At the colony
Posted on Wed Jun 24th, 2020 @ 2:32pm by Commander L'Mina & Captain Cassandra Quinn & Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes & Commander Nicole "Nikki" Beckett MD & Lieutenant Commander Lori Coffee & Lieutenant Kirara Amanogawa Mrs & Ensign Shamus Griffin
USS ECLIPSE - NEW MEMBER
Location: On the planet
"Entering atmosphere," L'Mina reported as they moved towards the planet, "I have their ship on sensors. It looks as if there are buildings close to it. Where do you want me to put us down. Between their ship and the buildings, or on the other side?"
Cassandra looked over L'Mina's shoulder at the image on the screen. "Don't want it to look like we have anything to hide so how about there?" she said, pointing to a spot close to the buildings and within site of the N'Doro ship.
"As you wish," L'Mina said, bringing the ship expertly down.
"We have arrived," she said when the ship was on the ground, "showtime."
Cassandra turned back to the rest of the team and said, "their gravity is much heavier than what we're used to so you will feel a bit sluggish at first. Once your body becomes accustomed to it you should be OK."
Lori felt the landing and could feel the additional weight of her body. She listened to the XO's briefing and when the XO finished said, "Captain, since I'm security, I feel that I should go out first. I know they are friendly, but we don't know anything about them."
"Negative, Commander," Cassandra said with a hand held up in a stop gesture. "Let. Amanogawa will lead the way. This is her show." Then, more to herself than the team, "for the moment."
Lori just nodded, she disagreed, but compiled with the order.
"If anyone experiences vertigo or nausea, let me know," Nikki spoke up. "I brought meds that will help," she added and patted the FTK laying on the bench next to her.
Kirara hmmm'd "I have experience with someone feeling nauseaus..." She thought back to her little wife back on the ship.
When the ship was coming down, some of the N'Doro had come out to see. A small group was standing a bit away from the crowd. They looked a bit like a cross between a terran horse and a human, with eyes a bit more to the side and short muzzle below a human-like forehead.
As the door opened Cassandra looked at Kirara and said, "ready?"
Kirara smiled and curtseyed elegantly, as she always seemed to do. "Thank you..." She then straightened herself in a more professional and stern gait and walked out...very stately..looking ahead and hoping for the best possible outcome."
"Let us be the ones who bring peace, my friends?"
Cassandra followed Kirara out if the shuttle with Griffin and Beckett behind her.
"Beautiful," Nikki whispered to no one in particular when she got her first look at the aliens. She was good excited about the prospect of scanning them and seeing their physiology.
L'Mina had shut down the shuttle, but kept it on stand-by so they could leave in seconds if they had to. Then she followed the rest out of the shuttle.
The N'Doro has been waiting and they didn't really react when the first people came out. When L'Mina emerged, there was a reaction and most of the onlookers took a few steps back. The three who stood apart didn't, but it was visible that it took effort for them to stay where they were.
L'Mina could smell the tension in the air and it started to trigger her hunting instincts. Ears straight up, tail nervously swishing, she had to push her desire to run after these people down.
Being his first First Contact, Griffen's excitement over powered his training and he reached for his tricorder in his belt.
Nikki reached over and placed her hand, gently, on the Science Officer's. She shook her head and whispered, "not yet, Shamus. We need to ask permission first."
Griffen looked disappointed as he let his hand drop from the tricorder.
As the team was leaving the shuttle Lori took in the sights, but kept her guard up. She looked around for possible areas of attack.
Cassandra saw the N'Doro's gaze shift and she followed it. Smiling she decided it was time for introductions. "I am Captain Cassandra Quinn," she began. "Second in command of the United Federation of Planets Starfleet ship USS Eclipse." She gestured to Kirara. "This is our Chief Diplomatic Officer, Lt. Amanogawa," then she stepped sideways to reveal the rest of the team. "Dr. Beckett, our Chief Medical Officer, Ensign Griffen our Anthropologist, Cdr. L'Mina, our Chief Flight Control Officer and top notch pilot and Cdr. Coffee who's along for the ride. We," she indicated all except L'Mina, "are Humans from the planet Earth at the far end if the Galaxy and Cdr. L'Mina is Caitian from the planet Cait in the Lyncis system." With that she turned to face the N'Doro and said, "we are honored for your invitation to meet."
"Welcome to N'Kura," one of the N'Doro said, "we are the N'Doro and we come from the Chera system. My name is Hironos, the Gharunna master of this planet. These are Clysul, my assistant and Kedor, captain of the freighter. We are happy to see you, although we are surprised to see you this quickly. We had thought we were alone in this part of the galaxy."
The rest of the onlookers had stopped and now they could see also children of various ages running around. They did point to the strangers and mostly to L'Mina.
"I have the feeling they have seen Caitians before," L'Mina whispered to Quinn, "or at least something similar."
"Probably a Ferasan, I would think," offered Griffin. "They're similar to Caitians because they were the end result of genetic engineering by them. Kinda like how Khan came about." He gave a pleasant grin and then returned to scanning the surrounding town and its inhabitants with his eyes, watching for all the anthropological data he could observe visually.
Kirara gave a formal bow to their hosts and said. "Thank you all for granting us this change for a meeting with yourselves. Indeed, our mission is primarily one of learning about new cultures and world, and by doing so improving ourselves from what we learn from them. From what I've seen of your people, I have no doubt there is much we can learn from you all."
"And I'm sure we can learn from you," Hironos said, "for starters, you make your ships quite a lot bigger than we can do ours, or so I've been told. I would love to see it someday. But for now, it's just lunch time, so why don't you join us. Feel free to bring your own food if you shouldn't be able to eat ours. We won't be offended."
He gave another look at L'Mina.
"I'm sure your food will be fine," Cassandra said and gave a look of warning to the others. She stepped beside Hironos and fell into cadence with him. "Our ships are bigger because they are designed to be home and place of work for 500 to 2000 Starfleet officers, enlisted and civilian personnel for a minimum of 5 years at a time. Our particular ship has 1500 on her manifest. We have a full scientific laboratory a full service medical department and several small craft for excursions such as this."
"That is quite a lot," Hironos said, "we have just our freighters and not all that many. So, what will happen now?"
Nikki hurried to catch up and asked, "do you have physicians? I would love to speak to them."
Lori took up the rear of the formation to see what was going on. She kept her eyes open and ready for anything.
"Of course we have physicians," Hironos said, "and I'm sure they will want to speak to you too. I see that there are already two different people in your group. How many are there?"
Kirara herself got in on the chat. "I myself am interested in your fashion, as that used to be something I was once very committed too, but of course also your culture. Although, my wife would be very annoyed if I didn't take back some photos of your lovely flora. She's obsessed with flowers and plants, you see..."
"I'm sure that won't be a problem," Hironos said. They arrived in the village where, because the weather was nice, a number of tables had been put outside, full of foodstuffs.
"We always greet new people who arrive with the freighters this way," Hironos explained, "so it's a good coincidence that you arrived today. Please, be seated."
L'Mina had been following the group, looking around and wondering why people were looking at her. When she arrived at the tables, she understood, or at least had a good idea.
"You don't eat meat," she asked as she noticed there were only fruits and vegetables, at least those things she could recognise and smell.
"Indeed, we do not," Hironos said, "we've always been herbivores. I gather you do eat meat?"
"I do," L'Mina said, "but don't worry, I'll get something out of our shuttle."
Griffin found it interesting that they did not eat meat. He let the others focus on their hosts while he kept an eye on what was going on around them. "Doctor Beckett, would be interesting to learn if their reticence with meat is biological, or just a cultural belief. India comes to mind, and certain religious beliefs." He gave a chummy grin.
"Without having done any scans I would venture a guess that they have either equine or bovine like digestive systems so that would make them biologically vegan," Nikki whispered as she took a seat. "Besides...being Vegan isn't an anomaly out here. Many cultures have made the choice for either health, religious or availability reasons. Have a seat Shamus and enjoy these people. Don't look at them as a science experiment. They're people. Just like you and me."
Kirara nodded. "I wasn't a full vegan always...but Mama and I ate very little meat, due to our previous occupation, which required us to keep our bodies in a certain shape. However, when I married HaruHaru, she really cut down on my meat consumption. Though I do sometimes engage in seafood.."
One of the N'Doro that passed by with another plate of food, looked at them.
"Yes, we are herbivores," she said with a smile, "and we have very good hearing too."
Nikki smiled and said, "I hope we didn't offend."
Kirara heard the 'good hearing' comment and grinned wolfishly, "Another thing you all share with my wife. She hears everything too."
Cassandra sat at the table across Hironos. "What can you tell us about your people?" she asked, hoping it wasn't too blunt.
"What would you like to know," Hironos asked, "there are many ways that question can be interpreted."
"There's so much to know. How did your civilisation evolve? Are there different ethnic groups here and how do they differ? How did your people evolve in terms of technology? I'm sorry for all the questions, but I know how it happened on our planet, and I'm always enthused to learn how people developed in other parts of our amazing galaxies."
"Those are quite a lot of questions," Hironos said, "and I'm not sure I can answer all of them. I'm not an historian, nor a doctor, you see. Neither do we have a lot of those on this colony. There are more on our homeworld of course. So tell me, how do you get to work together with two different people?"
L'Mina had returned from the shuttle with some food. She hadn't made a recognisable piece of meat, just to be sure. She had taken some meat paste that was actually almost the same as one of the plates they had out. She did add some of their food to it, as she could eat vegetables, just not too many.
"The United Federation of Planets consists of hundreds of species from hundreds of worlds," Cassandra said. "When a civilization joins the Federation they are able to also join Starfleet which is a pseudo military organization made up of scientists, medical professionals, diplomats and engineers that explore all four quadrants of the Galaxy...a Galaxy of which this sector is part of." As she let this information settle with their host, she took a bit of one of the entrees.
"Impressive," Hironos said, "and interesting. But why would you need a military?"
"Pseudo military," Cassandra corrected with a smile. "Starfleet uses the military style of operation...rankings, rule of law, etc....as a way to keep things structured while out in space. It's how a Captain can keep a ship with a personnel manifest of 100-1000+ organized.," she tried to explain. She glanced at Kirara for help.
Seeing Amanogawa preoccupied with an embroidered napkin, Griffin spoke up. "Starfleet uses military hierarchy as a means of position. We are explorers, first. Starfleet is a peace-keeping armada that only resorts to violence and conflict when all other options have been exhausted." He gave Quinn a grin and wink, surreptitiously.
"If that is correct, I'm sure we will get along well," Hironos said, "We also believe that violence should be a last resort."
Kirara smiled at Hironos. "My mother, the woman who made me what I am - literally and figuratively - died as a result of an attack which was caused by a misunderstanding between two races. I made a promise on that day that if I could, I would never allow another child to lose their parents over such things. All living things should share the same right to exist."
A little girl was in the meantime looking at L'Mina. Suddenly she walked up to her.
"Are you a krytyx," she asked.
L'Mina looked at her.
"A what," she asked, looking at the rest of the Starfleet group.
"Amani," shouted a woman as she rushed up, "behave yourself."
"But that is a krytyx, only wearing clothes," she little girl said, stamping her little feet.
"I'm so sorry," the woman said.
"No worries," L'Mina replied, "but what is a krytyx?"
The woman looked at Hironos, while she tried to get the child away.
"It's a cat-like predator often used in horror stories on our homeworld," he explained, "we often use it if we want our kids do something, or not do something. Don't you have stories like that?"
"Ah yes!" Kirara grinned like a cheshire cat. "We call them fairy tales. There are many famous ones, like Goldilocks and the 3 bears, Snow White and 7 Dwarves, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and my favourite, the Monkey and the Crocodile..." She paused. "If you'd like, I could share some with you all sometime. I do love telling stories!"
"Oh, yes please," the little girl shouted, to the horror of her mother.
"Maybe later," Hironos said and as the girl was led away, he turned to the Starfleet people.
Kirara smiled "That's fine..and to be honest....the Monkey and Crocodile is not so much scary, but a story about how friendship can change your life...for both people."
"I will have to contact our homeworld," Hironos said, "as I have no idea how to proceed with this. No N'Doro has ever had to do this. I hope this is not a problem?"
Kirara smiled softly. "I would say you are very lucky. It's a pleasure to have met you all."
Cassandra smiled. "Not a problem at all," she said. "Just out of curiosity....how many colonies do you have in this system?" she asked a took a sip of her beverage...a sweet colorless liquid. She let it linger on her tongue then swallowed, enjoying the taste of whatever it was.
Lori was watching everyone and maintain a 360 look out of what was going on. She wanted to make sure that this wasn't a trap. She also was worried about appearing to hostile for their hosts. She was as destrect as she could be at the gathering they were having.
Griffin had watched the interplay between crew and colony. When all the BS about the krytyx came up, and the anxiety among the aliens was apparent, Griffin decided to play devil's advocate. "Hey! Everyone! Eyes on me, please!" Villagers and Starfleet alike turned to look at him, all quiet. "This," he said, motioning towards his Caitian crew mate. "Is Commander L'Mina. She is an officer in our Starfleet, and one of the bravest people I know." That bit was a lie because he didn't know her at all, but, they didn't know that. "She is not krytyx, or any other horrible nightmare. Please, do not confuse her with your own cautionary tales. We Humans have tales that are just as horrifying, just as frightening. But, in time, we move on from them as we learn from them. All I wanted to say, so, thanks for listening and give her a chance." Griffin stopped talking, standing there in the dead silence from all those around him.
Kirara smiled at Griffin. "He makes a good point, though in his own unique way. Commander L'Mina is quite the lady, and I'd put my life in her hands any time.... You can trust in her..."
L'Mina's ears went flat against her head and her tail flicked nervously as she was praised by the other crew members.
"We know that in our minds," Hironos said, "but it's also quite overwhelming to meet people from the stars. I'm sure that in time we will get used to more different species, but I also know that it won't be overnight. This is a big thing for us."
Griffin gave a grin and nod to Hironos. "Apologies if I was too abrupt, Sir. As Starfleet, we pride ourselves on being able to get along with every species we meet, even those who mean us harm. And, you think she's interesting? There's a female on board who looks Human but her skin is as green as the leaves on the trees. She is an Orion and quite the socialite. Go a step further and I would hazard a guess that there are, at minimum, a dozen species and cultures represented on the USS Eclipse, alone. All getting along and exploring for the benefit if the Federation." Shamus decided it was time to pull back on the mental E-brake and slow his roll. He reached out and gave Kirara a pat on the small of her back, recognizing her help in giving these people a better understanding of who Starfleet was, and a slight nod at Commander L'Mina, even though the felinoid didn't look overly happy.
"It seems we have quite a lot to learn," Hironos said, "well, first let's eat and then we can talk and learn."
"What is this beverage, Hironos?" Cassandra asked. "I have tasted nothing like it."
"That's sap of the Tr'Akare," Hironos said, pointing to a tree a bit further where Cassandra could see some large purple fruits.
"Do you farm it?" Cassandra asked, wondering about the production possibilities
"Not yet," Hironos said, "but we're looking into it. We've asked for some specialists to come around to have a look at the opportunities, but it might be a while before they arrive."
Griffin, tired of standing here in this one area like a Starfleet blood clot, turned from the others and walked further into the village, mingling with the populace and enjoying the environment.
As soon as he entered the village, groups of children started following him, looking at him, but at the moment they didn't say anything. Adults also looked at him, but kept going with their jobs. He could see a lot of agricultural type jobs, assisted by technology. It was behind the Federation in level of course, but this was clearly a technological society.
Nikki finished her meal and looked around the table. Noticing the empty seat she leaned over to L'Mina and whispered, "where did Griffen go?"
L'Mina had been checking out the environment. She had been looking at a mountain range in the distance, wondering if the climbing was good.
"What, who," she said, "sorry, I was lightyears away."
Lori looked around and wondered the same thing. She was surprised by the fact that he was missing.
Lori asked, "Hironos, where could he have gotten to? She got up and started to look around. Her hands were on her hip near her phaser.
Hironos looked around.
"I would say either to your ship or into the village," he said, "don't worry, it's safe there."
"I apologize for his forwardness," Cassandra said with a sheepish smile. She got up and went over to Lori and said, quietly, "why don't you go see if you can find him and keep him out of trouble? And I remind you, Commander, this is a peaceful meeting. Put your hand on your sidearm again and I will take it away from you.". With that she smiled at the others seated at that table and returned to hers and sat down.
Lori was a bit shocked, but realized that she did act a bit aggressive considering that this was a peaceful meal, but it was her job to see all possible things that could be badly in any situation. She started patrolling the area, keeping an eye on the gathering. She had to resist from placing her hand on her phaser, difficult, but doable.
"Those things are weapons," Hironos asked, looking at her phaser, "why do you carry weapons?"
"Ok. Here we go," Cassandra thought to herself. To Hironos she said, "Commander Coffee is our Assistant Chief of Security. She came along to make sure we were safe since we didn't know what to expect. She's a little over zealous, for which I apologies. We are here as friends...not as enemies."
"Just be careful with those," Hironos said, "an accident can happen quickly. We have only stunners, and we almost never carry them around."
Kirara smiled. "As you know...we come from a background where some races are less than friendly, though we have spent much time changing that. As you can see, we are a bit out of water ourselves, but all of us greatly intrigued by what we have seen and heard today. Carrying weapons became a sad but necessary thing based on many of the planets we visited, which were no where near as kind and gentle as your people are. Old habits die hard, and some still carry these just in case. Would that we could teach other races to be like yours, such things would be mere relics, rotting away in museums of futility."
She paused for a moment. "Would you allow me the honour of singing a song to you all from our native home?"
It was as if a switch had been turned. On the word song, all who heard it turned and it quickly spread through the people there.
"Of course," Hironos said, "we would love to hear songs from the stars, so to speak. And afterwards we would show you our songs. Do you need instruments to accompany you? Some people here are very good at improvisation and will pick up a melody very quickly."
Some of the people had already taken smaller instruments, like flutes, while others were running to the village.
Kirara smiled and stood up..and after clearing her throat, began a song....
"My princess she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn't have to say she's faithful
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire
People carry roses
And make promises by the hours
My princess she laughs like her flowers
My medallions won't buy her
In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My princess she speaks softly
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all
The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge
Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My princess winks, she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge
The bridge at midnight trembles
The mermaid doctor rambles
Royal flames seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
The wind howls like a hammer
The night blows rainy
My princess she's like some sparrow
At my window with a broken wing"
As she finishes, Kirara curtsies and sits down...."I hope you liked."
For a moment it was silent, and then the whole village burst out in applause and shouting. Soon a number of people were singing and playing on their instruments.
Kirara smiles and claps along with them, enjoying the camraderie the song seemed to have created....although her mind did wander back to her 'princess' back on the shuttle, hoping she was doing okay
L'Mina moved her ears on tones the others didn't seem to hear, and they also have the feeling that from time to time they are missing words and notes that fall outside of their hearing range.
Caught up in the celebration, Nikki began to clap in time with the music.
Kirara went and tried to take Nikki's hand and lead her off in a small dance with her..to entertain the crowd.
Nikki allowed Kirara to lead her into the center of the musicians and it didn't take long until she had picked up the step sequence of Kirara's dance and was "boogieing down" and laughing.
Cassandra looked at the faces of their hosts and smiled as she stepped away from the crowd and tapped her combadge. "Quinn to Griffen. I need you to rejoin the group," she said and waited for a reply.
Griffen had been casually meandering the backstreets and alleys for this village; the true place to see a culture from the bottom up. And, he had not been disappointed. As he walked along he gave a smile to all those he met, introducing himself and explaining further when every villager knew of the off-world guests. Made things easier, for sure.
Quinn's voice broke through his walking reverie as he was making his way back to the away team. "Aye, Captain. Just took a walk on the streets to get to know the regular populace. On my way, as we speak."
The N'Doro continue to make music, singing and dancing.
"Are you staying here," Hironos asked Quinn, "because I doubt our houses are suitable for you."
The N'Doro were on average shorter than the humans and it was clear that if their houses were build to their size, they would be on the small side for the humans.
Cassandra looked at the sky and smiled. "I'm a sleeping under the stars kind of gal," she said. "There's a hammock in our shuttle with my name on it.". She grinned at Hironos. "We'll be fine, Master Hironos," she said, allowing the celebratory atmosphere to wash over her. Her only wish was that Shack was here to enjoy it with her. But the Admiral needed him on the ship and...as always...it was duty over pleasure.
"As you wish," Hironos said, "there shouldn't be any big animals, at least not that we have seen. But be careful anyway, as we have not cataloged everything yet and small animals can be dangerous too. Now if you would excuse me, I have some checking to do."
"Of course, Master Hironos," Cassandra said with a respectful nod of her head.
Kirara chimed in. "Sleeping under the stars can be romantic...as long as it doesn't rain..." She laughed.
"With the right person," Cassandra replied with a chuckle, picturing Shack and her sharing a hammock under the night sky.
L'Mina had been listening to the music, having a great time since she could hear all of it. Now she heard that there were no big animals. Too bad, she thought, so no hunting here. As soon as Hironos was gone, she went to Quinn.
"Why don't we go back to the ship," she asked softly.
"We could," Cassandra said. "But this gives us more if a chance to get to know these people in a more relaxed atmosphere," she said, indicating the rest of the team enjoying the festivities. "And while they party you can make nice with those two manning their ship and get a tour. While you're at it try and get an idea of what type of weaponry they have on board. I'd hate all this nicey nicey be a cover for an ambush."
"I can give it a shot," L'Mina said, "but do know they probably will want a tour of their own. Even if it's only a runabout, I think it's way better than what they have."
Kirara would join them. "Everything okay ladies, anything I've missed?"
Lori had returned to the shuttle and heard the two talking and said, "Captain, I would like to go with her. I'll leave all of my normal phasers with the shuttle."
"You'll leave ALL of your weapons in the shuttle, Commander Coffee," Quinn said with a stern look. "I won't warn you again." And her look said what she didn't.
"Don't worry, I can go on my own," L'Mina said, "they seem to be a bit afraid of me, so I can use that if needed."
Lori said, "Understood, Captain. Everything will remain in the shuttle when we go into the populated area. I'll follow Commander L'Mina in."
Quinn bowed her head and shook it slowly. "I'm going to let L decide if she needs an escort," she said. She raised her head and took in a slow breath then said, "you ladies hash it out between you. I'm getting a hammock and putting over there under that tree. That's where I'll be if anyone needs me.". With that she disappeared into the shuttle.
"I will go alone," L'Mina said, "they're already having so much new things, so better not to overwhelm them. But I'll keep my comm open to the shuttle and you can follow from there."