10 minutes they sat watching the live stream, as more information was reported by the lead anchor, a young looking Vulcan woman, in a pinstripe traditional garb. While she didn’t look a day over 25 in human terms, thanks to the Vulcan life span she was probably closer to 55-60. Appointed due to her logical, calm, reassuring voice, she was an asset in a still developing crisis. The people would trust that the news she was delivering was accurate and without hype.

The holo-display changed, as the stream transition from the Anchor’s studio to a live feed outside the Palais De Le Concorde. A much more spirited, and adrenalin fuelled human male was now presenting the news briefing. He spoke at a fast pace;

“This is Malcom Gregg, FNN Earth Correspondent, live at the Palais De Le Concorde. There are a lot of rumours being reported, but I have it from 2 sources that President Iden Morr has been assassinated, as she approached the podium to give a speech during her inauguration dinner. We don’t know much else at the moment, as this is a developing story. The Palais remains on lockdown. We can corroborate reports that, much like in San Francisco, London and Tokyo, Starfleet Security personnel have been deployed the streets of Paris.”

Jesus Christ. Hastings’ mind was running a mile a minute. The Federation President assassinated. How could this possibly happen. He immediately felt sorry for the Director of the Federation Security Agency, who’s whole world must be falling apart right now.

It wasn’t long before the house comm system started to be inundated with incoming transmissions. They muted the system, so they would not have to speak with anyone while they processed the day’s events.

Minutes turned into hours. They continued to watch the news stream in, Beth had retrieved hot tea from the landing replicator and was now sitting atop of the bed, propped up against her husband. Winston and Beth sat there discussing the information as it came in, living in a bubble of FNN Breaking News updates.

They were both frightened out of their skin, when there was a knock at the door. No, not the front door of the property, but the actual door to the Master Suite. Their bedroom.

Following the knock, a young Ensign, in a gold coloured Starfleet uniform entered the room. Beth jumped up from her seated position and ran over to him.

“BILLY!” she exclaimed as she grappled him into an embrace. Ensign William Hastings’, one of three triplets, stood in his parents’ bedroom returning the embrace from his mother.

“Ma, calm down.” He retorted, taking his mother by the hands and withdrawing himself from the embrace. The flame haired, Ensign stood back and turned to his Father, who was still seated.

“Dad, I’m here to escort you to Paris. The President would like to see you.”

Emergency Session

Location: Federation Council Chamber
On: Day 1 at 2130

The hour grew late as the Federation Council finally assembled in their chamber, the vast majority of Councillor's currently planet side given the momentous event of the day, the inauguration of President Iden Morr as the first Bajoran to hold the Office of the Presidency. The hushed chatter in the chamber was not of a positive tone, however. Many were concerned about the developing situation around the Palais. Starfleet Security had stepped up their patrols in the city ten fold, with a security cordon clearly in place around the Palais. Public transporters had been isolated and now Starfleet were clearly deciding who had permission to beam into the area. Councillor's and their entourages had been vetted and vetted again upon arrival at the Palais, and were under clear instructions that the Roth Dining Suite (and the 14th floor as a whole) were out of bounds - the Federal Security Agency were seeing to that.

"I've heard that dozens of Starfleet Officer's were seen on fourteen," the Grazerite Councilor had remarked after getting word from one of his staffers.

"No one has seen or heard from anyone in the administration since before the reception," another Councilor had remarked.

Both things were true, of course, but not that they knew it right now. All they knew for certain was that the Council had been recalled for an emergency session, and that rarely meant anything good.

Rajea fluttered her eyes. “Of course they haven’t been seen, they’re probably in protective custody.” She fidgeted with the large collar of her dress.

Councilor Idris Kizak walked out to the podium after getting one of his security escorts to take Jozan home. Once at the podium he looked out over the assembled Federation membership representatives. Izzy smiled although he didn't feel it. "Greetings fellow honoured Council Members, I present Vice President Lukiz Raikan to address you all in this emergency session." He gestured for Lukiz to replace him at the podium for Idris made his way to where his delegation was seated.

Vice President Raikan, at least in front of the Council for the next few moments, closed the gap from the doorway to the podium in swift fashion, his eyes trained on the platform from which he would speak so as to not make eye contact with anyone. Once he was in position, he took a moment to compose himself before looking up at the sea of faces. "Councillors; I want to thank you for convening for this special session in such a timely fashion," he began as he looked around the room slowly and indiscriminately. "Earlier this evening, during the celebration reception in the Roth Dining Suite, President Iden Morr was sprayed with a gaseous substance from an object donated to her as a gift in celebration of her ascension to the Presidency," he told, drawing gasps from those who had made it to the session, but of course, the worst was yet to come. "It is with immense sadness that I must inform you that a short while ago, despite the best intentions of those at Starfleet Medical, President Iden was pronounced dead."

The Council Chamber erupted with a plethora of cries and shouts of anger and outrage while the 'Vice President' held his hands up to try and calm the crowd. He had to get through his announcement before he could answer any questions, and he knew there would no doubt be many.

The Deltan Councillor, Rajea, made a quick prayer in her native tongue. The death of a President was a great sorrow for the Federation as a whole. Add to that, Morr was the first of his race to hold the office. The bald woman made a quick note to herself to send regrets to the Bajoran Government and a token of of her sorrow to the President's family.

"You knew about this?" One of his aides asked Idris.

Izzy nodded. "I was there, I tried to help her, I couldn't." He glanced downwards, the surface thoughts from the councilors and their delegations shoving against his mental defenses harshly he was forced to let some in and some were memories of meeting Iden, though now it had a sad filter to it that made Idris have to quickly wrestle control and bury it. He did it fast and looked over at his aide. "She will be missed but we must keep this Federation together and running, Iden would probably have told us to do so if she could."

The aide nodded, he wiped his tears away. Clearly the aide had met Iden a few times, Izzy wasn't sure when but placed a hand on his shoulder. "Let us honour her by doing our best to keep order and peace."

"Yes," the aide said with a smile. Izzy looked back at Lukiz who was about to speak again.

"Please! Please." Lukiz pleaded, the noise from the baying crowd beginning to dissipate as they prepared to listen some more. When the noise level was low enough, the Trill continued his announcement. "At approximately twenty-one hundred hours, Attorney General Phillipa Louvois attended the Palais de la Concorde at my behest. Upon her advice, I invoked Article One of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets and, in accordance with the aforementioned Amendment, I assumed the Office of the President of the United Federation of Planets with immediate effect."

The smooth headed woman watched the newly assumed President closely. This situation was almost unprecedented. The Deltan was now very focused.

Idris was going to have to see how the other Councilors would act, though Lukiz was Iden's Vice President it did mean he shared her vision and was confirmed by the Council when the two campaigned. Perhaps assisting with the investigation would help give the Council something to focus on, he'd have to recommend to Lukiz to allow the Council to look into any connections their worlds had to the gifts.

Once the noise and hushed again, the President (as he could now identify himself) seemed to take on an air of authority he had perhaps been lacking, in much the same way he had back in the Command Suite. "Whilst I cannot go into details at this point in time, I can assure you that an investigation into the attack is underway and that the Office of the President will, at all times, maintain the highest order of transparency with this Council," he declared, before his face changed and his tone lowered. "I reluctantly assume the presidency tonight following the death of a close friend. Iden Morr was a woman of great character, and her presidency promised so much for the people of the Federation. Whilst I hold this office, I will stick with the Iden policy agenda that she was elected to office on, but no one is more aware than I, that I was not elected to this office. When the investigation into the attack is complete and we have established a stable government, it is my intention to call a special election, whereby the people of the Federation can once again elect their leader."

Applause erupted from the chamber as the Councillor's seemed, for once, to be united in their approval of his statement. For his friends, it would be a chance to elect him in his own right; for his enemies, it would be an early chance to try and oust the new President. Political machinations were at play already.

Indeed he knew how to please the Council, Izzy smirked as he stood and clapped. He wondered about the Chair position and thought about all that he could accomplish for his people, world and the Federation as a whole in that position. First he'd have to get support for it, and offering it to assist the President could help, not to mention keep those power greeders out of it.

Since he had called the meeting Idris returned to the podium and offered his hand to Lukiz. "Brilliant speech Mister President," he turned to the Council. "Unless anyone has reasonable questions that do not require answers that the President doesn't have, I suggest we let him get to work on finding and bringing to justice whoever is responsible for Iden's death. I and my people of Betazed offer to assist in any way possible Mister President, you have only to ask. Who else?" He called.

"Actually," the President stepped forward again and 'took' the podium from the Councillor for Betazed. "It is in the interest of strong, stable government that I will be tabling nominations for several key positions here in the Chamber tomorrow," he then looked to the man from Betazed again, "including nominations for Council Chairperson and key members of the Cabinet." It was then that the President finally stepped down from the podium and looked out at the crowd of people. Interesting times lay ahead, that was for sure.

Rajea regarded her Betazoid colleague. It seemed he had begun the ass kissing early. She smiled as the President interjected.

As the President left the Chamber, the era of Iden, all be it short, was over. The era of Lukiz Raikan had begun, and he clearly meant business.

Nominations

Location: Ra-ghoratreii Suite, Presidential Office
On: Day 2 at 0835

Alone at his desk in the Presidential Suite on floor fifteen, Lukiz had finally managed to get a few hours sleep once initial meetings at the Palais had been concluded. Granted, he had never left the building; opting to be close at hand should he be needed, the new President had occupied one of the side rooms to the suite and got some shut eye whilst the rest of the Palais dealt with the aftermath of the previous evenings tragic events.

Today, however, was a new day, and the start of his first day as President of the United Federation of Planets. The holonet was rife with rumours about Iden's assassination, whilst some channels seemed to be playing Lukiz's statement to the press on a never ending loop - much to his annoyance. He was gratified, however, that snap polls conducted by the press seemed to give him a high approval rating in these unprecedented times, and few seemed to support the Opposition's notion of a fresh election, which emboldened him somewhat. That public approval, even if it was just a snapshot, had given him an extra boost that morning, and had led to him getting the show on the road early. He'd called Eniara once he was dressed and had ordered the Bajoran to summon a member of the Council to the Palais nice and early so that he could get ahead of the game and ahead of the session in the Council later in the day.

Outside the Ra-ghoratreii Room, Eniara Pol was stood in the lobby area of Fifteen, tapping her feet anxiously as she glared at the nearby turbo lift. She'd received word that their guest was in the building and being escorted to Fifteen, but the journey seemed to be taking an age. It was probably all the additional security in place, but she would be relieved when the guest finally arri...

PING

A rather cute touch left over from elevators of a bygone era, the ping sound indicated the lifts arrival on floor fifteen and, she hoped, the arrival of the President's first guest of the day.

Rajea stepped out of the lift on floor fifteen. The Deltan Councillor had been summoned to the Palais to meet with the new President. The recent nights events left the bald woman tired.

Her heels clicked on the floor as she crossed the lobby area. The Deltan woman had opted for a sapphire blue jumpsuit with an asymmetrical peplum. The jumpsuit was intricately embroidered in a traditional Deltan fashion. She immediately noticed Eniara Pol and smiled at her approach.

"Councilor," the Bajoran nodded respectfully to the representative from Delta, and stepped aside, gesturing to the President's office. "President Raikan awaits your presence ma'am," she added.

Rajea followed the Bajoran. "Do you know what this is about?" She asked, with a sly sideways glance as they walked.

“Of course,” Eniara smiled as the reached the door of the President’s office and she stepped to the side. “But it is up to the President to fill you in this time,” she smirked playfully before slapping the door chime and walking away.

“Enter!” was the call from within, granting the Councilor permission to enter the lion’s den.

Rajea smiled at Enaiara as she departed. She kept her smile as she entered the Presidential Office. " Mister President." She approached the Trill man with her hand outstretched. 'I offer my deepest condolences to you, I know you were close with President Iden."

"Thank you Councilor," the President nodded solemnly as they exchanged a brief handshake. Upon releasing, he gestured to the sofa area of his office. "Iden was a good friend, and will be sorely missed. I genuinely think she would have done a great deal of good for the Federation," he added, slipping into his chair as he motioned to one of the vacant seats opposite him.

Rajea sat, and crossed her legs, and she looked the Trill man in the eye. "I have to admit, I'm still wondering why you've asked me here?" She smiled warmly.

"Because of President Iden, actually," Raikan smiled as he relaxed a little in his chair, becoming more and more comfortable in his new role with each passing minute. "One of my first duties is to ensure a strong, stable government for the Federation. To do that, I am following through with several key appointments that Iden had planned for her first days in office," he revealed, leaning forward to pick up a data PADD he had earlier placed on the table between them. "Obviously, the Council is without a Chairperson to guide them at present, but Iden had nominated a candidate, and I'd like your opinion before I put them before the Council for confirmation."

"Of course sir." The Deltan leaned in a bit out of curiosity.

"I'm told the candidate has substantial experience in government positions, both at home and abroad," the President smiled as he offered the data PADD across to the Councilor and sat back, waiting for her response.

Taking the PADD, Rajea activated it and glanced at the data. It was her own dossier. "I don't know what to say." she lowered the device. "This is all very unexpected." She couldn't stifle the gleeful smile.

"President Iden and I discussed your nomination at length. She appreciated your service to your people, and to the Federation. And so do I," Raikan gave an honest smile as he reached out and took ownership of the data PADD again. "So if you'll accept, I'd like to push forward with her recommendation and put your confirmation to the Council this afternoon," he asked hopefully.

Rajea composed herself and gave a nod. "That would be agreeable." The Deltan was feeling like she was floating on air, this was beyond her wildest dreams.

"Is there anything you would like to ask me?" It wasn't often that the President of the Federation would give people the chance to ask him anything, so he hoped she would make the most of the opportunity.

"You mentioned your intention to follow through with Iden's election platform."She paused. "What are you hoping will be your first point to address?"

"At home, our mandate is clear; we need to sort out the welfare gap on the planets closest to the outer rim of Federation space," he advised her as he sat forward, his tone a bit more serious now. "Abroad, we have to focus on negotiating a lasting peace between the Klingon's and the Gorn, whilst also improving relations with the Romulan Free State," he revealed. Three key policies from the Iden administration, and three that he was more than willing to push forward with.

Rajea nodded. She was truly very happy that the President intended stick to his predecessor's agenda. "It pleases me to hear that. I have personally been working with Federation diplomats on cooling relations with the Romulan's as well. It's a subject I'm rather passionate about."

"Then I trust you will continue to push that agenda from your seat as Chairperson of the Council," the President knew the answer, but he wanted that reassurance before the meeting was over.

“Of course. I believe it’s a worthwhile venture for the Federation and for Galactic relations on the whole.” She smiled.

Lukiz let out a satisfied nod before changing the conversation back to him for a moment. "I've been made aware that a number of Council members believe they are in with a shot of the nomination, including Councilor Kizak of Betazed. Do you think you'll be able to handle them?"

Rajea thought about the Betazoid's overt ass kissing the previous evening. Even before that, it was no secret that Idris was after the Chair position. "I think I can handle it." The bald woman's cerulean eyes shone bright at the prospect of putting them in their place.

A smile filled the spotted man's face as he shuffled forward again. "Let's hope your appointment is as smooth sailing as this conversation," he laughed a little as he rose to his feet and offered a hand to the Deltan. "A presumptive congratulations," he added.

"Thank you sir." The Deltan stood and took the President's hand. "Congratulations to you as well, Mister President."

"Thank you, Councillor. I just wish it was under far better circumstances," he frowned, yet managed to muster a slight smile as they released hands and the President guided his guest towards the door. "I'll have Eniara send you a list of my nominees for other key positions so that we can get approval votes started," he told as they approached the door.

Rajea nodded. "Of course sir." Rajea waited for the door to open and took her leave. The Bajoran woman's face greeted her departure.

Eniara smiled and nodded respectfully at the Deltan before disappearing into the Ra-ghoratreii suite for continued discussions with the President. There was, after all, much to be done.

Offer of Employment

Location: Ra-ghoratreii Suite, Presidential Office
On: Day 2 at 1000

Rem had risen early that day, the difficulty with living in an area of Earth 8 local time zones ahead was that your day usually didn't coincide with local conditions. Having chosen a simple fitted grey dress she threw her jacket over her arm as she headed for the public transporter station just outside her building. Her security detail joining her as she stepped out of her apartment. Winter in Paris versus summer in Sydney also added challenges.

Stepping off the pad she pulled her jacket on and moved out into the throng of people, moving about the busy Parisian streets. A few people gave her a second glance but despite Trill being a relatively major Federation world, many didn't know the councillor's by appearance. The bustle of bureaucrats, politicians, and locals earned Paris the title of most diverse city in the Federation. Making her way toward the Palais, she passed through two security checkpoints with ease, her detail in tow, before reaching one that actually involved her handing over her bag and passing through a scanner arch. She thanked the security officer as she took her bag back and continued to the meeting.

No stranger to the Palais her own Council credentials were not adequate for the days meeting so she stopped at the reception desk and confirmed her morning meeting with the President before entering the lift to the fifteenth floor.


[Ra-ghoratreii Suite, Presidential Suite, Fifteenth Floor]

Outside the turbo shaft on the fifteenth floor, a waiting area made up of several seats, a few desks and a security station served as a holding area for all visitors to the Presidential suites until such a time as someone of importance arrived to collect a visitor; someone like, for example, the Chief of Staff to the President himself.

But, well aware of his schedule and the meetings that lay ahead, Eniara Pol was in no rush to get moving as she sat in the President's office, on one of the most comfortable sofas in the galaxy. The auburn haired beauty was buried in a data PADD, a cup of coffee in hand as she read the information over one last time. "Mister President," the young Bajoran called out, "are you certain that Rem is the correct choice for Intergalactic Affairs? She's a very lacklustre appointment. Very safe. I can't see her pulling up weeds and achieving anything spectacular while in office..." the Chief Advisor to the President frowned as she tossed the data PADD onto the sofa next to her in frustration.

President Lukiz Raikan turned away from the window. None of this was simple. He wasn't even supposed to be in the office, but fate had dealt them a cruel blow and now, he was making the vital decisions for the future of the Federation. He knew the chief of staff was trying very hard to make the different pieces fit the way they were supposed to following the death of their dear friend and colleague. That they weren't always as cooperative as Eniara would have preferred was obviously frustrating. "You and I both know how often appearances can be deceiving," Raikan said, pausing near the corner of his desk, "Rem was Iden's pick, and if she was good enough for our friend then, she is good enough for us now."

"I know that," the Chief of Staff remarked rather begrudgingly as, yet again, the President was right. She had learnt in the last few days that he had a habit of being right, which was probably why she was so grateful to have been kept on in the wake of his predecessors death. "Tell me two attributes that make Rem a logical choice, and I'll shut up," she finally smirked.

"Steady, faithful," Raikan suggested.

He saw the look Eniara gave him for the response and simply offered a smile in return. There was no denying their relationship had changed dramatically over the past few days since he had actually taken office. A certain amount of decorum was required, and now that he was President, there were certain boundaries that couldn't be crossed even in private. Yet, he found it comforting that the two of them were still able to take each other lightly at this point, after everything that had occurred.

"From what I've seen, Councilor Rem has a history of advocating improved relations with our neighbors," he continued, "She may not have always been the loudest voice on the floor, but she's worked hard and she's been consistent. I'd rather that right now than have someone who's only looking ahead to the next thing. The issues we face aren't going to be solved with quick-fixes. We need someone who can commit to working with us for the long-haul."

Eniara rose to her feet slowly and picked up her data PADD. "Then Annita Rem it is," the young Bajoran nodded in agreement before bowing ever so slightly and heading for the door. "I'll send her in," she told and headed for the doorway.

Rem looked up as the door opened and she nodded to the Chief of Staff to the President. She had been a key figure during the campaign and now held what was considered by many to be the most powerful staff position in the Federation. "Good Morning Ms. Eniara."

"Councilor," Eniara smiled as she stepped aside and held out a hand to keep the door open, "the President is waiting for you."

"Thank you," Rem said with a smile and stepped into the office. "Good Morning Mister President." Rem said as she approached the older Trill male.

Making her exit silently, the Chief of Staff gave a final nod to the President before the doors closed and left the two to their conversation.

"Councilor," Lukiz smiled as he walked over to his guest and fellow Trill, offering out a hand to the woman, "Thank you for coming at such short notice."

"We'll one does usually clear their schedule when the President asks them to attend a meeting." Rem replied.

"Quite," the President nodded sagely as he let go of the woman's hand and gestured for her to take a seat on the more comfortable sofa area of the Presidential office, named after the first (and only) Efrosian in history to serve as President of the Federation. "I have invited you here today to discuss a job opportunity with you, if you would be interested?" the older of the two Trill queried as he took his own seat in one of the comfortable chairs.

"Again, one generally hears out a job offer from the President. What did you have in mind?" Rem asked.

"The job offer comes from my predecessor," Raikan informed his guest as as get comfortable in his own chair. "President Iden and her Chief of Staff had identified you as a candidate for one of the positions in her cabinet and I see no reason to go against her judgement," he continued. "Do you think you would be interested in a cabinet position?"

"I think that would depend on the position. While obviously every role is important and it's an honour to serve in any capacity I would need to feel confident that it's a role that I am suited for. In general, I'm certainly open to the idea." Rem replied.

"I wont lie to you Annita; when the President approached me with your name for her administration, I had to do some research as I knew very little before your time as Trill's representative to the Federation Council," Raikan's admission was a painful one - he'd been lax in getting to know his fellow Trill, but he hoped that his honesty would show him to be a man of integrity. "What I have found is that President Iden was correct in not only her desire to appoint you to her administration but also in the position she chose," he informed her. "I'd like you to replace Secretary Darin at Intergalactic Affairs. He was due to step down in a few weeks, but has agreed to become Acting Vice President until we can get a candidate confirmed, making the appointment of a successor to him a matter of urgency."

Annita smiled, "My career before politics is generally not well known. Even now, the Dominion War has started to fade, and move from memory to the history books. Should you have any questions about my background I'm happy to enlighten you." She said. "Now in terms of the job offer, I have to say that IA is an area I feel I could make a difference, what are your plans for the department, and your foreign policy more broadly. I know Iden had based her foreign policy on four key pillars, are those still your goals or do you plan to take the administration in a different direction?"

"I signed up to Iden's vision for the future when I agreed to be her running mate," the much older Trill nodded as he relaxed in his seat somewhat now the conversation was taking a positive path. "Our policy will be the same as it would have been under President Iden. But, I think you should know that I plan to call a special election one year from now," the President informed her. "This office was never meant to be mine. I wasn't elected to this office by the people, but I intend to give them that chance in the future."

Annita nodded, she approved of the President's choice. "I think it's a good move, I've never been a particularly big fan of successions, even if as Secterary I would be part of the line of succession, I believe in institutions that can function properly with acting officials in the top job the choice should be made by the electorate." She said. "Even though effectively that is what made me a Councillor in the first place. As for the policy, if there's an agreement on the broad strokes I feel we could work well together. That being said, should I be nominated and confirmed, I think there are changes that need to be made to the department. The essential structure of the department has been unchanged for almost one hundred years. It still has a major focus on major powers, it has very little flexibility in emerging powers and threats."

“Once the Chairperson of the Council has been confirmed, I’ll put your name forward for the spot and get the ball rolling on your confirmation,” the President smiled happily at the woman, “and I look forward to reading what you have planned.” Rising to his feet, the President called the brief meeting to a close and offered a hand to the woman. “I look forward to having you in the Cabinet, Annita.”

"Thank you, Mister President." She said rising to her feet and shaking the Trill's hand.

After shaking the hand of his (hopefully) presumptive nominee for Intergalactic Affairs, the President led his guest to the doorway and bid farewell. Waving Eniara in once again, the Trill would turn his attention to the next item on their agenda.

Detail Points

Location: Palais Security Centre
On: Day 2 at 1045

Annita had been informed by the President, or rather an aide of the President that she needed to check in with the head of the administration protective detail before she left. Having made her way to the section of the building she was shown to the Director's door who tapped on the consol and informed the occupant of the office that she had arrived. When the door opened she stepped inside and nodded to the man behind the desk. "Director Colter, Councilwoman Rem, I was asked to see you before leaving."

Jack was happy to say that his day was going well, no news as it turns out was good news. He had several things to get ready for and prepare for others. Other than that his plate was relatively stress free for the moment. The president had yet to find a way to make his life difficult. The grandson was a challenge that not many had faced in recent times. With him being in the academy, he had a seperate team watching the kid like a hawk. He was sure he didn't like it but discomfort was something that Jack could happily live with. If it kept the kid alive. Then the one person he was hoping would drop by and save him the time of seeking her our stepped into his office. He looked up at the mention of his title and name. That still bugged him but it was something that he was resigning himself to having to deal with on a daily basis. "Councilor Rem, you are on the list of people I need to meet with this week. Please have a seat so we can discuss your situation." Jack said with a smile to the woman in question.

Rem nodded, she had assumed the situation he spoke of likely meant a transfer of her security detail. "I assume that this is in regards to my council security detail."

Jack understood that this wasn't necessarily what the councilwoman wanted to hear but part of his job was to give unwanted and sometimes unpleasant news to people. "I like many in the service would like to accommodate requests from the protectees. Sometimes its possible other times its not." Jack started to explain. "Every man woman and Hir out there has earned the right to sit in this building. Some of them have had decades in this building. A couple of them are angry that they were overlooked for the position I now hold." Jack continued. "After the previous president stepped down, my predecessor in this job announced he was retiring from the service. He was one of five. One of my first jobs in this office was to seek replacements for the key roles that needed to be filled." Jack explained.

"This is all a roundabout way of me saying, I can't approve transfers for your current team. I simply do not have the space for the personnel and I don't have a reason for reassigning current service members." Jack informed her. He could and would do all he could to help the transition but he would not compromise other people's careers by reassigning good people to make space for others who hadn't earned that promotion.

She nodded, "I'm sure the council security will reassign them to meaningful postings." She started. "Is there any reason to believe there is an increased threat against me?"

"Your team will be looked after and assigned appropriately." He agreed. He knew that this would happen without a call from him but he'd make it if he felt it was necessary. "You're about to be announced as a nominee for the cabinet, so yes there is enough justification to believe that the threat level to you and your family will increase. Once you are announced if there is any group or person you have ever angered they are going to start sending hate mail and death threats Councillor." Jack explained as he rubbed at his temples.

"Your protection details chief will asses and evaluate all threats made against you, if he or she believes them to be credible then we will up your security and if necessary your families. Councillor you have sat in the council but that is nothing compared to the scrutiny you will be under while you are in this building. If you choose to be a more visible member of the cabinet, you will be a bigger target for such groups. We will do all we can to make sure your protection is at the level that is required. If you make our lives harder, you put yourself at more risk." Jack said taking up a padd. "This is the security check starfleet security did after you were elevated to the position of councillor." Jack dropped it and picked up another. "This is the one we did at exactly the same time. Is there anything not in these dossiers that I and your team need to know. Is there anything not in these dossiers that will harm the president or anybody else including yourself which is not contained in these dossiers?" Jack asked placing the padd back on the table. "I am one of three people authorised to even read what is on that padd Councillor, but if there is something in your past that you hid or lied about it absolutely will come out. If we know about it now, we can get out in front of it. If you lie and it comes out during the confirmation process, it may jeapodise your nomination. I don't need to tell you what that would do for a new president in the first 100 days of her term." Jack explained.

He was no politician but he had been around enough and seen enough scandals, ones that could have been prevented and others that well couldn't. Councillors sometimes believed that they could lie about their pasts and it would remain hidden. Those idealistic young councillors usually learned the hard way this wasn't the case. He did not want to fall victim of such issues in his first 100 days in this role and would do what he could to prevent that from happening.

"My vetting packages have always been honest, I am not one to risk the accomplishments of the team I work with by trying to hide something that history says always will come out." She replied. "As for 'making your lives harder' I understand you have a job to do, but, so do I, as a Councillor and if the Council feels, a Secretary. I have built a good working relationship with my current security detail, I will endeavour to do the same with a detail you assign me. However, I also expect to fully be kept in the loop, I have seen on more than one occasion security leads that believe they are the be-all and end-all, and don't think the person being secured needs to know what is going on, that is not how any detail assigned to me will operate. If the team can't keep me in the loop then they clearly can't do their job in the first place." She added, she knew the Director was doing his job, but she did appreciate the insinuation that she was some fresh-faced candidate who didn't understand the fall out of her actions. "I believe we very much want the same thing, Iden's term, or terms, to be successful, that means no cabinet secretaries being shot, or blown up, or political scandals. If we agree to that I see no reason why we won't be able to maintain a working relationship."

"Councillor you will be briefed on relevant threats, when it is necessary to do so. If threats are ongoing and immediate, informing you before we take action is not going to work. My job and your teams job is to make sure you go home with a pulse. Preferrably happy but i will settle for still breathing." Jack said showing teeth as he smiled. "Just don't cause me as many problems as the damn Klingons." He said finally. "My door is open and you can speak to me anytime when I am in the office, otherwise your first port of call for any problem you have is with the head of your protection detail. As much as you need to trust the people charged with protecting you, the same could be said for them needing to trust that you will discuss issues with them before you come to me. If i am the go between for you and your detail I will be going through detail members faster than the Klingons were going through bloodwine last night." He stopped talking for several moments before adding "Your detail changes will be ready for the next shift pattern."

She nodded, "Very well, while I assume you know the basics, my main residence on Earth is in Sydney, the building is quite secure and there is a suite on the main floor utilized by my current detail. I'm sure the building will make it available to the new detail, as a general rule the detail doesn't come into my personal residence, they perform regular security sweeps and have not ever had the need to barge in unannounced. I would hope the new detail can manage to work in a similar fashion." She replied.

"Councillor what I can say is that the agents will work within the confines of your requests where possible. That being said when we tell you to move, we aren't going to be wanting an argument." Jack said with a shrug. "The agents will work with you to make it work, but I'm not going to make promises about not barging into your residence. It is quite possible that at some point you will be crashed and in need of being secured inside your residence. Thats a time we don't argue with you, we get it done what ever it takes and then we discuss it after wards. You won't be asked permission for entry in those circumstances. Lucky enough however the only building that gets locked down regularly besides the council chambers is the Palais and even that is a rarity these days." He continued. "In the event of the president and VP being killed you are in the line of succession, that changes pretty much everything." He finished.

"Well, let's hope line of succession issues don't come into play." She replied, "Very well, is there anything else you need form me?"

"That is usually me line but no their isn't." Jack said standing up. "I'd say that everything is plain sailing from here but honestly it never is. My door is open, any issues be sure to bring them to me." Jack explained.

"Thank your Director. If you need anything I'm sure you'll know where to find me." Rem said getting to her feet.

Jack stood up with her, feeling it was the thing to do, "Thank you councillor." He said offering his hand in a totally human gesture.

She shook hands with the Director. "Thank you Director, you know how to reach me if you need anything." She said before heading for the door.

Restructuring Plan

Location:
On: Day 2 at 1200

The confirmation would be scheduled once the new Council Chair was in place. While President Raikan and Rem were both of the dominant Federalist Party, and it held a majority of seats on the Federation External Affairs Council, her confirmation was not a sure thing. Her two terms in the Council had earned her a few enemies, and even within her own party some thought her views too liberal, foreign aid was not the same central tenant of Federation value that it had once been.

The door chimed and Annita called for the arrival to enter. Ashrana Kamina entered smiling, "I heard on the way over, Intergalactic Affairs, that's quite the portfolio."

Ashrana was a formidable woman in her own right. An accomplished lawyer she was picked by Vall to serve on her communications staff almost 15 years ago. The lawyer was surprised by the offer that seemed completely outside her area of expertise, but Vall was a persuasive woman. She also had a reputation for finding the best talent in the most unusual places and had mastered the highly effective cold call. People rarely turned down her offer.

Ashrana was elevated to Campaign Communications Director during the campaign. She maintain the Comms position when Vall was elected to Councillorship. A term later she was the one who delivered Vall's sale pitch to Annita.

The two women formed a fast working relationship, and over the years a friendship as well. Ashrana had become a defacto Deputy Chief of Staff during the last years of Vall's tenure. She had been on Earth with Rem, two of only five people on the Councillor's immediate staff to not be on the shuttle when it was destroyed. Rem accepting the nomination to fill the remainder of Vall's term was contingent on Ashrana agreeing to serve as her Chief of Staff.

Rem smiled, "It is, it is also not a done deal."

Ashrana grinned, "EAC is 21 members, you need 11 votes to secure a floor vote. You've got at least 6 of them already locked down, 8 most likely. You can get two if the party whips the vote, or Raikan wants you bad enough to shell out a little of that fresh presidential capital. The Mils should side with you, they liked you in Council cause you had service and a tough on crime policy streak. The leg doesn't hurt with that crowd either. Say you get two of their three votes on the council, you're at a safe 12. You get a floor vote in the Council, 158 votes to secure. 6 votes plus the party. I like your odds."

Rem smiled, concise drill-downs on almost any topic, and her work ethic, and her skills as an orator and a debater. That was what Vall had seen, that was what made her fantastic at her job. "So you think I should accept?"

Ashrana cocked her head to the side and gave a vaguely disapproving look that Rem had seen used on herself and Ashrana's children alike, to equal success. "We both know you accepted before you left the office. Now, let's start talking restructure." She said pulling a PADD out of her bag and handing it to the soon-to-be cabinet nominee.

"I've already had some thoughts, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised, you've probably got half a dozen white papers started." Rem replied.

"I'm partial to the second plan, it's a bigger shakeup but changes at the USEC level to bring in more functional areas instead of so much siloing will help." Ashrana said getting right to the point. "Better fit your leadership style, plus it put your stamp on it. I recommend coordinating four new Senior Undersectrary portfolios tied to the four main foreign policy goals. Klingon-Gorn conflict. RFS relations. Ritorian Confederacy. Cardassian Union relations she said ticking them off on her fingers. Cardassian Union you could probably just promote the existing USEC the rest I suggest fresh blood."

"You really need to stay out of my head." Rem said.

Ashrana smiled, "It's such a tidy and fashionable place though."

"Thank you, I hope you know, if I'm confirmed, I expect you to come with me. Chief of Staff to a Cabinet Secretary looks good on a resume or a campaign poster." Rem replied.

Ashrana smiled, "Resume yes, but I'm not as crazy as you lot, I won't run, but I will happily come with you DIGA."

"Good enough." Rem said, "Thank you." Turning her attention back to the PADD in her hand she set to speed getting herself up to speed on the plans. Liking what she saw.

Constant Vigilance

Location: Free Romulan Ship Koval
On: Day 5 at 0730


Orbital Drydock, T'Met, Romulan Free State


The light from distant stars reflected on the hull of the Free Romulan Ship Koval. A sleek new Warbird, she made her way silently out of the drydock in orbit of Free State Capital, T'Met.

The ship turned about gracefully and moored to the upper section of the vast military intallation. Cheers and applause erupted in the orbital facilities Observation Deck as the ship passed by.


Bridge, Free Romulan Ship Koval


Commander Denari stood from his command seat and peered around his bridge. Koval certainly was a fine ship. He was honoured to command such a fine ship, and on such a momentous mission.

"Status." He called from his elevated perch.

"Ambassador Vaebn is coming aboard now, and his cargo is being loaded." a Centurion called from his station at the fore section of the bridge. "We should be ready to depart in a few minutes Commander."

"Control signals clear to depart as soon as we are loaded sir." A female Romulan called from an aft station.

"Outstanding." Denari said, returning to his seat.


Vaebn's Quarters, Free Romulan Ship Koval


Vaebn entered the palacial cabin, and his eyes widened. "I had no idea we would have this type of luxury aboard." He said, slightly awestruck.

His aide, Kellara ,followed in close behind. "Built to exact specifications Your Excellency."

Lowering himself into a lush looking chair, Vaebn let out a sigh of relief. "Well we certainly have outdone ourselves." He leaned back, making himself comfortable.

A small chirp came from Kellara's bag. She reached in, producing a handheld communicator. The stout Romulan woman held it to her ear. A moment passed and she closed it. "All of your things are aboard, we are getting underway now."

Suppressing a yawn, the Ambassador said, "Wake me for dinner will you?"

Another chirp erupted from the communicator, Kellara listened a moment. "Your Excellency, Senator S'Khæl wishes to speak before departure."

Vaebn sighed, pulling himself into a seated position. "Put her through."

Kellara clicked some controls on the wall viewscreen, and then bowed slightly before departing the room.

The screen filled with the image of a light haired Romulan woman.

"Ah, Vaebn, Glad I caught you." She said, with true sincerity.

"To what do I owe the pleasure?" Vaebn said with mock interest.

"Parting words, and a bit of advice." She spoke with a matron like calmness."Constant Vigilance." She said. "You need to be careful with these people." Her calmness switched to warning.

Vaebn nodded his understanding.

The Senator's haughty facade returned. "Be sure to keep us updated. I don't need to remind you of the importance of this posting."

"I know." Was all that Vaebn could muster.

"Now get on your way." She said. Waiting a few moments before terminating the channel.

Taking in the Senator's words, Vaebn stood and made his way to the bedroom. In truth he was very tired and if the Senator warning was any indication of what he was warping into, Vaebn would need all the rest he could get.

Bridge, Free Romulan Ship Koval


Commander Denari was standing again. His hands were grasped behind his back.

"We are loaded sir." came the Centurion's voice.

"Clear all moorings." Denari commanded.

"Moorings cleared." came an unplaced voice in response.

"Set course to Federation Space, Earth." the Commander called out, once more returning to his seat and lowering himself into it.

"Course set."

"Activate cloak, and engage at Warp Six." Commander Denari looked pleased.

Let's Get to Work

Location: Free Romulan Ship Koval
On: Day 7 at 1300


Vaebn's Quarters, Free Romulan Ship Koval


Vaebn sat comfortably in the sitting room of his cabin. He poured over the public details of the Administration on Earth, all the while replaying the warning conveyed by Senator S'Khæl.'What exactly do I have to be weary of?' He thought, his mind wandering to the possibilities.

Kellara entered, her head bowed as he approached. "Your Excellency, we will arrive in just under twelve hours. Commander Denari has communicated our ETA to Earth's Orbital Control." She spoke with confidence.

Although Kellara was many years his senior, Vaebn took pleasure in his rank and standing over her. A perk of his station in the Free State. Vaebn gestured for the older woman to approach." Very well, gather the Diplomatic staff for a final briefing in one hour." he gathered his thoughts, "I want to ensure we are all on the same page."

"I understand sir." Kellara said, her voice was even as ever. She was a warm woman by nature, but she spared no warmth on the Ambassador as she knew it would not be returned.

"You may go." Vaebn said with a wave of his hand.


Briefing Room 2, Free Romulan Ship Koval


Vaebn entered the briefing room, that had been afforded to the travelling diplomatic staff for use, with dramatic haste. "Jolan tru everyone." He made his way to the head of the table. The few assembled represented the most senior of his staff, many others had been sent to Earth to prepare the Embassy for Vaebn's arrival.

"I've gathered you so that I might impress upon you the importance of our mission on Earth." Vaebn began, taking a seat. "I'd like to begin with some introductions. Around the table then?"

"Consul Kellara, Ambassador's Chief of Staff." Kella said from the ambassador's right side.

A rather severe looking, young Romulan woman sat to the Consul's right. "Subaltern Areinnye, Embassy Household Manager ."

"Undersecretary Jerot, Protocol and Standards." Said a thin bearded man.

"Colonel D'Ralek, Chief Advisor." A rather serious looking Romulan spoke in a deep tone.

"Major Reilan, Director of Embassy Security." The handsome Major looked officious in his neatly pressed uniform.

"Undersecretary D'Lara, Intercessor and Consultant ." said the last woman, vaguely.

Vaebn clasped his hands. "Good. Now that we're all old friends let's get to it." He tapped a control on the table which activated a holographic display of Earth with current atmospheric conditions and air traffic displays overplayed.

"This is Earth." The Ambassador said plainly. "I trust that none of us have been there before, at least not officially." He shot a pointed look towards D'Ralek who had a long history with the Tal Shiar. "I'm sure you've all read your dossiers on the planet so I'll spare the details."

"We have the responsibility of establishing true relations with the Federation. As they are our largest neighbour, getting on their good side and ensuring their fellowship with us and not another...faction... of our former brethren."

Vaebn tapped a control and the holographic image changed and showed a Borg Cube. There was something different about this Cube, it was incomplete or perhaps partially destroyed. "This is the Artifact also known as the Borg Artifact Research Institute, under Free State control. It is home to the Borg Reclamation Project, an initiative dedicated to researching and surveying the derelict Cube."

Vaebn allowed the staff to take in the information as additional statistics played over the projected image."The Senate has decided to use the Reclamation site as a diplomatic offering. Inviting Federation researchers to participate in the expedition."

D'Ralek spoke first. "The Senate is willing to allow Federation citizens inside our borders? " He asked, clearly incredulous at the possible breach of the Free State security.

"The details haven't been fully worked out yet by the Senate, but rest assure the security of the Free State is being looked at in depth at the highest levels of Command." Vaebn said, anticipating the questioning. "To be clear, inclusion in the project won't be offered up front. Relations need to warm up quite a bit before the Senate will authorize any invitation."

"I think I've talked enough, is there anything of note anyone needs to report?" Vaebn was clearly getting tired of his own voice.

Major Reilan raised a hand slightly. "Sub-Lieutenant Vreida reported from the Embassy this morning, security systems are online and operational. Personnel are assigned and settled. They eagerly await your arrival Ambassador."

Vaebn nodded.

The unmoving face of Subaltern Areinnye turned towards Vaebn. "Member's of the household staff are preparing the living quarters for our arrival. A shipment for the kitchen arrived two hours ago, and I've approved the menu for dinner."

The Ambassador was pleased with her initiative. He looked around at the rest of the staff. "Anyone else?"

No one responded verbally, merely shook their heads.

"Perfect." Vaebn stood. "We arrive in less than ten hours so let's get to work."