Ensign Maria Alvarez - Pictures at an Exhibition

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Jun 9, 2021, 4:31:58 PMJun 9
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(( USS Arrow - Deck 2, Maria and Chloe's Room ))
(( Much later after the briefing, several hours before arrival at Genti II ))
(( OOC: I wanted to kick off a particular thread here early.  Please, continue the briefing scene or start new ones as usual! ))

Maria pushed her body through the usual regimen of stretches.  After a lot of physical activity on Risa from rock climbing, to clubbing, to running along the beach, the muscles and fascia were considerably angrier at her than usual.  Her hips, calves, and feet in particular complained about old dance injuries, even though she never would.

Having woken early to equally old dreams once again, Maria put her brain to work reading a padd as her limbs sprawled on the floor.  Might as well put the time until her shift to good use.

The Genthii were proving to be as wonderfully bizarre and fascinating as they were enigmatic and rigid.  She'd found herself particularly captivated by their deeply intricate art practices.  From what she read, they were as expressive as they were layered and regimented.  The diplomatic corps not being the most aesthetically minded, the documentation she could get mostly came from first- and follow-on contact teams.  Still, buried in personal logs, there was a notable mention of impressively difficult and marvelously beautiful performances the diplomats attended as part of the rituals.  It had taken some doing to unearth the extra data, but it was proving worthwhile.

Maria moved to a different pose on the floor that stretched her hips.  It hurt, but in a familiar way she'd learned to love.  She was no contortionist, but to an onlooker, the position might have looked highly improbable.

The operations officer knew she should have been focused on the mundane details of the deal the Federation wanted - so many cubic meters of this, so many kilograms of that... Where temporary warehousing on the planet would be established, environmental controls, staffing requirements, transit routes, traffic control... So on and so forth for pages.  No, that wasn't particularly interesting today.  Instead something captured her imagination about this strange culture and their relationship with aesthetics.  The more she read about some of their beliefs, the more she felt the familiar thrill of an idea forming...

(( USS Arrow - Deck 1, Captain's Ready Room ))
(( Later still... ))

Finally in uniform, makeup and hair done to her usual specification - bold and beautiful, but simple - she was somehow here yet again outside the ready room.  She had a few minutes before she needed to take her station at the ops console, and she was looking to present yet another idea to the captain.

In another officer, it might have been inspired by an ulterior motive - looking to get a promotion after being passed up or the like.  In her case, it was just Maria looking to do things her way, per usual.  Okay - there was another motive, but it was focused more on being allowed more time down on the planet.  That was a big reason she joined Starfleet, after all.

She stepped through the doors.  Maybe it was the extra time spent on her routine, maybe it was her head being sucked back to a time before she was a cadet, but even she noticed the easy rhythm and flow she fell into even with simple movements.  Heightened awareness of it was distracting enough to be slightly surprised by the addition of Collins' presence in the Ready Room.  It made sense - they'd be arriving this shift.  She just hadn't expected it.

Shayne/Collins: Response

Maria wondered if they were conspiring about what to do with her after her questions in the briefing.  Either that, or Shayne had taken her comments about finding friends on Arrow to heart more than Maria realized.  None of those possibilities got in the way of her mood's buoyancy.  She dove right in to the matter at hand.

Alvarez: Good morning!  :: She handed over a padd. :: I was doing some research into the Gentii.  Didn't want to get a death sentence for picking roses or anything like that after Rodan's warning.  Fortunately, they have a relatively sane legal system, but I did find something else rather interesting...

She allowed them a moment to process her words and review the first findings on the padd.

Shayne/Collins: Response?

Alvarez: It turns out they have an extremely sophisticated and cautious process for building trust that dates back to their tribal nomadic ancestors tens of thousands of years ago.  Whenever two tribes would meet, they'd exchange gifts, food, and supplies much like humans over the course of several days.  A festival, of sorts.  However, it turns out the most important exchange was cultural artifacts on the last day.  They call it a Bairiri.

Shayne/Collins: Response

Maria shifted her weight somewhat impatiently.  She needed to remind herself she'd spent the last several hours, and the day before that reading as much as she could.  Neither her CO nor XO had likely had the time, not to mention no small amount of searching for the original contact mission logs had been tedious.  Information was always her weapon of choice, which made it worth her while.

Alvarez: I'm talking about art.  Physical mediums of all kinds of course, but performances in particular as well.  They'd even commision works and performances for each other to be exchanged before parting ways, incorporating what they'd learned of each other.  Often how well the Bairiri went had a big impact on whether the tribes would continue to trade decades, or even millenia later.  Apparently the practice evolved into ever-larger affairs, particularly between countries seeking peace or large companies pursuing mergers... even families in advance of weddings have a smaller version of the Bairiri.

Shayne/Collins: Response

Maria smiled, enjoying the somewhat theatric pacing of her exposition.  Time for the other shoe to drop.

Alvarez: That's just it.  Believe it or not, the diplomatic corps never held one, nor did the Genthii offer.  Most likely, they view our potential relationship as purely transactional.  Beneficial, but not "close," so to speak.  Sounded like you had different intentions in the briefing?

Shayne/Collins: Response

Maria nodded slightly.  With everyone finally on the same page, the reason she was here was self-explanatory.

Alvarez: Yes, sir.  Precisely what I was going to suggest.   I'm sure they could loan us a place to set it up.  If we replicated some famous artwork from across the Federation core worlds, maybe played recordings of some selections of music...  It could go a long way to building trust and easing negotiations.  According to one of their ancient philosophers, "The truest soul and self of a being flows forth from its art."

She finished speaking, and suddenly there was a strange pause of meditation on the Captain's part.  It wasn't that Shayne disliked the idea - she knew the face of disapproval pretty well by now.  No, it was something else she couldn't quite decipher.  She wasn't sure if she should be scared or not.  She found herself grateful for the presence of Collins to mediate should another "debate" erupt between them, but even that was cold comfort because she wasn't sure that was what was next...

Shayne/Collins: Response


Ensign Maria Alvarez
Ops Officer, USS Arrow
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