STF

Main Sim - Bridge - The Arrival

Posted Jan. 22, 2021, 8:33 p.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Issac Forgrave (Chief of Security) (William Deaton)

Posted by Gamemaster Alias Smith N. Jones, Esq. (GMT) in Main Sim - Bridge - The Arrival

Posted by Gamemaster Alias Smith N. Jones, Esq. (GMT) in Main Sim - Bridge - The Arrival

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Renveer (Executive Officer) in Main Sim - Bridge - The Arrival
Posted by… suppressed (14) by the Post Ghost! 👻

SNIP

Renveer missed Holloway’s look; he was too concentrated on trying to pick up anything from the music or the body language of the singer. Thankfully, he was able to glean some basic emotional cues, which at least gave hints to the first real question they needed answered: what were their intentions? From what Renveer could gather, the aliens did not have malicious intent. In fact, they seemed nervous. If their ship was caught in some sort of anomaly that had also effected the station (as the scans seemed to indicate) Renveer could imagine that the other crew might fear that the Dresden had come to take advantage of their helpless state.

With this in mind, Renveer set out to use his own body language to indicate their own intent as peaceful and (hopefully) helpful. He turned his hands palms-up and raised his forearms to rest perpendicular to his waist. He tilted his head in a classic body language cue to communicate ‘I’m listening’. Renveer relaxed the muscles in his face, adopting as neutral of an expression as he could and pushed his shoulders back to straighten his posture. He might look a little ridiculous to other members of the bridge crew, but what was important at that moment was establishing some sort of baseline for an understanding of the desire to communicate and cooperate. Maintaining this position, Renveer waited for the being to respond to the captain’s question. He paid particularly close attention to the alien’s body language going forward.

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

The Ship’s Marine Commander watched everything intently. With the slightest move of his right pinky finger, Harris tapped a dark purple button on the very far right of his console. The ship’s computer made not a sound on the Bridge of the warship, but deep within the hull… a distinct purple klaxon flashed silently in Marine Country. Every jarhead on duty knew exactly what the light meant and in the next moment, the Marine Detachment of the USS Dresden began to quickly and quietly prep for First Contact Protocols.

Harris remained focused on the screen, but the corner of his eye stayed on the small, blinking button. When the glow became solid, he would know his troops were ready for peaceful… or not so peaceful… First Contact.

Harris, MarDet CO

Forgrave was remaining still and quiet; feeling distinctly out of place. Sure; he’d been trained in first contact protocols; but frankly, he was keenly aware of the fact that there were much better qualified people on the bridge for that job. He was content to observe the crew and the viewscreen; trying to gauge tensions and reactions. He didn’t miss Harris tapping the ‘alert’ button, and silently agreed. Despite the apparently peaceful (if non-communicative) nature of things so far.... there were simply too many unknowns to allow their guards down.

The Universal Translator was struggling to make sense of the music. Without a contextual starting point, it was currently giving an estimated time to translation of thirty-seven…

Years.

The figure didn’t look at Holloway, nor even seemed to register the sound of her voice. It simply looked from face to face, as if waiting for something.

GMT

Although the being had not responded to or mirrored Renveer’s inquisitive body language, the executive officer did not want to give up on the idea of some form on non-verbal communication just yet. After all, Captain Holloway’s effort proved equally fruitless, so better to try something than just continue to stand here.

Noticing the alien’s gaze lingering on the faces of the Dresden’s crew, Renveer’s instinct was to simply… smile? In almost every humanoid culture, a smile seemed to be a universal indicator of goodwill and friendliness. There was of course the off-chance that this species saw such a gesture as “baring your fangs” but based on the surface physiology of this species, it seemed unlikely that such a gesture had been used by their evolutionary ancestors.

With that in mind, Renveer slowly broke out into a smile. It was a bit forced and definitely awkward, and Renveer sincerely hoped that the Captain did not look his way until he knew whether the idea worked or not.

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

Thirty-seven years… well that’s less than fraggin’ useful! Thought Issac ruefully. He gave Renveer a bit of side-eye at his exaggerated non-verbal communication, but honestly he couldn’t criticize it - this alien species didn’t seem to be responding to audio at all. Which made him wonder.... Quietly, and hopefully below the range of audio pickup, he whispered to the science officer. “Ma’am… is it possible that our audio ain’t being received? Or maybe we could send some music over the comms - they might just not recognize speech…” Issac was silent for a moment, thinking of possibilities. “Or maybe galactic standard ain’t musical enough - I reckon Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, but maybe there’s something else that’s more so?” Issac’s face pulled into a grimace as he tried to explain his thinking. “I don’t know if that makes sense at all…”

Forgrave, CoS

Priscilla had been listening, as enraptured as the rest. When it was over, she blinked and glanced at Forgrave a moment. “That may make more sense, Captain. A language of our with more music like lilt.” She turned quickly and did a query of the languages in the database that were close to ‘musical’ in nature. She opened the search up not just to Earth, but all the languages in the database.

Priscilla
CSO

Drillek nodded in agreement and helped Simms with the inquiry. In a few moments, they had a listing of languages that were more melodic in their base speech patterns: among Earth-based languages were Mandarin Chinese (as the Security Chief had suggested), Hmong, Shona (an African group of languages), and even some Scandinavian languages had some tonal-based qualities.

Outside of Earth, there were only a smattering of species that had tonal-based languages, and only three that used music solely as a means of communication: The Drolilians of Jo’f II (extinct, language not in Universal Translator), and the Mofirindi (home world unknown, extinct species, language not in Universal Translator). The last entry was found in the logs of the USS Voyager detailing an encounter with a being known as Fantome (species unknown) who may have been a native of the Void. But the samples of that language did not sound similar to the music from the alien vessel.

Drillek looked at the readings and the information and then looked at Holloway. “Captain, we need a starting point. Something the UT can grab as a common between the languages. We need the same word or name for something.”

GMT

Molly nodded in acknowledgement of Drillek’s words, but her eyes were still trained on the screen. She had noticed Renveer’s efforts as he tried to use body language to see if the being would respond. After all, body language was much more universal than spoken language was.

OOC: Fixing a split

=^= Winter here, sir. On my way=^=

Kerilah had been going over some files, trying to get a better idea of the circumstances surrounding the medical (and mental) needs of potential patients. It just made sense to try to get ahead of the curve. She closed the file and headed to the lift, a sudden rush of excitement warming her skin. An younger Ensign and one of the nurses she’d seen earlier exited the lift as she got in and went their separate ways. She was happy to have a moment to herself as she centered herself and fine-tuned her focus.

[The Bridge. Ok, you’ve got this. This was always the goal. Trust your training and be ready for anything]. She could feel herself ‘smooth’ out as she exited the lift onto the Bridge, as everyone seemed transfixed on everything that was happening.

She wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, but the mood could well be described as tense. Yet, there was excitement, too. [First Contact], she reminded herself. This was the dream; the singular experience that inspired so many to join Starfleet. There was a species on the viewscreen, like nothing she had seen before and it seemed to be … singing? [What is that? A ritual greeting, maybe?] After all, the Capellans had ritualistic greetings that caused the Federation a bit of trouble back in the day. But it was best not to make assumptions. Keri stepped up to the area behind the Captain’s chair, where the Senior Officers (including the Captain) stood, looking at the screen.

She waited, quietly, for a break in the encounter before letting the XO know she was reporting, as requested. As she stared at the back of Capt. Holloway’s uniform, she felt a twinge of anxiety, but then thought back to her old Springball Team Captain. ‘You’ve already made the team, Keri. All ya gotta do now, is play’. And suddenly, Keri found herself, enjoying the moment and savoring the brief pause, before it all began…

(Dr. Winter, Ensign)

Renveer looked over his shoulder as the door to the bridge opened and made a ‘come hither’ motion with his hand to Ensign Winter, beckoning her to join him at his side. If she did so, Renveer would lower his voice and speak from the corner of his mouth, keeping his attention directed toward the viewscreen as he addressed the ensign. “We’re trying to establish contact, but their language is completely foreign. Do you have any ideas of how we could get them to identify themselves or an object clearly? The Captain has tried demonstrating a mnemonic for herself, but they haven’t seemed to register what she was trying to do. If we could get them to say the name of their species, the name of their ship, anything really that we knew for sure what they meant… but we can’t ask them a clear question, so it’s difficult to know if they understand what we’re trying to get from them.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

Kerilah stood to the side of the Commander and listened carefully, as she tried to assess the species on the screen. She could see no outward signs indicating that they were unable to process what they were hearing. [Hearing. Is that right? Music is more than an auditory experience.] She leaned forward a bit and lifted herself onto her tiptoes to better whisper to the XO.

Maybe there is more to this than vocabulary, sir. In Deaf culture, communication was as much about facial expression and energy as it was about the signs being used. Perhaps there’s an emotional, or intangible element to their language, too?…Sir.” Keri was worried. She knew it was a plausible theory, and she knew this was the whole reason he called her to the bridge. And yet, because this was like serving first in a competitive match of Springball, she couldn’t help worry that she had ‘put too much English on the ball’, as her grandfather used to say.

(Dr. Winter, Ensign)

Renveer nodded, glancing at Ensign Winter. “I considered the same principle. However, my attempts to communicate via open body language or near-universal displays of emotion such as a smile have gone unrecognized and unmirrored. So if they experience emotions at all, they don’t seem to display them in the same way we do. If there’s an intangible element to their language like you’ve described… I haven’t figured it out yet.”

Renveer paused for a second to consider, half-hoping he’d be interrupted in his conversation with the ensign by the alien in front of them. “However, I have yet to try any overt hand signals. So far, showing the palms of the hands, smiling, and pointing to oneself are all signals the aliens have not responded to or mimicked. If you have another idea for a form of non-verbal communication you’d like to try, by all means please do so.” Renveer knew that giving Dr. Winter the go-ahead might be a bit much, but honestly they were shooting in the dark. If she tried something that got a negative reaction from the beings on the viewscreen… well, that would be better than nothing at this point.

Turning to Captain Holloway, Renveer raised his voice to speaking level again. “Ensign Winter and I are going to continue attempting to initiate non-verbal communication. It might be worth contacting members of the crew that have latent telepathic abilities. Even if a betazoid engineering ensign has to be the one to act as an interpreter.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

This time, Molly turned to Renveer. Her eyes briefly glanced at the Ensign before she greeted her with a nod. “Go ahead and do that.” She finally said. “I’m going to keep trying and see if we can get them to say something we can recognize in order for the universal translator to help us.”

Turning to the Dresden’s Chief of Security, Holloway asked. “Lieutenant Forgrave, you have faster access to the crew’s rosters. Can you get us a list of the crewmembers with telepathic or empathic abilities? No matter how small… if they are on public record, I want them pulled. We might need their help here.”

Issac fairly snatched up his PaDD, eager to have something productive to do. Not that he’d felt out of place or unnecessary, but there was more than a bit of tension on the bridge, and he felt that there was little he could contribute to the situation. “Yes Ma’am; right away.”

Finally, turning back to the screen and to the alien being patiently waiting, Molly mirrored Renveer’s efforts and smiled, before pointing at herself once again and saying a single word out loud. “Human.”

Holloway, CO

Forgrave skimmed through the crew roster; applying various filters until he found what he was looking for. Ideally, there would be someone with both telepathic/empathic abilities and at least basic counselor training, but at this point he’d take what he could find.

Much to his surprise, a few names were left on his list; and one in particular stood out. NE Shandar; he’d passed her in the halls a time or two, but hadn’t paid much attention - she was very quiet, and not in his department. But she met the requirements that he was looking for, and so she was up. =/\=NE Shandar; if you could come up to the bridge please? As quickly as you can; though y’ain’t in trouble.=/\= The last part probably wasn’t needed, but he didn’t want her to show up in a nervous mess - getting called to the bridge could be a harrowing experience.

OOC: if someone would like to play NE Shandar, please feel free! Otherwise, I’ll pick her up shortly.
-Forgrave, CoS

Kerilah weighed the possibilities and then something hit her. She tip-toed back up to Renveer’s side again and whispered softly, but enthusiastically…”Sir, you said you’ve been trying non-verbal communication, but I submit the reason neither is working is that it might need to be simultaneous. Think about Opera or theatre…is there a song, or piece of music that reflects a first meeting or first contact anywhere in the database?” She hoped that he would take her premise and add his expertise and experience to the mix. “When they…sing, or whatever it is they’re doing, do they gesture or move at all?“

As she spoke to him, she concentrated on the conversation and not how she could feel the Captain’s presence only a few feet from her, or the rest of the Bridge Crew wondering who the hell she was, probably, or the incredible way that the Commander smelled, which was both soothing and distracting. [If they’ve got any nuance that we’ve missed, it could be a disaster, but even that would give an indication of something], Keri thought as she steadied her nerves and waited the XO’s reply.

(Dr. Winter, Ens.)

OOC: Fixing split

The alien on the viewscreen began looking quickly from one face to another, seemingly growing slightly agitated. It’s mouth opened again and music again came across the channel. This time, however, there was a sense of frustration… perhaps even anger.

GMT

NE Shandar was a young half-betazoid science officer, and she was keenly feeling her lack of experience as she hurried to the turbolift. She hated to leave off her work, but Lt. Forgrave had said it was urgent… But what could be the issue? She knew that they were due to arrive at the station soon, though she admittedly dozed through the briefings; figuring that she’d have a chance to familiarize herself when needed. So much for that hope…

She could feel the tension on the bridge long before she stepped out of the lift. Though she cringed internally, she was grateful - it gave her the opportunity to compose herself privately. As she stepped onto the bridge; the remarkable scene (and music) struck her dumb for a moment; before instinct took over. “NE Shandar; reporting as requested.”

Forgrave smiled at Shandar; though it wasn’t quite reflected in his eyes. “Thank ya for coming; we seem ta be in a bit of an impasse; communication-wise. I hate ta put ya on the spot; but we’re graspin’ straws here. Records say you’re half-betazoid; with some documented telepathic and empathic abilities. We’re hoping you can help us well… communicate.” Issac half-turned to Holloway and Renveer; looking to them for direction.

NE Shandar’s stomach rose in her chest - sure, she was empathic and mildly telepathic… but she had gone into Science specifically to avoid people. Damn! Well, too late to run now…

-Forgrave, CoS & NE Shandar

As Shandar focused on the being on the screen, she could sense a great deal of frustration… and fear. That was not unexpected, but what wasn’t expected was when she tried to scan the surface thoughts of the figure. Normally, thoughts were images with vocabulary-based context wrapped around them. In this circumstance, it ws images, yes… but they had a soundtrack. No words… just music.

GMT

Renveer considered Ensign Winter’s suggestion for a moment. He wasn’t an expert at music, but from Renveer’s perspective most the meaning in music was conveyed through lyrics… lyrics the aliens would not be able to understand. But maybe if there was a song with a “friendly” enough melody…

He nodded to Winter and motioned to a nearby terminal. “See if you can find something that sounds… welcoming.” He glanced back at the viewscreen as the alien’s emotions turned impatient. Renveer’s eyes narrowed almost imperceivably. The alien was expecting something of them, but at least they were trying to figure out what it was. The alien, on the other hand, had exhibited no desire or attempt to alter its methods of communication to adapt to the needs of the Dresden’s crew, so Renveer’s suspicion that this species didn’t have the most cooperative disposition were rising. If he was right in interpreting their emotions (which was still in question), frustration and fear were not a good combination for encouraging rational action.

Renveer looked back to NEnsign Shandar and motioned her forward, beckoning for her to join the small group of officers at the front of the bridge. Once she was in the huddle, he asked “What’re you getting, Ensign Shandar?” Having been the ship’s counselor, at least he knew Shandar well enough to remember her name.

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

NE Shandar pursed her lips in thought; as well as wanting a moment to organize her words, the unexpected nature of the alien’s surface thoughts had taken her by surprise. “Um; irritation… frustration I suppose; and fear. I think they’re nervous about our arrival, and not being able to communicate is of course frustrating!” She let out a nervous giggle, and immediately winced. “Sorry Sir; um, I’m not used to this sort of thing.” She took a deep breath, quickly composing herself once more. “And their thoughts are… music. Not based on vocabulary, I mean; it’s much less discrete than any language I know of; uh, more… flowing. I mean, it really is… music, not words. If that makes sense…”

OOC: Pasting in to fix Split

Kerilah could see their frustration growing and she couldn’t help but feel that her uncertainty was part of the reason. Every time she paused to explain her idea, she was interrupting a possible action that could defuse the situation. She still hadn’t learned the work culture of her new environment, but she had to act! Anything would be preferable to this awkward uncertainty. So she took a deep breath, stepped forward one step, and began to sing.

Keri had been singing since she was a little kid, and had even played with the idea of becoming an artist in her youth,… but only for a moment. She had always been complimented on her voice and more than a few musicians and vocalists had commented on her ability, but she had wanted to join Starfleet. Singing was something she did for herself, for enjoyment - not as a profession, or for spectacle.

Before she was called to the Bridge, she had been listening to some contemporary, Orion, Port music. She enjoyed it because it was more upbeat and often had a message of welcome, awe, and commerce - none of which, Keri could see as a negative. The one that popped into her head just before she stepped forward, had been about greetings and celebrations. She hoped the words matter less than the sound, coupled with her gestures, which she kept simple; gesturing from her Captain, and then openly, turning to the aliens with an expansive, spreading of her arm as she sang. [I really hope I don’t end up demoted for this. And I hope they understand what I’m trying to say…We. Come. In. Peace].

(Dr. Winter, Ens.)

As the Ensign’s voice began to carry her words as she sang, the attention of the figure on the screen immediately snapped to look at her and it’s pupils dilated slightly. Shandar could feel a strong shift and surge in emotion from the being. Frustration and anger were immediately replaced with a sense of relief and hope. It’s mouth opened and music began to fill the bridge again… but this time it was in completely perfect harmony with Winter’s.

GMT

Forgrave shifted at the change in posture and attention of the alien; noting the rapid change in focus. And that posture… relaxation, maybe?
NE Shandar couldn’t help but smile; she recognized that she did not have enough practice in shielding herself from thoughts and emotions - Too much time in the labs…. But that thought was put aside. “Hope! I’m getting relief and hope! I think that’s helping, Dr. Winter!”

-Forgrave/NE Shandar


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