He had long, silken white hair, and a similarly coloured moustache that fell from the sides of his mouth and chin well past the line of the jaw. His eyes were a brilliant blue and, as is common to Efrosians, his vision was poor; he could see only rough shapes. Away from home, he wore a pair of specially designed pince-nez spectacles that transmitted clearer images to his optic nerves, permitting him a better awareness of his surroundings and thus allowing him to move about more easily.
Some of this resistance came from simple prejudice. Ra-ghoratreii knew that there existed a sexist attitude among many Klingons, that women should not sit on the council, let alone be chancellor. But Azetbur also faced genuine political opposition. Even after the destruction of their primary energy-production facility on Praxis, many Klingons believed the acceptance of Federation aid to be an act of cowardice. Furthermore, the pursuit of peaceful coexistence between the two powers was considered a betrayal of the empire’s honour and destiny. Despite this, Azetbur managed to remain in office over the next few months. According to observers, she did so by several means. Federation aid, while distasteful to many Klingons, apparently paled when compared to the ignominy of living impoverished, hungry, and sick. Azetbur also avoided the temptation to forcibly quell opposition, instead engaging adversaries in open debate. She had even accepted and implemented several of their proposals, effectively disarming them. Although she had won to her cause only a handful of members on the High Council, those few wielded great influence, particularly among lesser houses and commoners.
Azetbur also began remaking her diplomatic corps. It surprised Ra-ghoratreii to read that Kamarag, Klingon ambassador to the Federation for more than a decade, had been recalled. His replacement would be a man named Kage, whose record revealed virtually no political experience In his youth, he’d been a soldier, but later in life, he resigned the Klingon Defence Force to enrol in the Gorek Institute. There he’d studied civil engineering, a discipline he’d then practiced for twenty years before being recruited by Azetbur. Nothing obvious in Kage’s background particularly recommended him for the role of ambassador, but he had evidently performed some work on the infrastructure of the First City, the capital of Qo’noS. Ra-ghoratreii believed it likely that Gorkon and his family had at some point become aware of Kage, perhaps even befriending him. Based upon the president’s dealings at Khitomer with the new chancellor, he suspected that Kage would turn out to be not some fawning toady, but an individual with a bright mind who shared Azetbur’s vision for the empire.
“We have had the best scientists in the Federation working on this. Samples have been obtained from every known area in which the delegates from Falor were present. Unfortunately, it appears that Kal-Tor Lissan was telling the truth. We have discovered a nanoprobe virus at every site. Even worse, the technology involved is quite beyond our present understanding. We’re not sure if we could deactivate even the samples we have, which are but a fraction of what’s out there”.
“If you shook hands with a Falorian delegate, if he was on your ship, at your space station, visiting your capital or being entertained in your banquet halls, he left the virus. Then anyone who walked through that banquet hall, or brushed up against you, or stopped at that space station - they, too, would have the virus. It’s on your clothes, your hands, in your body”.
“I have been doing my best to be constructive, but I cannot sit quietly by while we discuss the virus without voicing the needs and fears of my people! Huan is a Federation member in good standing. What is the Federation going to do to prevent this undeserved attack?”
Ra-ghoratreii’s response was quiet but firm:
“Ambassador, your planet is currently not in good standing, as you must know. You have admitted that you lied to us regarding Falor. Had we known of your...past relationship...with the Falorians, steps might have been taken to bring you both to the negotiating table at that time. This whole tragedy might have been averted”.
“I want to thank everybody for attending. It speaks volumes that so many people have chosen to be here today, from so many different worlds and so many different circumstances. Though it may be redundant after the comments of all those who have spoken this morning, I would be remiss if I did not mention my own experiences with Captain Kirk. I met James T. Kirk for the first time only a few months ago. It was on the Klingon world of Khitomer, and the captain introduced himself by lunging through the air and tackling me to the floor in order to save me from an assassination attempt...Needless to say, I was very pleased to make his acquaintance”.