My Friday flash fiction feature needs to fit with G for a world of my own – in this case G’Nauss. G’Nauss is a Federation planet known for its champagne – well, that was the main reason for inventing it in my letter A flash story last week! I expect it will develop more reasons to be built, and then again, it’s always useful to have a few planets in hand with just a little bit of backstory when you might need them. You’ll find more about the Imperium on Monday; here we are at a sub-committee meeting of the Senate, with one of my major characters, Kaa Birith, in charge. It’s 500 words.
In one of those strange twists, you can all raise a glass of champagne as you read this, my 1000th post on my blog! To honour it, I’ll draw an extra winner of my giveaway from entries made up to 8 am Saturday London time (midnight Friday in California).
G’Nauss is the Winter of our Discontent
The case of G’Naussian champagne sat on the table in front of Kaa Birith.
“So, honoured gentlemen, what are we to do about it?” He stared at the open box, reached once more for his glass, and sipped the petillant wine. His colleagues followed suit.
Senator G’Rath cleared her throat.
Birith turned his attention to her, raising one eyebrow.
“I was not clear, Senator, how this case of wine from a Federation planet came to be in your possession. Perhaps you could explain.”
Birith bowed. None of the others had dared to question him.
“I felt that to be of lesser importance than a full explanation of the threat to trade in genuine champagne, as the Senators from Cardassia and Bolleng have so clearly been disturbed by its existence.”
“If they have infiltrated our supply lines…” Senator Thothep turned to Senator Leclerq.
He shrugged. “Zat is unlikely. Ze supply lines are secure. Zey have always been secure. So long as the citizens of the Imperium know zat zere are simply two champagnes, of differing qualities, zey have a choice, and we have a market.”
“But if it is on sale…” Thothep persisted.
“It is contraband.”
“I agree,” said Birith, to murmurs from the rest of the sub-committee.
“I repeat…” G’Rath leaned forward and set her piercing blue eyes at Birith.
“There is no need to repeat, Senator. The shipment was intercepted by my agent on a planet in the outer reaches of the quadrant, an accession planet. It is unnecessary to damage their chances of qualifying for full membership over a single instance of, as you say—” he nodded to Leclerq “—contraband.”
“Zere is a wider question. Have zey stolen our manufacturing secrets, or developed ze met’od independently?”
“Does it matter? We must secure the Imperium from contraband goods.” G’Rath turned her attention to the Bollenger.
“We have agreed zat already. No, I am concerned about ze Federation stealing our met’ods. If in champagne, zen why not in other t’ings?”
“Why not indeed?” Birith looked around the assembled senators; would any of these sheep step forward – or would one of them show his perfidy?
“Surely we make too much of this,” Batrat Bagoran shifted in his seat and curled his tail onto the armrest. “G’Nauss is a minor planet with plenty of good soil. The Federation enjoy good cuisine as much as we do.”
“How would you know that, Senator?”
“As you well know, Mangoria is only a few weeks from G’Nauss. We are far apart in ideals, but not essentials.”
“You need not doubt them, Senator.”
Kaa Birith inclined his head once more. The Mangorian senator retained his icy calm. He had nothing to hide. The rebels on Mangoria told him nothing — especially what they were doing on G’Nauss each summer. He elected to spend winters at the Imperium Senate, or his villa nearby. Much safer that way. Just so long as the G’Naussians didn’t do something stupid. Like smuggle champagne into the Imperium. That could really pop their cork.
© J M Pett 2016
champagne image from jstor.com