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Creating a Battle Plan

Posted on Thu Mar 25th, 2021 @ 2:52pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison

Mission: Pathstone to History


Abigail leaned back in her seat, one hand wrapped around the mug of Chai that Ichiko had placed in front of her the moment she arrived in the observation lounge. The layout of the new observation lounge was definitely a step up from what the old ship offered. With a smile, she cast a quick glance around the small gathering of officers who were waiting. "Thank you for joining us so quickly," she finally said quietly. "As some of you may be aware, about six weeks ago the Graviton Catapult was decommissioned after the loss of the USS Tyche and presumably all 900 odd lives onboard. The Tyche was loaded with supplies destined for the Delta Quadrant. Starfleet Engineering doesn't know if the Catapult misfired, or if the accident was an under powered discharge, but the unfortunate side effect is that we have a small but active complement of ships in the Delta Quadrant who have been officially cut off from Starfleet..." she drew a deep breath. "Including us now that we're here."

She paused, giving them a moment to absorb as she took a sip of her Chai. "We were able to negotiate with the Dalacari to have access to Pathstone to get us here, largely thanks to the aid of Commander Gail. Our next step is to meet with Senior Dalacari and Ts'usugi representatives to negotiate ongoing use of Pathstone for any Federation vessels that may require it, and that's where all of you come in. You will be coming to Dalacar with us to help represent the Federation."

Ichiko rose to bring up the next portion of the brief, "Dalacar itself is a veritable paradise. The Dalacari have modified the environment, the weather, the topography, everything to make it as comforting and accommodating as possible, and then even moreso. The average Dalacari wants for nothing, and can pursue any career or sport or distraction they so please. Anything deemed dangerous, stressful, or menial is handled by the Drones."

An image on the wall viewed displayed a drone. Bipedal, with a singular optic that dominated their head, along with a cooling frill behind it. Gold and white chassis design, two arms ending in five fingered manipulators. All in all, a standard automaton built in a pleasant image. "Fourteen hour battery life, but when one is about to lose power it switches out for another nearby. They're all networked, all globally tracked, and every one of them has three things on their processing: Ensure the safety of the citizens and their guests, protect the citizens and their guests, perform all tasks as requested."

"The drones are the workforce, the labor, and even the military. It's impossible to find a facet of Dalacari life that doesn't involve a drone. For those going to the planet, expect to meet them in a myriad of forms. Their aerospace force... drones. Their security? Drones. The ambassador will invite us into a council chamber. In the chamber there will be a table. Silver. Ornate." a pause, "Drone."

A pause, to let that soak in. "Though, Dalacari prize life highest among everything else. For all their security, if you were to become a threat, you'd never face more than a stun setting. The Dalacari want to continue living their life of luxury. Being violent inhibits that, so..." she motioned back to the drone image.

"Guess the drones gotta be pretty smart to be able to do all of that. Are they, uh, alive? What's the word?" Buck glanced over in Calvin's direction. "Sentient. Are they sentient?"

"No. The Three Dawn Accord signed between the Dalacari and my people prohibit their research into true artificial sentience. Instead, the drones are networked into massive computing engines known as... and I know how this sounds... "Thinking Engines"." she paused. The irony of the moment wasn't lost on her. "Thinking Engines are massive quantum prediction calculators. They determine the optimal series of events and then send those instructions to the appropriate drones. Alone, a drone can only act off the last instructions it received. Alone, they're dumb terminals."

"Listening to all this," Will said, "it makes me wonder what we would have to offer the Dalacari in terms of trade. Seems like they pretty much already have anything they could need, or even want."

"We gotta have something they want." Buck pointed out. "They'd not agree to the negotiation otherwise. Question is what?"

"And that will be something I guess we'll find out when we get there and we have the chance to speak with them in person. I imagine what we're asking for is no small matter for them. Admittedly, the Federation presence in the Delta quadrant isn't exactly extensive, but their technology would allow for so much more in terms of support and supplies."

Abigail paused for a moment. A secondary fleet of QSD equipped ships is being prepped for immediate departure from Earth, led by Captain Drell and the USS Vesta. They will be travelling to the Delta Quadrant without accessing Pathstone. Their estimated journey is about six months, providing they encounter no issues along the way. IF we fail in our negotiations for access to Pathstone our orders are to locate all Federation ships in the Quadrant and make plans to get our people back home."

"How many of the ships in Delta are equipped with a QSD?" Buck asked.

"As of right now, that would be us," Abigail replied. "Captain Drell is bringing a small complement of QSD equipped spirit class vessels with him, but as I said, their arrival is estimated at 6 months or so. There are limited Federation vessels currently deployed to the Delta Quadrant, less than a dozen of us, and quite spread out." Abigail paused a moment. "Our primary focus is to do all we can to make sure our negotiations with the Dalacari are successful."

"I can coach you on what to expect, but too much assistance and my aid would be apparent. They want to talk to the Federation, not Ichiko's Space Friends." she paused, "I don't know much about who they'll be having do the negotiations on the Dalacari side, but you'd be hard pressed to find a Ts'usugi serving, having served, or about to serve that doesn't know the name Daisan Goki. He's a Fleetmaster, the equivalent of an Admiral. Commanding one of the only five existing DaiKyaria class ships in the Ts'usugi fleet. One of the Emperor's own. He's something of... I guess the closest comparison to how well he's known is, he's something of a rock star?" she said, she knew what the words meant alone, but in that combination even she was a bit uncertain that she got the term right.

"His presence here as the negotiator for the Ts'usugi end of business is a good sign. Goki is a family man, and from what I hear he just recently became a father not too long ago. He's an advocate for peace, a fan of negotiation, and a shrewd diplomat. I'll try to arrange to have accurate pictures of Goki and his family available for identification. News is he always brings his family with him on any mission he goes on. Every Ts'usugi fights to protect our home, we bring a piece of Ts'usu with us on every ship. Goki goes a step further. He fights for his family."

"Ts'usu keeps her secrets. First and foremost, we would need to assure Goki that we're not here to threaten Ts'usu. Voyager raised quite a few eyebrows on her trek through our corner of the universe. She made friends, she made enemies, she made waves. We kept the Koldarans and any threats spinward off her trail, since we recognized that all she wanted to do was go home. We respected that." a pause, "Now, her people are returning here, and the concern is how much of an impact are you looking to make. There's concern, there's fear, but there's nothing from the Federation side of things. This will be your chance to tell your story, perhaps to one of the few people eager to sit down and hear it."

"Selling the Dalacari will be easy. They love discovery and they love innovation. You're the first Federation ship to pass through the iris of Pathstone. The sensor logs along will get you in the door. Sate their curiosity, but don't indulge them. Leave them something to explore, but entice them. Bread crumbs, I think, is an appropriate Earth analogy?"

Abigail nodded slowly. "Bread crumbs is definitely an appropriate analogy," she replied softly. "I think we will need to tread carefully, handle everything with kid gloves, but I'm sure we'll be alright. We have to be." She paused, offering a smile around the table. "I guess, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to dust off our dress whites."


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