Updated: Mar 18
The Carrans arrive unexpectedly amidst a first contact between the Valley Forge and a local species.
Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Having detected the first M-class planet since leaving the Medan sector, the Valley Forge goes to investigate. They discover that the world is home to a post-warp species, allowing for contact Ann Carter@anncarise | While technically not 'first' contact due to members of the species having been encountered previously at Underworld, this was the first official contact with their government, and as a result - Ann Carter@anncarise: - first contact procedures were followed. After getting permission from their ships to approach, they are invited to the surface to learn more of their culture. Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | Lennie, Ann and Nishaa materialize on a transporter pad. An alien with dreadlock like tendrils, of the species that was the receptionist for the Carran Eye, stands to greet them. Another of her - Ann Carter@anncarise: - species, also female, operates the transporter controls. Ann Carter@anncarise | Nishaa looks around the pad, then eyes the alien in front of them suspiciously, "Where's the rest of our team?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Alien: "They have been transported to one of the male cities, where they will be introduced to the society of our males." Lendaria@crystyll: "You operate strict gender segregation?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Alien: "We do. We understand that many civilizations do not operate this way, but our species has significantly greater sexual dimorphism than most. Males and females are not compatable for - Ann Carter@anncarise: - long term co-habitation, and all attempts to do so in the past have been failures, even tragedies." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, I feel ya on tha' one..." Lendaria@crystyll: approaches with a friendly smile, "LCDR Lendaria - though y'can calls me Lennie - s'a pleasure t'meet y'all" Ann Carter@anncarise: | The alien gives Lennie a surprised look, "You do? Many of the species we have encountered have been puzzled by this practice. I am Chandria, one of the Voices of this city." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Name's Ann, Ensign Ann Carter. Nice to meet ya too." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Nishaa: "Petty Officer Nishaa Sethi." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, mah own people ain't so different really. Guys 'n girls been warrin' on an' off f'centuries, not tha' ya'd ever tell t'see 'em together. Less fightin', more subjugation" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "It seems you may have it even more severe than we do. The wars in our history have mostly been between males, but our psychologies are simply incompatible to exist as one society. Our - Ann Carter@anncarise: - males are evolved to be hunters- aggressive, violent and seek conflict to better themselves. We females believe in compassion and growth by cooperation." Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria: "It is like having a Toroki and a Carran in the same home. It simply does not function." Ann Carter@anncarise: "But you still live on the same planet? Just different cities?" Lendaria@crystyll: chuckles, "I'll take ya word for it!" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "We do. We meet with the males once a year during the breeding season to procreate. Technically, female cities are not female-exclusive, as we raise all male children for seven cycles - Ann Carter@anncarise: - before they are sent to the male cities." Lendaria@crystyll: "An' a beautiful city it looks too" she notes, looking around the place Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "That it is. Come, let me show you more of its beauty." Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | The city is very serene and peaceful. There are few tall imposing buildings and many green spaces where plants flourish and mingle with works of art. Indeed, all the locals here are females. Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Males cities are far more utilitarian. The males comprise of our military. Some travel away to seek challenges as mercenaries, bounty hunters or arena fighters, - Ann Carter@anncarise: as some females do to explore the stars. But there are always enough who choose to remain so that we have a functioning home planet." Lendaria@crystyll: "So ya explorers are mostly female too?" sounds like she's liking this place more and more Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "They are. Our females are more inclined to subjects which stimulate the mind, though the males have a fair number of scientists as well. Most of them develop new ships and weapons, - Ann Carter@anncarise: - while ours discover for the sake of discovery." Lendaria@crystyll: "Boys an' their toys" she chuckles Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria smiles, motioning to a fountain that combines fancy water patterns with holographic imagery, "We have our toys as well." Lendaria@crystyll: "As e'ery girl should!" she adds with a smile, "Y'all got a real eye for th'aesthetic ain't ya" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Both males and females have art, but of very different styles. I am sure your males can describe our different our male cities and architecture is upon your return." Lendaria@crystyll: "Oh I look forward t'learnin' all th'fun they has down here!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Kinda curious wha' it's like myself..." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "In many ways, the antithesis of what our city is like." Lendaria@crystyll: "So where's we headin', outta interest?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "One moment." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria suddenly pauses and taps her earpiece. Lendaria@crystyll: "Sure thing" she smiles, taking the innocent pause to look around more Ann Carter@anncarise: | Everyday life goes on across the city as usual. Several females walk or congregate in groups, talking happily amongst themselves. Some hold infants or travel with a self-driving stroller with - Ann Carter@anncarise: - children inside. A few females that are not quite adults but not infants either can be seen as well. A particularly elderly female sits in the middle of the square, surrounded by others who are - Ann Carter@anncarise: - listening to her. Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | Suddenly, the peace is disrupted as transporters spark across the city. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Tha' doesn't look good..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Wha's goin' on here?" looks to Chandria Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "The males have placed this city under quarantine. They rarely do this, and only if there is some sort of threat..." Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | Males materialize from the transporter beams, dressed in bulky tactical armour. The males are significantly larger than the females and have much more in common with Nausicaans than the serene - Ann Carter@anncarise: - appearance of the females. Lendaria@crystyll: "Threat...?" she taps her combadge, "Away team t'Valley Forge" Ann Carter@anncarise: | One of the males, a particularly large one towering even above Lennie, is dressed in a more ceremonial looking set of armour than most. He walks up to Chandria. Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Quarantine? What is the meaning of this?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male: "You are one of the Voices of this city, correct?" Lendaria@crystyll: <C-TQ> "Hey Lennie, what's up?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Yes." Ann Carter@anncarise: | The male simply nods and turns away, tapping at his own earpiece and speaking inaudibly. Lendaria@crystyll: <C> "Tee, the city we'se in jus' went on alert. E'erythin' alright up there?" Lendaria@crystyll: <C-TQ> "There's a Carran battleship just made orbit. We're seeing transporter signals to your city, is something going on with them there?" Lendaria@crystyll: <C> "I'll-a get back t'ya Tee. Let the Cap'n know" Lendaria@crystyll: looks to their host, "Somethin' up wit' th' Carrans y'all feel like sharin'?" Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | As the male turns, three blue transporter beams distinct from the Ularen male ones appear in between him and Chandria. Three Carrans in the signature white armour of the Carran Contract - Ann Carter@anncarise: - Enforcement appear before Chandria has a chance to reply. Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran Enforcer: "We have been informed that this city is currently harbouring individuals in breach of contract signed under the witness of the Carran Trade Commission. Turn them over and we will - Ann Carter@anncarise: - be on our way." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "We have done no such thing." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "Perhaps you are not aware of it, but someone in this city has." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Ularen Male: "Females and their compassion, always causing trouble. This is not our concern. Hand over these people, we cannot afford to cross the Carrans!" Lendaria@crystyll: "Y'all must have somethin' more than just 'some folks somewhere within th'city'?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Give th'lady a chance t'figure who y'all are talkin' on at least" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "Very well. I will elaborate." Ann Carter@anncarise: | The Carran takes out a small holoprojector, displaying the image of an alien species Starfleet is not familiar with, "Fourty-nine members of this species signed a contract with a Carran witness. - Ann Carter@anncarise: - Halfway through their journey with a Carran courier, they decided to sabotage the Courier vessel and back out of the terms of the contract. Their conduct is unacceptable. Our sensors detect - Ann Carter@anncarise: - fourty-nine beings of the same species currently within this city, but our transporters cannot lock on. It would follow that someone in this city is trying to keep them from us." Lendaria@crystyll: says nothing, looking to Chandria to read her reaction Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria sighs: "Fine. You have us there. But these people are refugees, fleeing for their lives! Your vague contract is going to sell them into slavery!" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "The contract was not penned by any Carran. We are merely its enforcers." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "It doesn't make it any better." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Ularen Male: "Just hand them over. Would you rather our people be hurt over this?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Hold on. If it ain't a Carran contract, how come y'all's enforcin' it?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "It is a contract signed under a Carran Trade Commission witness. All contracts witnessed by the Carrans are enforced by the Carrans. Most of those are signed on Carr, but exceptions do - Ann Carter@anncarise: - occur, especially with people who seek to be smuggled out of a particular region." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "We are brokers. Our reputation relies upon deals we oversee being carried out." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Always the middleman, with no mind of your own." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, I recall from our recent visit to ya Underworld..." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "As a result, we will not leave until we have recovered these violators." Lendaria@crystyll: "Just outta interest... these sorta things ever get disputed an' resolved?" Lendaria@crystyll: "F'give mah curiosity. New to th'region an' all" she smiles innocently# Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "Only if the other party signing the contract agrees to an amendment." Ann Carter@anncarise: | The Carran steps up to Lennie, "You are Orion, are you not?" Lendaria@crystyll: "I am" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "Then surely you understand the Orion Syndicate is not known for its willingness to let debts slide." Lendaria@crystyll: groans wearily, "An' I also know they ain't exactly th'smartest bunch 'o brutes. But some can have a decent eye f'business" Lendaria@crystyll: "Tell ya what. How 'bout ya let us mediate this dispute; try an' find an amenable amendment as ya say" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "Mediate? With the Syndicate? If you are willing to speak on behalf of these refugees, we can arrange communications." Lendaria@crystyll: "Potentially. But first I'd wanna speak t'them - privately" looks to Chandria Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria nods, "Sure. I appreciate your efforts in trying not to get them turned over to the Carrans." Lendaria@crystyll: nods, looking back to the enforcer, "Then we'll contact ya back on ya ship when we'se ready t'speak wit' ya Syndicate folks. Sound good?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Carran: "Very well." Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | The Carrans beam back to their ship. Ann Carter@anncarise: | Ularen Male: "If you can't resolve this, we will have no choice but act and take these people by force if need be." Lendaria@crystyll: "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, eh big guy. Little faith in ya new friends!" she grins Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria motions to the away team, "This way." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The males remain in the city as they walk, and the streets are suddenly a lot quieter. Lendaria@crystyll: nods and follows with a more purposeful stride Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "I apologize for the complication. Life in one of our cities is not usually so...suspenseful." Lendaria@crystyll: "Ain't no Syndicate goons takin' more innocents as slaves on mah watch, nu-uh" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Me neither. But how we gonna get 'em out if they don't wanna negotiate?" Lendaria@crystyll: "I'll do it th'old fashioned way if I gotta. Just gotta not tell the Cap'n if it comes to tha'" she chuckles Ann Carter@anncarise: chuckles, "Gotcha." Ann Carter@anncarise: | They enter a dorm-like building. Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Here they are." Lendaria@crystyll: wanders in, looking around the gathered refugees Ann Carter@anncarise: | A number of non-Ularen aliens inhabit the building. They look at the Starfleet officers in surprise, not sure what to make of them. Lendaria@crystyll: "S'alright, we'se here t'help" she speaks noticably softer, "Who can tells us 'bout this contract y'all got yaselves signed up to?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | An alien male on a hoverchair approaches from the back of the room, "We were desperate to run. We did not think there would be tricks in the contract." Lendaria@crystyll: "Unfortunately ya rescuers had other ideas hun'. But I'se know these guys, an' I ain't lettin'em take nobody against their will" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Refugee: "The contract said we needed to work in return for safe harbour. We thought that was fair. But the contract did not specify for how long, and what rights we would have as workers." Lendaria@crystyll: "I don't s'pose y'all still got a copy o' this contract around have ya?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Female Refugee: "I do." She stands and hands an alien datapad to Lennie. Lendaria@crystyll: smiles softly, "Thank ya" and skims over it, a cursory read to make sure it tallies with those she saw on Carr Ann Carter@anncarise: The contents of the contract are written in three languages- Orion Trader's Tongue, Universal Carran and an unidentified alien script. The style and contents is in line with those seen on Carr. Lendaria@crystyll: "Alright, so y'all signed up t'this. Then wha'? Talk me through wha' went down" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Female Refugee: "Our ship was taken on the Carran courier ship which took us into their subspace tunnels. Some of us visited their ship to speak with the Couriers." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male Refugee: "When we learned what the terms of the contract could make us do, we realized we weren't safe there. So we made the Courier drop into regular space and we left with our own ship." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Female Refugee: "Our ship was already somewhat damaged and low on fuel. We couldn't go far, and we managed to find the Ularens who were willing to offer us refuge." Lendaria@crystyll: "These couriers. They look a lil' like me, green skin an' all?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | The female shakes her head, "No. Pale skin, very thin and bony. Almost like walking skeletons." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male: "There were a couple of other species. Spiked faces. One with scaley skin." Lendaria@crystyll: hrms, "Alright. So wha' exactly did they'se imply as to th'true nature o' wha' they had planned for ya?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Female: "The person who signed the contract looked like you. And they never sspecified, we figured by work it would mean integrating into their society as, well...workers." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male: "But apparently according to the contract we could be asked to do anything, for an indefinite amount of time." Lendaria@crystyll: nods, skimming the contract still with a small smile, "Alright, now we'se gotta go speak t'these folks for ya. Anythin' y'all feel like addin' before we do?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Female: "We can't go back. We would prefer to be free, but if it comes down to a choice between being slaves of this Syndicate or being slaves of the Horde, we will go with this Syndicate." Lendaria@crystyll: "Th'Horde?" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male: "The monsters who destroyed our civilization. They may come here one day, but for now we have left them behind." Lendaria@crystyll: "Tha' so? Maybe once we get y'all outta this ya can tell us all 'bout 'em. But for now, we should be movin'" Ann Carter@anncarise: | Female: "Moving? Where to?" Lendaria@crystyll: "We'se gotta go speak t'these Enforcers for ya" Ann Carter@anncarise: | The female nods, "I hope you can come to an agreement." Lendaria@crystyll: "we'll be back soon as we can" she smiles, glancing to the others before turning to leave Ann Carter@anncarise: and Nishaa follows. Lendaria@crystyll: steps outside, "Think it's about time we clue the Cap'n in. I'se got an idea on this though" Ann Carter@anncarise: looks to Lennie, "Wha're you thinkin'?" Lendaria@crystyll: hands Ann the datapad, pointing out a section, "See here? Contract's only valid if th'Syndicate transports 'em all the way back to their space. They ain't done tha' yet" Ann Carter@anncarise: looks at the section, "Yeah, they're still some ways away from Syndicate space. But I think Carran contracts also say the party can't back out, right?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Right now they can't reach Syndicate space cause they tried to leave. Which I think's why the Carrans decided to get involved." Lendaria@crystyll: "So they'se got a stalemate. Refugees can't leave, but Syndicate can't fulfil their obligation" Lendaria@crystyll: "As it is, they'se lookin' at a loss. Now given this cell went an' signed folks up on a Carran contract, tells me they'se more business savvy than most brutes" Lendaria@crystyll: "So we get 'em t'renegotiate th'contract wit' proper defined workin' arrangements, then th'refugees come out an' fulfill their end" Ann Carter@anncarise: nods, "Tha' could work! Like gettin' tha' Carran Scryer fella to specify his contract." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, I wasn't just standin' around lookin' pretty tha' day. Was takin' notes from th'young Cadet" she chuckles at how that sounds Ann Carter@anncarise: chuckles, "She does know wha' she's doin'!" Lendaria@crystyll: "Alright. So we beam up an' fill the Cap'n in on this first. She's gonna want t'know wha' we up to" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Are the males gonna let us leave? Thought they said nobody gets outta the city till the Carrans get wha' they want." Lendaria@crystyll: "Well this is how they get wha' they want. Le's go find out, where's Chandria?" Ann Carter@anncarise: points outside the building exit. Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria is talking with the leader of the males and two of his subordinates. Lendaria@crystyll: heads out to check with Chandria if the males will allow them to return to the ship so they can negotiate with the Carrans Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male Leader: "We know where the refugees are. We keep an eye on them, make sure none of them disappear. If they're all in the building, then no one leaves the building, but you can leave the city." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Don't you lay a hand on them while you're there, and you can enter." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male Leader: "We will stay our hand for now. We are not as senseless as you think." Lendaria@crystyll: nods, "We'll be back soon s'we can" looks to Chandria, "If ya like, can have one 'o our folks stay t'keep th'refugees safe" Lendaria@crystyll: "Y'know, in case th'Carrans get impatient an' all" she smiles, looking to the male leader Ann Carter@anncarise: Nishaa: "I can stay with them. I'm security, that's my specialty." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "You have females doing security?" Lendaria@crystyll: nods, turning a smile to Nishaa Ann Carter@anncarise: "Just wait till ya meet the Klingons." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Male Leader: "An acceptable measure. You may go." Lendaria@crystyll: with a glance back to the refugee building, taps her combadge and calls for herself and Ann to be beamed out Ann Carter@anncarise: FX | The two are beamed back to the VF... Lendaria@crystyll FX | After being brought up to speed, Keelah orders Lennie to proceed with her plan. Stating that it was her judgement that got them involved, so she can see it through Lendaria@crystyll & Ann setup in one of the briefing rooms for the commlink to the Carran ship Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the commlink goes through, the enforcer they spoke to earlier appears on the screen. Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "We have established communications with a Syndicate representative as you requested." Lendaria@crystyll: "Thank ya. We'se ready t'speak" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "Patching them through now." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The screen fades for a moment, then a fairly typical looking Orion male appears on the screen. Ann Carter@anncarise | Syndicate Rep: "Starfleet. You seem to get involved in everything, don't you?" Lendaria@crystyll: "I could say th'same for you'se. Shoulda figured mah luck wouldn't last an' I'd get all th'way out 'ere without comin' across y'all again" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "It ain't our fault the Carrans are good for business. Anyways, they tell us there's an issue regarding a contract?" Lendaria@crystyll: "I'm-a thinkin' ya know perfectly well wha' th'issue is. Y'all went an' tried t'fleece these poor folks an' dupe 'em into a life o' servitude" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "Well they were desperate enough to take the deal. Then decided to back out of it." Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "Once they saw the rest of the world ain't as bleak as where they come from, they figured why not live somewhere of their choosing instead of what they agreed to us with?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Tha's wha' happens when ya go round lyin' t'folks, see. If you'd just have set properly defined terms wit'em up front instead of tryin' to trick 'em, ya wouldn't be in this mess now" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "That's the Carran way to do business. It's not my fault they come from a place where they don't have much business." Lendaria@crystyll: "Nope, but it is ya fault tha' ain't filfilled th'contract by escortin' these folks back t'Syndicate space. An' now how much has tha' lil' slip cost ya in wasted time an' resources, hm?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "The Carran Courier failed that part, and I suspect that's why they're trying to fix this now." Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "What do you want us to do, send a ship out here? Might as well be handing it over to the Branded Lady wrapped up in a gift box." Lendaria@crystyll: "Now there's an idea ain't it. I bet she'd just /love/ a chance t'twist th'knife a lil' harder wouldn't she. Hells, I bet she'd even offer these folks sanctuary just t'try an' pick a fight wit' ya" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "Then we're lucky these refugees found some random locals and not her folks." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Tha' you are. An' I suppose ya wanna keep it tha' way." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah but those random locals found me. An' me an' old B-L, well... let's just say she owes me" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "What'd you want me to do, then? My cell wants these people, and we paid the Carran courier for their service already. We can't just let 'em go, and I bet the Carrans'lll see it as a - Ann Carter@anncarise: - blight on their reputation too if this contract falls through." Lendaria@crystyll leans in, holding a fixed gaze on the Rep, "Look, I ain't seekin' t'right all th'wrongs of th'verse in one sittin' here. These folks signed up to somethin', an' tha's gotta be honoured" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "So you'll just hand 'em over to us? Lemme guess, you want something in return?" Lendaria@crystyll: "But y'all screwed yaselves up by tryin' t'deceive 'em. So... amend th'contract. Give 'em fair service and specific terms t'pay off their debt to ya. Let 'em work it out here on this planet where + Lendaria@crystyll: + th'Carran's are in easy reach of should th'need arise. Tha' way; y'all get ya cut wit' no hastle, an' they get their lives back when th'debt's paid" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "How's working here gonna benefit the Syndicate? I see what you're trying to do though. How 'bout Underworld?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Innocents like these on Underworld. No offense t'our Carran friends 'ere, but these folks'd get chewed up an' spat out by tha' place. Here they are safe, an ya cell still benefits from it's profit + Lendaria@crystyll: + margin. Set reasonable rates on it an' I'll back it wit' th'locals for ya" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "Fine. I'll make the changes and send that contract back to you." Lendaria@crystyll smiles, "Attaboy. We'll check over th'details an' as long as got it nice an' tight on th'details, I'll deliver it mahself an' see it signed off" Ann Carter@anncarise | Rep: "Fair enough." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The call ends and the Carran enforcer returns on the screen, "That went better than I hoped." Lendaria@crystyll: "Hoped? I thought y'all were indifferent t'this stuff, just enforcin' th'letter of th'contract?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "We're businessmen. Professionally, we don't have a stance. Personally, I prefer to solve things cleanly, without need for force." Lendaria@crystyll smiles, "You an' me both, hun. Now 'soon as I been over this revised contract we'll be returnin' to the surface t'get it signed off" Ann Carter@anncarise | Carran: "We've just received it from the Syndicate." Ann Carter@anncarise | He taps a button and transmits the file over to the VF. Ann Carter@anncarise | As promised, it now has reasonable definitions for the work they need to do and the duration they are expected to do it. Lendaria@crystyll: "Got it, much appreciated. We'll be in touch once is all done down there" Ann Carter@anncarise | The Carran nods: "We will expect you." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The pair beam down to the dorm building, where two males stand guard outside. Ann Carter@anncarise | One of them taps his earpiece and a few moments later, the male leader exits. Lendaria@crystyll looks between the pair, "Chandria inside?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Male Leader: "She is, and the guard you left here." Ann Carter@anncarise | He motions for them to follow him inside. Lendaria@crystyll nods and follows Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria is speaking to one of the refugee children. She stands and approaches them as she spots them. Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria: "You're back. I hope the negotiation went well?" Lendaria@crystyll: "I reckon so, here" hands her a copy of the revised contract, "Renegotiated a deal for 'em. But it ties you'se folks in too, so no deal unless ya sign off on it too" Lendaria@crystyll: "Hopin' tha' ain't a problem, seein' how ya was happy t'shelter 'em an' all" Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria smiles, "Not at all. We are pleased to be able to share our city with them and give them a safe environment." Ann Carter@anncarise | Male Leader: "If the Carrans don't have a problem with it, they can stay as long as they want." Lendaria@crystyll smiles back, "I had a feelin'. This way, ya can keep 'em safe but don't gotta worry on hidin'em. They'se can work an' learn 'ere until their debt is paid" Lendaria@crystyll looks to the male, "Already discussed wit' th'Enforcer an' they'se all good wit' honorin' this amended contract. We'se been over it too an' no more surprises in there now" Ann Carter@anncarise | The male nods, "Good." Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria: "I'll gather the refugees to sign it." Ann Carter@anncarise | She waves the refugees over and passes the datapad around for them to read. They each press their thumbs on it to approve it. Lendaria@crystyll stands back quietly observing with a contented smile Ann Carter@anncarise | The male taps his earpiece to communicate with the Carrans before nodding again, "Quarantine is lifted." Ann Carter@anncarise | He motions to the other males who follow him outside. Beams of light can be seen as they are transported away. Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria breathes a sigh of relief, "That could have ended much worse. Thank you for your help." Lendaria@crystyll watches over her shoulder, looking back to Chandria, "You'se welcome sweety. Always glad t'keep more innocent folks away from th'Syndicate's grubby hands" Lendaria@crystyll: "An' they'se only ever gonna deal in this region through th'Carran's on account of... other folks they crossed. So ya don't gotta worry on 'em changin' their mind on th'terms" Ann Carter@anncarise | Chandria nods, "The Carrans are usually fair. Loyal to a fault to their contracts, but it is a sense of honour that goes both ways." Ann Carter@anncarise: | Chandria: "Our people do not make a habit of breaking Carran contracts, males or females. This was a...unique case." Lendaria@crystyll nods, looking to the refugee in the hoverchair from earlier, "Hopefully this's more in line wit' wha' ya had planned" Ann Carter@anncarise | The refugee nods, "Much more amenable, yes. In fact, this city is probably more than I could ever have hoped to live in." Lendaria@crystyll smiles, "Despite ya misfortune initially, I'se hope ya time 'ere will show ya tha' th'verse ain't all bad. These's good folks an' ya do well t'learn from their example" Lendaria@crystyll: "Now 'bout this Horde..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "It is a darkness I hope you will never have to deal with." Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "Our people had a great city once. The jewel of our civilization. Towers of glass like gleaming crystals that touched the sky. Or so the stories say." Lendaria@crystyll: "Not tha' I go outta mah way t'deal wit' darkness. But we'se explorin' regions unknown t'us, so anythin' ya see fit t'share on where ya come from an' on this Horde'd sure be appreciated" Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "I have never seen that city. It was lost before I was born. The Horde takes everything. I do not know where our homeworld even was. It has been lost to time." Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "I am no explorer. The Courier knows the paths, I do not. All I can say is that from here, Carr lies in the opposite direction from the Horde, and this Syndicate yet further." Lendaria@crystyll: "Which puts 'em exactly in th'direction we'se headin' from 'ere..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "I would not advise heading towards the Horde. Most run from it." Lendaria@crystyll: "It would not be th'first time we'se encountered such a force. Goes wit' wha' we do, an' we'se got a mission that'll take us tha' way regardless. So anythin' else ya know, even th'smallest details or+ Lendaria@crystyll: + even old fairy tales 'bout 'em. Anythin' at all could help" Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "The Guardians, they use special people- psychics, to fight them. They can dominate your mind, turn brother against brother, sister against sister." Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "Even then, no one has ever stopped them. Only delayed their advance." Lendaria@crystyll: "These Guardians. Who are they?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "A group from all races and all walks of life who has dedicated everything to holding back the Horde. I was among their number once. They drafted me when I was young." Lendaria@crystyll: "Are they still out there now? Is there a way t'contact 'em at all?" Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "Not from here. Last I saw of them, they still held the line. But year after year they lose more ground, always on the defensive, always in retreat." Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "More worlds fall, and they draft from newer worlds, and when these fall they find more to continue the fight. There are many among them like us, peoples who have long lost their - Ann Carter@anncarise: - homes, who know only the fight for survival." Lendaria@crystyll: "Maybe we could look at some star charts o' th'regions ahead of us, see if ya can recognize any of th'places an' point us in th'right direction t'find these Guardians?" Ann Carter@anncarise | The refugee nods, "I will do my best." Lendaria@crystyll: "Thanks hun, I'll-a leave y'all t'get better settled f'now. Maybe stop by a lil' later t'see how you'se are settlin' in now ya ain't gotta be in hidin' an' we can talk more then" Ann Carter@anncarise | Refugee: "Thank /you/, for helping us."
SUBMITTED: Stardate 96574 FILED BY: LCDR Lendaria SECURITY: Level 1 - Open
MISSION:Post-first contact cultural observation
OUTCOME:Friendly relations with the Ularan people bolstered. Intelligence gathered from non-designated refugee species
LCDR Lendaria ENS Carter PO Sethi
After first contact was made with the Ularan as we entered range of their home system, LCDR Vrolmacht and I took a study team to accept the invitation of the Ularan people to visit their world and engage in a cultural exchange. Upon arrival at the beam in site, we immediately noticed that our team had been separated with LCDR Vrolmacht, LTJG Evans & SCS Zandaf all failing to materialize. Our host - a local 'Voice of the City' named Chandria - was quick to explain that their species present extreme levels of sexual dimorphism. Due to this, they lived in isolation from the opposite gender and so the males of our away team were materialized at one of the male cities whilst we appeared in Chandria's.
Accepting this explanation, we proceeded with a cursory tour in which I bonded somewhat with our host over the cultural similarities her people shared with my own. While we were studying the artisan displays of their city, we were interrupted by news that the city was being placed under quarantine. This was soon followed by the arrival of a number of male Ularan's and Carran Enforcers (identifiable from our previous witnessing of their actions on Carr/Underworld). The male leader identified our host as a Voice of the City and took to interrogating her on the Carran presence. A presence which was brought about by the apparent sheltering of some 49 individuals who had been deemed to be in breach of contract. Chandria naturally denied this, but after some additional probing for information, and an insistence from myself that we may be able to assist, she relented and confirmed that they were sheltering these refugees who had apparently been deceived into a contract they were not prepared for.
With existing knowledge of the Carran contracts, and knowing our eagerness to establish friendly relations with the Ularan's, I suggested that we may be able to mediate. If nothing else my hope was that we would be able to learn more about the situation and local political arrangements. This was agreed by all parties with the Carran's returning to their ship to await our update while the male Ularan's remained on patrol in the city - a standard procedure during a protective quarantine such as this. Chandria led our group to a building where the refugees were being housed. I have not encountered this species before though they were clearly advanced humanoids. After engaging with a representative of the refugees we learned that they were provided with emergency transport away from what they simply called 'the Horde'. This was provided by a Carran courier using their subspace corridor network and funded by an Orion Syndicate cell - with whom the contract was with. The refugees were led to believe that they would provide a period of servitude in recompense for the services provided, however were misled regarding the duration of this period (namely that it was in fact indefinite and they were essentially to be sold into slavery at the Rigel auctions).
Once aware of the Syndicate's involvement I must confess a degree of personal bias towards wanting to protect this refugee group. However I do not believe my judgement was impaired in any decision making in this, and remained in line with both the Ularan stance and that which I believed our Command would take. The refugee's provided us with a copy of their contract at which point we returned to the ship in order to take up talks with the contract bearer - the Syndicate representative - via hosted and monitored communications provided by the Carran Enforcers. The Carran's had also confirmed to me already that - though rare - their Enforcement can be negated by a contract amendment, so this was our established goal.
As the officer who initiated our attempt to mediate a resolution, and one most familiar with the Syndicate, I was permitted to conduct the talks. The Syndicate representative's response to a Starfleet uniform was particularly droll; an attitude which I will not deny mirroring. Our talks were harsh but abrupt and ultimately; he agreed to my proposed compromise. Knowing that the Carran contract was binding regardless of it's deceptive wording, and that the Syndicate would not simply take a profit loss out of generosity (in all likelihood the representative who approved the contract for them would be expected to pay with his life if his superiors learned that he ever did such a thing); I motioned that an amendment agreeable to both parties was possible by simply defining proper terms to the contract. The representative was naturally reluctant at first but soon realized that it was the most efficient way to proceed which would see the least harsh impact on his profit margin. And so, the document was redrafted to state that the refugees would serve out a fixed repayment period on the Ularan homeworld, with the Syndicate taking it's profits via Carran financial handling.
I find it worth noting here also that after the contract was renegotiated and submitted for our review, the Carran Enforcer commented positively on the outcome here; demonstrating more thoughtfulness than is generally perceived from them. From this point, it was a simple matter of having it signed and returned by the refugees - and Chandria. I had initial reservations that her objection would collapse the new deal, but held faith that - given her willingness to shelter them initially - she would be amenable to providing them a more long term home. With everything suitably taken care of on the contract front, the Carran Enforcers returned to Underworld and the male Ularan's back to their own city as the quarantine was lifted.
No specific follow up action is required. That said however, intelligence gathered from the refugees may be worth further scrutiny. I believe this may align with the unknown threat first eluded to by the Scryer's Eye on Underworld regarding the region of space we are heading towards. We believe we have roughly identified their last known region some sectors ahead along our current route, though mapping is based purely on the refugees memory of their local star systems and charting. Whilst there is no distinct evidence to link the refugees 'Horde' to the mysterious threat the Eye spoke of, I find it highly unlikely for them to be completely separate.
The refugees however spoke of more first hand experience, talking of an unseen aggressor who turned people against their own. They spoke of a group calling themselves 'the Guardians'; a collection of volunteers from multiple races who have fallen to this Horde. Volunteers who remain behind while to hold a front line against this Horde in a vain attempt to at least slow it's progress. One of the refugees claimed to have once called himself a Guardian before fleeing, and said that they utilized psychics to combat this Horde. If this is the case, a telepathic controlling force is not beyond speculation and could be considerably dangerous. I would like to consult with the Wanderer AI for any records it may retain of any such entity or faction known from it's time patrolling the region.