Previous Next

Cornucopia, Part One

Posted on Sun Aug 4th, 2019 @ 1:24pm by Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan & Cassandra Leblanc-Reed & Crewman Apprentice Stef
Edited on on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 @ 9:27am

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: USS Majestic, General Mess
Timeline: MD05, 1700

USS Majestic, Deck 9: General Mess
MD05, 1700

With alpha shift rotating off duty, the mess hall entered into another frenzy of activity. One could discern by the amount and tone of conversation how the day's operation had gone. By all accounts, the smiles on the faces of many of the Majestic's crew denoted that morale was high. The consistent clink of silverware was peppered by the occasional hum of the food replicators whirring another meal into existence. Fresh flowers and greenery from the aeroponics bay adorned the table tops, providing the otherwise gray-scale setting with life and color.

Off duty but still in uniform, Lily Sullivan was curled up in the corner of a sofa in the lounge section, reading her PADD as a a cup of strong coffee cooled on the table beside. Whatever she was reading was quite clearly holding her attention as she hadn't touched the coffee in several minutes.

Without looking to see who was sat on the one corner, a young looking Vulcan flopped down on the other end, grimacing as he did so. His arm was supported by a sling, his hand wrapped up in a solid cast. Of course the doctor could've fixed it but something had withheld the Vulcan from asking her to do so. Almost as if he needed a reminder to be careful, or perhaps because he needed the reminder because of something else. Where often he was seen with a young child, this time he was alone. He only seemed to notice the woman after a few seconds. "Oh... I apologize...I did not mean to disturb you ma'am," he said softly, already moving to rise.

"Huh?" Sullivan looked up at the voice, half wondering if she had imagined it like the voice she heard in the main hall a few days prior. But the Vulcan standing in front of her was quite real. "Oh, no, you weren't disturbing me. Please, sit. My name is Lily, er, Lieutenant Sullivan I guess, nice to meet you." Sullivan extended a hand, but paused when she noticed the restricted motion of her seatmate's arm. "Is, uh, everything alright?"

Not one to shake hands anyway, Stef offered a thin smile. "Crewman Apprentice Stef," he replied, "and I will be better. Just a small argument with a desk's surface ma'am. I just feel awkward at the moment, and useless. I can tend to only part of my duties at the moment."

"I see," Lily replied, brow furrowed as she thought of the possible reasoning or motive behind punching a desk and leaving his injuries untreated. "Well crewman, assuming you aren't too busy, feel free to stay. It's a, um, focusing level of background noise here. I quite enjoy it."

"I do not understand... focusing level of background noise?" Despite his linguistic skills, this was confusing.

"Yeah, like you know how it's hard to concentrate when it's super loud? Well, I think super quiet can be distracting too, so I like a little bit of background noise," Sullivan lifted her hand up to eye-level, thumb and forefinger a few centimeters apart to illustrate the point. Shrugging, she continued, "I dunno, maybe it's just me."

"What were you reading ma'am?" Gingerly, the young man sat back down, watching her in earnest.

"Oh this?" She held up her PADD. "I'm just reading through a list of the member races of the Claddin Empire. I'm unlikely to have any direct impact on the negotiations myself, but it doesn't hurt to be educated on the subject. If you'd like, I can transfer the file to you if you'd like."

"I would not mind having a read ma'am," Stef replied, taking out the PADD he rarely was without. "I was training to be a linguist before I decided to leave the academy. It helps greatly with my duties as yeoman however, and I am always looking to expand my knowledge."

"That's the spirit! Hold on a second, I'm sending it to you," Lily typed a few commands and the transfer was complete. "I'm on page twelve, reading about the Mai'Aiud. Interestingly, their home planet primarily consists of floating islands suspended above a planet-encompassing ocean. I, uh, admit that their discovery of powered flight early on in their history is what initially drew my attention, but their current advancements in engine technology are fascinating to read about."

Cassie entered the mess, just having come off duty and looking for something to eat. She was so hungry she hadn't even thought of changing into more casual clothes. Tucking her PADD under her arm, she ordered a rice bowl with vegetables and pieces of salmon tartare from the replicator, along with a glass of sparkling water. She was about to sit at a table when she spotted Lilith in the far end of the mess, curled up on the couch and talking to a young Vulcan who strangely had an arm in a sling.

She approached the couch and set her meal and water on a low table next to a half-empty coffee mug. "Your coffee's getting cold." she pointed to the chair opposite the couch. "Mind if I join you?"

"Oh, good looking out, thanks," Lilith turned and reached for her mug before she processed that the new voice was familiar. "Oh hey stranger! I know you! Yes, please, come and sit with us. Hell, you might even find what we're doing interesting. Cassandra, this is Crewman Stef, the Captain's Yeoman. Stef, this is Cassandra, diplomatic attaché."

"Ma'am," the young man greeted with a polite nod of his head. He scooted over a little so the newcomer could join them; there was plenty of room on the couch.

Cassie smiled. "A pleasure, crewman," she responded, and sat cross-legged on the couch. She was curious about the sling, but didn't mention it. She was fairly certain the crewman would bring it up if he felt up to it.

"So, what's apparently so interesting?" she asked as she picked up her rice bowl and chopsticks.

"Uhm..." Stef hesitated, looking over at Sullivan. "I was just given a file about this planet and its people. I was about to scan it ma'am...would you like to read along or do you have a PADD so we can share it with you too?"

"Oh, not just one planet," Lily interjected. "There's files on just about every member of the Claddin Empire in there. We're digging into a veritable cornucopia of culture over here," she smiled before polishing off the remainder of her coffee.

"I've already got this PADD full of info on the Claddin Empire, some new, some less recent. Three planets, no? Well, two and one planetoid," Cassie responded, taking a sip of her sparkling water.

"You've got the Crustillians on the planetoid, and the two other planets on opposite sides of the same orbit around the star. One is inhabited by Mai'Aiud, and the other is..." She jogged her memory. "The Lai'Adi. That's it. And they're all attending the conference. That means learning common phrases from each main language they speak. And neither has the same grammatical structure."

"Well, then it sounds like it's a small miracle that they don't quarrel more frequently. Imagine how easy it would be to have some sort of grammatical faux pas if you hadn't studied the language beforehand," Sullivan remarked, noting the positions of the planets that Cassie had mentioned. "I'd, uh, probably better keep my mouth shut for the next month, eh? Do we know which language most closely matches Federation Standard?"

"I've noticed that Mai'Ae, which is the main Mai'Aiud dialect, has a structure similar to Latin, with the verb usually placed at the end of a sentence. And words have different declinations depending on where they go in a sentence. I've only scratched the surface for the other two, but that's the closest I've seen to Federation Standard so far," Cassie explained.

"I don't really think conflicts stem from the language barrier though. I really think the issues are more about trade, cultural, and tech exchange. I mean, look at the Mai'Aiud, they have floating cities, and they're very reluctant to share the technology with the other two societies. And at the same time, they demand increasingly more resources from the other two. It seems unbalanced, you know?" she asked, tipping her hands up and down, like a balance.

"Oh we studied a society like that briefly in a history class. Once upon a time, humanity withheld technology from members of its own race, something to do with political and religiously motivated groups refusing to share resources and land, plus an economic system in which wealth was measured by the accumulation of material, not by the status of the lowest in the society," Lily waved her hand in the air, summoning a memory of a class last taken in university. "Uh, you know, it basically took us," she motioned to herself and Cassie, "an extinction level planetary war to snap out of it. I guess it's a good thing that they are willing to negotiate."

Stef nodded. "And Vulcan tried to hold back Earth, before the Federation was really founded," he added slowly as he listened to both women. "Perhaps we need to help them find a middle ground so all sides benefit in the end?" That seemed to be the most logical solution to him.

"That's what we're here to do, and I'm glad we have Lieutenant Tadez and Cassandra here to help us accomplish just that. I'll be right back, do either of you want anything to drink? Top off that sparkling water, Cass?" Sullivan stood up and grabbed her now empty mug.


LT Lily Sullivan

Crewman Apprentice Stef
Yeoman/Animal Caretaker
pnpc Lhaes

Cassandra Leblanc
Diplomatic Officer


Previous Next