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Peacekeeping For Dummies

Posted on Sat Aug 29, 2020 @ 2:43am by Commander Jason Faulkner & Lieutenant Commander Briar Tovan & Lieutenant JG Gairon Jaggar

Mission: Episode 1: The Milk Run
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 1300

Jason was hastily scarfing down the remnants of his lunch with one eye on the clock. His yeoman had stuck his requested meeting immediately after his bridge watch, and while he didn't like to hurry meals he was also not quite enough of a jerk to eat in front of other people. Possibly enough of one to offload annoying tasks on subordinates, though.

Briar stepped through the doors, glancing around the room. "You wanted to see me?"

Running a hand through his short, almost spiky hair Gairon, the ship's counselor, stepped into the room.  He'd been working out when he'd been summoned and had barely had time to change before making his way to the Captain's Ready Room

He arrived just after the Executive Officer.  "Reported as ordered sirs," he said, "what's going on?"

"Yeah, come in and take a seat," Jason said, returning his tray to the replicator and hitting the recycle button. He ordered himself a cup of lemonade and asked, "Anyone want a drink?"

"I'll have what you're having," Gairon said,  "I was introduced to lemonade back at the Academy and got hooked.  I'm not sure who invented that particular drink, but they deserve an award."

"It's probably too early to ask for a whiskey," Briar said with a grin.

"I'm pretty sure lemonade's just one of those things where humans stuck something in water and called it a drink," Jason said, returning with an extra glass and handing it over, "and as for you, yes, even for synthehol. Not that I would blame you for heading straight to the lounge after this meeting."

"That bad?" Gairon asked as the took a sip of his drink, "should we be sitting down?"

Briar groaned. "You're about to ask me to go make nice with someone, aren't you?"

"Yes to both of your questions," Jason answered. "So, our actual, current assigned mission is to make sure the preserver artifact down on the planet is not a threat to anyone - it's not plugging a supervolcano, or about to mistake passing ships for asteroids and shoot them down, or anything like that. Right? Interesting if you're into that sort of thing but not terribly complicated. However, it seems that whatever the scientific situation, there may be a people problem."

Gairon, his drink untouched shook his head slowly side to side.  "Okay, I'll bite.  What kind of people problem are we talking about?"

"From what I gathered with Mr. Pierce, people don't seem to be playing nice," Briar said. 

Jason nodded. "That seems to be the case. I basically got the Rashomon treatment from the colonial governor and the leader of an unexpectedly early civilian archaeology team, with contradictory accusations of harassment and overgrown schoolyard roughhousing. How are the Romulans, by the way? Any complaints from that part of the settlement?"

"Similar to what the colony leader said," Brair replied. "Nothing out of hand but the Major remarked on the fact that there have been some disturbances."

"That figures. There's an old adage in many cultures that politics get more vicious the more petty and unimportant they are. The Federation Council or Imperial Senate have nothing on the backstabbing you'll find in a neighborhood association board, just as examples, academic departments, syndicates, and tiny colonial governments."

"The only difference, " Garion said, "is that in syndicate meetings,  backstabbing isn't a figure of speech."

"I have a feeling that this whole sitaution may change dramatically based on what they find down there," Briar said. He signed heavily. "This is looking like it might turn into a shitshow... sir."

"Yeah, pretty much. Normally I would just listen to the complaints, nod, and suggest they work it out like adults while we go on to our next mission," Jason continued. "However, I have a feeling that sooner or later this is going to escalate to actual injuries and property damage, at which point it's going to devolve into outright warfare. With no permanent federal government offices here, the Federation civil authorities will inevitably ask Starfleet to investigate until a civilian investigative team can arrive, and given that the nearest starbase is a dozen lightyears away, guess who's going to get stuck with the problem if this pyramid research isn't done yet?"

"Then," the Orion counselor said, "I'd suggest we beam down there and grab them by the... check into things and make sure that nobody brings a knife to a fistfight."

"Possibly," Briar said. "Although showing up with an armed security team might just escalate matters. But, I agree we can't just keep letting them run around like idiot teenagers."

"Not if we want to get on with exploring, no," Jason agreed. "One thing that's occurred to me is that this is the official story from the top level. It's hard to say whether one or both is exaggerating things, especially if we want to tread lightly and avoid sounding like we're making accusations. I'm thinking we need to do a little intelligence gathering, see what things are like at the ground level."

"My apologies," Gairon replied quickly.  "I was not suggesting we go down there with an armed security team, I was suggesting we go down with myself, the XO here and maybe a couple of others."

"Like you said Captian, to gather some intelligence."

Jason nodded, glad the others understood his goal. He'd done a few low-key recon assignments like this himself, but these days he was a little too high-profile to just drop in on the local dives. "Exactly my thinking, lieutenant. It's a Federation world, there's no reason people can't go down and enjoy the local sights during the evening or other off hours. If you happen to end up in a bar or other local establishment where the groups are mixing, it shouldn't draw much attention."

"A bar?" Briar said, arching an eyebrow. "Sounds like fun, as long as you don't make me take Mr. Priece."

"What is wrong with Mr.Pierce?" the Orion asked innocently.

Jason looked to Briar and asked, "Yes, is there something wrong with him? I hadn't thought about it, but now that I think about it he does have useful cultural background and experience in operations of this sort."

"He's annoying and entirely full of himself," Briar responded. "And yes, probably useful as well."

"Do you want me to work with him then?" Gairon asked, "I can handle people pretty well and it makes sense for us to not show up altogether."

"Please do not overcomplicate this," Jason said, holding up a hand and stifling the desire to groan. "You're going to a bar to hear the local gossip, not performing a high-risk intelligence mission. You don't need to arrive separately so that no one realizes you're from the one Starfleet ship that's in orbit."

"Sorry," Gairon said with a shrug of his shoulders, "too many Orion mystery holovids."

"In the library, Mr. White, with a candlestick," Briar offered. When he saw the look on thier faces he rolled his eyes. "Nevermind. Fine, I can go and poke around with the hillbilly and Mr. Garrion."

"Excellent," Jason said with a probably sincere smile. "Have a good time, make nice with everyone, and try to make sure no one gets stabbed."

"I'll make sure to reduce my pheromone inhibitor," the counselor said.  "It will make things a lot more interesting."

"Can I use Mr. Pierce as a human shield if said stabbing is inevitable?" Briar asked.

"Yes, but only if he starts it," Jason said. "Not that stabbing is inevitable, but if it does happen."

"I'm a much better shield than he is and I stab back." Gairon offered.

Jason shook his head. "Oh, there would be no problem with stabbing back, and given the low-profile vest he got for Chri- no, I'm not getting into this. It's irrelevant because no one. Is getting. Stabbed."

"You say that now," Briar replied. "On a scale of one to ten, how likely is our lovable redneck going to be at possible starting a bar brawl?"

The Orion held up both hands.  "Sorry, Captian, I was only trying to be funny.  You're right, no one is going to get stabbed."

Then he turned to the XO, "I know I'm an Orion and supposed to be hot-tempered, but I'm also a Counselor.  I'm not saying he shouldn't come along, but I can tell you, I promise you.  I'm not going to throw the first punch if it comes down to a fight."

"We'll just make sure that it doesn't come to that," Briar said.

"I'm all for just playing tourist  Then see what happens," Gairon said.

"Okay, so you seem to have gotten the idea," Jason said, "even if I think I'm going to have to repeat this conversation with the warrant officer because I'm not sure either of you will clearly communicate that the intent is to avoid fighting with sufficient clarity. Unless you have questions, you may now return to counseling and... whatever it is you do all day."

This brought a crooked smile to Garion's face.  "No sir, no questions from me," he said.

"I stand around and make this ship look good," Briar replied. 

"Dismissed," Jason said firmly.


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