Embassy of the Klingon Empire: Pacific Heights, San Francisco, Earth
Though the sun was just beginning to peak over the eastern horizon in California, it was already afternoon in France. Lady L'Stok, Klingon Ambassador to the Federation, sat at the desk in her office watching the news. Not half an hour before, Bacco had completed her inaugural parade and was sitting in the President's office on the other side of the planet. The Federation media covered the signing ceremony live and the UFP's new chief executive smiled from ear to ear as she fixed her signature to the three promised executive orders. With the stroke of a pen, the most successful political and military alliance in the Alpha Quadrant disappeared.
Down the hall from L'Stok's office, a pair of Klingons manned equipment in the secure communications center. Suddenly, the subspace encoded transceiver chirped to life.
"Sir," the communication technician said stepping over to the machine and encoding a PADD with the message, "Flash traffic from Qo'noS. It's pah doQ wa' priority" Both of them knew that meant it had to be put in the ambassador's hands within five earth minutes.
The duty officer stepped over and skimmed the PADD. His eyes immediately grew wide.
"Qu'vatlh!" he shouted as he ran out the door. He nearly knocked over a pair of junior FSOs heading towards their desks. They cursed him but he didn't even slow down. He charged down the corridor and burst into Lady L'Stok's office.
"My Lady!" he shouted sprinting up to her desk. He bowed his head and held the PADD out with both hands. "A message from the Office of the Chancellor."
Despite his agitation, she remained completely passive as if she already knew what was coming. Without a word, she took the PADD from his hands and read the text.
"So," she said with a deep breath. "It is done…"
She pushed back from the desk and rose to her feet.
"I'm going to get dressed," she said walking towards the door. "Tell the motorpool to prep the hovercar. I'm leaving for Paris in thirty minutes. Assign two diplomatic guards to accompany me. Finally, have the duty scribe transcribe this message onto targ skin parchment in both tlhIngan Hol and Federation Standard. Affix both the chancellor's and diplomatic seals in Var'Hama wax. This has to be official."
"Understood, My Lady," the duty officer said. "Do you want me to inform the Federation government you are on your way?"
"No," she said shaking her head. "I want them to be surprised."
"jIyaj, My Lady," he replied as she left the room. After she was gone, he turned to see a statue of Kahless staring back at him from the wall.
"Unforgettable," the duty officer prayed under his breath before carrying out his orders. "I implore you. Watch over your children on this day."
A large group of reporters and camera crews were already gathered outside the south entrance of the Palais de la Concorde. They hopedto catch a glimpse of the important guests that would soon be arriving for the inaugural ball. Instead, they were very surprised when a black hovercar with diplomatic plates and Klingon flags on the hood zoomed in and parked at the apex of the circular drive. The photographers quickly leapt up and began snapping holophotos of the Klingon guards as they emerged from behind the tinted windows of the vehicle. One of them marched over, opened the back door, and saluted as Ambassador L'Stok stepped out wearing full dress kamakha. Her dark hair was pulled back into a high dome and held in place with a platinum pin bearing her family crest.
"Ambassador, Ambassador!" several reporters shouted while holding out microphones. "Do you have a comment on President Bacco's firm stance on the Klingon Empire? Will the Klingons attempt to renegotiate the Treaty of Alliance?" L'Stok ignored all of them. She moved with a purpose down the covered walkway and her guards immediately fell in behind her. The Federation Security officers next to the ornate entrance doors didn't know how to react. Before they could stop her, L'Stok pushed straight past and entered the building.
The sound of the Klingon entourage's boots echoed across the marble hallways. They approached a security checkpoint where another group of officers attempted to halt their advance.
"Excuse me, Ma'am," their leader said desperately holding up his hands. "You don't have authorization to enter the building at this time…"
L'Stok ignored him and continued walking. When the security officer tried to reach out and physically stop her, one of her guards grabbed his wrist and shoved him aside.
"Remaja to OPS," the lead guard said into his communicator. "We got a situation down here. Request guidance…"
The Klingons continued their deliberate march towards the President's office. A Federation administrative assistant ran down the hall and began walking beside L'Stok. She kept her eyes firmly fixed forward.
"Ambassador, I'm Sebryan Krasko with President Bacco's staff. Can I help you?" he said desperately.
"I'm here to bring a message to the President from Chancellor Martok," L'Stok replied.
"I'm afraid the President does not have time on her schedule to meet with today," he said trying to sound diplomatic. "She's in with members of the press right now and then she has to begin preparations for the inaugural ball tonight. However, if you give it to me, I assure you she'll get it…"
She cut him off with a growl.
"This is not that kind of message," L'Stok said burning through him with fearsome eyes. Her guards then grabbed Krasko's shoulder and pulled him away from their mistress. The group turned a corner and approached the secure entrance to the President's chambers. Two more security officers blocked the way. When they saw the Klingons approaching, they reached into their jackets and put hands on their phasers.
L'Stok finally stopped. Her guards stepped forward, but she raised a hand.
"Are you going to shoot me?" L'Stok asked the Federation officers dismissively.
"I'm sorry, Ma'am," one them replied. "We cannot let you pass through this door without proper authorization."
"You are doing your duty," L'Stok said. "I respect that. However, the only way you will prevent me from going through that door will be to kill me. Then these two warriors," she said pointing to her guards, "men who have sworn to live and die by my command, will step forward and rip your throats out with their bare hands.
Then, the three of us will be the first casualties in a war their will reduce both our nations to ashes: a war that I am currently trying to prevent. So, gentlemen, what is your answer?"
The two officers exchanged worried glances. Finally, Krasko stepped over and motioned for them to let the Klingons through. As the security officers stepped aside, Krasko frantically pulled out his communicator.
"God dammit!" he muttered as the Klingons entered the Presidential wing. "It's Krasko!" he said to someone on the other side. "We have a big problem!"
Inside the President's office, Bacco laughed and smiled from behind her new desk. Several rows of reporters snapped holophotos and asked questions. The large windows behind her gave brilliant views of the afternoon sun glinting off the Eiffel Tower.
"We have already accomplished more in one afternoon to help bring the Federation back from the brink than the Zife administration accomplished in the past year," Bacco said proudly. "The average Federation citizen is going to see a lot of positive change in the coming months. I'm just proud to serve them…"
Suddenly, a side door opened. A senior aide rushed in followed by two plain-clothed security officers. The aide went behind the President's desk, bent over, and began whispering in her ear:
"Ma'am, we have a situation developing outside your office. The Ambassador from the Klingon Empire is here and she wants to speak with you." The two security officers took position on either side of the president. It looked to the reporters like they were preparing for a fight.
"Now!?" Bacco whispered furiously while holding a smile for the cameras. "Can't you see I'm busy? Get rid of her! This is being broadcast live to half the country!"
"I think that's going to be more difficult than you think, Ma'am…" he said as the main door to the office burst open. The shocked occupants of the room all turned to see Lady L'Stok. The Klingon lady draped in white silk strode forward onto the carpet in front of Bacco's desk. The Federation security officers reached inside their jackets as L'Stok's guards flanked their mistress, balled their fists, and stood at rigid attention.
Bacco looked absolutely shocked for about two seconds before her political instincts took over. She cleared her throat, clasped her hands together, and placed them calmly on the desk.
"Ambassador," she said quite perturbed as L'Stok was now standing directly between her and the news cameras. "I'm glad the Klingon Empire is so eager to establish a dialogue with my new administration, but we have a custom in the Federation you might not be aware of. It's called making an appointment…"
A few of the reporters chuckled, but L'Stok remained unfazed. She bowed deeply at her waist.
"nuqneH, Madame President," she replied. "I bring word from Chancellor Martok and the Klingon High Council…"
She reached into the broad sleeve of her elaborately embroidered kamakha. Bacco stiffened unsure if L'Stok was about to draw a weapon. Her security detail also kept one hand on their phasers. However, with one crisp movement, the ambassador pulled out a rolled scroll of targ skin and pulled it open. L'Stok held up the elaborately written text and bold seals of Chancellor Martok and the Klingon Foreign Ministry. After showing the scroll to Bacco, she then turned around so that all in the room, including the news cameras, could see it as well. Then, L'Stok began to read the proclamation with the bold projection of an experienced herald:
In the name of Kahless the Unforgettable, a proclamation from the Chancellor speaking with the unified voice of the High Council and all peoples of the Klingon Empire:
We wish to convey to the peoples of the United Federation of Planets our utter shock and disgust at the actions of your government. You president speaks without judgement and acts without honor. Over eleven million Klingon soldiers gave their lives to defend the Alpha Quadrant from Dominion Aggression. 42 percent of the ships and 78 percent of the ground forces protecting the Republic of Cardassia are provided by the Klingon Defense Forces. To openly accuse the Klingon Empire of being a threat to galactic peace and stability is not only false but also a grievous insult. As a direct result of President Nanietta Bacco's cowardly withdrawal from the Treaty of Alliance, by special vote of the High Council with assent of the Chancellor, the Khitomer Accords are declared void until further notice.
However, the Chancellor, having served with Starfleet and the Federation for many turns, understands that right and honorable people do exist within your nation and therefore also decrees that if the Federation High Council overrides the president's executive authority and issues a full and formal apology to the Klingon Empire, the Accords as well as the Treaty of Alliance will be reinstated. Until this occurs, the following punitive measures leveled against the United Federation of Planets are immediately in effect:
The right of safe passage for all Starfleet vessels in Klingon space is rescinded.
All vessels of Federation registry must be escorted by a warship of the Klingon Defense Forces without exception.
All tourist and business visas issues to Federation citizens are void. These visitors must exit the Klingon Empire within 48 hours of this proclamation or they will be detained.
The Federation Embassy on Qo'noS will immediately be limited to no more than 150 personnel. These personnel must register with the Klingon Foreign Ministry immediately. Their families must exit the Klingon Empire within 48 hours of this proclamation of they will be detained.
All other Federation consulates within the Klingon Empire will be closed and their personnel must exit the Klingon Empire within 48 hours…
Bacco rolled her eyes as L'Stok read off the list of "punishments." She had expected this kind of response to her executive orders. In fact, she had already ordered the Diplomatic Corps to begin preparation for civilian evacuation of the empire the night she was elected. Sure, the Council would be perturbed to deal with a minor diplomatic crisis so early in her term, but she knew she had the support of most of the electorate and would be damned if she let the legislators override her. However, Lady L'Stok had one more provision to read:
After consultation with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cardassia, both our nations agree to demote the United Federation of Planets within the Assistance Forces Joint Command to non-voting observer status. All Federation forces operating with the Republic of Cardassia are now subject to Cardassian legal jurisdiction and must now submit to the authority of the Cardassian Republican Guard in all matters.
Signed by my hand in the First City of Qo'noS,
Martok, Son of Urthog
High Chancellor of the Klingon Empire
The room was silent for a few moments. Ambassador L'Stok rolled the parchment back up, stepped forward, and placed in Bacco's desk. The reporters eagerly awaited the President's response.
"Non-voting observer status?" Bacco said blinking twice. "So you mean to tell me that you now consider the United Federation of Planets to be at the same level as the Ferengi Alliance, the Bajoran Republic, and the Gorn Hegemony? Ambassador, that is outrageous!"
"With respect, Madame President," L'Stok replied, "the only outrage here is turning your back on your allies without proven cause or evidence."
Bacco nervously glanced over at the cameras again.
"The Klingon Empire does not have the authority to dictate policy in the Republic of Cardassia. You don't control the galaxy."
"Neither does the Federation, Madame President," L'Stok replied. "Of course, you may consult with Prime Minister Garak yourself. However, I wish to inform you that your sudden decision to withdraw Starfleet without consulting him first was meant with a similar level of disdain to ours."
Lady L'Stok bowed once more.
"I do hope you enjoy your ball this evening, Madame President," she said not hiding the scorn behind her words. "While you and your country celebrate your election, the rest of the galaxy will be leaving your nation behind." She turned to her guards. "jaH!"
The three Klingons departed as quickly as they arrived. Bacco was suddenly left alone with a group of reporters who had a completely new series of questions to throw at her.
"Will the Federation react with a similar set of punitive measures?"
"Will this new information cause you to accelerate the timetable for Starfleet's withdrawal from Cardassia?"
"Do you think this is the end of Federation supremacy in the Alpha Quadrant?"
Bacco grinned while holding up her hands. As she desperately tried to come up with answers on the fly, she also considered that maybe she should have waited till her second day in office to kick the Lokeg Wasp's nest.