"Why Garak, next time you're in the area, don't hesitate to drop by. We can have a meal and perhaps some kanar? I keep a small supply of pre bajoran invasion on hand. An excellent vintage."
Waeves smile was broad, almost a grin.
"As for demanding a presence, I was told you initially refused, why the change of heart?'
"You know Mr. Garak, it occurs to me that your definition of hero and mine probably don't line up. I earned my reputation on the front lines in more battles than I can count, not hiding in a tailor shop under Federation protection, running to starfleet everytime someone almost snapped my neck. So you'll forgive me if I am not interested in being a hero to you or a long dead obsidian order boss. You'll also forgive me if I am blunt. Tell me what you want or stop wasting my time. I have neither the time nor patience for your games that Captain Sisko had."
Waeve hovered a finger over the disconnect button, waiting.
"You see, Admiral... it is exactly that kind of smug attitude that force Cardassia to fall prey and victim to the heinous crimes committed by the Founders and the Dominion. My father, Tain, was a hero for standing against the coming tyranny we all suffered. You have the fleeting opportunity to be such a hero, if you so choose."
Erika whispered to Aya. "Remind me again why you don't like him."
Aya frowned, but there was a twinkle in her eyes. "We're in love with the same man."
"My ears are quite good, Miss Aya. Alas, love makes for such contentious rivals, wouldn't you say?"
Aya perked up, a mischievous expression forming. "I'd say you have yet another thing in common with Weyoun... no wonder you killed him."
"To be quite honest, I expected this call some time ago. Beauracracy getting in the way? It is such a shame that military dictatorships dont seem to last, isn't it?"
"May i assume you are objecting based on the history your people have with the dominion or are the cardassians perhaps annoyed that their invitation got lost in the mail?"
Garak smiled. "If you have heard them from sources all but Miss Aya, I'm sure what you have heard must be overly complimentary."
He straightened his posture somewhat. "I regret to inform you that I have the unspeakably distasteful task of formally protesting against your upcoming engagement with the Dominion on behalf of the Detapa Council and all of Cardassia."
The Cardassian that appeared on the Admiral's office screen had a glib expression, his voice oozing with sarcasm.
"Admiral Blackfire. Truly, it is an honor to make your acquaintance, sir. You are held in high esteem by the Detapa council. I can only beg your forgiveness for squandering your precious time from events of galactic proportion."
Aya squinted at the screen, then stuck her tongue out at the visage, clearly in mock disgust.
"Aya, my dear... you haven't changed a bit."
"Mr. Garak..." Aya murmured. "Don't you have anything better to do?"
"Others with more experience with the Dominion, yes. There are no others living with more experience negotiating with potential hostiles though and the council feels thats sending a representative who fought against them in the war could be seen as hostile, which eliminates The Kai. Further, it is believed that Jean luc will be retiring soon and rhis treaty would be a crowning achievement for an already legendary career."
He smiled at the two women.
"I share some of your reservations, the founders are tricky and deceitful. I raised those same objections when we were asked to provide transport, but Jesn luc says he has been briefed by borh Kira and Jake, as well as worf and mr. O'brian. He feels confident he can work this to our advantage and theres no point in beating a dead horse. Have faith Erika, he, of all people, wont let us down."
Erika remained suspicious. "Excuse me for speaking out of turn, Admiral... but... Why did the council choose Captain Picard? Surely, there are others in the Federation with vastly more experience dealing with the Founders and the Vorta. Kai Kira comes to mind..." Erika's voice betrayed a sense of mistrust that was uncommon for her.
Aya giggled. "Maybe because the Dominion probably still sees Kira as a war criminal for her little rebel uprising on Cardassia?"
Erika looked at Aya. "No, this feels like something more than that..."
Aya dismissed her with a wave. "Reminds me... I need to check on your 'feeling' algorithm."
"I promise Aya. Nothing is going to happen to your mother."
While he wouldn't admit it openly, Waeve shared Erika's suspicions about this meeting. It was all far too convenient, but he had to give peace a chance. Still, the Blackstar would be just moments away, in case the Founders were up to something.
"I'll let you head off to get your ship prepared for departure. I'll be aboard shortly."
_________________ Yea though I fly through the valley of the shadow of death...
I fear no evil ...
for I fly the biggest, baddest, meanest, fastest motherfucker
in the whole damn valley.
"Five card stud, nothing wild. And the sky's the limit" -- Picard
"The founders have assured our safety, but the Blackstar will be standing by if needed. I don't think we have anyting to worry about that the Mikasa can't handle. She's as tough now as she was the day she was commissioned."
Waeve smiled at Aya's strident defense of the little ship.