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Old January 19 2013, 10:46 PM   #19
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)

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Presidential Office
Palais de la Concorde

As if Providence heard their pleas, High Commissioner McCall had contacted them before the meeting ended. Martin had allowed his team to ream her a little before he had called the meeting to an end.

Despite his anger, Santiago did think that McCall simply misspoke and that the Romulans were twisting her words out of proportion. He didn’t think her actions should result in dismissal. Though he was the only one from the meeting that felt so, with even Fondok and Hetal’laal’ak both agreeing that she should be fired.

Santiago had settled on a reprimand. He had to remind everyone that these were extremely stressful times, and mistakes were going to happen.

Settling into the large, straight-backed leather chair, the same one President Ra-ghoratreii had used, Martin tried to heed his own advice. Failing, he waved a hand over the companel inset into his desk. Tapping in a special code, a small holographic image appeared above the smooth surface of the desk after a few minutes.

Garth Logan, his Chief of Staff, smiled at him. “How was Rigel?” He asked. Very astute, the man’s smile was quickly replaced with a look of concern. “This isn’t about the campaign.”

Without preamble, Santiago recapped McCall’s diplomatic mishap. “I don’t think this is anything to be overly concerned about,” Logan replied, with practiced reassurance.

“You know damn well, I’m not concerned about her statement,” Martin smoldered. “I’m concerned that if that if your plan goes awry, it will give the Romulans all the ammunition they need to take Benzar by force.”

“Then you needn’t concern yourself,” Logan’s voice dripped certainty. “The plan is going well…according to plan. We’ll get Benzar back, without a Reman refugee problem. Plus, the controlled damage that will result will make the Benzites more reliant than ever on the Federation. It will be hard to rail against the people giving you food and electricity.”

Santiago’s stomach roiled, his guilt gnawing at him. “How can you be so blasé about this?” He thundered, using his anger to stanch his unease. “And how could I have signed off on this?”

“Because you are a realist,” Logan said, this time holding the unctuousness, “You always do what you have to do, what the Federation requires. That’s why I supported you for President. Some called me a traitor to my class,” he paused, to scoff, “for supporting a peaceful dove. But I knew that though you desired peace, you were no pacifist.”

Martin touched his bubbling stomach. What the man said was true. Though his enemies had charged that he was an appeaser; a man who wanted peace at any price, that truly had never been the case for him. His record had showed that, but who cared about a candidate’s record these days?

“You knew that the Benzites needed to be reminded of what their ‘liberators’ were truly all about, and that a planetary emergency would unmask their totalitarian bent,” Logan continued, “You were right to sign off on this, don’t lose sight of the goal.”

“We should at least bring the rest of the war council into this,” He said, referring to his unofficial name for the advisors he had just assembled.

Logan shook his head, “The less who know about this, the better,” he declared, “Plausible deniability.”

“I understand,” Santiago murmured. More loudly, he added, “How many lives do you estimate this will cost again?”

“Enough,” Logan replied, “enough to secure the peace.”

“God I hope so,” Martin said before cutting the link. He spent the next half-hour at his desk, his head in his hands, wondering how it had all gone so wrong.
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