Reaching over, I plucked Rosie's tricorder from his hand and bashed it hard on a table by the side of me.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" my voice boomed out, "I present to you … the king of the island of Tikarra, king of the Mairne people, his most royal highness, King Arunga!"
Silence dropped onto the room with the weight of an anvil. Every pair of eyes turned to look in our direction as the Dirrians parted like the Red Sea to reveal a rather cross looking High Emperor. As a single, unified body their eyes slowly fell upon the large, graceful feline. With his head held high and his tail flicking the air, Arunga swankered down the aisle, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. T'Roc and Traeth fell in behind Arunga, Al and I behind them, and finally Rutter and Rosie, to form a procession that walked the length of the hall towards Honka. Arunga stopped a few feet from the High Emperor, looked him squarely in the eye and then tipped a bow.
"I am honoured to meet you," he said graciously.
Honka just gawked at him, the edges of his mouth twitching uncomfortably. I could see his uncertainty as he wavered between continuing his ignorance and acknowledging the presence of another leader. His eyes briefly glanced at T'Roc. He was unsure how the Federation might view his rudeness, and in that moment, I realised that despite any impressions he gave, the approval of the Federation was important to him. Dirria may have had something we wanted, but it seems we had something he wanted too—and it wasn't just the exploration of Tikarra Island. In that instant, he had revealed a card he would rather not have played.
Suddenly Honka made a decision. He tipped his head and waved a hand as he sat, inviting Arunga to take a seat beside him. Arunga, with his usual grace and dignity, leapt onto the chair. The rest of us stood by as polite conversation ensued—the sort of polite yet uncomfortable conversation that passes between two diplomats who just know they aren't going to get on.