“Inola, make to them, ‘This is Captain John T Glen of the United Federation of Planets starship Merrimack. We have received your distress call and are here to help. How may we be of assistance?‘ Okay?” said Glen.
Inola nodded and transmitted his message. “Waiting on a reply captain.”
Hal said, “And it seems to me that the point of first contact, is to prevent any potential threat of them exploring and starting up an interstellar conflict with their neighbors.”
Hal’s comment struck a cord with John. He still blamed himself for the world they had abandoned to blow itself up. Hal wasn’t to know, as it happened between his two deployments on the Merrimack. Not that Glen could have done anything differently. By rights, the world was pre-Warp technology and subject to General Order number one, the Prime Directive, and they had broken that by even going to the surface. It still didn’t sit well with Glen and it probably never would. Just how can the Federation sit by and watch millions annihilate themselves in a pointless nuclear war, and do nothing! To do nothing at all, yet pretend that it is doing the righteous thing. However, it couldn’t be made any clearer in the regulations. Suborder 25, paragraph 9 states that Starfleet officers are prohibited from directly intervening in the natural outcome of any internally motivated political or military conflict, even if non-intervention would result in the extinction of an entire species or the end of all life on a planet or star system. Of course, the pen-pushing Commodore who wrote that had never had to watch it happen himself.
“Captain.” Kord said from just over Glen’s right shoulder, “If possible, we should use shuttles. Keep their exposure to our advanced technological aspects as limited as possible. Like the mess crew bringing in carts and trays of food rather than giving them access to replicators and such. Keep it as close to their technology level as possible whenever possible so to speak.”
“If they come aboard? I agree!” replied the Captain. “Let’s see if we can fix their ship up first. But yes, we play down our level of technology, and don’t let them know how many crew we really have.”
While waiting upon the reply, Glen could only wonder at the consternation and anxiety that their message would now be causing on the alien ship. Even though the aliens appeared to be on a voyage of discovery themselves, if their own history mirrored human human history at all, then first contact between different cultures was wrought with problems. The disruptive nature of first contact often lead to dire consequences for the less technological society, including armed conflict and the introduction of disease. When you add the possibility within their society of xenophobia, culture wars and cargo cults, there was much to fear from this meeting that may or may not have been thought through yet. So, while they hoped for a quick reply to their hail, they had to given them some space. It wasn’t something they could force by sending out a repeat, and they would just have to wait.
William did not turn to watch the Captain work but did focus his hearing and a part of his attention to the conversation, the rest of his mind was focused on watching the sensor data.
A reply finally came through on audio. The UT was still processing through the language so the message was fragmented =/\= By the Great Beyond! This is unknown words Unknown Word of the tri-party Council ship Unknown word we are in distress and need unknown word unknown word you can provide. To repair our unknown word unknown word..=/\= the female like voice said.
Inola frowned. She hated it when there were words she didn’t know. “They definitely need help, something broke on their ship. I’m not sure what though. The translator usually gets to technical words last.” She turned around. “Captain, I’m guessing we aren’t the first aliens they’ve run into out here. They didn’t seem all that surprised.”
“It does appear as if the translator cuts out on their proper names,” Hal noted. “But. The intent of their reply is clear enough. They’re relieved to hear from us. Their situation may be worse then we initially thought.”
“Then we don’t have any time to delay,” Glen replied to Hal. “In your opinion, is it safe for us to send a small landing party… er, are we calling them away teams now, I can never remember.... anyway, a engineering detail, with Inola to translate, yourself and Mooney as security, and myself. No obvious modern weapons or technology. We’ll need to beam across though!”
“We should have at least have one communicator in our party, Sir,” Hal said. “But that’s the party that we should send over. I don’t think that they’ll have much in the way of weapons.”
Inola smiled. This was already more exciting than the Starbase. “I’d argue that while their society may be post warp, they may still have pre-warp weaponry equipping their security officers.”
*I agree with both, ” replied Glen. “We do need one communicator, if just to call to come back. They are likely to have swords and projectile weapons. I’m not sure what weapons we need to take, if any. We are going there to help them. If they kill us they die too. Also, I can have the Transporter Chief keep a permanent Transporter lock on us for a quick return.”
“It would also be prudent to bring a Scientific Tricorder with the team so my team can analyse and give further input” William added.
Glen thought it was a slippery slope. He’d said no modern weapons or tech. Then, he’d said okay to a communicator. If they took a tricorder, then why not a phaser too? But they did need to be able to identify and fix the fault on the ship, and to do it as speedily as possible.
Reluctantly, Glen said, “Okay then, one tricorder!”
“Captain,” Kord began, “In keeping it low tech as possible there are reasonable exceptions. Obviously they have long distance wireless communication capabilities so our communicators should raise little interest except maybe in miniaturization if they don’t have something similar. Same with weapons. It would be reasonable to assume that we have means of defending ourselves. However, as we don’t see any traces of transporter technology at the moment I suggest the use of shuttles and, if we have them as guests, keep replicator tech quiet as it was developed from transporter technology. Exposing similar technologies is not the issue. The issue would come from showing then technologies they haven’t developed yet.”
“With the technology, I’m not bothered that they know we are much more advanced,” replied Glen. “I don’t want to frighten them of course, but mainly I just don’t want to give them an inducement to want to steal from us, which then might lead to violence. They don’t need to steal or back engineer our tech, we will tell them that we can share technology with them in time. Think of it like taking off your antique Rolex watch when visiting an old Earth sanctuary district. Which is why we will transport rather than shuttle. We are too vulnerable on a docked shuttle and the shuttle is full of tech itself. The transporter is a quick beam in and, if needs be, a quick beam out again. Anyway, if it does become an escape and rescue mission, then the shuttle will be no use to take their whole crew off.”
“So, if there is nothing else, we should leave as soon as possible,” Glen said. “That ship doesn’t look in very good shape.”
While the crew debated what to use and how another audio comm message came through for Inola. =/\= Hello? Are you still receiving us? By the Eternal Abyss we are not that low on life support are we, to be collectively hallucinating? unknown words that trail off =/\= the female like voice asked.
Inola turned to the rest of the bridge. “I’d suggest we stop debating and head over. I doubt they’ll be much of a threat, but they’ll be even less of one if they die while we sit here arguing.” She wasn’t known for her patience anyway. “Would you like to answer them Captain or should I?”
Glen gave a nod, and said, “Be my guest!”
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