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In Omnia Tempus (Part Two)

Posted on Wed May 20th, 2020 @ 6:26pm by Commander Christine Descharmes-Barnes Ph.D & Captain Mei Xiang Sun & Lieutenant Commander Wale Scholl Ph.D. & Lieutenant Lisa Jones & Lieutenant Gavin Ross & Lieutenant JG Jirin Cyn & Lieutenant JG Isabelle Veran PhD & Lieutenant JG Sarissa Aloran

Mission: Neither Past nor Future
Location: USS Shanghai (2399) / Seppala Station
Timeline: 74173.98 (15/04/2399)

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[Seppala Station]

"Thank you Seppala Control," Mei said quickly, "Yuyuan on approach - bay three," She clicked off the comms and glanced to her team. "Be polite. Consider this a diplomatic mission, understood?" The captain paused for a moment and looked back to her flying as she waited for responses. "If you have any questions, now is the time,"

Sarissa had sat quiet up until now but she did have one question. “I can sense a certain amount of...Shall we say misgivings about our being here. What kind of reception do you think we’ll get?”

"Cold would be a best case scenario. It's possible it will be hostile." Sun admitted, "We did wrong by them.

"What happened to make these people dislike us so much?" The half Trill engineer enquired. He was aware that the ship had been involved with their destination in the past but hadn't had a real opportunity to properly read up, "I take it that it's not something that'll be a quick fix?

"We left. And at the worst time," Mei said quietly. "Plague, from what I understand."

"Seems Starfleet has made a habbit of leaving people behind lately." Jirin spoke, frowning slightly, suddenly glad he had desided to pack a small collection of tools for the trip "Maybe we can start making it up to them a little bit"

Jones quietly listened, her rifle in her hands but in a much more casual manner not yet pointed any where but at the ground. She wanted so much to argue with Jirin but she knew such an argument would likely be a feeble waste of energy. So she devoted her attention and time to maintaining security for the area.

A moment later the type eleven shuttle found its way into bay three of Seppala Station, setting down gently in one of the premarked positions, guided in by a flight control officer for the station. It was strange for Mei to see them in civilian clothes, but it only made sense now. She took a breath and clicked through the shutdown sequence. "Let's get this over with," She spoke, dusting off her uniform jacket. "Jones, just a reminder. Mild anger is fine. But, if things start to get out of hand you are welcome to take control of the situation." She spoke as she stood. "Jirin, Thea, Sarissa - we're here to help. Get a cursory view of how things are in your various departments. Look around, take note of maintenance, logistics, medical. Don't wait for me to call on you to ask something. I'll introduce you, and then you jump into things just like we would with any colony," She spoke as she walked back towards the exit of the shuttle, pausing for a moment to give them a chance to respond or say anything.

Sarissa simply nodded, she needed to see just what they were facing.

Nodding but remaining quiet, the Shanghai's chief engineer remained quiet but did his best to put on a friendly face. Unlike many of the others this was a new destination for him and he hoped strongly that what ever hostility there might be towards them from the locals, that fact might at least by him a small sliver of good will. He was ready to help however he could.

"Of course Captain", Jones said simply in response to instructions not to let things get out of hand. She checked the power cell on the rifle and then went back to holding it in a lowered by ready stance.

The shuttlebay doors parted, and the delegation from Golovin stepped through, led by Hisa and Wale.

There were a few faces that Wale didn't recognize, but the sight of Captain Sun brought up a surge of emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. He was happy to see her, but there was also anger, resentment, grief, and abandonment. The emotions welled up in his throat, and he had to swallow hard to keep them from choking him. He took a deep breath and blinked, pressing his lips into a thin line and balling his fists tightly.

Sarissa looked towards the man that she recognised from the previous Shanghai crew roster, he used to be the Chief Science Officer of the ship but his name escaped her for the moment. Her Betazoid senses could feel his emotions loud and clear though, making her ramp up her self control and her mental ‘shields’ as well.

Hisa had remained off to the side and slightly behind Wale. She scanned the faces herself, her dark eyes resting on the one face she did recognize out of the small crowd. She moved forward from her own small delegation; one or two other council members and key colonists besides Wale she had also asked to be present. Sensing her good friend's sudden tension and understanding the emotions he must have been feeling as well, she placed a calming hand on his upper arm as she brushed past him. She crossed the bay until she came toe-to-toe with Mei. Hisa placed her hands on her hips and eyed the taller woman.

"You've got some nerve coming back here...after what you pulled," Hisa said angrily, her scowl deepening.

Mei paused at the response and shook her head slightly, "I am sorry, Matsuko-sama. I was called away to fight a war we didn't need to be in and I did not find the energy to fight the fleet over the decision to pull away from Seppala," She didn't give any more details than that, "You, and the rest of the colonists, are right to be angry with me and Starfleet. And I won't defend their actions. All I can do, and all I will try to do, is correct them moving forward." She paused for a moment, "With our failure here, I spent the last two years on this new Shanghai, working our way out here and specifically working with colonies to try to rectify Starfleet's lapse in support. If you'd have us, we would like to offer Golovin the same service, as a starting point."

Hisa scoffed, though her scowl lessened somewhat and she took a step back. "If we didn't need the help, I'd have sent you right back. And if it was anyone other you.." She shook her head, her stance relaxing somewhat. "We need it. They need it. More than my hatred of what Starfleet -- the Federation -- is supposed to stand for." She looked back at the group that had come with her. "You have no idea what they've been through. It's going to take a lot to heal the abandonment we all feel. But here-- right now-- is a good place to start."

"Good enough. We're just asking for a place to start," Mei said drifting a hand back towards the away team with her, "Just in case you agreed, I brought a few of my team with us. Lieutenant Jirin Cyn, my Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Thea Goldfrapp, our Strategist, and Lieutenant Sarissa Aloran from Medical and Science. They're at your disposal. Just show us what you need and we'll get ready. Lieutenant Jones is my security chief and will be here to walk through any security issues." Mei paused for a few seconds. "The new Shanghai is equipped with starbase level medical facilities, a promenade deck, and other amenities. Once colony leadership tells us what you need, we'll work out how to get it to you."

Jones was a subordinate to Captain Sun but she still spoke here mind when she felt it needed to be spoken and now was that time. Her tone was stern and standoffish as she commented, "Except for weapons. Star Fleet still does not provide arms."

"Afraid we'd turn them against you?" countered Wale, feeling as though the security officer's comment had been intended as a pique.

"A point of ethics, Doctor. Offering military hardware to civilians has rarely worked out well for either party," Mei spoke quietly. "Though I recognize that an argument of ethics would be moot from me."

"Yes, it would," confirmed Wale, barely able to contain his anger. "Most of us here are former Starfleet, if you'll remember. We know the drill. Thank you for that generous offer of Starbase-level medical facilities, but how can we be sure you're not just dangling them in our face before pulling out again without warning? How does that saying go? Fool us once..."

“Wait a minute..I thought I knew your face.” Sarissa looked at Wale. “You’re Wale Scholl the previous Chief of Science onboard ship. I’m not Science Chief but all of us in the Science department know of you. Filling your shoes is a tall order.” She was trying to lighten the mood a little.

"I wear size 45 shoes," snipped back Wale, darting a look at the blonde officer. "I'm sure you can find someone else with that size."

“Did I say we hadn’t managed?” Sarissa shot back a look that said she wasn’t bothered whether he helped out or not. She looked at the others he was with. “I’m also a Counsellor so I’ll be happy to help wherever you need me.”

"We'll let you know," Wale scoffed.

Once the moment presented it self Jones replied with a confident yet defiant tone, "No, Star Fleet fears you'd turn them on those who are unarmed, like your own people."

"We don't need a Counselor. No one's interested in talking about their feelings, as you can probably tell. And flattering us won't get you any extra points so you can stop that," Hisa said curtly, taking another couple of steps back so she was no longer in Mei's face.

Wale looked squarely at Jones. "As the Shanghai already demonstrated more than adequately, you don't need weapons to turn on your own people."

Hisa crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow. "I'm not disagreeing with you there. But I also don't want to start a war here. Not right now. There will be time enough later to point fingers at each other. And as much as I hate to say this, we need them. And Wale has a point. I want a guarantee. I'm not promising anything to these people only to have support pulled out again and we're left alone in the dark."

"We made the mistake of trusting them once before," chimed in Brock, one of the colony's delegates, a specialist in agriculture, looking at Wale and Hisa. "Want me to bring up the death count?"

"We've made our point," countered Wale. "Now it's time to listen to them."

Now irritated Jones spoke not trying to hid her anger from her tone, "I don't care what happened, it does not support who Star Fleet is. Now, you can either hold a grudge about what happened or you can let us help. Star Fleet is here to help, I don't care if you believe that or not."

"You're forgetting who you're talking to, Lieutenant," countered Wale. "I still hold the rank of Lieutenant Commander in Starfleet. I know exactly what they stand for, and what they betrayed. And since we're the ones you're supposedly here to help, your claim that you don't care if we believe you or not is bullshit."

"Will you all please calm yourselves," spoke a serene yet firm voice that sounded assured of itself. Stepping around the angered colonists was a face somewhat more familiar to the Captain. "Let us not forget that once you have left the service, your rank is immaterial, Mister Scholl. Or I could be giving everyone here orders. Unless you have mistaken Lieutenant Commander as a greater rank than Vice Admiral? Were you planning on returning, as I was under the impression that you intended to make your leave terminal?"

The elder half-Vulcan then regarded the Shanghai crew coolly, "Good eve, Captain. I trust that young Cai fares well? We have been out of communication and I had not heard if she attended the Academy?"

Jones expression became one of pure darkness, "I'm not forgetting who I'm talking to... I'm talking to a coward who took of the uniform because they disagreed with orders. We are officers, we follow orders, we obey orders and we do so because if we don't people die. Lets not forget that fact. As for my not caring, its not bullshit. I don't care. I'm here because I was ordered to be and unlike you, I follow orders. Whether or not I like them, I follow them."

"Young lady, I can no longer issue you orders, so I am going to recommend that you allow the Captain and Miss Matsuko to handle negotiations. There is is nothing to gain from harsh words and angry rhetoric," the retired Vice Admiral intoned, whom was reminded that this was like she was back at Starfleet Academy, counseling a group of errant Cadets. "That should go for everyone."

"Hisa-san, I am available if you require a negotiator or even a representative," Yu Xsin had turned to gaze upon the Colony Administrator.

"With all due respect to everyone here," Mei said quietly after a moment. "Sau seng!" She barked. She had reached the end of her patience with the situation. "I get that this is a heated conversation. I understand that. I understand that people died. I understand that hurt. You lost people that we could have saved, and we lost people too - all because some stupid bastards wanted to prove how good of warriors they were. And that blinded all of us to anything else. We are all sentient beings, from the same cultures. A united culture that defines ourselves by our connection to those around us - that believes we are better than the sum of our parts. And we all forgot that. Because all of us were hurt. So we need to understand that all of us acted on our instincts to deal with that pain."

She didn't give anyone a chance to speak. "Some of us," She motioned to herself and Jones, "Dove into orders to dull that pain. Some," She pointed at Scholl and Hisa, "Moved in more humanitarian directions. And some of us," She motioned back towards Jirin and Sarissa, "Just got screwed over and stuck with the damned situation the rest of us brought down on them." The Captain shook her head, "And we aren't going to fix it by being dismissive of those realities or cruel towards one another. But that isn't why we are here right now. We're not here to give in to our baser natures and act like bickering kids. If you all want to act like children, fine. Do it somewhere else."

"And," She glanced to the retired admiral, "I don't appreciate my authority being usurped by a retired admiral. I didn't ask Relau, St. Clair, or Thrace to come and help," Sun stepped forward, "With all due respect to your service in the past, Starfleet respectively declines your offer to serve as an intermediary on our behalf. And before you say anything, any reactivation would require your to reach out to the nearest Task Force's office of the Chief of Staff - which, fun fact, would be my office." Mei spoke coldly. "And to clarify, retired is generally permanent. The Doctor," She pointed to Scholl, "Is on a long term leave of absence to serve as director of a humanitarian project."

Sun let out a long sigh with closed eyes, and seemed to center herself, "Cai is fine - just afloat." She answered the question that had been asked her before she ranted, before turning back to her goal, "Now, Matsuko-sama. Would you like to continue the actual meeting part of this discussion somewhere more formal?" She spoke, "Or do we need to let our teams brawl and get all this out of their systems first? And if we are going to talk - who is coming with us?"

Hisa gave a quick nod towards Mei. "Agreed," she said. "A shuttle bay isn't the place to hash out differences of opinion. I have a half a mind to let them fight it out." She shook her head. "What was said was said, and needed to be said. Eight years to seethe is a..lot. And it's going to take a lot more. But this meeting - it's a good place as any to start. There should be an unused conference room close by. I'd prefer to have your engineer deal with mine. There's a lot of repairs here and on Golovin, our engineer can walk him through the priorities and the supplies we need. Wale can come with us unless he'd rather help out here. He's the scientist and has been heading it up. I just try to keep everyone happy. Your strat ops. I hear bits and pieces of what out's there. Mostly from the Cyen and what news I feel like listening to, but I would like to hear what's going on."

Moving to the captain and leaning towards her ear, Jones spoke just slightly below normal volume, "Sorry Ma'am. I was out of line. However, as your Chief of Security, I will secure the room just outside the door, with your permission?" Jones wore on her expression an air of humbled sincerity. She continued to hold her rifle low and in an non-threatening manner.

A man came running, "Hisa! I can't find Miss Bayushi! Mira is in a bad way, she needs the Doctor now!" Talbot Flavianis was a medical doctor, but a researcher and had no clinical expertise.

"Diu... She got too excited and showed up on Shanghai," Mei responded, directing her next statement directly to the colony leadership, "With your permission, we can coordinate with Shanghai and have medical teams on-site in just a few minutes,"

Hisa nodded. "Sure. Doctor O'Riordan is one of the other doctors still around and they've been overwhelmed but he's planetside currently. If you can have medical teams here, that would be helpful. Supplies too, we are running low and some things just can't - or shouldn't - be recycled."

Waiting quietly for the arguing to cease and something resembling civility to take over, Jirin simply waited for the right moment to say anything. "Actually," the Engineer interrupted mostly instinctively, so much so that he had nearly caught himself unaware, "It's a pretty boring area but recycling technology has come along a bit over the last few years. I don't expect we could exactly build a proper industrial recycling unit with what we have available right now but I'm certain we could do something that'd be more effecient than what you're working with at the moment." Smiling as his mind started running through what he'd need to bring down for such a task, he paused before adding, "With everybody's permission of course." He addressed both those from the colony and his Commanding Officer.

“Same goes for Science and Counselling” Sarissa like Jirin had waited for the right moment to speak up. “I’ll do my upmost to help in any way I can. Any resources we have that can be used here I’ll be happy to allocate.”

"Necessity is the mother of invention, Lieutenant," Wale told Jirin. "You'd be surprised at what we've been able to accomplish, given the state the colony was in, back when..." He stopped short of saying "when Starfleet abandoned us to our fate," to avoid starting another argument. He nodded at the beef of a man, before turning to follow Hisa and Sun to the conference room.

[Shanghai Bridge]

"Barnes to Doctor Ross," Christine said, once she had received the communications from Mei and the away team. "We have the go-ahead from Captain Sun on the medical supplies. I'd suggest probably your medical transport. And send a medical team. They requested help."

Reiko looked at the other physician, "Uh oh, something must have gone wrong while I have been off planet. Shall we get to it, Doctor?"

"Sick Bay Acknowledges, Captain. Ross out."

Ross turned to his right and then immediately had begun to enter his sickbay. Once he had come, he had the nurses and staff begin triaging, portable hospital triage units. Shanghai had onboard humanitarian supplies and logistics to support the inhabitants of many worlds.

"I am entering in the logistics of the personnel. “I’ve ordered personnel to the main shuttle bays. We have the logistic officers, ordered in place to begin harmonizing the medical field modules to our crafts.” Ross spoke to Reiko.

“I will need your help and expertise, of course, Reiko. I have heard a lot of great things you have done for the people of this world. Let’s help them the best we can.”

“You know the ground, Reiko, what is their current needs for supplies. I have analgesics, operational field hospitals, operational field surgical primary units even. We have the resources for these people. I just want to release them efficiently.

This was the Lieutenant being a Lieutenant ordering his staff what he had wanted, in a fast walk to the medical corridors of the Shanghai. They would soon be on the planet side, helping the inhabitants the best they could.

[Seppala Station Conference Room]

"Now that all of that is underway I think we can get started," Mei spoke as they walked towards their new destination. "Despite the fact that we aren't a fleet, this new Shanghai has a lot going for it. The Galaxy class, when you thin out the quarters a bit, has a lot of space. And we've built it to support colonies from the ground up. Industrial replicators, large auxiliary compliment, additional hydroponics bays, large arboretum, full promenade, and transports like you find at any city or colony designed to make ease of travel to and from while we're there," Mei spoke with her hands, but then there was a shift. Not just in her actions, but in the entire station.

There was a light shaking, like a low grade earthquake, though they were in an orbital station. It wasn't strong enough to shake anyone off their feet, but there was a bit of quivering and unsecured items bounced around for a few seconds on shelves. Mei stopped and glanced over to the colony delegation, "That's not normal for the station, correct?"

Hisa looked over to Mei. "Uh. No," she said, "I mean we've had problems with the zero-g stabilizers lately but that's..never happened before." She looked disturbed.

[Seppala Station Operations Center]

Lieutenant JG Eric Burke looked at the sensor console and scratched his head. The readouts were very strange, unlike anything he'd seen before. Chroniton radiation was off the scale, and neutrino emissions were moving in reverse polarity. There was an event horizon forming - but from what? He couldn't tell.

"Commander, I recommend yellow alert," he called out to the Station commander, explaining his readouts.

Sarissa looked at the others concernedly. “That felt like an earthquake but we’re not on a planetary surface, that shouldn’t have happened.” She looked to those present. “Can we get access to the station sensors? See what they’re recording?”

Shanghai Bridge

"Commander," came the shy and quiet voice of an ensign."I have several ships on long-range sensors. They seem to be moving away."

"Hmm," Christine said, musing. "I wonder if its that Gorn transport we're looking for. Can you project their trajectory? Get their heading and-" She was interrupted by the ship rocking, not violently but noticeably. Bridge lights flickered and dimmed, warning sensors went off and several bridge officers caught off guard steadied themselves against their consoles. She glanced around. "What the hell was that?" she asked to no one in particular.

"Commander," the ensign said, confused as she looked over her console. "We've moved several thousand kilometers further from Seppala. And the ships...they're no longer on sensors. They're gone."

"What do you mean, 'gone'?" she asked. "And can someone tell me what just hit us and where it originated from?"

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