Canopus Station
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Messier 4 Homeowners Association

Posted on Sun Apr 12th, 2020 @ 10:29pm by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Maksim Babbish & Lu'kat & Commander Calida & Sera t’Jo’rek & Stephen Spires

Mission: S2:1: Into The Drowning Deeps
Location: Carpathia Orbit, USS Resolute
Timeline: Prior to the arrival of The Myriad Haztor to Carpathia

The Norway class of frigate had been designed by two parents within the Advanced Starship Design Bureau. One of those parents had been a clique of designers convinced the Borg would not only come back but do so in sufficient numbers to take everyone's lunch money. The other parent had been the avantgarde who knew, through a time of peaceful upbringing, that all threats of war and violence could be mollified with the right combination of pastel colours and replicated alcohol.

The Borg might return, but the Norway class had both the teeth and the wet bar to stop them cold.

The USS Resolute hung in low orbit above the caramel deserts of Carpathia, its large viewing windows turned to show the candy cane coloured bands of Tangerine Dream rising above the moon's terminator. Colony Coordinator Maksim Babish held a glass of spun crystal, which he'd been told held an amerald wine from Bajor. An actual bottle of the stuff, not replicated.

To his workmanlike pallet, it just tasted like slightly off grape juice with some fizz to it.

Off to one side Stephen idled to himself with a glass of seltzer water in one hand. His face bore sporty eyewear that doubled as a hidden camera with which he hoped to capture something interesting. It's not that he hoped something would go wrong. Experience merely told him that expectations rarely panned out. And that nose for news had not steered him wrong yet. Until something happened, he contented himself to be a fly on the wall.

Lu'kat, the solitary Representative of the Cardassian Union to Messier 4, stepped into the room. His military uniform was freshly polished (it was always freshly polished), his hair combed back neat and orderly (it was always neat and orderly) and his expression neutral and observant (a look he always strived to have). After having been given a glass of Bajoran wine, which reminded him of the home of his youth (he was born and raised on Bajor). This put him in quite a good mood. Not that he'd outwardly show this to anyone. He saw the journalist trying not to draw attention, which Lu' kat found excellent, he had no particular affection for the media anyway. He spotted Babbish standing alone. Seeing an opportunity to speak a few words to the man privately, he greeted the man according to Earth's custom of shaking hands, and said: "Colony Coordinator Babbish, I trust the crate of Kanar made it to Landersfell intact?"

"If you mean made it into the feedstock for the CFI Replicators currently spinning out superconductive cabling for the Landersfell power grid, then yes it made it," Babish said as he seemed to mime the act of taking a drink. He chuckled. "Along with nearly every other unique luxury item that isn't mission-critical. I even had to choose between keeping the medicinal print stock for the bioprinters, or the thermal paste we'd need for the solar collectors. But hey, thanks for the crate of easy answers."

And with that, the Colony Coordinator had wasted all goodwill Lu'kat had reserved for the man, he had led the poor treatment of him and his party in Landersfell slide, for diplomacy's sake. He didn't particularly care for how the kanar was treated. It was up to them how to use it. If its use was better spent differently, that was their prerogative. However, it did sting the Cardassian that the Coordinator was making fun of him, as if the kanar was all that he had sent the colony. The Cardassian had kept a detailed list of items needed, based on the queries he had made while on the planet, as well as on his own observations. Whatever commodities, parts and other necessary things the Cardassian was able to allocate to Carpathia, he had. It had taken some convincing of the High Command, but he had gotten it done. Babish might not know it, but Lu'kat wanted this colony to be succesful. Lu'kat's neutral face hardened just a bit. "Well", Lu'kat replied, "I hope that with the arrival of your new neighbours you will have it easier gathering and exchanging resources."

As if on cue, the Romulans entered the room. Sera first, followed by the Raptor Squadron CO Aerv. She would typically have a bodyguard with her, but Aerv would serve as that tonight. He was easily capable anyways, and happened to be invited as well. She scanned the room and went over to the bar where it appeared an array of beverages were being poured. Poured, not manifested into existence. She grabbed a Romulan Ale, and Aerv nothing.

She gave a nod to Lu'kat as she meandered over to them. "Jolan'tru, Lu'kat lhhai [sir]." she said to him, turning to Babish with a bit of a head bow. "Speaker Sera t'Jo'rek," came her calm voice. "And you are?" She was pretty sure, but did not want to presume.

"Colony Coordinator Maksim Babish," he said pleasantly with a copied bow of his smooth crown.

Once the primary representatives had assembled together, Calida made her entrance. The customized hovering grav sled which held her carrier pod hummed forward at a brisk but deliberate pace. As it came to rest near the huddle of representatives, her vocalizer extended up like a periscope to approximately chin level.

"Greetings, honored representatives and guests," trilled her mechanical voice. "I remain Commander Calida, diplomatic attache to Canopus Station, and on behalf of Captain Ingram, the staff of Canopus Station and the USS Resolute, and the Federation itself, I bid you welcome."

Spires, who had been coolly scanning the room, took note of the Medusan and did naught but blink. It couldn't be. But then... There it was! That name... Calida! Since when had she been on board Canopus Station? Medusans gave Spires the creeps on principle alone, but his experience with Calida on the Odyssey a couple years ago was enough to make him downright prejudiced. It was too much to hope that she hadn't noticed him. The best Spires could expect would be that she had more pressing matters before her.

"And I am sure I speak for the majority of Landersfell residence in welcoming our new Carpathian's to our little corner of Messier 4," Babish said with a smile. He crossed his wrists, tapping the computer bracelet riding below the cuff of his jacket. "As a token of greeting, I've had my people compile a list of housekeeping items we've begun to use in Landersfell. Things we'd wished we'd done differently with better foresight. Should make your acclimation to the climate a little easier. Speaker, have you given a thought to a landing site? We didn't get a chance to choose wisely before we came down from orbit."

Sera had watched the Medusan come in again, still a marvel to her. She finally turned her full attention to Babish when he mentioned Carpathia. "I appreciate the list, Mr. Babish. That will prove useful, I'm sure."

The Rihanha contemplated getting out a datapadd and pulling up a map and statistics. They had done some extensive research, mostly based on the Landersfell findings, and knew where they wanted to go. "As for our location," she said, sans visual aid, "we have managed to find a space off a ways from Landersfell near some small outcroppings of hills and cliffs. Things are not finalized, as we want to make sure we're not too far from your group in case of emergencies." There was more to explain, but she was already going long on her response.

"Well, that's certainly a fair consideration to make," Babish said a tight smile on his face. "But you don't need to if it goes against your better interests. We're more than capable of looking out for ourselves, as we're already demonstrated. After all, we were the first to come out here. And we didn't come looking for handouts."

Sera nodded and then sipped the blue liquid. "For sure, Lhhai Babish." He was right - they had been out here first and for a bit, so they had that experience. The Romulans had that knowledge, though, and had quite a few resources with them. She wouldn't press the matter. "We'll be just a mere neighbor, as it were." She maintained a half-grin.

"All the more important to make sure we get off on the right foot," Ingram said as he stepped into the reception hall, interceding before Babish could say something unfortunate. He was dressed in a Starfleet dress uniform, the white jacket almost luminous under the lights. "After all, Carpathia is an important first step for all of us in Messier 4. Not only as a success story for adventurous frontier spirit both of your groups represent, but as the future capital world of this sector of Federation space. A firm foundation will be key to that future."

"It is my great pleasure to introduce Captain Benjamin Ingram, commander of Canopus Station and overseer of the Long Jump Project's operations in Messier 4," Calida announced. It was unlikely that anybody present did not know who he was, yet she sensed the added gravitas would assist his agenda.

"A project made possible via considerable contributions of the Cardassian Union, which is why I am here", Lu'kat added, "Seeing us all here, planning and building for the future towards common goals is a worthwhile cause and it is my hope that our efforts here will encourage our peoples in the Alpha Quadrant to do the same."

Calida projected pleasure toward the Cardassian and let it wash over the others in the room. "Indeed, Mr. Lu'kat, and well spoken."

"Indeed," Ingram said. He walked to where Babish and Sera stood. "The Long Jump Project was founded on the ideals that a new frontier could unite not only the Federation but our allies as well. Instead of looking inward towards all that makes us different, we look outwards towards a common goal of exploration and betterment. What better example of that you two, and your two disparate groups. Both of you, in a way, shipwrecked by fate."

"You, Mr Babish, are quite keen to remind us of the role the Traveller played in your forced landing. It is a true fact," Ingram said, bowling over Babish before he could say yet one more thing. "And Speaker Sera, your own people were not given a multitude of choices by the Federation Council. Both of your groups are, in a way, forced upon this rock by forces beyond your control. Cooperation to a point is hard to muster at this early stage, but it must be the Carpathian way."

"You really do like the sound of your own voice," Babish said to the silence that followed.

"Well, yes I do. As it is so often the only voice that speaks with any degree of sense," Ingram admitted in jest.

"As if anyone who wanted to listen to a blustery asshole couldn't just let out a fart instead," said a voice from the bar in a dusky whisper.

Stephen Spires, innocently looking around, gasped in shock. "Who said that?!"

"Mister Spires," Ingram said with a tight smile. Quietly in his head, he was writing up a demotion for someone who had not vetted the guestlist for undesirables. "I was not aware that the Federation New Service had been forwarded an invitation tonight's gathering of Carpathia's colonial powers."

Chief Ricci's name was going to be the second name on the demotion slip if tonight's fall out cloud was large enough.

"I'm everywhere, Captain Ingram." Stephen leaned against the bar like a casual patron. "But don't mind me. Just here to keep the good people of the Federation apprised and up to date on history in the making."

"I'm sure a recording could have been provided to your office. I assume you have an office on Canopus Station? Or should I be sending all of this back to the home office on Vesta? Your editor's name is...Celeste? Cecil? It begins with a C I'm sure of it," Ingram mused pointedly.

Stephen shook his head and grinned before taking notes on his PADD. This was too rich to pass up. "My editor will love this for sure."

~Benjamin~ Calida pointedly projected at Ingram. ~If you insist on embarrassing yourself with the likes of that one~ Her simultaneously disapproving and admiring emphasis on Spires made her mind flare against Ingram's for a brief instant. ~then I must insist that you do so after this pivotal moment has passed~

Her mind briefly teased images of possible timelines: a wartorn Landersfell giving way to the wilderness; a Romulan conquest; alternatively, a Romulan massacre; a Myriad thorn ship leading a Reka armada through a Phase Space Accelerator; and, then, a host beyond numbering of unknown golden ships that shone like the stars themselves in orbit of Carpathia, Far Far Away, and even Earth; a Xilosian platoon marching in step across a forested world, then a coast line of white sand before an azure ocean, then finally through the decks of Canopus Station itself under a Carcosian flag.

~Remember who you were~ she pressed. ~Let that person inform your decisions now~

"We wish to thank you all for coming to this summit," Calida said through her vocalizer for the benefit of those who had not shared her little vision quest. "The Federation remains committed to providing full support to the Carpathian colonies."

"As is the remit of the Long Jump Project and the Canopus Station Charter," Ingram intoned gravely. "We are here to keep the peace and provide aid and resources where needed."

"But apart from that, the affairs of the colony are our own to sort out?" Babish asked as he sipped from his own glass. "The Acheron Colony Corporation put me in charge to make sure that we didn't repeat the mistakes of previous colony initiatives in the Core Systems. Over-reliance on Starfleet and the UPF purse strings being one of them. But the one thing I will ask is why are the colonists of the Romulan Free State allowed attack fliers on a peaceful colony?"

Babish looked towards his Romulan counterpart.

"It's hard to plough a field in a desert, doubly so if you're hooking it up to a Scorpion-class ground attack craft," he commented with a shrug. "I should know, saw enough of them flying sorties in the Dominion War to know they plough better on a gun run than as a tractor."

Speaker Sera nodded as Babish replied to Ingram and towards her. It was typical of others to judge the Romulans as a whole - she was doing it in her head to Babish and Ingram and the others. It came natural to most sentients, unfortunately.

She was about to speak when Aerv chimed in. "Sir, I can assure you these are not attack fliers any longer. They had a hard life since Hobus and they serve as high speed shuttles or patrols, at best."

Babish still looked nonplussed, from her point of view. Sera picked up after that. "Indeed. Our intent is to use them as emergency vehicles and such, for the harshness of the surface of Carpathia." She telling the truth, mostly. They could repair them to work as fighters, but that was truly not their intent. "We've come well-provisioned, including some village defenses. But again, we're looking to live and survive, not fight."

"We've had enough of that the last couple years, sir," finished Aerv.

With tensions thickening, Spires blended into the far corner and waited to see how this would play out.

"On that, we can agree," Babish said and finished his glass of fizz. He pushed the empty glass into Ingram's hands. "I think I remember where the transporter room was."


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