USS Sovereign: At the Crossroads
Location: Aboard the HC Flittermouse
The three Starfleet Officers stepped out onto the shuttle bay deck of the HC Flittermouse to be greeted by four individuals. Two were human, a male and female, wearing Life Support Belts very like what the Starfleet Officers. Both wore little more than something to cover their naughty bits. The other two looked like Walt Disney drawings of Praying Mantises--except for their many-faceted eyes. They were varying shades of cobalt blue and smelled vaguely of lilacs.
"Welcome aboard!" the female said. "I'm Eileen auz Rudd-y-Neuman. This is Captain Zylzenzuzex, our Chief Diplomatic Officer Bradley Phipps-Ponsonby, and our Chief Science Officer. Latuvalyx."
"Neumann...?" Reid said. "Any relation to Cap'n Nicholas Newmann?"
"He was my twice Great Grandfather," she said. "I'm surprised you know that name; I'd have thought the 'Meg' would just be a footnote"I in history by now."
"I've studied Terran space-flight since the Soyuz missions," Reid told her. "The 'Meg' may have been a forgotten footnote in history t' most folks but I've been a fan an' curious t' know what happened t' her. It'll be nice t' fill in th' gaps of our history."
Taavis had assured Commander DiAugustina she would be fine as they had approached the non-Starfleet vessel. Once they were in the grip of the landing bay tractor beam Taavis leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, focusing all her mental energy on discipline and composure. Feeling the stress and strain of Pon Farr lessening by quite a degree, she then opened her eyes as they landed. Getting up she moved with the others to exit the ship, taking up and donning an equipment belt with phaser, tricorder and palm PADD. She listened patiently as Reid and the hosts spoke back and forth, here eyes casually going over the room to assess all points of concern. There did not appear to be any immediate danger.
Jennifer was a bit distracted by the small amount of clothing the terrans were wearing. She hoped that Taavis wouldn't be as distracted as she was in her current situation. But she was the ranking officer.
"Thank you for taking us in," she said, "I'm commander Jennifer DiAgustina, XO of the USS Sovereign. These are lieutenant Reid Rogers, chief engineer and lieutenant Taavis, one of our science officers."
"Welcome aboard the Flittermouse," Captain Zylzenzuzex said in a genderless voice. "We would have tried to find other 'Humani' but the AAnn block the path from which the 'Meg' came.
"Accordin' t' Mr. Friday's notes the AAnn are a reptilian species," Reid told the two women. "They are highly aggressive an' none too fond o' Diplomacy an' anxious t' take whatever advantage they can get!"
"Your 'Mr. Friday' is a very perceptive individual!" Phipps-Ponsonby said. He gave Reid a shy smile and flexed a bit, hoping the beefy Engineer would look his way.
Taavis arched an eyebrow at that, her hands clasped behind her back as she stood stock still and observed. They had come all this way for one purpose, and now they were branching off, apparently. That would be all Sovereign would need, to get involved in another planet's conflicts, in what would be characterized as an internal matter. Starfleet could not interfere in these matters since these people were not members of the Federation. However, offering to aid in diplomatic talks, despite the warning about these reptilians and their dislike for such practices, could provide an opening for a new member, or at least an ally. "In my experience, all beings can be reached through diplomacy, it is just a matter of founding out how."
"If you can figure out how to do that we would be much obliged Leftenant," Phipps-Ponsonby replied, turning his attention to Taavis. "They ATE the Diplomats we sent."
"They sent video..." the female human added.
"Would you like to see the record?" asked one of the Thranx.
"Not now, thank you," Jennifer said. She first wanted to get used to the heat and humidity, even with the equipment she was wearing.
"While I can't make any promises," she continued, "the Federation does try to help foster peace between non-members. So if your government wants, I'm quite sure some people and even a Starfleet ship will be dispatched to help you with this. But let's first check out the shipwreck and those distortions."
Maybe they could even send the Sovereign, given that they now already had some experience with one of the parties. And when they got alone, she would ask Reid if they could build a small subspace communication booster so they could communicate with these people.
"The Humanx Commonwealth is always interested in fostering peaceful and potentially profitable trade relations with other groups," Zylzensuzex offered.
There was a BEEP! "We will be traversing a spatial-temporal distortion wave in ten seconds!" a gender-neutral voice announced. "All hands brace for impact! Tharnx crewmen are advised to place their 'handfeet' on the deck to increase stability!" The two Thranx obligingly dropped down so four feet were on the deck.
The wave, when it came, was rough and the humans had quite a dance to stay on their feet. Phipps-Ponsonby did an artless "shuffle off to Buffalo" and nearly knocked Reid down. "Oh so sorry Leftenant!" he said brushing Reid off as he finally got himself separated from the Engineer.
"At least the waves are lessening," auz Rudd-y-Neumann observed. "If the pattern holds we expect they will dissipate within the next twelve hours than we can approach the wreck."
"The Delta Flyer is designed to withstand temporal wakes, and many other anomalies due to their creation by the USS Voyager while in the Delta Quadrant," offered Taavis. "If all else fails then our craft should be available should we need it."
"That's a very kind offer," auz Rudd-y-Neumann replied. "This distortion wave was half what we've ridden through and Humanx ships are designed for rough use."
"I'm sure our Engineering Staff would be interested in sharing technology," Zylzenzuzex said. "Your Warp technology is clearly superior to ours and you use a different system of translocation than we Humanx. Our shield technology is comparable and our weapons are quite different."
Taavis stepped forward. "Perhaps we could be of assistance, if you need repairs to continue our journey. From what I have seen your technology is adequate for Federation melding. It should not prove too difficult."
"I'm always happy t' learn somethin' new..." Reid offered. Phipps-Ponsonby looked disappointed but Reid seemed to miss it completely.
"Hopefully we don't have to test the differences in weapon technology," Jennifer said, thinking about staying here for twelve more hours.
"Can I see your sensor scans," she asked, "the sensors on our shuttle are rather limited, due to the size of the craft."
"There are no other craft in this area at present," Zylzenzuzex told them. "The AAnn--in addition to being vicious are also cowardly. They will avoid this region of space until well after the rifts have subsided! We expect no problems from them; the only possibility is another craft being dragged out with a distortion wave."
"We were hailed by a craft calling itself the United Earth Ship Merriweather Lewis but it faded out before we could reach it," auz Rudd-y-Neumann said. "We think it was from a parallel universe."
"So--ah--maybe we should split up?" Phipps-Ponsonby suggested. "I could show Leftenant Rogers Engineering while Lt. Cdr. D'Augustine examines our Sensor Logs. Leftantan Taavis could find--something to examine..."
"Forgive him," the female human said. "For a Chief Diplomatic Officer Brad can be rather--obtuse at times. That being said, we don't exactly know you're function Lieutenant..."
"She's a science officer," Jennifer said, "just as I was before I became the XO of the ship."
"Odd, I thought she'd be more likely Security or Intelligence," Phipps-Ponsonby observed.
"In any case I'm sure we can find something for her to do..." auz Rudd-y-Meumann said.
I'm sure there is," Jennifer said, "please, lead the way."