(( 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
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.
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... ))
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.
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
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.
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
She allowed them a moment to process her words and review the first findings on the padd.
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
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.
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.
Maria smiled, enjoying the somewhat theatric pacing of her exposition. Time for the other shoe to drop.
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?
Maria nodded slightly. With everyone finally on the same page, the reason she was here was self-explanatory.
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...
Ensign Maria Alvarez
Ops Officer, USS Arrow