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Venereal Ingress

Posted on Wed Jan 8th, 2020 @ 8:22pm by Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander BaoJun Qiao & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Lieutenant JG Kara Madavi & Gunnery Sergeant Roderik Kos & Ferrofax
Edited on on Mon Nov 9th, 2020 @ 2:31pm

Mission: S1E4: The Hills Have Eyes
Location: Llorona Station
Timeline: MD 1

USS Phantom Bridge

The ship dropped out of warp. Mrazak could feel it before Ryland said anything from the helm. He shifted in his chair to take note of bridge activity.

"Proceed to Sol II at maximum impulse," Mrazak ordered from his command chair.

"No can do." Ryland shrugged in response. "Traffic in the system is pretty heavy. We gotta' wait our turn like everyone else."

That would not do. Mrazak scowled so hard his lips began to purse together. "Hail traffic control for the system and deliver our credentials. That should advance us to the head of the queue."

"Aye, sir."

Mrazak stared ahead at the main viewer, contemplating what awaited them. "What is the human name for Sol II? Venus, yes?"

"Right," Ryland replied absently as he sent the hail.

"And what is the proper description for the world and its residents?" Mrazak asked. "Venereal, is it not?"

Without missing a beat, Ryland said, "Yep," and was quietly grateful that his station was faced away from the command chair.

"Is something funny?" Mrazak snapped.

"No, sir," Ryland said. "Hail went through and they responded. We're cleared for immediate ingress and approach."

Mrazak's scowl turned to a wolfish grin. "Excellent! Proceed, Lieutenant, and take up high orbit. The Venereal atmosphere is rather unpleasant from the terraforming reports."

"Yes, sir." Ryland couldn't hold back a snickering laugh. The impulse engines whirred to life and propelled them toward the terrestrial worlds at a swift sublight velocity.

"Are you laughing at me, Lieutenant?" The Vulcan's tone turned hot and bothered, an unfortunate turn of phrase in Ryland's mind.

"No, Captain," Ryland managed to say with a straight face. "Just allergies. Feelin' a might under the weather." Soon to be the Venereal weather, he thought to himself.

Mrazak snorted his disbelief, but didn't press the issue. "So you say. I want you to report to the infirmary as soon as we arrive."

"Aye, Captain," Ryland said. He hesitated for a moment, but couldn't help himself. "The last thing we need is a venereal disease on the bridge."

"Exactly my thoughts," Mrazak said, not catching the pun. "Advise everyone to watch their step while on Llorona Station. And alert Captain ben-Avram that we have arrived, and that he is welcome to remain in his quarters."

Ryland did a double-take at the conn readout. "According to the transporter log, Captain ben-Avram beamed to Earth not long after we entered the system."

"What?!" At first Mrazak began preparing for a rant, but he decided against it. If ben-Avram wanted to visit Earth, then at least he was gone and out of Mrazak's hair. "Fine, then. Have the field team report to the transporter room as well." He headed toward the turbolift. "We have to meet with the Venereal colony leaders."

"I so hope somebody records him calling them that," Ryland said aloud once the Vulcan was gone. He punched the order throughout the ship and laughed again to himself.

A message appeared on Ryland's control panel.

F>>Way ahead of you.

Llorona Station Transporter Room

The transporter pad was filled to capacity as the entire team beamed over at once. Since the Phantom's transporter room was significantly smaller, it meant Mrazak had spent longer inside the pattern buffer than the rest of them. When he rematerialized, it took his brain an extra moment to identify his surroundings. The lavish lighting and luxurious fixtures of even the transporter room suggested a unique culture to the colony that set it apart from the utilitarian accouterments of Earth. Rather than the darkness of space or planetary vistas offered by most station viewports, the windows of Llorna Station held rainbow sheens as the result of the refraction of sunlight the station provided. Functioning as a humungous solar diffuser placed at the L1 Lagrange point for Venus, Llorona Station kept the planet from being a fiery inferno by redirecting the bulk of solar radiation away from the planet's surface at a glancing angle rather than direct impact.

Or, perhaps, the difference in appearance was merely contrast between Starfleet installations and a purely human civilian colony. Whatever the case, the team members were still Starfleet, and that meant they held the upper hand.

"Welcome to Llorona Station," said a middle-aged woman, adorned in a folded garment that could have either been a robe or a dress. Her tone was cordially insincere. "I am Adele Dazeem, special assistant to Administrator ch'Vihron. Come with me, if you please."

She turned about, not waiting for greetings or questions, forcing the team to follow.

Mrazak frowned. So much for ben-Avram's so-called welcome mat. He turned to the rest of the team. "I expect this will not be as easy as we were led to believe. Commander Frost, Commander Qiao, and Colonel Garlic, you will come with me to meet the administrator and his lackeys." As much as he'd rather Garlake not come, Mrazak wanted as many high ranks as possible to properly intimidate the locals. "The rest of you see what you can discover on board the station. Question anyone who will speak with you." Seeing Dazeem walk through the doors without looking back, Mrazak fell into a hurried trot after her. "We'll be in touch!"

Bao raised a brow as he moved to follow along with Frost and Garlake. He looked at Garlake, "Garlic?" he asked softly under his breath to no one in particular. This was already going swimmingly, what with insulting the staff and the team. "Perhaps," he said rather louder, "it would be appropriate to be a little more, congenial to the administrator? We are, after all, on a...what is the saying...snipe hunt."

Storr chuckled at Bao's comment. "It's gotten to the point that I'm not sure if he's doing it to annoy me, because he thinks it's funny, or because he seriously thinks that's my name." His lips curled up into a knowing smile at the Lieutenant Commander's second sentence. "A snipe hunt indeed! I won't admit how many the Corp has had me conduct or supervise. You'd think those things were bathed in pure latinum or something."

"Let the Captain distract them, it'll let us observe without so many eyes," Ari muttered in the same manner as the trio followed the eccentric Vulcan.

Llorona Station Promenade

The docking port for Llorona Station wasn't the largest in Federation space by any means, yet it could still handle a considerable amount of traffic whether by foot or by ship. Most of the faces were human, which was to be expected. More than a passing glance would show there there were still enough aliens present to foster a multicultural atmosphere to the nominally human station. The gilded fixtures in between the tridurianium bulkheads certainly advertised a rather august supply of resources far beyond the Federation norm. Venusians, it seemed, were unafraid to flaunt the riches of their world.

Beyond the pedestrian crowd the station opened up into multiple levels with transparent walls comprised of diamond-like composite. While several turbolifts dotted the exterior in between the large open windows that showcased the close view of Venus and distant celestial bodies, most people seemed to use the system of escalators which connected the vast levels in between. The diverse spot lighting and assorted fountainheads which fed a system of miniature causeways lent an artificial sense of natural aesthetic amidst the technological marvel.

"It doesn't matter how many space stations I see, I'm still amazed by them," declared Maisy with the universe's largest grin. "Hey, do you suppose there is a Ferengi bar around here? I love watching Dabo."

In spite of herself, Sophie grinned slightly at the older woman. "I wouldn't know," she replied. "Also, what's Dabo?"

"It's a game," answered Maisy. "I don't know how it's played, so don't ask me. The fun is watching the men get distracted by the Dabo girls and promptly losing!" And she laughed almost evilly.

A young waif dressed in paltry rags, charcoal and threadbare yet clean, approached them with a stack of handmade leaflets in the crook of her elbow. "You are Starfleet. Have you come to stop the pillaging?"

"Pilaging?" asked Sophie, alarmed. "Who's pilaging? And what are they pillaging?"

"The planet!" the young girl exclaimed. "Mining claims! Terraforming platforms! The spirits of this world cry out for us to cease our actions. Can you not hear them?"

"Oh, uh... yeah..." said Maisy.

"Do you want to tell her, or should I?" asked Sophie to nobody in particular.

"I'd call Station Security, but as it turns out she has a permit to be here," Ferrofax chimed from the perch of a combadge. "You'd not think of them as being well organised, but their paperwork is extremely thorough. Biological malware, perfectly designed to get into a social structure and stick. The Kinship is nothing if not a resilient movement."

The young girl scowled at them all, not knowing what had spoken. "The Kinship of Shangri-La is the only thing standing between the Federation and total exploitation of Venus! Just because it's possible to terraform every planet into a carbon copy of Earth doesn't mean it's right. Go see Mother Hrisi at the Shangri-La retreat on Skadi Mons. She'll show you the light!"

She punctuated her little sermon with her hand-drawn pamphlet thrust out toward the group of Starfleet officers.

Rodi appeared from behind the officers to stand between them. "Perhaps you should move to the next group." The marine said, his scowl making hers look like a baby who just tasted lemon for the first time.

Intimidated by the big, scary Marine, the girl clutched her stack of leaflets to her chest and hurried away to the other side of the promenade.

Another voice rang out through their combadges. =/\="Mrazak to Field Team. Converge on my signal for an updated briefing. I think we've found a lead."=/\=

Llorona Station Administration Center

As soon as Dazeem led the four officers into the gilded conference room, she walked over to the Andorian administrator, whispered in his ear, and blended into a far corner.

"Greetings," Mrazak offered to the group of people seated with the administrator. "You must be the Venereal Colony Administrator," Mrazak said to ch'Vihron. "We are... representatives of the Starfleet Science Corps, and we're here to conduct an urgent planetary survey. Rest assured that our goal is to be as quick as possible in our observations."

Colonel Garlake feigned a cough to disguise his near-guffaw at Mrazak's faux pas. He had to wipe his eyes and catch his breath before returning to parade-rest behind the oblivious Vulcan just as he noticed Bao react in the same vein.

Commander Qiao bit the inside of his own mouth, as he managed to not laugh hysterically at the Vulcan. He glanced back and forth, wondering if anyone was going to correct him or not. He silently hoped no one would, just so it could be put in a report later.

"Keep it up, showpony," Ari thought to herself amusedly, being fairly certain that Mrazak knew all too well just how insulting he was.

"We still don't know why you're here," said a gruff, bald human with a lopsided mouth.

"And who are you?" Mrazak asked.

"Donaldson," the man said. "Leland Donaldson. I'm the head of Colonial Security." His narrowed stare said he was none too pleased to be present at the meeting. "What's your name?"

"I am Captain Mrazak," he said, then pointed to the others. "This is Commander Frost, Commander Qiao, and Colonel Garlake."

"G'day, Chief," Ari flashed him a well practiced friendly smile, "Arianna Frost, pleasure to meet you." She extended her hand to him.

The colonial security chief regarded her with mistrust, but accepted her handshake nonetheless.

Storr nodded professionally to Donaldson. The man didn't have a military look to him but the depth in his eyes and the easy way his stance projected power and an ability to spring at a moment's notice told the Marine all he needed to know. No handshakes or words were necessary.

Bao nodded politely but watched for now.

Donaldson cocked his head. "A motley crew for team," he said, voice dripping with cynicism.

"Synergistic cross-disciplines are the new standard operating protocols for all planetary surveys," Mrazak said quickly. "What about the rest of you?"

"T'Ren," said a female Vulcan. Her severe disposition exuded a personal disdain for Mrazak. Or, more likely, his obvious V'tosh Ka'tur status. "Director of Operations. This is Lieutenant Madavi and Mister Korvin, respectively my terraforming specialist and maintenance chief." She indicated a Starfleet officer in science blue and a Tiburon in a slate gray coverall jumpsuit.

"Thank you for welcoming us," Mrazak said without a hint of irony. Of course they weren't welcome. He took a seat at the long table and waited for his people to do the same. Without a clear direction to pursue, he had to rely on fate to tip its hand as to why they were here.

Bao took a seat. There truly was little to go on, but perhaps he could fish a little. "As Captain Mrazak said, we are a cross disciplinary team. My own specialization is xenosciences, but specifically anthropology, history, and sociology. The Sol system itself is quite interesting. Despite being the Federation capital, it has a long list of unexplained occurrences and items in it. Venus, in particular has been little studied or known, before your own work on terraforming. Your work here has opened up possible avenues towards colonizing and exploiting worlds hitherto ignored. Of course, just because we have ignored them does not mean everyone has. There exists quite a bit of evidence that the system was receiving visitors long before humanity was aware of them. I admit, I am curious as to whether Venus, most inhospitable of Sol's planets, might bear such evidence," he finished, trying to lay on just the right amount of scientific ass-kissing.

The Vulcan Director of Operations, T'Ren, was unmoved. "We are aware of the singular challenges and potential opportunities," she said in an almost stereotypical nasally tone. Her left cheek twitched at the end of her sentence. Rather than say more, she looked to ch'Vihron.

"Opportunities that came from our hard work to overcome those challenges. Not yours, Starfleet," ch'Vihron grumbled. "You already have enough of a presence here. Why does your team feel the need or even that you have the right to come in and begin operating in my colony?"

"You'll have to take that with the gaffers, Administrator ch'Vihron," Arianna piped in with that same, warm smile. "We're just here to do our job, just like you. I'm sure you know how that goes. We're all scientists here, not competitors. We couldn't hope to match your work here in any way shape or form. But alas, as with any empirical research, sometime a control element needs to be introduced from outside the base group, to achieve desired effects."

Mrazak nodded eagerly and hitched himself to the same point before ch'Vihron could give reply. "I can assure you that our first priority is the safety and continuity of your operations. While I can't promise our Venereal survey won't be intrusive to some degree, please rest assured that we won't probe any deeper than necessary."

"And why can't your own people suffice?" ch'Vihron asked indicating Madavi. He still didn't understand why they needed to have more of these damned glory hounds around.

"Again, question for the gaffers." Ariana said easily, "I would imagine also that you have more than enough on your plate as it is anyway. Probably best to treat us as if we're not here and you go about your daily business as normal." She said, her eyes glancing over at the still very quiet Ms. Madavi.

"See?" Mrazak spread his hands wide and grinned like a snake oil salesman. "Nothing to worry about. If you could kindly refer us to any current points of interest, we will begin our investi... survey there and see where we end up."

"Your assurances mean nothing to me, and I've heard nothing here to give me reason to let you into my colony. No matter how 'discreet' you'll be." The Andorian sneered, pushing himself up from his seat. "In fact, I see very little reason to let you stay here at all. Miss Madavi I'll leave them to you to deal with, the Civilian Government of Venus is done with you all now."

That was the opening she needed, the young woman hid her smirk as ch'Vihron finished speaking. "Of course Governor." She said before turning to the Vulcan. "Captain Mrazak, by order of Starfleet Command you and your team are to report to the Venus Terraforming Command for induction to the team."

Well, hello there! Arianna thought as she fought a raise of the eyebrow at the sudden but curious turn of events. It was almost as if Madavi wanted them to be there. Why though?

At first Mrazak made to protest, but he quickly caught her meaning. "Ah. Yes, indeed. We shall come along presently." He turned to Frost, Qiao, and Garlake. "You heard the lady. Let's move."

Storr simply nodded. He was quite content with playing the potted plant.

Arianna gave a courteous nod and bow and started for the door not wanting to miss the opening they were given.

"Now just wait a dammed minute! You can't do that!" ch'Vihron yelled as he stood, his hand slamming down on the desk. "You don't have the authority!"

Kara had already been on her way out, following the mysterious group of Officers out of the conference room. Swallowing her nervousness as the man raged, she stopped and turned. "Except I do, and despite being the one who gave it to me, you can't take it away." Kara said her voice trembling at first but steadying out toward the end. "If you'd like to take it up with my superior I'm assuming you know how to get back in touch with Admiral Tau."

Bao looked at the administrator. "You did have a chance to do things amicably," the Lagashi said blandly. "Should there be a future incident, consider that a team who was able to circumvent procedures up to this point, cooperation might be less painful. Assuming you are still in charge at that point."

The Andorian sputtered a moment, looking between the young woman and the very amused Vulcan. "Why... you... you'll pay for this Madavi. My Government will not forget how Starfleet usurped our authority here."

"So you say," Mrazak said dismissively. He tapped his combadge. "Mrazak to Field Team. Converge on my signal for an updated briefing. I think we've found a lead."


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