Canopus Station
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Glad Tidings & Bountiful Opportunities

Posted on Thu Dec 9th, 2021 @ 1:33pm by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & The Narrator & Lieutenant Commander Jillian Toomey & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang & Lu'kat & Commander Calida

Mission: S2:4: If Not Like A Mirror
Location: Canopus Station, Pier 4 Concourse
Timeline: MD-1 13.00

RCNS Dauntless came to a halt, the mooring tractors gently buffering it from grinding against the hull plating of the station's interior Pier. Not less than three months earlier this very vessel had been fixed to the opposite Pier tie-down following its eventful arrival out of a disastrous slipspace jaunt. But now its smooth, grey flank could been seen out of the viewports by the welcoming side party. The airlock archway still glowed red, but there were the mechanical sounds of connectors sliding into place and seals beginning to take on pressure.

"Commander Toomey, I'll say this: you did adequate work with the short time allotted to you," Ingram said. It was a near graze of a compliment, like weak tea with just a hint of flavour to it. "Commander Meilin, are you ready? And what of you Delegate Lu'kat. This will be the first time the Carcosian's have ever met a Cardassian before. You get to make first contact with humanity again, without the planetary genocide business looming over your shoulder."

~That was uncouth of you, Benjamin~ Calida emoted to Ingram's mind. Aloud, her vocalizer said, "The Cardassians and the Carcosians may have more in common as a people than can be swiftly discerned."

Lu'kat nodded his head in silent acknowledgement to the box that was Commander Calida. Indeed, both had learnt the lessons that came with great loss and both had learnt how to rebuild and claim a place for themselves while surrounded by hostile forces. Yet would those rough similarities translate into mutual amicability? Lu'kat was unsure.

"I blame Gal'dwyn," JT started to say, then realized that Ingram's was complimenting her. Kind of. She'd take it as such. "Thank you, Sir."

"Praise where praise is due," Ingram nodded back.

Meilin stood at hand in stoic repose. It had been some time since the last Carcosian visit which had been unsettling in a number of ways. Would the Forward Commander remember her? Would he even be among the delegation? Such thoughts demanded control. Eyes closed, Meilin breathed deeply and recentered herself. This was an auspicious day that she would meet with flexibility and aplomb.

"Commander, control yourself," Ingram chided with the slightest possible sketch of a smile on his lips.

"Medice, cura te ipsum," Meilin snapped before she could stop herself. With a more poised and even tone, she added, "I am well, Captain, but thank you for your concern."

"Oh it wasn't concern," Ingram noted as the outline around the airlock hatch turned from red to green. He gave a nod to the line of ensigns who made up the side party. As the pressure hatches sighed open, one of them raised a small metal pipe set to their lips and let out a high pitched whistle.

First out of the hatch were two Carcosian Marines, their battle dress a mottled blue and grey dazzle pattern with slate grey armour plate over chest and limbs. The weapons held in their hands looked akin to phaser rifles held at rest by Station security, but instead of an emitter housing at the business end, the Carcosian rifles had two glossy black lenses. The two took up station either side of the airlock hatch, coming to attention as the rest of the Carcosian shore party disembarked.

Three officers in the stark white uniforms and peak caps of the Carcosian Navy stepped out, their ranks denoted by the embroidered azure rings around the wrists of their jackets. The one bearing five rings was an older man, with a heavy white moustache hanging over his lips like some sort of exotic caterpillar. The one with the least rings was a young woman, almost a teen, with only a broken single ring on her cuff.

And the one with three, who stood between them, was Forward Commander Larkin Harris. Neatly trimmed goatee, dark hair, brown eyes, a dime a dozen but...there was flint in those eyes, something that sparked with clever mischief and resolve.

But then all three stepped aside, and a fourth figure exited the airlock.

A man in a dark suit cut to efficient lines and standards stepped out. His hands were gloved in white velvet, and a broach of blue gems rode on his lapel in the style of the encircled tri-wave emblem of Carcosia. Other than that and the colour of his ash grey hair, was too hard to say as his face was hidden behind a crimson mask of smooth polish ceramic. No eye holes, or nose or mouth, just a smooth ovoid of polished hart red.

"On behalf of the Steering Committee of the Reciprocity of Carcosia we offer you welcome to Messier 4, and the fellowship of siblings reconnecting from a long absence," the red masked figure said in an accent of curling waves and heavy forward syllables. Something of Pacific Rim, the Oceanic states. "I am the Red Cap, diplomatic envoy of the Steering Committee of the Reciprocity."

Lu'kat remained silent, knowing that it was customary for the Station's Commander to answer the greeting first. Though he fully expected to be second.

"I am Captian Ingram of Starfleet, commander of Canopus Station. This is my Chief Science Officer, Meilin Jiang. My Chief of Operations, Commander Toomey. And our diplomatic staff, Commander Calidia representing the United Federation of Planets and Lu'kat of the Cardassian Union," Ingram said dryly. "We'd have prepared a more fitting welcoming committee for you and your staff Red Cap had we been forewarned of your arrival."

"Yes, my heartfelt apologies for the dramatics of our arrival," the Red Cap said with a chuckle. "We don't often meet new starfaring races in Messier 4. Caution has been a shield the Reciprocity has used time and time again to great effect. We merely wished to test the waters, to gauge the current as it were. Your space is somewhat...crowded. More so than we were lead to believe from our Forward Commander's previous visit. The activity at your outer gas giants is most intriguing."

Lu'kat gave a formal nod upon being introduced. Although he would never admit it publicly, the Cardassian was quite fascinated by Carcosia's origin story, not in the least that it meant that it was possible for those not native to Messier 4 to succeed in building a society and sustaining itself.

"A surprise to us all," Ingram noted. "But we are ever adaptable. If you'll follow us, we have a light refreshment in a more congenial location than the pier side."

"Most welcome news," the Red Cap said, turning back to the three officers at his back. "Admiral Scholtz, Forward Commander Harris? I assume this does not conflict with your orders of stewardship?"

"Of course not Excellency," the man with the heavy white moustache said. This must be Admiral Sholtz. "I assume a brace of Carcosian Marines will be allowed as escort, Captian Ingram?"

"Of course, after all they will compliment the honour guard of Starfleet Marines attending," the Captian said. He looked to his officers. "Anything else?"

"Perhaps a refreshment of ship supplies as well," Calida suggested through her vocalizer. "Anything that may be cumbersome to fabricate on Carcoasian vessels."

"A kind offer," Admiral Scholtz said, his moustache waggling. "But our fleet train is sufficient, and we would be poor guests to impose on you in such a way."

"Well then, if you'll follow me?" Ingram said with a congenial smile.


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