USS Omaha
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Gubernatorial Greetings

Posted on Tue Jul 7, 2020 @ 2:56am by Commander Jason Faulkner

Mission: Episode 1: The Milk Run
Location: Clarion, Derecho Colony
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 0830

Jason materialized inside a gazebo. It was a fairly fancy one, with lots of intricately carved floral patterns in the wood and some nice blue drapery or bunting or whatever you called that sort of cloth streamer, but it was a gazebo in the sense of basically being a roof, a raised deck, and wide screened openings. Surrounding it was a small park, maybe fifty meters on a side The only indication this was a transporter terminal was the floor he was standing on, which if he wasn't wrong was a standard six-person pad like you'd find on any decent-sized starship, probably from the 2360s or so. A few feet away, a man was waiting at the top of the steps leading off the structure.

"Good morning, Captain Faulkner. I'm Phillip Yao. Welcome to Derecho," the man said. Jason recognized him from a file image as the world's governor. He was an man of Chinese descent in his sixties or seventies, with traces of grey creeping into his hair, and he wore a simple suit that was mostly a dark brown but with subtle gold and silver patterns dyed into it.  

"Thank you, sir," Jason said as he stepped off the pad. "I'm happy to be here. Thank you for making time to see me."

"It's no trouble at all. Speaking with a starship captain is much more interesting than reviewing rail maintenance schedules and agricultural forecasts." Yao gestured for Jason to follow him down a paved walkway toward a modest sandstone-clad municipal building. "I hope your trip from Earth was uneventful?"

"Omaha is an old ship pretending to be a new ship. There's a few kinks to work out still, but that's just kept things interesting," Jason said as they walked. "I'm surprised you have a transporter pad. I thought you didn't use this sort of technology."

"The capital and other regional hubs have transporter systems for emergency services, along with a relay satellite in orbit, and we installed the extra pad here for official guests," Yao explained. "Most visitors from offworld come and go through the spaceport, or at least they're supposed to."

"Practical."

"When you can't get everything you want by asking a computer for it, you need to be, Yao said as they entered the building and climbed stairs to the third floor. "We don't avoid transporters and other fancy gizmos because we think they kill and clone you or some other philosophical issue, but because we think they're misused. There's a difference between beaming to a hospital and beaming to get lunch."

"You don't need to convince me. Infinite diversity, infinite combinations."

"Unfortunately, not everyone lives up to that standard, even in Starfleet."

Yao led them through a waiting room and into a large office. There was more hand carved woodwork here, from the walls to the desk to the chairs. A small computer terminal perched on one side of the desk. It reminded Jason of more than a few Senatorial studies he'd been in during his youth. Less ostentatious, perhaps, but the same sort of aesthetic that said the occupant was important enough to warrant a lot of fancy decoration that didn't come out of a replicator.

"I understand you're here about the alien structure that was found north of here in the foothills," Yao said after they were seated.

"That's correct, sir," Jason said. "Given that it's suspected to be of Preserver origins, Starfleet wants to make sure it's not either a danger to your population, or a sign that there's something else out here that we need to worry about. Bolides, solar activity, that sort of thing."

Yao nodded. "And where do all these archaeologists prodding it fit in?"

Jason blinked. "I'm sorry, the who?"

"The swarm of shovel-carrying students and pompous professors currently running amok in the countryside," Yao replied, a faint satisfied smile on his lips. "I take it they didn't tell you they were coming either?"

"Starfleet's briefing materials didn't mention anyone else, no. I was under the impression we were supposed to do an initial examination and then it would be handed off to a civilian team or dedicated science ship at a later date, depending on what we found."

"Apparently they decided that it is 'later' already. Their ship has been taking up half our spaceport for almost two weeks. If you'd gotten here a few minutes earlier, I could have taken you up to the roof to watch the whole horde buzz past in their air trucks."

"When you say horde," Jason asked cautiously, "how many are we talking?"

"Hundreds. Maybe even a thousand!"

That was still annoyingly vague, but Jason moved on. "And they're already studying the pyramid - how? Setting up scanners?"

"They did that the first week, now they've actually started excavating and uncovered quite a bit of it. Naturally, this concerned me quite a bit, but I was told to leave the matter to professionals," Yao replied, emphasising the last word. "When I suggested they stop, their leader waved around some sort of permit from the Federation Science Commission saying they had a right to be there and to take over a

"That's… plausible, under the Colonial Antiquities Act," Jason said, trying to remember the exact clauses of that part of the Federation Legal Code. With a previously uninhabited world like this, pre-existing artifacts were under federal jurisdiction, and that was particularly true for a relatively small and new colony where that wasn't fully self-reliant yet.

"They said if I obstructed their operations, they'd sue and tie us up in court for years, or possibly even press charges."

"Again, I'd have to see the exact wording." Jason suspected that someone was exaggerating there. If something had been dangerous enough to warrant that broad an order, Starfleet would have been sent a ship a lot faster than his to get there first.

"Please understand, captain, I don't mind studying the artifact. We appreciate history here. Our university's program is quite well respected for its size," Yao pleaded. "It's the ruckus they cause that's the issue, along with the attitude. They fly off in the morning, work through the day, and then by sunset there are rowdy students in every bar in every village from the capital out to the mountains. There's been all manner of nuisances, even brawls."

"With respect, sir, I'm intimately familiar with the kind of 'ruckus' that young people in a rural setting cause without any outside prodding," Jason said dryly. "A few hundred more can't cause that much extra grief."

Yao huffed and made a reluctant nod. "Perhaps, but still, this is a quiet community. Even the Romulans don't cause this kind of trouble. They understand manners and being good guests."

"Sounds like a matter for the local constabulary to me, not Starfleet."

"The head of the regional sheriff's department, Raya Rasim... well, bless her heart, she tries, but she doesn't have many deputies, and she wants me to deal with it since they're offworlders. And I'm afraid that it might be 'interfering with operations' if I restrict them out of hands."

Wonderful. It sounded like there was some sort of domestic political dispute as well.

"Tell you what, I'll talk with the people in charge over there and see if we can get this sorted out," Jason said, even as he considered dumping this entire thing on someone whose job was executive-ing. "I'm sure there's just been some kind of miscommunication along the way."

"Thank you, Captain. That's all I ask."

"Anything else while I'm here?"

"Actually, yes. We've been having some issues with our sensor satellites lately. They've been giving some inaccurate or fuzzy readings," Yao said. "We're starting to get into the harvest season in this region and a few others, and since we can't rely on weather control technology we need to have accurate forecasts. I'm more concerned that the outward-looking scanners may also have problems. We have locally trained technicians for day-to-day maintenance, but they can't figure out the issue, and Deep Space 8 says they can't have a specialist team out for at least another month."

Jason frowned. This area was further from the old heart of Romulan space and the turmoil there, but it was also further from Federation assistance as well. The garrisons at the local starbases weren't that large and needed early warning to be effective. "What sort of defense systems do you have?"

"A few local shield generators for the towns and shelters, plus a couple of Type-18 defense platforms. Surplus from the war."

"I'll get my engineers to take a look, maybe see if we can get some upgrades installed. We've got an industrial replicator aboard, we may as well try it out."

Yao stood. "Thank you. I appreciate the assistance."

"It's not a problem, governor. We're here to serve."

A glamorous first mission, this was not, Jason thought to himself as he left. Still, no one was likely to get stabbed, shot, or stuck full of shrapnel, so it wasn't as bad as it could be.

 

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