The Bulikaya Particle
Location: Starfleet Command, Romulus
Standing in the center of the holographic communication center of the diplomatic center of Starfleet Command, Lieutenant Commander Mnhei’sahe Dox was no longer in her crimson uniform. A week prior, the redheaded Romulan woman had arrived on Earth as a part of a carefully thought out plan to dramatically change the course of her career and life by putting a halt to her tenure as an active-duty Starfleet officer, and pursue a much different path.
The number of Romulans who have openly served in Starfleet could be counted on one hand, but there was only one that was also the granddaughter of a high ranking Senator of the Star Empire, with dual citizenship and an existing position within that Empire as that Senator’s emissary, or ’Kolaes’ in her native tongue.
This tenuous relationship had been a source of stress for the relatively young, 33-year-old pilot who, at first, simply wanted to return to service and flying. But a life-changing adventure that had exposed her to a dozen different realities, showing her exactly how her life could have gone, but for a dozen different decisions. With those perspectives now a part of her, she stood on Earth, prepared to leave behind her life as it had been. To embrace both sides of the woman she was: Citizen of the United Federation of Planets, who believed in the institution and its purpose in the galaxy. And a Citizen of the Romulan Star Empire, who wanted to see her long-distant home become what it had once been, and could be again.
Starfleet Command, it turned out, had not taken nearly as much effort to convince of Dox’s plan as she had expected. With the support of Captain Telvan, Lieutenant Commander Sonak speaking for Vulcan, and Admiral Meowlth and a number of Admirals and that had wanted Dox to pursue this path nearly a year ago when the relationship with her Grandmother had first been solidified. As such, the no-longer-active duty officer was now attempting to get settled on Earth with her family while beginning what would likely be a year to two-year process of intense study and preparation toward becoming a full diplomat. An Ambassador of the United Federation of Planets; specifically, to the Romulan Star Empire.
It was a plan with many details and facets. Details that Mnhei’sahe Dox… in her crisp new gray ‘ambassador in training’ uniform... had just finished presenting to the holographic representation of her grandmother, Senator Verelan t’Rul.
The holographic room projected the image of the elegant, silver-haired Romulan matriarch and stateswoman and a representation of her office on Romulus. Having now stood in the real room during one of her inter-dimensional leaps, Dox could now see that the details of this version of the office had been altered for security purposes. As had always been the case in these holographic communications between them, Dox stood on the other side of the holographic representation of Veleran’s desk with the furniture separating the two women.
For a long moment, Dox’s audacious plan to become a Federation Diplomatic envoy to the Romulan Star Empire hung heavy in the air. For that moment, the expression on the canny elder Senator’s face remained dispassionate, before she finally responded.
“Taking up the family business at last, Mnhei’sahe?” Verelan t’Rul said simply, barely concealing a prim smile.
“That would certainly be one way of putting it.” Dox replied, plainly doing her level best to not overtly emote, her arms folded behind her back. There was a hint of familiarity in her voice that few would pick up on, save those that knew her. “Much of what I am proposing are tasks I have already been performing, representing your position to reunification colonies as your Kolaes. I have simply decided that it was time to make these duties more official and acquire the additional training to do so better.”
“Not at all. Now you’ll be representing the Federation’s interests on Romulus. The Reunification colonies will be but one minor image within a much larger tapestry. You are stepping from the provincial single matter of politics in regard to one single focused issue, and instead are choosing to embrace, as the Humans say, ‘the big picture’.” Tracing her fingers along the marble desktop, the matriarch of House Rul raised her eyebrows and spoke casually, as if discussing the weather.
“It’s brave of you to take such a large leap... most would spend years learning diplomacy in the field dealing with more manageable issues. But not Mnhei’sahe Dox,” the silver-haired senator with the sharply pointed brows and the equally sharp mind observed, those dark eyes flashing up to meet those of the last great hope of House Rul. “Diving straight into the deep end. Federation representative to the Star Empire. I’m not certain whether I’d call it audacious or ambitious, or both.”
A close lipped smile and a fluttering of lashes accompanied the statement- a bit of flippancy in either culture.
As usual, Mnhei'sahe found herself working to parse the layers of meaning behind her grandmother's words, for there were always a great many messages to be found. Yes, there was flippancy but there was also something else in the seasoned politico's body language and mannerisms. Cues that Dox was learning to read that were hidden beneath the words.
It was very much the Romulan way, to speak in code and mask your meanings. In this case, from both Starfleet and the Imperial Senate, who were all observing the conversation. This, she realized, might be the hardest part of this new path she was starting on: the scrutiny. For most of her life, the introverted woman disliked the judgment of others, but here she was choosing a life where her every word and mannerism would be criticized and scrutinized. It was a burden she was willing to take on.
Pursing her lips slightly, Dox nodded lightly as she replied. "While I may be diving into the proverbial deep end, it is very much my intention to take this time to learn as much as I can about the spectrum of facets to this endeavor..."
Running a finger over an ear, it was a traditionally nervous gesture for Dox, but in this case she hoped it would reinforce the request beneath the surface. "...from those most knowledgeable and experienced in such matters."
“There is great wisdom to be had in education, I hear, and you plan to seek such an education with the Federation on Earth. Will you also participate in such an education on Romulus, I wonder?” That eyebrow moved upward almost imperceptibly, but it sharpened ever so slightly as she asked. Ever maneuvering, the canny stateswoman’s eyes were always set on the prize- convincing her granddaughter to see things her way. To bring that energy and will to bear for the Romulan people. Now more than ever, there were... possibilities.
Thus she baited the hook, and waited.
"I would consider such an education essential." Mnhei'sahe answered with a somewhat matter-of-fact tone, honestly just a bit surprised at how direct the last question was, at least for Verelan. "Which would, of course, require the completion of my accreditation and legal status as a diplomatic envoy here before moving forward. But if I am to serve in any capacity, I will need to learn as much as possible from both peoples and both cultures."
The blunt truth was that Mnhei'sahe knew that she needed Verelan to have even a chance at success at effecting even the slightest change to her estranged homeworld. But Verelan's ambitions required Mnhei'sahe equally. It was in the red-headed Romulan woman's intention to secure diplomatic standing through the Federation, that would offer at least some measure of proverbial shielding against the more overt machinations of the Senate itself.
Though it was still a tremendously dangerous game, and she knew it, it was simply not something she wanted to run from any more.
“I am pleased to see we share perspective on this issue, future ambassador. I of course would be happy to offer my services as a native guide in such matters, should you wish to avail yourself of my experience.” It was a multilayered offer, of course, the depths of which would be determined between the two of them over time, likely in a constant jockeying for position and the upper hand.
In other words, politics. Although hopefully without the particularly vicious nature of Romulan politics, where one might wind up on the outside of the situation, or dead.
“I would be honored by the privilege, noble Senator.” Dox replied with a respectful bow and the hint of a smile that was all but imperceptible to most, though not Verelan knew her granddaughter better than most. “I am pleased as well. I look forward to exploring this path, the challenges ahead, and discovering if we can eventually cut a new path.”
“Perhaps you could come for a visit in the interim?” Deihu t’Rul asked casually, although both women recognized it for what it was- a test of the waters, a testing of boundaries, a silly suggestion easily avoided or taken advantage. A ploy that could be taken a number of ways on a number of levels.
Family politics, Romulan style.
There was the briefest of pauses as Dox considered just how to answer the question that, for her, was more difficult than it seemed on the surface. Her feelings for the woman were extremely mixed in a number of ways as there was intimidation, trepidation, a bit of well earned fear, but also compassion and a level of emotional connection the younger woman could not deny. In spite of everything that had occurred between the two, on a strange level she loved her estranged grandmother.
In all of their encounters, the one thing that they never have had… was a visit. But considering the situation and the variables, Dox wasn’t about to simply say ’yes’.
“Considering the complexity of the political climate at this time, and my diplomatic status from the Federation yet to be accredited, that is something that will likely take… a bit of arranging.” Dox said, going over the obvious details first so that they are said and on record before adding one last bit, “But when such a trip would be approved and my diplomatic status verified, that would be something I would enjoy.”
“Indeed. We shall have to see what bears fruit in the fullness of time, I suppose,” Verelan offered with a wry smile, a nod to the well-played response. Noncommittal without being rude, evasive while still expressing commitment, uncertain yet spoken with conviction.
“I look forward to this future, Hu’paenhe,” the matriarch of house t’Rul said, formally recognizing her status as family in an official communique that would make it clear to anyone who scanned the communication the relationship between the two. Which both strengthened and weakened both women’’s positions.
A classical Romulan maneuver, to name another as family- to bring them under the auspice of the house’s protection, whilst simultaneously exposing them to the house’s enemies. Thus mutual benefit suddenly became much more amicable to both parties.
“As do I, Hu'nanov.” Dox replied, camouflaging the moment of emotion she felt at the acknowledgement as she offered another respectful and professional bow. “Jolan tru.”
“Jolan tru, Mnhei’sahe Dox.”