Host With The Most

Posted on Saturday March 20th, 2021 @ 8:00pm by Captain Aaron Harris

Mission: Hail To The Chief
Location: USS Excalibur NCC-1664
Timeline: 1206.4

Entering deck six, Captain Harris was surprised to find so many security officers assigned to the area. That said, he couldn't blame his security chief for placing so many as they were hosting the Federation President. As he stepped off the turbolift, two armed security officers stood to attention. Both of them had phasers strapped to their hips and were carrying rifles too. Wishmore wasn't taking any chances.

"At ease gentlemen." He ordered them as he continued on his journey towards the guest quarters assigned to their commander-in-chief and the countless staff she had with her.

As he strolled down the corridor, he approached the doorway to the cabin assigned to the president. Again security officers were on duty and once he was cleared to enter, Harris stepped through to the largest quarters on the Excalibur (after his). For this mission, his chief engineer had his teams make the quarters larger by removing one of the internal walls. It made the living area seem more spacious than before.

"Captain Harris!" called President Harper as she emerged from where her bedroom was. The tall woman was wearing a navy blue pant suit with a black blouse underneath. Her silver hair reflected against the room lights as she closed the gap between them to shake Harris' hand. "Thank you so much for coming down to see me."

"Not a problem ma'am. Is everything to your liking?" Harris asked as he shook the president's hand.

"Absolutely." She answered. "I've not had the chance to travel on a Constitution-class yet, but what I am seeing does impress me. You have a fine ship."

"Thank you ma'am. I'm very proud of the Excalibur and her crew." Harris mentioned.

Nodding in agreement as she walked across the living room area to take a seat in one of the arm chairs. "As you should be. I reviewed your service record and the achievements your ship has gained. Your reputation rivals that of other notable ships like the Enterprise, Shenzhou and Discovery." She offered for him to take a seat opposite to her. "First off I wanted to express my gratitude to you and your crew for making so many adjustments to take us in for this ride, but when I asked for the best Admiral Terral was quick to mention you."

Surprised to hear that fact, Harris nodded in appreciation of the admiral's recommendation as he sat down. "I will make sure to pass my thanks to the admiral too."

"Now I didn't ask you down here for a chat, I do need to ask a favour from you." Harper explained.

"Of course ma'ma, anything you need." Harris replied.

Smiling at his compliance, Harper went on to tell him what she needed. "This membership of the Valkians and Menk into the Federation is going to be one of our trickiest ones to date. Besides the social and political ramifications of their own that we will most likely be dealing with for generations, the fact their technological development is almost a century behind us is another concern. That said I want to do something which my advisors are against us doing, but I think it will help."

Feeling that the president was going to ask him something difficult to do, Harris just sat there and listened to her as she shared her thoughts.

"I want us to host a state dinner here on the Excalibur." Harper said. "I know it's not in any of the official paperwork or the programme but if my instincts are right, it may help smooth the signing treaty further."

"Sorry Madam President, but I don't quite understand why such a thing would help?" Harris asked, he was curious to find out what she was thinking.

"The Menk and Valakians are at a crossroads that will change their world's history forever, but I want to be certain that the risks we are taking about bringing them into the fold are worth us having to deal with those ramifications." Harper explained. "My chief of staff and foreign secretary would say I may be being paranoid and that the more members the Federation grows in will only make us stronger, but I certainly believe that the whole is only as strong as the one."

"Madam President, are you saying that the Menks and Valakians aren't ready to be joining us yet?" Harris wondered if he was starting to find himself stuck in a situation that could cost more to the Federation.

"My simple answer is, I don't know." Harper said. "Everyone else thinks this is an easy deal. One that is good for both sides, but as I said they have a lot of social and political issues that is taking a long time to deal with. I just wondered if a state dinner here on the ship would help me truly feel confident about signing that document in a few days' time."

"You want the Excalibur to be a neutral ground for you to determine if the Menk and Valakians are truly ready for Federation membership?" Harris asked.

"Yes, I think by showing them what the Federation is - especially as your crew is so diverse - we may be able to expose them to one more last attempt at what Federation membership is about. If the state dinner goes well then I have no issues in welcoming them into the fold. Just call it gut instinct on my part, I could be wrong and if I am then I've wasted an evening."

Understanding slightly where she was coming from, Harris nodded in agreement. "Well ma'am, I'm happy to offer the services of my ship and crew as much as you need."

"Good, thank you captain." Harper said with a smile. "Can I ask you to begin preparations but keep it between us what we just spoke about. I don't want my staff getting a whiff of this as I know they will make such a fuss."

"I serve at the pleasure of the president." Harris said back with a boyish grin.

"I appreciate it, I am sure you are a busy man captain so I will let you go and get back to your duties. Thank you for discretion and understanding." Harper said as she stood up and walked Harris to the door, ending their meeting.