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#13487336 Oct 17, 2017 at 07:21 PM
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[Two Days After The Elachi Attack, Bomerath, Ikloham City-State]

Alice - Alice sat at her desk in the Medical Research wing of Ikloham Polytechnic University, writing. Writing with a pen and paper. Not for the first time since her arrival here, she paused and looked at the pen and paper. Bomeerathi technical shorthand was a marvel of linguistics. Once she'd learned it she'd found she could write far faster and with greater detail than Federation Standard allowed, except when she used her implant and adaptor to simply think the words into a PADD document.

That, of course, was not possible here. She had to communicate with the staff, fill out their forms, report to the university and write letters to other doctors. She also had to read it and understand it instantly, without the filter of the UTM. Learning to write it was the only way. In fact, she suspected they found her easier to understand in writing than when she spoke, as she still relied on her universal translator.

She looked away from the pen to glance out her window, which afforded her a rather stunning view of the City of Glass.

A view now obscured by plywood covering the shattered remains of her window. She sighed.

Dekan - Since the attack, Alice's non-native security escort had been bolstered by a local security escort. Or, perhaps more accurately, her escorts had gained escorts. The tan and black uniforms of the Planetary Guard Force were functional, professional, and about as military as military as the bomeerathi ever got. Two of them were stationed outside her office, a permanently attached escort that stuck with her almost everywhere. She would be able to hear them stiffen to attention, just as the sound of boots ticking off the tile floors began to echo. There was a brief murmer outside the borrowed office door, followed by a gentle knock.

"My Lady Coffin, may I come in?"

They had not been kidding when they mentioned how almost painfully defferential the bomeerathi were. It was required teaching in any sort of etiquette class, that any 'aliens' were to be reffered to with the utmost honorifics.

Alice - Alice had tried insisting they call her doctor, explaining that, in her culture, the style was a much higher rank than "Lady". It had met with only limited success among the academics so far, but she was making progress a little at a time. A little. "Please, come in." She answered.

Dekan - The bomeerathi who entered was also dressed in the tan and black of the PGF, although the rank insignia was unfamiliar. Stranger still, the man seemed old, with almost violently green eyes, and a ramrod straight stance that almost looked out of place on the usually meek reptilians. "My apologies for not introducing myself sooner, M'Lady. I was hoping to meet under more auspicious circumstances, but..." He made a little gesture to where the window was. Or, where it used to be.

"I am Guard Captain Ilian. I am the nominal commander of the Planetary Guard Force. I understand some thanks are in order for actions taken during the recent... Crisis."

Alice - Alice rose and bowed politely. "Captain, it is a pleasure to meet you, finally. Ensign ThrinJes and I only did what we felt was our duty. To be honest I was somewhat terrified throughout the ordeal. It is...a bit of what we call a 'cliche' among Humans to say it, but I truly wish we could have done more."

Dekan - Ilian returned the bow, a few respectful centimeters deeper than hers. Her comments drew a little glint in his eyes, was that perhaps humor there? But it didn't escape to his carefully stern features. "I would be lying if I said I didn't wish the same thing. But, at least in the PGF, we tend to avoid wishful thinking. We have to deal with situations as they are, not how we want them to be."

Alice - "An admirable attitude I've found common in military commanders, Captain. What brings you here today? I hope you are not about to tell me you're increasing my security."

Dekan - The stiff-backed bomeerathi snorted, softly. "I might, if I had enough manpower to do it. As it stands, we're stretched a bit thin as it is." For obvious reasons, surely. Ilian paused a moment, however, before he answered her actual question. "Do you... Happen to know what's going on up there?" He made a vague gesture towards the sky, and presumably the recovering fleet.

Alice - "I am not kept well-informed on matters of defense." Alice admitted, "But I can guess some things. The Republic will be investigating how the Elachi bypassed their pickets. They should have had more warning. Something happened to the sensors, I'm sure. But more...I would not care to speculate too openly because some of the possibilities are disturbing. So I must focus on what I can do here, in this little bit of time and space."

Dekan - "Mmm." Ilian made an accepting noise, although it was hard to tell what else he thought. If he didn't like the answer, he was doing a good job not showing it. "And your work here... Is that progressing to your satisfaction?"

Alice - Alice smiled, "The university staff are wonderful, and Bomeerathi medical science is quite amazing in it's own way. I'm particularly fond of the technical shorthand, it has both beautiful elegance and pragmatic precision. And your researchers are using organic chemistry to incredible effect on your people's health, not just the treatment of illness and injury. I think if your people choose to join the galactic community, they will most certainly make waves in the medical disciplines. As for the specifics of my project, the records are extremely thorough and useful. We did lose some data during the attack, but Jes and the server technicians had the foresight to protect the backups from EM radiation right after we arrived."

Dekan - The Captain almost looked taken aback by the frankness of the answer, as much as its volume. He paused, thinking, his brows furrowing slightly as he considered her. It's almost like he was expecting another answer, somehow, and now that she hadn't provided it, he was forced into changing his battle plan. "Would you mind if I sat down, M'Lady?" He asked suddenly, buying time for his own considerations.

Alice - "Please, lets sit." Alice motioned to the comfortable chair next to her desk and sat in the desk chair herself. It was a deliberate choice, rather than letting him simply sit in the chair across from her desk, a position she had authority over, she directed him to the seat an equal might take when visiting a colleague.

Dekan - "Thank you." Ilian offered a polite but curt nod of thanks, and took the offered chair. It wasn't all an attempt for time; the Captain looked tired. Perpetually harried, in fact. Probably not without reason. "I... Hope you won't take this the wrong way, M'Lady. But I have to keep reminding myself that not all Celestials are the same."

'Celestials', in this case, was in essence the bomeerathi word for 'alien'. Up until recently, that predominately meant 'romulan', with a smattering of other races. But the social engineering the Star Empire had done on the planet had decided it was safer and simpler to conflate all non-bomeerathi with that sufficiently elevated state. A relatively safe bet in keeping the bomeerathi docile, or at least more docile than they normally were. Until Hobus, at any rate.

Alice - "Cultural habits take time to change." Alice glanced at the boarded up window. "Captain, do you think your people are ready for what's out there? The universe beyond is astonishing. For me, your world is part of the great beyond, and I've already learned things here I could never have envisioned before. It's going to change the way I practice medicine once I've absorbed it all. But space is hostile to life, and mistakes are often costly."

She shook her head. "Apologies, I've let my mind and my words wander."

Dekan - "Not at all, M'Lady. Provided you don't mind my own frankness." There it was, that little hint of humor playing just behind the cold mask of discipline. But again, the face itself didn't allow the expression to show. "In truth, I'm not sure. But us being 'ready' for it doesn't seem to matter very much. We've been made a part of it, regardless of our own consent." He made a vague gesture at the city beyond that window, meaning the destruction that had rained like so much fire from heaven.

Alice - "The powerful choose and the weak obey." Alice stated. "That's how the Empire liked it. But suppose you had the choice? Step back from your admirable military pragmatism and consider your ideal future. Would you want to step into what's out there right now? Would you rather we all left and let your people be until you managed to join us on your own? Something in between?"

Dekan - "I don't believe I have that luxury, ma'am." Not an insult, or an angry remark. Just a simple statement of fact. Perhaps a little on the cooler side of emotion, but it was clear Ilian intended no disrespect. "These... Elachi. Once they neutralized your fleet, nothing we had even slowed them down. If we were to, say, request you all just leave us alone... What would stop the elachi from coming back to finish wiping us out? Not us, certainly. They made that quite clear." Helpless bitterness leaked into his voice there. Not without justification.

Alice - Alice sighed, "Then maybe I'm wrong after all." She slumped in her chair.

Dekan - Ilian looked at the doctor with some mild concern. At least, for a moment. Something clicked, apparently, and realization dawned for a moment before his schooled his face back to passivity. "I have... Come to understand you Celes- Hrm. Your Federation, correct? Has rules for dealing with..." An actual ghost of a smile flitted across his features. "Primitive cultures, correct? I'm curious; Has there ever been a test of these laws in a situation like ours? A culture, already contacted... Owned, by a 'modern' one, abandoned, and then directly attacked by another modern power?"

Alice - "Nothing to this extent, but then, we've never witnessed the total collapse of an empire before, at least not in the history of the Federation. Some worlds have slightly similar examples, Earth in particular has a long history of conquering cultures overwhelming others, only to fall apart and leave the conquered peoples to pickup the pieces, only to be conquered again by the next empire." She shook her head, "Truly I know of nothing like what has happened to your people." She shrugged, "At first I only wanted to help a patient, of sorts, by getting him more help. Now it feels like more. I want to help the Bomeerathi. Help them preserve their unique thinking, their approach to science, your culture. I want to help you...be the species you want to be, not what circumstances dictate you must become."

Dekan - "An idealist. Who've thought." This time his smile was thin, but genuine. And sad. "Ma'am, I've been in the PGF for over fifty years now. Been in charge of it for the past, oh, almost eighteen now. The one thing I've learned is that all you can do is respond to your circumstances. We are what we are, and we'll become what we'll become. All I care about, all I can afford to care about, is making sure we're still here for someone else to ask those questions later. Right now... I hate to say it, but we're a little shakey on an existential level."

Alice - "Maybe....maybe what's needed is something new. Not an Uplift protocol, this is clearly much more than just a case of cultural or technological contamination or premature first contact. Nor is it a truly a recovery effort. The Empire had influence for too long," She stood and began to pace across the office. "and now the planet is under threat, has already endured a global assault. It seems to me Bomeerath has two critical needs: immediate assistance in defense, and greater agency in determining it's future."

Dekan - Ilian cocked his head a bit at the musings. "The latter would be helpful, yes. The former is more my immediate concern. Since everyone on the Council seems to be looking at me like I'm supposed to lead planetary defense operations now." The bomeerathi gave a quick shake of his head. "But that about sums up my own interpretations."

Alice - Alice sat on her desk, an unconsciously casual habit she'd only rarely analyzed, "Captain, if I write a proposal, would you be willing to show it to a few discreet friends with the right expertise? I'd like your opinions on it, any suggestions, before I send it up to Command."

Dekan - Ilian adopted a pensive expression. "If you like, M'Lady. I suppose I'll just give myself an editorial hat then as well." The last is a dry shot of humor, but at least it's humor.

Alice - Alice grinned and hopped down from the desk. "Then you could almost join Starfleet or the Republic fleet, wearing many hats is common for officers in both." She gestured to her desk. "Here I am, a medical doctor specializing in cybernetics and prosthetics, running a planetary medical survey while attempting to turn the course of this planet's relations with the galaxy on my own initiative." She paused, "Thinking on it, if you asked to join the Republic fleet I think they'd happily accept you on the spot. Their recruiting methods are not so stringent as Starfleet."

Dekan - The Captain snorted. "And learn a whole new method of command? At my age?" He shakes his head, a bit ruefully. "Maybe another lifetime. I'll stick to what the Council gives me and what I already know for this one." He leans back in the chair, relaxing slightly. "I am curious now though. I understand Commander Dekan's interest in us, even if he doesn't. What's yours? Why do you care so deeply about a bunch of primitives?"

Alice - Alice looked a little bit surprised, "Bomeerathi aren't primitive. Your brains are equal in complexity and capability to any Federation, Republic, or Klingon Empire member species. There's nothing in the data to say Bomeerathi are 'primitive'."

Dekan - Ilian cracks a very slight wry smile. "Why, thank you M'Lady. But I wasn't referring to our intelligence. We have no history with you, or even your race. At least, that I'm aware of."

Alice - "Oh, well....it's because I'm a Doctor." She sat down. "For me, and I've noticed this is true of other Human doctors, my urge to help is driven by empathy. I've often wondered if there's some genetic memory at work, and we know evolution plays a part in it, but Humans seem driven to care. Care about anything, anyone, without regard to species or estimated intelligence." She thought for a moment, "I once heard a story, very early days of the Federation, out on their frontier, a singleship pilot happened upon a distress signal. A small transport, disabled and caught in a gas giant's gravity well, some kind of refueling effort I think. The crew warned the pilot off, they were clearly doomed and insisted there was nothing the pilot could do. His ship was a tenth their size, barely capable of warp two. He went in anyway. He died. But he'd saved the transport by placing his craft under theirs and initiating a sustained fusion overburn in in his impulse packs. It overloaded all his systems, shields, life support, hull integrity, and totally depleted his fuel, but he managed to get them into a stable orbit before succumbing to the gas giant and they were rescued a few days later. Nobody knows who he was, he didn't take the time to talk to the crew, but some think that was the real first contact between Humans and that species."

Dekan - "Hmm." Ilian tilted his head at the story, considering the meaning. "A laudable viewpoint, to be sure. So, here you are trying to dictate our future... Well, help us dictate our own future." He amends before she can interrupt with a little gesture of humor. "Just because it's the right thing to do?" He doesn't sound like he doesn't believe her. Just surprised.

Alice - Alice shrugged and smiled helplessly, "I suppose it's human nature. At least, one aspect of it."

Dekan - "Hmph." The bomeerathi snorts, and brings his long fingers up to his chin. "Well, I suppose I shouldn't look to hard at any sort of good will." He says with a final shrug. "Especially these days. But enough about that. What's done is done, what is, is. What's this proposition you're planning on?"

Alice - "A new kind of plan, to preserve Bomeerathi culture and scientific methods while ensuring they will be better able to defend themselves against further Elachi aggression." She turned serious, "First, you need weapons. Small arms, heavy weapons, orbital defenses, the training needed to use and maintain them and power sources to keep them active. Second, and this will take longer, your people have to learn to make these things yourselves using your own methods. Advancing along lines of scientific investigation already underway, using Bomeerathi scientific methods, so that you develop your own computers, your own high-density data modules, your own fusion generators, transporters, spacecraft, eventually your own warp engines."

"The intent being, meet your immediate needs first, then let you develop that technology from first principles using your own methods."

Dekan - "I can't say I really disagree with any part of that in theory." He answers, smiling faintly. "For my own part, it would be nice to be able to sleep. You know, at all." His faint smile makes the comment a joke. The look in his eyes make it only half a joke. "If anyone's worried about us taking these defenses and trying to start our own army, I'd direct their attention to our previous masters for a counter-point."

Alice - Alice smiled in return, "Based on my personal experience, I know your people to be courageous in many ways, but you are not natural-born warriors. And you are not a reckless people. I don't think we need to worry about you destroying yourselves with advanced weapons and power systems. And if anyone is worried about how long it will take you to develop your own equivalent technology," She tapped her cranial implant, "This device has about ten thousand times more computing power than every server complex on your planet. A few computing devices the size of my desk would all of serve your mathematical and simulation needs for at least...twenty years? I'd have to talk to an engineer to be certain."

Dekan - Ilian looked at the implant with... Confusion, that was the expression he had. "Uh... Your... Jewelry is a... Computer?" It was clear that he didn't make the connection between the implant and computers. From his tone, he thought it was a bizarre piece of body art. Strange, but understandable.

Alice - "It's a machine implanted into my body, it's part of me. It actually makes up about fifteen percent of my brain. My physical strength also comes from cybernetic implants." She held up her hand, with it's metallic lines raised above her skin. "I have scanner and sensor receptors in my hand. About half of my implanted computing power is dedicated and specialized to medical tasks. The rest is externalized memory, control and sensory augmentations, the things that let me be a cybernetic human."

Dekan - Ilian blinked at the explanation. He seemed to get the gist of it, if not the whole thing. Then he opened his mouth and confirmed it. "Uh, you used a word I didn't quite catch... Would you mind explaining what 'cybernetic' means?" If anyone had gone back and reviewed their conversation, they'd find the universal translator had just skipped that word entirely. The bomeerathi had no local equivalent, or even a remotely related word.

Alice - "Cybernetics is to combine the automatic control, communication and memory of living and mechanical systems. To meld living flesh with machines." Alice realized what had happened when he said "cybernetics" instead of a Bomeerathi equivalent and the UT integrated into her implant pinged it.

Dekan - "Huh." Ilian blinked again, reviewing the conversation in his head from pure chemical memory, applying the new term to it. "Hmm. Seems a bit... Well, over my head, so to speak." He snorted, ruefully. "I'm a force commander, not an engineer or doctor. I'll uh, save myself the headache and assume someone else will be able to understand the details a bit better. I follow your original point, though. I think our servers might surprise you, but if you can shrink a Cogitation Building down to something that fits in your head, that's quite impressive enough for me."

Alice - "Engineers like to call it 'computational density'. But it's really just very tiny logic circuits. Jes told me about your Cogitation Buildings, in passing and in a rather expressive display of enthusiasm, they sound immensely impressive. The programming must be as well. I hope I get to see them sometime."

Dekan - "Perhaps." The Guard Captain looked a little pensive. He had some reservations, clearly, but he wasn't quite up to nixing the idea entirely. There were some lingering doubts about the mass of visitors, clearly. Hopefully with time, they would fade. For the moment, however, Ilian stood. "For now, however, I fear I may have taken much of your time. And I know I've taken a bit more of my own than I anticipated. I'll look forward to that proposal. If you send it to my office, I'll be sure to get it. By your leave, M'Lady?"

Alice - Alice stood as well, "Thank you for your visit, Captain. I quite enjoyed our conversation. I hope you'll feel free to visit any time." She bowed, "Good day."
Chi@grgrafitti: *cackles* Oh man I can't wait to see the crater we make!

Zorim@fulgin: Compensating for the asymmetry in the warp field.

Dekan@kanekasier: Helm. Helmplease.

Rori@zanethesage: This is gonna be a photo finish!

Chi@grgrafitti: Hehehehehe! Everyone throw your hands up in the air before we crash, best black box footage ever!

Dekan@kanekasier
: Helmwhy
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