((USS Arrow - Deck 1; Conference Room))
As she watched everyone slowly accumulate in the conference room, it dawned on Philomena that despite everything– the fate of this last mission, in particular– she was noticeably more comfortable around these people. Not completely comfortable, by any means– but she wasn’t nearly as sweaty, which she took as a win. Admittedly, she was nervous to finally be working with the Captain, someone she had hardly talked to at all, and whose opinion of her was arguably the most important, professionally speaking.
Shayne: Thank you for coming. Our information is limited, so fortunately this will be brief.
O’Malley opened a small notepad on her lap, pen at the ready– Just in case she’d need to take notes.
Shayne: What we do know is that the Chalnoth, in apparently the first organized action ever witnessed by Starfleet, have reached out to the Federation for assistance. They weren’t particularly forthcoming, and Starfleet didn’t want to press the matter too greatly. As a result, we are going in cautiously. Once we’re an hour away from coordinates sent to us by the Chalnoth, we’ll disengage the Proteus Drive, disengage from the ring, and move in at conventional warp speeds. Lieutenants Dewitt and Tallera, you’ll handle that, and locate us a good place to keep the ring until we can come back for it.
Jacin: The Chalnoth are known for their aggressive nature. Their society is based on the preposition that only the strong survive. For them to ask for help is atypical of them. For them to ask for assistance is ::Beat:: not normally in their nature. Either something has changed, or there is a situation that is serious enough for them to believe they cannot handle it alone, that does not bode well.
Ar’Gorvalei: Perhaps they are dealing with a crisis they have never encountered before, and have no culturally appropriate way of resolving.
Dewitt: That ups the expected level of threat from a standard request for help with a supply run or similar.
O’Malley pressed her lips together as she wrote all of this down, leaving spaces in the margins for extrapolation and possible questions. While it was possible that the Chalnoth needed their help, O’Malley had a sinking feeling that this could stem from intentions that weren’t entirely sincere.
Rodan: While unusual, it's not unprecedented. The Chalnoth have never been openly aggressive to the Federation, however they do regard us - and others - in some kind of contempt.
Jacin: There is a third possibility; it’s a trap.
That was it– the possibility that she didn’t really want to consider, despite it being her first instinct.
Tallera: We'll find a good corner, but we'll want to lock it down against possible theft or intrusion. I understand it's built for this, but it'll be the first time to put it all to the test.
Dewitt: Yes... Yes, we will confer with Commander Wilde over installed precautions and locks we will have to add on top.
Jacin: Locks can be picked.
Dewitt: Picks can be broken.
Jacin: What? Ask any Ferengi. Besides, isn't it our duty to point out all mission possibilities?
Rodan: Don't forget that Proteus has its own propulsion system and remote access. We could always have it find us, if needs be.
Shayne: Commander, how likely is this request to be related to the Sheliak in some form?
MacKenna: There's not much chatter about it yet, so I'm not sure it's been thoroughly looked at. I'd proceed assuming there's a connection given the proximity and activity in the area.
Shayne: In that case you’ll be with the initial meet-and-greet party. How much experience have you with the Chalnoth?
MacKenna: Unfortunately, not much. They haven't connected with us in quite some time, and even here, the request was very short.
Shayne: If outside communication is rare, then asking for help is practically unheard of for a Chalnoth. Nevertheless, if this is a medical situation, I want Sickbay standing by for large-scale triage. Keep cargo bays and the mess halls on standby.
R'Ariel: We may need some assistance from engineering to help prep any cargo bay space.
Rodan: Pull some resources from Ops, too, if needed.
Ar’Gorvalei: We should also make sure to replicate additional basic medical supplies, and anything specific to Chalnoth physiology.
O'Malley: I’m willing to help wherever I’m needed, but I think we should recalibrate the Arrow’s translation software to ensure that communication between us is as clear as possible.
Shayne: You know what they say about wounded animals, Commander. Keep your teams at high alert for the duration of this interaction. Chloe, I want us ready to get out of here at a moment’s notice, and depending on what they need from us when we arrive, we might need your shuttle flying abilities.
Serinus: Yes, sir.
R'Ariel: Security may definitely be needed, I know I don't want to think about trying to restrain a Chalnoth without, but I'd like to play the proximity of security teams by ear, adding what might be perceived as threat to patients suffering trauma could be disastrous.
Shayne: Science department… do… science. Things. You know the drill.
Jacin ::Quietly.:: Beep beep beep.
Jacin: Just doing ’science things’.
O’Malley lifted a quick hand to her mouth to hide her smile. There was a lot of possible doom and gloom in the subject matter here, but sometimes, a silly noise here or there did wonders for lightening the mood. She shook it off, as the meeting continued.
Rodan: It's no secret that this meeting will be quite tense. Keep your wits about you, everyone.
Shayne: Alright. We arrive in a few hours. Mr. Rodan, take us to yellow alert and standby for diplomacy.
Rodan: Yes, Captain.
As the meeting broke, Philomena read through her notes, as if she had forgotten something already. Really, it was to give herself something to do while her mind paced.
It could be a trap.
But she was there to help people– and that motivation was more than worth the risks. She attempted to eschew the idea of this request being a trap, and instead tried to brainstorm ways that she could prepare to help the Chalnoth.