Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: Diplomatic Offices, Deck 7
Once her promotion to mission advisor had been officiated Niamh had taken the liberty of requesting access to some of the low-level diplomatic files in order to get acclimated with the expectations of that aspect of her role. Nothing too juicy, her clearance was typically tied to whether or not her skills were relevant, but enough for the counsellor to get a good idea of how things should be done. Most of her morning had been spent poring over trade agreements and applications to join the Federation that had been successful, with a few peppered in the mix that represented failure. Analysing the documents she'd taken notes that she'd hope would help her be a proactive member of their team should the situation call for her presence.
Mostly obvious conclusions could be drawn, but for the most part, she acknowledged that when the deals fell through it was typically down to an inability for both sides to find even ground between their cultures. Whilst the Federation was made up of thousands of worlds their core set of values were absolute and there were rare exceptions made for any potential members who's cultures deviated from them. After a couple of hours, she had grown bored though. Paperwork had never been the Counsellor's preferred part of her role, she enjoyed the interaction and often learned more if a discussion was involved. With that in mind, she'd shut her terminal down and headed for the Diplomatic Suite aboard the ship.
Normally when she visited she'd spent a majority of her time with Lieutenant Acainus but upon entering the area she couldn't help but notice an incredibly frustrated looking familiar face, Lieutenant Junior Grade Veronica Rios. Niamh was familiar enough with the young woman given the sessions the pair shared but Niamh acknowledged the pair had yet had the chance to communicate with the recent transfer in a professional context and in the moment she realised she was keen for that to change.
Approaching the diplomat Niamh cleared her throat so as to give her warning, "You wouldn't happen to need a hand would you Rios? I'm going out of my mind reading through the paperwork" she said her expression a picture of faux disdain.
Rios looked up from her documents, and failed to hide the desperation on her face. "Is it that obvious? The negotiations on Miban IV are trying to drive me crazy. Another point of view might be helpful."
"Of course," Niamh agreed without a moment's hesitation. This was exactly what she needed to get herself acclimated with what they did. Hopefully, her unique perspective would help ease Rios' stress. "After a quick brief, I'm sure we can work it out together" she suggested.
"Well...it might boil down to a conflict of interest. You might not remember, but Miban IV is governed by a theocracy. Minshera, the woman who's been advocating for secular reform, has been making some substantial strides. So all good news..." Veronica paused, unsure how quickly she wanted to divulge more. "Except, I've learned a piece of information that might derail the entire thing."
"Interesting," the counsellor said genuinely. She knew of Starfleet's work with the race, their theocratic method of government had mildly piqued her interest when she'd first read about them. She felt a little idiotic for not having spent more time learning about them, "What's the piece of information? Perhaps we can frame it in a much less disruptive light?"
Veronica's eyebrows raised as she tried to find a way to cast that less disruptive light. "Well, hopefully, you can help me find that less disruptive light. You see, Minshara was having an affair...with the Archduke...who is married to a High Priestess." Veronica tilted her head looking for an easier way to say the next sentence. None came. "And Minshara is pregnant."
"I can see how that complicates things" Niamh joked as she digested what she'd been told. She didn't need to know much about the Mibani to realise the magnitude of disruption a scandal like this would cause. If the High Priestess had been withholding this information the Federation would fall out of favour. If they told the High Priestess now the Federation would fall out of favour with the Archduke. It was a lose-lose situation.
"Perhaps we inform the Archduke of our Intel and hope he informs the High Priestess before their public gets a hold of the information?" she suggested.
The young diplomat nodded. "We could try that. It'd allow both sides the option to navigate discussing the scandal. I'm worried we're going to be in trouble either way. But...its worth a try."
"Honestly, I think we've stumbled upon a lose-lose situation but that doesn't mean we can't find a win" Niamh suggested thoughtfully, "what does your gut tell you to do?" the counsellor asked curiously, Veronica's perspective carried much more weight in her opinion, whilst she dealt with people on a day to day basis, she was typically in complete control of the situation during her sessions.
"Get out ahead of it," Veronica said, much as she hated to really get involved. Any choice would bring risk. But they could do their best to inoculate themselves. "We might be able to soften the blow. Or control the damage to some extent. If we ignore it and let it blow, everything could come down. If we try to let it out ourselves, maybe the situation can be salvaged."
"It will certainly demonstrate to either party that we're honourable," Niamh said, "many other nations would consider this the perfect situation to gain leverage. It might hurt them but I think being honest provides us with the greatest chance of remaining in their face. With you at the helm we'll have all the advantage we need" she said motivationally. The pair were due another session soon and Niamh had been incredibly pleased with Veronica's progress.
Niamh's logic was sound. Veronica rose to her feet with a smile. "Thank you, ma'am. Your wisdom has been invaluable as always."
"It was all you, Lieutenant" Niamh assured, "I merely offered you someone to bounce ideas off of. I should get back to my office, my open clinic starts in 10 minutes" Niamh explained with a playful grimace, "thank you for taking the time to show me how this is done, it gave me valuable insight."