TF38HQ - Mithrar Anchorage

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Post 65 - Fourth or Fifth Estate?

Posted on Wed Oct 7th, 2020 @ 10:26am by Kerris Anha & Special Envoy Taylor Parkinson

Mission: Episode 1: The Demon with the Golden Voice
Location: Wormhole Coffee
Timeline: Day 11 - 1300HR

[Delta-Bravo - Mithrar Sector]
[Promenade - Wormhole Coffee]
[Day 11 - 1300HR]

"Ms Kerris I believe?" Taylor asked as she approached the little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop that had opened up just a few days ago on the station's promenade. Or was it a galleria? She'd have to ask, or perhaps prompt an answer and set it herself?

The shop was an honest to goodness coffee barista, with a press and staff and no doubt either a considerable amount of coffee beans in storage somewhere or a very specialised and dedicated replicator to produce the beans out of sight to give the impression of fresh stock. No doubt a proper investigation would need to done to discover the truth of the matter.

The frontage was essentially the window that orders were taken from and coffees receipted from, a door to the side to allow staff to come and go. There was a collection of tables around, with matching chairs, but not enough to intrude to much on the main walkway or invite a large group to stay around, but to give passerby somewhere to enjoy their coffee for a brief respite before moving on with their day.

This 'chance encounter' was anything but a chance as Taylor stepped up to the table Kerris Anha was sitting at, her height augmented further by the heels she was wearing. More noticeably her constant shadow wasn't present either, Sasha wasn't even in sight, but the Security shadow wasn't to far from view, his attention turned outwards.

"Mind if I join you?" Taylor continued, as the answer to her first question was fairly obvious and just part of the ritual. "After all, I do believe we have a date yes?" She didn't sit herself down though, waiting for the affirmative before doing so, but a hand did come to rest on the chair's back so she might pull it away and sit herself down.

Kerris deactivated the padd she was reading from before looking up, a pleasant smile appearing instantly on her face.
"Madam Envoy, thank you for agreeing to meet. Please, sit down."

Pulling the chair out enough to sit, Taylor them carefully lowered herself into the seat and offered a polite little smile. Her hands came together before her, fingers locking together as the settled on the table. “Of course Ms Kerris, my pleasure after all. Any recommendations from the menu here?”

"I had smashed julu fruit on toasted sourbread - apparently the julu is a Turei delicacy... Taste's a little like avocado. It wasn't the worst thing I've eaten since we arrived." Kerris prodded the remains of her breakfast with a fork. "The coffee is excellent though. I do really love Earth coffee."

“I never understood everyone’s fascination with raktijino when I was on Qo’nos. Particular blend of beans you prefer?” A man approached with a cup and saucer, depositing a latte and a plate with a rather daunting chocolate cookie onboard with enough calories to collapse into a chocolate singularity. It spelled hours in the gym.

"No, not really," Kerris replied. "I suppose I'm just a Terraphile. I find lots of human things much more interesting than their Bajoran equivalents..." She fished a padd from her bag. "Do you object to me recording our conversation?"

"Only if you don't mind providing me an unedited copy of the file immediately upon stopping the recording," Taylor said, inspecting her latte before lifting it to her lips and taking an experimental sip followed by a more substantial sip. "Oh that's good. I think we'll be making many more trips here I think."

"Of course," Kerris smiled without humour. "She touched a red button to activate the recorder. "Thank you for agreeing to talk to me, Special Envoy. So... Taylor Parkinson. Oxford University honours graduate, postings completed on Earth, New Romulus and Qo'nos... recipient of what some would regard as a series of meteoric promotions through the diplomatic corps... What brings you to the Delta Quadrant - and this station in particular?"

"An opportunity to continue doing what I've been doing since I joined the Diplomatic Corp - promoting the Federation, be it to old, new or potential allies. This was a new posting that opened up and a mentor of mine, Ambassador Gunther Bergen, suggested I apply for this posting. It seemed like an exciting challenge and I decided to jump at it. That and how often do Special Envoy positions open up after all? And in such unique and interesting circumstances." The coffee cup was set down and a section of cookie broken off, before a gentle push to offer it to Kerris to attack the mass herself if she wanted.

"What about yourself? Hard hitting journalist, self admitted terraphile - what brings you to one of the most distant Federation outreach efforts?" Taylor sat back in her chair and nibbled lightly on her piece of cookie.

Ignoring the proferred cookie, Kerris smiled. "The opportunity to interview individuals such as yourself, Madam Envoy. And our Turei and Starfleet hosts of course." She pursed her lips slightly and frowned as if considering how to phrase her next question - which of course she most definitely was not.

"Tell me Madam Envoy - we're aboard the Federation's sole outpost in the Delta Quadrant... you'd think that Starfleet would already have an admiral spare somewhere to head the expedition up? But it seems not. Starfleet Command looks to have promoted not just Matthew Cody, but Kudred Valyn too just to command this operation. Doesn't that seem slightly... odd to you? Cody spends nine years commanding starships - then suddenly gets promoted twice in the same year? I referred earlier to your own career progression as being meteoric - but Cody's? That's just something else isn't it?"

"I am currently not privy to Starfleet's promotion schedule, nor did I inquiry with the Council's Promotion Committee on the subject either, so I couldn't say as to their reasonings for authorising an admiral's pennant." She had waited to reply till after she'd finished with her piece of cookie and now her hands were making for her coffee cup once more. "I do believe however you'll find the Admiral was promoted to Commodore in 2396, then attained his pennant just recently, so hardly a surprise series of promotions. And his assignment here perhaps may have something to do with his previous assignment being the one this command was spun off of?"

Kerris ran a perfectly manicured index finger around the rim of her coffee cup. "There's no need to sound so... defensive, Madam Envoy," she said coyly. "I must admit though, I am impressed that you are so... intimately acquainted with the details of Cody's career. Even down to the dates of his promotions."

“It pays to know who one will be working with on a regular basis. Just as I’m sure you’ve read whatever you could regarding the Admiral, the Commodore and myself. And please, while this is an interview, I think we can dispense with the titles. Just call me Taylor for now.”

"Of course - Taylor," Kerris smiled gratefully. "So given that we are both so well-read on the backgrounds of the great and the good aboard Mithrar Anchorage, can I ask your opinion then of Rear Admiral Cody? As a leader - and as a man?"

“‘Purely from his record? You must understand records and actuality can be different.” Taylor thought for a moment in consideration. “An idealist who didn’t let the Dominion War warp him. If he wasn’t in Starfleet, he’d likely be in the Diplomatic Corp championing the Federation. I find his reputation as admirable and look forward to confirming that myself.”

"And from what you've seen of him so far?" Kerris probed. "Or perhaps heard?"

“Somewhat distracted currently with setting up a new command, negotiating with landlords and investigating an attack on the eve of our arrival. It’s moments like these that I think will reveal true strength of character, either his own or those he has surrounded himself with for support.” Taylor lifted her cup to her lips once more but stopped short of a sip. “And why I’m here as well. To assist by handling the diplomatic front on behalf of the Federation Council.” Then finally took a sip, savouring the cocoa.

Kerris nodded as she consulted her notes. "Distracted... hmm. And given that two of his own children are assigned to the Task Force, do you think that could potentially affect Cody's ability to make objective command decisions should the situation arise?... Or do you believe he would be able to show the 'true strength of character' you just referred to?"

"My read is the Admiral has surrounded himself with staff brave enough to stand up to him and remind him of his duty when required. Just as I have. Knowing one might have a limitation or a flaw and bulwarking against it prematurely is prudent. I assume your colleague would tell you if you were disappearing down a rabbit hole, yes?" Taylor asked, punctuating her sentence with another sip.

"Freddie? Well, probably not, no," Kerris admitted with a raised eyebrow. She sipped her coffee. "Madam Envoy - for the record, can I get your thoughts on the fact that Rear Admiral Cody condones murder aboard the station?"

A single eyebrow went up ever so slightly in consideration of that claim. "I trust Ms Kerris that you have proof to support such a claim?"

Kerris settled her coffee cup back on her saucer and locked eyes with Parkinson. "The night we came aboard, one of the Turei law-enforcers murdered two civilians suspected of looting - here on the Piazza. Cody was fully aware of it. As far as I can tell through my preliminary investigations, he has made no attempt to raise any concerns with the Administrator's office. When challenged, he said - and I quote," at this point Kerris looked down at her notes. "'We're in Turei space now. Federation Law doesn't apply here'". She looked back to Parkinson.

"I see. You are both equally valid. The Federation and by extension Starfleet should champion our ideals at every opportunity, however we are in Turei space, this is their station and Starfleet is bound by the Prime Directive. The Admiral might not have liked what he saw, but as it stands legally he has no right to interfere outside of official protests. Outside of that, what would you have the Admiral do?"

With raised eyebrows, Kerris gave Parkinson one of her 'charming' smiles. "Well, it isn't really about what I would have the admiral do, is it Madam Envoy? I'm just a reporter. I report the facts. So like the admiral, you're condoning murder as a punishment for theft?"

"You are drawing a conclusion to fit your position Ms Kerris and I do not appreciate that," Taylor said, her tone shifting to a very professional tone. "I am condoning nothing of the sort. You are assuming because I'm not charging into the Majister-Eminent's office to demand an explanation or ordering Starfleet to abandon the station because a potential ally doesn't immediately share our morals and ideals, or some other immediate action as condoning a reprehensible act. Suffice to say I shall investigate this incident and if there is truth to it I shall lodge a request for explanation and cite the Federation's position."

Kerris' smile remained fixed. "Please, Madam Envoy - I don't have a position - I'm simply drawing a conclusion based on what I've heard. You said that both views were equally valid - and in the absence of anything to the contrary, I just assumed that you stood with Cody in condoning it. So, I should assume that you don't condone it?"

"I do not," Taylor said as she set her cup down carefully in it's saucer. "Nor if you asked the Admiral that question would he. We are both restrained in what we can do about it however Ms Kerris. So, as a citizen of the Federation and not as a reporter, outside of an official protest, what would you have us do?"

"As I said earlier, Madam Envoy - I'm just a journalist. My opinion is neither here nor there." Kerris thumbed the power key on her padd and stuffed the device into her bag which hung on the back of her chair.
"Well I've taken up more than enough of your time, Madam Envoy," she said as she stood up. "Thank you for this opportunity to talk - and I hope we can do it again soon. Have a lovely day."

Grabbing her bag by the strap, she gave Parkinson one last smile and set off along the piazza.

"Ms Kerris," Taylor piped up. "I think you are forgetting something." A finger came up to point at the bag Anha had. "I would dearly appreciate that recording copy if would you please." She hadn't stood from her seat, just still sat there but Taylor's voice was practiced at cutting across crowds and the noise they tended to bring with them.

Kerris turned at the sound of Parkinson's voice, walking backwards away from the coffee shop. She nodded.
"Of course!" she called with a smile. "I'll send you a copy!" Then she was gone, disappearing into the crowd which ebbed and flowed on the piazza.

A Post by

Special Envoy Taylor Parkinson
Federation Diplomatic Corps


Kerris Anha
Correspondent, Federation News Network


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