Dinner with the Ambassador
Timeline: Enroute to Pyxis
"Captain Ellis and Commander Gillespie! Welcome! Welcome!" effused Ambassador Baer as the two officers entered the VIP quarters. Jeanette Wyrick, the First Attaché, was already seated at the dinner table.
"Thank you for the invitation, Ambassador. It's most appreciated," Chuck replied.
"I agree Ambassador," Mystery replied, "Thank you for the invitation to dinner."
"I apologize for not entertaining you sooner," said the Ambassador, "Me and my staff have been so busy with preparations for our meeting with the Odinskusinerdreimalentferntwurdier that I have quite forgotten my manners. Come, come and have a seat. Pierre has prepare quite a feast."
"It's really not your job ambassador to entertain us, your a guest aboard my ship. I should be the one doing the entertaining," Mystery said as she took the offered seat
“Not at all,” the Ambassador replied, taking a seat himself. At a signal, waiters set plates in front of the four and removed their covers revealing hor d'oeuvres consisting of escargots in garlic butter, duck pate on flatbread, and deviled eggs with crab. The wine steward poured a small amount of Riesling into the Ambassador’s wine glass. The Ambassador swirled the wine in his glass, sniffed its bouquet, and took a sip. Satisfied, he nodded and the wine steward filled his glass.
“Captain Ellis,” the Ambassador began, as the wine steward filled the other glasses, “your elevation to command was rather sudden. How are you adjusting to the new responsibilities?”
"It took a little getting used to," Mystery admitted "But I'm fine with it. I'd taken the captain exam some time back and passed with flying colors. I had been commanding the ship as her first officer as the former captain had been called away so when the promotion came through, while surprised I was ready for it."
"And you Commander?" asked the Ambassador after polishing off a deviled egg, " Happy to be on a Ship of the Line?"
"It's quite exciting," Chuck replied. "While I loved my time on the Belknap, she was quite old. The Independence still has that 'New Starship' smell."
"I remember that your grandfather mentioned your interest in the blue water navies of old Earth. I myself enjoy the tales of Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower," said the Ambassador taking a bite of escargot, "Captain, do you have any interested in pre-warp history?"
"I've studied Zephram Cochran, the man was brilliant, I have an old Earth Cessna Plane in storage on my home planet. I fly it when I get the chance. It's relaxing to fly a plane where you can actually control it yourself and not worry about computers doing a lot of the work for you," Mystery commented.
Pleasant conversation continued through the courses that followed, a tomato bisque, a smoked maple glazed salmon, a cucumber salad, and beef bourguignon with roasted potatoes. Jeanette remained quiet during the conversation and ate little, her continence one of deep reflection.
As a fruit and cheese platter was laid on the table, the Ambassador remarked, “Much as I am loathed to discuss business at a social event but I fear that we have little time with our arrival in the Pyxis system tomorrow.” He nodded to Jeanette.
Jeanette took a moment to collect herself then began, "We were are to reestablish communication with the first contact team. The Odinskusinerdreimalentferntwurdier want to meet us in orbit and shuttle over to the Independence. We assume that our docking mechanisms are not compatible so we would like to use the shuttlebay deck."
Chuck looked at Mystery, then at the Ambassador and his attaché. "The shuttlebay will be ready. All other preparations are well in hand."
Jeanette nodded then continued, "We expect that there will be a cultural exchange, we will inspect their ship and expect they will want to inspect the Independence. Nothing confidential but we want to demonstrate our trust and willingness to share information."
"What preparations would that be commander?" Mystery asked
"I believe the Commander is referring to the coordination between my staff and yours to prepare for the meeting with the Odinskusinerdreimalentferntwurdier and escort them back to Starbase 10," said the Ambassador taking a sip of wine, "Ms Wyrick said that you had given permission to take whomever we needed."
"That would make sense, I'm sorry commander, things have progressed so quickly that I'm not even sure who I am at times. Miss Wyrick please have them contact me when they are ready to land. I'll have shuttle bay one ready to receive them," Mystery said
"Certainly, Captain," Jeanette replied politely, "The Ambassador will be the Federation's civilian representative but we will need a representative from the military. Are you willing to serve in that role or would you like to appoint one of your senior officers?"
"My senior staff is rather limited. My first officer was called away as suddenly as he was assigned," Mystery commented "Unless there is an objection I can handle the military end of things."
"Excellent, excellent!" the Ambassador exclaimed, "I shall look forward to it!"
"Captain, if I might suggest that you braid you hair for the meeting with the Odinskusinerdreimalentferntwurdier?" Jeanette suggested, "Braids appear to have a significance in their culture and tugging on them is a form of greeting."
"I'll make sure to braid it, something I've not done is many years," Mystery said "Now who does the tugging me or them?"
"Both," Jeanette said matter-of-factly, "It is similar to the Earth custom of shaking hands."
"Now that business is settled," the Ambassador announced, "Pierre has prepared some delicious mignardises accompanied by coffee."