Subject:"Political Issues - Discussed"

"Clearly, the situation in what used to be the territory of the former Cardassian Union is far from being resolved," a white-haired Terran man with the dress and attitude of an academic - a subtitle introduces him as Professor Zweistein, chair of political sciences at the University of Oxford - states in direction of the three other persons sitting in a semi-circle in a broadcasting studio during the weekly debate show of "Political Issues - Discussed".

"That much is obvious," another guest replies, a female Bolian in Starfleet uniform with red trim, her rank that of a Commander. The subtitle shown now indicating that she is stationed at Starfleet Headquarters, department of humanitarian aid and support. "The Klingon Empire is not relenting in their attitude that we have no right to send aid convoys to Cardassia Prime, thus condemning the population on the Cardassian homeworld to death." The guests nod in unison, but the Professor is quick to reply.

"I am not just referring to that, my dear Commander. As of now, the United Federation of Planets has not made an official statement as to whether we actually recognise former Cardassian territory to now belong to the Klingon Empire. Had we done that before, we may have avoided the destruction of the convoys." He manages to sound both, smug and sad about the loss of lives, though the smugness lasts longer. "Even now as we face war with the Klingon Empire, the Federation Council has not officially acknowledged Klingon rule over former Cardassian territory."

The third guest, a rough-looking Trill in civilian clothes - Captain Dolaren Tigal, merchant marine - looks at the academic, very obviously not agreeing with the elder man. "I don't think the Klingons care whether we acknowledge them or not. To be honest, neither do I. All /I/ care about is the people and ships we've lost to them. I really don't understand why the Federation doesn't show them one and for all that they can't treat us that way."

The host of the show, Marc Villemade, a handsome Terran in his mid-thirties, chooses this moment to interrupt the debate. "Before we go deeper into the matter, let's watch a video recording GNN received today. It's exclusive material, noone has seen this yet." In the background of the stage, the logo of the show that is displayed on large screens disappears and the emblem of the Rihannsu Star Empire appears while the guests react clearly surprised. This is something they certainly did not expect.

A second later, the emblem fades and makes place to the image of an elder Rihanha with a few silvery strands in his otherwise raven-black hair. He is wearing ample robes in beige colour that have a ceremonious touch to them and he wears them with dignity. Behind him, there is a large embossed seal of the Rihannsu Empire, a large, dangerous-looking bird of prey clutching the planets ch'Rihan and ch'Havran protectively in its talons. The same seal only a lot smaller, is inlaid into the dark wooden lectern behind which he is standing. When he looks into the camera, a few words in Rihannsu script appear at the bottom of the screen and are replaced after two seconds by a translation in Federation Standard, declaring the Rihanha to be senator tr'Llheinarrh, official speaker of the Rihannsu senate. He eventually begins to speak, the melodious tones of the Rihannsu tongue replaced with the harsher sounds of Federation Standard.

"As of today, the eighth day of the fifth month of Air in the year one thousand forty-two After Shipfall, the Rihannsu Star Empire recognises sovereignty of the Klingon Empire over the territory that was formerly known as Cardassian Union. All diplomatic ties and treaties the Rihannsu Star Empire may have had with the former Cardassian Union are thus null and void."

The senator looks into the camera for a brief moment longer, then the bird of prey emblem takes over the screen again before fading into blackness and being replaced by the far more joyous and less menacing logo of the show.

In the studio, there is a moment of silence while the guests digest this brand-new bit of information and ponder the possible consequences. But Marc Villemade does not give them much time to think. "So, I'm sure that the surprise is general. Commander, what do you think about this?" The Bolian officer looks at the handsome host and raises her hands in a half-shrug. "Well..."