Canopus Station
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The Canopus Station Parade Of Fools

Posted on Tue May 26th, 2020 @ 4:36pm by The Narrator & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang

Mission: S2:2: Best Laid Plans
Location: Canopus Station, Various Locations
Timeline: MD1: 17.00

"Don't you have anything more exciting to do?" Kar'kann said as she stomped after the group. Somewhere a five-year-old was being robbed of a world-class tantrum as the royal highness balled her fists down by her side, scrunched up her face, and said in a voice fit to cut glass. "I AM BORED!"

Scholar Trivane seemed the most affected by the outburst, scuttling away as his sensor pits all closed at once.

"You might well be, but I find it most fascinating," the decapod said in its reedy, cultured voice. "It is not often one meets a technologically advanced species, though seeing as your kind has not devoted itself to a singular goal does speak of a certain short-sightedness. The Silence is most pressing, mayhaps in our discussions, I can bring you to the same realisations than my great forebears realised."

"We value the exchange of ideas above all else," Meilin assured him. "Please, continue."

"Oh," Kar'kann said, rolling her eyes with such force there was real risk of them popping out and speeding off into the sunset. "You're one of those species. All figures, and maths, and none of the essentials to life."

"Which is an admirable trait for any sentient race," Trivane clucked disapprovingly, moving a little closer to Meilin. "You can see what I have had to put up with? A simple journey to the Merchantile Academia, to purchase their knowledge and records, and I am laboured with her entertainment. It is most perturbatory. But, I persevere as one does when one is tasked with carrying on the great work. The Silence, yes, it is something my people have set ourselves to solve. There is a vastness, far beyond our galaxy, far beyond the local cluster in fact, a perfect stellar void. No stars, no galaxies, nothing. Like a blot of ink. Nothing shines through it from the other side. 700 light-years across. At least, now it is 700 hundred light-years across. My people have records that show it smaller many centuries prior. A growing darkness, a silence from which nothing comes. You can understand the dreaded pale that has placed upon us."

In her short time among the stars of Messier 4, Meilin had seen and heard of great wonders and horrors alike. "I see..." A growing darkness among the stars, growing light-year by light-year. "Even supermassive black holes emit tidal forces, display gravity silhouettes, even emit radiation from light captured in their accretion disks. What could possibly be growing..." A concept struck at her. "... or dying..." Perhaps it would be unwise to speculate with conjecture in front of the entourage of a Myriad ambassador. "So you believe that the Mercantile possesses data that you do not on this phenomenon?"

"It is a well-known fact that they do. My species and the Mercantile Academia have been in negotiations for this trade for generations. Dynasties of negotiators have risen and fallen in the time it has taken for myself to make this treacherous journey. You can, of course, understand that walking this space stations corridor and promenades puts me ill at ease," Trivane muttered, clicking and clucking softly to itself.

"I can assure you the only danger present on this station is only that which your benefactor has brought with him," Meilin said plainly. "Color me curious, however, as to how one negotiates with this Mercantile Academia? We have encountered an alleged representative of the institution before, but it was impossible to ascertain the truth of his claim... considering his uncouth disposition."

"They can be tricky to deal with. Canny negotiators to be sure, then again they know the true worth of that which others seek. As we say back home, they had us in a tidal pool. The Myriad were kind enough to facilitate communication, both directly and indirectly through delivery of trade items and data troves and intermediaries like myself. My great progenitor, may His Genes Be Carried Forward, was one of the first negotiators to speak with a member of the Academia. It was a great honour at the time, as is my missions...held up as it were by this delay," Trivane said sullenly. "I apologise. It is just to be so close to the end of one's life, and at the end of one's linage's sole be held back even slightly is most perturbatory!"

The creature's distress set Meilin thinking. Her colleagues had little success in questioning Gastarox. But what if he were presented with a friendly lifeform? Setting Gastarox and Trivane in the same room could be a treasure trove of useful data, intelligence, and who knew what else. Given the antipathy between Captain Ingram and herself, Meilin decided asking permission would be a non-starter. Far better if the proposition came from the other side.

"It just so happens," Meilin said in a casual, canny tone, "that we still have a representative of the Mercantile Academia aboard this station. Unfortunately I am unable to grant access to him, but perhaps you could prevail upon your patron to request access for yourself. In honor of your progenitor, of course."

"That is...that would be...huum," Trivane gave a good, long, thoughtful pause as his eye pits clicked open and closed. "That might provide me with a most advantageous bargaining position. But...the deal has already been struck, my mission is to ask the questions we have spent lifetimes mulling and creating to best serve our people. You ask a great deal to which the work of generations might well be spoiled."

Meilin dipped her head. "Forgive this one's disrespect; it was not intentional." The seed was planted, so Meilin would leave it to the Tao whether or not Trivane and Gavarox would meet. "Allow me to make amends for overstepping by answering any questions of us that you may have."

Murray recognised the intrinsic value of keeping Meilin Jiang sweet, her controlling influence with Cargo Reef and its fate being obvious, her proximity to Ingram's ear another factor in the need for serenity between them. She, like him, would be curious about this Silence of which Trivane spoke. And the medic was not naive enough to believe that he stood any chance in learning more about it when there was a highly intelligent female with whom the scholar might converse.

So, in the hope of borrowing as much information from Jiang as possible at a later date, Murray opted to take one for the team. He slowed his pace so as to drift behind the others at the pace of Kar'kann and offered up an impish smile to the bored Shishimi.

"Might I be so bold as to ask - what would you find more exciting?" He asked her, simply.

"Oh almost anything than listening to the stalk legged Scholar here whine about his mission. Its all I hear! What I want to know is what do you're people drink? What are their sports? Their fashions? Their desires? What great arts have festooned the continents of your worlds? Are their fashions as drab and boring as the ones you are wearing? Do you have a royal kingdom? Are their princes? Or a princess? How easy is it to marry into them? OH! Do you have a fighting pit? Its been so long since I've seen a good blood sport, I used to go to them all the time when I was home on Shishimi! Every weekend I'd go to the gladiatorial pits, and wager on the Green and Blue knights! I even had commemorative cups!" Kar'kann clapped happily.

The highlight of Aimee's presence was that, as of so far, she'd been almost completely ignored. In the back of her mind she continued to play out the decision to remain in silence she'd noticed that the Doctor had doubled back and same as him Aimee did the same. Once she was in line with both the Shishimi and Doctor Murray she fell into the same step. She heard the series of questions, looked at Murray, and placed her hands behind her back. "Humans don't really participate in blood sports anymore," She said as a matter-of-fact, "Nor, do we have a royal kingdom, or princes and princesses, those are all in the past."

"However," Aimee said, "We do have a holodeck where we can conjure up such things in holographic form. I've heard that the Doctor here is an excellent jousting partner," She said and eyed him closely. "Though, he's been knocked on his ass a few times by his opponent from what the rumors state." She said while keeping the same even facial expression. 'Teach you to mention that I should keep quiet while the adults talk...' She thought to herself with a hidden smirk.

" blood sports," Kar'kann said, his face turning down into a frown of consternation. "So it really is a joyless world you live in. You have my sympathies."

Murray smiled patiently to hide his impatience and amusement as Dr Paulsen Jr (as he named her in his head) dropped back to include herself in the conversation. Her input, however, made him chuckle.

"I grew up far from continents, kingdoms and any usual humans," he told their royal guest. "But I am an excellent jousting partner," Murray agreed, playing along quite happily. "I was taught by a prince on a forest moon when I was just a kid, but that didn't mean he went easy on me. Our first bout, he broke four of my ribs with his lance strike." He grinned good-naturedly. "And the little miss is quite correct, I've fallen on my front, my back and my backside a few too many times."

The Rish medic reached boldly outwards to rest light fingertips close to Kar'kann's chin, as if he might lift her mood literally by such a simple gesture. "In jousting, it's customary to dress in brightly coloured tabards with flowing feathers and banners. And to strike for first, second and third blood for points," Murray told the shishimi, his smile now an impish promise. "Before drinking oneself into mild oblivion."

"So...huum. Haztor said you weren't like my species, that you couldn't regenerate fully? So when you say first blood, you're meaning like a little cut? That hardly seems fair to the other person, going to all of the trouble and you're only allowed to cut them? What about the crush of bones! the savage ripping tear of skin parting! The sound a body makes when it's more a sack holding jagged bones in foamy blood!" Kar'kann said, fists down at her side in fully 'I am a princess and the world has inconvenienced me slightly'.

"Our bodies are capable of replenishing blood supply," Aimee answered Kar'kaan, "And, if we suffer too much blood loss then a medical professional such as Doctor Murray can replenish the supply that way." She concluded the answer. She had smirked at the way Doctor Murray played right along, but chose to not pursue that matter further. "As for broken bones... Those heal with time though medically speaking we can heal those far quicker than say two or three hundred years ago.

"Of course, Doctor Murray knows more about the medical side of things... I'm more of what you would call a mental health doctor." Aimee stated and then let Murray continue.

"There are certain limits involved when bringing people back from the brink of death, yes," Murray agreed, with a raised eyebrow glance to his child-like fellow officer. "But I'm a doctor, not a magician."

"See what I have had to deal with these long weeks of companionable journeying with her?" Trivane. "I have grown to envy the corpses she speaks of. At least they know the peace of her silence."

He did, indeed, see Trivane's point of view. But that was unlikely to entertain their pouty royal guest. "Oh. Your Highness can regenerate fully?" Murray infused his words with a suitably impressed interest and then nodded a little solemnly. "Correct, I'm afraid, yes - we don't have that luxury. But we fight all the harder because of this weakness." He turned away from the princess, looked to Dr Paulsen and momentarily made - yikes! - face.

Readdressing Kar'Kann herself a moment later, the medic picked up a keenly intrigued tone once more. "So, really," he said, "not so much an interest in sports, but more a desire to see bodies broken and battered into oblivion. Sounds like you would need another Shishimi for such battles? But where is the challenge in fighting if you can simply reform back into your original self, with no penalty?"

"That seems rather obvious! Why my great uncle was deposed seven times in a month, each time he would sit at the victor's table with his own severed head on a stick. He made the most delightful puppet shows for the children," Kar'kann said wistfully. "And then there was the despicable cousin of mine, Bar'soon. You know he set his own mother on fire to get the throne? So tacky and overdone, not an original bone in his body. He could have used a pillow, that at least has novelty value. But nooooo, he had to use the most hackneyed trick in the book! Oh she drank the fire oil all by her self and set it alight with a taper! No subtlety. But what can you do when he's from my second father's side of the family. They are all insane you know?"

This really was a window into insanity, thought Murray as his brain conjured up all the glorious HD imagery of Kar'kann's descriptive tale of suicidal death and resurrection. He couldn't help but wonder how they did it, if it was possible to bottle this ability and, of course, marvel at the sheer theatre of the Shishimi race. "The day of the pillow would be anticlimatic I think," he noted dryly. "After such wild extravagance of heads on sticks." He looked to Dr Paulsen then, eyes widening as she spoke.

"Funny you should mention Bar'soon," Aimee began, "Because he's here on the station... I had the displeasure of having a rather uninvited and unexpected visit from him once." She said and didn't go any further than that.

"Bar'soon'fo'da'gree'nars, Third of his Title, holder of the lightning throne, guardian of the sacred skulls of Antiok and ruler of the world of Shishimi and all its celestial companions."

It wasn't the way the title fell from her lips like molten lead, each syllable seeming to dent the floor, that sent a chill down the spines of many. It was not the way her fists unclenched, relaxing, fingers stretching out like raking claws. It was the light in her eyes, the balefire of revenge and scorn deferred, that really made the holy hole pucker.

"My dim wit candlestick of a cousin is here? NOW?" Kar'kann said, turning to look at her Federation minders.

Murray's expression as he turned to face Aimee clearly shouted 'look what you did NOW!' without any need for actual words. "So it would seem," he answered Kar'kann, his gaze back in her direction now. "Perhaps he would like to joust with you?" He offered up, along with a very innocently banal look.

Kar'kann shoved Murray out of the way, her beringed fingers shockingly strong as she looked around furiously.

"Where are you cousin!!! I have arrived here to settle debts old, and close the account of your besmirched name!!" She screamed in a shrill, pricing tone that left a glass display pane shivering in its frame.

From down the concourse of the Medina Level, the sound of multiple crashing plates shattering into many more shards could be heard. From a restaurant with a proteinous font based sign declaring it 'Le Commissaire De Gare' a humanoid figure came out wearing a white apron and short chefs cap. In one hand he held a silver serving lid like a shield, whilst in the other, he held a long metal ladle still dripping with the soup of the day.

"YOU!" Bar'soon'fo'da'gree'nars, Third of his Title, holder of the lightning throne, guardian of the sacred skulls of Antiok and ruler of the world of Shishimi and all its celestial companions and new line chef at the pretentiously translated 'Station Commissary' said in abject disgust.

"YOU!" Kar'kann'fo'da'gree'nars, Eighth of her Title, holder of the throne of brass, guardian of the sacred skulls of Antiok and ruler of the world of Shishimi and all its celestial companions and enraged entitled still-a-princess shouted back.

The air was tense, and thanks to Bar'soon, now filled with the pleasing aroma of an onion soup dripping by his feet.

As he picked himself up from the floor and dusted off the seat of his pants, Murray couldn't help but offer up a lopsided smile with an expression of intrigued amusement. He looked to Dr Paulsen as he spoke.

"Let the blood sports begin..."

The teenage part of Aimee's brain hoped that Kar'kann would murder Bar'soon because she despised him so much. He was the reason her office had to be completely rebuilt following the incident with the Senior Chief. And, then there was the incident where he'd come up through her drain in her quarters that made her shiver. She looked at the Doctor before the adult part of her brain took over, "Counselor Paulsen to station security you're needed in the Medina shopping precinct... Immediately."

"Roger, roger Lutentant Paulsen." Came the commlink buzz of the station security force.

"Mistress Cadence," Meilin quietly intoned as she sidled up to the Ambulatory Hive. "Could you perhaps be of service here? Perhaps to spare your patron His Excellency Haztor from embarrassment."

"And be deprived of one of lives truer entertainments? I do not think so," Cadence sand, the rocky shells of its form rumbling in a chuckle. "My money is on the female. She's small and feisty."


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