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Planning to Trade

Posted on Fri Aug 20th, 2021 @ 6:20pm by Captain Dirk Taggart & Lieutenant Commander Deannen Roinu & Lieutenant Commander Arianna Sky Kamar & Major Naomi Sylan Griffiths & Lieutenant Shri'Rao Sh'veqan & Lieutenant Commander James Trallos MD & Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart & Lieutenant JG Simon Hunter & Lieutenant JG Vespa Kale

Mission: Buyer's Beware
Location: Ready Room

Captain Taggart was seated at the head of the small conference room table in the Ready Room at 0845. Beside him was a steaming cup of black coffee and his trusty PADD. The meeting was scheduled for 0900, to discuss their plans for the upcoming visit to Tekram.

The next officer through the doors was actually both forms of Vespa Kale. One form had a PaDD under her arm, mostly for note-taking, while both of them had a rather plain but sizable mug in their possession. Plain white, with a phrase written on each one stating "Ask Her" with an arrow pointing to either side. Vespa had arranged her forms so that each mug's arrow was pointing towards her other form.

Such minor humour didn't warrant the look of absolute joy on her face as she took a pair of seats. "Good morning Captain. Finally got the replicators here to make a decent cup of svarta." she motioned to her mugs by raising them, and setting them down on the table. The beverage inside looked, moved, and smelled exactly like Taggart's coffee.

Except it was blue.

"Oh I've missed this," she mentioned, a bit of candour while it was just the two of them.

Addie walked through the doors and glanced around, a moment of trepidation crossing her face before she offered a quick smile. "Captain, Lieutenant," she said with a nod as she moved toward a seat.

Her Uniform was all neatly presented and wrinkle-free for now so with a Padd in hand she enters the briefing room and looks around "Good morning Captain *looks around* Lieutenant Kale, Hart" she said with a smile as she took her seat nearest the Captain.

Captain Taggart chuckled as he saw Lieutenant Kale's mugs, and enjoyed the humour of it, Good morning Lieutenant," he replied as he lifted his own plain mug in a salute before taking a drink.

"Morning." the pair intoned, then took a swig of their native beverage. Life poured into the pair, their eyes sparkled, their fur came to life, everything about them just woke up. Then the sip was over, and things relaxed. "Morning." her other form said, two new people meant two good mornings.

Shri'Rao came in next with a PADD in hand. smelled the blue coffee and smiled.

"It amazes me that we are so different and yet very much the same," Shri'Rao said. The Andorian went over to the replicator, "Raktajino please." She sat down and waited patiently sipping on her beverage.

Silently and without any fuss Major Griffiths arrived and took her place at the table she did not make too much noise as there was enough of the noise in the room with all the crew arriving.

The doctor trailed in behind a few moments later. He had a mug of very strong smelling coffee and looked worse for wear almost dragging himself in. "Morning Captain, Major, everyone." He said and made his way for a chair. He had not slept well last night and only called the Captain and Major, knowing they would be present and early. Everyone else would have to work until his eyes adjusted more.

"Good Morning Doctor," Shri'Rao replied.

Naomi had arrived quietly and had taken a seat nearest the Captain, well one which was not taken and was reading her Padd waiting for the meeting when she looked up as the ship CMO entered and greeted her "Hi Jim" she said with a smile and returned to reading her Padd.

Vespa smiled and turned one form to address Shri'Rao, "You know, you're mostly right. The Ts'usugi don't have anything like coffee. I know, horror." she giggled.

Shri'Rao smiled warmly. "Oh, the horror"! She said amicably.

"They discovered svarta through us, and then through exposure to the Federation, they learned that svarta also came in a black, bitter form: Coffee." another giggle.

"It's a blue as I am, how interesting," Shri'Rao remarked.

"Good morning Doctor." she gave him time to focus somewhere close to where she was.

Trying to look calm she entered, "Good morning everyone," Arianna said. She was anything but calm as the problems in engineering were keeping her from relaxing as Addie had told her. Getting a cup of raktijino she found her customary seat and sat.

Vespa gave Shri'Rao a pair of smiles, "I'll share the replicator database entry with you, you can give it a try. It's sweeter than coffee, though." a pause, "Though that's a low bar, that stuff..."

"... is bitter." she giggled, then paused and took a breath. "Okay, sir, with your permission I just... I want to get something out of the way while it's just us and we're all..."

"... still waking up. Lieutenant Commander Kamar." she paused, now putting the entirety of her attention on the Mostly-Klingon. "I am *SO* sorry for what I said..."

"... during the events in the nebula. I know, I know, not my fault, particulate interference with neural chemistry, such and such. No. I said some horrible things..."

"... and I want to make things right. We, we don't really talk much, you and I. Or even our departments really, but I don't want any meat between us. Meat? Beef? I ..."

"... I don't know the right slang to use here, but I just, I want to apologize. We're social creatures, so the thought of there being rooms in the ship that we can't go..."

"... in comfortably because the other is there rather worries me. I hope you can accept my apology."

"Blame it on the Nebula. I am not offended as I too were in a very angry state. I believe in forgiveness and so I forgive all as I hope all would forgive me. I was not myself," Arianna said.

"Morning all," replied Simon as he entered the briefing hoping that he hadn't missed anything, he continued, "Just been trying to sort out the new teams," as he walked over to the replicator and got himself a coffee; he finished, So, What have I missed?" as he hoped that he hadn't.

"Good Morning, Lieutenant Hunter. You haven't missed anything yet, but we will be starting momentarily" Taggart explained.

Looking over at the Pigeon that had just entered "hello Lieutenant Hunter, glad you could join us!" Griffiths said with a smile to show she was not being nasty with her words.

"Sorry Sir, I lost track of time what with the amount of paperwork I have to go through," as he also still trying to set up the roster that was a complete mess. but he had to get it sorted quickly and keep a check on things before they got out of hand. However; Simon had the fortune to be ready to ask the captain about a deputy chief.

Captain Taggart glanced around the table, this was the first official mission briefing with his crew aboard Pennsylvania, the steadiness of his voice and firm grip on his mug hid the slight nervousness he felt as he began speaking. "Good Morning everyone, as a former Security Officer, I understand the necessity of providing concise information and setting the expectations of operations within the mission parameters. I will answer questions in a few minutes, a copy of this brief will also be sent to your PADD's after this meeting."

He tapped a button on his Padd before continuing, "Three days ago, at 1700 hours, Earth Zulu Time, a garbled communication was received by the USS Pennsylvania. After filtering the message, and deciphering the message the contents contained a list of coordinates for a planet named Ketram. It is a planet that is host to one of the largest trading communities in this area of the quadrant. It also has several gambling dens, and rumours of an underground fight club as well. I reached out to the Trade Minister of Ketram to gather more details before making a decision. The Trade Minister said they do believe they will have some things that could help us re-supply. Because of the gambling dens, there is a planetary shield in place preventing transporters from being used, they also have the shields configured to limit communications, so here is what I propose."

The captain continued after swallowing a quick gulp of hot coffee," Due to the restrictions they have in place I want to implement several things if we are going to visit there. One, All transportation will be by shuttles, so Security I want us to have a team rotating through protecting our shuttles on the ground, two we will need to also rotate our qualified shuttle pilots through as well. I will volunteer to stand a shift, as needed. This will also be a good time for anyone who is not qualified to fly to get some training. Three, No one goes anywhere without a buddy, if you step foot on the surface, you had better have someone else with you, Lieutenant Kale that means you too," He said with a wink in an attempt to keep things light-hearted. "Four we will have a curfew of 2200 and conduct a full headcount to verify everyone is back aboard. I know this is a little restrictive compared to previous shore leave that you have been on before, but I want to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and returns safely. Does anyone have any questions?"

"They seem very secretive and obviously value their privacy, since we know nothing about this species, I would postulate that they are either xenophobic or that electromagnetic radiation adversely affects their bio functions. Shri'Rao said.

"Aye Sir, I will get to work on that rotation immediately," Shri'Rao said. "I also recommend we give a veridium patch to each person making planetfall. If there is any problem I want to make sure we can find our people." Shri'Rao added.

"Thank you for the suggestion," Captain Taggart replied, "But if we can't use scanners from the ship or handheld devices how exactly will we track this patch?"

"No scanners of any kind? Well then for the safety of all personnel I would suggest that we limit landing parties to what is necessary." Shri'Rao amended.

The doctor raised his hand. "Captain, I'll volunteer for a little shuttle training. I've got basic Starfleet shuttle training, so a couple of supervised runs would probably do me some good and give some of the veteran pilots a break for a couple of the runs. I would like to do a little shopping down there, but beyond that, I would be free for shuttle duty."

"Sounds good Doc, I was planning on going ashore then doing some shuttle runs, we could go ashore together then fly if you have no objections," Taggart replied.

"No objections at all Captain. Would be good to learn from someone with experience." The doctor said and took a drink of his coffee.

Vespa raised a hand to be recognized and waited for Taggart to acknowledge her. "There are a few things to be very much aware of while we're there. This is a merchant hub for the local cluster so expect to see walks of life from every..."

"... major and minor power out here. Ketram doesn't turn away many, so be ready to see just about anyone or anything. After all, everyone needs something. Just..."

"... be on the lookout for warning tabs. Merchants set up tabs as warning signs for what they're selling. Live samples, heavy radioactive, things like that." she paused, before her twin picked up, "I recommend everyone at least get some form of radiation inoculation before leaving. If the Slate is there, they'll be selling isotopes and feel that..."

"... we might be able to use, BUT they're immune to radiation, so they don't see the hassle in directly handling hazardous materials. Also, the place deals in ..."

"... physical currency. A common trade currency out here is called Matter 76, or just 76. It's cubic measurements of the element you call Osmium. Have some..."

"... on hand, the measurements are precise and regulated. Don't expect a bargain, but don't expect to be cheated either." she paused, almost dreading the next bit, it seemed.

"When we land, we'll be scanned. It will be the most thorough scan any of you have probably gone through." she looked up at Dirk, "They'll be scanning us..."

"... and the shuttles for Fera. They won't find any, but they'd vaporize the shuttles and the crew if they found any. Zero tolerance," she emphasized that part.

"Thank you for the insight Lieutenant Kale, Doc let's make sure the crew is inoculated before leaving. Are there any other questions or concerns? I know this is our first formal mission briefing but I'd like to hear from each of you regarding your thoughts or concerns," the Captain said hoping to hear more from the Senior staff.

Speaking up "I have shuttle training Captain, drop shuttles, but shuttles regardless, if you need a pilot I offer my services and it will be nice to touch terra firma again, last time was on that sunny beach," Griffiths said as she looked at Trallos.

He caught her eye. "It had a very nice view." He said with a crack of a smile. He still owed her a drink. He would need to get with Kale and see what they had down there. A place like that must have some form of food and drink down there. "Would be nice to do that all over again some time."

Taggert nodded, "Major, we will get you added to the rotation," he said oblivious to the flirtatious comment.

LCMD Rouni entered the meeting, after getting a drink from the replicator she sat down and listened.

"Most of that is intentional. The hub is shielded and domed so they don't really care how terrible the outside is. The storms and interference certainly do make..."

"... for a pretty demonstration, if you like superstorms," Vespa added with a pair of smirks.

"Thank you for the explanation, the shuttle will be a bumpy ride, but we should be fine. Remember this planet's entire economy is based on trading, so this is routine for them," Taggart said. He also made a note of the 2XO's late arrival and planned a follow-up discussion.

-Continued on Part 2


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