Captain Jean-Luc Picard strolled through the streets of San Mihael, the capital city of Nua Breizh. It was just like stepping through time to an earlier, much less complicated age. And he heard French, or rather a dialect of French laced with old Gaelic, being spoken all around him. It was audibly different, but he could understand most of what was being said. "How delightful," he said, "though not at all what I was expecting."
Just behind him, Data was likewise taking in the scenery. "Indeed, sir? What were you expecting?"
"I was under the impression that they were interested only in martial and agricultural pursuits."
"That is a common mistake made when one does not know enough about a subject. The New Bretons also have an academic element in their culture," he reported. "There is a library just up the street, which boasts of a notable manuscript collection. And I am told there are many accomplished scholars here."
"Fascinating," Picard commented, "I can't wait to see it."
"Nor I, sir."
"Data, I do believe you are as giddy as a kid in a candy shop." Picard teased, hoping to take advantage of the android's naïveté.
"Goats are known to have an excessive appetite, sir. However," his expression became quizzical, "since I do not eat, I fail to understand the comparison."
Picard laughed openly. It worked.
"Ah, you are attempting to jest with me, sir."
The cruelty had to stop. "Yes, Data," he said grinning, "I was.
Data at last said what he had been delaying for as long as possible, down to the last fraction of a second. "Captain, may I remind you we have an appointment with the regents."
Picard sighed. "Oh, very well, I suppose you're right."
Data paused. "Sir, would not the correct response be: 'touché'-?"
"Let's get going, Mr. Data."
The Enterprise had responded to the planet's request for assistance. A Jem'Hadar attack unit was reportedly on its way. Although Nua Breizh had small warships and fighters (and its inhabitants built many more after they entered the war), there were no major planetary defenses, at least, no technological defenses. Fortunately, what the planet did have was an unusual magnetic field surrounding it. This field prevented energy weapons from functioning on the surface. It also acted as a transport inhibitor. As a result, any attackers would have to fly down to the surface in shuttles, and take the planet with less sophisticated means.
"The intelligence reports indicate that the Dominion forces will not be here for two more days," the android reassured him. "There should be ample time for you to see more of the city."
"Right, as usual, Mr. Data," said Picard. "I certainly hope so, anyway."
As they walked through the grand doors, they were greeted immediately by Lord Tierney Allaire. "Welcome to San Mihael, Captain Picard. I trust you enjoyed your walk through our fair city."
"Immensely, my Lord," he answered in his native French, remembering to use the ancient title. "You must be very proud of your accomplishments."
Tierney beamed. "Yes, Captain, we are," the regent replied in the same language.
They followed the lord into the war council chamber. There, Lord Cahal was waiting for them, along with—Tomalak! The proverbial monkey wrench, Picard thought, will wonders never cease?
"Ah, Captain Picard. I told you we would meet again," the Romulan said, with an air of triumph. "You remember Commander Bochra, of course," he gestured to his subordinate.
Picard smiled diplomatically, "Of course." He had the distinct feeling, that foreboding omen, that things had just gotten more complicated.
Just then, the door opened. A lovely woman with long, ebony tresses entered the room. "Sorry I'm late," she said, "I was explaining to our new charge his duties."
Tierney smiled affectionately, "Gentlemen: allow me to present my sister, the Lady Allaire." To the lady, he said, "This is Captain Picard and Mr. Data of the Federation; General Tomalak, and," changing to a more neutral tone, "you already know Commander Bochra."
Her expression lit up visibly. "Certainly I remember Commander Bochra. It is good to see you again."
Clearly flustered, he nodded his head respectfully, putting his hands behind his back, "Milady Guinevere, likewise." Was that an attraction between them? Picard wondered. The brothers did not seem to be enthusiastic about it. They did realize that the Romulans were there to help them, however, and they were not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Before the situation could turn awkward, Lord Cahal tactfully began the parley. "Gentleman; my Lady: we have a most difficult task facing us…"