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First Contact Gone Wrong

Posted on 07 Sep 2019 @ 12:45pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale

Mission: Truth and Justice
Location: Deck 5, Starboard Observation Lounge
Timeline: MD 15 || 1500 hours

More than an hour had passed since the Runabout Mississippi had returned to the ship bearing representatives of the Scruna. The tour had passed quickly and the visitors were quite excited to see the ship. They'd asked many questions, curious to know how everything worked, especially since burning fossil fuels and creating steam were their best attempts at powering devices without common electricity.

The starboard observation room on Deck Five had been prepared for them during their tour. Normally, this area would be populated by off-duty personnel, but given the size of the aliens, a bigger space was needed than any conference room would allow. The visitors were now hovering over the buffet, looking at the different alien foods, and inadvertently gave Captain Geisler and Lieutenant Di Pasquale a moment to catch up.

"This seems to be going well," Harvey remarked quietly to the assembled officers.

"It certainly is, Captain," Camila said as she eyed the Captain of the Black Hawk and his Executive Officer. According to the memories that Di Pasquale had, the Chief of Security knew thirty-one ways to disable them both without drawing blood. Although there was no fun in that, she could also vaporize them with the Type II phaser on her hip, let the Scruna tear them apart, or torment them. An idea came to her mind from something the ombre haired blonde remembered from something called the Consortium and she smiled brightly at what she would do with it. "it certainly is, Captain," she said. "This has to be the best first contact we've had with such a primitive species in a while."

Harvey rose an eyebrow at the woman's choice of words. It was odd calling an advanced culture primitive, but nevertheless, the conditions the Scruna were found in were obviously less than favorable. "Did they mention anything about the Conflict while you were alone with them? Any reasoning as to why they're trapped on Penduli?"

"Their records were lost and everything got jumbled in their oral tradition, so the true facts are either vague or lost," Camila said loud enough for the other Scruna to hear. "I do know that they are friendly and eager to learn more and get off of Penduli. It's a pity we can't take them all. It almost seems like treason to leave them there when they don't deserve it, Captain."

The Captain grunted. Lost records. Forgotten memories. Until the Zone, he thought it would be impossible to ever see a repeat of humanity's Dark Ages where history was all but lost save for few fragments. "We are but one ship," Harvey confessed. "Federation law prevents us from being the decision makers, but we can at least see to it that these Scruna get a retrial. Sensors already picked up a handful of Guardian vessels waiting for us outside the minefield. Perhaps we can broker an agreement."

Camila looked over at the Scruna who were currently talking to Commander Teixeira, keeping him tied up with questions and then looked at Harvey. The Dolmoqour wanted to take the human by the neck and snap it because he never seemed to shut up. "Captain, we're talking about generations of trapped sentient species and if the sensors are picking up Guardians, then we're going to need allies. Imagine being able to use the tech on the planet to prevent the Guardians from touching us? What's the worse the Federation can do to you that hasn't already been done to us? We give the Scruna asylum and it's all good."

So many questions, Thiago thought. The Scruna were nice enough, but they were also very inquisitive. Somehow, he'd drawn the short straw and was the focus of their attention.

"How many on this ship?"

"Nearly eight hundred," Teixeira replied. "From dozens of different species and hundreds of planets."

"And the...warp engine...that allows for great speed?"

"It does," he began, turning towards the questioner. "The Black Hawk is capable of a sustained cruising speed of warp eight, though we can manage warp nine. Even faster for shorter bursts, mostly used for emergency situations."

As the questions continued, Thiago looked to where Harvey and Camila stood talking. Before he had time to be envious of how they weren't being bombarded with inquiries, he realized one of the Scruna was staring at him, impatiently.

"Excuse me?" Teixeira asked.

"The weapon systems. Show us."

"That's not an option right now, though I'm sure we can arrange something in the future. Can I interest you in some pão de queijo?" He motioned towards the basket full of little cheesy bread puffs. "One of my favorite snacks from my native land. What sort of foods do your people eat?" It was a simple attempt to redirect the conversation, but he hoped it would work.

"We eat many things. The weapons..."

"...we will discuss later, as I already said."

Harvey took note of the commotion across the room. Rather than continue with the Lieutenant, Harvey knew the best thing he could do at this moment was to plunge back in, but first he had to make sure his Chief of Security was on the same page as he. "Who's to say the tech on the planet can even get past the minefield?" Harvey asked Camila. "Besides, there's nothing dangerous about these people. At least, not that I've seen. Our mission isn't one of asylum. It's one of intergalactic security. So far, I haven't seen any threat to the Federation aside from naturally occurring anomalies. Perhaps if we can get the Guardians and the Scruna to talk, we can figure out whatever the hell it is we're doing here."

Camila watched the Scruna hassle the Executive Officer, then paced back and forth for a moment as she tried to decide what to do. Finally, she came up to him and leaned in as if to make her words for his ears only. Instead of telling him something vital, she whispered. "Pity is treason, Captain." right before she bit his right ear in a seductive manner even as she brought her right hand down to her phaser. "Take Teixeira!" she called out to the Scruna after releasing the Captain's ear.

"What the hell?" a stunned Harvey exclaimed, taking four steps backward. One hand rubbed his ear, and he wondered why the hell his senior staff thought it would be okay to whisper into his ear. Bast. Adan. Now Di Pasquale. What was it with these people?

He had no time to ponder their motives as he was left with the insanity of the moment. "You?" he demanded, drawing his type one phaser and aiming it at her. "After everything we've been through, you still gave in to the Consortium?" Harvey glanced over to the Scruna, hoping that Thiago had managed to avoid being manhandled.

Camila's phaser was in her hand and aimed at Harvey as well. "Come now, Captain," she said. "You're outnumbered. You should have expected it with all the hell you've put us through. Now put the phaser down and we can do this the easy way."

One of the Scruna had heard what their leader ordered and grabbed for the human. "Weapons. Engineering. You give us codes."

Confusion. That was the only way to describe Thiago's state of mind. He wasn't sure what had happened with Camila and Harvey, but the situation was not good. Especially now that the Scruna were trying to capture him. His first instinct was to try to rescue the Captain, but the likelihood that he'd be able to get across the room, let alone get past the Security Chief. Di Pasquale's skill with a phaser meant his chances were not good if he did attempt it.

He ducked the hands of the Scruna who was reaching for him. He jumped over the buffet table and sprinted towards the nearest door. He could hear at least one of the Scruna thundering after him. He approached the door and slipped through while calling out, "Computer, seal the starboard observation lounge and restrict access to just myself. Authorization Teixeira-gamma-nine-nine-three."

The computer made a small noise, signaling its compliance.

"Shit!" he shouted.

From Harvey's vantage point, he heard the door click and the forcefield raise. "Dammit," he muttered, realizing that he was trapped inside the room with the newfound traitor and their three guests. Harvey started to back away slowly, thumbing his phaser to a wide beam. He didn't want to fire it, especially since he didn't know if it would work on their visitors. Their stature clearly indicated that they might be able to withstand a stun blast. Anything higher, and he risked killing Di Pasquale on accident.

Something about this just didn't add up, however. Harvey had seen, and rejected, several proposals from his Chief of Security over the past few months. While he felt foolishly for rejecting them now, an attempt at mutiny should have been better organized. He would have expected stun grenades or conspirators... something more elaborate that what he was now experiencing.

"Looks like you're not getting away with this one," Harvey uttered to Camila, still holding the phaser high. "You and I both know that with the cat out of the bag, and one senior officer out of this room, there's no escape for you."

When Thiago bolted, Camila merely smiled. "Computer, erect forcefields in corridor outside of Starboard Observation Lounge at every junction, Restrict all Security functions to Di Pasquale Alpha Nine Six Four." she said while keeping her phaser on Harvey. "I don't know about that, Captain," she said amicably. "I have the senior officer of the ship in my custody and others from the away team are securing other parts of the ship as we speak. Oh, and your Executive Officer should be bouncing off a forcefield any time now, so we can do this the easy way, or the Dolmoquor way."

"Dolmo..." Harvey's voice trailed off, finding something familiar about the name. He blinked, trying to remember the details, until suddenly it hit him. "The suicides on the Vasco da Gama. Here I thought they were just fanatics in a cult. So what is this? Brainwashing? Are they behind the Consortium too? And what about the Away Team? Are we talking about everyone here?"

"Give me the command codes to the ship or I'll have the Scruna tear you apart by the time you can press the button more than once, Geisler," Camila said. "You can't take us all out and they're tough as they look." As if in agreement, two bared their teeth at him while the one that had chased Teixeira advanced menacingly towards him.

Harvey took another step backwards and glanced at the approaching Scruna. He considered his options, which seemed to grow fewer and fewer as much as he thought about them. Command override was not an option as he needed a second person in order to initiate the procedure. Auto destruct was the same process, and there was no way he could get Camila to agree to that.

For a moment, he considered suicide. It was a horrible thought, ending one's life prematurely, especially when he was either unable to guarantee the loss of his life would save his crew's. The thought of also not being there for the birth of his children, or even watching them grow up was heartbreaking. But he was a Captain, and a damn good one. He'd been tasked to find the threat in the Convergence Zone, and now here it was. Harvey remembered saving Camila from Deep Space 11 a few short months ago. Whatever it was that turned her had to have happened on the planet, and he now owed it to her and the rest of the Away Team to save them... however the hell that would work. If these Scruna could turn one of the most dedicated officers he knew so quickly, then the Federation truly was in trouble.

His options were running out, and the Scruna approaching him also drastically cut down on his time. The phaser seemed his only way out.. until the Scruna stepped in between him and Camila. Harvey had one shot, and he had to take it. He readied his phaser... and slapped his communicator. "Computer, site-to-site transport, configuration Geisler-Gamma-Nine. Energize."

Harvey Geisler was surrounded in a column of light. In a heartbeat, he was gone.

A scream tore from Camila's throat and she spit out words in Aketi, Standard and Italian as her parasite recognized the transporter sound. However, the Scruna was blocking her shot and she pressed the button on her phaser, shooting the hapless alien in the back. Fortunately, it was only a stun setting which the big ape shook off and glared over his shoulder at her.

She turned up the setting on her phaser after accessing the Chief of Security's memories, then fired at the door to disintegrate it. "The Captain is gone, but the Executive Officer should still be here. Get him!"

The three Scruna bounded for the door and she followed, tapping her combadge. "Attention all hands, Captain Geisler is working with the enemy and is not to be trusted. Apprehend him immediately!"

Hearing the announcement, Thiago felt better. Harvey had escaped. "Computer, full security lockout of Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale. Authorization Teixeira-eight-delta-zero-one."

The computer was silent for a moment. "That function has been restricted."

"Command override: Teixeira-seven-two-epsilon-zeta."

The computer sounded its compliance. "Command override accepted. Security lockout of Lieutenant Di Pasquale active."

He started to move and, as he approached a new section of corridor, he could see the shimmer of a forcefield. "Computer, deactivate forcefields on deck five, corridor fourteen."

The energy barrier shimmered out of existence a moment later and the Executive Officer hurried away from the observation lounge. I need to find Harvey, he thought as he ran. And figure out what the hell is going on.


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