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Ending the Plight

Posted on 26 Sep 2017 @ 3:19am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Joey Geisler

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Conference Room
Timeline: MD 6 || 1000 hours

After making sure Praava was safely aboard the Black Hawk, Joey personally escorted him to the conference room where these talks were to take place. Having worked with the Finneans for some time only months ago, she felt as though she should be there to stand in the Finnean leader's corner. Talks such as these were nothing new to her, as she'd witnessed many of them take place in the past, though back then, she remained silent for the most part. That wouldn't be the case this time.

"Please, take a seat. Can I get you anything while we wait for the others to join us?" she asked, giving him her complete attention. Joey had no idea how these talks were going to go, but she was mentally preparing herself for just about everything that might happen.

"Yes," the Finnean replied. "Get the Selubassari off my planet.

Joey didn't blame him for his anger... his hatred. His people were slaves... Federation personnel suffered the same fate all because of the color of the uniform they wore. "I am only one person Director Kazki," she pointed out, though she wished she could do that for him. "I'm fairly certain Commander Couric realizes that he's lost far more than he could have ever gained."

She took a breath and let it out slowly. "I understand your anger. I'm quite angry, too. Especially after seeing what I saw first hand. The Selubassari were holding our personnel and forcing them into slave labor. That does not bode well for them," she told the Finnean man as she sat down. "Please... I know this is going to seem impossible, but for the sake of your people, I ask that you try to keep a level head about you."

"Level head?" Praava said curiously. "I'm not certain about leveling my head, but I will remove Couric's if needs be."

"And the only thing that's going to get you in time to serve on a penal planet, then what good will you be to your people? Would they suffer the same fate they've been suffering already?" the Lieutenant asked in a calming tone. "We're here to fix the wrongs that were thrust upon your people, as well as others. What happened, no matter the debt, did not warrant being forced to work the way they were. Director Kazki... you have a duty to your people to keep calm... to keep them safe. I understand your anger, but this goes beyond you." And even if he didn't like it, it was the truth.

"I'm aware of that. You don't need to remind me of my obligation, of my duty." He finally took the seat offered minutes before, dropping into the chair heavily. "Your Captain Geisler, he is a good man?"

Joey nodded her head. "He is, and he is just. If anyone will be able to fix the wrongs that have occurred here, it will be him. You have nothing to worry about as far as Captain Geisler is concerned, I assure you. And I will remain here as well."

He considered the woman. "I have no choice but to trust you, I suppose," he resigned. "I shall not extend the same level of trust the Selubassari, however," he added quickly.

"At this point... it's hard for me to trust them as well," the Lieutenant commented. After all, they'd lied to her face about having Starfleet personnel on the surface, worked people to the brink of death, stolen Starfleet property with the help of Starfleet officers... that list just seemed to go on and on. Hell, when she put it into perspective like that, her inability to trust people at the moment didn't seem so horrible.

A few minutes later, the doors to the conference room parted. Captain Harvey Geisler entered the room brandishing a feign attempt to hide a scowl. Behind him was a security escort and the Selubassari Commander Couric. "Lieutenant Corwin," Harvey greeted formally as he directed Couric to a chair. "Director Kazki," he greeted the Finnean administrator. "I'm sure you remember Commander Couric of Svarog."

"Captain Geisler," Joey greeted in return with a respectful nod of her head before her eyes drifted toward Commander Couric. He was likely behind all of this... calling the shots... enslaving countless people. It was her incredible self control that kept her from launching herself across the table at him. Violence wasn't the answer here, though it would definitely make her feel better after what she saw inside those pits.

Praava said nothing, holding his tongue because he had nothing but curses to hurl at the barbarian.

"Your Commander Yuki has gone missing," spoke the fully clothed Selubassari commander. Though his entire body shone yellow, only his face betrayed the fact that he was cautious. Yesterday, he knew he was in control of Finnea Prime. The tables had turned in less than twenty-four hours, and now he was going to be lucky to leave with anything. "As she is not my responsibility, she will be yours to deal with, assuming you get that chance."

At least everyone now knew the reason behind Captain Geisler's disappointment. "But we are not here to discuss rogue Starfleet agents." Harvey instantly recognized the irony in his statement, especially since it was the Consortium deciding to evacuate Deep Space Fifteen months ago that brought Finnea to this very point today. "We are here to discuss and resolve Finnean matters."

So... Yuki was missing? Why did that not surprise her? Joey couldn't help but shake her head. The former XO of the da Gama wouldn't be stupid enough to remain on the surface of a planet that had just been overthrown, which meant she was likely on DS15. A slow smile formed in her face. Lieutenant Moreau was there now, and he knew what the woman looked like. If that's where she chose to hide, it wouldn't take long before she was found.

Joey continued sitting next to Director Kazki. For now, the Intel Chief would be silent while the Captain kicked off these talks, but there was no guarantee she'd stay that way. No... there were many things she wanted to say, and regardless if anyone liked it, she was going to say them.

"What is there to resolve, Captain?" the Finnean leader asked loudly. "This....man," he continued, pointing at Couric as he spit out the words, "is not welcome among my people any longer. Not after the things he's done. That he would continue to do, given the chance."

"You willingly signed the agreement," replied Couric sternly, the words resonating from the chamber atop his skull. "You knew full well the repercussions for assuming this debt, especially when failing to repay it."

"What exactly was this debt?" Joey found herself asking. Knowing the Selubassari, it was likely something minor that was turned into a huge deal, and the way she saw it, no debt was worth slave labor to the point where most individuals were nearly worked to death. And that, promoted her next question. "And why in the hell were Federation personnel down in those pits? You don't really need to answer that, though, because everyone sitting at this table already knows."

She kept her eyes locked on Couric. "You were afraid. Afraid that our Security personnel would take you down, and since you couldn't tell who actually belonged to that department, you chose to send everyone wearing a gold uniform down to the surface and force them to work," Joey snapped. "I'd say that worked out rather well for you in the end, didn't it?" Sarcasm oozed from each word.

Couric was quiet for a moment before replying. "The security personnel were a concern, yes," he admitted. "Director Kazki, I need not tell you how... important the cataclysmic event that occurred centuries ago is to your people. We have long wanted to study it, to find more answers. Did I exploit your greed? Yes. But you have also increased your world's output by twenty percent. Surely you can admit those numbers are favorable."

Harvey's eyes, once narrowed in disgust, widened in shock. He'd seen many things in his twenty years of service. Couric's words did not sit well with him. Harvey imagined they'd even make a Ferengi's skin crawl.

Like the Captain, Joey was clearly shocked. She didn't know which man she should look at after that revelation, and rather than appear as though she were present at a tennis match, the Lieutenant turned her attention toward Kazki to see what he had to say for himself.

Before Praava could insert any sort of bold reply, Harvey spoke again. "Exploitation is hardly what I would call it. There's a more apt description among my people, and that's called slavery. Digging beneath the surface of Finnea to find the cause of something that nearly destroyed a planet centuries ago, that's culture theft."

Couric turned to face Captain Geisler. "What you call theft, we call security. We believe what nearly destroyed Finnea came from the Convergence Zone. You are here, Captain, because you are convinced that a great danger is still to come from there. We hope to determine if there is truth to that claim."

Joey couldn't help but arch an eyebrow, her attention turning back to Couric. "And yet, you chose to force others to do the dirty work for you, some of which were on the brink of death had we not gotten them out of there when we did," she said with more than a little contempt in her voice. "If you were that determined, why not put your own people in those pits rather than exploit those who supposedly had a debt to pay?"

She wasn't done yet. Not even close. "Your people lied to our faces about having Starfleet personnel down in those pits, then were caught in that lie. They had no business being there in the first place," the Lieutenant snapped. Her anger was finally starting to bubble over. "You called the shots. You ordered our people down their to do something you were too lazy to do yourself. No matter how you try to slice it, you'll never justify what you've done. That planet, and anything beneath its surface, belongs to the Finneans."

And, she continued. "And it wasn't just the Finneans or our people you chose to abuse, and that's what it was. Abuse. Whipping them when they weren't moving fast enough for you, likely threatening to hurt their loved ones to get them to comply. You're disgusting, and your very presence makes me want to puke."

Impressive showing of anger, the Finnean leader thought, watching the human woman monologue on Couric. "Your words on our behalf, Lieutenant, they are valuable to me." He looked at the Selubassari. "You are not welcome on my home anymore."

"We do not need to be welcome to execute our contract," warned Couric. "And until the debt is satisfied, we will not be leaving."

"Your contract became null and void the moment you enslaved Starfleet personnel," Joey snapped. "Whatever debt you feel the Finneans need to satisfy is done. I will say it one more time, and have the Universal translator translate it in any language you wish. The planet, as well as anything beneath the surface, belongs to them."

"And where would we go?" Couric asked. "It will be at least a week before any of our people can be transferred off world." Looking at Captain Geisler, he added, "I doubt we will be welcome aboard Deep Space Fifteen."

"The hell you won't," Harvey snapped. "You've managed to overcome the station twice in two weeks. The second attempt is child's play compared to the first, seeing how the station was void of any security personnel, thanks to you forcing them into your labor camps. That's not something we can simply shy away from. And to think that we came in diplomatically first."

Captain Geisler looked to the Finnean leader. "Director Kazki. I leave Commander Couric's fate to you. I have cause to arrest him for crimes committed against the Federation. But, this is Finnean space, you have jurisdiction."

Shaking his head, Praava informed the Human Captain that he wanted nothing to do with Couric. "The Selubassari have been nothing but trouble. They are yours to deal with as you see fit." He paused a moment, giving Couric a sidelong glance. "I trust your punishments will be fittingly harsh."

"As harsh as the Federation will allow, I'm sure," Harvey said, nodding to Director Kazki before giving the Selubassari commander a scowl. "And the Selubassari on the surface?" Harvey asked the Finnean. "What of them?"

"You're welcome to them too," he replied. "Perhaps that large man of yours could....deal with them." The thought of the Selubassari being manhandled by the muscular Human brought some joy to him.

Harvey raised an eyebrow at the comment, and for a moment, he was greatly amused by the mental image of Lieutenant Moreau shepherding the Selubassari akin to an Earth cowboy and cattle. "It may take us a couple days, Director, to arrange for appropriate transportation."

The Captain then looked to his security escort and nodded to them. The ensign in command, having been given a directive from the Captain earlier to be ready to take them to the brig, acknowledged the signal by escorting Commander Couric and his fellow guards from the conference room.

At his current state of emotion, the Finnean was past the point of showing restraint. As the Selubassari were ushered from the room, Praava caught Couric's gaze and offered him a gesture that, among Finneans, meant something quite untoward and impolite.

"Director," Harvey said. "I cannot apologize enough for how we got to this situation, and I know words mean nothing at the moment. Just know that the Federation stands ready to assist Finnea Prime in any way possible."

"Thank you, Captain," the Director said, turning towards the Human. "I am not sure how things would have occurred without you here." He walked to one of the large windows and looked down at his planet. "There is one thing I can think of, right now, that you could assist us with."

"Anything," Harvey said. He placed both of his hands on the table and leaned forward, hoping the gesture would emphasize his willingness to help.

"There is a Federation device of some sort," he began, his eyes still fixed on Finnea Prime. "A probe, I'm told."

For a moment, Harvey's senses were suspended. The sound of the ship's air circulators, the whirr of the gravity generator below the floor, even the slight vibration of the engines in the deck plating all disappeared. It. Was. Real. Of course, even up until now he believed all of the reports. An eye witness was still stowed away on board the ship, as was evidence of its existence on security footage. But, this was the first time it had been explicitly mentioned to his face by someone not his crew. Harvey quickly fought to regain his composure. "What of it?" Harvey asked, his tone soft and quiet.

"I require that you relieve my people of it," he said turning back around. "It has brought too much trouble to us."

"Captain, if you would like, I will return to the surface and retrieve the probe and bring it back here," Joey offered.

"Consider it done," Harvey said with a nod to Joey. "Our personnel have also seen the dig sites and the condition of your people. We will offer all of the medical and replicator resources we have to treat your people and help you restore your civilization."

"Director Kazki, should you need anything, don't hesitate to contact me. As long as we remain here, I will offer any kind of assistance I am able," the human woman said as she rose to her feet. There was a probe to retrieve, and the sooner she got it back onto the ship, the better. She turned her attention to the Captain. "I will return with it and personally deliver it to the Science labs. You will be notified of my return immediately."

Praava was grateful for the Lieutenant. Unlike the bastard Selubassari, she was polite. Very attractive, for an alien, he thought.

"Is there anything else, Captain?"

Harvey shook his head, confirming they were indeed done. "Lieutenant Corwin will happily escort you back to your ship. Again, we stand ready to assist. We'll have supplies ready to beam down to locations of your choosing within the hour."

Joey gave the Captain a polite nod. "I will be in touch soon," she said as she rose to her feet, then looked to the Finnean leader. "Director Kazki, if you will follow me, please? I'll see you back to your ship and relieve you of the probe. Hopefully, you and your people will begin to see things getting back to normal soon."

The Finnean man fell into step behind the Starfleet woman.

Harvey watched them both leave. When the doors closed, he was alone in the conference room. The Captain turned his chair so that he could face out the window where Finnea Prime slowly turned as the Black Hawk continued its orbit. Harvey's plea to the Director was genuine. After all, Harvey had a feeling it was his probe that started this mess and caused so much strife with the Finneans. He wanted to do everything he could to repair the damage, no matter the cost to his ship.

He took comfort in the fact that he would soon have the probe. At last, he'd have a chance to see for himself what had caused so much trouble, and try to figure out why it was sent in the first place.

 

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