Posted on Wed May 3rd, 2017 @ 6:52pm by Commander Nicole "Nikki" Redex MD & Lieutenant Commander Akane Nokitsune Psy.D. & Commander Robert Patton & Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes & Lieutenant Junior Grade Taavis & Lieutenant Junior Grade Kirara Amanogawa Ms & Vice Admiral Chris Barks
Timeline: MD 4 08:30
The transporter finished the cycle and the away team was on the planet. Admiral Barks was a little surprised he was expecting a welcoming party to arrive.
Centurion Rekar, upon seeing Starfleet arrive, stepped forward with a Tal Shiar soldier on each shoulder. "Greetings, Admiral Barks. To you and your gallant crew." His eyes darted around to each member of the outsiders then back to Barks. "Welcome to Romulus."
Taavis kept her eyes neutral, stealing occasional glances at Rekar, but more interested in their surroundings.
Byrnes, once they materialized, took in the small market they were in, head slightly moving this way and that to take it all in.
Patton looked over at the Admiral, then at the Centurion. Then, Patton took a look around the area and took in a deep breath, and smiled. He then looked back in the direction of the Romulan Centurion and raised his right eyebrow in an complimentary manner.
The team had beamed into the capital square at the base of the stairs that led to the Senate Building. There was an outdoor market set up in the square with a variety of goods being sold and traded. Nikki glanced around then looked at the ominous building in front of them. The architecture was like nothing she had ever seen. She turned her focus to the Centurion and his guards.
Upon seeing Starfleet arrive, and Rekar doing his duty to the Empire, the Senator stood from her table and immediately her staff kicked into action. Her purple baldric marking her as a senator was brought out and placed over her shoulders and clasped into place, the other patrons of the establishment showing surprise as they had never realized she was in their presence. Grinning inwardly the Senator adjusted herself and then walked over to the party.
Byrnes stepped up next to the Admiral, leaning close and speaking low. "I wouldn't doubt there is Tal Shava among the crowd, Sir."
"And, he would not be incorrect," the woman said as she approached, actually giving a warm grin. "Senator Taris, Admiral. Jolan Tru, to you and your away team." She gave a lazy pointing toward Patton. "Diplomatic Officer, I'm sure." Then the lazy pointer went toward Byrnes. "Security Chief. A well-trained one, if he knows Romulan practices." She made no effort to hide her brief glare at Taavis, then the eyes came back to the Admiral and his Diplomatic Officer. "How do you wish to proceed?"
Patton moved closer to the Admiral. " Sir," He began in a quiet voice, " Perhaps a little bite to eat? Full participants generally make better negotiators than hungry ones." Patton turned back towards Senator Taris and smiled.
Kirara took the opportunity to bow to the Romulans as her superior officer began to converse with them. She waited inc case she needed to pipe in.
"Senator, I would like to request that we sample the local cuisine, if you don't mind. I haven't ever had properly made Romulan food." Admiral Barks stated.
Nikki quirked an eyebrow at the suggestion of eating. She had never had Romulan food either. She hoped it wasn't as gross as Klingon food.
Senator Taris gave them all a once over, a slight grin forming in one corner of her mouth, not unlike that of her half-sister. Her head tilted slightly in acceptance. "That can be arranged, Admiral Barks." She looked over at Rekar, gave a nod, and he began tapping away on a PADD. "There is a bistro on the other side of the capitol building used by senators, their staff, and high ranking military officers. It may make you uncomfortable but it is the most secure place to have a..conversation."
Secure my ass, thought Shack. If it was a place where the better-than-thou's gathered then it stood to reason that it was bugged beyond belief. He would have to make sure through body language and eye contact that no one leaned in and tried to speak quietly to a member of the away team. It would all be scrutinized. Glancing around a moment, spotting a small eatery near to the wharf, Shack looked at the Romulan official. "Senator Taris, pardon the interruption. What about that place?" He motioned towards the intended business.
Taavis, taking a cue from that, spoke up as she took a step forward. "Jolan Tru, Senator Taris." She was met with an even gaze from the politician. "To keep all things diplomatic, and as guests on our first visit to Romulus, we ask that we be allowed to pick the location for the meal. I find the choice of venue agreeable to our needs." Looking away from Taris, she looked to Shack. "An excellent choice, Commander Byrnes."
You didn't have to be a Betazoid to feel the tension in the air. Nikki glanced over to Akane and wondered if the Counselor felt it, too.
Akane was looking back ...shivering a little from the ice in the air. She gave a nervous glance at Nikki before trying to smile again.
Patton spoke up. " This is a nice place you have here, Senator. I wish I had brought my camera."
Kirara smiled. "I always felt a painting would do more justice, Sir..."
Taris gave a nod to Patton. "The beauty of Romulus is, in my opinion, unparalleled. Any such images taken would be confiscated for security reasons, Commander. However, I am sure it can be arranged. The only request I have in regards to these images is that you use them to show the rest of the Federation that we are not the pointy-eared devils we are made out to be." An ever-so-slight grin appeared briefly. "After all, history shows that if it were not for my people then all of you would be arriving as subjects to the Dominion."
Patton smiled at Taris's remarks. " Past history is in the past. We, ( Patton waved his arm at both groups ) Are working on the future. When we are finished, I'd like our histories, and the young people that are here, ( He pointed first at Kirara and then at an young Romulan watching from an distance ) when they are our age to remember us with an ' They started this... ' and not with an ' Why did they do that? ' "
"Agreed," responded Taris. "And, why I will accede and change our diplomatic meal to that small restaurant you have pointed out." She looked to an aid and gave a nod, the subordinate nodding back and silently stepping away toward the eatery. "We shall shuffle over for conversation's sake. As you can see, that," she raised a hand and pointed at a massive columned, cylindrical building with an arched ceiling. "Is the senate building, and seat of the Rihannsu government." This time her grin was real, a bit of mirth in the eyes when they came back to Patton and the Admiral. "But..I'm sure you already knew that."
Patton looked at the Admiral before commenting. " Beautiful building. "
Kirara smiled "Not bad....It must shine with the stars at night.."
Patton looked back at the building, then at Lt. Kirara and slightly smiled at her, and then looked back at the Romulan Senator. " No one know's everything, Senator Taris. Knowledge usually opens doors to understanding and co-operation. It's is 'our' hope that it will happen here also." Patton fiddled with a little box in his pocket.
Admiral Barks liked seeing his second officer fulfilling his primary role. It pleased him. It seemed things were going well.
Taris gave nods as Patton spoke, to show that she was listening, her light-hearted appearance still holding strong. She was, deep down, pleased that events were proceeding in a friendly manner. Well, as friendly as could be allowed while in the seat of the Empire. "That, Commander Patton, is the reason for this unorthodox meeting between our respective governments. Lack of knowledge in the medical arts can be the catalyst to a civilization folding under pressure."
"I was always under the impression that Romulans had surpassed the Federation in both medicine and science," Nikki spoke up as the group entered the eatery.
Switching her eyes from Patton to Redex, Taris gave a bow from the neck. "We have surpassed all our neighbors in both those fields, Lieutenant Commander Redex. However, as you well know, both disciplines require knowledge in a multitude of areas. Some areas we excel at, others, we are...on par."
"The demands of your culture dictate that you will always fail in certain areas, Senator Taris." Taavis said this, not in an accusing tone, just matter-of-fact.
For her part Taris kept her eyes on Nikki, apparently ignoring the jab from Taavis.
Nikki was a bit surprised at Taris admitting to the Romulans lacking in some knowledges. Everything she had heard about them indicated they were an arrogant species. The fact that either what she had heard was wrong or they had learned humility out of necessity and changed was a good sign. It also explained why this meeting was taking place. Not being much of a diplomat, Nikki made an effort by saying, "I hope that we can share, equally, in those areas, Senator."
"As do I, Lieutenant Commander Redex." Taris gave a nod of respect. "The medical arts have always been a priority for the Romulan government. A healthy society is a productive one." She then seemed to think on something a moment, then looked to Nikki once more. "Are you the Chief Medical Officer, madam?"
"I am," Nikki said with a polite smile, which suddenly felt out of place since no one else seemed to be smiling.
A woman...not a full blooded Romulan...approached the group and gave a small respectful bow. Without making eye contact she said something the UT couldn't translate, turned, took a few steps then looked back as if wanting the group to follow her. She gestured toward what appeared to be a secluded room at the back of the restaurant, then she bowed again and continued on, looking almost fearful of the Senator and her entourage.
Taris, upon hearing the woman speak, spun around to be led to their niche. Her eyes scanned the restaurant as she went, her old soldier attitude taking in exits, obstacles, and people. Which, she noted, were now missing. There were no other diners left within the establishment. Taris came to a stop, which left Barks and Redex standing just behind her with the sudden halt. "Rekar." When the Centurion stepped up Taris gave a chin motion toward the staff member that had set up the restaurant. "Make sure that one gets sent to the furthest posting in the empire, a dark little corner where he can contemplate the folly of his ways."
"As you wish, Senator."
Byrnes overheard, not like the Senator was being quiet about it, and had to admit that the reason he had brought this place up was due to the number of patrons who had been here. Now, it was empty except for the diplomatic party. So much for observing the Romulan life in its purest form.
"Wow," Nikki whispered, shocked at what just took place. If you weren't part of the high and mighty you were, basically, slaves. She was no longer fascinated by the Romulans. Now she was repulsed by them and their ways. How could any Human not be? Earth had gone through many periods where slavery had been an issue. Either because of race or gender. They were dark times and dark blotches on Earth's history but, thankfully, they had been overcome and no where on Earth...or any Federation planet...was the practice of slavery or domination to those not born into "royalty" or fortune. She was reluctant to take a seat at the table they were led to. She wanted to leave this place and not come back but she knew she couldn't do that without casting a diplomatic shadow on their mission so she sat down, quietly.
Byrnes caught Nikki's eyes a moment, they were stoic. Not looking at anyone or anything. If he read that right something had upset the Doctor, but he kept it to himself and sat near to the Admiral.
Chris smiled and rose and said, "Senator, I hope this is the first of many dinners that Romulan and Starfleet have together."
Nikki, silently, picked up the glass...or cup, as it were...and sniffed at the liquid inside. It smelled sweet so when the others drank to the toast she took a small sip then set the glass back down and began moving her food around her plate to make it look as though she was eating as the others talked.
Chris finished the toast and said, "Senator, its tradition for us to start negations over a meal, to help the proceedings along. If there are no objections I think we should get started."
The Senator's aide handed her a tablet and said, "the topic itinerary, ma'am," he said.
A young man....another cross bred Romulan...came over to the table and said...without making eye contact with anyone, "may I suggest the Jumbo Mollusk? It is fresh. Also the vilnerine is quite good."
Chris said, "I will have some, thank you."
Patton nodded with an smile. " Sounds good to me as well. "
"Bring everyone the Mollusk," the Senator commanded.
"As you wish, Senator," the young man said, still without making eye contact. He bowed and backed away from the table then disappeared.
"We have been in contact with sources that can procure some of the medical supplies we require on Molos," the Senator said, getting straight to the point. "Also...the mining colony on Agaron would be willing to provide us with the ore we need to manufacture the hulls of our ships since all of our mines have been depleted. Unfortunately both suppliers are unwilling to venture into the Neutral Zone to transport the supplies here. And our freighters face being attacked by Federation ships patrolling your side. We need to arrive at some sort of resolution as our current methods of transport are becoming costly due to the illegality."
The young man arrived back at the table, followed by two females, all carrying trays of food. They set about placing the dishes in front of each person at the table.
Admiral Barks took some food and said, "What about we have have starships sitting on our side of the border and we assure the friegthers that they won't fire unless to defend the freighter or themselves?"
Commander Patton whispered to the Admiral. " Itchy fingers. "
"What do you mean, Commander?" Chris whispered back.
Patton leaned in closer to the Admiral. " Just that whom ever we send there will have to know why they're there, and not to start a war. The ships and Commanders will need to be carefully scrutinized for this mission. "
"I understand, Commander. We will take the first two weeks, Senator." Hoping that would help things.
"We do not wish our freighters to need a Federation escort," Taris said as she took a bite of her food. Spitting it out she yelled, "this is unacceptable. Remove it," and shoved the plate away so hard that most of its contents spilled onto the table.
The young man who had brought it, hurried over and began to clean up the mess, apologizing, repeatedly.
Outside of the restaurant, a crowd began to form of citizens shouting and chanting, "no Federation!"
Nikki, still startled by the Senator's outburst looked at the entrance of the restaurant, nervously.
Patton took a bite of the fish and wolfed it down. He then turned to Taris. " I find the fish excellent, can't wait to try it with some of my Mom's relish at another time." Patton then looked directly at Taris. " Nice move, the 'plate shoving and exclamation ' and the 'sudden appearance' of an shouting crowd."
Taris turned and looked at Patton. Raising one eyebrow she said, "I assure you, Commander...I did not plan the...as you said...sudden appearance of a shouting crowd. There are, unfortunately, several factions that do not agree with the Senate's decision to enlist the aide of the Federation for both political and economical reasons. It seems that one of those factions has formed a public demonstration upon hearing of your arrival. As to my distaste of the Mollusk...that also was not planned so I am hoping that you are not implying we are being duplicitous."
Patton looked at the Senator. " My apologies, Senator." Patton slightly smiled at her.
Admiral Barks asked, "Do these protests every get violent, Senator?"
As if on cue the front window of the restaurant shattered as a large rock exploded through it and bounced off of as nearby table.
Byrnes stood up and placed himself between the Admiral and the now shattered window, his boots crunching the shattered bits beneath his feet.
Nikki looked at the Admiral and said, "maybe we should leave, Admiral. Preferably through the back door."
Chris agreed and asked, "Senator, where can we leave safetly from this crowd?"
Akane and Kirara got up slowly...standing near Chris and Patton respectively...in a protective maternal way, looking to see what the next plan was to get them to safety.
Centurion Rekar had tapped a key when the crowd showed up, and after a few minutes wait there were shouts of fear now coming from the back of the crowd. The mob was beginning to break up with the appearance of armed troops to protect the senator and her guests.
Taavis had stood and taken a step back from the table, getting jostled by the crowd. Without intention she was pulled and pushed this way and that as she was separated from her own crew. Getting next to a wall, a doorway niche, Taavis continued to watch the crew as best she could. The door opened suddenly and a pair of hands pulled her inside, and then just as quickly she was shoved back out again.
Inside the building the door was closed and locked as she was hit with a hypo, and as Taavis went to fight back she was held in place, in the dark, until she felt her mind sliding into its own shadow realm. "No..." Just before she slipped into unconsciousness Taavis thought she saw herself step back outside.
Admiral Barks noticed that his intel officer was missing. "Doctor Redex, find my intell officer! Senator, where could she have disappeared to?" He was upset now. He was close to calling the Eclipse.
Nikki pulled her tricorder out of her kit and set it to scan Taavis's signature just as another crash of breaking glass echoed through the room and it was suddenly filled with rancid smelling smoke. Waving her hand to try and clear the air so she could see and coughing, she tried not to gag from the putrid smell. She followed the tracker blip through the smoke and came to a stop at what appeared to be a solid wall of brick. Holding the tricorder up she moved it along the wall but could find no entrance. "Admiral....she's behind this wall," Nikki said and choked as more smoke swirled around her.
Akane tried to get Nikki to lower her body. "Down..smoke rises.." She whispered. She then calls out. "Taavis...this is Akane...can you hear us? If you can...respond..so we know you're okay!"
Taavis, hearing the voices calling her name somewhere to her left amidst the crowd, shouldered her way over toward the Starfleet personnel, as she had been instructed and trained to do.
Nikki squatted down and pulled the front of her collar up over her nose and mouth. It helped a little but didn't stop her eyes from burning.
"What is that smell?" someone called out through the smoke as another crash came from the front of the restaurant and this time there was an explosion. Debris showered down on the group.
Byrnes had grabbed the Admiral and made his superior duck as the explosion went off, using his own body to shield the CO from any shrapnel. Thankfully, none hit either of them.
"This way, Senator," Rekar said, calling to Taris from a side entrance to the building. A stove in the kitchen exploded as flames connected with the fumes of stove gases.
"Admiral....you and your team must follow me," the Senator said, grabbing Barks' arm. "We will hunt for your missing officer later when the mayhem has been contained."
Chris didn't like it, but agreed he didn't want to have anyone else in jeopardy, he said, "This way team!"
Patton looked around the crowd before slightly nudging the Admiral. "Darn if this isn't an ' flash back ' to Academy training. Lead on Admiral, want me to take the end?"
Chris said, "Yes, go Commander! He then moved on towards the nearest building."
George shouted, " Lieutenant Kirara, you're with me! We round out the end of the line.."
Kirara nodded. "Right away Sir!" She followed quickly.
"What about Taavis?" Nikki asked, still trying to figure out if there was a door that led to the other side of the wall. "We can't just leave her."
Multiple explosions could be heard coming from the street.
"I'll have the Eclipse beam her aboard." Admiral Barks tapped his comm badge and said, "Commander Quinn, can you locate Lieutenant Taavis?"
Locate? Cassandra thought to herself as she sat erect in her seat. "Standby, Admiral," she said and tapped the comlink on the arm of her chair. "Eclipse to Runabout....what is your position?" she asked.
"I have just cleared the atmosphere and will be landing just outside of the city in 3 minutes," came the response.
"Do you have a lock on Lt. Taavis?" Cassandra asked.
"Negative, Eclipse," came the response from the pilot. "At least not all of her."
Cassandra's brow furrowed. "What does that mean?" she asked, her hand white knuckling the arm of the chair.
"It keeps fluctuating. Something is interfering with the signal," came the answer. "I am unable to establish a 100% lock on Lt. Taavis, CDR Patton, Dr. Redex and Counselor Nokitsune."
"Keep trying," Cassandra said, "Eclipse out." Then she tapped her combadge. "Quinn to Admiral Barks. That's a negative, sir. I have had to move the Eclipse out of range due to two Romulan Freighters who insisted we move away from the planet or they would see our position as an act of aggression. They gave us permission to send a shuttle to the surface to transport our Away Team. The runabout has a transport lock on everyone but Lt. Taavis, CDR Patton, Dr. Redex and Counselor Nokitsune due to some sort of interference in the signal," she reported. "The Eclipse's sensors are more sensitive than those on a runabout," she said, to know one in particular. "We need to get closer to the planet."
Admiral Barks said, "Move the ship in Commander. If you receive resistance, tell them you are now on a rescue mission. I have confirmed with the local authorities and you are clear for the moment, Commander!"
"Aye aye, Admiral,"Cassandra said from the Bridge of the Eclipse and gave the order to the helm to move back to their previous position.
With reluctance, Nikki allowed herself to be guided out of the smoke and flames. Once she was outside and they were all clear of the building she used her sleeve to wipe the soot from her eyes so she could see and opened her kit. "Is anyone injured?" she asked as she went into physician mode.
Patton looked around the area. " Not back here, " he motioned where he and Lt. Kirara were bringing up the rear.
Admiral Barks said, "I'm fine, doctor, thank you."
Lt Kirara was looking around nervously...shaken and worried if everyone had gotten back okay. "That...went bad fast....is everyone..okay?"
Making her way through the crowd, being jostled like everyone else, Taavis stepped up to the group as she too covered her face with an arm. "I have no idea what just happened, but I had to make my way around that wall. The smoke and mob make speedy movement impossible."
Senator Taris was surrounded by Romulan shock troops, who were also moving into the restaurant to secure the Starfleet personnel and get them out of a burning building. Fire teams arrived, the crowd now moving out of their way since Romulan emergency services would roll right over citizens who refused to move and allow them to do their duty.
Rekar was alone for the moment, finding a moment to lift his arm and check the electronic bracer under his left sleeve. The small dot blinked red so he cleared it and set the bracer in standby. Taavis was secure and being seen to. His replacement for Taavis merely had to play her part long enough.
Rear-Admiral Chris Barks
CDR Cassandra Quinn
CDR Robert Patton
Chief Diplomatic Officer/2O
Dr. Nicole Redex
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Lt Kitsune Akane
Jr Lt Amanogawa Kirara
Assistant Diplomatic Officer
LT (jg) Taavis
Chief Intel Officer
LT. Cmdr Sean Byrnes
Chief Security Officer