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Face to Face

Posted on Sun Apr 30th, 2023 @ 4:15am by Commander Daynah Ral & Commander Rupert Tyree & Lieutenant Jayden Meran & Lieutenant JG Rianna Repatha Thibideaux & Ensign Parker Rapp
Edited on on Sun Apr 30th, 2023 @ 8:54am

4,372 words; about a 22 minute read

Mission: Prelude to War
Location: Shuttle Bay 3. USS Valiant
Timeline: Two hours after First Contact.

[ON]

Rhu felt rather silly walking through the passageways aboard Valiant in his dress uniform. Val wasn’t a diplomatic ship. She was a working Star Ship and maybe it was just him but he could almost feel that the Escort was somehow insulted by being seconded into a diplomatic lorry.

Or maybe it was him. He was wearing dress whites with full medals (including his BDF trappings) and felt…

Anxious. That was it. He had things to do and being a diplomat wasn’t anywhere on that list. No matter what the Admiral or President wanted.

In the back of his head, he knew that wasn’t true. But he felt just a little bit better letting those thoughts bounce around in the side of his head.

Valiant was a small ship and it didn’t take him long to reach Bay Three. Engineering had reinstalled the red carpet runners to the deck and he could feel the pile cushioning beneath his polished boots as they carried him into the bay. Pastel hangings of burgundy and cream softened the bulkheads and ceiling with illumination filtering through lending soft lighting. Tables with refreshments had been placed and banners for both the Trelan and Federation were placed in pairs on each wall and hanging from the ceiling.

Glancing around, he noted a quartet of security officers performing honor guard duty in the corners and his officers beginning to gather.

Parker entered the shuttle bay, awaiting everyone else. His hand fell on his phase pistol as he stepped into the shuttle bay. It had been a long while since he had stepped foot in there.

Rianna hadn't had her dress uniform on in ages. What was it, a year ago that she needed to wear it? Now it was a bit tight in a few noticeable areas, even if it accentuated her figure a bit more. Tugging at it as she entered the shuttle bay, she walked over to where Rhu was. "So, why have I wearing an altogether tighter dress uniform than before," she asked him.

Rhu glanced at his Chief Engineer curiously and asked, "Are you alright Rianna? You're not having a stroke on me here are you?"

"No, it's just my dress uniform is a bit tight these days. Don't know why it is since I have not put any weight on in the last two years since I had it on," Rianna said chuckling.

Daynah entered the shuttle bay wearing her dress uniform. Her hair was pulled back into a layered type of ponytail. She wore a silver feather barrette in her hair. It was something that she wore for special occasions. Although she did not particularly like the Trelans she knew enough to look her best and act the part. She glided over to the Captain and took her place next to the Captain. "Well, I for one will be glad to get this over with."

A little ahead of the rest Shiara beams into the shuttle bay, she sensed their surprise, she looked at the First officer and sensed something unpleasant coming from the female she had seen standing next to the Captain when on the view screen. "I apologize if I am a little early," Shiara said

Turning toward the Ambassador, Rhu met her eyes and said, "I've had several people tell me that a few minutes early is, indeed, on time. Welcome aboard the Valiant Ambassador. You honour us." Glancing about, he gestured to Valiant's officers to line up and he began making introductions.

"Before that Captain, I believe that some of your crew are still uneasy with me, I think part of this reason may be down to my helmet and gloves, so before any negotiation is to commence, I will remove my gloves and helmet, I will ask if you could lower the room's lights by three levels, Captain, please! Our eyes are sensitive to bright lights, the lighting on this ship must be at a different luminosity unique to most of the planets your crew come from" Shiara said, as she took off her gloves revealing blue hands, which went up and held both sides of the helmet as she twisted it slightly and gasps of escaping air vented, she paused from removing it completely until the lights were dimmed slightly.

Rianna stood next to Rhu as the rest of the crew lined up. She waited her turn taking note of the Ambassador's blue hands. oOInteresting, blue hands and possibly a blue body as well Oo she thought.

"We attempted to anticipate, as best as we were able" Rhu responded to the Ambassador. "The lighting requirements. I'm told the cloth would help defuse some of the brightness as well."

"Appreciated Captain," Shiara said and removed her helmet her eyes were closed but the blue-skinned visage of her face could clearly be seen as could the mark between her eyes, she detected that while a little brighter than required the lighting of the ship was at a manageable level she was glad she brought her special glasses, she slowly opened her eyes allowing her sensitive sight to adjust, before too long her solid red eyes could be seen to all, she saw her greeters in varying greens, Yellows, oranges and reds, she looked around allowing the Valiant crew to see her real face.

"Lovely," Rhu remarked, smiling at the ambassador. "Now, may I offer you a refreshment?"

That's when Jayden ran in. "Sorry, I am late, I couldn't find my dress uniform. I almost thought I forgot it. I found it, but then I also had to put it on. It took a bit of time." He nodded to Shiara. "My apologies for being late. I realize I should have called in. I hope everything is to your satisfaction, Ambassador."

Now with her special glasses on Shiara looks at the late arrival "If this were a Trelan ship, you would be punished, but as this is a Starfleet ship, no worries" Shiara said with a smile, then she pulled out her communications micro-device and spoke in her native tongue.

<< Translated>> (Otherwise what she is saying cannot be understood by the Valiant crew)

"Captain this is Shiara, you can head to Earth, I will remain here as an observer, allow my Apprentice to conduct the initial phases of negotiations and extend my apologies for my delay, I have found this crew to be most interesting so I am going to stay for a bit, kindly transmit some personal items over if you will, of you hold on I will speak to the Captain" she put her ships, Captain, on hold and looked at Tyree.

"Captain, could you supply a safe passage permit for my ship, please? It is mainly to prevent any misunderstandings after all our species is unknown so it would be appreciative, I have notified my crew to head onto the Earth, and I will be remaining here to observe only, then I will go onto Earth to continue on with negotiations" she said and waited for a response.

Rhu met the ambassador's eyes and said, "Actually ambassador, I have orders from the President to Escort you and your vessel to Earth. We'd be more than happy to host you aboard Valiant if you like and we can continue our discussions."

Daynah kept her eyes front and a smile on her face. She said nothing but knew that the first chance she had she would do some research into these Trelans. She could not put her finger on it but something rubbed her the wrong way about these people. She even began to search through all of her lifetimes to see if there were any encounters with this race. Daynah did not relish the fact of playing diplomat and host over the next few days. However, she was a Starfleet Officer and would lead the crew by example.

Looking hard at Ral and raising an eyebrow "Really Commander Ral! Please try to control your thoughts and emotions and no you have never met my species before, for you this is a true contact situation" Shiara said and looked at the Captain. "Can we continue on with something please Captain all these wary and random thoughts are painful?" Shiara said as she began to mentally run complex mathematics through her mind, she did not want to hear their thoughts, as one they had a rule against things and two it was distracting. Looking at Tyree again "Oh how I would have liked to remain on the ship to study how this ship's crew operates, it can be so annoying to be stuck to diplomatic duties, but at the next meeting our envoy will wear a telepathic dampening device so there is not accidental mind reading on our part" she said.

Daynah interrupted any further proceedings and came to attention. "Commander Tyree please place Shiara under arrest. it is a crime to actively scan one's thoughts without permission. And it seems to me that she has been doing that and just proved it by speaking out loud about my private thoughts. I would like to press charges, sir."

Shiara looked at the Commander "Commander I will say this for the record so all here know it" Shiars started.

"My species are extremely strong telepaths, I am not actively scanning anyone, you are lax with your thought control we can pick up strong thoughts, I apologize for the accidental reading, but on that, I am not to blame. Commander, do you know how much I have to run equations through my mind, just to quieten down everyone's thoughts!" She paused.

"My superiors thought our training on telepathic control was sufficient, it appears your people rarely deal with strong telepaths, this new information will be passed to my superiors and in any future meetings this will not happen again. As for wanting to arrest me Commander I have what is called Diplomatic immunity and you would not want to be the one responsible for causing a diplomatic incident, do you? I have humbly apologized and I hope you will accept that apology?" Shiara said.

"Actually we deal with extremely strong telepaths all the time. Some members of Starfleet are strong telepaths, in fact, I have sat and chatted with one of the strongest telepaths in the Federation and yet they did not see or hear my thoughts. Why you may ask... Well, that is because they control their powers. You see here in the Federation it is not up to a non-telepath to control their thoughts. Our thoughts are personal and our own. It is up to the telepath to control their power and not reach people's minds even accidentally. If you were so good at controlling your telepathy you would not have gotten into anyone's head without consent. So no I do not accept your apology and as to your Diplomatic Immunity. I believe under Federation law that is up to the Captain or a tribunal to decide. Commander Tyree my charges still stand." It did not take a telepath to tell that Daynah was enraged. Her usual demure features were red, her hand clutched in rage and she trembled with anger slightly. The Trill woman had felt violated on a very personal level.

Taps her device and speaks into it and a moment later a small device appears in her open hand. "This is one of our dampeners, it will dampen down my telepathic ability so your thoughts are a faint noise in the back of my mind," she said and placed it behind her ear and sighed contentedly.

"Finally I can not hear anyone's thoughts, interesting sensation this not being able to hear anyone's thoughts" she said then looked at the Captain "Perhaps Captain it would be wiser for me to do my diplomatic thing instead of remaining here as an observer, it is clear that my presence and abilities have made your crew wary" she paused and looked at Ral " Commander anything you want to know about my species you only need ask" she added

Rhu opened his mouth to say something but was cut off.

"As far as I am concerned the only thing that I want to know about your species is what you are going to tell the tribunal," Daynah responded curtly.

Looks at the Commander sympathetically "That tribunal will never happen, commander, currently I am not an official part of this crew I am a diplomat and thus not bound by ship rules. Now I have apologised and placed a telepathic dampener on my person to avoid future problems, so if you cannot accept my apology then that says more about you than it does me, now I can no longer hear anyone's thoughts, but if my presence offends you, feel free to leave this area, I will not be hurt by it" Shiara smiled congenially.

"You are not bound by the rules of the ship and that is true. However, you are bound by Federation Law and under Federation Law you have committed a grievous crime. For Diplomatic Immunity to apply first the senior officer, in this case the Captain, must decide to apply it. That in and of itself is a tribunal. So yes you are under arrest that is until the Captain decides otherwise. Or do you want to thumb your nose at Federation Law? While you are on this ship you are bound by the laws of the United Federation of Planets. I would have assumed you read our laws before arriving." Daynah had calmed down a bit and now was her normally cool and collected self. At the moment she drew on the memories of Norah Ral the Trill Diplomat. These memories told Daynah that she was absolutely correct in everything she does. "So it is officially my duty to tell you that anything you say from this point on can and will be used against you. So I suggest you remain quiet at least until the Captain passes his judgement."

"You are correct in that Commander, I may have to respect your Federation Law, but you overreacted to an accidental reading, for those rules to really apply I would have had to have done it with meaning, this was not the case and was accidental, I apologized and instead of accepting my apology you chose this route, very well Commander as my apology was insufficient to placate you I will retire to my ship, that way no further mistakes will be made and you and the rest will be able to relax," she said to Ral.

"No, you continue to believe that you are above the law. There is no overreaction here, there is a charge here. As I said I am shocked and appalled that you did not read up on our laws. You are under arrest, there is no returning to your ship, at least not until the Captain gives his leave for that to happen. Accidental or not you still committed a crime and so you must face the outcome. If you ignore this I will make it known to the Federation Diplomatic Council that you have ignored Federation law and thumbed your nose at it. I am sure that would end any further connections with your people. I assure you that if you leave before the Captain renders a verdict. Then return to this or any other Starfleet vessel I will see to it that there is a Security Team waiting to take you into custody." Daynah squared her jaw and steeled her eyes. This was not a threat, it was a statement of fact.

Then she look at Tyree "Thank you for the brief hospitality Captain, I will return to my ship and will follow your ship as you escort us to the diplomatic meeting and mistakes like what happened here will not happen again you can be assured" she said fully ignoring Commander Ral, it was obvious the officer was upset and not ready to accept an apology, pity as Shiara liked her.

Jayden looked at what had transpired. This would get out of hand quickly soon. And this was even worse than him not being able to find his dress uniform, way worse. He then spoke, as he could understand this would be overwhelming for the captain, and it was his job as the Diplomatic officer. "Captain, according to Federation and Starfleet regulations Commander Ral Is in her right to press charges against the ambassador, she feels after all violated by the Ambassador. But may I also remind Commander Ral and yourself that this is a first-contact mission, and our guest is not fully aware of our laws and regulations. I would therefore offer a solution of having a trial hearing after the mission is over, in the meantime I think it is in the best interest of the mission and the Commander if the Commander was taken off the mission and assigned to a different duty for the duration of the mission. I am perfectly capable of assisting you on the mission if that is agreeable to both parties. Also, a trial hearing wouldn't have much impact I understand that but it would hopefully get both parties on a more mutual ground." He then turned to the Ambassador. "Ambassador, if the roles were reversed and we were on your ship, would you have agreed with us simply tugging tail back to our ship, or would you also pursue legal compensation for the violation of your laws?"

Looking at the Lieutenant who spoke "Sounds logical Lieutenant, but might I remind everyone that up until the Commander was vocal about the accidental mind reading Trelan nor myself had any idea that the Federation has laws in place about telepathic do's and don'ts and pre-empt the Commander's assertion of a diplomat should know about these things, I remind everyone that the Trelan species has been in isolation for Millennia, this is the first time we have had physical contact in centuries, for millennia after the fall of the First Federation we went into seclusion our population was decimated, then from what records say a sleeper ship from a distant star crash landed on our planet, we had no name for the species we found, but looking at the Human's in this crew now I know where that damaged sleeper ship came from. Ironically the survivors introduced my ancestors to Democracy and over the years helped removed the old Caste system and in time human DNA merges with ours, before then the Trelan looked a little different, the fact that we appear human, save for the mark height eyes and skin and hair colour every stratum of my species has human DNA in us" she paused.

"Before I was assigned this task of First Contact there was a high debate in parliament, the right-wing arguments were worth nothing, the Left-wing argued to send out an Ambassador like me to make first contact and the Centralists wanted to send out a communications probe first to make an overture and ask for etiquette rules. OH, how I can imagine those Centrists saying We told you so to the left wing when I send my report back" She sighed and looked at the Commander "You see Commander if the Left Wing politicians listened to the Centrists then we would not be here this soon and we would know what rules you govern the Federation by where telepaths are concerned, we have had centuries practice in learning to block errant thoughts in our own people, but as is proven here we were so unprepared for no-Trelan emotions, there is also a culture difference, I was trained by Left-Wing politicians who in their hubris thought our ships would off-set the lack of knowledge of the Federation, it did not" Shiara said to Commander Ral, then looked around.

"Prior to this we Trelan had no idea about such rules the Federation has, as I said first inkling I had was when the Commander took offence to the accidental reading I knew then that my superiors had no idea what they were doing. It is ironic really an advanced civilization thought in its hubris it knew more than a less advanced civilization, I do not want to be in the Parliament when they get what has transpired here the Centrists are going to have a field day" she said and stelled her red eyes on the Lieutenant "to answer your question Lieutenant if a similar thing happened on one of our ships, we would have sought a diplomatic solution before demanding a tribunal like the Commander wants, in the long run regardless of what happens here future interactions between our peoples will be a lot different. What has transpired here today has already arrived on Trelor and any future Diplomats will be wearing inhibitors when dealing with the Federation and other Empires in the Wider Galaxy, we are quick learners why do you think I had an inhibitor beamed to me after the incident with the Commander, just like you we make mistakes and we learn from them and to put everyone's minds at ease I cannot hear anyone's thoughts with this inhibitor on" she said and looked at the Captain.

"Well Captain Tyree, knowing the full truth and having witnessed both sides, the final say obviously is with you" Shiara said "I have said my piece and given you all a bit of history on what led to this honest mistake and as you have all heard I apologised, this inhibitor will remain on until I leave this ship, then it will be back on when I go to meet the Diplomatic Federation entourage" Shiara finished.

"So to sum up you are telling us that you are no diplomat at all. When an officer of Starfleet is given a first contact mission they read up on what is available about the species they are going to meet. As I did, as we all did. Now let me tell you something about me. I may look young but I am 240 years old. I am familiar with almost all diplomatic protocols. I know not much is available about your species but I also know damn well that our laws were made available for you to n read over. So either you are feigning ignorance or you are just that incompetent to read what is given to you. In short, ignorance is no excuse." If this alleged diplomat wanted to have it so it is here in front of everyone. Then Daynah would make damn sure that everyone saw how pretentious and ignorant the Trelor are.

Looking at the Commander "I suppose the insult you just gave is warranted after my accidental reading of your mind, but Commander Ral, in your 240 years you have the same hubris as the Left-Wing politicians on my planet have, so get off your pedestal and understand this, my knowledge and my people's knowledge of the Federation laws is not ignorance as you put it, it is simply lack of knowledge did you not comprehend when I said this First Contact is the first time the Trelan have made contact with the larger Galaxy and note this well Commander Ral the Trelan DO NOT have spies or scouts of any kind in Federation space and if we did they do not interface with alien technology to get the data you said we should know. Granted as a Dipomat I should have been given all the information on the Federation, but you cannot give what you do not have, I enjoy this sparring with you Commander Ral, but your anger is getting tiresome and when a person is angry they are not willing to listen, now I have said why my superiors do not know much, but let me make this clear to you Commander Ral the Trelan have come out of Centuries if not Millennia of self-isolation, so excuse us for not being up on current events, that is another reasons for this First Contact my people realise we are out of touch with the wider Galaxy and we need to start trading and our scholars need to know about this law you have where telepaths are concerned" she said looking at the Captain.

"Captain Tyree, is there any chance you could transmit a copy of Federation Laws regarding this telepathic subject to my ship please, that way they will pass it onto my people so the next wave of diplomats will be properly prepared?" She asked the Captain hoping the Commander will remain silent to allow the Captain to speak as he had a lot to digest, she felt sorry for him in this matter.

Frowning, Rhu looked at Dayna and said, "Commander. Stand to attention."

Turning to the ambassador his brow furrowed and he said coldly, "Ambassador, you have acted the bore as a guest aboard my ship. You seem to forget that I am not just Master and Commander of this vessel: I also speak with the authority of the President of the Federation in this dealing with your species.

Your actions and manner here today indicate to me that the Trelan are not ready to be fast tracked to friendship with the Federation. Further, I suggest your vessel return to your own space immediately upon your return to her. Valiant may not have much bight, but I can assure you the White Fleet will be a full meal. They are approximately three hours from this space as we speak."

Before the ambassador could say anything Rhu spoke again, steel in his voice. "A diplomatic missive will continue to be broadcast throughout this sector, as is the custom of the Federation in all unexplored areas of space so incidents like this hopefully don't have to happen again. But for now, get the hell off my ship."

Finally, Rhu said "Computer. Return to sender."

At the preset voice command, a transporter beam removed the ambassador from Valiant's deck. Looking at Dayna, then the rest of his officers Rhu said. "Well, that's done it. Yellow alert. Stations people. We're not done with this yet."


 

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