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Prelude to Contact

Posted on Tue Jun 18th, 2019 @ 5:57pm by Captain James McCullen & Lieutenant T'sa

Mission: Reaching Out in Hope
Location: Ready Room, USS Sentinel
Timeline: MD1, 1330 Hrs

The bridge was alive with activity. The once demolished and deconstructed center of command had reclaimed its former glory; now a shining testament of ingenuity. The excitement of a first mission, however small, was clear on the faces of the officers who attended their consoles, their pips shiny and young. She offered nods to those that acknowledged her small journey from the turbolift to the Captain's ready room. She pressed her hand to the chime and waited to be allowed entry.

"Enter," McCullen called a second later, he had only just arrived in the ready room himself and had been expecting T'sa to be typically prompt. "Thank you for being prompt, Lieutenant." He began, gesturing to the chair in front of his desk in a silent invitation to sit, "something to drink?"

"Yes, thank you" T'sa accepted politely, taking a seat at the Captain's unspoken invitation "Plomeek Tea, please"

"One plomeek tea and..." almost, he ordered coffee, but he was already on his sixth cup of the day and even he had his limits. "one black tea." It took only a moment for the drinks to be replicated and then he returned to his desk, setting the beverages down before sitting himself.

The captain took a moment to sip at his tea, and then broached the subject for which he had summoned his diplomatic officer. "As you know, soon enough we'll be heading into the Gamma Quadrant. Our mission there is a diplomatic one, we've to seek out and make contact with species which have left the grip of the Dominion. Information on the Dominion is... hard to come by, these days, but we know that for whatever reason they do anything, they've been letting worlds go without smashing them to bits. Our first destination in the Gamma Quadrant will be Stakoron II, what do you know of it?"

The Vulcan took a careful drink of the tea that had been handed to her, listening intently to the Captain's bid. T'sa paused as she lowed her cup, taking a moment to format her response in her mind.

"Stakoron II was a primary source for dilithium and tyllium in the Dominion's arsenal," she began, tapping her cup with one finger absentmindedly as she recalled the information "the natives were governed by the dominion for centuries, and their sudden withdrawal caused chaos within the government. Currently, they are still in the process of cementing trade agreements with neighbouring systems. To my knowledge they have never requested official aid from the federation," the Lt. took another sip of her tea "but if trade negotiations fail, that could change quickly."

"As I understand it, under the Dominion they had a trade deal with the Ferengi, but it fell through because the Ferengi couldn't help but cheat and the Dominion... asked them to leave." The captain added, "I'm worried that their experience with the Ferengi might make them hesitant to deal with alpha-quadrant races. But we need to give it our best shot, for two reasons." McCullen paused, collecting his information before continuing, "as a primary source of dilithium and tyllium, Stakoron II is a tactically important planet, if we can secure a deal, and even a friendship with the Stakarons it will give the Federation a key asset to secure our place in the Gamma Quadrant. Secondly, and just as importantly, the Stakorons, and for that matter, dozens of other planets in the gamma quadrant, are vulnerable to exploitation. I have it on some authority that the Ferengi are poised to swoop in, they're offering friendship loans," the captain sneered, "at only ten percent interest and in return for exclusive trade deals that, you can be sure, will not be beneficial to the natives at all. We have to get there first."

"I agree wholeheartedly." the Vulcan replied swiftly, for a brief and unpleasant moment, entertaining the idea that she would have to prepare herself for a potential meeting with Ferengi 'diplomats'.

The Dominion had been an interesting area for debate, in her experience. They had always, and for a sufficient reason, been painted in an unfavourable light. No one had ever entertained the idea that their absence could ever cause any problems. Of course, it could also be argued that a humanitarian crisis was preferable to tyranny. A topic for another day, perhaps.

"With your permission, I'll prepare documentation of all necessary details of the crisis to provide to my staff" T'sa spoke again after a contemplative moment of silence " well as a briefing on Ferengi cultural customs, in the case that we encounter them." She added, with a slight hint of dissatisfaction with the idea.

"Permission granted," the captain agreed, noting the hint of displeasure in T'sa's tone and fully sympathizing. He glanced down at his notes, picking up on something he'd missed. "I should also let you know that you'll be getting a new member of staff on temporary assignment when we get to Opaka Outpost, a senior enlisted man, uh..." McCullen had to pause and look down again at his information, "Master Warrant Officer Kayden Ganador. He's apparently got several years of experience in the gamma quadrant and will be serving as an aide. We're also going to have an advisor available via subspace, an Ambassador Devan Kilvin."

T'sa seemed to react at the last name, as her eyes flashed with recognition, but she said nothing to elaborate on the matter.

The Lieutenant nodded graciously, taking the last sip of her tea, before placing the cup down. She had never imagined herself requiring an aide, but now she understood that the allure was to not have to be solely responsible for a matter's handling. That was what she had been used for, after all, during her training.

"I am sure I will benefit from their aid, Captain. At your leave," she stood, clasping her hands behind her back "I have documentation to begin compiling."

McCullen pushed himself up out of his chair, "Dismissed, Lieutenant, and thank you." He told the officer, giving her a smile in lieu of his customary handshake.


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