USS Omaha
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Meeting the (New) Natives

Posted on Fri Jul 24, 2020 @ 2:31am by Staff Warrant Officer Rayland Pierce & Lieutenant Commander Briar Tovan

Mission: Episode 1: The Milk Run
Location: T'leriel (Romulan Settlement), Derecho
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 0900

Briar looked around as soon as they materilaized, taking in his surroundings. Nothing popped out at him as an immideate threat and he let his guard relax some. Though he tended to agree with Commander Faulkner, he still couldn't completely discount the fact of the Romulans sending someone to check in on the newly discovered pryamind.

"Pretty scenry," Briar said. He looked over at Rayland and grinned. "What do you say we go and have a chat with the natives?"

"I hate to break it to you, sir," Ray said, "but Romulans are generally considered to be native to the planet Romulus. Or Vulcan, depending on your politics."

Briar rolled his eyes. "Figure of speech, you're almost as aggravting as Jason."

"Almost? Almost?! Commander, our dear and noble leader is not nearly as aggravating as I am, even when he starts pretending he's a Romulan senator with a stick up his ass. I just haven't seen the need to demonstrate the full power of my personality around you yet."

Briar sighed heavily. "Fine, you're much more aggravting than he is."

Ray beamed. "Thank you, sir. That means a lot to me. It takes a lot of effort."

"Shall we?" Briar asked, gesturing towards the settlement.

"After you, sir. Actually, no, me first."

Briar gestured ahead and they started walking towards the settlement.

The Romulan settlement was a decent-sized group of three or four dozen buildings, large for a village but probably not big enough to really be called a town. Most were simple one or two story homes, clustered around a few larger buildings that surrounded a square. Despite the early hour there were already a number of people moving around the stone-paved roads, mostly walking or bicycling, and the few vehicles moving around appeared to be trucks or other utility vehicles. It could have been mistaken for a Vulcan settlement, except the signs on the buildings were a different language, and it was much more colorful. The clothes, the buildings, even in a couple of cases the hair: much more vibrant that what was usually seen even in the more adventurous parts of Vulcan and its colonies.

"Certainly not what I was expecting," Briar said, glancing around. 

"Have you ever been around Romulans much, sir?" Ray asked. "You're practically ancient, don't you remember the times when they used to have multiple hairstyles instead of mandatory bowl cuts?"

Briar resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Some might call that experience Mr. Pierce. Looks like there's a town hall ahead, might be as good a place as any to start."

"So I'm guessing that's a no, then. The skipper and I spent a lot of time running around their frontier, dealing with the refugee crisis. There's a lot of subcultures that aren't really apparent when you're interacting with just the military."

The town hall, such as it was, was a two-story building at the corner where the main road entered the square. A sign identifying it was hanging off the front awning, written in both Romulan and Federation Standard. If not for that it might have blended in with the other mixed-use shops and apartments. The door was unlocked and a bell rang. Inside there was a small waiting area, well lit by wide windows, with a counter and a swinging gate preventing anyone from wandering down a hall that led further in. The furniture all seemed to be made from wood and natural fabrics.

"Just a moment," someone called from the back. A Romulan woman emerged shortly after. She was tall and dusky-skinned, with loose shoulder-lenght hair that just hid the tips of her hair. She stopped short when she saw them. "Oh. Hello."

"Good morning, I'm Lt. Commander Briar Tovan from the USS Omaha and this is Mr. Pierce. We just arrived in orbit, can I ask who's in charge of this settlement?"

"Jolan tru, ma'am," Ray added.

"Jolan tru," she repeated back. "I suppose that's me. Reverend Iyana Telvar. I'm the town manager, among other things. Technically the town council is 'in charge' but they only meet once a month most of the time."

"Its a pleasure to meet you," Briar said. "I was wondering if you'd be able to answer a few questions for me."

"Certainly. Please, follow me." Tevlar lead them to an office in the back of the building, with wide windows looking out onto a small patio and garden. It was as modest as the rest of the town, at least in size, with enough room for battered prefabricated desk as well as another small conference table. The two of the walls were covered with shelves, holding a variety of plaques, figurines, and other small knicknacks. As she gestured them toward chairs at the desk, she stopped at small counter by the door. She opened the cabinet under it. "Can I get you anything to drink? Tea, or I think we've got some coffee if you'd prefer."

"Orange leaf, if you've got it," Ray said.

She blinked in surprise. "Eastern or western?"

"Western."

"Commander?"

"I'm good," Briar said, taking a seat.

"Very well." It didn't take long for her to have a pot of tea ready, and after pouring mugs for herself and Ray she settled behind her desk. "What brings you to town, Commander?"

"We're part of a team that's studying the artifact that recently been found here," Briar said. 

"Ah. The pyramid," she sighed. "That makes sense. I think I'd heard a ship was coming but it has slipped my mind. It's really causing a lot of fuss."

"In what way?" Briar asked.

"This is a fairly quiet world, Commander. A lot of people came here because of that. It'd be one thing if it was just an academic curiosity, but instead it's attracted visitors, some of whom," Telvar hesitated, "don't necessarily appreciate local customs."

Now, that got Briar's attention.

"Visitors?" Briar asked, with an arched brow. "As far as I knew the Omaha was the only ship they sent out to have a look at it."

"I believe your human expression is, "welcome to the club". A shipload of civilian researchers also showed up."

"The Federation had no idea about that," Briar assured her. "And I take it that these civilians are making your lives more difficult."

"It's a culture clash, I think," Telvar said. "Their expectations and activities are at odds with local custom. And that's before you get into the fact that ninety-five percent of them are barely adults and are treating this as a grand summer adventure. They've very keen on trying Romulan ale, for example."

Briar sighed and shook his head. "Sorry about that, we can certianly talk to them although if they aren't Federation citizens there might not be much we can do."

"Oh, no, they're pretty much all from Earth and Tellar. I think they're sponsored by some academy called... Oxbridge? Which is apparently one of the reasons deportation is more complicated than shooing them away."

Briar muttered a Klingon curse or two under his breath. "In that case, we should probably remind them they are representing the United Federation of Planets and to mind their manners. Have any of your people ventured out to take a look a the pryamid."

"My people?" she repeated. "Which would those be?"

"Anyone from your colony," Briar said. "I just wasn't sure if you had sent anyone out to investigate it yet."

Telvar laughed. "Commander, I'm the one who found it in the first place!"

"Do any sort of investigating?"

"To the extent I could, yes," Telvar replied. "I initially noticed some discrepencies in the geological formations, and once I figured out there was an artificial structure I did my best to do proper scans, but it wasn't very cooperative, and we don't have much in the way of proper archaeological tools even at the university. Once I'd done a little excavation with the help of a few professors and other interested bystanders, we realized it was even larger than expected and the potential origin, and reported it to the Federation archaeological commission. I've made a few visits since, but the excavation lead isn't exactly welcoming. I think a few others have gone out as well to watch the work, or to... play around."

"Play around?" Ray repeated.

"Some of our younger citizens find it all very exciting, for various reasons."

"Ah," Briar said. "Find anything of signifiance? Any weird happenings with the local flora or fauna?"

Telvar thought for a moment. "The hill wolves have been more agitated then usual. Well, they're called hill wolves, they're really more of a sleeker sehlat, but the humans named them first and apparently they aren't fat enough to be called bears. Big quadrupedal omnivores, about eighty kilos for an adult female, large teeth, venonmous claws."

"How do they usually interact with humaniods?"

"Normally they avoid people, we don't smell like food to them, but they can be territorial while raising cubs. They've been more active around the hills than usual this time of year. It could be the presence of more people out that way. Or the fireworks."

"Might be worth looking into," Briar said. "We should see if our science team has found anything."

"Back up," Ray said, holding up a hand. "Fireworks?"

Telvar nodded. "As I said, there are some younger people who seem to find needling the outsiders an entertaining diversion. The more they complain, the more elaborate the methods have gotten."

"Sounds fun. I mean, terrible."

"Terrible indeed," Briar said, exchanging a look with Ray. "We will bring your concerns to the captain."

"Thank you, Commander." Telvar glanced at the display on her desk. "If there's nothing else, I have an appointment to speak at the school in a little bit, and I'd like to prepare."

"Thank you for your time," Briar said, getting to his feet.

"Actually, is there anywhere around here that has Romulan veggies or spices?" Ray asked. "Especially treacle root or, uh, the long turquious thing that looks like aspargus but's actually a lime."

"There's a green grocer across the square," Telvar replied. "Not everything grows quite like it did on the homeworld, but some things have taken well."

"Much obliged, ma'am." Once the pair of officers were out of the building, Ray grinned at Briar. "Well, this is definitely what we signed up for, isn't it? Visit strange, gently used worlds. Meet new people. Get involved in petty small-town political bullshit while the scientists get to have fun."

Briar sighed heavily. "Oh it could be worse. No one's tried to kill us yet. I'll contact the captain, you go get whatever spice you're after. Try and not create an interstellar incident that I'd have to explain."

"Hey, I'll have you know I get along really well with Romulans. Except the Tal Shiar. Now, if there were Klingons around, there might be some trouble. Maybe a nice bar brawl. Probably no killing. Ask the captain about that time I accidentally cut an attache's arm off during a consulate reception."

Briar groaned. "No, I don't think I want to know. Just get your ass in gear and meet me back here in twenty."

"In my defense, it was at the elbow!" Ray called over his shoulder as he hustled towards the store. "Only half an arm really!"
 

 

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