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The Initial Settlers

Posted on Thu Jun 22nd, 2017 @ 11:36pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Claudia Ainscow
Edited on on Fri Jun 23rd, 2017 @ 7:41am

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Nova Mercia
Timeline: Mission Day 95; 09:00

Claudia had been invited down to the planet's surface to speak with the first colonists who had finally arrived. The nominated colonist who would serve as Nova Mercia's Prime Minister had sent a message up to the Vindex requesting Claudia's company and she decided to invite Akiva to join her to gain some experience. Tapping her commbadge on the way to the nearest transporter room Claudia requested her Executive Officer's presence.

=/\="Ainscow to ben-Avram. Please join me in Transporter Room 1 as soon as possible - I'd like to take you on an away mission to give you a change of scenery..."=/\= Claudia said.

=/\="Yes, ma'am. On my way."=/\=

Claudia waited patiently on the transporter PADD. It was nice to be going on an away mission without having to worry about taking any weapons with them - Claudia almost felt like she was missing something without a Type 2 phaser on her belt.

When Akiva entered the transporter room, he was simultaneously surprised and relieved to see the captain had no equipment, weapons, or even luggage in tow. It seemed their away mission would be a shorter one.

"Hello, Captain. What we do we have in store?"

"Good to see you Commander. The Prime Minister of Nova Mercia would like to meet me and I figured you could come along as well to get some experience in diplomacy" Claudia replied.

Akiva flinched, though he managed to turn his grimace into an uneasy grin. "Wonderful," he said. "I will be following your lead, just so we're clear."

Claudia then turned to the transporter operator - who she'd already given the co-ordinates for the beam-in site - and gave him a small nod to confirm they were ready to beam down.

"Whenever you're ready Chief" Claudia said.

Claudia and Akiva materialised just outside of a construction site in the planet's capital city. With the arrival of the convoy carrying residential modules and other building materials New Liverpool was growing at a steady rate. Taking a look around at her surroundings for a few moments she then gestured to Akiva that they should walk to the meeting point which was outside the under construction City Hall.

"The meeting point is a few minutes in this direction" Claudia said.

Akiva looked around at the growing community. It was equal parts modern and rustic.

"It's not unlike Hebron," he remarked. "Colonial modules have not changed much in the past few centuries it would seem. I imagine the amenities are much better though."

"I haven't heard any complaints from our former colleagues who have set up camp here so far. It's estimated the city will have around 5,000 inhabitants by the time the first wave of colonists have arrived by the end of the year - they seem to be doing a good job at having the residential zone ready for their arrival though" Claudia replied.

A few moments later Claudia and Akiva arrived at the meeting point where she had to do a double take. The man stood waiting for her in a suit and tie was none other than her mentor - James Grundy. She had no idea the retired Starfleet Officer had gone into a political career so soon after he'd chosen to leave Starfleet.

"Ah Captain it's good of you to join us. I see you brought a friend with you" James said.

James extended his hand to Claudia for a handshake.

Claudia returned the handshake before responding. She was pleased to be meeting with the man who had been her mentor and her friend so soon after they parted ways when Claudia left the Endurance to take command of the Vindex. It was only five months ago but it felt so much longer than that.

Claudia smiled. "I did. This is my first officer Commander Akiva ben-Avram. Commander - this is James Grundy. He was my CO on the Endurance until he retired earlier this year and taught me what I know now"

"A pleasure Commander" James said.

"Small world," Akiva said while shaking the man's proffered hand. "And shalom."

A petite Vulcan woman cleared her throat from behind the prime minister.

"And I'd also like you to meet our Trade Minister L'Nel. She has come all the way from Vulcan to take part in this rather exciting opportunity to govern a brand new colony all the way out here in the Gamma Quadrant" James replied.

The Vulcan L'Nel stepped around Grundy. "Well met." Her voice held the typical Vulcan equanimity, but she offered the Vulcan salute.

Akiva offered the hand sign of his people in greeting.

"It is good to meet you as well, Trade Minister," Akiva said.

L'Nel arched an eyebrow at him but said nothing.

"So...what can we do for you Mr Prime Minister?" Claudia asked.

James waved off the formalities immediately. He was never one for formal introductions or titles when he was around people he considered his friends.

"You and I are friends. James is fine - however I'd like to invite you to the first cabinet meeting which we're due to hold shortly. Seeing as your ship was the first to find the planet the cabinet would very much like your input. Both of you would be very welcome to attend" James said.

Claudia smiled. "Of course - would you like to come and join the cabinet meeting Commander?"

Akiva gulped. "Of course," he lied. The question filled him with as much dread and anxiety as a Borg scan. All the same, he fell into step behind the captain and the ministers as they entered the parliament building.

"Remember when I said this place was like Hebron?" Akiva leaned forward to whisper into Claudia's ear. "I take that back. Completely different on the inside."

Claudia smiled. "If I know Mr Grundy he'll have this place looking great in next to no time"

With the cabinet assembled in the meeting room Claudia and Akiva stood to one side as James prepared to address the cabinet. Claudia had considered a move into politics herself one day although she wasn't planning on retiring any time soon. In fact she was surprised James retired when he did.

Akiva did his best to appear confident yet reserved. If he managed to stand through this entire meeting without being noticed or called upon, he would chalk it up to a win.

"Welcome to our inaugural cabinet meeting. Today I've invited the two most senior officers from the starship who discovered this planet to join us as we discuss our vision to build a 24th century colony which works for everyone and keeps them safe. Our colleagues from Starfleet Headquarters here on Nova Mercia will be meeting with the Minister for Defence tomorrow afternoon to update us on their progress - however for now I'd like to open the floor to anyone who has any questions before we start" James said.

L'Nel immediately took the floor. "Thank you for opening the meeting, Prime Minister. I wish to remind the honored members of this cabinet, and our guests," L'Nel cast a circumspect look toward Akiva and Claudia, "that our dilithium stores are depleting quite steadily. In addition to dwindling food stores, we are finding ourselves in the precarious position of destitution." She pressed a few buttons on her PADD, activating a hologram display featuring various bar and graph charts illustrating her point.

"By my projections, without an uptick in geothermal generator plant construction and food production, our population influx will become unsustainable within a month's time. We will be perpetually dependent upon Starfleet relief supplies. Once that threshold is passed, our options will be severely limited, and rather than bargaining with other worlds from a position of strength, we will be begging for their scraps. No amount of production will overtake demand, meaning that the colony will either become indentured to others for basic necessities or declared insolvent."

The Vulcan deactivated her holographic displays to punctuate her point.

James nodded. "We are using all our available resources Minister however it would be unsustainable to use them all at once. We should exercise caution until we can actually sustain what we have. Until we have properly surveyed this planet we need to be careful"

"We need to utilize every resource now, not later, in order to give the colony the best leg to stand on in future development and negotiations. I move that we establish a cultural tourism center based upon this planet's one true resource: the Dulcite Mineral Entity. Many colonists have expressed a quasi-religious interest in the being. While we would not want to formally endorse such beliefs, such interest would bring wealthy merchants to our world -- merchants who would create utility functions and infrastructure rather than rely on us to do it." She arched an eyebrow. "Or to pay for it."

"Interesting - what do you make of it Captain Ainscow? After all - you have encountered it on up close and personal terms" James asked

Claudia shrugged. "Whilst I feel it is immoral to use the DME as a source of income I do feel it could be an option to those who are willing see it. I would however exercise extreme caution - if you would like me to I could attempt to communicate with it again and see how it feels about being a tourism hotspot"

"Are you sure about that Captain?" James asked.

Claudia nodded. "Of course"

Akiva's eyes bulged out of his head. "A word of caution, if I may," he said after clearing his throat. "Religious sentiments, even 'quasi' ones, may seem inert to our esteemed logical minds, but they can prove to be quite volatile. Would a cult truly be the best thing to promote at this time?"

L'Nel glared at Akiva. "What I move to promote, Commander, is our colony's culture. We have attracted settlers and pioneers, but what we need are merchants with deep expense accounts. Since we do not have a completed scientific survey as the Prime Minister already stated, I must work with what we have at hand in order to develop a culture from nothing."

At that, she turned to Claudia. "Captain Ainscow, I thank you for your offer, and I look forward to taking you up on it at your earliest convenience." Her eyes darted toward James.

"That is if my motion can get a second."

James nodded. "I'll second it - providing Captain Ainscow can communicate with the life form and gain its trust and approval. If she cannot get the latter then I feel we will have to look at other options"

"I'll do my best. I can't promise anything but as I've already had a dialogue with the DME then I think it could be a helpful factor. Ultimately however as the Prime Minister says if we are unsuccessful another option will need to be found. I'm not sure I would feel comfortable with it going ahead without its approval" Claudia replied.

L'Nel nodded. "That is adequate," she said before taking her seat.

"What are you going to do now?" Akiva whispered to Claudia.

Claudia turned her head in Akiva's direction away from the rest of the room as they continued their discussions at a much more audible volume.

"I will go and see the DME when the time is right. I need to prepare myself because it was a rather difficult experience the first time round. There's also the matter of how I'm going to put this point across without wanting to sound like we're taking advantage of it" Claudia replied.

Akiva shook his head. "I hope you know what you're doing, Captain."

Claudia nodded. "Of course"


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