Apollo - Civil Intolerance
Location: Morning Garden, Irilia Provence, Ceria City
Timeline: 2393 - MD06
Emerging from the shuttlecraft on the outskirts of the 'city' in the central province, Lieutenant Kingsey paused for a moment to allow her eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight which bathed the landing strip. As her eyes adjusted her gaze was drawn to the beautiful vista. Clearly many crops and plants were in season, creating the impression of endless colour from the deep greens of the sky to the reds, blues, greens and yellows of the world below. Almost as if someone had taken a canvas and decided to just create an explosion of colour.
Here and there a building could be seen, yet those were sparse. Farmhouses and barns mostly. A reminder that those who had settled here had done so to work the land.
Turning her back on the view, she waiting for her companions to join her, inwardly hoping it didn't get too much warmer than this. Stepping around the shuttle she saw an ornately carved archway, engraved with the word 'welcome' in elaborate script. Beyond that, a path extended for just a few meters before a stone stairway descended steeply into the heart of Irilia Province.
While in comparison to most worlds, the word 'city' was something of an exaggeration, this was the centre of trade the colony conducted. Home of farmer and fish markets every day, drawing in not only other colonists but off-worlders too. Indeed, they were not the only ship currently housed on the landing pad though all the others appeared civilian.
Peering down, she found the stairs then flowed into a path into a town square of sorts, two buildings to one side and stalls filling most of the available space. The people milling around appearing as tiny dots moving around from this distance. And just beyond that, a series of lakes dotted the horizon. For now, their interest was the town square.
As Raith and Julian joined her at the welcome sign, she grinned before leading the way down, "Hope nobody is afraid of heights... this way to the Senator."
Raith took in the sights around them and found himself somewhat unsurprised by the layout of the area but also by the sparseness of the layout of buildings as well. This all had a very Vulcan feel to it, however knowing that there were Humans colonised here as well, he could also understand the colours that had been included. He looked around as he adjusted to the sunlight and realized that they may well be in for a stay...
Joining both Alex and Julian, he also saw the steps before them. "It's a long way down," he said. "This will be a fun walk, whoever said that this wouldn't also be a decent exercise as well." As they began making their way down the stairs, Raith looked at Alex. "Who is it we're due to meet with again? Senator?"
Julian kept up with the others. He had never met a politician before, Federation or otherwise. "I wonder what they will be like" he commented.
"Senator Srenak," Alex said over her shoulder as they walked. "He is, in essence, the colony leader but he seemed happy enough to meet with us. Perhaps it was our message including the offer of supplies? We should have time to look around afterwards and see if anyone has seen Stillwater."
Srenak sat in his office. He leaned back in his chair as the door opened. He watched a beautiful human woman walk in. She smiled. "You have to eat. You have been working all night."
He raised an eyebrow. "I have not. I slept three hours."
"Well it wasn't in our bed." She said. She walked to his desk and plopped down on his lap winding her arms around him. "So. What's on the list for today."
Shaking his head at his wife he could do nothing but wind his arms around her. "We are meeting with a few Starfleet officers."
She sighed. She was former Starfleet. "I don't like it."
"Indeed but they are bringing supplies we need. Let us hear them out."
Reaching the lower step, Alex paused to allow the others to catch up and to take a moment to ponder the long climb that was waiting for them when they went back to the shuttle. "We can cancel the gym membership," she mused as she led their small group into the town square proper. She could see the stalls now, some selling fruits and vegetables, some selling freshly caught fish, others meat and a nearby sign declaring what days different traders would be in the market square to sell goods. The traders themselves were a mix of Human and Vulcan, although predominantly women and mostly older.
There was a lull in the chatter as the new arrivals came into view but the faces were friendly enough, merely curious. After all, this was Morning Garden. Violence was not a concept they accepted within their society.
Crossing the square, they mounted the small steps and found the doors to the town hall itself propped wide open. There was a woman seated at a workstation inside, serving as defacto receptionist and administrator. With that same curious look she directed the trio down the corridor to her left, up the stairs and along another corridor to the door at the furthest end. Thanking her, Alex again resumed the lead. It was a little cooler inside which was welcome and while sparse, the interior of the Town Hall had been decorated with care and attention to detail. Although most doors they passed where closed. It seemed rude to check if they were locked but it gave the corridor a somewhat claustrophobic feel.
Taking a deep breath she knocked on the office door, waiting on a response.
Srenak looked at his wife. "I believe they are here, and on time. It bodes well."
Reluctantly Gloria got up from her perch kissed her husband's forehead and walked to the door. She swung the door open to allow the visitors in. "You must be the fleeters." her distaste was clear.
In response, Alex offered a bright smile as the trio entered the office. "I guess we are," she replied with more politeness than the woman probably deserved, "I'm Alex Kingsley, my colleagues Raith Kolani and Julian De Rivera. We are here to meet Senator Srenak?"
Srenak rounded the table. "Indeed you are welcome. I am Srenak. This is my wife Gloria." He held out two fingers and watched as his wife came to him to join her fingers with his, an acceptable physical touch for Vulcans when in public. He was proud of his wife keeping the old was but she hated Starfleet. He motioned to her. "Go my wife. Get refreshments." He looked at his guests. "Please be seated."
"Thank you. We appreciate your hospitality," she responded.
"You have an interesting and very colourful colony here, Senator," Raith said as he took a seat. "I'm not sure I've seen anything like this before, how long have you been established here?" Raith was curious about the place but also wanted to start off on the right foot with the Senator as well. It was clear that his wife was already in the negative about them being here.
"Thank you. Please I am Srenak. I have never found comfort in the title." He motioned. "Our colony old but not that old. We have built up this colony as a way to unite those that believe in peace. It is unfortunate that the planet is within this sector. Many have petitioned us to fly their banner a strategy for them but a colony destructive venture for us. Your supplies are quite needed. There have been illnesses that our medics could not deal with, particularly with those of my species. But tell me do those supplies come with a heavy price?"
"I don't believe so," Alex replied, "actually, we also need your help. Your knowledge. Your own and your people. We are searching for someone, a former commander in Starfleet. His name is Brett Stillwater. We are trying to find out if he is here, or has visited. Any information."
She took a gamble, guessing trust was important. So she through the art of negotiation manual out the window. "But to be clear, even if you cannot help us, I do not intend to go back to our ship with our cargo. It will be given to your people either way."
He raised an eyebrow. "And there is not request to have our colony join the Federation?"
"None whatsoever," she confirmed with a firm nod.
Gloria had come and she placed the drinks on the table in time to hear her husband's question. She gave a snort of contempt. "They never give up."
The Senator stood. "My wife you forget yourself. Your rudeness dishonours me and this colony."
She blushed. "I'm sorry I just don't like them." She left.
The Vulcan sunk into his seat. "My apologies. She has her reasons." He motioned for the drinks. "Please have some refreshments. "Why do you wish to know about Stillwater." This time his question was directed to Kalani
Raith took a breath before explaining why they were looking for their missing officer. "Stillwater was due to check in with our starship data specific time and didn't. He also missed several more check in's as well," he said. "Stillwater is now considered missing and we have a duty to find out why he's missing and if he is still alive as well."
Allowing for a pause after giving his explanation, Raith continued. "We're simply trying to find out what's happened to him and we believe that this location was one of the places he may have been too." Whilst it was important to explain their reasons for being there, Raith also wanted to make sure that this wasn't seen as a negative. "I can understand your wife reasons for not liking Starfleet, however, any organisation would want to account for the last location of any missing colleagues or officers."
He gave a nod. "He is not here. He was here. He was of great help when our colony had agricultural issues." He gave a nod. "He is safe indeed but I do not know where. I will make enquiries around the colony. It will take a few hours."
Raith was happy to find out that Stillwater had been here, however, he also was slightly curious as to the cryptic nature of the Senator's answer. "Its good to know that he was able to provide assistance to you and the colony whilst he was here," Raith said. "May I ask, you know he's safe, but you don't know where he's gone... Can I ask how you know he's safe then?"
His mouth upturned a little. "He has many friends. A man of honour is often spoken of but not all men of honour wish to be found. If he missed his check-in it was more then probably by choice."
"I see," Raith answered, feeling that any further questions on the matter would possibly be met with either resistance or just dismissed. He was already beginning to wonder why someone would go missing by choice or choose not to check in on time. "Thank you for your assistance, and hopefully you are able to find out more for us."
He gave a nod. "I will have my people accompany you to the shuttle for the supplies. You must tell me if you wish something in trade for it or payment for them. They are badly needed."
"Any information you can find is more than enough," Alex reassured him.
Srenak gave a nod. "I thank you. I shall meet you at the shuttle in three hours. Until then please enjoy the colony hospitality."
"Thank you," Alex smiled as she stood.
Srenak gave a nod.
=/\=Three hours later @ shuttle Apollo =/\=
Srenak gave a nod. "I have some information, how useful it is I am not sure. Stillwater was here one month ago to trade. He had Romulan and Klingon wears and he did mention that he was in this system. That is all I have." He handed Alex a PaDD.
Accepting the PADD, Alex quickly scanned the contents as she flashed the senator a grateful smile, "it is more than we had, and confirms we are at least in the right part of the galaxy. Thank you, Senator."
Srenak gave a nod. He motioned for his people to unload the shuttle. It didn't take long but when it was done Srenak gave each of the members the Vulcan salute. "I thank you on behalf of my people." He stopped in front of Alex. "I wish you luck on your search."
"Thank you," Alex smiled.
"Live long and Prosper," he said addressing the crew.
Ensign De Rivera simply waved.