I did enjoy the fact that 'high level' meetings were held quite openly in public spaces
If the Venetans are serious about interacting with other spacefaring nations in the long-term, it would be interesting to see them realize how their fully open society could in itself be a means of destabilizing foreign representatives. Undermining the nerve of political opponents would be quite easy, if they learned to understand themselves in that way, to see their remarkably honest and inclusive ways as a "weapon". It might allow them to reconcile their current and long-standing sense of identity with the shocking realization (that surely must now be dawning on them) that they can't trust most outsiders to act like Venetans. Perhaps they can regain a sense of stability if they learn to find security and comfort in the fact that they're playing by different rules than everyone else, and that this gives them the advantage - on their home turf at least - if they can just learn to grasp the shape of the board and see
things in terms of advantage and disadvantage. It would be a difficult transition, I'd imagine, but perhaps a more acceptable one than the alternatives, e.g. becoming more manipulative themselves. They don't have to surrender who they are, they can continue playing by different rules, so long as they come to understand the shape of the game. They might realize they already have
the means to play this game of politics and prosper in it, without having to become something distasteful to their sensibilities.
After all, through no intention of the Venetans, the Federation, Ferengi and Cardassian delegations were reduced to a game of "where's my chair?" as soon as they entered the meeting space, causing quiet uncertainty and minor distress
. (That was rather amusing to me, by the way - the Venetans being set up as an "elevated" society of noble, cultured beings with a highly orderly society, only for our first look at them to be something that throws the protagonists - and the reader - off balance by suggesting the sort of cheerful chaos that doesn't seem to befit noble statesmen and "space elf" societies). If the Venetans ever realize that they throw people off balance simply be being who they are, then they might come to see that they have choices other than "stick your head in the sand" or "betray yourselves by acting distastefully". Hmmm. I hope we do see the Venetans again. They're slow to change and insular, and might as likely just fold back in and become isolationist than actually work through their recent upsets toward a new set of assumptions, but I think there's great potential in them....
PS: Crusher's friend with the bag of sweets was another nice touch.