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First Impressions (Alpha Trios IV, Part 1, Team One)

Posted on 02 Jun 2018 @ 2:06am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant JG Jazmin Parks & Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens Jr. & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper & Lieutenant JG Daniella Blake & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: The Search Begins
Location: Alpha Trios IV
Timeline: MD2 || 0915 hours

From his seat, Thiago watched Khan expertly guide the Mississippi towards the planet. Their destination was the domed area, but from the Black Hawk's scans no landing site had been located yet. "Go ahead and get us in closer, Ensign. Stephens, see if you can find a good place for us to set down."

"Yes, Sir," Kelly as she maneuvered the runabout with ease and made minor course corrections as they approached Alpha Trios IV. The modifications that Hawthorne had made to the Mississippi were a temptation to use, but this wasn't her personal time and the Commander may not appreciate it. Still, she felt the extra power that the craft wanted to use and vowed to herself to run a simulation on it when they got back.

Charles started to do a topographical scan of the planet. While a shuttle wasn't super big finding a suitable spot to land it was an issue. "There is a spot on the Western edge of the dome that looks suitable for landing. It doesn't appear it should be an issue passing through the dome."

Examining the site the Senior Chief identified, Thiago nodded. "Looks good. I trust that works for you Ensign," he asked Khan.

Kelly looked at the landing site on the sensors. "That looks fine, but shouldn't we ask for clearance? They may not be friendly to people just barging in on them.

"We aren't just barging in, Ensign," he replied. "Stephens, request permission to land. Send our flight information if they request it."

It hadn't dawn on Charles that these people had no clue who they where. Being in here is a whole knew beast. He started to send a request to land. He was expecting to be asked for more information. However he got a very quick response that he figured was an affirmation of his request. "Sir we are clear... I think."

"Take us down, Ensign."


=====

Once the runabout landed, Teixeira spun his chair around to face the interior of the cockpit. "Alright, everyone," he said to get everyone's attention. "Unless you have an objection, we'll split into two teams." He wanted to make sure that they were able to cover as much ground as possible. Operating in smaller teams also made them stand out less, thereby drawing less attention.

Jazmin didn't relish the idea of splitting up. There were, of course, pros and cons to either choice. Stay together and there's strength in numbers. Split up and the groups can move faster and cover more ground. Stay together and there's more people to worry about keeping safe. Split up and if there's trouble, they could get overwhelmed.

It wasn't her place, however, to decide whether to split up or not. The Commander knew what he was doing. She already began preparing herself, determining security assignments, planning on how the security team would best protect those in their charge. She wanted to stay with Cooper, but knew that it would be best to assign her to the other team. She looked at the two additional security officers, deciding which one to send with Cooper's group and which with her own.

She caught Cooper's attention. "Cooper, I'll take Alpha Team with the Commander, you're in charge of Bravo Team." She pointed to one of the security officers. "You're on Bravo Team." She looked at the other. "You're with me. Let's stay sharp, keep your heads on a swivel and let's make sure everyone gets home safely."

Cooper nodded and moved to stand with the others on Team Bravo.

"Thanks, Lieutenant," Teixeira said to the assistant security chief. With the security personnel assigned, he turned his attention to the remaining crew. "Blake, you're with me. Ensign, Bravo Team is yours."

"Yes, Commander," Dani said, unable to rid herself of the bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"Who is going to stay with the runabout?" Kelly asked. She was surprised that she had been picked to leave Bravo Team when higher ranking officers were present and did have an objection to the teams being split up, but she was an officer and would follow orders. "Also, shouldn't everyone have a phaser?"

"Did you not bring one?" Teixeira asked, patting his own holstered phaser. "Here," he said, opening a small hatch in the bulkhead, removing a phaser from the space behind, and offering it to Khan. "Did anyone else forget their gear?"

"Thank you, Sir," Kelly said as she accepted the phaser with a slight blush at not having brought one. She checked the power cell and put it back in the holster, then attached it on her waist.

Cooper shook her head, then glanced at her partner who shook his head as well. "Any specific instructions Sir?" Cooper asked the XO as she went to stand with the other security officer, an Vulcan Ensign named T'Lan.

Dani cleared her throat. While she hadn't forgotten her gear, she didn't make it a habit of carrying phasers even if the small woman could use one. "Forgive me, Commander, but I didn't bring a phaser, either. I'm not necessarily in the habit of wanting to hurt others given my field of work."

"Understood, Lieutenant," Thiago responded to Blake. "Stay close to Parks, just to be on the safe side." Looking towards Cooper, he continued. "As for instructions, Cooper, well they are simple: learn what you can. We're looking for information. Put your investigative skills to work."

Cooper nodded, not much more detail but never hurt to be sure.

"Alright team, let's go," he instructed, motioning towards the hatch with a movement of his head. He approached Khan. "Take your team southeast and then loop up into the center. I'll take mine northeast and we'll meet up in the middle."

"Yes Sir," Kelly said.


===[Team 1]===

Leading the small team away from the Mississippi, Thiago tried to establish a reasonable pace for the group. Not knowing how long they'd be on their feet, he didn't want to tire anyone out prematurely. "Anyone done any anthropological work before?"

Jazmin took in their surroundings before turning her attention to Blake, one hand resting on her phaser. "Stay close Blake, if there's trouble, I've got your back." She smiled at Dani.

"And that is much appreciated, Lieutenant," the petite blonde woman said, offering the Security officer a smile in return. Dani really didn't relist the idea of hurting anyone, but even she understood that it was a necessary thing sometimes. Granted, she didn't want to be the one doing the hurting, but that was because of her being a nurse. Then, there were rare instances where she felt as though she'd been backed in a corner, in which case, her only option would be to defend herself, and she would by any means necessary.

In the distance, a sound grew louder. A closer listen would disseminate the unintelligible sound into unsynchronized cheering, with multiple declarations, expletives, and booing, much like one would hear during a Parrises Squares match back at Starfleet Academy. These sounds ultimately came from a small field where children were competing against each other in some form of sport. The crowd around them cheered them on. Many of them held onto currency and valuables, with a lot of it changing hands every few seconds.

Jazmin stepped over to Tamar, the human security officer on her team. "Ensign, I don't need to tell you to keep your eyes open. With the amount of gambling happening, and us obviously newcomers, I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried pick-pocketing us. We're a bunch of easy marks."

She stepped back to Dani's side, keeping her eyes darting back and forth. Too many damn people here. We're screwed if there's a surge. For a moment she turned her gaze to the arena. Memories of darting through the alleys and back streets of Laibok on Andor. By the time she was 9, no one knew the routes of the contest better than she.

Shuddering at the memories of those lost years, she refocused her attention to her immediate surroundings.

As the team walked through the streets of the settlement, they were assaulted by numerous sounds and smells, some familiar, but many not. The visuals were both common, with storefronts, open air markets, people milling about, while also being foreign, especially when looking at the items for sale in the marketplaces and the people themselves. There were species who were unknown to Teixeira. Several of them in fact.

A hairy individual, roughly five feet tall, bumped into a crewmember. One hand held a fistful of credit chips, and the other had been empty. In a series of rude clicks, grunts, and throaty sounds, he let the black and grey suited individual know that they'd just blocked him from the perfect vantage point, and was now an obstacle to winning his lofty bet.

Jazmin reacted almost without thinking. She took two long steps, interposing herself between the alien and her teammate. She looked down at him, thankful that she didn't have to look up at him. Her hand resting lightly on her phaser she narrowed her eyes, a scowl on her face.

"Easy, friend. No offense intended."

One of them spoke! Growling and snarling at the black-clad woman with pale skin, the hairy man, who knew not what she was saying, stepped aside. As soon as he thought he was out of their eyesight, he looked at his prize which he obtained from one of their belts.

Jazmin turned and looked at the Commander. "Sorry if I overstepped my bounds, Sir."

The unease Dani felt was increasing as the seconds ticked by, and Parks definitely wasn't helping matters. She almost felt as if she'd be safer by herself wielding the hypo she mentioned earlier than hanging with the Assistant Chief. "I'd appreciate not getting murdered today, thanks," she muttered to the taller woman as her eyes fell to the hairy man that was smaller than her. Those credits he held in his hand would likely be useful at some point, and even if she were bigger than he was, she wasn't going to take them from him.

Beside them, there was a loud cheer, followed by a loud buzzer. Many of the players on the field huddled together to congratulate themselves as the spectators traded currency. The game appeared to be over, at least that's what it seemed like when many of the spectators turned and walked away.

"No need to apologize, Lieutenant. You're here for security after all," Teixeira replied. He looked towards the field and the dissipating crowd. He didn't know what sport had been going on, but he could see that a large portion of the crowd was heading their direction. "On your toes everyone," he instructed.

Jazmin nodded, appreciating the Commander's comments. She tapped Tamar on the shoulder. "Ensign, I want you covering non-combatants." She stepped away from the center of the group. Tamar could handle covering Blake and the others. After Blake's vote of no-confidence, she knew she had better switch things around. You couldn't keep someone safe if they didn't trust you. She didn't take it personally, if she did that, she'd never be fit to guard a shipment of tribbles out of sheer self-doubt.

She turned her attention to the crowd. "I wonder if they're heading to collect their winnings, or pay their losses? I'd keep an eye on your equipment, you may find your gear a bit lighter if the more, unsavory elements of that crowd thinks we have something worth stealing."

The throng of people neared and, soon, the Black Hawk crew found themselves in the midst of the former spectators. Teixeira tried to keep an eye on Blake while also trying to observe the herd of people. He wanted to make sure they could make contact with someone soon so they could learn more about how Alpha Trios ended up in it's present state. But that might have to wait, he thought.

The team continued to move through the crowd when Thiago spotted a person who, unlike everyone else, wasn't rushing off in another direction. Instead, the alien was standing near in the doorway of a building, observing the mass of people.

"Parks," Teixeira said loudly, wanting to be heard above the din around them, "this way."

Jazmin nodded. "Yes, sir." She too saw the alien the Commander had seen, and she headed towards him, careful not to outpace the Commander.

From his vantage point, the Boreiri cyclops eyed four strange newcomers walking against the crowd. No, they were walking towards him. This wasn't unusual; he was a shopkeeper after all, but his business came only after the spectators had traded their winnings. Obviously these weren't the gambling type, but he was. If he could someone get one of these indebted to him, he could sell the soul to the gamemasters for a profit and finally be able to pay for those upgrades to his shop.

Dani followed behind the Commander and Lieutenant, taking in the sights and people as she went. This place was certainly interesting, and not one she'd want to get caught in alone. Her eyes moved to the cyclops-like alien and tilted her head to the side. She couldn't remember ever seeing anything like him before, then recalled they were in a part of space that humans had never been before. The petite woman took a break and let it out slowly, preparing herself for something she was sure would be quite eventful when they reached their destination.

Jazmin scanned the immediate area, it didn't look like there were any others close by, but with the mixture of non-human species, it wasn't always immediately noticeable. She noticed a few things though, first he (she was only judging by outward appearances here) was a cyclops. Most cyclops tended to be more astute than other species gave them credit for. Just because they only had one eye, did not mean they were deficient in other sensory functions. In fact, many had vision that ranged into spectrums that other humanoids could not detect.

Secondly, the fact that he stood outside that particular establishment, and the way he seemed protective over the entry, led her to believe that it was his business. He didn't have the look of a guard or enforcer. No. He was the owner, she was certain.

Lastly, she noticed that even though he was seemed to be a shopkeeper, or businessman, he did not try to bring customers in. His business must either be specifically geared to operate during the events, or after. She wasn't sure which.

In a soft voice, she gave the Commander a quick assessment of her observations. "This place reminds me too much of the back-alley games on Laibok when I was a kid. I was good at them, but I never thought," she thumbed to the arena, "that I'd ever see people betting on kids like this. Our friend ahead probably can see a lot better than most will give him credit for. I'd wager, pardon the pun, that his business is more specialized than the general places that cater to relieving gamblers of their winnings."

Thiago nodded his understanding. They were here to get answers and the one-eyed man seemed as good a place to start as anywhere. As the team approached, Teixeira raised his hand and, in a human gesture of greeting, waved at the man. "Hello there," he called.

Like most in the habitat, the cyclops could not understand a single word the man leading the like-clad pack said. Was that wave a friendly gesture? if it were, he'd feel sorry for the group. If it wasn't, then, the next part would be more satisfying. Unable to answer the group in his own language, the cyclops entered his establishment and returned to behind the counter. Around them the shop were various items related the games that were played on the planet. The cyclops awaited to see what the group would do next.

"I... don't think they can understand us," Dani pointed out, though, she felt that should have been fairly obvious given humans had never been here before now. "The only known language in the computer's database is that of the Aketi. If we want to get anything accomplished, we should find an Aketi and bribe them into helping us."

Jazmin looked around the shop eyeing the wares for sale, trying to gather some sort of idea as to the uses of the various items. At least that's what she hoped to project. Actually she was keeping an eye out for any possible threats. They were in an unknown and, until proven otherwise, a very hostile environment. She had no intention of returning to the Black Hawk with anything less than the number of living breathing crewmen that she came with.

The shopkeeper followed the one called Parks as she shopped with her eyes. Perhaps this would would provide the most value. After all, her waist was adorned with several items. Clearly, she was here to stay. Reaching out with his mind, he had no idea about their language, but he could still make an attempt with sending a feeling of curiosity to the group.

Jazmin stopped suddenly, she suddenly spotted, partially hidden behind a large stone tablet, were a pair of gold bracelets. There were strange engravings on them and they were absolutely gorgeous. She imagined what they'd look like on her. She tentatively touched them, running her left index finger across the engravings.

Suddenly, she blinked. Focus, Jazzy! She turned away from the, instead focusing on her teammates. Still, what gorgeous craftsmanship.

The woman was met with a surge of caution from the shopkeeper, both from his telepathy, and then his quick move to intercept her.

Jazmin was confused for a moment as a wave of emotion hit her, forcing her to hesitate. As the shopkeeper moved to intercept her, she regained her wits and nimbly stepped aside, letting him go past her. Planting her right foot slightly back and at a right angle to her other foot she shifted her weight back. She was ready for another attack, her face calm and her body relaxed, although there was a certain tension to her that would remind anyone paying attention of a coiled spring.

She focused on remaining calm, hoping that she might keep the situation from escalating. "Easy there. I was only admiring the bracelets." She held her hands up in a friendly gesture. "No need for violence."

She was positive that the creature didn't understand a word she was saying, but hoped that her demeanor was understandable to him. "Commander, I'm really hoping that he doesn't force my hand here." She laughed just then, a short derisive bark that she cut short. "I wonder if we missed the Don't touch the merchandise sign?"

He did not understand her words, but he recognize that she was remaining calm. Perhaps this would be more difficult than he thought. How could one manipulate those that he could not talk to? Acting on a hunch, he picked up the item she had been admiring and held it out to her, giving her the opportunity to examine it closely.

Jazmin looked over at the Commander. "I guess he wants to make a sale or something. Not that I am in the position to buy much, not knowing the currency."

She did a quick mental review of her inventory, deciding if she had anything that she could spare if it came down to making some sort of trade with the fellow.

She eyed the bracelets for a moment. They were gorgeous. She didn't remember the last time she had seen something so beautiful. Kelly had given her a necklace back at the Academy. These bracelets were a very close second in beauty.

She relaxed her posture now that she knew the shopkeeper wasn't going to assault her. He held out the bracelets to her and she looked at them, then to the shopkeeper, then back to the bracelets. She smiled wistfully and then took them from his outstretched hands, she turned them over and over, admiring the craftsmanship, her fingers caressing the engravings. They were so beautiful.

She stifled a giggle. She had just the outfit these would go with, her black satin gown with the scoop back and sheer sleeves that she had bought during her last shore leave on Delta IV. Yes, these would be a perfect compliment to that dress.

She looked back at the shopkeeper with a questioning look on her face. She looked down at the bracelets, then back at the shopkeeper giving a shrug of curiosity. She definitely wanted them. She thought for a moment, then tried her luck with each language she knew.

"How much?" She spoke slowly, first in Federation Standard, then Andorian, then Romulan. She paused each time hoping for some sort of recognition of her words.

The shopkeeper could not tell if she was speaking one language, or multiple. Considering his options, he looked at the other three, specifically their clothing. One's outfit was collared in blue, another's in red, and the last two in yellow. The packs the yellow trimmed wore around their waist were certainly interesting, stuffed with various items, including what appeared to be some sort of weapon. Looking upward, he noticed all four bore the same badge. Perhaps this would fetch a fine price. He lifted a hand, and pointed at the badge upon her chest, hoping that the action would be indicative of a trade.

Jazmin sighed, it would have only been too easy if the shopkeeper had recognized even a fraction of those languages. It had been worth a try, at least. She turned her attention to what was obviously a trade offer. She smiled inwardly, keeping her face passive. He was pointing at her combadge. There was no way she'd trade it, besides she knew she'd have her butt handed to her by the Commander Tiexeira if she agreed to it. She thought for a moment. What to trade? She opened one of the pouches on her belt pulling out one of her two spare power cells for the phaser. She held it out, pointing at the bracelets in a trade gesture.

That item was certainly unique, thought the shopkeeper. Rather than take it into his own hands, he pulled out a portable scanner and waved it over the item. It was a power cell, a small one, and its energy source was much like what was used in these parts. Weapons weren't exactly permitted inside the dome, but with the right strings, this item could provide a meager profit. He nodded to the woman, and reached out to accept the item.

Jazmin smiled slightly, careful not to let too much excitement show through. She handed over the power cell. "Deal," she said slowly. Hoping that he'd understand the meaning behind the hopefully universal merchantile term.

She started to slip the bracelets into one of her pouches, but paused for a moment before she did, admiring the beautiful items and the exquisite engravings. She wanted to wear them, both for beauty's sake and the thrill of having gotten them. Finally she did tuck them away, then looked back at the shopkeeper, waiting expectantly.

The shopkeeper's eyebrow raised, surprised that the bracelets were not put on immediately. Perhaps there was some sort of uniform code that had to be followed with the similarly clad clan. His disappointment showed on his face as he moved to tuck away the power cell.

Jazmin saw the look on the other's face, and it was as if she could feel his disappointment. She looked over at the others. "I might have violated some sort of custom here," she pulled out the bracelets and looked back at the shopkeeper. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disappoint." Looking back a the others. "Perhaps common courtesy dictates I wear them out of here. I apologize for breaking uniform regs."

Inwardly she was squealing in delight. She had the chance to wear the beautiful bracelets and wouldn't have to wait until she was off duty to do so. She nodded at the shopkeeper and smiled warmly. "Thank you for the wonderful trade."
She slipped on the bracelets and it seemed to Jazmin that they had been made just for her. Holding up her right wrist she admired the gold against the black of her uniform.

When the shopkeeper returned from securing his prize, an Aketi and a hairy Triosian entered the shop, both laughing at an event they'd witnessed prior to arriving. The shopkeeper, keeping an eye on the four uniformed aliens, turned to give the new arrivals his attention.

It was clear that the shopkeeper didn't understand anything they had said, verbally at least. With so many unknown species, the likelihood of finding someone who they could actually communicate with was slim. Until now. One of the newcomers was Aketi. "Excuse me," Thiago said, approaching the pair of shoppers. "A few minutes of your time?"

Both the Aketi and the Triosians looked at the beings with matching pajamas. "Why would our time be valuable to you? What is it you want?"

Why am I even here?" Dani wondered, looking toward the two aliens when they spoke. She didn't feel as though her presence on this team served any purpose other than being dead weight. Of course, the petite woman knew why she was there. Orders. Something she followed whenever they were handed out, often times without question. But, this...

Standing behind Commander Teixeira and Lieutenant Parks, she watched as they interacted with the alien beings. Would anyone notice if she managed to sneak away to conduct an investigation on her own? Probably not. After all, it had already been proven she was easily overlooked, but Dani blamed her size on that. Maybe she should sneak away. She knew how to get back to the runabout if she needed to. A shake of her head was all she gave. In doing so would likely result in some kind of reprimand, so her best bet would be to remain the proverbial bump on a log she felt she was.

Jazmin's instincts were to get as far from the Ateki and Triosian as she could. By no means could she let them see her purchase. She shook her head fiercely. Get it together Jazzy! She casually clasped her hands behind her back and looked at Teixeira after eyeing the newcomers suspiciously. "Orders, Sir."

"What we want," Thiago said, responding to the Aketi, "is just some history of this planet. I'm particularly wondering about what happened here. That is to say, what made the dome necessary?" He smiled. "If history isn't your specialty, point us in the direction of someone who might be able to help."

The Aketi and Triosians looked at each other, slightly intrigued by the newcomers and their curiosity. While many on this planet would have ignored them, this group saw an opportunity. The Aketi glanced at the shopkeeper who gave a subtle nod before tending to a set of Golonites who were entering the shop.

"Come," said the Aketi. "Let's hit the bar next door and you can ask all the questions you want."


~to be continued~

 

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