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 Title: Diplomatic Choices (3/?)

Series: Insontis II
Characters: Kirk, McCoy, various
Word Count: (this bit)
Rating: K+
Warnings/Spoilers: Lack of real plot, ghastly amounts of fluff, etc. If you're in search of story with depth and substance, this is not the universe you're looking for. *Jedi hand wave*
Summary: The Vulcan delegation beams aboard, and so it begins.
A/N: While this arc may have slightly more serious overtones, you have my word that there eventually will be enough fluff to choke an army of unicorns, so just hang tight while we do some Plot for a bit.

Chronological Order of This 'Verse:

When I Was a Child
Impeccable Aim
Lesson One
A Matter of Genetics
Taking Sides
Out of the Mouth of Babes
A Two-Way Trust
Lesson Two
Family Interlude
Artistic License 
Blackmail Potential 
Captain Sunshine
Sunshine and Darkness
Ducks in Space
Smart is Sexy
Lesson Four
Never Too Young
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Lesson Five
Persuasive Arguments
A Decided Lack of Amusement  (1/4)  (2/4)  (3/4)  (4/4)
Catch a Falling Star
An Infernal Device
Lesson Six (and Seven, really) (1/4) (2/4) (3/4) (4/4)
The Second Time Around 
Lessons Eight and Nine 
Lessons Ten and Eleven (1/2) (2/2)
Outside the Box
Comprehension (1/4) (2/4) (Interlude) (3/4) (4/4)
And So It Begins
Fear Is Only Embarrassing in Public
Never Tease a Vulcan
Best Destiny (1/4) (2/4) (3/4) (4/4)
Parting Ways (1/6) (2/6) (3/6) (4/6) (5/6) (6/6)
The Wounds of a Friend (1/4) (2/4) (3/4) (4/4)
Lessons Learned


A Child of Two Worlds
First Impressions
Lesson One, of sorts
Lesson Two
Lesson Three
Trust (Lesson Four)  (1/2)  (2/2)
Oversights and Undershirts
Learning Diplomacy
Lesson Five
Puppy Eyes and Panic Attacks
Taking Responsibility
Diplomatic Choices (1/5)  (2/5)  (3/5)


"And these will be your quarters for the next six days, gentlemen." The door opened at their approach, whereupon the captain de-activated the mechanism keeping it unlocked for general access. "Computer, restrict access access to Vulcan Ambassadorial Delegation Delta Four, Security Level One override only."

"Access restricted."

"Such measures are unnecessary, I am sure," Solvak, the primary spokesman for the group and the only one of the somber delegation Kirk hadn't instantly taken a mild disliking to, protested with quiet gentility as they entered the first cabin. The ambassador's aides had detoured to tour the science laboratories with a lieutenant from hydroponics at the last turbolift, leaving the two to continue on to the guest quarters deck alone.

Upon stepping into the room, Solvak stopped on the instant with a (for a Vulcan, shockingly) open gesture of surprise, and half-turned. "You have adjusted the gravity and climate controls of these cabins, Captain?"

"We have." Kirk gestured to the control unit on the wall. "Feel free to make any additional adjustments as you see fit; they are standard Federation manufacture and should respond to voice commands."

"But how…"

Kirk smiled briefly. "It is no great feat of divination, Ambassador. My First Officer is Vulcan. And while I am aware that it is no doubt considered illogical to have personal preferences, I believe the argument could be made that there is also no logic in remaining in discomfort aboard a ship whose amenities are imbalanced in favor of one species, when balancing the scales is possible."

Solvak's eyes glinted momentarily in what looked like interest. "Not many in Starfleet share your opinion, Captain."

"An unfortunate result, perhaps, of cultural difference being perceived as a disadvantage, and in compromise being mistaken for negotiation. One of our species is renowned for disarming conflict; one of us has always become better men because of it. Neither, perhaps, is more effective than the other."

"Indeed. We have a saying, Captain. Ma etek natyan teretuhr lau, etek – "

"Shetau weh-lo'uk do tum t'on? I couldn't agree more, Ambassador." (1)

Solvak's eyebrows crawled up his head. "You speak Vulcan."

"I make a valiant attempt to speak Vulcan," Kirk replied ruefully, eyes dancing. "I have been told my accent is deplorable."

"Indeed it is. But, as you said, it is a valiant attempt." Kirk grinned, obviously unoffended, and Solvak stepped forward, genuinely curious. "Are all of your crew so accepting of outworlders, Captain?"

"I would like to think so, Ambassador. If they are not, they are not welcome aboard my ship." The captain's eyes sparked dangerously. "And if you are treated in any way which makes you believe otherwise, I expect to hear it from you, and not my Security staff."

"As you wish." The eyebrows inclined even further. "Though I suspect such measures will not be needed."

"They'd better not be. I will not have bigotry, unacceptance, or discourtesy in any form aboard my ship – and that goes both ways between our species, Ambassador. Have I your accordance on the matter?"

"Indeed. You are refreshingly direct, for a human, Captain Kirk."

"I have been called worse, by much less intelligent beings, Ambassador." Kirk's slight smile betrayed his reserved amusement. "I trust our voyage will be mutually beneficial to us both."

"May it be so. I look forward to further discussions with you on the subject."

"I as well, sir. I must leave you now, as I have duties on the Bridge while we break orbit, but you may feel free to explore the ship as you wish. My Acting Science Officer, Mr. Chekov, is your assigned tour guide and will be available to you for any questions regarding ship's functions. I would only request that you remain out of the Engineering section until we are safely at warp."

"Of course." Solvak deposited his small carrying-case on the bedside table, and turned back to face the human. "I should be much interested to make the acquaintance of your First Officer, Captain. To be able to serve amongst a ship of humans, and be so successful a scientist in his field despite that environment? A truly remarkable feat."

Kirk flushed slightly, but only smiled at the unintentionally brutal assessment. "That might prove rather difficult at the moment, Ambassador, for reasons I have not the time to explain at present. However, I would be happy to introduce you at the evening meal the officers have prepared in your honor, to welcome your delegation aboard the Enterprise."

"An unnecessarily dramatic gesture."

"Ah, but allow us humans our little idiosyncrasies, Ambassador." Kirk silently chuckled at the mystified expression on the Vulcan's face. "I shall rejoin you at 1800 hours, then."

"Until then, Captain."

The door slid shut behind him, and he finally exhaled in a slow, heavy huff of air, shaking his head as he headed down the corridor toward the turbolift.

It was going to be a long, long six days. At least Solvak didn't appear to be as snobby as some of Spock's people he'd encountered in the past; hopefully that attitude would continue when the ambassador encountered the child himself this evening.

He did not look forward to his parenting skills coming into question by the galaxy's most logical species; he was already far out of his depth, and barely holding it together as it was. Between his usual duties as starship captain, assuming half of Spock's duties which no one even realized the First Officer even had until he suddenly wasn't around anymore, and managing the upbringing of a Vulcan child on top of that because he was the closest thing to an expert aboard at the moment…yeah, Spock had no idea just how precariously balanced Kirk was right now, teetering dangerously on that precipice of sheer panic.

But their resident Vulcan wasn't the only excellent actor aboard, after all, and Kirk hadn't been given the flagship solely for his diplomatic ability; he could bluff and charm his way past anyone aboard if he chose, with one notable exception.

And given that that notable exception was currently in the mind and body of an eight-year-old child, well. The show must go on, right?

"Huh. I think you're crazy, Jim, but what do I know."

The captain rolled his eyes in the mirror, tugging in vain at the collar of his dress jacket.

"Seriously, Bones. Solvak appears to be quite open-minded. I don't foresee any problems, really; and that's a pleasant surprise, all things considered."

"Yeah, we'll see." The physician grumbled, tossing the padd back onto the desk with a huff. "I still can't believe we got to spend six days cartin' the whole kit and caboodle halfway across the quadrant."

"It will be fine, Bones."

"You got no idea about that." McCoy scowled into the mirror over the captain's shoulder, arms folded. "And I have absolutely no idea what to do with this information the Lady Amanda just blasted into my inbox right before we left orbit. I'm a doctor, not a Vulcan pediatric counselor!"

Kirk sighed, and wished not for the first time he'd taken the man up on his offer of a headache pill. Or three.

"We can worry about that after tonight, Bones. One thing at a time, please?" he begged, backing out of the door with his hands outstretched.

McCoy followed him out, shaking his head. "And since when has this ship ever done anything 'one thing at a time'? We're a flyin' embodiment of Murphy's Law!"

"You know what I meant!" The yell came from around the corner, in the direction of the Engineering Jeffries ladders, and McCoy rolled his eyes. Of course, Jim got the dubious honor of corralling their miniature Vulcan First Officer and escorting him to the evening meal, because he had to be on hand to make sure the dietary protocols were being followed in the rare non-replicated food preparation.

Probably – hopefully – his bad feeling about this was just from the six cups of coffee on an empty stomach. He needed to tell the galley to only serve decaf tonight, because he should be done for the day and judging from the jittery way Jim was behaving, a fast-acting stimulant was the last thing the man needed, much less their energetic little bundle of curiosity (who could weasel anything out of the man he wanted, the brat).

Who knew, maybe these Vulcans would be a calming influence on both of them?

Or maybe he just cursed the whole trip by thinking that…

(1) "We have differences. May we, together, become greater than the sum of both of us."

September 2017

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